Saturday, October 1, 2011

R.S. Emeline's open letter to Tim Greaton...and my response...

On An Open Letter to Tim Greaton

If you haven't done so yet, go to and check out Bones in the Tree and the Santa Shop, both are amazing stories from author, Tim Greaton. I sat and read them in a single sitting and hours later still found myself reflecting on them.


When I first stumbled upon you on Twitter I did the usual, checked out the blog and your featured titles.

Recently, life has been hectic and busy so I didn't have much of a chance to sit down and read, but the other day I finally managed it.

I started with Bones in the Tree and I understood exactly where your main character was coming from. Having gone through a divorce myself I remember the difficulties I had with phone calls from the ex. What I wouldn't have done for a place without cell service--and a friend like Bones to share the silence with.

Now, I remember reading about how your work is considered "dark" fiction, and I can both see and understand that--but I don't get that from reading either Bones or the Santa Shop. 

There might have been dark moments, but there was always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Maybe that is because my childhood wasn't full of happiness and joy, but I'd like to believe it's because your writing shows that even in darkness there can be light.

The Santa Shop touched on my emotions in a way I'm not often comfortable admitting. There were a number of times where I contemplated reaching for a tissue. Not because I was worried about what Skip would decided to do, but because I felt his pain.

Standing on that dark bridge on Christmas Eve, with the frigid air blowing around him, and his whole world torn apart--I felt.

I was right there listening and watching...waiting for him to reclaim his life.

That's good writing.

Thank you for opening your heart and your imagination to us.

R.S. very graciously allowed me to share her letter and my response from a few days ago with all of you today...

RS, I'm sitting in a dark office, staring at a blank comment screen. So many thoughts about your kind words swirl through my mind. I'm, of course, flattered and very appreciative. Thank you.

Forty years ago, almost to the minute, a truly miserable little boy was sitting alone in a dark room. He was probably listening to his parents yell and scream at each other, and he had probably spent too many hours that day trying to understand why he didn't fit in, why the kids at school constantly made fun of his clothes, his house, his life. That the little boy was smarter than nearly every other child in school didn't matter, anymore than it mattered that most of the teachers did the best they could to shield him from childhood cruelties. Unfortunately, the journey home from school that day likely involved running--probably not fast enough--and no doubt involved receiving a few kicks and punches from any number of a constellation of bullies that made it their mission to remind him how rotten life was. That little boy probably wiped his tears dry before going in his house, because they would surely have earned taunts of cowardice from his dad, who usually only noticed him long enough to make fun of him. And once he somehow got free of his mother's list of chores, chores that adults usually did in other homes, that little boy probably refused food and went straight to his room, where for a few hours he could open a book and live, even if only briefly, in a world that made sense, that rewarded goodness, a world that fought evil or at least labeled it, and a world that had heroes he could dream of and imagine someday to emulate.

That night, forty years ago, I think that little boy turned his sad eyes skyward and somehow, someway, saw this computer screen, your comments...and felt hope.

Thanks for that.


P.S. That little boy dreamed of someday creating stories that would nourish and protect their readers much the way other authors had done for him. I believe "Under-Heaven" is the best of those stories, so far.

And you can see the amazing trailer that filmmaker Rob Ellis created for it here:

As her blog states, "Leaked from the Psyche of author R.S. Emeline."

This letter aside, R.S. is an amazing and talented writer, and I strongly urge everyone to follow her ever-thoughtful and always entertaining blog:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Why a reader calls my work “Dark Fiction”

Each week, I have attempted to hone my efforts to reach readers in a way that will matter to you and will also give you a glimpse inside my life and heart. As I have evolved this blog and my messages here, I keep coming back to “What would I want to read?” and “What would I want to know if I were you?”
Finally, the answer has occurred to me. A reviewer of my afterlife novel Under-Heaven referred to my work as “dark fiction.” Up until I read that review, I had always thought of myself as a positive writer with love and hope at the center of my fiction…but I now believe that reviewer was absolutely correct. By now, you all know that I had a pretty horrible childhood.  For me, there aren’t a lot of cheerful memories, and dredging up what few I have is like revisiting a graveyard. I was a somber kid and my childhood was something I survived not something I enjoyed. I don’t blame my parents. They loved all six of us, their children, but they themselves came from dysfunctional homes. They were no more qualified to raise six children than I am to perform brain surgery. My parents did their best but their best was a disaster.
So that’s where the darkness in my fiction comes from. For the first fifteen years of my life, I wanted nothing so much as to curl up into a tiny ball and disappear. Of course I have no choice but to mine those dark emotions. How could I not? BUT I refuse to write a novel with an unhappy ending.
Fiction has to be better than life…or why bother!
I will, however, drag your emotions through the mud. I will make you cry and scream and plead for the characters that I will make you love?  I know sadness and I lived hopelessness every day. I doubt any child has ever prayed harder or longer for the world to somehow get better. Tears streak my cheeks as I write these words, a statement which I know many people find hard to believe. I’m an ex-bodybuilder and a guys’ guy. You’d more expect me to punch something than cry. But when you come limping from the shadows of a difficult past, the scars never really go away. That hurt and pain stays with you…always.
John Locke told me to write a blog that will give you the essence of my writing. This is it. If you read my work, you will care about my characters. You will cry a lot. But by the end of each and every story, I will have you smiling and happy that you are alive. My characters win…but they earn it.
I hope I’ve earned your readership.
Buy my books. It will be the best 99 cents you’ve ever spent.

The Santa Shop is Christmas seen through the lens of suicide, a quick, simple and emotional story that will have you questioning everything from homelessness to charity:

Under-Heaven is the best “dark fiction” book I’ve written so far. If you want a complex and powerful book, try this one.  And if you see this ending coming, I’ll owe you dinner and a new Cadillac:

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Whirlwind of Danger and Magic…

The most disgusting house on the planet, aching joints, Jeckel and Hydel, Fat Duck abandoned, too much swearing…

This past week has been another frenetic seven days in the life of a writer who is still struggling to get control of social networking tools. I have made some pretty good strides on Twitter and have found some automated tools that I think will make life much easier. I also finally got signed into Google-Plus but I haven’t a clue how it really works yet. If you’d been trying to message me on any of the dozen sites I’m signed onto but don’t really yet know how to use, I hope you’ll email me directly at Tim – at- greateastdevelopment-dot-net or contact me through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or this blog…because so far those are the only sites I can really claim to understand.
The first week for Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End has been great. It’s been one of my best sales weeks, if not the best, and the emails and comments I have been receiving are wonderful. Zachary Pill… has also received its first official review, which is posted below (Thank you Patrick Jones!) Don’t forget, please tell your family and friends to buy Tim’s books. Without your help, I have no chance of reaching a wide audience. Please help.
I have some other interesting book news. First, my horror novel set Ancestor books I and II will be released over the next week in ARC (advance reading copy) form. DO NOT read those books if you prefer to believe I always write angelic booksJ. Ancestor is a raw, sometimes foul-mouthed story that will surprise those of you who think my wings are always on. Ancestor is a great story, however, and I hope it stands as a fine example of Maine horror books. I heard there’s another guy writing horror up here—‘also heard he’s pretty goodJ.
Ripped…From My Cold Young Fingers is about to undergo a title change. I don’t understand why, but that book has NOT been enjoying the same success as my other titles…which is baffling to me because it has received rave reviews and is one of my personal favorites. In an attempt to find the right audience, Focus House Publishing has suggested we change the name to my original title: Under-Heaven. My NY agent convinced me to change it because the contents might offend certain religious people. Well, it’s time to see if the right title will help it find its correct audience. Expect the new cover and title to appear…again this week.
Finally, if you haven’t read my latest two stories, you might want to take a peek. I think you’ll enjoy one, the other, or both. Dustin Jeckel and Mr. Hydel can be found at The Blue Porkasis (and four of my other stories) can be found at As always, I would like to thank Susan A. for her amazing Mistress of the Dark Path website and her very generous treatment of the authors who endlessly pester her. Seriously, for you readers there are oodles of great stories and fun things to do and read. Finally, I should mention that several of my stories have now found their way onto this blog site. Just click the links at the top of the page.
Yesterday, I spent the day helping my in-laws move four tons of concrete patio blocks from the manufacturing plant to their home. After that, we shoveled and spread two tons of crushed pea stones onto my walkway and driveway.  As near as I can figure, I personally handled at least five tons of material and my old power lifting injuries flared up a tad today. Fortunately, nothing is inflamed or creaking so loudly that I needed wraps or braces. I might want to spread that type of effort out over a full weekend next time, however.
Fat Duck had one wild night this week, and because he has more fans than I do I realize I am taking a huge chance by telling you any of this: one day earlier this week, my wife reminded me twice that Fat Duck was on the porch and needed to be taken care of, and each time I told her he was fine on the porch and that I’d get to him soon. Well, I fell asleep in my recliner and woke in a panic at 5am the next morning. I raced outside…to find Fatty happily mingling with Original Duck and the twenty or so wild mallards that were all waiting for morning breakfast. Though no physical harm was done, I know that Fatty took it hard because he spent that entire day in a different section of our yard (near the brook instead of the pond). He also refused to sit beside me earlier tonight when I tried to join him on the top step of the porch. Of course, he never lets me sit beside him…so that was nothing newJ.
 I’d like to thank Lynn Hallbrooks for her ongoing encouragement and support. Lynn maintains a wonderful group website called Literary Guild on Facebook, and she is also the co-author of Call Sign: Wrecking Crew (Storm Warning)
It’s been another productive week, which is in large part to the support I receive from all of you. I really appreciate your readership and your friendship. It means so very much. I’m going to end with a fun excerpt from Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End followed by its first review on Amazon. First the excerpt…

Feeling like he was breaking and entering, Zachary stepped inside and heard paper crumpling under his feet. It was pitch black and something smelled rotten. If he’d had an extra hand, he would have held his nose. Unfortunately, his good hand was needed to run along the wall in search of a light switch. He fought the urge to gag when his fingers touched several sticky spots before finally settling on some sort of a knob. He turned it.
Suddenly, light filled a garbage-strewn hallway. If anything, it was even filthier than Zachary remembered. A corridor, ankle deep in trash, led off to the left. Zachary figured it was probably a side entrance to the store. Rising out of the trash to the right was the stairway, also buried in garbage. Kicking several newspapers and bags out of the way, he felt his foot land on something soft and sticky. He lifted his sneaker and found the remains of a jelly donut hanging from the sole. It didn’t look old enough to be causing the terrible smell. Something else, maybe several somethings, must have been rotting under all the mess. He used one of the empty bags on the floor to wipe the worst of the jelly and off his shoe.
Right then, Zachary wished he could turn and leave. But to where? 
Lacking any option, he climbed the narrow stairway covered in old paper, empty pastry boxes, and dirty clothes. How could anyone live like this, he wondered? Making a face, he kept his good hand on the rail, kicked the trash aside as best he could and somehow managed to wade all the way up the stairs. There, on the top step, he found a crushed chocolate cream donut, and on the wall above it a slimy frosting ring where it must have hit before bouncing onto the stairs.
Zachary’s stomach lurched.
Averting his eyes and taking a couple of deep breaths, he knocked on the door.
“One minute, sweetie,” came a woman’s voice. “Just one minute.”
She sounded friendlier than Zachary remembered from the last time he’d heard her on the phone more than two years before. Shuffling, scraping and grunting noises came from the other side of the door. Worried that some animal might spring out at him, Zachary backed down one step.
“I’ll be right there, honey pie,” came the pleasant voice again.
As the shuffling and scraping got louder, Zachary backed down another step. There was one last grunt like a large animal was getting ready to charge, then the door swung inwards.
“I’m so happy to see you, honey pie!” Madame Koochie exclaimed.
She was even bigger than Zachary remembered and even in the dim hallway light he could see her face was so thickly coated in makeup it looked like a kid’s paint project. Her brilliant orange hair (which he thought he remembered being blue the last time he’d seen her) didn’t look to have been combed in months. Zachary looked past her to see his memory about that had been right. The apartment floor and what might have been furniture beyond were just as covered with garbage as the hallway. Zachary could see the path she had cleared to the door. 
The stench wafting out at him was even worse than the hallway.  
“Where’s that wonderful uncle of yours?” she asked.            
“I’m alone,” Zachary said, fighting his gag reflex.
Madame Koochie’s face scrunched. She peered further down the stairs. “Then how’d you get here?” she asked, the sweetness draining from her voice.
“Uncle Ned did bring me,” Zachary said. He didn’t bother to mention the truck he had stolen to do it.
“Oh, good!” Madame Koochie exclaimed. “I haven’t seen Neddy in years.
“Where is that luscious mass of muscles?”
“He left already.” Zachary tried to take only short breaths but the horrible smell wasn’t getting any better. How could he manage to breathe, forget live, in a dump like that.
“Neddy left?”
“He was in a hurry,” Zachary explained. Of course, anyone that knew his uncle would know he was always in a hurry.
“That coward!” Madame Koochie said, all evidence of friendly now gone from her voice. “He’s afraid of a good woman, that’s his problem!”      
Zachary backed down another step.   
“And where do you think you’re going?” she asked, her thickly eyelined eyes focusing on him.
“Maybe I should bring my stuff up,” he forced himself to say, all the while wondering if he’d be better living out in the woods someplace. Besides, without using a bulldozer first, where would he put his things?
She stabbed what looked to be a frosting covered finger at him.
“Every last scrap had better come up here,” she said. “Because if you leave anything in front of my store, I will sell it. Do you understand me? I-WILL-SELL-IT!”
Zachary nodded.
“You get the room off the dining room,” Madame Koochie said. “It’s a little cluttered, but that’s your problem.”
Zachary wanted to run for fresh air but paused to make sure she was done talking.
Her eyes narrowed and her hands went to her wide hips.
Zachary waited.
“Are you a meathead?” she asked. “Because I’ve got no use for meatheads around here.”
Zachary shook his head. Maybe he should have said something else, but he got the impression she wasn’t done talking. So they stared at each other for a few seconds.
“Yep, a meathead!” she finally said and slammed the door.

You can buy Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End ebook here for just 99 cents:

Thanks, Patrick Jones for being the first person to review Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End (Amazon). His review…
««««« (five out of five stars) One of the best books I’ve read in a while, August 7, 2011     
By Patrick Jones
Many thanks to Tim Greaton for writing such a brilliant book...

This book is really FANTASTIC and it's written with such a unique writing style. There is no series, that I have read, that I can compare it to. It's both funny and dark at the same time, and I really enjoyed all of the characters, especially Madame Koochie and her "rockets." Zachary Pill grew up in Boston, but when bats attack and his father suddenly disappears, he is thrown into a whirlwind of danger and magic. From the bats that attack him in Boston, to his forced imprisonment with Madame Koochie and his trips with friends through the nostrils that are just as slimy and gross as they sound, this book is amazing. And to see a wizard boy transform into a dragon was one of my favorite scenes. I loved this and I'm sure many others will as well. I can't wait for the next book in the series. Read Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End. You will definitely not be sorry.

My Thanks: I once dreamt of writing for a living. Though a lot of my time is spent writing for nonprofit corporations and charities around the country, work that is incredibly fulfilling and that I will continue to do long after it is required on my end, each and every day more of my income comes directly from readers of my books. Please know that I couldn’t be more sincere in my appreciation.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

To Hell in Gasoline Raincoats

After five years in the making, Fat Duck creeping, Captain wins, screams as bones shift, Greaton Raw Power…

It’s hard to believe that the series book that I have been working on for five years is finally available. First day of ebook sales for Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End are also very encouraging (I think my best sales day ever, but I’d have to check with Focus House to be sure of that). Thanks so much for buying and reading my books. I hope you know how much I appreciate it and how dedicated I am to always creating the best stories and novels possible. My other books have been getting amazing reviews, and I sincerely hope that the new Zachary Pill series is equally well-received. All books require word-of-mouth sales, so I hope you’ll tell your friends and family how much you like reading my novels. People can’t read an author they’ve never heard of, so I hope you will consider spreading the word. Please, please, pleaseJ
Yesterday, my wife, youngest son and I went to visit my daughter at her new apartment. I’m pleased to say that she seems to be content and the dishes were washedJ. She also has a very cute young kitten that went crazy with all the attention. Our two cats are something like thirteen and sixteen years old, respectively, so we haven’t seen that kind of feline energy in years. All in all, it was a great visit and again makes me thankful that my children have all done so well. I have friends who haven’t been so fortunate, and my heart goes out to them and their children.
This weekend was partly a working weekend. With the new book release, I wound up with a whole new to-do list from Focus House Publishing’s in-house publicist. I’ve spent a lot of time posting stories and bio information all over the web. It’s hard to disagree with the time-investment, however, because my sales have been increasing steadily for the last three months. Again, thanks everyone who has been spreading the word about my efforts. Keep it up and I promise to visit each and every hometown as my touring efforts go further and further afield. I should be visiting the first northeast schools, libraries and bookstores in late-September or early-October. I’m really looking forward to it.
After visiting with my daughter yesterday, I took my wife and youngest son to see Captain America, The First Avenger. If you like superhero movies, you will not be disappointed. We liked it. Be sure to stay until after all the credits have rolled, because like most of the Marvel movies there is a bonus Avengers scene at the very end. That Avengers movie, by the way, comes out next year and the previews look good.
Part of my weekend was also spent doing some landscaping around my home. I have to say it has been a lot of work, but before the season is out I will take photos and let you see what all the effort has been about. Overall I’m pleased. A friend of mine is also helping me to transform an old chicken coup (part of the old farm we hadn’t gotten to yet) to a gazebo. He spent an hour or more here earlier today and helped me plan the project. He, of course, asked where Fat Duck was, which lead me to realize he was still hiding up on the porch (60+ feet long, 10 feet wide and filled with tables, chairs and a swing—plenty of places to hide). My wife came out and herded Fatty off the porch, so he of course flew over to see what we were doing. Fatty was especially funny because while we talked and hung around near his corner of the pond and brook he hid behind some bushes. But as the conversation continued, we noticed him creeping closer and closer. He never got quite within petting distance, but it was obvious that he wanted to be part of the conversation. Of course, I intend to hire him as lead foreman when the work commences on that building in a few weeks. I’ll keep you posted.
I’d like to thank Recluse and Mary G tonight for all of their help of late. Mary G. was especially helpful in the development of the Zachary Pill… cover text, and I am really pleased what Focus House did with her advice. If you haven’t seen that cover yet, please take a look. You can find it on Facebook, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and even Smashwords, which has sold a few more copies than usual today.
It’s been a great week, thanks to you all. I really appreciate your readership and your friendship. It means so very much. I’m going to end with the prologue to Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End followed by another very much appreciated review of From My Cold Young Fingers. First the prologue…

The orc held him from behind, its hot stinking breath making him want to gag. Helplessly, Zachary watched as hundreds of orcs streamed out from the dark tunnels all around them. The tall muscular creatures had already captured Robin and her baby brother, and others were chasing Bret. Gefarg the Troll bellowed from the center of the huge underground room.
Zachary suddenly realized he and his friends were about to die.
Knowing he didn’t want to transform into a monster but seeing no other way, he yanked at the cord around his neck. It didn’t break. The orc’s muscular fingers were digging into his shoulders. He struggled to free himself and ripped at the cord again. This time the rawhide snapped and the wizard medallion fell into his hand.
Like a roaring locomotive, pressure rushed into Zachary’s head and pushed against his skull. A prickling sensation raced across his shoulders and sent goose bumps down his arms. Feeling an inexplicable sense of freedom, Zachary flung the medallion across the room where it struck a tapestry and fell to the floor.  A primal scream passed his lips his joints erupted in pain. He could feel his limbs contorting and stretching. From the bottoms of his feet to the top of his head, bones shifted and made cracking noises as they grew and bent at odd angles. Both arms shot out and the flesh around them swelled with dense muscle and newly formed scales. His joints burned in agony, and his fingers grew long and curled with knife-like claws sprouting from the ends. He saw his skin harden into a golden red crust.
He heard himself screaming as his clothing tore and fell in shreds onto the floor. His neck pitched forward and his cheeks grew wide and long. His gums ached as rows of pointed teeth erupted from his upper and lower jaws. He felt thick slabs of muscle filling in the area around his cheeks and sensed he had enough power to chew through stone. Zachary tried to run his tongue over the new teeth, but it flicked out beyond the end of his snout and forked into two snakelike ends. His knees were forced into a crouch by flesh that thickened like tree trunks around his thighs. When he moved, the claws on his toes scraped the floor.
Just when the pain of morphing began to fade, a fiery itch erupted from behind. It felt like something was trying to crawl out of his back as two additional limbs sprouted and unfurled like huge kites behind his shoulder blades. Within moments, a pair of golden red wings thickened into layers of muscle that rippled like eels beneath his scales. He stretched the new limbs and felt a glorious sense of power. For the first time, Zachary realized that the orc no longer held him. He could see its legs pumping toward one of the exits.
Zachary roared and spewed fire across the room.
He was now a dragon!

Thanks, Recluse, for your exciting review of From My Cold Young Fingers (Amazon). His review…
««««« (five out of five stars) Simply Incredible, July 19, 2011     
By recluse "reclusive thinking..." (Copiague, N.Y.)
A truly stunning book. I haven't felt this kind of visceral emotional impact since I first read Harlan Ellison! Tim Greaton's raw power totally floored me! A brilliant dark carousel of pain and loss and love and hope. After this, Mr. Greaton's fans will follow him into the fires of Hell in gasoline raincoats. I know I will!
Dark Fiction in its purest form.

My Thanks: I once dreamt of writing for a living. Though a lot of my time is spent writing for nonprofit corporations and charities around the country, work that is incredibly fulfilling and that I will continue to do long after it is required on my end, each and every day more of my income comes directly from readers of my books. Please know that I couldn’t be more sincere in my appreciation.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fat Duck the Gunslinger...

Attack of the plastic hand, Dragons fly this week, presents on the porch, a leaner blog…

Thanks so much for all the amazing support, and for following my blog these past few months. I apologize for the delay, but I have been going through a bit of a re-crafting of where and how my internet time is best spent for you. I’ve been seeking feedback on what you’d like to see more of (or less of) and the picture is getting a little clearer. We’re all busy, and many of you have indicated that you really enjoy updates about Fat Duck and stories about my personal life, and that you’d enjoy a regularly scheduled time for those. I’ve heard a lot of pros and cons about my news articles and about my reviews of other projects so, for the time being, we’re going to leave those behind or put them on some other forums. For the time being, I will be moving to a much quicker format for you all to read but with the ingredients that you want to know about most.
I’m pleased to say that Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End early release version is just around the corner. Focus House Publishing is telling me the ebook version might hit some sites as early as tomorrow. I spent nearly five years working side-by-side with Zachary Pill, the boy wizard who turns into a dragon, and I have to say I’m personally very excited for you all to see what I worked so hard on. It’s dark but fun and funny at the same time, and I believe it is the perfect launch for a long-running series. If you all enjoy it even a tenth as much as I enjoyed writing it, it will be well-received in the market. Please buy it fast and send all of your friends. The more sales we see, the better chance it will have of reaching some bestseller lists by Christmas. I need your help.
I have some special friends that I’d like to be sure to thank this week. Priscilla Burnette and Suzie at the Mistress of the Dark Path website have both been phenomenally supportive. If you’re not aware, you two ladies are at the top of my favorite people list. Unfortunately, I have the strangest feeling that neither of you intends to let me forget thatJ.
Tim’s first experience with gay people (no it’s not quite what you think): Until I was fifteen, I don't think I had ever personally met a gay least not to my knowledge. But when I got my first job at a restaurant as a dishwasher, little did I know that it was populated almost entirely by gay employees. I was pretty much full-grown, 5'10" and about 160 pounds. Within the first hour I had worked there, I had been whistled at, complimented, and propositioned at least a dozen times by a dozen different men. All were smiling and friendly as they did it, but I was terrified. For someone who had never met a gay person to suddenly be the center of attention...well, it was almost beyond my ability to endure. For my first two weeks at that job, I had an actual cramp of fear in my stomach every time I went to work, and I remained terrified for however many hours it was before I had to leave. But, I've always been stubborn, and I refused to quit.
Sometime about two weeks after I began working there, I arrived at the restaurant tense as a spring (as always). I entered into a small employee coat room and was greeted by a gay waiter who immediate dropped to his knees at my crotch. He pointed at my large brass KISS (the band) belt buckle and said, "It does say 'kiss." Simultaneously, another gay man used a toy hand (you squeeze the handle and the toy hand at the end of a foot long shaft opens and closes) to grab my butt from behind.
I was like an exploding bomb. I grabbed the waiter in front of me by the shoulders and pitched him through a pair of double swinging doors as I bellowed, "I am not gay and never will be gay!"
Had I been fully in control, I wouldn't have done it...but my fear just sent me over the top. Fortunately I didn't hurt anyone, and for the rest of that night and week the entire crew of several dozen gay waiters, bus boys, etc... all came into the kitchen and apologized. "We were just having fun," they said, "and didn't realize you were so upset." They were so sincere that I believed them and immediately began to relax.
I worked there for maybe a year, and it got so that whenever anyone in the restaurant was having a party my girlfriend would be the only female there. It was a great experience, because I’ve since worked with dozens of gay people over the years, and they appreciate that I’m 100% comfortable and completely non-judgmental.  
Of course, we have to talk about Fat Duck this week. He continues to be an interesting and ever-changing character. This past week, he has been sneaking back onto the porch during the day and hiding under a table on my porch. Most of the time, I’ve caught him and have shooed him back down into the yard with the other ducks. One day, however, I got so busy with phone calls and projects that I forgot to check. Sure enough, my wife informed me that Fatty had apparently (judging from his many presents) spent the day on the porch. It was about 5pm and still a few hours to pen time, so I shooed him out into the yard. Unfortunately, this aggravated him a tad because by 9pm I realized Fatty was still sitting out on his hay bale in the dark. I went out to herd him in, but this time I got quite a bit of attitude. I crowded him, tapped him on the back, and even gently shoved him…but he refused to get down off the bale. It wasn’t until I actually pushed him right to the bale edge that he finally hopped down onto the ground and waddled back to the porch and up into his pen. The way he guzzled down several beakfuls of cold water, it was like watching a gunslinger swigging down a couple of shots in the saloon. There are days I’m happy Fat Duck doesn’t carry weaponsJ.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Death and the Bully…

A dangerous night, feathered revenge, the dragon cometh, beauty could not save Bad, midnight madness, a Scottish opinion…

Update on ARC (Advance Release Copies) of three new Tim Greaton novels…
Thanks so much for all the excitement and support regarding the upcoming early release novels. Ripped…From My Cold Young Fingers is now available in ebook on It will also be available soon at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as soon as Focus House works out some last minute formatting issues.

Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End will also be available shortly (likely this week J).  Ancestor is only a week or two behind the others. I’m really looking forward to your feedback, because the folks at Focus House will be determining the priority of my projects by your emails and sales figures.

If you have any thoughts you’d like to share, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at: tim-at-greateastdevelopment-dot-net.

Tim’s going to spend more time on Twitter: Starting this week, I will be dedicating at least a few evening hours to Twitter. I haven’t a clue what I’m doing, but I hope you’ll all follow me there and ask me to follow you. I’m really looking forward to this new avenue of conversation between usJ. I also think I’m going to drift toward the new Google+ system. I think I’ve been invited but I haven’t gotten around to linking up yet.

Fat Duck has a few late nights alone and teaches me a lesson: This has been an incredibly busy week for me, and several times I’ve been out until late evening. Each night I’ve driven into the yard after dark to find Fatty sitting what I thought was patiently on the porch waiting for me to put him in his pen. Of course, it’s hard to know exactly how Fat Duck feels about being left out that late, but it’s possible he did seem a little somber at least one of those nights.
That brings us to the one steady day of drizzling rain we had this week. That rain either confused poor Fatty or gave him a chance to get back at me. Several times that evening I looked out the side windows to see if he was up on the porch and ready to be locked safely in his pen, but each time I wouldn’t find him until I went to the front rain-splattered windows to see him sitting out on his hay bale. Finally, it was pitch black, sometime after 9pm and still raining when I decided it was too dangerous for him to be out there. It’s hard to know if he enjoyed watching me traipse through the puddles to get to him, and I couldn’t really be sure that he was stalling as he ever-so-slowly allowed me to herd him across the yard and up onto the porch. All I know is that dozens of times I’ve seen him waddle much faster and that this rainy journey might well have been one of the longest slowest marches of our relationship. I was completely drenched by the time Fatty sauntered up onto the porch and into his pen.
He snorted as I sloshed into the house.

Patsy the Dog is sure to drive me insane: I doubt I have to say much to convince anyone that I like animals. I think they deserve our kindness and our protection…and I’ve even been a vegetarian for more than fifteen years now. But I swear my dog Patsy is going to drive me bonkers. She’s a sweetheart of a dog and is quiet 99% of the time…but when she sees something of interest in our yard or at the end of the driveway she has an ear-piercing bark that makes me want to either pitch her outside or cover my ears with pillows.
When Fatty spent all of his time in the yard, I appreciated her middle-of-the-night warnings of a fox in the yard so I could run outside and scare the duck-eater away for a night or three…but since Fatty started spending his nights in a safe pen, I really could do without all the ruckus, especially at night.
I’ve tried to sit down and have a reasonable discussion with Patsy, but all those attempts end the same way: she wiggles, wags her tail and tries to lick my face…
Then she runs to the window and barks like a raving lunaticL

Benny the bully gets a motorcycle: During my teenage years, my father started and ran a very successful autobody repair shop, and during my last couple of years of high school I worked with him. This might well have been one of the most informative periods of my life, because my dad tended to surround himself with some interesting characters. Though we could spend lots of time talking about the shysters, thieves, and equal numbers of war heroes and friendly policemen that used to come and go from my father’s shop with equal treatment and comfort, but instead I thought we’d talk about one particular employee and the summer of hell he put us all through. Let’s call him Benny.
A year older than me, Benny was easily one of the brightest people I had ever met up until that time. Though my parents never believed in IQ tests or allowing their children to be advanced in school (I later learned that the school system had tried multiple times to jump me and two of my siblings forward a grade) I knew I was pretty bright, but Benny made me feel downright stupid much of the time.
I’ve since come to believe that books could be written about Benny’s personality, but lacking an expert opinion I can only describe him as two-thirds bully, one-third genius. At the time, Benny was in his late-teens or early-twenties and though he was over six feet tall, he was also stick thin, which didn’t allow him a lot of occasions to be a physical bully—though he later became all that and more. In the meantime, however, he had to rely on his mouth to antagonize and bully everyone around him. I can’t think of a single instance or example to offer at this time, but I imagine he might have looked up facts in an encyclopedia just so he could ask a few questions the next day and wipe all the other garage employees’ faces in his superior knowledge. But it was more than that because on the few occasions when a tricky repair or other problem came up at the shop, all the employees sought my father’s uneducated but intelligent advice and experience first then turned to me for straight-up creative solutions. I would often come up with something, but Benny— who nobody liked, respected or listened to—would often come up with something even better.
Benny thought an awful lot of himself and spent most of his days letting the rest of us know how great and important he was, while simultaneously letting us know just how small and insignificant we were. Of course, his attitude made him an absolute target of the other four to six employees in the shop…but, because we weren’t nearly as mean-spirited, we were seldom able to get through his sharp-tongued defenses.
Of everyone working at the shop, Benny was not just the meanest, he was also the most broke…as in the one with the least amount of money. He would get paid on a Friday afternoon and by Monday morning would have blown his entire check and be borrowing money from my father for coffee and a sandwich. Even I, a kid in high school and working part-time and summers, had more cash than he did. Broke as he always was, Benny decided one day that he HAD TO have a trail-riding motorcycle. Of course, he had no money nor the ability to save any money, but he somehow worked out a deal with a motorcycle dealer who let him buy a used motorcycle with a blown motor for weekly payments…but the deal was though Benny could use their garage a few hours each Saturday to rebuild the engine, he couldn’t take the bike until all the payments were made.
Now, I could tell you that the entire garage spent six months making fun of Benny because after adding up all of his payments, we figured out he was actually paying more for his broken, used motorcycle than he would have paid by simply buying a new one. I could also tell you that Benny had never rebuilt an engine in his life and that he wound up rebuilding that one two or three times before he got it to work. But the only thing that matters is what Benny pounded into our brains all day, every day, for the duration of his many-month payment agreement. “You wait until I get my bike,” he would say. “I’m going to tear up the streets…Once I get my bike, I’m going to run this town…I’ll be like the wind with a mad engine between my legs when I get my bike.”
Over and over, day after day, we heard him carry on about the powerful rocket he would soon have between his legs. We were all so sick of it that we all began to pray for the day he made his last payment and got that godforsaken vehicle on the road or trails or wherever it was going. We just didn’t want to hear another single thing about it. And then it finally happened. After months of being harangued about how we peasants would forever be glued to our tired sad vehicles while Benny would take over the world with his insanely fast, motorized throne.
And then the day arrived. Benny had been in especially fine form that entire week, but that Friday he was like a mouthpiece from Hell. As we filed out of the shop, we each went home hoping and praying that it was over. That finally we wouldn’t have to listen to the hopes and dreams of the pompously insane any longer. Sure, he would come back bragging about his many adventures, we knew, but at least it wouldn’t be the same drivel over and over again.
But then as we were settling down in our homes that Friday night, something amazing and wonderful happened on the seven o’clock news. There, beneath a scene of flashing police cars, Benny’s name was printed. Like victims at a trial, we watched as the camera zoomed in on two policemen questioning Benny and a bedraggled friend, then the scene switched and showed a tow truck pulling the wreckage of a motorcycle down from an overhead railroad bridge. It turned out that Benny had been riding with his friend on the back of his new motorcycle but when they crossed the railroad bridge, he somehow didn’t notice that a train was coming. Scarcely two hours from the time he had picked his motorcycle up, Benny was forced to leap from his motorcycle and duck under an iron railing as his motorized throne was chewed up and spit out like so much bad spaghetti.
Of course, Benny was always late arriving to work so that next Monday morning we were ready. Sitting in a circle in the office, we laughed, retold and relived that glorious moment when each of us had seen Benny’s pale face show up on the news screen. We were all locked, loaded, and ready to tear into the skinny creature who had been torturing us with stories of his upcoming greatness astride that motorcycle.
Finally, we were going to get revenge. As one, we held our breath as we saw him cross the parking lot…on foot. The time had come. We were finally going to get ours. We were going to get the best of the bully. The door opened and he came through the door with a grin.
“Yep,” Benny said. “I kicked death in the ass once again!”
It was a hard line to beat.

My Review of Bad Teacher (2011) starring Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Lucy Punch and Jason Segal
My rating « (one out of five stars)
Wretchedly terrible teacher..., 17 July 2011
It’s true that I’m not a huge comedy fan. I like to think that I’m more discerning than some or that maybe my writing background gives me a little deeper understanding of the writing craft behind a good joke, but the truth is that I just like what I like…and when it comes to comedy the bad list is longer than the good list. However, that said, Bad Teacher is just a “bad movie.” It’s not funny, it’s not logical, and it’s populated with some of the least believable and most terribly acted characters that I’ve seen in a very long time.
Diaz plays Elizabeth Halsey, a down-on-her luck Chicago teacher who supposedly gets away with swearing, drinking, and doing drugs—all in front of her students. When her rich fiancĂ© breaks up with her, she then attempts to snag the new, apparently wealthy teacher Scott Delacorte (Timberlake). However, forever cheerful teacher Amy Squirrell (Punch) wins his affection and leads us into a mostly pointless series of events occasioned with quips and barbs made by the gym teacher Russell Gettis (Segel) from the sidelines.
I can’t even claim this story was predictable (though the basic plot was) because it was so nonsensical that it would have been impossible to imagine any similar direction. It’s even harder to believe any self-respecting screen writer would have imagined this to be good film. We also can’t excuse this flimsy excuse for story on the need to tell a great series of jokes, because the film just wasn’t funny…not a little…not even a tiny bit.
I remain a fan of many of the talents involved with this project…but the project itself definitely has my vote as a DON’T SEE!

Thanks Chris Longmuir for taking time out of your busy schedule to review Bones in the Tree (Smashwords)
Her review…
««««« (five out of five stars)
A satisfying read, July 12, 2011 :     
This novella was a really satisfying read. I enjoyed Karen's take on life after a marriage breakup, followed her on several disastrous dates, and loved her relationship with Bones. I really felt drawn in by this character and shared her anguish at her role in the loss of Bones's home and rejoiced with her when she found happiness.
A lovely satisfying read which I read right through without stopping.
Chris Longmuir is a Scottish novelist, winner of the Dundee International Book Prize and the author of three great novels: Dead Wood, A Salt-Splashed Cradle and Night Watcher. See her work here:

In the next blog (Sunday July 24th): my review of David Baldacci’s Camel Club, why you should never have eleven geese,  a moment when I realized how tough my dad’s life was, more comments on the newly released Tim Greaton ARC’s and more…

My thanks to you: I once dreamt of writing for a living. Though a lot of my time is spent writing for nonprofit corporations and charities around the country, work that is incredibly fulfilling and that I will continue to do long after it is required on my end, each and every day more of my income comes directly from readers of my books. Please know that I couldn’t be more sincere in my appreciation.