Why Not Write About the Writing Craft?

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A lot of author blogs focus on the writing craft and make posts about tenses, grammar, plot creation, genre, and other topics.  Others go into the nuances of Amazon, marketing, and whatever else comes after you hit ‘PUBLISH’.  These are very important things to know about and I’ve learned a lot.  One of these posts years ago is why I can put a Table of Contents in my books.  You really can avoid most of the common pitfalls by looking at what other authors have done.  Just read the post and hope over the spike pit, but please make sure to drop a sandwich down to those who fell.  I mean, you wouldn’t have been able to avoid the mess if they didn’t stumble first.

Now, I’ve been asked a few times why I don’t write much about the writing craft.  I probably have done more than I realize over the years.  Mostly, I write about character and world-building things since those are my favorite topics.  Haven’t gone into much with the marketing and Amazon side.  One reason for the later is because I’ve seen tons of authors tackle the challenge of explaining Amazon and most of them disappeared.  There’s a real obsession with figuring out the tricks and hidden workings, but those things probably change every month.  Besides, hard to write a new book or promote a published one if you’re spending most of your time analyzing Amazon.

There are a few reasons that I don’t really do a lot of craft-based posts:

  1. I still have trouble calling myself an expert, which is why most of my advice has a warning of ‘this is just me’.  There have been many times that another author and I have used a marketing platform or the same writing trick.  Yet, one fails and the other succeeds.  So, I only know what works for me and I’d hate to jump on a soapbox to declare my knowledge then have people fail.  I’ll write about a topic if somebody asks or I’ve figured something out, but I don’t have a lot of confidence here.
  2. I don’t think I write in a common enough style to give advice to other authors.  Present tense third person is what I’m most comfortable with, but it means various tools don’t work for me.  For example, you can’t reveal the past of a city or person in narration without it coming off very awkward.  Conversations are better for information here, which I’ve been told to stop and move to narration because a few past tense authors and readers don’t acknowledge this.  Anyway, I can explain my style and that’s pretty much where I stop because the rest is fairly basic like commas and foreshadowing.
  3. Not even sure what to talk about.  This should probably be #1, but I can never tell what’s writing craft and what isn’t.  Doesn’t say much about me as an author, I guess.  The thing is that all of the writing classes and groups that I got involved in were about reading and reviewing.  I haven’t been involved in the meat and structure of writing since high school.  There were discussions about character development and story structure in college, but I remember the debates more.  Well, the thing I remember most is when an author had to sit there quietly while people ripped apart your work in the name of constructive criticism.  I always thought this was more to teach people how to handle negative reviews than improve, but that’s just me.  The point is that I spent more time fine-tuning my own style than going over the craft basics.
  4. The times I ask for topic ideas, I get requests to write about world-building, specific characters, present tense writing, or fantasy.  So, I believe that most people who follow this blog only want to hear about my genre and writings.  I’ve been doing that for so long that I can’t even remember what I have and haven’t touched on.

Maybe I’ll figure out a few craft posts in the future, but that could be by accident.  So, I’ll open the floor to authors and readers.  What is the one piece of writing craft that you would like to read about?  Perhaps you’ll see a comment asking about something that you know about, so interact.  Let’s just have fun.

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A Perfect 10 with Joy Lennick

Author Don Massenzio

This week, I have the pleasure of featuring Author Joy Lennick for this edition of A Perfect 10.

Please enjoy this week’s installment of A Perfect 10

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. FlorySteve BoseleyKayla MattMae ClairJill SammutDeanna KahlerDawn Reno LangleyJohn HowellElaine CouglerJan SikesNancy BellNick DavisKathleen LopezSusan ThatcherCharles YallowitzArmand RosamiliaTracey PaganaAnna DobrittKaren OberlaenderDeby FredericksTeri PolenDarlene FosterRobert Rayner, C.C. NaughtonSherry RentshlerLinda BradleyLuna St. ClairJoan HallStaci TroiloAllan HudsonRobert EggletonPaul Scott Bates, P.C. Zick

Also, if you are an author…

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Protecting Bedlam: Take 10 Pills and Call My Mother in the Morning Part 2

Previously on the latest tale of Cassidy & Lloyd.

(If you want, buy their previous rampages for $2 by clicking on the covers below.)

Cover by Jon Hunsinger

Cover by Jon Hunsinger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Too much apple juice,” Lloyd mutters, rolling out of bed. Scratching his head, he trudges to the bathroom with his eyes barely open. “Light too bright. Rude to wake others. Toilet here, so aim for there. Hear water and all is good. Did I close the door? Too late now. Soap and water is what separates us from animals. Now, back to-”

Standing in the doorway, Lloyd’s eyes finishing getting used to the darkness and lock on Barry’s empty bed. Sneaking across the room, he finds that the sheets are neat and smell like they are freshly cleaned. He feels his foot touch something on the floor and kneels down to find a broken syringe. Not wanting to touch the small puddle and broken glass, he moves away and searches for more clues. Barry’s chart is still in the sleeve at the end of the bed, but there is a stamp on the folder. Holding it up to the moonlight, Lloyd tries to make out the picture that is either a thumb or a turkey. He tosses the file on the bed since it is too dark to read and he already knows that the penmanship is illegible.

Instead of going back to bed, Lloyd returns to the bathroom and takes off the toilet tank cover. Pulling the chain out, he wraps it around his hand before skipping out and slipping into the hallway. Looking both ways as if he is about to cross a street, he frowns at the lack of activity. Tiptoeing to the next room, the serial killer presses his ear to the door, which opens a crack. A single bed is surrounded by machines, the figure inside sitting up and mumbling incoherently. Not wanting to intrude on what is obviously a private conversation, Lloyd heads for a large window that shows a room with six naked women strapped to their beds. He is about to enter and see if they need rescuing when two of them begin screaming, their calls answered from next door. Checking their neighbors, he finds an identical set up, but with naked men and strange devices with nozzles hanging from the ceiling.

Wanting some answers, Lloyd runs backwards until he comes to a corner and stops when he sees the front desk. There is nobody in the lobby and the automatic doors are held tight by chains that are wrapped in barbed wire. Walking behind the desk, the serial killer rummages through the files until he comes across one that he can read. It is nothing more than a declaration of intent, but the hospital’s goals are aimed more toward wild experimentation than curing diseases. He does not find anything about medicines until the third page, but it is nothing more than a single line that comes off as an afterthought. Tossing the file back into the pile, Lloyd sits on a squeaky chair and stares at the fish tank that is across from him. It is a reflection in the glass that catches his eye and he ducks under the desk before the two nurses step around the corner. Wearing masks, the only way to tell the two men apart is that one has a forty-seven on his back and the other has a fifteen.

“Trevor really needs to get the guy under control,” Forty-seven says while checking the front doors. Returning to the desk, he leans on the counter and accidentally knocks over a cup of pens. “Sorry about that. I’ll clean it up when my shift starts in an hour. Not like anything happens over here. What do you do when you get the lobby after hours?”

“I usually take a nap,” Fifteen answers as he settles into the squeaky chair. Opening a drawer, he drops an elevator key inside and puts his feet up on the desk. “The fish can be oddly mesmerizing. Probably not a good idea to do that tonight since Trevor and the founder are both here. Not sure why they’re so interested in that guy since he was only in here for eating rotten food and not drinking for five days. They said something about a control, but I don’t get treated well enough to care. Hey, I’m going to cycle through the video feeds. Are any of the new arrivals worth spying on?”

“Not really, so you might as well stick to the milking rooms,” the other man replies with a grin. Ready to continue his patrol, he stops at the corner and leans back to grab a flashlight off a charger. “I’m going to do a sweep of this floor and then come back. The loons on the second and the vegetables on the third aren’t worth checking right now. Besides, it isn’t like either of us can do anything to help them. Leave that to the dayworkers who actually care about all of these losers. Keep the seat warm for me.”

“Like you did for me two nights ago?”

“I told you not to buy me anything with spinach.”

“Maybe you should see the doctor, Forty-seven.”

“Maybe you should shut the fuck up, Fifteen.”

With a laugh, the man goes down the hallway while the other nurse stretches for the remote to the surveillance cameras. Catching it with his fingers, his chair tips backwards and threatens to go out from underneath him. Fifteen curses when the remote falls to the floor and the batteries pop out. Before he can move, Lloyd lunges out from under the desk and drives a pen into the man’s stomach. The chair topples over and the solid impact knocks the wind out of the nurse, preventing him from screaming. Not wanting to risk an outburst, the serial killer puts his foot over his victim’s mouth and delivers three more stabs. The pen breaks during the struggle, which ends with Lloyd stomping on Fifteen’s throat. All he can do is gurgle and cough, his hands clutching at his punctured stomach.

“Make a wish,” the serial killer whispers before snapping the nurse’s neck. He is about to strip the body when he touches the blood-soaked shirt. “That’s why I took the chain. Well, first time isn’t always the charm. I’ll just stuff the body here, put this hand over here, and the other hand over there. Now, it looks more like a perverse fetish gone wrong than a casual, run-of-the-mill murder. Just going to borrow this elevator key and go hunt down monkey number two. I do so hope his neck is thin and choke-able.”

Unwrapping the chain, Lloyd takes a peek around the corner to see how far Forty-seven has gone. The man is still standing at the window to the room with naked women, but he switches to the one with the men every few minutes. Swinging a thin baton, the nurse continues on his way and whistles loud enough to stir some of the patients. Removing his gown and putting the key in his mouth, Lloyd crosses the hallway to stick to the shadows. He silently moves from one patch of darkness to the other, but doubts that they give him much coverage. Silently closing in on his target, the serial killer uncoils enough of the chain to use it like a garrote. When his victim stops to check another room, Lloyd strikes and gets his makeshift weapon around the nurse’s neck. A firm yank takes Forty-seven to the ground, the rough links digging into his flesh as he struggles to get free. With a twist, the serial killer crushes the man’s windpipe and drags him back to the desk while he suffocates. Stripping the helpless body, Lloyd puts it with Fifteen and arranges them in the weirdest position he can think of.

“Damn, the shirt is a little too big,” he says while he gets dressed. Heading for the elevator, he swipes the card and ducks into the car. “This is only recon. No killing . . . any more. Unless I find an easy target or someone I don’t like. You know, I’ll just play it by ear. Off to the basement of the hospital, which never goes wrong. Not like there are movies, books, video games, and television shows that involve a creepy basement or hospital or both. At least the mask doesn’t have much drool in it.”

The elevator moves before Lloyd can hit a button, so he stays against the wall and watches the floor numbers change. His heart stutters when he goes by the basement level, the display only showing a plus sign. There is nothing on the floor for him to use as a weapon, so he does his best to remain calm. Thoughts of being cornered threaten to stir his bloodlust and he moves to a corner in case he has to attack. Lloyd cracks his knuckles as the doors open and is about to casually walk out of the elevator when Trevor steps inside. The two men stare at each other, neither expecting such an encounter or knowing what to do next. A blood-dripping gurney is pushed between them and the administrator removes the sheet to reveal Barry’s body. Lloyd tries not to stare at the dead man’s skull, which has been opened to remove the brain.

“I thought you were patrolling the upper floors,” Trevor says, moving his stuffed parrot to the gurney. Noticing some blood on his hand, he wipes it clean on Barry’s gown. “Things are quiet tonight, so I assume you finished. Would be a shame if you shirked your duties and let your curiosity get the best of you. Only myself and the doctors have that luxury. So, what’s your reason for coming down here?”

“Thought I forgot my flashlight, but it was in the elevator. The doors closed on me and you brought me down before I could get out,” Lloyd replies in a deep voice. Touching his shirt, he feels the embroidered name and curses in his mind at his mistake. “I managed to check the first floor and nothing strange is going on. Honestly, the loons scare me and the vegetables never cause trouble. I’ll finish my rounds once we get back up. Do you need me to help with this once I’m done?”

“Ambition is an ugly trait from those who don’t know their limits,” the administrator states, disdain dripping from his words. He pulls out a comb to fix his hair and get rid of a few flecks of bone. “We got what we need, so there’s no reason to be cautious. I’ll toss this meat into the basement incinerator. By the way, I don’t see a flashlight in your hand. Lie to me again or avoid your duties and I will hand you over to our founder. He’ll find something useful to do with an idiot like you.”

Getting closer to the gurney, Lloyd bows his head in apology. “I’m really sorry about that, but Fifteen said it was okay. He’s supposed to be covering me since nobody ever comes to the front desk. You know, we might work harder if you were nicer. Maybe put a gumball machine in the lobby or let us watch movies instead of the surveillance cameras. It isn’t like people can get into the building at night.”

“Shut up and know your place.”

“You know what my favorite food is?”

“Should I care?”

“Barbeque kebabs.”

Lloyd yanks a loose bar out of the gurney, its rough edge cutting Trevor’s knees as the legs fold. The administrator nearly rips his shirt in an attempt to get at his concealed handgun, but he is not fast enough to draw. With a quick flick of the metal rod, the serial killer stuns the other man and sends him against the doors. Reaching the basement, the elevator opens at the same time that Lloyd drives his weapon into Trevor’s chest. Both of them start to fall to the ground, but the grinning psychopath jumps and kicks his legs at the gurney. He pushes off and uses the extra force to push the bar completely through his victim, delivering a final twist because he feels it is more dramatic.

“Missed the heart, but you’re not going to put up much of a fight, Doctor . . . I don’t think I can use any of those without being sued,” Lloyd says as he uses his foot to move the gurney in the way of the doors. Satisfied that the elevator will not close, he grabs Trevor by the arm and drags him along. “This is going to sound crazy, but I’ve never done the cliché incinerator thing before. I was always more of a turkey dinner type of killer with the carving and telling the family why I hate them. Should probably put all the other bodies in there too. Is there an occupancy limit to an incinerator? Come on, Doctor Dumbass, I’m in foreign territory here. A little help from one psychopath to another would be appreciated. Oh . . . I guess I did get the heart. Well, that’s embarrassing.”

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Plan? Those Actually Work?

First, I would really appreciate it if Pandora stopped trying to make me listen to a cover of ‘Rebel Yell’.  I don’t like it and can only thumbs down it so many times before I feel like I’m being ignored.  Not against covers, but I didn’t get into this one.  Just needed to get that off my chest.

Writing

With my son finishing summer school on Tuesday, I haven’t done much here.  Finished the character bios and started the plot divisions for one the Sin stories.  Really need a series title for that.  ‘Tales of the Ether Son’?  ‘Adventures of Sin’?  ‘The Ether Son’?  It’s hard to figure out because every book is Sin getting into a new adventure with very little connection to the last one until the main plot finally rises up to meet him.  He isn’t even aware of the connections beyond running into a few familiar faces and his own personal goal.  So, the title has to connect to him, but Sin isn’t easy to pinpoint.  He’s a thief who uses a crossbow and is smart enough to get in and out of trouble.  Think of Luke Callindor with more arrogance, foresight, and thought.  Also, not that interested in being a hero, but he keeps stumbling into situations.  Kind of like Mad Max.  Anyway, a series title is going to be a pain here.

I managed to get all of the non-interview guest posts done for December and I tested the blurbs of Path of the Traitors on Thursday.  Yeah, I just want to mention that they were up for about a day and got no comments.  Really hoping that’s not a sign that things are pretty bad.  If people want, I can try again tomorrow and see if I get responses and insight into them.  Figured a weekday had a better chance of responses, which is partially true.  I got a lot of likes on that one.

Laptop

It came back yesterday with the O.S. wiped clean, so I spent the afternoon putting it back together.  Didn’t put on all of the programs I used to have since there were a bunch that I never used.  I’m still nervous about this machine because they replaced the speaker again instead of the sound card.  If it happens again then I’m not sure what I’m going to do.  I want to test the machine with external speakers, but I don’t have any or know anybody with them.  At least in this case.  Still, nice to have the machine back.  Oh, and it tricked me into setting up a ‘visual scan’ or something.  It only opens Windows when the webcam catches my face.  Not sure how I feel about that.

Parenting

This is the main event for the week and it’s been busy.  My son got into martial arts last Saturday and we’ve been doing lessons.  I brought him to one and my dad brought him to two because I had to cook dinner.  They’re early evening, which means we have to rethink our schedules.  He’s having fun and learning a lot.  It’s MMA from what I can tell since the three classes he’s had are strikes, grappling, and defense.  The grappling threw him off, but he was able to demonstrate it on the wife.  I warned her it was a bad idea to do it before bed, but what do I know?

We tried to go to a nature preserve too.  This really boils down to daddy getting lost in the wilderness for 2 hours.  There are plenty of nature preserves around Long Island and this one was in the middle of a suburban area.  It had two lakes, which I thought was interesting.  Parking was finding a spot on a side street and then wandering along the barb-wired fence until we find an entrance.  We saw birds, fish, and dragonflies, but my son wanted frogs.  No luck there and finding another way out was a headache.  I was eaten alive by mosquitoes and we ended up having to head back towards the way we came in after wandering aimlessly.  Hoping to go to one that is on the shore and has ospreys.  This one is simpler than the last, so it shouldn’t go south then.

Can’t say it’s been a smooth week though.  We’ve been having trouble with food because my son got upset to the point where he threw up.  He associated this with eating something bad, allergies, and then being afraid of throwing up. So, we have to convince him to eat and he gets panicky at the mention of breakfast.  It’s going to be a long battle to reverse this because he isn’t caring that it makes him sleepy and lethargic.  This is made worse by multiple adults having multiple tactics and stepping in each others way.

Oh, there is one funny story here that I almost forgot.  My son and I went to a place called ‘Sonic’ for lunch.  We had just finished getting the last of his school supplies.  He needed to go potty, so he ran off ahead while I cleared the table.  By the time I got to the bathrooms, he was inside.  I had two shakes and a TMNT figure in my hands, so I needed help getting the men’s room door open.  It was black in there, which meant he wasn’t inside.  Panic set in for an instant before I realized he would have come to the women’s room first.  He’s always gone in with me or my wife, so he never paid attention to the signs.  I had to ask the woman behind the counter to check for him.  There he was wondering what was going on and unsure of what he did wrong.  Apparently, there was someone else inside that didn’t think anything of a little boy in the women’s room.  I spent the afternoon explaining the signs and why I couldn’t go in after him.  Time will tell if he remembers.

Goals for the week:

  1. Parenting
  2. Working Sin outlines
  3. Maybe do the brackets for Ninja Never Wins
  4. Cook some dinners
  5. Escort little guy to martial arts and swimming
  6. Nature preserves, playgrounds, and other fun stuff
  7. Ask about October posts
  8. Stay cool
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Swift Six Author Interview – A. A. Bavar multigenre #kindlescout

Library of Erana

#Meetanauthor #Swiftsix

Name: A. A. Bavar

What attracts you to the genre in which you write?
I’m not bound to any one genre. What genre I choose to write mostly depends on my mood at that specific moment, or the premise that pops into my head. From there, it develops almost organically. Originally, I started as a screenwriter and wrote action, comedy, and thrillers. As an author, my books follow the same pattern. I’ve written fantasy, action, comedy, and creative non-fiction. Bottom line, my motivation is to write stories that move my readers independent of the genre.

What piece of writing advice do you wish you’d known when you started your writing adventures?
That a bird in the hand is no doubt the best advice anyone could get. How I wish I had taken that to heart when I was offered my first sale many years ago. But, alas, I…

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Watch RWISA Write Blog Tour – Harmony Kent – #RWISA #RRBC

Fiction Favorites

Rave Reviews Book Club. One of the objectives of the club is to recognize outstanding talent in its membership. A literary group has been established within RRBC named Rave Writers – International Society of Authors (RWISA). This month the club is featuring these authors on tour. I will be hosting them throughout the month, and I hope you enjoy being introduced to some excellent writing.

RWISAHarmony KentHarmony KentLive or Die?

By Harmony Kent

Sometimes, you need to accept help. Sometimes, you need to admit that you need it. Sometimes, you need to take the hand that’s offered. You reached out and took my arm. I let you. I took the assistance I needed. I gripped your hand so that you could pull me to my feet. The last thing I needed was for you to slit my wrists. So much blood. All that carnage. My heart ripped right out of…

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Author Spotlight: D.H. Gibbs

Reade and Write

Today on Reade and Write I welcome D.H. Gibbs, author of the new sweet romance short story A Touch of Kindness. Like other authors I have interviewed recently, D.H and I are in a Facebook group together. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I typically interview mystery authors, but I enjoyed D.H.’s children’s book, Don’t Go Mango Picking, so much that I thought it would be fun to learn more about her. Welcome, D.H.!

Tell me about your new book.

My new book is called A Touch of Kindness. It’s a sweet romance story about a woman named Mali who grew up thinking that everyone needs a little kindness to help them find their way. When she meets Quin this is what she does. She helps him out of a sticky situation. Of course Quin has secrets that has her wondering what she got herself…

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