2018 Royal Palm Literary Awards Competition

…..and the winner is?

It’s hard to believe that it’s only 10 days before the 2018 Royal Palm Literary Awards banquet where two of my entries, “Words to a Kill” and “One Shot to the Head” are finalists in the Short Story Genre.

My wife and I attended the banquet two years ago when my book, A Very Furry Christmas made the finals, and although I didn’t win an award, we had a wonderful time.

Hopefully, this year will be just as much fun, and who knows, perhaps the gods will smile on me and I’ll come home with a little something extra.

In any case….exciting times are just around the corner.  

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Blame it on the Weather

An Excerpt from “Blame it on the Weather” a story from my latest book – Broken in Pieces

We enter the Tri-County News Channel 4 building through the front doors and walk toward the security desk where a guard sits with his feet up on the counter, flipping through a copy of HGTV Magazine. He drops his feet to the floor and stands before we reach the counter.

Clement looks at the security guard and says, “Good morning, Bruce.”

The guard smiles and says, “Morning, Mr. Clements. It’s Roger, remember?”

I jam the gun into Clement’s ribs and hear him say, “Ouch.”

The guard looks at me, then back at Clement.

Clement says, “Sorry Roger. I was listening to Springsteen in the car and I had Bruce on my mind. Honest mistake.”

“No problem, Mr. Clement. Who’s the gentleman with you?”

Clement turns his head toward me and looks at me for the first time, but I can see by the expression on his face that he has no idea who I am.

“Ahhh. This is my cousin, umm, Al-Albert. I invited him to watch this morning’s broadcast.”

Roger smiles, extends his hand and says, “Nice to meet you, Albert.”

I nod at him, but I don’t reciprocate, so he pulls his hand back. He places a pen and clipboard on the counter, points at it and says, “Please sign in,” then hands me a visitor’s badge. “You need to wear this badge at all times while you’re in the studio, and make sure you sign out and return it when you leave.”

Shielded from Roger’s view by Clement body, I quickly shift the gun to my left hand, I pick up the pen, sign on the clipboard and say, “No problem, Rog. You don’t mind if I call you Rog, do you?”

He shrugs his shoulders, sits down, picks up the magazine and goes back to reading, without bothering to glance at the bogus name I signed on the clipboard: Albert Capone

Poor dimwitted Roger, he’s going to have a lot of explaining to do before this day is over, I think, as we walk past the security desk down the well-lit hallway.

Broken in Pieces – Amazon 

Only – $0.99 USD

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Spelling Matters

Don’t you just hate when this happens.  🙂

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Isn’t it ironic!

Isn’t it ironic that the book that almost ended my writing career (before it really began) is currently my most reviewed, highest rated and bestselling book.

When I wrote, People Behaving Badly back in 2015, I was happy and quite proud of the way it turned out. I thought the 13 stories comprising the book were some of my best writing, so much so, that I decided to do something I’d never done before. I entered it in the 2015 Royal Palm Literary Awards competition (Florida Writers Association)

It was only the second book I’d ever written, so I didn’t have any expectations of winning anything or even making the first cut. I knew that the competition was judged by other writers, so I thought it might be a good experience to see what they think of my work.

I was in total shock when they informed me that the first two judges gave it high enough ratings to place my book in the semi-finals.

Unfortunately, my high didn’t last long because the final judge really disliked it.

I don’t remember word for word what the judge wrote, but I do remember that he or she found the stories to be dull, boring, stale and predictable. The writing was proficient, but the judge would have setup the stories differently or at the very least ended them differently. He or she even claimed that one of the stories was a regurgitation of the Alfred Hitchcock movie, Rear Window.

The final shot to the heart was the judge’s response to the final question.

Would you like to read more work from this author?

The reply was – Overall, the writing has a competent but dated and predictable feel which does not lead this judge to want to read more of the author’s work.

Wow. I was pretty devastated after reading the judge’s final comment.

Over the following days and weeks, I seriously questioned whether I should continue writing …was I just wasting my time? In the end with encouragement of my wife and friends, I decided to carry on and I made it my mission to improve my writing skills with each new book I released.

My next book was, A Very Furry Christmas which made it all the way to the 2016 Royal Palm Literary Awards competition finals. I didn’t win a trophy, but it was a proud moment when I attended that years banquet.

Three years later, People Behaving Badly has sold hundreds of copies. It has 14 (4 & 5 star) reviews on Amazon with an overall rating of 4.7/5.0 stars and 18 reviews/ratings on Goodreads with an overall score of 4.4/5.0 stars.

Not bad for a ‘dated and predictable’ bunch of stories.

There’s a moral in here somewhere, but I’ll leave it up to the reader to figure that out. 🙂

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A wonderful review of my book – People Behaving Badly

It’s not often I get surprised, but this was a very pleasant one.

I received this wonderful review of my book People Behaving Badly by fellow author Barry Ergang, and I thought I’d share it with you.

I love the way Mr. Ergang managed to describe each of the 13 stories in a very accurate and concise manner and I’m grateful for his recommendation of the book and for giving it a 4 out of 5 star rating.

If you enjoy reading the review, I hope you’ll tap the ‘Like’ button at the bottom of Barry Ergang’s review page.

Link to the review:     People Behaving Badly Review by Barry Ergang

About Author/Reviewer  – Barry Ergang

Former Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine and former First Senior Editor at Mysterical-E, Barry Ergang’s fiction, poetry and non-fiction have appeared in numerous publications, print and electronic. He was the recipient of a Derringer Award from the Short Mystery Fiction Society for the best short mystery story of 2006 in the Flash Fiction category. (This information is from Barr Ergang’s Author Page at BookBub.com)

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A Toast to My Sorry Life

A short excerpt from “A Toast to My Sorry Life”  a story from my latest book – Broken in Pieces

Harold promised me the world, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that he was having a hard time delivering on any of his big promises. After seven years of marriage, two miscarriages and a shitload of disappointments, I came to the realization that I’d made a huge mistake. Unfortunately, by that time, we were in deep debt and had little or nothing to show for the poor financial decisions we had made over the years.

Harold opens his eyes for a second, makes a snorting sound, wipes the drool from the side of his mouth against the arm of the fake Lazy Boy, and falls back asleep.

As I stare at him, I feel warm tears run down my cheeks.

You ruined my life, you son of a bitch, I think. What the hell did I ever see in you?

Broken in Pieces – Amazon 

Only – $0.99 USD

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The Third Party Option

Every since I mentioned that my paperback books are now available on the Barnes & Noble website, I’ve been curious about whether they would allow me to use their discount coupons along with my membership discount on the purchase of one of my books. I also wanted to know what they would charge for shipping and how long it would take me to receive it.

On August 30th I ordered a copy of  ‘People Behaving Badly’ from their B&N’s website. I was able to use their weekly discount coupon, my 10% membership discount and I was surprised to receive free shipping on my order.

The final out of pocket cost was…..

People Behaving Badly – $7.99

Tax – $0.48

Total applied to my B & N Gift Card was $7.27

The book arrived in perfect condition on September 5th (probably would have been sooner, if not for the Labor Day Holiday).

Ordering from Amazon with Prime Membership would have cost me about $8.55 ($7.99 + $0.56 Tax) and be delivered in two days.

You’re probably wondering what the point of this exercise is?

The point is…..you now have more options than ever to purchase one of my books. 🙂

(BTW – My books are also available on the Books A Million website.)

 

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Broken in Pieces – now on sale in the Amazon Kindle Store

Broken in Pieces: A Trio of Twisted Tales

 Broken in Pieces is made up of three short stories written in the style of the classic television show The Twilight Zone.

Follow Diana, Blake and Lena through their strange and twisted stories where things are not necessarily as they appear.

In “A Toast to My Sorry Life,” Lena Dancer comes to a sad realization that her life is nothing like she thought it would be. After giving up everything for a man who promised her the world, she’s left with a cheating husband and a vengeful heart. Sometimes when dreams vanish into thin air, the only thing that remains is a desire for cold, hard revenge.

In “Disturbing Conversations”, Diana Delancy is having a difficult time coming to grips with the loss of her only child. If that isn’t enough of a burden, now she’s beginning to think that she’s losing her mind.

When tragedy strikes, Blake Thomas is left with a broken heart and a guilty conscience. Rather than searching within his heart for the forgiveness he needs, he decides that sometimes it’s easier to just “Blame it on the Weather.

Broken in Pieces – Amazon Kindle Store   – Only $0.99 USD

 

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Broken in Pieces: A Trio of Twisted Tales – Coming Soon!

 

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