Monday, April 22, 2013

Sliding Beneath the Surface
The St. Augustine Trilogy Book 1

My Take: I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of detail the author packs into this book. You are quickly pulled into an engrossing story of historic fact and paranormal fiction. Recommended reading.

A new resident of America's oldest and most haunted city, St. Augustine, Florida, fifteen-year-old Jeff Golden suddenly finds himself up to his eyeballs in frightening paranormal experiences. At the end of his rope
in trying to figure out what is happening to him, Jeff decides to rely on his
friend Carla Rodriguez, and Lobo, an old Native American shaman, for help.

Despite this guidance, things get even worse. Jeff's spine tingling encounters increase in number and intensity at an alarming rate, scaring him even more. Eventually, he makes the startling discovery that unresolved circumstances involving a bloody event directly out of Florida's
distant past threatens his sanity and possibly his life.

Finally, overwhelmed by forces he cannot understand or control, Jeff's world shifts from frightening to downright terrifying. In desperation, and on Lobo's advice, he leaps headlong into the unknown in order to save himself. What Jeff discovers though is that he has entered a level of reality he is completely unprepared to handle while unwittingly dragging Carla with him.

Like all the books in THE ST. AUGUSTINE TRILOGY, the premise for Sliding Beneath the Surface is simply this: You create your own reality. 


Listening to my own advice, I squatted on my heels and stretched out put my right hand. Instead of wood, I touched wet sand, dirt and what felt like a thick matting of pine needles. I pulled my hand back like it had been burned. As I thought about it, I didn’t remember seeing any pine trees on Lobo’s property.

“No way,” I said out loud in my muffled voice. “I’m on the porch. I have to be.” But the feeling of pine needles did match what I had been smelling and that gave me a tiny bit of hope, in a way. At least a couple of things connected in all that darkness.

An owl hooted loudly somewhere in the fog, making me jump. Strange as it may sound, when I thought about the owl and the things I had touched, they all helped me feel better. I don’t know why exactly, except they seemed to connect me to the real world beyond that total blackness. The owl hooted again, but this time I didn’t jump. Instead, I wondered if maybe I had stepped off the porch into the fog and just got lost somehow. If that’s so, I thought, keep feeling around until you find the porch. Once more following my own logic, I got on my hands and knees. Wetness soaked through my jeans and grit stuck to my hands. Again, all I could feel was dirt, sand and pine needles until something brushed my face, scaring the crap out of me at first.

When I felt around some more and found the thing, it was nothing more than a palmetto frond, dripping wet from the fog. Following the frond all the way down to a palmetto bush, I found a shoe. The thing is, I hadn’t seen any trash like that at all anywhere around Lobo’s house except inside his truck.

Continuing to crawl around and feeling with my fingers, I found even more pine needles, then some pine cones, and what felt like rough slivers of wood. To my sensitive nose, the scent of pine there
was really strong.

Seconds later, I found a tree about a foot and a half thick and grabbed it with both hands. Why? It almost felt like a friend there in the dark, at least something big I could hold onto, you know? It didn’t matter how rough the outside was. As my fingers explored the thing, I felt places that had no bark—spots of bare wood with splintery holes gouged out of it. Those holes oozed pine sap, and I wondered what had caused them. Yeah, my fingers got really sticky, but I could have cared less.

That’s when it happened. Slowly the fog all around me started to glow. At first there was enough brightness so I could at least see my hands, the tree, and a shadow of the tree in the fog in front of me.
The source of that illumination had to be coming from behind.

I whipped around and there it was, Lobo’s front door not ten feet away. Light, wonderful light from inside Lobo’s house pushing its way through those glass ovals and making the fog glow. “Yesssss!” I shouted long and hard, and started walking towards the door. All that brightness from inside really made the wolf on his cliff, the moon and Orion stand out brilliantly as fog swirled in front of them.

When I got there, I looked through the mist and the clear glass portion of the door. The hallway and room with the fireplace and weapons were on the left, right where they should be. I didn’t see Carla or Lobo yet, but all I needed to do was open the door to safety. When I reached for the doorknob though, I couldn’t find it. I couldn’t even find the door itself—the wooden part. Reaching out with a shaking hand, I grasped one of the clear glass sections in my fingers, which should have been impossible.


In total darkness, a swirling, thickness pulled me downward to what I just knew had to be my death. Pressed face first into something cold, soft, twisted and rubbery, I realized with horror that I was suffocating. Filled with panic, I pushed against the gunk in front of me with both hands and strained my neck so I could lift my head as far as possible.

With my mouth and nose finally free, I sucked in a ton of needed air but that’s when I noticed there was nothing behind me except a shrieking, frigid wind. It blasted from somewhere below my feet and up across my entire body. Each breath though, made it feel as if little knives were digging into my lungs. The jacket I wore flapped wildly around my head and I began to shiver.

G-force. That’s why I had such a tough time moving—all that rubbery crap and I were spinning downward into the howling darkness at an incredible speed. The word vortex popped into my head and I swear, it almost felt like someone had flushed a huge, refrigerated toilet and I was going down the drain. The only thing close to that I had ever experienced was a ride at the fair where they rotate you in a circular cage and then the floor drops away leaving everybody stuck to the inner wall.

With each passing second, my lungs ached even more and the shivering increased. Freezing to death increasingly seemed like a very real possibility. A memory of stepping on ice crystals in cold darkness with Carla and Lobo at the St. Augustine National Cemetery shot through my mind but I pushed it away. I had to concentrate on my present situation in order to survive, if survival was possible at all.

The only thing I could think of was to turn over on my back so my face didn’t get pushed back down into the gunk again. It took every bit of my strength and a bunch of time but I did it—very, very slowly. Once more, my body sank three or four inches into the squishy cold stuff. This time though, the wind ripped across the front of me.

At least I finally didn’t have to worry about breathing, right? But I’m ashamed to say, only then did I think about Carla. I knew she had to be in there with me, wherever there was. I wanted to find her, help her, do  something, but I couldn’t even help myself. When I shouted her name, my voice came out weak and I could hardly hear it above that roaring wind.

Just when I thought I would go absolutely crazy with fear for both of us, the circular motion slowed a little. At the same time, the darkness lifted enough for me to find Carla. There she was, about fifty feet away but stuck upside down against a glistening blackness that surrounded us, her hair whipping across her face. There was nothing between us but open space. And wind. Nasty, roaring wind. 

The St. Augustine Trilogy Book 2

Coming this Summer!


Oh God, it was so good to see her and as I stared, she lifted a hand very slowly and gave me a tiny wave. I waved back, wanting desperately to be with her but I knew that sure wasn’t going to happen any time soon.
Above us, the inner wall of the vortex snaked its way up into total darkness. That made me realize the source of light making it possible for us to see came from somewhere below.

With a little effort, I tilted my head enough so I could look down. I’m telling you what, squinting into that blasting, Arctic-like wind really ripped the hell out of my eyes but below my feet, way far away, I saw a pulsating, sparkling, circular glow. Whatever it was, it kept shifting all around, I guess because the inner walls of the vortex were constantly moving in different directions.

The longer I focused on the glow, the bigger it got and the more it seemed like I was dropping towards a million twinkling stars. Or, maybe all those lights are heading for us, a thought came to me right before we passed through it. Or, maybe it passed through us. I really don’t know which.

When I say “through,” I mean exactly that. It happened so fast, but I definitely felt a slight prickly sensation start at my feet and fire all the way through every part of my body. For a split second, my vision filled with rushing sparkles and then it was gone. Immediately, I looked up and saw that glittering mass shoot up through the twisting hole above us at an unbelievable rate of speed and out of sight. Only then did I notice some sort of sharp smell but I couldn’t identify it.

A second or two later, I hit water. The impact forced the stuff up my nose, into my mouth and into my eyes—salt water—cool, but not cold. Definitely warmer than the inside of that nasty vortex. And yeah, I did say salt water. At the same time, a sharp pain ripped through my left hand.

Choking and gagging, I tried to swim but found both of my hands stuck in what felt like cool, squishy mud. I had to really struggle to pull them loose but I finally did and wildly paddled a few feet upward until my head popped through the surface. Gasping for air, I found I was able to stand up in the muck below about four feet of water. Right next to me, Carla was doing the same thing.

Glancing around quickly through stinging eyes, at first I found it impossible to focus on anything in the distance. Blinking rapidly and smelling the gross stink of tidal mud, a lot of marsh grass finally came into view against a backdrop of clear blue sky. Beyond that? A few old buildings and two men about forty feet away standing on a high bank of sand looking down at us. One guy’s face was shaded by a hat he wore but the other looked an awful lot like Lobo. 

Where can everyone find your books? What social media sites are you on?

Buy Links:

Click to Buy E-book:
     Amazon USA
     Barnes & Noble USA
     Amazon UK
     Amazon Germany

Click to Buy Print Book:
     Amazon USA
     Barnes & Noble
     Amazon Canada
     Amazon UK
     Amazon Germany
     Amazon France
     Amazon Japan


My inspiration for THE ST. AUGUSTINE TRILOGY in general comes from these main sources:
     A fascination with, and experience in, the paranormal. That interest led to a nonfiction book my wife and I wrote a number of years ago titled, An Explosion of Being: An American Family’s Journey into the Psychic.
     A dedication to young people and those young at heart who struggle to understand the world around them and their part in it.
     A love for America’s oldest and most haunted city, St. Augustine, Florida.
     A love of history, especially the past as it relates to Florida and St. Augustine.
As exemplified in the trilogy’s premise, I believe that we all “create our own reality whether in this world or the next.” This motivates me in my life as well as in my writing in general.

Specifically, in relation to Book I, Sliding Beneath the Surface, I was inspired by the story of the Second Seminole War in Florida and how it not only impacted the United States and Florida, but more specifically, how it so deeply affected Florida’s Native American, Black Seminole and slave population of the time.

Inspiring Authors and Writers:

I think all I can do here is to give you a sampling of those writers who, to me,
exemplify excellence in fiction, nonfiction, speculative fiction, historical fiction, young adult fiction, spirituality, psychology, the paranormal world and quantum physics:

James Michener, Diana Gabaldon, Isaac Asimov, Arthur Clark, Jane Roberts,
Eckert Tolle, The Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra, J.D. Salinger, Louis Sachar, Phillip Pullman, Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, Carl Jung.

Ten Tips for New and Rising Authors

1. First Things First!
Even if you desperately want to write fiction, definitely start with nonfiction (articles and/or books) in order to
ñ  get published
ñ  build your writing credits
ñ  hone your writing skills
ñ  actually make some money

The fiction world is unbelievably tough to break into. That doesn’t mean you don’t work
on your fiction ideas as you’re going along. Just don’t depend on the products of that writing to get established as a productive, income producing writer.

2. Follow Your Heart!!
Write about what you love, what interests you or what could interest you if you really let it happen. Doing so will provide the spark that continually ignites your literary career and inflames the interest of your readers. If you’re like most people, you have multiple interests and some of those you can match with what the public wants.

3. Study Your Craft!!
Learn all the rules of writing that you can. That’s a never-ending process. Read what others writers have to say, go to conferences and take classes.

4. Get Support!!
ñ  Join one or more writers’ groups—local, state, national, international.
ñ  Get critiques and editing suggestions from those you trust but who will be honest.

5. Write Something Every Day!!
If you are going to be a writer, then write! At the very least, maintain a journal of some kind so that the written word becomes a integral part of your life.

6. Read!!
Don’t kid yourself. If you don’t read a lot, you will never be a good writer. Read extensively both in and outside of your genre(s)/area(s) of interest. BUT – if you’re a voracious reader, be careful that you don’t read so much that you don’t write. Yes, it can be a very delicate balance.

7. Take Care of Yourself!!
It’s just too easy to let so many things go when you get deeply involved in your writing and the marketing of your work. Instead:
ñ  Get organized and stay organized.
ñ  Watch out for letting relationships slip.
ñ  Get decent sleep, exercise and eat right.
ñ  Be very careful with the use of alcohol, drugs, caffeine and tobacco. They might help some people in the short term, but they can really GET YOU in the end if you aren’t careful.
ñ  Have fun. Get away from it all when you can.
ñ  Meditate, do yoga, and/or pray in order to stay balance.

8. Learn How to Market Yourself and Your Writing Now!!
Even if you land a book contract with a huge publisher, you will still have to get out there and push your own stuff. This is especially true if you are going to self publish.

9. Give Back!!
As you learn and succeed, offer encouragement and guidance to other writers less experienced than you. Run a writers’ group, help run a writers’ conference or review somebody’s book for them on Amazon or Goodreads. There will definitely be many opportunities to assist others.

10. Don’t Give Up!!
If you’re really going to be a writer, be in it for the long haul. Keep driving yourself forward but learn more, read more, write more and find new ways to make it happen. 

Author Links:

Top 10 Favorite

Doug Dillon

1.     Family is first and foremost. They are my immediate connection to all that is good in the world and my primary teachers who help me to understand who I am and am not.

2.     Walking on a star drenched beach in Sanibel, Florida at night with my wife as meteors slice through the sky.

3.     Taking long meditation retreats in the country to link with my deeper essence and increase my ability to stay centered in the now.

4.     Studying and investigating the paranormal in order to see beyond our known reality.

5.     Studying quantum physics to establish a scientific basis for comprehending the physical world.

6.     Creating meaningful wood carvings and giving them as gifts.

7.     Sitting in the plaza of old St. Augustine, Florida at night and watching the centuries melt away.

8.     Recently, watching my daughter marry the man of her dreams.

9.     Using the written word to entertain, educate and speculate about endless topics.

10.  Finding long lost Native American artifacts in river mud and then giving some away, especially to wide-eyed children.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, she is like me, I once had a library in my room of over a 1000 books just to read, then I gave them to a first and two used bookstores. I still hoard books. Books are my life.