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Book Two of the Superstars Trilogy, Vasallus: An Excerpt #9

no sleep

The terror felt by Sam on the revelation of Patrick by his son, Seb:

Sam followed his son into his bedroom, closed the door behind him, leaned against the door frame and waited for his son to talk. He watched as Seb, dressed in sweats and his Clippers basketball shirt, his black curly hair impossible to mess up at the length he always kept it, looked up at him and said: “Dad, I don’t think you need to worry about Patrick waking up.”
Sounding a little confused, he replied: “Why’s that son? Of course I would worry about waking Patrick up just like I would be careful not to wake you up if I knew you might be asleep.”
“What I meant Dad is that I don’t think Patrick ever sleeps. Remember when you dropped me off at school and I tried to tell you? He never slept in all the years growing up when we would have sleep overs as kids at each other’s houses. Now that we’re older and don’t do the sleep over thing anymore, I have been listening to see if he falls asleep since he’s been staying with us and he doesn’t Dad.”
“How could you possibly know if he never sleeps son? I’m sure he has trouble falling asleep like a lot of people and especially now, with the death of his mother, he might find it hard to nod off, but he has to sleep at some point Seb. Otherwise, he couldn’t function and you know as well as I do that it’s impossible for the body not to fall asleep.”
“I get that Dad, but trust me on this okay? Since we were kids, he has always told me he never, ever sleeps and never has. That is why I was always so exhausted as a kid when we would do the sleepover thing, because he would keep me up all night with him. Since he has lived with us, I hear him all night, either singing or beating his drum sticks on the bed frame, dresser, closet door or whatever else he finds in the room that will make a sound.”
“Are you sure Son? I mean, I’ve never heard him. Making that kind of racket at night, your mother or I would hear that. He’s just down the hall.”
“No, he waits until you are asleep. I don’t know how he knows you are asleep because he doesn’t leave his room to check on you, but he knows because he has never woken you or Mom has he?”
“I guess not, but why doesn’t he wait till you are asleep?”
“He doesn’t care if I hear him. I think he wants me to hear him.”

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Word Count – Is there a limit a new author should not exceed?


I have been criticized in the past that my books were to large, especially for an unknown author. I hate hearing that even though the critics are right. Novels exceeding 70,000 to 90,000 words in length are more difficult to attract a publishing deal. Each of the three books of the Superstars Trilogy exceed 165,000 words. Way too large to appeal to a publisher. What can one do when the story is so big it takes over 500,000 words to tell it? You can do what I did and write the length I needed to tell the story and give this incredible epic the space it needed or trim it down to make it marketable. I chose to tell the story. All of it.

I’m still looking for that publishing deal.

Book Two of the Superstars Trilogy, Vasallus: An Excerpt #8


Robert Best convincing Avery to manage the career of emerging superstar Juan Jimenez:

“Quite simply, Avery, I know you’re busy and I know you don’t like me so if I can sell you on Juan and his potential, you will look past all the other stuff and do it. You’re the best, Avery, I’m not going to lie. There isn’t anyone any better in the industry and Juan needs the best. His career is going to be that big. That’s the catch. So come on what do you say? Can we be partners?”
“I want full creative control Best.”
“You got it Avery. All I’m asking for is the final say on the production cuts and for Blackstar to be listed as a contributing producer.”
“No, I won’t agree to that. No one gets the final say on the final cuts but me. I want full creative control and that includes from A – Z. I will decide when the album will be released, when and where he tours, merchandise control, everything Robert or you can find someone else.”
Best clenched his teeth, relaying to Avery that he was pissed. Then he looked at him for a few seconds without saying a word, then broke into a smile and reached his hand over the table to shake his and said, “You got a deal Mr. Johnson. You ask a lot but I expect a lot in return so let’s make this happen, shall we? I will have my lawyers draft up the contract within forty- eight hours and it will be couriered to your office for your signature. You will find the financial numbers very generous Avery. I am not interested in doing this necessarily for the money so that will not hold up the deal, I promise you.”

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Manuscript Outline – A Must Have Book Writing Tool Part 2


Earlier I talked about the importance of creating an outline to use as your guide or blueprint in constructing your manuscript. In this post I want to talk specifically what I do when create my outline. First of all I sit down and spend approx half a day creating my outline for my new book. Amazingly one can basically put together the entire book, chapter by chapter of a 150,000 word manuscript in just one half day! I already have a good idea of how I want to start and end the book or maybe I don’t. I just begin by taking an hour or two brainstorming the book through and eventually I settle on the opening chapter. I then take the story from there with an end goal in mind. I decide up front how long I would like the book to be (chapters) and the minimum word count for each chapter. I furiously jot down a couple of sentences for each of the chapters allowing myself to feel the story and see it progress in my mind chapter to chapter. Before long, bam, I have typed out the blueprint to a manuscript of 45 chapters!

When I begin to write these chapters I use this outline as a guide and I keep myself fluid and flexible enough to allow the story to move in other directions other than what I originally mapped out. I have found that at the end of the book I have followed the outline fairly closely. It’s incredible what half of a day of focused thought can create!

Book Two of the Superstars Trilogy, Vasallus: An Excerpt #7


The discovery that her teenage son is a demonic killer, Chelsea Benning struggles with the realization.

Chelsea opened the door to Patrick’s room and entered, calling out his name as she did so in case he was just sleeping on the chair on the other side of his room, “Patrick, are you here baby? Just wondering where you are as you didn’t answer when I knocked on your door.”

She was about to turn and leave when she noticed something on the far side of his bedroom on the wall. Curious, she walked over and was mortified to see dozens of black pencil sketches of mutilated bodies, grotesque images of limbs torn off bodies with blood spilling and splattered everywhere. She was completely taken aback: “Did Patrick draw these? He must have, but why?” These drawings were so dark and evil looking that it scared her to her soul that Patrick was capable of drawing something so horrible. There was a theme to every drawing. They all had an evil looking face with a pair of bright red eyes depicted on them. “What did that mean?”

Then it hit Chelsea like a tidal wave. It was the eyes. The beast. “Oh my God”, she thought. Dropping to her knees, she buried her head between her legs and sobbed. The nightmare of the attacks fifteen years ago had returned. Her biggest fear was that Patrick would somehow know his origins. Now it was a reality. He knew. “He was drawing the red burning eyes because he knew!” She thought she would be sick so she stood up and bolted out of the bedroom into the bathroom where she emptied her stomach. She finally got a hold of herself and stood up and looked at herself in the mirror, thinking she would see the beast standing behind her, ready to thrust a claw through the back of her skull. She splashed cold water on her face, washed her hands and returned to Patrick’s bedroom. She sat on the corner of his bed gripping the bed post fearing her shaking would plop her off the bed and onto the floor. The drawings were so demonic looking and evil. “What was going through his head when he was drawing those images? How much does he know about himself? Has the beast visited him and shared his evil beginnings?”

Too many questions floated through her head in quick succession. Then she saw it and the sight of it sent her falling to the floor, fainting from the reality of what her son was.

Purchase Vasallus, the paperback, Book Two of the Superstars Trilogy here:

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Manuscript Outline – A Must Have Book Writing Tool


I have written and published three books to date. I cannot imagine how I would have been able to write these books without completing an outline first. The outline becomes my compass, a ‘plan of action’ sort of speak that keeps me focused on writing the chapter and not worrying about the overall story. When I write I have a plan. I know how many words per chapter I want to write or a minimum. I know how many chapters I am going to write to complete the book. I know this because I took the time to complete an ‘outline’. This does not mean that the outline cannot be changed mid-stream or flexible enough to tweak along the way. The biggest advantage by using an outline is I know the entire story has been mapped and I can go ahead and write each of the chapters in my outline. I don’t worry how the story will end or how I will get to the end. I already thought that through before I started writing the story in the first place!

It works for me, maybe it will work for you! Stay tuned for a future post on exactly how I construct an outline!

The First Snowfall of the Year – Really?

Calgary Snowfall

September 9 and my city was hit with the first snowfall of the year – yuk! What is the rush? Halloween is when the threat of the year’s first snowfall normally takes place. September 9th, come on! The weather dropped as the rain turned to snow, forcing a mad scramble to find a heavier jacket to wear. The snow was full of water (gotcha) making it very heavy that took down trees and power lines. My wife needed to knock the heavy snow off the gazebo before it collapsed.

One thing it has done is triggered my brain that its the time of the year where we spend more time indoors because of the cold. It also reminded me that I declared back in the summer that work would begin in earnest in September of my new book, Under The Sea.

Can’t wait to get writing!

Book Two of the Superstars Trilogy, Vasallus: An Excerpt #6

Las Vegas
A piece of the press conference outlining the now fifteen year old Elizabeth Leroux’s incredible opportunity in Las Vegas:

A giant screen behind the head table rose towards the ceiling and stopped when the full twenty feet of its height was in place above the heads of everyone at the table. The lights dimmed and the video began. The narrator described a beautiful world, untouched by the spoils of society, tucked away in a secret place on earth. Its inhabitants were perfect in every way, both physically and intelligently. They had existed for centuries. They kept their world hidden from society by using a series of gigantic mirrors, thousands of them that surrounded their massive compound that was the size of a small country, by automatically shifting and turning to reflect a vast forest of wasteland to anyone or anything that encroached either by land or air. The hundreds of thousands of mirrors, camouflaged to reflect the surroundings, were controlled automatically by a central computer system. The mirror system was created by advanced technology in the last century, as society threatened their discovery.

Alexis, the central character played by Elizabeth, longed to explore the world outside of the mirrors. No one from her world had ever been outside of the mirrors, so it was only the stories of legends told through the ages that filled their dreams of what it would be like. Alexis possessed the voice of an angel and was soon enslaved by the King and Queen of the Royal Palace, forced to sing to them to soothe their troubled souls every day for the rest of her life. Finally managing to escape the castle with the help of a brave and handsome soldier, exiled from the royal family, she found a way to escape her world through the mirrors. Facing a modern day world, she was not prepared for the danger and chaos. She longed to return to the safety of her world but she could not find her way back. Her world was obliterated by the giant mirrors she could not see.

The incredible video ended, leaving the audience spellbound. They erupted in huge applause and cheers, the room buzzing with the excitement of the incredible new show and its star, Elizabeth Leroux. Guy Laliberte returned to the podium and opened things up to questions. The reporters began shouting trying to get their questions heard, hoping to get a direct quote for their publication or news channel. Steve Ross from the Las Vegas Journal, always having written about Cirque du Soleil in a positive light, was rewarded for that by being given the honor of the first question.

“Guy, I have heard that Panterra is the most expensive show ever produced in Las Vegas and the world, for that matter. With that much on the line, why was the decision made to cast an unknown as the lead character?”

“That is a great question Steve and thank you for asking it. First of all, for the lead character of Alexis, it needed to be someone young and beautiful, smart and very, very talented. I was introduced to Elizabeth through Celine and the first audition was the last. There was no need to audition anyone else. We knew we had someone very special, a major star in the making, when we discovered Elizabeth. She is an experienced and well known musician and singer in her native Canada. Panterra will allow the rest of the world to enjoy this incredibly gifted young lady.”

Questions came fast and furious and Guy handled them with patience, taking his time to answer as many as he possibly could.

“What is Celine’s role in Panterra?”

“She is the technical advisor to the show and to Elizabeth personally.”

“If Panterra fails to gain an audience, will this be the end of big productions in Las Vegas?”

“Panterra will not fail, in fact, we are predicting it will be the most successful show ever in Las Vegas. There will always be big productions in Las Vegas; it is why people come here. To be entertained like nothing they have ever or will ever experience anywhere else. That is the magic of Las Vegas.”

Purchase Vasallus, the paperback, Book Two of the Superstars Trilogy here:

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There should be an agent that finds an agent!

Literary Agent

In a different life I would come back as a agent that finds an agent for an indie author. The amount of time required to present to secure a representative of your work is overwhelming. In a perfect world, there would be query agents who would take my manuscripts, present them in a fantastic query package and do all the dirty work for me. Wouldn’t that be great!

How many of us out there have spent hours and hours sending out queries only to be disappointed days later when the reply comes back…”Thank you for your interest but I apologize to inform you…” Aargh!!

I think another layer in the game of publishing should be the ‘query agent’. Someone who has a sphere of influence in the publishing world and serious contacts with agents and publishers that could refer manuscripts on behalf of an author. Now that I would pay for!

Maybe they already exist? To good to be true? If they do exist maybe someone out there could let me know!

Searching for the Magic Bullet Solution!


I bet the blog posts that get the most attention among authors is the question of whether or not to seek representation through an agent in the hope of securing a book deal the traditional way or going it alone. As an author of three books and working on my fourth I still do not know the answer to this question when new authors looking to publish their books ask me my opinion. My advice is to do lots of research, research and more research. Read blog discussions on this topic until you’re ready to pull your hair out. Ask questions of others who have chosen a certain path and hope that they reply. At some point you need to decide your path if you want your work published and sold.

I have been so consumed in writing that I have not made that decision yet but I have to and soon. The final book in my trilogy, Superstars, will soon be completed as I await my editor to finish. My reason for holding off was to complete the trilogy first and then make that decision. Well now that it’s soon to be finished I will have to make that decision. I have thought allot about it. Either way it is daunting but I am confident in my work and know that I have a great story that people will want to read it’s just a matter of getting busy. Busy self-marketing or busy finding an agent.

Stay tuned for that decision is coming. Soon. I promise.

Purchase Vasallus, the paperback, Book Two of the Superstars Trilogy here:

Purchase the e-book here:

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