Please tell us about yourself and your writing.
Well, I’m 38 years old and live in SoCal. I finally got sick and tired of having an actual job and quit it all to write full time in 2008. I like dark fiction, mostly, but I’ll write just about anything if I’m in the mood.
What inspired your current book?
It was an assignment I was doing in 2009 for a creative writing course. I wanted to really disgust the people in my group, so I wrote some real sicko stuff. Turns out, it isn’t half bad!
A young chess hustler goes on the supernatural adventure of a lifetime when he meets Mortimer Blackwell, a strange elderly man, who grants him an irresistible gift.
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He noticed an older gentleman near the back wall who smoked a cigar. The thin man wore a black sweater with a pair of black slacks, darkly tinted sunglasses, and a dark gray derby that sat atop well-groomed, white hair. He was a sharp contrast to Sam's greasy, unkempt long black locks and casual attire. Sam easily spotted him as a mark and approached in hopes he'd make a few dollars.
“Hi, want to play chess with a real master?” Sam asked. “Dollar a game, and I’ll play without one of my knights.”
“I’ve been waiting for you,” the old man said. A spiral of white smoke plumed from his cigar.
“Oh, yeah? What for?”
“Have a seat, Sam,” he said. “The name’s Mortimer. Mortimer Blackwell.”
The old man’s smile was disarming.
“Nice to meet you, Mortimer. Now just how the hell do you know my name?” Sam asked, still standing.
“Please, sit,” Mortimer said. He placed his hand out, palm up, and gestured at the empty seat across from him.
Sam squinted. A look of suspicion crept onto his face.
“You have two minutes. I don’t deal well with creeps,” Sam said. He plunked down and looked rebelliously at Mortimer.
“I would like to see you at full power,” the old man said.
“Full power? What does that mean?” Sam asked.
“I have seen how you shred your opponents out there. Some of them are masters themselves, but you beat them as if they were beginners.”
Sam forgot the old man had known his name. There was something about Mortimer that put him at ease.
“Oh, that. Yeah, most of the people I play are amateurs. The masters are so rough around the edges because of the booze and drugs, they can’t see me coming,” Sam replied.
“Precisely. So if you can wipe the board against other masters in the park, just how good are you at full steam? Do you know?”
“I guess pretty good.”
“One of the best?”
“I don’t know. Maybe.”
“Listen,” Mortimer said, “you have the right idea, but hustling chess for dollar bills is beneath someone of your skill level. You could be so much better.”
“Oh? And just what did you have in mind?” Sam asked.
“I’m talking World Chess Champion. I’m talking more money and power than you’d know what to do with. I’m talking about total freedom, Sam.”