Author, Editor, Publisher, Coach

Tag: Lane Diamond Author (Page 2 of 8)

Dialogue Tags vs. Action Leads/Inserts – Part 1

THIS POST IS FOR WRITERS:

“Let your characters sail through dialogue. Don’t weigh them down with awkward anchors.”

The subject of dialogue tags has occupied a large swath of my Editor’s Radar lately. If you’ve studied the art and craft of writing at all, you know how important dialogue it is to us as both readers and writers—an engaging way to advance character, conflict, setting and plot. Nothing brings characters to life—makes them breathing, feeling, thinking beings—quite like dialogue. It generates realistic character interaction and builds their relationships, and provides readers a greater understanding of what truly makes the characters tick.

Dialogue is intimate. In a sense, it makes us more than just readers; it makes us eavesdroppers. Many readers give up on stories that don’t utilize dialogue both quickly and effectively. Some magazine editors feel the same way about submissions to their publications. For example, I’ve seen short story submission guidelines that state—flat out—that stories must include dialogue within the first 150 words for the editor even to consider them for publication. I think that’s a bit melodramatic myself, but to each his own. The editor can do what he wants with his magazine.

You must often mix action with the dialogue—a good thing. However, do so with straight narrative—action leads and inserts—rather than by throwing anchors (tags) onto the dialogue.

Let Subject rules for paragraph construction aide you in providing crisp dialogue. Once you establish a specific character as the Subject of that paragraph, you can simply go to his/her dialogue, using the previous portion of the paragraph as a dialogue lead. Then you needn’t add awkward tags.

Here are some basic rules to remember when providing character dialogue:

1) Always make clear which character is speaking. If there can be any doubt at all, you must clarify.

2) Use proper nouns (names or titles) only when you must; revert to simple pronouns when you can. It helps if you have one character address another by name, thus eliminating the need for an identifying tag. Just make sure it doesn’t sound forced and awkward; in other words, it must sound natural, precisely what a real live person would say in that circumstance.

3) Once you establish a clear back-and-forth between two characters, cut back on the identifying tags. Readers will be able to keep up without any trouble. Revert to those tags only when the dialogue breaks, or when a new character becomes involved, or it’s been a long stretch since you last identified them by name, such that you must remind the reader of who is speaking.

4) People don’t “smile” words, or “laugh” words, or “pause” words, etc. They “say them with a smile,” or they “laugh and say,” or “he said, and paused.”

5) Dialogue tags murder the pace and flow of a conversation, and often smack of author intrusion. A reader will pick-up on it and, depending on how much the author tries to cram down her throat, may think, “Geez, this guy is really forcing it. Does he think I’m an idiot?”

A) Keep the dialogue crisp. Readers want dialogue that represents conversation—period—quote mark to quote mark. They don’t want dialogue that happens like this or as if that, or as he did this, or while she did that, or with heaps of this. Provide those details in the narrative, and keep the dialogue sharp and fast-paced—in other words, real.

B) Whenever you must say more than “he said,” “Mary said,” “John asked,” etc, utilize action leads or inserts in lieu of tags wherever possible. (See “Bad/Good” examples near the end of the article.) The following are examples of the kinds of simple tags you should use.

1) “I’m heading over to Steve’s place,” Dave said.

2) “I can’t believe Sue actually said that,” Linda said.

3) “Take it easy,” he said. “It’s not that bad.”

4) “We have to follow certain rules,” I said.

6) In accordance with #5 above, avoid nasty, lazy adverbs to the greatest extent possible. Schoolteachers often teach just the opposite, but in this circumstance, their instruction is 180 degrees out of phase with the industry. Convey or imply emotion through the actual words exchanged, through the give-and-take, through well-utilized punctuation, through interruptions or ramblings—in other words, through conversation. This is one of the basic tenants of that high commandment of writing: “Show, don’t tell!” The following are examples of what to avoid.

A) …he said angrily.

B) …she said sadly.

C) …she said lovingly.

D) …he said frustratingly.

7) For human beings, communication is as much physical as it is verbal. Picture the conversations you have; you rely on facial expressions and body language to help you interpret the spoken word.

A) If you wish to provide the reader with that image (“show”), do so before the dialogue, where it will be meaningful.

B) If you want us readers to hear a specific tone of voice, or see a specific expression on the character’s face, or feel the character’s emotion, all as she speaks, you must prepare us for that before she speaks.

C) Don’t overdo it. You must strike a reasonable balance between action and dialogue, and if you choose precisely the right words and punctuation, those that convey mood, attitude and volume, you can often drop the inserts altogether. In other words, let the dialogue do as much of its own heavy lifting as possible.

D) I’ll address this issue in greater detail in a future article: “Dialogue Tags vs. Action Leads/Inserts – Part 2.”

I will illustrate through a series of simple examples I’ve seen in some pieces I’ve edited. As always, I shall keep authors’ names and story titles confidential to protect the not-so-innocent. [Insert chuckle here]

BAD: “What do you expect to happen now?” he asked as he leaned in until their faces nearly touched.

(Note: First, given the author’s use of a question mark, is it truly necessary to add that he asked? This is, in my opinion, one of the most overused and frustrating dialogue tags. Second, the character’s lean-in implies a softer tone of voice, which the reader will better infer [hear] if it precedes the dialogue.)

GOOD: He leaned in until their faces nearly touched. “What do you expect to happen now?”

BAD: “I knew you’d come back,” she said as she rose from the chair.

(Note: The author can tighten this up and improve the flow without losing any impact and, in doing so, cut the ever-critical word count by three.)

GOOD: She rose from the chair. “I knew you’d come back.”

BAD: “Yes. We fought,” she said, and she looked at the front of her gown. “He…he… He stabbed me,” she yelled. “I heard someone say I was dying,” she sighed, and she placed a warm hand on my arm. “Did I?”

(Note: First, let paragraph POV rules work to your advantage. Second, a simple exclamation point can replace the unnecessary she yelled. Third, action inserts are smoother and less awkward than tags, and people don’t “sigh” words.)

GOOD: “Yes, we fought. He…he…” She looked at the front of her gown. “He stabbed me!” She placed a warm hand on my arm. “I heard someone say I was dying. Did I?”

BAD: “John!” Fred shouted.

(Set-Up: As the author indicated in a previous paragraph, Fred needs John to help his pregnant woman, who is going into labor. Note: First, the exclamation point works here, such that the author needn’t go on to tell us that Fred shouted; it’s redundant. Second, this is a moment that begs for emotion, yet the author gives us none.)

GOOD: Fred clenched his jaw beneath wide eyes. His back stiffened, and he had to swallow the lump in his throat before he could breathe again. “John!”

In closing, let me remind you that we humans are gregarious creatures; we interact and speak with one another. As readers, we expect the same of your characters, or those characters may not seem real to us. You might get away without dialogue in a short—very short—story, but it will always be difficult to satisfy certain readers if you omit dialogue from large segments of your story.

When you utilize that ever-critical dialogue, resist the urge to anchor it with a bunch of awkward, unruly tags. Provide action leads and inserts wherever necessary, and choose words and punctuation for the actual dialogue (the conversation) that provide as much of the necessary details—emotion, volume, etc.—as possible.

‘Til next time, remember this: Writing well is not easy. It takes work. You mustn’t be lazy.

No Weak Knees Allowed; Write Strong – Part 1

THIS POST IS FOR WRITERS:

“Keep it strong and direct.”

Dear Writer, please make the above quote your watchwords: “Keep it strong and direct.” Your readers will love you for it.

As the author, you must be the authority. Readers expect you to provide a strong and decisive narrative voice, the true authority, and to convey the story with confidence. This, in turn, builds confidence within the readers and makes their reading experience more enjoyable.

Avoid weak phrases that harm the narrator’s credibility. First, you must decide, once and for all, that you’re confident in your own ability to tell a story, that you enjoy the courage of your convictions. Do not allow your narrator to get weak knees, and to use weak qualifiers that display an utter lack of self-confidence.

BAD: She seemed to walk as though her leg was bothering her.

(Note: Please… just say it!)

GOOD: She limped.

BAD: Maybe he should grab the gun from the bureau drawer before he answers the door.

(Note: This sort of weak hesitation in the main narrative is murder on a story. Now, if you employ this sort of weakness in dialogue, or in a character’s silent monologue, it would be appropriate if such weakness fits that particular character. In the main narrative, you need to get right to it and paint the scene.)

GOOD: He grabs the gun from the bureau drawer, tucks it under his belt at the small of his back, and takes a deep breath before answering the door.

BAD: He probably should have taken Cindy up on her offer. If he had, he’d be with her right now.

(Note: This sort of construction is quite common, and is both wordy and weak. You can convey his sense of regret in concise terms.)

GOOD: If only he’d taken Cindy up on her offer, he’d be with her right now.

TRIGGERS

Seemed, tried to, could, should, maybe, perhaps, possibly, might, began to, started to, etc.

When you utilize words such as those above, let them trigger a critical self-review. Ask yourself, “Have I gone weak in the knees?” There are many appropriate uses of those words, of course, but most writers overuse them to the detriment of their stories. If you can answer the question, “Nah, I really need that word here,” then great! Just be honest with yourself, and always keep in mind what readers expect of you, and don’t forget your watchwords: “Keep it strong and direct.”

Another sure sign of weakness is the excessive use of state-of-being verbs:

Am, is, are, was, were, to be, had been, etc.

We call these state-of-being verbs because that’s all they do: convey a state of being. They convey no action, no sense that something is actually happening, which makes them—say it with me now—dull. Most of the time, you need simply stretch yourself a bit in order to create a more action-centric sentence. This typically means you must restructure your sentence(s). Keep it simple, and remain in active voice: Subject commits Act upon Object. If you adhere to that basic structure, that basic concept, you’ll find a solution.

Beware also those verbs that, while not strict state-of-being verbs, nonetheless convey little or no action:

Did, had, went, came, got, took, kept, made, put, had, etc.

In the following example, from a piece I edited (character name changed to maintain author confidentiality), examine the number of weak, inactive verbs, and the weak qualifiers, in the original “bad” version. Then compare the revised “good” version, and examine the more active verb choices. Key: They need not be earth-shattering, thrilling, grab-your-socks-and-hold-on verbs—merely verbs that convey some sense of action, something more than a simple state of being.

BAD: Mary was more popular than I was. It wasn’t any large mystery as to why she was popular with guys, or why she had boyfriends who were routinely among the most good-looking, athletic, etc. In addition, she also had a large amount of other friends who always seemed to be with her and who always seemed to enjoy her company. I had friends too, a fair amount of them; however, being an adolescent, I was a part of the inescapable hierarchy that slated a certain top group of kids as popular and positioned other groups in sequential status order on down. While I was far from the bottom rung of this ladder, I knew that Mary held a much higher position on it within her own respective class.

GOOD: I couldn’t fathom Mary’s popularity. Her boyfriends routinely stood out as the most good-looking and athletic. Her regular friends numbered in the dozens and hovered around her, always placing her, the star around which the others orbited, at the center of attention, pleased just to share her company. I enjoyed a fair number of friends too, but we occupied a lower position in that inescapable adolescent hierarchy, the one that elevated a certain top group of kids to popular status, while relegating the rest of us lower in the pecking order. I stood far above the bottom rung of this tall ladder, but Mary occupied one near the top. She shared that rarified air with friends and members of her own respective class.

Don’t be hesitant. Display your self-confidence as author. You may use the so-called “weak” verbs and qualifiers I listed above, but please do so sparingly. When you do, ask yourself the critical question: “Does it truly add to the tension of the moment, to the characterization, to the conflict or resolution—or is it just weak?”

In very general terms, there is no single right answer. You must determine that on an individual basis, but allow those words to trigger your critical self-review. Be honest with yourself, and then stretch yourself to provide the reader with something more evocative. Don’t move on until you’re confident you’ve made the right choice.

In closing, let me remind you—because I just can’t seem to say it enough—to make these your watchwords: “Keep it strong and direct!”

‘Til next time, remember this: Writing well is not easy. It takes work. You mustn’t be lazy.

“Forgive Me, Alex” by Lane Diamond Wins Pinnacle Book Achievement Award

THIS POST IS FOR READERS:

I’m so pleased to announce that my debut psychological thriller, Forgive Me, Alex, has been honored with the following award:

Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, Summer 2014 – Best Books in the Category of THRILLER

(Scroll down near the bottom of the page for the THRILLER category.)

It almost seems odd to be getting an award 2-1/2 years after the book launched, but then again nothing in this business happens quickly. Besides, given that it’s been taking me so long to get the sequel out, it’s good for me to keep Forgive Me, Alex out there.

And speaking of The Devil’s Bane, I’m happy to report that I’ve once again carved out some time from my busy Evolved Publishing schedule, and I’m making regular–if slightly slower than I’d like–progress.

Anyway, if you haven’t already picked up a copy of my book, now you have another excuse to jump on the bandwagon. 🙂

Available at >Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Smashwords. Or get an autographed print copy directly from me at THIS PAGE.

Tony Hooper stands in shadow across the street, one amongst many in the crowd of curiosity-hounds gathered to watch a monster’s release. Seventeen years after Mitchell Norton, “the devil,” terrorized Algonquin, Illinois on a spree of kidnapping, torture and murder, the authorities release the butcher from psychiatric prison.

Tony longs to charge across the street to destroy Norton—no remorse—as if stepping on a cockroach. Only sheer force of will prevents his doing so.

“The devil” walks the world again. What shall Tony do about it? Aye, what indeed.

After all, this is what Tony does. It’s who he is. “The devil” himself long ago made Tony into this hunter of monsters. What a sweet twist of fate this is, that he may still, finally, administer justice.

Will FBI Special Agent Linda Monroe stop him? She owes him her life, so how can she possibly put an end to his?

Tony Hooper and Mitchell Norton battle for supremacy, with law enforcement always a step away, in this story of justice and vengeance, evil and redemption, fear and courage, love and loss.

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Working to Catch Up

THIS 1st PART IS FOR READERS (and fans of Forgive Me, Alex):

Devils_Bane_300dpi_2x3

I’ve heard from more than a few of you with something along these lines: “Hurry up and finish the damn sequel, Diamond!” I’m trying. I really am.

My duties as managing publisher/editor at Evolved Publishing have forced my duties as an author into the back seat. Well, the view back there sucks! And I’m getting tired of it.

So I’m now officially back to writing every day, even if just for an hour (hopefully 2 or 3 on most days). I simply must make daily progress, or The Devil’s Bane will just keep being relegated to the dustbin of what-would-have-been. Indeed, I’ve been re-reading The Devil’s Bane in preparation for charging full steam ahead starting Sunday night. (So by the time you see this on Monday, I will have already gone back to work on it.)

It’s interesting to discover that despite all the time away from them, those characters remain clear in my mind – a part of my life. I suppose that’s to be expected after working on Forgive Me, Alex for 5 years. These “people” are as real to me as the guy next door. Pretty cool.

I’ve also been doing a little forward plotting as I prepare to jump back into it, and I’m sneaking up on the conclusion that I’m going to have to kill off a beloved character. I mentioned this to a reader, and her reaction was, “Oh no! Which one? Oh my God, who are you going to kill? Who?”

Yeah, I had to smile at that. I’m such a sadistic $#$&! sometimes.

Who will die? To be honest, I’m not sure, as the plot can go one of two ways, but I see two beloved characters in the crosshairs, and I suspect one of them will fall. You’ll just have to wait and see.

I think this is the part where I say, “Na na na na na na.”

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THIS 2nd PART IS FOR WRITERS:

Write every day. I mean every… single… stinking… day! Take my experience as a lesson, and don’t do as I did, or next thing you know, like me, you’ll be wondering why it will be over 3 years between books. DON’T LET THAT HAPPEN!

As I look back on it now, I can’t help but wonder how different things would have been if only I’d taken 30-60 minutes a day to write. Seriously, maybe you only have time to sit down for a few minutes when you first wake up, or right before you go to bed, or while you’re waiting for the pizza delivery guy to show up. So what? Sit down for that half hour and crank out a few paragraphs, because even those few paragraphs will keep you engaged in the process.

More importantly, they will represent real forward progress.

Frankly, if I had started doing that right after Forgive Me, Alex came out, I’d have already completed The Devil’s Bane… a few paragraphs at a time.

Everyone complains about workload (*raising my hand*), but 30-60 minutes a day? Really? I… you… can’t find 30-60 minutes a day? Of course you… we… can.

I know what you’re thinking: “Diamond, if I have to do it a few paragraphs a day, I’ll never finish the damn thing!”

Wrong. Think about it. The average page is about 500 words. Just 500 words! If you did that every day – 1 little old page – you’d complete a 300-page novel in less than a year. Then, let’s assume you need a few months for editing, beta reader feedback, more editing, etc. You’d have a finely-polished novel done in about 18 months.

The alternative? To do what I’m doing now: looking back and wondering where the last 2 years have gone. Please… don’t let that happen.

Even if you only have time to sit down and write a single page, do it. And do it every… single… stinking… day!

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Writing Coach for Hire: Lane Diamond

THIS POST IS FOR WRITERS:

Are you looking for a Writing Coach? Do you need someone to provide highly-customized, one-on-one training? Do you need help with plot development, creating great characters, ramping up the power and efficacy of your prose, where to find resources to help you advance your writing career, formatting and uploading files as a self-published author, building a social media presence? All of the above?

I can help. To learn more, please visit this page: http://lanediamond.com/writing-coach/

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The New Face of Lane Diamond’s “Forgive Me, Alex” – New Book Cover

As I get closer to releasing The Devil’s Bane, book two in the Tony Hooper saga, I felt it was time to give the cover of Forgive Me, Alex a makeover, in order to bring the two covers closer together, thematically.

Thus, I enlisted the help of Mallory Rock, a designer with Evolved Publishing and a freelancer at Mallory Rock’s Art, to create the new cover.

The idea was to make not just the first two covers, but all future covers in the Tony Hooper series, consistent in basic color scheme, font style, etc. It made sense to help readers connect the dots visually.

LD_FMA_TDB_2pk_v2

The new cover for Forgive Me, Alex is already up at Amazon, Apple iTunes-Books, and Smashwords.

The new cover will soon be up at Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony, and BookieJar. Additionally, the new print versions will be available by mid-August.

I hope you like it. 🙂

Six-Sentence Sunday #4 – Devane’s Reality – A Short Story

Welcome to Six-Sentence Sunday.

The idea is to give you a small taste (6 consecutive sentences) of one of my pieces, but a compelling one. You can find previous Six-Sentence Sunday excerpts by searching under the Category by that name.

So, is the excerpt below effective? Only you can tell me that.

Six-Sentence Excerpt – Devane’s Reality (A Short Story)

My mind roils as I cling to hope and expectation, only to find, one day after the next, disappointment greater than in the day before. Only one creature creeps out of the darkness to haunt my nights. I’ve known this stalker before—loneliness, my sole companion on this bizarre expedition.

I now understand that we humans do not suffer solitude well. I long for contact—any contact. I yearn to meet a one-legged, one-armed, one-eyed, elderly gypsy woman who spends every waking minute singing show tunes with a voice like a howler monkey undergoing torture.

Available at Amazon

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A Shadow on the Mind, A Blemish on the Soul

(Note: I first wrote this several weeks ago as part of a blog hop I participated in. It appears for the first time here.)

“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?”

That classic line from the 1930’s serialized radio program, The Shadow, functions as something of a theme for much of my writing. This is particularly true of my novel, Forgive Me, Alex. It also guides a fair portion of what I read.

For me, great literature has always been about great characters, and if I’m going to dig really deep into a character, the author needs to take me… well, really deep inside that character. I want to know what’s in that character’s mind, his heart, his soul. I want to know what scares him, what makes him nervous, what excites him, what motivates him.

Now, to be clear, this requires a level of authenticity that will bring the character to life in a realistic way. However, it needn’t be all puppy dogs and daisies. Let’s face it: there are some real sickos out there. But what makes them sick?

If you heard that a neighborhood kid was stealing people’s pets and first torturing them, then dismembering them, how would you react? Would you say he’s sick? Would you wonder how anyone could even think to do such a thing? Would you fear letting your dog out? Would you call that kid… evil? Yes, I used the E-word. So many today seem to want to hide from the possibility that true evil exists, to explain it away as something else, to make it not a cause, but a mere symptom. Why?

People fascinate me. Specifically, the inner workings of the human brain fascinate me. After all, as human beings, our brains are what separate us from the rest of the animal kingdom. That brain is complex, mystifying, and still largely misunderstood. Indeed, in the medical sciences, the brain is truly the final frontier. For all the extraordinary things they’ve learned about how the brain works in recent years, they’ve still barely scratched the surface.

Human emotions and psychology are particularly difficult to understand. How many times have you scratched your head at another person’s actions, wondering what in the world they must have been thinking, or feeling? Now, imagine a person who has no feelings. Would he be easier to understand? Perhaps. Would he also scare the bejesus out of you? Probably. As well he should.

Let’s return to that kid above who likes to torture and kill the beloved Fido and Mittens. The mere thought of such acts might bring you to tears, turn your stomach, and make you want to grab a baseball bat and pay that kid a visit. For that kid, however, ripping Mittens limb from limb is merely a… curiosity. As a psychopath, he doesn’t process emotions the way you and I do. (Please tell me you’re not curious what it would be like to tear Fido limb from limb.)

Why doesn’t he feel in the same way we do? The cause could be physical, environmental, or… nothing at all. Dare I say it? Some people are just evil.

It’s hard to understand, and it draws us in, perhaps out of our own sick curiosity, natural though it may be. Why is the TV show Criminal Minds, which brings us a weekly parade of some of the worst sickos in our midst, so popular? Setting aside the obvious—great cast, solid acting, exceptional writing—might it be because we’re all, at some level, fascinated by how a human being can do what we ourselves couldn’t even imagine doing, at least not without puking our guts out and collapsing into a weeping mess?

And might that sicko—that twisted, despicable, unrepentant psychopath—make a great character? Oh yeah, baby! Come on… tell the truth: you love reading about that kid who’s sharpening his knife right now, even as he’s eyeing Fido in the neighbor’s yard. At least, you love hating reading about that kid. Or is it hate loving?

Well… let me introduce you to Mitchell Norton, the devil. http://bit.ly/EPbhFMA

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As I prepare to wrap up the year, I look forward to a more engaged 2013.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and have a very Happy New Year!

All in all, I’d have to say that 2012 has been an exciting year. It’s certainly been a busy one. Whew!

Those of you who follow my blog (Thank you!) know all too well that I’ve given it short shrift in recent months. I’m not the kind of person who thinks I should be sending you a new blog post every day. Bluch! Who has time to read them? Especially of you’re like me, and subscribe to about 200 of them. So I try to pick my spots, and provide 3 or 4 decent posts a month. Usually. Yeah, the last few months haven’t been so good.

My only real excuse is that I’ve been working insane hours trying to keep up with an insane editing schedule for all those insane authors at Evolved Publishing. (Just kidding! They’re terrific.) Seriously, though, the pace of things at EP this year far exceeded our expectations, which, I must say, certainly beats the alternative. 😀

My business partner D.T. Conklin and I had hoped to have 10 good authors and 20 quality books in EP by the end of 2012. Well, we ended up with 14 and 35, respectively. It’s been a grind, and we experienced a few growing pains — which, in retrospect, seems perfectly natural — yet even with those few challenges, it was just plain exciting! And 2013 promises to be a good year, as we continue to build our catalog of quality authors and books.

2013 will also be exciting for me because we’re making some changes to our management team, which will free up some time for me not only to do all I must do as a publisher, but to write my own books, too. Man, I can’t tell you how excited I am to get back into the writing routine! To say it’s been driving me bonkers that I haven’t been writing would be one of the year’s great understatements.

As part of that, I expect to be more engaged at this here sad excuse for a blog. 🙁 I doubt it will happen in January, but by February, I should be well settled into my new routine. If not, I’m gonna… I’m gonna… well, I’m gonna go truly bonkers.

Next up is the sequel to Forgive Me, Alex (BTW, it’s on sale this week. Save $2.), which I’m calling The Devil’s Bane. Some of my favorite characters (and I hope yours) will be making a return appearance: Tony Hooper, Frank Willow, Diana Gregario, Linda Monroe, Ben Komura, and yes… that despicable Mitchell Norton. Mwoohaha! My hope — nay, my intention — is to publish it on May 21st. A lot will have to go right for that to happen, but I am an eternal optimist. (After all, I’m the guy who assumed my girlfriend quit smoking cigarettes when I started finding cigar butts lying around the house. 😛 )

Will it all happen according to plan? I sure hope so. I mean… err… ahem… yes, it will happen!

In the new year, be happy, be healthy, be safe. Thanks again.

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Six-Sentence Sunday #3 – Forgive Me, Alex

Welcome to Six-Sentence Sunday.

The idea is to give you a small taste (6 consecutive sentences) of one of my pieces, but a compelling one. You can find previous Six-Sentence Sunday excerpts by searching under the Category by that name.

So, is the excerpt below effective? Only you can tell me that.

Six-Sentence Excerpt – Forgive Me, Alex (A Psychological Thriller Novel)

Mitchell Norton, the man I’ve long considered the devil, smiles atop the courthouse steps and waves to the simmering crowd. He tilts his head back to soak in the sunshine and cool breeze of the late spring day, the tranquility of which stands in stark contrast to the circumstances of this event.

The mere sight of him pushes me to the dark edge of my mind, where sanity hangs like… like… like a balloon in a tornado!

I stand in shadow across the street, one amongst many in the crowd of curiosity-hounds gathered to watch a monster’s release. As my face blazes, fists clench and teeth grind, I can easily imagine the onset of a stroke, an aneurism, a pulmonary embolism, a raging scream—

Control yourself, Tony!

Available at Amazon

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