January 1, 1970
This year’s conference features two New York Times bestselling authors, Florida’s Poet Laureate, and dozens of workshops and panel discussions. Join me at the Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs, October 18 – 21. And don’t forget to register for Chuck Sambuchino’s full-day workshop, “Everything You Need to Know About Agents, Submissions, Queries, and First Pages.” Click here for faculty, schedule, and registration information.
After 15 years of telling lies for a living—writing novels and short stories—I’ve made a slight change of direction. Old Parker has always been a history buff, particularly reading about the heroic exploits and sacrifices of the brave young men who fought in World War II. So when Martin Olsen, a 91-year-old WWII veteran asked me to write his memoir, I decided to make the time in my writing schedule to help bring Marty’s story before the reading public.
We Were Amateur Soldiers: How the Great Generation Changed the Face of America is the title of Marty’s life story, which begins with him growing up during the Great Depression, serving as an infantry man in WWII, and returning home to grow his father’s small business into a market leader. But it’s more than Marty’s story, it’s a history lesson of the “Great Generation” that supported the troops and kickstarted our economy, fueling an era of tremendous growth.
I was recently informed that the book is a semifinalist in the Royal Palm Literary Awards competition in the Autobiography/Memoir category. Here’s the book cover, featuring a young Marty Olsen near the end of the war standing by a German jeep. If you look closely you can see the bullet holes in the jeep’s windshield. If you’d like to read We Were Amateur Soldiers, it’s available as either a print or ebook from Amazon.com.
You know how one thing leads to another, don’t you? After Marty’s book was published I was contacted by another WW II veteran, and we’re now collaborating on a written legacy for him. I plan to continue telling lies (writing fiction), but I’m excited about working with others to help them capture their life stories and pass it along to their family and friends. Contact me if you know of anyone who needs my help, and maybe together we’ll craft a literary legacy from the pages of their life.
It seems readers never tire of dark tales designed to leave us with sweaty palms and racing hearts. So when I was asked if I was interested in being one of the twelve award-winning writers whose work would be featured in a new horror story anthology, I immediately said yes. And I knew exactly which of my short stories to submit.
Texting April won a Royal Palm Literary Award a few years back, and I later included it in my own collection of dark tales, Ghostly Whisper, Secret Voices. I thought it would be the perfect complement to the other stories to be found in the collection titled, In Shadows Written. In my story, technology is pushed beyond the limits of natural laws when young Nick receives a text on his iPhone purportedly from a girl who was murdered. The story fits nicely with the other stories by these fine authors: Ken Pelham, Familiar, Elle Andrews Patt, The Legend of Johnny Bell, William Burton McCormick, The Antiquary’s Wife, Michael Sears, Kev, Jade Kerrion, Insecurity Complex, Bria Burton, A Dream Within A Dream, Melanie Terry Griffey, Gabriel, Daco Auffenorde and Robert Rothstein, The Alexandrite Necklace, John Hope, Beating Cats, M.J. Carlson, Three, Two, One, Wake Up, and Charles A. Cornell, Die Fabrik.
You can pick up the digital anthology for less than a cafe latte at Amazon.com by clicking here. It’s best to read these stories in the daytime, or at least with the lights burning brightly.
If you’re like me, you listen to nearly as many books as you read. I’m hooked on them and always have one in my car, as well as another loaded on my iPhone to listen to when I’m puttering around the yard or taking a run on the treadmill. Ever since Matanzas Bay was first published back in 2011 people have been asking if there was an audio version of the book. And until now I’ve always had to tell them there was not. But things have changed in the book world, and now you can listen to Matanzas Bay. The unabridged recording is available on Audible.com, one of the world’s largest retailers of audiobooks.
Matanzas Bay was voiced by Mike Dennis, who managed to capture the tone and character of the story, and bring Quint Mitchell to life. And when you go to Audible.com, you can look for the “new” Matanzas Bay cover, which has been squared off to resemble
a CD cover.
When young Quint Mitchell reluctantly accompanied his family on a vacation to Dania Beach, Florida, he thought he’d be bored out of his mind. Instead, he and a rag tag group of boys learned life can be both unpredictable and dangerous. Here’s a brief excerpt introducing Quint’s first great adventure. Look for Blue Crabs at Midnight as a Kindle short story at Amazon.com.
by Parker Francis
Fifty minutes after the rapist was apprehended, young Quint Mitchell was placed in the back seat of the police cruiser and driven to headquarters. Speeding along the dark highway, a dank tidal marsh to his left, the Atlantic Ocean behind them, he felt the crunch, heard the cracking of their shells.
Blue crabs and cars. Not a fair fight, he thought.
The muscles along his shoulders throbbed, sending currents of low intensity pain pulsating across his back and down his spine. He let his head sink back onto the seat. Exhaustion had settled over him like the fog moving in from the ocean. Quint’s body craved sleep, but in a strange way he felt wired, pumped full of adrenaline.
“What time is it?” Quint asked the officer behind the wheel.
He closed his eyes, trying to block out the repulsive sounds of the blue crabs being crushed beneath him. He imagined he could hear them screaming as the cruiser’s wheels passed over their carapaces, grinding them into the blacktop.
Quint let his mind drift back. Back before this crazy night. Back to the start of a family vacation that almost ended as tragically for him as it did for these blue crabs at midnight.
Blue Crabs at Midnight is now available as a Kindle single. Purchase it here.
You’ll be glad to know that Bring Down the Furies is now available for purchase as a Kindle eBook, and soon will be in print for those of you not into digital reading devices. Please Subscribe to the Parker Francis enewsletter to learn when the trade paperback version becomes available.
Furies received high marks from my early readers, including New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry, who wrote, “Another terrific outing for Parker Francis, who definitely delivers what readers want. He’s a powerhouse storyteller and a welcome addition to the thriller genre. Hang on tight and remember to breathe.”
Read all of the testimonials for the book here.
You can read the first page of Quint Mitchell’s first adventure, a short story titled, Blue Crabs at Midnight. It’s a strange title, I know, but it all becomes clear in the first few paragraphs. Blue Crabs takes readers back some twenty-five years to a time when young Quint is vacationing in South Florida with his family. There he falls in with a group of boys who together learn that life can be both dangerous and unpredictable. Blue Crabs at Midnight s now a Kindle short story priced at only $1.99.
And speaking of short stories, I’m also working on a collection of Parker Francis short stories. The collection’s title is So Dark as One’s Own Heart, which is taken from the Nathaniel Hawthorne quote, “What other dungeon is so dark as one’s own heart! What jailer so inexorable as one’s self?” The collection will include a range of surprising tales designed to keep you guessing — and maybe sleeping with the lights on for a few nights. If you enjoy Stephen King, then this collection is for you.
While you’re waiting for more Parker Francis offerings, pick up your copy Matanzas Bay and read it again. It’s still only $2.99 on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and in the iTunes iBookstore, which can be accessed through your iPad app.