So you can read my books

Sunday, September 26, 2010


{"Writing isn't like sex,

because you can go back and make it better afterwards.

If you want to reveal something, you need to hide it properly first.

Colin Greenland.}


Yesterday, I posted on how to make your novel and your characters breathe with life.

J R R Tolkien helped me there. He also likened writing the novel to walking :

Left step : reflection : setting the mood and theme of your novel.

Right step : direction : action propelling the characters into the direction of the climax.

You need both steps to get your novel going and finally reaching the destination for it you have in mind.

What you've seen of CAPTAIN OUTRAGEOUS so far has been mostly exhaling and right stepping. All action and no reflection. Sort of like watching a man hopping on one foot to get to his car. Puzzling.

Here's a little snippet of my YA fantasy to show truth in motion : how to propel a story forward with description, dialogue, and implication --

{Victor Standish, the 13 year old street kid, is being shown to his quarters in the supernatural jazz club, Meilori's, by the mysterious Captain Samuel McCord ...}


Beside me, the tall man in black padded up the steps like a hungry wolf out to pounce on a sleeping rabbit. The stairway was covered in shadows. As we moved up the red velvet steps, the shadows actually flowed around my new friend.

It was as if they were welcoming him home. He smiled at them. He actually smiled at them as if ... as if they were people.

What kind of man was this who was a friend to shadows?

With the thought of shadows, I thought of all the strange, creepy people I had met downstairs. I could still hear the black woman singing way up here.

"Ah, Captain Sam?"


"That's Billie Holiday, isn't it?"

"Sure is, son. How did you recognize her?"

"I spend a lot of time in the library : comfy chairs, air conditioning, and people don't bother you if you don't bother them."

"Yeah, I always liked libraries, too."

"T-That's why I know ... Billie Holiday is ... dead."

"Still sings nice though, don't she?"

I shivered, not knowing what to say. Captain Sam flicked wolf eyes to me. He winked.

"As long as you're with me, Victor, no one here will hurt you."

"A-And if I'm not?"

"Best to lock your door."

My shivers got icicles down my back for company. "I - I never knew a place like this existed."

"Few do. Fewer still are the kind of folks you want to invite over for a snack ... unless you're planning on being the main course."

"And you still say I'll be safe here?"

"Define 'safe.'"

I swallowed hard. It still wouldn't go down. His laughing eyes met mine.

He chuckled, "You'll be safe from your old enemies on the streets. Any that are fool enough to come into Meilori's won't last long against the likes of Major Strasser down there."

"That Nazi with the weird stitching around his neck?"

"The very one. Stay away from him, Victor. He bites."

"I thought you didn't use slang, sir."

"I don't."


Then, the breath left me, 'cause we made it to the second floor. It was ... freaking awesome. It was just like I thought a Gentleman's Club in the stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would be like.

"Damn ...."

His left eyebrow slowly rose.

" ... Ah, darn, Captain Sam. I expect to see Sherlock Holmes himself walking down this hallway."

Captain Sam nudged up his black Stetson with a gloved thumb. "He's a bit farther back in Meilori's."

I hushed, "He is?"

Captain Sam shook his head. "But don't go looking for him, Victor. He likes to wander where his head and fists are put to the test. It might sound like an adventure to find him but ...."

I raised a hand. "Don't worry. I'm all adventured out, sir. No, sir, all my adventures are behind me."

Captain Sam's face softened with a strange smile, kind of sad, kind of wise. "Victor, I think your biggest adventures are just about to start."

And he was right.
{After my home burned, taking my pets, my belongings, even my car, a friend lent me a room in the back of his father's massage school.

After a labored day at work, I would lay in the dark on a borrowed bed,
the 2nd and 3rd degree burns on my face and hands pulsating in pain with each beat of my heart.

I would listen to this CD single (another gift from another friend) over and over again, coming up with different stories that would go with the music. It's what a writer does to put his mind into another place.

And yes, today is the anniversary of that fire.}


  1. I am reminded of Frodo and Sam. They talk about the tales they listened to as children and realize that the people in the tales probably didn't want to be there. That they had it rough-on a good day.

    Victor is already mature and wise beyond his years, but he still has in him the ability to wonder. And he still has to learn that the things that sound like a great adventure would probably just lead to greater pain and heartbreak.

    A lovely glimpse. And I'm having to re-imagine Sam in my head-with silver hair....

    Ah, DreamSinger, you break my heart. You're reminding me of a lot tonight. My own losses. The pain...and a story about a broken clay jar. In its brokenness, it leaks. And the water it sheds brings life, healing, and beauty to the world around it.

    Another guy wrote that our strength is in our brokenness.


    I do the same thing with a song. I wear it out in my head, listening to it over and over, imagining all sorts of stories and possibilities. I actually have this one. Love some Loreena McKinnett.

    I hope this anniversary doesn't get you too far down. The sorrows we carry inside us threaten to rend us asunder. But they also help us to see and feel through filtered eyes. They also teach us the value of life, good friends, laughter, and the random kindnesses that find us....

    Only good dreams tonight for you, my friend.

  2. "He bites" is not slang lol. That was great. Exploring the generation gap at Melori's creates great possibilities for humor and conflict.

    I really wish you would self publish or query my publisher so the world can view your talent.

    The future for new authors is Kindle books anyway. My paperback sales are doing nothing, but my Kindle sales are exploding. It's kind of scary. Not as scary as your alley in New orleans, but kind of scary.

  3. Walter : I am seriously considering going your route. I doubt whether any agent will ever take notice of me. It is disheartening. Thanks for liking my little excerpt from my WIP.

  4. Hi Roland! LOL, so true with the analogy. ;) writing is beautiful and obedient in my capable hands. Hopefully when I share, they will enjoy the pleasure I had with it, too!!

  5. As always, I thoroughly enjoyed this, Roland. Thanks!

  6. I liked this one a lot Roland. A lot of heart in it, and dark humor.

    I hope you weren't too melancholy on your terrible anniversary. You've done so well to live life in the present, and look towards the future.

    If you go self publishing route - I say good luck in your adventure. It seems to be a considerable relief for many authors.

    Love the music.


  7. "if you want to reveal something you have to hide it properly first."

    OMG--I love love love that! Thanks, Roland~ :o) <3

  8. Roland, your excerpt was great and I like the contrast of language between the two of them.

    And while you made me cry, yet again, how can this be a terrible anniversay? It is the anniversary of you still being with us and sharing your gift and we would all be dimished otherwise.

    "No man is an island, entire of itself"

    I have no doubt that you will get published

    P.S. The music, the images - I knew you were a romantic.

  9. My tagline: Good writing is demanding, tiresome, and tedious as hell. But then again, so is good sex.


    Writing without reflection is good for an action book, but there's no backstory, no depth. I'm not sure it's even possible. Try it and my might come up with something like, Speed.

    - Eric