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What Happened – Writing is the Easy Part – So I Thought (WU #14-17)

UnGlued

What’s up friends? I have a couple of reasons for asking. The first, I want to know and the second, I have no idea what is up with me. So I’m hoping someone knows what is going on. I feel like I’m running in a hundred different directions and not getting nothing done at all. Most of the time my writing keeps me half way sane, but lately it’s driving me crazy, as the characters are taking over and taunting me.

I’ll start with the writing updates. Below is the progress made since the last blog was posted on 5-4-2017 titled “Want to be a Published Author! (WU #13-17). Reading it may shed some light on the updates and blog below.

Working Projects

Witch’s Dilemma Video Trailer: At last post I had no idea the status of this project. I’m happy to report it has been completed with the exception of the credits at the end. The video is awesome, Jayce Boynton owner of Capture Scratch Productions, LLC., did an excellent job. Since the restructuring and forming of ThunderHorse Publishing, the logo for the company will need to be added to the credits also. The Logo should be completed within two weeks. However the video will be held from public view till Witch’s Dilemma has been pulled from the retail market and republished under ThunderHorse Publishing.

Writing Projects

[No book will be released until after the Publishing company is up and running. My goal is to have all the projects ready for publishing when that happens. I uses a 7 stage system in my writing process letting me know at what stage each writing project is at.  Her is the numbering system explanations; 1-Write * 2 – Manuscript Review * 3 – Rewrite * 4 – Edit * 5 – Proofread * 6 – Book Cover Art /Illustrations/Format/Book Trailer Video * 7 – Publish. I have listed the projects below in order of expected release.]

Thunder Bear: (Stages/Completion Percentage – 1/100%, 2/100%, 6/25%, Book Cover Art is complet.) Clare at Human Voices and I are wrapping up the discussions on the changes that need to be made to the manuscript, this includes story line adjustments and formatting.

The Bet: (Stages/Completion Percentage – 1/75%). This will be a love story with an erotic twist that came out of no where after arguing with my characters. I’ll explain how it fell into place in the blog below.

The Erotic Tales of Joe: (Stages/Completion Percentage – 1/25%). This book of erotic short stories has been through same changes since the last blog. The word count of 76,770 has declined to 64,023 and the total of stories went from 7 to 6 but two poems were added. The reason for this will be covered in the blog below also. At this time the book contains these completed tales and poems. “To a Princes” (Poem) * “Masterful Tongue” (Poem) * “Across the Hall – One Door Down” * “Paula’s Second Chance” * “Professor Rothschild – Cougar 101” * “What Damn Day is it Anyway” * “I Love Them Both” * “Making a Last Ditch Effort”. I would like to have twenty stories in this book putting the word count somewhere around 150,000 and 200,000 words. I have seven more stories outlined, so will need to come up with another five or six tales and/or poems.

The Tales of Joe: (Stages/Completion Percentage – 1/20%). This book hasn’t got much attention. At this time the book contains six stories which are titled. “Bloody Waters of Wahoo Creek” * “Death of a Soul – Birth of a Killer” * “To Die in Peace is to Rest in Peace” * “Night of Dreams” * “The Birds of Peace” * “Cursed; To Be or Not to Be”. Like above I would like to have twenty stories in this book putting the word count somewhere around 150,000 and 200,000 words. I have two outlined, which means I need around twelve more.

Demons of the Jungle: (Stages/Completion Percentage – 1/100%, 2/100%). If that title looks familiar it should, it’s my first published novel. Demons of the Jungle will lead us straight into the blog.

Blog #14-17 Pic1

Writing is not easy, buy a long shot. But I feel compared to all the other hats an independent author wears it is the easiest part. But sometimes due to the authors ego and stubbornness it becomes difficult which leads to everything getting crazy.

[For more on what an independent author does read my post “A Glimpse into the Glamorous Life of an Independent Author”.]

Demons of the Jungle is my baby, as it’s my first published worked and is in eBook and Paperback format. There has already been one major revision to the book as I felt it was not my best work. Read “When is a second edition needed?” That blog will explain my line of thinking on that re-write. The second edition was an improvement over the first from book cover art to story. However people either like it or hate it, and the written reviews are harsh to say the least. The first and second editions were done by different editors. The editor I use now, Clare at Human Voices, who is not one of the two mentioned above, is top notch and the best in the business. As I have said a thousand times I trust her completely with my writing career. I had her do a manuscript review on the second edition. We will get into what she found in the next blog as we cover the rewrite in depth. Maybe the old saying, the third time is a charm will hold true here.

How The Bet came to life. I love Edgar Allan Poe and remember in his The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, the tale titled “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, had a sequel to it titled “The Mystery of Marie Roget.” From the manuscript West on the East – Noon Judgment I had to cut a whole chapter due to content and I needed to also get rid of some characters. That chapter dealt with two lead female characters that played off each other and intertwined through the chapter. The chapter was too long to be a short story. Then my brain kicked in and I snapped my fingers as I thought, That’s it, I’ll break it up into two different stories, similar to what Poe did. As I was celebrating my genius of an idea, my gut was telling me, nope that will never work. “Learning to Please – Christina’s Story”, would be the first story with “The Secrets of Delilah” being the sequel. I finished “Learning to Please – Christina’s Story” and placed it into The Erotic Tales of Joe short story collection and began working on “The Secrets of Delilah”. The stories were tying in great and I was laughing at my characters as they were telling me I was no Poe and what I was doing wasn’t going to work as they needed to stay together. Laughing at them was a mistake. Once I got to the end of “The Secrets of Delilah” the struggle became real. Although the stories had meshed and “The Secrets of Delilah” was a sequel of “Learning to Please – Christina’s Story” the ending didn’t feel right or end the way I wanted it to. The characters started taunting me each day, to put it all back together and make it a novel. This battle went on for weeks until I gave in and reevaluated the situation as I realized they were right and one of the story’s endings had to change to make it work. I walked away leaving it to simmer for a couple of more days before returning to it. The characters had calmed down by then, but were ready to do battle again if I didn’t see the light. I was shaking my head in less than a minute. There, right in front of me, was a chapter that had all the components of a great erotic love story. All it needed was a few tweaks and the word count would come out around 75,000 words with the ending the way I wanted. “Learning to Please – Christina’s Story” was removed from The Erotic Tales of Joe leaving the book short a story and about 12,000 words. The writing process started over with the chapter intact bringing to life the love story titled The Bet.

[Note: To find out what happened with my first ever manuscript West on the East – Noon Judgment; read my blogged titled “Numbers to Words: My Journey from Engineering to Writing.]

Till next week,

-JC-

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Nope that’s not Flash Fiction! (WWU #12-17)

I got up this morning and “BOOM” it was Friday. Then it hit me like a sledge-hammer, Joe you going to post a blog this week?  That sledge-hammer has a name, Tiffany Miller, who owns The Marketing Mill and handles my marketing, and trust me I ain’t easy to market. Any who it was her text message that brought the hammer down. So before I get another knot on my head I present to you for your reading pleasure Joes Weekly Writing Update along with some writing tips that answer questions like how many words are in a novel, flash fiction or a short story. Maybe you have a desire to write a novella or maybe a novelette. I have included all the word counts and a brief description of each in this weeks blog.

Weekly Writing Update

  • Thunder Bear Cover Voting: Voting concluded March 26, 2017 and the votes have been counted. The winner is TB-5 with 94 votes, taking Silver was TB-3 with 89 votes and taking Bronze TB-1 with 77 votes. To see all the covers click  here.
tb-5

Copyright ©2017 Rick Chappell ©2017 Joseph Clay

  • Witch’s Dilemma Video Trailer: Due to no fault of Jayce Boynton owner of Capture Scratch Productions, LLC.. the video has ben pushed back at least a couple of weeks. Yep I know you are putting the puzzle together and thinking. If  it ain’t Jayce’s fault it must be Joes. Correct you are my friend and you have earned the title of Watson!
  • Thunder Bear the Novel: The manuscript has been completed. Total word count 91,109. Thunder Bear has a scheduled appointment with Clare at Human Voices  on Monday April the third and will arrive on time.
  • The Tales of Joe: One new story in the writing stage. Revenge or Justice is a dark and twisted tale.
  • The Erotic Tales of Joe: 4 – 1 = 3 are in the writing stages. Across the Hall – One Door Down is near completion, stage 2 of 3 and is a new story. The next three tales of heated passion come from the manuscript West on the East – Noon Judgment. To read about that manuscript click here. They include the following short stories.  Learning to Please – Christina’s Story, Keeping the Unit Intact, and One Date and Done. All the stories that were pulled from West on the East – Noon Judgment are in Stage 1 of 3 of the writing progress with the exception of One Date and Done, which is in stage two.
  • New Project – One Date and Done. This erotic tale is the minus one from above. I was going to included it in The Erotic Tales of Joe. However when it got into stage two of the rewrite the word count quickly escalated. I was well above the short story word count and was pushing the word count for a Novella. After reviewing  it I decided to pull it from the short story collection and make it a single book.  For more on word count and book categories read the blog below.

WWU _18

As you write you shouldn’t worry about word count. However once the manuscript is complete you need to know what type of book you have written. The type of book will  play into your marketing strategy, how you price it, and who to market it to. For example, The Erotic Tales of Joe is a short story compilation. According to definition a short story has a word count  between 3,500 and 7,500 words.  One Date and Done is pushing 30,000 words, which is a novella and to long for a short story. Why does that matter. The reader is expecting something they can read in one sitting, only a few characters, and one single episode. Below you will find a general break down of word count and a definition of each type of book or tale. Now these numbers are not in stone and each genre within each category has its on rules.

  • Flash Fiction (53 – 1,000 Words). Flash fiction also known as short, short stories, micro fiction or postcard fiction. These stories are extremely short and normally deal with a single event.
  • Short Story (3,500 – 7,500 Words). A short story is basically fictional prose, written in a narrative style. However, the narrative style may either be first person or third, or whichever the author chooses. The short story is one of the most common forms of writing and does not usually involve major twists and conflicts, and involvement of various sub-plots and multiple characters is not common. Traditionally, short stories were meant to be read in a single sitting. They are usually published individually in magazines and then collected and published in a collection.

The words “novel,” “novelette,” and “novella” come from the Italian word “novella,” feminine of “novello,” which means “new.”

  • Novelette (7,500 – 17,000 Words). A novelette is also a narrative fictional prose. Back in the day, the term “novelette” referred to a story that was romantic or sentimental in character.

[Writers note: Novelette’s are a thing of the past and the term is hardly used. This is where you can fudge on your numbers and expand the Short Story and Novella count.  The Novelette word count consist of 9,500 words. (17,000 – 7,500). If we divide 9,500 by two we get 4,750. We add 4,750 to the end count of our Short Story which was 7,500 and we come up with a new ending total of 12,250. As you will see the beginning count for a Novella is 17,000. From that we subtract the 4,750 and we get, 12,500.]

  • Novella (17,000 – 40,000 Words). Novellas have been called a long short story or a short novel. It can involve multiple sub-plots, twists, and characters. Its length constraints mean you’ll find fewer conflicts in a novella than you will in a novel, but there will also be more nuance and complication not found in a short story. Novellas are more often focused on one character’s personal and emotional development rather than with large-scale issues. Unlike novels, novellas are usually not divided into chapters, and like short stories, they are often meant to be read in one sitting. They are considered to be an awkward length and it may be more difficult to get a novella published. The internet is turning that around as an eBook really doesn’t take length in to consideration where traditional publishing (paper and hardback) do and use length to determine if it is feasible (price wise) to print. Most erotic tales are nothing more than Novellas.
  • Novel (40,000 – Plus Words). The novel is one of the more common works of fiction. A novel often involves multiple major characters, sub-plots, conflicts, points of view, and twists. Due to its considerable length, a novel is meant to be read over a period of days.

[Writers note: Here is where things get messy. The word count of a novel is really questionable. The only main rule that seems to be firm is the minimum word count needs to be greater than 40,000 words. This is also where the different genres came in to play. Some editors often consider a novel has a word count between 80,000 – 120,000. Romance novels, however, can be shorter than that and fantasy, horror, and science fiction usually see works of greater lengths.]

Remember there is a story in everyone’s soul begging to came out. What is your story and who better to tell it than you.

Till next week keep reading, writing and smiling,

J.C.

 

The Art of Punctuation

I’m a proofreader, and that means it’s my job to think about punctuation (so you don’t have to!). Fortunately, I’m a punctuation geek, so I don’t mind this at all. In fact, today I thought I’d share three of my favourite punctuation marks with you. I know, punctuation probably doesn’t get your heart racing, but hey—it […]

via Beautiful punctuation — Human Voices | Clare Diston

From the Desk of Joseph Clay – Author Weekly Writing Update #5-17

ripping-files

Hello again. This week I’m going to focus on the manuscript that should be heading across the big pond to the editor by the end of February or early March. I figure it’s about time Clare―my editor/proofreader and the owner of Human Voices Editorial Services―gets it back, since I had the first review from her in August of last year. I’ll start from the beginning.

The characters in Demons of the Jungle and Witch’s Dilemma came from the first manuscript I wrote, West on the East – Noon Judgement. I won’t spend a lot of time telling you about how that book or the manuscript review went. To read all about that, visit ‘Numbers to Words: My Journey from Engineering to Writing’.

Last year, while Witch’s Dilemma was going through editing, proofreading, formatting and all that goes into the final stages of getting a book published, I went back and dug out West on the East – Noon Judgement from the file cabinet. The process of dividing it up into several shorter stories began. From there, I placed the stories into two different series, with the first series called ‘The New Era’, and the first book in that series titled Rise from the Ruins.

[Note #1 to new authors, a rule to remember: never list in the back matter of your book the title of your next release, unless it is already written, edited and waiting to be published. Keep reading and you will find out why.]

Rise from the Ruins, just shy of 143,000 words, was completed and sent to Clare for a manuscript review on August 8, 2016. I figured since I had already written two books, I had this down pat, and I could possibly release Rise from the Ruins in mid-December in time for Christmas.

While the manuscript was being reviewed, I was writing the blogs and preparing the book release/signing party, with the help of The Marketing Mill, for Witch’s Dilemma, never giving Rise from the Ruins a second thought. Like I said, I’ve written two books, what could go wrong?

Later in August, the 23rd to be exact, Clare sent the manuscript review back (yes, she is fast and thorough). I opened the email thinking I would make the changes needed by the middle of September and get it back to her for editing and proofreading, and then to the publisher by November 1 for the December release.

This is the first paragraph from that manuscript review:

“I really enjoyed Rise from the Ruins. There’s a good mix of the supernatural and the real (eg: mental health issues, a very human story about a man trying to fill the shoes of the people who came before him). I also thought there were lots of humorous moments and witty dialogue, which balanced nicely with the darker material.

“Here are my suggestions.”

Sounds pretty good, right? Well, that’s about all the good there was in the four-page review. As a writer you know you are in trouble when there’s a Plot Graph Triangle on the first page, attached below.

 plot-graph

(During the edit of this blog, Clare informed me where the above chart came from. I ventured on over and read the post in its entirety. The blog is titled, ‘To plot, or not to plot – that is the question …’, written by Kate Forsyth.)

[Note #2 to new authors, a rule to remember: remember this graph; it comes in handy when writing and checking your plot structure. Plus, take a few minutes and go read Kate Forsyth’s post, after you finish reading this blog, of course.]

With Clare being the professional she is, in each section (Plot, Writing Style, Characters, Settings) she always started off with the good, and then proceeded to the bad and ugly. Below is another excerpt from her manuscript review that sums it all up.

“So, you are missing a Midpoint Reversal and satisfying Climax. Essentially you need a moment when all the mounting danger becomes inescapably real, and everything Levi holds dear (ie: the ranch and its people) are unquestionably in danger, when Levi could be about to lose everything. Then there needs to be a climactic scene in which Levi defeats the enemies who are pursuing him (ie: the people who are after Betsy’s will), or at least one of these enemies, who can then set him up to continue the hunt in the next book. I don’t know if you play video games, but it’s like defeating increasingly difficult ‘baddies’ on the way to the big boss – in a series, you need to defeat a baddie in each book to give the reader that all-important feeling of victory that keeps them hooked.

“I have some plot suggestions that could give you these important moments. Of course, these are only ideas and it is your book so you should tell the story you want to tell, but it might help you to see what I mean by showing you in the context of your story.”

There were more issues than the plot, so my first thought was to shred the whole project and begin writing something else altogether. Since I had less than two months before the release of Witch’s Dilemma, I still had blogs to write and post, a party to plan and a manuscript to get to the publishers for printing. I decided that I could shred Rise from the Ruins later and filed the review with the manuscript.

Well, Witch’s Dilemma was released late October, and then before I knew it the holiday season was upon us and a new year had been rung in.

Three days into the new year, I began planning out my year. I had a lot of short story ideas and a lot already penned, so I decided to put those into a book titled The Tales of Joe. Then there were the tales that dealt with the erotic genre. These scenes were in my head or had been pulled from manuscripts. I would build short stories around them, and that collection would be called The Erotic Tales of Joe. Then I pulled out the manuscript review of Rise from the Ruins, and it once again crossed my mind to rip it into shreds, toss it into the bottom of the file cabinet and swear rats chewed it up. However, I trust Clare with my literary life, so I focused on the good and not the bad and decided it could be fixed, with a lot of work. Via email, Clare and I began discussing the changes; most of her suggestions I agreed with, but there were a couple I didn’t.

[Note #3 to new authors, a rule to remember: it is ok to disagree with your editor/proofreader as long as it is done in a professional manner and with respect. Trust me, they have forgotten more than you will ever know. Have a good reason why you don’t want to do it their way―you may want to make sure your idea is better than the one they are suggesting, so think about it first before putting your foot down.]

I thought we needed to add time to the front of the story; Clare didn’t like that idea as the beginning was in good shape and set the story up the way it should be. She suggested that a prologue may be the answer. I didn’t want to use a prologue as that breaks rule number #2 in Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing, plus my timeline was laid out so one was not needed, I thought.

I continued to write on the other two projects while I pondered a way to fix this mess called Rise from the Ruins. One day, during a break from the other two projects, I pulled down the two-inch red binder that is full of the notes, bios and history of the non-existent ranch in that story, and the family tree and the timeline through which this land came to belong to the family. Along with those notes I once again removed the bled-all-over West on the East – Noon Judgement manuscript and began reacquainting myself with the complete saga. Remember, I pulled this from the beginning of a huge manuscript written well over four years ago.

[Note #4 to new authors, a rule to remember: keep all your notes on your work and keep them organized. This holds true for any story idea you have, but especially for a series. An outline that you thought you wouldn’t need may be what you need now.]

Once that was done I thought back to any issues I had when writing Rise from the Ruins. One immediately jumped out at me: I had a hard time figuring out what scene should be used to end the first book. Choosing a wrong ending will make the middle and the beginning wrong also, or (as we see from the review excerpts from Clare) cause your editor to show you a plot graph. With all the research complete I saw the problems, and by the middle of January I had it figured out:

  • I had chosen the wrong ending point.
  • A main character had been left out of Rise from the Ruins; he is essential to the story as he is the lynchpin that gets everything going and sets the tone for the New Era series.
  • I was pulling from a manuscript, West on the East – Noon Judgement, that had started off wrong. I found in my notes that, for some reason, I had jumped in my timeline to the opening scene of Rise from the Ruins, not the true starting point of West on the East – Noon Judgement.
  • This meant I was essentially telling two stories in one book. One was boring as it was missing the element of urgency and suspense, and one wasn’t.

The fix: Clare was right. The beginning of Rise from the Ruins doesn’t need to be changed, but it’s not for this book. I was right in that I didn’t need a prologue, I needed a first book―which was already outlined in my notes but overlooked―that led up to the beginning of Rise from the Ruins, and that book needed to revolve around the main character that got all this started. The new title of the first book: Thunder Bear. The title for the second book, I think, will be… let’s just say I don’t have a clue and leave it at that.

[Note #5 to new authors, a rule to remember: learn from your mistakes, as a mistake repeated more than once is a choice and could become a habit. Yes, I have a title in mind, but the story is nowhere close to being ready to be published.]

I really don’t know if I’ll ever use Rise from the Ruins as a title, as the way it’s laid out now it doesn’t seem to fit anymore. [Note #6 to new authors: refer to Note #1.]

Till next week,

J.C.

 

Blog edited by Clare Diston @ Human Voices Editorial Services.

 

Who is Levi Colt West?

Ok, we have covered the two protagonists in “Who is Debra Lynn Wright?” and “Who is Patricia Sue Mitchell?” This week we will cover a supporting character whose Bio Template is as thick as a book.

But first, a little more information about the Bio Template. The first page of the Template, ‘Character Data’, is book-related, meaning that the facts on that sheet are relevant to that story alone. The more books the character appears in, the more front sheets he or she has. The second sheet, ‘Bio’, grows with the character, as new information is added every time something changes in their life – they get married, divorced, enter education, you get the idea. On the third sheet, ‘Notes’, I list each book that the character appears in, the changes that happen in their life in each book, and any notes that are needed to make sure they wear the same watch, drive the same car or carry the same phone throughout the story.

Levi West is the first character that I dreamed up and, oh, he had plenty of names before this one took hold. Remember back in the blog “From Engineering to an Author” I mentioned that the first novel I penned was over a hundred thousand words, and that the editor made suggestions about what path I should take? Well, Levi was the major player in that book (which will turn into a series). The way he got into this book was unexpected and unplanned. The editor of Demons of the Jungle, First Edition didn’t like the way the story ended and suggested that I change it. I decided that, since in the future Levi would become a household name, I would introduce him in Demons. Great marketing idea, don’t you think?

From the Bio Template, Page One

Book title, year: Demons of the Jungle, 2009

Name: Levi Colt West

AKA: Levi

Character prominence: Minor

Role: Protagonist

Year of birth: 1984

Age at time of story: 25

Physical Description

Sex: Male

Height: 6’-5”

Weight: 285 pounds

Hair: Black, spiked on top and short on the sides

Eyes: Deep blue

Nose: Greek

Mouth: Normal

Lips: Plump

Teeth: White, perfect

Build: Muscular, body builder definition

Skin tone: Smooth, dark complexion (half American Indian)

Hands: Extra large

Feet: Extra large

Striking Features, Distinctive Language, Hobbies, etc

  • Sheer size.
  • Southern drawl with a lot of baseball lingo.
  • Hobbies: Golf, baseball, horseback riding.

 Goals/Motivations

  • To find a diamond or gold mine for purchase.
  • To… [If I say any more it will give the story away.]

 Fatal Flaws

  • Temper

[Levi shows up in the last chapter so his major flaws do not come into play.]

Saving Graces

  • Ability to communicate telepathically with his grandmother and others while in deep meditation.
  • Friends in high places.
  • Determination.

Role Played and Outcome

Levi is a businessman on a trip to Alaska.

Outcome: [Sorry, I can’t tell you. You’ll have to read the book.]

From the Bio Template, Page Two

Levi Colt West, known as Levi, was born and raised on a ranch in Dahlonega, Georgia. His family was wealthy and Levi never wanted for anything and attended the best private schools. Levi’s life changed when his dad, Remington, and grandfather, Winchester, were killed in a plane crash. Two years later, his mom, Susan, and grandmother, Betsy, perished in a car accident. The death of Betsy, who was Levi’s rock, sent the ranch and his mental state into a downward spiral. When Levi turned eighteen he was handed control of the ranch business and it was his job to pull it from the ruins and restore it to its former glory. While doing this he learned what his family was all about, and this fit right in with Levi’s mentality and disposition. Within three years everything was on track and Levi never looked back.

Excerpt from Demons of the Jungle

There was nothing Levi could do. Doug was strict when it came to safety, and since Levi wasn’t certified in rescue he had to remain on the sidelines, watching. Elena, who knew her man better than the back of her hand, walked over and took his gloved paw. He bent down so he could hear what she was saying. He smiled as she talked and rushed to the table where Doug was.

“How many crews have you got?” he asked.

“We don’t know if anybody is buried. The transmitter we’re picking up could have been knocked out of someone’s hand. They got away from the slide. I’m only working one crew,” he explained.

Levi, trying to keep his temper in check, took a deep breath to make sure his words were not harsh or coming out in anger.

“Do you have more than one crew?” He reworded the question.

“Yes, I have five more. They work in eight-hour shifts. I can’t warrant bringing the other two in,” he stated.

“I think you can. Talk it over with your superiors while I’m gone. I’ll be back within the hour,” Levi said with a firm look.

Elena had the bird in the air. Levi was on his cell; he may not be able to help in the rescue, but he could help the rescuers.

Levi and Elena were back. They had a crew of six with them, who were unloading the bird. She and Levi found Doug.

“We rounded up some help. These people, along with Elena and I, will set up a tent. Inside there will be refreshments, cots for rest, and a warming station. She’s headed back for more supplies,” Levi explained.

“Levi, I’ve no idea who you are but I got a call from the Governor Sean Parnell, then Sarah Palin. Needless to say, I’ve called the other two crews in,” Doug stated, shaking his head.

“Thank you. Can you give me an update?” Levi asked.

After Demons of the Jungle is released Levi’s full bio will be posted on the official website, AuthorJosephClay.

Blogs in this series: “When is a second edition needed?”, “Birth of the Demons”, “Piecing it all together”, “Who is Debra Wright?”, “Who is Patricia Mitchell?”, “The Demons”, and the teaser before the release, “A deal too good to be true”.

 

Blog edited by Clare Diston @ Human Voices.

 

Who is Patricia Sue Mitchell?

In my last blog, “Who is Debra Lynn Wright?” we learned about who Debra is and some of her background. This week we will learn more about her sidekick, Patricia. If you remember way back in blog three, “Piecing it all together”, I said that I made these two as opposite as possible. Below is the information from the Bio Template for Patricia Sue Mitchell.

From the Bio Template, Page One

Book title, year: Demons of the Jungle, 2009

Name: Patricia Sue Mitchell

AKA: Trish

Character prominence: Major

Role: Protagonist

Year of birth: 1992

Age at time of story: 17

Physical Description

Sex: Female

Height: 5’-8”

Weight: 135 pounds

Hair: Dishwater blonde, straight, shoulder blade length

Eyes: Blue, wears glasses

Nose: Short and wide

Mouth: Wide

Lips: Normal

Teeth: White, straight, with braces

Build: Medium, curvaceous

Skin tone: Smooth, fair complexion with a light tan

Hands: Medium

Feet: Medium

Striking Features, Distinctive Language, Hobbies, etc

  • Perfect smile, charisma.
  • Southern drawl.
  • Hobbies: None.

 Goals/Motivations

  • To see what life is about beyond her sheltered existence. She was not allowed to join her friends on her senior trip, so she wants to see what she was missing.
  • To devise a plan to defeat the demons so she and Debra may have a chance to survive their ordeal. She is tired of feeling the evil at every turn and does not want to be in its clutches.
  • To gain Debra’s trust and help her to understand what is really going on in the jungle. To leave the jungle, with Debra, and put her life back together.

 Fatal Flaws

  • Gullible.
  • Naive.
  • Too trusting.

Saving Graces

  • Her Faith.
  • A gift of discerning spirits.
  • Education.

 Role Played and Outcome

Trish joins Debra on the road, against her wishes, to learn about the life she has been sheltered from. Co-lead with Debra Lynn Wright.

Outcome: [Sorry, I can’t tell you. You’ll have to read the book.]

 From the Bio Template, Page Two

Patricia Sue Mitchell, known as Trish, was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. Her family was in the upper middle class and lived comfortably with Trish, who never needed anything and got most of everything she wanted. After all, she was her mom’s Southern belle and her dad’s pride and joy, but at the same time both parents were over-protective. Her parents were devoted Catholics – they never missed a Mass or service and were involved in all church-related activities, which Trish was forced to attend. At first this didn’t bother her, till she got older and felt she should have a choice in whether to go or stay at home.

Trish attended the same all-girls, private Catholic school since kindergarten, where she made lifelong friends. She and those friends had plans to spend a couple of weeks on the Gulf Coast after graduation; Trish’s mom agreed, but Mr. Mitchell put his foot down and refused to let her participate in such activities. Trish set out on a mission to change his mind by reminding him of her gift. That brings us up to when the story takes over.

Excerpt from Demons of the Jungle

Trish had started to stir inside the hut as the clock went off. She was up stretching, trying to get the kinks out after another restless night. From her footlocker she removed a new nightshirt and laid it across the bed before she slipped out of the ripped, sweat-soaked one. Trish sucked air in through her teeth as the burning and stinging from her torso brought tears to her eyes. She grabbed the mirror from her locker to see what was causing the pain. She gasped as it revealed five long red streaks, different widths, which ran down her chest to her stomach, stopping just below her navel. The ones across each breast were the most painful.

“Oh my Lord, those scratches are from a huge hand. No animal has a paw that big. Wait till Debs sees this.” She gasped as she pulled the new shirt over her head.

Trish headed out to start the day, skeptical about what may happen next. As she opened the hut door Debra walked by.

“I got something to show you. Much obliged for the coffee,” Trish stated when she saw her cup steaming on the table.

“No problem, girl. Can you show me whatever it is later? I’m going to get readings. Oh, the breakfast bars are on the bench. Do you feel better?” Debra asked.

“Fit as a fiddle for now,” Trish answered, taking a deep breath and shaking her head.

“Great. Hey, we’ve only got seven hundred twenty five more days of paradise left, so let’s enjoy it,” Debra said with a smile before walking away.

“Have some modesty, please. We’re not trailer folk. When are you planning on putting some clothes on, Debs?” Trish asked, shaking her finger at Debra.

After Demons of the Jungle is released Trish’s full bio will be posted on the official website, AuthorJosephClay.

Blogs in this series: “When is a second edition needed?”, “Birth of the Demons”, “Piecing it all together”, “Who is Debra Wright?”, “Who is Levi West?”, “The Demons”, and the teaser before the release, “A deal too good to be true”.

Blog edited by Clare Diston @ Human Voices.

 

Who is Debra Lynn Wright?

In my last blog, “Piecing it all Together”, I discussed how I named characters and how I made the two main protagonists, Debra Wright and Patricia Mitchell, total opposites from one another. That was the short version. Once I got names it was time to build the characters from there: give each a face, features, personality, dialect and a bio/background. They also needed motivations and goals, flaws and saving graces which pertained to the story.

I have a three-page bio/character-building template that I use. I’m not going to get into all the details of the sheet (I will write a blog on the Bio Template itself in between books), but all the information you are about to read came from the Bio Template, so you will get an idea of all that it contains. This is the description of one of the main characters in Demons of the Jungle: Debra Lynn Wright. Not everything will be revealed here—only the high points and any items that are in her bio but may not have come out in the book. (Yep, that happens sometimes. If it happens to you, don’t force the information into your book; readers will know if doesn’t belong, as it will read awkwardly or slow down the flow of the story. And if the proofreader/editor removes some of it, bite the bullet and leave it out.)

From the Bio Template, Page One

Book title, year: Demons of the Jungle, 2009

Name: Debra Lynn Wright

AKA: Debs, Red, Red Gator

Character prominence: Major

Role: Protagonist

Year of birth: 1988

Age at time of story: 21

Physical Description

Sex: Female

Height: 5’-7”

Weight: 115 pounds

Hair: Red, straight, mid-back in length

Eyes: Brown

Nose: Medium length and width, turned up at the end

Mouth: Small

Lips: Top thin, bottom full

Teeth: Chipped and rotting from drug use

Build: Thin and athletic

Skin tone: Light with freckles, burns easily

Hands: Medium

Feet: Medium

 Striking Features, Distinctive Language, Hobbies, etc

  • Bright red hair.
  • Uses a lot of gang slang and street language in her speech, with an American accent from north of the Mason Dixon line.
  • Hobbies: None.

 Goals/Motivations

  • To stay clean and free of drugs. To be able to support herself in a home of her own, with food on the table, in a warmer climate.
  • To help Patricia through her struggles and keep her from trying drugs. To help someone else avoid making her mistakes.
  • To protect herself and Patricia in the jungle, in order to achieve the first goal.

 Fatal Flaws

  • Hot-tempered and has a smart mouth.
  • Always fighting the drug demons.
  • Trust issues.

Saving Graces

  • Cares about others and discourages them when she thinks they are making mistakes that could lead them down the path she has traveled.
  • A survivor.
  • Learns to trust Patricia.

 Role Played and Outcome

Debra is a homeless, street-smart young woman striving for a better life. Co-lead with Patricia Sue Mitchell.

Outcome: [Sorry, I can’t tell you. You’ll have to read the book.]

 

From the Bio Template, Page Two

Debra Lynn Wright was born in 1988. Her parents are unknown to her as she was delivered to an orphanage before she was a month old. Debra was bounced from foster home to foster home for most of her infant and toddler years. The only time she learned anything about family life was between the ages of six and thirteen; she spent those years with the same family.

Once Debra hit puberty she soon figured out that blood was thicker than water. Her foster family had an older biological son that loved spying on Debra in the shower, sneaking into her room at night, and behaving in other mischievous ways. The mom caught him and decided it was too risky to have Debra in the home with a 15 year old with raging hormones. She informed the orphanage that Debra was not the problem, but that she felt it would be safer for Debra and the boy if they came and picked her up.

The next family let her know that she was only there for the check they received for keeping her. The only two rules: Debra had to be there when the social worker showed up, and say nothing negative to screw up their check. Other than that they preferred not to lay eyes on her.

At the age of 14 Debra found herself spending more and more time on the streets. Life in Detroit was getting rough and the family used Debra’s money to feed themselves, leaving her with very little for food, school supplies and clothes. Debra was eating out of trash cans from behind restaurants and begging for money on street corners.

When she turned 16 she dropped out of school and disappeared into the multitude of homeless people that now consumed the streets. Debra learned the system well: when she got sick she intentionally got caught shop-lifting so that she would be arrested. The county lock-up had free medical care and they were obligated to get her to a doctor.

She learned to survive on the streets and became withdrawn and a loner. To ease the fear, pain and bottled-up anger she carried around—which was caused by horrific nightmares and her hate and resentment from being tossed to the curb by her birth parents—Debra turned to drugs soon after she became 17.  She would take odd jobs, including being a waitress, stripper or temp worker. When nothing was available in those fields she would turn to panhandling, and if that didn’t bring enough cash in she would commit petty theft in order to feed her habit. She stayed away from crimes that were considered felonies to avoid long stints behind bars.

Debra never gave into the deals the pimps tossed her way and she stayed away from prostitution, as her virginity was all she had left. Her habit had taken everything else: her pride, health, integrity and self-esteem were all gone. By the time she was 18 her norm was a vicious cycle: being arrested, getting sentenced to drug rehab and being released, only to repeat the cycle days, weeks or months later. This continued till she was 21, which brings us up to when the story takes over.

Excerpt from Demons of the Jungle

“Should we choose not to drink we’ll suffer a horrific death,” Debra exclaimed, her hands shaking as she flipped the pages.

Trish started to weep, her hands and knees trembling. With her eyes twitching she covered her mouth and dashed toward the porta john they used. She didn’t make it. She stopped short of the door and bent over, the coffee and breakfast bars crashing to the ground as she heaved. Debra poured water over a cloth and rushed to her, handing her the rag.

“My nerves are all torn up, Debs. When will this nightmare end?” Trish sobbed as she straightened up and wiped her face.

Debra pulled her in close and wiped the hair and tears from her face. They began the trek back to the table so Trish could get off her feet.

“Don’t worry Trish, we got this. We won’t become anyone’s sluts spitting out demon children, so get that picture out of your head. We have two days to figure something out.”

After Demons of the Jungle is released Debra’s full bio will be posted on the official website AuthorJosephClay.

Blogs in this series: “When is a second edition needed?”, “Birth of the Demons”, “Piecing it all together”, “Who is Patricia Mitchell?”, “Who is Levi West?”, “The Demons”, and the teaser before the release, “A deal too good to be true”.

Blog edited by Clare Diston @ Human Voices.

 

Book Review: Sleight of Hand – By: Phillip Margolin

Welcome to Review Friday

Book Reviews from an Authors Perspective.

 SleightofHand

SLEIGHT OF HAND

 By: Phillip Margolin

Book Details:

  • Published: 2013
  • ISBN:978-0-06-206991-7
  • Hardback
  • 312 Pages
  • SRP: USA $26.99
  • A Novel of Suspense
  • Joes Rating 4 out of 5 Stars

Sleight of Hand is the second book by Phillip Margolin I have read. The first, Woman with a Gun, I reviewed back in February.

Charles Benedict is an unscrupulous lawyer with a high IQ and an amateur illusionist. Most of his clients come to him via the Russian mob. Benedict is magical in the court room a good criminal lawyer. However things get weird when he ‘s on a case,  key witnesses  disappear into what seems like thin air, evidence tampered with or missing, and other strange happenings that allow his client to walk free. Charles Benedict has many adversaries in the courtroom, from the judge to Carrie Blair, prosecutor for the common wealth. Carrie, shunned by many due to her wealth, but she loves her job, and not her husband Horace, who has the money. Horace Blair is beyond rich and a powerful man in the business world with connections in state and federal government. Horace is older than Carrie, if you see them together you would think she is his daughter, but that didn’t matter, he fell head over hills for Carrie in court, and swooned her from the witness stand. The two married , of course not before the pre-nup was signed. Carrie had a good job and could stand on her two feet, the pre-nup, she didn’t care for. Horace insisted so she added her own little clause to it. Carrie would receive two million a year for each year of marriage, payable after ten years, if in that time she stayed faithful to Horace and tells no one about the agreement. Horace and Blair’s tenth anniversary was upon them, only days away. Carrie gets caught in a compromising position and suspects she was photographed coming out of Charles Benedict’s apartment one morning, nothing had happened, so he said, but the miss understanding could cost her twenty million bucks. Carrie disappears before the payout, Horace isn’t concerned until the local authorities show up at his door. Dana Cutler an ex-police detective, now a private investigator, has mental issues of her own. While infiltrating a biker gang her cover was blown, their payback was to hold her captive, gang raping her day after day. Her payback, priceless, she got her revenge but the trauma left her unstable and she loses it when threatened by a men. Dana returned from a wild goose chase that bought up questions. Who had paid her twenty-five thousand dollars to look for something that didn’t exist? Then there was the question of Carrie Blair’s disappearance, had she been murdered, if so by who, her husband? Will Horace hire Benedict if charged with his wife’s death? What about the other bodies that keep turning up with the same MO, is there a Psychopath on the loose? What could be the KEY, to this mess that has everyone scratching their heads.

Phillip Margolin uses the above characters and more in this suspense novel that’s action pack and full of turns. All the questions are answered in this story that flows well, is fast paced, with believable characters, making you pull for some and hate the others. The ending, well I’ll just say you gotta read the book.

Phillip Margolin is becoming my favorite author, his work is outstanding. With each book I read not only do I get a great story that I can lose myself in, I learn something about the craft of writing. Sleight of Hand showed me by example the following.

  •  Cover Art is important: Once again Phillip Margolin’s cover is appealing, and full of clues of what the book is about. Remember your cover makes the first impression, don’t blow it. Phillip Margolin has some of the best I’ve seen.
  • Point of view: Dana the private detective, in disguise, leaves the apartment of Tiffany Starr, a stripper, after questioning her. Once the door closes, the point of view changes from Dana to Tiffany. No new chapter, or paragraph heading, he added more white space to tell the reader of the change. He also does this when an amount of time has passed from one paragraph to the next.
  • Character Names: Some people so they are not important, I disagree and try to give my characters names that suit them, not stereo typing but you want a Joe to act like a Joe, not like an Alan. Prime example, when you read Tiffany Starr above you determined she was a stripper or porn star before I told you. There’s something to say about a strong character name.
  • Thesaurus: Never write a word without one. Phillip Margolin used the word ‘seethe’ means to boil or stew. A writer’s job is to show and not tell, one of the hardest things for many of us newbies to grasp, difficult to do that using the same words over and over.

Joe Clay is a new author, check his work out on his Website, Smashwords and Kindle. Joe can also be found on Goodreads where he answers questions every Friday. To see what Joe is working on visit WIP.

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