Monthly Archives: November 2013

Free for Black Friday!!

Please check out my author page today to see a complete list of my books. And ALL of them are FREE today!

http://www.amazon.com/Jessica-MacIntyre/e/B00CNF4LSM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

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Brotherhood of Man (Chapter One – Teaser)

A while back I made a post about a book I had just finished called, Brotherhood of Man. I’ve been working on the rewrite between other things. It’s coming together slowly. Here is a teaser! 

Copyright 2013 Jessica MacIntyre

 

Chapter One

 

            Making his way through the crowded outdoor market on a Saturday afternoon was not Charlie Gower’s idea of fun.  In the crush of families with strollers, couples holding hands and people with full baskets meandering along at a leisurely pace, Charlie could not have felt more alone.  Lowering his head he shoved his pockets into the front of his jacket and scowled. No one noticed.

            Without speaking a word he moved as quickly as he could through the herd of bodies and noise until he found the stand he was looking for. The old man selling peaches was bagging some up for another customer and without looking Charlie in the face said, “I’ll be with you in a moment.” 

            Standing and waiting to be served on any other day would have been a non-issue. On any other day he would have been happy to people watch, perhaps scope out a pretty girl or two, be served at the old man’s leisure and be on his way. Not today. Today was different. There was somewhere he had to be, and soon.  He questioned if stopping for two peaches would really be the best use of his time but had decided he wouldn’t, he couldn’t, show up without them. It just wouldn’t be right. Today this little purchase was as precious as gold. 

            When the old man’s attention finally turned to Charlie his eyes lit up and he smiled wide. “Hey buddy, haven’t seen you in a long time. What can I get you?”

            “I’ll take the two best peaches you have,” he said. “The biggest and juiciest.”

            “You got it.”  The old man ran his fingers just atop where the peaches were laid out and very carefully selected the two most beautiful he could find.  He put them in a brown paper bag and handed them over.  “That’ll be four dollars.”

            “For two peaches? Wow.”

            “Yeah, the food shortage is starting to drive things up.”  Charlie nodded in agreement, feeling the disgust that was settling into the pit of his stomach. “Say,” the old man said as Charlie handed over a five dollar bill, the last to his name. “You still working over at the factory?”

            Charlie’s hands grew cold even as the hot July sun beat down. “Yeah.”

            “Good for you son. You don’t want to be a non-contributor. Not these days.”

            Again the gnawing disgust burrowed down into his gut, putting its feet up on the good furniture without taking off its shoes.  Lighting up a cigar and stinking up the place. “You got that right,” he said.

            Charlie certainly didn’t want to let it be known to anyone that he hadn’t worked in almost a year. If he did he might be in a position soon where someone he loved would be buying peaches for him, and he wasn’t ready for that, not just yet.

            Thanking the old man he turned and began to make his way out of the market. Every moment spent in this place was one less he’d get to spend it where he really wanted to be today.  He wanted to break into a run, but in a crowded place like this it was impossible. They’d either think he’d stolen something or was running from someone, and that would only create a mess that would slow him down. 

            Maintaining as much self-control as he could he steadily, but quickly, made time. He was almost at the exit of the market when something caught his eye. A man, perhaps in his late seventies was being spoken to by two men in suits.  The old man was all hunched over, so much so that it looked like he was bending over at the waist to pick something up. The obvious spinal problem coupled with his age made him a prime target for the suits.

            “Fucking vultures,” Charlie whispered to himself under his breath.  The old man waved them off and kept walking as if they didn’t exist. One tried to stop him handing him a pamphlet but the old man simply waved his hand again, this time knocking the pamphlet to the ground as he shuffled away. Laughing to himself Charlie continued on, out of the market and into the street.

            “You tell ‘em old man,” he said under his breath. “Tell them to go fuck themselves.”

            The mid afternoon heat was strong and Charlie could feel it beating down on him through his thick leather jacket. He had bought it for himself at a time when he could afford such a luxury. Back when he had a job. It looked expensive and he found that when he wore it no one questioned him as to whether or not he was a contributor. Surely anyone who wore a jacket like that made a decent living. That was the impression he tried hard to give each and every day since he’d been let go, and it was working. The suits hadn’t stopped him in the street once and even his family had no reason to believe he was no longer among the ranks of the employed.  Looking the part helped immensely. That, and finding some place to be between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:45 pm.

            He haunted coffee shops, bookstores and the odd museum. Money was scarce but he usually managed to get a few dollars from selling one of his paintings or doing the odd job with his friend Joey’s moving company.  Joey would call, sometimes apologetically, and ask if he was free to help him out. Somebody had been hurt or called in sick and he needed an extra pair of hands. Charlie in turn would act slightly inconvenienced and agree to do it in a mildly begrudging way. He figured Joey had put two and two together some time ago, but Joey being the friend he was just didn’t have the heart to come out and say it.

            As he made his way up the six flights of stairs to his uncle’s apartment the jacket finally became too much and he peeled it off, throwing it over his arm. He was sure, today of all days, that Uncle Raymond had bigger things on his mind than whether or not Charlie could afford an expensive jacket. Approaching the door of the small apartment he knocked once, just as a courtesy, and then let himself in as per the routine.

            “I’m here,” he said.  There was no response right away and so Charlie threw his jacket over a kitchen chair and made his way into the living room. There he found him, staring absent mindedly at an unfinished painting. “Uncle Raymond?”

            Finally realizing he wasn’t alone Raymond turned and gave his nephew a wide but sad smile. “Hi,” he said, “I was just trying to figure out what to do with this one. I had hoped to finish it, but that was before I…”

            Charlie didn’t want to hear the rest of that sentence and so simply retuned his smile and held out the bag.  Raymond’s eyes lit up as he spotted what was in Charlie’s hands. “What’s this?”

            “For you. I know they’re your favorite.”  Raymond took the bag from Charlie like he was being handed something as precious as a newborn baby.

            “Thank you,” he said, his voice breaking slightly as the words came out. “Let’s sit and have them.” He gestured to the floor where a large drop cloth had been placed and both men sat down face to face in front of the unfinished canvas.

            “No, they’re both for you.”

            “Nonsense. A peach is only as sweet as the person you share it with.”

            A spark of remembrance lit up Charlie’s brain. “You used to say that to me when I was a kid.”

            “Yes, and it’s as true today as it was then. You know, your father and I used to go to that market when your mother was pregnant with you. We’d go to get whatever she was craving for, but we’d always end up buying and eating these damn peaches on the way home.”  Raymond swallowed hard as he took a peach out of the bag, handing it to Charlie.

            “He’d be proud of you, you know. You’re a good man, Charlie. You pull your weight and ask for nothing. Not like your uncle.”

            “Don’t say that,” Charlie said fingering the peach, it’s warm and fuzzy peeling soft against his palm. “Look at all of this,” Charlie said pointing to all of the finished paintings leaning against practically every wall. Just looking at them made him feel alive. The vibrant use of color, the clean and precise strokes. They were the mark of an experienced artist. They contained a quality that Charlie’s own paintings had yet to achieve. He thought if he could be even one tenth of the artist his uncle was it would be an incredible accomplishment.

            “How can all of this not be a contribution of some kind?”

            “Don’t fool yourself son, it’s nothing. Nothing more than an old fool playing with colors the way a five year old plays with crayons. You should burn them or throw them out tomorrow.”

            Charlie stared at the floor, unable to look up as his view of the peach in his hand began to blur. “That’s the dumbest fucking thing I’ve ever heard. I’m keeping them. They’re beautiful, and every time I look at them I’ll think of you.”

            Raymond reached over placing a comforting hand on Charlie’s shoulder. “It’s ok Charlie, I’ve made peace with it.”

            “But I haven’t.” The disgust that had settled into the pit of his stomach earlier was now rotting away into anger. “Please, change your mind…I need you.”

            “You needed me after your father died, I’ll grant you that. But that was years ago, and you’re a grown man now Charlie. I’ve outlived my usefulness. I’m not one of the ones that matter. There are others.”

            “You matter to me.”  The words hung in the air for a few moments between the men until Raymond finally had to courage to softly break the silence.

            “I know,” he said, “but mattering to one person, Charlie, it just isn’t enough.” 

            Through tear filled eyes now he looked at his uncle. The man he had admired, looked to and emulated. It was hard to believe that by this time tomorrow he’d be gone. “I don’t know what I’ll do without you. Who will I talk to?”

            “You know what your problem is Charlie?  You need a woman. You find yourself a pretty girl, a smart girl, a sweet girl, and you’ll talk to her.”

            “I haven’t had much luck with that,” he said, remembering the string of failed relationships. He hadn’t been great at talking to women when he had a job, let alone now that he was a non-contributor.

            “Hey, you know what?  The rent on this place is paid for the next three months. You should stay here. Get out of your mother’s house for a while. Find yourself a lady and bring her back here,” he said winking at him.

            Charlie laughed through the lump in his throat. “I don’t know.”

            “Even if you don’t find yourself a wife, you should at least try to get laid. Trust me, I’ve had many a gal up here.”

           The middle aged, balding, geeky artist didn’t seem like much of a ladies man on first glance.  “You have?”

“Trust me, chicks dig a painter, contributor or not.”

“Well tonight that’s what we’ll talk about. If you’ve got those kinds of tricks up your sleeve you’ve been holding out on important advice. Better spill it while you still can, this is the stuff I really need.”

“Oh I could tell you some stories my boy.”

“So tell me.”

“Patience,” he said. “First, shut up and eat your peach.”

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To Unfriend or not to Unfriend. That is the Facebook Question

As with most writers these days, especially the indies, I have a presence on Facebook. In fact a lot of people in general have a presence on Facebook, never mind being a writer.  Facebook has become an online community square, where we see both the best and worst of people in our newsfeeds from day to day. I have over three hundred friends over there now, along with almost two thousand followers on my respective fan pages, and quite frankly, I really do enjoy it. At its best I get to know certain people in a way I probably never would have in real life. You can tell a lot about someone by the things they post and while I don’t agree with all of it, I let most of it slide by, and for the most part people are pretty decent.

I really only have a few rules that I follow for my usage there. For instance I have no tolerance for homophobia or racism. If you and I are friends and I see you share something cruel about gay people, we will no longer be friends. I won’t say anything to you about it, I won’t make a big fuss over it, I will simply hover my mouse over the spot that says, ‘unfriend’ and click it. We don’t need to talk anymore. In this day and age if you don’t have enough scruples to educate yourself on the subject we probably aren’t going to get along. I have followed this rule for years and have only used it a few times but when I did I didn’t even stop to think about it. Within seconds that person was off my newsfeed.

The same went for a friend I had who made a comment about rape victims, stating: “If someone rapes you and you don’t report them you are fucking stupid.”  I didn’t say anything, I didn’t make a fuss, I simply hit the unfriend button and his ass went away. (Side note: this person was always someone who was going on about how much he hated and distrusted the police. Yet he was berating women for not going to them at the most vulnerable time in their life. Interesting huh?)

But something disturbing happened a couple of weeks ago though that made me question my unfriend rule. One of my friends was made a cruel remark about fat people. Apparently this person had the misfortune of sitting next to someone on the bus who was quite large and they were uncomfortable. Hey, no worries there. I can understand the frustration, I really can. But the kicker was that they then went on to call this person, who was a stranger to them, a ‘fat piece of shit’.  The entire status was a tirade of insults.

I have to tell you, as a large person, I was angry. I let them know I was angry too and the person couldn’t understand why I’d take it personally. After all, “I never said anything about you directly.”  If they had insulted gay people I don’t think they’d question why one of their gay friends would be insulted, but for some reason since these comments weren’t stated about me personally I was supposed to not take offense. Anyway things got out of hand really fast and it happened that they told me if I didn’t like their status I could not look at it, and I decided that they were right. And not wanting to risk the chance of seeing another hurtful status I then, on the spur of the moment, unfriended them.

I’m not sure if I was just following my ‘policy’ or if I just did it out of anger, but it didn’t feel good. Normally when someone says or does something stupid I can let them go (I let one go a couple of weeks ago that I did NOT feel bad about at all. And by let go I mean they unfriended me because I made a statement against violence. Buh-bye!) and not worry or think about them. But this one…this hurt. I cried.

This was somebody I have only known through the internet, but I knew them for a good ten years and in that time I got to consider them to be a pretty good friend. When I saw the status it shocked me. It was cruel beyond what was necessary, but granted, they may have just been venting. I’m not sure if I over reacted, or if they over reacted or if we both did.

What I do know is that a ten year friendship ended…and it didn’t feel good. It still doesn’t feel good and I don’t think it ever will. I’m not sure if I was right or wrong for doing it, but it’s done.

So while Facebook, and the internet in general, can be a great place to socialize and share ideas, it can also show you things about people that you don’t like…and then you have to decide how to react to that.

How about you guys? Have you ever unfriended someone for something they posted? Would you do it again? Leave a comment if you have.

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JADE

Happy middle of the night to you! It’s 2:40 a.m. and here I sit, after just having finished another book. Therefore, it’s time for a blog post about me finishing a book. Are you sick of these yet? I’m doing it anyway.

This most recent book is a novella and will be part of, The Vampires of Soldiers Cove series. It’s book 3.5 if you will.  So here is the order of books that are either available right now or will be in the New Year. The series is as follows.

 

The Vampires of Soldiers Cove

Book 1: The Vampires of Soldiers Cove                                           (Currently available)

Book 2: The Vampires of Soldiers Cove: One Crow Sorrow            (Currently available)

Book 3: The Vampires of Soldiers Cove: The Unborn                      (To be released April/May 2014)

Book 3.5: The Vampires of Soldiers Cove: Jade                              (To be released July/August 2014)

Book 4:     The Vampires of Soldiers Cove: Drown                           (To be released Nov/Dec 2014)

 

The title is subject to change on that last one. Now I am leaving first draft mode. Since August I have written three first drafts. Brotherhood of Man, The Devil and the Dirt Road, and now Jade.  It’s time for me to flip into rewrite mode. I haven’t been there in a while, but the rewrite of, The Unborn is up next on my to do list. I enjoy writing first drafts because for me, it’s all about the wild creativity in that mode. You just unleash and go. Now I’ll have to be a little more focused, but that’s ok. Rewriting is good too. I enjoy making things bigger, better, clearer.

So I bid you all goodnight for now. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter expect to see lots of status updates about Starbucks in the next little while. If you don’t, but want to, please click the ‘about’ section at the top. You’ll find links to all of that there, as well as the buy links for the books that are currently available.

Thanks once again for your continued support. It seems every day I get a message from someone new who has read and enjoyed the books and I appreciate each and every one of you. It’s been a hell of a ride so far, and with more to come. See you soon!

 

 

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Guest Post with Jessica MacIntyre!

Check out my guest post on Vampy’s Ramblings. 😀

Guest Post with Jessica MacIntyre!.

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The Devil and the Dirt Road

If you’re a writer at all you probably know what the month of November is. It’s NaNoWriMo, which stands for, National Novel Writing Month. If you don’t know what it is go check it out. Basically what happens is writers all over the world commit to writing a novel of at least 50,000 words. This year I decided I would participate. I was so scared I wouldn’t make it that I just started writing and didn’t stop. I finished in eleven days!

It’s amazing what the pressure of a deadline will do for some people and although I’ve never thought of myself as one of them, I may have to begrudgingly admit that I am. One thing I’ve learned about myself in the last eleven days is that I think I may be slacking in my writing the rest of the time. I can push a little harder if I need to. Although there were days during this that I wrote at breakneck (for me anyway) speed. My personal best before this was 5,000 words in a day. During NaNo I first got around 7,000 in one day, and the very next day I turned around and wrote over 9,000!

How good is a book that was written in such a short period of time you ask? Probably not great, but guess what? All first drafts, whether they took eleven days or eleven years to write are usually pretty stinky. I know I never let anyone read my first draft of anything, because as Hemmingway so famously said, “The first draft of anything is always shit.”

Here is something I will let you read though and that’s the brief little blurb that may one day grace the back of a book, if I’m very lucky and work very hard. It’s subject to change but for now, here is your first little peek at, “The Devil and the Dirt Road.”  And for all you Cape Bretoners out there, the ‘dirt road’ refers to Oban. Here it is:

“When Lucy Morgan, a small town newspaper reporter living in Oban Cape Breton, is given the assignment to interview a dying woman who served life in prison for the murder of her son, she believes it may be the springboard to a bigger, better job. Soon the story Alice Sutherland reveals on her deathbed disturbs her so deeply that Lucy’s own life is thrown into chaos. Alice has never denied the murder itself, but when she finally reveals the reason for it Lucy is left reeling. Soon a similar string of events begins to unfold in Lucy’s life and the only way to stop it may be to walk the same road as Alice.” 

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Thinking about rating your own book? You might want to think again!

Hey everyone! So like any writer, especially the indie ones, I like to skulk about on Goodreads. Not just checking to see my own reviews but looking at different books friends have added to their TBR lists to see if there’s anything that might tickle my fancy. Like most writers I’m a huge book fan and as such I’m always on the hunt for something good.

I’ve noticed what I consider to be a disturbing trend among the indies, and also the writers from smaller publishing houses which I want to talk about here today. I may get some flack about this from my fellow indies and please know that I don’t mean to offend anyone. I’m a proud indie but what I see happening, I personally believe is something that is not helping our reputation.

What is it? We’re rating our own books! Every time I see this I cringe. We don’t need to be doing this at all. It’s bad for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is how it looks.  Do you see Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, or Anne Rice on Goodreads rating their own work? You don’t and with good reason. It’s not because they’re rich and famous, it’s because they know how it would look, and that’s amateurish. “But I am an amateur,” you say. “I’m an indie writer.” No! Amateur or pro has nothing to do with if you’re with a publishing house or not. Don’t believe me? Go read, “Turning Pro” by Stephen Pressfield. He outlines everything a pro writer does that an amateur doesn’t and none of it has anything to do with fame or money. Those things don’t make you a pro. It’s your attitude. It’s your work ethic, and it’s largely your ability to take one on the chin from strangers who aren’t going to like you.

Over the summer another writer asked on her author page whether or not she should rate her own book. The comments were many, and varied. A large number of people said no and an equally large number of people said yes. The reason most of the writers in the yes camp gave for doing it was that they, ‘wanted to show how much the book meant to them’ or they ‘had something they wanted people to know about the story.’

There’s an old saying in comedy and that is, “If you have to explain a joke, it isn’t funny.”  I’d take this and apply it to your book. If you have to give a big long tome about the book to preface it before people read it perhaps you need to look at your book again. Your readers should be able to pick up the message you are trying to convey in your book….BY READING YOUR BOOK!

If you do have something to say about your book there are many other avenues you can take without giving yourself five stars in the process. A blog is a great communication tool. When, The Vampires of Soldiers Cove came out I wrote a blog post about why I wrote it and why the book is, to me at least, more than a vampire book. It’s supplemental and people can read that blog post or not. It in no way contains any information you ‘have’ to know before reading it. You can simply pick up the book and have at it with no knowledge of who I am or what I’m all about. In fact it really shouldn’t matter who I am or what I’m all about. The only thing that matters is the reader’s experience while reading it and my own personal experience while writing it.

Rating your own book makes you look, in my opinion, either arrogant (I’m such a great writer I’m giving myself five stars!) or insecure (I’m so afraid nobody will give me five stars I better give them to myself.)

Right now The Vampires of Soldiers Cove is sitting at 3.96 stars on Goodreads. Would I like it to be at least over four? Yes, and if I rated it I might even be able to bump it up there, but 3.96 is pretty standard (go look at Anne Rice’s books. Some of them don’t even rate that high) and it is what it is. I look at the standings but largely, I’m on to the next thing. I’m writing other books that need my attention.

If you are a new writer and you’re saying to yourself, “I wonder if I should rate my own book. Other indies are doing it. What’s the harm?” Trust me, it’s harmful. If I am looking at books to read and see that the writer has given themselves five stars I am much less likely to take you seriously as a writer, in fact, I may even skip your book all together. If you don’t have the confidence in your work to let it stand or fall on your own, how can I have confidence in reading it?

I know there are varying view points on rating your own book and this is just mine. But I would encourage you to think long and hard about doing it. You’ve worked so hard on your book, don’t negate it by possibly making yourself look amateurish right out of the gate. I feel that’s what it does.

Just my two cents of course.

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