Check Out: Secrets of the Forest!

 

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Cybil Weaver is a struggling college freshman, drowning in assignments and finding it hard to focus as her mind carries her away with intoxicating visions. As she dreams, a mysterious boy who lives in the forest whispers to her to follow him, and she finds herself compelled to seek him out in waking life. Meanwhile, she’s pursued by a wealthy, charismatic junior who seems to hide his true intentions from Cybil, while taking meandering walks in the forest beside her. She quickly discovers there is more to the forest than the trees. An ancient force at play has more than school in store for her, and a secretive order plots to use her connection with the forest to their advantage.

Read episode today!

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Peace Tomorrow Available Today!

Peace Tomorrow Available Today!

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Welcome to Veron City, a paradise by the sea. Beneath its veneer of picturesque beaches, flashy homesteads, and beautiful people lies the seedy struggle of two families at odds to use Veron’s wealth for personal gain.

Lucius Imada is a romantic, a transplant from the east coast who came for the promise of perfection, only to find the path to the ideal life wrought with enemies. Ezekiel Dicaro is a business man, the established drug lord in Veron who refuses to release his grip on the city. A shaky truce exists between them, Ezekiel offering a morsel of territory to keep peace. But when Lucius falls for Ezekiel’s daughter Rose, egos step in to defend their place. To further complicate matters, Ezekiel’s troubled nephew, the outcast Titus, sees an opportunity to raise himself out of his squalor by taking what is most dear to Ezekiel and holding it for ransom.

As the truce collapses, its every man for himself as the path to the American Dream seems much more perilous than first expected.

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Moving On, Moving Up

I’m beginning something new.

Under the pen name M. Roberts, I will be launching a slew of titles, some full, others serial, in varied genres but with uniting elements. Multiple perspectives, melodrama, romance, intense thrillers. I’m excited about it. I’m really excited about it. I have three titles releasing next week. To prepare for all this, and to hold myself accountable to something, I’ve created a website. MRobertsBooks.com is the center for all my upcoming fiction.

I hope to see you there!

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Check Out Peace Tomorrow, Today!

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American crime, thriller, romance

Welcome to Veron City, a paradise by the sea. Beneath its veneer of picturesque beaches, flashy homesteads, and beautiful people lies the seedy struggle of two families at odds to use Veron’s wealth for personal gain.

Lucius Imada is a romantic, a transplant from the east coast who came for the promise of perfection, only to find the path to the ideal life wrought with enemies. Ezekiel Dicaro is a business man, the established drug lord in Veron who refuses to release his grip on the city. A shaky truce exists between them, Ezekiel offering a morsel of territory to keep peace. But when Lucius falls for Ezekiel’s daughter Rose, egos step in to defend their place. To further complicate matters, Ezekiel’s troubled nephew, the outcast Titus, sees an opportunity to raise himself out of his squalor by taking what is most dear to Ezekiel and holding it for ransom.

As the truce collapses, its every man for himself as the path to the American Dream seems much more perilous than first expected.

Read the teaser!

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Just One Mistake, Part 1

I’ll say I shouldn’t have gone.

For all the things that followed, and all the headaches this has caused, the nights of cleaning up in the shadows, the messy murders and the shaky alliances, it would have been better just to stay home. Yes, holding a gun to another human’s head is exhilarating; yes, intimidation is a power trip; yes, there’s been pockets of cash here and there which I’ve enjoyed. I’ve enjoyed all of that, so I won’t say the world is black and white with this kind of stuff. Good and evil and all that. In the situation I found myself in, I did the logical, rational thing at every step of the way. When taken individually, it might look like killing a man’s brother in front of him would seem extreme, and in comparison to the way a lot of other people live their lives, it’s not difficult to understand that perspective. I get that. But what you have to understand is the context. Nothing I’ve done really is extreme. It all makes sense, when you actually look at it.

All that being said, I know everyone has a fault to admit, and I know I’m no exception. In all this, while I’ve only ever tried to wrap it up and walk away, the way in which it began could be considered a mistake on my part. I knew my friend was a bit of a fool, I know he was definitely a mess. I think that’s why I decided to go with him that night, to help him. I think I wanted to help.

It was a Wednesday, I recall, because I was wearing my humpday sweater, a blue cardigan with some grey in it, pleasurably comfortable and nice to look at. Not attractive, but mildly fashionable and I think I need this on Wednesdays to cope with the fact that I’m only halfway through the week. Slouched at my desk, I’ll rub the fabric between my fingers and it’s a nice little escape that I have that sort of takes my mind off the file queue on my monitor that never seems to end. When I came home, I was putting it into the closet, as I do routinely when I arrive home. I live a fairly simple life, really. I’ve got a routine, a generic desk job, I’m the model of modest living. I fit in, I really do. I just happened to have Roger Trenchwell as a close friend from my college days that brought in the more nontraditional experiences to my life.

I was putting away my favorite cardigan into the closet just next to the front door of my apartment when I heard his familiar knock. For whatever reason, Roger has always knocked this five beat rhythm that I think is from some movie franchise, but I always forget to ask.

I opened the door and he came rushing in, speaking, as always, like we were in the middle of a conversation. He was wielding a six pack of cheap beer that he placed on my living room table a few feet from the front door. My apartment is rather small, but I don’t need space. Some people feel they need all this space. I think people see their homes in themselves, like it’s a direct reflection on them. The bigger their home, the better person they are. It’s just a base. Though I am particular about the way I keep mine. Preferences, you know.

“It’s a great opportunity, man, I think it’s really gonna help you out,” he said, as he removed his weathered leather jacket and threw it across the arm of the couch before the table. He pulled a bottle from the six pack, twisted the top with his fingers as he plummeted into the edge of the couch, throwing up his feet onto the table.

“Ah, Roger, you know I really don’t like it when you do that.” He was removing his feet, waving his hands in the air in sarcastic surrender before I finished the sentence.

“Alright, alright, don’t get your panties in a bunch.”

That’s so stupid. I hate that phrase. Panties in a bunch. I brushed it off. I knew Roger better than that. Stupid idioms were a part of his nature. It didn’t affect me. Mud on my table did. Training.

“Grab a beer. Drunk loves company.”

I obliged. I enjoy a good buzz.

“What makes you think I need help, Roger?”

He finished off a long swig, half the bottle, before removing it from his lips and responding, “I didn’t mean it like that, Terence. Just, well.” He looks around my place, as if to imply something about it. I already told you I don’t subscribe to that thinking, house reflecting the dweller. “You could use some zest, is all I’m saying.”

Then he held this long, grinning stare like he knew something I didn’t. Like he had something on me. He ended it with a thud, the sound of a heavy pistol being dropped onto my wooden table. I gritted my teeth, thinking if I had to get a new table because of his abuse, I’d be furious.

I didn’t say anything, and so he said, “Huh?”

I get he was trying to make some point with his emphatic gesture, but he didn’t get that I was more pissed about the table. It’s a nice table, I’m not attached to things, but I did pay a lot of money for that table. It’s about use, you see. Not image. Well, not a statement about myself. It is a nice looking table. Aesthetics are a use.

“Why is there a gun on my table, Roger?”

He picked it up and started turning it over in his hands before his eyes affectionately. He was totally engrossed, romanticizing it. A gun is a thing of simple mechanism that produces high velocity metal. People wrap themselves up in the mystique of the weapon. It’s nothing special. What you can do with it is, but until you do it, it really isn’t much more than bulky metal.

“I want you to have it.”

“Why?”

“Because I think you want it.”

“Why?”

“Because I think it’s calling to you.”

“Why?”

“Damnit, Terry, why do you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Just pick it up, alright?”

I obliged. It was warm from being stuffed into his pants, which was a little off putting to me. I weighed it with my palm, I tossed it up in the air.

“Whoa, be careful!”

“It’s not some relic, Roger.”

I wrap my fingers around it, close one eye, and slowly align the sights to aim between Roger’s eyes. His back stiffened as he pushed his heels against my floor. Why do people do that? You see it in the movies, too, people stiffen and lean back like an extra inch of distance improves their odds of survival in the event the trigger gets pulled. I laughed at him. He chuckled uncomfortably.

“Hey, come on, cut that shit out.”

I drop my arms. “Alright, what’s with the piece?” I said it a little ironically. I don’t call guns pieces. I’m not a gangster. He didn’t pick up on that tone.

“We’re gonna rob money from a drug deal like a couple of bandits.”

He threw me a wad of something that I unfurled in my hands to reveal a ski mask. He pulled one over his face and cocked a second piece he pulled from his coat pocket. Two guns. He definitely stole these.

He took three exaggerated breaths. “Let’s do this.”

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Broken, A Short Story

Broken, A Short Story

Broken is now available on Amazon Kindle.

Ned awakes in the hospital with no memory of the robbery or the shotgun wound that put him there. All his history seems a memory in a distant fog that he fears returning to. But his hatred for being kept in the hospital outweighs his fear and he emerges into the harsh world to rediscover his past, with a hope to forge a better future.

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Peace Tomorrow Episode 6

Loverboy Lucius returns home after an intoxicating night with the daughter of his sworn enemy, the enigma that is Rose Dicaro. He relays his newfound perspective on life, his renewed hope in paradise, to his roommate Malcolm and cousin Nathaniel. Malcolm warns him, though the warning seems to fall on deaf ears.

Read it here!

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Walking Forward

He stands in the place that he was, staring at an empty view of a pillar and a bike tire, though the emptiness is unaware to him. He spits the taste of his cigarette forward. He isnt a smoker, but he smokes when he’s bored. He smokes when he drinks. The cold licks the back of his neck, fresh, but he holds a stale flavor in his mouth. He spits again just to watch the saliva shoot. He hates his view, he pans its focus from tire to pillar. Frozen trails line the pillar and he counts them. Four. He spits again and adds a fifth. He counts again to be sure. Five frozen trails. He tasted the strength of his rotten tongue. He counts the trails again, trying to remember each, not recalling when he made so many. Wasn’t it only five minutes? He walks away, casting the cigarette whiskey spit once again over his shoulder to the ground, crunching salt beneath his boot as he loosens his collar for the breeze. He swallows and watches the stars.

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Peace Tomorrow Episode 5

Follow Lane as he finds the fury within him to take on the tasks Uncle Ezekiel demands of him. He tracks down the deal gone wrong on Sixth Street to contend with Lucius and save his sniveling cousin Titus from the competitor’s rage.

Read here!

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Laughing While the World Ends

I need some help.

I like this beginning. I like this character. He’s a crass, snarky bastard, and he’s fun to follow. And I have ideas about where to follow him.

But I don’t know if I should. Would you?

Take a peek…..

            It was breezy in the height of summer, while the wood critters sang their songs and the drunken stammer of a wayward author crossed his legs with each stride; on this, the day the world was supposed to end.  He’d seen it, all fire and rubble, terror and death and whatnot, a portrait of annihilation appearing in his dreams.  Oh yes, the world was going to end, all right, he was certain.  Why not?  Nobody really understood it, way he saw it.  How life sprawled its limbs luxuriously over the little speck of a place they had for so long assumed was everything.  Then one day it wasn’t, and they hadn’t stopped whining with existential angst ever since.

            His left crossed over his right somewhere between an inch and a foot too far, he couldn’t tell, and the tumble took away what context he had to judge. 

            Quincy Westward awoke, still drunk, in the pit of a wooded valley, laid out between two hills lined with trees whose branches nearly touched overhead, the sun blazing between.  He had a thought then, of the Sistine Chapel, but the thought carried off with the wind. Served it well, he thought about the thought and turned on his shoulder to hurl.  With one arm he swiped the remnants of bile across his sleeve and with the other planted the bottom of the liquor bottle against the earth and pushed.  Quincy slowly rose, stammered about while blood caught up, then raised the bottle to his lips and took a generous swig.  He swung his head to the side after the wind, reconsidering the thought that drifted with it, but it was by then just out of reach.  A feeling of loss swept over him.  It was a feeling he’d grown accustomed to, the procession of thoughts and their meanings further and further from his grasp.  The ones that had once kept him up nights, demanding his attention until he’d given them to the page, collecting them until they formed an arc.  Or they didn’t.  As he aged, that became more and more the case, the collections of thoughts amounting to little more than ramblings, or sometimes never collecting, or then sometimes never being thought at all.  Quincy had turned sixty-three when his mind dried up altogether and in the following year, so did the relationship with his publisher.  It began with a missed deadline, his latest novel, “the great culmination of my work, the mountain’s peak,” the base of which his brain rested, indefinitely.  After several failed attempts at calling both his high-rise New York apartment and his vacation home in the Appalachians, they had sent a letter to both houses and his agent:

                        Dear Mr. Westward,

                                    It is with the utmost respect that we aggressively seek contact

                        with you.  We began this latest venture with great enthusiasm and

                        expectations in response to the description of your latest work as

                        your crowning achievement. In spite of some previous disagreements,

                        we were willing to pursue the creation of your manuscript under your

                        terms.  We provided you with the $1,000,000 advance with the hope

                        that you would deliver upon the date marking the completion of your

                        work as stated in your contract.  We mean not to question your process,

                        but we were curious if it had occurred to you that the date has passed

                        now by seven months and in none of that time had you requested

                        more to satisfactorily finish your work.  When you receive this letter,

                        understand that while we maintain the greatest reverence for your

                        craft, we will revoke the contract and follow with the full force of

                        our legal representation taking you to court if you fail to produce a

                        manuscript in the following six weeks.

                                                                                    Sincerely,

                                                                                    Artisan Publishing

And it was on the final day of the sixth week that his publisher received his response:

                        Dear Cunts,

                                    It is by no accident or misstep of mine that you failed to

                        receive a manuscript of my previous description by this date.  Yes,

                        I had brought you the seeds of what should have grown to become

                        the greatest redwood in a forest of legendary works, occupied by

                        such feats bearing the names of Hemmingway, Dostoyevsky,

                        Anderson, Faulkner, etcetera, etcetera, ad nauseam. But as with

                        any dimwitted, inbred, half-retarded, half-disturbed, money-grubbing

                        sociopath that seeks to monetize and profit from the dubious exchange

                        of others’ works of art for personal gain, you stand in direct

                        opposition to the ideological pillars that uphold literature as an

                        art form. If you had but the slightest inkling of a fart of an idea as

                        to how the creative process operates, then you would have half a mind

                        to join the ranks of those commercial authors whose trash busies

                        bookstore shelves with mind-numbing nonsense.  But you don’t, so here

                        you are, stealing your cut from the sum rightfully earned by your

                        client. You took my seeds, that which would’ve bore you bushels

                        of fruit (CASH, for the metaphorically challenged among you, of which

                        there are several, I’ve read your notes), and fostered them with your

                        own shit for manure. I refuse your request. Please refrain from

                        continued contact. I’ve grown tired of stupidity.  

                                                                                                              Q.W.

            Their response came in an expressly shipped letter, a notice of legal action.  A long and exhausting legal back and forth eventually resulted in Quincy’s bankruptcy and relocation to a humble cabin home in the forests of Michigan, his birthplace.  Having felt his life growing darker, he relished in the thought of lighting a match to all he’d attained, disregarding the reality that it was more his ego and habits that had eaten away his writing talents and thus rotted those seeds instead of his publisher’s incompetence. Well, perhaps not entirely disregarded, as Quincy felt a twinge of self-hatred as he set forth his first step again on the path since he came to.  It stung, shot up from his heel and burned where his skull met his backbone, or maybe that was where he’d struck his head in the fall. Hell, he thought.  He ultimately didn’t give a damn which anymore. What’s the difference, really?  One really did lead to the other the majority of Quincy’s life, inner and outer pain, linked in some way he never quite cared to figure.  Actualization, he recalled.  Something someone who once cared about him had said, but the rest of their words went out with the rest of the memories about them, because fuck knows I don’t remember who.

If you’ve come this far (dear reader) and would be interested in more, would you let me know?

Thank you.

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