So you can read my books

Monday, January 30, 2012


THE RIVAL doesn't come out until summer 2012.

Many of my new friends wondered about the "playground" incident mentioned yesterday.

Here is the version found in THE RIVAL that contains surprises even for my old friends :

My real memories begin when I was seven. And where I started was where I almost ended. I know I wanted to end right then.


Mother ended when I was seven.

Leastways, me being with her ended. Though I can’t remember it clearly, I know she and I travelled the world together before then. Always together.

Never again.

I can never see her face clear that last day. No matter how hard I try. Her whole body is vague even. All I see clear are her winter-gray eyes. Wet with tears. Then, becoming granite cold.

“I must leave you, Victor.”


“Hush! I have taught you better than to lose control like this. Though I take his face from your mind, remember Chiron’s lessons.”

“Don’t leave me, Mother!”

“It is done. My nature is what it is. You must survive as best you can. Beware. My taking time to leave you here has spawned foul creatures in Detroit. And they are hungry. I must leave before even worse happens.”

Cold lips press down upon my forehead. “I-I love you, Victor.”

Then, she simply vanished. One heartbeat there. The next gone.

My mind told my eyes they were wrong. People just didn’t disappear like that. My blinking eyes screamed the obvious : I was alone.

My mind refused to believe. The heart dying inside me believed my eyes. Mother was gone, and she wasn’t coming back.

The world slowly grew into focus. A chill Autumn air made me shiver. At least, I told myself it was the cold winds that were doing it.

My nose wrinkled. Exhaust fumes. Grass. Yelling kids. A playground.

Mother had dumped me at a playground. That was just so … so mean.

Cold, distant. Mother had always been that. Still, I always felt loved somehow. My face closed like a fist. You didn’t dump someone you loved like an unwanted kitten at a playground.

I stepped back from the thought. My feet followed. The chains of a swing brushed my shoulders. I sank down into it hard, my legs not wanting to support me anymore. Like Mother didn’t want me anymore.

I grabbed the chains and squeezed with all my might. Why? Why didn’t she love me anymore?

To my right whined a girl’s voice, “I don’t like you.”

I blinked my eyes to focus my mind. I turned. A girl was in the swing next to me.

A year younger than me, she had long, wavy black hair. Her eyes were the color of the wine-dark sea. The same sea that Triton had surged out of, blowing death from his spiral horn.

I shook my head.

Where had that thought come from? I caught a fleeting image of a wrinkled face, sad eyes milked over in blindness. Homer.

His name was Homer. And he always found a way to make me laugh. I went cold inside. Ulysses. He always called me ‘Ulysses.’

The girl cleared her throat. “I said I don’t like you.”

“Take a number,” I muttered.

“I said I don’t like you!”

“I didn’t hear you that time, and I’m not going to hear you the next.”

She pointed over my shoulder. “And I don’t like them either!”

I smiled as cold as my heart felt. “Must be my kind of people.”

I turned in the swing. “Or not.”

The dead-eyed children swayed on lead feet our way, their faces rotting, their dress clothes torn and dirty, their nails broken from having clawed their way out of their coffins and up through the dirt of their graves.

Was this what Mother meant? Were they the reason she had to leave me so quickly? I swallowed hard remembering her words. Had she somehow made these corpses into zombies just by being here?

No. That couldn’t be. She was just Mother.

“Zombies!,” I muttered. “Fricking kid zombies. Oh, why the hell not?”

The girl covered her mouth, “Oh, you said a naughty!”

“On my best day, Sunshine, I’m PG-13.”

Mother’s slate-hard eyes flashed before mine. “And this is not my best day.”

“My name’s not Sunshine! It’s Becky.”

I jerked my thumb to the jaw-snapping, hungry kid zombies moving our way much too fast. “It’ll be ‘Kibble ‘N Brains’ if you don’t get the lead out.”

What had Chiron told me? When surrounded by enemies, get a sword, a shield, and the high ground.

Becky pulled out a wooden slingshot. “I’ll stop them!”

“Lots of luck with that, Nibbles.”

“My name is Becky!”

We were almost surrounded. I ran to a fallen baseball bat. Two zombies were making sure that the boy whose blood was all over it, wouldn’t miss it.

I darted in between them, nervous laughter bubbling from my lips. I tumbled through their grasping arms, snatching up the bat.

“My life is like a loaded gun,” I panted.

One lunged at me.

I beaned him with all my might, and his rotting head burst. I laughed, “I hope your name was Homer. ‘Cause I always wanted to hit a homer.”

To my far left, Becky screamed, “Fall down! WHY WON’T YOU FALL DOWN?”

I ran over, grabbed her by the pony-tail and snapped, “Cause the fun never stops with zombies!”

“Stop!,” cried Becky. “You’re messing up my pigtail.”

I spotted a slide/jungle-gym. All right! High ground.

I grunted, “Those zombies will mess up more than your ….”

A kid zombie with a half-eaten face lurched through the garbage cans lining the playground, knocking them over. A garbage can lid rolled to my feet.

My shield!

I snatched it up and smacked the zombie in the face with it. “Watch out! Low bridge.”

I thumped Becky on the butt to get her moving faster to the slide/jungle-gym.

“Hey, that’s my butt!”

I jerked my head to the shambling, but all-too-fast kid zombies. “It’ll be theirs if you don’t get a move on!”

We made it to the slide at the same time that a black kid took a mop handle and used it as a pole vault to get to the top of the metal tree-house at the top of the slide.

“Whoa!,” I gasped. “Way to go, LeRoy.”

He looked down at me. “Ya gotta learn free runnin’ if you gonna make it on these streets, bro. How did you know my name anyway?”

I got uneasy. “Lucky guess.”

But it hadn’t been. I had just known it. Like I had known Chrion’s lessons but couldn’t remember his face.

I smacked Becky up the slide with the garbage lid. The ladder was too slow as a couple of screaming kids found out the hard way. We ducked aside a girl with glasses. I shield-blocked the brick she aimed at me.

“Save it for the dead heads,” I barked, scooting by her.

The slide/jungle-gym was a big son of a gun. I skipped down the steps from the tree house to the walkway where six kid zombies scrambled towards us moaning, “Brains, brains, brains.”

I winked at Becky who was taking aim at them with her ball bearing loaded sling shot.
“They can’t mean you. It’s gotta be me they’re after.”

Becky let go with her sling shot, sending a ball bearing into the only eye of a grasping girl zombie. “Ha, ha. Very not funny!”

LeRoy pushed a boy zombie off the top of the tree-house with his mop handle. “Damn! They just too many of ‘em!”

It hit me then.

Mother hadn’t abandoned me.

She had left me here to be killed.

She … she wanted me … dead. She didn’t want me anymore. She didn’t love me. Had she ever loved me? Hot tears filled my eyes.

“Wrong!,” I yelled. “There aren’t enough!”

I leapt onto the walkway, swinging with bat and shield, knocking the grasping kid-zombies every which way.

Zombies scuttled like cockroaches out of Hell along the top of the rungs of the jungle-gym. They dropped down on the walkway. I swung at them with all my hurt, all my anger.

Brains, bits of skull, and rotted flesh flew in chucks as I danced about, smacking them with all the rage I felt at Mother for just dumping me … for not loving me anymore.

Glasses sobbed, “I-I’m outta bricks. They’re going to eat us.”

They kept coming. I kept blocking and smashing.

Becky went for more ball bearings but came up empty. A giggling girl-zombie knocked LeRoy down. He screamed.

{Tune in this summer for the rest.}

What could be the theme for Victor's friendship with Becky & Glasses :


  1. Always wanted to hit a homer! Funny.
    Excellent excerpt, Roland.

  2. Thanks, Alex :
    Victor gets smart-mouthed when he's terrified -- which is a good part of his life! I was beginning to feel as if I were playing to an empty house.

    After working 8 days straight, I slept until noon today!! Roland

  3. Wow!! Always leave them wanting more....needless to say I want more!!

  4. I'm not the worlds biggest zombie fan but you've got me interested in reading more of this. Great excerpt.

  5. Garrett!
    Good to see you hear, friend! I slept til one this Tuesday so I am just now reading this. So glad you became a follower. I was afraid that working with me that I had bored you with all my mumblings about my writing.

    Thanks for the nice words. I have written the first 100 pages of THE RIVAL so hopefully I can give you a free copy in the spring.

    You made my afternoon, good friend, Roland

    Angela :
    Zombies are just in the beginning of THE RIVAL. The majority of the novel occurs in the French Quarter of 1834 when Victor and his ghoul friend, Alice, find themselves trying to survive in "old" New Orleans against the likes of

    President Andrew Jackson, a vampiric Abigail Adams, the alien soul drinker, Maija, the Old Ones, and their own mistakes!

    At stake? Reality itself. No pressure, right?

  6. Roland, this is Carol. I want a copy too please. Can't wait to read the rest of the book.

  7. Carol!
    Good to see you here. If I had your email address, I would send you UNDER A VOODOO MOON which leads into THE RIVAL. Have a great evening, Roland