Archives for the month of: April, 2016

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Stream of Consciousness

This is a form of narration I have come to deeply appreciate. You can tell a story in first person or third person. Third person gives you a little more freedom in terms of getting into the minds of several different characters. First person, on the other hand, limits you to one character’s mind. That’s where stream of consciousness comes in handy. This allows the reader to enter the minds of several characters, seeing the events of the story unfold through various points of view. I was first introduced to this technique in high school, when I read William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. At first, I wondered if I would be able to keep track of the different characters, but after the first two or three chapters, I didn’t even think about it. I found myself just reading the book (the same thing happens to me when I watch a movie with subtitles: after a while, I just watch the movie and ignore the captions. But, I digress…).

 

Stream of Consciousness is also present in Keith Donohue’s The Stolen Child (a very good read, by the way. I highly recommend it). The story of what seems to be a single life, is told through two characters. That’s all I’m going to say; I won’t spoil it for you.

 

At times, SOC can be slightly confusing, if you’re not paying close attention. If there are too many characters speaking, there may be too many points of view for the reader to keep up with. Also, if other narrators are introduced much later in the story. Your reader may find himself or herself thinking, “Okay, who’s this guy? There’s the parents, the two kids, the teacher at school, the daughter’s best friend, the neighbor, the neighbor’s wife, and now three quarters into the story there’s another character speaking?”  In Our Lady of Righteous Rage, I introduced everyone early on, and didn’t add any additional narrators. It makes the story less confusing for the reader, and for me, the writer.

If you’re working on a first person narrative with more than one character, you may want to give SOC a try.

 

 

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I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.  I like seeing a movie that’s based on a book, but I prefer to read the book before I see the movie. It doesn’t always work out that way (I’ll give you an example later in this post). But, whenever possible, I like to contrast and compare.

I’m a huge fan of Stephen King’s writing. Many of his books and novellas have been turned into films, or mini-series for television. In my humble opinion, most of them didn’t live up to expectations. Granted, these movies and series have been made across several years, and I try to judge each project based upon when it was made considering what type of CGI or technology was available, etc). You can’t judge a 1970’s film by 2016 standards; that’s just not fair. Still, I have my opinions. For example: The book Christine was good, and…

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Two more books in the Valentine Apart series are on their way! Until they are ready, here’s a sample of the first chapter of Black Queen: Killing Machine. This book in the series reveals Jo Fuentes’ s past, before she met Valentine and just before she began working for Kelly McCormick. Enjoy!

 

Chapter One

She sat at the table, with her head down; right ear pressed against the surface. Her eyes were open, staring straight ahead at the metal door. The room was a typical interrogation room: painted in that drab matte gray. No windows. No pictures. No contact with the outside world. Only silence. Beyond the door, she imagined people going about their business, doing their jobs. Filing paperwork. Making phone calls. People in their fatigues or “dress blues”. Maybe a handful of people in “civies”. People who were moving around and doing important things, while she sat in a quiet little room, just waiting…

The door suddenly opened, and a man in uniform stepped inside. He was carrying a manila folder. She lifted her head and stood up from her seat, and saluted him. He nodded as he walked over to the table and took the seat across from her. He gestured for her to sit back down. Her eyes remained on his uniform as she seated herself. Marine. A Colonel. Bars. Awards. This guy seemed important.

“I’m Colonel Brantley,” he said. He set the folder on the table, and opened it. “It’s good to have you state-side, Lance Corporal Fuentes.”

“Thank you, sir,” she said. “But everyone calls me Jo.”

Brantley looked up at her through middle-aged gray eyes. “Jo, is it?” he said. “Jo. Okay, Jo. We need to talk about what happened. I’m going to ask you some questions, for my report. Is that okay with you?”

“Begging your pardon, sir,” Jo said, “But I thought a report had already been filed.”

“This is for my report,” Brantley clarified. “You see, what happened to you is a pretty extraordinary thing. I would like to know more about it.”

Jo shrugged her shoulders. “There’s nothing more for me to tell, sir,” she said. “We came under attack. Corporal Sullivan and I survived, and we’re both here in the states.”

Brantley looked down at the contents of the folder. He thumbed through a few documents, then looked at the eight-by-ten photos behind them. “I believe there’s more to it than that,” he said. He looked up at Jo. “Do you remember that day, Jo? Do you remember what happened?”

Jo stared ahead at him. Her face was still, but her mind was active. Images a Hummer, driving down a road in the Iraqi desert, her unit talking and laughing. Sullivan—Sully, as she called

him—made a joke, and everyone laughed. Suddenly, no one was laughing. There was an explosion, followed by darkness…

“Jo? Fuentes?”

She blinked at him, and furrowed her brow. “Yes, sir?”

“I asked you if you recalled anything strange happening before the explosion?”

Jo could feel her heart beating rapidly inside her chest. The explosion. The explosion…

 

(End of Sample)

 

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Hello everyone! I have some good news concerning Valentine. The winner of the Valentine Series Giveaway on Goodreads.com read her books and posted a very nice review under Valentine 3: Queen of Hearts. If you like, you can check out the review here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28260232-valentine-3

This week, I started working on Her Name is Lola Vencent, the second installment of the Valentine Apart series. I’m also working on book 3, Black Queen; Killing Machine. These two books will provide more background information about two important characters from the regular Valentine series, Lola Vencent and Jo Fuentes. You’ll learn about how Lola got started; how she became Rafferty’s Valkyrie. Also, you’ll learn about Jo Fuentes from Valentine 3: Queen of Hearts. I think you’ll be very interested in both characters, and their complicated pasts.

Here are my thoughts on 3 kinds of stories. So, for those who don’t know:

Prequel: takes place before the established story

Sequel: follow-up to the established story

Companion: not necessarily a prequel or sequel, but may include characters or theme found in the established story.

I’m going to use my books as examples here (obviously).

 

There was a time when I wasn’t crazy about “prequels”. Especially if I wasn’t aware that’s what I was reading or watching. Later, I realized, prequels can come in handy. They can help establish certain character’s roles, or even answer questions presented in the established story. Even though I wrote it as a companion story, Allan and Mac can also be considered, a prequel.  It introduces characters and events that later become important in the Valentine series. For example, it answers the question of who is watching Val and her friends from over the Grand Central at the end of The Patron Saint.

 

Then, there’s the sequel. A good story deserves a good follow-up. I prefer to have the second leg of the story pick up where the first one left off. Some writers like to throw in a flash back, or a preface, to explain things to anyone who may not be familiar with the first story. I’m going to be honest here: most of the time, when I read a story that is a sequel to another story, I usually skip the preface. While the preface may give you a general idea of what took place in the previous story, it won’t cover every detail. And why read part two of something without reading part one? If you read Fortune’s Wing: Second Flight before reading the original Fortune’s Wing, it would be more difficult for you to follow the events in the story.

 

Companion stories are generally for entertainment. You should be able to enjoy them, whether you’ve read the established story or not. For example, even if you’ve never read the Valentine series, you can still enjoy Allan and Mac, without getting confused, and vice-versa.  In my opinion, a companion story should be able to stand on its own. Even if you haven’t read Our Lady of Righteous Rage, you can read its companion book, Novocaine.

 

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