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Cliff

September 2007

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Sep. 16th, 2007

Cliff

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Jun. 12th, 2007

Cliff

Peeling the onion

I'm doing an incredible amount of research for my latest book and it is paying off.

Trying to peel the onion to reveal more about my story, I've found out my first theories are credible and only make my book stronger. I'll relate.

The opening of the book starts with the assassination of the Catholic pope. The assassin then blows up a hotel as a diversion and disappears. Because there are U.S. casualties, the CIA, FBI and Dept. of Homeland Security are called into investigate. Who killed the Pope and why?

Here is where my research has paid off. I found out today that the al-Quaida sponsored terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiyah has been training a 100-man assassination squad on the island of Mindanao on Mt. Cararao. They have a hit list that includes government officials, judges and Catholic priests. Mt. Cararao is also home for the Philippines terrorist organization Abu Sayyaf. So, if they have an assassination squad what prevents them from going after more high-profile targets?

That's where my book comes in. And I'm geeked. I had been writing for weeks based on this same type of theory. Now I have something that strengthens it.

May. 24th, 2007

Cliff

Why is it so hard to know oneself?

I've been writing the past week. And I'm having a helluva fun time doing it. I've been working on some action scenes with thrills and chills and all that kind of stuff. The book is going extremely well, I think. It is like a puzzle I have to solve, a choose your own adventure that I have complete control over.

Which makes me wonder, why did it take so long to figure out that writing a thriller is probably what I would enjoy writing most?

The signs were there. I've always enjoyed reading thrillers. Tom Clancy when I was young, some of the Stephen King books that get really hairy. Michael Crichton as I got older. The latest author I've picked up and enjoy is Daniel Silva. The stuff I've always enjoyed is when an author takes you to the edge of your seat. Heck, now that I think about it, one of the books I enjoyed by Ernest Hemingway most is To Have and Have Not. Critics pan it, but I like the action that takes place.

Looking at my own writing, even in my "literary" stage, I still wrote stuff with action. A boxing story, hunting stories...

And a few weeks ago, I didn't know what I wanted to write. It's been in front of me for awhile. I just never saw it.

May. 18th, 2007

Cliff

New project

Well, I'm chugging along on a new project.

Not going that fast on it, but that's okay. There's a lot of research and I'm doing the research as I go along. On top of it, I'm having a lot of damn fun doing it. The opening scene is in Buenos Aires and the chapter ends with a bang. Literally. I'm not even sure where this is going yet, but it's fun going with the flow.

I know more about my book than I even know. While in FM chat this morning, I was barraged with questions about the book. I answered them succintly and was quite surprised with a lot of the background I already pieced in my mind.

I'm weaving together several different things of interest I have for this book: interest in World History, news and creepy world powers interested in controlling what goes on in the world.

May. 13th, 2007

Cliff

Epiphany

I'm sitting around being worried about things I have no control over.

It's just that simple. I need to write and that's it. If I want to write horror, write it, if I want to write a thriller, write it. It's not like I'm a published writer trying to make sure he doesn't alienate his market. I have no market.

Life is too short. We have one life to live. So, why am I worried about trying to write something everlasting?

I need to think of today.

May. 11th, 2007

Cliff

Calling for readers

I'm wondering if any of my friends on here have time to read a book I completed last year. I'm going over it again and doing some more edits on it, what I need is just for someone to read it, and tell me what you think. Is it good or bad. Is it good, but here's some holes in the story or is it bad and there's a lot of holes in the story.

I'm not needing this next week or even the week after next. It could be good to have it within three weeks.

Here's the reason I'm asking for this. I finished this book last year, sent out about 10 query letters and dropped it for something else. A new book that never materialized. After thinking, I'm starting to wonder that maybe my problem is not coming up with book ideas. My problem is quitting. Miss Snark once said don't give up until you sent out a hundred query letters. I got to about 10 percent of that.

My new plan is to write a new query letter, take some time on it and then send it to the same people I did last year, along with some new ones. I've been rereading this piece and I think it's a good story. Needs some polishing, yes, but still a good story.

So, I want to know what others think.

May. 10th, 2007

Cliff

The American Way

I sat around thinking this morning.

That's scary. And here's what I came up with. It's a little sarcastic humor.

Maybe we're looking at global warming the wrong way. Everyone wants to tell us what we can do to help decrease carbon emmissions in our households, industry and transportation. So, here's my thought. Where the guy with the ingenuity who is thinking up a way to fire a chemical in the air that would decrease the carbon?

I mean, after all, that's what the U.S. does best isn't it? We come up with easy ways to keep our rich, suburban lifestyles intact. So, where's the guy with the big carbon-fighting aerosol can that we can fire up in the air and decrease the CO2?

Interesting concept, I think. And since this is a global fight we face, I don't think it would take much to convince other countries to sign on, right? We could stick a global warming fighting cannon on top of Mount Everest, one on Mount Kilimijaro, maybe another one on top of the Eiger. Once a year, we fire up the cannons and spray the Earth's atmosphere and Wallah! we can go back to driving the SUV's in utter happiness.

Maybe even build bigger SUV's since we would have the magical carbon-destroying fairy dust.

May. 8th, 2007

Cliff

Poem time Pt. 2

Thought I'd throw up another poem I wrote years back.

Oceans

Pops rolled out of here about a week ago,
and I found myself missing him
like some kind of gay superman.
Not that I'm gay or superman,
but it must be nice to roll down the hills
driving a brand new Lincoln,
white with custom leather seats
and a stereo that didn't work.
He drove to see the ocean,
and I was left in my oceans.

Maybe he'll do it again
and this time I'll go.
We'll head out of Knoxville,
I-40 East, windows rolled down,
cruising like pimps.
We'll cross the mountain,
hit Asheville, N.C. and the local
Dairy Queen drive-in
and order chocolate shakes.
Somehow my shake won't be cold
and I'll have to slurp it down like
a glass of chocolate milk.

Maybe I'll raise hell,
and he'll raise hell,
and we'll raise hell together,
Because the times they aren't changing,
We are.
Halfway there I'll see a blonde North Carolina girl
and I'll aspire to get her in my bed.
Pops will aspire to get her into his heart.
The times aren't changing.
We are.
And when we get to the ocean
I'll know it's not the end of the rail for this
locomotive line we call friendship.

We'll walk out on a pier
And see the ocean.
Maybe it's blue,
Maybe it's a gray,
Maybe it's pitch fucking black,
I don't know.

He'll sit down.
I'll sit down beside him.
A whistle will cry
then I'll sit and wonder if it's a freighter,
but imagine it as more.
What I don't know.
That's for me to find out.
And when I do Pops will be romantic.
I will be realistic.
Together we will be drawn into
a hip carma that only friends can share.
It's like a sutra of the sunbowl.
A goddess of our whims.
Maybe Pops doesn't understand me,
and I don't understand him.
But at least we have a whole ocean to piss in.
Cliff

Lasting

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a friend at work who writes fiction on the side. During the conversation, she said, "I'd rather write something lasting than popular."

I took it to heart for a few days and thought, 'Yeah, that's the ticket.' But now I'm backtracking. The question I find myself posing is, 'what is lasting?'

Is Beloved by Toni Morrison lasting? Underworld by Don Delileo? According to the critics, they are. Those are considered to be some of the best works in literature in the last 30 years. But I've never read them. Don't even want to really. I picked up Underworld a few weeks ago and tried reading it because it had been hailed as the masterpiece of the last 50 years. It was written well. No doubt about it. It was interesting. But it was boring and I put it down.

How many people know Don Delileo except the high brow circles?

But if you are going to talk about lasting, is Riders of the Purple Sage lasting? The Maltese Falcon? The Day of the Jackal? These are all books written in the popular genre, but I would bet my bottom dollar they are just as lasting and well known, if not even more well known than the two previous literary fiction books I just mentioned. One hundred years from now, I'd like to know if more people know about Patriot Games by Tom Clancy, The Stand by Stephen King or A Time to Kill by John Grisham than they do about Beloved, Underworld or Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon.

I'm starting to wonder if the days of literary fiction are gone. Maybe the real literary fiction lies in the popular fiction the critics want to rail about. There is insight to be found in an Elmore Leonard novel, in a Micheal Connelly book and a John Grisham thriller. They are written just as well as the so called "masters" with terse prose and storylines that take readers on adventures. Say what you want, their is social commentary as well. Grisham examined race in A Time to Kill. Dan Brown examines religion in his books. Michael Crichton examines and has examined a variety of disasters we should be prepared for, long before Hurricane Katrina.

Maybe the writers have it right. It certainly doesn't seem like the so-called "critics" do.
Cliff

Today is a good day

I'm having a good day. The sun is shining and its a perfect 70 degrees here in East Tennessee. It puts a smile on my face and makes the mood a little lighter.

It's amazing how nature and the environment can make you happy and sad. Just this morning, speaking to some friends in the FM chat room there was mention about gloomy, grey winters. I like cold weather, but I admit there's nothing like Springtime or Fall either. I've been getting out on the porch the last few weekends and firing up the grill. We've taken walks along the river and felt a nice breeze hit us as we strolled.

There's so much in this life we should be thankful about. Even the small things. Take advanatage of it while you can. I found out years ago that even the smallest things sometimes become the most precious of moments.

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