Saturday, August 30, 2014

A jackhammer on steroids

Hawk's Hog
Image credit:

The Eight Sentences:

The sound of a jackhammer on steroids from the front parking lot interrupted their attempt at a conversation. Next, they heard the popping sound of a small caliber pistol.

“Was that an Uzi?” asked Dryden.

“Fuckin’ A, followed by return fire from a toy gun,” said Scully.
They both drew their weapons and began to move to vantage points to observe the action out front. Dryden, in a stage whisper, said, “You mean a Glock, right?”
“Yep, Mattel -- Barbie and Ken.”
Outside, they could see a 379 pound man on his side behind a Harley-Davidson Electra Glide as he slammed a loaded magazine into his Glock 9 mm semi-automatic pistol.

The Setup:
    A previous snippet introduced the League of Old Men and now here they are in action. For this assignment they met at the Mountain Empire Airport (what a cool name! Watch for a blog on this.) in Virginia. The big guy on the Hog is Hawk Barger, relative of  Sonny Barger, one of the Hell's Angels at the infamous Altamont Free Concert. I'll blog about that one soon, too.

Open Call for Writers:

Join us here at Weekend Writing Warriors. The  same link will take you to the work of dozens of talented writers. For a treat, please check out their work, too.  
Here's the Facebook link for the Sunday Snippett group.

Hear how an Uzi sounds.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

I am sudden death.

The Tourist Killer ends and A Year Without Killing opens
in Manhattan near Penn Station.
Here's a shot I got from Hoboken. 

The Eight Sentences:

“I am sudden death.
Final.”  -- For over thirty years, it was the credo of one of the most successful and least known professional assassins in history. In A Year Without Killing, Claudia Barry takes a year off from work. 
She doesn’t leave her weapons at home.

The Back Story:
       Today's excerpt is the promo line for my third novel.
        If that was all you knew about the book, would you click your mouse to find out more?
        As usual, all feedback welcomed.

Open call for writers:
Join us here at Weekend Writing Warriors. The  same link will take you to the work of dozens of talented writers. For a treat, please check out their work, too.  
Here's the Facebook link for the Sunday Snippett group.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Meet Ulysses "Track" Presius by author, E.E.Giorgi. We both participate in some weekly blog hops and share interests in not only writing, but also science and photography.
The main character of her first two books has an interesting name. I have blogged about how author's chose names for their characters, so I asked her to tell us about Ulysses "Track" Presius.

Track was born from a mix of things. I was intrigued by the idea of a "creature" that can both love and kill at the same time. I picked up a vampire book because of this concept, but I was hugely disappointed. I thought that the book failed in exploiting the "scary" part of the creature. However, even though I didn't enjoy that particular book, I kept thinking about the story and how I would've improved where the author (in my opinion) had failed.

Around the same time, I learned about pseudogenes, bits of our DNA that no longer code for proteins. We inherited those bits from our ancestors and, as we evolved from predators to monkeys to human, they lost their functions. They're still in our DNA, we just don't use them anymore. Take the vomeronasal organ for example: many mammals use it to smell pheromones. We still have the vomeronasal organ, but of course we no longer use it since humans today rely more heavily on visual stimuli rather than olfactory ones.

I put all these cool concepts together and asked myself: what if there was one human being whose ancestral (predator) genes, for whatever reason, were suddenly turned on? Of course, in real life you can't "turn" genes on and off as if they were switches. But it is true that sudden changes in diet or traumas can affect gene expression and randomly activate or silence some genes.

I discussed these ideas with my dad, who's a developmental biologist, and he told me that most of our pseudogenes in the human genome code for olfactory receptors. Oddly, olfactory receptors can be found in the strangest places, not just in the nose. Males have them in sperm. We all have them in our guts. If my character were to have activated pseudogenes, he had to have an enhanced sense of smell. And then I thought that somebody with an enhanced sense of smell would be perfect at finding bodies and solving crimes.

The nickname "Track" immediately came to mind, from "tracking dog." His real name came a little later. I had just finished reading Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides, and I absolutely loved how the narrative in the book was interspersed with references to Greek mythology. As I started writing Chimeras, I knew I had to make a similar connection: Track is an epigenetic chimera, and the original meaning of the word chimera comes from Greek mythology. What better name than Ulysses for a character who's still searching for his own identity, his own home in a body that no longer feels his?

"What about the last name Presius?" you may ask. I honestly don't know. I wanted something not trivial to pronounce, something that would strike as odd. All great detectives have odd names: Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Hieronymus Bosch. So I guess I had to follow the tradition: Ulysses "Track" Presius. I think it fits. What do you think?

E.E. Giorgi, scientist, photographer, author.
Image copyright Yosip Loncaric
E.E. Giorgi is a scientist, a writer, and a photographer. She spends her days analyzing genetic data, her evenings chasing sunsets, and her nights pretending she's somebody else. Her photographs have been showcased in galleries in California, New Mexico and Texas. On her blog, E.E. discusses science for the inquiring mind, especially the kind that sparks fantastic premises and engaging stories. She is the author of the Track Presius mystery series, a hard-boiled police procedural with a genetic twist. The first book in the series, CHIMERAS, is a 2014 Book Award finalists, and the second book, MOSAICS, will be released on September 8, 2014 and is now available for preorder. You can sign up for Giorgi's "Chimeras Newsletter," here.

MOSAICS (A Track Presius Mystery)Dubbed the Byzantine Strangler because of the mysterious mosaic tiles he leaves at the crime scene, a new serial killer is stalking the streets of Los Angeles. Racing to decipher the code encrypted in the tiles before the killer strikes again, Detective Track Presius faces a new challenge: the "awakened" genes that make his vision and olfactory sense so sharp are now taking a toll on his life. When a new set of tiles appears in his own backyard, Track makes a chilling realization: those very same genes that are threatening his life are drawing the Byzantine Strangler closer and closer. The fine line between hunter and hunted has suddenly blurred. Will Track be the next piece of the mosaic puzzle?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The League of Old Men -- Part 2

The Eight Sentences:
 The sidewalk leading up to the street was broken and uneven. Grass and tall weeds made homes of the cracks. Poison ivy grew up the side of an exterior wall, rooted somewhere between a window and the brick veneer wall.
But the interior was another story.
Image copyright 2007 FCEtier
The floors were worn but clean. It was clear that the kitchen and dining area had been used recently and frequently. A mahogany bar hosted a row of bar stools from another era. The back counter was stocked with bourbon and scotch.
The American flag stood proudly with an eagle decoration atop the wooden staff.

The Back Story:
Last week's snippet was my first dealing with the League of Old Men. Today, we visit their meeting hall.
This will be my last excerpt on this eclectic group who will make their debut in my third book, A Year Without Killing.
These guys will turn up again in my fourth book, Transfer the Dragon. They will be joined in this adventure by the talented and feisty members of the Presidents Club.

Open call for writers:

Join us here at Weekend Writing Warriors. The 

same link will take you to the work of dozens of talented 

 Check out their work, too.  Here's the Facebook link for the

 Sunday Snippett group.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The League of Old Men

Weekend Writing Warriors

The Eight Sentences:

I stumbled into their meeting hall.

As far as I was concerned, it had always been an urban legend.
The League Of Old Men was as real to me as a twenty-first century Illuminati.
You may have heard the legends, rumors, and stories yourself.
Events that at first seem unrelated and then, overnight, are connected by wing-nut conspiracy theorists.
Deals, deaths, and deniable dilemmas that mark the repetition of history through the decades.
The romantic stories of great loyalty, unshakable devotion, and a will that would make that of G. Gordon Liddy pale by comparison.
Former Hell’s Angels with a desire to preserve their culture,
Viet Nam veterans obsessed with a sense of justice usually reserved for vigilantes.
Maverick cops and detectives determined to execute appropriate sentences — with or without a judge and jury.

The Back Story:
My current work in progress, A Year Without Killing, introduces several new characters in the "Barry-Hixon Conspiracy" series of books. This recent blog (on my WordPress site) sheds light on a secret organization to which several of the new characters belong. Watch for more on the League of Old Men in future snippets.

Does your work fit?

There are some rules, but generally, the administrators are tolerant. From the rules on the WeWriWa site: " Then on  
Sunday, post 8 sentences from a current writing project, 

published or unpublished." 

          Join us here at Weekend Writing Warriors. The 

same link will take you to the work of dozens of talented 


 Check out their work, too.  Here's the Facebook link for the

 Sunday Snippett group.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Meet Claudia Barry

Cindy A invited me to participate in a "Meet Your Character" blog hop. Cindy is the author of The Milk Carton Murders due out next spring. Meet Cindy and view her blog, HERE.

Now, Meet My Character:

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
    Claudia Barry - fictional
2) When and where is the story set?
    Current times, eastern seaboard USA
3) What should we know about him/her?
    Readers meet Claudia in my first book, The Tourist Killer. She’s sixty-two years old and has successfully negotiated a career of over thirty years. Now she’s contemplating retirement and examining her life. What’s next for a professional assassin? Who do you retire? Her assigner convinces her to take a year sabbatical rather than retire outright. A Year Without Killing is the sequel and chronicles her time off.
4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
    Is retirement from this career any easier than retiring from the CIA or the mafia? How do you break away and stay alive? Claudia must now find a way to be at peace with herself so she can enjoy the rest of her life. As The Tourist Killer ends, she and her lover are in separate parts of the country and neither knows the fate of the other.
5) What is the personal goal of the character?
    Claudia wants to settle down with John Hixon and pursue life without the burden of being the harbinger of death to others.
6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
    A Year Without Killing, my current work in progress is the third book in the Barry-Hixon series and is the sequel to my first book, The Tourist Killer. I participate most weekends in a blog hop, titled, “Weekend Writing Warriors” and most of the excerpts I publish for the next few months will be from AYWK. Catch up with Claudia and her exploits HERE.

7) When can we expect the book to be published?
    E-book and trade paperback versions should be available in the spring of 2015. A Year Without Killing will debut in serialized form, with two chapters per week in either late fall of 2014 or winter of 2015 on the publisher’s site, Venture Galleries.

To keep the meetings going, I'll tag:

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Distraction Enables Stealth

The Eight Sentences: 
Star closed her eyes and stretched her arms out in either direction to their full length. Then she leaned forward,  placed her hands on her ankles, and slid them up her legs. She clasped her hands and placed them in plain view on her knees. When she had returned to her previous position, she looked in the direction of the bar and Claudia was gone. That was impressive.
Claudia’s voice came from behind, “You do know how to give the impression that you’re not here as an adversary. You said you wanted my help, start talking.”
“I’d prefer to talk over dinner, or drinks, or both.”

The Back Story:
     Another excerpt from my third novel, A Year Without Killing (a WIP.) This scene picks up from a previous snippet found HERE.
Claudia is meeting with Star Braun who is trying to earn Claudia's trust during a surprise encounter. At the beginning, Claudia is standing behind the bar in her hotel room. Star gets a sample of Claudia's ability to steal about a room undetected.

But wait, there's more:

Looking for more viewers, readers, and contacts?

Join us here at Weekend Writing Warriors. The same 

link will take you to the work of dozens of talented writers.

 Check out their work, too.  Here's the Facebook link for the

 Sunday Snippett group.