Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Priorities

Allan Leverone writes great books and sells a bunch of them. This morning I was convinced that he writes great posts too.

We became writing friends earlier this year when Blood on Blood came out and he graciously interviewed me on his blog - and then even more graciously left it up for a long, long time. I mean like forever, to the point where his readers were probably sick of it being up. He's that kind of supportive guy.

Please follow this link to his blog, http://allanleverone.blogspot.com/ read his top post about bravery, true bravery, and then do something you'll honestly feel good about today. Give Allan a comment so he knows he's reaching people about this.  

Thanks, JW

Friday, October 19, 2012

Blood on Blood Audio Book on the Horizon!

You heard me. The Sawyer brothers are going audio!

Jim and I are in the process of reviewing auditions for the narrator, after which production will start.

Can't say for sure, but maybe in time for Christmas, Blood on Blood will be available as an audio book. You'll be able to pick it up at audible.com, iTunes or on Amazon!

Meanwhile, enjoy that preview of chapter 15, which features Jerzy Sawyer.

If you liked Blood on Blood...

...you might like Frank's new Stefan Kopriva mystery novel, Lovely, Dark, and Deep. You can head over to his website and read the first 50 pages for free. This book is available on Amazon as a Kindle for $2.99. 

What's this one about? Well, it is the second Kopriva novel, and the description goes like this: A city councilman is dead of an apparent suicide. Ex-cop Stefan Kopriva finds himself drawn into the case, serving an unlikely client. Once involved, he discovers that things are not as they seem.

Kopriva is quickly embroiled in dirty city politics. Along the way, he encounters pimps, prostitutes, gangsters, contractors, and the police as he tries to get to the bottom of what happened, and why. That is an outcome hardly anyone wants and so Kopriva must risk his own freedom and his very life to find the answers, no matter how deep the corruption goes.

Give it a try!

And remember, Blood on Blood is on Amazon, too, as well as everywhere else ebooks are sold, and there's a paperback version available, too.

One More Chapter Review


 A Friday Special. I decided to one more chapter review. Not sure this is helping persuade anyone to buy Blood On Blood but hey it can't hurt.

 

Hope you like it.                       

 

 

                              

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Another Chapter Preview



As promised, here is another chapter, featuring Mick, the other Sawyer brother. Give us a shot if you haven't read Blood On Blood yet. 






                                                  EIGHT


 


                                                  Mick


 

I’ve never been to prison.

Jail, sure. In the year and a half I spent on the job, I booked my share of suspects. And I saw the inside of a jail cell for a few weeks on that shit Harris and the Sarge pulled. But prison is a different matter. Or so I hear.

They checked me through with all the efficiency you might expect. Slow and steady. Lots of waiting. And repeating myself. And showing identification. And being searched.

All the while, the guards kept a professional detachment, coupled with a hint of arrogance. There was a time when this would have pissed me off, maybe even pushed me over the edge, but today I didn’t even say a word. All I could remember was wearing the badge myself and talking about how these guys were just wannabe cops who couldn’t make the varsity team.

So maybe I deserved it, yeah?

That’s what I thought for a little while. But after over an hour, I started feeling a little bit like I imagined the cons must feel every day. Something along the lines of “You know what? Fuck these guys.”

So when some guy named Hebert with a thick French Canadian accent asked me for the fifth time who I was there to see, I’d had enough.

“Gar fucking Sawyer,” I snapped and pointed at the paperwork in front of him. “Or can’t you read English?”

Hebert gave me a look that said he routinely scraped things off the bottom of his shoe that rated higher in his book than I did. I radiated back that he rated even lower than that with me.

“You want to watch dat attitude,” he said. “Dere is a process.” He pronounced it pro-sess.

“Your pro-sess is for shit. I’ve answered the same questions half a dozen times.”

“Dis is a prison, Meester Sawyer.” He scowled at me meaningfully.

“No shit. I thought it was the deli.”

His scowl deepened.

I wasn’t finished. “You do know the point is to keep people in these places, right? Not keep them out.”

He blinked at me, as if to say how he’s heard that one a hundred times this week. Then he turned his attention back to the paperwork I’d handed him. “Your prisoner, he is in da hospital wing.”

“I know.”

He slid the papers back under the glass window toward me. “Follow da blue line. Dey will help you dere.”

I thought about asking why in the hell the last guy had sent me to Fran├žois here in the first place, but could see that he didn’t care one way or the other. For all I knew, the guy at the other end of the blue line would send me right back here. I was there to visit a convict, so they figured jerking me around was just par for the course.

Besides, what the hell was I doing? I wasn’t pissed at Hebert. Much. I was mostly pissed at the fact I was even standing in a fucking prison in the first place. To see the old man.

Still, the whole pro-sess got my Irish up.

“Thanks a lot,” I said. “And say hi to Kermit, you fucking frog.”

Hebert’s eyes flashed in anger. His jaw clenched and set, but he said nothing. Frankly, I was surprised he showed me even that much. Must be a rookie.

“Just follow da blue line,” he said.

I turned and left.

 

The hospital wing was clean and well lit. The smell of antiseptic cleaners overwhelmed something a little more rotten. It was like when you try to scrub cat piss out of a rug. It just won’t leave entirely, so you end up burning a candle instead. Or you get used to the stench. But either way, it’s still there.

Doctor Bradford wasn’t around, but a male nurse led me to the bay where the old man was sleeping. The large room held at least eight beds, separated by privacy sheets. A couple of the patients lay still and asleep. One, a bald man in his fifties hooked up to a dialysis machine, gave me a lascivious look and flickered his tongue at me.

“Hey, I get out soon, sweetie,” he cooed. “We could have a good time then.”

I ignored him.

“Keep it down, Sal,” the nurse said without turning toward him.

“Nice ass,” Sal whispered as I walked past.

We reached a drawn sheet in the corner of the room. The nurse slid it aside and it held it open for me.

I hesitated, then realized that the time for hesitating had passed. I stepped through into my father’s bed area. The nurse followed.

You think you’re prepared for something like this, but you never are. I figured seeing him again would be hard, whether that meant I got so pissed that I pummeled him or maybe broke down and bawled like a kid when he finds out Santa Claus is a racket. And I was right. It sucked the air out of my chest for a long ten seconds while I stared at him. I wasn’t sure what to call the emotion that was rushing in, but I could feel its intensity, whatever it was.

There was something else, though, too. I was somewhat prepared to see him, but I had no idea he’d look this bad. He’d lost forty or fifty pounds since I saw him last. Maybe sixty. And though he was a large man, it had been all height and wiry muscle. Maybe a thin layer of fat during those times he was working a legitimate job and wasn’t on the run and up all hours.

His ashen skin stretched across the bones of his face. Wisps of hair on his chin were all that remained from the thick goatee he used to wear. The hair on his head had turned white. It looked thin and brittle. His sunken eyes glared out at me with barely concealed hatred.

“My eldest,” he rasped to the nurse. He waved a gnarled, bony finger toward me. “Not much to look at, is he?”

The nurse checked his IV drip. “He’s here to see you in your last hours,” he said. “You should be glad for that. Some of our terminal patients die alone.”

The old man coughed into his hands, but shook his head at the nurse’s comment.

I stood, silent and waiting.

The nurse finished checking things, turned and walked away, leaving us alone. We stared at each other without a word. His eyes burned with that old, intense anger that I remembered as a kid, but it had a frailty to it. Like an old broken down snake that could no longer strike out, but if you came close enough, there was still poison aplenty in those fangs.

I took a seat in a hard back chair near the foot of the bed. He watched me, but I made no move to slide closer to him.

“Why’d you call?” I asked finally. “I mean, if all you wanted to do was insult me, you could have sent a card.” I let a sarcastic smile play out on my lips. “Oh, that’s right. You don’t send cards or letters, do you?”

He smiled humorlessly but said nothing.

“It’s probably better in person, though,” I said. “Right? Dad?

He let out a small phlegm-filled cough, then wiped something away with the back of his hand. “Still the drama princess, ain’t ya, Michelle?”

I shook my head at him. “What do you want from me?”

He wiped the back of his hand on the sheet. I saw a trace of pink in the smear he left there.

“You shouldn’t have gone with the cops,” he said. “That was a mistake.”

“Really? Well, maybe if you’d been around to guide me instead of doing time in Wisconsin, I would’ve made the right choice where that was concerned.”

“I figure you’d have the sense to know better.”

“Apparently not.”

“Didn’t go so well for ya, though, did it?”

I shook my head. “Not so great, no.”

“What happened?”

“I’m sure you get the papers in here. You know what happened.”

“Newspapers are full of shit. Besides, I want to hear it from you.”

I brushed some lint from my jeans. “What does it matter? It didn’t fit me, all right?”

He stared at me like he was trying to stare through me. I held his gaze and kept my expression hard and blank.

Truth is, being a cop had fit me some. Maybe if I grew up in the sixties or seventies, it’d been a perfect fit. Especially in Chicago. But not these days. Not anymore. I couldn’t let him see that, though. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want him to know that a piece of me loved wearing the uniform or that another piece of me could never play by those rules. I just didn’t want to give the old bastard the satisfaction of knowing me any better.

“Didn’t fit, huh?”

“No.”

“Good gig, though. Lots of tail?”

I shrugged. “Some girls like bad boys. Some like a uniform.”

He chuckled, a rumbling sound in his throat. “Yeah, there’s always that.”

“Is that what you called me out here for? Some belated fatherly career guidance?”

“Hell, no. You’ll find your own way, just like I found mine.”

I raised my eyebrows sarcastically, but didn’t comment.

He noticed my expression. “You got anything going, mister big shot?”

I shrugged. “Just working.”

“Working what?”

“A grill.”

He smiled, then lifted his own eyebrows mockingly. “Sounds promising.”

“It’s honest work.”

“Honest work never pays big,” he said.

“Yeah, but it doesn’t come with the possibility of seven to ten, either.”

“You work a job like that, you’re doing time. It’s just another kind of time.”

I was getting tired of Gar Sawyer Philosophy 101. “What do you want from me?” I asked him again.

“Doc told you, didn’t he?” he grunted. “I want to say goodbye. And leave you something.”

“Leave me what?”

He shook his head again. “Not until your brother is here.”

“Jerzy? He’s coming here?”

“Yep.”

“When?”

The old man shrugged. “Could be any minute. Could be whenever.”

Figures. He’ll come in his own time, whatever that is. Jerzy is the old man all over again. Maybe worse. I’ve done bad things in my life. Probably do them again if the opportunity were right. Why the fuck not? Nothing comes to you in this life but what you take, at least in my experience.

But Jerzy? He’s just plain bad. Not even for the sake of being bad. He just is.

“I can’t wait around forever,” I told him.

“You came,” the old man rasped. “Which means you’ll stay.”

I wanted to say no, but I saw that small cross leaning against a cold marble urn, and I knew he was right.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “It won’t be long. One way or the other, it won’t be long.”


 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sneak Peek



For those of you who may have thought about giving Blood On Blood a try but haven't yet, I have posted below a random chapter as a way to give a little trial to the book. Hopefully you'll like what you read and give us a try. I'll do one more chapter in a day or so that features the other main character, Mick.

Now, one of the Sawyer brothers. Jerzy.







THREE

Jerzy

 

 

The parking garage is full, but I park in a nice big handicapped spot. In the glove compartment is my old wheelchair card and I string it on the rearview mirror. Stole it years ago out of some old hag’s Caddy and it still comes in handy.

Tonight, as with most nights, the Ambrozy Club on the corner of Division and Milwaukee is hopping. I can hear the out-of-date music, or maybe it’s that stupid techno Euro-trash, thumping from here. An old style Chicago lounge to its very roots and the patronage is as Polish as Krakow.

Crossing the street, I pat my leather coat in a couple of spots just to make sure I got everything. Fishing out a cigarette, I light up and start walking down to the far corner of the block. Against the wind.

Motherfuck, it’s cold tonight.

This is a place where I used to do some business from time to time and I have an unpaid bill to collect from someone here. I just got released from Joliet a month ago and now it’s time to make the rounds. Finish up some old deals and start some new ones. I gotta make some appearances. Outta sight, outta mind, right? I always want to be on people’s minds. For almost everybody, I want to be their worst nightmare.

So watch the fuck out world, ‘cause Jerzy is back in town.

Finally, I reach the alcove and walk through the front door into a dark foyer. Place hasn’t changed a bit. There’s the old fashioned coat rack on my left. Same low ceiling and long narrow bar.

There isn’t an open seat in the place and hardly anywhere to even wedge in at the bar. Its standing room only, baby, and I can feel the electricity. Hell, I can smell it. Music, smoke, women and booze await me. Speakin’ of women, after business gets done, that wouldn’t be all bad tonight, either.

One problem, though, and now it’s standing right in front of me. When I came in, a big bastard who had been perched on a stool over to the far right stood up like he’d been shot out of a damn cannon. Big tanks that lumber you can handle, but the ones that move like a big cat are usually trouble.

I look him up and down.

“Who the fuck are you s’posed to be? You gonna check my I.D. for being underage or sumthin?” I asked him, and I bowed up a little and shifted over to my left. Just a little bit. If I’m in too tight I can’t throw that first shot very well.

“You a member?” he asked. “Can’t come in here anymore if you’re not. Private club.”

“No shit?” I ask him, all wide eyed.

“No shit.”

“Ambrozy still own this place?”

The guy just stares at me, chewing on that.

So, here we are then. I stare at him some more. Music pumps around us and the multicolored, revolving lights play around the room and across us. A girl screams over in the far corner, says something in Polish and then laughs hysterically.

The big guy smiles at me now, showing a gap where an incisor should be. Nice little scar running from his chin to almost his ear too. So somebody has snuck one or two in. It ain’t impossible, anyway.

That makes me grin.

“Yeah,” he says, “the old man still owns it and he pays me good to keep smartasses like you the fuck out.”

“If Ambrozy stills owns this place,” I smile again and give him a wink, “and you, then I’m a member you goofy bastard. Now step the fuck aside.”

He shook his head. “Last time, puke. Leave, or I’ll put you on the floor.”

I think on that for a quick second and get ready to hit him square in the throat. He is wide open to that. It can bring you down quick. Seen a guy killed that way one time. This fucker has a neck like a goddamn giraffe or something. Sure doesn’t fit the rest of his gorilla-ass body. Never seen anything like it.

“Now!” the big man says and begins to move forward.

Behind him, I hear a voice yelling my name.

“Jerz! Hey Jerzy! What the hell? How you doin’, man?” It’s Patrik Dudek peeking around the shoulder of the big bouncer and waving me in. “Come on and let me buy me you a drink, ya prick. On the house.”

I spread my arms and look at him. “Patty, look at you with the white shirt and tie. Whatta you doin’, man? You the manager of this dump or somethin’?”

Patrik comes around the big guy and gives him the look. “Kos, is there some kinda problem here? Whatta you trying to do here?”

The big guy‘s smile is gone now and so is his posture. The air has gone out of him. In fact it’s rushed out of him.

“Kos, you got no sense. You got no history here, either. This is Jerzy. Jerzy Sawyer.” He gets into the big guy’s face even more. “Do you have any fucking idea who he is?”

The bouncer’s eyes get a little big with my name. “He didn’t tell me his name, boss.”

“D’ja ask him?”

“Sorry, boss.”

“This guy’s done some very good things for my family down through the years. He’s helped us. I grew up with him. My dad’d do anything for Jerzy.”

Everybody is staring at each other.

Finally, I say, “So look Patrik, c’mon, please don’t embarrass me or this guy.” I look at the big ape. “Kos? It’s Kos, right?”

“Yeah. And, well, I’m sorry, Mr. Sawyer.” I could tell he was only saying that for the benefit of Patrik but it helped put him in place a little more.

“Jesus, Kos, don’t call me mister. I ain’t that fuckin’ old.” I laugh and shake the guys paw. I’m giving him the best grip I got and clamp it on him. The guy looks down at my hand and his expression changes. He tries to tighten up on the shake but it’s too late. I smile some more at him.

Hey Patrik, he’s just tryin’ to do what you pay    him to do right? So, whaddya do? Bust his balls.”

I’m laughing it up now.

Patrik claps me on the shoulder. “All right, good. We’re all straight here. Jerzy, you’re damn right I’m the manager now. So let’s go. There’s a bottle of Belvedere in my office calling us.”

Patrik leads the way to the back. As we walk by Kos, I grab the big guy around the neck and fake a punch to his ribs. Playful like, all shits and grins. He grins back at me and then I tighten the grip around his neck and lean in. The music is really loud again now. I swear it’s the fuckin’ Bee Gees from Saturday Night Fever. The colored disco lights wash over us again.

I motion him and he gives me his ear.

“So anyway, just know this. I’m gonna hurt you. Like real soon.”

I give him one more real hard yank on the neck, smile my best smile and follow Patrik. I know he’s watching me walk away and I like that.

We weave through the crowd at the Ambrozy. The men move aside and a few nod at me. The women look at me and think what I’m thinking. I like that, too.
 
Hell, I like it all.

Monday, October 1, 2012

BOOM

 



The safety is off.

Tomorrow is a big day folks. Shotgun Honey is coming out with Both Barrels.

Without doubt, you need to get this one. It will be one of the best of it's kind. This dog'll hunt as we used to say. To say I feel lucky to even be in on this is the understatement of the year. Thanks to Ron and everyone at Shotgun Honey for shoe horning me in on this winner.
http://www.shotgunhoney.net/2012/09/coming-soon-both-barrels.html .

When you look at the talented folks who have stories in this great collection, it's truly amazing. Big names. Big talent. Let's put it this way, with a group like this, I don't mind having the 29th best story in the anthology.

Just look at this writer lineup. What a cover, what an editing crew....what are you waiting for!