WWIV Book 1

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It was a dark and stormy night...

Most of us believe that it was Charlie Brown's dog, Snoopy, that first penned these words. Not true, my friends, not true.

Actually, that is the opening line written by English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton in his 1830 novel Paul Clifford. 

I have to be honest, I've never read Paul Clifford. And until a few weeks ago, I would have given credit to Charles M. Schultz (the creator of Peanuts) for penning the words. And, of course, I would have been wrong!

So, what's my point?

A great opening line can really set the tone for the reader. Consider these:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." (Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities)

"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul." (Nabokov: Lolita)

"It was a pleasure to burn." (Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451)

And, of course:

"Call me Ishmael." (Melville: Moby Dick)

Not all Opening are created equal

Sometimes a story just starts; no banging of drums or blaring of trumpets. The writer eases into their words - hopefully sucking the reader along. If he or she is good, you keep going. But at times even great writers lose their reader in the first chapter, the first paragraph, perhaps even the first line.

Think about this the next time you start a new novel. See how the writer draws you into their world; a world created just for the readers enjoyment. What is it that makes you keep going? The story? The characters? Or perhaps something about the setting?

As a writer I often ease into the story, letting the reader become comfortable with the pace and setting. I have used flashy first lines, but that's the exception not the rule for me. 

Let me draw you in, dear reader. Let me create a world, for you, that is so easy to believe, so real, that you can't put my book down.

I hope that's what I do, at least. I've received many wonderful reviews and comments on my three published novels (see below). 

Tell me about your favorite opening line (or chapter) in the comment section below! I'd love to hear what each of you has to say.

Until next week, check out one of those novels I've mentioned above. Perhaps even give Paul Clifford a chance; I know I might.

e a lake

(click on my books below to see more)


Saturday, September 26, 2015

I don't mean to gross you out, BUT...

Okay, be sure you breakfast (or lunch) it well digested before you click the link below. Hey, I mean that. Don't you dare go forward with a queasy stomach. This adventure dang near brought up my lunch; and I have a cast iron constitution.

In case you weren't aware, water can go bad. But you knew that, right? You've seen swamps and bogs. Or rain water collecting in a brackish puddle.

But drinking water, can that go bad? Clean, filtered drinking water?

Oh, yeah! Read all about my adventure here: This is Disgusting!

This past Friday (yesterday for me) I thoroughly cleaned and dried the drinking glass I use at work. I would have washed it, but hey, I'm a guy - a lazy guy at that. Here's hoping I never have to look at this again....ever!!!

Until next week, read a great mystery. Something like Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. Oh, that's a good one! (Click on the link to see it on Amazon).

e a lake

(click on my books below to see more)


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Crash and Burn

Oh my, has it really been two weeks since I've posted last? Two weeks without thinking of my blog? Two weeks since I somehow (and quite magically) crashed my own website? Yeah, two long painful weeks.

Guys like me should never be allowed to manage their own sites. I'm mean, come on; keeping my blog posts in order is hard enough. I keep busy with a full-time job...and creating characters and chaos in my WWIV series.

Yet somehow, I decided to update my website...all by myself

I put that in red for a reason. Red means danger; danger means do not touch. And still, I touched.

Somehow I got it in my mind that I needed to change hosting services. I can't recall where the idea hatched, but after spending five minutes on the web it seemed easy enough to me.

I even made a back-up people! I mean I followed every step of every list my fully-vetted five minute research named.

I made the switch, sat back, and enjoyed a Diet Dew. It was only a matter of time before my new, beautiful, clean site would be born. And I relished every second of the anticipation.

And then...there was nothing

It was just a glitch I told myself. Wait 24 hours and all will be fine.

Twenty-four hours later, still nothing!

Two harrowing weeks later, I'm back up and running. Even able to speak to people in full sentences that aren't profanity laden. I learned, I think.

I'd love to tell you I'll never do this again. I'd love to promise you my techie days are in the past. I'd love to say that never again will I attempt to install MailChimp on a site only having watched a quarter of the video (it seems they hide the good stuff toward the end).

But I hate to lie. Unless, that is, it's in a novel.

So back to writing, back to editing, back to publishing; the areas I'm actually good at.

Oh yeah, above is a snapshot of my new site. If you want to see it in action, go ahead and click on the pic. Comments are always welcomed...always. And anyone that spots any ugly stuff on the site, please feel free to drop me a line. Thanks.

Next week continues my discussion on "The Game of Thrones." Son #2 and I will go over my choices for the three most lackluster heroes from the show (and I just know he's going to skewer me on two of them).

Have a great week!

e a lake

(click on my books below to see more)


Thursday, September 3, 2015

No Fun Until The Red-Line Edits Are Done

Ah yes, the poet within my soul arises. At least I made the title rhyme.

I really want to continue on with my Game of Thrones posts right now. But I can't. Really, I simply cannot do that until I'm done with the red-line edits of Book Three.

So, what are red-line edits, you ask?

Great question actually.

The short answer: it's another step in the creative process. Specifically, a step in making the manuscript into a readable book. After I go through my original manuscript several times, I hand it off to several alpha-readers for their input. One looks at the writing with more of a technical eye. Changing words, fixes commas and semicolons, noticing missing open quotes.

The other finds some of those items but focuses more on the story itself. Are the characters real, does the plot flow, names and dates.

Both do some of each, all the while focusing on the area they perform best. Now, I need to make changes. A lot of changes.

               Title page                                                             First page

(BTW, the manuscript is about 300 pages long).

On the title page I've laid out my strategy for this round of edits/fixes. First I will make all the obvious changes (in red on the first page -- thus "red-line" edits). After that I need to fix several scenes with one of my main characters (Cara Wake). Combined, those both should be fairly easy and quick.

Then the real fun starts

Another of my characters (Betsi Albrecht) needs a whole bunch of re-writes to her parts. Both in dialog and narration. She needs to change her attitude for the first three-quarters of the book. This one will take me a while.

The last thing I need to do is to create a timeline for the novel. What we know is that it's been 12 years since whatever happened happened. Some folks have been one place for ten years, Willem Tarlisch (our antagonist) has been banished to another place for the last six. There is a lot of reference to time in the novel. And I need to plot it out to be sure it all makes sense.

(Worth noting - one alpha-reader did some calculations and said Cara was married at 15. Not true. She was 20 or 21. Thus, I need to check that timeline carefully).

Then the novel will be ready for beta-readers

But not until all four steps (listed on my title page) have been completed. After the beta-readers are done I make some more changes, and then it's off to the editor. More changes a month or two later, one more set of readers, and BANG! Book Three of the WWIV series should be ready and on Amazon by late fall.

Until then, I have more pages like this to stare at:


Yeah, there's some work to get done this long holiday weekend. And I'd best get at it.

Until next week, enjoy the last few weeks of summer. Winter is Coming (a la the Starks).

e a lake