Book covers, book titles and music playlists

I’m running a 50/50 average of selecting the titles of my novels.  With Chameleon, I went several years back and forth until The Chameleon stuck.  In writing my cousin Jackie’s memoir, again we are submitting several titles back and forth.

So far in writing Aeverless and 9 Days, 777600 seconds, those titles came within the first five hundred words written and haven’t changed.  They are planted firmly in my mind.  Yesterday morning, while tweaking my music playlist for Aeverless for the sixth time (it’s still not right), I created a new character and playlist for Yvette Langdon.   So far her story is tentatively titled Target Langdon.  Like Zoe Matthews in The Chameleon, Langdon comes out the gate tough and street savvy. You’ll have to stay tune for the snippets as I continue to discover her journey.

Creating titles and book covers are the first introduction your readers has to your imagination.  With selecting the cover for The Chameleon, I was looking for something mysterious where you couldn’t quite make out her face.  Chameleons blend into their environment, which works to their advantage as predators and assists them when they are the prey.  I have an idea for 9 Days, 777600 Seconds and Target Langdon.  My block is Aeverless.  I see my characters clearly with the exception of one which plays a tremendous role throughout the books (yes, this will be my first foot into doing novellas).  This I envision working with an illustrator to get it just right.

My music playlists sets the mood and tone of my stories.  I first came up with the concept when reading The Bum Magnet for my girlfriend, K.L. Brady.  I could visualize her characters and the music like a movie.  I have made several others for her for works she has written.  Check out her https://klbradyauthor.com. When I finally decided to write and publish my own work, I decided that music helps in creating scenes and developing my characters.

With The Chameleon there’s an influence of Cuban/Haitian and R&B, the makeup DNA of my main characters; I didn’t create my playlist until the story was almost completed.  For the memoir I’m writing with my cousin, it’s heavily based in the gospel music we were raised on. That core music that has built and shaped our faith for generations.  Overcoming any addiction takes work and faith and I’m proud of my cousin’s journey.  I’m blessed and extremely honored that she asked me to help tell her story.  I believe my problem with Aeverless, because it is my first time creating a science fiction based suspense novel, I have nothing quite in my large database of music that quite touches the feel of this novel.  The undercurrent is foreboding, ominous and the pace builds.  This may be the first of many novels where music comes much later.  With 9 Days, 777600 Seconds Michael McDonald’s “Strong Enough” set the tone and built the backdrop of Azure “Carmela” Pepperton’s story.  It’s poignant, and when you first meet her, her strength and resolve is being tested.  Is she strong enough to overcome circumstances out of her control? Yvette, her music is old school, funky with a mix of jazz and pop.

Tedious work but I love it.  Seeing my imagination come to life, I’m truly grateful for this gift.  If it brings inspiration or joy to just one person, I’m happy.

 

 

 

Weekend vibe

What inspires me? Today a throwback to my late teens, a holiday weekend, the need to fill it with music and dance and watching my son perform with this iconic group.   It doesn’t get any better than this.  Enjoy your weekend!

 

Who are The Shadows – Excerpt from Aeverless

The Shadows

Outside of Dugway Proving Grounds, New Region Utah – Year 2211

 

A lone rancher was settling his horses for the night when a fiery flame hurled from the sky outside of Salt Lake City.  Remnants of it landed over a two-hundred-mile radius.  He lived just outside of Dugway and the old Army Proving Ground, which had sat vacant now for over seventy years.  He watched with great interest as a piece of what he thought to be a meteor landed on his ranch.  He was proud of the hundred and sixty acres that had been passed down several generations to him.  Gathering his weapon, he made his way to his vehicle and drove to the point of contact. The closer he got, the worse the stench became.  About a mile from the crash site he stopped.  The smoke was so thick and heavy, he could hardly see much less breathe.  He called the local sheriff and reported what he saw, backed up another mile from the crash and waited.  Fifty feet from his position a shadow shifted in the woods intently watching the man in the truck.  The crash had startled him as he had been camping illegally on the rancher’s property. With the smoke increasing filling his eyes and lungs he turned south heading towards one of the six man-made lakes on the property. He paused for a second as he felt something sting his neck.  Swiping at it, he continued his way. Best to lay low for a while so he retreated to his hiding spot and watched the excitement unfold.

Ninety minutes passed before the local law enforcement and what appeared to be some soldiers from the closest military facility pulled up in large tank like vehicles.  A chopper flew in from the south and landed about 100 to 300 feet from them.  A couple of men got out of the chopper, wearing these weird silver suits and approached his vehicle.  He pointed in the direction of where he thought the rock landed.   They turned to the tanks and headed in the direction of the heavy smoke.  The sheriff and another gentleman in a fancy suit, accompanied him back to his ranch.  They cautioned it was for his security, but he knew better. They didn’t want any word leaking out about the crash.  Only seemed appropriate as he currently had a son serving in the Arm Corp.  Several weeks passed before the team of man cleared his property.  Each evening he could see the tanks coming and going from the area they had lit up like a Christmas tree with full decorations.  Around the third week for eight straight days several choppers lifted pieces of ground and whatever it was.  He knew then that it was more than just some meteor, but he knew not to ask.  He just kept his mouth shut and minded his business as if they weren’t there.  At the end of the fifth week, they informed him that the crash site and the surrounding ten miles radius was now property of the government.  They handed him a fat check and a non-disclosure form to sign.  He accepted, halfway grateful and relieved that they were finally leaving his property and not seizing all of it.  Another few weeks went by and he continued to see vehicles come and go.  They were shielding the site from entrance in every direction.  Week nine was when things got a little hairy.  Slowly his animals started getting ill, lethargic and slowly dying.  He didn’t call the local vet but instead the lone number left by the gentleman in the fancy suit.  He showed back at his doorstep within two hours.  At the time, the rancher didn’t think anything of it, but he should have.  That would have told him that the government didn’t go far and had his ranch under surveillance since the crash.  Fancy suit asked him if his irrigation system was connected to each of the lakes. He nodded that it was.  Again, a couple of tanks showed with the men in the silver suits.  They took water and soil samples surrounding his barn and home.  At the end of their study, they marked the entire ranch as property of the government, with giant no trespassing signs.  The rancher had died.  In his hiding place, the trespasser was alive but barely.  The changes in his appearance were hideous and his DNA was rapidly changing.  He lived another three weeks before the men in the hazmat suits and fancy suit came and took him away.  The chopper flew a short distance before landing again in an underground facility.  Fancy suit made his way from the landing spot to the bank of elevators. His phone chimes as he stops short of the elevator.  He gives the standard response before confirming that the rancher and the trespasser resembled a similar case reported in New Kentucky in 2195.

Excerpt from the upcoming suspense novel 9 Days 777600 Seconds

She smiles as Clarence makes his way back to the shed.  “Hey Boy, did you miss me much?”  Boy was her six-year-old Doberman she bought to keep Clarence company after his wife died.  They had been caretakers here for as long as she could remember and stayed on even after her grandmother had died. Clarence may look like an ole country boy, missing his dentures, but looks are deceiving.  The man spent twenty years with the US Marshall’s Office and could handle a gun better than anyone she knew.  Funny he mentioned Mamma Callie.  Mamma Callie had raised her since her parents died.  Full of secrets, Mamma Callie loved her something fierce, but she took those secrets to her grave.  Since she was five years old, Sabine Parish became her home.  She vaguely remembers the day she first met Mamma and the long plane ride just to travel another hour or more to get here.  The land had been in her family for many generations.  Once several hundred acres, she now owned close to two hundred.  Harvesting of the trees paid the taxes and revenue from her life before kept the place in pristine condition.  A few years back she had the house renovated and left Clarence to supervise the entire project.  Judging from the sitting room, she would be pleased with the rest of the house and guest house, where she usually worked during her visits.

The old man turned and watched as Azure played with Boy, his tail wagging as she opened the door and followed her inside.  He never did judge her comings and goings.  Hell, it had been a couple of years now since she’s been home.  She’d stay a few days and then off she’d go again.  It took her about a year or more to find her confidence after Ms. Callie’s death.  For the past few years she’s been happier than he’s ever seen her.  But now, something about her is off.  Her spark, that spirit is missing.  And then those eyes.  A generational curse.   It was the eyes that gave her away.  He’d seen that look one time before.  The time Mamma Callie travelled to Europe and came back with Azure.  It was the look of a woman broken but hell bent on putting somebody in a coffin.  He suspected that Azure came home to mend that heart and spirit.  That and the visitor that came calling that spring.  Yes sir, something badly bruised that child.  As if on cue, the sky darkened for an evening storm.  He smelled trouble brewing. Trouble dark and sinister as the evening sky.  One thing that he knew about the Chauncey family, if you wronged them you would live to regret it.

 

Excerpt from Aeverless

Morrows moves closer to Jonas and in passing hands his brother Jacob an old stopwatch. It pings as he clasps it in his hands. Slow to react Jonas moves, knowing he needs to make a play to diffuse one of the men quickly. “Godspeed Jacob”, Morrows whispers as he pulls the gun from his pocket and shoots himself in the head. Quickly Jacob takes the watch and pulls the pin as he spins and exits from the direction he came from. “Until we meet again brother”, he laughs at Jonas as the last of the toxins feel the room, allowing him to escape. This last gas was different as Jonas can breathe, yet the gas renders him immobile, unable to move. Even he had to applaud Morrows, for he knew that the first move Jonas would make would be to feed, instead of following the man called Jacob. No need to spend energy on the inevitable moment. He slows his vitals and waits until he’s able to move. He would feed and then he would wait for reinforcements to appear. Then he would start again, back at the beginning and his first encounter with Morrows. Interesting indeed, being one of three born from the same egg. Morrows, Jacob and Jonas. Yes, he would start back at the beginning, determined not to repeat the same mistake again. With Morrows delivering the fatal blow to his brain, he cannot abstract any information. Now more than ever he was quite certain that the young woman traveling with Bayja and the man name Alex was the key.

#amwriting

#suspense

#sci-fi

 

 

How Large is Your Faith

The opening of Tyler Perry Studio’s is enormous.  I am so proud and so humbled for him. Imagine all these years of writing, producing, directing and acting and Hollywood says you’re still not accepted.  Mr. Perry, you have opened the doors and gateways for so many of us to follow.  That faith you had of this little mustard seed.  The will to continue to fight and not give up.  For every other actor, producer and director like you, You have shown us it’s possible.  We are worthy. We are great.  We have vision.  I see you, I applaud you and I support you. There’s not a Madea play or Tyler Perry film I have not seen. Everything he does is to empower more than just himself.  He has empowered his people to believe, to have faith and to work hard.

Over the past year I’ve taken that faith of a mustard seed and replanted my soul and begin to look at my dreams more realistically.  The start of 2020 will see my greatest challenge to date.  There is a peace in my soul that I cannot describe, but only to say that I own my own destiny.  If I don’t put faith in it, who else will?  If I do not act upon it, who else will?  How large is my faith? It’s as high and as deep as my imagination and I aim to knock down doors and build my own.  I’m unapologetic about it.  When God calls me home, everything will be well within my soul because I followed my convictions, I’m following the path that God had already laid out before me.  He has my full attention.  I’m listening and I’m moving step by step. #amwriting