Chilling out!

I built this waterfall in my backyard. (See May 14, 2018 Blog).

I live in a Phoenix, Arizona suburb.

It was 118 degrees Fahrenheit this specific day.

Pictures tell a thousand words.

A hot day, I have a waterfall and a Dos XX.

‘Nuff said.

Breaking News!——- My co-author has announced he will have a working manuscript of The Secret of La Danta ready about end of this September, 2018! (More info in coming blogs).

Alex Zabala is the author of 4 books:

Treasure of the Mayan King

Mind Games of Dr. Sova

The Golden Scepter

Chauncy Rollock Chronicles

Contact me at: alexzabala2@gmail.com to discuss books, waterfalls or whatever. All conversations are private.

The Brutal Art of Selling Books

The good news is that becoming an author nowadays is easier than ever! The bad news is becoming an author is easier than ever!

Is that a contradiction? Yes and no. The reason why it is good is because anybody, and I mean anybody with a manuscript and Internet access can publish and sell books online. The obvious consequence, or bad thing, is that Amazon now has about 5million e-books for sale. Yes..you read right, this is not a typo…approximately 5 million e-books!

So, what’s wrong with that?

Well, imagine walking into a bookstore that offers 5 million books! Where to start? Even if the customer is only looking for a certain genre, he will still be inundated with so many choices! Besides that, no human on earth has a lifespan long enough to read all the books ever printed. So, how does an author go about getting himself noticed so he can sell his wares?

That is not an easy task, nor is the answer simple. I have spent years studying and reading books from publishing-gurus on how to become a successful author. (Funny thing is, some of these self-help-gurus can barely sell their own books).

Why then, do we authors persist in writing books when the market is so over-saturated with a gazillion books? Simple answer:

Because we LOVE telling stories.

We LOVE writing.

We LOVE it when people read our stories.

We LOVE the positive feedback from our readers (and yes, even some negative feedback helps us to be better writers).

Did you notice how many times I used the word LOVE? That’s the main reason I write.

I LOVE IT!

I have sold thousands of my books, no, not millions, thousands. Would I like to do better? What author wouldn’t? It would be nice to sell millions. Somebody has to, right? Why not me? So I persist in what I LOVE and hope someday that millions will LOVE my books.

Alex Zabala is currently writing his new book The Secret of La Danta.

He is also the author of:

-Treasure of the Mayan King

-The Mind Games of Dr. Sova

-The Golden Scepter

-Chauncy Rollock Chronicles

Accomplishments!

I recently built this waterfall in my back yard and a rainbow came over my project right on time when I took this picture!. It took a lot of work and money (and they rarely come together at the same time).

I consider this project one of my major accomplishments in my life (and a major accomplishment for my backyard!). I love waterfalls, I love the sound of flowing water. It’s comforting and peaceful.

The waterfall didn’t get built by inaction. There was a lot of planning, thinking and hard work involved to get to the final result. It’s the same with writing a novel. There is plenty of research, writing and imagination done to get a book published.

There have been a lot of accomplishments in my literary world too.

I published my first book Treasure of the Mayan King (TMK) on December 9th, 2013. Since then I have published three other books: The Golden Scepter, The Mind Games of Dr. Sova and Chauncy Rollock Chronicles

I have reached heights and goals in my literary career I only dreamed of before.

More books to come

But I am not done. There are more books coming down the line.

My next goal of accomplishments is to write a new trilogy of books with a different character.

As mentioned in my other blogs, his name is Troy Rollock, (son of Chauncy) and he has a boatload of adventures that will blow your mind.

I don’t know if I will ever make a living as an author, but for now, I will continue writing, publishing and sitting in my back yard, enjoying a glass of wine and the peaceful sound of running water.

I’m a licensed contractor in Arizona, so if you live there, I can build you a waterfall like this too.

Contact me at: alexzabala2@gmail.com to discuss books or waterfalls or whatever.

Life imitating art?

Is it life imitating art or is art imitating life? Hard to tell with the latest news and my new novel The Secret of La Danta (currently under construction).

I recently read a news report that scientists and archaeologists are using revolutionary technology known as LiDAR (short for “Light Detection And Ranging”). After taking photos and videos of the area, technicians digitally removed the tree canopy from the aerial images of the now-unpopulated landscape, revealing the ruins of a sprawling pre-Columbian civilization that was far more complex and interconnected than most Maya specialists had supposed (See above picture).

After learning this I was amazed that my novel, The Secret of La Danta, has the very same theme. I wrote my novel last year, before the news came out. In this instance it can be said that ‘life is imitating art’! How?

In reality, this area contains a large Mayan megalopolis that is hidden under the jungle canopy. The area is also home to the largest pyramid in the world, named La Danta. In my story, the main characters are able to use similar technology to discover the secrets of La Danta (hence the title). The premise of my story is that with the advent of newer imaging technology scientists are able to map the entire El Mirador area in Guatemala and find ancient technology hidden inside a pyramid.

While awaiting the completion and release of The Secret of La Danta, check out my other books available at www.amazon.com:

Treasure of the Mayan King

The Golden Scepter

Chauncy Rollock Chronicles

Contact me at: alexzabala2@gmail.com to discuss books

The Sedona Vortex

If you have ever visited or read anything about Sedona, Arizona, you may have heard of the Sedona vortex. What is a Sedona vortex, you ask?

 Sedona Magazine explains it:

 “Sedona vortexes (the proper grammatical form ‘vortices’ is rarely used) are thought to be swirling centers of energy that are conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration. These are places where the earth seems especially alive with energy. Many people feel inspired, recharged or uplifted after visiting a vortex.”

Many people visit Sedona to explore these vortices (yes there are more than one) of supposed swirling energy that are found around the red rocks near the hiking trails. My wife and I usually travel there twice a year and stay for a few days at a time. When I go, besides resting, hiking and eating at the local restaurants, I usually get my writing done, too.

I have always been curious about these vortices. However, because these areas of energy have always been associated with people who promote mysticism or Spiritism, I tended to shy away from going there. But then I asked myself the following questions: Who was here first, the shamans or the vortices? If they really do exist, is there a scientific explanation for the energy in the vortices? The last question came to mind due of some research on electrolysis that I had done for my forthcoming new novel The Secret of La Danta.

Electrolysis (no, not the hair removal service) is the electrical energy caused when water is in motion and an electric current passes through a liquid or solution containing ions. Ions are produced in running water and dissolved salts. How does electrolysis come into play in Sedona? Where did the salt come from to produce ions? According to geologists, the red rocks of Sedona are compressed oxidized sand from an ancient ocean.

Sandstone has salt.

Okay, so what about the running water?

Oak Creek runs year round through the Sedona area. Since it is perennial, I have always wondered where the water comes from. If followed upstream, it disappears into the rock. I figured some of the water from is not just from above ground because the creek runs just as full when there is no snowmelt on the mountains or rain nearby. My research shows the watershed comes from underground percolation from the surrounding mountains many miles away.

The Sedona area has underground water in motion. 

Could it be that electrical ions are being produced by the underground running water that is interacting with the salt in the limestone and sandstone under Sedona? Our cells are specialized to conduct electrical current. Is it possible, therefore, for humans to feel the energy in certain vortexes due to the ions produced by underground running water?

My Take

Armed with all this information and wanting to experience a vortex, I decided to take my wife and go hiking. After all, they are found on the Arizona State Park trails and are accessible to all. When I arrived at a supposed vortex I sat for a few moments admiring the surrounding scenery high above the valley.

At first I felt nothing.

Then, within a few minutes a peaceful feeling came over me. I didn’t want to leave the area! The weather was perfect and the scenery was great.

When I finally came down the hill, I had a realization. The peaceful feeling I experienced was the same feeling when I visited Yosemite Park, when I sat at the beach in California or Mexico and watched the sunset. It was the same feeling when I hiked Mt. Saint Helens in Washington or Mount Hood in Oregon and when I admired the great Redwoods in the Sequoia National Forest!

Nature…is a God-given, peaceful gift for us to enjoy!

But what about the vortices in Sedona? Since underwater rivers run under Sedona, I believe the ENTIRE city of Sedona is a vortex!  Yes, I’m aware that Sedona is a tourist trap, but it’s a trap worth getting caught in!

What do you think? Have you been there? What was your experience? What is your take?

Contact me: alexzabala2@gmail.com

Teaser Synopsis

Movies have teaser trailers, books have teaser synopses. In my last blog I wrote a small teaser. Here is a bigger teaser-synopsis revealing more plot lines for my latest book, The Secret of La Danta that is currently under construction.

The Secret of La Danta

There is a secret hidden inside La Danta, one of the largest Mayan pyramids known to man. The problem is that the pyramid and the ancient city that surrounds it are entirely covered by the Guatemalan jungle vegetation.

Javan Morgan is the man who knows that secret.

Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security has Javan locked up in a maximum security prison for allegedly stealing the Mayan secret from the United States government.

Enter Troy Rollock, son of famous archaeologist Chauncy Rollock. Troy belongs to a clandestine club called Secret Society of Savant Archaeologists. SSOSA’s mission is to recover stolen antiquities from tomb raiders and return them to their rightful owners.

Under the direction of the imprisoned Javan Morgan a beautiful but mysterious nuclear physicist, Rio Jordan, enlists SSOSA to help her get to La Danta to retrieve the secret.

However, Rick Cannon, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary is zealously going beyond his duties to make sure Javan doesn’t escape from prison.

Meanwhile, a notorious tomb raider Gerald Bollinger has his sights on stealing the Mayan power to sell it on the black market. He will do whatever it takes, even murder.

What ancient power did the Mayans harness that has the potential to help humanity or…destroy it? With Javan imprisoned and DHS officials and the tomb raider hot on SSOSA’s trail, Troy and his crew are on a race to La Danta.

Its’ just another day for Troy and his crew!

The Secret of La Danta is coming in 2018…meanwhile you can read the full collection of Troy’s father adventures with Chauncy Rollock Chronicles now available at Amazon.com

Under Construction

Can you hear that noise – the noise of a building under construction? Do you hear the bulldozers grading the land? How about all that hammering and sawing going on? Look at the cranes lifting trusses overhead, and see the carpenters, plumbers, landscapers and others plying their trades!

Where is this construction taking place? What is being built?

This particular construction is going on in my head as well as that of my co-author. A new novel is under construction! The title is: The Secret of La Danta

This novel will be the beginning of a new series based on a character from my existing books in the Chauncy Rollock Chronicles.

Chauncy Rollock has a son, Troy Rollock, who is now an adult.  He is twenty-four years old and fresh out of the university. Troy is ready for adventures far greater than Chauncy could have imagined. Why? Troy’s personality and outlook in life are different than those of his father. So the reader can expect new things.

I guess the elevator pitch would go something like this:

The Secret of La Danta is like Indiana Jones meets Mission Impossible. Troy Rollock has assembled a motley crew of intellectual like-minded individuals and formed a business where typically they are hired by wealthy patrons to retrieve stolen archaeological relics. In this story a mysterious lady hires Troy and his crew to venture down to Guatemala to find an incredible secret the Mayans left behind in the tallest pyramid in the world, La Danta.”

There is more to it than that, of course, but in a nutshell what the readers can expect is an incredible adventure that reveals ancient technology that will astound many readers.

What building phase are we in?

The solid foundation and infrastructure have been built and the project has been passed on to my co-author, Dyego Alehandro. His job is to finish the building by adding all the right aesthetic parts to make the building great to look at! Currently he is about 50 percent complete.

When will the novel be available?

As is the case when constructing a building, it must be inspected by local municipalities to ensure it’s up to code. This takes time. And, once the “building” of our novel has been completed, it must pass the rigorous “inspection” of the dreaded editor!

Our goal is to have it available for our readers to “occupy” in 2018.

 

 

A free short story by Alex Zabala 

The Parallel Paradox

“Ten hours without Internet service is a travesty!” I slammed my fist on my desk as I yelled in frustration. I may have blurted out an expletive but there was no one else around to hear it. Come to think of it, I doubt anyone would have been offended since it may have been a hybrid expletive combining English and Spanish.

Nevertheless, the reason there was no other human around was because I was hopelessly single. No respectable woman in her right mind would want to be with someone trying to make a living as an author, the operative word being ‘trying’.

But I regress. The reason I was angry was because I needed to do some research on the Internet regarding a Mayan artifact that was currently being displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Since I live in New Jersey and don’t own a car, I certainly didn’t feel like riding a city bus all the way up to New York City in this dreadful cold. So I figured I would check the item on the Internet and save some precious time. Google is an author’s best friend. In the old days one had to actually spend hours in large libraries searching through endless aisles of books doing research, hence why I frequently wear my ‘Just Google it!” T-shirt.

To make matters worse, I was running behind schedule and my editor had been bugging me to deliver my manuscript so she could slather it with red ink. But with the Internet down I couldn’t email her a digital file, so I proceeded to go old-world style and make a paper copy of my manuscript, which suited her fine because she likes to bellow at me when I send electronic files. “Use your paper and your ink, buddy! Do you realize how much ink costs?”

Yes I do. Ink costs about $2,200 a gallon. (How do I know? I just Googled it).

Ah yes, the life of an author!

But anyway, after my old printer finished spitting out my manuscript I gathered all 200 pages and looked at the title page:

The Parallel Paradox by Angus Huff’

I liked the title. I liked the story. It was science fiction book about a man caught between parallel universes. Hopefully the public would like it too. If it wasn’t for customers, competition and small royalty checks few and far between, I would really enjoy being an author.

I stuffed the pages in an old wrinkled, letter-sized manila envelope. All I had to do was finish my cup of coffee and find my favorite coat and get downstairs and jump on a bus. My plan was to get to the museum first then to my editor’s apartment.

I hated going to her apartment, she was an old lady with a smelly room. It smelled of stale cigarette smoke, not that I liked fresh cigarette smoke but you get my point. She also owned five cats, and five cats had smells that I would rather not describe. Besides the smells I had to put up with old, boring stories of her deceased husband. But her editing costs were cheaper than anyone in town.

I looked in the mirror to comb my disheveled hair. I dragged a comb through my hair and wondered why women didn’t find me attractive. I’m 35 years old and in fair health. Was my skin too pale? Were my eyes too close together? Was it my bulbous nose? Maybe it was my eyebrows. They formed a long unbroken line across my forehead. Could it be my small studio apartment in a bad neighborhood in New Jersey? No, it was all the above. But at least my place didn’t smell like stale cigarettes or a litter box.

I opened my small closet and pulled out my one and only winter jacket. It was a purple colored jacket with a fur lining inside that kept me semi-warm. There weren’t too many people in Jersey with a jacket like mine. Come to think of it, there probably wasn’t anybody within a thousand mile radius with a jacket like mine. It was a hand-me-down from my dad. Before he died he said. “I leave you my jacket.”

It was sad commentary on my life that I was relegated to wearing dead men’s clothes.

I fished the studio keys from an old rickety drawer, grabbed the large manila envelope and took one last look around my one-room studio. Someday I would be a famous author and move up from this dumpy place…someday.

I walked down the stairs from the fourth floor. I didn’t like taking the elevator. It always reeked of urine and vomit. There was no use talking to the landlord, he was probably the one who made the mess. I jumped over a drunk person that was lying on the floor, I couldn’t tell if it was a woman or a man (or the landlord) so I pushed the door open and made my way onto the sidewalk.

The cold air slapped me in the face as I headed toward the bus stop. I hate winter. Maybe one day when I become a famous author I will move to a warmer state, I said to myself.

I was shocked when I boarded the bus. The only available seat was next to a man who looked like me and dressed like me. I guess there was another jacket like mine within a thousand mile radius! Much to my surprise he also looked like me. Apparently there are other people in Jersey who have the same type of eyebrows as me!

As I took my seat, the same-dressed-man gazed at me with a strange expression. He must have been equally shocked that I looked like him too. In his hands was a manila envelope similar to mine!

“That’s really strange!” he exclaimed. “I thought I was the only person with that type of jacket!”

“Wonders never cease,” I responded.

“Where are you headed?”

His nosey question didn’t faze me. After all this was Jersey. “To the Met.”

“Really? So am I,” he said with a genuinely surprised tone, then lifted his manila envelope. “I’m doing research for my as yet unpublished novel.”

I am certain he noticed my slack jaw. “You’re kidding me?” I responded. “I’m going too. There is a Mayan artifact I need to see.”

“The jade necklace of King Chac,” we both said at the same time.

I bent over with laughter. “Oh, boy! This is really strange, next you’re going to tell me your novel is titled The Parallel Paradox. Ha!”

The man nervously fumbled to open his manila envelope and pulled out the first page. “Actually it is, see?” The same title of my story was clearly visible.

I was dumbfounded, flummoxed and perplexed all at once. It took a few seconds before I found my voice. “This is a very sick joke!”

He wasn’t happy either. “You’re a plagiarist!” he howled. “You must have hacked my computer!”

“Me?” I yelled back. “That’s what I was thinking about you!”

By now we were becoming a spectacle to the other passengers.

“There’s no way, my Internet has been down for the last 10 hours.”

“So has mine!” I shot back.

“I will prove you plagiarized me,” the stranger said as he pulled out the front page of his manuscript and with great surprise I saw my name written on it.

“You can’t be Angus Huff! That’s me!” I bellowed like my editor. I pulled my manuscript out to prove to him it was me.

The fake Angus Huff pulled out page one of his manuscript and waved it at me. “Compare page one with yours.”

I did as ordered. To my astonishment, I noticed it was exactly like my page one.

And then it hit me.

I stood up and faced everyone. “Okay, I get it, I’m being pranked, right? I mean, all of you people are in on this. This guy hacked my computer last night and downloaded my manuscript. There must be a secret camera here and you are all trying to trick me. Come on…admit it!”

Everybody was silent. They looked at me as if I had lost my mind. Then, when I finally found my mind, a thought came to me. I pulled out the last chapter from the envelope and showed it to everyone.

“This morning, ten hours after my Internet went down I wrote chapter fifty. If this impersonator downloaded my novel then he would not have this chapter. Am I right?”

I assumed their silence meant I was right, so I turned my attention to the imposter and prompted him to pull chapter fifty out of his envelope.

When he did I nearly fainted.

A seat behind me was vacated as a passenger left. I sat down on it, I certainly didn’t want to be seated next to him.

I clutched my envelope and stared out the window as we got closer to the museum. And the answer came to me. The fake Angus Huff was a character from a parallel universe, just like in my novel. This certainly was a paradox! True but not true! The Parallel Paradox!

If this was the case then I had to get to the museum before the faker did. I had to publish my novel before he did.

When the bus came to a stop in front of the museum we both made a mad dash up the stone steps. Obviously Mr. Faker had come to the same conclusion as me.

“You’re not going to publish the book before me!” he yelled.

“Oh yes I am. Go back to where you belong you faker.”

“I’m the real Angus Huff,” he retorted. “I’m the one who belongs here, not you.”

“No, I am.” I re-retorted.

We crashed through the large doors and ran down a large gallery toward the Mayan Art exhibition.

I stopped after making it to the desired gallery where I saw ten men dressed as me and Mr. Faker. Each one was clutching a manila envelope.

After catching my breath I yelled out. “Angus Huff?”

All ten simultaneously turned to look at us with inquisitive expressions and answered in unison. “Yes?”

Alex Zabala is the author of:

‘Treasure of the Mayan King’

‘The Mind Games of Dr. Sova’

‘The Golden Scepter’

‘Chauncy Rollock Chronicles’

You can purchase his books on Amazon.com.

Alex is currently working on his new novel, The Secret of La Danta coming in 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An encounter with a famous author!

On May 25-28 at the Comic-Con in Phoenix, Arizona my co-author Dyego Alehandro had an encounter with his favorite author, Timothy Zahn (Dyego is on the left).

If you love to read science fiction and you’ve never heard of Timothy Zahn then you don’t really know science fiction. Mr. Zahn was singlehandedly responsible for bringing the Star Wars franchise back to life in 1991 with his novel Heir to the Empire.

I have personally read 38 of his 40 + titles.  Even though I don’t write sci-fi, Zahn’s books (among others) encouraged me to try my hand at writing. My personal favorite of his were Spinneret, Icarus Hunt, the Dragonback and Cobra series.

  I really enjoy Mr. Zahn’s storytelling style, Dyego, on the other hand, is a fervent disciple of Mr. Zahn. So it was a great privilege for Dyego to have his personal copy of Thrawn autographed.

Dyego helps me by co-writing my books of adventure/fiction however his real passion is science fiction. Dyego’s science fiction e-books are available on Amazon. Here are a couple of the titles: Avarice Dynasty and The Frontier Archives.

At this juncture, you may be wondering what character Dyego dressed up as for Comic-Con. Robert Muldoon from Jurassic Park! He had been carrying a fake rifle but on the first day of the convention a person carrying REAL arms (4 guns and a knife) was arrested for attempting to cause bodily harm to eventgoers, so no one was permitted to enter with weapons of any sort – real or imitation. This was really sad because I wanted Dyego to run around the convention shouting Mr. Muldoon’s famous line from the movie: “SHOOT HER!” (speaking of a velociraptor of course).

Oh well.

Anyway, I just finished writing my new novel, The Secret of La Danta. The manuscript is in my co-author’s hands. In the meantime The Chauncy Rollock Chronicles is available as an e-book at Amazon.

The Catacombs of France

Concerning the catacombs of France, Wikipedia says:

The Catacombs of Paris are underground ossuaries in Paris, France which hold the remains of more than six million people in a network which is located south of the former city gate Barriare d’ Enfer (Gate of Hell) beneath Rue de la Tombe-Issoire.

The underground cemetery became a tourist attraction on a small scale from the early 19th century, and has been open to the public on a regular basis since 1874 with surface access from a building in the extreme southern part of the city of Paris.

In my story, The Mind Games of Dr. Sova, the players of the Mind Games decipher a hidden clue that leads them to the catacombs of France. It is indeed a creepy place, but the game rules require that the players enter the catacombs to find the final clue.

What will they find down in the dark tunnels?

Purchase The Mind Games of Dr. Sova and find out or get all four stories in one book with Chauncy Rollock Chronicles.

Are you smart enough to play?