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I want characters that I can sleep with…

Well, I know what you’re expecting. Maybe you think I’ve switched to the erotica genre overnight. As tempting as it sounds to try, I have to admit that I’ve never read anything erotica. Unless you count my inner thoughts as reading. Honestly, if I tried to write it, I would be looking over my shoulder making sure nobody was looking.

Here’s the deal. I’ve been super stressed about character development for my book. It is with four different editors right now, so I’m holding my breath until it comes back. Until then, I’m just trying to figure out what kind of attributes people want in a character and how they want them introduced and developed. I read a blog yesterday of someone that said they had to connect with the main character in some special way within the first few pages or they put it down. Uh oh. I started wondering if my main character could do that. Well, I have two main characters and the other one does not come in until about page twenty. Guess I lost that reader before my book is even published.

So, I did something that I should have done a long time ago. I got all of my favorite books off the shelf and put them on my bed. I’m not talking about the ones that I kind of liked. I’m talking about the ones that stayed with me. The ones that had characters that I felt like I knew as well as the ‘real’ people around me. You know what kind of book I’m talking about. For me, the list was somewhat big and included Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Trek, James Bond, 1984, and ENDER’S GAME. Well, as you can see, I’m mostly a sci-fi guy with a little thriller thrown in, but what made these and a few others so special to me? I cleared off the books and went back to writing, but as I was about to go to sleep, the answer hit me. My head was on the pillow and I was in that “about to fall asleep, so lets go on a thought adventure” state. My adventure included a lightsaber and some sith.

I want characters that I can sleep with! Literally all of the books that I love and cherish made me put myself into their world as I was falling asleep. I have always thrown myself into books I’m reading or have read and added chapters to them with me as a new character. If it’s Star Trek, then I’m right beside Picard and Janeway battling the Borg as Commander Captain Watson. If it’s a Bond book, then I’m 008, fighting the villain right along side 007 (Watson, Allen Watson). All of my favorite characters were ones that I could see myself becoming friends or colleagues with. I lull myself to sleep with the fantasies of becoming one of the major characters beside them.

Now that I know how to recognize my favorite characters, I need to know how to accomplish that as a writer. I want to get readers so involved with the people in my book that the characters stay with them until they open the book again. I want my readers to end a chapter and try to create the next chapter in their mind. Readers have need to find their best friends and greatest enemies inside of books.

So now I’ll be inserting myself into my own book. Before I fall asleep, I’ll become a new character in my own book. I’ll have conversations with the other characters and ask them what they would do next and what they think of developments so far. I’ll find out what their lives are like and how they would like to grow up.

There is no better way to write a book than to get your characters to help you out.


Chapter One of my Book – Part 2

I posted part 1 of the first chapter the other day, so be sure to check that out as well (reading one without the other won’t make a difference though). This book is a sci-fi thriller. No, there is really no way to tell this is a sci-fi book from the first chapter, but I don’t have a problem with that. The first chapter is a thriller and is used to establish one of the protagonists. Again, comments, suggestions, and criticism all welcome! Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Journey of the Kings – King’s Series, Book I

Part One – Earth

Chapter One – The Agent

June, 2039

Following Yasef Masam was the easy part. Seth had been studying the man’s habits for a few weeks. The markets of Damascus had been mostly unchanged for the last few hundred years. Crowded and noisy with hagglers, tailing someone with a daily routine was basic agency training. Langley taught them how to disappear in the open, and Seth mastered that task a week into training. He may have been the youngest recruit, but he was definitely the smartest. He wasn’t the most physically demanding specimen, but that didn’t matter. He had proven that there was no situation he couldn’t think his way out of. If thinking his way out of the situation failed, he certainly knew how to kill his way out.

Yasef turned left at the dealer hawking live chickens on the corner. The same place he turned everyday. Seth had to wave off the carpet dealer that had no customers. There were few things in the world more annoying a Muslim marketeers. Business must have been slow if the man wanted to talk to the one person clearly not there to buy anything.

Turning the corner about twenty seconds after Yasef, Seth saw him heading for the stairs about forty yards away. Today was going to be different for both of their routines. For the last few weeks Seth never had followed him up those stairs. There were too many locals in the hallways of the run-down apartment complex that they led to. The complex housed a darker crowd that might notice him if he entered.

Unfortunately, he had no more time to tail him. He knew that Yasef was a lower ranking member in the Syrian Freedom Group, but he never seemed to lead Seth to any higher ranking members within the organization. The group likely organized much like Al Qaeda did before the US destroyed them. No single layer of ranking led directly to the other. It was a safer, if less efficient way to conduct business. It was time for Seth to find out who Yasef reported to. Maybe then he could at least move to someone a little farther up the food chain.

Seth held back a little bit, but never let Yasef out of his sight. He went up the stairs about ten seconds after the Syrian, but immediately slowed when he saw a group of shady looking locals gathered. They all stopped talking and looked right at him. Seth had grown out his beard and had gotten a considerable tan, to the point where he would easily blend into the local scene of Algeria or Morocco. He hoped it would be enough for this part of the Syrian city. Much of his career with the CIA had been spent undercover in the Middle East or India, so looking the part was usually not a problem. Any Westerner would never suspect that he was actually an American.

He knew he might encounter people such as this today, so he dressed in trashy clothing and rubbed some dirt on his arms and face earlier in the day. He needed to look like he belonged. If these guys were thieves, he didn’t want them thinking he had anything to offer. Apparently they came to that very conclusion, because they quickly resumed their conversation. As he passed by he overheard them talking about a policeman that had been killed the night before. They were speaking in Arabic, but Seth had spoken the language fluently since he was nineteen. He figured these men had something to do with the death, but he was not going to stick around to ask. He saw Yasef head up the stairs at the end of the narrow hallway to the right. He needed to speed up a bit.

He was too far behind. By the time he got to the next floor Yasef had already disappeared into one of the small apartments. Seth figured that he would have only had time to get into one of the first three doors. Any other day would have proven harder to figure out which door he went in, but there had been a small sand storm the previous night and there was only one door in which the sand in front was disturbed. Seth approached the second door and listened. He heard a chair being moved and knocked.

Less than five seconds later the door opened. No wonder this guy was so low ranking in the organization. He didn’t even check to see if there was any danger lurking outside before he opened the door. Seth was inside the tiny apartment before Yasef knew there was any danger. He had him on the floor and the door closed less than two seconds after entry. Yasef would have screamed for help if not for the silenced .22 caliber pointed in his left eye. Seth quickly scanned the place and noticed only one other exit; a small window that probably dropped to a back alley behind the complex.

In Arabic Seth said, “Say a word and it will be your last. Stay quiet and answer my questions and I will be gone in three minutes.” Yasef looked at him with terror in his face, but quickly nodded his agreement to the demands. Seth took about thirty seconds to tie the Syrian to the chair with the para-cord he had hidden under his tunic.

“Okay. I’ll make this quick. Who is your contact within the SFG?” Seth knew he what the response would be.

“I do not know,” Yasef said. Seth knew he didn’t know. None of them knew the other members. Sure, they may see each other at a drop every now and then, but other than that, for all they knew, their coworkers and neighbors were also members of the terrorist group. It was meant to be that way. Their organizational structure made it incredibly hard to wipe them out. If one member was captured, they couldn’t give up more than one other person.

Seth had to show some anger or the guy wouldn’t believe his threats. He pushed the chair and Yasef over on his left side. Yasef hit the floor with a loud thud, but to his credit, didn’t utter a word of complaint.

“Where do you receive your orders?” Seth didn’t need to know exactly who the person was, just where they would be and when.

Yasef didn’t want to give up this information. He said nothing. Seth didn’t have the patience for this so he put the gun barrel against Yasef’s leg, the one pressed against the floor, and pressed it into his femur. Yasef still didn’t answer. The sound of a silenced small caliber pistol shot filled the room and Yasef screamed out in agony. Seth had to hurry in case someone heard the scream.

“I will not ask again. If you want me to leave this place with you still breathing, tell me where you get your orders,” Seth pressed the barrel into the new wound, causing Yasef to wince in extreme pain. Tears were rolling down his dirt stained face. Poor kid, thought Seth. He was probably recruited from the streets and given this opportunity because he had no other. He didn’t look a day older than twenty. Such was the desperation of the area, Seth thought. He knew that until poverty was eradicated from the area, there would always be people like Yasef to recruit.

“I pick up messages from a man every Tuesday,” Yasef mumbled pathetically, “right after mid-day prayer in front of the new coffee shop near the market entrance.” He knew that even if he made it out of the apartment alive that they would kill him when they discovered he had divulged this information. It was only Wednesday, so he thought that maybe he could get his leg fixed and get out of the country before they knew what he had done.

Seth had everything he needed. It was not much, but he had more information than he did four minutes before. The only way he knew to infiltrate the SFG was the start low and move up the chain of command. Picking off the lower ranks like Yasef would be easy, but it would certainly get harder as he moved up.

Seth got up before the blood pooling under Yasef’s leg could reach him. He didn’t want to draw attention to himself by having fresh blood on his clothing as he walked back through the hallways. He untied the young man and tore off part of a shirt nearby on the floor and told Yasef to wrap it around his leg to stop the bleeding.

“Thank you, Yasef,” Seth said. As the Syrian began to wrap his leg, Seth took a few steps towards the door, angled himself a bit for a clear shot, aimed at Yasef’s head and pulled the trigger. His body fell with a small thud. He was already on the ground so he didn’t have far to fall. Seth walked out the front door and back down the stairs, past the hallway thieves, and into the market. He had six days to figure out how he would approach his next target. 


Chapter One of my Book – Part 1

I am finishing my first book and am going to have some beta readers soon. Below I have put the first part of Chapter 1. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Journey of the Kings – King’s Series, Book I

Part One – Earth

Chapter One – The Agent – December, 2038

Routines made his job a little bit easier. They made it easy to predict where people would be and what time they would be there. It was human nature. No matter how active a person tends to be, they usually fall into certain patterns. It makes life easier and less stressful. Ordinary. No matter how significant a person happens to be, they eventually follow ordinary patterns. It is a rare thing to lead a life of unpredictable nature. Routine and predictability were what Seth counted on nine times out of ten. All he had to do was find a place to settle in and watch a target. Then it became a waiting game.

Sometimes intelligence gathering was as simple as drinking coffee or eating a salad while paying attention and looking like you belonged. Of course, he couldn’t completely rely on focusing on a person’s routines, because then he had to settle into a routine of his own, therefore making himself a potential target.

In this case, though, he didn’t need to scout ahead for days or weeks ahead of time. He knew where Martha Anderson would be. As the headmistress of the Grath’s School for Boys, she had followed the same pattern for at least the last eight years. She had likely been following the same routine for much longer.

Every morning, at 6:00 AM, she walked out the front door of the institution to check the daily mail and to unlock the front gates that kept intruders from entering during the night. That particular morning was no different. Seth was in a car that he had driven over from London earlier that morning. He was parked about two hundred meters away with a clear line of sight to the front of the school. The school was very well maintained, owing to the nature of its funding. It received government money, but relied heavily on private funding as well. Established in the early 1900s as a place to handle the orphaned boys of the areas around Surrey, the school had gained a fantastic reputation for turning out students fully ready to tackle top universities.

When she saw the small brown envelope mixed into the mail with ‘Benjamin Allen’ written on it in black permanent marker, her face didn’t register any surprise. She simply looked up, scanned the surrounding area, and nodded. If she had hoped she would see the mysterious package deliverer, today was not the day. She expected as much. This was the ninth December she had received such a package. It always contained the same items: a note asking that all of Benjamin’s needs be met and 70,000 Euros stacked and bound together with twine. Anything left over could be used as she deemed necessary for the school’s operations.

Seth smiled, even though his heart ached. His only relief was that he trusted that Martha Anderson was a good person and she would take care of his only son – a son that he had never even met. 


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