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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Keyboard Dance

Fiction is not my only escape. When I dive into a repair at my auto repair shop, the thoughts and memories from past decades fade for a few moments. It seems the old cliché ‘idle hands are the Devil’s workshop’ remains true whether holding a tool or working a keyboard. I was asked by one of my auto shop customers, who knows I write novels, whether dictating a novel tempted me to give up the keyboard dance, now that voice recognition software advances make the practice much less a chore. The answer is a resounding NO.

I advanced from writing longhand to writing with a typewriter, to finally a computer keyboard. I also make use of every writing advancement given me in Word having anything to do with editing and formatting. The tools in Word for editing are incredibly powerful for those willing to surmount the sometimes steep learning curve. From the simple necessity for a writer to turn on the paragraph symbols to the more intense find and change feature, the tools are at our fingertips. Stripping the formatting from a complete novel can be done in seconds. I love the software advances.

Writing with the keyboard connects mind, body, and soul. I admit the thought of dictating a novel is abhorrent to me. I need to touch the words in some manner, as much as I need to grip the proper wrench at my shop. Truthfully, although I have an active imagination, I can’t imagine a writer speaking a novel. It would definitely take skill I confess I do not have. I love the keyboard - so much so, I have to paint some of the letters back onto my laptop keyboard even though it’s relatively new.  :)

In experimental writing news, my writing two novels at the same time is still flowing along at a rapid pace. I’m nearing 57K words in Demon IV: Darkness Rules, and 40K words in Cold Blooded IV: Bloody Shadows. So far, it’s still a pleasure hopping back and forth between my two creations. They’re on schedule still for an April and May release respectively. Being with an independent publisher, like RJ ParkerPublishing, Inc allows me the freedom to do anything I want in the realm of writing. Both RJ and I cringe when I fulfill a promise to write another Demon series novel, instead of writing more installments in the much more popular Hard Case and Cold Blooded series offerings. We both know the over 200 hours spent writing Demon IV: Darkness Rules, will probably be mostly a wonderful way for me to commune with one of my favorite canine characters of all time: Demon. So be it. The next dual project on the horizon will be writing Hard Case VI, and Rick Cantelli, P.I. IV. My escape from reality is destined to extend well into the summer months ahead, but always with the much needed keyboard dance.  :)

Hard Case V: Blood and Fear is still fighting to remain number one in Pulp Fiction, clawing its way to the top position on and off for over a month.  :)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Good Internet Story

The most amazing Internet story yet connected to my writing happened yesterday morning. A fan on Amazon’s Nick McCarty/Cold Blooded forum asked me if I knew a pilot attached in the late sixties, early seventies to an air wing called the Shrikes when I was stationed aboard the USS Ranger aircraft carrier. He had a very humorous story about his connection to the pilot, and their friendship. The pilot, Lt. JG Bill Shankel, was shot down over North Vietnam in 1973, and the fan wanted to know if I ever heard what happened to him.

I searched through my Ranger cruise book from 69/70, but found no mention of a Shrike Squadron. I didn’t own a cruise book from my 70/71 Ranger deployment. I decided to play Rick Cantelli, P.I. on a search for the P.O.W. pilot, and found him. Lt. JG Bill Shankel is now a surgeon in Needles, Ca. They had all of his contact information on the web page. Below, I’ve included the link to my Nick McCarty/Cold Blooded forum where you can read the post and comments between Denis R. Grant and me at the bottom. I’m not posting this for a pat on the back. I think it’s one of the great things about the Internet when we can have something like this happen. I hope Denis can get in touch with Dr. Shankel, a real American hero who made it back alive from his imprisonment in the ‘Hanoi Hilton’. Then, this Sunday morning, Hard Case V: Blood and Fear, regained the #1 spot in Amazon’s Pulp Fiction for the third time. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Writing Progress

The two novels at once writing mission is proceeding very well with over 40,000 words done in Demon IV: Darkness Rules, and over 21,000 words in Cold Blooded IV: Bloody Shadows. I should have Demon IV ready for release by late April, and Cold Blooded IV by late May. My next two I’m considering are Hard Case VI, and Rick Cantelli, P.I. IV. After the very good sales with Hard Case V: Blood and Fear, that one is kind of a lock.

The writing has taken the place of nearly everything else. I’m still doing shop work, but have kept my time at about twenty hours a week. I’ll be sixty-five next month. The drive to do more hours than that at the shop has not instilled in me a desire to report for full time duty again. I now don’t think it will. Writing fiction allows an alternative to reality, my auto repair shop can’t help with. Every moment at the shop I’m in reality with the subsequent real memories, and interacting with customers. Home alone writing fiction in Demon’s paranormal, often hilarious world, and plotting out Nick McCarty’s next violent episode in Cold Blooded has become a new paradigm for me. Maybe things will change a bit after I put Living Trusts, estate business, and taxes behind me, but I have to admit it ain’t likely.  :)