Untitled Book III – Teaser 1

Sticky note on blackboard, Sneak peek
istockphoto: Tick-Tock

As mentioned in my January 21, 2019 post, my novels Behind the Mask and its sequel UNMASKED will have a third novel join them. A series/trilogy it will become!

I have no definite date on completion; therefore, I cannot give a date on when it would be available. I can start giving little teasers, though. Now let me preface these teasers by stating…though the story will not change, some things could be altered after editing the final draft. 

Teaser 1:

Remi had fifteen minutes left in her shift, and with her feet aching and the customers slowly dissipating, she was more than ready to call it a night. However, for one customer, in particular, a twentysomething woman, who had spent the better part of an hour watching Remi move about the restaurant, chose to stick around until closing, which on a Sunday evening was ten o’clock. It was at that time, Doug, the server for that customer’s table, found Remi helping the busboys clean up. “See that woman over there,” he said, indirectly pointing her out. Remi peeked over his shoulder, as Doug explained that the woman had inquired about her last name. An immediate red flag went up as her suspicious senses kicked into high gear. “Do you know her?” asked Remi. “Nope, but I think she’s been in here before,” he replied, as Remi tossed used linen napkins into a laundry bin while keeping an eye on the stranger. Doug went over to the table and informed the woman that she needed to leave that the restaurant was closing. She just smiled facetiously while handing him the bill holder. Then instead of exiting, she made her move. “Excuse me, Remi?” the strikingly tall brunette posed as a question. “Can I help you?” countered a somewhat skeptical Remi. “I’m Zoe,” she announced in such a way as if Remi might already have been aware of that name. The woman then extended out her right hand. Hesitant but curious, Remi shook it while asking, “Do I know you?” 

Zoe smiled, fully displaying her cherry red matte lipstick on her overly augmented lips. “We have a friend in common,” she declared coyly. Remi studied the woman’s face, trying to figure her out, but still drew a blank. With disappointment in her voice, the woman muttered, “Liam.” 

Taken aback by hearing his name spill from the stranger’s mouth, Remi wasn’t sure what to say or how to respond. Then she recalled the conversation she had with Chris on that one train ride together, where he had told her how Liam wouldn’t have saved Zoe from a bus speeding directly at her. “I know I’m probably catching you off-guard, but I’m an ex-girlfriend of his and had thought maybe he had mentioned me, which obviously he hadn’t,” she explained, sounding slightly offended. Still surprised by this random encounter, Remi asked how Zoe knew who she was. “I used to live in Newtown Square, and my parents are still there,” she said then paused for a second. And Remi instantly knew what was coming next. “They told me about Liam and the heist.”

Remi looked around to see if anybody was listening to their conversation, and though there didn’t appear to be, she still opted to speak quietly. “So, your parents told you about me?”

Zoe shook her head no while admitting that Remi’s name popped up in Internet searches of the heist and things regarding Liam’s legal case. Though a part of Remi felt irritated that one of his exes dug into her life and possibly even stalked her, she couldn’t deny being intrigued. “Look, I know you’re probably wigged out right now, but I swear I’m not a crazy stalker,” she said, laughing, which made Remi snicker after thinking that herself. “Do you want to get a cup of coffee at the diner across the street?” she asked. “My treat,” she added for good measure. Though she sounded sincere, Remi still had to debate whether that was a good idea or not. But feeling that Zoe was more than likely harmless and wanting to know more of what she had to say, Remi agreed to go. – Untitled Book III

 

 

 

 

Holiday Kindle Countdown Deal!

Happy snowman standing in winter christmas landscape. Merry christmas and happy new year greeting card. Funny snowman in hat on snowy background. Copy space for text
Happy snowman! istockphoto credit: Tatiana Syrtseva

Since I’ve slacked horribly in the marketing of my two novels, I thought it might be a good time to do a Kindle sale, just in time for the Holidays.

The deal starts Thursday, December 19, 2019, and will continue until Thursday, December 26, 2019. Both Kindle versions of Behind the Mask and the sequel, UNMASKED will be available for only $.99.

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle App for free at Apple.com or Android at Google Play.

Excerpt from Behind the Mask (Chapter 14):

She was blow-drying her hair when Liam knocked. “Hold on a minute,” she called out. Dressed in ratty old black sweats, a plain white t-shirt, and her hair still somewhat wet, she (Remi) opened the door. “To what do I owe this pleasure?” she teased. “Can I borrow some wrapping paper?” he sheepishly asked, giving off the impression he doesn’t like asking for favors. “Sure, come on in.”

He stepped inside, immediately noticing the overnight bag sitting on the kitchen chair. “Any particular kind?” she asked, pointing to the rolls scattered about the living room floor. He shook his head, “No, I’m not picky.”

That statement made her laugh to which he gave her a quizzical look, “What?”

“You aren’t picky. Seriously?”

“What makes you think I’m picky?”

She shrugged while trying to suppress the giggles. “Have you seen your apartment?”

“Just because I don’t like clutter or being messy doesn’t mean I’m picky,” he remarked defensively. And just when she thought she just offended him, he grinned, confirming she was right. “So what are your plans for this weekend?” she asked. He kneeled down, picked up the scissors and began cutting out a small square of paper. “Not much,” he replied nonchalantly.

“Hope you don’t mind me asking but are you going to be alone?”

“I’m going to visit my Grandmother.”

“No other family?”

“Oh no, there’s family. I just choose not to interact with any of them.”

“Sorry,” she said sympathetically.

“No need to be sorry. My family is f*** up,” he stated. “The only one I can tolerate is my Grandmom.”  Not wanting the conversation to go any further, he quickly thanked her then headed to the door. Before exiting, he couldn’t resist asking, “What are you doing for Christmas?”

“I’m spending tonight at my parents’ house, then hanging out there tomorrow.”

“That sounds nice,” he said. “Well, I hope you have a Merry Christmas,” she said, giving him a warm, genuine smile.

“You too.”

She closed the door, feeling bad for him. Not that he was begging for pity. He just reminded her of a lost puppy. There was something definitely missing in his life. But without knowing too much about him, she had no idea what that could be.

It was getting close to two o’clock, so she did a quick run through the apartment, double-checking that she had everything. Just as she picked up her cell, an alert for a new email popped up. To her utter amazement, it was a message from Olivia. Thinking she would get a standard reply, she was pleasantly surprised when Olivia agreed to meet on Tuesday. That gave Remi newfound optimism that she would soon get all the answers she was searching for. – Behind the Mask

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kindle Countdown Deal – Behind the Mask & UNMASKED!

Bookstogether

Starting Saturday, March 30, 2019, Kindle versions of the novels Behind the Mask and the sequel, UNMASKED will be available for only $.99.  The sale will continue through Saturday, April 6, 2019.  Both are available at Amazon.com.

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle App for free at Apple.com or for Android at Google Play.

Excerpt from Behind the Mask (Chapter 13):

“He bought me a cup of hot chocolate,” she said.  Just the notion of it nauseated Liam.  “Which was nice, but I have to be honest, he’s kind of creepy,” she added.  Her assessment was dead on if she only knew the half of it.  Liam was having a hard time hiding his contempt, and she picked up on it. “What exactly is your connection to him?” she quizzed. “Because he said you two sort of work together but also said he doesn’t design ships.”

He grabbed another cookie then leaned against the kitchen counter.  He appeared to have no qualms about the fact that he was only wearing boxers.  Of course, he’s never lacked in the confidence department.  “I’ve done a couple of side projects for Charles; that’s all.”

“I take it you don’t like him very much,” she perceptively commented. She took a cookie off the plate and nonchalantly hopped up onto the counter.  He watched in awe as she made herself comfortable then replied,  “You could say that.”

“He also made a reference to the fact that he thought you and I knew each other for longer than just a few days,” she said.  “Why would he think that?”

“Cause he’s an idiot!” Liam snapped.  She laughed.  “Maybe but it just seemed odd.”

“Charles was more than likely just trying to make conversation with you. He’s not exactly subtle when it comes to a pretty woman.” 

That off the cuff remark made her smile.  “You think he was hitting on me?” 

“Probably.”

“Well I’m not interested, he’s too old for me, and he gives off a weird vibe.”  

Excerpt from UNMASKED (Chapter 3):

Remi scanned the waiting area, taking special note of the numerous awards strewn along the one wall.  His mother was incredibly accomplished, making her all the more intimidating.  “Hello, Miss Catalano, I’m Penny Matthews,” she announced, extending her right hand.  Remi gazed upon the statuesque woman standing in front of her.  “Hi,” Remi squeaked out, shaking Penny’s hand then instantly observing her blue-green eyes.  They were unmistakably identical to Liam’s.  She was absolutely gorgeous, which wasn’t surprising considering how her son looked.  Dressed in a long navy blue skirt with a crisp white fitted blouse, and her dirty blonde hair clipped up in a loose bun, she much more resembled a supermodel than a lawyer.  “Please, come into my office,” she said, waving Remi inside.  And once in, Remi immediately spotted an eight by ten picture frame sitting on a large mahogany desk.  It was a photo of Liam, a younger Liam that is.  Penny watched Remi’s eyes gravitate towards it and decided not to prolong the inevitable conversation.  “He was sixteen there,” she said, picking it up and handing it to Remi, who couldn’t resist smiling, not just because he looked so young, it was just actually seeing his face again. 

“So, you’re the one who was involved in that shooting—with my son.”  Remi nervously nodded, all the while unable to avoid staring at the photo.  “I’m sure he’s told you that he and I aren’t exactly on the best of terms.”

“To be honest, Mrs. Matthews,” said Remi.  “He didn’t say much about you.”

“Please, call me Penny.”

Remi smiled shyly, “Okay.”

 

Kindle Countdown Deal – UNMASKED

UnmaskedCoverWebsite1Kindle edition for my novel, UNMASKED will be available at Amazon.com for only $.99 starting Monday, July 16th, 2018.  The sale will continue through Saturday, July 21st, 2018.

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle App (for other devices) for free at Apple.com or for Android at Google Play.

Excerpt from UNMASKED:

Though he was doing a good job concentrating on the task at hand, his thoughts once again betrayed him, by sending him right back to the Bank of Philadelphia.  But this time, it wasn’t the meetings before or the actions afterward, it was right at the point when he and Tom retrieved the diamonds.  They each had one of the two keys required to open the safety deposit box, and Liam thought about how as they unlocked the box, he was oblivious to Remi being in the vault with them.  He was so focused on the diamonds that to him, she didn’t exist.  Of course, she soon became very real when right before they were about to exit, Tom asked what they should do with her. Those dark blue eyes, he thought. It was as if those eyes could see directly into his soul.  Liam remembered telling Tom just to leave her.  Never realizing that it was at that exact moment, he began protecting Remi. Even with his own empty threats against her, looking back, he had to laugh at the irony.  Other than knowing she was one of the tellers, she was a stranger to him and knew little about her but yet he was still compelled to risk it all for her.  “You identified with your hostage, that’s a big no-no.”  Remi’s own words certainly rang true, in more ways than one.

He gazed up at the full moon then started smiling.  “No regrets, no emotions, no involvement…blah blah blah,” he uttered.  Those words sounded so false now.  While inside the vault, Remi asked who he was trying to convince, after his cold declaration that hostages were just part of the job.  She didn’t believe him, and at the time, he thought she was dead wrong, but now knew she was right.  It took someone like her to make him face reality.  And face it, he did.  The longer he laid there, the more he realized that not only did he want to go back to Philly, but he needed to go back. – Chapter 5

 

Kindle Countdown Sale – Behind the Mask

BehindtheMaskBookWebsiteBefore the sequel read about how a masked gunman became a reluctant hero to a young woman who would forever change his life.  My debut novel, Behind the Mask, Kindle edition will be available on Amazon.com for only $.99 starting this Friday, May 11th, 2018.  The sale will continue through Friday, May 18th, 2018.

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle App for free at Apple.com or for Android at Google Play

Excerpt from Behind the Mask:

He had never regretted his decisions; stealing was a means to an end. Guilt was something he kept at bay. An expert at being selfish, he made zero apologies for it, but he didn’t enjoy dealing with hostages. He preferred the jobs that were done overnight, where no one else was involved, or the smash and grab ones where everything was done in record time. On the other hand, Charles and Tom took great pleasure in watching innocent people suffer. Up until that point though, no hostage had ever been sexually violated or killed under Liam’s watch, and he had planned on keeping it that way. Even though he did threaten Remi, he never had any intention of harming her. He hated to admit it, but she was absolutely correct in her assessment of him. He was certainly no angel, but she was safe—at least with him. – Behind the Mask

Literary Agent Rejection Letters

Back in June of 2014, I began the difficult task of sending out query letters and a 10-page synopsis of Behind the Mask, to a list of literary agents I found at WritersMarkets.com.  Having absolutely NO clue what I was doing, I researched how to go about the process.  And I’m pretty sure I did it all wrong, but the longer I do this, the more I learn.

So, the query letter was awful, even when I read it now, I cringe.  And the 10-page synopsis, which needed to basically spoil the reader, was harder to write than one would imagine.  But I was undeterred in my quest to make a fool of myself.  I say that because though I felt I had a decent story to tell, I wasn’t fully confident I had succeeded in writing it.

After skimming through the names of hundreds of agents, I just picked out ones that I assumed handled fictional novels.  I typed up the required self-addressed stamped envelopes, stuck in the query letter, along with the synopsis and hoped for the best.

Since I self-published both of my books you can guess what happened.  However, I had heard horror stories about some of the rejections letters authors had received, even famous ones.  Therefore, I was prepared for the slaughter, but surprisingly the rejections weren’t as painful as I expected.  That being said, after the tenth one or so, can’t say they didn’t sting a little.

I sent out 24 in all and got back 20.  Some were just my query letter sent back to me with a few words written on them, stating how they weren’t interested.  Some were a standard stock robotic letter, saying they couldn’t represent me.  But a few were very kind and no one told me it all out sucked.  Or that I should give up writing.  There was one in particular who wrote the most amazing letter and told me how she saw it as a movie, but I didn’t submit a screenplay, I submitted a novel.  Two completely different things.  Not going to lie, can’t say I haven’t thought about the movie version, but I’m a realist.  Even though she didn’t represent me, I never forgot about her letter.  The following are just three of the rejection letters, to show the difference in responses.  The first one is my favorite:

EPSON MFP image

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Remi & Liam…

 

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Dated July 21, 2010 – Behind the Mask notes aka scribbles

As I tweak this website, the one thing I decided to do was separate the two novels, Behind the Mask and Unmasked into separate sections.  At first, I had them listed under a menu titled, ‘NOVELS’ but thought by giving them each their own identity made more sense.  Because even though Unmasked is a continuation of the first novel there are things that are unique to both, that I think people would find interesting.  Or at least, I just think it would be fun to give away some little nuggets of this long journey that has brought me to this point.

For instance, the characters of Remi Catalano and Liam Matthews have been a part of my life for 10 years now.  10 YEARS!!!!  They’ve had many, many, MANY conversations in my head.  Some made it to the books, some did not.  I have tons of notebooks, post-its, and iPhone notes with scribblings that only I would understand what was written.  I’ll read a few now and laugh at how manic they appear.  I used to write while my son was playing travel baseball.  He’d train for hours, so I would just drift off into Remi and Liam’s world.  Never did I think, 10 years later, I’d still be writing about them and letting others read about them as well.

It’s crazy!