Venture Galleries http://venturegalleries.com Connecting Readers, Writers, and Books Tue, 04 Aug 2015 10:41:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Where do you dig up inspiration for a novel? http://venturegalleries.com/blog/where-do-you-dig-up-inspiration-for-a-novel/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/where-do-you-dig-up-inspiration-for-a-novel/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 07:40:49 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=67249   Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient. SO HOW DO YOU write a novel? I work hard with many re-writes to create the first sentence of my first chapter. I'm searching for a hook. Once I'm satisfied with those words,... Read more

The post Where do you dig up inspiration for a novel? appeared first on Venture Galleries.

]]>
 

Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient.

Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient.

SO HOW DO YOU write a novel?

I work hard with many re-writes to create the first sentence of my first chapter. I’m searching for a hook. Once I’m satisfied with those words, although I may change them another dozen times, I sit back, throw the map away, and head down the road.

I don’t know where I’m going. But I’ll get there.

How do I know? I’m not driving the bus. My characters are.

As Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient said: “Some writers know what the last sentence is going to be before they begin. I don’t even know what the second sentence is going to be.”

Neither do I.

Ernest Hemingway believes you should write five pages a day. No more. No less. Then quit and let the story simmer in your mind while you wait for tomorrow when you’ll write five new pages.

James Lee Burke says he begins writing each day with two scenes in his head. That’s all he wants. That’s all he needs.

Ondaatje began his entire book with only two scenes captured in his imagination: A patient lying in bed talking to a nurse and a thief stealing a photograph of himself.

He had no idea how the two story lines would connect.

But they did.

I sit down with one scene rummaging around somewhere in the deep recesses of my head. One is all I need. That one scene will generally wind up as a complete chapter.

Others authors write long chapters packed with a lot of scenes.

I write short chapters, and by the time I finish that chapter, the scene I’ll write tomorrow has already worked its way like a thorn into my brain. I’m ready when tomorrow comes.

Some write novels by charging through the story as fast and as hard as they can go. Damn the mistakes. Damn the typos. Full speed ahead.

They will re-write and polish only after the novel is in finished manuscript form.

Others re-write as they go along, never writing the next chapter until they are reasonably pleased with what has just spilled out of their word machine..

I’m one of those. I edit and re-write the chapter I completed yesterday before moving on to the chapter I’m writing today. One leads me straight to the other. No confusion. No black holes. No writer’s block.

I recently read where one author – the very talented Maria Granovsky – believes that you should write your novel from start to finish, then set the manuscript aside, never look at it again, and write your book again from scratch. If I did so, I would have two completely different books. One wouldn’t even lay claim to the other.

Some authors write in the present tense.

I prefer the past tense.

Some write first person.

Others feel more comfortable writing in third person.

I’ve done both.

Some who write in first person are purists. I’m one of those. No scene takes place unless their first person character is on location to witness what’s going on, over hear the dialogue, or participate in the conversation. The first person character is the constant observer. He or she is the reporter who can credibly tell it all. We never leave his or her point of view.

Others who write in first person cheat. Scenes are taking place, people are talking, thoughts are running through their heads, and the first person character is nowhere around or in sight. How does he know? How can he know?

I believe readers want to read shorter novels and more novels. Get into the story. Get out of the story. And move on. As Vladimir Nabakov explained, “The writer’s job is to get the main characters up a tree and then once they are there, throw rocks at them.”

Some write the first drafts of their novels on computers while others use long hand, scribbling on note cards or notebooks. A few even use different colored pencils for each character. And more than a few clip out pictures from magazines to help them build a montage of scenes and moods.

When Joan Didion nears the completion of a manuscript, she sleeps in the same room with it.

Jack Kerouac said he had a ritual of lighting a candle and writing by its light, then blowing it out when he was done for the night.

And it was Hemingway opinion that you should always write drunk and edit sober.

So how do you write a novel? I only know one thing for certain.

You can never wait for the Muse to come and whisper inspiration in your ear. Stephen King said, “The Muse comes and sits on my shoulder every morning at five o’clock and tells me: ‘it’s time to write, you sonuvabitch.’”

And Jack London pointed out, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go get it with a club.”

Along the way, pick up a few rocks. The characters are up the tree and already ducking.

Caleb Pirtle III is the author of Secrets of the Dead.

Secrets of the Dead Cover Final 1

 

 

The post Where do you dig up inspiration for a novel? appeared first on Venture Galleries.

]]>
http://venturegalleries.com/blog/where-do-you-dig-up-inspiration-for-a-novel/feed/ 3
What do you do about the back story? http://venturegalleries.com/blog/what-do-you-do-about-the-back-story/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/what-do-you-do-about-the-back-story/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 06:55:42 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=67240 MY FIRST NOVEL (Shroud of Vengeance) was part of an ongoing adult western series (think Louis LAmour with sex scenes) featuring a character named Diamondback. The editor gave me the bible for the series providing the limited information needed... Read more

The post What do you do about the back story? appeared first on Venture Galleries.

]]>
5

MY FIRST NOVEL (Shroud of Vengeance) was part of an ongoing adult western series (think Louis LAmour with sex scenes) featuring a character named Diamondback. The editor gave me the bible for the series providing the limited information needed as part of the characters backstory: Diamondback got his nickname after being the victim of a horrible whipping, he is wanted for a murder he didn’t commit, he wanders the west acting as a traveling judge settling disputes between outlaws and he is very, very popular with the ladies.

Paul Bishop

Paul Bishop

It was pretty simple to include this information as part of the ongoing series of books, which could be read in any order without any intrusive information dumps or large chunks of narrative explanation. Drop the nickname on the first page, show his scars when he takes off his shirt for the first sex scene, and tie the plot into a dispute between dangerous outlaws for Diamondback to settle. With series of this type, the main character remains static. There are no consequences or character arcs to carry over from one book to the next.

Until the last decade most television series were also examples of this type of storytelling. This was perfect for reruns, as series could be shown in any order. Think about I Love Lucy. It doesn’t matter which episode a viewer watches, the set-up is immediately clear – wacky redhead doing wacky things. There is no need to know what has happened in prior episodes. There are no ongoing storylines to confuse the narrative if episodes are shown out of order. Many, many mystery and cop shows operated, and still operate, on the same principle.

However, times have changed. Now, books and many of the most popular television series thrive on ongoing storylines continuing from episode to episode, or book to book, to maintain viewer/reader loyalty.

When my literary career moved on from writing under a house name pseudonym (which in the case of Diamondback just happened to be Pike Bishop) to my first standalone, hardcover, novel under my own name (Citadel Run now Hot Pursuit in e-book), I ran into this problem. What I had envisioned as a standalone novel, suddenly became the first in a series when the publisher asked for another book with the same characters (Sand Against the Tide now Deep Water in e-book). Staring at the blank page at the start of writing the second book, I was faced with the problem of how to integrate the complicated backstory and relationships of the characters established in the first book into the narrative of the second.

My issues with the situation also included overcoming the fact I had wrapped up the first book with the main character retiring from the police department and his female partner promoting to detective. I probably would never have done this if I had realized I was going to be writing more books with the same characters. As it was, I had to quickly figure out a fictional situation in which these two main characters could continue to interact together on the same case.

After writing the second book in the series, I went on to write another standalone novel (Chapel of the Ravens now Penalty Shot in e-book). Not having learned my lesson the first time around, I again ended the novel in a way precluding an easy transition to a second book with the same character and, consequently, there was never a second book. Publishers love series characters as a way to build reader loyalty, and I was shooting myself in the foot.

When I sat down to write my next novel (Kill Me Again), I decided upfront I would also design the book to be the first in a series. As a result, I outlined a four book story arc for the main character, LAPD detective Fey Croaker. I also took into consideration story arcs for the secondary characters comprising her crack homicide squad.

One of my concerns in doing this was how much background from the first book in the series needed to be included in the second book. And how about the third and fourth books? Did I need the same amount of backstory? More? Less? Or did I need any?

Currently, almost all television show writing staffs plan out a full season story arc before any individual episodes are written. When the individual episodes are created, there is already a larger established macro arc containing what information needs to be included in the micro arc of each individual episode to keep viewers watching.

There is almost always a quick story recap provided usually in dialogue at the beginning of each individual script act. This is done to bring a viewer up to speed if they have just turned on their set or are channel surfing from other shows. Television also uses previously on… lead-ins before the new episode starts to remind regular viewers of story points, or bring new viewers into the fold.

The previously on… technique is almost impossible to use in the novel form. Prologues have also become unfashionable in our modern world of instant gratification. Contemporary readers want to jump right into a story without wading through a prologue providing either tedious backstory or unnecessary teaser information.

So, what to do?

Hopefully, I’ll figure it out in time for next week’s column.

Paul Bishop is the author of Lie Catchers.LIE

 

The post What do you do about the back story? appeared first on Venture Galleries.

]]>
http://venturegalleries.com/blog/what-do-you-do-about-the-back-story/feed/ 1
Historic America: What happened in Brownsville, Texas? http://venturegalleries.com/blog/historic-america-what-happened-in-brownsville-texas-2/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/historic-america-what-happened-in-brownsville-texas-2/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 06:45:17 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=67246 BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS, is located on the southernmost tip of Texas, directly north and across the border from Matamoros, Mexico. In 1845, construction of a fort on the Mexican border was commissioned, due to increased instability in the region.... Read more

The post Historic America: What happened in Brownsville, Texas? appeared first on Venture Galleries.

]]>
Brownsville TX

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS, is located on the southernmost tip of Texas, directly north and across the border from Matamoros, Mexico.

In 1845, construction of a fort on the Mexican border was commissioned, due to increased instability in the region. Before completion, the Mexican Army began the Siege of Fort Texas, during the first active campaign in the Mexican-American War. General Taylor renamed the fort Fort Brown.

The city of Brownsville was originally established late in 1848 by Charles Stillman.

During the Civil War Brownsville was used as a smuggling point for Confederate goods into Mexico, most importantly cotton smuggled to European ships waiting at the Mexican port of Bagdad. Fort Brown was controlled by the Confederates. In November 1863, Union troops landed at Port Isabel and marched for Brownsville to stop the smuggling. In the ensuing battle of Brownsville Confederate forces abandoned the fort, blowing it up with 8,000 pounds of explosives.

Gay Ingram

Gay Ingram

In 1864, the town was reoccupied by the Confederates under John Salmon ‘Rip’ Ford. On May 15, 1865, a month after the surrender had been signed at Appomattox Court House, the Battle of Palmito Ranch was fought and won by the Confederates. Ulysses S. Grant sent Union General Frederick Steele to Brownsville to patrol the Mexican-American border after Civil War to aid the Juaristas with military supplies.

On September 8, 1926, The Junior College of the Lower Rio Grande Valley (later known as Texas Southmost College) admitted its first class. In 1991 Brownsville received a University via the partnership between the University of Texas at Brownsville.

Brownsville is now one of the first cities in the U.S. and Texas to ban the use of plastic shopping bags, reaching closer toward its goals of a greener, cleaner city; Forbes has identified Brownsville as one of 12 metro areas in the U.S. with the cleanest air.

The nearby ocean waters of the Gulf of Mexico help keep Brownsville cooler during the summer. On December 25, 2004, Brownsville had its first instance of measurable snow in 109 years, with 1.5 inches and the first recorded White Christmas.

Brownsville’s location at the intersection of different climate regimes (subtropical, Chihuahuan desert, Gulf Coast plain, and Great Plains) causes it to be a birding location. Its unique network of resacas (dis-tributaries of the Rio Grande and oxbow lakes) provide habitat for nesting / breeding birds of various types.

Several attempts were made to attract a railroad, but not until 1904 did the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway reach the City of Brownsville. The new settlers cleared the land of brush, built extensive irrigation systems and roads, and introduced large-scale truck farming. In 1904 H. G. Stillwell, Sr., planted the first commercial citrus orchard in the area.

An important pillar of the economy is the Port of Brownsville. SpaceX is building the South Texas Launch Site, a private space launch facility east of Brownsville on the Gulf Coast.The University of Texas at Brownsville and the Brownsville Economic Development Council (BEDC), in collaboration with SpaceX, are building radio-frequency (RF) technology facilities for STARGATE—Spacecraft Tracking and Astronomical Research into Gigahertz Astrophysical Transient Emission.

The city’s population dramatically increased after it experienced a boom in the steel industry during the 1900s (decade), where it produced three times its annual capacity. Nowadays, the Port of Brownsville is a major economic hub for South Texas.

Gay Ingram is the author of Mai Lin.

8008147

The post Historic America: What happened in Brownsville, Texas? appeared first on Venture Galleries.

]]>
http://venturegalleries.com/blog/historic-america-what-happened-in-brownsville-texas-2/feed/ 1
Authors Showcase: Hidden Courage by Christopher David Peterson http://venturegalleries.com/uncategorized/authors-showcase-hidden-courage-by-christopher-david-peterson/ http://venturegalleries.com/uncategorized/authors-showcase-hidden-courage-by-christopher-david-peterson/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 06:40:34 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=67229 The Book: Hidden Courage The Author: Christopher David Peterson The Story: Hidden Courage: A short novel with adventure and suspense… Inspiration comes in many forms and for Jack, a single photo in a magazine becomes his life’s... Read more

The post Authors Showcase: Hidden Courage by Christopher David Peterson appeared first on Venture Galleries.

]]>
51i9mETYUpL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

The Book: Hidden Courage

The Author: Christopher David Peterson

The Story: Hidden Courage:

A short novel with adventure and suspense…

Inspiration comes in many forms and for Jack, a single photo in a magazine becomes his life’s greatest inspiration. The photo is of an unknown mountain in the Andes Mountain range of South America. Striking, dangerous and beautiful, Jack is drawn to it. He makes up his mind that he must climb it.

The story follows Jack’s adventure, as he flies his own plane from New England to South America. Battling cold and exhaustion, Jack struggles though one crisis after another as he attempts to climb the rugged and dangerous mountain… Alone.

About Christopher David Peterson:

Christopher David Peterson

Christopher David Peterson

Christopher David Petersen (1963 – 20??). Born and raised in Connecticut. As a child, I was always daring and reckless. Never one to let common sense stand in the way of a great adventure, my bold feats of stupidity were legendary… Huckleberry Finn would have been proud.

“Surprisingly”, that same spirit carried over into adulthood, as I sought out entertainment that included: scuba diving; ski Mountaineering; mountain biking; Rock, Ice and Mountain climbing; flying planes; golf, motorcycles, the stock market and of course, experimentation with various alcoholic refreshments.

Later in life, writing became an extension of my deep desire to experience “new and exciting worlds”. I have written several books, but none have been published through any formal channels… I’ve heard the process is long, painful and laborious, the thought of which sickens me. My foray into e-publishing came after a friend suggested my works could fetch dollars instead of dust inside my sock drawer… a righteous observation. My recent publications are the result of this advice. Further adventure/suspense novels are soon to be released.

An engineer by trade, I have worked all over the U.S. and usually write in my spare time… that is when I’m not enjoying a bottle of Scotch and a quality cigar. I am a naturally long-winded individual, so writing is what happens when I can’t get anyone to listen to me anymore…

I love all kinds of genres but gravitate more towards suspense. There is nothing like the build up to a great climax… What a rush!

Review by word addicted:

This book surprised me with its grasp of mountain climbing and airplane flight. It also contains a healthy amount of information about various locations in the world. And all of this was woven into a very entertaining, sometimes tense, story. Very well written! The book tells the tale of Jack who wants to climb a mountain that has not been climbed before. Why? Because it’s inaccessible except by plane.

There were points in the story where my body actually tensed and I found myself reading faster to see if Jack would survive. That’s a good book! Although Jack is barely an adult, he builds the type of plane he needs to pursue his dream. Then he takes it on a long solo flight through many countries. Though he has very little money and subsists largely on peanut butter sandwiches, Jack challenges his skills and endurance, pitting himself against a remote snowy mountain. He has a number of close calls that will give the reader tingly worrisome feelings in the pit of the stomach (or bottoms of the feet, if you fear heights).

The author is obviously knowledgeable in the subjects he covers, and he also has a talent for storytelling. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more by this author.

Review by B. Hellekson:

Mr. Petersen wastes no time pretending he’s writing the great American novel. You won’t find lyrical prose in descriptions of scenery or pages full of philosophical musings in his books. He gets right down to the nitty gritty.

In this one a 21-year old Jack builds his own float plane and takes off, with the hubris of youth, and flies from the east coast of USA to Peru, where he sets out to climb the mountain of his dreams – ALONE. This seems to be par for the course for Jack. Being somewhat of a loner myself, I can relate to how, “he reveled in his isolation.” However, even though I get caught up in the action, the excitement and the tension of every moment, I found myself mentally yelling at our hero while he was hanging upsidedown and unconcious, after a fall on/off (?) the mountain: “You stupid idiot! Why are you always doing this alone?”

There is very little interaction with other people, even on the few occasions that he does wind up in civilization. So he talks to himself occasionally. I consider that to be normal because I do it myself.

All in all, it is fast paced because it leaves out all of the normal literary filler and goes straight for the jugular. Tension filled because Jack is smart enough to understand the danger but crazy enough to go for it anyway

I am neither pilot nor mountain climber but with just the right amount of technical details of each explained as he goes along I was able to understand what was happening with a certain amount of clarity.

For those besides myself who care about how much sex and language they expose themselves to, this book had no sex and about two swear words.

The post Authors Showcase: Hidden Courage by Christopher David Peterson appeared first on Venture Galleries.

]]>
http://venturegalleries.com/uncategorized/authors-showcase-hidden-courage-by-christopher-david-peterson/feed/ 0
Tuesday Sampler: Dragons of Blue Water by Jean Lauzier http://venturegalleries.com/blog/tuesday-sampler-dragons-of-blue-water-by-jean-lauzier/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/tuesday-sampler-dragons-of-blue-water-by-jean-lauzier/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 06:35:55 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=67235 In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Venture Galleries has launched a new series featuring writing samples from some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Saturday’s Sampler is an excerpt from Dragons of Blue Water, a... Read more

The post Tuesday Sampler: Dragons of Blue Water by Jean Lauzier appeared first on Venture Galleries.

]]>
BLUE-FINALIST2015

In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Venture Galleries has launched a new series featuring writing samples from some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Saturday’s Sampler is an excerpt from Dragons of Blue Water, a fantasy from Jean Lauzier.

Dragons of Blue Water was a finalist in the East Texas Writers Guild First Chapter Book Awards for Works in Progress.

The First Chapter

Fear swept over the dragon, encircled him, made it hard to breathe.

Jean Lauzier

Jean Lauzier

Bevan DeVeaux shifted in his saddle and studied the woman riding next to him. Something was wrong. She sat stiff, reins clenched in a fist. Her other hand clung to the hilt of her dagger, gripped it so tight her knuckles showed white. She gasped in shallow breaths as if she couldn’t get enough air. He could tell even Mischief knew something bothered her. The horse flicked his ears back and forth, tossed his head, and pulled at the unyielding grip on the reins.

Were her hands beginning to tremble? He glanced to the west and the setting sun. Jade had been laughing and in a good mood when they’d left home. The idea of a honeymoon in Kadir had been hers. Even last night when they’d camped, she’d been relaxed and happy. But as they’d gotten closer to Kadir, something changed. She’d grown quiet, withdrawn, and now… His leg brushed hers as he sidestepped Sol next to her. Terror flashed across her face. Jade flinched, swayed in the saddle. She grabbed a handful of grey mane and regained her balance.

“What’s wrong?” Bevan reached for her hand, but she pulled it away. “Is it your father? He won’t know you’re nearby.”

Jade shook her head. “I’ve never felt this before. It’s like I can’t breathe.”

Bevan captured her hand. Her fingers chilled his. “It’s not much farther to Kadir. We’ll go straight to The Crow’s Nest, get a room, and eat. You just picked at noonmeal.”

She nodded, grasp her dagger again and closed her eyes.

*

Jade focused on her breathing and rhythm of Mischief’s stride as they cantered toward Kadir. Bevan’s leg rested next to hers, grounding her to the present. Panic welled up inside, threatened to overwhelm her. Jade fought back and managed to hold it off. But where had the fear come from? Yes, her father lived near Kadir but Fioon said he had remained at his keep since he’d returned a tenday ago. Plus, Fioon believed he had given up his quest to reclaim Jade as his heir. Another wave of panic, stronger than the last, rushed over her, surrounded her, refused to let go. She sucked in a breath as the fear pulled her into darkness.

Someone called her name, the voice distant and unclear. It grew louder, closer, until she recognized it. Bevan. She opened her eyes. They’d made it to Kadir and had halted in front of The Crow’s Nest. Bevan stood beside her, his hand on her knee as she sat astride Mischief. Jade surveyed the street. Families strolled along the boardwalk from store to store and laughter came from a bar down the way. Nearby a fisherman bragged about the size of his latest catch. There was no threat yet panic still held her in its grip.

“Come, let’s go inside.” Bevan unfastened her pack and swung it over his shoulder where it joined his.

Jade nodded and slid out of the saddle. Her knees buckled as she landed. Bevan caught her before she fell, put an arm around her and guided her through a swinging door. Tables were scattered around the dimly lit room and along the right wall sat a long wooden bar. Behind the bar stood a tall, thin man wearing a bartender’s apron. He glanced up as they walked through the door then grinned.

“By all that’s holy. Bevan, my friend. What brings you to The Crow’s Nest?”

“We need a room, a quiet one if possible. And evenmeal, but a room first.” Bevan pulled her closer.

“Aye, that I have. Come, I’ll show you.”

Jade let herself be led up the stairs. They halted outside a wooden door.

Trask stepped aside and waved them in. “The main room is small, but the sleeping area has two beds and room for another. I think ye be good here.”

Bevan steered her across a worn rug to the fireplace and settled her in a chair then turned to the barkeep.

“Thank you, this will do fine. Could you bring a pitcher of warm Marrow Root and something for evenmeal?”

“Aye, anything thing else ye be needing?”

“Our horses are out front, a grey stallion and Sol. They need tending.”

“I’ll make sure they be taken care of.”

Bevan closed the door after the barkeep left and knelt beside her. “What can I do?”

“I don’t know.” She unfastened her dagger; let it slide to the floor. “I think I’d need to lay down.”

Bevan carried her into the adjoining room and laid her on the bed. Sitting on a nearby stool, he brushed his fingers across her cheek. “Rest now. When Trask returns, I’ll bring you something.”

Jade rolled over onto her side, took his hand. “Thank you.” The panic lessened, released its grip on her. “I’m feeling better already.” Knocking came from the other room.

“That must be Trask. I’ll bring evenmeal in here. That way, we won’t have far to go to the bed.”

Jade laughed as he disappeared into the other room. She drew in a deep breath, let it out, then took another. Panic still lurked around the edges of her mind but no longer overwhelmed her. From the other room, she heard murmurs as Bevan and Trask talked. Soon, the door shut and footsteps approached.

Bevan returned carrying a tray with a pitcher and two mugs. He set it on the dresser and handed her a mug. “Warm Marrow Root. Drink this while I go back for our meal.”

Jade sat and took a drink. Its warmth soothed her throat while the mug warmed her hands. Moments later, Bevan returned holding a second tray laden with dishes which he placed next to the first.

“This is good, just what I needed.” She set the mug on the dresser, stood, and slid her arms around Bevan’s waist. “What did Trask bring for evenmeal?”

Bevan kissed her forehead then the tip of her nose. “You had me concerned. I’m glad you are better.” His caressed her cheek, trailed his fingers along the side of her throat, and over the cord that held the dragon’s scale she wore about her neck. He picked up the scale, gazed at it for a second. “You might want to tuck this back in your shirt.”

She nodded and took hold of the scale. Fear swept over her, surrounded her, made it hard to breathe. Her knees buckled as darkness filled her mind.

Jade opened her eyes and gazed up at Bevan. She lay on the bed with him sitting beside her.

He helped her sit and handed her a mug. “Take a drink then tell me how you feel.”

Jade took a sip. How did she feel? The fear had disappeared. “I feel fine, like a weight has been lifted off me. What happened?”

Bevan held out the dragon scale dangling from its cord. “I noticed it before. When you rolled over, it came out of your shirt. I didn’t think anything about it, but that’s when you started to feel better. As soon as you touched it a moment ago, you collapsed. I removed it, and you wakened.”

Jade took the necklace by the cord and held it up. “I always wear it next to my skin. Do you think…?” She took a deep breath, wrapped her fingers around the scale. Fear washed over her. This time she accepted it, let it fill her. It wasn’t her fear, it belonged to another. She reached out with her mind, followed the fear to its source. A dragon. A young one, not much older than the female hatchling she’d left behind with her grandfather.

“You are not alone. Do not be afraid. I will help you.”

The post Tuesday Sampler: Dragons of Blue Water by Jean Lauzier appeared first on Venture Galleries.

]]>
http://venturegalleries.com/blog/tuesday-sampler-dragons-of-blue-water-by-jean-lauzier/feed/ 0
When a story touches someone’s soul. http://venturegalleries.com/blog/when-a-story-touches-someones-soul/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/when-a-story-touches-someones-soul/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 08:00:47 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=67214 ONE OF THE LESSONS a writer learns earlier on is that every story has been told. I don't care how much an author wracks her brain to develop what she believes is a brand new slant on things, a new plot twist, a strange relationship between... Read more

The post When a story touches someone’s soul. appeared first on Venture Galleries.

]]>
book-1

ONE OF THE LESSONS a writer learns earlier on is that every story has been told.

I don’t care how much an author wracks her brain to develop what she believes is a brand new slant on things, a new plot twist, a strange relationship between characters, an exotic setting, a life and death situation, she will inevitably encounter the reader who says, “Oh, yeah.  That’s what happened in Joe Blow versus the Godzilla-like zombie alligator.”

Not to worry.

A novel’s uniqueness, and each is unique, derives from only one thing.

It emanates from the simple principle that each person holds within himself experiences, insights, character flaws and strengths, which belong only to  him.

The older I get, the more I come to understand this  notion, not only as part of the writing process, but as a fundamental aspect of the human race.

We see this uniqueness play out around each day.

Siblings reared by the same parents in the same home, educated in the same schools, born into the same provincial culture, see things as differently as night is from day. Spouses who spend decades with each other deeply in love discover day by day how they view situations through separate lenses, neither possessing the answer, each struggling to gain insight.

The very culture itself shifts and bends, perhaps breaks, as events take it in a new direction.

The plain truth of a book’s uniqueness lies in its ability to scoop up a few slices of life and fling them on a page.  If the author does her job right, her reader will not say, “I never heard of such a thing.” She will say, “That happened to me.”  And when she says it happened to her it won’t be because it happened to her, it will be because it happened to someone and that someone now represented to her in the book will become her companion, her guide, or her enemy.

Uniqueness is not a function of strangeness.  It is a function of familiarity. For it is our common humanity we want to read about, how our neighbor, the person we know so well, managed to overcome sharp odds and maintain his sanity.

Maybe it is simply the story of plain old Joe Blow, not when he encountered a Godzilla toothed Zombie alligator, but when he steeled himself against the bill collectors, kept his head down and built a life for those he loved.

In the hands of an author the experience of every day life sparkles like a rare diamond.

Stephen Woodfin is the author of The Compost Pile.

The-Compost-Pile-cover-KDP-resized-200x300

The post When a story touches someone’s soul. appeared first on Venture Galleries.

]]>
http://venturegalleries.com/blog/when-a-story-touches-someones-soul/feed/ 3
Writing is all about those outlandish little details. http://venturegalleries.com/blog/writing-is-all-about-those-outlandish-little-details/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/writing-is-all-about-those-outlandish-little-details/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 07:40:11 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=67219 Some parts of the vast Atacama Desert in Chili have never been touched with rain. WHAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE in writing? It's not a secret. It’s details. Sure, research is important whether you are writing fiction or... Read more

The post Writing is all about those outlandish little details. appeared first on Venture Galleries.

]]>
Some parts of the vast Atacama Desert in Chili have never been touched with rain.

Some parts of the vast Atacama Desert in Chili have never been touched with rain.

WHAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE in writing?

It’s not a secret.

It’s details.

Sure, research is important whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction.

Sure, historical accuracy is invaluable.

So are place.

And time.

But when writers sit down to begin work on their next novels, they need to arm themselves with a few little throw-away lines of hard, cold facts in order to give their imagination the credibility it deserves to have.

These odd little details may not have anything to do with the plot.

But they bring life to story.

They provide insight into a character.

Writing about a pilot? He may mention that a Boeing 747’s wingspan is longer than the total distance of the Wright Brothers’ first flight.

Writing about a coroner? He or she, in conversation, may let the reader know that humans and Koalas are the only mammals that have fingerprints. Perhaps the Corner lets it be known that an eyeball only weighs one ounce or a body has generally somewhere between two million and three million sweat glands.

When writing about locations, you might want to tell your readers that rain has never been recorded in some parts of the Atacama Desert in Chili, The Statue of Liberty’s index finger is eight feet long, or 250 people have fallen off the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and a few of them were probably pushed.

Readers like to learn something new. They prefer to read about the unusual.

Here are some little details that could come in handy while you are amusing and amazing your readers.

*The tip of a bullwhip moves so fast that the sound it makes is actually a tiny sonic boom.

*Kangaroos can’t walk backwards.

*Mosquitoes are attracted to the color blue than any other color.

*There are as many chickens on earth as there are humans.

*Former President Bill Clinton only sent two emails during his entire eight-years in office.

*The world’s largess Montessori school is in India. It has 26,132 students.

*An octopus has three hearts.

*The average person spends two weeks of his life waiting for a traffic light to change.

*if a person sleeps the recommended eight hours each night, he or she – at the age of seventy-five – will have slept twenty-five years.

*There are 200,000,000 insects for every one human.

*A Blue Whale’s tongue weighs more than an elephant.

Such bits of information can become part of the dialogue: “It looks like the bullet removed the right eyeball,” the coroner said. “Other than his sight, he didn’t lose much. The eyeball only weighs an ounce.

They can become part of the hero’s internal conversations with himself: It wasn’t surprising to find him lying at the base of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. He’s only one of the two hundred and fifty people to take a fall from the top of the landmark. I don’t know whether he jumped or fell. But I knew it wasn’t an accident.

Or: There were fingerprints all over the desk beside her body. Only two creatures leave their fingerprints behind: a human and a Koala. These didn’t belong to a bear.

Or: The day was as hot as August. It was August, the twenty-fourth to be exact. The ground had cracked beneath my feet. The trees were dying. The lady’s lips were parched and cracked when she tried to smile. I guess it could have been worse. I could have been walking a beat on the Atacama Desert in Chili. They tell me it’s never been touched with rain.

Inconsequential?

Perhaps.

Unnecessary to the plot?

Probably.

But such scraps of information do add a little life to the story. Armed with off-the-wall facts, characters can be as literary, as professorial, as intellectual, or as bizarre as you want them to be.

The character suddenly becomes somebody the reader wants to know more about.

Who is he? They ask themselves.

And what outlandish things will he say next?

Caleb Pirtle III is the author of The Golgotha Connection.

Golgotha-New-2

 

 

The post Writing is all about those outlandish little details. appeared first on Venture Galleries.

]]>
http://venturegalleries.com/blog/writing-is-all-about-those-outlandish-little-details/feed/ 8
What mysteries lie within the Bermuda Triangle? http://venturegalleries.com/blog/what-mysteries-lie-within-the-bermuda-triangle/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/what-mysteries-lie-within-the-bermuda-triangle/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 06:50:59 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=67207   The Lost Squadron of Flight 19, missing in the Bermuda Triangle. “THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE—now there’s one for you, Jim,” Gaylord threw out the subject to his friend as they sat eating Monster Burgers and onion rings at their... Read more

The post What mysteries lie within the Bermuda Triangle? appeared first on Venture Galleries.

]]>
 

The Lost Squadron of Flight 19, missing in the Bermuda Triangle.

The Lost Squadron of Flight 19, missing in the Bermuda Triangle.

“THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE—now there’s one for you, Jim,” Gaylord threw out the subject to his friend as they sat eating Monster Burgers and onion rings at their favorite eatery.

“That is such a hackneyed old idea, I had almost forgotten about it,” Jim responded. “A triangle in the ocean where all kinds of things vanish.”

“Yes, it seems kind of silly, now, doesn’t it? I must admit that I was very intrigued by it at one time, though. I was one of the first in line to buy the book by Charles Berlitz when I was in my mid-twenties. The grandson of the language expert wrote a detailed book about the mysteries of the triangle, published in 1974. It was really a good book—I still have it and when I was that age, I found these unsolved mysteries more believable.”

“That grandson was a language expert, too, as I recall, and, well, I believed them too. In all of these years, a few of the vanishings have been disproved, but many of them still remain rather nagging unsolved mysteries. What is your favorite incident from the book, Gaylord?”

“Oh it would have to be the disappearance of Flight 19,” Gaylord answered.

“Is that the American bombers?”

“Yes, that’s the one. The chilling drama began at about 2:10 pm on December 5, 1945. Five Avenger torpedo bombers left Fort Lauderdale, Florida to make a practice simulated bombing run. It was led by flight instructor, Lieutenant Charles G. Taylor and there were thirteen total crewmen in the five planes. Things started going haywire at about 3:40 pm. A message between Taylor and one of his men was intercepted by Lieutenant Robert Cox. Cox was airborne over Ft. Lauderdale on another military exercise. Cox broke into the conversation, made contact and asked Taylor what the trouble was. Taylor replied that his compasses were out and that they could not find Ft. Lauderdale. Cox kept Taylor on the radio off and on for over forty-five minutes. He told Taylor to look to the sun and orient himself that way. Taylor indicated he was not able to locate the sun. At some point he determined the planes only had about ten more gallons of fuel and they intended to try to fly west or run out of fuel trying to find a landing spot. Then the radio of Lieutenant Cox went dead.”

Navy Avengers similar to those that vanished without a trace  in the  Bermuda Triangle.

Navy Avengers similar to those that vanished without a trace in the Bermuda Triangle.

“It is very chilling to say the least. Experienced airmen can’t find the sun? The compasses go out? I assume they would have to have gone out on all the planes. Radios go dead? It does seem like all involved were being overtaken by unseen and unknown forces,” Jim agreed.

“And here’s the thing. If something crashes, there is usually a smoke plume, an oil slick on the water, but there were five planes and nothing like that was ever seen or recorded. It is like they vanished into thin air.”

“Didn’t they send up some more planes to investigate? I think something happened to one of those planes.” Jim asked the question, but he thought he knew the answer.

“Yes. When a ground station at Port Everglades, confirmed the strange communication Cox had with Taylor, a search was ordered. Two planes went up to scour the sea. One was a Mariner flying boat with a crew of thirteen. Contact was lost with it and it was never seen again. No wreckage was spotted of the Mariner, either. Some thought that it had exploded. It had sent one normal message, then, it just disappeared,” Gaylord confirmed.

“It is spooky. There were six planes in all that disappeared without a trace—twenty seven men, never seen again—and they were military, with military support nearby, and special equipment fairly close. It is quite the mystery.”

“There was a fellow in 1970 that is convinced he disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle and was somehow able to make an escape. It was December 4, and Bruce Gernon and his co-pilot were headed for Palm Beach from the Bahamas in a Beechcraft Bonanza. The pilots came upon a strange cigar-shaped cloud. They tried to avoid the cloud, but it came up and enveloped the plane. Inside, the cloud was rotating around them. It was like they were inside a tunnel. Gernon tried to guide the plane to a tiny opening on the other side of the tunnel. They felt themselves becoming weightless, the plane accelerated without their assistance. The plane’s compass began to rotate, counter clockwise, the other dials went haywire and they lost radar contact. When the aircraft was able to exit the tunnel they were not in the blue sky they had seen through the opening, but in a greenish haze. Gernon spotted an island and was convinced it was one of the Bimini Keys, but it turned out to be Miami Beach instead. This was impossible. A fight that takes 75 minutes had only taken 45. They had not used up the normal amount of fuel required for the flight. They had twelve extra gallons when they landed.”

“Wow!” Jim exclaimed. “I had never heard of that mysterious tale.”

“Bruce Gernon gave a few interviews over the years and he is convinced he and his copilot survived a time warp caused by the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle.”

“Ooooo! If I wasn’t so busy eating these onion rings, I might sing, ‘Let’s Do the Time Warp, Now,’ Gaylord. It is pretty tempting.”

“That’s quite all right!”

Sara Marie Hogg is the author of The Scavenger’s Song.18469464

The post What mysteries lie within the Bermuda Triangle? appeared first on Venture Galleries.

]]>
http://venturegalleries.com/blog/what-mysteries-lie-within-the-bermuda-triangle/feed/ 2
Authors Showcase: Virginia’s Diary by Suzanne Peyton http://venturegalleries.com/blog/authors-showcase-virginias-diary-by-suzanne-peyton/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/authors-showcase-virginias-diary-by-suzanne-peyton/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 06:40:17 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=67198 The Book: Virginia's Diary The Author: Suzanne Peyton The Publisher: White Bird The Story: What would you do if you went to bed tonight and had a dream that changed your life and your family's history forever? January 3, 1958 — An... Read more

The post Authors Showcase: Virginia’s Diary by Suzanne Peyton appeared first on Venture Galleries.

]]>
FINAL COVER copy

The Book: Virginia’s Diary

The Author: Suzanne Peyton

The Publisher: White Bird

The Story: What would you do if you went to bed tonight and had a dream that changed your life and your family’s history forever?

January 3, 1958 — An old woman, who had been wrongly committed into a mental hospital, took her own life. I found out later that woman was my great-grandmother, Virginia Avery.

January 3, 1999 — I had a dream that causes me to challenge every story my mother was ever told about Virginia, who supposedly abandoned her children in 1904.

As the lies began to unravel, my journey led me to New Orleans, and what I found, rocked me to my core.

About Suzanne Peyton:

Suzanne Peyton

Suzanne Peyton

Suzanne Peyton was raised in East Texas and has loved the written word from an early age. She spent many years in the accounting field before having the dream that allowed her to tell her story. She gives God all the glory for opening the doors for her to not only tell this story in book form, but to also have the opportunity to bring this amazing story to the big screen.

She is the mother of three grown children and grandmother of five. She makes her home in Shreveport, Louisiana, where she is currently working on her next book.

Review by Sharon Candler:

This is a true story that is written in such detail that you immediately feel as if you are watching the story evolve in person!! I promise this book will hold your attention from the start to the finish!!!

You can feel the tension when the author is talking about her current circumstance. You can experience the excitement as she uncovers the past story of her Great Grandmother who she never met!

Review by Kristie Morgan:

Speechless…..Aunt Suzanne I am very proud of you. We are a family of strong willed women. The book is GREAT. I can’t wait to see the movie. I am very lucky that I was able to put a mental picture in my head as I read of the real women on this journey.

I was born in Texas and was moved to Louisiana at a very young age. What a coincidence that I am only 1 hour away from NOLA. I was able to take the journey to Lafayette Cemetery and the childhood home of Virginias.

Thank you for bringing the story of my great great grandmother into my life. The love of books and writing runs in the family….. A MUST READ FOR THOSE SEEKING FAITH, LOVE, AND FAMILY…

Review by B. Holder:

Suzanne’s quiet life turns to chaos, after cries from beyond the grave invade her dreams, begging for truth to be revealed. Her search for the truth leads to a part of her family’s past she’d never known existed.

What she uncovers  in Virginia’s diary is a haunting tale of pain, death, love, hate, betrayal,  and self-loathing, that death could not silence. It’s about beauty and power of life, every minute of it, and how little we appreciate it until it’s too late.

In the words of Mark Twain ~ “Truth is stranger than fiction, because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”

 

The post Authors Showcase: Virginia’s Diary by Suzanne Peyton appeared first on Venture Galleries.

]]>
http://venturegalleries.com/blog/authors-showcase-virginias-diary-by-suzanne-peyton/feed/ 0
Monday Sampler: A Year Without Killing by FCEtier http://venturegalleries.com/blog/monday-sampler-a-year-without-killing-by-fcetier/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/monday-sampler-a-year-without-killing-by-fcetier/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 06:35:29 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=67205   In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Venture Galleries has launched a new series featuring writing samples from some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Saturday’s Sampler is an excerpt from A Year Without... Read more

The post Monday Sampler: A Year Without Killing by FCEtier appeared first on Venture Galleries.

]]>
 

BLUE-FINALIST2015

In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Venture Galleries has launched a new series featuring writing samples from some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Saturday’s Sampler is an excerpt from A Year Without Killing, a thriller by FCEtier.

A Year Without Killing was a finalist in the East Texas Writers Guild First Chapter Book Awards for Works in Progress.

The First Chapter

FCEtier

FCEtier

Claudia Barry owned Manhattan’s West 33rd Street.

She stayed close to the buildings, away from the crowds, aware of every face. Every movement got her attention. It was an old habit and hard to break. It had kept her alive. She took deliberate strides toward 8th Street.

The drizzle had stopped, the skies were still overcast, and the sidewalk wet. It would have been impossible for her to miss the action fifty feet ahead of her.

An African-American woman who appeared to be in her late sixties stepped onto the sidewalk and headed towards Claudia. The woman needed a cane to keep her balance. Her body rocked from side to side like the wand on a metronome. A built-up shoe compensated for a short leg. Every step required extra effort. That woman’s about my age, Claudia thought.

Then it happened.

A tall, skinny, male Goth stepped in front of the black woman. He grabbed the strap on her purse and jerked it from her grasp. His next decision was one of the worst of his life. He ran right into the path of a semi-retired assassin with a sense of justice.

As the mugger passed, Claudia Barry moved her five-foot-five medium-built frame into his path and delivered a forearm that would make NFL legend, Anthony Munoz, proud. The Goth surprised her. He bounced off, continued down the sidewalk, and disappeared into an alley. He won’t get away so easy. She stepped out of her heels and gave chase. He’s no match for my aerobic endurance.

He collapsed behind a dumpster and complained out loud, “Fuck! I’m too damned out of shape. Bitch thought she would be a fuckin’ hero. Guess I showed her.” He opened the purse and began to toss the contents off to his side. “Not much in here. Done better many times. Ain’t enough for a decent fix.” He put his hand onto the pavement to stand and it touched a stocking-covered foot. He raised his head and made eye contact with Claudia, “Where the hell did you come from?”

Their eyes met and she held him motionless in her concentrated gaze.

Her dark brown eyes dared him to move.

“I’ve been here all along. And I’ll never leave you.” While she spoke, she produced a tactical switchblade. In the blink of an eye, the blade sprang from the front of the handle and

removed a button from his shirt with a quick, precise flick of the attacker’s wrist.

He bowed his head and looked down at his chest.

His heart pounded.

He felt it in his ears.

He gasped and couldn’t breathe as she continued.

A second button fell to the ground, then a third.

“Oh my god, what do you want?”

He looked back up at her malevolent expression and pleaded, “Oh god! Don’t kill me, please!”

Sweat covered his forehead and top lip. He couldn’t keep his hands still.

He bent double, convulsed, and endured several dry heaves.

The attacker allowed her victim to scramble to his hands and knees.

He was able to breathe after a few seconds.

Then he felt the knife blade under his chin. It forced his head up and the two made eye contact. The woman terror spoke again, “Put everything back into the purse and then grab your ankles.”

He tried to answer but couldn’t speak.

His sweat-covered hands trembled.

After several futile attempts, he managed to replace the contents of the woman’s handbag, change purse, keys, checkbook, photos and a Vicks inhaler. He sat on his knees, grabbed his ankles, and looked up.

Claudia Barry frowned and grabbed a handful of his hair with her left hand. Her right hand guided the knife blade to the left corner of his mouth.

“If you ever think I’m not around, just look over your shoulder. I’ll be there. You may not recognize me, but I’ll be there, always on the watch. I’ll recognize you because you won’t have a lower lip.” The blade penetrated his lip until it reached the gums of his lower jaw. A quick wave across his chin and the Goth purse snatcher had no bottom lip. He passed out. She wiped the blade on his shirt and removed most of the blood. I’ll clean this better later.

Claudia’s rapid steps had her back at the sidewalk in seconds. She looked both ways in hopes the woman was still within eyesight. The victim was gone, but a street vendor handed the impromptu vigilante her shoes and a hot dog. “I see you got the purse back. Nice job, Lady.”

“Thanks. I don’t suppose there’s any chance you know her…”

“Don’t know her name, but she’s one of my regular customers. Does domestic work around here somewheres.”

“Her address is in her purse, I want to return it.”

“Can’t help you there. You got one of them gadgets on yer phone?”

“GPS, yes. I’ll find her. How much for the hot dog?”

“On the house, Lady. Enjoy it.”

As she turned to leave he said, “Oh, one question if you don’t mind.”

Claudia turned back and faced him, “Go ahead.”

“You really put a move on that kid. I’m impressed. Would you mind, ah, I’m forty-nine and…”

“I’m a baby boomer. Do the math.”

She smiled, winked, and left with the hot dog. She looked at her wristwatch, I’d better hurry or I’ll be late to meet Mr. Debert.

She had parked her car at One Penn Plaza and now focused on her rendezvous with her mentor/muse and father figure. The poise and demeanor of her gait exuded confidence. As she approached others on the sidewalk from behind, they seemed to sense her

presence and stepped aside. She was one of only a few people who had earned a master’s degree in group dynamics and her skills had become an important part of who she was.

Less than two minutes later, she entered the Tir Na Nog restaurant on 7th Street and said to the hostess, “I’m here to meet a tall gentleman for lunch. He’s a little on the thin side and wears wire-rimmed glasses.”

“He hasn’t come in yet, would you like to wait?”

“No thanks, I’ll go ahead and get a table.”

“Right this way; would you like a window seat so you can watch for him?”

“No, a table in the back, please. We’d like a bit of privacy if possible.”

“No problem. I’ll bring him back here when he arrives.”

She was on her second vodka/cran when she noticed movement towards her table. Her guest had arrived. His six-foot-seven frame towered over her. He looks much older than when I saw him last October. The lines on his face could have been those acquired from experience, thought, and stress, rather than age-related. They were deeper than she remembered. His hair was combed straight back with no part as usual, and he wore his

trademark wire-rimmed glasses. The frames reminded her of those she had seen in photos of men from the 1940s. The face reminded her of veterans from World War II. The nose, eyes, chin, jaw, and cheeks were proportioned like God’s architectural prototype for man. His lips seemed a bit too thin, but his smile brought her a sense of calm and a reassurance of safety, as it always had.

She leaned forward to push her chair back and stand to greet him.

He waved it off, “Keep your seat. You look so comfortable, Claudia, the epitome of self confidence and bliss. Your smile is radiant.”

“Am I smiling? It must be because I did a good deed today.”

Debert nodded understanding, and returned the smile.

The post Monday Sampler: A Year Without Killing by FCEtier appeared first on Venture Galleries.

]]>
http://venturegalleries.com/blog/monday-sampler-a-year-without-killing-by-fcetier/feed/ 1