Remembering 9/11

9/11 has affected everyone in the world. The biggest impact it had on me was
insight into our world.

When I was working the UAE I showed up on site one day and was kindly welcomed
as a new employee. This was in 2005 and my first overseas job in Oil and Gas.
The HR lead, an older Arab gentlemen, (great guy too), profusely apologized to
me for five minutes on how horrible 9/11 was.

This made me really uncomfortable, but others over there shared the
sentiment. I went to the Middle East thinking that there might be a grudge between my race
and theirs. What I found was a sense that so many people who were foreign to me
wanted unity.

Check out this link here for an excellent post on the Killzone Blog today by
Steve Hooley.

https://killzoneblog.com

Traditional vs. Independent Publishing

I’m having second thoughts about publishing my book independently. Was thinking about trying to go traditional publishing.


What would you do? And why?

The book I have in mind is The Smoke Eater which is about 88,000 words – getting ready for the final polish.

Synopsis

Reid Harris is a firefighter who has seen better times. Still healing from his last act of heroism, the marks of third-degree burn have impacted his emotional and physical wellbeing. With a crippling injury on his right leg, and living with post-traumatic stress, Reid is still desperate to keep working in the only career he ever knew. To keep his life on track, Reid travels to Azurbar, in the Middle East, where he doesn’t have to pass any physical or mental tests.

But on the day Reid travel to the desert, all hell breaks loose. Reid witnesses a shocking event that provides a common taste of what life is going to be like. Threats of violence unleash in a ruthless tirade never seen before in this once peaceful country raising the tensions to their highest levels ever. The terrorists, from the Persian State, don’t see eye to eye with the royal family. Reid’s path will intersect that unknown adversary who is bent on disrupting the Azurbar way of life.

Even though Reid knew he would endure tough times, the mental trauma inside him spikes. He struggles with an Azurbaree national who threatens Reid’s safety, while his alcoholic mentor isn’t coping well with the steady rise terrorism. Reid is stationed in a facility that the terrorist continuously target—BuHasa—one of the biggest oil and gas facilities in the world.

The Smoke Eater is a thrilling novel about adventure, survival and redemption; while exploring foreign Oil and Gas industries that few people know.

Even got a cover

Building the Next Generation of Readers

There was a great blog post today (August 28, 2021) on Building the Next Generation of Readers | Killzoneblog.com

An excellent author, Steve Hooley, wrote about Building the Next Generation of Readers. Mr. Hooley suggests we need to build the next generation of readers out of today’s youth and offers some good points and tips.

Mr. Hooley has also asked his reader today three questions.

 1. What factors encouraged you or made you a reader?

2. What has worked with your children or relatives to create an interest in reading?

3. What suggestions do you have to build the next generation of readers?

I thought I would blog my answers here

1. What factors encouraged you or made you a reader?

There isn’t one factor that made me a reader. I would say that I became an avid a reader when I moved into a profession, and reading was a necessity. I liked books, but not as a favorite pastime in my youth. I have one of those day jobs where I’m stuck in a book, doing research or reading reports for at least six hours a day, minimum. That necessity combined with my creative side led me down to path to be a storyteller.

2. What has worked with your children or relatives to create an interest in reading?

I have three kids. One boy, age nine and twins, which are seven. They all read but not as independent as I would like. However, the most successful things have been talking with their teachers and tutors (we hired one of those to go over reading and writing skills with our kids every week). Those discussions have led me to buy books for the kids based on suggestions that educators know will work. “Dragon Masters” and “Ivy and Bean” are book series that I would have never found on my own. I also find that books written in the last ten years vs. books when I was a kid in the 70’s and 80’s, seem to connect better with today’s youth.

3. What suggestions do you have to build the next generation of readers?

I suggest you don’t force kids to read. It’s all about balance. Think of work-life balance that in your job you should have balanced out your work with your downtime. It’s the same for kids and reading is a stressful thing for those who are beginner readers. It’s hard when a little brain is firing all its nerves to comprehend subject materials that they have yet to experience. Letting kids watch TV or play video games in my opinion is a short-term distraction that allows them the break so they will happily go back and read the books they love.

What do you think? I would love to see your answer. Feel free to comment here or head over to TKZ.

Thank you,

There, their or they’re

Repost (by popular request)

Some people have trouble distinguishing between these three words.

A quick way to remember the difference is to memorize these (very short) sentences:

That’s their house (it belongs to them). They live there (at that place). They’re nice (they are nice).

For the more formal explanations, see below.

Their is the possessive determiner. It means belonging to them.

(Note: to pluralize ‘their’, just add an ‘s’, as in: that is theirs. “Theirs” is a possessive pronoun. No need for an apostrophe.)

There is an adverb with several uses.

1) in, at or to that place or position.

2) on that issue.

3) used in attracting attention to someone or something.

4) (there is/are) used to indicate the fact or existence of something.

They’re is the contraction of ‘they are’.

I hope that helps clear up a little confusion on that issue.

Christine – guest blogger

Please email or go to my website for more information or to book an edit

bespokewriterchristine@gmail.com

bespokewriterchristine.com

Writing Quotes

Getting back into the swing of writing my next WIP after some much needed rest. Thought I would let you all know that I’m still around and getting the finishing touches on The Smoke Eater should be out in a few months.

Until then, here’s a motivational quote to push on.

The Smoke Eater is coming…

With the help of friends and family my new novel is getting close to done. Today I share with you a new synopsis and front cover for my best work yet.

Thank you,

Synopsis – The Smoke Eater

Reid Harris is a firefighter who has seen better times. Still healing from his last act of heroism, the marks of third-degree burn have impacted his emotional and physical wellbeing. With a crippling injury on his right leg, and living with post-traumatic stress, Reid is still desperate to keep working in the only career he ever knew. To keep his life on track, Reid travels to Azurbar, in the Middle East, where he doesn’t have to pass any physical or mental tests.

But on the day Reid travel to the desert, all hell breaks loose. Reid witnesses a shocking event that provides a common taste of what life is going to be like. Threats of violence unleash in a ruthless tirade never seen before in this once peaceful country raising the tensions to their highest levels ever. The terrorists, from the Persian State, don’t see eye to eye with the royal family. Reid’s path will intersect that unknown adversary who is bent on disrupting the Azurbar way of life.

Even though Reid knew he would endure tough times, the mental trauma inside him spikes. He struggles with an Azurbaree national who threatens Reid’s safety, while his alcoholic mentor isn’t coping well with the steady rise terrorism. Reid is stationed in a facility that the terrorist continuously target—BuHasa—one of the biggest oil and gas facilities in the world.

The Smoke Eater is a thrilling novel about adventure, survival and redemption; while exploring foreign Oil and Gas industries that few people know.

Inspiration for the week

My vacation time with the family is almost over; which at my wife’s suggestion I took a break from everything, including my day job and creative writing. I don’t miss the day job but I miss working on my novel(s).

Creative writing hasn’t been a grind for me but it gets intense. I’m one of those who works towards a weekly quota and it’s time to produce again.

Thought I would provide a quote to start the week and hopefully inspire a few of you as well.

Writing Quotes

I was out this weekend for a family event. Had a great time and took a break away from writing. That was strange for me, since I have not taken off more than a two days in a year from producing.

I realized that I’ve been going hard at my writing for a very long. I’m drained and thought I would take a break for a while to enjoy a two week stretch and give my work in progress a breather. I’m also waiting for beta readers to comment on my finished novel which I’m nervous about.

Not writing

It felt wrong to me and somehow necessary all the same.

Then, something interesting happened. James Scott Bell posted yesterday on the TKZ, which you can see that post here; Inspired Every Morning | Killzoneblog.com

Not only is Mr. Bell a talented novelist and writing teaching—he also has taken the time to help inspire his followers. In thanking Mr. Bell for doing that, I didn’t offer a favorite quote of mine, like he asked us to do. Normally if I comment, I do what the contributor in TKZ is asking. Instead, he bantered back. “We all need that little kick in the pants from time to time, Ben. Cheers!”

Strange how someone so far away and online could flip the thinking switch in my head. Not sure Mr. Bell knew I needed a little jolt, but I will safely assume he did not.

As I was driving us back home, I realized that if I straying I needed to do two things.

  1. I’ll allow myself some room to breathe. Yes, my enjoyment of writing has been stressful to produce over 2021. Not good.
  2. I’ve kept up a healthy quota and tracked my progress. I have written almost 200,000 words in 2021 which includes my second drafts for my work. That is two novels worth of work.

BTW, I have too many favorite quotes. I use a new one each day as a post on my social media. But the one that would apply right now is the above which I might post up on the wall in front of me. The words should always be simple and natural, which is how I want to be remembered.  

Oh, plot hole, oh thud!!!

I came across a major issue with my current work in progress (WIP). I have a major plot issue. Some would call it a plot hole. In my second book of the Reid Harris series, I need to have this guy transform in a major way. I like to describe Mr. Harris as a bit of an anti-hero, however, Mr. Harris needs to grow up!

The idea I have for this book (currently called The Expatriate) is full of life-changing events for Reid. I don’t want to spoil anything, but my main character is going to have to grow a pair of balls or die.

What is a plot hole?

Wikipedia has a general definition, “plot hole or plot error is a gap or inconsistency in a storyline that goes against the flow of logic established by the story’s plot.”

Here’s the problem.

Reid Harris is about to do rather amazing, taking into regard he has some nasty mental issues. I’m imagining major change for him by the book’s end to explore his psyche in future works. But he can’t, if he has PTSD? Well, he needs to overcome and adapt. That’s the plot hole, he cannot transform unless he’s willing to change or showing that willing to look inside himself. Since this transformation could be radical, it puts Reid on a hero’s journey.

Reid doesn’t want to be the hero, but he goes away with the antagonist. He’s going to sacrifice himself in order to pet the dog.

Just so you know, when a protagonist goes and “pets the dog” they are potentially putting themselves at risk to help other. The pet the dog scene has major intention and is a way to show your main character’s humanity.

I have followed James Scott Bell’s superstructure formula. It applies to almost everything I do. Except this issue I’m having today.

I need to switch up the structure a bit and work on Reid’s hero elements. (Oh, how I hate the hero’s journey).

I’m pulling a few old tricks from my learnings. I hope this works but I hate relying on the hero’s journey which puts a story at risk of being redundant. In my experience I get something more unique following superstructure. However, I need my hero to journey back home with something to show for his deeds to make the story have a logical conclusion.

That end point is called the Rebirth on the hero track. Reid is potentially going through something similar to rebirth, which his supporting characters are anew after coming out in the end.

I also have another problem with this WIP. I’ve been writing a POV character that is a shapeshifter and failed to realize it. In “The Hero with a Thousand Faces (first published in 1949)” by Joseph Campbell – defined the Shapeshifter as someone who blurs the line between ally and enemy.

I’ve heard the quote from several authors and writing coaches before—Pablo Picasso said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” I think I’m breaking or mashing up my rules for necessity—let’s just hope it looks like a pretty work of art in the end.

Fingers crossed and butt cheeks clenched for the next twenty to thirty days to get my last act done for the first draft.

Here’s another Picasso quote, one of my favs.

Goodnight