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Updated Cover Art

BookCover_BeyondTheBlackDoor_002

Ok, it has been WAY too long since I have posted anything here and I blame the Podcast…

But for now here is an updated version of my book art for Beyond The Black Door, which thankfully is getting closer and closer to being finished (First draft at least).

I will be back later with more entertaining stuff!-J.L. Martin-

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2013 in Art, Blog, Books

 

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New Book Cover Art

I have been taking a short break from writing and have begun working again on some new cover designs for a couple of my current projects.

This first one is for my nearly complete first draft: “Beyond The Black Door”
BookCover_BeyondTheBlackDoor

This second on is for a re-write I am doing of a halfway complete draft: “The Dark Light”
BookCover_TheDarkLightPlease let me know what you think!

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2013 in Art, Blog, Books

 

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Chapter 2: The Dark Light

Hello avid readers!

Below is the second chapter to a book I have been working on on-and-off for the past ten years.

You can find chapter one HERE as well as the rest!

Enjoy!


Chapter 2

I think it was the ride up to our new future that I remember the clearest out of the last couple decades of memories. The way the sky seemed so blue and clear and so dark at the same time. If I had known then what I know now, I would have taken that sky for something ominous. Instead I looked at it as the dawning of a new beginning for me. It took us the better part of five days for my nice new dodge to climb its way up north. I spent most of that time keeping to myself, letting my mind wander on the road. It was easier to be scared and excited in silence rather than try to make meaningless conversation and I had a feeling that Mike felt the exact same. I hadn’t heard him utter a single word since we hopped on the main drag leading to the edge of town. It wasn’t a tense silence, it was a solemn one.

It had been two weeks since our numbers had been called, and we were expected to report to the army recruitment office over in Oklahoma City. That made our little adventure up north that much easier to accomplish considering everyone figured we were being good ol’ American boys heading over to serve our country in a war we barely even understood. There were old friends in the street waving to us as we passed, old folks sitting on their porches smiling with pride. Most of them had served in the first world war. Lying to them was more difficult than lying to our own parents. At least with our own folks it was easier to bare the looks of fear and sorrow they gave thinking their sons were going off to be killed in the middle of Germany. Knowing that we were going to be safe and sound hunkered down in a cave somewhere past the Yukon made that lie palatable. Of course we tried not to think about what would go through their minds when Uncle Same contacted them about our absence from the recruitment office.

No, it was the eyes of those old retired veterans that struck us the hardest and left us in silence for the first day of our trip. Their smiling bright faces filled with fear, joy, pride, and envy as if they wanted the chance to get back in the fighting, to shoot a riffle at the bad guys one last time. I shuddered at the thought and told myself that this was just another reason I was high tailing it out of this psychotic predicament. I gave Mike one last look before we pulled out of town. If we took a right it would lead us to the dirt highway heading towards the city, if we took a left, our destiny would be northbound instead.

“You sure this is the right thing?” I said to him only half expecting anything more than a sage nod. He was silent and still for a long moment. The road was deserted which made this choice that much easier to make. Having eyes stare down at you as you decide to become a traitor and deserter of your own homeland makes one prone to second guessing, or so I would assume.

“Way I look at it, we have two choices,” he said still looking out the window into the cornfields beyond, “We turn right, we might as well drive this truck off the next corner and smash it into the river.” He spat out the window mulling over the next choice of words. “We turn left, and at least then we have a fighting chance to still have a life after this is all over.” I looked at him, and shivered. The fact that he couldn’t make eye contact with me meant that he was still undecided what the right course of action was. We were in a lose lose situation and he knew damned well that there was no way I was going to go through with this plan without his approval.

“I suppose we better get going then,” I said as I moved the truck over to the left as I made the turn. “Hopefully Canada ain’t as cold as they say it is,” I said with an attempt of humor in my throat that failed horribly.

That first night of driving went by quickly. We had left at two in the afternoon on a Monday and now it was pushing nearly midnight. We made it half way through Kansas before I had to pull over to rest a spell. My eyes were drooping so low that I thought I would drive the truck right off the side of the road. I fell into a deep dreamless sleep that first night. I was grateful later on for that restful night, years later I would pray for a dreamless night like that again. Hell, I still do.

The next day we both woke with the birds as the sun was creeping up over the horizon. Let me tell you, there is something about the Midwestern sunrises. Maybe it’s because the states are so flat, maybe it’s because the air is so much more clearer than in the big cities or on the coast, but when you see that sunrise, it’s like having a mental enema. All thoughts cleared out of my mind as I watched the orange and purple clouds spread out from the horizon as that reddish sun rose slowly over the plains taking on a more golden sheen. I started up the engine as the sky began to lighten from its inky night to its pearly blue day time glow.

We took back to the roads early enough that by the second night we were crossing the border of Nebraska. By the second night and the third day, driving through the Midwest had become something of a zen like experience. Row upon row of corn and wheat and hay stretched out before us. Even a strong willed man would find it hard not to be hypnotized by the monotonous roads. It was in this long stretch of Midwestern farmland that time seemed to slow down to the point of nearing infinity. I once read something about some theory saying the faster you went the slower time went and that if you reach a certain point time itself could stop all together. That’s what we experienced out there. We felt life racing past us faster than we thought was possible. We went from being children to being adults in what seemed like a split second choice. And here we were, in the middle of nowhere watching time slow down.

It was the fourth day that reality finally struck us. I saw Mike looking out onto a small town we stopped in. I can’t even remember the name, something like Marlboro or Marlborough. We stopped for some sandwiches and pop and decided to stretch our legs for a few before heading for the last leg of the trip into the frozen tundra. Halfway through lunch he gave a sigh, not one of defeat or regret but one of acceptance. That was the first time I knew that this choice was final. There was no going back after this point. We were only a few hours away from the Canadian border and Mike had made it all clear with that one muffled grunt that our final destination lay beyond that border.

There were no words of wisdom to follow, just a simple nod and a half-assed smile to signify that we were not only done with this small town, but done with the country we were born in. The reality that we might never be welcomed back into our own homes hadn’t sunk in until just then, at least not for me. I wasn’t the one who had any family up north, that was Mike’s department. All my blood was south of the mason Dixon line. Until I got my numbers called out of that damned fishbowl I never dreamed of heading any further north than Tennessee. Mike on the other hand had at least one relative up there. And that was the man we were going to see.

Mike called him Uncle Jean on account that the man was French. I always had the habit of calling him with a more American-Irish accent spurting out Shawn. I remember having fun doing that as kids. It used to bug the shit out of Mike. He used to say it made me sound “uneducated”. I used to tell him he was full of shit. That usually ended with him holding me down and shoving clods of earth in my face until I screamed out Uncle Jee-awn.

Uncle Jean LePierre, owner of one of Canada’s largest coal mines. It was he was to be our savior from the battle field. This was the man who would rescue us from a life with a gun and a knife. Mike had sung praises of this man ever since we were old enough to get into fist fights. Not the kind that you bring on someone you hate, but the variety you bring on someone you love to show them just how much you care.

The week before we left he called up his uncle and worked out some kind of deal.

“Robby, I got this worked out,” he said to me that last weekend we could fully enjoy as free men, “I just need you to trust me.” Of course I trusted him, why wouldn’t I. Mike had never done me wrong, and he had gotten me out of some of the worst situations in my life. It was Mike who managed to save me from going to the prom with Norma Renklin. I might not have been the most popular kid in the class, but what was I thinking when I asked her to go? Ratty hair, greasy skin, one lazy eye, and a limp that made her look like a cripple, yup, that was Norma all right. Maybe it was pity, maybe it was cause I had gotten drink on Grain liquor the night before, but for some reason I had asked that girl to the Prom. Mike pulled me aside and nearly crushed my face in with his meaty fist. Blood poured out of my nose and mouth. That was of course after I spent three hours trying to figure out how the hell to get out of the date. It was the perfect way out. Norma never wanted to go out with me from that day on, and god bless her, that made the sore in my face not ache as much. Funny thing was, she started developing a little schoolyard crush on big Mike shortly after. I remember the matching black eye I got when I tried to hook him up with her a few weeks later.

So why wouldn’t I trust him if he told me we had a way out of this situation. A week later we were in my truck headed towards the border to start our new lives out as coal miners rather than soldiers. I figured it sounded better to be underground than in a trench getting shot at by krouts. Mike seemed to think the same thing. Of course, it wasn’t till we were about to pass through the last few miles of Montana that it really hit home. I was never coming back. It wasn’t like I was leaving behind this great opportunity at life. My family didn’t have the money to send me to some fancy college, nor did I have any particular skills that would have landed me a nice paying job. Sure I had my high school diploma, which was more than most kids my age back in Talliville could say, but it was jack shit out there in farm country.

No, it was the realization that I really had nothing to loose in crossing this border that hit home the hardest. I thought tears would be coming down my face, or that second thoughts would force me to turn us around and turn ourselves in to the first army recruitment station we passed by, but I was wrong. Instead, I felt an emptiness, a vast hole inside of me that I learned later on, would only grow in size as the years wore on. I hid this from Mike for as long as possible, but near the end I think he saw it a lot more clearly than I thought was possible.

Once that border was crossed, it only took us about a days more travel time to get into the town that housed that coal mine. Hell the town itself was the coal mine. As we neared the end of the road I looked up and noticed the sky getting darker. I figured it was just a trick of the imagination. It was still near noon, and just an hour earlier the day seemed to be almost the brightest day I had ever seen. Now, as we neared the gate leading into the closed off town, I could feel an endless night creeping over us. That second thought that had escaped me at the Montana-Canadian border reemerged with a vengeance then. Now I wish I had listened to it.

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2013 in Blog, Books

 

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New Book Cover Art & New Short Story!

Hello avid readers. I am always trying to build on this site and to make it as visually pleasing as it is filled with content to enjoy.

I have started a project to include book cover designs for all of my major works (Short story collections & Novel parts).

I would like to eventually include cover art for all my pieces of fiction I post here, but I will start simple and work my way up!

Here is the new cover design I worked on for my growing collection of short stories I based around an end of the world scenario:

I give you, End Times!

End Times: A collection of short stories about the end of the world

This is my first attempt at book cover art, so please, be as brutal as you can and let me know what you think!


Also, I have posted my second short story in the End Times series:

As The Sky Sang

“The sky sang. The music was beautiful. The orchestra reached its crescendo. That was when the screaming began. The bombs fell rapidly now as the survivors attack was stepped up to phase two. Shrapnel and liquid fire rained down from the sky as soldiers dove for cover. Across the ridge, bodies began to twist and melt as the heat of the explosions tore through the lines of the advancing forces. The wails from the poor souls resonated through the heart of Sgt. Major Jonas Henson as he lobbed another widow shock hand explosive from the trench.”Click HERE to read more!

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2013 in Art, Blog, Short Story

 

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New Short Story: I, Stalker: Part 2

Hello avid readers!

I have added the second part to my short story shocker, “I, Stalker”

If you are interested in dark, twisted shock horror than this is the place for you!

Come, walk down this rusted out, path of pain and misery with me…

I, Stalker: Part 2

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2013 in Blog, Short Story

 

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New Novel Section: The Dark Light (Chapter 1)

Hello avid readers!

I have uploaded the first chapter of a book that I have been playing around with for the last ten years.

This is a story of two young men who are willing to sell themselves away in order to escape what they feel is a death sentence from the US Draft service during World War 2.

Please let me know what you think of this by leaving a comment. Whether you hate it or love or find it just meh, every bit of criticism helps me find a better way to convey this story.

Now, enter the land of “The Dark Light”.

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2013 in Blog, Books

 

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New Short Story: I, Stalker Part 1

Hello again avid readers!

I have released another one of my morbid mind creations upon the world.  This week’s tale is “I, Stalker: Part 1”.

This is a tale about a man who sees life through a different set of eyes than most.  To him, the world must be made better and he is definitely up for the job!

If you enjoy odd horror stories with a splash of shock value, give it a read and leave a comment!

I, Stalker: Part 1

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2013 in Blog, Short Story

 

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New Short Story: Dismay

Hello once again avid readers!

Another one of my older pieces has been uploaded for your reading pleasure.

I wrote this about 6 and a half years ago. It basically became the first inspiration for my current work “Beyond The Black Door” that will hopefully be entering revision mode later next month.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this venture into the depth of my mind.

Dismay

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2013 in Blog

 

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New Short Story

Today is a landmark day!  The first of many short stories has been added to the site.

The working title is “Turncoat” and is part of a series that takes place in a post-apocalyptic walking dead infested plague land.

Yes, I know…it is a played out subject by now, but in my own defense this story was written almost six years ago, well before Walking Dead put the final nail in the zombie coffin.

Well, I hope you enjoy and do not worry, there will be more tales from this world soon to come.

https://jlmartindesigns.wordpress.com/short-stories/short-story-001/

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2013 in Blog

 

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