Finding an Audible voice for The Big Inch characters

April 2nd. 2018

I’ve been working with a professional actor, talking through characterization, place, and nuance about the characters of my debut novel, The Big Inch, as we prepare to go into production for Audible. Because many of the characters in The Big Inch are Texan, and many have southern roots, you’d think it would be easy. Au Contraire. This roster of distinctive voices would give any actor a challenge. Since a listener can’t see who’s talking from the sentence structure, it’s up to the narrator to give vocal cues and–here’s the kicker–maintain those cues through hours and hours of a dialogue-based novel. God Bless the woman who’s taking on this opportunity and her knack for mimicking the distinctives of a regional accent that needs just enough variation between the old and young women, those that are celebrating their southern roots, and those that are hiding from them.

To be fair, when I was writing The Big Inch, I never dreamed it would one day become an Audible book that would rely on a strong vocal actor bringing the characters to life for those listening while stuck in traffic or on an extended road trip. I trusted my reader’s imagination. Now, though, I’m trusting someone to give sass and vigor to people that previously existed in my head. Stay tuned, I’ll keep you in the loop as to how this is progressing, and what some of the tips I’m using to inspire the narrator to hear the characters as they sound inside my imagination.

Big news for The Big Inch!

March 26th. 2018

Spring Break 2018

March 19th. 2018

Speer Chapel at LeTourneau University

March 7th. 2018

This movie.

February 26th. 2018

When the time comes for this film to be in theatres, I’ll be the one on the front row –transfixed. My favorite kind of story, some of my favorite actors, a location that is part of my DNA, and it’s all done so well cinematically, that I’ll want to watch it over and over again. Will you join me?

A writing hole.

January 29th. 2018

I apologize to those internet wanderers who may have landed on my page and expected a little more engagement. These past several months I’ve put myself in a writing hole and periodically come up for sunshine and cookies, but don’t as often pop over to the blog and social media outlets. Hopefully, you’ll see that as a good sign, that there will be a new book this year and those who’ve enjoyed The Big Inch will get another brush with some of their favorite characters in the historical fiction novel, Harmon General. There’s a tentative release date for spring, but I will post more information as it becomes available. Thanks for remaining friendly with this writer, and I hope to spend more time with you as we nosh on the news about Harmon General.

Map Making 101

November 14th. 2017

Not that I’ve found one, but I could really use a Dummy’s Guide to Making a Map. My novel, The Big Inch, is a WWII historical fiction and it utilizes real places in the city of Longview, Texas. Imaginary characters climb the stairs, stare off the rooftops, and gaze over lake surfaces in the very places that actual people walk every day. As I write the sequel to The Big Inch, called Harmon General, I’ve decided to add a map to the front of the new book–just as a reference for those who are curious about the context of the plot and locations mentioned. So, here are my questions. How much detail should go on the map? How accurate to mileage and longitudinal details does it need to be? And, if buildings sited in the 1940s no longer exist, how do I place them on the map? Do I create a walking map for readers to go to actual addresses, or just a loose approximation of location so that folks reading the book can visualize a general area?

You can see I have a problem that needs noodling, so if you have a suggestion for map creation, feel free to let me know.

History Has Warts

October 24th. 2017

I’m a bit confused by those who wish to sanitize history. Not confused really, this has been happening since the earliest days of ink and papyrus–those scribes with their hieroglyphics documented events as they were told to by their kings and priests. History had a spin even along the Nile. But the mad rush today to pick and choose model figures based on how they appeal to us, if their message resonates with our worldview, and if it’s politically palatable feels, well, false. There’s not much from world history that can hold up to the scrutiny of a modern age that allows the whims and rage of a technology-connected population to dictate what is worthy. And it’s not just the liberals that have reduced our historical context to a sound bite, the right does it too. We don’t talk about the Founding Fathers, Biblical characters, or military victors unless their stance and outcome validates our point of view. So, what’s a thinker supposed to do? Sift.

Truth is truth whether we like it or not. History has warts. People have had a mean-streak for a very long time. And the irony is, not much–short of our sophistication, travel and technology–has changed.

I want everyone to unplug from technology for a long while. Walk in nature, unwind. Breathe clean air, and then once we’ve all had a good sleep, come back together and remember that we don’t get to write our history either. The folks who come behind us will do that, and how they choose to remember us will be through their filter. God be with us. We may get a dose of our own medicine.

A Peek into the Writer’s Life

September 22nd. 2017

Turn away, and look elsewhere. I’m warning you, it’s a mess in here. My desk is divided with stacks of real life work (I’m freelance writer with clients that want their work turned around when they want it, despite my desire to be sitting there writing fiction,) and stacks of whatever tidbits of research I’ve found that will help in developing authenticity for the novel I’m writing. Like every other writer on the planet, I wish I could spend all day with my characters and plot developments, augmented by copious amounts of chocolate. But reality is complicated. Still, all those papers, all those scribbled notes, and those snippets of conversation between characters in my head (always at the most unfortunate time,) are an important thread in my life. They’re pulling me to the dream I’ve always longed to fulfill, and Praise God!, I do get to have time to write fiction. And the craziest thing of all, is that readers are opening my books and staying with my stories. I’ve met people in the grocery store, church, civic meetings, and restaurants who’ve told me they liked the Big Inch and when was the sequel coming out.This is like throwing gasoline on a fire. I’m so excited about what’s to come with this writer’s life, and I hope you’ll stick with me for the journey.

The clatter of keyboarding

September 14th. 2017

I’ve been holed up in my favorite hermit spot for a few weeks now, busily attacking the second draft of the work-in-progress, okay, it’s really called Harmon General. Gosh, it’s hard to keep a secret these days. As it is, my fingers fly so fast that I then have to spend a few hours re-reading and editing what plot elements have been brought on by copious amounts of dark chocolate, goldfish crackers, and Dr Pepper–not necessarily in that order, and sometime all at once. I’m looking forward to releasing some snippets from the story, once I feel they’re show-off worthy, to help build the momentum for the book release in 2018.

Hope you’ll stay with me for the ride, and that you’ll be pleased when you reconnect with familiar characters from The Big Inch.