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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 77
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Looking for Readers...

I'm a novelist seeking readers for my second full lenght work. I have been writing for over 20 years and am published many times over (in print and online) with my essays.

I am looking for simple critiques, as in "I loved it/liked it/hated it," or a complex analysis (if you're so inclined) on my lastest novel REVERB. I have included the first two pages below so you can get a sample of the writing style.

REVERB is new, fast, edgy fiction about a master musician who learns how to love beyond just himself. It is a modern fairytale, a psychological thriller paced with romantic suspense, and satisfies our deepest desire for men to be more responsive, and more connected to feeling. Reverb chronicles the emotional evolution of a modern man- from solipsist to integrated awareness, and the journey that led him to his awakening.

If you are interested in reading the full work, please email me and I'll be happy to send you the book.

J. Cafesin



He remembered pacing the water's edge trying not to cry.

"Get 'em, Ian!"

"No. You get them."

"I can't swim. Get 'em Ian, please!"

But Ian just stood there, watching.

The three tiny kittens struggled to stay afloat, their whimpering sounded like children screaming in the distance. James looked back up at the barn. Mr. Miller was away at work all day. It would take too long to go back to his house for help. He stepped into the murky water and his feet sank into the soft, muddy bottom. He plucked a kitten from the slimy bank and clutched it against his mounting terror as he went deeper, the water to his knees, then his waist but he still couldn't reach them. One of the kittens disappeared below the surface. He lunged for it, lost his footing, and suddenly he was flailing about, gulping in mouthfuls of gritty water. He couldn't get air. Everything blurred and started to fade as James sank. He saw Ian standing at the edge of the pond watching him with the exact same blank expression he wore watching the kittens drown.

James had just about passed out when Ian came in after him, pulled him out and pounded his chest until he spat up the water from his lungs and started breathing again. When he stopped choking and sat up everything was quiet. The kittens were gone. The pond was still.

"You tell and you'll regret it." Ian stared down at him with a sinister grin plastered on his face. "I'll make it all your fault. It'll be easy too. I could almost tell the truth. And father will believe me, since I'm his only real son."

Not any more. Fast forward twenty years, and now James was the only one left.

Damn you Ian. James stared at the pine casket that lay perched at the edge of the hole in the ground. He pictured Ian lying in there with that smirk fixed on his face.

The priest was saying something but James couldn't hear and didn't care. He wanted to be someplace else, anyplace else.

Damp, dead air. Then a hint of an icy breeze stung his cheeks. Brown leaves danced across the clipped lawns of the High Halden Church graveyard as he watched them lower Ian into the ground. "All the leaves are brown, and the sky is gray..." 'California Dreaming' with its ubiquitous 1, 3, 5, progression, Mama Cass droned out the classic lyrics that mirrored the scene before him. "I'd be safe and warm if I was in L.A." James would be surfing, working with The Zone, finishing the remix for Caravan, arguing with Julia, instead of freezing in this graveyard trying to figure out why he'd come at all.

The casket was settled in the hole and James wanted to feel something, but didn't. Memories of his half brother were mostly of Ian taunting him- stupid **bleep**, like putting razor cuts in his guitar strings so they snapped when he played, or threatening to slam the piano cover closed while he was practicing. The first day James came to Castlewood, eight years after the kitten incident back in the States, Ian walked into the music room blasted on something, came within inches and whispered, "Do you ever dream about dead cats?" James tried to avoid him, but Ian sought him out at first. After a while James stopped reacting, and awhile after that Ian stopped pulling **bleep**.

The priest handed him a shovel filled with dirt. He poured it onto the casket. The noise was surprisingly loud, and hollow. James wondered if Ian was really in there. Perhaps he’d given up all those millions for the warm Sicilian sun. 'All the lonely people, where do they all come from...' And John Lennon was in his head singing Eleanor Rigby. He handed the shovel back to the priest and stepped back, keeping his eyes downcast, consciously avoiding his father. Again the question of why he'd come struck him, but he couldn't hear an answer.

The priest crossed himself and wiped his hands as he walked from the grave. 'No one was saved.' Lennon's melodic voice unveiled the story of the lost. That was Ian. The man had no center. Maybe he felt that and couldn't live with it. James stood with his hands in the pockets of his overcoat, holding it closed against the biting wind, feeling the music resonate in his body and shroud him against the cold.

Everyone started milling about, coming up to him and shaking his hand with the canonical sympathies. What was he supposed to say to these people? Was he sorry Ian was dead? Wouldn't affect much either way really. It was expected. There wasn't a person there who could deny it, except maybe his father, who spent a lifetime denying it, or just couldn't be bothered. Ian was screwed from the start. 'All the lonely people, where do they all belong...'

Gray domed the sky and felt suffocating. James wanted out of there. But how? He felt everyone watching, checking him out.

He hated that.

The limo that had brought him was just across the lawn, not fifty yards away. The driver that picked him up at Heathrow was standing next to it, smoking a cigarette. He could walk over there, get in, and go. But he didn't. Instead he pulled up a tune he'd been working on for the Zone's lead track, and composed it in his head while he stood there shaking hands and nodding. Open with all power chords, hard and fast- like a freight train coming: G5, C5, F5, A5, then back off, G5 sustain, 1-2-3-4, and pick it up, and faster, and faster, and hold the rhythm with the change to Em at the seventeenth measure-

"James Michael Whren." The priest extended his hand. Tall, thin, gray hair, trim beard, simple black suit with a thin white collar. His smile was warm, but affected. "How many years has it been? My word, look at you." He clasped James' hand in both of his and shook firmly. "Welcome home, son."

This is not my home, and I am not your son. "Hello, Father." James reclaimed his hand and hid it in the pocket of his overcoat. He couldn't remember the priest's name to save his life.

"James, you may remember Father Tenant?" Edward Charles Whren XXI came up behind his son and it chilled James straight through. "It has been quite some time, Albert."

"Of course, Edward." Then the priest turned back to James. "Father Albert Tenant. It has been a long time, hasn't it?" He stuck his hand out again and James shook it again. "I know your father is glad you found your path here today. I'm sure Ian would have felt the same."

I'm not here for my father and Ian wouldn't have cared less.

Again he wondered why he was there. I want to get out of here.

The priest and his father exchanged glances. Then the priest looked at James. "How long will you be staying son?"

"I'm leaving in the morning."

Another quick exchange with his father then the priest looked back at James. "So you'll be staying at Castlewood this evening then?"

James caught his breath and held it. "Actually...I was going to see some people in London before I go back. My flight's very early... and, well-"

"I'd like you to come to Castlewood this evening, James." Edward's phrasing masked the command as a request.

"Well, my flight's at like 5:45 in the morning and-"

"Stefan will get you to the airport in ample time for your flight in the morning." Edward kept his eyes fixed on his son.

"Yeah. Okay, I guess." What else could he say? His father had just buried his only other child. The priest nodded approvingly. James felt like flipping him off, but managed to refrain.

"Good." Edward gave a quick smile. "I'll see you back at the house then." His stoic mask returned as he turned back to Father Tenant. "Albert. Join me."

"It was a pleasure to see you again, James. I'm sorry for the circumstances, and your loss." The priest and James shook hands, again. Then he and Edward walked across the misted lawn to the cobbled road and the waiting limousines.

"Master James." Curtis Weston, one of his brother's strung out cronies mocked him. "It's been a while, man. Too bad about Ian, huh. How you doing?"

"Okay, Curtis. How you doing, man?" Curtis looked like crap. Emaciated, with vacant eyes peering through long greasy hair.

"I'm getting by. You still in L.A. doing the music scene?"

"Yeah. What about you? You still with The Ravens?"

"No. I don't play much anymore. Hang out mostly. You know..."

No. He didn't. And James didn't ever want to know a life without music. Take away music and he'd have no life at all. Probably end up like Curtis. What a waste. Curtis used to be a damn good guitarist. "I've got to go, man. Take care." James turned away, walked slowly towards the limos, watching his father talk to the priest. Edward glanced at his son across the lawn then turned away with a sweep of his cloak and got into the first limousine lining the old road. James watched it drive away, pulled his coat tighter around him and followed his father's path.

Agreeing to go out to Castlewood was a bad idea. Stupid. James didn’t have a clue what to say to his father after so much time. They never got on. Edward didn't give a **bleep**, and after a while James didn't either. And he still didn't. He should have said he had a red-eye, or he was staying with some friends in London. He got to the limousines frustrated and freezing. "Stefan, right?"

"Yes, sir." Maybe 20, adorned in an ill-fitting black suit- a beanpole, with clear blue eyes and white/blond spiked hair peeking from under his black cap. He opened the door of the next limousine in the long row. "I'm sorry for your loss, sir."

"Thank you." James got in. Apparently Stefan knew where to take him because the kid didn't ask.

The door shut and James felt entombed. It got harder and harder to breathe. Driving through the rolling hills of Kent, the ancient walnuts and aged oaks were black sentries against the gray sky. He tried to focus on his music while trapped in that car, but it was impossible to hear anything beyond the war inside his head. Between the faded memories of living there, aching for home, and Julia, he cursed himself all the way to the estate for agreeing to come.

He caught a glimpse of the stone turrets of Castlewood through the endless row of Italian spruce and his skin started to crawl. Then the gravel drive popped and crunched under the tires and his heart pounded so hard it reverberated in his throat. He'd walked away the day he turned 18, leaving behind his father, Ian, and the five years he'd been forced to live with them. That was twelve years ago. And he'd never have come back had Ian's overdose not given him an easy excuse to put a few days between him and Julia.

The limo finally stopped. Stefan opened his door. Dread was so pervasive James just sat there, paralyzed. Nothing good could come from this encounter. He shouldn't have come.

Stefan stood shivering by the door in the cold, wet air and waited. James sat in the car feeling angry and trapped until he couldn't take the absurdity another minute. "What are you waiting for?"

"You to get out, sir."

"Well, what if I don't?"

"Well, then, I have to wait here, sir, until you do."

"Any chance you'd take me back to Heathrow?"

"None sir. My instructions were to bring you here."

James figured as much. Edward usually got what he wanted. There was no point in arguing. He got out of the car and even managed, "Thank you, Stefan. That will be all for now," as he crossed the gravel drive to the house. Jesus, he couldn't wait to get back to L.A. where the people were normal. He heard Stefan slam the door to the limousine and stomp away as James came through the heavy oak doors and into the massive marble foyer.
Posts: 22
Registered: ‎01-29-2007
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Re: Looking for Readers...

I enjoyed these pages. It left me wondering about the characters, which is definitely good. The title also intrigues me. I would be interested in the full work.