Archives For Books & Writing
That Deadly Space, my new historical novel concerning the Civil War, is now available in paperback and Kindle with this Amazon link.
Below is a brief description of That Deadly Space:
The Civil War has begun in earnest. Conor Rafferty joins the Confederate army as a young infantry officer against the wishes of his father who, in his Irish anger, is adamantly opposed to a war with the North. Conor soon finds himself in many of the war’s most consequential battles, leading from the front and risking all inside that deadly space. He serves with distinction in General Robert E. Lee’s celebrated Army of Northern Virginia as it seeks the crowning victory that will end the war and stop the carnage. Along the way, Conor becomes a protégé of fellow Georgian John B. Gordon who eventually rises to command a Confederate army corps. At the conclusion of each chapter, the narrative transitions to the now aged Conor who answers the probing questions of his grandson Aaron, himself a captain in the U.S. Army and scheduled for duty in Europe during World War I. The grandfather and grandson thus spend a week together—a week of sharing, learning, and bonding. That Deadly Space is a compelling tale that portrays the drama, heroism, romance, and tragedy of the Civil War.
For the Civil War aficionados among you, you may recognize the Don Troiani cover. I was delighted to be able to use it with this novel.
For those of you who are intent upon purchasing That Deadly Space, I say thank you. And for those who have supported me in the past with my other novels, a heartfelt thank you, as well. As always, book reviews posted on Amazon are always appreciated by authors, this one included.
Has creative writing sparked an interest in you that you can no longer ignore? Are you attracted to the art of transforming an idea into a vibrant, coherent, imaginative stream of well-chosen words? Do you have the motivation to grow and to learn, the drive to push yourself to improve each day, and the mettle to take a shot at success when the risk of rejection might be lurking on the other side? If you can answer Yes to the foregoing, then the challenge and rewards of creative writing await you.
The below suggestions might be worthwhile as you begin charting your course:
• Capture your ideas. Keep a notepad handy to write down your observations. Worthwhile ideas can present themselves at any given moment. You may find that fresh material comes to you in the dead of night, or early morning, or perhaps as you’re driving or riding as a passenger. Inspiration can’t always be predicted or manipulated, so stay ready.
• Paint pictures with words. Instead of writing about a character involved in a motorcycle accident, describe the smell of the slick, wet pavement, the length and violence of the skid, the panic of the character as he/she realizes that control has been lost and some degree of unpleasantness now awaits. Don’t just tell, show. There’s a potential reader on the other end of your creation, so provide enough sustenance to keep that reader involved and turning the pages.
• Unleash your imagination. Your characters can become whomever or whatever you so desire. The scenes are yours to devise, the plot yours to construct. The story develops from an idea into a short story or novel based upon the power of your own imagination. You can make your main character larger than life, strong and determined, heroic yet flawed. It’s your choice. And don’t be afraid to take risks. Since it’s your story, your creation, tell it like you want it.
• Write every day. Writing is an acquired skill, and thus should be diligently practiced. The skill development, discipline, and dedication necessary to become an effective writer require continuous practice. It’s not always easy, but your writing should improve over time if you write, write, and keep writing.
• Learn from others. Your writing style should be your own. But you can learn from reading the works of other writers. Read an array of material, from poetry to novels to blogs to journals of opinion. It’s okay to borrow from others, but you’ll need to develop a comfort with your own voice and words.
• Have fun. Make your characters come alive. Discover the unanticipated twists and turns that the writing process often takes once you have begun. And by all means enjoy yourself. It will reflect in your writing.
So, find your voice. Learn and practice your craft. Read, write, and write some more. You’ll be pleased when you find the high satisfaction that creative writing offers.
Good luck and good writing!
My main character in Dare Not Blink, Dave Paige, by chance meets Paula Markham, a consultant who is also a trained psychologist. At Paige’s request, Paula provides him with the brief assessment shown below only an hour after meeting him. Question: Do you know anyone like Paige? A colleague or former boss? A friend? Yourself? Disclaimer: These are fictional characters. I am not a doctor nor have I ever played a doctor in film, on television, or on the stage.
“Okay, Dave. Like it or not, here’s my take: You’re an insatiable overachiever, the consummate Type A. You’re restless and tireless and clearly ambitious. You’re fair and even-handed, and you’ve built a reputation as a person of integrity. You place value on great results, but you also appreciate great effort, especially the ‘above and beyond’ kind, and you sure as hell don’t abide sloppiness or laziness. Everything you’ve ever gotten in your life—everything— has been a result of your own hard work. You walk into a room and the energy level invariably increases, never decreases. It’s in the way you carry yourself, the manner in which you speak, the eye contact you make, and the distinct impression you give off as a careful, attentive listener, which is far less common in executives like yourself than you might think. You don’t strike me as being afraid of confrontation—to the contrary, I get a certain vibe that you may actually enjoy it, need it, at times, perhaps even often. You don’t like who you don’t like, and you see no reason why they shouldn’t have the benefit of knowing it.
“You’re also conflicted about your failed marriage, since failure is neither a concept nor a result you have much familiarity with. You’re conflicted about being at a point in your career where the seeds of antagonism you’ve planted and allowed to grow in other corporate carnivores may now suddenly flower and reach out for you like a Venus Flytrap, and you don’t quite know what to do about it, which frustrates you greatly. You’re conflicted about remaining with a firm you love, which has been stable and nurturing and comfortable, but now which is none of that, and in fact perhaps even the polar opposite. You feel a sense of loss, not just about your chairman and mentor, but about the mental image you’ve had of the firm for all these years, almost as if it, too, is about to be laid to rest.”
Paula turned her head slightly, trying to gauge Paige’s reaction. “Is this making any sense?”
Paige nodded slowly, seemingly transfixed. It was as if he were sitting on a beach at the water’s edge, only vaguely aware of his surroundings, the rhythmic crashing of the waves, the cool sudsy water washing over his skin, the sand giving way beneath him as the water recedes and giving off the momentary sensation of falling into a hole. “Please continue,” he said softly.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to launch the new book you’ve spent weeks and months writing? And then spent weeks and months attempting to find a publishing home for it?
If you answered Yes to the first question above, let me see if I can explain what it’s like. But first, let me note what it isn’t like:
- It’s not like childbirth. How, you ask, do I know? Well, nobody’s dressed in scrubs and there is no beeping fetal monitor and there are no medicinal or distinctive other odors. And nobody is shouting, “Push!”
- It’s not like winning the lottery. A lottery ticket has a far better probability of paying off than does a new book becoming a blockbuster bestseller.
- It’s not like launching the D-Day invasion. There aren’t as many moving pieces to a book launch, the noise levels are far lower, and the spectre of violent death is generally remote .
So, then, what is it like? Well . . .
- It’s tense. Will readers like it? Will they talk about it? Will they buy it?
- It’s busy. Are all of my sites updated, to include website, social media, blogs, etc.?
- It’s sobering. Will I be able to handle it if it does poorly? Or if it does spectacularly?
- It’s exciting. My author name is out there now, potentially all over the world. Good, bad or indifferent.
- It’s fun. It’s great fun. It’s the payoff for a lot of hard, sometimes lonely work.
There you have it. But don’t take my word for it. Write and launch your own book and see for yourself.
And you’ll find that it doesn’t lend itself to easy description. It’s an experience unlike any other. You’re bringing something new and unique into the world, with your artistic DNA all over it. You’ve labored long and hard, and the moment finally arrives. It’s not an end, but a beginning. You might even shed a few tears with family and friends.
Welcome to the world, you beautiful, gorgeous Dare Not Blink.
(Oops. Does that sound a bit like childbirth?)