Chapters

Sorry if a few chapters have fallen a bit short of the 1000+ word mark. I try to reach the 1000 word threshold, but sometimes a chapter ends itself.  Other times, a chapter tends to want to take on a life all its own and wants to become a story in and of itself. Either way, it is often hard to hit exactly 1000 words.

This story, in particular, is proving to be very hard to keep the word count even…especially as the story begins to wind down.  As I head into the home stretch, the story keeps telling me that it wants finality and the chapters continually wind up being a touch shorter than I want them to be.

I will attempt to make the chapters a bit longer, but cannot promise anything…yet.

My Crazy Brain

So here’s the skinny. While I am posting the serialized version of Ohio here, I am serializing another SHORT story, Final Countdown, on Wattpad. I began writing FC last night after I finished posting here. It has been a story idea that has been festering in my mind for a long time and now I am writing it. I am unsure just how long this story will be, but know that I do not foresee it being a full length novella or novel.

I do, however, see more than one story in this line but have no clue how many or how it will end. Don’t worry, though. It isn’t going to affect Ohio or any of the stories in The Morrow Family Saga.

Why I Haven’t Been Working On Any More Books In The Morrow Family Saga

I suppose I should give an update where The Morrow Family Saga is concerned. As you know, I wanted to write my current town of residence into the story through the local rodeo and a nearby state park. Unfortunately, I have not received any word from the county historical society on the information I desired from them–namely the acts that were at the rodeo in 1953/54 and the town’s overall set up (where what business was located along the square and in town…etc.) during the time frame of the story.

As an author, I like to keep things authentic and accurate. Without accurate information, I cannot write a good, historically accurate story. I spent three weeks researching the plot to make sure it was as accurate as possible. I didn’t want a Happy Days style tale of innocence. I wanted the dark, political side of the “age of innocence”.

I wanted to set the scene for the events of the 1960’s; every piece of legislation , everything from the McCarran Act to J.Edgar Hoover’s witch hunt in DC, and beyond. By the “summer of love”, I want to have the scene set for the volatility of the 60’s. Vietnam. Korea.

With ten books per series, each series sets the stage for the one that follows. At the moment, though, I am hoping just to get through the first decade. Although I could work on the 1970’s, I really don’t want to jump ahead.

 

Sunday Ponderings

After reading the first book in Will Hahn’s series Judgment’s Tale, suddenly I have the desire to pick up and rewrite my Tales From The Renge serial into a series of novellas or novels.  Tales actually emerged as a short story in 1993 when I was still in college. It languished in obscurity until 2004, when I submitted it to keepitcoming.net as one of two serials for review.

Though it was never very popular as a serial, it was still my most favorite serial to write. I was 40+ episodes into the serial when the e-zine and print mag went under. Let me tell you, writing two serials is not as easy as one would think. It isn’t like writing a new chapter every day. It is coming up with a continuous story, keeping it seamless, and keeping it interesting enough to engage your readers. It is three pages, or less, of a story at a time-often less-to fill a small slot in an e-zine. I was a pioneer of the flash fiction industry and am proud of that accomplishment.

Now, a little over ten years later, it seems that the time has come to dust off the old story (as I did with Breed’s Command when I reintroduced the characters in Going Down in a Blaze of Glory, Lay Your Money Down, and Headed for Destruction.) and reintroduce new readers to the amazing story by turning it into something greater than what it now is. Even stranger is the fact that I am actually looking at this as a welcome change of pace! Odd.

Still, when I began writing, it was fantasy stories…not dystopian, not vampire, not historical fiction, and not science fiction. Those all came later. Well, maybe not sci-fi since The Rocktails Want War  was a pseudo science fiction piece, even if I hadn’t realized it when I wrote it for a fourth grade assignment (the very moment I fell in love with writing and books in general). Oh, don’t go looking for the Rocktails Want War because I have one of the few existing copies of the “book” (the collection of stories and poems written by my fourth grade class about the same little statues) that contain it. Eventually, I may release it, but for now it remains safely within my possession, unpublished…along with the little “menu” I made to go along with the story.

Which brings me back to Tales From The Renge. I had originally paused on the story in an attempt to start the backstory. Unfortunately, I didn’t get very far before writer’s block hit. Now, I can begin the story I had begun easily enough. I have the creative wherewithal to start the story. After I Finish posting the current chapters of Price, I will begin on the first Tales From The Renge  book. A nice change of pace from what I have been writing. Sound good?

 

Doubling Up

I decided to give you a double dose of The Price of Lust since the sub-chapters are shorter than the last one I posted.  I had thought about posting a short story, but I decided to keep the total word count for the day around 1000 the average length of my chapters.

In these last sub-chapters, I get into deeper subjects that form who the main character is. I tend to create broken characters. I do this for a reason. Mostly, it has to do with the fact that I have never met anyone who hasn’t faced some sort of trauma in their life.

One thing you will find in each of the books that will be in the Faces In The Crowd series is that each character has either suffered a trauma of some kind or is so diabolical that you pray for their deaths. You will also find that the core characters are the most important ones. Hope you are enjoying the story.

Side Note

Before I piss those of you reading off, I will explain the last chapter…as well as those to follow. The book, though having a very deep philosophical plot, is not to be a “Christian” book. It is to be a horror story fraught with Angels having moments of doubt, Mankind being taken to the very brink of a definite end, a battle that encompasses the world, and a few indictments against man and his treatment of faith. those around him, and his view of what is truly important.

Do not worry, though. Good will prevail over evil. But even the representatives of good have their moments of doubt and bitterness before they prevail. Sodom and Gomorrah were not destroyed because of their sexual practices, but because they had stopped caring about those around them. they had forsaken their fellow man for their own personal desires, much as present day man has done.

Those who strive to be “good” do not condemn or judge those around them. They see each and every person they meet as a mirror to their own soul. The weaknesses represented by each person is a weakness they know that they have to work on within themselves. The love we show to others should never come with conditions. it should always be without condition. But we seem to be so stuck on expecting something in return for what we have to offer that we cannot understand that  we should expect a single thing.

The story I am writing represents the struggle within us all. The good, the evil, the determination, the doubt, and the weaknesses we encounter within our own struggles, no matter what we believe. The major players are just characters picked to represent those weaknesses.

A Side Trip

My current unshared WIP is sure to cause a stir. It works on three principles that could be seen as sacrilege  to most Christians.

  1. Man was not created on earth.
  2. The being we have called “Creator”, “Father”, and “God” is none of the three.
  3. The entity that did create abandoned mankind and all creation right after creation.

OK, so there is a fourth point which is tied to the first: man colonized space, the universe, long before earthly history began and each set of observers sent to record man’s rise/fall were from the planet of origins and left earth when they found they were not as widely accepted as they thought they would be. These beings would go on toward the center of the galaxy and universe in search of a new home, leaving their colonies behind to fend for themselves. The colonies, now on their own due to selfishness and hate, would begin to devolve into man of today…lost, filled with greed, filled with hate, filled with fear, and having created a “God” that had all his attributes but immortal and beyond judgment.

Man has always believed himself a god, why not write a series of books about his god complex? Better yet, why don’t we marry his fascination with being “God” with his fascination with extraterrestrial aliens? I know, there has already been a book or two that has been written along similar premises, but this examines how religion has destroyed man’s ability to progress to what the philosophy of faith expected him to.

I guess that, when it comes right down to it, I have begun a series based on what man could be opposed to what he is. He begins perfect and slowly slides back into his warlike hateful, greedy ways–riddled with diseases he (according to the plot) had already conquered in his past but forgot the cure. His pursuit of earthly things causes him to forget where he came from, that he was once a united race despite his difference in color, that all philosophies handed to him were the same-just a bit less pure than the original path and polluted by ethnic biases and misconceptions-and would get him to where he started from, and that religiosity-as opposed to philosophical faith in the unproven, though actually proven, path-gets him nowhere fast.

From a modern stand point, the views taken in this series (a mix of creationist and evolutionist) would be considered the ideas of a heretic as would the underlying theme that wealth, power, earthly gain, our own desires on how others should act, and every condition we place upon all that we do for others really means nothing in the grand scheme of things and that it really does not gain us any memorial except as some of the most evil men or women to ever exist. My view of those around us being mirrors of our darkest tendencies, our having to turn our gaze inward-instead of outward-to see what needs to be changed  and using those around us to help us in this mission, and to reject the idea that belief is physical instead of a spiritual walk would also be seen as heretical.

I really don’t care. Tradition, when used wrongly, becomes a downfall. In the end, we, as humans, being a single race (not many) varied by color so as to add color to the world, are supposed to grow. To grow, we are supposed to reject hate, fear, ignorance, arrogance, and greed. If we love without condition, we have no room for hate. If we hate, we have no room for love. This is the deepest premise of the series, to make us turn out gaze inward and to remove all the conditions we have placed upon our love of our neighbors, enemies, and brothers.

 

The trouble with family

It is amazing just how much an author puts into his or her stories. Past experiences, along with basic knowledge, makes up quite a bit of what goes into a character, a scene, or basis of the story. Strangely enough, these can be separated into sections. the darker side of those around the author become villains, just as the darker events turn into the most horrifying scenes. the lighter, then, becomes the protagonists and the “good” minor characters.

I have written a lot of what my family is into many of my characters. Depending on the mood or tone of a conversation, a character can be a positive one or a negative one. With me, the darkest side of my family experiences go into my horror or vampire fiction. the lighter side goes into my less dark stories. The tone of the atmosphere, socially, sometimes influences my flash fiction and even many of my short stories.

The problem with family is that they never realize where characters come from. Nor do they see fiction as a source of possible lessons on how they act and treat others. They simply feel that fiction is there to entertain. But wait.

Most religious writings are allegory. Allegories are FICTION. Whether it is based on factual events or not, an allegory still remains fiction. A piece of fiction meant to teach.

But what do allegories teach? That is the question. It depends on the allegory. If it is about war, it is about discipline. If it is about giving up one’s only child, it is about sacrifice. If it has to do with walking a path without proof, it is about having faith in your fellow human beings.

Most fiction, science fiction and fantasy especially, is allegory. Anything dealing with the future, or a battle between good and evil, is an allegory. Some adventure, action, crime, drama, romance, and horror also fits as allegory as well, depending on the actual unintended message (or, sometimes, the meaning that the writer meant) was.

I always intend each story to hold a warning, just as my influences did. I warn of what could happen, what will happen if a course of action is not averted, or or the consequence of trends. I also try to remind that history DOES matter. It DOES teach us where the pitfalls are. It also teaches us what will make the future better.

 

Toffer’s New Dilemma

We have seen things go south for Toffer French. In the beginning of the story, Toffer was one of the most powerful people in Des Moines. He had influence politically as well as in the secular world. He had his own company…and a family.

We also learned that he was a very evil man. He had gotten where he was through hook and crook, taking over a company by force that he would have inherited. He married a woman he’d assaulted in order to keep her from testifying against him in court. He had either killed or run others out of town in attempts to keep them from doing the same.

By the end of the first book, He was already under investigation. Now, he has been stripped of his power, his company, and his wife (who left him before the end of book one). His son is still on a collision course with self-destruction, following the same path Toffer had followed as a lad. Evil, it seems, does pass from generation to generation.

But now, in book two, I have begun introducing new players. First, there is a new sheriff in town, Wyland having retired due to health, and a new mayor (although I never mentioned the mayor in the first book). I have begun bringing in actual historical figures. The mayor of Des Moines, The actual legislators at both state and federal level, the actual players in the government (DOJ, IRS, Iowa Tax Commission, etc) as well as new (though implied and mentioned briefly in book one) villains.

For Toffer, the ride will end in a few books to come. For Toby, it will end in book 10. Two other characters will be only temporary (McCarthy and McCarran, the new villains…as well as the Congressmen I have introduced…and the government officials.). J. Edgar Hoover will continue until a book in the 70’s series since he did not die until mid to late 70’s. After the tenth book, there will be less focus on government, though certain movements will begin to take shape and be at the center of the series.

I do, however, introduce Natalia’s fatal flaw in this book. As well as her greatest ambition. It will also take center stage at some point in the saga, but right now it is simply at the core of her actions.

Many of the events that are going on in the background of the story were real events (only the story of the French/Morrow family feud is fictional) and remained hidden to mainstream Americans even while they were taking place. The 50’s, 60’s and 70’s were the three most prosperous decades in America. The gross National income was at an all time high, taxes were affordable, and most could survive on a single earner income and still have enough to spend on entertainment. The middle class still existed and included the majority of Americans at that time. Sure there were poor, as there will always be until we learn to rely less on financial standing and money and begin to rely on character (a willingness to share with others our own good fortune, thereby raising others up as we go along) and empathy (the ability to feel for others and share in their pain, joy, sorrow, and even success) for others.

Behind the scenes, though, there was a war going on. Everyone was suspect when it came to being a communist, even when they were not. It was not so much different than today’s political environment, though communism has been replaced by other non-issues. Hate, which we are surprised by, has always been just below the surface, waiting to emerge. The separatist faction has always existed and has always used some non-issue as a means to divide and   conquer the masses.

Between 1945 and 1965, it was communism and nuclear war between the US and the USSR. In the 1970’s, it was the rise of “terrorist” organizations and the fear continued throughout the 1980′ and 90’s. Civil rights in the 1960’s was what split the country and caused a new rise to the hate that lay hidden just below the surface.

For a country that should be so far beyond this hate, we have been unable to erase it from our midst. We call ourselves a Christian country, and yet we preach hate messages aimed towards everything from communists to homosexuals, Muslims to Jews, African Americans to Hispanics. We even hate those who came before us, the Native Americans. Our hate has shown, time and again, that we have become anti-Christian in view (For Christ, if you believe in him, preached love–not hate–for all including one’s enemies) while claiming to follow an entity we really do not follow.

yes, this has been evident throughout the country’s history, especially during the 1950’s and 60’s. Our struggle for civil rights has proven that from its very inception. We are still nowhere near where MLK and others hoped for. We are nowhere near being the “united” country other countries see us as. We are just as divided as ever with no end in sight. Why? because we see in terms of politics, religion, sexual preference, and skin color. We cannot see ourselves as simply Americans. That, in a nutshell, is what this saga is all about: our inability to see ourselves as Americans and nothing else.

Next..

We have reached the end of the first book of the 1960s series. I would ruin the story if I gave you any spoilers, so I will keep my secrets. What I will tell you is that the next book in line is the first to deal mostly with Matt and his rise to stardom. Tom and Susie are still involved, as are most of Matt’s family. When the story picks up, Matt will be thirteen.

Ohio (which mentions the song it is named after, as well as the incident the song was inspired by) will take you on a wild ride through Matt’s first year as a teen idol. It also covers the beginning of his intervention into his siblings’ lives. Oh, what a tangled web I weave…