A Kindred Spirit took top honors in the Spiritual/Metaphysical category at Dan Poynter’s first Global eBook Awards in Santa Barbara, California August 20, 2011! In other words, I WON!!

I want to say right off, I did not pay to enter this competition. Many did, but I was fortunate to be nominated and fees waived! It makes the win so much sweeter — a real reward and honor. I was not aware of Dan Poynter prior to being part of this event. I have since learned he is considered the original self-publishing guru.

That brings me to my second point. AKS is not “self-published.” ZiaLink Ink is a New Mexico LLC (Limited Liability Corporation), and a business consortium. Bringing together the talents of other artists and writers means AKS is the product of a group of professionals, not a first-time effort slapped together in a few months. I worked several years on the novel and had first rate talent helping me get it published. And now, it truly is the award-winning novel A Kindred Spirit!

For now, I will link to my own press release again, but as soon as I receive publicity, those links will be here or in the comments below. (Did I link to the latest Otaku #22? See comments) The new WINNER badge is on front page ( ) Oh, and I mention Ottumwa, Iowa in the press release so I can send it to the Courier — the REAL Ottumwa Courier where Niki fictionally worked 😉

THANKS again to everyone who helped proof, edit, write reviews, tweak graphics and again to Mary Gray, bless her heart, for pouring her heart and soul (and final drawings) into my novel. (She is legally blind now, so no more drawing after a fabulous career in the arts.)

The final editions (trade paperback and Kindle) are posted and for sale on Amazon. PLEASE use the widget or link to the right to buy, Buy, BUY!! and thanks in advance for your support!

AKS Excerpt

Per suggestion from a Dickhead, here’s part of the Prologue…

“Suppose a man died with the dearest wish of his heart unfulfilled.
Do you believe that his spirit might have the power to return to Earth and complete the interrupted work?”

  • Jerome K. Jerome “Ghost Story”

November 17, 1971 – Santa Venetia, California

It was an ordinary ranch-style house on a quiet cul-de-sac; a dark, starry night—until the explosion. Even that was muffled and neighbors would later claim they didn’t hear a thing. If they had been watching, they would have seen a firestorm roll through the house and crack the front picture window.

An hour or so later, a big, red 1963 Pontiac convertible rumbled around the corner onto Hacienda Way heading toward the house. The couple inside the car giggled like teenagers. The girl driving was only eighteen, but the man pawing at her was old enough to be her father. He was also a semi-famous science fiction author, but that meant nothing to her. She had other interests in Philip K. Dick.

“Stop it,” she said as she pushed him away. “You smell like greasy burger and onions. You know that stuff’ll give you bad dreams.”
“Not tonight, baby,” he whispered in her ear as Sharon parked the car in front of Phil’s place. “I’m only dreaming of you.” Phil was swaying to Carole King’s light and breezy voice on the radio. “Let’s do it here.”
“Nooo,” she whined. “Let’s go in and do it on the floor.”
Phil’s girlfriend-of-the-moment hopped out of the car and pulled him from the passenger seat. He playfully tugged at the buttons on her blouse as they staggered up the walk-way to the front door. Phil had never actually “done it” with this girl, but liked the idea. Since his last divorce, he hadn’t technically been dating anyone. Sharon was one of several young druggies he let crash at his house.

In the Bay Area in 1971, everyone was scoring or selling some kind of dope. Phil didn’t care much for hash or coke, but was a considerable consumer of white cross tabs—amphetamines. Writing fuel. His need for speed was also a way to keep Sharon around, and keep an eye on her. Phil fancied himself her savior. Actually, Sharon was the one taking care of Phil. Someone had to.

Phil was prone to terrible bouts of depression and paranoia. He was also agoraphobic, and needed someone to drive him places, even to the grocery store or burger joint. But on such a starry night, Phil was happy for a change and focused on the possibility of making it with this young dark-haired girl.

“Vincent,” he slobbered in Sharon’s ear while fumbling with the key to unlock the front door.

“Man, you are stoned,” she stopped and frowned. “Are you a homo?”

Phil smiled, “It’s a song. Fabulous.” He sighed, “Brand new album. Wait til you hear…” He pushed the door open with his hip and was about to give another push toward Stephanie, but she moved to flip on the light switch. Before he could finish his thought, she shrieked, “Jesus! Phil, look!”

For a moment, Phil couldn’t comprehend the devastation. “What the…?!”

A million tiny pieces of white debris covered everything – the carpet, furniture, the drapes and it was even sticking to the walls. As his eyes darted toward the adjoining den, his writing room, where chunks of metal were strewn among the bits of white. Phil pushed past Stephanie, who was frozen in place, to his study and saw the mangled remains of his fire-proof file cabinet.

“Shit, I knew it!” Phil rubbed his eyes and temples. The force of the explosion had blown slivers of steel into the side of his oak desk. Bits of canceled checks, and other unrecognizable paper and plastic swirled together into a sickening stew of debris.
Phil allowed friends to come and go, smoke pot and make a mess of his house, but no one was allowed in the writing room. It was his only safe haven, strictly off limits. He kept that room neat and tidy. It was the only way he could organize his thoughts and have any privacy to work on his novels. Now, his mind was as cluttered and confused as the mess around him. He knew one thing for sure—his latest and most important manuscript was gone.
Sharon followed Phil into the den and found him staring off blankly. Then he erupted into a crazy, maniacal laugh that scared her.
“Thank God I’m not crazy!”

“I’m calling the cops,” the girl said, looking around for the phone.

Phil grabbed her forcefully. “No you’re not.” The wild look in his eyes scared her. “No fucking cops, you hear?”

She began to shake and cry.

“I’ll deal with this. You need to leave.” Phil practically shoved Sharon out the door and then felt bad. It wasn’t like him to be mean, especially to a crying woman. But he was about to cry himself, and didn’t want anyone to see that.
Phil collapsed in a heap on the living room floor, in the middle of the mess. “Damn,” he sputtered. “I knew the sons of bitches were after me.”

For hours Phil sat on the floor, rocking back and forth and playing over in his mind theory after theory of who would go to such extremes to steal his writing. It was a carefully crafted, professionally executed explosion. They knew to use heavy wet bath towels to muffle the sound and contain the contents. “The bastards,” he thought, hoping they got a soggy wet manuscript and that maybe one of them blew a hand off in the process. Eventually, he drifted off to sleep, still curled up in a half-sitting, half fetal position.

He sat on the floor for hours, rocking back and forth, playing over in his mind theory after theory of who would go to such extremes to steal his writing. It was a carefully crafted, professionally executed explosion. Whoever did it knew to use heavy wet bath towels to muffle the sound and contain the contents.
The bastards. He hoped they got a soggy, illegible manuscript, and that maybe one of them had blown off a hand in the process. Eventually, he drifted off to sleep in his half-sitting, half-fetal position.

In the light of day, the scene was even more disturbing. It hadn’t been a dream. The mess was real. Stiff and foggy, Phil got up and stumbled to the phone, which remarkably was still intact. He found the number of a guy who had been a demolitions expert in the Special Forces. Carl knew all about explosives. Once he was on the line, Phil identified himself and mumbled some cryptic, code talk. He had no trouble conveying the point. In less than an hour there was a knock on his door.

Phil cautiously peeked through the peep-hole. Standing there was a mountain of muscle; six-foot-five, at least two hundred and fifty pounds of it, still sporting a marine-style buzz cut.

Phil opened the door and the ex-marine had the same reaction that Phil had the night before.

“Shit!” Carl cursed as he carefully stepped inside.
Carl instantly began surveying the scene. He reached down and ran his fingers through some of the white debris.
“Asbestos. Your safe was blown, eh?”

Phil shushed him, finger to his lips, and turned on the TV for background noise. Amazingly, it still worked. His stereo, an expensive quadraphonic, was gone. Suspecting the place was bugged, Phil spoke in a hushed voice. “An eleven hundred pound Mosler Class D fireproof file cabinet.” He pointed toward his den.

——— what happens next? Gotta get the book 😉 BUY IT NOW! click link to your right ——> Scroll up 😉

Oh boy… PKD in the Crosshairs

Sorry, Gil, but what else is there to say, so I had to take your line. Let’s start with what our own obsessive blogger David Gill says in The Total Dickhead. This piece in the Washington Post apparently started the discussion — because of this:

Loughner’s favorite writer was Philip K. Dick, whose science-fiction tales travel a mystical path in which omnipotent governments and businesses are the bad guys and the average man is often lost in an identity-shattering swirl of paranoia, schizophrenia and questions about whether the universe and the individual are real or part of some vast conspiracy.

That mention became fodder for Slate, which further analyzes PKD and his obsessions. The discussion is underway now on Cal’s PKD discussion list (sorry, members only.) So far just this addition, beyond above, from member Andre Welling:

Well the whole development described here sounds like a classic case of garden-variety juvenile shizophrenia: I knew someone exactly like this – if they are intelligent, the reality breakdown suffered from the illness is always channelled into complex theories about fakes, scams, conspiracies. This person threatened me with violence out of anger that I was so stupid and uncareful so that I let them film me and live-transmit that footage into his disabled TV set at night. He thought better of me. Maybe I was in on the plan to wreck is sanity…

So I guess it is rather Phil’s than Sarah’s fault?

Unfortunately Patrick won’t be able to cover this in the upcoming Otaku, because it just went to press with a review of AKS (A Kindred Spirit) in it. I’m waiting anxiously for that to post. For those who remember PKD ‘zines FDO or Simulacrum Meltdown, Otaku is really the last of our dying breed. sigh… (to everything, Loughner link, losing our ‘zines and our sanity.)

PKD “A Day in the Afterlife”

This 1994 BBC documentary has been one of my favorites for a loooong time. I have it on VHS, a gift from Paul Williams, who is interviewed about 1/3rd of the way in. Fortunately, this appears to be a remastered/HD version!! Just watch the first 2 – 3 minutes and you get a dose of PKD spray (really!) If you have time, jack into your large screen plasma or LCD TV screen, or just kick back and enjoy on your iPad, iPhone or Google ‘droid. I’m Sirius 😉