HELP! Writer & Damsel in Distress looking for feedback on Book Blurb…

HELP! Writer & Damsel in Distress looking for feedback on Book Blurb…

Black Market Angels

by C. Mack Lewis 

Private Investigator Jack Fox will sweet-talk the Devil on a Sunday and kiss the Pope on a Monday — whatever it takes to get to the truth. Between his newest case involving the brutal murder of a Russian mail order bride, his 17-year-old daughter who is the poster child for anger non-management issues, and his ex-girlfriend-from-hell who is giving him an ultimatum that threatens to end in murder, Jack is pushed past him limits as he tries to keep his sanity — and catch a killer!

A fast, fun detective story served up with wit, grit and shocking twists. C. Mack Lewis offers up a murder mystery with a father-daughter relationship that careens from bad to worse and some unexpected places in between. High stakes thrills and drama!       

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I would greatly appreciate any thoughts, advice or help about the blurb for my upcoming book, which will be released on Oct. 20, 2017.

Thank you! 

10 Things I learned traveling in Russia.

10 Things I learned traveling in Russia.
  1. If you spend 2-3 hours learning the Cyrillic alphabet on a free app on the airline ride to Russia, you will be able to sound out many Russian words, which is amazingly helpful when it comes to riding the Metro and reading street signs. I read this on another blog before I went and I didn’t believe it, but it’s true!
  2. Russians like Putin because, historically, every time they have a ‘weak’ leader, their country tends to crumble into chaos. Ex- Tsar Nicholas II, Mikhail Gorbachev, and it would take more than a superficial search of Google to figure the third one out so, if you know, please let me know!
  3. Except for the major cities, most Russians live in wooden houses with no indoor plumbing and only outhouses and a shower in the garden that they can use in the summertime. To live in a stone house is considered bad luck.
  4. It’s not just Putin who is shirtless. In the summer, most Russian men catch every last ray of sunshine possible by sunbathing shirtless.
  5. The average Russian person is simply living to survive. Our guide told us (in a Q&A session) that the average Russian “is into shit up to here” and she pointed to above her eyebrow and then said, “but we still have one ear above the shit because we really want to hear something good.”
  6. The average Russian person feels like they don’t have a choice when it comes to voting. It doesn’t matter who they vote for because, according to the people I talked to, they stated that the winner of any election is already pre-chosen by the super-wealthy oligarchs and the powers-that-be.
  7. The average Russian is too preoccupied with their own daily concerns to follow American politics (i.e. Trump). The response I heard was: Why do you Americans think that we care about your politics — we have other things to worry about — like survival!
  8. The Hermitage has ONE exit and that exit is only ONE small doorway that allows ONE person at a time to exit. I asked our guide about it and she shrugged and said, “Don’t try to understand the Russian logic.”
  9. Russians are surprisingly open about their history and don’t pull any punches when talking about politics. They hate Gorbachev, they make fun of how Breznekov kissed everyone on the lips and they despise Stalin. Putin is simply someone who leads the country and they don’t have a choice over. A fact of life — not bad or good, but worthy of a shrug.
  10. There are Russian Orthodox churches everywhere. Whether you are in a city or in the middle of the nowhere, like magic, beautiful onion-domes of all colors emerge in the skyline. Magical!

 

I highly recommend you considering making your next trip to Russia. It’s a beautiful country, the people are wonderful, food is delicious, and the history and the art are awe inspiring. Your biggest challenge will be to see as much as possible without hitting total overload of the senses.

Thanks for reading!

Books Don’t Die. Books live on, quietly waiting to be discovered.

Books Don’t Die. Books live on, quietly waiting to be discovered.

As a writer, I’ve got that box in the basement that contains all of the short stories that I’ve written over the years. I came to a decision. I’m going to die someday and either that box is either going to be sitting in my basement or it’s going to grow legs and be out in the world. Thanks to Kindle self-publishing, it’s simply a matter of time and effort. Some short stories are new enough that all I have to do is change the format, copy and paste. The older short stories were actually written on *gasp* my old typewriter, which takes a bit longer to drag kicking and screaming into the new century.

A sneak peek into the soon-to-be-published ‘Pig-Eye Poem & Other Stories’ by C. Mack Lewis:

‘Pig-Eye Poem’ is the story about the time I worked in a Silk-City Diner and Nate-Nate-the-Queer-Bait wrote me a poem which he read at the Lower Alloway’s Creek while shaking a box containing a pig-eye.

‘Lair’ is the story of a Vietnam soldier who has his first kill under the command of a sadistic Sargeant.

‘Dead’ about the first autopsy I witnessed as a medical student where I can’t help but wonder if serial killers dream of being doctors – so they can have access to all those helpless organs under their blades?

The story of ‘Boots’ is about a woman who buys a pair of vintage thrift-store boots that, when worn, gives her the power to ‘fix’ things in her life – even if that means committing murder.

‘What She Bought’ is a story of a man who is cleaning out the closet of his recently deceased wife – and learns that his wife was not the woman he thought she was.

‘Tick Tock’ is a story written on the typewriter and I don’t even remember what it is about. I wrote it long ago in a land far, far away that goes by the name of ‘My First Marriage.’ I must have blocked it out and God only knows what that story contains!

‘The Toad King’ is flash fiction about an unhappy Toad Wife and exactly what she is willing to do to wrest the crown from her husband.

‘The Fix’ is hardboiled crime-noir about a down-on-his-luck journalist who gets a once in a lifetime scoop from his ex-lover who does not have his best interests at heart. What can you expect from a woman with eyes that shine like freshly minted cash, which our hero knows perfectly matches the color of her heart?

“She Got The Money’ is an unusual love story about the guy who never gets the girl and the girl who — well, I’ll let you discover that for yourself.

‘The Christmas Tree’ is about a bug-exterminator who falls for the Christmas tree of his dreams and plans the perfect burglary. Seriously folks, what could go wrong?

A writer friend of mine once said to me, “You certainly have no problem throwing your main characters under the bus.”

I don’t just NOT have a problem throwing my characters in harm’s way — I relish it!  

What are you waiting for?

Unless you think that you are going to live forever, download a copy of a Kindle book format (for free) and start the process of putting your book, poems, short stories out into the world today!

http://www.kayfranklin.com/kindle/free-kindle-publishing-book-template/

Please send me a link after it is published because I would love to feature you on my blog as a guest blogger.

 

 

   

 

 

A deeper look into Galway Bay, the song.

A deeper look into Galway Bay, the song.
A deeper look into Galway Bay, the song
By Jack Grenard & Eoin O’Riain
 
It is not a folk song, having been written in 1943 by an Irish doctor living in England. He does not explain a number of statements he makes, but some come clear to Jack. One is why he’s in England, though he professes to love Ireland. In 1943 Ireland still suffered from the predations of the English. The doctor could not make a living in the land he loves. Read on. Jack’s comments appear in roman text. Those in italic come from a real Irishman, Eoin O’Riain, who happens to live on the shores of Galway Bay.
 
 
If you ever go across the sea to Ireland, 
then maybe at the closing of your day, 
you can sit and watch the moon rise over Claddagh, 
and see the sun go down on Galway Bay. 
 
Just to hear again the ripple of the trout stream, 
the women in the meadow making hay, 
just to sit beside the turf fire in a cabin, 
and watch the barefoot gossoons as they play.
 
=====================
 
Turf is what we call peat, a fuel still used widely in Ireland, especially the west. It is a brown material consisting of partly decomposed vegetable matter forming a deposit on acidic, boggy ground, which is dried and burnt as fuel. It is also used in gardening.
 
Gooses, from the Irish Gársún = little boy (Norman French Garcon). 
 
=====================
 
For the breezes blowing o’er the seas from Ireland 
are perfumed by the heather as they blow, 
and the women in the uplands digging praties, 
speak a language that the strangers do not know. 
 
======================
 
Praties = Potatoes, from the Irish Prátaí (strongly enough this is a word from the South of Ireland Irish. The word used in Galway would be “Fataí.”)
 
The language is Irish (“Gaeilge” in Irish hence the English word “Gaelic”) This is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family. There are two others, Gàidhlig in Scotland and Gaelgagh (Manx) on the Isle of Man. The old name for France, Gaul, and the provinces in Spain and Turkey called Galatia,  stem from this word Gaeilge/Goidelic.
 
======================
 
The women doing all the work? That is because the men were gone, conscripted into English armies, sent to fight foreign wars. “The strangers”?  Those are the English who grabbed the best lands in Ireland for their own. Some built large homes. Some are still there.
 
This is from a contemporary account of the Irish just after the English-Norman King Henry ll invaded in 1169. “Dedicated only to leisure and laziness, this is a truly barbarous people. They depend on animals for their livelihood and they live like animals.” The writer Giraldus Cambrensis sought to justify the invasion. Later the English forbade the use of Irish as a language, the Irish Legal system, etc. and the old Irish Aristocracy was all but completely destroyed by 1607 under James l. (This did not happen in Scotland where the legal system is different and the Aristocracy remained.) This persecution was worsened of course by the split between Henry VIII and Rome and he was the first King of England to declare himself King of Ireland. Religious persecution followed and the result of these disasters can still be seen in the conflict in the North.
 
Emigration from Ireland was mostly from the north of Ireland which had “non-conformist” religions, Presbyterian, etc., and they were important in the founding of the USA. They also had dangerous political views like democracy and human rights and led to the embryonic republican movement which led to several uprisings notable in 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867 and finally to 1916 and the war of independence. The Famine of1845-7 saw the mass emigration to the USA, England, and to a lesser extent other places. The population of the country dropped from 8 million in 1841 to 6 million in 1851. This emigration has continued with a short break in the 1990s and now again this year we are hearing of people returning after the depression of 2008-16.
 
After Independence, which was only partially granted in 1922 (we became a dominion like Canada), the Irish Government used the abdication of Edward VIII in 1936 which had to be ratified by all the parliaments in the Dominions to further break with England and we did not ratify it. We adopted a Constitution the following year and elected a President — formerly we had a Governor General. We were also involved in an economic war with England which made trade difficult and during the War we declared ourselves neutral so we did not participate. 
 
=======================
 
Yet the strangers came and tried to teach us their ways, 
and they scorned us just for being what we are, 
but they might as well go chasing after moon beams, 
or light a penny candle from a star. 
 
And if there’s going to be be a life here after, 
and faith somehow I’m sure there’s going to be, 
I will ask my God to let me make my Heaven 
in that dear land across the Irish sea.
***
Thank you to our talented guest bloggers, Jack Grenard & Eoin O’Riai, for their wonderful insight into this beautiful song! My husband’s ancestors are from Galway and my ancestors were from Cork, so I have a special place in my heart for all things Irish.

Why Some People Can’t Give Up Their Old Shoes (A Letter From A Patient).

Why Some People Can’t Give Up Their Old Shoes (A Letter From A Patient).
I am a Podiatrist and this is a letter from one of my favorite, long-time Patients:  
During our visit to your office Thursday, you commented that I should replace my aging sandals. I failed to tell you how old they really are. Back in my college days in the 1950s, when archaeology began to rage, I spent two weeks on a college-sponsored dig on the north side of the Bay of Naples (Baie di Napoli). We centered on the place of the Sibyl of Cumae. On the first day of the dig, I came upon the remains of perhaps a Roman-era soldier, though the site went further back into antiquity than AD 1. The skeleton still wore a pair of heavily-used sandals, the source of their leather later found to be of shark skin, though one of the archaeologists speculated it might be skin from a reptile, such as a dinosaur.
     Long story short, I’m still wearing these ancient sandals and don’t intend to give them up for anything modern. I’d go barefoot first. (Maybe that’s a good idea. No athletes foot fungus?) Thought you’d enjoy an explanation of why some people just can’t give up old shoes.
How can I argue with that? 
 

Write yourself into a corner? Here’s how to escape!

Write yourself into a corner? Here’s how to escape!

The Writer’s Bear Trap!

Has this happened to you? You’ve been writing your novel and, without warning, you realize that you have written your main character into a situation that there is no escape from. Or, worse yet, your character has taken you to a place where you did not want him/her to go and now you don’t know what to do or how to get them out of the situation and, even worse, you have no idea what the heck this new situation has to do with your carefully planned out novel.

May I suggest — the nuclear option?

The nuclear option, my friends, is what I call following The Beast, which is more politely known as — your subconscious. 

It was you that took the story to that corner that you are now trapped in. It is important that you now listen to the inner demons (or angels) in your subconscious that stand ready and willing to lead you back to freedom! If you are lucky, they will be happy to lead you through many more layers of hell, which is always good for a better story, before they send you back to safety and freedom.

When writing Gunning For Angels, I was startled to realize that my main character, Enid Iglowski, went to a place that I did not intend for her to go. I was so dismayed that I stopped writing for three days and simply thought about why I had written myself into this insane corner/trap that had nothing to do with my carefully planned out novel.

After three days of thinking, I decided that maybe my subconscious was smarter than my conscious mind. It was terrifying, but I decided to trust the forces that had brought my character to this seemingly insurmountable obstacle that brought her – and my plot – to a dead stop.

When you have written yourself into a corner, the key is to ask yourself this question: What is the worst possible thing that could happen to my character at this moment?

Dig deep and come with with a no-holds-barred thing that is your deepest, darkest fear and then SLAM it full force into your main character. Have no mercy, pull no punches — be RUTHLESS!

It’s what I call the nuclear option and, strangely enough, it works like a charm!

Delving into your deepest fears and forcing your protagonist to deal with it will bring a new energy and power into your story. It is a plot twist that even you as the writer were not expecting, so there is no way that your reader will see it coming! You will be forced to go to a deeper level emotionally, which will resonate with your readers. If you have the courage to face those fears and be emotionally honest in your writing (always dig to that deeper level of truth!) then it will elevate your writing to new heights and your story will resonate with emotional power.

The subconscious works in strange ways. It will lead you into deep waters and dark troubles, but it will also lead you back to safety.

In the case of my novel Gunning For Angels, the nuclear option took my story to a higher level. It introduced a new aspect to the plot that somehow ended up being the most important and defining moment of my main character’s life. It gave Enid Iglowski an opportunity to discover what she is capable of and how strong she can actually be and it gave me, the writer, the opportunity to discover something new about myself.

If my nuclear option doesn’t work for you, you can borrow Raymond Chandler’s nuclear option, which also works like a charm.

When in doubt, have a man came to the door with a gun in his hand.  

Happy Writing!