Captain Curly’s (AKA Kristen Jett) Birthday.

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So… About a week or so ago my Facebook quite convincingly proved itself worthy of the name “Failbook”.

I don’t usually watch the top right corner of my Facebook, often it’s merely invitations by people to play “Hubble Pup Slap Puzzle Game!” or something along the likes of it. That or it’s a picture of a girl inviting me to join “the most trustworthy Singles-website to meet women and have hot, anonymous #@$”. That’s all nice and well – but I really don’t want to see that!
But this particular time, as every once in a while, it displayed a little gift-icon: “Kristen Jett’s birthday – Saturday”. Sweet Jesus, it’s Captain Curly’s birthday today! And in my enthusiasm I hurled a bunch of PMs her way, proud I would probably be one of the first to congratulate her. (Since I live in the future – thanks to the Time Zone difference)
A kind and humored reply came back from Kristen: It was NEXT Saturday… Fail.
Because why would Facebook bother mentioning “next” Saturday when they might as well as say “Saturday” while it’s already Saturday? Thanks Facebook! That’s some logic right there!

So I pledged to return the next week, I don’t give up that easily and when I saw Jolene’s plan, being a big fan of both, jumped right aboard. So here it is Captain Curly! I have returned as part of an an armada of your friends – the prize is giving you a great birthday and we’re all in on it!

Happy Birthday, you deserve it!

– Bobby.

Here’s the next clue:

He’s the man, with a plan,

Lovely kids and lovely wife.

He’s the best editor we know,

He makes us love writing life!

Someone in the Attic.

Someone was in the attic. That much was clear.
Hastily Anthony looked through the boxes in the bedroom closet, various things falling down as he violently trashed through. A dull metallic clunk, found it. His aluminum baseball bat. Once a gift, from his brother – autographed by one of the most promising rookies in the league, a collector’s item yet more often used as a tool.
More shuffling upstairs. The sound was hard to describe, like a bowling ball rolling, between floors and impossible to pin point the location.

Against the bedroom door stood his wife, pale with fear. The toddler in her arms.
“Still happy you don’t own a gun?” She said, even now she was capable of cynical commentary.
“Listen if you want me to go goddamn up there, you better not give me shit!” He hissed back, cold sweat pouring down his back.
“That’s the point Anthony! I don’t want you to fucking go up there! Just call the cops!” She said as the baby began crying again.
“‘Oh hello Officer, can you come to my house? I have a potential ghost in my attic!’ Yes, great plan – Amanda.”

Anthony pulled the small step ladder from the hallway, still sticky from wallpaper paste, clanging loudly as it bumped into the walls.
“What about a priest?! Can’t we call a priest?!” She pressed further.
“And what? Wait half a year for one to come by? Be told how we’re sinners and go to church every week? I’d rather take my chances with whatever’s up there. It’s probably a possum or a stray cat anyway.”
“A possum? A possum, Andy?! Was it also a possum who keeps opening the kitchen cabinets!?”
“Possums eat, they go into kitch-”
“It opens while I’m standing there, Andy! And I see no possum! It wasn’t a possum who wrote ‘DIE’ a thousand times on the wall either!”
“The die-scribbling could’ve been done by kids and painted over, it just showed because of wallpaper glue – alright? Stop being hysterical.”
Amanda’s face turned red and her eyes watery.
“Yeah? Who keeps whispering in your ear every night since we’ve been living here? Every night since we’ve been here. Seven nights in a row…”
“I get it! Stop!”

With a loud clunk Anthony set the ladder down and climbed up towards the closed attic cover. It vibrated as he came closer, intense goose bumps formed on his skin. Just faintly the sound of a deep voice. Like a man, dry heaving from his gut, morphing into the sound of an animal growl.
“Hand me the bat.” He said and gestured her. She sat the toddler down on the floor and handed him his weapon.
“You know that camera my dad gave us for our wedding two years ago?” She said.
“What’s with it?”
“It has night vision. You can look into the dark with it.”
“Sometimes I know just why I married you.” He smiled relieved.
Amanda ran off to grab the camera while the toddler crawled around.
“No! No! Not too close to the ladder, Levi!” He said as his son used it to stand up. Above him a sound like fingers scratching the attic’s wooden floor. “…Fuck.”
His son looked up at him and began to cry.
“Shhh! Shhh! Baby, it’s okay!” He tried to comfort his little man.
“Here!” Amanda called and handed him the camera. With a funny sounding digital bell it turned on and switched to night vision.
“Wow…” He said to himself as he looked at his wife and child through the camera – green skin and eyes shining like flash lights.
“Be careful.”
“I’m always careful.” He replied and took a deep breath before removing the cover. “Whatever you are, I’m coming up.”

Damp, warm and heavy. Everything covered in dust. Stained wood, soaked and molded isolation. Only the ventilation stood out.
“Alright… Whatever you are! Show yourself! I’m here now! Let’s do this!” He called, staring at the camera’s small screen. A small light dot appeared on it.
Quickly Anthony looked up, nothing. As he looked back down onto the camera it had disappeared there too.
“Maybe I’m just… What am I even doing up here?”
“Everything okay!?” She called from downstairs.
“I’m fine! I just think we… Maybe we…” He wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to say himself. “Maybe it’s the ventilation making noises. Let me go check!”
Carefully Andy stepped onto the beams, avoiding the weak plaster flooring, and shuffled towards the machine.
“How do you even work?” He said investigating the machine and its vent pipes. “Can you turn on the ventilation!”
“Okay!” She called back and walked off to the kitchen.
After a few moments the ventilation system switched on like a noisy, little vacuum cleaner. Sounding nothing like what he had heard before.
“Okay, so you’re not it.” He sighed when suddenly a growl resonated from the other side of the attic. “Shit!” He whimpered aiming his camera in the direction of the sound. Nothing. “You’re fucking with me! Aren’t you!?”

Slowly Andy reached for the baseball bat next to him on the plaster floor, unlikely to be any real help but enough of a placebo for him to rely on. A screw bounced across the attic as if materializing out of nowhere, catapulting around him.
“Fuck!” He yelled trying to screen off his face just in case, “Goddammit! Where are you, motherfucker!?”
Suddenly the growl resonated just behind him, loud and deep enough to reach into the core of his being. His nerves, his heart, his soul quivered in fear.
Just one step too much. With a loud crack the plaster floor gave way and everything flashed by. In a cloud of dust everything came to a hold, half on the step ladder and half on the floor.
“Are you okay!? Speak to me!” His wife yelled, holding him while the toddler screamed at the top of his lungs.
“I’m fine! I’m fine!” He said looking at the hole above him. Slowly the aluminum baseball rolled towards the hole and fell down. “Look out!” Just by an inch it missed his wife and child.
“Jesus, Andy!” She cried.
“What!? You think I did this!?” He said waving the camera around as if it were part of his hand.
“It’s recording…”
“What’s recording!?”
“The camera, stupid! It’s recording!”
“It is!? …I didn’t set it to record, Amanda! I didn’t!”

Amanda helped him up from the floor and into the living room.
“How do I do this again?” She said fiddling with the camera.
“The small end goes into the camera, the big end into the HDMI port on the side of the TV.” He said, stretching his aching back.
“Got it…” She said and handed him the remote. “And press play…” She mumbled.
The footage turned on.
“Fuck!” The TV called in his voice, “You’re fucking with me! Aren’t you!?”
“…Yesss….” A distorted, hard to hear voice replied.
“Jesus Christ, rewind that part!” Andy said to her, turning up the volume.
“…Yesss…!” It now said more audible, the two looked at each other in disbelief.
“This can’t be real!” She began to cry.
The camera tilted as he reached for the bat on screen. A steel bolt shot into view, violently bouncing off of the floor.
“Fuck!” He cursed on film. “Goddammit! Where are you, motherfucker!?”
“…Behind you!” A demonic voice growled on tape. The toddler screamed in agony at the sound.
The camera shook wildly as he had lost his balance and the image crackled as he crashed a floor down.
“Are you okay!? Speak to me!” The TV continued.
“I’m fine! I’m fine!” Followed by his screaming “Look out!”
The camera was just in the right angle. As the baseball bat had fallen down it looked right into the hole in the attic floor above. A dark shadow and two bright, piercing eyes looked down at them on camera.
“Oh my God!” Amanda cried out at the sight, grabbing the baby and holding it close.
Anthony stared at the screen in shock.
“Time for a new, new house…”

Paranormal Week: Gabi Daniels’ Giveaway!

Yes, I know – I keep coming and going. It’s how I roll and I pledge that I will make change! Somehow! Someday! Somewhere! Sometime! I swear! Don’t leave me…!

Anyway. This is about something entirely different! Do I have a treat for you! Seriously! Bear with me…
One of my closest writer friends is Gabi Daniels, who is not just a writer but also a successful and recognized book blogger. And such things come with a privilege! Now of course most of us would use such privileges for ourselves. But not Gabi, she’s a sharer and she’s decided to go ahead and celebrate her favorite genre with all of us:

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(Click to visit!)

So lets go through the facts here just quickly – this isn’t some “Subscribe now for a newsletter from us and ten anonymous partners who might or might not call you, e-mail you and stalk you forever!”; This is all fun and hoping you will visit a great blog but above all read the work of a lot of great writers!

And to make it so much better Gabi used her privileges to bring more presents than Santa! If you enter you can win one of the five Amazon Gift Cards (including one worth twenty-five bucks!), she’s giving away 25+ e-Books (seriously!) and four signed(!!!) paperbacks! Yes, I sh#t you not! The authors – actually – signed their books and you can win one of ’em! And these aren’t just random authors – these are New York Times best-selling authors and some of THE most promising debut writers! If this doesn’t tickle your fancy, I will have to start taking you less serious. Seriously.

In fact, I found Gabi’s initiative so fantastic that I’m the guy that made the above displayed promotional picture. But not just that one picture – I might a couple more. I’ll tell you why, right here below.

There once was a Julie.

Well actually there still is a Julie. In fact there are a LOT of Julie’s in the world but this one is kind of unique! Her name is: Julie Hutchings.
Now I don’t know how many times I’ve said this before but because I have no life and no shame I will say again that I owe so much to both Julie and Kristen (Strassel) from DeadlyEverAfter.com (click to visit!) that I can hardly express it enough.
But more importantly, I was recently able to get my hands on Julie’s debut novel Running Home! (I might add that I also currently have Kristen’s novel – of which you will hear more soon as well!)
Now, of course, Julie has been somewhat of a mentor to me, whatever she tells I instantly consider a fact – not in the least because she’s a black belt and not afraid to use threatening language – so I was obviously aware of her writing abilities but it wasn’t until I read through Running Home that I was blown away. Simply put.

Thankfully I wasn’t alone, amongst many others, it was Gabi Daniels too who was absolutely raving about Running Home. And if anyone should know, being a book blogger with best-seller connections, it’s her.
Because of this she decided to give all of us the opportunity to get to know not just Julie but also her amazing debut novel: Running Home. And of course this worked perfect with the Paranormal week! So she cleverly combined the best of two worlds and went to work.

So when I found out that two of my favorite girls, Julie and Gabi, were working on something together – I just had to butt in bey cause… …What else am I going to do all day?
So I hit Gabi up and told her if she needed any help, seeking a way to present quotes from the book in an original manner she wanted to present them as capturing images. Being an art-director that is my perfect field of play and I set out to get the job done.
After scouring the internet for “Common Creative” and/or free photos I finally found just what I was looking for and combined them with the quotes that Gabi provided. If you read the book you will most likely recognize each and every location that I tried to represent. Here they are:

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Now, I hope of course that these images and the quotes are getting you interested to buy the book – but there’s an alternative… Five copies are being given away for free as part of Gabi Daniels’ Paranormal Week! You can win your very own copy!

I also want to encourage you to go ahead and use one of these images on your blog post, promotion, review or what so ever about Running Home! The good people that made their photos Common Creative-material are awesome and it would be right for me to share them too. The only thing I ask is that you don’t further alter it and if you would be as kind as to refer to Gabi Daniels’ blog somewhere in your blog/Facebook post or Tweet.

So, in conclusion, I hope you will join Gabi’s Paranormal Week Giveaway ASAP and that you will read Running Home before it becomes the best seller it is destined to be! Why? Because you want to be able to say: “Oh, Running Home? I read it before everyone else. I even spoke to Julie Hutchings once… She’s nice, for a Bostonian of course.”

The Zombie Project lives on!

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This is Jessie Devine’s follow up to my opening story of The Zombie Project! It’s really wonderful to see my characters return and live a life “outside of me”! Well done Jessie and I look forward to next editions!

Read here: #2. Someone Knows Something by Jessie Devine….

Back from the Dead – Part Two.

Oh, look! He kept his word! Part two!
Right, so… What happened? First I was here – writing like crazy and then suddenly it went quiet… …I had reasons.

It was not too long ago that I was receiving “some” (not much) government support because, like approx. 8+% of the nation, I could not find a job. I was either overqualified (usually) or didn’t have enough specific job experience. So no matter what way I turned they weren’t giving me a job! So I had to apply for support and I was given just enough to make it through each month.
So far so good, because lets face it – I could be in a cardboard box out on the street!
My job councilor was a pretty okay guy, he had a tendency of repeating himself a little often, but he was generally mild mannered and considerate to arguments and questions I had. But not everyone was…

…Scared yet? Excellent. One day a letter dropped into the mail slide of the door – I thought it was one of the regular letters that informs you of whatever subject it is that social services feels necessary or perhaps it would be a request for a regular specification of my bills. In this case it was a hand-signed, personally delivered note from a “fraud team” demanding I would show face the next day, bring all personal documents and bills and be interviewed. Now, I had done nothing wrong – this much I knew – but apparently they were not convinced. So, slightly weak in the knees, I faced my impending doom and went over to their office the next morning.
I was met by a stern looking and acting gentleman, after we shook hands he took me to what can only be described as an interrogation room – complete with protective glass wall – and sat me down on one side. He explained to me that “technically” this was just a regular check for fraud but he did have some questions for me. Gulp.

I was asked over forty questions – Did I play any sports? No. Did I club, party, smoke or do drugs? Nope. Was I in a committed relationship with anyone? Neither.
Then came the bills – I had to clarify each and every expense that surpassed about fifty Euros. Properly.
Next I had to explain myself why I had “multiple” internet identities – why did I use the name Bobby if my birth name was Marnix? I politely explained that my second name is (occasionally) shortened to Bobby and that my mom – and a number of others – have called me Bobby since I was just a few years old. Last but not least, since I was trying to build a career as a writer, it was pretty smart to use a different name so not everybody could find me instantly and always. Aha! So I was making money! …No… I was “trying” to build a career – with some success – but not making any money out of it. At least certainly not while receiving support.
As such I also showed my website and explained how I had delayed my self-publishing efforts to avoid any suspicions of fraud or otherwise.

As the interview continued the inspector, who even identified himself with a special badge and pass, gradually warmed up. I had plausible, valid explanations for everything, I was cooperative and polite. As we neared the end of our interview/investigation he suddenly said: “Oh… So I guess you just live really carefully then?” To which I simply replied: “Of course!”.
I was then asked to sign the document, under oath I may add, which I politely did. To my surprise the investigator smiled at me, seemingly more relieved than I was, and said he was pleasantly surprised that I was not involved with fraud. He had thought otherwise. Oh and then he wished me good luck with my writing career and finishing my third book! I thought that was kind of sympathetic.

Needless to say I was very relieved – a few days later I met with my regular job councilor who was understanding to my stress-level of the interview but informed me that, unfortunately, I was going to have “speed things up” or I would be put to work instead of being allowed to find a job of my choosing. I may add that I had been working hard, very hard, to find a job. In the six or so months I was given support I must have gathered over a hundred job applications – all turned down.
If I was going to be put to work I would be forced to take whatever job would come my way – usually heavy cleaning (medical waste) or something like being a “street guard”; the latter being usually young men on bicycles doing policing work without being police and often ending up being battered, stabbed or otherwise victimized by the local, colored characters. Not exactly what I was hoping for, certainly not just after being interrogated on fraud-suspicions. So I set to work and, with the help of a contact person at a job agency, managed to find a job after weeks of looking. Frantically.

So… …Here we are, weeks later, I’ve got a job now and I’m going through intense training. It’s been pretty tough the past period of time but I’m back now. I have forgotten none of you and missed all of you. I’ll still be pretty busy for a little over a week or so, after that I’ll (if everything goes according to plan) have enough time for a complete comeback. I look forward to that. I’ve missed this.

I hope this story didn’t bore your brains out and that you understand where I’ve been. I was busy trying to get my life back on track, it’s been tough but I think I’m getting there. Now just for that one dream to come true completely. Hopefully I’ll make it there with the help of you, my author friends and readers, as well as my creative, disturbing mind. I’ve already started off with The Zombie Project (#TheZombieProject) and I hope you’ve read it and enjoyed it, I certainly did writing it. I’m back. I’m home.

Thank you for reading.

– Bobby