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Memories in the Making

Memories in the Making

 

The concept of children being self-centered has become generally accepted knowledge. Have you ever considered the possibility of our trust in that idea being misplaced?

Don’t let the lead-in mislead you. This isn’t an article about children. Or is it? I’m not really sure myself. As children, we soak in all the love we can get and we happily and readily depend upon our families for our every need. It’s when we mature into adults and leave the comfort of our childhood to become dependent upon ourselves that the real “me” culture begins. Think about it. Who is more selfish? The child who somewhat begrudgingly shares her toys or the adult who does whatever it takes to get ahead, gain a foothold over his coworkers and seize that promotion?

All right, I’ll now climb down from the soapbox.

My mom wanted to visit, so I drove to Kansas over the weekend and brought her to our home in Oklahoma for a week or so. Okay you guessed it. The older I get the more nostalgic and child-like I become.

Mom’s antics, annoying at first, have become quite entertaining. She’s always losing things. Usually it’s her cellphone or her garage door opener. Even though she no longer drives an automobile, the assisted-living duplex where she lives has a small garage. She has taken to leaving the front door to the apartment locked and using the garage to enter and exit the dwelling. I know. Anyway, during her last visit, she had lost her cell phone. She had looked everywhere. I offered to help, but she was ready to go, so I promised we would search for it upon our return and we headed for Oklahoma.

On Monday, after the weekend, my wife, Kathi, and I left mom and our son, David, at home and went off to work. Around 10:00 AM, I heard a mild commotion and glanced outside my cubicle to see that several of my coworkers had gathered and they were pointing and looking out the window. I joined the group and saw what had drawn their attention. People were streaming from the building and gathering in the parking lot. We all exchanged curious glances and wondered what in the world was going on. When a firetruck, with sirens blaring, squealed to a stop near the building, it unanimously dawned on us that perhaps we should exit the building as well.

It turned out there had indeed been a fire in the building. An electrical malfunction had occurred in one of the outdated, ancient elevators – we only have two and neither of them is dependable. To complicate matters, the fire alarms had gone off on the 5th floor, which accounted for the people we had seen running for safety, but had failed to work on the remaining floors.

Later in the evening when we returned home, mom informed us that she’d been hearing a strange, beeping sound. It had been bothering her all day. Sure enough, when we remained silent and listened, we, too, heard the sound. However, like the chirping of a cricket, it was difficult to determine exactly where it was coming from. With the scare from work still fresh in my mind, I immediately thought of the smoke detectors. We have two downstairs and one upstairs. I recruited the help of our son, David, who I sent upstairs, while Kathi and I positioned ourselves directly beneath the bottom two. When the beeping sounded again, we all called out, “It’s not this one.”

With the detectors eliminated as the source of the pesky tone, we turned our attention to the two thermostats, one upstairs and one down. They, too, emit a sort of chirp when the batteries become weak. No, it wasn’t the thermostats either.

“It seems to be coming from the kitchen,” mom insisted.

Kathi, David, and I all descend on the kitchen, where mom is standing, and while we have her surrounded, we once again hear, “beep.”

“Have you checked your pockets?” I ask.

“There’s nothing in my pockets,” she insisted. “I pulled these sweatpants from my suitcase this morning, and I haven’t put anything in the pockets.”

“Well, just to be safe,” I said, “please check your pockets.”

Mom rolls her eyes then shoves her hands into the pockets of her sweatpants. Her expression softens as she pulls out her lost cellphone, which had been beeping because it needed a charge.

Please check out my writing by clicking the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/Bob-Avey/e/B002BM2VJ8

I want to thank everyone who signed up for my Reader List. We’ve already given away a nice prize. I have a lot more good stuff planned. If you haven’t signed up, I’ve placed the link below.

http://awoc.com/BobAvey-TwistedPerception/

 

Twisted Perception is now out in audiobook. Please click the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/Twisted-Perception-Detective-Elliot-Mystery/dp/B00XZKFWDM/ref=la_B002BM2VJ8_1_1_title_2_audd?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1445367460&sr=1-1

Please follow the link and check it out. Once you’re at the site, there’s a button you can click to hear a free sample. Charles Bice, the reader we chose, did an excellent job of portraying the characters as he tells the story. I believe you can even get the audiobook of Twisted Perception for free, if you join Audible.com. And who wouldn’t want to do that?

I want to thank everyone who has signed up for my newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it. If you know of someone who might enjoy it, too, please email it to them.

I also give programs for writing groups, reading groups, or any group that’s interested. If you belong to a club, which needs program speakers, keep me in mind.

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This article was written by Bob Avey, author of, Twisted Perception, Beneath a Buried House, and Footprints of a Dancer. http://www.bobavey.com.

 

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The Joker Part III

September 29, 2015 – Blog Post

 

The Joker – Part III

 

Picking up where we left off with the last post:

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, the bruised feelings I’d erroneously nurtured due to my misunderstanding of constructive criticism resurfaced and planted the seeds of mild revenge. Riding the rebellious wave, I conceived a plan, which I thought might gain the attention of my fellow critique partners while simultaneously allowing me to poke a little fun at them.

Eager to crawl forward with the dastardly deed, I began to put together a story. However, as the characters and plot unfolded, whenever I perceived an opportunity I began to exaggerate, writing in a style I considered over-the-top with the characters behaving in a manner I thought almost comical.

The plan was to demonstrate to the group that I had understood what they’d been saying, and to show them that, yes, I could write that way, while at the same time throwing a redeeming comical light on the whole matter.

A few days later at the meeting, I almost lost my nerve, and entertained thoughts of telling the members that I hadn’t written anything, but had come only to listen and learn. Instead, when it came my turn to read, I went through with it.

Upon completion of my reading, the room hung suspended in silence. A sick feeling began to form in my stomach. I fully expected to be excoriated for my insolence, but that didn’t happen. To my surprise, each member orderly took their turn and showered me with praise and compliments.

As shame and guilt crept over me, I felt so low that I almost wished that they had assaulted me with insults. At that point, I could not bring myself to tell them the truth, so I went with it, each week bringing a new installment. About a year later, I had a rough draft of a novel, which would eventually become my first book, Twisted Perception.

To be continued.

Please check out the results of my writing with the links below:

http://www.amazon.com/Bob-Avey/e/B002BM2VJ8

For an audio version of Twisted Perception:

http://www.amazon.com/Twisted-Perception-Detective-Elliot-Mystery/dp/B00XZKFWDM/ref=la_B002BM2VJ8_1_2_title_2_audd?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1441901683&sr=1-2

 

Extra Bargain: Mark your calendars for October 16, 17, and 18. Check the link below on those dates for a great deal. We’re talking free.

http://www.amazon.com/Beneath-Buried-Detective-Elliot-Mystery-ebook/dp/B003SE7J6I/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

With the help of my publisher, I’m putting together a program we are calling: Bob’s Reader List. With the list, I hope to offer true value to those who subscribe with give-a-ways, freebies, and bargains. Check it out by clicking the link below:

http://awoc.com/BobAvey-TwistedPerception/

 

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The Joker Part II

September 10, 2015 – Blog Post

 

The Joker – Part II

 

I left you hanging last time in the midst of my ramblings about criticism. Let me pick up where we left off.

A few days after having perceived my writing as being trashed – actually, while containing hints of inspiration, those early short stories were pretty bad – I was sitting home one night, watching television and feeling sorry for myself when something rather strange happened. An internal voice, which I realized as being a fictional character, actually told me how to pick up the pieces and proceed with my writing. You probably paused after reading that, and perhaps entertained certain doubts. I won’t go so far as to say there’s nothing to worry about, but having characters, which are actually part of the subconscious, pop into my thoughts with tidbits of story is now a common occurrence. However, with this being the first time I’d become aware of it, it was mildly unnerving.

This is how it happened: Halfway through some now forgotten television program, the internal voice, a character, said: You can’t fill out a homicide report, indicating the suspect to be a ghost.

The enigmatic phrase might seem like gibberish, but I immediately recognized it as a possible answer to my current dilemma. The character’s reference to a homicide report indicated he was involved with law enforcement, which meant, if he hung around, he would lead me toward some type of crime story that would be conservative enough to satisfy the critique group. At the same time, there was this ghost thing thrown in, which could offer substance, if you will, to satisfy my leanings toward the not-so-conventional. In short, it was perfect.

I immediately went to my office, which consisted of a cheap desk crowed into a corner of the master bedroom of our rented house, and began banging out what would eventually become a mystery novel. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, the bruised feelings I’d erroneously nurtured due to my misunderstanding of constructive criticism resurfaced and planted the seeds of mild revenge.

To be continued.

Please check out the results of my quasi insane writing with the links below:

http://www.amazon.com/Bob-Avey/e/B002BM2VJ8

For an audio version of Twisted Perception:

http://www.amazon.com/Twisted-Perception-Detective-Elliot-Mystery/dp/B00XZKFWDM/ref=la_B002BM2VJ8_1_2_title_2_audd?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1441901683&sr=1-2

With the help of my publisher, I’m putting together a program we are calling: Bob’s Reader List. With the list, I hope to offer true value to those who subscribe. Check it out by clicking the link below:

http://awoc.com/BobAvey-TwistedPerception/

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The Joker

In the last blog post, I raised the question as to why my first novel was written for the Mystery genre, when my love of reading – which ideally, for the writer, should be the same – leaned toward fantasy.

In the midst of confusion, while caught up in a burning cauldron – I’m feeling quite dramatic today – of internal and external turmoil, I had the wherewithal to seek out, find, and join a local writers group. The complicated process was simple, really. I called the Tulsa Library, and the nice lady I spoke to, gave me the contact information for the Tulsa NightWriters, a group I still belong to.

As fate would have it, – I’m experiencing an epidemic of clichés too – after attending a few monthly meetings, I discovered that a select cadre of fiction lovers within the club were in the habit of gathering once a week, to read and critique each other’s work. I inquired about the nature of this group within a group and before long I, too, became a member of the quasi secret society of writers.

As it turned out, the secret society leaned toward the conservative side of writing and, therefore, did not readily take to my fantastical ramblings. They told me I should abandon the short-story, for there was no money to be made there, and embrace the long form of a novel. They also suggested, perhaps a bit more subtly, that I consider a style of a more salable nature.

Needless to say, I was crushed. Writers, especially those new to the occupation, or should I say obsession, do not take kindly to criticism. Some of them might not show it, choosing to take it quietly, but trust me, they take it personally. When someone expresses a negative opinion of something you’ve worked so hard to create – whether  it’s warranted or not – it’s akin to them walking up to you on the street and telling you that your children are ugly.

Don’t let me put too sharp a point on this. Learning to take constructive criticism is a necessary and essential part of the writing process. And like I said, I’m feeling dramatic today. The help and criticism I’ve received from editors, publishers, and fellow-writers have been both appreciated and invaluable.

And now: actually with the next post; for the rest of the story.

http://www.amazon.com/Bob-Avey/e/B002BM2VJ8

With the help of my publisher, I’m putting together a program we are calling: Bob’s Reader List. With the list, I hope to offer true value to those who subscribe. Check it out by clicking the link below:

http://awoc.com/BobAvey-TwistedPerception/

 

 

 

 

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The Exile

July 30, 2015 – Blog post

The Exile

 

In the last post, Kathi and I had moved to Tulsa to either etch out a new life, or salvage the old one. I’m still not sure which on prevailed, but when the idea for this blog series came to me, I resolved to keep it upbeat. I’m finding it difficult to adhere to that promise. However, in concentrating on the writing instead of the life behind it, I would find it easier. But how boring is that?

In the spirit of Family Vacation, the movie, we rolled into Broken Arrow, Oklahoma in a mini caravan, which consisted of a rental truck and the family car. We rented a small, but clean little house, and there began the journey.

Kathi, as she’s mysteriously prone to do, immediately snagged a new job as an accounts payable clerk. Her ability to land on her feet and hit the ground running is nothing short of amazing. The love, inspiration, and help she’s given me through the years is unfathomable. She is a Godsend.

For me, it didn’t go so smoothly. Preparing a professional-looking resume, I sent them out in droves, only to be replied to, for the most part, that I was overqualified. How can one over qualify themselves into perpetual unemployment?

Looking back, the opportunity I’d always dreamed of, that of being a fulltime writer, was staring me in the face. At the time, though, an innate fear of ending up homeless and eating from dumpsters blinded me to the potential bliss. I didn’t give up on writing. The process of immersing myself in characters and situations, helped pull me through. However, as one might imagine, the writing I produced during that period had a rather dark slant to it, resembling, I suspect, the stuff possibly found in Rod Serling’s secret closet, where he kept that which was too intense for television.

The stories were pretty bad, technically, but they served their purpose in allowing me to stretch my imagination and explore where my writing might lead. And it isn’t surprising that I would choose dark fantasy as an outlet. My love for reading began with fantasy, and my desire to write was born from reading books like, A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine Le Engle. There are times when I wish I’d stuck with the genre. In fact, the discerning reader might pick up on slight influences infused within my first two novels; Twisted Perception, and Beneath a Buried House. With Footprints of a Dancer, I attempted to open the gates a bit too much. With the fourth novel in the series, which I hope to have out within the year, I believe I’ve struck a proper balance between the worlds of mystery and fantasy. It’s my best work yet. I know we writers always think that of our work in progress, but it goes beyond that. I feel it with each chapter: This is the one.

Why did I backpedal into straight mystery?

More to come…

http://www.amazon.com/Bob-Avey/e/B002BM2VJ8

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