My Writing Process: A Blog Tourmmmm
My Australian buddy and author Aral Bereux recently invited me to participate in this blog tour about the writing process.
mmmAral's bestselling trilogy, "The Julianna Rae Chronicles," is a dystopian urban fantasy series, dark, gritty and filled with Big Brother, militias and the New World Order.  She is also an ardent, outspoken supporter of independent artists, musicians and authors.   Visit her at  aralbereux.com/-sneak-a-peek

So what exactly is The Writing Process Blog Tour?  Its pretty straightforward and simple, actually.  Each author who is invited to participate in the blog tour answers
four questions about the writing process.  The author then introduces three other authors.  The idea is to help readers discover other authors that they may not have known about otherwise.
mWhat am I working on?

First, I need to tell you that "Jake Devlin" is both a pseudonym and a lead character in my novels.  (You can learn more about him [and me]
in the "About the Author" column at the right.  PS.  it's all true.)

As I write this, in late May 2014, I'm about two-thirds of the way thru my third novel, "Devlin Sub Rosa," which I'm aiming to finish and launch in September (maybe October) of 2014.

It's both a prequel and a sequel to my first two novels, and in this one, I've challenged myself to write it entirely in dialogue, no narrator, (other than in the Prologue, which was a one-page scene I wrote for "The Devlin Deception," but didn't fit in either that book or "Devlin's Defiance").

mHow does my work differ from others of its genre?

One of my readers told me that my first book reads like David
Baldacci crossed with Monty Python.  What genre is that?

I don't write in a particular genre (horror, YA, sci-fi, fantasy, police
procedural, etc.).  I try to create believable, moderately dynamic
characters that readers can relate to (sorry for the final preposition) and empathize with (same).

My novels are, I think, realistic, contemporary, humorous and
aimed at mature, intelligent readers with a good sense of humor
and who are not overly prudish.  They should also be moderately
adept at reading between the lines, since I don't tend to lead them
around by the noses.

In fact, I like my readers to occasionally exclaim, "Wait, wait.  What
the -- that doesn't make -- oh, okay," even if the "Oh, okay" comes
a few chapters later ... or earlier, come to think of it. (Sneaky me.)

I also have a hard time staying serious (or read that as "somber")
for more than a few minutes at a time.

I described my first novel as an "anti-political absurdist thriller,"
but I'll leave it to my readers to define the genre for themselves.

mWhy do I write what I do?

For decades, I, as well as many Americans, have been outraged, disgusted and frightened by the USA's polarized and downright
corrupt "democracy."  (Nothing striking or unique about that.)

For those same decades, I've tried to dig deep behind the lies, propaganda and filtered news We the People have been and
continue to be fed, often by talking with "insiders" and picking
their brains. (Okay, that's a bit different; but I've always been 
exceptionally curious about how and why people behave in
the ways that they do.)

When the idea of a (possibly benign, possibly not) dictator to
run the country arose, the first part of my novel fell into place
and virtually demanded that it be written.  So I began.

Then I remembered two plays I'd seen back in college in the
1960s, Luigi Pirandello's "Six Characters in Search of an Author"
and "Enrico IV," from the early 1900s, in which he played with
the boundaries between fiction and reality in some clever ways.

I also remembered a play I'd written, produced and directed in 1974,
using similar themes, which was well-received and gave me some insights into and experience with plot, pacing and character creation.

Those memories gave me the second part, using a story-within-
a-story format, and thus Jake Devlin was born, as both author (pseudonym) and character.  (I use a pseudonym so that when the CIA, FBI,
MI6 or Interpol come prowling, I want them looking for "Jake Devlin," not my real name.
PS.  I'm only half joking.)

Then I kept asking the "What If?" question and made Jake's life
both threatened and complicated because of what he (not me,
NSA, okay?) was writing.

And when a beautiful woman with perhaps a dark secret in her
past slithered into his life, that gave me the chance to include
some obligatory gratuitous erotica.  (Too little for some people,
too much for some others.  Ah, well; ya can't please everybody.)

And thus "The Devlin Deception" and its sequel (and spoiler),
"Devlin's Defiance," came into existence.

Oh, I also seem to have a fairly offbeat sense of humor, so there's
lots of that in my work.  Just for a quick example, back in the '90s,
sitting on Bonita Beach, looking out at the placid waters of the
Gulf, with dolphins and manatees swimming by, I wondered how
the elderly* beachgoers would react if Godzilla suddenly appeared.
I found a way to write something similar, but logically motivated,
appropriately foreshadowed, realistic and believable, in spite of its total absurdity, into my first novel (twice, in fact).

(*Here in Bonita Springs, the average age and the average high
temperature seem to be about the same:  mid-eighties.)

So why do I write what I write, really?  Because I'm now fascinated with the idea of blending fiction with reality and with the characters who've now developed lives, conflicts and interrelationships of their own, especially as I changed the pace for the second book, again for
the third, and again for the fourth, which is now just percolating in
the back of my brain.  After that, who knows?  The ideas keep
popping up and the characters keep surprising me.  (It's an ongoing
adventure for this old retired guy ... and it's fun.)

mHow does my writing process work?

First, I must tell you that I have no diagnosed or undiagnosed
mental illnesses ... at least as far as I can tell.

But my writing process often works by my intentionally inducing
something that parallels MPD, Multiple Personality Disorder, in
which I develop characters, give them a plot point to bring out
in a chapter or scene and then let them loose in my mind, see
how (and if) they do it, noting down what they do and say.

I also like painting them into a corner to see if they can come up
with a way to escape or solve the problem; sometimes they do,
sometimes not.  If not, then I cuss at 'em and intervene.

I follow Ernest Hemingway's advice, "Write drunk, edit sober,"
even though I don't drink.  Instead, I try to take all the filters off
when I do first drafts, and put at least a few of 'em back on when
I edit ... and edit again ... and again ... and ... oh, you get the idea.

I don't start with a detailed outline, just a general idea of the
macro plot arc (or arcs) I've devised for each book (and the
super-macro arcs for the entire series).  The outline gradually
falls into place during the process ... most of the time.

On a daily basis, I wake up early (no alarm clock; just naturally),
pack my cooler and drive to Bonita Beach, where I sit in my car
and read other authors' books for perhaps half an hour while the
sun comes up, and then roll my lounge and other stuff onto the
beach and set up for the day.  Then I usually take a nap.  (As
Apple says, "There's a nap for that.")

Often, when I awake, I've got some ideas for dialogue, plot or
theme on the particular issue I'd planted in my subconscious the
previous night.  I write down enough notes that when I get home
and to the keyboard, I can add them to my manuscript file(s).

If I'm working with dialogue, as I am for "Sub Rosa," I do a lot
of talking to myself, which most of the beach regulars have
come to understand, luckily.  It helps me to speak the dialogue
aloud, especially if I'm working with dialects, as I did with the
Amish alternate epilogue in "Deception" (all the "thou shalt
milketh the cowth" and "I shall burneth thethe paperth" were
great fun to rehearse ... and throw in some lithping, ath well).

After any -- and I do mean "any" -- sentence or bit of dialogue,
there are many options for the next sentence or response, and
at least one of those is what I call "the absurdist option," and I
often ask myself "Do I dare?" to take that option and send the
chapter careening off in a new direction, and I sometimes
answer myself with a resounding "Yes!"  (Luckily, the beach
regulars mostly understand that when I'm chuckling to myself,
I'm not going over the edge.  Tourists and snowbirds, maybe
not so much, especially when I actually laugh out loud.)

In my first book, imagine, if you will, building a masonry wall
in your garden.  You get a load of bricks and then set them in
place with mortar one row at a time.  In my case, I wrote a lot
of scenes (the bricks) first and then set them in place when I
got to the point where they fit.

In my second book, I challenged myself to see if I could write,
A, a combat scene (not armies, just two vs. 17 or 18), and B,
a graphic, explicit sex scene, both of which my readers tell me
I can.  (The sex scene got SO explicit I was scared to put it in
the book, so I wrote some dialogue suggesting that the author
put it online and put a link in the book itself.  Which I did, as I
had with a final alternate epilogue in the first book.  Female
readers have told me it led to several cold showers ... and in
a few cases, the use of certain battery-operated devices.)

I also took a hint from an old joke ("I just finished Chapter 93
in James Patterson's new book, and i'm only on Page 20")
and wrote shorter chapters.  It's more episodic than the first
as a result, but it all comes together in the end ... sort of.

I'm doing the same thing in my third one, but in this one I've
written the main plot arc first, in the odd-numbered chapters,
and I'm now filling in the three subplots in the even-numbered
ones.  And again, it's all in dialogue (after the Prologue).

If you'd like to see the results of all that, feel free to click the
button below to get to my home page.  You can also scroll
further down for my email address; I do respond to all.


mNow to pass the torch on to three other writers
(when they're ready)

First, E.L. Wicker, who writes young adult vampire stories with her own special (and VERY clever) twists.  But I think I'll let her introduce herself here in her own words.  And the link to her blog post is..HERE

I read and I write, then I read and I write some more and when I am done doing that, I read then I write. Sometimes, I pen the occasional tweet okay, thats a fib, I tweet too much, its a problem but there is no Twitter rehab so Im getting through it one day at a time.

I was born in Ireland and moved to England when I was nine years old. I live in Hampshire with my husband and my two children. We have four cats and a dog and I am trying to convince my husband that we need an elephant in the garden. He doesnt seem too receptive to this, I cannot fathom why.

I write fiction for young adults. I have completed one book it just needs an edit and my second book is well underway. I write about the supernatural with a huge focus on vampires. My passion is writing, from the moment I wake until the moment I sleep all I want to do is write. I have been a bookworm since a very early age. At school I started writing because I wanted to be able to make up my own stories. I won competitions and always did really well whenever it came to creative writing.  I wrote a poem in German at school for a competition, my teachers would not submit the poem they said it was too good. I was immensely proud at the time. Now, I like to pretend that sure, it was too good yeah right.