I met Mike ten years ago at Barnes & Noble. As an aspiring writer, he joined the writer's group I led at the store in 2004. Our group stayed together until 2007, and I am so proud to say that since then, Mike has published Chronicles of a Nappi Head, and can be found in Proverbs for the People.
A native of Evanston, Illinois, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Sociology from Southern Illinois University. He now lives in Atlanta with his wife, Sheila, and family.
Back in the day, books like Richard Wright’s Native Son and Steven King’s Stand led him to fiction. They gave him the gumption to sit down, be patient, create characters and let those characters take him to different times and places. Mike says not knowing which direction the characters and plot would end up, was the most exciting part of his creative process.
In his new book, The Bad Poet, Carla King is living a mundane life after the death of her husband in the 9-11 tragedy until she meets the adventurous, lustful Cutino Grigsby. Their impromptu travels to faraway places and gifts from Cutino blind her from any negative judgments about him. His physical appearance is striking, and his confidence gives her security and fills Carla with admiration. But it is his deceit that teaches her the most, as her renaissance man will bring changes into her life that she never anticipates. She must hang on for the ride towards a crossroad of life which could land her in deep water, or even her demise.
Here's an excerpt from the book...
I yelled at the top of my voice to the jogger, or at least he was thin like one. But at this time of night, who knew. He could have been a burglar or an addict running from some ill-conceived crime, then fleeing to his freedom. But at this point, I had to take a chance. So I pleaded to him, “Help me! Help me!”
He slowed for an instant, turned and peered over at me, taking a step in my direction. But as if stuck in cement, he stopped in his tracks, recoiled back around and took off running again, only this time faster. Damn, I thought, he’s running away from me.
Despair welled up inside of me. Once again I called for his help, then twisted around to see the nightmare closing in for the kill. The jogger must have seen him and wanted no part of our mad theater. Even so, I tried to enlist him to join in, petitioning him to be my hero. Again, I yelled for him to show compassion and rescue me. “Stop! Stop! Help meeee!”
I turned to see the shadowy horror gaining on me with each second. I spun around in hopes that the jogger was coming back. But the slim exercise freak was long gone, his schoolboy physique flying down the gloomy side street, probably never to jog at that time of night or down that path again.
I angled around the corner dashing past closed retail stores and barren alleys hoping to bump into the jogger’s path again. Seconds later my stomach churned with a sour sensation and while running, I vomited. My lungs burned and my kidneys cut into me like my insides were trying to digest thumbtacks. Suddenly, a pain shot through my foot as if it was hit by a hammer. That’s when I realized one of my favorite black Juicy Couture sling-back pumps was missing. The cost of three hundred and seventy-five dollars flashed into my mind, the most expensive shoes that I had ever purchased. At first I overcame the initial shock of pain and just kept running, but soon it became a throbbing ache which slowed me down, but still I continued to drag the bashed foot along.
My breathing was short and rapid, while the throbbing pain from my shoeless foot challenged my will to the point that I was about to give up and take a stand. Truth be told, I was at the end of my physical ability to continue. However, as quickly as the thought of giving up had crossed my mind, it disappeared. I refused to let this happen to me and become a victim, so I dug deep into my soul and with every ounce of strength left, commissioned my body to continue the escape for survival.
I whirled my head back around and saw that my pursuer had stopped running, too. He was power-walking towards me, evidently tired as well, but nonetheless determined to finish what he’d planned.
The crackling sound like exploding Wildcat firecrackers rang out again. The slugs bounced off the brick walls of the closed stores and sleepy condominiums and whizzed past my head, so close that I felt the hot metal singe the hair from my ear. Nothing had changed; he was still resolute on disposing of me.
Hobbling down South State Street, struggling to keep from giving up, I squealed out again for help, still hoping that somebody would rescue me. Like one of those bobble head dolls that sat on the dashboard of some young Mexican kid’s leisure van, I kept a vigilant eye on the killer imp, constantly rotating my head back and forth, looking for some kind of escape.
There it was, a sidewalk sign that stood a little taller than my five foot seven-inches, used for advertising Tommy Gun’s Diner and Theater valet was tucked away in the restaurant’s entrance. I ducked into the corridor, folded myself into a ball and hid between the wooden A-frame sign.
The sorrow of the moment consumed all of my thoughts and emotions. Why me? If I had just stayed home that innocent evening, all of these tribulations could have been avoided. As I thought back, it all began that trouble-free night not so long ago…
To purchase The Bad Poet go to:
Amazon - http://amzn.to/14mwyKl
Amazon - http://amzn.to/14mwyKl