What I did on my summer vacation

And what I’m still doing.

I volunteered to work in the Silver River State Park just behind Silver Springs, which is only a few miles east of Ocala, Florida. It’s mostly cleaning up behind the campers – toilets, grills, sidewalks and campsites. It’s not hard work, at all, but it is important. Silver River State Park is one of the best maintained, cleanest and most pleasant State Parks I have ever been in. Lots of critters, too; deer, of course, a few bears, lots of squirrels (including Sherman’s fox squirrel) wild hogs, bobcats and of course, snakes and spiders and mosquitoes.

And people of all kinds. Tourists and Floridians, and they actually get along very well together (in the Park, at least).

The weather? Well, sometimes (like now, for instance) it’s hot. In the nineties, this week, and dry. Other times, it’s hot, and wet. I suppose that when fall does fall, things will cool off, and we will bid the mosquitoes a not-so-sad farewell until next summer. Other than seeing the backs of the mosquitoes, we’ll see a lot more people in the park, and a lot more use of the grills and hiking paths.

There is also a very nice little museum on the property; it’s open for tours, of course, but it’s main use is in education. The Florida Park System is big in education; local history, ecology and natural studies, conservation and such. But it’s a very nice little museum, and well worth your time to visit.

And all of this gets me out of doors, which is a very good thing. I get to sweat a bit, get a bit of sun and walk around, meet real people (unlike all the voices in my head, I mean).
I’m having a wonderful time.

And I’m working on “A Silent Star”. I had a very nice late lunch with Tony Attanasio (my co-author) and his lovely wife, Roxanne, last Saturday at their home on Fleming Island. We had some time to talk about the novel, but it was mostly a chance to sit around get to know each other. It was a wonderful afternoon.

Come the end of August, I will be moving on. Not sure yet, though I do want to stay along the east coast, some place close to Daytona. My next Rankin novel will be set in and around Daytona, so it makes sense to stay in the area. Otherwise, I’ll just have to make up stuff, and sooner or later someone will catch me at it.

I’ m going to be running a new promo for the Kindle version of my first novel, “The Big Bend”. It will run from 12:01 am on August 10 PST through 11:59 pm on August 12 (plus or minus an hour or so).

Here’s the copy text for the novel:
The day begins like any other: Terry Rankin, sole proprietor of Rankin Personal Security Services in Orlando, Florida, accepts a private meeting with a potential client. Sheila Adamson is looking for a bodyguard to protect her from her abusive husband, but Rankin refuses to take the job until she begins divorce proceedings. Moments later, Mrs. Adamson is dead and Rankin is buried beneath the rubble of his house, knocked flat by a car bomb planted in the dead woman’s Jaguar. When he’s questioned by the local police, Rankin learns that Adamson’s attorney has also turned up dead, his Cadillac riddled with bullets. Suspecting there is more to these murders than a domestic dispute, he teams up with Orlando cop Cathy Diamond for a thrilling—and treacherous—adventure that will lead them deep into the heart of the Everglades and hot on the trail of a dangerous criminal. In Rankin’s sardonic bodyguard-turned-investigator, Gary Showalter has created a new hero for fans of hardboiled mysteries.

Here’s the book page on Amazon:


Remember to verify the Kindle purchase price is $0.00 before you click the Buy button.

Do me a big favor, if you would, please. Pass this on to your friends; repost, or cram it into an email and send it off to everyone you know. Post the information as a Status Update on your Facebook page. I want lots and lots of downloads for this one.
And please, if you do download and read the novel (it’s really a fun read), do me another big favor and post a nice review for me. Writers live and die by the reviews their work receives.


About Gary Showalter

Gary Showalter was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He lived in Aruba, Florida and the Panama Canal Zone before joining the U.S. Army during the 1960s. Following his discharge from the Army, Mr. Showalter picked cotton in East Texas, baled hay in Ardmore Oklahoma, sold light bulbs in Los Angeles, California, and built cattle pens in Fallon, Nevada (during a blizzard, of course). After settling in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Showalter worked as a professional gardener before turning his hand to furniture making. In 1981, he moved to Israel, married, and raised four children while working as a furniture maker, silversmith, goldsmith, and ornamental wood turner. He served in the Israel Defense Forces Reserves for sixteen years, and when not on active duty he worked in government and private security. He has also served in senior management positions in two software development companies in Israel. During his time in Israel, Mr. Showalter published articles dealing with international terror and the Israel-Arab conflict in the Jerusalem Post, Israel national News and several political science web sites. Mr. Showalter returned to the United States in the fall of 2003, to care for an elderly parent. He published his first novel, “The Big Bend”, in the fall of 2008. His second novel, “Hog Valley”, is now in print. Mr. Showalter's third novel, “Twisted Key”, was published in the fall of 2011, and his fourth novel, "Lonesome Cove" is now available in Kindle format and should be published in paper near the end of 2012. He currently lives in Deland, Fl, where he is co-authoring "A Silent Star" with Tony Attanasio. "A Silent Star" is the true tale (though novelized, with names changed for security reasons) about the 4-person covert action team sent into Yemen to capture Osama Bin laden immediately after the bombing of the USS Cole in the Aden harbor in Yemen in October of 2000.
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