Today, because it is mid-week and I am a bit stressed, I thought we would have chocolate as our treat. Help yourself.
Before I signed up for the Blogger Book Fair, I scheduled Jarod Kintz to be my usual Wednesday’s Guest, we will have a visit from two authors today. First up is my Blogger Book Fair guest Jerry Hatchett with an excerpt from his thriller, Pawnbroker. Jerry grew up in the creatively fertile Mississippi Delta. Now a transplanted Texan, he writes from the Houston area. He’s a lifelong geek, an expert in digital forensics, and is crazy about storytelling in all its forms. He also cooks the best ribeyes on the planet and is an avid fan of Ole Miss football in particular and SEC football in general.
A rusty chain hung across the spot where the abandoned road entered the woods. A stencil-painted tin sign, drooping from the chain on baling wire, issued a Day-Glo warning to the curious: PRIVATE LAND. TRESPASSERS PROSECUTED. RICHARD BALLARD, SHERIFF, PONTOCOLA COUNTY. Three miles into the woods, atop a shallow ridge, an old building still stood. Once fresh and gleaming, its weathered shell had long ago turned the lifeless gray of decaying lumber. Such was its condition when Ray Earl Higgins and Rocky Shackleford first beheld it in the beam of an Eveready flashlight on a hot August night, thirty minutes shy of midnight.
Rocky and Ray Earl had killed more deer over the past twenty years than anybody in Pontocola County, maybe even the whole state. (It helped that they weren’t hindered by things like seasons, rules, or limits.) Rocky knew they were on posted land, but if they got caught hunting deer three months before season opens, at night, a trespassing charge would be the least of their worries. Besides, the deeper they went, the less likely they’d meet up with a game warden. Or some candy-ass animal rights freak who might run whining and blabbing. Finally, all those fine considerations aside, Rocky just didn’t give a happy damn. He’d go where the hell he pleased.
As for Ray Earl, well, he went where Rocky went. That’s the way it was in the second grade, and that’s the way it was on this fine evening. If Ray Earl were diagnosed by modern standards, he would probably have been deemed autistic, with a savant-like ability to mentally record and catalog detail. Instead, at age four he was diagnosed by Dr. Hurston Westerfield—a portly gentleman who hung his shingle just after World War II—after much careful evaluation, as “a V-8 hitting on four cylinders, maybe five on a good day.” Ray Earl was well liked in town, or at least well tolerated.
They had never hunted these woods, and to be accurate, the quest for venison was not what drew them in tonight. It was the stench. It rode in on a hot southern breeze, a reek so strong it made Rocky gag. Rocky, who had disemboweled countless deer as he dressed them out. Rocky, the A-shift foreman at Montello’s open-surface sewage treatment plant. He had to find the source of such an impossible stink.
Great teaser for the book. I am adding this one to my wish list.
Next up is Jarod with some tips for writers. Last Sunday I reviewed his book, The Mandrake Hotel and Resort and here is his guest post.
How do I become be a better writer? That is the question every aspiring author asks themselves.
Writing is inventing, and in a sense an author plays God, because as God created the heavens and the earth, the author creates worlds that exist in books.
So to be a better writer, you must be a better creator—you must be more creative than both the old you, and your past, present, and future competition, which thanks to the open availability of self-publishing, is pretty much everyone in the world.
Writing isn’t about IQ, which is rigid and convergent. Writing is about divergence, and as Malcolm Outliers, a great little test to measure your creative intelligence is called the Brick and Blanket Test.
Gladwell talked about in his book
It’s as simple to understand as it is hard to execute. Quickly put, you must come up with as many uses as you can for two common items: a brick and a blanket. What does this have to do with writing? Well, the more creative you are, the better your writing will be. You must be intellectually flexible, like a cerebral gymnast, not rigid and brittle like glass.
How creative are you? Why don’t you find out by seeing how many different uses you can come up with for a brick and a blanket.
After you are done playing, honestly assess yourself. If your answers were stodgy and stiff, maybe you need to open yourself up a bit and let loose.
In closing, Jarod says, “My story is just beginning. I plan on failing my way to success. I have been rejected by literary agents, publishers, MFA programs, and all sorts of women. But still I keep writing. Share yourself with the world. If there is one thing I like to impress upon people, it’s that you can do it, even if you can’t. Just keep can’ting until eventually you can. And you can quote me on that.”