A Change of a Love Story For a Nation

A LOVE STORY FOR A NATION is one of the favorite stories I’ve ever written. It, like a lot of my writings, started as a short play called “Almighty Might.” An audience member, who came to see a production of it, was greatly moved by its story – so much so that this audience member, who also happened to be an artist, drew an amazing picture of its story. I was blown away! I had the chance to meet the artist later that year. His name is Woon Bin Chang. A terrific guy. He was gracious enough to allow me to use his picture as the the book cover for my novel. I was thrilled.

But the picture posed some problems for the cover, and when the novel was published, I decided on another design by another talented graphic artist. I loved it, and I was very happy with the cover.

But three years on, I stumbled back upon this artwork and wondered if I could redesign it in order to give the novel a make-over and to show off this great piece of art which represented the story so very well.

And so I did.

I’ve decided to change the cover art for the novel. I’m very happy with it and I hope it inspires others to check out this moving story.

As always, your thoughts are welcome.

Here it is:

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New Christmas Story Coming Soon!

I’m happy to announce I’ll be publishing a new Christmas short story this year. Unsure of release date, but it will be well early for the season. It even has a cover!

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Can you pick up the tone of it? Yes, light-hearted, silly, funny (hopefully) with a warm fire-place-like touch of sentiment – all those things you need to settle into the holiday season. You know, like a cinnamon stick in your hot chocolate or spiced cider simmering on the stove.

“Jolly Old St. Hick” was actually a short play that my drama group The RLT Players performed in their Christmas show “Tales of Wonder II” in 2015. It was a funny and well-received vignette, and last year I got the idea of re-writing it as a short story. I didn’t get very far.

Until now! I turned the 2000 word play into a 6000+ word short story coming your way to a Kindle near you!

I’ve actually not written many short stories in my life. I’ve written more novels than short stories, actually. I’m not sure if that is bizarre or not, but I’m becoming more familiar with the genre. Most of my short stories are Christmas-themed. Why is that? I’m not sure, exactly, but perhaps there’s something comforting about a warm cup of tea, a fireplace, and a 30 or 40-minute sentimental read.

In 2014, I published “If Love is a Crime: A Christmas Story” about a runaway slave in 1852.  Available Here.

In 2016, I published “Christmas in the Trenches 1914” a fictitious account of the real-life truce between the Brits and the Germans in WWI on Christmas Eve 1914. Available Here!

In 2018, I will publish “Jolly Old St. Nick.”

I hope you enjoy, and look out for the release of my new one soon!

After 2+ plus years, the story is finished.

Just wanted to share briefly what is making me so happy today: my first trilogy – my first series of any kind – is finished.

This afternoon I capped off the story with as neat and tidy ending that I could muster. The story of Frick, Bee, Ash, Rachany, Ruthy, Haddock, Hatty, Ulrich, and Monroe is finished, and I’m very happy with how it turned out.

In a different post, I’m going to chronicle what I learned about writing by taking on this project, but I couldn’t let my happiness remain inside.

It’s done!

I know. I know. I have months of revision ahead of me.

But who cares?

There were days in the past when I couldn’t see how the ending I wanted was going to connect with what I had already written.

And then, little by little, it worked.

It didn’t hurt that for the past nine days, I’ve had nothing to do but WRITE! It’s been awesome since I was able to crank out the final 25,000 words.

The result is this a 200,000 plus word trilogy.

Book 3 of THE FORGOTTEN CHILD TRILOGY – A Parting in the Sky

To celebrate: here’s the first mock-up of the cover.

Coming 2019!

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Writing: About Lengths and Words

I’m a concise writer. I know that.

I’ve learned to slow down my writing over the years because at times it can be at breakneck speeds, and there are rumors about that some readers like to stew in the words of a story and not have to gulp them all down from the end of a fire hose.

Who knew?

So length and word count are always on the forefront of my mind when I’m writing. That’s not always a good thing. I’ve heard that the best length of any story is precisely the length it should be. Some stories are meant to be short. Others long. Many others somewhere in-between.

The general standard (some would dispute this) for length is above 20,000 words is a novella and above 50,000 words a novel. If you are well below 20,000, you’ve simply written a short story.

As I’m narrowing in on the ending to my trilogy, I’m finding that volume three is feeling shorter than the other two. Is that bad?

Well, it all depends, and this is where it gets messy and subjective. This is where a fresh pair of eyes and a good editor can help guide you.

I want an ending that’s satisfying but doesn’t drag. That’s well developed but not too short that the reader feels shortchanged. (As a side note, I know that not all readers think alike. Some will never be satisfied no matter the length, but that’s another post.)

How do you navigate your story so it’s exactly right? You can’t. No story is ever exactly right. But you can make decisions which will help guide in the right direction.

First, don’t fret on word count. If the story arc and development leads you to 40,000 rather than 70,000, then please leave it at 40. No one wants to read 30,000 useless words.

Second, make sure your story development delivers on all accounts. Characters. Have you satisfactorily shown their development? Do their decisions in the book make sense in a chronological way? Have you shown the readers what they are desiring and why they do the things they have done? If not, expand. If yes, move on and don’t say anymore. In regards to subplots, are they all necessary. Yes, you might be able to expand your novel another 10% by telling us a backstory or weaving a secondary thread through the plot, but is it necessary. Completely necessary to show characterization, so show foreshadowing, to bring the plot to realization?  If you can’t answer yes to all of these, then nix it. Perhaps write it a short story instead. Don’t bog down the storyline in unwanted information.

Third, slow down and let the language simmer a little more. You always want to keep your language short and concise, but don’t be afraid to expound a little. I’m writing this especially for me. Add that description–especially amidst the dialogue. Because I just love dialogue and I can write some of my draft chapters almost like a play. Not cool! Think of the reader. Show what happens. Describe the movements. Describe the scenery. But don’t feel compelled to write twenty pages about the topography of the protagonists hometown. (Please no! Keep it moving, remember)

A good editor will help you with all of these because, honestly, it’s so hard to judge one’s own writing.

How about you? What helps you in your writing endeavors?

Trilogy Book 1: New Lower PERMANENT Kindle Version Price!

Finally, book one of The Forgotten Child Trilogy – A Man Too Old for a Place Too Far – is now and from here on out only a buck 89 on Kindle. That’s $1.89! You’ve got nothing to lose and a whole lot of a gripping week of entertainment to gain!

$1.89 – Why?

It’s regular price of $3.99 might be too much of a gamble for an unknown author. But I want to make it cheap enough for anyone to try! I believe in this three-part story and am working hard to complete it over the next month or so. Two-thirds of it are now available, so what are you waiting for!

Now Available:

Book 1: A Man Too Old for a Place Too Far  (Kindle $1.89/Paperback $13.99)

Book 2: The African Connection (Kindle $3.99/Paperback $13.99)

Coming Soon

Book 3: A Parting in the Sky (on Kindle & Paperback in 2019)

Amazon: A Man Too Old for a Place Too Far

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Publishing 7, Writing 8, Planning 9

I guess I’m hopelessly a writer. It doesn’t depend on how many are reading my works. They continue. I couldn’t stop them if I tried, and it’s all rather exciting.

I’m on the brink of publishing my 7th novel,  THE AFRICAN CONNECTION, which is part two of my new trilogy entitled THE FORGOTTEN CHILD TRILOGY.  I’m currently writing my eighth novel which will conclude the trilogy. Today is a wonderful writing day. Already clocked in over 3600 words and it’s only 1:30 PM. I’m rearing to go. Watch out.

At the same time, I’m ready a book which is part of my research for novel #9 in the works which I will completely keep under wraps at this point. I absolutely can’t wait to get to it though. I will tell you the genre: alternate history, and I’m finding it absolutely fascinating to plan it out. It will once again be different from anything I’ve ever written.

That actually seems to be a theme for me. Try something new. It’s not necessarily a great way to market yourself: watch out, the next book may be different. I’ve had reviewers, actually, which have commented how different my books are from release to release, but luckily, they have said they have liked them all. That’s a blessing, of course.

I write what comes to my heart. I have never thought about what readers would like. I suppose that has hurt my marketability. But I have to be true to who I am and what is going on inside of me. If people love to read it, great. If not, well, maybe next time.

But for me it’s always about writing the very best story which is currently on my heart.

What do you think? Is that silly? Noble? Insane in this day and age?

No matter, it’s what I love to do. And so, this blog post is simply a short break from novel 8. So back at it.

Hope to see you in the pages.

Pre-Order Now Available: The African Connection

THE AFRICAN CONNECTION, book 2 of THE FORGOTTEN CHILD TRILOGY is now available for pre-order on Kindle. It will release on July 6. Grab yours now and get ready for part two of the unique adventure into the 20th century – this time into the heart of Africa.

PRE-ORDER THE AFRICAN CONNECTION HERE!

The action continues one week after the explosive ending of book 1.

SHORT BLURB: In part two of The Forgotten Child Trilogy, enigmatic beings from the realm beyond—Bee & Ash—team up once again with old Manhattan businessman Francis Frick. Joined by a mysterious new recruit, Frick must fight to bring Ulrich to justice and continue searching for the truth about the forgotten child.

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If you haven’t read book 1 yet – A MAN TOO OLD FOR A PLACE TOO FAR – there’s still time to catch up on the story before the release of book 2.

Book 1 HERE!

I would love to hear your thoughts on these stories. Thanks for your support.

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