In my spare time, I’ve been trying my hand at writing fiction… a whole different can o’ worms, entirely! Technical writing deals in facts and accuracy but with fiction writing, nothing is fact or true unless I pronounce it so.
And that, fellow writers, is pretty damn exciting.
It started on a dare from my oldest son. A bad progress report from his middle school teacher indicated he wasn’t reading enough books to build his vocabulary. According to Rob, there are no good books out there. I questioned him on what he likes and he gave me a list. He likes hockey, rock music, NASCAR and small words and easy-to-finish chapters with stories that aren’t for babies.
I mused about his list for a while and then, Penalty Killer was born. It’s a murder mystery set right here in our town. Two angry fathers are tossed out of their sons’ hockey game. One is found dead in the rink parking lot and the other is naturally accused of the crime. The accuser’s son sets out to learn what really happened and clear his dad’s name.
I wrote this story during hockey practices for a whole season. I published it at Kinko’s and gave it to both of my sons as a Christmas present. So many middle school kids used it as the subject of their book reports, the English teacher eventually requested her own copy.
It was later returned, covered in red corrections.
I next tried an adult story called Postpartum Deception. I am intrigued by that mother/child connection that seems to defy the laws of physics and used that theme to develop a paranormal story in which the heroine’s grief over losing a child transforms into an emerging psychic gift that she follows to find him…. he isn’t dead but will be soon unless she can unravel the mystery of what happened in the first place.
I queried dozens of agents on this story and nearly all requested to see the partial manuscript but nobody ever offered me representation. I can only conclude that I write a hell of a query letter…but the story? Eh. Not so much.
Next, I spent two years on a project called Border Lines. This is again set in my home town, a hot bed of racial discord due to illegal aliens flooding the town. Politicians keep offering to build a hiring hall. Debates continue raging as bias crimes increase. I used this bit of local news to develop an alternate reality – one in which both a hiring hall and free medical clinic exist. In my world, the clinic is run by a doctor desperate to keep it open, despite animosity from neighbors and very lean funding. Her last hope is positive press from a world-famous journalist in town covering the latest hate crime. As hero and heroine slide easy into love, those determined to shut down the clinic at any cost up their game… and lives are lost in the process. Love, trust, and family ties are all tested as the pair uncover the master mind behind the plot.
I’ve entered Border Lines into a prestigious unpublished romance writers’ competition. Cross your fingers!
Finally, I’m currently working on a young adult romance called Send. The hero, a twenty-two-year-old motivational speaker living under a new identity, survived five years in juvenile detention for crimes resulting from a camera phone, the internet, and a seventh-grade dork who committed suicide. As penance for his crimes, he now devotes his life to making sure middle school kids across the country understand the dangers of cyber-bullying. At one engagement, he meets and falls in love with a school guidance counselor, a woman whose own brother was bullied literally to death ten years earlier. As if that emotional pressure wasn’t already high, the pair are further challenged by the heroine’s father, who tells his daughter that the love of her life isn’t just a bully…he’s the same bully responsible for her brother’s death all those years ago. She is torn between loving her father and loving a man she knows his remorseful, yet never told her the truth.
Send is not yet finished. I’d hoped to finish it before the summer ended, but sadly, real life took precedence. I’m close to finishing it, though, and then I can enter this, too, into competition, as well as submit queries for representation.