<![CDATA[Official Website of author TJ Vargo - Blog]]>Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:43:08 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Is Your Left Hand Free?]]>Sat, 18 Oct 2014 15:06:58 GMThttp://tjvargo.com/1/post/2014/10/is-your-left-hand-free.htmlIf it is, you better check out this music by Alt J. Listening to it is fine, but I suggest getting the full experience and watching the video - believe me, you'll thank me later:)


<![CDATA[Funk It Up!]]>Thu, 04 Sep 2014 00:45:57 GMThttp://tjvargo.com/1/post/2014/09/funk-it-up.htmlGet busy with your bad self and check out one hell of a funk band - Big Soul!


<![CDATA[Writing Update]]>Sat, 24 May 2014 15:32:55 GMThttp://tjvargo.com/1/post/2014/05/writing-update.htmlPicture
TJ's crime novel, THE HARD WAY, was selected as one of ten finalists in the international novel competition, The Great Novel Contest 2014. THE HARD WAY did not win the competition, but sharing company with novels written by seasoned novelists and creative writing professors from around the U.S. and Canada was a great honor. TJ has refocused his creative energy on a rewrite of THE HARD WAY and has this to say about the novel:

"This is my most complete work to date. I'm very happy with the characters, the plot, the drama, and the dread that permeates this work of crime fiction. In the past I would've moved on to another project after getting noticed by a competition as big as The Great Novel Contest, but I can't set this project aside just yet. Feedback to THE HARD WAY painted a bulls eye in my mind of what this novel can be. The story and the characters have occupied my mind for three years now, and the finished product is close to the vision I had when I first conceived it. Now I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that vision becomes a reality. I'm extremely grateful to The Great Novel Contest for recommitting me to this dark tale of bad men fighting to survive in the wreckage of post-recession America, and I wish the best to all those writers who shared the finalist stage with me. Writing a good novel is the toughest thing I've ever done. Being recognized as one of the best among other people that share my desire to spin worlds from thin air is an honor I'll never forget."

<![CDATA[Two novels. $0.99. Three more days...]]>Tue, 22 Apr 2014 23:31:58 GMThttp://tjvargo.com/1/post/2014/04/two-novels-099-three-more-days.htmlPicture
That's right. You have until Friday to get two novels for $0.99 a piece. One will take you to a far off town in the middle of nowhere. A place where evil lives, and there's no one to help. THE DEVIL'S DUE is one scary horror novel with the Devil himself as one of the main characters. So buckle in for one long stretch of time with the most evil creature ever created.

The other novel, SURVIVE, is a thriller that packs five law enforcement personnel on a remote island for a race. The winner lives. The rest, along with their families, die, all because an old drug-lord is less than happy with having been locked away for over a decade. 

So there you go. Two novels for $0.99 for three more days.

Get one. Get the other. Or get them both. But read something!

I'm still waiting on the results of the Great Novel Contest. I checked out some of the other finalists and I am in rare company. Creative Writing professors. MFA graduates. Long time fiction writers who've been busting their hump for many years to write the best novel they're capable of. That's okay. I've done the same thing. I've worked on my writing and, win or lose, I know that THE HARD WAY is the best product I can write. Whether it wins or not is another matter, but I really, really enjoyed writing that book. I'll let you know what happens as soon as the winner and runner up are announced.

Take it easy - I'll talk to you later.

<![CDATA[Best Hard Rock I've Heard Since the 70's]]>Sat, 19 Apr 2014 13:55:19 GMThttp://tjvargo.com/1/post/2014/04/best-hard-rock-ive-heard-since-the-70s.htmlPicture
Do you miss bands like Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, and Black Sabbath? I do. While bands like the White Stripes and the Black Keys gave me hope through the years, I thought the old days of a real bad ass bands were gone. But fear not, my friends, there is such a band that has the cold dark heart of hard rock beating in their chests. They're called SWORD. They're good. Real good. And I have to thank my old band mate Pete Peterson for turning me on to them. Makes me want to grow my hair long and blast my stereo until the neighbors call the police. If you like old 70's masters, settle in, click here, crank the volume to eleven and listen to one of the best hard rock bands I've heard in a long, long time.

<![CDATA[The Great Novel Contest 2014 Selects THE HARD WAY As A Finalist ]]>Sat, 22 Mar 2014 14:30:12 GMThttp://tjvargo.com/1/post/2014/03/the-great-novel-contest-2014-selects-the-hard-way-as-a-finalist.htmlPicture

THE HARD WAY, my magnum opus crime novel of about 110,000 words, has been selected as one of ten finalists in the Columbus Creative Cooperative's GREAT NOVEL CONTEST 2014. Literary agent Terra Chalberg will now review the ten finalists and select a winner and a runner up. If you feel up to it, go visit your local Catholic church and burn a candle for me, say a few prayers to Saint Jude, the patron saint of the impossible, and then send a bribe over to Terra. Seriously, I always get worked up when one of my novels gets into the running for anything. It doesn't mean I'll become rich or even be able to make a living as a writer, but it means that someone enjoyed my work, and that's why I write. To be recognized as an entertainer with a top-notch product is always a good thing. Not sure when I'll hear who wins, but win or lose, I'll let you know. I just hope Terra likes crime novels with no good guys and lots of blood and guts.

Oh, one more thing. My thriller, action-adventure novel, THE EXPEDITION, will be on sale for $0.99 on Amazon from Monday, March 1 through Friday, April 4. THE EXPEDITION is about some scientists who are messing with nature. And, don't you know, nature messes back in a big way when they go on a expedition to the Amazon jungle. It's a fun, scary romp through real eye-popping science that is a little bit Michael Chrichton with a dash of Robert E. Howard. Hope you get a copy and have fun with it.

Take it easy - spring is here!

<![CDATA[The Afterlife Revealed]]>Sat, 01 Feb 2014 15:32:25 GMThttp://tjvargo.com/1/post/2014/02/the-afterlife-revealed.htmlPicture
You know those stories about people who die and come back to life? The ones where the dying person floats above their body and is overcome by a feeling of ultimate peace while angels and friendly deceased relatives and friends whisk them toward a white light? Well, LOW MAN is kind of like that. Only take away the feeling of peace and replace it with terror. Then get rid of the angels and bring in dark creatures hunting for souls to drag to Hell. Finally insert a young down-on-his-luck man, Benny, fighting with every fiber of his being to make his way through Hell to find his dying son, carry him back to life and reunite his family. LOW MAN is an award-winning novel that has been downloaded about 10,000 times in the last year, and it will be on sale for $2.99 from Monday, February 3 through February 9. I recently edited the story to make it faster, scarier and more exciting, so if you get a copy, remember to leave a review on Amazon to let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Click here to download a copy of LOW MAN now.

What reviewers are saying:
Breaking Boundaries, December 24, 2013      
By Katherine A. Kaplan "Bibliophile :-)" (Pittsburgh, PA) - See all my reviewsThis review is from: Low Man (Kindle Edition)

I LOVED this book, and hated for it to end!

I enjoy reading Life After Death books in general. What grabbed me about this one was the diversity of characters, and how their lives intertwined with each other in remarkable and fascinating ways. Even the ending is captivating.

I look forward to reading other works by this author, and highly recommend him.

WOW! A Real Edge of your seat read!, April 25, 2013      
By Debra L. Lopez "Debra Lopez" (Arkansas, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)    Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?) This review is from: Low Man (Kindle Edition) Low Man is an excellent book reminding me of Perretti's style. Got it on my Kindle Fire and finished reading it in one day. Lots of action and other worldly creatures. Makes you wonder about life and what really happens after death or in the inbetween place. Kept me guessing and holding my breath several times till the end. Highly recommended.

Low Man, April 27, 2013      
By crazyt - See all my reviewsAmazon Verified Purchase(What's this?) This review is from: Low Man (Kindle Edition) When I purchased this book, I really was not sure if I would even read it.But, after I started to read it I could not put it down. I reallly enjoyed reading it, and I found myself rooting for Benny.I won't give away the ending but it it did not end the way I thought it would,which is a refreshing change from the norm.All. I can say is give this book a chance and happy reading.

<![CDATA[Night Film]]>Sat, 25 Jan 2014 16:31:50 GMThttp://tjvargo.com/1/post/2014/01/night-film.htmlPicture
One of my favorite pleasures in life is running across a book that I've never heard of, taking a chance on it, and enjoying the experience. Marisha Pessl's NIGHT FILM is one of those books. I've never heard of Pessl. And I'm sure if I saw her first book I would've run screaming in the opposite direction because of the title - SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS. That's unfair, but that title brings back horrific memories of college classes in scientific disciplines that hurt my brain. But NIGHT FILM sounded good to me. I like the dark and I like films, so I decided to try it. Not the most discerning method for choosing a book, but believe it or not, this logic usually works for me. The actual experience of reading Pessl is exactly like a night film. It's surprising, creepy, thrilling and ultimately an experience that makes you sigh and say, "Wow, that was fun." My literary tastes are eclectic, which is exactly how I'd categorize this book. Is it a horror story? Maybe. A mystery. Maybe. A drama/suspense/thriller? Uh, maybe. Being unable to categorize it is, in my mind, very good. I'm tired of the same old music, the same old literature, the same old talking heads, the same old (insert your subject here). Pessl is a writer who keeps me guessing, and I appreciate that. I do have a few nitpicks. Her use of metaphor is pretty heavy handed. When it comes to metaphors, fewer are always better. Her use of italics falls in the same category. But that's technical mumbo-jumbo, so my advice is forgive Pessl her sins and just enjoy the dark world she paints. Pessl's mastery of writing is what you'll enjoy, and it's evident in her ability to create characters you care about, have a story that plants itself in your head, and the inventive and creative way she leads you through a maze that seems to continually sprout new and exciting corridors. I'm not going to go into the plot except to say it's about a search for a reclusive horror film director, Cordova, who has a rabid underground fan base. There are hints of lurid, dark doings from the very beginning to the end of this novel. If that's your wheel house, get your copy of NIGHT FILM today. I enjoyed it so much that I actually picked up a copy of SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS. Any book that can do that has to be good:)

Have a great day - talk to you later.

<![CDATA[Latest News...]]>Sat, 11 Jan 2014 18:41:21 GMThttp://tjvargo.com/1/post/2014/01/latest-news.htmlPicture
Here's the current artwork for the novel I'm working on. As of today, I'm a little over a third of the way done with the first draft. I thought this novel would be finished by now, but no worries -I'll get to the end eventually.

In other news, I've entered my magnum opus crime saga THE HARD WAY into THE GREAT NOVEL CONTEST 2014 which is being judged by the great folks over at The Columbus Creative Cooperative. I believe that the judging should be completed sometime between around March or April, so wish me luck.

Last but not least, my dog Joey has a terrible nose condition. He's a boxer with a smashed in face, and apparently that can cause hyperkeratosis of the nose. This means that his nose gets dried out, cracked and actually grows thick calloused areas. Believe me, a thick calloused nose only adds to the beauty of the monster called "Joey," giving him an especially Satanic visage while he tears apart books, magazines and other paper/cardboard products in my home. Anyhow, I've been on a mad search for the past six months to find something to help Joey's nose. After trying various snout ointments I found something that works. It's rare that I endorse anything (in fact I don't think I ever have) but this stuff works. So if you have a dog with a dry, cracked nose, log on to the Natural Dog Company website and get yourself some snout soother - your dog will thank you:)

Hope your holidays were great. Enjoy the rest of the winter and stay warm!  

<![CDATA[No Footsteps To Follow]]>Sat, 28 Dec 2013 16:20:49 GMThttp://tjvargo.com/1/post/2013/12/no-footsteps-to-follow.htmlYou have one life to live. Question is, what are you going to do with it? For a long time I wished my life was set up for me. I know a lot of people (and I'm sure you do too) who follow in their family's footsteps. To illustrate, I know a friend who's father set up a law practice. So what did my friend do? It's elemental, my dear Watson, he went to law school and is now working in his father's law office. Another buddy had a father who was a plumbing supplies distributor. That friend is now on about his 30th anniversary of selling plumbing supplies. I have a cousin who took over his father's (my uncle's) corrugated box business and is doing exceedingly well, thank you very much. The singer in my old rock band graduated from college and started selling batteries at his father's distributorship, which will one day be his distributorship. And the list goes on and on. George Romney becomes a politician so what does his son Mitt do? Evelyn Foster is a film producer so what does her daughter Jodie do? Following in the family's occupational footsteps is a time-honored tradition. It's a fast-track to figuring out your place in the world. And it's usually a great financial move. The foundation of building the business or practice or client list has already been done, but there's still much hard work to be accomplished to keep things moving along. How nice it would be, I used to think, if I had someone that could offer me a path. Hey, you want to be a policeman, like your father before you? Hell yeah, sign me up. You interested in working in the family restaurant? Sure, I'll wash the dishes. Whatever it takes. Welder? Of course. Lawyer? No problem. My father, however, was a physicist at NASA. Not much path to follow there, especially when you consider that my proficiency at math and science is less than top notch. So I've been left to my own devices, which are scant at best. I worked my way through college painting houses, which I contracted through hand drawn flyers and signs I put up around town. Not easy, but I did it. During my first semester in college I survived my last couple weeks eating nothing but peanut butter because I had to guard my remaining few bucks for gas to get home. I co-opped and interned and worked every job from truck loader at UPS to furniture mover to get through college. And when I graduated, I still wished I had someone to offer me a path. But when that didn't happen I fell back on what I knew I could do - I wrote. Brochures, user guides, technical data sheets, video scripts, proposals, annual reports and everything in between. What I learned in college was that I had a talent for writing, so I used it to pay the bills. I still kept an ear to the ground, hoping that my elusive path would crop up in a newly-formed family business. But as my kids were born and the years flipped by and I kept writing, I discovered something. I, it turned out, had been making my own path without anyone's help. You see, all the writing I was doing was rubbing off on me when I was done with my workday. It started whispering at me to write a novel. And then another. And another. Before I knew it, I got into a rhythm and there was always another book I was either working on or conceptualizing. I began reading everything I could on how fiction writing worked, became an MFA student in creative writing and attacked fiction writing with an energy that was exhilirating. And here's where it's gotten me. I still have to work a full-time job to live. I don't have an agent. I don't have a publisher. What I do have, however, is an ability to make my own path. I'm not following in anyone else's footsteps. And I'm okay with the fact that no one ever offered me a path to take because, although it's a good thing to work in a family business, I think it's just as good to make your own way, which is exactly what I'm doing.

Writing Update - THE HARD WAY will be removed from Amazon tomorrow. It's being entered into a contest which does not allow it to be available for purchase during the judging period, which will probably be a couple months. If you haven't gotten your copy downloaded yet, you better do it now.

Also, my Young Adult novel THE BRAVE is coming along nicely. I'm about a third of the way through and the cover art is finished. I'll post a teaser in an upcoming blog.

Hope you've had a wonderful holiday season - I'll talk to you later.]]>