So you can read my books

Friday, March 4, 2011


Join the excitement! Enter J.C. Martin's RACE TO 200 BLOG CONTEST :

My entry is an excerpt from VICTOR'S NOT JUST MY NAME that springs from this former post :

{The Soyoko, evolved raptors, thought to amuse themselves by placing a stolen baby in the arms of the starving ghoul, Alice, to see just how long she could hold out against her hunger before consuming the baby.

They made two mistakes : they hurt the girl Victor loved, and they didn't kill him before they did it.

Victor, tapping the power of his mother's blood, has transported Alice, the baby, and himself to the dark streets of the French Quarter. He is still learning his powers, however, and has brought along most of the Soyoko, too.}

Alice held the crying baby close to her. Her determined eyes said she would keep the baby safe no matter what.

In her odd British accent, Alice husked, “We are dead.”

“No. I’m dead. You get the baby to Meilori’s.”


“Tell Captain Sam I’m coming in hot. And I’m coming in with hell at my heels.”

“No!,” screamed Alice.

Too late.

I was already running towards the narrow alleyway. As I passed a raptor, blinking its eyes at its change in surroundings, I slapped it on the scaled cheek.

“Wake up, Sunshine! You guys want me? You’re gonna have to catch me!”

I was the best there was at parkour, free running.

I darted into the alleyway. The trick was to kick into the wall, not try to climb it. Angeline Jolie had guide-wires. All I had were tough toes.

I wall-ran up both walls on either side of me. One foot pushing me up a few inches at a time. The raptors screamed in anger and disbelief. I laughed over my shoulders as I hit the top of the tallest building with a palm spin.

“You never heard of fast food?”

Cowards. I knew what to expect. A raptor was waiting for me on the roof closest to Meilori’s.

I spun on my palms, kicking the nose of the waiting raptor and sending me onto the roof farthest from the jazz club.

I raced across it, not slowing a bit as I reached the edge. My legs were strong. I could do Olympic-quality jumps.

I did one to the top of the building caddy-corner to mine. Hiking my knees up for momentum, I hit the roof in a roll and kept on racing.

Movement all around me. I was surrounded by hissing, grasping raptors. I ran to the brick wall to my right. I wall-spun it, flipping up and over and behind the pack of Soyoko.

I spun, taking off in the other direction. A raptor leapt right at me. I bent, grabbed my right ankle and swept right through his legs, bowling him over.

I laughed. They howled. I was so dead. And I’d never felt more alive.

From building to building I bounded as they scrambled after me. Laughing, I leapt from the roof’s edge to the graveled one below. I hit with a fluid roll, picking up bloodied stone and throwing it directly behind me.

It hit the raptor inches from me in the eyes. It screamed. I laughed again. They hurt Alice. I damn well would rub their noses in that mistake.

I leapt off to the building far below me. Shit. It was a long-ass fall. I hit hard with a roll. I smiled as I heard splintering bones of idiot raptors who had tried to follow.

There. Right below me. More idiots. Human ones. Stripping a car.

I konged like a gorilla over the wall’s railing right onto the vandalized car.

“What the fuck?”

I laughed, “Great last words.”

The raptors were on them. And I was down the street still laughing. That storefront.

Was this Orleans Street? That tree ahead of me. I charged it. I felt the hot breath of the raptor on my neck.

I wall ran up the tree, spinning up and over behind the lunging raptor. I landed easy, kicking it in the butt to slam its head hard into the trunk.

Movement to my right.

Jean Lafitte and his brother, Pierre. They might have been ghosts, but their swords looked sharp.

“Run, Little Man. Pierre and I have told these brutes : Pirate Alley is ours!”

Raptors screamed as they were run through. I smiled wide. Sometimes it helped to have friends in ghoulish places.

Or not.

A knife slashed towards my eyes. I ducked down, doing the Parkour roll right between legs in a frilly hoop skirt.

Delphine LaLaurie.

The French Quarter’s Jill the Ripper. Her knife bloody from the tortured bodies of her slaves, she looked at me with insane eyes.

“I worship blood and screams.”

I jerked my thumb over my shoulder to the sound of clawed feet on pavement. “Get ready for a religious experience!”

I raced down the dark street, at whose end was St. Louis Cathedral and the spotlighted courtyard statue of Jesus, casting long shadows of waiting arms for me.

To welcome me to death …

or to safety?

I laughed. What matter? I was Victor Standish, and the only sure thing was that I would not quit. Ever.
Below are some of the parkour moves Victor Standish uses in evading the Soyoko.

Fast forward to midway to see a street athelete scaling up two walls in an alleyway as Victor did.

Some of you have emailed me, asking just who is this BOND group? So here is the answer, along with the tune, EXPLOSIVE, that could be used for the soundtrack of this entry, too :


  1. It's late Honey and I shouldn't be posting. I get weird after bedtime . .

    Much of what I want to say is for your eyes only, so I'm sending an e-mail - tomorrow or Saturday if that's OK. Say NO here if not.

    Anyway - my public comment has to do with the Parkour.

    Damn; that looks impossible. I know it's not. Improbable to a lot of people, but not impossible. Ordinary people can do it with enough incentive.

    Still, this video is impressive - shows a lot of your character Victor Standish.

    Being blunt here; but this is one of the most unique excerpts you've published. Which is why I cringe and applaud both. I'll explain, if you're interested, but I may forget with the shuft I've got going. Please prod me Sunday if you don't get an e-mail Saturday afternoon.

    Dude; I wish I could write like this. Seriously.

    Like me, you seem to be a character driven writer. Only, you seem to have captured the essence that I'm striving for and haven't found.

    It's amazing how you can portray a character, paint the surroundings, draw the reader into your world so far they (meaning I) forget about any other reality.

    Talent; pure and simple.

    When I'm revision my action scenes; I'm thinking of your submissions here. You have a lot to teach me, and I read each post with that in mind.


  2. Hi Roland .. that was pretty amazing .. loved the imagery you gave us, together with the characters ..

    Parkour .. too energetic for me - they must be fit those guys ..

    Donna's comment says it all .. thanks really enjoyed this .. no wonder you have to have flu occasionally and Gypsy has to look after you .. I'm exhausted just reading and watching a little of the video - I did see the alley part though ..

    Cheers - Hilary

  3. Donna : Certainly it is all right to send me an email. I probably shouldn't have posted when I was exhausted either.

    I'm doing a blog tour, and if you would like to be a host, I would certainly love to have you do it.

    My YA fantasy world is most definitely urban. Victor Standish is not Harry Potter. He is a street survivor. He has been hardened by what he's endured and seen.

    That is why he can actually be drawn romantically to a ghoul who eats human flesh. Most adults he's seen eat each other in some way or fashion. She's just more upfront about it than most.

    He has chosen to laugh about it all. He has decided he will never make it to sixteen. His victory will be in never surrendering.

    You got me wondering what you wanted to be blunt about though.

    Hilary : I lived for a time on the streets of Detroit as a child, but I was never as good at parkour as those kids in the video! Thanks for liking my post.

  4. They should know better than to mess with Victor! Great entry and thanks for sharing a bit more of his story with us.

  5. Thanks, Heather. I'm glad you liked my post. Have a great weekend, Roland

  6. How fun to see parkour in fiction. That was fun!

  7. Hi, just to let you know I've been by to read your entry! Thanks again for participating! :)

  8. So cool! And I love Parkour... have some of that in one of my books. I take Taekwondo-- but if I didn't I'd be using that time to learn Parkour. Sweet!

    PS... I have been meaning to write you and thank you for your compassionate words. You are so sweet-- and I know that your ability to give solace is a direct result of your own personal relationship with loss and pain. Thanks again for using your acquaintance with sorrow to ease mine. (=

  9. A real heart starter for a Saturday morning when I'm relaxing, ha ha Roland. Exquisite as always, bounding across buildings - oh, those images. You should have this one in the bag!

    Phew, I'd better go and read some more restrained entries.


  10. Superb action sequence, Roland. Great descriptions of PK and the vid is amazing. Of course it's always great to see my old friends Jean and Pierre. Mdm. LaLaurie, not so much, but I like knowing she's about to get what's coming to her (loved the 'religious experience' line.

    Well done!

  11. I've read your entry and just wanted to say thanks for playing along with J.C.'s contest. I enjoyed reading!

  12. Nice descriptions for le parkour. I could really visualize it.

  13. I liked the nonstop action, but even more Victor's voice. I love that he can be snarky in the midst of all the crap he's going through. It makes his "race" even that much more interesting!

  14. Very exciting... Victor at his usual best.

    I could feel my stomach lurch with each of his movements.

    Well done, as always.


  15. Lydia : I always thought Parkour would make a great equalizer for a YA hero in over his head : Victor's usual condition! Glad you caught the fun I tried to infuse into Victor's take on his run.

    J.C. : Hi, thanks for caring enough to drop by, letting me know you read my entry.

    Jo : I love Parkour. I have Victor use it in his first book to take on a drug lord's guards and hired killers. I thought I'd up the ante for Victor by throwing evolved raptors into the mix.

    My email is in my profile. You need a friend -- there's one in a ramshakle bayou apartment, ready to help as best I can. Thank you for appreciating my stab at easing the pain in some small way for you.

    Denise : Ah, unlike Victor, I am lousy at competitions. But like Victor, I race for the laughs and fun of it!

    Thanks, VR : I tried to make the reader "see" the parkour moves. This is a heavily edited version of the run found in Victor's sequel. In his first book, I worked hard to catch the speed, flow, and the stages of each move -- with Victor's unique "color" commentary!

    I always hated the deeds of Mdm. LaLaurie and the helplessness of her victims. I have her pay a price in Victor's sequel. But she is a lot like Callisto in XENA : she refuses to die.

    I laughed out loud when I wrote the "religious experience" line. I'm so happy you liked it.

    Genna : Thanks for reading my entry and taking precious time to say you liked it. Victor tips the Stetson he stole from McCord towards you in thanks. That rascal!

    Shannon : Thanks for saying you could visualize it. It is difficult to do that with such a discipline.

    Fourth Grade Teacher : Thanks for liking Victor's "voice." I worked hard to make it fun, yet believable for a street kid with snarkiness to spare. I so happy you enjoyed his race against those pesky raptors.

    Thanks, Michael : It has been Victor's skill at parkour that has enabled him to survive while many of his acquaintances have been killed. Again, thanks for the kind words. Roland

  16. Raptors and parkour- wonders never cease on your blog! This is very inventive! Would love to read more.
    My blogfest entry was set in Japan.

  17. Wow - what an intense piece, Roland. It sucked me in!

    Hope you're having a great weekend.

  18. eeleenlee : Yes, raptors and parkour make for an explosive mix all right! I'm glad you liked my entry. If my dreams come true, perhaps when both of my Victor Standish books come out, you'll get to read the rest of the story as Paul Harvey would have said. I'm heading to your entry now.

    Talli Roland : I'm happy I was able to draw you in and make the scene real for you. Good luck next week with your book sales. Wish me luck on my blog tour for mine coming up.

  19. good snippet. I don't think I have ever seen parkour used in a story. Interesting. Do you practice free running?

  20. First, I love books and writing that has dinosaurs in it. Ever since I was a kid, I imagined if your book has dinos...I'm definitely getting a copy to read (your writing here is excellent and draws me in).

    Second...there have always been parkour people...thy just used to be called ninjas. Now that the whole ninja-thing isn't really a commodity in today's world...they went to the parkour thing. Just my opinion but when I look at the video, I imagine throwing stars and swords and think...meh...not much uf a stretch to see those guys as ninjas.

  21. Budd : I'm glad you liked my excerpt. I never have seen parkour in a story either. I'm not as in good a shape as Victor, but this ramshackle apartment complex lends itself to wall-running and scaling to the roof-top to look over the breath-taking bayou that runs by the place.

    Michael Offut : You'll like FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE then as well, for it contains a few chapters with Samuel McCord first challenging the evolved raptors, then leading them in a raid on raping, murdering gangsters in the Covention Center right after Katrina.

    Yes, parkour has some of the same elements of the ninja discipline -- but without the misdirection, killing, and other assorted mayhem -- lucky for the cities in which it is practiced, right?

    Always good to see you here, Michael. The welcome mat is always out for you. Roland

  22. I love slapping the raptor -- makes me think of Conan punching the camel. And I had flashbacks of Monkey Island and visiting Rose Hall in Jamaica. Maybe I'm crazy... well, no maybe about it. :)
    As always, love your blog.

  23. Victor always makes me laugh. Get ready for a religious experience - that was great!

    Very fast paced and tight, well done!

  24. Erin : To survive in today's world, being a little bit crazy is a must, isn't it? Yes, I smiled big writing that raptor slap!

    Words Crafter : Victor always puts a smile on my face when I write him -- except for those moments when the world bottoms out for him. I'm glad you enjoyd my post, Roland

  25. Enjoyed your piece, Roland. I've watched a lot of Parkour clips with my son. Although no academy award winner, the movie District 13features a lot of Parkour.

    Thanks for the video clip of Dancing With The Stars and for introducing me to Bond. Very cool. I'll have to get one of those little dresses for one of my dances :)

  26. Wendy : I'll have to look DISTRICT 13 up. I'm glad you liked the Australian version of DANCING WITH THE STARS and Bond. Those little dresses were little, weren't they? But now, you know why Victor likes Bond! LOL. Alice may gnaw a little finger when she finds out!

  27. Great writing! Action-packed and yet with humour to make the reader smile as we're dragged along :D

  28. Whoa! I think I better explore some of your older posts before I followed to find out more on this Victor guy...

    Please stop by my blog...I have something for you!

  29. Trisha : Thanks for the kind words. Victor has survived emotionally on the streets by find humor in the most black of situations. Thanks for smiling along with him.

    Donna B. : The post I gave the link at the beginning of this one tells a little more about Victor, his ghoul friend, Alice, and how this race against raptors came to be. I'm heading to your blog to say thanks now. Roland

  30. I learned "fight a gun, and run from a knife" but never thought about what do do about teeth and claws.

    However, I have given a lot of thought about fast food, and choose to go that route. Fat food is hard to kill.

  31. Walter : Love your sense of humor. I'm glad you enjoyed my little snippet. Fast Food does seem the best route, doesn't it? Roland

  32. Hey Roland, great entry! "Fast food" was very cute. :)

    I was late getting my entry in due to technical difficulties, but it's up now if you have a chance to look. Take care and best of luck on your blog tour!