Get on board

The One Shade of Red Launch Blog Tour

One Shade of Red launches on April 2, and 12 great bloggers — all professional, top-notch independent authors — have generously donated their blog space to helping the book’s profile rise.
Each day over the next two weeks, you can visit the blog for a different excerpt from the book, my second novel. And starting on April 2, you can link to buy the book (if you want to) on Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes and other major e-tailers.
March 26: Alan McDermott, Jambalian blog — excerpt from Chapter 1: Falling Down
March 27: Siggy Buckley, Writers Get Together — excerpt from Chapter 2: The Re-Do
March 28: Charity Parkerson, The Sinner Author — excerpt from Chapter 8: Cleaning Pools
March 29: CR Hiatt, McSwain and Beck — excerpt from Chapter 5: Shopping
March 30: Dawn Torrens, My Books & I blog — excerpt from Chapter 7: Argument with Kristen
March 31: Bruce R. Blake, The Thoughts and Opinions of a Writer on the Rise — excerpt from Chapter 6: Building the Client Base
April 1: David C. Cassidy, Because Life is a Really Good Story — excerpt from Chapter 11: Dom and Sub
LAUNCH DAY, April 2: Cinta Garcia de la Rosa’s Indie Authors You Want to Read — excerpt from Chapter 10: Dinner Date
ALSO: Guest post about writing a different kind of fiction on Joyce Strand’s Simply Tips
April 3: Doug Dorow, Thriller Author — excerpt from Chapter 9: Mrs. Casales
April 4: Valjeanne Jeffers, Collision of Worlds — excerpt from Chapter 4: What a Morning After
April 5: Frederick Lee Brooke, AuthorUnplugged — Excerpt from Chapter 12, Hell and Heaven and Hell Again
April 6: Best-selling author’s Shannon Mayer’s blog — Excerpt from Chapter 15: Mom’s Advice
Thank you, all!
Take a look at each one on their day, read the excerpt and leave a comment. Show them all some blogger love!
I hope you enjoy the excerpts. If you don’t, let me know in a comment below.

Sample Sunday: One Shade, Chapter 2

One Shade of Red is nearly ready for the world, thanks to the awe-inspiring assistance of three great people: first, my wife, Roxanne Bury, who’s doing a careful, word-by-word edit; next, fellow author and iAi member Gary Henry (@LiteraryGary), who has done a story edit; and David Cassidy (@DavidCCassidy), who has designed a knock-out cover.I’ll do a big cover reveal in a week or so; for now, just to tease you, here’s a sample from Chapter 2. Warning: the content below is not x-rated, but it definitely contains “adult” situations and language. Remember, it is a spoof of a book about kinky sex.

Image licensed under Creative Commons

Chapter 2: The Re-Do

I actually had my hand on the door to the beer store when my cell phone chirped. The screen showed “Private number.” I took a couple of steps away from the store as I put the phone to my ear. “Hello?” I fully expected it to be Kristen; she was paranoid about cell phone stalkers.

“Damian, it’s Mrs. Rosse.” I nearly dropped the phone—a customer calling you out of the blue probably wouldn’t be good news.

It wasn’t.

“I want you to come over here right away and finish what you started,” she said.

So many ideas went through my head all at the same time, but none of them were right. “I’m sorry?” were the only words that made it out of my mouth, however.

“You left yesterday before I came back, and I know that we had agreed to that, but on the understanding that you would do a complete job of cleaning the pool, first.” Did her voice have a really bitchy edge to it, or was that just the way the cell phone made her sound?

“But I thought I had finished. I cleaned out all the leaves and grass and finished up with the pool vacuum.”

“Well, if it had been the very first time that you had ever cleaned a swimming pool, I could understand it,” she said. Yep, that’s definitely a bitchy, pissed-off edge. “You cleaned out the easy debris, but you didn’t clean off the green slime around the side.”

“Yes I did!” Don’t get mad, some small, wise part of my brain warned. And don’t tell her it was the first pool you’ve ever cleaned. She’s your only customer.

When did I start caring about this stupid job?

“Well, it’s not as bad as it was, but there’s still a lot of slime there. Now I’ve already paid you in full for the job, and it has not been done to my satisfaction. Quite frankly, it’s not to anyone’s satisfaction. I would have been mortified for any of my friends to see it.”

“I’m sorry,” I repeated. God, I sounded so lame.

“Well, it’s fine to be sorry, but that doesn’t do me much good, now, does it? No, I want you to get down here and finish the job properly.”

“Ooo-kay,” I said, holding back a lot of swear words. “When would you like me to come?”

“Right now!” She sounded genuinely surprised at my question.

“Uhh, well, it will take me some time,” I started to say. “I’m at the other end of town, and with traffic …”

“Fine. I’ll leave the side gate unlocked for you. Just make sure you’re finished before two o’clock.”

“Two?” I would have to scramble to get my cleaning stuff together and drive over there and get the job done — if my crappy car didn’t break down. “I’ll try my best, Mrs. Rosse, but is there a reason it has to be done by two? Mrs. Rosse?”

Cell phones don’t click or anything when you hang up, I realized.

So there I was, back at the pool under the mid-afternoon sun, scraping and scrubbing disgusting, smelly slime off the tiles. I had taken my shirt off and put it back on again when I felt my skin begin to burn, and now the cotton was saturated with sweat. Every so often, I reached into the pool and splashed my face. I thought about getting into the pool and staying cool while I cleaned, but I didn’t dare the risk of making Mrs. Rosse any bitchier.

“Now even the fussiest bitch has to be happy with this,” I muttered as I wiped off the very last of the gunk.

“That’s much better,” made me jump and I dropped the debris net into the pool.

Creative Commons

I turned to see Mrs. Rosse in her jogging suit: tight blue-and-white top stretched across her breasts, matching tight shorts, expensive Nike running shoes with the top edge of pink half-socks just peaking above the ankles. I made an effort to raise my eyes to hers, away from the outline of her nipples pushing against her top. I dropped the bucket and slimy water slopped onto my feet.

Creative Commons

“Sorry to scare you,” she laughed and stepped to the edge of the pool. “I just wanted to say that the edge looks great. Nice and clean, now. I guess it’s my fault, really, letting it get as dirty as I did before having someone in to clean it.”

“I didn’t hear you come in,” was all I could think to say. I wondered if she had heard my out-loud thought about fussy bitches.

She laughed, but carefully inspected all around the edge of the pool. I got down on my knees, face burning, to try to fish the net out without getting all wet. When I straight-ened up again, she was standing right in front of me.

“You’re awfully cute,” she said. My mouth opened, but nothing came out. What do you say? I tried to smile and tried even harder not to look at her nipples. “I think you deserve a tip for your hard work,” she added.

She sank to her knees and two thoughts went through my mind at the same time: This is going to be great, and No, I’m mistaken. This kind of thing never happens.

Of course, there’s lots more in the full book. Watch this space for more announcements!

Sample Sunday: Damian falls down

With this post, I’m reviving a Written Words tradition: posting brief samples of my upcoming work on Sundays.

I’m aiming to publish One Shade of Red, my spoof of Fifty Shades of Grey, in about a month (hopefully less). And to give you a taste, here’s a bit of Chapter 1: Falling Down, where the protagonists first meet.

Leave a comment at the end!

Clutching an aluminum pole in one hand and a canvas bag in the other, I rang the doorbell. I heard a deep ring from somewhere inside that echoed for seconds. Then silence. I waited for what seemed like a very long time. Sunlight burned the back of my neck.

Should I ring again? Would it be rude? I didn’t want to piss off these rich people.

But—hell with it. This is Nick’s business, not mine. I pressed the doorbell again, heard the same deep ring and echoes.

Then I nearly jumped out of my skin as a buzzing voice said: “Yes? Who’s there?”

I hadn’t noticed the little speaker, a white plastic box that blended with the trim around the doorway. I pressed a little round button under the speaker grille. “PoolGeeks,” I said, loudly and clearly.

“Don’t talk so loud or so close to the speaker,” the voice buzzed. It was impossible to tell if the speaker was male or female, young or old. “Come around the left side of the house. I’m by the pool.”

Great. The old biddy was going to watch me clean her pool. I pictured a crone in a flowered sun-dress and a big floppy hat, sipping on a mint julep, saying “Don’t miss the far corner.”

I threw the strap of the canvas bag over my shoulder and followed a stone path around the house. The side yard was filled with flowering bushes and exotic shrubs. A gate with a semi-circular top that matched the front door pierced a solid cedar fence. I pushed it open with the aluminum pole of the pool skimmer to see a huge patio of interlocking reddish stones. In the middle of it a curved pool gleamed blue and white in the sun.

“You’re early,” said a musical voice from somewhere around the back corner of the house at the same time that the gate closed, catching the butt of the pool-skimmer pole just as I took a step forward. It was enough to yank me back, just a little, and I fell forward.

The canvas bag, loaded with accessories and supplies, vomited all over the stone walk. The aluminum pole hit the ground and bounced up, smacking me in the face as I went down. I barely got one hand under my face before it hit the stone, too.

“Oh, dear! Are you all right?” said the musical voice. Nothing like the buzzy squawk from the speaker by the front door. All I could see, though, was flat stone and a little green blur to the side.

I craned my head up. This can’t be real, I remember thinking.

She was a dream. My dream. A tall woman with long, wavy brown hair. Couldn’t be more than 30 years old.

In a big floppy hat. And a string bikini.

I scrambled to my feet. My hands and knees were scraped and my face hurt where the aluminum pole had hit it. “Ya, yah, fine,” I stammered. “I’m from PoolGeeks.” I yanked the pole free of the gate.

“You’re early.”


“No, that’s good. For once, my pool will be clean before all the neighbours’.” She pointed at the pool. “Well, as you can see, there it is.”

I couldn’t look at the pool, because I couldn’t stop looking at her. I felt like I was in junior high again. The only word that came into my mind was: stacked. There were acres of bare skin. The bathing suit barely covered her nipples and pubis, but none of those words made it into my mind at that moment.

She looked at me, eyebrows raised, and I realized that she was waiting for me to say something. My tongue felt thick and heavy.

“I’m … um … Damian.” I looked at her some more. I forced my eyes to stay level with hers, but it was so hard not to let them just fall, rest on the curves of those big, beautiful breasts … I coughed. Choked, actually. “From PoolGeeks.”

She laughed. “Yes, you said that.” She bent down daintily, knees together, and picked up the little round net that fit onto the end of the aluminum pole. She took two long steps toward me, stepping carefully because she had bare feet. I held the canvas bag open, and she slipped it inside. “This is yours, I think. I’m Mrs. Rosse. Come on to the pool.”

She had a high, musical voice — oh, did I say that already? Sorry. Okay, she turned around, and I was very happy to follow her. It was a long way around the side of the house to the big patio in the back. No, I did not stare at her ass the whole way there. Okay, I did, but not the whole way.

One Shade of Red will be available as an e-book on Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks and other major retailers in March, 2013.