Archive | February 2013

First Editions, Final Sale: Eldercide and Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders

Eldercidefrontcover[1]Want an autographed first edition of Eldercide or Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders? I can get it for you wholesale! I have only a few dozen copies of each novel left, and I’m offering them for $12.00 apiece, or $20.00 for both. If you want more than two, each additional copy will also go for $10.00. Shipping and handling is additional.

I self-published both books with the print-on-demand company Virtualbookworm, and for now, they’re both available from Amazon at $14.95 each. You’re welcome to order them there, but I’m suspicious: many people have told me they ordered them, but my royalty checks have been pitifully few and far between. Soon I’ll be withdrawing these editions from Amazon and replacing them with new editions on Kindle and CreateSpace, to coincide with the launch of the new paranormal novel I’ve been blogging about.

Thanks to my fellow Michael Easton fan, Alison Armstrong, for inspiring this idea. Her vampire novel Revenance looks intriguing, and we agreed to trade books via good old-fashioned U.S. mail. She said she’d prefer I send the one with the character based on Michael. Sorry, I thought, I haven’t finished that one yet, but then I remembered: his Caleb Morley character was a major inspiration for Gabriel in Eldercide – a charismatic and charming serial killer with dark hair and piercing blue eyes. Below, I’m reprinting the segment of Chapter One that introduces Gabriel. He’s killed an elderly woman a few hours earlier, and Claire, the nursing supervisor for the home care agency providing live-in care for the woman, has just learned of the death.  I hope this excerpt intrigues you enough to buy a copy and read more about him!

 From Eldercide, Chapter One

Copyright 2008 Julie Lomoe

Across the lake, Gabriel squinted through the telescope. Claire Lindstrom sprawled motionless on the chaise, her head turned toward the morning sun. Her wavy blond hair curtained her face from view. Too bad – he’d have liked to see her expression. When she’d made the call, her back had been turned. He felt a flash of anger. Watching was part of what made his work worthwhile, and she was depriving him of the pleasure.

The scene was deceptively idyllic, like a watercolor on the cover of an L.L. Bean catalog. The slender blonde in a turquoise tee and khaki shorts stretched on the forest green, Adirondack-style chaise, her skin still summer tanned. The big dog, its hair a shade lighter than Claire’s, lying nearby on the lawn that swept down to the water. The kayak, a nifty accent in fire engine red, pulled up on the beach, the lake sparkling in the morning sun, encircled by deep green hills.

Maybe he should start painting again. He’d taken a couple of courses in college, and the instructor had told him he had talent worth pursuing. The network kept him fairly busy, but although the number of assignments was increasing, there were still stretches of inactivity. And painting might bleed off some of the nervous energy he felt when he’d successfully completed a mission. 

Last night, for example. The old lady’s death had progressed perfectly, exactly as planned. He had shone the flashlight full into her face, watched the confusion, the slow dawning of comprehension segueing into terror, the creeping paralysis as the drug took hold. Even after the breathing stopped, the eyes clung desperately to life. It was hard to pinpoint the exact moment she crossed over, but he kept the light focused on her face for a full five minutes as he watched the life glow fade from her eyes. Then, still wearing the latex gloves, he closed her lids.

Death by paralysis had to be ghastly, but at least the suffering was short-lived, infinitely superior to the endlessly prolonged agony and degradation that modern medicine inflicted on the chronically and terminally ill. He’d had his fill of that in the nursing career he’d abandoned.  

The new affiliation had come as a godsend, and the money wasn’t half bad. But the role they’d cast him in was too limited, too predictable. The powers that be had cautioned him to follow their protocol precisely. No room for creativity or improvisation. He was just a cog in a much larger machine. But that could change with time. If he played by their rules, they promised, the potential for advancement was virtually limitless.

He watched through the scope as Claire climbed off the chaise. She raked her fingers through her hair, daubed at her eyes. He caught a glimpse of her elegant features before she turned and headed for the house. Before long she would probably be at Harriet Gardener’s place. He wished he could join her there, savor her reaction. But that was out of the question. 

He’d called in his report hours ago, and a day of enforced idleness yawned in front of him. All at once he knew how to spend it: he would drive to New York City, pick up some supplies at that discount art supply store in SoHo. Pearl Paint, on Canal Street, near Chinatown. He’d be down and back before nightfall, and if they had a new assignment for him, they could always reach him on his cell.

He decided to buy oil paints. They had a squishy, sensuous feel that was more satisfying than acrylics. Cadmium red light would be perfect for the kayak, and it was good for mixing flesh tones, too. He wanted to do justice to Claire.

Caleb Port Charles promo 

 If you’d like to read more, e-mail me at julielomoe@nycap.rr.com and we can work out the details. I’ll be delighted to inscribe the books to you personally, and who knows – they may be worth more than ten or twelve dollars some day!

Anger Management Part I

My cat Lunesta, named for my favorite sleeping pill. She really knows how to chill out.

My cat Lunesta, named for my favorite sleeping pill. She really knows how to chill out.

Is it just me, or does anger management get easier with age? It’s taken me decades, but everyday aggravations don’t get me nearly as riled up as they used to. Is it simply that my psychotropic meds are working the way they should? Is it because of hormonal and biochemical changes as I creep toward genuine old age? Or is it the cumulative effect of all the years of life experience I’ve racked up?

Maybe it’s all three, but in any case I’m grateful that I’m usually able to follow Bobby McFerrin’s advice – “Don’t worry, be happy.” (That’s when I’m not in a clinical depression, of course. But deep depression is so enervating, it doesn’t leave enough energy for anger.)

Over the past couple of days, though, something’s been making me intensely angry. No need to go public with the details – suffice it to say that it involves a creative group project I’ve been a part of for several years on an annual basis. Over time, the group’s chairperson has become increasingly dictatorial and resistant to anyone else’s ideas, to the point where I decided I could no longer associate myself with this venture, even though it’s something that’s brought me great pleasure over the years. 

In years gone by, I would have fumed and fretted over whether or not to quit. I probably would have done some yelling and screaming, slugged down a couple of glasses of wine, lain awake nights obsessing over the injustice of it all. Today, there was none of that dramatizing. I simply sent the person an e-mail saying I was dropping out. I’ll admit I copied in a couple of relevant people, and there may be some further fallout, but I’m sticking with my decision to distance myself from a situation that’s clearly bringing me uptight and is thus potentially damaging to my mental health.

I’m proud of how I handled this. I did what I had to do, said what I had to say, but now it’s over and done, and I’ve already moved on. I’m feeling calm, and my pulse rate and blood pressure are back down where they should be. Writing this blog post is cathartic as well – how wonderful to be able to channel all that angry energy into writing that all the world can read! 

Katie Couric show on January 14th, the day I visited

Katie Couric show on January 14th, the day I visited

Since my recent visit to Katie Couric’s show, I’ve been watching her more than ever, though I clicked off today because she’s interviewing families with lots of kids, and frankly, I couldn’t care less. But a few programs ago, the show featured a cardiologist who hooked her up to a heart rate monitor, thereby demonstrating that her pulse went up alarmingly when she was caught in midtown Manhattan traffic (even with her own private car and driver!) or before the show when she encountered some fans and wasn’t yet wearing her makeup. Over time, that kind of physiological reaction can do serious damage to a body. Though I’m not a Type A adrenaline junkie, my blood pressure is borderline high, and I believe the ability to chill out at will is a valuable talent worth cultivating.

Buddhist meditation

Author’s note, two days later:

Just as I typed the words “Buddhist meditation,” a friend phoned me. Maybe not coincidentally, she’s extremely involved in Buddhist meditation. Jungian synchronicity, maybe? After that, I had to go to my UU church for choir practice. Then yesterday, we visited my brother in the Bronx, so I haven’t had time to get back to this post until now.

Visiting with my brother Pete Lomoe in his Bronx apartment yesterday. He looks rather like Buddha, doesn't he?

Visiting with my brother Pete Lomoe in his Bronx apartment yesterday. He looks rather like Buddha, doesn’t he?

There’s lots more to say, but I think I’ll save it for my next post. I’ll close with a brief progress note about the situation I described above: writing that e-mail saying Sayonara wrapped up that issue nicely, and though it still comes to mind off and on, I’m still calm and collected about it. Besides, it’s one more responsibility off my plate, giving me that much more time to zero in on my novel.

Does anger play a major role in your life? Any coping strategies you’d care to share? I’d love to hear from you.

A real-life afternoon cliff hanger

Michael Easton as Lt. John McBain

Michael Easton as Lt. John McBain

The daytime drama surrounding ABC’s General Hospital has escalated since my last post, and I’m not talking about fictional plot lines. Instead some of my favorite actors are caught up in a real-life melodrama, replete with multiple rumors and cliff hangers, and no one seems to know how things will play out.

When ABC cancelled One Life to Live and its sister soap All My Children in 2011, an upstart company by the name of Prospect Park bought the rights to the soaps and their characters, intending to continue the programs in a new format that would be available only online. Some of the newly unemployed actors committed to the Prospect Park venture, but it ultimately fizzled. 

End of story, right? Not quite. Amazingly, like many a seemingly deceased character on daytime drama, Prospect Park came back to life –  with a vengeance and presumably a healthy transfusion of cash – and resurrected their plans to go ahead with OLTL and AMC. Meanwhile, ABC had transplanted some of the OLTL characters from the fictional town of Llanview, PA, to the fictional GH town of Port Charles, NY – the very town that spawned the vampires and vampire hunters of Port Charles, the General Hospital spin-off that folded a decade ago. But now PP is telling ABC that as of this month, GH can no longer use these characters – including John McBain, the Michael Easton character who inspired my novel.

Are you confused yet? I’m barely scratching the surface of the messy dispute between ABC and Prospect Park. In a futile effort to understand what’s going on, I’ve been slogging my way through a myriad of online sites, from fan groups to soap magazines, whiling away hours I should be devoting to finishing my novel. The plot came to a roiling boil last Friday when Michael Easton posted a message on his Facebook page advising fans not to bring birthday presents to the GH studio in California, since after February 8th, he will no longer be there. Instead of the Irish whiskey and other goodies they’ve been accustomed to bringing, he suggested they donate to the American Cancer Society.

Here’s Friday’s follow-up from Soap Opera Network:

 

Roger Howarth aka Todd Manning

Roger Howarth aka Todd Manning

“Despite Michael Easton‘s announcement early this morning, where he stated that after February 8th he would be exiting “General Hospital,” along with Roger Howarth and Kristen Alderson, due to “some ongoing legal this and that,” an ABC spokesperson tells Soap Opera Network that all three will remain an essential part of the “GH” canvas for the foreseeable future as the three are under contract with the network and not Prospect Park.

“‘General Hospital’ is excited about Michael Easton, Kristen Alderson

Kristin Alderson aka Starr Manning

Kristin Alderson aka Starr Manning

and Roger Howarth staying on the show and we are exploring ways to allow that to happen,” read a statement from ABC, which did not provide further input on how the series would accomplish just that. Previously, the network stated, “There are on-going collaborative conversations,” in response to word that Prospect Park wanted to return the characters of Starr Manning (Alderson), Todd Manning (Howarth) and John McBain (Easton) to Llanview after formerly announcing its decision to re-launch “One Life to Live” later this spring. The production company licensed the rights to “OLTL’s” characters in July 2011 in a long-term distribution agreement between it and Disney/ABC Domestic Television, part of the Disney/ABC Television Group.”

So how will ABC keep these actors on the show? There are lots of tried and true soap solutions. An actor can return as his own heretofore unknown identical twin, albeit with a different surname. He can turn out to be someone else entirely, someone who suffered from amnesia and created a new identity, only to learn that identity is totally phony, and who recovers and reclaims his original self. Or he can have dissociative identity disorder and be banished by one of his alter egos.

I’m betting John McBain will morph into the vampire Caleb Morley. Several newcomers to Port Charles are already convinced that’s who he is, including a teenage boy who’s accused him of murder and who may turn out to actually be his son.

I promise I’ll blog about something else one of these days, but for now I’m begging your indulgence as I pursue this obsession, the better to fuel my inspiration. When I’m in the throes of creativity, I tend to develop a one-track mind.  And now, back to my novel.