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,

Literary Greats

After reading a blog a few weeks ago, the writer mentioned that J. R. R. Tolkien was one of the most influential writers on American Literature. It struck a chord that he was quoting several sources that proved his assumption.

I found this very refreshing. I saw a bunch of books and authors that I knew that lacked something Tolkien did. Tolkien entertained his readers through his works. My hidden assumption is that great literature was both painful to read as it would have been painful to write. (This is just my personal taste on what I have on my bookshelf/kindle).

I really loved that blog. Thinking back on it, if we consider Tolkien as a great literary author, then there’s hope that great literature doesn’t have to feel like a chore when you read it.  I would love to see high school students studying the Lord of Rings in the English class—that might make things better.

Another novel that I saw on the list was To Kill a Mocking Bird. Wow, there’s another little Gem that I love as well.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from a great that talented author.

What great books do you love that also entertain?

Enjoy your day

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.  

Literary books

In relation to this blog, please check out, What if You Were the Main Character | Killzoneblog.com This also expands on my comments on TKZ today.

What deep thinking for a Saturday morning. Nonetheless, I looked at Steve Hooley’s list of great fiction and was surprised how many of books I read or know about. Steve was asking a question in his post, but I feel the book list overshadowed today’s intent. However, Steve did ask, “What if you decided you wanted to write a novel that would join the 50 most influential books ever written?” Oh my gosh – that’s something other people will have to do without me. If I was forced to do it, my brain would crack.

There were two thoughts I immediately had. #1, I’m not setting my writing life on the track to be a great literary figure. #2, A lot of those books bore the hell out of me. There’s also a little gem called “To Kill a Mockingbird,” that was left out and “The Count of Monte Cristo” should’ve been there too. It was kind of sad in a way, the list seemed akin to judging the hotness of women on social media.

I look at great literary fiction differently. Literary books need to be written well, have a personal impact, generate discussion, and they must entertain/engage the reader. Many of those books I fail to engage with and I just tap out.

What surprised me from the list is J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. It was nice to see that book being held in the same esteem such as works like “The Iliad and The Odyssey” by Homer or “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy. This made me happy because there’s room for entertainment that can go with prestige. J. R. R. Tolkien books allow the reader to have fun and engage with the characters. I believe that is Bilbo and Frodo’s purpose. But most of the other books I saw in the list are not written with the same intent. Actually a few of them have great writing but poor story.

Hence, why I don’t want to be a literary figure or setup myself as one? I don’t have a message to drive out there. I have no morals to teach anyone, even if I do live by a personal code of ethics. I’m not the guy to preach to the mass public nor do I want to be preached to either. My books should be read with wine and/or popcorn.

Thought of the day. In addition to be an author I will now consider myself an entertainer. That’s just the biz I’m in.