El Cartero: Noob For Life! follows the journey of Joe Cazenary, a substandard letter carrier even on his best day, as he battles not only the hordes of Hell but his boss to save his family from the clutches of the Dark One, ruler of the ninth circle of the Abyss. Armed with ensorcelled tattoos, his limited wits, and a spoon inhabited with the soul of a crotchety old Sioux medicine woman, Joe must live up the the challenge of becoming the legendary hero El Cartero, while convincing his gaming buddies and the world that he is The Chosen One destined to save them and humanity from impending doom and crappy mail delivery .
Targeted Age Group:: 14+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
My daughter Emilee was my inspiration to write this. At age 17 she would still ask me to tell her bedtime stories when I went in to kiss her goodnight. Finding the material to weave a different story every night was getting difficult, so drawing on my own experiences as a letter carrier for the United States Postal Service and a discussion with my daughter about the genius of how One Thousand and One Nights was doled out in small doses over time, I devised a plan: I would write a really long story for my daughter and read her a small piece of it each night. A year and a half later I finished a novel-length story that my wife insisted I publish.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The characters are for the most part based on friends and family, or personalities that I have been exposed to in the media or real life. Grams, for instance, is based on my grandmother, reflecting her personality to a tee. Joe is largely based on myself, (exaggerated to be a bit more interesting than I actually am), while Max and James are reflections of two close friends. Joe's brother Anthony is based after my own brother, and my boss is an embodiment of the postal management I've worked for over the course of almost 20 years.
I stared hard at Grams. "You make it sound so easy! So, we're all just gonna pile into my vehicle, drive through Hell, pick up my family and leave? C'mon Grams, you and I both know it ain't gonna go down like that, is it?"
The plastic doll face seemed to scowl at me as Grams spat back, "I never said it was going to be easy–the moment this mall was dumped into the bowels of the Abyss it became a beacon for the denizens in this circle of Hell. Every minute we waste talking, they've been gathering their forces to come and obliterate us. We need to go NOW!"
Nodding in agreement I reached down to pick Gram's doll figure up. Before my hand even touched her, Mary lunged forward on the floor at Grams. Her gaping maw clamped down on the small doll legs and bit them both off just below the knees. The razor-lined mouth also managed to catch one of the doll's hand, severing some of the fingers as well. Grams toppled forward without a sound to lay face down on the floor.
Snatching the Sticky Hands from my pockets, I flicked both wrists, sending the arms and hands roping around the prone demon like coils of rope. "I'm gonna squeeze you like a tube of toothpaste!" I yelled at Mary's helpless form. Transferring the ends of both Sticky Hands to my left hand, I crouched down and picked up the legless doll.
"C'mon Grams, you're okay old girl, I've got you." The doll was in pretty rough shape. Both legs were gone, half of one hand was missing, most of the hair was burned off and one eye was melted. Close by, a stroller lay with baby gear strewn around it. Scooping up a baby carrier, I strapped it to my back with my free hand then shoved the mutilated doll down in it.
The doll groaned, "You really suck at this. And you're supposed to be protecting humanity? You can't even keep a doll safe. We're screwed!"
Angrily, I looked up over my shoulder and retorted "Hey, if you had been paying atten-" My words were cut short by a gentle sobbing. It sounded like a child crying. Looking back to where Mary was trussed up I felt as if a phantom dagger had stabbed me in the chest. It wasn't Mary's demon or child form I saw wrapped in the coils of the Sticky Hands, it was Cassidy, the 10-year-old little girl with brown hair who Kragoon had possessed. Cassidy, who still lives in my nightmares, asking me where her mommy was, asking me why I hurt her when I promised her I would save her.
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