Friday, June 10, 2022

LAMENT AT LOON LANDING Playlist


Just wanted to reassure everyone that although I did delete the preorder for Lament at Loon Landing on Amazon, the book is still happening. Because I'm writing so slowly, I needed a few more weeks to get it done, that's all. 

In the meantime, I've been listening to the playlist I made for the book, and you might enjoy it as well. 

Because this installment takes place during a maritime musical festival on Buck Island, you'd probably expect to hear more (or some) sea chanteys, but somehow that's not happening. 

The Kathleen Edwards' songs seem to represent the character of Lara Fairchild, and her character is changing as I write. She's more complicated and more of a catalyst than I originally thought.

Also, Jack and Ellery are pretty solid at this point. They don't have an official commitment, but they're obviously committed to each other despite their occasional clashes. I mean, occasional clashes are a fact of any long term relationship. In book time they've only known each other a few months, so they're actually moving pretty quickly. If this was real life, the people closest to them would be telling them to pump the brakes. Not counting the islanders, of course, because they can see what's what. 

Anyway, the playlist...



Goodnight, California - Kathleen Edwards

Shape of You - Ed Sheeran

Butter - BTS

Riptide - Vance Joy

Shooting Star - Owl City 

In State - Kathleen Edwards

The Dark and Rolling Sea - Al Stewart

All In - Lifehouse 

Shoulder - Ed Patrick 

Back to Me - Kathleen Edwards 

Even if it's Lonely - Hazlett



Friday, June 3, 2022

It was twenty years ago today, Sargent Pepper taught the band to play...

 


Okay, no, it was last year, and I sincerely wish Sargent Pepper had been there in time. 

Anyway, what a difference a year makes. Last Memorial Day was the weekend everything started to go off the rails, and it went downhill from there. But the good news is this year we have running water, air conditioning, no sick doggies...no drama and no trauma. Yes the people in the house of doom did nearly start another backyard fire with their barbecue, but this time one of their guests saved the day. I just can't...

DID I MENTION I ACCIDENTLY DELETED MY MAILING LIST?

I mean, it wasn't totally by accident. I detest Mailchimp and pressing that DIE, DIE, DIE button was SO (momentarily) satisfying. And I did preserve all the names and emails of my little bitty list. I just haven't had time to do anything with them. YET. Obviously, I'm going to fix that. 

So the good news is The Movie-Town Murders (Art of Murder 5) is out and available.

THAT DIDN'T TAKE SO LONG, DID IT?

Ouch.

And Hide and Seek is just about complete. This month for sure.

But given the fact that I now write five words a day (KIDDING, though there are days it feels like it) I had to remove Lament at Loon Landing as a preorder on Amazon. I can't write a book in two weeks. Yes. there are them what can and yay for them. I need more time. 

Plus, I haven't had massage/physical therapy in over two years and, no surprise, my achy-breaky wrists are feeling it big time. So I'm aiming for the end of June for Lament at Loon Landing. Basically, we're looking at two weeks longer than originally planned? Fingers crossed.

From that point on, I might actually be able to stay on schedule. I mean, stranger things have happened.

There is a LOT of catch up needed on a LOT of things, but at least I'm writing again every day and the books are coming, slowwwwwwly but surely. 

More news to follow. ;-)


Tuesday, May 31, 2022

The Movie-Town Murders (The Art of Murder 5) NOW AVAILABLE

 

Murder: Live and in Technicolor

 

Working undercover gives FBI Art Crime Team agent Jason West the illusion that he’s safe from his stalker, Dr. Jeremy Kyser. Though film history and preservation are not Jason’s area of expertise, he’s intrigued by the case of a well-connected UCLA film studies professor whose family believes she may have been murdered after discovering a legendary lost 1950s PI film.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, BAU Chief Sam Kennedy gets disturbing news: the Roadside Ripper, the serial killer Sam believes murdered his college boyfriend, may not have been working alone.

 

EXCERPT


 

He didn’t sleep well.

Thirty-one stories up, the wind pushed against the floor-to-ceiling windows and whispered outside the glass doors. Jason’s dreams went from bad to worse, and he woke, heart pounding, drenched in sweat, with Jeremy Kyser’s weird sing-songy, “Agent West?” ringing in his ears.

He knew where he was. Knew he was perfectly safe.

Yet it was all he could do not to reach for his Glock. All he could do not to turn on a lamp. It turned into a battle of will, lying there in the dark, listening to the building sway and moan. He was not going to give into irrational fear. He was not going to let Kyser control his life. Not in the big things. Not in the little things.

Which didn’t change the fact that he’d give a lot to know where Kyser was right at this minute.

The important thing was he was not standing on the balcony outside this room.

So…get a grip, West.

Jason punched his pillow and did what he usually did when he couldn’t sleep. Well, one of the things he usually did. In this instance, it was run over the details of his case.

He kept coming back to his victim.

The one thing everyone seemed to agree on was that Georgette Ono was difficult.  


The other thing everyone—with the understandable exception of Touchstone’s security team—agreed on was that it was almost as hard to believe she’d accidentally killed herself as it was to believe she committed suicide.

The problem was…

Well, there were a number of problems.

One, he was there to reassure the family, not reopen the case. No one wanted a coverup. But there was also no expectation that Jason was actually going to find anything. In fact, the expectation was the opposite.

If he actually reopened the case, turned it into an active homicide investigation, there would be, at best, a mixed reception from his superiors.

Two, even if he privately believed Ono was the victim of homicide, he had no real suspect and no real motive.

Even if LAPD had failed to discover Ono’s allegedly contentious relationship with Touchstone’s security—which seemed unlikely, since the head of security apparently had no issue in sharing that info with J.J.—it didn’t feel like enough of a motive.

Speculation was going to make it harder not easier on the Ono family.

Three—and this had nothing to do with his case—he felt like with each phone call, he and Sam were getting further apart. They were both reasonably articulate, they both wanted this relationship to work, so what was going on?

Was it just him or was it Sam too? He honestly wasn’t sure.

“Hell,” Jason muttered, and reached for his cell, peering at the screen.

Just after two, which meant, Sam might be asleep. He tended to crash around ten and be up and running—literally—by four. Jason tried not to interrupt those few precious hours when Sam allowed himself the luxury of turning off, but tonight…

Tonight, the distance between them was harder to take than usual.

He struggled with himself for a minute or two, then pressed Sam’s number.

Sam answered on the half-ring. “Hey.” He sounded wide awake; his voice as soft as if they were lying facing each other. “Bad dreams?”

Jason let out a long breath he hadn’t realized he was holding. “No. I didn’t like the way we left things tonight.”

“Me neither.” No hesitation. It was like Sam had been lying there thinking the same.

“The thing about trying to make this work long distance is…not letting stuff pile up.”

He could feel Sam thinking that over. “What’s piling up, Jason?”

Jason not West. Jason considered that demarcation. Considered the careful gravity of Sam’s voice.

“I want to make sure you don’t get the wrong idea. It’s not that I don’t—”

“Trust me?” Sam sounded dry.

“Yes. It’s not that I don’t trust you.”

“What is it then? Because there’s something.”

“It’s a fine line for both of us. That’s the lesson of Montana. You’re not just another agent. You’re a unit chief. There are potential conflicts.”

“That might hold water if you were in my unit.” No give. No leeway.

“Okay, let’s call it priorities.”

Sam said crisply, “You’re my priority.”

Jason gave a shaky laugh. “Well, wait a minute, because that’s not accurate. It’s not even the agreement we made. It’s not my expectation.”

He could hear the shrug in Sam’s voice. “Nor was it mine, but that’s the way it’s playing out.”

Did Sam really believe that? He was no liar, so yeah, he believed what he was saying. But what he was saying was not an accurate reflection of, well, you name it. It certainly didn’t reflect Jason’s experience.

“Since when?”

Once again there was that uncharacteristic wry note in Sam’s tone. “Probably since the morning you arrived at my hotel door barefoot, hair dripping, hollering how dare I phone SAC Manning about your fitness for duty.”

At the time, they’d known each other less than twenty-four hours. Now it felt like a million years ago.

“Hey, I never said how dare you.”

“Maybe not those exact words.” Sam actually sounded amused at the memory. “You were highly offended.”

Was Sam really implying he’d started to fall for Jason the morning after they’d met? For Jason, the awareness had been instant, the attraction had followed against his better judgment, but once he’d fallen, he’d acknowledged it, accepted it. Sam might have been interested and attracted, but he had fought those feelings long and hard. So Jason couldn’t help feeling a little skeptical.

Whatever it is you need, Jason, I’m probably not that guy.

“As I recall, the agreement was work would always come first for you and that I was willing to accept that for however long I could.”

“We all have our dreams,” Sam said. “That one fell by the roadside a long time ago.”

He was being ironic, but yeah. True. There was no point in rehashing ancient history. Sam had drawn the rules of engagement. Sam had also been the first to break those rules.

======================================


So yes, The Movie-Town Murders is now live on Amazon, Smashwords, Google Books, and Barnes and Noble.

It's not yet live on iBooks or Kobo. I'll try to get that taken care of. It has to do with the fact that Smashwords requires the final file TEN DAYS AHEAD OF EVERYONE ELSE. And I fulfill iBooks and Kobo through Smashwords, so I end up having to push the dates on those two back. It's not ideal, and I have to come up with a better plan.

PRINT IS COMING. Probably over the weekend? 

AUDIO is coming but I can't tell you when. 

Sorry it took so long to get this installment--which is NOT the final chapter--out to you. I would love to be able to promise I'll be much faster getting the next books out, but I'm still writing very slowly. It's just how it is right now. I'm trying to accept that and hopefully youse guys can too.

Friday, May 6, 2022

True Lies - Introducing Author Frank Spinelli

Good morning! 


I know I've been a little erratic in my posting lately. Largely because there's not a lot to say right now. I'm writing. Very slowly. That's about it. That sums it up. Not exactly riveting stuff. :-D So I thought it would be a good idea to have a few guests, who DO have something worth talking about, drop by and share their thoughts about, well, among other things, being an artist in a world where the lines between fact and fiction have become increasingly blurred.

Which brings us to today's guest, Frank Spinelli, author of the terrific gay medical thriller-romance Perfect Flaw (Blind Eye Books) 

(This book has everything I love: a flawed (AKA human) protagonist, a sexy cop boyfriend, mystery grounded in true crime, plenty of suspense and a few surprises.)

Perfect Flaw is available in print, digital and in audio narrated by Cooper North.

In fact, I believe we have an audio code to giveaway, so comment below! 

A young doctor enters a world of money and beauty only to find some flaws run six feet deep.


When newly-minted Dr. Angelo Perrotta joins an exclusive concierge medical practice, he believes he has found success. His charismatic colleague, Demetre Kostas only adds to the promise of the new job. But when a series of tragic events transform his dream job into a nightmare, Angelo is confronted by disturbing accusations and the even more troubling cop, Jason Murphy. Now Angelo must unravel the secret entanglements surrounding him not just to save his career, but his life.


Balancing Truth in Fiction Writing: The Struggle is Real by Frank Spinelli

 

Before I wrote my first gay romantic thriller entitled, Perfect Flaw, I worked on a memoir entitled, The First Year. A story about a young Italian doctor in New York who lands his dream job, working for a Park Avenue practice, only to become entangled in a murder investigation after a colleague, posing as a physician, kills a patient.

 

But I struggled writing about my first year in private practice because I did not want to disrespect the death of an innocent woman. Anyway, did I really need to write another memoir? I had already written Pee-Shy, which recounted my history of childhood sexual abuse by my scoutmaster who I brought to justice thirty years later. Writing a memoir is cathartic; it’s also grueling and painful. Reliving those years of abuse, revealing intimate details of my marriage, and exposing my family to that pain again after we had repaired our relationship opened old wounds. Plus, whenever someone I knew read Pee-Shy, they looked at me like I was that abused eleven-year-old boy, not a grown adult. Did I really want to do that to my husband, my family and myself again?

 

No.

 

So, I put The First Year to rest in a file on my desktop. Years later, I thought, what if I didn’t write it as a memoir? Imagine a story about a young, Italian doctor who becomes ensnared by a seductive colleague and unwittingly makes mistake after mistake so that his life is upended after a woman is found dead? Sounds familiar? Yes, but the similarities to my real life end there.

 

Perfect Flaw is lifted from the headlines, but once I decided to write it as fiction – in fact, my editor, Nicole Kimberling, encouraged me to write it in the third person – I felt the lock of a metaphorical ball and chain release.

 

Now, I had license to do whatever I wanted to these characters. My job was not to relate my real experience but to paint my protagonist, Angelo Perrotta, into a corner and then figure a way to get him out of trouble. “Raise the stakes,” is a term I had heard so often by my writer friends, but I hadn’t understood what that meant until I was inventing a story, rather than just relating one. So, I raised the stakes and then kept raising them. I wasn’t so precious about the accuracy of the events because guess what? My book wasn’t a memoir anymore.

 

Perfect Flaw is based on something that happened in real life, yes, but it’s not about me. It’s about Angelo and his sexy cop boyfriend, Jason.

 

Still, because I am a doctor in real life, readers believe that much of what goes on in Perfect Flaw is drawn from my life, which took some getting used to. There is no escaping this trap. Readers fill in the blanks with theories about where Frank Spinelli ends, and Angelo Perrotta begins in the same way that I, myself, wondered how much Jack Torrance from The Shining was Stephen King.

 

We all write partially from personal experience, but also draw from other sources. We draw from our friends, family, and acquaintances. We draw from research and even from other stories to create a whole cast of characters. This is one of the reasons why writing fiction should have nothing to do with the writer’s sex assigned at birth or their gender identity or sexual orientation. Writers create the entire world of the novel, and every single character in it.

 

Still, now that I’ve moved away from memoir, I’m careful not to include too much of myself in my fiction.

 

Of course, I can’t help it.

 

My first rule is that I never include precious personal memories in my fiction because I must save those special moments for myself. Besides making stuff up is way more fun. I can’t think of a better job than creating vivid characters and then throwing them into peril. The second rule is to read while I write. Once I listened to an interview the author Jennifer Egan who said, write what you like and read the genre of what you want to write. No truer words have been spoken when it comes to writing.

 


==============================================


Frank Spinelli, MD is an American born physician living in New York. 

He has contributed articles for the Advocate and The Huffington Post. Writing credits include: The Advocate Guide to Gay Men’s Health and Wellness (Alyson Books),

Pee-Shy: A Memoir (Kensington Books), which has been optioned to be developed into a limited series and contributing author – Our Naked Lives (Bordighera Press) and Understanding the Sexual Betrayal of Boys and Men (Routledge).

He has made appearances on Sirius Radio’s Morning Jolt with Larry Flick and co-hosted Speak Out: Real Talk about AIDS. 

Documentary credits include, 30 Years from Here (Emmy-nominated), Positive Youth and I’m a Porn Star. 

Television credits include ABC News, NBC Nightly News, MTV, a national commercial and Sesame Street. In 2015, he hosted a season of Dueling Doctors.

Frank Spinelli is an advocate for child sexual abuse survivors and has given frequent interviews about his experience as a victim of sexual abuse while in the Boy Scouts. 

Perfect Flaw is his first novel.


 



Friday, April 15, 2022

What Can I Say?

 


I'm struggling with coming up with blog posts because I know basically everyone just wants to know when the (***&&^^%$##@@!ing books will be out, and I can't answer definitively except to say not as soon as anyone (including me) wants.

ARGH.

But I mean, it is what it is. I'm writing as fast as I can. Granted, at the moment that doesn't seem to be more than about 500 words a day per project. 

Do you ever go through one of those cycles where, no matter what you do or how careful you are in the doing of it, WITHOUT FAIL it comes bouncing back with a bunch of problems? That's me right now. Everything I start either ends with me falling down a rabbit hole or, worse, boomeranging back to hit me between the eyes. 

But on we go...

Anyway, all is not lost. The Office Elf is slowly excavating my office from beneath years-worth of using it as a giant file cabinet. I might, in theory, soon be able to work in there again. I learned to make the perfect margarita. I discovered the series What We Do in the Shadows and rediscovered Aimee Mann. My miniature Japanese maples seem to have survived their first winter and so far the three roses I moved to larger pots are hanging on by their tendrils (I do not have luck transplanting roses, so I'm cautiously hopeful). We had a short cold spell, but it's warming up again, so I should be swimming tomorrow. AND I'll be celebrating Easter with my family for the first time in two years.

So...lots to be glad about. 

I'm strenuously avoiding the news as much as is feasible and I've cut way back on both True Crime and social media. All of which has left me calmer and more optimistic and, believe it or not, more productive. ;-)

So what's up with you?

 




Friday, April 1, 2022

As the World Turns

 


It's been warm enough to swim for most of the last two weeks! 

And, if the weatherman is to be believed, it will be warm enough to swim for most of the NEXT two weeks. Usually, we don't get these long stretches of warm weather until we hit May, so that's both the good news and the bad news. Good news for me. Probably not so good for the planet. It's major drought time in California.

But we're all gonna die anyway, so oh well.

(I try not to say that around the Office Elf as it doesn't inspire her to do her best work.) ;-D 

So it's been a crazy-ass distracted start to the year, no lie--and also no signs of that letting up anytime soon either as we're once again trying to refinance the house. Also I'm going through getting our rental property up to snuff. This is time-consuming and nerve-frazzling stuff that I've been putting off for years, and now it has to be dealt with. 

But about the books. 

Hide and Seek is coming along beautifully--that 500 words a day thing is really paying off in a chapter a week.

The Movie-Town Murders is also coming along, but it's a more complicated story and, as I said, there have been a LOT of interruptions. Also a LOT of rewriting. I know I'm overthinking it, but at the same time, I have to be happy with it. Hopefully, hopefully, HOPEFULLYFORTHELOVEOFGOD I'll be finishing up by the end of this month. 

I've got (I think) half the book, but despite my detailed outline, I'm not writing in linear fashion, so it's more like...well, picture the parts of a clock--gears, springs, tiny cuckoo bird--scattered across a work desk. The bits and pieces are all there, but not in working order. Not yet. 

But it's coming. And I really love where Sam and Jason's relationship is at. 

BUT CAN IT LAST? 

Who knows. 

Anyway, after The Movie-Town Murders, I jump right into the next two Secrets and Scrabble books, and then...I don't know. I don't have anything else officially scheduled. There are plenty of things I want to write--I really, really want to finish the Holmes & Moriarity series this year--but given how insanely slow things are going right now, I'm afraid to commit to anything. To be honest, this year's goals weren't about books and writing so much as getting my house in order. My literal house but also my metaphorical house. 

So that's where we are. I'm working, I'm writing, the books are happening, but I've resigned myself to the fact that this year someone or something is going to be knocking at my office door every half-hour. I'm trying to be patient and good-humored about it. Four months in, I can safely say this is not the year I planned, but what else is new?