THE SEAWORLD ADVENTURE

I have just returned from a complimentary visit to Seaworld Orlando, and, the day before walked the Busch Gardens Tampa park. Thus I must thank the wonderful staff and employees for hosting my visits.

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For my amazing fans around the world who are not familiar with this amazingly FUN and EXCITING theme-based entertainment experience (Maybe you live on another planet), Seaworld is a publicly traded (NYSE: SEAS ) company that operates and maintains eleven exceptional theme parks throughout the United States.

10978641_10206018453919383_8703715674632866736_nOur first visit was to Busch Gardens Tampa that we found pumped with excitement thanks to clear skies and a busy park. We had traveled here following a rough month of scripting and location scouting for my newest project… so we were happy to find relief in the EXCEPTIONALLY FUN environment created by SeaWorld Entertainment.

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Although I can no longer ride them due to a spine injury, the park offers an entire host of experiences, from Thrill Rides, Water Rides and of course, land and sea Animals. My personal favorite was the Serengeti Safari (which I highly recommend).

Busch Gardens parks

That brings me to SeaWorld Orlando which was simply amazing. We came for the Animals, and in particular,  to see whales.

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The magnificent sea animals were just stunning; there is no other way of stating it. The show was well orchestrated and handled professionally. Although the handlers no longer enter the water with the Orcas, we hardly noticed the difference. SeaWorld rocks and I couldn’t help but smile.

For more information on the wonder that is SeaWorld Entertainment, please click through to their adventures and check out SeaWorldCares.com and SeaWorld.com/Truth ,

SeaWorld parks

Water parks

Other parks

It had been twenty years since I last visited the home of the Orca Killer Whales and that was our first stop on this rainy day.

Having the opportunity to watch the amazing Bottle-Nosed Dolphin show and then experience the Dolphins Up-Close Tour, I was blown away by the fascinating Shark Encounter where visitors journey through one of the world’s largest underwater viewing tunnels.

But the park has much more than underwater animals.

There are roller coasters, water rides and much more. Although on the day we visited, our experience was rained out and thus we missed out on much of what the park has to offer. We did walk the park and see every experience, but unfortunately, mother nature forced us to find cover.

The park has something for everyone.

I myself am a big fan of the wonderful people who run this amazing company, and I wish I could name everyone who makes this possible. There was a smile on every face at the park and each time we asked an employee a question, they all answered: “Yes, Sir, it would be my pleasure.”

That was wonderful.

For us, we especially want to thank the SeaWorld Communications Team who made this adventure possible for us on very short notice.

To book your fantastic experience at SeaWorld, please visit their fun and exciting website www.seaworldparks.com for videos and ticket information.

FOR PASSES TO THE PARKS:

FOR TICKETS TO THE PARKS:

MONSTERS In The Woods

An EXCERPT from my DELAYED 2015 Manuscript – Monsters In The Woods

THE AMBULANCE MAN

CLIFFORD WEBB loathed the dead.
Especially… if they died on his watch.
Whether a shooting, car accident or heart attack, it was his job… his oath,   really… to do no harm, to try his best to save the wounded and dying. It was a promise he’d made long ago.
And maybe… he failed that task tonight.
Did I do everything I could? He wondered.
The E.M.T. was the only person on Earth who had a chance to resuscitate Jen out on Blooming Grove Turnpike tonight.
But when he arrived on scene, she was a goner.
She didn’t have a chance.
Clifford felt guilty.
By her dying, he felt like he failed the mission.
Now, standing in Harry Mortinson’s basement morgue, he pushed aside those thoughts and studied the old coroner busily unzipping the black vinyl body bag.
“Jen Marks,” Cliff stated, “just seventeen.”
Harry was surprised. “Doctor Phillip Marks’ daughter?” he queried while inspecting the body.
“Yep, Phil hasn’t been notified yet.”
“This is going to kill him.”
Harry and Phillip were best friends. The two met twenty years prior while climbing the ranks at Saint Luke’s Cornwall Hospital. Now, Harry was the county Medical Examiner and Philip the Chief of Emergency Medicine at the hospital.
Both were also premier members of The Powelton Club, the oldest full service private country club nestled in the heart of the Hudson River Valley. In Fall, they swung through eighteen holes on the Devereux Emmet designed 18-hole course, in spring the doctors volleyed balls on the red clay tennis courts, and in summer they brought their families to relax around the pools.
The members will all be at the wake.
Harry felt a pang of sorrow for this realization.
“Who is notifying him?”
Cliff wasn’t sure. “Might be the chief, but he’s out in the woods, and I don’t think Delores has called or been notified of who the DOA is.”
Picking up a red phone, the coroner called Phil and quickly broke the news. Doctors liked hearing things straight, no cherry on top; the quicker the bad news came, the better. Of course, his friend cried in agony for a while and kept repeating that it couldn’t be true… because the family just shared dinner hours before.
But news like this was always true.
Deep down, Phil said he knew something wasn’t right. He told Harry his wife, Suzanne, had suddenly come to him about an hour ago with feelings of dread.
Parents always knew, Harry thought.
“How’d it happen?” Phillip cried.
After twenty minutes explaining what he knew over the phone, the coroner replaced the receiver and walked back to the body to continue his examination.
“There is blunt force trauma to the skull and the eyes are open in the stare of sudden death.”
Clifford nodded. “When arriving on scene, we observed the car had plowed into pine trees.”
“No passengers?”

  “Peter Massey.”

  Harry raised one long, grey, creepy eyebrow. He knew Cliff had a personal interest.

  “He’s missing in the woods.”
“In the woods? During a storm like this?”
Harry had a good idea of what might’ve chased the boy into the woodlands. He’d been living in New Windsor for more than forty years and recognized the legends just as well as everyone else.
The tales hadn’t changed much since he was a kid, running through those same timbers with his own high school friends.
But, he’d never seen things escalate this bad.
“Does the chief think THEY have returned–?”
“Come on, Harry,” Cliff interjected, not wanting to acknowledge what everyone else in town had started assuming since the cadet went missing.       “Nobody believes the monstrosity stories; they are ridiculous.”
Shaking his head and glaring at Jen’s body, Scary Harry shrugged in disappointment.
“This is preposterous.”
Inspecting the body, the coroner noted Jen’s weighted, lifeless body on the monitor. Measuring the corpse, he reached above the table and flipped on a microphone suspended from a popcorn drop ceiling. “The date is December twenty fourth, nineteen seventy seven. The deceased is a white, seventeen-year-old female, five foot seven inches, one hundred twenty pounds with brown eyes and shoulder length black hair. The body has already been identified by law enforcement as Jennifer Marks and consent was obtained for an immediate autopsy.”
Removing her clothes, Harry discovered a peculiar symbol sliced into her pale chest.

  What the hell is that?” Cliff asked.

  Harry took a step back. “I’m not sure.”

  However, the old coroner knew exactly what it was… the imprint had been the cause of many nightmares over the years.

A TIME TO LIVE AND A TIME TO DIE

Sometimes we live our own miracles, and sometimes we don’t. There is a passage in the bible, Ecclesiastes I think, somewhere around the third verse, I’ve read it many times, and it goes something like this:

A  Time  for  Everything

“THERE IS a time for everything, and a SEASON for every activity under the heavens. There is a time to be born and a time to die,  a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal.”

I have been living that verse for along time. Born so long ago the sun is burning my back, I know how that scorch feels. I feel it because the metal meets the bone within me.

“God will bring into judgment
    both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity,
    a time to judge every deed.”

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RJ in the ICU post surgery

There was a time I considered Everything as meaningless. That we all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?

It’s getting on into the new year and I know most of you have been worried. There have been whispers and nudges… many of them on the money, but much of it second or third hand and passed down the line. So here you have it from me, I’ve been out of the loop for most of the last year, getting on day to week to arrive at another medical procedure. Having my last Christmas at the Medical Center, I suppose I felt like I was fighting to survive.

Indeed, I fought every day just to breathe and swallow.

MRI

RJs neck now

I wont go into the particulars, but its been tough GETTING THROUGH the last eighteen months. I am back now, and in much better shape than before. With a new piece of hardware holding my neck in place, much of that pain has subsided and I’m feeling like  that “Christmas Miracle” the nurses spoke of when I came through the other end.

Life and death… I write about it, I suppose the horrific glare of the monsters and demons that live in these shadows.

Yet never have I come before their countenances like I did this last month.

I’ve seen the orbs of life in the E.R. and the Darkness of the Intensive Carehallway Unit… I felt the spirits moving along the long corridor that rested just outside my hospital room door.

Sometimes, I’d catch a glance at the bag and stretcher which carried away the remains of what we are.

And if I stretched your ear to the corridor, I heard a soft cry, imagined a tear that streaked a cheek of a loved one.

It was scary stuff.

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I saw a lot of this

Writing contemporary Horror and Suspense, well.. it brings things into perspective a bit. It makes the edges a bit less blurry.

For the entire month of December I saw and heard many things, sometimes it would be a muffled cry and a glimpse of families struggling to understand.

I was terrified I found myself slipping into that groove.

It’s a scary place to be, late into the night, when the lights go down and its just you on the bed, lines running through your veins and the outcome uncertain. I’ve been there, it will remain with me forever, and now that I have come out the other side, I wonder… who will be there in the end?

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RJ after 20 days in and surgery

There will always be fine nurses by your side, maybe a doctor or two… I’ve met them by the dozens, they tend to your every need and try their best. But what can they do when the boogie monsters come out of the shadows?

So where does this leave me, late into the wee hours when I sit here and stare out my window for a miracle? With collapsed veins, bags hanging, and a cell phone at the end of my fingers, who should I call when the end come knocking like it did for me?

I lost 25 pounds in December and gave up my soul.

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A few days into the scare.

In the end, the heavens spat me back to Earth to tell the tale.

Maybe one day I will, perhaps, if the edges ever become clear.

Right now I’m just grateful to be here with a few new fans and the knowledge it wasn’t my time.

THEY’RE IN THE WOODS

images (2)Bigfoot investigators have searched for a Sasquatch in upstate New York and Vermont since Frank Siecienski of Hubbardton, Vermont, reported sighting Bigfoot in his backyard.

However, Bill Brann, the director of the National Sasquatch Research Society, says the video is likely an owl shot close up to make it look bigger.

Really? Take a gander, Dear Reader… and you tell me this looks like an owl?

A tissue sample is believed by researchers to have been taken from a real-life Bigfoot. The hair is described as far more coarse like a horse’s than a human’s.

images (3)Bigfoot sightings were thought to be a phenomenon regulated to the Pacific Northwest. But a group of investigators, say the creatures pop up on the East Coast more than one would think.

Frank Siecienski, of Hubbardton, said to the Daily News that “Both my wife and I, when we looked at it on the computer, said, ‘What in the world is that?’ Right now I have a picture that everyone is telling me – and I think it is – a female Sasquatch with its young.”

article_bigfoot2Photo Credit: STEPHEN BARCELO/for The New York DAILY NEWS
Frank Siecienski & picture of his backyard, before the female Sasquatch appeared.

Another memorable investigation dates back to 1976, when two teenage boys, Marty Paddock and Paul Gosselin, saw a 7-to-8-feet tall creature stalking through a field on the outskirts of Whitehall. The boys, who were driving home from a camping trip, also reported hearing an odd noise, a “cross between a woman screaming and a pig squealing.”

Screen-Shot-2012-11-03-at-10.56.04-AM-300x256Three different law enforcement agencies joined in the investigation, which was never able to confirm what exactly was in the field – a struggle most Sasquatch investigations face.

“People always ask, ‘How can anything this large be moving around and not be seen very often?’” Brann said. “I don’t really have a clear answer for that.”

Early this fall, New York’s chief wildlife biologist vehemently denied the existence of Bigfoot in a letter to businessman Peter Wiemer of upstate Maywood, N.Y. “The simple truth of the matter is that there is no such animal anywhere in the world,” Gordon Batcheller wrote, according to the Houston Chronicle. “I am sorry to disappoint you.”

Brann, however, insists that the statement was “premature.”

article_bigfootPhoto Credit: STEPHEN BARCELO/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Paul Bartholomew, author of “Monsters of North Woods,” shows the Whitehall, N.Y., field where two then-teenagers say they saw Bigfoot in 1976.

Ketchum studied about 109 samples of purported Sasquatch DNA and from those, obtained “three whole nuclear genomes” that she says had never been seen before.

kansas-bigfoot-picture-102011d-254x157The genome sequence showed that the mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down from mothers, was human, according to Ketchum. The nuclear DNA that was passed from both parents was a mix of human and “other primate species.”

“Whatever the male side is, they made it with human women,” the Texas veterinarian explained. “The resulting offspring is Sasquatch.”

She hopes that her study, which has raised eyebrows among the scientific community, will help to combat people’s skepticism and eventually, lead to the protection of the Bigfoot.

“I know they exist,” maintained Ketchum, who says she has seen two such creatures with her own eyes. “There is not a shadow of doubt.”

images (4)In my humble opinion, as a novelist and screenwriter, I think the large hairy beasts are back stalking the mountains of New York. That was my sole reason for planning the summer 2014  trip to those mountains and visiting The McQuade Foundation — I was invited up there to write my next novel, Mountain Monsters… but as you all know I had no choice other than to cancel two book tours over the last 18 months, and my trips to these mountains, along with the six month investigative fact finding mission to Oklahoma where I was scheduled to meet with two killers and shoot a TV Pilot with Film Producer Rick McIntosh and then write the true crime book of The Good Friday Killers.

Unfortunately, after two surgeries on by C-Spine and Lumbar Spine to try and correct Bulging Discs and Flattening of my spinal cord from the bicycle accident in June 2013, I’ve been physically unable to travel anywhere for long hours of signing and events. The surgeries DID correct some of the damage, and I’ve gotten back some sensation in my left hand and left toes… but I still have a lot of pain and loss of motion in three fingers on my left hand. However, the good news is… I hope to recover some motion and this might happen when I can have an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion on my spinal cord in my neck to be performed by one of the best Neurosurgeons in Tampa. The problem is, I don’t have the $159,000 to have this surgery. I’ve lost over $100,000 on my advertising campaign, investments on The Santa Claus Killer that released in 2013 and CATACLYSM in 2014…. all because of my inability to tour, sign books, carry boxes, set up my display or travel across the globe. I was super excited to finally be going to London, where I was going to do interviews and attend the London Book Fair.

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Hopefully, one day, after all the surgeries and correction of the damage to my spine, HOPEFULLY…  God will give me a miracle and heal me. I worked too hard, and came too far, and was just about to become a bestseller. Barnes and Noble had started advertising my book beside Stephen King and John Grisham, I was being selected to be on that level because of my talent and hard work.

Now, all I can do is search the internet and research a lot of things relating to the unexplained, so that one day, hopefully, I can get back to doing the thing I love. Writing entertainment for all of you out there who are my fans. I love you guys!  Please keep me in your prayers; perhaps, one day, after many more surgeries and a lot of rehabilitation, I might be able to get my life back.

RJ Smith – November 2104

FUNNY AS HECK!

THE CHRISTMAS GIVE-A-WAY

 

 

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Hey FANS… It’s getting on towards the holiday season of 2014, and as I do every year, it’s time to start building Santa’s list for my Ultimate Reader Experience Give-a-Way!

Here’s how it works.

From October through December 15th, all you have to do is click over to my ULTIMATEiStock_000010699577Medium-657x318 READER EXPERIENCE and sign up by entering your e-mail.

This automatically enters you into my Christmas Ultimate Reader Experience give-a-way which includes autographed copies of my novels, an amazon gift card and a KINDLE reading device.

On December 15th my US and UK Literary Agents will randomly choose 25 names from those who sign up for The Experience.

On December 16th, those names will be sent to my US Editor who will then draw ten names as finalists. That same day, the list will be e-mailed to Santa who will randomly pick  three names.

events_santaEach name Santa draws will WIN either a brand new KINDLE pre-loaded with my e-books, an Amazon Gift card or autographed copies of my books.

Only Santa knows which you will receive. But at least one Kindle will be awarded, two gift cards and ten novels.

Santa will also draw two more names from those who follow his favorite author on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/TheRealRJSmith 

Good luck everyone!

Now, here is the link to sign up for the drawing:

http://www.rjsmith.net/connect-with-rj-smith/

CATACLYSM In The New York Times

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CATACLYSM In USA Today Book Section

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CATACLYSM in The Los Angeles Times

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THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE