Book Four Teaser

Hi Friends and Followers,

It has been awhile since I posted to my blog.  It’s been a very exciting time.  Book Three is in editing and Book Four is taking form.  You can read  the first ten pages of Book Four in the Meant to Be Series.  I hope you enjoy it.  Your feedback is welcome.

We have been very busy with many family happenings in addition to my spending the rest of my free time writing the fourth book.  The summer schedule includes two weddings (one of which is our son’s), a family reunion, a 70th birthday party and a 95th birthday party; all of which have, or will, involve travel.  I’m trying to get back to balancing it all so I will be catching up on reading many of your blogs (which I have missed) and look forward to commenting on them soon.

Enjoy the excerpt.  Happy Reading and Writing!

Richard

 

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When the Writing Bug Bit

Many people ask me why I started on this new career as an author.  They wonder if I’ve always had the writing bug.  When my boys were young, I used to write short stories for them.  They were always the heroes.  I’m sorry I did not keep those stories as they grew older.  That, however, had not put the writing bug in me.

Richard Alan, Village Drummer Fiction, Writing Bug, blog
Writing Bug

It all started when I was asked to write an article for a blog (http://memoirsfromnam.blogspot.com/) about my experiences in Vietnam.  I submitted the article and it was published.  The blog owner, a published author, asked how long I had been writing.  I replied that I hadn’t ever been and she replied that I should.  That was about a year and three months ago.  My wife has often told me that I am a great storyteller.  (We’re talking about family history kinds of stories.)  She encouraged me to take some time to try writing a novel.   Since then I have written and published Meant to Be and The Couples.  My third novel in the Meant to Be series, Finding Each Other, is currently being edited and I have over 20,000 words written for my fourth book in the series.

Richard Alan, Village Drummer Fiction, Writing Bug, blog

There is NO cure!

Richard Alan, Village Drummer Fiction, Writing Bug, blog

The only relief is writing!

I may not have always had the writing bug, but now that it has bitten me, I can’t think of anything else I would rather be doing.  I love writing.  Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with a fully formed story in my head and spend the next four hours writing it down.  Other times, I will be doing something completely unrelated to my writing and a new character or plotline will fill my imagination.  I then have to stop what I’m doing, open my laptop, and start writing.   I don’t do outlines.  My process includes first developing the characters and then they tell me their stories.  The stories they tell me always provide twists and turns.  I follow them wherever they take me.  Sometimes I am as surprised at the outcome of a relationship as I’m sure my readers will be.  Occasionally a subplot will be very interesting but not fit the main thrust of the book.  I save those for subsequent novels.

Meant to Be introduces the reader to Meyer and Joan, the main characters.   They meet in the library when they are 4 and 5 years old, respectively.   At the time, they had no idea the two of them would be spending a lifetime together.  Their friendship took off slowly due to their age difference.  Joan did not want to bother with someone who was not old enough to be entering kindergarten. They reconnected a few years later when Meyer’s family moved from Iowa to the Seattle area, where Joan’s family had moved the year before.

Joan and Meyer remain friends throughout their high school years until Meyer leaves for Viet Nam and Joan’s family experiences a tragedy that impacts Joan’s view of friends and family.  The interactions of three generations of friends and family help them reconnect so that they can celebrate the good times and get through the difficult and tragic times as loving partners.

I had so many ideas for future characters and storylines, I realized Meant to Be would never come to an end.  It was then I decided to break the book into a series.  The Couples continues the theme of people who may belong together and how the world around them helps, or sometimes defeats them, in their search for a life partner.  It follows the lives of couples, their friends, and their support systems, as they explore their relationships.

Meyer and Joan return in The Couples, along with several other characters from Meant to Be.  New people are introduced who also interact with Meyer, Joan, and others.  Anna and Michael, both of whom are techies, are the main characters.  Michael is emotionally hurting due to the sudden death of his fiancée a few weeks before their wedding.  Anna has to get over her poor self-image and learn to trust her feelings.  The book centers on their ability to help each other and to grow to become a couple.

Richard Alan, Village Drummer Fiction, Writing Bug, blog

Couples

There are several supporting characters.  One of them is suddenly confronted with the opportunity to become the mother of the daughter she gave up for adoption ten years earlier.  Another is a rape victim who is trying to rejoin society as a whole person.  Also there is a teenage boy musician who is trying to get past his unrequited love and finds happiness with a ranch girl. These and several others come together as a community to support each other in finding their life partner.

My hope is that the characters in these books are people that readers will want to know.  You will laugh, cry, and love with them as they seek the partner they are meant to be with for the rest of their lives.

What motivated you to become an author?  When did that writing bug bite?  This is my third major career, but I’m sure it is the last.  I will write for the rest of my life.  How many careers have you had?  Do you expect writing to be the last?

Happy Reading and Writing!

Richard Alan

A 5* Blog Site Recommendation + Kreativ Blogger Award

Hi to all my Readers,

I am updating my Favorite Blog list to include Kristen Lamb’s Blog.  I wish I had found her when I started this journey a few months ago.  Following is from Kristen’s bio: “Kristen worked in international sales before transitioning into a career as an author, freelance editor and speaker. She takes her years of experience in sales & promotion and merges it with almost a decade as a writer to create a program designed to help authors construct a platform in the new paradigm of publishing. Kristen has guided writers of all levels, from unpublished green peas to NY Times best-selling big fish, how to use social media to create a solid platform and brand. Most importantly, Kristen helps authors of all levels connect to their READERS and then maintain a relationship that grows into a long-term fan base.”

I just finished reading Kristen’s book,  Are You There, Blog? It’s Me Writer.  I learned so much about developing a social platform and using social media.  As soon as I finished the book yesterday, I ordered We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media.  We Are Not Alone The Writer's Guide to Social Media eBookAre You There Blog? It's Me, Writer eBook

Kristen’s blog and books are written with humor and clear explanations.  They are fun to read and provide invaluable information.  If I could give her work more than 5 stars, I would.   I strongly recommend to every writer that you follow Kristen Lamb!

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I was very honored to have been nominated for a Kreativ Blogger Award this week by my fellow blogger, Vikki, The View Outside.   This honor requires me to list 7 facts about myself and pass this award on to 7 other bloggers who I think deserve it.  They, in turn, should provide 7 facts about themselves and pass this on to 7 other bloggers.

The bloggers I am nominating will also be added to my favorite blog list.  Please check them out if you are not already following them.

Congratulations to:

  1. Ritesh Kala, Ritish Kala’s Book Reviews
  2. Thea Atkinson
  3. Alan McDermott, jambalian
  4. Donna Martin, On the Write Track
  5. Kevin Hanrahan
  6. Shelli Johnson
  7. Kirkus MacGowan, Diapers, Bookmarks, and Pipe Dreams
    

Now for the 7 facts about me you probably did not know.

  • I own an audiophile level surround sound system.
  • Besides the sound system, my favorite item in the media room is a teddy bear wearing a stocking cap and scarf with the colors of Yellowstone National Park.
  • I love high-speed and long distance driving, and I don’t know why.
  • I spent Saturday mornings during high school helping developmentally challenged children.
  • I have rescued two people from drowning.
  • I started reading adult level non-fiction at the age of 8.
  • I am an accomplished chef, especially with seafood.

Have fun and happy writing.

Virtual Book Tour and A Real Challenge

pump up your book, richard alan, tour, book tour, blog, author

Richard Alan’s  MEANT TO BE SERIES VIRTUAL BOOK PUBLICITY TOUR will officially begin on March 5 and end on March 23 2012. Please contact Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife(at)gmail.com if you are interested in hosting and/or reviewing his book. Thank you!

I am so excited to be part of a Virtual Book Tour.  Each day I participate in a different interview, blog, or guest blog.  There will also be giveaways.  I will try to keep you updated by twitter of the various stops I’m making during the tour.  Click on the image below for the schedule of events.

blog, blog tour, marketing, meant to be, richard alan

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While on tour the second challenge came out from Rachel Harrie’s Fourth Writer Platform-Building Campaign.

Prompt 1: 

Two people are sitting together under the remains of a concrete bridge. Their backs are against a rusted bridge support. One person’s leg is cut. The other person has wet hair.

Prompt 2: 

(Source)

Prompt 3

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Prompt 4

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Prompt 5

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Second Campaigner Challenge

Do one or more of the following:

  1. Write a pitch/logline for a book based on the prompts (less than 100 words)
  2. Write a short story/flash fiction piece of less than 200 words based on the prompts
  3. Write a poem with a twist using the prompts as inspiration (in less than 200 words)
  4. Write a story/poem in five sentences, each sentence based on one of the prompts
  5. Write a poem/flash fiction piece (in less than 200 words) about the water pear *without* using the words “pear”, “spoon”, or “droplet”.


Here is my entry:

Two people are sitting together under the remains of a concrete bridge. Their backs are against a rusted bridge support. One person’s leg is cut. The other person has wet hair.  Three children are in the midst of a large garbage dump.

“It’s not a bad cut,” he told his sister.  “Besides, the rain has almost stopped.  I see another garbage truck coming.  We better get out there and see if there’s something for us to eat.  I’m so hungry, my belly aches.”

On the other side of the world, my son runs along the pier chasing his ball.   He has thoughts of the cotton candy he ate at the fair yesterday.   He doesn’t worry about hunger and if anything, he could stand to lose a few pounds.

How will he react when he is kidnapped?  How will he manage to exist when he is left on a garbage dump on the other side of the world, to fend for himself?  After a life of not knowing hunger, will he have the physical and social skills to join with the other children in a desperate attempt to survive?

I welcome your critique of this piece.  Flash fiction is very new to me.  Now I can go and read other people’s entries.  There were so many wonderful flash fictions stories from the first challenge.  It was fascinating how many different themes came out of the same input.  I expect to see that here also and I’m really looking forward to it.

Until next time – Happy Reading!

Richard Alan

Challenge Accepted

I wrote in my last blog that I was participating in the Fourth Writer’s Platform-Building Challenge.   Today @RachelHarrie posted the first challenge.

“Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem.

Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count. If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:

  • end the story with the words: “everything faded.” (also included in the word count)
  • include the word “orange” in the story
  • write in the same genre you normally write
  • make your story 200 words exactly!”
Being someone who never backs away from a challenge, following is my 200 word entry.
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Shadows crept across the wall.  The orange sun set.  She was nervous.  Her fiancé was coming home.  They hadn’t seen each other since entering the Army.  The last time, eighteen months ago, was in Fiji, spent mostly in swimsuits.  She was proud of her looks, which made heads turn.

She drove Army trucks until the IED.  Badly burned, it was a miracle she survived.  Her soft skin was replaced with scar tissue.  What would he think?  She desperately wanted to be held by him.  Would he want to spend their lives together now?  She had written him about her disfiguration, suggesting he reconsider their relationship.

He replied that they would talk when he got home.

His car pulled up.  Looking sad, he walked to the door with a pronounced limp.  She opened it.  He immediately threw his arms around her, kissing her.

“I have something to show you,” he said, revealing titanium leg braces.  “I lost my legs below the knee.  If you want to breakup, I’ll understand.”

“Look at me.  What do you see?”

“I see the woman I want to marry.  And you?”

Crying, she replied, “I see my strong legged fiancé.”

Except for their love, everything faded.

*  *  *

This was a very interesting assignment.  My first draft was 483 words.   I didn’t think there was any way this story could be edited down to 200 words without loosing its essence.  It took me a while, but I did it.  A lot of words can be superfluousness.  Live and learn.

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My next blog will have three book reviews and more helpful links.  Happy reading!

Richard Alan


Write Campaign 11 Question Tag! I’m It!

I am participating in Rachel Harrie’s Fourth Write Platform-Building Campaign.  Fellow campaigner Diane D. Gillette tagged me in an amazingly fun game of 11 Question Tag, so without further delay, here’s my answers to her excellent questions!

The 11 questions Diane had for me:  

1.  Where is your favorite writing spot and why? My home office because it is quiet and I am surrounded by the math and science books I love.

2.  What author/book first made you want to write?  It was not a specific author or book that got me started.   I wrote an article for http://memoirsfromnam.blogspot.com/. The blog owner, @CJHeck60, asked me how long I had been a writer.  I told her I hadn’t and she said I should.   With CJ’s and my wife’s encouragement, I decided to give it a try.  I found I really love writing.
3.  If you could no longer write, what would your creative outlet be?  First I would perform research in mathematical analysis.  Second I would drum.  I am a second generation percussionist and two of my sons were state HS drum line champions.  When our last son moved out we converted his room into a drum room.

4.  Music or silence when you write?  Absolute, positive, and complete silence.

5.  What is your writing goal for 2012?  Publish at least 4 new bestselling novels.

6.  What pushes you out of your writing comfort zone?  I’m always comfortable writing.  Occasionally I might feel the pain one of the characters feels, but I also get to feel their love.

7.  Where do you go when you need to escape for a while?  I start writing mathematical proofs or work on learning a foreign language with Rosetta Stone.

8.  Which series are you eagerly anticipating the newest release for? (If you aren’t addicted to any series right now, then what new book by a favorite author are you waiting for?)  Book 3 in the Meant to Be series, Finding Each Other, is due out early summer.  Full disclosure:  I’m prejudiced.  I’m the author.

9.  What’s your favorite online resource for writers?  There are several great ones.  I can’t narrow it down to one.  I frequently visit:  John Kremer The Book Marketing Network, The Book Designer Practical Advice to Help Self-Publishers Build Better Books, World Lit Cafe Where Readers and Authors Unite, and Jane Friedman’s Writing Advice  Free Advice for Writers

10.  Do you read any literary magazines? If so, which ones?  No.

11.  What’s something that made you smile today?  Seeing my wife and knowing she is my soul-mate.

Now it’s my turn to tag people.  I choose http://thegoldeneaglesblog.blogspot.com/http://caitlin-lane.blogspot.com/,http://www.christinetyler.net/http://nickwilford.blogspot.com/http://sallys-scribbles.blogspot.com/http://cjparmenter.wordpress.com/http://bornbookish.blogspot.com/http://www.donasdays.blogspot.com/http://writer-steps.blogspot.com/http://raeann28.blogspot.com/

My 11 Questions for You:

  1. If you write about characters who love each other, does their love reflect the love you have in your own life?
  2. Would you be able to write in a genre you really dislike?
  3. You are having a dinner party.  What 4 authors (dead or alive) would you invite and what would you serve them?
  4. What about writing do you enjoy that non-authors don’t realize is fun?
  5. If you listen to music, while you write, does the music influence the mood of your story?
  6. Is your writing better in the early morning, afternoon, late evening, or is it always the same?
  7. After someone tells you they enjoyed reading your book, what positive comment would you like to hear about your book?
  8. If you consider writing your passion, and assuming you have the time, how long would your days be and how many days per week would you write?
  9. How many characters in your writing mirror characters in your real life?
  10. When you meet fellow authors, do you inspire them?  If yes, in what way?
  11. Do you find it difficult to end a story or would you prefer to continue writing the current story?

Have fun!  Happy Reading and Writing!

Reviews of IN HER NAME: EMPIRE and THE SAVANNAH PROJECT

It has been a very busy week, and it’s only Monday.  The more Carolynn and I learn about social media, the more time it takes.    This should change as the learning curve flattens and we start to really know what we’re doing.  Hopefully, we have put our time to good use.  We made several updates to the pages of my blog and updated the website, Village Drummer Fiction.  Navigating these sites should be easier.  We are open to feedback.  Let us know how we can improve our sites.

The author community on Twitter and in the world of blogging has been amazingly generous with their help.  I am gradually updating links to include the many wonderful people who are helping so many of us.  This list is not all inclusive and more will be added in upcoming blogs.

Blogging and Twittering has introduced me to a lot of talented authors.  My TBR (to be read) list has grown immensely.  Fortunately my wife also loves to read and is helping with reviews.   I recently read IN HER NAME: EMPIRE by Michael R. Hicks and Carolynn read THE SAVANNAH PROJECT by Chuck Garrett.  Following are the reviews we posted on Amazon.

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5.0 out of 5 stars “In Her Name: Empire” is a Winner Read, February 12, 2012
By
Richard Alan “Village Drummer Fiction” (Seattle, USA)

Science fiction is not my favorite genre, but I read a few pages of “In Her Name: Empire” and decided to download Michael Hick’s first installment in his series. If all science fiction were as well written, I would read a lot more of it. The story of Reza Gard, a human who ends up being captured by Kreelan warriors, captured my attention from the first page and did not let go until the end. Mr. Hick’s writing provided such graphic and realistic descriptions and characters, I wanted to visit other worlds and know the characters. I could almost believe the Kreelans were real. The book transported me to the Kreelan empire and surrounded me with the spirit of the Way. Reza’s transformation to his belief in the Empress and the Way was developed with patience and thoughtfulness. Although adopting the Kreelans culture and beliefs, he never forgets his own humanity. While the story is violent at times, it is not gratuitous violence. All of the actions seemed real and appropriate for the scenes.

Michael Hicks has written an extraordinary novel that deserves to be a best-seller. I am looking forward to reading all of the books in the series.

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5.0 out of 5 stars A First Rate Thriller, February 2, 2012
By
Carolynn

I enjoyed every minute of reading THE SAVANNAH PROJECT by Chuck Barrett. The prologue immediately sucked me in and I did not want to put it down. Jake Pendelton, an NTSB investigator gets pulled into an international conspiracy of assassinations, terrorism, IRA vendettas, and non-stop action. The story was fast passed, well crafted, and entertaining. During a lengthy cat and mouse chase scene in Savannah, GA, I found myself feeling winded. Barrett’s descriptions, characters, and plot kept me engaged throughout the 631 page thriller. I read it in two days. I can’t wait to read THE TOYMAKER, Barrett’s subsequent novel. Keep those thrillers coming.

***

I never realized how important book reviews are until I published my two books.  From now on Carolynn and I will be writing a review on every book we read.  I encourage all of you to do the same.

It is nearly 3am and I now have over 4000 tweets in queue.  When I wake up sometime later today I will scan what I can.

In the meantime, I wish all of you a happy Valentine’s Day; especially to my partner, my soul-mate, my wife, Carolynn.  I could not do this without her assistance, support and love.

Happy Reading!

Richard