September 30, 2016

V - Venom + Teaser

I am over at Unicorn Bell with Dear "My Writing Sucks!" Writer.

Venom is Donovan’s monster truck. I had a blast writing a scene where Donovan takes Beth on a ride in his truck and performs a few tricks for her. It was fun learning the ins and outs of these trucks, how they work, and about the tricks. I enjoyed it so much that I created a post to help anyone who may (for whatever reason) want to write a monster truck driving scene.

You can find that here: Writing About: Monster Truck Driving

Venom is neon green, my favorite color, with a black cobra posing to strike on the side. Hence the name. But Donovan explains it better than I do.

Seismic Crimes Teaser:

Beth examined the console with the curiosity of a six-year-old. “Why do you call your truck Venom?”

Their eyes locked.

“Because venom is fast and lethal.” He revved the engine, sending vibrations up their legs and spines. “Don’t worry,” he repeated. “There are three kill switches.”

When Beth blinked at him, he stepped on the gas pedal. The monster truck shot out of the garage. He maneuvered it around the building toward the course he had built to practice stunts. Earlier in the month, he had to rebuild the ramps that had gone flat and muddy from flooding.

Driving along the edge of the field, he forced the truck to go as fast as its engine would allow. Adrenaline coursed eagerly through his veins, like the methanol flushing through the engine.


Deadly, but addicting.



QUESTION: Would you ride in a monster truck?

September 26, 2016

Writing About: Zombies

I'm over at Unicorn Bell with Dear "I'm the Worst Writer Ever!" Writer.

A zombie is a soulless human corpse that can walk, move, and act as if it’s alive. They have an insatiable hunger for fresh flesh.

Zombies are extremely popular in our culture today. Movies, TV shows, books, comics, songs…you name it.

Even though people say zombies are a cliché and are overdone, that’s not stopping people from contributing to this genre. I’ve started to write my own zombie story, but it’ll be a little while before it’s finished. For this WIP, I did a bit of research and found a lot Do’s and Dont’s that zombie fans feel can make or break a zombie story.

Here they are:

- Do consider how the zombies are made (virus, nuclear leak, disease (rats), a curse, voodoo, etc.)

- Do mention the smell. You characters should be able to smell zombies coming, not just hear them. These are dead, rotting bodies we are talking about.

- Do show us how your characters survive, get food, and find shelter.

- Do consider hygiene (soap, toilet paper).

- Do have your characters perform first aid whenever they have an injury. Even a scratch.

- Do consider the sewage system. No electricity and no water means no flushing toilets.

- Do give your characters a water purifying/filtration system. No fresh water supply will cause illnesses.

- Do include children characters. Kids won’t just vanish.

- Do mention pets and animals. Not just rats, maggots, and bugs.

- Do have your characters stock up on ammo.

- Don’t make it so easy for your character to get ammo or guns, though. Are the owners of these gun shops not hunkering down with their abundance of weapons? I would, and I wouldn’t let anyone near them.

- Don’t make your characters instant gun/weapon experts. Everyone needs to practice and learn.

- Don’t give your characters perfect shots every time. In a chaotic moment, this is impossible.

- Don’t have your characters go to heavily populated areas or take shelter in a mall or store that they can’t secure.

- Don’t decompose your zombies so fast. If they just died, their skin won’t peel off and their skulls won’t cave in with a single blow.

- Don’t have rotting zombies that are super strong. How can a zombie so badly decomposing tear down a fence or break down a door?

- Don’t let your characters be noisy and stupid. This will give them away. They should be smart enough to know to be calm and quiet.

- Don’t hide your character’s bites. They’ll put their friends and loved ones in danger.

- Don’t add criminal gangs or evil armies. Both have been done way too much.

QUESTIONS: Can you think of any zombie Do’s and Dont’s? Do you like zombie entertainment? What’s your favorite form of zombie entertainment? 

Mine is The Walking Dead, but I also love the Resident Evil movies.

September 23, 2016

Character Interview with Mac McClellan from Deadly Dunes by E. Michael Helms + Giveaway

Hi, Mac McClellan! What is Deadly Dunes about?

“Since you asked, here’s a one-liner:” ‘Mac McClellan investigates the death of a young archaeologist whose recent discovery threatens to kill a planned multi-million dollar Florida panhandle waterfront resort.’

“And here’s the long version that ‘those in the know’ insisted upon:”

Hours after hiring Mac McClellan to investigate the supposed suicide of her archaeologist brother, single-mom Jessie dies in a car accident. Jessie had just showed Mac artifacts and a copy of a map Jake found, items that indicate Hernando de Soto and his explorers might have camped on Five Mile Island during the winter of 1539-1540.

Studying the map, Mac determines the site lies in the middle of a planned resort, The Dunes. Declaring the area an historic site could shut the project down. Suspicions aroused, he forges ahead, even though he no longer has a paying client.

Everywhere Mac turns, greed abounds, and no one he interviews seems innocent, even Jessie's closest friends, the Deckers, who have adopted her teenage daughter. Ron Decker's construction company is building The Dunes, and he is heavily invested in its success. Then there is the oily son and ex-stripper wife of an old curmudgeon who won t sell the one lot the project still needs to acquire. Jake's estranged wife Laurel had plenty to gain from his death, and as Mac continues to dig, he begins to wonder if Jessie herself had more at stake than he was led to believe.

No one is happy about Mac s persistence, and someone is unhappy enough to crash his truck and frame him for yet another murder. But Mac isn't giving up, no matter what the cost.’

Book Links:

1. Who would play you in a movie?

“Matt Damon would be a good choice. We’re both what I’d call ‘ruggedly handsome’ (or so I’ve been told, in my case heavy on the rugged) and in good shape for early 40s. Give him sandy hair showing a little frost around the edges, and a trimmed auburn beard, and I’m pretty much looking in the mirror."

2. What is your job?

“I’d hoped to be retired for a while after a twenty-four year career in the Marine Corps. I came to the Florida panhandle looking for fun and relaxation, but hooking a dead body one morning while fishing took care of that. Now, I’m a private investigator, by hook and by crook.”

3. What do you do for fun?

“I love to fish, although fishing altered my career choice. But I still enjoy wetting a line whenever I get the chance.”

4. What is your biggest pet peeve?

“Dishonesty and disloyalty. A man or woman should be a person of their word. If you say you’re going to do something, then you better do your damnedest to do it. Semper Fidelis is my watchword.”

5. How did you meet Kate Bell?

“Ah, Kate, the love of my life and my very own ‘Girl Friday.’ Kate works at the local marina. When I first arrived in St. George she sold me the tackle I’d need for going after speckled trout. Later, when finding that body put the heat on me, she was a big help in clearing my name and bringing the real perps to justice.”

6. What was your first impression of Kate?

“Well, I am a guy. Kate’s shoulder-length auburn hair, those cute freckles, and that body grabbed my attention the moment I walked through the marina’s front door. Then she impressed me with her knowledge of fishing, and I quickly learned she didn’t take any crap from anybody. I could tell she was trustworthy. That sold me.”

7. What kind of trouble do the two of you get into?

“Like I said before, I stepped into deep crapola when I snagged that corpse. When the local law tried to implicate me for murder and a related drug charge, Kate stood by my side and was instrumental in clearing my name. Since then, we’ve been an item. For whatever reason, I seem to me a trouble-magnet. And Kate continues to help me on my cases, despite my objections. I don’t want her getting hurt, but she’s one strong-willed lady with a mind of her own. Who can argue with that?”  

8. What moment of Deadly Dunes was your favorite?

“Wrapping up the case. It was a complicated one with enough intertwined suspects for a handful of cases. It was a ‘don’t turn your back on anybody or you risked getting stabbed’-type situation. When it finally unfolded I think I knew how Atlas felt carrying the world on his shoulders.”

9. What moment caused you the most fear?

“Fear?” Me? This big, bad Marine doesn’t fear anything. Okay, I jest. It was probably when I was tied up in the perps’ house and about to become worm bait in the next few minutes. Having my big .357 Magnum staring me in the face held by a shaky-handed woman didn’t help matters either. If I hadn’t managed to work that rope loose, we might not be having this conversation. Yeah, that was scary.”

10. Is there anything you did in Deadly Dunes that you would change if you could?

“Yeah. I should’ve walked away and not taken the case. By my forcing the issue, a couple of people died who would probably still be alive. Justice was served, but the price was high.”

Hyper Round:

*If you don’t know something about your character, that’s fine. Leave it blank and I’ll only use the ones you answer.

Food: “The seafood platter they serve at the Green Parrot, St. George’s favorite beachside hangout. Fried. Kate doesn’t approve. She’s on a health kick.”

Drink: “Scotch, single malt. ‘The Dalmore,’ in particular.”

Movie: “I’m an old movie buff. Anything hardboiled or noir. Black and white only or it ruins the mood.”

Band: “Early Beatles. They were brilliant. Not so much their later stuff.”

Book: “Anything and everything by Ross Macdonald. Let’s go with The Galton Case. Layered beautifully.”

Animal: “Bacon. Okay, I’ll go with dogs. Loyal and trustworthy. More so than most people I’ve known.”

Color: “Sage green. There’s just something about it.”

Parting Shot: “Thanks for having me on Write with Fey!, Chrys. It was a real pleasure being had!”  :)


I was born in Georgia way back in the last century but grew up and lived most of my life in Panama City, Florida. In 2004 my wife and I moved to the Upstate region of South Carolina in the shadows of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, a land of stunning vistas and numerous waterfalls.

I’ve been traditionally published since 1990 when my Vietnam War memoir, The Proud Bastards, was published.  It’s about my tour of duty as a combat U.S. Marine in 1967-68. It’s still in print after all these years, currently with Simon & Schuster/Pocket. I’ve since written a few novels in different genres. I’m currently writing the Mac McClellan Mystery series which is set along the coast of the Florida Panhandle where I grew up.

Author Links:


$25 Amazon gift certificate! 


The winner is...Sheena-kay Graham!

Thank you, Mac and Michael for entertaining us!

Please leave a comment for Mac and Michael. :)

September 21, 2016

U - U and UR Questions

For this post, I am opening the floor to questions.

Do you have a question about my Disaster Crimes Series (Hurricane Crimes, Seismic Crimes, or the upcoming Tsunami Crimes) or one of my other works?

Do you have a question about my blog?

Question about my writing?

About my life?

Anything is open for discussion. (But please be respectful.)

You can even ask a personal question, which I may or may not answer honestly. ;)

So go ahead and fill the comments section with your questions. I will answer all of them in the Y post next month.

Get ready...

Get set...


NOTE: I've been sick since Sunday night. I'll return comments when I can. Thanks for understanding!


They didn't die during a category 5 hurricane, but will they survive a 7.4 earthquake?

September 19, 2016

Pine Cone Ornaments

Pine cones are natural ornaments. When you add paint, glitter and ribbons, they become stunning ornaments for Christmas trees.


- Pinecones
- Paint (any colors you want)
- Paintbrush
- Spray paint
- Glitter
- Cinnamon
- Water and Elmer’s glue mixture
- Small paper bags
- Ribbon


1. Buy pine cones from a craft store or hunt for pine cones in your area.

2. If you collect pine cones from nature, rinse them under running water, set on cookie sheets, and back for 20 minutes at 250 degrees. Once they’re cool, it’s time to decorate them.

Option #1 Paint:

1. Using a paintbrush, paint the pine cone bristles any colors you want. You can get creative with the pattern, too.

2. When the paint is dry, tie on a ribbon or a piece of yarn to the piece sticking out the top of the pine cone.

3. Hang and admire.

Option #2 Spray Paint:

1. Choose a spray paint. Silver or gold are especially beautiful. In a well ventilated area, with newspaper on the ground, lay down the pine cones and spray thoroughly on all sides.

2. When the spray paint is dry, tie on a ribbon or a piece of yarn to the piece sticking out the top of the pine cone.

3. Hang and admire.

Option #3 Cinnamon and Glitter

1. Mix a little bit of water with Elmer’s glue until you have a texture like milk.

2. Dump glitter into a paper bag with some cinnamon. You can experiment by shaking the glitter and cinnamon together and taking a look at it. Want more glitter? Add more.

3. Use a paintbrush to paint the water and glue mixture on the pine cone’s petals.

4. Drop the pine cone in the bag and shake as if you’re shaking a bag of chicken.

5. Remove the pine cone and let dry.

6. You can put together multiple bags with a different colored glitter. Red, green, silver, and gold glitter are great for this time of the year.

7. You also add other spices to the cinnamon such as clove. Whatever spice you like the smell of.

8. Tie on a ribbon or yarn to the piece sticking out of the top of the pine cone.

9. Hang and admire.

TIP: You don’t even need to add a ribbon to hang it but place a bunch in a bowl for a pretty centerpiece. 

QUESTION: Do you like arts and crafts?


They didn't die during a category 5 hurricane, but will they survive a 7.4 earthquake?

Note: Feeling sick today. I'll return comments when I can. :)

September 16, 2016

If I were a Mobster Blogfest SIGN UP + 30 Seconds Before COVER REVEAL

Officer Blake Herro infiltrates the Mob and puts his life on the line.

Title: 30 Seconds Before (Prequel to 30 Seconds)
Release Date: October 21, 2016
Genre: Mainstream Thriller
Page Count: 60 (novella)
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Cover Artist: Kim Mendoza

Pre-Order Links:
Amazon US / Amazon UK /  Amazon CA
Nook / KoboThe Wild Rose Press

Add on Goodreads


Blake Herro is a cop in the Cleveland Police Force. Ever since he was a child he wanted to do right by the city he loved by cleaning up the streets and protecting its citizens. Red, a notorious mobster, has other plans.

On a bitter December night, ten police officers are drawn into a trap and killed by Red’s followers. Blake wants to bring down the Mob to avenge his fallen brothers and to prevent other cops from being murdered. Except the only way he can do that is by infiltrating the Mob.

Every minute he’s with these mobsters he’s in danger. Around every corner lies the threat of coming face to face with a gun. Will he make it out of the Mob alive or will he be their next victim?


            Blake’s gaze continued to scan the area. Too many officers needed help. Blake strained his eyes to see if the nearest officer was still breathing, but the darkness and flashing lights obscured his vision.
            Dread was ripe in his veins, twining his intestines into knots. The assailants who attacked the officers could be lurking nearby, watching and putting him in their sights. Being out in the open with nothing but his Kevlar vest as protection was not where he wanted to be, but the officer he was helping would bleed out if he moved.
            Blake studied the officer. His lips were an unnatural shade of blue. He was shivering from the frigid December night as well as blood loss.
            “Did you see them?” Blake asked. “Do you know who did this?”
            The officer’s lips moved.
            Blake leaned forward, bringing his ear to the officer’s mouth. “What was that?”
            The officer took a shuddering breath. “Red.”


Grab the badge to add to your post!

I am hosting my first ever blogfest! 

Instead of a traditional blog tour for 30 Seconds Before, I want to have fun and do a blogfest with all of my blogging/author friends. 

NOTE: Every post will include the blurb, cover art, and links for 30 Seconds Before, which I'll send to all the participants. Where you put this info in the post (at the beginning or end) is up to you.

Prompt: If I were a Mobster…
When? October 21st, 2016 
*If you need to, you can post the day after.
Where? On your blog!

Post Ideas: I’m giving you creative freedom to create anything that comes to mind for the prompt: If I were a Mobster. You can share a poem or flash fiction piece about what you imagine yourself doing if you were a mobster.

Or share a detailed profile of your mobster self. This is what I’ll be doing.

Here’s an example of a mobster profile you can fill out:

My Mobster Name:
My Rank: (leader or minion)
Crime Zone: (city/state)
My Look/Disguise:
Weapon of Choice:
Mobster Vehicle:
What I’m Known For:
My Catch Phrase:
The Name of my Mob Leader:

You have complete freedom with the profile. Take out or add in. You can even turn the profile into a descriptive paragraph. Get creative with it. For mine, I used what I'm known for to create a clever profile.

I really just want everyone to have fun with this. Become someone new for one day in the blogosphere. Get in touch with your bad side. ;) 

Won't you sign up...please?

If I were a Mobster Blogfest

And just in case the Linky List doesn't show up or work:

Click here to enter your link and view this list...