Project image
pledged of $3,000pledged of $3,000 goal
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on May 26 2012
pledged of $3,000pledged of $3,000 goal
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on May 26 2012


BLOOD HARBOR: a novel of suspense

Matt Knox managed to reach middle age without ever breaking a law. So far as he is aware, he has never transcended the law, ever, no matter how trivial. He will not step outside the lines of a crosswalk. He refuses to take the "creative" tax write-offs suggested to him by professional advisers. He will not opt to get away with anything simply because he can.

Until now.

When a local crime gang forces Matt into helping them rob a museum in order to take advantage of his holier than thou reputation, the floodgates Matt has carefully erected on the river of his true self come crashing down. His first targets: the criminals who unleashed his monster within. Their gruesome demises put a charming, California seaside town on extreme edge. But once the common criminals are dealt with, Matt struggles to put a stop to his new-found addiction, and a local cop, recently fired for being on the take, fights to convince the townspeople that Matt "The Saint" Knox is not at all what he seems.

BLOOD HARBOR is approximately 25% written, with about 20,000 words out of a projected 80,000. With your help I will be able to complete it this year and have it published in January of 2013. This is a novel intended for adults or mature teens who enjoy suspense, crime and thriller novels such as those by Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly or Dean Koontz. Is there violence in the book? Yes. Sex? Not so much. If it were a movie what would it be rated? Probably "R," for violence, language and adult situations.

A little about me: I have sold three thriller novels to small presses (WIRED KINGDOM, kiDNApped, and SOLAR ISLAND, the latter of which does not release until the end of this year but is already written), so rest assured that this is not my first rodeo and I will have the novel published by the stated deadline. All backers are free to contact me any time to inquire about the status of the project. For more information about me please see my web links (lower right of this page) and feel free to contact me on those sites as well.

To give you a good idea of what you're in for, pasted below are the first 7 chapters (about 30 pages) of BLOOD HARBOR. Please note that these pages represent a draft and may change a little by the finished product, although the tone and spirit of the story will remain the same. I will also entertain and respond to editorial suggestions from backers but reserve the right to implement or not implement said suggestions at my discretion. Character names may change according to the Reward for $100 pledges, and according to $500 and $1,000 pledges. The "project image" is not the final book cover (the raised funds will go to providing for that)  but is a placeholder intended to convey the overall feel of the story.

How will the funds be used? In addition to providing for the backers' rewards, funding will be used to offset expenses incurred by self-publishing the e-book and print book editions of BLOOD HARBOR, including but not limited to commission of cover art, interior layout and design, editing fees, ISBN registration, promotional copies for marketing purposes, creation of a book trailer (that Backers will be shown first), production of an audiobook (see special pledge), website and other software expenses for promoting the work. All backers will receive regular updates on the status of the project, e.g. how many pages / words have been written, sneak preview of cover art and official sample chapters before they are released to the general public, when the rewards will be sent out, etc.

How you can help besides pledging: spread the word about this campaign! Post the link on your social networks, blogs, etc. Thank you in advance.

Thank you very much for your consideration in funding BLOOD HARBOR and happy reading!

~Rick Chesler, Los Angeles, 5/3/12

                                       BLOOD HARBOR

                                          Model citizen

Matt Knox squinted at the morning sun invading his family’s kitchen as he tipped back his glass to down the last of his orange juice. He heard the front door slam as his two kids, Gavin, ten, and Caitlin, twelve, trounced outside to meet the school bus. Matt’s wife, Summer, started the dishwasher and headed for the back door of their three bedroom townhouse. She called to him as she reached the door that led to the garage.

“Let’s go, hon, you’re dropping me off today, we need to leave a little earlier.”

Matt slid his chair out from the table and stood, gazing out across the early morning glassy water of Sandy Cove Harbor. Their home was only a smallish townhouse, but it was on the water, which in California did not come cheap. The boat slip next to the weathered back porch gave it even more character.

“Right behind you, hot stuff.” Even though she bore him two children and, as Matt was fond of reminding her, they’d done “pretty much everything a couple could do together” by now, he still couldn’t keep from staring at her ass while she walked. With Sandy-blond hair halfway down her back, a subtle facelift and a not-so-subtle breast augmentation, she attracted almost more attention than Matt was comfortable with. He’d even heard his son’s friends whispering the word MILF when they thought no one could hear.

He was a lucky man, Matt was thinking, as he heard Summer open the passenger-side door to his SUV. Then he spotted the pile of broken, colored plastic on the garage floor, saw the crushed taillight from whence it came. The waterfront garage was small, the SUV almost backed right up to the wall in order to fit inside.

“Summer? What happened to the taillight?”

She eased the door open just wide enough to sheepishly poke her head outside. “I’m sorry, honey. Last night when I took it to the store—to get that pino grigio—I backed it into the wall. This beast is too big for me. I meant to tell you, I just forgot.”

Matt went to the driver side and turned the ignition, flipped on the turn signal. He walked back to the rear of the vehicle and shook his head. “Bulb’s smashed.”

He returned to the front of the SUV and turned off the engine, pocketing the keys.

“What are you doing?” Summer looked away from the visor mirror from where she was touching up her makeup to stare at him as if he’d sprouted a third eyeball.

“I can’t drive it. Light’s got to be fixed. I’ll take care of it today.”

“After you drop me off, right?”

“No, Summer, it’s against the law to drive without working taillights. I won’t do it. C’mon, get out.”

Summer slammed her purse into her lap. “Matt, really!” She reflected for a moment. It wasn’t an attempt to control her. After all, it was her fault that she’d ignored the check engine light in her sporty little BMW for so long. And Matt did hold himself to the same standards. She knew that even if she weren’t around that he wouldn’t use the car until it was fixed. That was his nature, she’d known that when she married him more than a decade ago.

“Would it kill you to break a damn law for once in your life?” 

“Probably not. Might kill someone else, though.”      In his mind, Matt …grabbed her by the hair with both hands and pulled her from the front seat, slamming her head against the car’s door frame repeatedly, red blood on white paint…

“What are you talking about?”

He swallowed. “I just mean that if we can’t signal, it might cause an accident. The laws are there for a reason.”

“I’ll drive it if you won’t.” She held her palm out the open door for the keys. Matt shook his head.

“It’s registered in my name. No vehicle of mine operates on the roadways unless it’s one hundred percent street legal.”

“Matt! You said while my car is in the shop, that you’d take me to work. What am I supposed to do?”

“I’ll call a cab.” Matt produced his cell-phone and pecked at its keys while his wife gave an exasperated sigh of defeat and exited the SUV.

“You’ll have to call two cabs. I’m in the complete opposite direction, it would be stupid to share a cab.”

“I can take the boat to work.” Matt’s job as a manager at the harbor’s waterfront yacht brokerage meant that it was possible for him to get to work by boat, although he preferred driving.

“What about fixing the car?”

“At lunch I’ll get a ride to Auto Zone, pick up a replacement tail light and swap it out myself tonight.”

Summer slammed the SUV’s door shut. “Sometimes I wish you’d be a little less perfect, Matthew Knox.” She huffed out of the garage without kissing him goodbye.

One of those days

Matt Knox stepped into his 14-foot Boston Whaler and steadied himself when he almost slipped on the deck, wet with morning dew. Friends who didn’t live in the harbor had some romantic notion that it must be great to take a boat to work, but in reality, Matt rarely did it. A five minute drive in a warm car was much better than a twenty minute slog in an open boat on the wind, plus tying and untying the dock lines. He cursed when the outboard motor failed to start on the first pull. It cranked to life on the second, but he made a mental note to give it a tune-up this weekend.

Probably from lack of use, Matt suspected, eyeing the larger vessel that also occupied the dock in front of his home, a 42-foot sailboat. Courtesy of the yacht brokerage he worked for, he’d been taking potential buyers out on it lately, but it was far too large to be practical for the cross-harbor jaunt.

He cast off the lines of his Whaler and eased out of his slip into the small harbor channel. Matt waved to a retired neighbor jogging past with his dog on a walkway that paralleled the channel. It was a chilly morning despite it being mid June, not unusual for central California, and his breath fogged over his GPS display as he leaned over the unit to switch it on.

Matt didn’t need the GPS for directions—he knew exactly where he was going, but a small boat like his didn’t come with a speedometer, so he relied on the GPS to tell him how fast he was going through the harbor’s posted five mph NO WAKE zones. It was hard to tell, after all, exactly how fast five mph was, especially with a breeze like there was today, and, like always, Matt wished to obey the law.

He reached the end of his small residential channel and made the turn into a wider harbor thoroughfare. A sleek speedboat, ignoring the no wake signs, caught up with him. Its pilot, another of the Knox’s neighbors, called out to Matt.

“Sell your catamaran?”

Matt nodded. His neighbors were used to seeing him with a different yacht every few weeks or months. He had the use of one at a time from his brokerage to entertain potential clients until they sold. “Yeah, it went to a guy down in Santa Barbara, but now I’ve got a Hunter 42—barely fits at my dock, you’ve got to come by and see it!”

“I’ll do that. Wine tasting at our place this Friday, hope you can make it.”

“Sounds good, Tom!” Matt said, as his friend’s boat pulled away, leaving his little Whaler to bounce over its wake. Clearly, Tom wasn’t worried about the speed limit, Matt thought, but then again most owners in Sandy Cove Harbor weren’t. They lived here. Paid property taxes and homeowner’s association fees. Their taxes paid for the Harbormaster, after all, so why should they worry if they wanted to get where they’re going a little faster? It was the rental boats they should be concerned with. It irked Matt that he was the only owner he knew of who regularly followed the “rules,” as he heard Tom and other neighbors refer to them—as if to diminish their importance.

But Matt knew that in fact they were real laws, and he intended to obey them.

He motored on through the harbor, now passing much nicer homes than his own—single family houses with true yards and large decks, still right on the water with even larger private boat docks than his own. There was no way he’d ever be able to afford one of these by working his brokerage job, that was for sure. Not that he was complaining. Many of the boats parked along these million-dollar-plus homes had been purchased through him. He made a good living and he and his family were lucky enough to live where they did.

Matt passed under a bridge to the harbor’s commercial section where the waterway widened considerably. Sea lions basked on the swim steps of the larger boats, seagulls squawked overhead, and a Harbor Patrol boat passed by Matt heading under the bridge in the opposite direction.

The law enforcement officer merely smiled and waved at the pilot of the little Boston Whaler. He knew that Matt “the saint” Knox, as was his nickname in the harbor community, would have nothing worth writing up. As usual, he maintained a well running vessel, current registration stickers, life jacket on, no stray lines hanging over the side of his boat. Matt Knox’s boat never slowed down immediately when a patrol boat came within sight, as almost all other boats routinely did. He didn’t have to, because he was already within the speed limit. Everything was in perfect order.

The officer gave Matt a bored wave as he passed, making his rounds through the harbor. Matt returned the gesture with a smile before focusing on his destination ahead on the right.

Sandy Cove Yacht Brokers.

Should be an okay day at work, Matt thought, throttling down as he approached the expansive dock fronting the decades-old harbor business.

And then he saw one of his employees, John Samson, step outside the back door onto the walkway above the dock and point right at Matt’s Whaler. A second man followed John out of the office. John retreated back into the building but the guest remained on the dock, his eyes closely tracking Matt’s progress as he neared the brokerage.

Sal Jonason, Matt thought to himself as he cut power and glided up to the dock. This isn’t going to be such a good day after all.

Get a job…

Jeremy Washington rubbed his temples while contemplating the pile of bills on his kitchen table. Eight A.M. Normally he’d be in his police cruiser by this time, making his rounds. Sitting alone at home just didn’t feel right, but he had nowhere else to go. Wife at work, kids in daycare. He wasn’t sure how much longer that daycare was going to last with him out of a job. He’d be watching the kids himself any day now.

The near subsonic bass of a rap track from a car stereo pounded through his thin walls. A knock sounded at the door of his shabby two-bedroom on the outskirts of town.

Wedged between agricultural fields on one side and a small but seedy commercial strip on the other, Jeremy was pressured in one direction by blowing dust, pesticides and migrant worker shantytowns, and on the other by a stream of light but ever-present traffic to storage units, tattoo parlors, sports bars and a strip club. Sandy Cove in name only. To get to the beach meant a nearly thirty minute drive made longer by having to go the long way around the gated harbor and beachside enclaves.

 “Come in,” Jeremy said without looking up from his bills.

“I heard how it went down, man, how you doin’?” This from a Hispanic man about thirty years old. His jeans and T-shirt were covered in oily grease stains.

“Hey, Pablo,” Jeremy acknowledged, still sorting through his bills. No matter how he did the math in his head, he couldn’t see how he was going to be able to manage it all.

“Read about it in the papers,” Pablo went on. “Shit! I’m sorry, Jer, man.”

Jeremy looked up at his childhood friend, Pablo Martinez. “No worries,” he mumbled.

Pablo looked around the living room, then toward the adjoining kitchen. “Alisa?”

“At work.”

Pablo appeared to relax a bit and then took a seat on the couch next to Jeremy. “I just got off shift at the shop.” He eyed the pile of paperwork on the table before reaching into his pocket.

“Here. Sal wants you to have this. It’s from all of us.” He tossed a roll of bills onto the table. Jeremy glared at his friend.

“What the fuck, you think I’m some kind of charity case?” It sat there on the household bills, at once the cause of and the solution to his problems.

Pablo averted his eyes while making some sort of shrugging motion. “We thought it would help out, you know, until you find another gig.” He swept a hand toward the pile of bills.

Jeremy spoke slow and soft, his eyes still on the money. “You know I wouldn’t need another gig in the first place if it wasn’t for your money.”

Pablo stood up from the couch immediately. “Hey man, you kept an eye out for us, and that’s cool. We paid you for that. That was your prerogative, man. Not our fault you got busted. You were snitched from your side.”

Jeremy looked up at Pablo and then hung his head, rubbing his temples again. “They said I’m not eligible for unemployment. Fired for cause.”

Pablo eased back onto the couch. “We’re setting something up right now. Something different. Not a gas station or a store. It’s going down soon, but you could still get in on it. You know every cop in town, their schedules, how they operate…”

“Stop! Don’t say another word, Pablo. I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.”


“Don’t! I’m lucky as it is that I only lost my job over this. They could have put me in jail. You know what happens to cops in jail?”

“Okay. I—we—thought that maybe if you would…if you would, take, you know…” Pablo stumbled over the words, uncomfortable.

“You thought that if I would take bribes to look the other way when I was on the job, that maybe now that I’m out of a job I’d help you guys actually rob something, join the gang for real after all this time, is that it?”

Pablo looked into his friend’s eyes, gaze unwavering. “That’s it.”

“The answer is no, Pablo. I regret helping the gang like I did. I wanted the money to put my kid in a private school because Alisa says that’s what he needs. But it’s wrong.”

Jeremy grabbed the roll of bills off the table and pressed the money into Pablo’s chest, gripping his shoulder tightly.

“Tell Sal I said No!”

Pablo grabbed the cash, got up without another word and walked to the front door. Once there, he said, “Good luck, Jeremy.” He opened the door and walked out.

“Don’t do anything stupid, Pablo.”

                                  The customer is always right

Sal Jonason held out a hand as Matt’s whaler glided up to the dock. Matt ignored his offer of help and instead tied the line to a cleat himself. Sal grabbed his bow line without being asked and pulled the front of the boat into the dock, securing that line.

“Something I can do for you, Mr. Jonason?” Matt asked as he stepped onto the dock.

“Yes sir, Mr. Knox, I’d like to test drive a boat.”

Matt continued walking toward the entrance to his yacht brokerage.

“I said I’d like to test drive a boat!” Sal repeated, raising his voice this time. Matt turned back to Sal as he pulled the door open.

“When did you get out of jail?”

Sal Jonason tugged at his long, gray beard. He lifted his sunglasses from his eyes and parked them atop his shaved head. “I don’t see how that’s any of your business, Mr. Knox. Now listen here, I may not be a saint like you, but I have the same rights as any customer.”

“You have to pass a credit check for a test drive, like any customer,” Matt said as he entered the brokerage and let the door close after him. He was face-to-face with his employee John Samson as soon as he entered the business. Sal headed for his desk.

“He already passed the credit check,” John said.

“Did you check his ID carefully?”

John nodded. “It checks out. We’ve sold boats to worse credit scores than his.”

Matt frowned. He didn’t think Sal would have been able to pass a credit check. A local boy gone bad, Sal Jonason was the town thug. A semi-professional thief in charge of a loose cadre of local hoodlums, he’d been in and out jail over the years. He sometimes held down a job as a commercial fisherman, but most of the locals suspected this was just to give the appearance that he had a legitimate income. But if he had passed the credit check, Matt knew they would have to give him the test drive.

John read his mind. “I can’t do it. I’m already booked to take the Westons out on the Sea Ray. They’re driving up from Montecito right now.”

Matt gave up on the trek to his desk and turned around, exhaling slowly. “That’s a solid lead, John, and I know you’ve been working hard to get them in here. You focus on that, I’ll deal with Sal.”

Just then the brokerage door opened and Sal stepped inside. “I’m looking for a cabin cruiser,” he said.

Matt gave him the kind of look most people reserved for panhandlers before addressing John.

“Get me the keys to the Chris Craft.”

                                                  Hard sell

Matt Knox eased the 42’ cabin cruiser from its slip out into the harbor channel. From his peripheral vision he watched Sal Jonason take hasty little drags from his cigarette, glancing out at the harbor, then back to the dock, then to the sides. Strange, Matt thought. Most people thinking about buying a boat observed Matt like a hawk while he operated the craft.

Not this guy. Now Sal was speaking softly into one of those phone earpieces Matt always thought people wore to try to look important while they talked about the same stuff as everybody else. He saw him glance at his watch and turn away when he caught Matt’s gaze.

This freeloader is probably just looking for a free harbor tour. But deep down this assessment didn’t really sit well with Matt since Sal was at least sometimes a commercial fisherman. He’d been out on the harbor plenty of times. He can probably handle a boat pretty well, too. Still, he had requested a test drive and passed the credit check so it was Matt’s job to show him the boat in action. He cleared his throat loudly to be heard over the din of the cruiser’s engines.

“No bow thrusters, but we could retrofit some if that’s important to you.”

Sal flicked his butt into the water around turned around, apparently finished with his phone conversation. “Thrusters on a boat this size? It’s not like this is a goddamn cruise ship. Fuck the thrusters.”

Matt raised his eyebrows and let out a sigh. Thrusters were expensive little propulsion devices that allowed the boat to be controlled in tight spaces with a joystick as opposed to wrangling the wheel. It was an attitude he’d heard before from boating purists, especially commercial operators who really did know what they were doing.

But then why is this guy here? Commercial guys who know boats well usually do their own shopping without a dealer.

“I’m simply explaining the features of the boat to you, Mr. Jonason.”

Sal stepped over to the wheel. “Let me drive.”

Matt completed the turn out into the main channel and then stepped aside as Sal took his place. Once in control of the boat, Sal squinted ahead at the waterway, barely even glancing at the controls. Again, Matt thought, hardly the actions of someone considering a major purchase.

Matt told Sal some details about the controls, but the prospective customer merely listened without comment.

Then Sal bumped up the throttle, increasing their speed. They passed a smaller boat filled with tourists.

“Slow it back down until we’re outside the harbor, please,” Matt said. “No wake zone here.”

Sal glared at Matt. It was the first thing Matt had said since getting into the boat that had elicited any real response from Sal. He maintained the speed.

“I don’t want to go outside the harbor on this run. Wanna see how she handles in here.”

“That’s fine, Sal, but you’ll need to slow it back down. We’ve got a good relationship with the harbormaster and need to keep it that way to do business here. Slow down.”

Sal pulled another smoke from the pocket of his loose fitting sweatshirt and cupped his hand over it to shield it from the wind as he lit it. He looked Matt in the eye while he waited for the light to catch.

In his mind, Matt rammed the heel of his right hand into Sal’s face, shoving the newly lit cigarette all the way into his mouth…

Sal pocketed his lighter and exhaled a cloud of smoke toward Matt as he calmly shifted the throttle back down.Forgot I’m dealing with Matt the Saint,” he smirked. Then he turned the boat abruptly, left into a smaller canal style waterway lined with private homes on either side. Most of them had large yachts in front of them.

“Want to get a feel for how she handles in tight quarters, I guess?” Matt prompted.

“Something like that. Like to try docking too. Here looks like a good spot.”

Up ahead on the right was an empty section of dock next to a huge, old wooden sailboat. Sal reduced speed and angled the boat toward the empty space.

“Whoa, Sal, what’re you doing? That’s a private dock. We can go to the public docks, or you can dock us back at the shop.”

Sal ignored him while he continued to maneuver the boat. Matt could see that he was highly competent, his hands working the controls with practiced ease as the cruiser sidled easily up to the dock.

“Go ahead and tie a line for me, would you?” Sal said.

Matt’s cheeks flushed crimson. “I will not! I just asked you not to dock here because this is private property.” He looked up at the large house, hoping to see someone there getting ready to shoo them away, but it was clear from the way the deck furniture was covered that this was likely a second home for owners who found the central California coast too cold in the winter.

Matt looked away from the house and back to Sal, who pointed at the sailboat they were now docked next to.

“Matt, I need you to get me something out of that boat.”

…you lazy bum

Jeremy Washington tossed the classified ads section of the newspaper down on the table. Job prospects were nil. Maybe he should check the Internet, he thought, and went to track down the laptop he shared with his wife. He didn’t use it much. Never had time, what with being a cop, spending time with his family, and what little there was left for his friends after that.

He found the machine on the kitchen counter. His wife used it for recipes there and gabbing with her friends on social networks. Jeremy took it back over to the couch, where he flipped it open and brought up a well known classified ads site for the Sandy Cove region.

What the hell can I do besides be a cop, Jeremy thought, not knowing where to start looking. He’d been a cop for ten years, joining the police academy two years out of Sandy Cove high school. For those first two years, he’d sold used cars. He scanned the Sales section but found nothing about cars, just a bunch of marketing crap, MAKE $10,000 A MONTH WORKING FROM HOME crap.

Just beneath Sales he saw it. Security guards. If he couldn’t be a cop he could always be a rent-a-cop. That wasn’t a step down, right? Eight bucks an hour. Jeremy felt the frustration begin to well up inside him and clicked away from the job ads. The silly uniform, lack of respect and not being licensed to carry a firearm he could handle. But eight bucks was not going to support his family even if he worked double shifts. He navigated to the weekend’s basketball scores and looked at those instead to take his mind off his predicament.

He was still looking at the scores a few minutes later when his wife walked in.

“Hey, Alisa. You’re early.” He didn’t expect her back from her hair styling job for two more hours. She barely looked at him as she breezed into the kitchen and dropped her purse on the counter. “They cut my hours back a little at the salon. I’ll have to see about picking up some more, maybe over at Stylez, but for right now we’re going to have less coming in. How’s your search going?” She opened the fridge, saw that it was mostly empty, closed the door again and looked over at Jeremy who was fixated on the screen.

“So far, not so good,” he said.

Alisa frowned and walked over to the couch. She sat down next to her husband. “Well Jeremy, you’re not going to find a job watching game highlights. How long have you been doing that? Did you even look for a job today?”

Jeremy sighed and got up from the couch, leaving the computer on the table. “I was looking until right before you came in. Believe me there’s nothing great right now.”

“Jer, I’m calling Lydia’s daycare today to cancel for next month. If you get something…”

“That’s fine. I’ll watch her.”

“Now what are you doing?”

“I was going to wash the car.”

“Jeremy, come on!”

“What? It looks like crap.”

“Who cares? We need money, Jeremy. Even on your police salary we were pretty much paycheck to paycheck. We can go maybe another month, if we cut out the daycare. Max. What are you going to do?”

In their five years of marriage, it was the first time Alisa had been confronted with a lack of money. Jeremy felt like he was letting her down, and what made that worse was knowing he’d screwed up his job all by himself. It’s not like he got laid off due to budget cuts. He’d been straight-up fired (shit-canned, some of his buddies said), for crossing the line. A line Alisa had unknowingly pressed him to cross, to put their oldest child Octavier in a private school because the public ones had become gang central. And now their youngest wouldn’t even be able to stay in pre-school.

“I really don’t know. I’ll find something. Every day I’ll look.”

“You can’t just look every day, Jeremy, you have to apply for something every day.”

“I don’t see anything to apply for.”

“Olivia says they’re hiring security guards at the mall. Her son just got a job there.”

“Shit.” Alisa’s coworker’s son was nineteen, fresh out of high school.


Jeremy walked to the door, throwing his hooded sweatshirt on.

“Where you going?”

“I’m going to do what you said. Apply for a job. But I’m going to pound the pavement, the old fashioned way, in person. I know some people. That online crap doesn’t work for me.”

“Where are you going to go? You’re not just going to go out and drink with the boys are you?”

“No. I’m going to the yacht dealership over at the harbor.”

“The yacht dealership? What do you know about yachts?”

“I used to sell cars, remember? So I have vehicle sales experience. Plus, my old high school buddy John Samson works there. If they do have anything, he’ll hook me up.”

Alisa perked up a bit, nodding. “Yeah, okay. That’s what I’m talking about. Good luck, honey!”

This dog doesn’t fetch

“That’s Dallas Draper’s boat,” Matt said. “I sold it to him a couple of years ago.”

Sal nodded without saying anything. “He’s got a ring of keys in there somewhere in the salon, I need you to go in there and get it for me.”

The squawking call of a seagull broke the silence before Matt responded. “What for? You doing some work for him?”

Sal nodded. “Something like that.” His cellular phone lit up and he scrutinized its screen before putting it back in his pocket without having spoken.

Matt looked at the boat. Its canvas wheelhouse cover was buttoned down tight like it hadn’t been used in a while. As usual, the beautiful teak decking was oiled and polished to a shine. Glancing up at Dallas’ house, though, one over from the one they were docked at, he could see kids’ toys in the yard and recent gardening projects in progress.

“The Drapers don’t leave town for the winter. If you need something from Dallas, go ask him yourself. Not to mention, Sal, this is supposed to be a test drive, not a chance for you to run err--”

Matt forgot about whatever he was going to say as his mind processed the fact that Sal now pointed a pistol at his chest.

UPDATE, 5/20/12: Now the first 12 chapters of BLOOD HARBOR are available for preview here:

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    Paperback first edition of BLOOD HARBOR, signed by the author, delivered to your mailing address before official release, AND all rewards listed above.

    NOTE to international backers: extra charge for shipping may apply.

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    4 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Two (2) paperback first editions of BLOOD HARBOR, signed by the author to whomever you wish, delivered to your mailing address before official release, AND all rewards $15 and less listed above. NOTE to international backers: extra charge for shipping may apply.

    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Hardcover first edition of BLOOD HARBOR, signed by the author, delivered to your mailing address, AND all rewards listed above. NOTE: foreign backers may incur additional charge for shipping .

    Estimated delivery
    1 backer
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You as a character in the novel! Give me your name and a brief physical description of yourself and you will become a character in BLOOD HARBOR. But be careful, you just might get killed! Also includes all rewards listed above.

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    4 backers
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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    In addition to all rewards listed above, a complete set of my books published as of January 2013, both e-book and print editions of each, including autographed copies.
    WIRED KINGDOM (e-book in format of your choice + autographed mass market paperback),

    kiDNApped (e-book in format of your choice + autographed trade paperback),

    SOLAR ISLAND (e-book in format of your choice + autographed trade paperback),

    THE GAME anthology (e-book in format of your choice + autographed trade paperback),

    BLOOD HARBOR (e-book in format of your choice + autographed trade paperback AND autographed hardcover),

    Additional charge for shipping may apply to foreign backers.

    Estimated delivery
    2 backers
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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Be a narrator for a single chapter in the BLOOD HARBOR audiobook! Work with me to produce the audiobook edition which will feature you reading one full chapter, including your name, as in, "Chapter 6, read by Jane Doe." (Must be able to record your voice via computer and send me an .mp3 or .wav file). Then have fun showing off your audiobook to your friends and family when it is available on, Amazon and iTunes!

    Also includes all lower rewards. Note: the audiobook will be produced after the completed e-book and print editions, so this reward delivery is set 2 months later than the others, but you will receive the other rewards in January, and would need to do your recording sometime between January and March 2013.

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    0 backers
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Special limited reward (only 3 available): work with me to create a major character in BLOOD HARBOR. You will be able to read the entire manuscript of what I have so far and then work with me to craft a new character for the story. I will then write this character into the novel, and you will receive an acknowledgement in all editions of the book thanking you for your help in creating that character. Also includes all lower rewards.

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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Special limited reward just for writers (only 2 available): In addition to all rewards above, including the $500 reward to work with me to craft a character in BLOOD HARBOR, I will personally read something you have written, including a full-length novel manuscript if you have one, or else sample chapters or story concepts. In addition to a detailed written critique and suggestions for improvement, I will speak with you by telephone for up to 30 minutes about your writing project and answer any questions you may have, with the goal of getting your project into marketable shape and making it as competitive as can be. Finally, if your project is ready or close to ready, I will make recommendations on a course of action for publication, answering any questions you may have about the publication process including querying literary agents, submitting directly to small presses, and exploring self-publishing options.

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    Limited 0 backers
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Funding period

- (23 days)