Monthly Archives: November 2013

Do Movies Inspire You?

I am an admitted movie junkie for two reasons. One I look to be inspired first and foremost and secondly I love movie popcorn. It is why I spend the bucks and choose to watch movies in a theater. It is my big real ‘cheat’ of the week. I usually eat two large bags of popcorn in one movie. My treat and combined with an excellent movie, I consider this to be the perfect night out. I have my sweetie beside me, witnessing me shovel handful after handfuls of popcorn into my mouth with 30% of it falling down my chest and onto the floor. Very few movies these days inspire me or ‘move me’ like some of the greats of the past. Today’s movies are driven by special effects minus a good story line and its a pity. I like to be entertained with the razzle dazzle of today’s CGI capabilities but I’ll take a great old fashioned story told in the most simplest of ways onscreen any day. How many of you were like me in 1996 that went back to the theater over and over again to see Braveheart. Easily one of the most inspiring movies of all time. Filled with great cinematography, costumes and kick-butt battle scenes, the movie was chock full of great characters. You left the theater feeling inspired at the bravery Mel Gibson’s character portrayed. At least I did.

As a reader don’t you also like to feel inspired and moved when you read a great book? I know I do!

Braveheart

Detective Sam Showenstein – Quest for Answers

The character of Samuel Showenstein, the Jewish Homicide Detective for the LAPD in the Superstars Trilogy, combines a sharp mind and a relentless thirst for the truth, is one of the many memorable characters in the Superstars Trilogy. Unearthing the clues to the evil entity that is unleashing the Hell on earth, he teams up with the courageous Catholic priest, Thomas O’Sullivan in an unlikely tandem to search for the truth that will not only save his family but all of mankind. The story line of the differing faiths of two of the main characters in the epic tale add to the many layers that make-up the story of the trilogy. Surrounded by death and mayhem to his family, collegues and friends, Sam battles the police department’s inability to discover the real truth to the murders and the tangled lines of Judaism and Christianity.

When I developed the character of Sam Showenstein and his wife Bethany along with his son Sebastian I wanted to inject an identity into the main character of Patrick Benning as well as develop another adversary to the Devil. The Showenstein family gives the Patrick Benning character a believable background in his upbringing and relationship with the Showensteins. As Sam uncovers the truth behind the persona of Patrick, he teams up with O’Sullivan to take on the evilness that is wreaking havoc in his life. I hope the readers of the Superstars Trilogy enjoy this character and the important role he brings to the story.

The Mechanics of Writing – Part 1

I have published two full length novels and about to release my third book. I have moved out of the newbie stage of writing and can consider myself an experienced novelist. That will never stop me from reading about and seeking information on how to be a better writer. I know I can be a better writer than I am right now. I am proud of the work I have done but I know I can do better. My first advice to any new writers out there would be to understand this premise: You do not have to have special education to be a writer. Having a degree in English or even in a special field that gives credence to the topic you are writing does not give you an advantage over someone who does not have a degree. It doesn’t matter when it comes to writing fiction. Anyone can write fiction and anyone can write it well. The story is what counts and that comes from you. All the post editing, scrubbing and polishing can be done after and can be handed over to a professional. You can get help with that. Personally I had very little writing experience when I wrote my first 160,000 word manuscript. I did my research, took my lumps and learned from my mistakes to the point I believe I have published very good work. You can do the same.

The point of this post is to help you get over the first challenge in deciding whether or not you want to be a writer. You have a story within you that you want to write. Now what is stopping you?

Christmas Lights – The Yearly Ritual Gets Harder!

Are you like me and embark on the yearly fall ritual between halloween and Christmas and install lights on your house? It has been something I have done every year since I left the nest and established my own abode. I live in chinook country meaning between the snow and cold snaps we get these beautifully warm winds that cause the temperature to soar. It is then I gather my strings of lights, eavestrough clips and scale the ladder to the frost covered ashphalt shingles. Untangling the strings of lights is a challenge especially on a slanted and slippery roof. The window before the temperature plummets is only a few hours. The chinook winds that carry the warm air hide when the afternoon fades and evening approaches so the time to get the lights installed is but a precious few hours. The strings, bound to a stick for the previous twelve months are stiff and come off the stick in a clump. Unfurling the cold wire, bulbs tangling by catching adjacent wires further adding to the frustration is a lesson in patience. I struggle with this part. Once I have the strings stretched to their full potential I take a quick glance down the street from my aerial view and see a few neighbors sneaking a peek at my high altitude Santa Claus rooftop impersonation except I’m not dressed in red and do not wear a big white beard. They dont seem to care they just keep staring. For them its like watching a car accident in the making, waiting for me to plunge to the frozen tundra below so they can go back into their warm homes and tell their friends and family they just seen their neighbor fall to his death.

I shrug it off because, remember, I do this every year so my skin is thickened to the sneers. Now that I have turned 50, crouching on a slanted rooftop, my boot toes hugging the edge of the eavestrough, inches from falling into the abyss I realize that chewing on my frozen kneecaps while I strain to clip the wire on the metal trough is getting infinetly more difficult. After a few strings are up I am feeling much better until I realize that the warm winds are making me sweat inside my coat designed for the regular cold. Knowing I will be drinking gallons of Neo-Citran later that night I trudge along. Soon my fingers become slow and unresponsive. I have ignored my gloves and now my poor hands are angry at me. I quickly don the leather sleeves onto my fingers and silently curse leather and its penchant to stiffen in cold weather.

After a few hours I finish my annual ritual, say a prayer of thanks for keeping me rooftop and not airborne, I make my way down the ladder to complete the mission and flip the switch to admire my hard work. The late afternoon semi darkness is ready to radiate my handi-work for all those nosy neighbors to go back inside their homes and announce that I did it again. I plug in the cord attached to the last link of strings and flip the switch.

I grab the car keys and head to Costco to purchase extra strings to replace the annual bulb burnout.

Ann Lockwood – Superstars Most Memorable Heroine!

Writing the character of Ann Lockwood, mother of Michael Lockwood of Vasallus, was a great experience for me. It is not easy writing a female character and give it full merit that reflects her strength and courage. I hope I have achieved that because she is one of the most important characters in a book series full of characters. Ann is a rich socialite from London, but carries herself with dignity and class. Readers are left wondering if she survived her ordeal in Book One. She not only survives she flourishes in Book Two, showing incredible courage and determination as she fights for the survival of her son, Michael. Her fierce determination to protect her son, against all odds, is a story line that all of us get excited about. Reading the books, readers will gravitate instantly to her bravery and as a writer, I know I have done my job, create characters that readers can identify with and compare to real life people with the same attributes. Do you know an Ann Lockwood in real life? Read the books and get into the characters because they are what drives Superstars. The character of Ann Lockwood will take you on an incredible journey!

Can Writers Paint?

Can a successful fictional writer paint? In the figurative sense, likely not, but he or she better know how to “paint” a scene through words. A great book will allow the reader inside, to feel like they are in the room with the characters of the book. A great writer has the ability to not overwrite a scene where a reader gets bored with the details and tunes out the scene or has moved on. A good writer “paints a scene” that keeps the reader embraced. The reader can envision the surroundings, the mood, the decor, dress and is entranced with what you have created for them. A writer determined to be a good novelist will strive to become very good at that. As a voracious reader myself I enjoy authors who are very good at this very important aspect of writing and one of my favorites is crime writer, Michael Connelly. He is a master of creating a scene that puts you in it, always. I feel like I am watching a movie when I read his books. When I wrote the Superstars Trilogy, I was very conscious of this important element of writing and focused on becoming a very good “scene painter.” One of the ways to do this is building believable and engaging characters. One of the ways not to do this is bog the story and the reader down with to many details of your characters and their surroundings, for example, explaining the look of the room right down to the color and height of the baseboards. Who cares! Unless the baseboards are an integral part of the scene, a forensic specialist pulling finger prints or examining blood splatter on them, then don’t talk about them!

Superstars is full of great and memorable characters both good and bad that will invite you for a ride of a lifetime. I promise!

Inspiration – Where does it come from?

What inspires you? Why do you need to be inspired?

If you’re a writer, inspiration is critical to the creative mindset required to put words onto paper. If you are writing a self-help book, inspiration is likely the reason you are writing that book in the first place. The inspiration to heal oneself through words, to reach out or help someone else based on your experiences. A biography was inspired by the work or actions of another individual that motivated you to write about that person.Where does the inspiration come from to write a novel? In my case, my inspiration did not come from a person or a thing or an event that influenced me in some way. The inspiration to write the Superstars Trilogy was born from an idea. A simple, crazy idea that just popped into my head out of nowhere. There was no inspiration by any outside force to want to write this story. I just wanted to write it! My inspiration was to see if I could take an idea for a story and actually pen it into a full length novel in not one book but three!

What is your inspiration? Do you need one?