Thursday, July 26, 2018

Book Thoughts and Baseball

If you are reading this most likely you are familiar with my books.  Even with that understanding I thought it might be interesting to provide some of my thoughts about each book.

This first one is The Bootlegger's Legacy.

This book maybe my favorite.  It is not a murder mystery; it is about people whose lives are changing due to personal tensions and outside influences.  Many of the characters were based on my experiences and people I knew.  The characters ended up being a blend of various people and it sure is not biographical.  It is pure fiction.  However, when I was writing everything felt familiar.  Joe Meadows and Mike Allen were like a lot of people I knew in the 1970s and 80s; a time of easy success and soul crushing failure.

They were friends out of habit and the bond was strong; but they were entering new stages in their lives and their relationship was no longer easy and comfortable.  The story of their friendship and the eventual life decisions they made is the story of TBL.  I liked both of these characters and it was sad to see them drift in different directions and forget why they were friends.  I think that happens with a lot of friends.

The novel covers a lot of years, including, maybe the most dramatic portion, a flash back to the 1950s.  This is the bootlegger's story and how he provided a legacy, good and bad to the next generation.  The story of Pat Allen, the bootlegger, is a tragic story of forbidden love.  Sally Thompson, Pat's young and beautiful mistress is by far the most interesting and alluring character in the book.  In may ways she is the focal point.

My writing today may be better than it was when I wrote TBL but this is, I believe, my best storytelling.

As I have mentioned several times I'm a baseball fan.  Goodreads pulled a quote from Santa Fe Mojo that reflects my feelings, although they're from Vincent Malone:

“He followed the Denver teams, and was an avid Rockies fan. He thought baseball was a smart game, played more or less according to rules. Football, by contrast, seemed like chaos, with victory often being decided by penalties for breaking rules that were subjective and poorly administered. It was as if the government was in charge of football, with all of its bickering and clowning, while baseball was run by the best fourth-grade teacher you ever had, the one who ensured that everyone played by the rules or not at all, and if you weren’t polite, there were consequences. He wasn’t sure where basketball fit in.”
Go Rockies!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Newsletter and More

Starting a new feature in my newsletter.  If you have not signed up for the newsletter you can on the web site

Each newsletter will feature an article about the process of writing.  As a reader this may or may not be interesting; but I hope it is.  First article will discuss writer's block.  This is something I experienced in 2016/2017, where I had a long dry spell and could not seem to move forward with my writing.  Eventually I pulled out of this funk.  The solution for me seemed to be starting a project to co-author the Muckraker books; Murder So Wrong, Murder So Strange and Murder So Final.  The first two have been published the third is in limbo.

Writing for me is a lot about discipline.  If I'm writing every day my world is working just fine--if for some reason that schedule is interrupted everything goes downhill.  There were lots of things happening in 2016/17 that created disruptions and as a result I did not write.  Agreeing to co-author was what got me back into a routine; and eventually my writing rhythm returned.

There's not a word for this type of mental glitch for most efforts as there is with writer's block; but I have experienced this same process interruption in other work activities.  Personal things, family things, work things, health things, all sorts of stuff can cause the mind to take a break.  Suddenly the easiest tasks at work are difficult, it not almost impossible.  Most humans are pretty good at functioning every day with minor exceptions; but I think we all experience the effects of writer's block whether you're a writer or not.  My solution of finding a different approach to my work might be a solution to the slumps that happen to us all.

Book Updates:

Blue Flower Red Thorns.  Books go though several editing steps--I think of my books of having four steps in the editing process.  BFRT is just completing step two--the longest of the four steps.  Of course in this process there can be surprises.  So what on the last book took a few weeks on this book could take four.  This makes it hard to estimate completion dates.  My best guess is a publication date in late September or early October.

Fiction No More.  This book is in the writing stage--just me involved, with some help from my wife.  This may sound strange to you but I really enjoy the writing of books, especially at this stage.  This could be as simple as its just me, but also this is when I feel the closest to the process.  I use outlines, charts, extensive notes and lists to keep me on track--but when I'm writing, the story can often change.  As I'm writing the characters seem to have an impact on the story-line; so things can change from my original plans.  I really do enjoy writing these books, sometimes so I can find out what happens at the end.

Other Stuff:

Some of the main characters (suspects?) in Santa Fe Mojo were professional athletes.  This included baseball players.  I'm a big baseball fan.  My team the Colorado Rockies were expected to be in contention for the post season this year but have had an inconsistent year so far.  But now they are Hot!  In a completely illogical way this makes me very happy.  Go Rockies!