Book Giveaway!

Saturday, June 26, 2010 reviews (Comments): 12
NOTICE: This giveaway has been extended an additional week, through July 10. Don't worry, those of you who already entered. There are plenty of prizes for all!

Hi, everyone. I'm Ricky, the band manager. We've got an exciting book promotion going on right now, with copies of the novel, copies of a short story book, and t-shirts to give away. All you have to do is leave a comment in the guestbook at the right, and give us a way to contact you. If you don't want to leave contact info, check back here next Saturday, July 3, between 8:00 and midnight Central time, to find out who the lucky winners are!

While you're here, check out some of the stories about what the band has been up to. They're always up to something, unfortunately.

We're offering a special hello to new friends we met at the Pride Parade. Thanks for supporting all your fellow humans!

Maelstrom Extra: Nostalgia

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 reviews (Comments): 10
This is a Three Word Wednesday offering, so be sure to check out Three Word Wednesday for more fun!

“Anybody seen Ricky?”

Vic shrugged and bent back over his guitar. “No telling with those diurnal types.”

“I’m not the human’s keeper.” Bo adjusted the volume on his amp.

Kalila frowned. “It’s not like him to disappear like this. Usually he watches us during setup and rehearsal.”

“Suits me not to have him staring. It creeps me out when the living do that.” Vic strummed a chord and gave Kalila a look. “You ready? I think the acoustics in here are going to be pretty good.”

Kalila strapped on her Stratocaster and was about to suggest they start with Hot Night, Cold Heart, but then shook her head and put the guitar back in its stand. Rehearsal could wait a few minutes. Ricky was acting weird and she was going to get to the bottom of it.

She found him pacing the parking lot, stopping from time to time and looking around with a wistful expression. Kalila had hired him for many reasons – to keep her band of misfit demons in line, to help her get famous without the use of magic, and because he was kind of cute for a human, but nowhere in his contract was there anything about wandering empty parking lots. She strode up to him. “What do you think you’re doing, mortal?”

Ricky stopped pacing and gave her a sheepish look. “Nothing.”

“That’s not what I pay you for.”

“I’m just remembering.” He gazed across the parking lot toward a strip center and an intersection where cars waited for a light to change. “This is all new, you know.”

“Yes. It’s nice you didn’t book us into a falling-down dump, for once.”

Ricky ignored her. “When I was a teenager, it was all dirt roads and meadows. Me and the other kids from my school used to come here to drink beer, race cars, and hang out away from our parents. Now look.” He made a gesture that took in the asphalt, neon, pre-fab shops and tract housing. “No trace of it at all.”

Kalila gave an impatient sigh. “I realize your kind is prone to nostalgia, but everything gets erased by time. The places of my youth have changed so much in the last two thousand years I might as well be on another planet. Sentimentality is a useless emotion.”

“You think all human emotions are useless.”

“That’s because they are.” What would snap him out of this ridiculous mood? She wanted him inside that club paying attention to her, not wandering about, thinking of his high school days. “Well, I guess I better go back inside and see if we can rehearse a few songs while the boys still have things under control.” She started walking toward the club. “Bo says the manager is hot, and Vic and Lazaro are both very interested in the bookkeeper. Smart brains and type O blood, you know.”

She went inside and let the heavy metal door fall shut behind her. Seconds later, it opened and Ricky rushed in. He paused when he saw her waiting.

“I knew that would get you.” Kalila grinned. “Now, enough with the past. We all have a future to think of.”

AUTHOR'S NOTE: If you enjoyed this story, you can now buy the book in print and Kindle versions from Amazon and e-book format from Fictionwise!.

Maelstrom Extra: Personal Superhero

Saturday, June 12, 2010 reviews (Comments): 7
Be sure to check out Sunday Scribblings and Weekend Writer's Retreat for more literary fun!

“Here’s something I don’t understand.” Kalila paused outside the old movie theater and gazed at one of the posters. “What’s this fascination humans have for superheroes?”

“It’s a natural impulse," Ricky said. "We all want to think someone will come along and save the day.”

“But you have us.” She spread her arms. “Gods, djinns, fairies…we can do everything your superheroes do. Or at least we could back when your kind still believed.”

Ricky suspected where this was going, but they had been on the road for days, tonight’s gig had been troublesome, and all he wanted was a little walk in the cool night air so he could clear his head enough to sleep. A discussion of how humans had failed Kalila and her supernatural kind wasn’t in any of his late-night plans.

“You abandoned us for humans in masks and tights.”

“Not all of them are human. Superman—”

“Oh, please.” Kalila began walking again.

Ricky hurried to catch up. “It’s just stories; fantasies humans like to tell each other.”

“That’s my point. Why resort to fantasy when you have reality?”

“Because reality is problematic?” When Kalila didn’t answer, he tried to explain. “If I ask you to do something for me, you might do it or you might not.”

“That’s because I’m not your servant.”

“Right. But superheroes always come when called. We made them like that.”

“So it’s about control. You can’t be in charge of us, so you imagine powerful beings in your own image who you can boss around.”

Ricky had never thought of it that way before. “I don’t know if ‘boss around’ is how I’d put it. You have to be worthy and in need.”

“But if you are, then the superhero will always come.” Kalila nodded wisely. “You knew you couldn’t count on a real deity to help, so you invented ones who play by your rules. Since you created them, you’re in charge, which makes you the superhero.”

This was too much philosophy for one night. “Let’s go back to the hotel. Maybe I can find something on TV to help me relax so I can sleep.”

“Will this help?” She conjured a glass of neat Scotch whiskey.

“Not out here.” Ricky looked around. “They have laws about drinking on the streets.”

Kalila laughed. “If a cop saw you, I’d make him think it was a cup of coffee. If you went to jail, I’d get you out again.” She forced the drink into his hand.

Ricky took a sip and sighed with pleasure. Kalila knew her single malts. And in spite of her cantankerous ways, she always came through for him when it really mattered. He put an arm around her and they continued toward the hotel. It was nice to have a personal superhero.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: If you enjoyed this story, you can now buy the book in print and Kindle versions from Amazon and e-book format from Fictionwise!.