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I Have Codes and I Know How to Use Them

Listen Up! Free Audibles!

Have you ever been caught in an Enigma? How about being caught by a book about an Enigma? How about being caught by award winning authors Rox Burkey and Charles Breakfield in one of the Enigma Series best selling books?

Next question; Are you listening?

If you responded positive to the above, today’s your lucky day! Award winning Enigma Series authors Rox Burkey and Charles Breakfield gave me eight (8, count them, 8!) US and eight (count these, too!) UK Audible.com codes for books 1 through 8 of their Enigma Series. You can get an idea of how pulse-pounding these books are by clicking on the book links on this page.

Like Enigmas?
Like Award Winning Books?
Like to listen?

Then do I have a deal for you…

 
What’s the Catch?
You have to sign up for my blog. You can choose a free membership or sponsoring membership, doesn’t matter. The first eight (8) folks from the US get Enigma Book Series Audible.com codes for any book, 1-8, and ditto UK based folks on the UK based Audible.

Sound like a deal? Then join us! As soon as we’re notified you’ve joined we’ll email you your Audible code and give you a Twitter Shout Out!

Quit Stage Directing

Keep Moving Forward!

Do you ever go back over your past efforts to rewrite/rework/update/improve?

I do. Often. I’ve discovered lots of stage direction in my earlier works (“earlier” meaning everything from just a few days ago to my earliest efforts).

Funny, because I spot stage directing easily when critiquing others’ work. And note that stage directing is different from stage direction characters. The latter serve a story purpose, the former rarely does.

The crux is in that last line – “…serve a story purpose…”

Example
Here’s a scene from the published version of Empty Sky:
She walked up to him and ruffled his hair. “Hey there, skippy. You here to dream?”
Jamie frowned under her hand. “My name’s Jamie.”
Carsons, walking back to his sleep chamber, turned. “What’s your name, son?”
“Jamie McPherson, sir.”
Joni’s hand had dropped from Jamie’s head and pointed to the old, small, black and white picture on Lupicen’s console desk. “Who’s that?”
Jamie followed Joni’s gaze. He looked from the little boys in the picture to Lupicen and back.
Lupicen tapped the dark complexioned boy’s face with his fingers, then pointed to the lighter faced boy. “Yes, that boy, the younger of the two, that is me. this other boy, he is my older brother, Émile.
“He is the reason for all of this.”
Al Carsons came over to get a good look at Jamie and found himself staring at the picture. He pointed to the older boy. “Him? That’s your brother, Émile?”
“Yes. He is responsible for all I do here.”
“How’s that?”
Dr. Lupicen rocked back in his chair so that his feet were unable to touch the ground. He looked at the picture and sighed, then tilted his head back until he was staring at the ceiling, closed his eyes, took a deep breath and began. “It happened long ago, on a hill on the outskirts of my village, Crit¡, in Rumania…

Keep the reader moving forward smoothly!

 
If nothing else, the above is full of rough transitions. Character A does this, character B does that, character C does something else and the reader is tugged and shoved from A to B to C like a prisoner in a chain gang rather than being smoothly passed back and forth like a basketball in an All-Star game.

Here’s the rewrite followed by what makes it better:

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The Gander Gets Goosed Again – Tony Eames Interviews Me!

They Like Me! They Really, Really Like Me!

NFReads.com‘s Tony Eames asked me a series of questions that I floundered through magnificently. Read it all at Interview with Author Joseph Carrabis.

 
Give it a read! It’ll make Tony and me happy. You want us happy, don’t you?

Combating Evil With Good

In response to Brother Steven Taub’s request

A deliberately provocative title for a possibly mundane post, yet I’ve often learned that the best way to combat things that displease us is via mundacity, so be patient with me and let me know if my offering passeth all understanding for you.

Early last Saturday morning, a neighbor brought in a grounds crew to do some mowing and trimming. A team of three young, tanned and able bodied gentlemen, tshirts, cuttoff jeans, workboots and sunglasses all, and each with an incredibly loud piece of equipment, two riding, one strapped to his back, and they had at it.

Early last Saturday morning.

Even earlier last Saturday morning I was already awake. Sometimes I get up early to read on the backporch and listen to the birds, squirrels, chipmunks, bees and the rest of nature fighting for survival.

I heard the truck and trailer drive up and clatter, bang and backfire to a stop. I looked around our neighborhood. No shutters open, no shades up, no blinds withdrawn, no dogs barking, no cats meowing, no children bicycling, no basketballs a’ bouncing, no baseballs a’ batting. It was…

Early last Saturday morning.

About half a mile from my house is a donut shop. While my neighbor came out of his house in his bathrobe and slippers to talk to the grounds crew, hair askew and sleep still muddling his eyes, I got in my car, drove to the donut shop and returned with five large black coffees, sugars, creamers and a dozen donuts. My neighbor was still talking to the grounds crew when I drove down the street.

Early last Saturday morning.

I parked in my driveway, gathered the coffees and donuts and walked across the street. My neighbor and the grounds crew were standing in a loose semicircle looking at and talking about my neighbor’s yard, the other half of the circle was taken up by their trailer and equipment. Their semicircle opened a bit as I approached and I assumed the six o’clock position.

“You guys like some coffee?” I didn’t wait for an answer, I handed them each a coffee, the “man-in-charge” first and my neighbor last as the coffees went from 12 o’clock to five, and I put the box of donuts, opened, on their trailer. “Help yourselves. I got a variety. Sure to be something you like.”

All offered their thanks. We chatted. For about an hour. Sipping our coffees, munching on donuts, listening to the dogs start their barking, the cats start their meowing, the basketballs start their bouncing and children start their playing.

By now Susan (wife, partner, all things bright and beautiful) had raised the shades and opened the blinds, a sign her Saturday had started quietly and peacefully, as all civilized Saturdays should.

I took the last swig of my coffee. “I’ve held you guys up long enough. Have a great day and don’t work too hard.” They offered grateful thanks. I don’t know if my neighbor was being charged by the hour or by the yard and I heard him comment that “Yeah, he’s a good neighbor” as I walked away.

Many Years Back…

…I would walk a mile in the mornings. This was before the donut shop appeared, our neighborhood was still young and grounds crews weren’t needed. One street on my route always had a bit of litter on it. After a week I decided to take a kitchen garbage bag with me and pick up the litter on my walk. There was an ice cream stand next to a ball park on my return route and I could drop the trash in their bins if I didn’t want to carry it back.

I noticed a young boy and his father on these walks. They also noticed me and we got in the habit of waving to each other as neighbors often do. The occasional “Howdy” and “Hello” and “Beautiful day for a walk” and such and nothing more.

Then one day I noticed them ahead of me on that street, garbage bags in hand, picking up litter before I had a chance.

A month or so later a few more streets looked cleaner as I walked.

Wicked Problems, Mundane Solutions

And while we’re busy waiting for the world to change, go buy a box of donuts for those who irritate you. Pick up some litter for no other reason than you like clean streets.

Note: This post originally appeared as the 6 June 2011 Economy of Meaning blog post (now defunct).

Morningsong

A Story Based on Great Lakes Aboriginal Legend

Every morning the runner’s legs churned the sand. Before his people rose from their slumbers, his legs pushed him to a point on the island from which other islands, islands which floated far in the east, could be seen. Before his people awoke, he came to where his island’s sand met the sea and sky.

The runner stood in the darkness at the edge of the peninsula, his toes meeting the waves. There was no sun but he raised his hands to his eyes as if shielding them from a great light. He stood there, his mind pacing, rehearsing what had been done so often before.

The horizon shimmered as the light of a new day began to make its presence known. The runner began to hum.

A Darkness mounted the waters between the far islands. The runner watched the darkness carefully. His hum became a soft song.

The Darkness rode the waves between the islands, moving towards the sun. The runner’s song became a clarion deep in his chest. Far away the sun changed the direction it travelled. It moved among the islands, its motion changing with each new chord the runner called. The Darkness followed the sun, striving after it, never in time to the changes in the song. The entirety of the runner’s mind was focused on the scene he choreographed.

Finally, the sun danced far out over the sea. The Darkness returned to the islands the sun had left behind. The runner grew silent. He turned to begin his walk back to the village and stopped. A boy, a youth just entering manhood, stood where the peninsula reached the island.

The runner walked along the peninsula, watching the boy. He stopped and stared when they were side by side.

“Why do you run every morning?” asked the boy. “What is the song you sing?”

“Do your elders know you have left the village?”

Greetings! I'm your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. Members can view this post by simply Logging In. Non members can view this post by joining. All posts are free to all members save certain posts in the My Work category. Enjoy!

Empty Sky First Chapters for Comparison

What do you see in the night sky?

Sponsors following my #EmptySky Twitter updates know I’m rewriting the novel. Here are the original first chapter and the rewrite. Let me know which you prefer (yes, there’s a quiz at the end)


Original

The Moon
The Moon pushed up from the horizon, through the oaks and maples which dominated Michigan’s upper peninsula forests. Her white-slippered feet pressed against the acorns and seedlings, casting little moonshadows upon the cold, mist covered, late October land.

Through a cabin window she saw a delicate, flaxen-haired boy asleep upon a cot. Beside him was the shadow of a great dog. She lifted her arm to light a better view and saw it to be a golden, his muzzle whitened with the years. Both boy and dog lay quietly, resting between dreams.

Greetings! I'm your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. Members can view this post by simply Logging In. Non members can view this post by joining. All posts are free to all members save certain posts in the My Work category. Enjoy!