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>A Serial Killer in Our Midst…

July 4, 2011

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Another murder tonight, Transformers’ Doofus of the Moon, like a cemetery resident, a unique thriller, lonely on the threads, Violins and Frogs…
Our best week ever AGAIN in digital book sales! I can’t tell you how thankful I am to all of you who keep mentioning my name, leaving reviews, and generally help me to get the word out about my stories and books. Once again this week, we had our best-ever in digital sales. It was also our best month ever in digital sales. We may also have had our best month in print sales, but those numbers typically aren’t available for several months.
What do I mean by “Our” best week over?
That’s easy. I mean you and me. During the contest, Priscilla Burnette posted something about “Team Greaton,” and that’s exactly how it feels. I couldn’t do any of this without the support of my many readers.
So, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOUJ!
Bones in the Tree: It’s hard to imagine, but this story has turned into a novella, of which I just completed the second draft. It now runs over 40 pages and is over 13,500 words. What that means is after having just completed the 2nd of at least 4 drafts, I have already invested over 33 hours in this tale. I’m hoping another 10 hours will wrap it up, but rest assured either way it will be published TuesdayJ.
Once Upon a Stradivarius wins first place! This flash fiction story of exactly 600 words won first place at the Musings of the Mistress of the Dark site. Thank you to everyone who voted! You can find the story listed under the Short Stories tab at the top of this blog as well as read it and the other two finalists at Mistress’ site: http://mistressofthedarkpath.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/and-the-finalists-for-the-writing-contest-are/.
Other new stories this week: In preparation for the Mistress’ writing contest, I also wrote two additional stories. Violin Intentions and Violin and the Frog Motion. Both run about 600 words and will soon be available under the Short Stories tab at the top of this blog. You can also read those stories and some great stories by other authors at

Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End: As you can see above, I got caught up in the long-delayed Bones in the Tree novella and wound up investing quite a bit of time and energy in the other three stories as part of the Mistress’ writing contest this week. That means I have not yet begun the first Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End edit review, but rest assured I will begin sometime between now and Wednesday. Focus House is still shooting for an August release date on this one. Wish me luck J.
Here’s another Zachary Pill excerpt…
Zachary couldn’t help thinking the old nurse was like a set of bones you might see standing against the wall in science class. If it weren’t for the pulsing blue veins beneath her pale skin and the graying strands of hair that she continually stuffed like dead grass beneath her white nurse’s cap, she could easily have been a cemetery resident. Her skeletal hand gestured for him to sit up on a long padded table in the center of the small x-ray room. A large machine with a single robotic arm stood beside the table. The end of the arm looked like a huge camera with a moving platform below it.
“Go on, get up!”
Zachary slid onto the padded table where she promptly yanked his sling loose. Agony ripped through his mangled arm as it twisted and fell into his lap. Zachary tried to stifle the scream, but a tiny yelp still escaped his throat.
“’More of a weed than a tree,” the nurse said.
Zachary supposed it was an insult, but his arm throbbed so badly he could barely think. Suddenly, the nurse reached out and pulled his wrecked limb onto the platform below the x-ray camera. Every nerve in his arm screamed in agony.
“You’re trying to kill me!” Zachary exclaimed.
“Quit your whining or I’ll yank it again!”
She belongs in a horror movie!
Why hadn’t Nurse Nightshade let him to Dr. Gefarg’s office first? He couldn’t have been any worse off than spending time with Nurse Pain! Even as he thought it, bony fingers bit into his skin and pushed his arm to the side. He swallowed and tried to calm his pain-wracked nerves enough to speak.
“Just tell me…where you want my arm. I’ll do it myself.” His body still quaked from pain.
“Wouldn’t be so much fun,” she said, no smile on her pinched face. “Now stop moving, or I’ll have to adjust it again.” 
Becoming statue-like, Zachary was determined not to give her any excuse to put him through that again. She laid a heavy pad on his lap then retreated behind a glass window to one side of the room. A whirring sound came from the x-ray camera above his arm. When the nurse came back she, of course, reached out as though to jerk his arm again.
Zachary flinched. Daggers of pain shot straight into his brain.
“Maybe I was going to be gentle,” the nurse said, her transparent skin stretching over a skeletal grin.
Zachary glared at her.
Gray lips thinned and eyes narrowed, but the old nurse was more careful as she repositioned his arm the second time. She then ducked her behind her glass window and let the x-ray machine whir again. Coming back, she said, “That’s it.”
“I can go?”
 She gave him a full smile―a sight better suited to a Halloween party than a clinic—and said, “Unless you’re having too much fun.” Her grin widened, and for a moment Zachary could have sworn he saw fangs….
Slugger the Cat is a serial killer: I fear that I might get some hate mail for pulling our animal segment away from Fat Duck long enough to focus on Slugger the Serial Killer. Rest assured, Fat Duck has had a great week, though he was a little frustrated when I hosed the dried grass off his beak after seeing it stuck there for over an hour yesterday. Next time we’ll discuss how a Fat Duck’s local fans is trying to change his name to Watch Duck J.
But in tonight’s blog I’ve decided to introduce (or maybe reintroduce) Slugger. Imagine a huge yellow tabby, sort of like Garfield but not quite that fat, who weighs about 12 pounds. He’s about fourteen years old now, and is most known for his willingness to endure any torture as long as the net result is people attention. I typically have to throw him off my chest several times while trying to get five or six hours of sleep, and I suspect both my sons also have to send him packing multiple times a night.
Slugger, like most cats, spends much of his time relaxing, usually on top of someone in the family, but sometimes he just sprawls across a windowsill, chair, or bed. However, once he steps through his cat doors to the outside, he turns into a first-class predator…well, if lazy and first-class can be part of the same predator package. A few years back, he used to bring in at least one mouse a day, and sometimes as many as five.
Because I’m the original don’t-hurt-anything-if-you-can-help-it guy, I have yelled at him thousands of times for attacking and dragging these poor helpless mice into our house. Now, either because he doesn’t like to be yelled at or because he enjoys letting them loose and playing with them more than killing them, more often than not these days he doesn’t kill them. Last week, my wife and dog cornered one mouse in the kitchen where I was able to slip a bowl over it and set it free outside. The same thing happened tonight. Unfortunately, only the second mouse survived tonight. The first one was DOA on my dining room floor. I since also found entrails in the basement so it looks like it was two dead and only one survivor tonight.
So, yes, Slugger is a lovable ball of fur, but once outside “Jack…” might be a better name.
My week: This has been one for the record books. Several of the charities I worked with received sizable checks this week (in the tens of thousands). I finished four stories and won a writing contest. The folks at Focus House Publishing made some amazing improvements to my blog (I helped a little J). I have been signed up for at least six new social networks; Gather is one of them, but I forget the rest offhand. It will take several weeks to get even the basics established but I hope you’ll scout me out and friend me everywhere (Twitter, Gather, Facebook, Myspace). At several of the sites, I have little to no friends. It’s sad L.
I didn’t get to as many home projects as usual this week. We did get the last three flower pots hung on my porch, and I have the rest of the flowers to plant around the well (maybe tomorrow) but really it has been such a busy professional week, I had little time for anything other than helping one nephew move. I was really pleased to see what a beautiful new yard he has for his children.  
News – Shia LaBeouf: Bad Boy or Nitwit? I should first point out that I try very hard not to write incendiary or personally disparaging pieces, not about average people and not typically about celebrities, either. So, I should say in advance: Shia, if we’re ever sitting across from each other on a production one day, please know I tried not to make any more offensive statements about you than you made about yourself this past week.
Of course, with the new Transformers: Dark of the Moon movie coming out this week, Shia and all his onset cohorts have been out spreading the word about their latest special-effects laden action masterpiece (I haven’t seen it yet). I have personally seen at least a dozen articles about Shia as well as several of his onscreen interviews. For me, a couple of issues have come to mind.
First, I really don’t believe that even celebrities should discuss their relationships, past or present, without the full permission of those partners. You’ll note that I don’t ever mention personal conversations or even personal information about the many people I come in contact with each day. So, when Shia decides to reveal all the women he has supposedly slept with, even while they had other boyfriends, etc…, I find the comments to be in very poor taste. If you ever liked someone enough to sleep with them, it only seems reasonable that you’d respect them enough to shut up about it…or so I think.
I also have to wonder what makes Shia think he’s physically all that. I’ve seen a lot of movie stars over the years, and Mr. LaBeouf, while reasonably healthy, is not nor ever has been the picture buff maleness. When you make statements alluding to your heightened muscularity, etc…, it’s probably best that you actually have a few muscles showing when you slip into a tight tee shirt.
Finally, I know a lot of people are impressed when a talented star like Shia asserts that he’s not going to make any more blockbusters. Instead, he is going to go off and make pictures that he can be proud of, that can stretch his talents, that will allow him to explore his…blah, blah, blah. Okay, I get that the Transformers trilogy has likely padded Shia’s pockets to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, and I also get that he will continue receiving royalties on those movies for the rest of his life, but what about all the other people that depend on filmmaking for a living?
Every time a big star removes himself or herself from the box office rolls, two things happen: first, their popularity and box office clout shrinks almost overnight closing their window. Second, many of the big blockbuster movies with the big budgets DO NOT get made, which in turn means less profit for the studios, less jobs for all actors, and less work for all people in the filmmaking industry.
Shia, rather than attempting to repeat Warren Beatty’s career (which I heard you say this past week), how about following Will Smith’s trajectory for another decade or two? Will Smith has blockbusters lined up from here to the end of time. He’s making another Men in Black, another I-Robot, another Hancock, another I am Legend, and another Independence Day, not to mention the dozens of other secondary movies and projects he and his family are involved in. I’m not impressed with how much money Will Smith is making, but I am super-impressed with how much he is doing to keep so many studios, actors, and movie crews in the black.
In short, Shia, you’re not all that…but I believe you could be. I hope you’ll rise to the challenge.
Why am I so fascinated with The Santa Conspiracy? By now, most of you know that I grew up in a difficult environment. My way of coping was to lock myself away with stacks of novels. I was reading YA books by the time I was 6 and adult novels by the time I was 7. In the thousands of books I read as a young person, what I sought out over and over again was a hero. I don’t know if I wanted to actually be that hero or wanted one to come solve all my childhood problems, but either way I always gravitated towards the hero’s journey. When I read a book or watch a movie, I want a good guy or gal to root for, and I want—no, insist—on a happy ending.
So for me, The Santa Conspiracy was the heroic journey taken to a whole new level. What if entire neighborhoods, entire hidden societies existed not to tear down people down, but to build them up.
When I dip into book two of The Santa Conspiracy, it will be with an eye toward the legal system and how heroes might be working right under our noses to make our world a better place.
Wouldn’t that be a nice change of pace?
Thanks so much, Cynthia for your positive review of From My Cold Young Fingers.
Her review…
«««« (4 out of 5 stars) July 1, 2011 at Smashwords 
A Unique Thriller
This was definitely a unique thriller with many twists and turns. The creation of the “underworld” brought a new perspective of life after death. Definitely suspenseful, heart-wrenching at times but well worth the read. Thank you, Tim.
In the next blog (Wednesday July 6th): has Fatty spawned a new Watch Duck cartoon? How do you make fried snowballs, my grandmother attempts murder dozens of times, and more….
Thanks for investing your valuable time with me. I’ll always strive to make it worthwhileJ!
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One Comment
  1. >Congrats on sales! I am sure you are excited. Hopefully they will continue to rise.I had wondered how useful those tabs on my blog were. Glad to know at least one person uses them, lol. Thanks for linking my site so people can find your stories. They should find them as entertaining as I did! You certainly deserved to win.Your cat story gave me a laugh. Nearly all of my kitties have been mice catchers. They usually bring them to me dead. One went so far as to fling the dead mouse onto my lap while I was on the computer. Not cool! They are so proud of their catches that I can't really be mad about it. Their meant to be gifts for us, at least for most cats, because mine never ate theirs. Just dropped them off in doorways, the kitchen floor, or my lap.Loved the story excerpt. Sounds like it is going to be a good one. Poor kid with his arm though!Anyway, I enjoyed your latest blog. Always entertaining!

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