Stillborn: A Lesson In Fiction

Bad things happen. Frequently.

Bad things cause vivid memories, and if they linger, and you write, you can turn those same images into fuel that churns the waters of your imagination.

I’m writing a character who is totally enmeshed in loss, and I reach back to a short poem from 1998 to find the fuel I need. I hope you enjoy it, and that the emotion is real, maybe?


Stillborn
His physician’s coat rustles
as he leaves-
 the door glides shut, to leave my wife
and I alone with the fluorescent hum
of the lights, a cold steel table
and our sadness.
Our spirits as empty as her womb
her shuffle is tender,
towards the door
to the car
each step normal
just like my stop at the nurse.
Her smile is pasty
she hands me my son in a bag.
On the ride home, I stare at his face
hoping he fogs the plastic
but the bag is as still as the air in the car.
We walk, the yard is frosty
she watches me from the window
as I stop near the hickory
and start to dig.
The pit (grave) is tiny
and the walls collapse
on his face.
Bones pull hardest
when they are small.
The walk back to the house is long.
Summers later, we lay rigid
next to each other
the fear of each furtive union causing wonder:
Will I dig again?

The New Series, Book Four, Book Five, and Advance Copies for Review: Much News.

Updates, updates, and an update about updates.

Issue one: Book four of The Fearless is in final editing. The cover is stunning, we’re organizing beta readers and promotions, and it’s the best book in the series. The characters get better with each outing, and I think you’re going to love the newest additions to our little club. Two words: Stripper Assassin.

Issue two: The second series has a (top secret) name, preliminary cover art concepts, and more. It is my feeling– not scientific, but a hunch– that we’re looking at January for the new series. More on that as it develops. It’s entirely possible it could be sooner.

Issue three: The Fearless, book five. Yep, it’s already underway. I mapped out the book in one afternoon ( while eating some excellent sushi and perusing old travel pics). I’ve got good guys, bad guys, a title, and a twist. I already love the villain(s). There are two!

Issue four: Advance Review Copies of Book Four. Who wants ’em? If you’re interested in being a street team/reviewer, let me know. We’re moving very quickly, and hope to assemble an entire list of ARC gifts to be sent in less than a week.

Cheers!

Terry

Tennessee Valley Author Event: A Good Time Was Had By All

Seriously. What an event.

I was able to enjoy several hours with people who love books as much as I. There were a thousand fans crowded into the venue, and the authors didn’t fail to bring their very best. I made new friends:

This is Lorie. She hugged one of the male models (not me) and then smelled her shirt, declaring it to “smell like him“. It wasn’t as creepy as it reads. Honest. She was delightful.

Her friend Cindy was my first-ever assistant. She was amazing. Cindy made certain that my table was a well-run affair, leaving me to talk books, take a few pictures with fans, and pass out chocolate fortune cookies. People like Cindy– who have an innate love of books– are solid gold.

This is Cindy. She takes book events seriously enough that they merit a dress. She has a sunny disposition and she too enjoys nearly all kinds of baked goods. We became instant friends. To reiterate for those of you who have not met me: pie is our friend.

This was my author table, which, according to Cindy, “Looked way more organized than she expected, given that I’m a dude.” I appreciate that kind of compliment.

So there you have it. A rousing success. Some new friends. Lots of books, and I managed to write 2200 words while staying in Knoxville. Until next time, friends.
Cheers!

The Haircut of Shame:Tennessee Valley Author Event Version

I committed too soon.

To my haircut, that is. I received an excellent haircut two weeks ago– too early for the Tennessee Valley Author Event this weekend, but not quite late enough to merit a full re-do.

As a man who likes to keep his follicle business in order, I found myself waiting for a trim at a local chain. I’d waited my turn, about fifteen minutes (very reasonable), but decided that I would go rogue and let my hair run wild and free this weekend.
Unfortunately, my wishes were steamrolled by karma. The young woman who cheerfully called my name was professional, attractive, and enormously pregnant. Thus, were I to call off my incipient hair adjustment, I would be denying both her and the baby a small but appreciable amount of income.

She gave me an excellent trim, loved books, and was an all around delight. Let it be known that for me, shame is a powerful motivator, and can even overcome my natural rigidity regarding carefully scheduled Hair Events.

Layers of Vision. The Making of a Cover.

My artist Amalia Chitulescu works with me as if she’s psychic. She understands the mood and tone I want for my covers, and the results– if I may say so– are spectacular.
When I was sending her notes about the direction for the cover of The Forest Bull, she immediately keyed on what I was attempting to describe.
We began with the forest primeval. Simple enough, but the quality of the first image is stellar.

So the mood is set. It’s deep, ancient, and a touch threatening, just as it should be. Then, we needed a model who was elegant, thin, but in motion. She had to possess the quality of beauty that was both threatening and disdainful.

That, as the story goes, is Elizabeth. We had to remove some of the accessibility and warmth. Fair enough. By using blues and cool tones, we end up with a mystery and a woman who is at the very heart of it all.

 And with that, the danger and unknown come to life. The Aurochs walks behind Elizabeth, regal in his domain, but we can tell there is much more to the story.

And much more to Elizabeth.