The Devil

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The Devil. He’s inextricably woven into the details isn’t he? But you can’t have to many of them. They represent links in a chain that threads its way throughout your story from the first word to the last period, no matter how long the story is.  They become the logs across the river. You precariously jump from one to the next as you scramble toward your destiny in a story, and if there aren’t enough of them, you fall!

Why?

Because as you read you formulate a picture in your head.  It’s the movie that comes from every single book. It’s the free cost of admission that as a reader you have come to love. The only difference is, the big screen goes with you wherever you and your book are, and the popcorn shows up occasionally from the microwave.  But what if there aren’t enough details? What if the story ends up being two talking heads facing each other chatting away? At that point it doesn’t really matter what the subject matter is. It’s basically a documentary or an essay on a subject inside a dust jacket. Its boring.

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What’s Your Secret?

‘Skeletons in the closet’ or whatever you chose to call them: everybody’s got ’em. And I mean everybody. From a squirrel hiding its favorite morsels underground for a cold winter day, to international espionage, nobody can escape the insidious nature of the secret. But isn’t that what makes secrets so compelling? The fact that we have them? Of course it does! Which is more compelling to you? An expansive park where you can run the dog with four hundred of your closest neighbors every Saturday morning, or a walled garden with a fifteen foot locked iron gate that you pass every day on the way to work? You can look in through the gate, but you can’t see much in the shade. The answer is the walled garden is far more intriguing. Why? Because over the weekends of walking the dog you learn every inch of that huge park and, in essence, you lose respect for it because you eventually know all of its intricacies. It simply loses its identity to common knowledge.

Governments (including our own) are focussed on keeping their secrets while their own medias and thousands of people from other countries are driven to risk their very lives to ferret those secrets out into the light. Each and every one of us has secrets. As transparent as we might think we are (or try to be), we all have that little treasure chest of secrets that nobody, save ourselves, is allowed to unlock, let alone peer into. I call it a treasure chest because that, in the end, is what it really is. It is not a closet because it is not a mess, and it is not large. Our secrets are wisps. They are small little scraps and shreds of critical information. Our secrets are carefully categorized and ordered so that we can easily examine them over and over again.

Why? Because our secrets are actually our true identity. They are our deviant nature contained. They are the remaining brush strokes of the incomplete painting we hang out on the sidewalk for everybody to see. We covet them and protect them from the daylight. We never truly share them, so sometimes they live out their lives as wants or needs that are never fulfilled. They are our weaknesses that we shelter from the critical eye of a stranger.

Are they necessary? Absolutely! On every scale! Why? Because without them we would all be the same. We would all be vulnerable. We could never be ourselves. We would all be perpetually subjected to the abuse from those who would wish to exploit us. And most of all, we would live our lives under the constant threat of acceptance, because our paintings would be finished and our worth as an artist would be truly known.

Clemency ended with its treasure chest of secrets only partially opened. Without secrets, there would be no discovery scheduled for tomorrow.

Fiction is the Truth Inside of a Lie

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As a fiction writer I have found myself pondering the statement, “fiction is truth inside of a lie” more and more lately. It prompts me to wonder at the meaning of the word ‘truth’ as it relates to the statement. Does this interpretation of truth apply to real experience? Does it relate to statements of fact? Does it have to do with embellishing a story that contains a central parable? I wonder…

Seek out the truth in your life – follow a map and make it an adventure.

The Vinland map, a 15th century world map purportedly based on a 13th century original. If authentic, it is the first known depiction of the North American coastline.

In my own writing, I try to relate my personal experiences into my story in an effort to add an element of ‘truth’. It is important to impart upon a reader some element of truth through fiction. Why? Because I want my audience to come away from my works having seen something that I have seen – having learned something that I have learned. While the backdrop may be fictional, the basis is in some way related to fact. Why is this important? While the readers demand and deserve entertainment value, I believe it is far more fulfilling to put down a book and walk away from it with an interest in something you have never encountered, and enough of an understanding of it that you might even find yourself seeking a deeper understanding of it. When you finish my books, I want to leave you wanting to KNOW more – to seek out and discover more for yourself.

So I challenge you with this: seek out and embrace the truth that is hidden within the fiction. The fiction of your life, your environment, your existence. See out truth.

History and Mystery

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I love all things history related. From medieval Europe to Ancient Egypt to the mysteries of the south pacific, I’m intrigued by it all. I especially love unsolved mysteries, particularly of the ancient world. I love stuff like the Tarim Mummies, the Rongorongo, the bog people, or the Voynich manuscript. Even the Bermuda Triangle would qualify. Why? Because I am intrigued by a certain type of mystery – one where we are presented with either facts that serve to tighten the puzzle, or no facts at all.

Ship wrecks. Hanstholm, Denmark. Photo by Fanny Schertzer.

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The Exploration and Discovery of the Shipwreck Clemency

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The research for developing the back story of Charles Turner’s shipwreck Clemency is described for the reader in chapter seven of the book.  Here, our lead characters and the reader are openly exposed to the facts surrounding the demise of the ship, and the conditions under which the operation is about to take place.  I haven’t hidden anything.  Why?  Because I believe that there is a difference between research and discovery; between fact and circumstance.  One can spend all the time they want researching what a Liberty ship looks like, and make all the plans they wish for dissecting it.  But to be in its presence is a completely different matter.charles turner shipwreck 1

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The Creation and Composition of Clemency

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under water, deep sea, exploration, ruinsHello and welcome to the official blog of my book, Clemency: The Saint Chronicles Part 1! Here I will discuss a wide and varying array of topics relating to my book, as well as answer any questions you may have. It is my hope that through this blog, more readers will come to experience the engaging story of Clemency, and be enticed to share their thoughts, feelings, issues and own stories.

To be brief, Clemency is an intriguing and suspenseful tale of betrayal, revenge, murder and greed. Abandoned at the wreckage of a seventy year old ship, three men fight to survive on the open waters, coming to terms with their individual shortcomings and faults, as well as their humanity. Stephen King is notably credited with the phrase: “fiction is the truth inside the lie.” The “truth” is what compelled me to write my book. The very center of the story is true. I should know because I was there – I took part in the story. At least the true story.

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