Monday, April 21, 2014

Back in Budapest

I do feel these days that I have two completely different lives, on two completely different continents.  There is my California life, with surfing and snowboarding, and spending time with family.  I just spent the past ten months in that life, much of it up at Mammoth Mountain for the winter.  Then there is my Hungarian life, hanging out in my favorite haunts to sip a latte and work on my writing, visiting with friends and generally enjoying a continental existence.

I first came to Budapest in 2009, looking for a city with ambiance, low rents and lots of good cafes to write in.  I found all of that and more as I developed a great social network as well.

Now I'm back in this city on the Danube for another extended stay.  How long this time?  I don't know.  Maybe until the fall.  Time will tell.  In the meantime, it is good to be back, reconnecting with friends and settling in at the cafes with my laptop and a latte.  Hopefully something good will come out of it!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Amazon's blowing them out!

A funny thing happened last December with the paperback version of my book Memoirs of a Starving Artist.  I sold around 8 copies all at the same time to friends and family who planned to give them for Christmas presents.  Amazon must have thought that meant the book was selling pretty well.  Normally they don't stock copies of POD books like this in their warehouse, they just print them when someone orders one.  In this case, they actually went ahead and printed 20 copies to keep in stock so that they'd have them on hand to ship right away.  Then a funny thing happened.  Nobody else bought any.  They'd already paid me the royalty up front though on all 20 copies, which was around $4 apiece on each $12.99 book.

So, fast forward to the present.  They still have all of these copies sitting in their warehouse collecting dust, and apparently they don't know what to do with them.  They just discounted them on down to $5.87, which means that after printing costs and the royalties they paid me, this is definitely a losing proposition for them.  If anyone wants to pick up a cheap copy, though, now's the time!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Bachelor Number Five - Now Live!

Bachelor Number Five is finally here!  My latest romance novel and the first book in my new Bachelor Series is finished and live on Amazon.  This series follows the lives and loves of a group of young professionals living in the same apartment building in Hollywood, beginning with the story of Amanda Perkins, a small-town girl from Iowa living in the big city for the first time.

For anyone who has been stopping by here for the past five weeks, I've been posting sample chapters.  This week I'll conclude these excerpts with Chapter Six.  If you care to check out the book on Amazon, please click on the cover image above.  Thanks!

Chapter Six

 Amanda sat with her laptop computer on the kitchen table, scrolling online ads for waitressing jobs.  She’d already applied for a few positions, sending her short resume in an email to some promising places.  As she read the listing for a job at a kosher deli on the west side, her eyes wandered to the search box at the top right corner of her browser.  The box was taunting her; tempting her to type in the query she was really most interested in after all.  It was far too hard to resist.  Amanda clicked her cursor in the box and typed the words.  Grant Hutchinson The Bride.  Enter.  Back came a whole string of results, mostly articles about the show itself.  She clicked on “Images” and saw various photos of bachelor number five; in a tuxedo, on a horse, holding a bouquet of flowers.  She’d already seen this stuff before.  What interested Amanda at the moment was any information she could find about where he hung out in LA.  Besides the nightclubs she already knew about, what restaurants did he go to?  What part of town did he live in?  Who were his friends?  How could she organize her life to give herself the very best chance of crossing his path?
The realization that Amanda actually was stalking him did bother her some.  Apparently Piper was right.  Was Amanda turning into one of those people that you read about in the papers, arrested on the street in front of some famous person’s house, refusing to leave them alone?  Obsessing over some fantasy and desperate for a life not their own?  Hers wasn’t all just a fantasy, was it?  She and Grant wanted the same things; to find that perfect mate, settle down, get married.  They both wanted kid and a happily ever after.  Grant wouldn’t be on the show if he didn’t want those things.  He wouldn’t be chasing after the bride if he didn’t want to end up with someone in the end.  Obviously he failed to understand that this bride was entirely the wrong woman for him.  He hadn’t seen the segments showing her dates with the other bachelors.  He had no idea how narcissistic she really was.  He didn’t understand how miserable he would be if he went through with the wedding at the end of the show.  If Amanda could somehow meet him, she’d be doing him an enormous favor.  Even if she didn’t end up with Grant herself, at least she could warn him.  That was all the rationalization she needed to carry on searching.  She was merely being a humanitarian, and so she scoured the links, looking for clues.
Facebook had more than 20 Grant Hutchinson’s, none of whom looked like her man.  A few had avatars for their pictures, making it impossible to tell what the person really looked like.  The restrictive privacy settings made these profiles a dead end.  Her general web search offered no information that she didn’t already have.  What she needed were some basic clues.  Where did he like to eat?  What gym did he go to?  What neighborhood did he live in?
IMDB listed a few acting credits; bit parts on some second-rate television shows.  Nothing useful.  It was when she checked LinkedIn that Amanda finally hit pay dirt.  Grant Hutchinson, actor, Los Angeles.  She clicked on the profile and a smiling picture of Bachelor Number Five stared back at her from the page.  Born, Houston, Texas.  Age: 26.  Graduated from the University of Texas at Austin.  His resume included some of the same acting gigs plus a few roles in regional plays.  Below that was a series of food service and bartending positions, starting with a honky-tonk in Austin and continuing on to a hamburger joint in Hollywood.  Her heart almost quit beating when she saw the word “present.”  Could it really be true?  Was he still working there, even now?  The possibility that all she had to do was go get a hamburger and she might finally meet the man of her dreams made her lightheaded.  On The Bride he was referred to as an entrepreneur but there was no mention of that here.  Maybe he waited tables to supplement his income until his company took off?  She did a quick search for the restaurant, The Hamburger Hut.  It was located on Melrose, less than a mile away.  Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week.
The clock on Amanda’s computer read 9:02 a.m.  She had just two hours to wait.  She’d go there for lunch and maybe even apply for a job while she was at it.  There was no better way to get to know Grant than that, working with him side by side.  Amanda felt a surging sense of confidence and well-being.  Everything was going to work out, she was sure of it.  As for right now, she’d have a quick bowl of cereal and then head down to Santa Monica.  She wanted to see first-hand where Bachelor Number Five went to the beach.  Who knew, maybe he’d even be down there catching some waves before work?  Amanda moved across the kitchen and pulled a box of cereal from her shelf.  Next she took out a fresh container of milk from the fridge.  When she’d poured the cereal in a bowl and added the milk, she could hardly get it down fast enough.  Today was the day, she told herself!  Deep in her bones, she could feel it.