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New Endeavor

The clock beside my bed read 4:00 AM, then 4:09 AM, then 4:20 AM, and then I decided to not fight any longer. I have a deep and abiding Christian Faith. The only problem most people will have with it, I am not in sync with Rome or Wittenberg. I am more in line with those that Pope Innocent III and King Philip II of France tried to wipe from the planet.

As I have mentioned previously, I believe that God is the marriage of El and Asha-rah; God our Father, the provider and God our Mother, the nurturer. In addition, I believe that Jesus (Easa) of Nazareth and Mary Magdalene were married and had children. I believe in the divinity of both. I also believe that if you consciously listen and attune your hearing (it’s not always with our ears), you will hear them to this day giving us sermons about loving one another unconditionally and of peace. Doesn’t the Bible even tell us that he told us he would always be with us?

I am writing a new murder mystery with a working title of Three Angels. It is of a family in South Dakota of strong Scottish roots. The lead character also has a deep abiding Christian Faith that is askew of Rome. The journey of the novel is that the lead Character Alex Gunn learns that Easa has sent three guardian Angels of his murdered niece to help him find the person who was possessed with one of the Devils most evil and fowl demons.  Here’s the kicker. I know the beginning and I know the end; but I have no clue what is going on between until Easa and Mary tell me what to write.

This morning at 4:00 AM, Mary started to whisper in my ear, “It’s time to get up, you old lazy bag of bones. You have a novel to write.” I kept ignoring the whispers until Easa came into focus and told me, “Remember your promise that you made to our Parents in Heaven, Hallowed be their names. Don’t you think that Mary has patient enough with my druthers instead of theirs?”

Who do I think I am? I am but a vessel, and earthly vessel. I was granted my stay on Earth for the glory of God and to be of service to my fellow “man”. I finally rolled out of my comfortable bed, showered and then sat down to write this; even before my first Cup-O-Joe. We need to remember who is really in charge; and they know better than we what is good for us. So, this day is dedicated to writing down what Mary tells me.

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Passions and Distractions

It is easier to justify taking time from the daily routine to sit at a desk or table and write during the winter season than it is any other. The draw-back is that it is also the time family, spouses, girlfriends, or boyfriends want your undivided attention. In the spring, summer or fall, nice weather tries to pull your attention away from the overwhelming desire and need to write. To remain whole and true to ourselves, we must find that fine balance between writing and distractions from writing. To use an old worn out phrase: “easier said than done”.

How does one do this? Number one is to put away all electronic devices (other than the ones you use to write). These devices pull your attention away from the task at hand, be that writing or spending quality time with others. As human beings, we are social by nature. Social does not mean texting, tweeting, or catching the latest update on Facebook. Second, rid yourself of all other distractions and focus intently. Quality time is face-to-face time. It is also time to let others know just how important they are to you and to let them know the demands of your art and craft.

Most people I know have heard of the Dolly Parton song “Nine to Five”. Why do I bring this up, you ask? “Nine to Five” represents the average workday. Then comes the question, “How is this important to my writing?” The answer is very simple. You need to treat your writing like it is a job. Your avocation and vocation of writing is just that a job. If you do not treat it as such then your art and creativity suffer. Remember, while at work, you must concentrate at the job in front of you. That job is to write; and you are the only employee. To put this in perspective, Leonard Cohen took two years to write his master piece song “Hallelujah”. He wanted to praise his Lord and his God; therefore, every word, nuance, comma, semi-colon and word placement was extremely important. Remember, when we write we are also praising our Lord, our God, whoever, whatever and however you perceive them.

As your only employee and as your only product is a result of your mental and creative efforts. In order to be the most effective, you have to isolate your mind from external interruptions. I have mentioned before that writing is a lonely sport meant for a team of one. As with any team we hire experts to help with the mechanics, this distribution, and marketing. There are as many ways to do this as there are writers. The worst place for me is a library. The reason for this is that it is too quiet. A pencil dropping on the floor, a cough, a distant laugh or the Librarian hissing “Shh” is enough for me to lose concentration and not be able to find it anon. While attending college, I found the best place to study, to write was “The Grill” at the Brenton Student Center at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. It is now called “The Storm Grill”. It was a place of constant noise and a hubbub of activity. In the afternoons it was quite busy on a regular basis. Since there was a cacophony of noise and activity, it was easy to block it out. Now days, I use ear plugs with music to hide the ocular distractions.

It is thus, I can let my mind race upon that razor thin edge where reality ends and insanity begins; vision teeters on that fine line in between. We all write from either experience or a passionate interest. I have a friend, Adrian who is passionate about college football and his genre is sports journalism. He studies football and then lets his mind translate it for those who are less passionate about college football or sports or who are just as passionate as is he. Visit his site out here at WordPress – Meat and Potatoes .

Others like myself, like to write fiction, historic fiction or articles for scholastic quarterlies. My son is a cop and I have a passionate love of history. This fits into my two genres I spend most of my time, mysteries and historical fiction. I like to write history in a way that it brings history alive and not just some dry text book written by a professor; who had to publish something to keep his job. When I write mysteries, I like to let my mind roam. Some of my family and friends say that I let my mind “run amuck”.

Whatever your passion or your experience, write it down. Spend the quality of time necessary to share with yourself, your family, your friends, the world. Don’t let distractions get in your way. Sit down with pen in hand and paper at your disposal, then write, write, write.

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Writing is a Lonely Sport

I woke up at 4:00 AM, rolled over saw the time, went back to sleep. Woke up again it was 4:10. Tried to sleep some more — alas I figured it was fruitless because my mind was racing with ideas for my new mystery novel I am writing. So I am up with coffee in my hand or at least close by writing.

Writing is such a lonely sport. It is you, your pen and the ideas swimming around upstairs. Your hand is moving in compulsively, too bad most of the time it cannot keep up with the commands of the brain, especially if you want to read it later on. It is as if the mind is feeding off the flow of an unseen spring.

It is quiet. Lynda and our beagle, Roxy are still sleeping. It is a perfect time to let the mind roam that thin line where reality decides to step aside for a little while and let the pool of fresh ideas spill forth, only to be refilled anon.

I surely hope you all have a wonderful day and not filled with murder and mayhem like my mind is doing early on a Monday morning!

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Mentor a Young Writer

I encourage all of you to mentor a young writer. In this day of truncated words, abbreviations that can barely be understood without a lexicon of texting in your back pocket and less face to face time, it is important to preserve the English Language. How as writers do we accomplish this? We write, and write, and write some more, until that final sentence before our maker calls us home. We can also help a young writer to find their words.

Why is that important, you may ask? We owe a debt to our readers to bring forth a fresh voice and new way to look at the world. You may ask what is the reward? If you have to ask that then you aren’t ready to mentor. The rewards are enormous and some are even self-fulfilling. For me, the reward is watching a young person grow and to find their words. For me, the reward is having someone to share with ideas, thoughts, and dreams; and then to have some shared with you. For me, the reward is keeping me writing — even if it is one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page, one chapter. It keeps my pen moving and the ideas flowing. It also keeps me young.

How does it keep us young? I am sixty-four years young. I like to tell everyone that I am twenty-one; but the body just isn’t cooperating. Hearing new fresh ideas, helps to keep my ideas fresh and new. As you already know, my granddaughter asked me to write a book she could read. I have used my two young protégés to review my first children’s book to make sure it is age appropriate and touches on subjects that they can relate to. Both the mentor and the protégé end up winning in the relationship. To see how this works, I recommend that everyone who loves to write watch the following movie: Finding Forrester staring Sean Connery and Rob Brown. It is probably at the top of my list of favorite movies that I have seen.

Thank you, Jacob and Maggie for letting me help you find your words. You can’t begin to imagine how much it has helped me to keep mine fresh and flowing.

Scott

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Who is the Bully, Cover Design approved

I have approved the cover design for my children’s book, “Who is the Bully”:

Cover Design

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Epilogue

As you all know I have been writing my first children’s mystery novel, Who is the Bully. It is the shortest book I have written to date. A funny thing happened on the way to the epilogue; I started writing my next children’s mystery novel, Who is the Stranger starting a series called the Magdalena Mysteries. The next in the series is starring Maggie Johnson (of course) and her cousin Sammy. I am stoked! I look forward to writing more of this genre. There is a certain freedom and lack of pressure that comes along with this type of writing; a catharsis you may say. I am enjoying writing these books. I am dedicating them to my grandchildren and they seem to just flow. For example, last night as I was sleeping I dreamt about Who is the Stranger. An FBI agent came into the picture along with his name and a history as to why he showed up. The dream also told me that this book is really about good vs evil at its very core. This also to cover how we have the power to battle successfully evil with ourselves. The ideas are just bouncing off the inside of my brain waiting to come out through my finger tips.

I have finished the first book and sent it off to my editor; because as sure as I am sitting at my computer typing this there are going to be spelling errors, grammatical errors and or the wrong choice of a word (ie. to, too, or two). Such is the life of a writer and the inability to observe your own errors. Since this is my first attempt at writing a book suitable for the 9 – 14 age group, I have asked two members of that group to read my unedited manuscript (while at the editor) to make sure that I am not writing below their comprehension level or too far above. Both of these children are aspiring writers. I have been mentoring them and encouraging them to write and to let others read what they have written; something that was lacking in my early development of story telling. The youngest of these I sent a writing prompt home with her mom in a letter encouraging her to write. Her mom thought she had forgotten all about it and suddenly she came out of her room and asked her mom to read her response to the prompt. It the first time her mom has read anything she has written. Both are excited.

I have been looking on Amazon.com for books that deal in a fictional manner about the problems and dangers our kids and grand-kids face every day. There are very few of them out there. I remember as a child of that age that I would pick up a fiction book before a “what is it” book. A history text book is more interesting.

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Getting to Know Your Characters

I have found that when I am writing a story, I get to know my characters as living, breathing, soul-filled people. They seem real and alive. I cheer for their successes, I cry when they are hurt or sad, I am despondent when something bad happens to them

My current book that I am writing as you know is titled: “Who is the Bully”. I don’t want to give away the story by sharing with you, Chapter 12. It is a pivotal chapter in the book. It tells my readers who the bully is from the mouth of the one who is the recipient of the bully’s abuse. One of the characters of my adult mystery novels is Nikita “Niki” Borisyenko, a six-foot-seven Ukrainian; who you would say that you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. He has become the mentor of Brad, the character who is the bullied boy.

Niki reveals that he received the same type of abuse as a child in Ukraine. They begin to cry with one another when Brad asks Niki for help. As most of you know, I hand write all my books in my journals and then transcribe them to the computer. I remember crying when I wrote this long hand and now that I am transcribing chapter 12, I again find myself crying right along with them. Boy, this makes typing very difficult. I guess to make it worth it, I hope my reader cry along with them, too.

To make your character real to your reader, you should be able to cry, laugh, smile, frown and be scared right along with them.

Scott

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