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Tropical Depression by author Jeff Lindsay Blast @dexterjeff

I’m a massive Jeff Lindsay fan. Before the TV show I saw a book about a serial killer who kills serial killer and I was hooked then and there. I’m so pleased to be able to share about another Jeff Lindsay book Tropical Depression. Check it out and the other blogs taking part in the blast.

Tropical Depression

by Jeff Lindsay

August 25 Book Blast

 

Synopsis:

cover

NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Jeff Lindsay mastered suspense with his wildly addictive DEXTER series. Before that, however, there was former cop and current burnout Billy Knight. When a hostage situation turns deadly, Billy loses everything—his wife, his daughter, and his career. Devastated, he heads to Key West to put down his gun and pick up a rod and reel as a fishing boat captain. But former co-worker Roscoe McAuley isn’t ready to let Billy rest.

When Roscoe tells Billy that someone murdered his son, Billy sends him away. When Roscoe himself turns up dead a few weeks later, however, Billy can’t keep from getting sucked back into Los Angeles, and the streets that took so much from him.

Billy’s investigations into the death of a former cop, and his son, will take him up to the highest echelons of the LAPD, finding corruption at every level. It puts him on a collision course with the law, with his past, with his former fellow officers, and with the dark aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement. Jeff Lindsay’s considerable storytelling gifts are on full display, drawing the reader in with a mesmerizing style and a case with more dangerous blind curves than Mulholland Drive.

 

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Police Procedural

Published by: Diversion Books

Publication Date: August 25, 2015 (Re-Release)

Number of Pages: 256

ISBN: 2940151536677

Series: Billy Knight Thrillers, Book 1

Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

 

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Read an excerpt:

Somebody once said Los Angeles isn’t really a city but a hundred suburbs looking for a city. Every suburb has a different flavor to it, and every Angeleno thinks he knows all about you when he knows which one you live in. But that’s mostly important because of the freeways.

Life in L.A. is centered on the freeway system. Which freeway you live nearest is crucial to your whole life. It determines where you can work, eat, shop, what dentist you go to, and who you can be seen with.

I needed a freeway that could take me between the two murder sites, get me downtown fast, or up to the Hollywood substation to see Ed Beasley.

I’d been thinking about the Hollywood Freeway. It went everywhere I needed to go, and it was centrally located, which meant it connected to a lot of other freeways. Besides, I knew a hotel just a block off the freeway that was cheap and within walking distance of the World News, where Roscoe had been cut down. I wanted to look at the spot where it happened. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t learn anything, but it was a starting place.

And sometimes just looking at the place where a murder happened can give you ideas about it; cops are probably a little more levelheaded than average, but most of them will agree there’s something around a murder scene that, if they weren’t cops, they would call vibes.

So Hollywood it was. I flagged down one of the vans that take you to the rental car offices.

By the time I got fitted out with a brand new matchbox—no, thank you, I did not want a special this-week-only deal on a Cadillac convertible; that’s right, cash, I didn’t like credit cards; no, thank you, I did not want an upgrade of any kind for only a few dollars more; no, thank you, I didn’t want the extra insurance—it was dark and I was tired. I drove north on the San Diego Freeway slowly, slowly enough to have at least one maniac per mile yell obscenities at me. Imagine the nerve of me, going only sixty in a fifty-five zone.

The traffic was light. Pretty soon I made my turn east on the Santa Monica. I was getting used to being in L.A. again, getting back into the rhythm of the freeways. I felt a twinge of dread as I passed the exit for Sepulveda Boulevard, but I left it behind with the lights of Westwood.

The city always looks like quiet countryside from the Santa Monica Freeway. Once you are beyond Santa Monica and Westwood, you hit a stretch that is isolated from the areas it passes through. You could be driving through inner-city neighborhoods or country-club suburbs, but you’ll never know from the freeway.

That all changes as you approach downtown. Suddenly there is a skyline of tall buildings, and if you time it just right, there are two moons in the sky. The second one is only a round and brightly lit corporate logo on a skyscraper, but if it’s your first time through you can pass some anxious moments before you figure that out. After all, if any city in the world had two moons, wouldn’t it be L.A.?

And suddenly you are in one of the greatest driving nightmares of all recorded history. As you arc down a slow curve through the buildings and join the Harbor Freeway you are flung into the legendary Four-Level. The name is misleading, a slight understatement. It really seems like a lot more than four levels.

The closest thing to driving the Four-Level is flying a balloon through a vicious dogfight with the Red Baron’s Flying Circus. The bad guys—and they are all bad guys in the Four-Level—the bad guys come at you from all possible angles, always at speeds just slightly faster than the traffic is moving, and if you do not have every move planned out hours in advance you’ll be stuck in the wrong lane looking for a sign you’ve already missed and before you know it you will find yourself in Altadena, wondering what happened.

I got over into the right lane in plenty of time and made the swoop under several hundred tons of concrete overpass, and I was on the Hollywood Freeway. Traffic started to pick up after two or three exits, and in ten minutes I was coming off the Gower Street ramp and onto Franklin.

There’s a large hotel right there on Franklin at Gower. I’ve never figured out how they break even. They’re always at least two-thirds empty. They don’t even ask if you have a reservation. They are so stunned that you’ve found their hotel they are even polite for the first few days. There’s also a really lousy coffee shop right on the premises, which is convenient if you keep a cop’s schedule. I guessed I was probably going to do that this trip.

A young Chinese guy named Allan showed me up to my room. It was on the fifth floor and looked down into the city, onto Hollywood Boulevard just two blocks away. I left the curtain open. The room was a little bit bigger than a gas station rest room, but the decor wasn’t quite as nice.

It was way past my bedtime back home, but I couldn’t sleep. I left my bag untouched on top of the bed and went out.

The neighborhood at Franklin and Gower is schizophrenic. Two blocks up the hill, towards the famous Hollywood sign, the real estate gets pretty close to seven figures. Two blocks down the hill and it’s overpriced at three.

I walked straight down Gower, past a big brick church, and turned west. I waved hello to Manny, Moe, and Jack on the corner: it had been a while. There was still a crowd moving along the street. Most of them were dressed like they were auditioning for the role of something your mother warned you against.

Some people have this picture of Hollywood Boulevard. They think it’s glamorous. They think if they can just get off the pig farm and leave Iowa for the big city, all they have to do is get to Hollywood Boulevard and magic will happen. They’ll be discovered.

The funny thing is, they’re right. The guys that do the discovering are almost always waiting in the Greyhound station. If you’re young and alone, they’ll discover you. The magic they make happen might not be what you had in mind, but you won’t care about that for more than a week. After that you’ll be so eager to please you’ll gladly do things you’d never even had a name for until you got discovered. And a few years later when you die of disease or overdose or failure to please the magic-makers, your own mother won’t recognize you. And that’s the real magic of Hollywood. They take innocence and turn it into money and broken lives.

I stopped for a hot dog, hoping my sour mood would pass. It didn’t. I got mustard on my shirt. I watched a transvestite hooker working on a young Marine. The jarhead was drunk enough not to know better. He couldn’t believe his luck. I guess the hooker felt the same way.

The hot dog started to taste like old regrets. I threw the remaining half into the trash and walked the last two blocks to Cahuenga.

The World News is open twenty-four hours a day, and there’s always a handful of people browsing. In a town like this there’s a lot of people who can’t sleep. I don’t figure it’s their conscience bothering them.

I stood on the sidewalk in front of the place. There were racks of specialty magazines for people interested in unlikely things. There were several rows of out-of-town newspapers. Down at the far end of the newsstand was an alley. Maybe three steps this side of it there was a faint rusty brown stain spread across the sidewalk and over the curb into the gutter. I stepped over it and walked into the alley.

The alley was dark, but that was no surprise. The only surprise was that I started to feel the old cop adrenaline starting up again, just walking down a dark alley late at night. Suddenly I really wanted this guy. I wanted to find whoever had killed Roscoe and put him in a small cell with a couple of very friendly body-builders.

The night air started to feel charged. It felt good to be doing cop work again, and that made me a little mad, but I nosed around for a minute anyway. I wasn’t expecting to find anything, and I didn’t. By getting down on one knee and squinting I did find the spot where the rusty stains started. There was a large splat, and then a trickle leading back out of the alley to the stain on the sidewalk.

I followed the trickle back to the big stain and stood over it, looking down.

Blood is hard to wash out. But sooner or later the rain, the sun, and the passing feet wear away the stains. This stain was just about all that was left of Roscoe McAuley and when it was gone there would be nothing left of him at all except a piece of rock with his name on it and a couple of loose memories. What he was, what he did, what he thought and cared about—that was already gone. All that was hosed away a lot easier than blood stains—a lot quicker, too.

“I’m sorry, Roscoe,” I said to the stain. It didn’t answer. I walked back up the hill and climbed into a bed that was too soft and smelled of mothballs and cigarettes.

 

 

Author Bio:

authorJeff Lindsay is the award-winning author of the seven New York Times bestselling Dexter novels upon which the international hit TV show Dexter is based. His books appear in more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies around the world. Jeff is a graduate of Middlebury College, Celebration Mime Clown School, and has a double MFA from Carnegie Mellon. Although a full-time writer now, he has worked as an actor, comic, director, MC, DJ, singer, songwriter, composer, musician, story analyst, script doctor, and screenwriter.

Catch Up:
author's website author's twitter author's facebook

 

Giveaway:

Diversion Books is hosting a Rafflecopter Giveaway for Tropical Depression. Don’t miss out! Visit the tour stops & enter so you have a chance! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Participants:


Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Author Andrew Joyce guest post

Andrew_Joyce-authorMy name is Andrew Joyce, and I write books for a living. Jessica has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new book, MOLLY LEE. The story is a female-driven account of a young naive girl’s journey into an independent, strong woman and all the trouble she gets into along the way.

Now you may possibly be asking yourself, What is a guy doing writing in a woman’s voice? And that’s a good question. I can only say that I did not start out to write about Molly; she just came to me one day and asked that I tell her story.

Perhaps I should start at the beginning.

My first book was a 164,000-word historical novel. And in the publishing world, anything over 80,000 words for a first-time author is heresy. Or so I was told time and time again when I approached an agent for representation. After two years of research and writing, and a year of trying to secure the services of an agent, I got angry. To be told that my efforts were meaningless was somewhat demoralizing to say the least. I mean, those rejections were coming from people who had never even read my book.

So you want an 80,000-word novel?” I said to no one in particular, unless you count my dog, because he was the only one around at the time. Consequently, I decided to show them City Slickers that I could write an 80,000-word novel!

I had just finished reading Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn for the third time, and I started thinking about what ever happened to those boys, Tom and Huck. They must have grown up, but then what? So I sat down at my computer and banged out REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in two months; then sent out query letters to agents.

Redemption- Cover-245x354

Less than a month later, the chairman of one of the biggest agencies in New York City emailed me that he loved the story. We signed a contract and it was off to the races, or so I thought. But then the real fun began: the serious editing. Seven months later, I gave birth to Huck and Tom as adults. And just for the record, the final word count is 79,914. The book went on to reach #1 status on Amazon twice, and the rest, as they say, is history.

But not quite.

My agent then wanted me to write a sequel, but I had other plans. I was in the middle of editing down my first novel (that had been rejected by 1,876,324 agents . . . or so it seemed) from 164,000 words to the present 142,000. However, he was insistent, so I started to think about it. Now, one thing you have to understand is that I tied up all the loose ends at the end of REDEMPTION, so there was no way that I could write a sequel. And that is when Molly asked me to tell her story. Molly was a character that we met briefly in the first chapter of REDEMPTION, and then she is not heard from again.

This is the description from MOLLY LEE:

Molly is about to set off on the adventure of a lifetime . . . of two lifetimes.

It’s 1861 and the Civil War has just started. Molly is an eighteen-year-old girl living on her family’s farm in Virginia when two deserters from the Southern Cause enter her life. One of them—a twenty-four-year-old Huck Finn—ends up saving her virtue, if not her life.

Molly is so enamored with Huck, she wants to run away with him. But Huck has other plans and is gone the next morning before she awakens. Thus starts a sequence of events that leads Molly into adventure after adventure; most of them not so nice.

We follow the travails of Molly Lee, starting when she is eighteen and ending when she is fifty-six. Even then Life has one more surprise in store for her.

Molly-Lee-300x200-273x367

As I had wondered whatever became of Huck and Tom, I also wondered what Molly did when she found Huck gone.

I know this has been a long-winded set up, but I felt I had to tell the backstory. Now I can move on and tell you about Molly.

As stated earlier, Molly starts out as a naive young girl. Over time she develops into a strong, independent woman. The change is gradual. Her strengths come from the adversities she encounters along the road that is her life.

With each setback, Molly follows that first rule she set against self-pity and simply moves on to make the best of whatever life throws her way. From working as a whore to owning a saloon, from going to prison to running a ranch, Molly plays to win with the cards she’s dealt. But she always keeps her humanity. She will kill to defend herself, and she has no problem killing to protect the weak and preyed upon. However, when a band of Indians (for instance) have been run off their land and have nowhere else to go, Molly allows them to live on her ranch, and in time they become extended family.

This is from a review on Amazon:

“A young female in nineteenth-century rural America would have needed courage, fortitude, and firm resolve to thrive in the best of circumstances. Molly Lee possesses all of these, along with an iron will and an inherent ability to read people accurately and respond accordingly.”

I reckon that about sums up Molly.

I would like to say that I wrote MOLLY LEE in one sitting and everything in it is my pure genius. But that would be a lie. I have three editors (two women and one guy). They kept me honest with regard to Molly. When I made her a little too hard, they would point out that she had to be softer or show more emotion in a particular scene.

I set out to write a book where every chapter ended with a cliffhanger. I wanted the reader to be forced to turn to the next chapter. And I pretty much accomplished that, but I also wrote a few chapters where Molly and my readers could catch their collective breath.

One last thing: Everything in MOLLY LEE is historically correct from the languages of the Indians to the descriptions of the way people dressed, spoke, and lived. I spend as much time on research as I do writing my stories. Sometimes more.

It looks as though I’ve used up my allotted word count (self-imposed), so I reckon I’ll ride off into the sunset and rustle up a little vodka and cranberry juice (with extra lime).

It’s been a pleasure. Thank you for having me over.

Andrew

 

Authors who deserve more recognition

Michael at Literary Exploration suggested this post after I took a peek at his top 10 author list. So here it is Michael my 10 authors who deserve more recognition.

 

1. Natasha Troop. Her talent blows me away and I’m dying to read her next book. I feel bad for those who haven’t had the pleasure of going omg I can’t believe that just happened. Literary horror that makes you desperate to and terrified of turning the page.

2. Jackie Gamber. Quality fantasy young adult. Coming of age and just plain smart. Jackie writes books that are different from many YA out there, her’s has substance.

3. Paul Cleave my fave New Zealand author. Paul is kind and sent me a signed copy of his book The Cleaner which is just brilliant. His books are a must read for me and should be for everyone.

4. Craig DiLouie I <3 you Craig. He was super kind and agreed to an interview when I heard about his book it sounded oh so good. Loved The Infection when I got to it, it’s a great zombie read and I look forward to more of his work.

5. Nicole Cushing. Damn just damn. I’ve read two of her stories and I am blown away by Nicoles imagination and originality.

6. Pavarti K Tyler I’ve read one book just one by Pav and a short story at that. It was all that I needed to say yes I will read your work because only Pav could make cannibalism sexy.

7. Spike Marlowe she got me to love a placenta love story. Beat that.

8. AJ Scudiere is my I admire the growth I’ve seen having read all but her new one. I appreciate that she has improved as an author and I always look forward to what I know will be an entertaining read.

9. Tony Bertauski writes good stories. I love his work and highly recommend his books. Indie that is done well Tony is an author I can point to and say he knows his stuff.

10. Steven Shrewsbury the man’s latest book is dedicated to me so yeah it should be checked out for that alone

 

 

Author A.B. Shepherd interview

Lifeboat, A.B. Shepard

 

 

Lifeboat synopsis:
Cass has lost everything; her husband, her son, and her will to live. She walks in the dark when sleep eludes her. One sleepless summer night she spies a UFO and discovers a new obsession. It gives much-needed focus to her empty life.

When natural disasters destroy the Earth, Cass and other survivors are rescued and taken to a new world where the human race can begin anew. But something is wrong here. This may not be the paradise they’ve been promised. Survivors are vanishing without a trace.

Can Cass unravel the riddle in time to save herself?

 

Can you tell me something about you that no one knows? 

If I told you, then someone would know – wouldn’t they? My life is (mostly) an open book. Yes, I write under a pseudonym, but it’s not very well disguised and if anyone tried hard enough I’m sure they could figure out my real identity. All of my family and friends know. Do you want to know something no one knows? Or something few people know? Or something that only those closest to me know?

Here’s something you might not suspect if you don’t know me well. I am an introvert. You might not guess that if you talk to me online, or even if you met me, because I don’t necessarily present myself as one. I don’t like crowds and I don’t like to be the center of attention. I’m uncomfortable in the spotlight. I love that people are starting to read my book and I love hearing feedback, good or bad. I love one on one communication and even small, intimate groups, which is why the internet is such a great medium of communication for me. You will most likely never see me do an author reading or any live media event to market my books though.

As a side effect of my introversion, one of the reasons I use my pseudonym is because so much of me goes into my writing and it is uncomfortable for me to expose so much of myself to the world. By doing it under a pseudonym I feel less vulnerable.

What are you reading now? 

I love to read Indie books as well as traditionally published books and I often flip back and forth between them. I’ve just finished Jackrabbit Junction Jitters by Ann Charles and loved it. She is so fabulous at writing mysteries with humor and quirky characters and making it all seem effortless. I’m about to start reading Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen. I’m not quite sure what to expect there, but he made the New York Times best seller list so I’m hoping it will be enjoyable for me.

Some favourite books and authors 

As I mentioned above, I think Ann Charles is a wonderful writer and I would probably read just about anything she has written. Some of my other favorites though, are YA series.

I loved The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. Unlike most fans of the series, I actually thought the third book was the best of the three.

I loved the Tomorrow Series and the Ellie’s Chronicles series by John Marsden. As a side note, I always want to call him James Marsden, probably because of the actor. Sheesh. I embarrass myself often with that mistake.

I really enjoyed the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, although I will say I didn’t think Insurgent was as good as Divergent, but I am still looking forward to the third book in the series.

As for adult fiction, James Patterson may actually have been the author who got me reading and loving science fiction. Yes, that James Patterson. Many years ago I was a fan of his mysteries and came across When the Wind Blows, and The Lake House by him. They were still mysteries, but they were science fiction mysteries and I was hooked. I’m not as much a fan of his more recent works. They are still good, but I hate that they are all collaborations now. I’m not sure how much of them he is actually writing. It puts me off a bit.

I also enjoyed the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich – at least the first ten of them. After that you figure out that they are really just the same book over and over again. It’s a little bit sad when authors fall into that trap just to keep pushing books out.

Is writing a new endeavour or a lifelong passion? 

Reading is a lifelong passion. Writing is a lifelong dream, only recently realized.

I’ve been an avid reader since I was a pre-teen and started reading my mom’s books. Mostly Harlequin Romances and bodice rippers far beyond my prepubescent years. It wasn’t until years later than I branched out into reading different genres. Now I love most of them.

Writing however – well that is a different story. I was in my early thirties (I’m 51 now) the first time I sat down and tried to write a novel. I ran out of steam pretty quickly. While my husband at that time (we divorced a few years later) tried to be supportive, I just couldn’t find the time or my mojo. I tried a few more times over the years only to run into the same kinds of issues.

A couple of years ago I joined Goodreads.com and met some people through that site who encouraged me to become a book blogger, so I started with that and I really enjoyed it. Then, just before November 2012 I heard about NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo.org). It’s run by a non-profit organization and the premise is to get people writing. Basically, you join their website (it is free, but donations are welcome) and for the entire month of November you write every single day with a goal of reaching 50,000 words by the end of the month.  You don’t edit, or format. You just write. The rest comes later. They have a fun tracking tool that lets you know how many words you need to write each day to meet your goal and there are lots of forums that are fun and great ways to get help if you get stuck with your work in progress. The timing was perfect for me and I thought – why not? So I signed up and by the end of November the very first, very, VERY rough draft of Lifeboat came to be.

I learned so much about myself and writing in the process and it is one that I highly recommend. The main thing I learned is that I don’t have to have the entire plot worked out in my head before I sit down to write a story. Just like in Field of Dreams where “If you build it they will come,” when it comes to writing if you sit down to write it the ideas will come.

Looking at things from a blogger and an author standpoint what has surprised you the most?   I actually wrote a post about this on my blog not long ago. When I was just blogging I thought writers were gods and goddesses and I was standing by waiting to be blessed if they asked me to read their book, or if they noticed my review of their book.

Now I’m straddling that fence and I find that my original views were not quite accurate. I still feel honored when asked by an author to read their novel, but I’ve found that the bloggers have more power than I had ever thought before. The balance of power is a lot more equal than I had previously believed it to be. The authors have to go hat in hand to bloggers and hope against hope that a blogger will grant them the favor of a review in exchange for the lowly gift of a book. I think the scales tip slightly more in favor of the blogger these days, but it is still a powerful thrill to be asked to read an author’s work.

Please tell me about your new book

My work in progress is called The Beacon. It is the story of a young woman who has wrecked her boat and finds herself on a tiny island in a lighthouse being cared for by the lighthouse keeper’s wife. The keeper is violently abusive and our heroine comes to the aid of her new caregiver which results in the death of the keeper at the hands of our heroine. After a long night wherein she is unable to get help, she drags the keeper’s body outside and tends to the injuries of her new friend who is unconscious following the beating she has taken. But when our heroine wakes in the morning things aren’t as they were when she fell asleep. The body is gone, her friend is gone, and the lighthouse appears to have been uninhabited for decades.

You can actually find a teaser of the first three chapters of The Beacon on my website, and at the back of all versions of my novel, Lifeboat. I hope to complete it soon and have it available for purchase before Christmas.

What do you have planned next? 

Following The Beacon, I hope to continue writing. I have made notes from a dream I had that I thought would make a good story, although when I’m ready to work on a new book they may no longer make sense to me. I also have an idea for a story based on an actual missing persons case from the 70s. But one thing I’ve found is that what I start out writing may not match the end result, so who knows? And of course, I plan to continue my blog and reading until my head explodes with knowledge. My personal motto is – never stop dreaming or reading. In fact, I’ve made that my tag line. 🙂

 


A.B. Shepherd grew up in Lansing, Michigan, but moved to Australia in 2009. She now lives in the Limestone Coast region of South Australia, with her husband and their imaginary friends. She can usually be found seaside at Port MacDonnell, or lost in a fantasy world. A.B. Shepherd author photo BW

Lifeboat is her debut novel. The Beacon, her second novel, has an anticipated release date of Christmas 2013.

If you’d like to learn more about A.B. Shepherd please visit her website at abshepherd.net.

A.B. loves to hear from readers. Feel free to contact her at TheRealABShepherd@hotmail.com with your thoughts regarding Lifeboat, or anything else that takes your fancy.

You can also connect with her on Twitter @ABHPShepherd and on her Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-and-Blogger-AB-Shepherd/336336493057737.

Buy links – Amazon print / Amazon ebook / Amazon UK / B&N / Smashwords / Kobo

Dark Halo by Christopher Kokoski Tour

Today I get to feature a post by author Christopher Kokoski. Christophers book Dark Halo sounds fantastic one to add to the list for sure. He stops by to share things he wishes he had been told when starting out.

Four Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me About Writing I started writing when I was thirteen. Since then, I’ve picked up a few things that I’d wish I’d known when I first started. Today I want to share four of those lessons with you.

  1. Writing is a skill that can be mastered

Not a life-changing statement, I know. However, there seems to be a myth floating around that great writers are born with a silver pen in hand, spewing forth brilliant lines with ease. While I agree that some people seem to have an innate sense of the craft, the greatest writers in history have mastered the art of writing by focused determination and hard work. Like any skill, writers must pass through a predicable apprentice stage before reaching a level of proficiency. Don’t buy into the “talent myth”. History is full of talented people who never made it because they weren’t willing to put in the time and effort required to master their craft. Don’t be one of them.

  1. Most of what you write at first will be bad

A person learning carpentry would never expect to whittle out a perfect chair on their first try, let another their twentieth. Similarly, writing is a craft that must be mastered with time, dedication and a willingness to keep at it, day by day, grinding words into sentences, even when quitting beckons at the end of every paragraph. There is no way to bypass this necessary “learning” period. Keep writing, revising, studying, seeking feedback and repeating those steps. Don’t give up. Don’t give in to disappointment or despair. This is just part of the process. Every bestselling author started as a young girl or guy who could barely put two sentences together. They, like you, must practice, practice, practice. When I started out, I thought I had to be good right away. I felt terribly pathetic when I read stories I spent hours, days and weeks writing.  “I’ll never be good,” I remember thinking. “My writing sucks!” And it did suck. It was really, really bad. Until, after years and years of practice, it suddenly wasn’t.

  1. The good stuff comes later

After you’ve spent years honing your writing, you’ll notice yourself getting better. It might be glaringly obvious or it might be subtle and nearly unrecognizable. However it happens, it will happen. Remind yourself of this fact during those dark, lonely years where it can be a struggle to figure out how to integrate all those elements of storytelling (i.e. conflict, dialogue, plot, character, description, setting, etc) while you write. You will get better, even if you can’t see a light at the end of the literary tunnel. If you put in the time and effort, you will grow as a writer. Period. When it happens, you will sit back and be amazed because it will seem so natural and, at times, even easy. Easy? Yes, in the same way that a professional athlete, having invested thousands of hours of practice, performs a lay up or field goal with seeming ease. The good stuff comes later, but it does come.

  1. Reading great writing helps you write.

One of the most spouted lessons about how to improve as a writer is to “read a lot and write a lot.” When I first heard it, I thought it couldn’t be true. It sounded too simple to be of any real help. Only because I heard it so often, I followed the advice anyway. I read voraciously, and I wrote six days of the week with Sundays off for spiritual reasons. I especially read bestsellers, writing that had already made the leap I wanted to make. I read, absorbed, studied and translated what I learned into my own writing.  The lesson may be simple, but it works. Read a lot and write a lot.

There you have it. Four things about writing I wish I had known when I first started. I hope they help you as they have helped me. Sincerely, Christopher

About the Author

Christopher was born in Kansas, the son of an Army Ranger and Black Hawk pilot. He grew up in Kentucky and Germany, and graduated from Murray State University in 2002 with a degree in Organizational Communication. He spent the next three years laboring over his first book, Past Lives, while getting married to his college sweetheart, having a beautiful daughter, and more or less finding his stride in life. He currently lives in Southern Indiana and works in Louisville, Kentucky as a national trainer. He has presented at local and national conferences on a wide spectrum of topics including communication, body language, cultural sensitivity and influence. Other notable activities include writing articles, short stories, novels and training materials for national and international audiences. Christopher continues his passion and dedication to writing by working on additional novels, including a sequel to the Past Lives series. His most recent book is the standalone paranormal thriller, Dark Halo.

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