Friday, August 30, 2013

A New Description for Freedom Does Matter

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I'd asked for an opinion of the then current description for Freedom Does Matter. While he prefers not to have our exchanges posted, I am going to post the before and after versions, since those are both public and while his efforts are certainly reflected in the work, there is nothing that's specific to him.

At the beginning, I had:

Beckie Sverdupe is relaxing mid-summer before her sophomore year at college when a peaceful riding session ends with a horrifying text message: her fiancé and mentor, mercenary Ian Jamse, has been shot.
Beckie’s efforts to complete his work won’t be halted by assassination attempts, natural disasters or heartache. Is it revenge or justice that drives her to pursue the assassin? Her quest reveals a terrorist plot to foment war by killing thousands at iconic Wembley Stadium. Thwarting the plot brings her head-to-head with one man’s closed-mind attempts to redefine freedom.

Freedom Does Matter, the second Mercenaries story, is an older YA or NA action adventure, and is recommended for readers 15+ due to language and adult situations.

Following the suggestions, it now reads:

Mid-summer before her sophomore year at college, Beckie Sverdupe is grooming her horse when she receives horrifying news: her fiancé Ian Jamse has been shot and may be dead.
Leader of a successful mercenary team, Ian’s not only Beckie’s fiancé; he’s her mentor, training her as a team member after she made it clear that, having fallen in love with him, she would make their group more than just “soldiers for hire;” they’d be more “socially conscious” mercenaries, with longer life expectancies. The current job, an Egyptian land dispute negotiation, supposedly filled that requirement to a tee. Except it hadn’t: Ian was dying! 
Instead of returning to campus for Engineering classes, Beckie kisses Ian’s insensate lips and heads to Cairo to complete the negotiations. It’s her first solo assignment, and she’s determined to finish despite her fears for Ian. Tracking the gunman will be an added challenge spurred by renewed assassination attempts targeting the new mediator: her!
Her quest to gain justice— or revenge—for Ian reveals a conspiracy to incite the final Mideast war by killing thousands at iconic Wembley Stadium in London. As she unravels the plot, she comes head-to-head with one man’s bitter, intransigent attempts to redefine freedom. Will Ian love her again? Can Beckie thwart the terrorist honcho before the attack and eliminate one hateful voice of irrationality?

While Freedom Does Matter is set in the Mercenaries world, it may be enjoyed on its own.
 I'd appreciate any thoughts you might be willing to share. I'm going through a similar exercise with the first chapter, having enjoyed Kristen Lamb's First Five Pages Seminar, so I have a couple of days before I push the button. All else is in readiness!

I'm excited to get Freedom Does Matter out there! I hope your aspirations are going as well; you can talk about that in the comments, too, if you like.

Monday, August 12, 2013

My Muse is Back and There’s Gonna be Trouble

(with apologies to The Angels and Robert Feldman, Gerald Goldstein and Richard Gottehre)

The muse flitted in during one of the wonderful summer days we had last week (that weather continues, yay!) and to say she was disappointed in my progress, or more accurately, the lack thereof, would be an epic understatement. First, she threatened to go on permanent vacation—something about going where her talents could be utilized—but then she said “Dummy! You wrote the story about Beckie and Amy and Ian because you know them. Don’t you think knowing Piero (he’s the villain of Background Check) would resolve your misunderstandings about where I’m trying to point you in this ending. Which sucks, by the way.”

She’s not much on mincing words. However, even I can see the light when the carbon-arc strikes and the harsh blue-white beam shines in my face. I’m writing a side story that won’t get directly included, but will inform me about the way Piero acts and the things he needs and wants. Before she left, the muse nodded sagely and said “That should solve that little problem. I’ll be back.” After a pause, “Probably.”

So far, about a thousand words done on “Piero’s Story”. I expect it to be five or so thousand. Since it’s not part of the book, some things can be hinted at or glossed over as long as I understand where his head’s at as a result. Since it is a reference, more telling is acceptable here than otherwise.

Do you find this type of exercise helpful to you as you create characters who, while not part of a continuing series cast, are still critical? As every character you introduce must be.

As usual, your comments are welcome.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Second in an occasional series of questions that may well have no answer, or no reasonable or acceptable answer anyway.

Why do otherwise polite people, those who would never consider cutting in front of you at Starbucks, or the movie ticket line, feel that their time is significantly more valuable than other drivers', so much so that they will scoot up a vanishing lane (marked by a huge blinking arrow) and depend on a more polite person to allow them to cut in, saving perhaps thirty or forty seconds?

Bonus question: Why does it disturb me so much?

Comments welcome.

Check back later for the reutrn of the muse.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

An occasional series of question that may well have no answer, or no reasonable or acceptable answer anyway. Feel free to comment please.

The one for today: why are nicotine and THC legally different, aside from the fact that they're legally different? Both are addictive, with a preferred delivery system that damages the lungs of the users. Yet one is banned and the other, merely regulated.

Go at it!