Sample of My title, The Pool

Sample from my title, The Pool

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“There is no death. Only a change of worlds.”

Chief Seattle

Sample From The Pool

The front desk was empty except for a bored-looking oversize cat. It stared at Shawn as it licked its paw like a Popsicle. The cat glared as if Shawn was a soon to be a dead piece of prey that it would bat around a little before devouring, bit by bit.

Shawn moved slowly toward the desk, trying not to scare the obese cat. He didn’t like heights, but cats came in at a close second. As he moved closer, he heard the animal growl. It seemed to come from deep inside of the cat, reminding Shawn of a horror movie he’d seen where a woman was possessed by a demon. He’d almost made it to the desk unscathed when the cat let out with a surprised hiss and jumped over Shawn’s head, raking a claw across his scalp. Before he could slap the cat away, it was gone. Shawn reached up and touched the spot where the damn thing had clawed him. He looked at his hand and was happy to see no blood. Grateful that the cat was gone, and that he wasn’t bleeding like a stuck pig, he let out with a laugh.

“Don’t mind Gobstopper. He doesn’t like many people. Hell, some days, he don’t even like me and I’m the one who feeds him his chow.”

Shawn jumped at the sound of the man’s voice; he hadn’t heard him come up behind the desk. But there he was standing behind the counter, smiling with teeth that looked to be stained by many years of chewing tobacco. The man turned his head to the left and spit into an old-fashioned spittoon in the corner that looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in a while. The loogy clanged on the stained metal, the sound echoing through the small office.

The man wore an eye patch with a MIA POW insignia embroidered right in the center, over his right eye. The older man’s full head of white hair and beard made him look like a one-eyed Santa Claus; his oversized beer belly helped with the illusion. Shawn immediately felt good in the man’s presence. Despite the man’s eye patch, he looked like a jolly old guy. Like if Santa Clause had decided to quit making toys to become a pirate. He stifled a giggle that threatened to escape and smiled back at the man.

“So, what can I do for you?”

“Well, I need a room with two beds preferably, but if you haven’t got any available, I’ll take whatever you got. I’ve been driving for a while and I think I would take a floor and a sleeping bag at this point.”

The man gave him a knowing smile. He paused for a second, staring into space. Shawn knew the man’s gears were turning; he probably was going over a mental map of the motel.

“Mister?” Shawn didn’t know if the old man had lost his train of thought, or if the old guy was having a stroke. The man snapped out of his trance. Just as Shawn was going to ask him if he was okay, he spoke.

“Call me Jonathan. Jonathan Piedmont. Mister has always made me feel like an old man, and I already know I’m old, so I don’t need any reminders on the subject.” Jonathan let out with a full-bellied laugh that looked and sounded like it would shake the small office off of its foundation.

“Shawn Bailey.” Shawn reached his hand over the counter to shake Jonathan’s hand. The man’s hand was hot almost to the point of being uncomfortable. It made Shawn want to pull away, but he shook vigorously, not wanting to be rude.

“Glad to meet ya, Shawn. Now let’s see what we got open.”

Shawn watched the old man shuffle papers on a desk that had a thick layer of dust and old coffee mug rings. It looked like it hadn’t been used in years. He moved one of the coffee mugs that had seen better days and underneath it was an old-style room key; a real key with its own plastic tag, stamped with the number one.

“Here we go. Looks like you and your family got the last room in the whole place.”

Does it have two beds?” He was really hoping to sleep in a bed without the kids.

  “You’re in luck, my friend because all of our rooms have two beds. We have hide-a-beds if you need them for your family, for however long they need them. Excuse me, for however long you and your family need them.” The twinkle in Jonathan’s single eye had lost some of its luster, and the man’s smile had gone from jolly to pursed. Does this guy think my kids and wife are going to leave me during the night? He shrugged the old man’s comment off and changed the subject.

“My kids are excited about the pool out front. They were practically jumping out of the car when we pulled up.”

The old man stopped frozen over his ledger book. His smile disappeared. Shawn watched as Jonathan shook his head slowly, letting out a long sigh that rattled in the old man’s throat.

“There are some rules about The Pool that you and your family need to know about.” The mood in the room had changed so fast, it took Shawn a second to even realize it had gone south. Even the temperature dropped a little, and the sun shining through the window dimmed as Jonathan looked at Shawn. The serious look on Jonathan’s face reminded him of his father.

“The rules of The Pool are quite simple. Number one: Only one person can walk through the gate at a time.” Jonathan looked at Shawn with his one eye. The single blue eyeball bored into him.

“Number two: The gate must be fully closed before the next person goes through, and that person must open the gate unassisted.” Jonathan paused and bored a few more holes into Shawn.

“The third and most important rule of all of these is you must be ready to enter The Pool. If you are not ready, the results could be disastrous for you and the inhabitants of The Pool.”

The First Paragraph

This is the first paragraph of my latest. Have a look at Melody 8. Remember that this is unedited.

 

My mother used to sing to me when I was scared at night. When shadows, in corners turned into drooling creatures who wanted to eat me. When the wind wasn’t just benign air, but a drooling demon bent on eating my soul, and my body, bit by sweet bit. I’d lay my head on her chest to feel the vibration of her singing. The song would come out in low tones and hurried breaths, and just slightly off-key. I always thought my mother’s inability to hold a perfect tune made the song better. It was as if mom had put her own touch on the song she’d chosen to sing. Her voice made pleasing chills go down my spine, and make my skin turn to goose pimples. I’d burrow deeper into the blankets smiling into my pillow. Mama would end the song and ask if I wanted to hear another one. If I was asleep she would plant a kiss on my head. The moisture and the soft smack of my mother’s lips would wake me up just enough to see her walking out of my room. Most times I wasn’t asleep, and I’d answer with a muffled yes that came deep from my pillows and blankets. Mama would answer with the same response every time. “Okay smart one.” I never knew why she called me this, and it’s funny to look back now and realize, I’d never asked her why she called me smart one.

I loved the sound of my mother’s voice. All the way up to the day she was put to death because of it.

Get Melody 8

MELODY 8 (6)

10 change your life books

This blog post is not a self-help post. When I say change your life books, I guess I mean change your perception books. And if you ask me, those sorts of books can be more transforming then some theory about how you’re doing it wrong, (Life that is). I believe reading is a fundamental skill that needs to be used daily. It is an immersive way to figure out new and enlightening things. Meaning, you have to actually think about the content, rather than watching something and cutting out an important part of the learning process. I’m not going to give too much of a description of these reads because, one, you can just look them up on Amazon, and two, I hope you read them and form your own opinion.

These are books that have changed my thought process, and my perception of the world. Or I guess you could say my reality.

#1 Robert Anton Wilson, Cosmic Trigger 1: Final Secret of the Illuminati Robert antonA journey into an agnostics mind. When do too many coincidences make you a believer?

#2 Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the GodsFingerprintsCivilization is much older than we think it is. Graham Hancock offers up some new evidence that will change your perception of humanities origins.

#3 Aldous Huxley, Brave New World BraveAldous Huxley told the future. The World he constructed in his most famous work, mirrors today in a lot of ways.

#4 Neal Stephenson, Seveneves SevenevesThe Earth is about to become uninhabitable. Humans find a refuge in space. What will humanity even look like in 5000 years?

#5 Peter Clines, The FoldThe FoldTeleportation is impossible for a reason. But what some people say is impossible, is another’s possibility. A whole set of horrific possibilities.

#6 Stefan Bolz, The TravelerThe TravelerThe love of a father and daughter transcend all time and space.

#7 Ray Bradbury, Zen and the Art of writingZen writing there ever was a writer who could change your perception of the world, it would be Ray Bradbury. Part writing manual, and part autobiographical.

#8 Paulo Coelho, The AlchemistAlchemistSee the signs, and read the many messages along life’s path. A mystical masterpiece.

#9 Jeremy Narby, The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of KnowledgeCosmic serpentA true tale of a rational man who finds that there is still a lot of mystery in the world. You just have to know what to ingest.

#10 Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of TimeBrief historyTime stops for no man. Because it doesn’t exist in the first place.

cropped-blog-pic1.jpgErnie Howard is a husband, father, and author. You can find his books on Amazon

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The Life of Ants

So this is what I am going to do. My story, The Life of Ants that is coming out May 19th, will be followed by “The Life of Ants, The Hybrid.” I will be releasing this series as episodes every couple of months or so. The story follows Gram, and Robin. Two people who have seen a mysterious orb their whole lives. They finally decide to follow the weird circle and end up changing human history, and evolution. Is it for the better? Well that is for you, The Reader, to figure out.

Here is a sample paragraph of The Life of Ants episode 1

THIS IS NOT A FULLY EDITED SAMPLE

“The hum started under his feet. Subtle at first, a tickle between the toes but quickly it built to a controlled vibration. The rusty walls shimmered with each shake. Gram rubbed his eyes, not sure if he was hallucinating again. The vibration intensified, making Gram’s head shake. His eyes bounced in their sockets and everything appeared fuzzy with rounded corners.

A light shined through the holes on the floor of the box car, making it a solid white color. The whiteness climbed up the walls like milk that had been recently spilled. The white light lit up the car. Gram squinted his eyes against the brilliance of the Train cars walls.

The sudden urge to bolt for the door welled up inside of him but when he looked to his right, the rusty door was no longer there. It was replaced with just more white light. Where there had once been an old latch door handle was now a smooth white surface that seemed to flow, and breath, as if the walls were alive. The size of the box cars interiors shifted from a confined space to a vast hall, and back again. The train cars walls rolled in and out like waves of the ocean, making Gram dizzy. Gram pushed the panic that was trying to force its way into his head out. He needed to be calm. After everything that had happened what did he expect by following a circle of light into the desert. He thought. There was no point in panicking, Gram figured he was here for the duration of whatever this display was. He was supposed to be here. He was supposed to see. He was chosen.”

Get The Life of Ants and The Life of Ants, The Hybrid 

The LifeofAnts       Get the first episode                                                                    The Hybrid        Get the second episode

Hey! Those X-Ray glasses were legit!

When I was a kid, I loved comic books. I loved the stories filled with action and accompanied by drawings that seemed to jump off the page into my wide excited eyes. As I got older, I read books without the pictures. Instead, the writing drew the pictures in my head. The stories were the same though. These stories called Pulp fiction. I read writers like Richard Matheson, and Phillip K. Dick. I read Sci-Fi Anthologies, and collections of stories by Stephen King. These writers wrote the stories I liked. They came complete with dark stairs that lead to the basement where you knew the monster lived, but still you read.

bidtimereturn

They were stories about regular people who got taught lessons in life by supernatural characters. Some of the stories were funny, and always entertaining, and some were dark and scary. These made you think about all of those weird noises you heard late at night. “What was that…” Just the wind I guess.

These “Pulp” stories were the ones that made me want to become a writer. I would read these and try to weave my own ending, trying to figure out the conclusion before I got to the end of the story. Most times I was wrong, but I got better as I got older and read more.

Pulp fiction gets the least amount of credit these days. People look at it as not serious writing. They call these stories “Twilight Zoners” A term I have never understood because the twilight zone always told the best and most entertaining stories! I don’t think you would have the smash hit Stranger Things, or the oldie but goodie Lost, if it wasn’t for the Twilight Zone.

twilight-zone

Why do people read if they don’t want to be entertained? If you are reading a book so you can give it a review, or tell your friends you read it. Just so you can sound smart in certain circles… You have missed the point of reading fiction! You will never get that time back. The time you spent reading that boring book that some critic called a tour de force!

You get older and almost feel you will be shunned by the “serious readers” if you say your favorite writer is Stephen King. Hey, I’ve read Infinite Jest. David Foster Wallace was a great writer, and I loved that book. But as far as storytelling goes, he couldn’t hold a candle to Richard Matheson’s Bid Time Return. You may know it as a movie called Somewhere in Time, starring a young Christopher Reeve, and Jane Seymour. Yes, Matheson wrote that. And he wrote many Twilight Zone episodes.

So before I get long winded, let me tell you why I wrote this. I wrote this because I have seen reviews that seemed to have missed the point. Reviews that called stories I loved, or wrote for that matter, “Twilight Zoners.” To which I have to say Thank you! I’ll take your three star “Twilight Zoner” Review. But what I want to know is, were you entertained? Did the story help you leave your hassle filled life just for a moment? Did you get to escape? Because that is all that matters.

Don’t be the person who doesn’t want to know if that Submarine in the back of the comic book really worked. You remember, the one for $6.98 plus postage.

submarine-ad

Don’t be the person who is too smart to believe those X-Ray glasses were just worthless pieces of plastic.

Be a kid! You don’t have to grow up if you will simply let yourself enjoy the story you are reading without critiquing it as you go. Not everything has to be Shakespeare. Who was a great Pulp fiction writer I might add. Yes, feed your brain, but don’t forget to have fun.

I write Pulp Fiction in these Anthologies. With other “Twilight Zoner” writers, of “Twilight Zoner” stories. If you would like to read and be entertained, you can pick up the latest Tales from the Canyons of the Damned.

tales9

Maybe it will remind you what it was like to read under covers with a flashlight late at night. You remember. Your mom told you to go to bed. You dutifully laid down. She kissed you on the cheek and said good night. She closed the door, leaving just a crack, so some light would come through. You waited for her footsteps to get down the hall. Reaching under your pillow, (never under the bed), and grabbed your flash light and latest edition of Tales from the Crypt. You read for hours, getting to the part where the Mummies hand is pushing back the large stone of his dusty grave.

.tales-from-the-crypt-horror-comics1

You hear a noise in your silent house… “What was that…?” Probably just the wind… 

Get Tales from the Canyons of the Damned No. 9

tales9

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Banana Phone, not a podcast, un-boxing of The Pool

The Banana phone, not a podcast unboxing.

Got some paperbacks in the mail the other day of The Pool.

Excerpt from THE POOL

“Shawn walked up to the door of the bar. The familiar smell was comforting; stale beer and cigarette smoke that seemed to be embedded into these types of bars as if the wood soaked it up just like the patrons who sought refuge in their pint glasses.
It was fitting. If he was going to break his sobriety, he might as well break his prohibition on cigarettes. He hadn’t had a cigarette for longer than he’d had a drink.
He paused with his hand resting on the handle of the door. The last bit of better angels pleaded with Shawn to turn around and go back to the room. Back to sobriety and back to his family. He almost did, but the clinking of glasses rang in his ears like a siren’s song. Shawn opened the door and walked through. He wasn’t listening to those angels tonight, even if they were right.
The bar was so familiar. There were four people sitting at the bar, regulars who were more than likely permanently rooted in the stools they sat on. Shawn spied the bartender talking with one of the regulars. Her home dye job screamed white trash and her sunken eyes screamed something else. She had the look of being rooted in this place just like her patrons.”

Get it here>>>> http://amzn.to/1Uo9GgN