Archive for the ‘Social Networking’ Category

On the 6th day of the 6th month for 6 hours, the Forsaken Horror Hooligans took over Facebook for our first annual Forsaken Hooligan 666 Horror Fest. So, who exactly are the Forsaken Hooligans, you ask? Dim the lights, watch the video, and then stick around for a couple of giveaways.

That was just a small sample of the 70+ horror freaks that make up the Forsaken clan. If you didn’t know about the event, or maybe you just chose not to attend (Repent now!), I thought I’d give you a little taste of what you missed. I’ll also give you a couple of opportunities to win a prize!

Devil’s Nightmare (Forsaken Edition) Cover Reveal

On the 6th day of the 6th month at 6 p.m. I officially released the new cover art for my best-selling supernatural occult horror novel Devil’s Nightmare. This new and improved edition – published by Booktrope’s Forsaken horror imprint – will be available for sale worldwide on Wednesday, July 15.

Devil's Nightmare (Forsaken Edition) Cover, designed by Laura Hidalgo

I’ve got to give a special shout out to my awesome designer, Laura Hidalgo, for the amazing job she did redesigning the cover. After reading Devil’s Nightmare, she nailed it. It is a great representation of what to expect when reading my first horror novel. As an indie author, I originally published the e-book version with a very bad cover. I did have it professionally redesigned before the print edition came out, but now it has an even better cover for the Forsaken Edition!

If you like owning first edition copies of novels, for a limited time, Amazon still has the original paperback version available for only $8.95 as of this posting. There’s also ONE copy of the sequel available on Amazon with the original cover. I’ve officially taken Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions (Book 2) off sale in preparation for the updated Forsaken edition, which I plan to announce at a later date. I do have a few first edition signed copies available, though. If interested in buying one, send me a message via the CONTACT page.


To kick things off after the cover reveal, I gave away some advance reader copies of Devil’s Nightmare (Forsaken Edition). To win, participants posted pics of their favorite horror characters.

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YOU CAN WIN TOO! Tell me what your favorite horror character is in the comments and I’ll select one random person to win an advance reader copy of Devil’s Nightmare (Forsaken Edition). Good luck!

The Forsaken Hooligans “I AM NOT POSSESSED” Meme Contest.

I only hosted for thirty minutes, so you can imagine how quickly things went. But I did manage to get another contest in to give away “Girls Rock Horror Harder,” the first issue of the Forsaken Hooligans e-Zine. To win, participants posted pictures to go with the meme “I am not possessed . . . Trust me!” I had some great entries.  

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The little pooch in the slideshow is my dog Xena. Those eyes weren’t glowing from the camera flash, either; she was actually possessed! Shortly after taking that photo, I had to call a dog whispering exorcist. He went missing weeks ago. Xena claims she had nothing to do with it. :-)

Forsaken Horror Hooligans Love Heavy Metal

We took a short break from the festivities to post some of our favorite metal head and creepy music videos. To go with our 666 horror theme, I posted Iron Maiden’s “The Number of the Beast.”

What’s your favorite heavy metal band? I personally love Iron Maiden, Metallica, Queensrÿche, and Twisted Sister. Let’s get a conversation going in the comments. I’ll randomly select one of you to win another prize. It could be a book, a gift card, or maybe even a special visit from my possessed pooch Xena. You won’t know if you don’t comment.

The Horror Movie Poster Contest

What’s a horror party without some cool horror posters, right? So, for my next contest I asked revelers to follow me on Twitter and then post their favorite horror movie posters for a chance to win an e-book copy of Devil’s Nightmare (Forsaken Edition) when it’s available on July 15.

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So, what’s your favorite horror movie of all time? What sticks in your mind that got you interested in the horror genre? Post your answer in the comments for a chance to win an e-book copy of Devil’s Nightmare (Forsaken Edition) on July 15. I’m feeling very generous today, so post those comments, folks!

Short Horror Movie Time

Okay, Xena and Cujo are chasing the mailman again, so while I rescue the poor fella, pull out a comfy mat and enjoy this short horror flick I found on YouTube. I also posted it during the event. It’s out of season, but “Dark Elf” should give you a nice dose of the chills.

Ah, there’s nothing like a creepy kid and a psycho Santa to get you into the holiday spirit this summer.

The Creepy Santa Contest

All of this occurred in a span of thirty minutes, and let me tell you, my keyboard was smoking. I had just enough time to have one final contest. Sticking with the creepy Christmas theme, I asked my horror fest party goers to post scary Santa pics for a chance to win my grand prize . . . a signed paperback copy of Devil’s Nightmare (Forsaken Edition) and some cool swag.

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Is it just me, or did I see an evil version of Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause? Anyway, I had a blast during the first annual Forsaken Hooligans 666 Horror Fest, and I hope you join us next year. Mark your calendars, because we’ll be spreading our evil intent again on June 6, 2016.

Join Sharky’s Mailing List For More Fun

I hope you enjoyed this post and will keep you coming back for more. I’d like to invite you to join my exclusive VIP mailing list where you’ll be the first to know of any upcoming events, new release announcements, sneak previews, and special giveaways (and I love to give away cool prizes) only available to newsletter subscribers. And don’t worry, you’ll receive the newsletter no more than once per month. No spam. I don’t like eating it, and I don’t want it in my inbox either. So, if you’d like to be a part of my exclusive club, click on the graphic below.

Newsletter (The List) by AJ Powers

Until next time, keep reading and remember to support your local bookstores.

Sharky Teeth

Profile Photo (Cropped)Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a native Texan, video game “enthusiast” [addict], and fan of all things horror. He left a career in the newspaper industry in 2011 to pursue the life of a nocturnal author, brainstorming new and creative ways to creep out his readers. He doesn’t only write horror though. He also pens the occasional family-oriented tale just to keep from going completely nuts with all those creatures of the night whispering in his ears. When he’s not pulling ideas out of his twisted brain, you’ll likely find him on social media or fighting alongside his fellow gaming buddies where they all get shot up into Swiss cheese (or turned into little bite-sized chunks because of “Sharky’s” obsession with explosives). Medic!

Pursue your dreams . . . and never look back.

To get an email about upcoming projects and new releases, be sure to SIGN UP for Sharky’s VIP newsletter.


Stalk Sharky on Facebook  Stalk Sharky on Twitter  Stalk Sharky on Google Plus  Stalk Sharky on Klout  Stalk Sharky on Goodreads  Watch Videos Posted by Sharky  Pinterest_Badge_Red

I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off this exciting news than with that awesome trailer that S.E. Rise created for me. For those of you who also follow me on Facebook and Twitter, you may have seen me post things about a special project I’ve been working on for the past few months. Today, I’d like to officially announce that I have signed with Booktrope’s Forsaken Imprint to re-launch my best-selling horror novel Devil’s Nightmare worldwide on multiple platforms. So, what exactly does this mean? Well, for starters, Devil’s Nightmare has gone through a professional edit, cover redesign, and will no longer be exclusive to Amazon. Devil’s Nightmare will still be the kick-ass story that readers have enjoyed since I published it as an indie in 2013 . . . just better and distributed to a much wider audience. If you haven’t read Devil’s Nightmare yet (shame on you!), look for the new and improved “Forsaken Edition” on July 15.

Facebook Launch Team Banner (Devil's Nightmare)

Now, this is where you come in. We need your help to spread the word about the re-launch of Devil’s Nightmare. We’re looking for people who are interested in joining an exclusive social marketing team dedicated to providing feedback and helping spread the word about Devil’s Nightmare. As a member of the launch team, you’ll not only receive a free electronic edition of the book before it’s available to the public, but also gain behind-the-scenes access to me and the rest of the Devil’s Nightmare Creative Team via a secret Facebook group. We’ll definitely keep you entertained! In return, all we ask is you leave an honest review of Devil’s Nightmare, share the release date and your feedback with everyone and anyone you may know, and give us your input on how to reach a wider audience.

Interested? Awesome! Please send your name & email address to my marketing manager at or contact me HERE.

Thank you!

Sharky Teeth

Devil's Nightmare Blog Tour

We’re now into Week 2 of my Devil’s Nightmare Halloween Blog Tour. Last week I traveled to Colorado for an interview with author Jack D. Albrecht Jr., and I also announced the Devil’s Nightmare Pumpkin Carving Contest, which should be loads of fun. I’m going to continue traveling around the world throughout the month. You can check the tour schedule below.




To kick off the tour this week, I’m back in Texas to take over my buddy Nat Russo’s website A Writer’s Journey. My guest post will cover the Top 5 things I’ve learned as an author. Click on Nat’s Erindor Press logo below to read the post.

A Writers Journey Logo


Sharky Teeth

This is actually from a tag on Facebook, but I thought I would share with my readers here at Sharkbait Writes. Enjoy!


The Lucky 7 MemeMy vampire-writing buddy Steven Montano tagged me with the #TheLuckySeven meme where you choose seven lines from either page 7 or 77 in your current work in progress and tag seven other writers to do the same. What the heck. I’d better participate or Steve will send a horde of vampires after me . . . and I’m not talking about the sparkly lovey-dovey kind either.

So, here goes, the seven friends I shall tag are Jack D. Albrecht Jr., Eden Baylee, Christina Esdon, Carolyn Arnold, Stephanie Fuller, Tess Thompson, and Sheilagh Lee. Of course, they are not obligated to participate, but it would be fun if they did.

Okay, now that I have that taken care of, here are the first 7 lines (draft with spoiler edits ) from page 77 in my upcoming horror novel Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions.


Aaron watched the man pound on the front door with his fist. “Christopher!” He looked behind him with fear in his eyes and yelled, “Open the damn door!”

Several explosions of thunder drowned out the sounds of the man’s screams when razor sharp claws tore into his back. The beast bit into the man’s right leg and jerked him backwards, causing him to fall onto his chest with his face hitting the wooden porch with force. A trail of blood followed a path away from the front door, which opened seconds too late.


Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions is the sequel to the Amazon best selling horror Devil’s Nightmare available for both Kindle (or Kindle Reading Apps) and paperback (at Amazon and Barnes & Noble). Premonitions is slated for worldwide publication this fall. 

Sharky Teeth

Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is author of the Amazon Kindle bestselling horror novel Devil’s Nightmare and the contemporary family motor sports drama Pursuit of a Dream (Victory Lane: The Chronicles). He lives in south Texas and has called the Lone Star State his home all of his life. Pruneda is also very active in social media and an avid gamer who can often be found fighting side-by-side with friends on his favorite first-person shooter . . . but he prefers survival horror.

You can follow Robert on Twitter @SharkbaitWrites and on Facebook at

To receive notifications for future blog posts be sure to follow this blog by clicking the follow button (for WordPress users) or subscribe via email on the sidebar. You can also subscribe to the Sharkbait Writes Newsletter here. Your email address or personal information will never be shared with others.

I just wanted to pop in and let everyone know that Sharkbait Writes will have an official newsletter in the near future. I just signed up for MailChimp to generate an email list, so if you would like to be a part of this “exclusive club” then all you have to do is click on the creepy image below to sign up.

Click on the image below to sign up to my newsletter Devil's Nightmare (Cemetery-Eyes No Title)

What’s the difference between signing up for my blog and signing up for the newsletter you say? Well, for starters, newsletter subscribers will get exclusive content that I will not post in my blogs. Also, if you sign up for my newsletter you’ll have a chance to win some cool stuff, like autographed books, gift cards, etc. Oh, and I promise not to sell your email address to all those annoying spam bots out there and will only send a newsletter your way on an occasional basis.

So, what are you waiting for? Click on the image below (or above; I’m not picky) to fill out the short form and you’ll be all set. And as an incentive, the first ten people to sign up will receive a FREE digital copy of my novel Devil’s Nightmare, sent via Amazon (or .mobi via email if outside the U.S.). You don’t actually need a Kindle to read it, though. There’s an app for that! :-) Every new subscriber will get thrown in a drawing for another prize to be determined. It may be an autographed copy of Devil’s Nightmare, a gift card, or an all-expense paid trip to the Bahamas (but don’t get your hopes up on that one :-) ). 

Have a great weekend, everyone! Sharky Teeth

Click on the image below to sign up to my newsletter Devil's Nightmare (Cemetery-Eyes No Title)

Devil's Nightmare

This month my website celebrated two years of existence, so I decided to thank my readers by giving away a couple of autographed copies of Devil’s Nightmare and a $20 Amazon gift card. There were 13 eligible comments on my Two-Year Anniversary Giveaway post. I used a very sophisticated and highly technically advanced process in order to select the two lucky winners of the autographed copies of Devil’s Nightmare and $20 gift card.

First, I had to compile the data with patented and very efficient data mining tools.

Phase 1

Then, I had to filter and separate all of that information in preparation for the very high-tech process of actually selecting my two winners.

Phase 2

After the filtering and separation process I needed to apply some very specialized encryption techniques prior to the drawing.

Phase 3

As soon as I had all of my data entered, filtered, encrypted and processed, all of the entries needed to be stored for safekeeping until it was time for the drawing.

Phase 4

Then it was time for the actual drawing. Sure, I could have used, but what would have been the fun in that? So, I utilized a secret third party selection agency. Here is a photo of that third party agent (Agent Mom) on the USS Lexington.


And the winners are Beau Brown and @RescueCherry:

Contest winners books

Both winners have already been contacted and their books will be shipped via snail mail within the week. But wait! There was also a $20 Amazon gift card up for grabs. After another drawing (utilizing the same high-tech and patented selection process) I had Agent Mom draw the winner . . .

@WriterGirl007 is the lucky winner of the $20 Amazon gift card! Sending the gift card was easy too since Amazon also has a very high-tech way of doing so via email, although they don’t have anything on my system. Yeah, Amazon could probably learn a thing or two from my groundbreaking contest winner selection system.

Congratulations to Beau Brown and Sheri M. (a.k.a. @RescueCherry) for winning the autographed books. I hope you enjoy reading Devil’s Nightmare! And congratulations to WriterGirl007 for winning the $20 gift card (who decided to buy both of my books) :-). Enjoy!

There will be other giveaways in the future, so be sure to to follow this site or subscribe via email (sidebar to the left) for future announcements.

Have a safe Memorial Day!

Sharky Teeth

You might also like:

Devil’s Nightmare by Robert Pruneda available in print and eBook formats. Click the image below for more details.
Devil's Nightmare

Welcome to the first edition of Chumming with Sharky™ :-), my new blog series where guests from around the deep blue sea make a visit to the realm of Sharkbait Writes to chat it up talk show style. Most guests will be authors, but other artists may make guests appearances too. I hope you enjoy this new series and keep coming back to meet my future guests. Now, on with the show…

Chumming with Sharky

Karen Einsel

Sharky Teeth 1

Karen, thank you for being my guinea pig first guest on the new blog talk show called Chumming with Sharky, where viewers from every corner of the deep blue sea will be treated to a small taste of various authors who write in a myriad of genres. Please take a seat by the sea cucumber and let the mermaid know what you would like to drink.

Well when it comes to drinks, I am quite boring :-) Black coffee please. Only fill it ¾ of the way with coffee and ¼ with water. I like to be able to drink it without waiting for it to cool.

Black coffee it is then. I’ll take a Ninja Turtle, Ariel, and tell Hammerhead to make sure it’s light on the tequila. I don’t want things to get too crazy on my first airing of Chumming with Sharky. vV””Vv

Okay, now that Anchor the Hammerhead Shark has made our drinks, we can get started. We’ll start off with some basic questions about you as an author.

Thank you Anchor. It’s perfect! And thank you Sharky for inviting me to this wonderful under the sea world. This is amazing!

Thank you, Karen! We spared no expense. Just make sure you don’t spill your drink. Jacques gets a little upset when we get a bit messy. Those pacific cleaner shrimps are real neat freaks!

Anyway, back to the interview. Word around the coral reef says that you’re a contemporary romance author. What is it about this particular genre that interests you the most?

I love the conflicts and the heart and soul connections that lead to a Happily Ever After.

Ah, yes! I love happy endings. Although, I have read a few books with not so happy endings that actually worked very well. That is a challenging feat for an author to accomplish. And speaking of challenges, when you’re working on your manuscripts, what do you feel is your biggest challenge as a writer?

I have the hardest time Showing and not telling, which means I end up with a lot of revising!

I can definitely relate with you there, Karen! It’s a bit tedious sometimes with the edits, but when we complete the manuscript, it’s time to celebrate. When you finish your novels do you celebrate the accomplishment in a special way? If so, what is it? If not, why not? :-)

You know…I haven’t. I really haven’t thought about it, but I think I will when I finish the one I’m editing now, because I have been working on it for quite some time. Dinner out at my favorite Italian restaurant sounds really good to me. Everyone’s invited!

I love Italian food! Just name the time and place!

I attend a Twitter Addicts Anonymous meeting every Tuesday night on Twitter and last week the topic of social media marketing came up. One very outspoken swordfish in the group stated that he does not like the fact that Indie authors have invaded Twitterville to promote their work. What’s your opinion regarding writers and social media marketing?

Actually, if it wasn’t for Twitter and indie author’s tweeting their books, I wouldn’t have met so many wonderful people and read some great books! It doesn’t bother me at all. Tweet what you want and I’ll even share and RT. I love to help others. I believe there’s enough people and different tastes in the world that we can all be successful.

I agree with you Karen. Twitter has connected me with some amazing indie authors and some great books. I haven’t read a traditional book in a while because of it. Sorry, Mr. King. You know you’re still my favorite author.

So, Karen, I was sitting in the jury selection room downtown the other day for a trial involving a missing clown fish and a great white shark and something caught my eye. A blue tang fish named Dory sat next to me and began reading a short story titled Kyle & Kelly: The Perfect Party Planner. I asked her what the story was about, but she couldn’t remember and just kept introducing herself to me. Maybe you could help fill us in with a brief synopsis of this short story without giving away any spoilers.

This is the hardest question!

Kyle and Kelly meet the first day of jury duty. Kelly is a party planner and Kyle asks Kelly to meet him for lunch the following day so she can plan a child’s birthday party for him, but when he tells her that he will be out of town for two weeks and he will give Sheila her number Kelly realizes he’s unavailable. Can Kelly keep their relationship on a professional level while trying to keep her feelings for Kyle hidden?

Thanks for the brief synopsis, Karen! And for avoiding the spoilers!

I was at the vet recently to get my dogfish Fluffy’s rabies vaccination taken care of when I overheard the staff talking about one of the other vets in town. I think his name was Dr. Grant, and I heard something about a dog named Peanut. It turns out the ladies were actually talking about a book that you wrote titled The Good Dr. Grant. So, Karen, what is it about Dr. Grant that these ladies at my vet’s office were so giddy about?

Maybe it’s his quiet reserved demeanor, or maybe his gentleness with animals? Nah, it’s his gorgeous blue eyes and the passion that hides in them. For some reason, why I haven’t a clue, women want to unleash that passion. Go figure.

Well, that explains everything. I’ll have to let those nurses know that I had you on the show. They’ll probably be wanting your autograph… or Dr. Grant’s phone number.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do for fun?

Hmmm…Sleep! :-) No, I have many interests. I like to read, go camping, do yard work, and I’m a crafter. I enjoy knitting, crocheting, plastic canvas, even some woodworking. I like to work with my hands. There is one thing I don’t like to do, that sets me apart from others.

Want to know what that is?

I don’t like shopping! I don’t like to shop for clothes, gifts, or groceries and I have no problems staying away from the malls.

So, I guess that rules out Black Friday shopping. I would rather spend time at a car show. Which reminds me… you and I both have a love and appreciation for classic cars. If you could own any classic car, what would it be?

A 1956 Chevy two door hardtop with a 454. I know a gas guzzler, but think of the power! I do own a 1983 Chevy Suburban with a 350. And I used to have a 1968 AMC Javelin.

Excellent choice! You won’t get any criticism from me about the gas guzzler. My 1981 Corvette (also with a 350) gets eight miles per gallon… well, that is when it’s actually running!

Here’s a hypothetical scenario just for fun: You’re stranded on a small island and find a magic lamp. You rub the magic lamp and the genie (a great white shark with a mischievous grin) offers you three wishes, none of which can be a way off the island. What would your three wishes be?

I’m a practical person. So what would I wish for? A laptop, electricity, and an internet connection!

Ha ha! What a perfect selection of wishes, Karen!  It was a pleasure having you as my first guest on Chumming with Sharky. Before we go could you let the audience know where they can stalk keep up with you and find out more about you and upcoming writing projects?

If anyone has read The Good Dr. Grant, you know I do have the first book in my series, “Chris’ Journey Turning Different Corners” Coming out soon. If I quit procrastinating that is! So watch for it during the first week of July.

Author Bio:

Hmm… Bio? They say you should be able to say one sentence describing your novel and people will recognize your book by that one sentence. Recently I was reading a challenge on another blog and the challenge was describe yourself in one sentence.

So my bio is…

“Karen is a caring, compassionate, go-getter, who procrastinates!”

Thank you Donna at My Write Spot for the challenge!

Oh and my tag line is…

“Treat everyday as a new adventure, because you never know what tomorrow might bring.”


Karen’s Blogs:

Karen’s Different Corners
Different Corners in My Life

Connect with Karen on these Social Media platforms:


Thank you Sharky for such a wonderful evening!


And thank you for being such a wonderful guest, Karen!



Chumming with Sharky™ is a weekly spotlight series brought to you by Robert “Sharky” Pruneda, author of Victory Lane: The Chronicles and The Devil’s Nightmare. If you would like to be a guest on Chumming with Sharky™ or you know someone who you think would like to be featured, please send an email to: ChummingwithSharky (at) gmail (dot) com or contact me via Twitter @SharkbaitWrites.

Today you get to dig into the mind of Sharky on not one, but TWO different sites in cyberspace!

First I have the pleasure of taking a trip all the way to the United Kingdom for an interview with Junying Kirk, author of the “Journey to the West” novels The Same Moon and Trials of Life. Follow me into my homemade transporter by clicking on the link below and you too will be beamed to Birmingham, UK to enjoy my interview with author Junying Kirk.

Meeting Gregarious, Supportive & Ambitious Robert “Sharky” Pruneda

Now that you’ve been transported back (hopefully with all your DNA intact), follow me to my next interview with Denise Alicea at The Pen and Muse

My interview at the Pen & Muse

A couple of weeks ago Science Fiction author Steve Umstead published Gabriel: Zero Point, the prequel to his very popular Evan Gabriel Trilogy. To launch his latest book, Steve decided to have a book promotion contest for all of his fans. The task was simple… help him promote the book through various social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, etc.) and let him know about it by either using a #GZP hashtag on Twitter or tagging/mentioning him in the book promotional messages on Facebook or Google Plus.

This is the first Gabriel’s Redemption print sold with the new cover.

Every day for five days he randomly picked a name to win a $10 Amazon gift card (a total of $50 for the week). Steve also announced that he would be giving away a Nook Table or Kindle Fire (each valued at $199) to one lucky grand prize winner during Week 2 of the book launch (More details on that later). I was lucky enough to have my name drawn in one of the $10 gift card drawings and purchased the print edition of Steve Umstead’s first published book Gabriel’s Redemption. I had already read the eBook version, enjoyed it, and thought it would make a great addition to my growing library of books from independently published (“Indie”) authors. I soon found out that I was the first person to purchase the print version with the new cover as soon as it went live on Amazon! Too bad it wasn’t a numbered signed edition so I could later auction it off on eBay when it officially becomes a collector’s item, and then I could retire.

Anyway, throughout the week I continued to help promote Gabriel: Zero Point through Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus via sharing promo messages Steve broadcasted and creating some custom messages of my own. As I was browsing through my emails the following Monday, I was pleasantly surprised to see my name listed among seven grand prize finalists for the second week of Steve Umstead’s “Gabriel: Zero Point Spread the Word” book promo contest. The seven grand prize finalists were selected for being the most creative and helpful during the book launch promotion and ranged from writing book reviews, blog posts, and spreading the word via various social media platforms. I was selected for having a consistent Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus campaign.

The real fun began when I read that the grand prize winner would be selected by way of casting votes. Each candidate for the grand prize had one week to solicit as many votes as possible from friends, family, neighbors, etc. and the man or woman with the most votes by 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Friday, April 27, would be crowned the winner the next day. I got a late start since I hadn’t read the blog post until later in the day and Dr. Shay Fabbro had already earned approximately 30 votes! All of the other candidates had votes too, except for me! I had zero, zilch, nada! Well, I’ve been wanting to get my hands on a Kindle Fire ever since Amazon released it and my dad (who is very technically challenged) received one for Christmas and is now addicted to it!

Vote for Sharky!

So, it was time to hit the campaign trail in my very subtle campaign vehicle. I also sent messages to all of my friends and family with a link to the contest details and started gaining votes, but Shay continued to have a steady lead throughout the first half of the week. Then a few of my friends started putting together their posse of friends around mid-week and the margin between Shay’s and my votes began to shrink, but every morning Shay would have a large surge of votes. I called in some help, and a friend of mine (who I may only refer to as Agent X, or else you might see my picture on a milk carton) recruited her brother (who is employed by a foreign government) to utilize an undisclosed office to cast votes for this desperate little American trying to win a Kindle Fire.

On Thursday, I took the lead for the first time and continued to enjoy the lead throughout the day. It looks like my secret weapon, Agent X and her brother’s secret foreign government task force, was getting me close to victory. On Friday morning I had an 88 point lead over Dr. Shay Fabbro, but something about the sudden slow pace of Team Fabbro votes on Friday seemed very fishy. My shark radar sensed a sneak counter attack. I watched the votes carefully and then late in the afternoon, Team Fabbro pounced, almost immediately cutting my lead in half, then I was only ahead by 20 votes, then suddenly, Doc Fabbro shot ahead with a near 30 point lead! Ruh-roh! Luckily, Team Pruneda kicked it into high gear and started generating some much needed votes through some desperate Twitter campaign tweets many ending with “This is Rob Pruneda, and I approve this message.” Team Fabbro, however, continued to counter with votes coming in from Lord knows where! Personally, I think she hired Anonymous to hack into Sony’s system again and commandeered hundreds of Playstation accounts to generate more votes. I’ll never be able to prove it, but she’ sneaky like that! :-)

With only two hours left to go in the Gabriel: Zero Point book promo grand prize contest, the bullets—I mean the ballots—started flying. Team Fabbro had votes coming in from all over the place. I had unconfirmed reports of Team Fabbro votes coming in from the International Space Station and Area 51. This Shay Fabbro character was a tricky one, and with one hour to go she and I had nearly the same amount of votes. After the sneak attack Team Fabbro had launched earlier, I was ready for another one. I had more unconfirmed intelligence suggesting a special forces team was on standby to take out my communications and plant an Electronic Magnetic Pulse bomb at the Team Sharky Headquarters in Austin, Texas.

It was now time for Rob “Sharky” Pruneda to launch Operation Tuna Fish!

While this is a splitting image of my pearly white smile, I can’t take credit for this image. We all know who this image is credited to. And remember… “Fish are food… not friends!” Wait, that’s not right!

I sent another encrypted message to Agent X and a few other secret agents in my campaign management team that I had on standby. While I hit the campaign trail in my Shark Mobile trying to solicit as many votes as possible, Agent X, her brother’s secret government task force, and a few other hired guns pumped themselves full of their favorite energy drinks and chocolate bars and went to work. Agent X and her husband were in an Irish pub (undisclosed in a foreign land, of course) and bribed all of the patrons with free rounds of drinks if they voted for me…I just received the bill by the way! Agent X’s brother called in his secret government task force in another location of his country and promised them all a day off of work (and free beer for a year) if they would vote for some weird American known as “Sharky” in Texas. I had some other rogue agents that I claim no responsibility for that somehow resulted in phone calls and letters from The U.S. Department of Commerce, Department of Treasury, the Secretary of State, and the Department of Defense and some pretty hefty bills; one bill from the Pentagon included a plunger for $2 billion. I’m not sure what that was for, but I think I’m going to dispute that bill. Although, it may have something to do with the B-2 stealth bomber that dropped a ton of “A Vote for Sharky is a Vote for Indies” leaflets (with a coupon for a free Starbucks coffee on the back) at a major Shay Fabbro rally. I had nothing to do with that though! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

At the end of the day, all of the efforts from Team Pruneda paid off and I was crowned the grand prize winner of Steve Umstead’s “Gabriel: Zero Point contest. Below are the final results of the voting after all of the ballots were counted…and then recounted…and then recounted:

I want to thank everyone who participated in this contest, voted for me, encouraged others to vote for me, or just spread the word about the contest. I had a heck of a lot of fun promoting Steve’s new book and hitting the campaign trail to generate votes. I literally had votes coming in from all over the world, which was amazing! You all helped me win a really cool Kindle Fire and I owe it all to you. Thank you! I received my $199 Kindle Fire in the mail on Wednesday… and hired an accountant on Thursday to figure out how I am going to pay my campaign bill of $2,550,844,233.12. In hindsight, maybe the stealth leaflet bomber was a bit of overkill. It was worth it, though, because I’m now the proud new owner of a Kindle Fire loaded with Gabriel: Zero Point by Steve Umstead!

I received my Gabriel: Zero Point promo contest Grand Prize on Wednesday. As promised, the first book loaded onto my new Kindle Fire was Gabriel: Zero Point by Steve Umstead. Thank you very much, Steve, for this awesome prize!!!! Gabriel!

In closing please be sure to visit Steve Umstead’s website and check out his books. He was very cool to put together this contest and deserves a few sales from it. Trust me, if you love SciFi, you’ll love Steve Umstead’s books!

Steve Umstead has been the owner of a Caribbean & Mexico travel company for the past ten years, but never forgot his lifelong dream of becoming an author. After a successful stab at National Novel Writing Month, he decided to pursue his dream more vigorously…but hasn’t given up the traveling.

Steve lives in scenic (tongue-in-cheek) New Jersey with his wife, two kids, and several bookshelves full of other authors’ science fiction novels. Gabriel’s Redemption was his debut novel, published in February of 2011; Gabriel’s Return, the second in the trilogy, launched in August; the finale, Gabriel’s Revenge, book 3, hit the virtual shelves in December.

If you were a part of “Team Sharky”, are a fan of Steve’s books, or have any other comments you would like to share about this particular post, please feel free to share your thoughts. I love reading your comments! Cheers!

That’s right, folks! I have recently been awarded the very prestigious Versatile Blogger Award. Okay, it’s technically one of the blogging community’s answer to the chain letter, but my friend Christina Esdon was so thoughtful enough to pick little ‘ol me! Thanks, Christina!

 So, what is a versatile blogger anyway (pulls out dictionary)? Aha! (Points index finger up) That means I’m adaptable and inconsistent. Okay. Well, I guess that’s a pretty good definition of me. You never know what you’re going to get when you read my blog.

Now that I’ve been given such an esteemed award, I guess it’s only proper to give my “thank you” speech. (Clears throat) I’d like to thank all of my supportive followers for putting up with—I mean—reading and commenting on my blog. I’d like to thank my wonderful family, my fellow bloggers and authors, all of my friends on Twitter…

– 20 minutes later –

… my mailman, my accountant, my bookie, my mechanic, my— (taps on microphone). Hey, is this thing on? Okay, fine. I can take a hint.

As a recipient of this highly exalted award, I am required to fulfill certain duties:

  1. Nominate 15 bellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award.
  2. Display the Versatile Blogger Award (see picture above) with pride.
  3. Thank the blogger who nominated you in the post with a link back to their blog.
  4. Share 7 completely random (and hopefully true) pieces of information about yourself.
  5. Include this set of rules.
  6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs, tweeting them, or sending smoke signals. Whatever floats your pirate boat.

My list of nominees can be found at the bottom of this post, and who can miss seeing that beautiful badge of pride at the top of this post? I will continue to proudly display this award on my site.

Cradles “Versatile Blogger Award” in arms and sings a song to it.

Ahem… um. Sorry about that! I just got lost in the moment there. Anyway, you’re probably wondering when I’m going to stop flapping my lips and get on with the seven random facts, because that’s why you started reading this post in the first place right?

Leans over and whispers in imaginary agent’s ear, “Nosey bunch aren’t they?”

Seven Random Facts about “Sharkbait”:

1. I drool a little bit when I see an exotic sports car or muscle car. I’ve always been an exotic sports car and muscle car enthusiast ever since I was a little kid playing with Hot Wheels cars. There’s just something about the roar of a muscle car’s V-8 engine and the scream of the V-12 engine of an exotic sports car (a.k.a. super car) that gets my heart throbbing. It has always been my dream to own a Ferrari, Lamborghini or a classic muscle car, particularly a Corvette Stingray. One of my dreams came true during the Summer of 2009. On my way to work every day I would drive past a black Corvette Stingray parked in front of a body shop. The Corvette had a “For Sale” sign on it tempting me every day for weeks. Finally, one day after work in May 2009, I decided to stop and take a look at the car. The next day I test drove it and the rest is history. The car fit me like a glove! Well, it turns out this dream of mine turned into a nightmare! But, I’ll save that for another post!

2. I collect dragons and used to sell them. While I don’t drool over dragon collectibles like I do sports cars, as a fan of the fantasy genre dragons have always been a part of my life. I have a fairly large collection of dragon figures, many of which I added when my mother and I went into business together selling stuff at the local trade show. It only lasted a couple of years, but it was fun while it lasted. The best thing about having access to a warehouse full of dragons imported from China (like everything else) was being able to purchase items for my own collection at ridiculously low prices. My favorite (pictured here) is one of a knight battling a dragon that is protecting its treasure. The battle occurs on top of a castle. Concealed within the castle is a complete chess set. The knight and dragon are actually attached to a removable lid that reveals the chessboard underneath.  

3. I used to play Dungeons & Dragons with my brother when I was a kid. That’s right, I’m a D&D nerd! I haven’t played for years, but it was one reason my brother and I got along so well (on the most part) when we were kids. My brother taught me how to play D&D when I was around eight years old. He and his friends would play all day and all night going on fascinating adventures simply by using paper, drawing maps, and rolling dice. As corny as it may sound to those who don’t understand the game, it was such a great way to use my imagination. Think World of Warcraft without the computer screen, mouse and keyboard. You actually have to use your imagination when playing the game. And no, we didn’t sacrifice animals and worship the devil when we played either.

4. Speaking of animals, I have had a number of unusual pets. I grew up in Austin, and the first house my parents bought was on the outskirts of the Texas capital city. This neighborhood was still under development, and we had a huge back yard that led into an “enchanted forest” that had a mysterious cave in it. Plus, the forest that surrounded the neighborhood was home to lots of creatures for my brother and I to catch and bring home. My mother absolutely loved the critters we brought home too! Can you hear the sarcasm in my voice? They ranged from snakes, lizards, spiders, insects, you name it. We didn’t care if they were poisonous either! My dad eventually bought us a boa constrictor, which remained in the family for about 10 years. Her name was Rosie, ate the Easter Bunny’s offspring for lunch (T.M.I.?), and was scared of thunderstorms. There are a few entertaining stories that go along with this new addition to the family which I’ll eventually write about in another post.

5. For someone who is fascinated with sharks, I am deathly afraid of swimming in the ocean. And before you ask, my nickname “Sharkbait” actually has nothing to do with that. Some folks think my nickname comes from getting bitten by a shark. Nope! It’s very simple. You can thank Steven Spielberg for my fear of the ocean waters. That’s right, as irrational as it may sound, the famous Carcharodon carcharias (Great White Shark) from the 1975 blockbuster hit is the reason you won’t find me swimming in the ocean anytime soon. Ironically, though, I’ve always wanted to get in a cage and lowered into a tank infested with sharks. Go figure!

6. I am addicted to video games. Okay, maybe addicted is a bit too strong of a word to describe my joy of video games. I grew up in the 80’s where video arcades were very popular, but after getting my first home video game system (you guessed it… it was Pong!), I was hooked! I have a decent collection of video games dating back to the late 70’s all the way to today’s first-person shooters and role playing games. I also own an old Intellivision (Mattel’s answer to the Atari 2600) home video game system, which still works and I continue to play to this day. That’s me in the photo playing Bump ‘N Jump on my Intellivision (I still have that game and still play it). Video games can be a distraction that is sometimes hard to overcome when trying to write a novel. However, playing my NASCAR games actually inspired some scenes in my book Pursuit of a Dream (Book 1 of Victory Lane: The Chronicles). So, my addiction actually paid off there.

7. I’ve had an awkward (but funny) moment with a former President of the United States. In 2008 President Clinton was in town campaigning for his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton. I went to go listen to the President speak, but the auditorium (shown in background of photo) was at full capacity. There were still hundreds of people outside wanting to hear the President speak, so President Clinton suggested that the rally be taken outside. He spoke from the back of someone’s pickup truck. It’s not every day you have a former President visit your town (at least where I live), so it was kind of cool that the President made this last-minute change.  Shortly after I took this picture of President Clinton, I shook his hand, and as I was releasing my grip a young lady asked if she could take a photo with him. The President acknowledged that it was okay and kept a firm grip on my hand even as I was pulling away. I just stood there patiently waiting for the President to let go. President Clinton didn’t release my hand until after the picture was taken. So, needless to say that was kind of awkward, but it was kind of cool shaking hands with a President of the United States, even though he held my hand hostage for a few moments. :-)

Okay, so there you have it. Those are seven bites of information that probably resulted in many of you wondering why the heck you are following a nut like me in the first place. Now for the hard part…finding 15 other bloggers that haven’t already been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award and hopefully participate just for the fun of it.

After much scrupulous research (and numerous distractions), in no particular order I have my list of nominees for the 2012 Versatile Blogger Award:

Jesse James Freeman – Billy Purgatory: I am the Devil Bird
Shelli Johnson – Small as a Mustard Seed
Karen DeLabar – Writing on the Rocks
Thea Atkinson – Gonzolink: Because I Write What I Want
Virginia Lee – Dagon’s Blood
Sara Furlong-Burr – Starving Novelist
Tess Hardwick – Riversong
Dannie C. Hill – A Writer’s Life in Thailand
Sheilagh Lee – Fear Not the Darkness
Cara Michaels – I am Definitely Literate
Michael R. Hicks – Writes So You Can Have Fun Reading
Carolyn Arnold – A Writer’s Journey
Al Boudreau – In Memory of Greed
Eden Baylee – Fall into Winter and “campaign chairperson” for #IndiesUnite4Joshua
Jeff Bennington – The Writing Bomb

Update: Honorable mention…

Thaddeus Howze – A Matter of Scale. You are officially on a Versatile Blogger list bud! Cheers! :-)

Okay, some of the above mentioned nominees have already been nominated, but that should be an even greater honor for them, right?

Thanks again to Christina Esdon for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award! To my readers (well, for those who managed to keep reading this far), be sure to check out the above listed blogs.