Sunday, June 12, 2011

For Cheryl Ritonya-Evans

I should have said this more when I had the chance. I love you. This is for you.

Born into the world - a blank canvas ready for paint.
And also born an evil lying patiently in wait.
Baby steps and first words lay in the months ahead.
The first steps down a long dark path are filled with fear and dread.

She's just 10 years old - not a care in the world.
Please leave her alone - she's just a little girl.
The coming years are filled with jumping rope and running footloose.
Then running becomes fleeing and the rope becomes a noose.

Teenage years and high school made harder by the pain.
Many times to hide her tears she'd go walking in the rain.
Weekend parties - boys and clothes - an imagined canopy bed.
The beer and weed her initiation to the life that lay ahead.

Two distant children couldn't know how much she really loved them.
Although she tried she couldn't be the mom she should've been.
She took a surrogate daughter who doubled as a neice.
Her failures as a parent never offering her any peace.

These roles she could have played better - sister, daughter, wife and friend.
The time spent lying and stealing didn't matter in the end.
Grandma loved her without condition - in her eyes she could do no wrong.
Deep down inside I think she knew what you were doing all along.

Just turned 40 - second marriage - worried about the bills.
But nothing really mattered but the bottles and the pills.
A brush with death couldn't derail this train and where it was heading.
It only delayed the inevitable - her nightmare would soon be ending.

So damn tired - lay down your head and dream of being ten.
She shuts her eyes but doesn't know they'll never open again.
Her friends and family gather - their purpose is to grieve.
The life she chose too difficult - and so she chose to leave.

If you have no guilt or could have done things better raise your hand.
Although we tried to keep her safe things rarely go as planned.
I should have been a better man - a better protector and brother.
Too little too late are empty words - we share the blame - no other.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September Book Drawing Complete!

The September book drawing has taken place and this month's winner of a free, signed copy of Sunset is...Priya!

Priya, please send me an email at with a shipping address and I will get your novel shipped ASAP.

Other news:
Neck Chop Tees is open for business. Check out the link below.

JJ Ritonya merchandise is available at the CafePress Shop here. T-shirts, mugs, caps and more.

Also, an excerpt from Sunset: Bloodstained has been released on the Members Only page at http/
Hope you enjoy it.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Dead City by Joe McKinney Review

Dead City, by Joe McKinney
Reviewed by JJ Ritonya

Dead City is a zombie novel based around events taking place in a hurricane destroyed Texas. Eddie Hudson, a cop in San Antonio finds himself faced with many hard decisions. While he has a duty to his badge, he also has a duty to himself and his family. The moral struggles are only the beginning of his problems as the zombie hordes begin to rise and attack. Making his way through the city with other survivors in tow, Eddie does his best to be true to his badge and himself.
Dead City is another in the long line of zombie novels I've read and has a solid place in the top twenty. The action kept on coming as well as difficult decisions the main character had to make. The motivation for each action and decision was obvious after learning what he had gone through and was currently going through. What kept me turning pages was the constant action, though. Never a dull moment in this one.
I would recommend this novel to anyone loving the horror and zombie genre as well as lovers of action and cop novels. Police procedures take on a whole new meaning in this one as there are no written procedures for dealing with the undead.
Joe McKinney is a homicide detective for the San Antonio Police Department who has been writing professionally since 2006. McKinney has also written other novels in the horror/zombie genre.
I don't believe he has an author web page but you can purchase his books and read his bio on his Amazon author page here. There are also forums dedicated to McKinney and his novels on Permuted Press' website here.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

August Book Drawing

The August book drawing has taken place. This month's drawing is for a signed copy of Hubbert's Peak.
This month's winner is Roberto Cardin! Congrats Roberto!

Other news: JJ Ritonya merchandise is available at the CafePress Shop here. T-shirts, mugs, caps and more.

Also, an excerpt from Sunset: Bloodstained has been released on the Members Only page at
Hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Merchandise Store!

T-shirts, mugs, baseball caps. All available at the merchandise store here!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Autumn Series, by David Moody Review

The Autumn Series by David Moody
Reviewed by JJ Ritonya

The first zombie novel I ever read was Autumn, by David Moody. He'd put a free PDF out somewhere on the Internet and I somehow stumbled upon it. When I was done with the Autumn, I was so enamored with it that I immediately began looking for more of his work and was thrilled when I found out he had three other novels which served as sequels to the original Autumn. Two were out already which I purchased and tore through then chomped at the bit until the final novel was released.
After reading the four novel series, I found myself longing to write again. I hadn't done it seriously in years and decided why not now? I even corresponded briefly with Moody, telling him of how he inspired me to write my first novel and asked for any advice he'd offer. He graciously replied with some tips and offered other advice which I found very valuable. To date I've read everything Moody has published and will probably review another of his novels or series at some point.
A quick summary: After a cataclysmic event, most of the population of the world dies. Was it a disease or some other-worldy event? No one knows. The people die in seconds and act as if they can't breathe. Their throats expand and burst inside their necks, churning up blood from their eyes, noses and mouths. After a few days, the dead rise again, hungry for human flesh. The survivors must deal with not only the dead, but the living as well.
Other than inspiring my writing career, I found the Autumn series to be one of the best zombie series I've ever read. Other reviews I found weren't so kind but I found it compelling, believable and had a hard time putting it down. The main character was likeable and I wanted him to pull through the ordeal. But the one thing I take from the books was the feeling of hopelessness Moody conveyed through the images and emotions of the characters. I felt as if I could taste the bitterness they felt in a world they no longer recognized or probably even wanted to live in. They had no choice but to keep on living, so they did.
I'd recommend these books to just about anyone who loves horror, zombies or the apocalypse. They drew me in and kept me there night after night.
The free PDF of Moody's original Autumn is no longer available but I've read it was downloaded by more than half a million people.
David Moody's website is here. You can learn more about him, purchase books and contact him like I did if you wish. Currently he is working on the Hater trilogy, which I've read the first of. But that review is for another time.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Borders, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million

Sunset and Hubbert's Peak are now available on major book store websites! Use the links below.
Barnes and Noble Sunset Hubbert's Peak
Borders Sunset Hubbert's Peak
Books-A-Million Sunset Hubbert's Peak