Having a Moment

After posting yesterday, writer’s block set it. Some wit said that writer’s block happens when writers have nothing to say and the sad thing is, it doesn’t happen to them more often. Mine wasn’t based on having nothing to say; mine was based on grief and fear. As I studied the beta reader’s comments, there was a little bit of grief in losing the simple story I had. I knew that, for the most part, he was on target with his comments. I have heard him critique shorter pieces and that was why I was excited when he agreed to be a beta reader for me. Still, there was a sense of grief as I realized that all those plot holes and inconsistencies that I had learned to love had to go. I believe that what will rise from the ashes will be a much better story, but it will require a lot more work than a few small touch ups. And that’s where the fear came in.

I realized I needed to do a lot of foundation work before I went back to rewriting. I had to understand my characters in depth, including my living villain. I had to change the motivation for my villain while, at the same time, make his good character qualities stronger. I had to have a better explanation for the break in the family relationships of my main character. I needed to understand my world and place it in proper context on its planet – especially for future novels. I needed to understand my nameless, faceless villain and find ways to weave the background of that agency into the story so that tales of the current nature will make sense. I even realized that the changes I made for this book, would affect the other books – especially since the original title no longer made sense in light of the ideas I had for changing things.

So, I had a moment yesterday. I opened up the file for this book and stared at the character page for my male main character. I couldn’t even put down the height. I went away and looked at something else. I don’t know how many times I went to that page, and clicked away from it because of the fear of doing this right. I couldn’t work on some other writing that I had to do either. One of them is a writing challenge for 400 words a day. Later in the evening I finally passed 400 words, but not by much. So yesterday I had a moment. Today, I have hope. Today, I will begin reworking my characters and falling so much in love with them again that I want to be sure and tell their story – different as it may be. Today, I begin the process of falling in love with my better, more complex story as I progress towards becoming an author.

Becoming an Author

A number of years ago I wrote a book. I think I told a pretty good story. I wrote two sequels so that now I have a trilogy. I have no doubt that if I had tried to publish them as they were, a few people might have bought them and enjoyed the stories. I might even have made a little bit of money. But I want to publish them the right way. I want to make sure that the stories hold together. I want that world to be consistent. So, I rewrote Book 1. You’ve seen some of the ARC chapters here. I was in love with the story so the book didn’t change a whole lot – I did try to shore up some areas that I realized were weak. I sent the book out for query and to beta readers. 1 agent has already told me “No.” I expected that, to be honest. I got back the reactions from one beta reader.

While enjoying the overall story, he pointed out some weaknesses and omissions. Most of the weaknesses I think I knew, deep down. Perhaps I thought that they weren’t really weak parts of the story, especially after I tried to strengthen some; perhaps I thought that those parts were weak because of my own insecurity and that others wouldn’t see them. He saw them. So, I have a couple of options: I can choose to ignore those parts of the criticism that would require a lot of work to fix and remain a story teller, or I can choose to become an author.

The first and second draft were the basics of the story I had in me. It was a nice story. The comments from my beta reader will make my “nice” story become a much stronger book. In order to follow this reader’s advice and become an author, I’m going to need to do a major re-tooling of the book. Plot points that hinged on one aspect of my main character will need to be completely re-written. My villain will need to be shown as more sneak and conniving while at the same time his positive qualities will have to come out. I will have to throw out parts of the story that I loved. I will have to make a much more determined effort to build and flesh out the world in which this story takes place and use ::shudder:: description – one of my weakest points.

Today I begin to become an author instead of just a story teller or a writer. I won’t begin by re-writing again. I will begin by getting to know my characters even better. I will begin to flesh out my world. My hope and my prayer is that by the time I finish this process of re-tooling this writing, it will be more than just a good story – it will be a book that I can be proud of. Join me on the journey. Give me suggestions as I walk…now…onto the work.

(Edit Note: All of these posts will be found under the “Journaling” Category)

April Writing Challenge

400 words a day – can you do it? If so, this is the writing challenge for you. I did this in January, had to skip February, and did it again in March. It’s a fun challenge and you get to meet some nice people on-line. Check it out!

 

https://anygoodthing.com/2017/03/27/any-good-thing-april-writing-challenge-starts-soon/

 

For the past few weeks, writers participating in the Any Good Thing Writing Challenge have been pumping out words–400 x 5 days per week per person. While the March results aren’t in yet, here are the results of February’s Writing Challenge:

Folks who wrote 5 out of 7 days produced, on average, 13,698 words.

Our “highest volume” writer generated 16,432 words.

Our “most consistent” writer wrote for 25 days out of the month–blowing past the expectation of 20 days. This writer basically squeezed an extra week of writing into the month.

Our “highest daily average” was 1040 words.

Our group daily mean was 627 words per day of writing.

Guilty by Association by E.A. Copen – Review

Guilty by Association by E.A. Copen – Review

“Welcome to Paint Rock” is asign that signals you’re entering a very small town in west Texas. How small is the town? The sign is painted on both sides. Ok, that’s a bad joke, but you get the idea. The people in Paint Rock are wonderful people, but it’s a small town. I used to tell people trying to find me when I lived there, “Drive out to the middle of nowhere, and take a left.” Imagine my surprise to begin reading Guilty by Association by E. A. Copen and finding out that the Judah Black novels are set in Paint Rock, Texas. (You had me at “Paint Rock,” E. A.)

Paint Rock is a different town from the one I knew and loved. As the truth came out that Vampires, Werewolves, and Fae lived among us, the government had to do something. Someone took a map, put their finger in the middle of nowhere, moved it left slightly, and decided that Paint Rock was the perfect town to use to isolate the Supernatural Beings. Each group re-formed the area of the town that they settled in to their liking. It would be easy to look upon the new Paint Rock and channel Obi Wan: “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.” Yet as Guilty by Association shows, evil is not caused by form. People who aren’t “supernatural” can look pretty bad too.

Paint Rock was the end of the line for BSI agents. (That’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigations.) And so we see Judah Black living there on assignment with her last chance. Doing normal things. Like laundry at the laundromat. And keeping knowledge of her son away from everyone.  Only that day, the laundromat was a crime scene that would lead Judah Black on a hunt for a vicious killer. A werewolf is splattered all over the laundromat and Judah has to begin the hunt while getting her boy ready for school, all in dirty clothes to boot. It was not going to be a good day.

While investigating the murder, Judah and Detective Tindall, her unwilling partner in the investigation uncover the disappearance of three children – one werewolf, one vampire, and one fae. The missing werewolf is the nephew of the murdered werewolf and suspicion begins to rest on him as the abductor. People soon learn that talking to Judah Black is dangerous to their health and it gets even harder for her to gain information. Her neighbor, a war veteran and a werewolf, steps in to help her during this time.

Things turn to the worst for Judah when her son is kidnapped as well. Death, destruction, and mayhem continue to follow Judah until the end of the book. By the time it’s complete, Judah has managed to make enemies with practically everyone in Paint Rock, and also in Eden – 22 miles to the south. Can she redeem herself by solving the murder and rescuing any of the children, including her own?

I have to admit that I might be prejudiced in favor of this book because of the setting. I have actually lived in Paint Rock, and while the overall building set up may have changed because of the circumstances of the story, I relived some good days I had there while reading. The story is gripping, E.A. Copen spins a tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat. She introduces you to a great idea in this book: if all these fantasy creatures really existed, how would we be able to live side by side in the world with them? I highly recommend this book and have enjoyed the next volumes in the series so far.

E.A. Copen is the author of the Judah Black novels and the forthcoming space opera, Broken Empire. She’s an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy and other genre fiction. When she’s not chained to her keyboard, she may be found time traveling on the weekends with her SCA friends. She lives in beautiful southeast Ohio with her husband and two kids, at least until she saves up enough to leave the shire and become a Jedi. (This last paragraph taken from her Amazon page)

The Journey Inward – Chapter 4 – ARC

The Journey Inward – Chapter 4 ARC

The following is copyrighted material. It is an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy which is an uncorrected proof and not representative of the final – published version) If you like this chapter, please support the eventual release of this book. Please feel free to make constructive suggestions in the comments or in a personal message to the author. (email at the end of the selection)

The Journey Inward

The Journey Series

Bob James

Copyright Bob James 2017

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the eventual publisher of this book. 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales entirely coincidental. 

This is Chapter 4 of my book. Previous chapters can be found by clicking on the chapter

CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 3

Chapter 4

Some days Aiden walked to the station.  A beautiful day like this would normally have been one of them. Today, though, he wanted privacy, so he took his skimmer. He didn’t normally have many encounters with others along the way, but he didn’t want to take the chance. If that Qu’evahn female was up, he wanted to talk with her privately.

“What’s her name again?” he asked himself. He pulled out his notepad and read the name again. “Ah, yes, Aryence. What a beautiful female…and she’s Qu’evahn to boot!” Aiden was excited over what the possibilities might be with this female. He had heard a lot of stories from others even though he had never known a Qu’evahn female. He thought Aryence had seemed normal enough, but wondered what she might be like in private.

He opened a mobile communication line and connected with Aryence. She answered. “Hey Aryence, this is Aiden.”

Aryence sounded like she had just woken up, “Hello. Aiden? Aiden who?” Aiden could hear her yawn as she spoke. “How late is it?”

Aiden was miffed at himself for calling so early, but he decided to press ahead. “It’s a little before first moon rise. I’m the cop you met last night.”

“Oh, Aiden! Sorry Aiden.” Aryence yawned again. “I should have told you to wait until after second moon rise to call. What can I do for you?”

Aiden’s tendrils quivered as he thought of all the different ways he wanted to answer that question. He restrained himself because he knew he didn’t want to scare the Qu’evahn female off. “You had said that we might get together some time and I thought tonight would be good. What do you say we get something to eat after work tonight?”

Aryence yawned again, “Yeah, that sounds like a great idea. I get off halfway between first and second moonfall. When do you get off?”

Aiden had trouble controlling the skimmer he was so excited. “Play it cool, Aiden. Play it cool!” he told himself. “I normally get off a little closer to second moonfall,” he said. “I can probably arrange to get off a little early so that I can pick you up.”

“That sounds good,” Aryence responded. “Can you pick me up at the bar?”

“I’d love to!” Aiden said. “See you tonight!”                                                        i

“Looking forward to it; wearing purple too.” Aryence clicked off the communicator and Aiden was sure that she had already fallen back asleep before she spoke that last nonsensical phrase. He didn’t care. He had a date with her and that was all that mattered.

He floated the skimmer into his parking space and then, practically floated up the stairs to the locker room to get ready for work.

Seppe came in through the back door of the locker room at about the same time. Their lockers were right next to each and they got ready together talking through ideas on open cases.  Aiden was about to brag about his success in arranging a date when a call rang out through the locker room. “Seppe! Aiden! In my office, NOW!”

When Captain Tengler called, the detectives jumped. Seppe and Aiden got what they could together and ran to his office. They saw Officer Re’Lears who had some pictures on the captain’s desk when they walked in. “Officer Re’Lears thinks she may be able to help you,” the Captain said. “Sit down and listen to what she has to say.” He nodded at the petite female officer. Seppe and Aiden knew that even though she was small, she had a reputation as a fierce cop when she needed to be. She was also smart and if they hadn’t been trying to downsize the force, she would have been a detective in no time.

Officer Re’Lears had no qualms about speaking before superior officers. It was like she was born to the stage and she loved performing as she was getting the chance to do now. “I was reading about your case and it reminded me of a case I had about eight cycle groups ago that we never solved.” She paused, waiting for some sign that they were listening. When she saw them nod and then lean forward in anticipation she continued. “My victim, name of Zerris, was also very tall. He was from the Sufran tribe. His throat had been cut, almost decapitating him, and his legs were cut off at the knees as well.”

She saw that they were still involved and walked over to the communicator. After a few commands, a picture appeared on the wall behind her. “This was the picture I took as I came on the scene. When I showed it to the captain, he showed me the pics from your case. There are a lot of similarities between the situations as you can see.”

Seppe looked at the picture thoughtfully. “That’s great work, Officer! Those pictures are nearly identical, except for the position of the head, and there’s only one finger showing on the hand in your case while ours has five.” Seppe’s voice trailed off as he spoke. “Can you put both pictures up?” he asked Re’Lears. “I wonder,” he said to himself as the second picture came up alongside the first. “Captain?” he asked, “Do we have any other unsolved murders between now and then?” Seppe had a hunch.

“We’ve always got some of those,” the Captain chuckled. “We weren’t too worried about them now that we got rid of all the bad guys.” He thought a second. “Why do you ask?”

“Just a hunch, Captain,” Seppe said with a little less confidence. He wondered if he was reading too much into his idea. “I’d like to look at those case files.”

“We don’t have a lot to do these days with all the bad guys shipped off to Darwinda,” the Captain began, “but we still don’t have time for a wild hrusk chase.” He looked at Seppe sternly. “You are involved in a case right now after all.”

“Captain,” Aiden interjected, “I would bet my life on Seppe’s hunches. I actually did three times. I can’t think of any time that he’s been wrong on his hunches.” Aiden looked over at Seppe and winked, “Can we just get case files of unsolved murders going back eight cycle groups? We’ll do the research on our time.”

The captain rubbed his jaw thoughtfully. “You’d be willing to work on your own time to get this done, Aiden?” When Aiden nodded the captain laughed, “You must really be serious, then. Do it on company time, but don’t fall behind in your other work. I want some progress on this Ca’Suisse case. What was the name of the vic? Grenoj?”

The captain stood up to dismiss them when Seppe blurted out, “Captain, can Officer Re’Lears help us as we go over the files? She seems to have a good understanding of the ideas on this case.”

The Captain put his hand on his head laughing a little, “Go ahead. I hope she helps. Just get me some results!” He waved his hands towards the door. “Now, go on, get out of here. Use task force office number seven and spread your work out there. Just don’t get in anyone’s way!”

All three walked out of the office in silence and headed towards their new office. Officer Re’Lears started to ask a question, but Seppe silenced her. They got to the door, walked in, shut the door and then the cacophony began. Seppe asked Aiden why he didn’t mention last night’s failed hunch; Officer Re’Lears wanted to know why Seppe asked for her; Aiden wanted to know what Seppe had seen; – what his hunch was. Finally, Aiden silenced the trio by pounding on the table.

“As senior officer here, my question gets to be asked first. What do you think you saw, Seppe. What was your hunch?” Aiden asked.

“There was something about those hands,” Seppe began. “I think Zerris may have been the first of what are now five victims.”

“I’m beginning to wish I hadn’t lied, now,” Aiden said shaking his head.

Officer Re’Lears jumped in, “I think I know what he’s talking about, Detective Aiden. I’ll get the pictures and show you what he means.” She flew out the door and headed towards the captain’s office to get the pictures.

Seppe looked at Aiden, “So why did you lie about my hunches never being wrong?”

Aiden smiled, “I just figured last night was an aberration so I didn’t count it when I talked with the captain.”

Seppe laughed, partly in relief that Aiden hadn’t figured out why his hunch was wrong and partly because of Aiden’s audacity. “But you’re still going to make me buy that Argarian Ale, aren’t you?”

Aiden laughed, “You owe me two flasks now, partner.”

Seppe smiled, “You’re on.”

Officer Re’Lears came back in with the pictures of Grenoj and Zerris. “Here you go, Detective Aiden. Look at these pictures.” She spread the two pictures out on the table for Aiden to see. “Look here,” she continued as she pointed to the picture from her case, “This is Zerris. Notice his hand. What do you see?”

Aiden sighed, “His hand is thrown up in surprise, just like in our murder.” He looked a little closer. “It looks like he may be pointing at something.”

Seppe looked at Officer Re’Lears, “Now do you see why I wanted you on the team? I needed someone with brains to outvote him.” Seppe jerked his thumb over towards Aiden. “Why don’t you explain what I’m getting at?”

Officer Re’Lears smiled. “I think Detective Seppe is of the opinion that these hands were manipulated after death. The killer planned to keep on killing and he wanted to mock us with each death.” She paused and noted Aiden looking more closely. “He isn’t pointing. The killer is telling us that Zerris is number one.”

Aiden shook his head in amazement and said, “So you believe that Grenoj’s hand isn’t thrown up in surprise, but that the killer is telling us that Grenoj is number five on his victim list. Is that what you’re trying to say?” When he saw them both nodding he said, “That’s an interesting idea, I’m not sorry I lied, but you still owe me two Argarian Ales.” He pursed his lips. “You also need to find evidence of victims number 2,3, and 4.”

Seppe laughed as he looked at Re’Lears puzzled face, “It’s a long story. Let’s just say that he didn’t exactly lie. It’s more like he didn’t include a piece of evidence. Now, do you drink Argarian Ale? I’ll buy you one when we’re off duty.”

Officer Re’Lears laughed, “Love the stuff! And I’d love to join you. You guys are a team of legend among the beat cops.”

Aiden laughed, “Well then, please don’t tell them the truth when this assignment is over. We’d hate to disillusion them.”

Seppe laughed too. “Right now Aiden and I need to go to the Ca’suisse section and find out about Grenoj. We need you to get the files of unsolved murders between Zerris’s murder and Grenoj’s murder. Look through them, now that you know what we’re looking for, and choose likely victims for two, three and four, assuming there are some. Then we’ll go over their stories and see if there are any common factors.”

“Yes, sir,” Re’Lears said as she saluted.

Aiden looked at her and laughed, “Oh, and acting detective Re’Lears, no salutes. They make us nervous.”

“Got it,” she said and then she suddenly realized what he said. “You can’t make me a detective!” she said wagging her finger.

Aiden laughed. “That’s just for the three of us. Remember. We’re a legendary team. We can make up the rules as we go along.”

Officer Re’Lears shook her head and walked out the door on her way to the records room to search for the files on any unsolved murders while Seppe and Aiden headed for the locker room to finish getting ready. After that they would head to the Ca’suisse section to find out more about Grenoj.


If you have any feedback, please feel free to leave a comment or send an email to bobjamesthree@gmail.com

Yes, I Really Want You to Support Your Author Friend

I posted another author’s blog on the idea of helping your friends who are authors. Here is the blog from E. A. Copen, author of the Judah Black novels and Fairchild Chronicles. She makes some great suggestions for people who have friends who are authors. Check it out.

How to Support an Author Friend

Let’s say you have this author friend and you’d really like to help her out, but you’re not sure what you can do or where to start. Well then, my friend, this post is for you. Yes, even if you have absolutely zero dollars to your name, no free time, and don’t read in the genre they write, YOU CAN HELP. Here’s how.

The first thing you should do is buy their books. That’s the #1 thing all authors want you to do. When you buy our books, feel free to post selfies with them all over social media. This spreads the word and tells potential new readers that you are friends with an author. How cool is that?

Click on the link in the Title to read the rest. It’s good stuff!