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Writing Fiction

 

 

It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve completed an installment of the newsletter. I am still doing a newsletter, aren’t I? The plan was to send them out quarterly… more or less.

 

In the spirit of Monty Python, here’s something completely different:

 

Do you feel as if you’re always in a rush lately? I certainly do. Caught up in this last month, I drove home from work on the 3rd Tuesday, which, as everyone knows, is the time of month when the now infamous Tulsa NightWriters gather together to socialize and disseminate knowledge. My sweet wife, Kathi, had something going as well so I was alone. I worked briefly on the 4th Detective Elliot novel, threw some clothes in the washer, loaded the dishwasher, and stuck a frozen pizza – a concoction called Marinara Meatball – in the oven. To this point everything was going smoothly. When the oven timer dinged, I pulled out the pizza, sliced it up, wrapped a couple of pieces in a paper towel, left the rest for Kathi and David, and headed out the door for the meeting. With my stomach screaming for sustenance, I maneuvered the sometimes dangerous streets of Tulsa, grabbing a bite of pizza whenever possible when the unthinkable happened. One of the marinara meatballs – and quite delicious I might add – rolled off the pizza and fell between my legs on the car seat. I know most of you have experienced this. Perhaps not with a marinara meatball, but you get the idea. The more you try to retrieve the fallen object – due to the slant of the car seat and the gravitational pull of the planet – the deeper it slides beneath you. And I was wearing Kaki, colored pants, except for the red stripe.

 

Is it just me, or does it seem a tad too commercial that the Gambling Hot Line has three sevens in the number?

 

And now for a word from our sponsor:

 

I’ve received enough feedback, or even worse the lack thereof – you know the feeling when you hand someone something you’ve worked on and their face loses expression and they just sort of nod but don’t say anything – on Footprints of a Dancer to feel the need to talk about it. Footprints of a Dancer, the 3rd book in the Detective Elliot series, definitely differs from Twisted and Buried. Fortunately, or not, that was by design. With the book, I wanted to do something I had not done before. The plan was to incorporate my Christian faith and my love for the paranormal while still retaining the flavor of the Elliot books. I don’t think I succeeded in doing that, at least not completely. That is to say it has picked up some great reviews, but it’s gathered some bad ones too. The other books have done this as well but not to the same extent. With Footprints, it seems the reader either loves it – gets it – or they don’t. Once a story takes hold of me, the characters and the situations just sort of pull me along, and into the realm of Elliot’s tortured mind is where they took me. I would try to further explain, but in the writing business if you have to explain what you’ve written then you have failed to properly communicate your ideas. However, losing faith at this point is not recommended. With the first three books old Elliot has conquered most of the ghosts from his checkered but interesting past, and he promises to be back soon with a completely different and more down to earth – though not completely – adventurous story.

Okay, you talked me into it. For fiction to work properly, various backstage functions need to be there and working properly. An important aspect of this would be opposition for the protagonist. The hero of the story must have someone or something opposing him, or her. Sort of like a plus needs a minus, a ying a yang, or something like that. With Footprints I struggled with this until I realized who the enemy, or opposition really was. Unlike the first two books in the series, Footprints of a Dancer is a Paranormal mystery written from a Christian world view.

When you read Footprints of a Dancer, this will become clear to you. Or perhaps when you re-read it.

 

 

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Does God Answer Prayers?

Will God give us anything we ask for?

The sheer number of denominations, from Catholic to Evangelical, gives testament to differing points of view within the Christian community. However, with respect to prayers being answered, the concept seems to be divided into two schools of thought:

  1. God will give you anything you ask for, if you have enough faith.
  2. God answers prayers that He interprets as aligning with His plans for you.

While I’m not new to believing in God, and believing in Jesus, I am relatively new to actually getting it, putting it altogether and understanding the true significance of Christ Jesus. In the past couple of years, I’ve read various books on the subject of Christianity, and listened to numerous Christian radio broadcasts. I’m often amazed at what I read and hear. One radio evangelist claimed he’d not only healed a multitude of believers but that he’d actually raised over thirty people from the dead.

I’m not saying God cannot do these things. God can do anything He wants. The key word is want, and what you want might not be in alignment with what God wants for you. I tend to lean toward the second category listed above, though it’s not difficult to understand where believing in prayer concept number one comes from. In the words of Jesus: And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it. John 14:13, 14. However, in John 4:14, Jesus says: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Was Jesus actually telling the Samaritan woman she would never have to drink water again, or was He speaking in Spiritual terms? Throughout the New Testament, Jesus speaks in Spiritual terms, and I believe the logic should be applied to the verses in John 14: 13, 14 and others in like manner. To put it in perspective, are cars, money, and big houses important to God? I hope that’s a rhetorical question. For a list of what is important to God, read Philippians 4: 8, and 2 Peter 1: 5-7.

With all that being said, do I believe that God answers prayers? Yes, I do. He has answered plenty of mine. But I’ve also had some that seemed to go unanswered.

In summary, I believe that God answers prayers and that faith is certainly involved. However, I think the prayer request must be for something that God deems good for you, and for those around you.

What about you? Do you believe that God will give you anything you ask for?

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Cause and Effect

 

 

Have you ever given thought to causal relationships, the trillions of actions and corresponding reactions that continually go on around you?

This seemingly perpetual stream of events is the fabric of fiction. But allow me to illustrate a real-life example. A friend of mine, we’ll call him Mr. C, having decided to walk his Labrador Retriever, stood on the sidewalk outside his house where he saw something rather odd: A deer slowly walking down the middle of the street.

Perceiving that the presence of the wild animal had yet to come to the attention of the dog, Mr. C quickly steered his version of man’s best back toward the house to go inside and wait out the ordeal. However, before Mr. C could accomplish his plan of limiting collateral damage, his pickup driving neighbor returned from a jaunt outside the sub.

The deer bolted away from the oncoming vehicle but slowed her rate of escape when she saw Mr. C and the Lab blocking her path.

The previously nonchalant Lab ripped free of Mr. C’s leash-grip, barked at full capacity, gallantly took up the challenge of protecting his property, and charged the renegade deer.

Most of us have been in situations where it seems there’s no easy way out. We are, in fact, defined by our responses to such dilemmas. At that moment, though, I don’t think the deer was overly concerned about character. She did a 180 and ran from the dog.

Alerting people for miles around, the Lab continued in hot pursuit of the delusional doe, chasing the frightened animal back onto the street.

The driver of the pickup, perhaps caught up in a high-decibel rendition of Stairway to Heaven, was completely oblivious to the goings on. He steered the truck into his driveway and hit the garage door opener.

With highly tuned, wild senses alerting the deer to a possible hidey-hole, the animal executed a move that would draw envy from the likes of Adrian Peterson and followed the pickup into the garage.

At the same time, the oblivious driver hopped out of his ride.

Not having time to put on the brakes, the terrified deer knocked the truck driver to the floor, trampled him with her hooves, and ran into the wall of the house, knocking a sizeable hole in the sheetrock.

But it wasn’t over. The deer scrambled wildly to gain its footing on the slick floor of the garage, keeping its flanks just inches away from the jaws of the barking Lab while Mr. C frantically chased both of the animals around the fallen truck driver.

Now there’s a scene.

I've been asked by several readers as to what happened next, so here's The Rest of the Story:

Mr. C mangaged to corral the Lab, the deer ran out of the garage and disappeared, and the truck-driving neighbor was okay, just shaken up a bit.

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Bob's Blog Hop

To start off this blog roll, blog hop, blog whatever-it-is, I want to thank Patricia Browning – I think – for including me in this spirited – I do tend to exaggerate – online adventure. With her debut mystery, Absinthe of Malice, A Penny Mackenzie Mystery, Browning explored quirky relationships and interesting secrets of Pearl, a fictional, small town in California. Be sure to check it out. Here’s the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Absinthe-Malice-Mackenzie-Mystery-ebook/dp/B001LRQGCM/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357573477&sr=1-1&keywords=absinthe+of+malice

So much for the Hop, now for the Blog:

http://www.amazon.com/Footprints-Dancer-Detective-Mystery-ebook/dp/B009PFNI3M/ref=la_B002BM2VJ8_1_5_title_0_main?ie=UTF8&qid=1358344903&sr=1-5

 

I’ve never interviewed myself before. So, Bob:

What is the working title of your book?

It has to do with identity, what’s inside as opposed to what we project. However, since Footprints of a Dancer, the third book in the Detective Elliot Series just escaped my fingers in time to have been published October 2012, I haven’t actually begun writing the fourth book, and the title is a bit proprietary.

Where did the idea come from for the WIP?

I hope it is a WIP and not a RIP. The possibilities for and the boundaries of anonymity within our society have always intrigued me. The book will be an exploration of this concept.

What genre does your book come under?

I like to call it Paranormal Mystery. My book, Footprints truly is a mystery with my publisher, who can’t seem to understand that I’ve stretched my wings a bit. The term Hard-boiled no longer fits, not that it ever did really. The first two books, Twisted Perception, and Beneath a Buried House slightly hinted at paranormal themes. However, Footprints of a Dancer dives right into the thick of it.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’m not sure. I don’t really watch many movies, and the actors that I could identify – no pun intended -- with the younger people wouldn’t know. Elliot, the protagonist of the series, might be difficult to cast effectively. He’s sort of a mixture of James Dean, Nick Nolte, and Jeff Bridges.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I haven’t gotten that far. I don’t work like other authors. My work generally starts as an unmanageable amalgamation of plot, character, and setting. I then set out to manage it. I’m not always successful.

Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

Actually a WIP probably wouldn’t be any of these things yet. However, my first three books were published by an independent publisher.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of you manuscript?

I don’t know. I haven’t written it yet. And if the first three are of any indication as to that time, I’m a bit frightened even to think about it.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

These questions are getting way too difficult.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Please see question number two.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

I put my heart into my books while writing them, living with my characters as I take them through the emotions of getting from here to there. I’ve been told they are worth reading.

Listed below are the authors who will post their answers to the questions posed above.  

Jim Laughter

http://www.amazon.com/Polar-City-Red-Novel-ebook/dp/B007UJPYWS/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1358344947&sr=1-3&keywords=JIm+Laughter

 

 

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Book Review -- Subterranea

Subterranea: Nine Tales of Dread and Wonder. Mike Duran. Blue Crescent Press, 2012. 186 pp.

I’ve been reading Author, Mike Duran’s blog for several months. When I saw one of his books offered as a free Kindle download, I have to admit to jumping on the freebie bandwagon to get a copy.

Subterranea is a collection of short stories that I found somewhat reminiscent of the old Twilight Zone episodes. I found the stories to be well written and entertaining. What more could you ask?

– Bob Avey, author of Footprints of a Dancer

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