Are we ready for some football? Ahh, I can hear the haters now. But that’s the fun of it all. As you can see, I’m ready for another disappointing season. But my point is that we do have things to look forward to—needed diversions from the insanity of our world. It could be football, or fishing or camping or golf. We can still do these things and that’s a gift.
Now, I want to talk about this new book that took me over ten years to write. Yes, I had a lot of downtime during that period. Full disclosure, I have Chronic LYME Disease that took a lot of wind out of my sails. It was mis-diagnosed for over ten years, and I lived those years in a lot of pain. It kicked my ass! I would go for periods and crank out a lot of good work but then it would rear its ugly head and take me down again for weeks, sometimes months.
I am excited to finally hit the submit button on Backfire and go live from here to wherever things breathe and have a cell phone, or so they say. This has been such a learning experience for an old dog like me. I look back on my first two books that did okay despite my lack of social media comprehension.
I remember the day I held my breath and hit the send key for The Nine Irony, my first in this series. I had no idea what I was doing but believed that by some magical power would vault my book onto the bestseller list and was crushed when I sold 10 copies in the first month and I’m pretty sure that my mother bought them. The vision of being whisked away on a private jet to LA or book signings in Miami quickly faded into reality.
We got to do the work now. No publisher will talk to you if you haven’t built your own brand into a substantial following. So, I am trying to build a flow of information back and forth. What is something you would like to know about. It doesn’t even have to be a about writing. Why not?
I will at some point talk about a lot of spiritual experiences that I’ve had over this journey of mine. So many things, so many people who have influenced me one way or another—to take a right instead of left. Robert Frost’s Road Not Taken comes to mind as I write this. How about you read this again with fresh eyes.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
And that has made all the difference!
I want to give you a little insight as to where my inspiration and my journey began many moons ago with full disclosure. In the early days, everything was an adventure. My hair was long, my jeans had peace signs stitched on threadbare knees, I had a sweet girlfriend, and I was graduating with honors to everyone’s surprise. I’ll talk more about my exile by my frustrated parents to a corner of the world deep in the woods of central Vermont, that you literally needed a magnifying glass to find. Those turned out to be the most important few years of my life.
I loved being a ‘hippie’ in the days when things were a lot simpler. I remember stretching out on a blanket under the stars with my girlfriend and dream of the future. It was great. I hate to use that old phrase of Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll, but it was so appropriate for the times. Many philosophers were born from a bottle of Ripple wine with special additives and a cloud of good Columbian—a lot of babies, too! To this day, I am not against certain things if you get my drift.
Then the war happened, and I stumbled out of a world full of possibilities with the Moody Blues as the theme song of my life… into one very different. As quick as my shorn locks hit the floor, I was in the Navy. I’m not going to give you a monologue about Viet Nam. We have all heard one version or another. Maybe sometime down the line.
That was when the love and escape of reading came back to me that my sainted mother exposed me to at an early age. Aboard ship we would always pass around any dogeared paperbacks we could get our hands on to pass the off time. That’s where I got hooked. Someone gave me a tattered copy of The Deep Blue Goodbye with a character named Travis McGee and author, John D. MacDonald. McGee was a vagabond, but a lovable character who lived aboard The Busted Flush, a houseboat he’d won in a card game. He would work when he got low on money—his card said he was a marine salvage expert and that was true to some degree. His lifestyle was free, with beach bunnies galore, good gin flowing and always a good shoulder to cry on. But McGee was more than that. He was a champion for those who had been stepped on and of course, he would inevitably get tangled up in and help the damsel. He was told, and grudgingly agreed, that he did have a white-knight complex. He was tough, smart, and extremely resourceful when he had to be and a charmer when called for.
My character, Nick, has a lot of McGee in him—the compassion part and the penchant for getting mixed up in things left to those more qualified. Nick is strong, resourceful and like McGee, he helps his friends in need. Nick is a fund ride with a great cast of characters that I have grown to love.
I’ve since immersed myself in books, mostly fiction, and I have turned into an audiobook junkie. A good narrator will pull you into the story and after a while you hear the characters as they come alive. I have been told I have the voice and who better to do Nick…than Nick? I mean me… don’t I?
What would happen if you unlocked the door to your fantasies? Would it be all you hoped for? Or would they bring your world crashing down?
Paul Allen was an all-around good guy. He was retired, living the good life—a beautiful new bride, a nice house near the beach on a golf course and just about everything a man could ask for. He was also a recovering alcoholic who had rebuilt his life from a very dark place.
Then one rainy night, his life came crashing down when his dear wife, Susan, on the way home from a yoga class down in Myrtle Beach, was hit broadside by a carload of drunken teenagers, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. Life for both changed forever.
It all started so innocently…or so Paul thought. He browsed the internet sites out of curiosity and boredom. Then one lonely night he stumbled upon a dating site that promised beautiful, Russian women, and Paul became obsessed with a stunning blond temptress. He didn’t mean for things to become real. He was never going to go through with anything. He loved his dear Susan, but she had shut down after the accident and that had been two years ago. And he was…curious.
Then with a blink of an eye, Paul Allen was reeled headlong into a dark world of seduction, extortion, and murder, with no visible way out.
That is when I come into the picture. My name is Nick Thomas. I am a mystery writer whose noble intentions and errant judgement often lead me into precarious situations that take resource and imagination to survive. I am told I have this white-knight complex and see myself on a mighty steed, valiantly galloping to the rescue of those in trouble. I am a Viet Nam vet, recovering alcoholic, and self-proclaimed philosopher who lives and works in an old cottage on Provincetown Bay. I still wear blue jeans, my graying hair a bit long and drive a temperamental old MG and vintage Harley when she decides to run. I wake every morning acknowledging to God that I am a lucky man. I have a great woman by my side, good friends there when I need them and I’m doing what I love to do.
Sounds easy, right???
Yeah, I know it’s been a long time coming but life has a nasty habit of interfering with our best intentioned plans. Our protagonist, Nick, is finally back with many of the same characters you came to love in my first two books along with some surprise appearances by a few new ones that plunge you head-long into a dark web of internet seduction, extortion and murder.
Does curiosity kill the cat? Think about what would happen if you unlocked the door to your fantasies. Would your world come crashing down? Would it be all you hoped for? Most times these things are better off left in the box.
In my new thriller, Backfire, Nick is called down to help his old friend, Paul Allen, down on the sunny coast of North Carolina. Paul, who through frustration and curiosity, tore open that box of crazy and found himself in a classic moral dilemma and the victim of a cyber extortion scheme that threatened to ruin his almost perfect life.
That’s when Nick comes riding to the rescue. He closed his laptop, buttoned up his cottage on Cape Cod, and headed down to North Carolina to try and help his friend. It didn’t take long before Nick was neck deep in a situation that would best be left to those more qualified and his life in danger. Keep posted on more as we go along. You won’t be disappointed in this one!
If you haven’t read my first two, The Nine Irony and Devil’s Parody, please give them a try.
Well, my friends, the time had finally come. I have a website! Yaay!! Now, I have to learn how to use it. The great news is that I have my new book, Backfire, back from the editor. Ouch! Seems like there is lots of work to be done. Sound familiar? Yes, this is where I get to kill my babies; to ruthlessly carve my mountains of text, alive with the characters that I have lived with and nurtured for too many years. This is a daunting task. I want to pull the covers over my head and pray the manuscript fixes itself. Ha! We know that won’t happen.
So, here we go. I hope you enjoy the journey…