Saturday, August 18, 2012

Battle of the Bulge w/ Luke Saunders Profile


                                                                                                                                                     193.8

   Some of you may have noticed a 4-digit number with a single decimal place posted at the top of my blog last week. I’m ashamed to admit that is my weight in pounds at the time of the post. In an effort to shame myself into reducing the number, I’ve decided to post it each week until it reaches 180.
   Yes, I am one of the millions of Americans who have been fighting a losing battle with an expanding waistline. My fight has lasted about thirty years, when in my early thirties I noted that I had to start wearing a size 32 jeans after having graduated college ten years before at a size 28. I now suck in my gut each morning to cinch my belt around a size 38.
   What the hell happened?
   I’ve always been active, always played sports, love to jog, go backpacking, ride my bike. I was kind of a gym rat in my younger days, and I even did a few-years’ stint as an aerobics instructor. Walking is one of my favorite activities and is generally what I do to relax and clear my mind. Problem is, I love to eat.
   Yeah, I guess it’s really that simple. When I was younger I could eat as much as I wanted and burn off all the calories with exercise, but as I got older I slowed down, and so did my metabolism, but my appetite has remained the same. Plus carrying more and more weight has added increased stress to muscles and joints that tend to get injured when I try to pretend I’m still twenty years old.
   I’ve known I needed to get serious about losing weight for a while now. I hate how my clothes don’t fit, and my doctor began to suggest a better diet some years ago. But what brought everything to a head was what my 13-year-old son did to me last week.
   We were returning home from Krispy Kreme with a dozen assorted donuts, and I suggested stopping at the grocery for some ice cream because… well, have you ever micro-waved a glazed Krispy Kreme and put some vanilla ice cream in the hole? Seth shook his head at me and said, “No.”
   “What? Why not,” I questioned.
   “I don’t want you to die,” he said.
   I thought that a bit dramatic, and I said so. He just reached over and patted my belly.
   I got the ice cream anyway. No kid’s gonna tell me what to do, right? And I enjoyed it while I was eating it, but the next morning when I got on the scale and had to lean forward to peer over my belly at the display, the evidence was incontrovertible. Somewhere along the way I have become obese.
   It stops now, folks. I’m taking the weight off, and I welcome you all to track my progress. Feel free to congratulate me on my success or chastise me if I don’t progress.

  Now, on to the good stuff.

  You would not believe the adversity I and my team of editors, cover artists and designers, and beta readers are fighting through to get The Dragon of Doughton Park out to the public. Members of my team have undergone surgery, chemo-therapy, dialysis and vacations (what?) over the last few weeks but they persevere. My original target date for publication of late June is long past, but this book will be available soon and it will be worth it! Keep the faith.

   Now, I want to share with you a brief profile of one of my favorite Red Wolf Novels characters. So far, through the first two books, Luke Saunders, the reluctant private investigator Roland Trudeau has employed to keep tabs on Clifford Crane, has played a minor role, but the scenes I’ve written with his character have been among my favorites. Here’s some background on the guy, some stuff you won’t find in the books…

   Legends about werewolves abound around Troy, N.C. Nearly every resident has or knows someone who has a story of a personal encounter with one of the supernatural creatures, and some will go so far as to claim the Lycan gene runs in their family. Luke Saunders, Jr. grew up in one of those families, and although Luke’s father would often rail about how he “felt the wolf coming on” when he was on one of his drunken binges, there is no documented evidence of werewolves in his lineage. Still, the fear of werewolves was instilled in Luke at a young age and particularly reinforced during the period of his life from age thirteen, when his father crossed that invisible line from a social drinker to a raging alcoholic, and age seventeen, when the senior Luke Saunders started attending AA meetings and turned his life around.
   In those teenage years, young Luke learned a few things from his relationship with his Dad that greatly influenced the course of his life. One was that some folks carried a raging, uncontrollable beast inside them that could be unleashed suddenly and inexplicably to hurt the ones they claimed to love. It was always best to tread lightly around these folks and to always have an escape route planned in case the beast came out.
   The other thing he learned was that if you kept quiet, didn’t make waves, were patient and kept your ears and eyes opened, you could learn things about people, recognize patterns of behavior, and sometimes predict what they would say, where they would go, and what they would do. Young Luke developed and honed such skills. He used them to avoid the beatings that his Mom and older sister managed not to. He used them to navigate the stormy relationships of his dysfunctional household. When Luke Senior would disappear for days, it was Luke Junior who was eventually dispatched to track his Dad down, deal with whatever trouble he’d gotten himself into, and bring him home.
   Nine times out of ten, he got the job done. He bailed his old man out of jail numerous times, extricated him mostly unscathed from a number of barroom brawls, and once even talked some very dangerous men into forgiving Luke Senior a rather large gambling debt. He learned to walk unobtrusively through the neighborhoods on both sides of the tracks. He became familiar with the world of the bail bondsman and bounty hunter.
   By the age of sixteen, Luke was earning extra cash using his information-gathering skills for a local bounty hunter. He used most of what he earned in support of his family, but when his Dad got sober and started working again, he was able to put some money aside. When he graduated high school, he used the money to pay his tuition and board at NC State University.
   But college, which was mainly an excuse to get away from home in the first place, soon lost its purpose for Luke. He went to work for a private investigator in the Raleigh area, quickly became a partner in the business, and eventually went out on his own.
    Although he maintained an amicable, long-distance relationship with his Dad, who remained sober, he had no desire to return to the community in which he’d grown up. Then, when he was in his mid-thirties, he came to the attention of Roland Trudeau, who was looking for someone who had ties with Troy and could spy on the wolves based there. Trudeau lured him with easy money, enough money that Luke, who was beginning to tire of the PI game, began to dream of an early retirement.
   But Luke was a little too good at his job. Trudeau began to rely on him and was reluctant to let him out of his open-ended contract, and the vampire eventually revealed his true nature and the nature of the “people” Saunders was investigating, choosing to retain Luke’s services through fear and intimidation rather than making a pet of him, which would surely make him less effective in his work.
   Now, Luke fights the nightmares from his past and his present. He walks a thin line, constantly aware that his life is in danger from both his employer and those he’s employed to spy on.
   How does he deal with the situation? Find out by clicking one of the links below.

    Draculata Nest for Kindle      Draculata Nest for Nook     Draculata Nest in Paperback

   Until next time.... Happy Reading!

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