fiction

Your Invitation: Sunday Facebook Event with Giveaways!

Hello, everyone out there in BlogLand!

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This Sunday I’ll be doing an event takeover on Facebook, helping fellow authors Alicia Taylor & Natalie Townson launch their new book Avowed.

I’ve done a few of these events and they’re always fun. I’ll be posting fun stuff, asking probing questions like “Whatcha wearin’?” and giving some stuff away.

I’ll also be running a contest for ebook versions of either Diamond-T or something from one of my fellow authors. Maybe both, if I’m in a generous mood. I just might be.

Anyway, the festivities start at 12:00 EST this Sunday, the 22nd. Just follow the link below to join the event. It’s just like being part of a Facebook group: fresh posts appear in your newsfeed. Jump in with your questions, comments, concerns, or dirty jokes at any time. Show your support for indie authors in a way that simple, fun, and free of charge.

Here’s the link, or just click the image above:

https://www.facebook.com/events/776489765739994/

See you there!

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The Diamond-T Thrill Ride Rolls On!

Just the latest great review for Eye of the Diamond-T:

“The story of Nick Pente takes you on a thrill ride like you’ve never been on before. You don’t know what’s going to happen next. You find yourself rooting for this character as he navigates life on the road, and then again as life takes a huge turn in another direction. Mysterious and intriguing, this book will leave you thinking it over long after you’ve finished.”

Check out more reviews at Amazon HERE.

Want a chance to win a free signed copy this month? Enter my contest on Goodreads HERE!

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Why I Need Gasoline Therapy

I can’t take it anymore. This sitting still is doing me in. I need gasoline therapy.

I suppose if I owned a vehicle powered by diesel fuel, that would do as well. Diesels can be good because you can get more range from them. Range is essential for what I need. It’s an essential part of gasoline therapy.

I bought my first motorcycle shortly after I turned 33. It was also my first extra-marital affair. Wife-at-the-time hated bikes — just hatedthem. So I promised her I’d only ride my dinky little 500cc Honda around the neighborhood or to the store to get bagels. Sometimes I’d have to ride 100 miles away to get just the right kind of bagel. Because I cared.

But yes — whenever her back was turned, I was sneaking in some time with my prematurely-haggard little Japanese consort, redlining her up a hill on the way to Payson along the Beeline Highway, riding through the moonlight on the way to Globe along US60, doing laps up and down Yarnell Hill and scaring myself shitless.

When I came home one afternoon, wife-at-the-time was in the kitchen and waiting for me. She took one look in my eyes and knew she had lost. Her rival had my affections. That harlot had plied me by burning gasoline–which had never really ceased being my drug of choice. I promised my wife I’d spend more time with her when she wasn’t . . . ohhhh . . . galavanting through the Caribbean with “friends” on “business trips.”

But you know what they say about such things: Slippery-slope and all that. Within a year I had two more bikes, each with longer range than the previous one. I finally bought a Honda ST1100, which carried enough gas to allow me to take in hours of therapy at a time. I was gone — and soon, so was wife.

No big. More time to ride this way.

I used to figure on how many tanks it would take to get me up on a high. I thought in terms of tanks. Usually, after two and a half tanks in that ST1100, I was cookin’. From Phoenix, that would put me somewhere near Reno or Grand Junction, or in some godforsaken part of Utah. Once up on that high, I would sometimes find I just couldn’t stop. I rode to Canada once, just to smoke a cigarette. The Mounties didn’t understand why someone would ride 1500 miles to smoke a cigarette and take a picture near a sign that said “Bienvenue au Canada.” The US Border Patrol on the way back didn’t understand, either. Philistines.

But then life happened. Another marriage happened. A kid happened. Another divorce happened. I came down off my high and started writing instead. Writing is good, but it’s not the same. There are many wanderers who also write, and many works of literature based on wandering. Some of these writer-wanderers eventually settle down, but the wanderlust stays. John Steinbeck took one last journey around the country and used the experience to write what is probably his best book. Then, he died. It was sad, but also a good closure to the career of a man who had helped mythologize the Main Street of America.

So now, I can go a few weeks standing at the bistro table in my condo, socializing at my bar, taking long walks around my ‘hood and bicycle rides a little further away. Then, I need range. I need gasoline therapy.

I need that feeling of being an arrow launched by a longbow at the peak of its flight on the way towards an indeterminate target. I need to feel the world wrapping itself around me like a carrousel, with me at its axis. I need to take my place in the intoxicating, whirling dance of being, denying death by means of pure, frenetic motion.

I need gasoline therapy.

* * * * *

And yes, you can bet that my novel Eye of the Diamond-T has a lot of gasoline therapy in it. Join the session here: LINK

More Praise for Diamond-T!

Another astounding review for Eye of the Diamond-T:

From the very beginning, I was immediately drawn into Bill LaBrie’s excellent debut novel, Eye of the Diamond-T. It wasn’t just the frenetic narrative style, nor the immersive, highly believable descriptions of life as a long-haul trucker in the 1950s Southwest, complete with the colorful dialogue of the lifestyle, from the truckers’ cant to the long-in-the-tooth-flirt drawl of the truck-stop waitresses. (And) it wasn’t the author’s clear love affair with words, which calls to mind John Updike’s assessment of Vladimir Nabokov as being a writer who “…writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically.”

. . .

It presents a wild story combining Greek, Hopi and Biblical mythology, mashes things up further with a narrative that leaps back and forth in time and, it seems, into different metaphorical realities, and yet the character of Nick is still so recognizably, agonizingly relatable. In many ways, the entire novel comes down to Nick’s struggle to forgive, and how he comes to that point is an incredible ride.

Read more of this great review at Goodreads HERE

Check out Eye of the Diamond-T HERE

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“Selig” means “Blessed”: Happy Coincidence

A dear friend brought up something interesting about my choice of locales for Diamond-T the other day. Something I hadn’t thought of at all. It was serendipity. Just a happy coincidence.

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The pivotal scenes in the book happen in Seligman, Arizona. You might remember that name from various human-interest stories about the hardy eccentrics who still live in this little town–one of the last along Route 66 to be bypassed by I-40. It also served as an inspiration for the Disney movie Cars, which thanks to my 8-year-old son, I have seen upwards of 100 times.

Anyway, this friend called to express delight about the book, but also to ask me if I knew what “Selig” (as in the first part of “Seligman”) means in German. I really didn’t. I knew the town to have taken the name of a railroad official in the area at the time the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe laid rails through the area near what had long been a wagon path, and before that a footpath, and before that an animal migration route.

It turns out that “Selig” means both “blessed” and “departed.”

In the context of the book’s location and what happens there, that’s pretty astounding. What makes it even more so are the Germanic natures of those who oppose my protagonist, Nick Pente.

So the main character finds his solace and redemption near a tiny Arizona town with a name that means — in German — “blessed, departed man.”

That, my friends, is only one of the many such happy coincidences that shaped Eye of the Diamond-T.

I hope reading it will also give you an inspiration to find the happy coincidences in your life.

Check it out at diamondtbook.com

And the Story Goes On . . .

I’m hard at work on the next book, which will take place 100 years after the the first.

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They both share a common universe, but each book stands fully on its own.

If Diamond-T is the purgatory, then the next book will be the final descent into the depths of Hades, with a triumphant redemption towards the end.

And yes, you can expect off-kilter characters, wacky situations, and both pop-cultural and mythological references — not to mention stretches of dialog which sound lifted verbatim from people once overheard arguing about lawnmowers and transcendence outside of a nudie bar somewhere near Elko, Nevada. That’s just how I write. Sometimes.

Anyway, please get “Eye of the Diamond-T” and start the mystical journey through love, war, the American West, mental illness, CIA mind-control, sheep, explosions, semi-trucks, and Perry Como today.

PS: And thanks to all who’ve already started! Keep those cards, letters, and reviews coming.

https://diamondtbook.com/

Four Undramatic Plot Structures

Four Undramatic Plot Structures:

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–From @tomgauld for The New Yorker.

I think I avoided most of these in Diamond-T,  though I probably have inadvertently uncovered a whole bunch of new things writers shouldn’t do. Hey! It’s not default literature. I’m sure every reader will find something to love and hate in it.

Check out Eye of the Diamond-T HERE.

Another Great Review for Diamond-T!

“I really loved reading this book. The character weaves in and out of time, and LaBrie is able to paint such vivid pictures with his writing, capturing drastically different settings of the first half of the 20th century in rich detail.

The book flows easily and yet it’s also rich with layers of meaning. It’s suspenseful, action-filled, witty, and deeply psychological, so I think anyone would really enjoy reading it and get a lot out if it. Plus, the protagonist is really relatable, even for me as a female. Even after finishing, I still find myself thinking about him and his journey. I’m going to buy several copies of the book for people for the holidays because I’m so eager to talk about it. There’s so much to take away.

Highly recommended!”

— Kate Goldhouse
Check out Kate’s nutrition and wellness page at http://goldhousegourmet.blogspot.com/

Diamond-T available in print/Kindle on Amazon HERE

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Reviews are In!

Some great reviews for Diamond-T on Amazon now.

I was sure it would have something in it for everyone: Something to love, something to hate. It’s anything but “default lit.”

The book begins with a seemingly straightforward, harrowing action scene. A tractor trailer dangles precariously over an icy bridge overlooking railroad tracks. A train approaches, and the disoriented, injured driver wonders if his violent demise approaches with it. But to give a simple plot synopsis does this book a disservice. A much broader story is being told than is contained within the events on the page.

As the story progresses (often by digressing, in unexpected but satisfying ways), the driver, Nick Pente, is revealed to be more than just another faceless pop-fiction hero. Both relatable and mysterious, it is exceedingly easy to root for him as he slowly discovers the degree to which his life is (or isn’t?) under his own control. Troubling but telling memories of his past are interwoven with his current predicament, forming a narrative that both engages and intrigues. Nick Pente is a protagonist that maintains familiarity without risking the reader losing sight of what he represents. However he is well-crafted enough as a character, that “what he represents” will differ from reader to reader.

One indicator that an author knows his craft, and has a firm grasp on the story he’s trying to tell, is the degree to which the seemingly unimportant details end up speaking to a larger theme. Bill LaBrie’s writing allows almost all of these details to become full-fledged symbolic elements in the mind of a thoughtful reader. Beyond the evocative and very satisfying narrative lies a thick layer of broader meaning that qualifies “Eye of the Diamond-T” as top-notch fiction. It is a Hero’s Journey story that balances ample entertainment with a clear sense of mythological import.

Read more reviews and purchase at Amazon: CLICK