Saturday, April 27, 2013

A hot Star gets hotter with every step

The Eight Sentences:

       He began to loosen his tie and saw Star enter from a cloud of steam pouring out of the bath. She wore nothing but beads of hot water that glistened as they rolled down her face, arms, and chest.                                                             When she stepped into the room, the cooler air gave her goose bumps. Her hair was soaked and pulled back into a wet ponytail that fell well past her shoulders and supplied a constant stream of water down her back. The water streaming off her nude body created a soggy trail across the carpet. 
       Another step and they were near enough for him to reach her, she stopped and surrendered by allowing her arms to fall at her sides. With one hand, he took the wet ponytail and pulled her head back. She looked up and saw him lean in so she shut her eyes and gently parted her lips for the kiss.

The Back Story:
        Last week's snippet from The Tourist Killer was so popular, it seemed like a logical progression to continue with a few more samples from my first novelIn this scene, London businessman, Brian Farrell enters the apartment of his personal assistant/lover, Star Braun. The image at the left is one from Google Images and fits my mental image of Star.

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Baby boomer and Zen 4-21-2013

The Set Up
        This week's snippet is from my first novel, The Tourist Killer. As the story begins, readers meet Claudia Barry, a sixty-two year old woman contemplating retirement.
A baby boomer.
She's a knockout.
She's an elite professional assassin who has mastered the art of disguise.
A cousin, a photographer, introduced her to Zen.
Her grandfather was a motorcycle repairman.
Now, she practices Zen -- with every squeeze of the trigger.

The Eight Sentences

         The butt of the rifle was comfortable against the shooter's shoulder. 
        A deep breath. 
        The shooter, the rifle, the bullet, the target all meshed together into one single entity. 
        The moment arrived.
        Nothing moved except the shooter's right index finger.
        Gail Oppenheimer had been helpless in the arms of a much stronger woman who was slowly bringing a razor to her throat. The blade flashed.
        With no warning, it disappeared.

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Character Quiz - remember these?

My previous blog on how authors select names for their characters spawned this quiz.
The answers are all over the internet, but give it a shot without looking them up first.
See how you do.
Boomers should do well, however, these all came from a current “best of all time” list selected by contemporary viewers.

Good luck!

Match the character with his/her book, movie, description.

Hot Lips Houlihan Casablanca
Illya Kuryakin Dr. Strangelove
Melanie Wilkes Apocalypse Now
Louis Renault Taxi Driver
Harry Lime “Verbal”
Ellen Ripley Silence of the Lambs
Ian Malcolm The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Roger Kint Gone With The Wind
Marion Crane Alien
Clarice Starling M*A*S*H
Buck Turgidson Some Like It Hot
Bill Kilgore Jurassic Park
Chuck Martin The Whirlybirds
Travis Bickle The Third Man
Sugar Kane Kowalczyk Psycho

Please post your scores, questions, suggestions, and thoughts in the comment section.

Enjoy the quiz!

Several of the characters named above appear in the following video:

Saturday, April 13, 2013

4-14-13 - Whom do you trust?

        Beta readers have the next twenty-one chapters of my serial, The Presidents Club. Once they're done and I've made the corrections and edits, my publisher, Venture Galleries, will increase the frequency to three chapters a week. 
        The goal is to have The Presidents Club out in trade paperback and e-book in time for back-to-school.  Teachers need something to read while the students are playing Fruit Ninja.

The Set Up:
        This week's snippet is from Chapter Twenty-one, which goes live Sunday, the 14th. In this scene, the regulars at the Louisville Tavern have been engaged in a lively discussion concerning the meaning of trust and what it means to them. 
        We join the scene just as Reverend Thomas Pritchett is concluding...

The Eight Sentences:

"Until then, we just enjoy being together and take care of each other till the time comes that we have to depend on that belief -- that trust.”
No one spoke for a moment so the pastor made it easy for them by asking, “Who thinks they can beat me in a game of checkers?”
Dr. Risk was ready, “I’ll take you on! Hit me with your best shot, Preacher!”
“Watch out, Doc,” advised York, “he’s liable to baptize you.”
The pastor turned to the smart mouth and said, “But I wouldn’t hold him under half as long as I would you.”
York muttered, “And all this time I thought I could trust you.” The two men exchanged smiles as Tommy Pritchett ambled over to the table where the checker board was set up.

Image credit:

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

How do you select names for your characters?

A blog article grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go. 

What if three and a half billion people knew your main character’s name?” by Colin Falconer recently appeared on my publisher’s site (Venture Galleries.)

It got me thinking about memorable characters and, as a writer, what makes a name and its character memorable?

One of my favorite novels is When All the World Was Young. The main character is Porter Osborne. He's like a brother. I'll never forget his name.

I’ve read all of Michael Crichton’s books and most of John Grisham’s. The only name of any of either of their characters I can remember is Mitch McDeere. Many of the characters were memorable for their deeds, misdeeds, and well, their character. But remember their names?

Here are a few noteworthy fictional names. It seems a good bet that most culturally literate folks will remember:
Rhett Butler
Scarlett O’Hara
Mike Hammer
Perry Mason
Indiana Jones
Luke Skywalker
Pussy Galore
Harry Callahan
Mary Poppins
Princess Leia
Sarah Connor
Holly Golightly

Let’s up the ante a bit.  Would the three and a half billion people who know James Bond be able to score well on this quiz of five easy pieces?

1. “Everybody goes to Rick’s.” Yeah, well, what’s his last name?
2. Casablanca typically ranks high in many “best movies of all time lists”, so what was Ilsa’s last name?
3. The Godfather is another favorite.  What were the first and last names of the woman who married Michael (not Apollonia in Italy)?
4. What was Mr. Goldfinger’s first name?
5. What was the name of John Travolta’s character in Pulp Fiction?

If you want to cheat, go to:
Give it a shot without cheating first.
How’d you do?

Let’s get back to the dilemma authors face when choosing names for their characters.
What author wouldn’t want several billion people to know their main character by name?
I’d be happy if a few thousand people recognized the name, “Claudia Barry” or “John Hixon.”

A few months ago, I was invited to speak to a local book club about my first novel, The Tourist Killer.  One of the questions they asked me was how I selected Claudia’s name.  Maybe Ian Fleming could get away with cutesy puns and names that were descriptive of his secondary characters, but I thought that as a rookie, it would be best to avoid naming a professional assassin, Katrina Coldblood who had a lover named Colt Caliber. Actually, I’m not into choosing names that way at all, although I did name one character Robert Dillon. He was the guy who spoke only in Bob Dylan lyrics.

My wife, Miss Bob, helped me in many ways with The Tourist Killer and she suggested “Claudia.” Her suggestion reminded me of a long ago acquaintance. In the first grade, I met a little girl named “Claudia.” She moved away before the second grade, but her name stuck in my mind. With a bit of research, I learned that, “Barry” is an old Irish word that means, “spear.”  You could use a spear to kill someone, so Claudia Barry, a name that may be as blase’,as James Bond, was born.

As a reviewer, I don’t usually take off a star in the ratings for corny names, but I do find them annoying.

As a reader, if there are too many examples of silly name games, I may quit reading.

Maybe a character with a boring name will be more memorable for the kind of person they are than for their name.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

April 7, 2013 - Conspiracy Defined

The Set Up:
          John Hixon, a character common to my first two novels, The Tourist Killer, and The Presidents Club is a former FBI agent.
          He is also a devil's advocate -- at least when it comes to conspiracy theories.
          In this week's snippet, the gang of retirees at The Louisville Tavern are discussing that very topic. Let's join them.

The Snippet:

“What’s the difference in a ‘plot’ and a ‘conspiracy’?” asked Woody Risk after a long sip of draft beer.
“They’re the same thing,” York replied, always so sure of himself.

Ron Gold began his reply with a deep, hearty belly laugh, then commented, “A conspiracy is when you get caught!”
The others laughed with him, then York countered with, “Was Bill Clinton’s fling with Monica a conspiracy? He got caught.”
Risk looked at Ulysses Fishinghawk, “You’re our resident linguist, Dr. Fishinghawk. What’s the answer?”
“One person can have a plot. A conspiracy needs more than one person involved.”
York burst out, “See! I was right! The ‘Monica Lewinsky Affair’ was a right-wing conspiracy to impeach the President.”
Risk said, “I thought a conspiracy by definition involved doing something bad.”

Now what?

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