Saturday, November 16, 2013

For whom did you last vote?

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The Eight Sentences
They could hear the dominoes being shuffled again,so Abe spun around on his bar stool to face the gamesmen and asked, “How many of y’all vote?”
His answer was four blank stares. 
After a pause, York spoke up, “You mean in elections?”
Louie said to Abe, “Guess you got your answer, huh? What about you, do you vote?”
“Sometimes, the last time I voted was when Samuel L.Jackson and I voted for the brother, gimmie another beer.”
Louie volunteered, “The last time I voted was for Miss Rheingold.”

The Back Story
     The members of the Presidents Club and their bartender discuss the relative interest of the general population in voting. Some people don't even bother anymore. Do you vote?
Louie the bartender did. He voted for Miss Rheingold in the beer company's annual competition. 

News
     The Presidents Club went live on Amazon earlier this week.
Official release date is Tuesday, Nov. 19. If you've enjoyed my snippets, I hope you'll help me with some exposure by sharing this link in the social media.

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Saturday, November 9, 2013

The "Pro Choice" Choice


The Eight Sentences:

"When I lived in Baton Rouge, I knew quite a few people, men in particular, who would profess their belief that abortion should be banned. Complete total ban in every situation. They’d brag about standing up in meetings of the Knights of Columbus and announce bold, confident proclamations of their beliefs. They were fond of using absolutes like ‘always’ and ‘never’.”

“It’s good to see people stand firm with their convictions, don’t you think?” asked Debert.

“Ah, yes, but listen to this. Find one of those men out of that environment and ask them in private, ‘What if it were your wife or daughter that got raped by a retarded, homeless drug addict?’ The expression on their face would change and then you’d see what I’m talking about when I refer to, ‘situational ethics.’” 



The Back Story:
       Last week's snippet featured a conversation between professional assassin, Claudia Barry, and her only confidant, Mr. Debert, about her choice to put her unborn baby up for adoption. 
       Today's sample comes from another chapter in which she and Debert are discussing her career choice. During a lengthy diatribe in her attempts to justify her profession, the subject of abortion comes up. Claudia is a conflicted woman who has made conflicting choices and yet is still at peace with herself.

News:

The Tourist Killer was featured this past Friday, Nov. 8, in the debut of a new website, The Fussy Librarian
If you'd like your book promoted by direct e-mail to thousands of readers who have requested recommendations (by genre) then check'em out.


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Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Planned Parenthood Flashback

The Eight Sentences:

Debert pressed on, “It’s clear that your career choice had a major influence in your putting the baby up for adoption.”
“Picture this -- first grade teacher has each child stand up and talk about their family. My kid stands up and says, “I don’t have a daddy but my mom makes lots of money killing people.”
“You’re right, that wouldn’t sound good,” replied Debert, playing along.
“Besides, it’s too late now anyway.”
“What do you mean?” Debert became concerned.
“I’ve already killed someone --two, in fact.”
There was a long silence, Debert was stunned and speechless.


Art Hoffman
The Back Story:       It's 1976, three years after Roe vs. Wade and Claudia finds herself pregnant. The above eight sentences come from the flashback in which she visits her doctor in the Hackensack, NJ Planned Parenthood office. Claudia has decided to pursue a living killing people, but when faced with this choice, she chose adoption. A PP doctor will deliver the baby. In that same scene, she meets with the only person she can trust (Mr. Debert) and they discuss her conflicted nature and her current situation.       
[Special thanks to my good friend, Art Hoffman who traces his involvement in the family planning movement way back to 1970 when he began working at his first Planned Parenthood in Chicago, Illinois. Over the ensuing decades he also worked for or supported Planned Parenthood affiliates in Los Angeles CA, Rochester NY, Albuquerque, NM and Louisville, KY. Not surprisingly, most of his co-workers were females, so he developed an admiration for strong, fearless and independent minded women. Perhaps that is why Claudia intrigues him so.]                                                           

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Cloudy Flashback


The Eight Sentences:

“You remember what I told you about sunsets, don’t you?” Lillie had asked.
“Yes, ma’am, I do, I’ll never forget it,” Claudia replied.
“Well, Dr. Thibaut’s passing was one with a beautiful clear sunset. No clouds to be seen, but a beautiful afterglow.” 
Lillie put her coffee cup on the table, raised her glasses and wiped her eyes with the ever-present white lace handkerchief. 
Claudia thought a moment and at the risk of sounding like a challenge, pressed ahead with her question, “Do you think that people can have a cloudy life — one that would have beautiful clouds at sunset, but, aaah, still have had troubles?”
“Honey, no life goes by without problems. We all have our clouds, remember that man in Lil’ Abner?”
                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                   Image credit: deniskitchen.com
The Back Story:
  After the death of her masters supervisor, Claudia visits an old friend in Baton Rouge, Dr. Thibaut's housekeeper, Miss Lil. In this conversation, they talk about analogies, sunsets and clouds.
  Many readers, especially baby boomers, will remember the Lil Abner cartoon strip. Joe Btfsplk was a character that featured an ever-present dark cloud over his head symbolizing bad luck. 

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Glen or Glenda, Victor/Victoria Flashback

The Eight Sentences:
         Claudia entered a public restroom on the main floor near the ballroom where the breakfast meeting would occur. No one saw her exit. In one of the stalls, she changed from her business suit which consisted of a blouse, skirt and jacket into dark slacks and a white button down men’s oxford shirt. She removed the brunette wig and shook her head letting her fresh cut hairstyle fall into place. Next the makeup was removed with cold cream to reveal her Gulf Coast tan. Her skin was smooth and clear and would pass for the fresh-shaved face of a man. She packed the clothes she had worn coming in and stepped out into the hallway. Claudia Barry disappeared into the crowd. 


The Back Story:

The next morning was the beginning of a personal challenge. She had two self-assignments. First, she wanted to infiltrate the wait staff of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, and for at least a few hours, become one of them — as a male. It was important for her thesis to show, how using deception, timing, and disguise, she could move in close to important people in spite of security. Second, her next goal would be to disappear from the premises undetected. Her effective use of group dynamics would be put to the test. She’d have to rely on an unplanned diversion to occur — unless she could come up with something on the spur of the minute.

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The inspiration:

     This scene from the movie, Victor Victoria made a memorable impression. When it came time for a scene in which Claudia Barry would pull off an amazinge deception, the idea of Julie Andrews portraying a man was a great inspiration. 
     Fast forward to the 4:45 mark in this scene (unless you'd like to enjoy the entire production number):



This just in...

     Friday night, 10-18, I saw this story on Yahoo:
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/lady-looks-like-a-dude--female-model-goes-male-to-get-more-jobs-171123533.html

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Faculty Club Flashback



The Eight Sentences:
 “I’ve been experimenting with some of your suggestions -- you told me several months ago about the seating arrangements. Ever since, I always make sure my wife is seated to my right when we’re discussing certain things.”  
“When I saw the two of you at the Faculty Club last week, her body language told me that it wasn’t working,” Claudia smiled.
“Of course, I didn’t see you.” 
“Yes, you did -- I waited on you.”
He was surprised, “What?”
I told you I wanted to include a section in my paper about disguises. Well, it worked, didn’t it?”
LSU's Faculty Club - a popular restaurant for faculty
as well as the general public.


The Back Story:
Never one to flout her talents, Claudia became a self-styled recluse in junior college, and none of her Columbia, Missouri, high school friends ever knew that she had graduated from the University of Arkansas with a major in sociology and earned a master’s degree at LSU in group dynamics. Disassociation from any childhood or teen acquaintances had become her first disappearing act. 
This snippett continues the series of flashbacks and features a conversation with her masters advisor. 
He speaks first.


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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Ascension Sunday in Pirate's Alley


The Eight Sentences:
It was Ascension Sunday and he had attended the evening mass at the St. Louis Cathedral alone. As he left the service, a young man called out to him, "Mr. Duplessis, please help me."
The kindly older gentleman found it hard to resist a personal call for help so he stepped eagerly into Pirate's Alley to offer his assistance to the young man in need. Perhaps he was feeling benevolent upon leaving the religious service.
They walked arm in arm several paces into the alley then the young man turned to his companion and said, "This is for Barry -- Clarence Barry, remember him?"
Her disguise and make-shift silencer worked to perfection. The immoral cop and corrupt politician crumpled into a heap in the darkness of the alley. 
Claudia disappeared into the night and reemerged a few blocks over on Toulouse Street.
St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans fronted
by Jackson Square in the French Quarter
Image credit, Wikicommons

The Back Story:
Claudia Barry's first kill.
She avenges the death of her own father at the hands of a dirty cop.
Is she a hero -- or a psycopath?
She uses her skills at disquise to hide from her victims and herself.
Her reaction to his experience can be found in this snippett from last year: http://etierphotography.blogspot.com/2012/11/nov-4-six-sentence-sunday.html

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

The white scarf flashback



The Eight Sentences:
"Claudia, you've known me since you were six or seven years old, don't you remember? You would often point me out to your grandfather and say, 'Look, Grandpa Hooligan, there's Mr. Debert.'"
"You know what I called him."
"Why shouldn't I -- I was always around."
They sat together in companionable silence while she thought. Finally, she said, "I'll wear a white scarf when I want to see you."
"What about after Labor Day?" he asked sincerely.
"That's for shoes," she said with a note of sarcasm.

The Back Story:
Today's snippet comes from the flashback at the beginning of Part 2 of The Tourist Killer. Here, readers meet the mysterious "Mr. Debert" (day-bear), Claudia's confidant, one of only two people with whom she can discuss any aspects of her career. She's decided she can trust him and they make arrangements for scheduling meetings.

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Flashbacks add structure to debut novel


The Eight Sentences
"Not many shooters — regardless of sex — have the resume I’ve acquired, my vision is remarkable for any human. When I chose this career, it was obvious that I would never be in the limelight. I’ll be happy to be just as anonymous as you.” Claudia had resigned herself to anonymity even before the choice of professions. She had taken herself out of the fight for women’s rights with the selection of careers. She couldn’t attract attention to herself advocating any issue publicly and then hope to reach the upper echelons of her craft. She could, and did, find ways to make financial contributions to the cause. After her first few jobs, she had stashed away enough funds to live happily ever after — when and — if she ever retired.

The Back Story
      Readers meet professional assassin, Claudia Barry, when she's sixty-two years old and considering retirement. How do we tell her story and establish her current status without some flashbacks?
My original manuscript was cluttered and confusing due to the flashbacks.
My editor/publisher had a brilliant idea. Divide the book into sections and open each one with a flashback related to, or supporting the action in that section.
Remember the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes? It was structured similarly.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

They're here, they're there -- they're everywhere!


The Eight Sentences

She replied, “Name a few of the organizations you would consider if you believed in conspiracies.”
Without hesitation, Hixon said, “The Council on Foreign Relations, the CIA, the Bilderbergers, Trilateral Commission, should I continue?”
“Yes,” she said, “please do.”
“The Freemasons, Skull and Bones, the Knights Templar, Illuminati, Opus Dei, Knights of Columbus, the Schutzstaffel, Rosicrucians, Scientology, the KKK, the Costa Nostra, Al Qaeda, and the UMYF.”
“Did you ever read Ayn Rand’s book, Atlas Shrugged?” 
Hixon raised his eyebrows and shrugged, “No, but I read The Fountainhead, why?”
“She had a fictitious organization in the book called, ‘Friends of Global Progress.’ They claimed to have interests in psychology, folk music, and co-operative farming, and after decades of being known simply as ‘The Council,’ Thibaut’s group stole that name from Rand -- obviously they had more pernicious interests.”

The Set Up

  In this scene from The Presidents Club, Thibaut's secretary, Rosemary Woods, is talking to John Hixon about the organization to which her boss had been named Chairman. The image below comes from Wikipedia and depicts the wide variety of members in the Council on Foreign Relations (one of Hixon's examples).



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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Dillon on Dylan


The Eight Sentences
Then back into the phone, Hixon asked, “So how’s Sweet Melinda?”
Dillon shouted, “The peasants call her the goddess of gloom.”
“Give her my love and tell her that the last time we were together, she left me howling at the moon.”
Thibaut could hear a deep raspy cough come from the phone. It sounded like the last gasp of a dying soul with chronic lung disease.
Hixon was about to end the conversation; he could see Betty Lou coming toward them with her arms loaded with plates and saucers balancing their breakfast better than the guy on Ed Sullivan spinning plates, “So you think you can fix us up?”
“Yes, I think it can be easily done. Out on Highway sixty-one,” and Dillon disconnected.

The Set Up
     Another scene from The Tourist Killer
     Publisher has a big push scheduled for TTK starting next Monday, Sept. 16. A direct mail campaign to subscribers who prefer this genre.
     This is the end of a telephone conversation between John Hixon and his old hippie friend, Robert Dillon. After spending a week in the desert with Carlos Casteneda back in the sixties, Dillion began speaking using only lyrics from Bob Dylan songs. 
     Hixon humored him and often joined the banter with Dylan lyrics, also.
     Lyrics featured in this snippett come from "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" and "Highway Sixty-one."




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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Altered lives


The Eight Sentences:

The shooter relaxed and watched the rain collect on the windshield as the wiper blades paused for a few seconds between cycles. 
First, came images, then text. It was like e-mails appearing on the screen of her computer but now they were on the windshield right before her eyes. No time to read them as the wipers cleared them away with each wave. Always changing, more messages and no time to read nor savor them.

“Did my targets realize their own frailty, their vulnerability, their mortality? Were they able to adjust the length of time the blades of fate hesitate between each event?”

The light changed; the pace of the rain quickened and without a thought, her hand came up, her finger touched 
the lever, and the wipers went from intermittent to regular speed — with no pauses.

The Setup
    This weekend's eight sentences come from my first novel, The Tourist Killer. We have a targeted marketing program coming out in September. A blast of direct e-mails to subscribers who want info on books in this genre.
Claudia Barry is an elite professional assassin nearing retirement. 
She's a boomer. 
She's sixty-two years old. 
In this scene, while driving in Manhattan, she contemplates how her actions, as simple as the movement of one finger, can alter the lives of others.


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Saturday, August 24, 2013

What do Republicans look like?

=====================================


The Eight Sentences:

Ridge continued, “Of course it’s a depression -- caused by the Republicans -- they're ruining the country. If I see one in a crosswalk, I’ll run him over.”
Franklin York, still on the lookout for opportunities to stir up trouble asked, “How do you recognize them, George? What do Republicans look like?”
Ridge sneered in silent reply. 
York asked, “What does that look mean?”
Fishinghawk, ever the linguist, answered, “He’s flipping you off with his eyes.”
Reverend Tommy Pritchett smiled and asked, “Yeah, George. Do Republicans look anything like Methodists?”


The Setup
The members of  The Presidents Club enjoy teasing each other. They can dish it out ruthlessly and they can take it, too. 
They're a nice fit for each other and constantly on guard for a slip of the tongue they can exploit. 
They often surprise me with their smart ass remarks and clever rejoinders. 


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