Finding your voice as a writer

A writers voice is simple to define but elusive to find. The real great writers, the ones that have a lasting place in this business are the ones that capture it day-after-day, story-after-story and still leave you coming back for more.

Voice is a confluence of style, tone and diction that is unique to you. It’s why you can pick  a random passage from Old Man and the Sea not knowing who wrote it and know that you’re reading Ernest Hemmingway.

How you develop a voice is really not that hard, the problem is actually doing it requires a lot of work that many would-be authors aren’t willing to do. On a practical level it requires you write reams of pages and on an emotional level you have to be willing to plumb the depths of your soul time- after-time until you are comfortable with what’s there.

Some writers find the blank page very scary, but I embrace it and often take solace in it. Writing is a healthy emotional release that I’ve come to rely on in some of the darkest moments in my life. Often emotional moments in life are measured in tears or bursts of anger, but for me it’s measured in blank ink and word counts. Emotions are given form on the page in metaphors and similies and distilled into sentences and paragraphs until I can say that it is off my chest.

You find a voice in those moment you hold up that mirror  and figure out what’s deep inside. To find it consistently means “going there” over and over again until you can call upon it at will. When I write matters of grammar and mechanics are so far from my mind and really, writing produced in that fashion sounds mechanical and stilted. Not to say you should master those things, but it isn’t the most important thing when it comes to the act of writing something that is compelling.

The soul of a story is comes from the most obvious place— you.

No other person thinks and talks like you  and really, no other person can write like you either. The question is how much work are you willing to put in to figure out exactly who “you” are.

Good writing is born in a place of honesty and  good writers spend their lives being honest with themselves. That may be hard to believe, but it’s the reason why people take their writing so personally. People get their feelings hurt at workshops because getting critiqued is akin to making a judgement on them as a person.

This may sound weird, but you have every right to take it personal. That is you and if you put one iota of yourself into producing something then it will sting to hear somebody tear it down. It’s about being comfortable enough with who you are and the writing you’ve created to say “ok, I’m willing to improve my writing and willing to improve myself no matter how much it hurts.”

It takes a strong person to overcome that fear and write for an audience just once and it takes a person of character to do this over and over again.

A Journalist’s aside


I include my column for the Vallejo Times-Herald newspaper in this post, but I ask that you support community newspapers by viewing the story itself on our website www.timesheraldonline.com and visit our facebook page and be a fan.

By Jose San Mateo

Slain Vallejo police officer Jim Capoot was a breath of fresh air in a city that has been asked to weather the storm of tragedy once too often.

There’s an air of cynicism that comes up when the topic comes to violence in Vallejo. Scour web postings on Facebook and elsewhere, and you will see the occasional mourner who believes that the city’s reputation for violence is far too entrenched to ever change.

That was not Jim Capoot.

The best way to describe him is to look at the night his girls basketball team at Vallejo High School reached the pinnacle in winning the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship in March 2010. Times-Herald sports editor Matt O’Donnell wrote from Arco Arena in Sacramento:

*

As Vallejo High players celebrated on the court on Saturday, head coach Jim Capoot found Rechel Carter and embraced her in a hug that seemed to go on forever.

*

Capoot embraced his duties as an officer, family man and coach as much as he did Carter; a player who missed eight of nine free throws in the section title game only to make the final two that clinched the Apaches’ first section title since 2006.

“I told the girls this morning that there’s only three times I’ve been more proud as a man and that was when my three daughters were born,” said a choked-up Capoot at the press conference after the game.

Capoot knew of the harsh realities of his job as as an officer and of Vallejo before responding to the call that would soon lead to his death last Thursday. Yet, he never let any of that turn into a harsh word toward those around him.

“He handled us really well,” said former Vallejo High basketball player Ashley Moore. “He was the nicest coach I ever had.”

Moore came to Vallejo High along with Carter in 2009 after two seasons with St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School. Both players came in with a state championship under their belt after the Bruins went all the way in 2008. Her 116 points in the 2010 Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs are third-most all time for a season.

Moore said she cried after her mom sent her a text message about Capoot’s death. She is currently a sophomore on the Washington Huskies women’s basketball team.

“Honestly, he’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had the honor to play for,” Moore said. “He made my senior seasons one of the most memorable.”

Capoot was an all-inclusive coach who treated his players like family. Before the season began he took his team on retreats to allow them to bond, and during the season his daughter Jamie often sat and coached right alongside him.

“Jim was like a Godsend. He took a group of girls that were good athletes and made them a family,” said Vallejo High Athletic Director Mike Wilson. “That was a real key to his success. He was one of those guys that would do something extra.”

His demeanor and approach to the game made him an appropriate fit at Vallejo High. Tami Madson was Vallejo’s athletic director when girls basketball coach Shamone Warren stepped down paving the way for Capoot. Madson described him as a father figure and a role model.

“He loved the community, he had a passion for basketball,” Madson said. “Both myself and (ex-Vallejo High principal) Lloyd Cartwright saw that and felt that. He was the right match for Vallejo High.”

It did not take Capoot long to endear himself to the Apaches basketball community. He became fast friends with boys head coach Duke Brown, and also garnered the respect of his players. Brown said current players Tajai Johnson, John Woods, Santana Esver and Demauriee Nickerson felt the loss.

Shortly after the Vallejo High School boys basketball team was eliminated from the playoffs Brown got a text message from Capoot. Brown thought it would be words of encouragement after the loss, but it was something else entirely. Capoot asked him to join his staff for the section playoffs.

Brown was right there by Capoot and his daughter Jamie at Arco Arena. He even went so far as to include the boys basketball team, asking the players to scrimmage the girls in preparation for the game.

“It takes a lot of character to step back and ask for help,” Brown said.

Capoot’s coaching stint with Vallejo High was short. He was on the bench just three years after the death of personal friends Joe and Tami Battle left Capoot and his family caring for their two kids Jasmine and Joey. But he left a legacy. Brown said that Capoot was a “mastermind” at raising money, noting that the television that sits in the Bottari Gym foyer was his doing. He also organized the first fall and summer basketball leagues at Vallejo High and a charity fundraiser game that pitted members of the Vallejo girls basketball team against members of the Vallejo police department.

Before his death, Wilson said there were preliminary talks to bring Capoot back to coaching, and now the Apaches are looking to fill the void. Charles Harrington, a bench coach with Capoot last season, takes over this season as girls basketball coach.

He’ll be coming into a season that Vallejo principal Clarence Isadore described as a “season of grieving.”

“It’ll be a different feel definitely. It’s actually sort of an X factor, an unknown. I’m not sure how the ladies are going to manage it,” Harrington said of the season. “I’ve seen situations where teams rally around tragedy and use it as a means of motivation and pride. That’s the hope, that’s not always guaranteed.”

So often the media is invoked in negative terms. It’s something that spreads rumors and sensationalizes. It becomes some kind of strange machination for spreading falsehoods and blowing things out of proportions. Perhaps there are people that do this and they should be derided, but my job is to be a journalist and I strive to do journalism. What those other people say or do is absolutely none of my concern and I do my best to ignore such garbage.

One component of doing Journalism is being a writer and in order to have a lasting impact in this business you have to do that well. The other is being a good reporter, which is a matter of doing your due diligence as far as calling the appropriate people and doing the research.

That being said, being a good reporter is critical to being a good writer, but being a good writer does not necessarily make a good reporter. A combination of the two makes a good Journalist.

I say that because Journalists work with something that no fiction writer ever has to work with and that is the burden of truth.We can’t pursue an angle without facts and we can’t write anything without the voices of others. To give up that power is humbling for any writer and the people described as the Media in a negative sense are the ones that are too arrogant or lazy to step outside of themselves and gain the proper perspective to write a good story.

Journalists use facts and quotes to sculpt such things into meaningful and poignant stories. A well written story backed by bad reporting or faulty facts is useless and will probably get you and your paper in trouble. If that is your problem as a journalist then perhaps you need a better foundation or really examine your core values when it comes to approaching your profession.

I was fortunate to have one of the best to break me into journalism. It was my freshman year at UC Santa Cruz when I started writing for a weekly newspaper up there called City On a Hill Press. It was the last year Conn Hallinan would be advising the class and really all he did was spend a few hours once a week going over the stories we wrote.

It was my first year on staff when he told me one thing about my story that I will never forget. He said to me, “If Jose were were doing a story about God he’d be one to phone up Michael at the pearly gates to at least give it a shot.” I might have garbled the quote, but the point was made and I approach journalism with this mentality when it comes to my beat.

My goal is to talk to anybody and everybody necessary to get the proper perspective on every story whether I quote them or not. The peace of mind that comes with doing all that reporting gives me the confidence and vision to write well.

To this day I still subscribe to the standards set for me at City on a Hill Press. For every 500 word story I talk to at least three people and for every 2000 words it should be at least eight. The constraints of daily journalism may not allow this, but I try my best to do this every single time.

I’m also proud to call myself a CHIPS Quinn scholar and all the people that I’ve met through that program are some of the best journalists out there. Being a Chipster, as we in the program so affectionately call each, gave me a platform to grow and get a byline at places that otherwise would never be available to me. My one regret as that I was so raw going into my into my internship with The Salinas Californian.

It’s been nearly five years since then and  the column above is the confluence of all the stories I have written up to this point. There will be many more stories for me to write and perhaps several more as big as this one, but this will be one I point to in the future and tell other people and myself “Yes, I really got this one right.”

This would not have been possible if I wasn’t a beat writer in Vallejo with a professional relationship with Jim Capoot established over nearly two years. This would not have been possible without the confidence born from all the good habits I’ve learned from so many different editors and mentors. it would not have been possible without the help of so many different community members in Vallejo that lent their voices to me to paint an accurate picture of this man’s impact on the community.

The other part is being able to write well and that, like any skill, depends on the talent of the writer and your willingness to improve what God gave you.

The one mistake I see reporters make  is thinking that emotion leads to bias and so neuter their writing to the point where it reads like garbage. This attitude pervades into their reporting where they are afraid to ask the tough question for fear of being perceived as biased. Never forgot that journalists are people and with that comes emotions, opinions and inevitably bias. To try and cut any of those out of our lives completely is to  be a slave to them.

I’m here to say there will be stories about people you hate and others about people you admire and respect. To ignore any of those things is to deny yourself the real fuel for writing anything. Emotion is the thing that drives us to tell a story in the first place and at it’s core, Journalism is about telling stories.

If that’s not your cup of tea then go write corporate press releases for a living because that’s really what your writing is going to sound like.

Write with emotion but be aware of your biases and learn to spot them in your writing. If there’s something you spot that doesn’t belong or isn’t truthful then kill it no matter how much the writer in you says that it sounds good.

As Conn Hallinan would say “There are sometimes you just have to drown those cute little puppies.” Think of those well written paragraphs as cute puppies if they don’t pass the test then well…you get the picture.

The only time  that emotions ever become a problem is for those who aren’t aware of their feelings towards the story or are too quick to latch on to the prevailing feelings about a story. I think back to Conn Hallinan’s class and our discussions about traditional views on balanced reporting. There aren’t just two sides to a story as you may have been taught to believe and to make that assumption that there are only two sides is not doing your due diligence.

Life isn’t always binary and neither are news stories. There are shades of  gray between good and evil and often The Media is quick to pound you over and over again with what you already know.

Take my column on Jim Capoot. The main story as covered by my colleagues at the Times-Herald is the death of a well-liked officer and the reactions of the community members. There’s also the basketball team and his impact on the sports community, a subject only lightly touched on by my colleagues simply because they were never involved in that aspect of his job.

This was a story I was in position to tackle because of all the work I had done covering this beat and will continue to follow for the next few months.

Character Sketch: Sarah Russell

Part IV- Sarah Russell

“One more win.”

—   Sarah Russell

 The stadium came to life on Sunday. A living, breathing ocean of navy blue and gold, swaying two and fro in the waning minutes before kickoff. The stadium buzzed as the field emptied signaling the beginning of the pregame fervor that the city of Fort Worth was eager to pour into their beloved Flyers. Miller Field hushed as the minute ticked down on the massive LCD screen that served as a scoreboard. They began to stomp their feet as the clock hit five minutes. It was a low rumble reverberated through the earth itself.

Sarah Russell stood in the tunnel below the stadium when Miller Field began to quake. The light from the field poured in, casting a lone silhouette as she stood off to the side leaning against the wall. Sarah extended her arm to prop herself up, feeling sick as she minutes to kickoff approached. This was the only part of the game that she couldn’t control and those sixty minutes were pure torture.

She composed herself as a whoop and holler erupted from the home locker room, which stood just around the corner of the tunnel. Sarah smoothed out her red hair, which was short and cropped around her elfin face, and took a deep breath rediscovering her smile and swagger.

The players erupted from the locker room, dashing out the tunnel in a stampede of blue and gold. They slowed down for a moment as they passed her by, giving Sarah a slap on the hand before sprinting out the tunnel. Some called her Sarah and others Mrs. Russell, but every one of them regarded her a moment as the architect of this team.

Sarah stopped a moment as the coach approached her. “Murph’ we ready for this one? I sure could use a win to get those pricks at the paper off my back.”

She slapped Murphy Deroscher on the back. He was a sturdy old man with a ball cap covering his slow-graying hair and a mustache fit for sweeping the floor. “Maybe you should have gotten a better coach,” he said in a gruff voice.

They both shared a laugh and brief embrace. “No finer one in the league then you Cap. Show them they were wrong about you.”

“Will do,” Murph said. He gave her a salute as he passed by and disappeared into the light pouring in from the field.

Sarah turned around and headed deeper into the stadium. The field wasn’t her arena and saw no need to be seen anywhere near it. She turned the corner towards the locker room when she felt her phone vibrate in the pocket of her neatly pressed black business suit.

She leaned against the wall and punched a few buttons. Sarah nearly sank to the ground when she saw the text message from their public relations department. Alton Miller is dead. Booth brought up for third quarter segment. Is that Ok?

 Sarah put her phone down for a moment and thought about it a moment. She sighed and began to type Tell them it’s fine. Prep me on questions? She walked down the hall towards the elevators, her heels clicking on the concrete floors. Sarah entered the elevator as the stadium broke out into a cheer. Then the doors closed and she went up to the luxury boxes

I’m not  that satisfied with this, but I wanted to post it anyways. Sarah is my main character and much of this story revolves around her. It’s hard to read it over again with an impartial eye because of the amount of time that goes into the research and the emotional and psychic investment I’ve made in this person.

There are some people that can start typing and a character pops up, but to me it’s a flimsy illusion and I can’t get past that when reading other people’s work. In an earlier post I mentioned that it took 80 pages of research and about a month getting to this point. About 75 percent of that is working out my characters, discovering their motivations and how they fit into the overall story arc that I am looking to tell.

Yes this is fiction and yes these are not real people, but that’s the real illusion. You know it’s an excellent character when he or she is being referred to on a first name basis. Think Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes or Frodo Baggins. The goal is to create that kind of depth and the key to that is two-fold. One, they need the proper motivation and two the writer needs to believe they are a real person in order to convey that to the reader.

Motivation drives a charachter to do what they do within your story and without it they might as well be sitting on their ass and twiddling their thumbs. You may be asking ‘why the hell do I as an author need to believe in the character?’ Well, if you think about it, in every single dramatic problem you set up there are choices to be made as far as what they are going to do next. If you don’t know the person inside and out, backwards and forwards, there’s no way to make the accurate and believable choice.

Remember, when you sit down to write fiction, the author is no longer writing as themselves. You are making choices as the character, thinking as them and if you’ve done your homework it will feel like you are going through it as them.

Character Sketch: Alton Miller

Part III- Rashard Miller 

“The brightest stars cast the longest shadows.”

—   Will of Alton Miller, Archives of Hansen and Koch

Rashard Miller did not build New York City. To him it was simply here for the taking with the lucrative bright lights and the people of vision that seemed to trudge in and out of here with stars in their eyes or a look of defeated resignation. The city never swallowed him up, but it spit him back out with a red stain on his soul.

He built an empire out of that pain with Platinum records lining every wall of the corporate office. Rashard didn’t own the electronic video billboard in the middle of Time Square or the plasma televisions that now brought movie theaters to people’s homes, but he owned the stars that appeared in them. He owned the ones in movies, the ones in commercials— even the appear at the MET and it wouldn’t be long before the Networks would be his too.

Rashard stood atop the world he now owned in an office of gleaming black and silver. It was night time outside and Broadway glimmered, a jewel of sparkling neon florescent lights. He relaxed, allowing his arms to fall at his back, his massive frame casting a large black shadow behind him. His shadows rose up next to him, four in total with striking silver eyes in a mass of complete darkness.

“The deed is done,” they said in unison, four voices with one spirit.

“Good,” he said with a grin breaking out on his face. Rashard was nearly as black as the spirits under his command. He wore slate gray suit with silver pinstripes with a purple shirt and tie tucked neatly underneath. “Everything is in place. Lets prepare for the funeral.”

“There is one more thing.”

Rashard raised an eyebrow as the shadows cowed slightly. “Is there a problem?”

“Koch asked us to relay a message. The football team, it is not under our control.”

“That is a big problem,” Rashard said, his voice growing dangerous. “My dad has owned that property for an entire season already. Why wouldn’t it go to me?”

“This contract was not handled by our lawyers. He made an agreement with the Russell. Koch will know more.”

“DeBerg…” He said with a measure of loathing. “Tell Koch to send me the contract details.”

The shadows bowed and melted back into the darkness. They slithered across the black carpet like the wake from a deep-sea creature and under the door. Rashard turned towards his city, determined not to let any of it slip through his fingers.

I play a lot of video games and the best way to describe the challenge in writing this is in terms of a Bioware game. If you don’t know what that is Google the company or games like Mass Effect or Dragon Age II. In those games I always paragon or the “good guy” route. The characters I create in those games generally do the right thing and oddly enough, the support characters that I choose to play  with are pretty similar.

I don’t like playing the bad guys in my video games and I don’t like writing bad guy characters. Writing Antagonists are not my strong suit and Alton Miller was a challenge. To be really general about this because I’m not all that sure what is happening next in this novel, he’s about as twisted as you think he is. To get around this I had to make him  likeable to the point where the audience will still find him palatable despite all the bad things he’s about to do

I other words, think Renegade Shepard. He’s charismatic enough saves the world even though he acts like an asshole.

Character Sketch: Celia DeBerg

Part II- Celia DeBerg

“I was going 100 in a 65 zone because my client
is far more important than you are. Can I go now officer?”

-Celia DeBerg, traffic stop in the middle of Highway 99

Celia DeBerg was in her office reviewing contract terms for a transfer of power between Rashard Miller and his father Alton. She sat back in her cushy leather executive chair twirling a silver pen in her right hand as she reviewed the dense set of legalese that flickered on the screen of her laptop.

Celia was a Partner at the law of firm Isen & DeBerg, which her father Josef founded along with Darryl Isen. She served the Singher family as their legal advisors, charged with protecting their wealth and the spirits contracted to them in Yggsdrasil.

Celia grew still the further she read into the contract. By the time she reached the signature on the bottom, her face wasn’t far from the screen, a hint of a frown creasing her face. She blonde hair that fell to her shoulders and fair white skin with intense green eyes that couldn’t stand seeing Rashard Miller’s signature in definitive black ink on the page.

This would be a mess that would no doubt fall upon her to solve. Patrons like Alton Miller aren’t gunned down in senseless acts of violence. This was murder by proxy and there was a spirit involved. The Executive Board would call for investigation at the next meeting and that fell upon the Bridge Association.

Her pen lay next to the slim silver keyboard, the Bridge Association emblem etched on the clip as a thin blip of color on a shaft of silver. It was two pens crossed and split in half by a blade set on a checkered crest of black and gold. She looked at it and sighed, knowing that ink would flow for good or ill very soon.

I really enjoyed writing Celia into this story. It’s an example how rules can actually help create a strong character. After working through most of the rules for the world of Goddess INC, I reaize much of the action would take place in offices. It would be people talking to each other.

No way that could carry the action for a Fantasy novel so I came up with the Bridges as a way of connecting Patrons with the spirit world. It  pretty much extends the role that lawyers play for Corporation. They are charged with protected the assets of those that employ them.

Celia is naturally inclined to protect people and if you think about it, the best lawyers are the one that will go that far for your clients and the more money there is the higher the stakes. Her plot line is more action oriented and she will be a really prominent figure.

 

 

Character Sketches: Arvyn H. Singher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being a Writer is very different from the practice of Writing. Being a Writer whether it’s being a journalist, memoirist, non-fiction writer, fiction writer or anything else requires two things: planning and writing. A writer that is on task is either doing one or the other and never at the same time.

Planning is a pretty broad term, but everyone does it differently. For, me it really involves one question that I answer over and over again until I’m ready to write. I take a yellow steno pad and at the top I write, “What do I need to clarify before I can move forward with this project?” List everything that comes to mind. Then I go down the list and systematically answer each ones.

When I’m finished with each one I toss away the original list and Write the question over again and generate another set of questions to answer. However long this takes really depends on what I’m writing. A 12 inch story probably takes a single sheet and maybe 10 minutes. Goddess Inc. took about a month and 80 pages of notes before I felt comfortable enough to actually write any prose.

The part I throw most of my psychic energy is in my characters. My primary concerns for this novel was how they fit into the world and rules I’ve  laid out and their motivation regarding the expectations I’ve set for the people reading this.

The product I’ve come up with below. The idea is to introduce all my characters through one connecting event. I’ll spend the next few posts going over each of them.

Part I- Arvyn H. Singher

 

“The loneliest place is always at the top.”

–       Arvyn H. Singher, Singher University commencement ceremony
To the class of 1975

Arvyn H. Singher stood atop the world of his own creation. Inside his office at atop a tower of steel and concrete in the middle of Central California. It was on the very plot of land his family bought and turned into a farm. They sold apples, then grapes, then strawberries until a city popped up in the middle of nowhere between San Francisco and metropolitan Los Angeles to the south. It grew so large that professional sports came to town along with movie studios and all the trappings that a big city found quite nice to settle into.

He looked out over this world and sighed as if the whole world was suddenly so heavy on his shoulders. “How did it happen?” Arvyn leaned on his dark oak desk, both hands on the top, craning his neck down towards the phone.

“Alton was shot dead in the street. He was out visiting the old neighborhoods in New York City.”

“And the spirits contracted to him were they…”

“Transferred over to Rashard. They were together when it happened. There was a Bridge near the hospital to ratify the deal then he flat lined five minutes later.”

“Who handled the contract?”

“Koch did it. The Shadows belong to Rashard now.”

Arvyn stood up and rubbed his chin, trying to process the news. He’d known Josef DeBerg a long time and like a true lawyer he had an answer ready.

“The Spirits survived, but none of us were prepared for such a quick transition.”

“I felt it Josef. I’m sure Colton and Marta felt it too.”

“Indeed, I’ll be over with the language for a new contract. From my understanding the existing terms are in place for month. Given how quickly it was drawn up, there are bound to be loopholes.”

Arvyn waved his hand, his brow creasing slightly. “Let’s take care of the funeral first then we’ll deal with this business. Alton was a friend Josef.”

“And Rashard definitely isn’t,” Josef said, always quick to end the conversation with the last word. “But I understand Arvyn. Celia is drafting a statement right now. It’ll be in your inbox for review within the hour. The story is just hitting the 24-hour news cycle right now. Somebody is bound to ask you for a statement so be ready.”

The line went dead then Arvyn ran a hand through his short, white and curly hair. “Lucia!” He called out, his voice ringing out in his enormous office, complete with a black leather couch and large flat screen television posted up on the far side of the room.

She appeared like dream, phasing into this world as if a frame skipped in the very reel of   existence. Lucia dressed in an emerald green dress with deep red hair and skin white as an angels feather. Her eyes were an earthy brown, deep as freshly tilled soil and a sad smile on her face.

Arvyn looked away, feeling ashamed at being so harsh with the goddess. She was the perfect woman he dreamed up from the City he helped build. Yggsdrasil was for those spirits abandoned to death when the dream worlds that spawned them were crushed by death.

Lucia was one of the heftiest contracts he purchased from the Realm of Truth upon which his city was built. It was from his first and only wife, before she turned her dreams away from him when he simply couldn’t pay the cost to keep their worlds together. It cost him $750 million dollars and the entire north side of Singher Valley. He later quipped to his accountant that he also lost a wife and two kids in the divorce.

“Alton is dead and the Executive Board will be meeting soon to discuss the matter. Will a week be enough to prepare Yggsdrasil for our arrival?”

“It’ll be enough time,” Lucia said, her voice gentle. “Do you need me to pick a suit for you? Perhaps a bottle of wine?”

“Yes, I have to go on television in a few minutes; make sure it looks remorseful. Celia would be awfully pissed if my attire did not match the message,” He paused a moment. “Also, a bottle of whiskey from our private stock would be best.”

Lucia bowed her head and disappeared.

Arvyn walked across the lush green carpet and around the apple tree that grew under the skylight above. It was the only other window aside from the one behind his desk that overlooked the city. The patch of sunlight cast a pale light on a tree only visible to those who could afford to see it. He touched the leaves as he passed and sat down on the leather coach.

He grabbed the remote control, pressed the power button then leaned back as the screen buzzed to life. Arvyhn stretched both hands and crossed his right leg over the left. The pant leg lifted like a curtain revealing thin black socks and polished Bruno Mali shoes.

The talking head appeared on the screen in mid sentence, “…The markets mourned today as stocks for Miller Group sagged after news broke that media mogul and multi-billionaire Alton Miller was shot dead today.”

Writing a novel synopsis

This is where you begin. At least for me, this where my idea became a became a novel. It’s the synopsis, the thing I send people when they ask me what this book is about. This took about a month to produce and about 80 pages of reference notes before I felt comfortable with doing any serious writing.

This will change after I’m done. When the plot is more fleshed out and the path from A to Z has all the other letters in filled in then the synopsis will be complete and a draft is finished. To me, it starts and ends with my synopsis. This is what the customer sees when he or picks up your book on the shelves wondering what this nicely illustrated book is about.

Goddess INC.

Money is everything.

In world where Capitalism allows faith to be brokered in the form of wealth, venture capitalists broker dreams and the spirits within them as easily as items on a budget. When multi-billionaire Alton Miller is shot to death in a spate of gang violence, it leaves a power void in more worlds than one.

Follow the benevolent fund managers Arvyn H. Singher and the mercurial Colton Hailey as they struggle with their friends death and deal with the complication of dealing with his son Rashard who has dark ambitions for his father’s powerful corporation and a legion of Shadows under his command.

Sarah Russell had no idea of any of this when she took the General Manager position with the Fort Worth Flyers football team. She was the first hire of Alton Miller when he bought the team from embattled real estate mogul Douglas Walden. His death throws her status on the team in doubt as Rashard takes over and clearly does not like her or her philosophy. On top of that she gets thrust into the middle of the power struggle between corporate billionaires and the spirits under their command as Rashard fights her for the hearts and minds of the Flyers fans and players in order to gain access to the valuable spirits locked within their dreams.