Working Title: Revised opening - Betrayal at Black Mesa
This Book Is In Development
Senate investigator Jackson Guild uncovers a terrorist plot to set off a nuclear weapon in Washington, DC. But wait. If he unravels the conspiracy, he will set off an all-out nuclear war. That would make your hero your worst enemy.
The best and worst of humanity mix in the world of espionage. Here in the novella, Betrayal at Black Mesa, Jackson Guild must cater to the lowest form of man, a pedophile. Tom Grant is a preeminent nuclear scientist and a monster who knows the inside story management's coverup at the Los Alamos weapons lab. Guild must keep his cool and woo a man he despises, in order to understand why Federal officials have lied about the terrorist attack on the nation's capital. What Guild learns from Grant is poisonous and dangerous. It will eventually lead Guild into a devil's bargain: whether to expose a conspiracy to take over the government or to ignore it and leave the nation open to dictatorship in order to avoid a nuclear war.
Two quick points. Please ignore typos and wordos. You will find mistakes. This is just a draft, but to me, it feels like a cool breeze. This brief item gets to the stuff I strive for when I write. It has life. There's a reality to it. So please read on, and don't be put off by the clunkers. This is a good scene.
I've been struggling with this work, and I have a theory why: Too much writing advice. Too many experts. Too many how-to blogs. Going over the pages and pages of do-this, try-that on the WWW is like having an editor over my shoulder again, blocking the light from my writing lamp. The weight of that editor threatens to turn me into a hunchback. I don't mean to sound bleak. Rather, let me present an example. I went to a Pamplomoose concert last night. http://goo.gl/r5w6UI They're an Indie band and want to stay that way because, as lead singer Nataly Dawn explained, "We want to make music our way." They reject joining record labels. They're Indies. http://goo.gl/r5w6UI The other part of Pamplomoose, Jack Conte, created Patreon for just that reason -- to stay Indie. https://www.patreon.com/ At some point I've got to get the editor monkey off my back and lift my own weights. (Charles Bukowski, "Lifting Weights at 2 am." http://goo.gl/U7VCe0) Excuse me, I've got writing to do. :-)
This is a new opening for a book already in print. Thank goodness for agile publishing. As I drafted the third book (entitled, Target) of the three novellas that make up The Trinity Conspiracy, I realized I'd laid a trap for myself in book one, Betrayal at Black Mesa. After some thought, I elected to recast the opening. It had to be absolutely direct, establishing instantly the conflict my author had created through his investigation. In the process, I tried to add more depth and drama to the scene. I wonder if I have? I worry that the reader won't understand what I see as a simple formula: the hero carries information that could destroy his enemy, and the antagonist has loosed a pack of killers to hunt him down. As a consequence, other changes must follow along the story arc. I'll be working them out here. Your comments would be valued.
Working Title: The Kestrel
This Book Is In Development
The Kestrel is the third and final installment of the Trinity Conspiracy, in which Jackson Guild, a former Senate researcher, investigates a plot at the super secret nuclear weapons facility at Los Alamos, New Mexico where plans are being hatched to overthrow the government, in the aftermath of a nuclear attack on Washington, DC.
This is the latest book in the Jackson Guild Saga, and it's been a bitch to write, but not as bad as its predecessor. What's wrong? The problem -- uh, the challenge -- comes as I try to craft this novella as stand alone story while having it fit neatly into the evolving story arc of the saga. That's murder. It means remembering the most minor details among the hundreds of thousands of words that have been published before this book. There's a new character introduced in The Kestrel, the black sheep of the wealthy and powerful, the very dangerous, Edder family... Her name is Cynthia. I modeled her after Kate Moennig who stars in the Showtime series "Ray Donovan," as well as the "L Word." Cynthia's edgy, and when you meet her in the next chapter she's hog tied and wearing only the diamond on her pinky finger. The frightening thing is that she hasn't been robbed.
Working Title: Book Two, The Trinity Conspiracy: Target
This Book Is In Development
The super secret nuclear weapons labs in Los Alamos, New Mexico tie together a tale of corruption and take the nation to the edge to nuclear war
Writing this chapter was a struggle, and I wrote it again and again. What started out at 2900 words got cut in half. That didn't help. The problem remained. What would might characters do? How would they handle this, given all that happened to them.I had no answer. The problem? Prepare yourself. I was reading a far better writer, and I decided I needed to up the bar. I should have gone to a bar. As it is, the chapter works. It takes you somewhere, has a story line that you can follow independently of everything that's come before and, at the same time, contribute to the whole. If I'd had an Oxbridge education, I might have tripped the light fantastic. As it is, the work became a slog. A successful slog, but one that reminded me that I'll never be satisfied with a work. For that, I'll have to wait months and reread what I've done. Then, more often than not, happily, I can credit the drudge, tedium, and let down that brought the scene to life. That said, I think this is a good read.
This item is not a chapter but a chip shot. I thought to note it because it's so much a part of the writing process. So. Appearing near the end of the draft -- the 12th chapter I think -- it introduces the "tattooed" character Cynthia Edder, the "black sheep" of a powerful and wicked family-owned company. At first, Tattooed Cynthia was simply the possession of Brock Davidson, a spy who used her to intrigue for him. She stayed that way for some time. More recently it dawned on me that Cynthia could be a rich character, but the idea remained latent until I wrote the intro to the third book in this series, "Kestrel." Suddenly, I had a connection, which appears here, as Davidson describes Cynthia to Jackson Guild, who knows quite a bit more about the woman than Davidson can imagine... and who is now a character and a plot point.
I should have said this at the beginning of this book: it follows on the "Betrayal at Black Rock," the first installment of The Trinity Conspiracy. So here's part two, "Target." Note: This volume needs a ferocious copy edit. So please, please contact me if something I've written seems goofy, misplaced, or misspelled. I'm grateful for all the help I can get. In chapter one of this novella entitled, "Target," I introduced Brock Davidson, an elegant and mysterious figure. In fact, he'd make a great vampire, if I wrote vampire novels. Instead, he's a sleek and powerful member of the Senate staff, a man in line to run the CIA. So you ask, what's an elegant, mysterious, and treacherous bureaucrat look like? A very refined wading bird with a pair of reading classes perched on the tip of his long nose. He has tiny teeth, like a piranha. We'll soon learn that he's not the hero's enemy, but he is Jackson Guild's most fierce opponent.
The hero is the enemy. Hard target takes aim at Senate investigator Jackson Guild ("That's Guild as in wild.") who uncovers a sinister conspiracy to set off a nuclear weapon in the heart of Washington. The twist is cruel. If Guild unravels the sinister plot, he will set off a nuclear war with Russia. The hero must be stopped.
You're Jackson Guild, a sometimes sober investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. You've just survived a nuclear Armageddon that's decapitated the government. Below you, as you head out for a mission at the Pentagon, you see your city below. This is home, and it looks like an ashtray. Veering over Reagan National Airport the view from the helicopter devastates you. Runways charred with burned planes downed by the blinding flash of the atomic fireball. One pale blue jumbo jet lies on its back, landing gear up, a cracked robin's egg, only the chicks legs poke through.
Close in to the capital, Washington boasts an airport convenient to power. Sadly, on the 28th of September 2009, that proximity proved perilous. Then deadly. The Kuleshov Conspiracy reveals what happened that day from a high flying Black Hawk helicopter, as Jackson Guild narrates ... unaware that he's deep into a mystery and on the verge of a kidnapping.
Senate investigator Jackson Guild discovers that Wall Street War Lord Manny Granov has crossed the threshold from wealth to power. CIA uses Granov for off-the-books operations, and together they try to cut a deal to buy a massive Soviet era nuclear weapon, keeping it from the Middle East's arms bazaar. The collaboration between the criminal financier and the CIA sets off chaos and the bomb falls into the wrong hands, threatening the capital of the United States. As time runs down toward detonation, Guild is hung out for bait, because he holds a secret that could ruin Wall Street, expose the Agency, and keep the worst terrorist plot in history from ticking down to zero.
Here, Jackson Guild, an investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, meets with an infamous operator for the Central Intelligence Agency, Elvin Krongartten. Tall and old, the man known as the "Elf," brushes off an FBI agent in the room, and lays out the problem for Guild... You're bait on the hook.
A nuclear attack on the nation's capital turns blood supplies into a commodity, and Jillian Garth becomes a kick-ass trader in the gory stuff. Twitter brands her a bloody vampire. YouTube videos elevate her into a celebrity. She becomes an angel of mercy appearing on the Holy Neighborhood Network, a quasi religious channel that preys on the nation's misery, raising millions for its secret network. Unknowingly in bed with fascists, Jillian is recruited into the Underground by the very wealthy and very glamorous Ellen Dreyfuss. Together they work their way into the dark network that would enslave the nation. But how will they keep their secret? They're just two women face-to-face with the most powerful man in America.
There's a pun in the title of this "Author Insight" you're reading, "Depending on the character." I depend on my characters, those hapless souls I follow. I hear their voices. I recognize their gaits. I'm not surprised at their taste in clothes, cars. All that. Their lives direct my writing. The Jillian Garth of this story is a northern girl, a young widow with a three-year-old daughter named Olive, which is kind of an unusual name not much in circulation these days. Jillian picked the name to distinguish her daughter among the litter of children in her high-powered middle class neighborhood. Beneath the surface racket of my story, The Blood Conspiracy, there resides a tale about personal change and self-discovery. Jillian, not surprisingly, finds herself shaped by events. In her battle for survival, she discovers her ruthless adaptability, her cold capacity to enter into dangerous bargains, and make life-and-death choices. She finds success in the half-virtues of good luck, and, in the end, she confronts her own better angels.
A 7,000 word short story: Jillian had been warned by her lover Jackson Guild, an investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that a nuclear attack on the capital was hours away. He offered to take her and her three-year-old daughter, Olive, to safety. But she was in bed with another man. The next morning she stood out on her lawn as the terrible cloud rose and mushroomed. To her surprise, the atomic bomb gave off a reassuring warmth. Streaks of lightning shot along its length in fabulous colors unknown to the human spectrum. But it stunk of death. Jillian joined a world where blood supplies needed by victims were traded by thugs dubbed vampires. Everywhere angels were sighted. Images of Mother Mary were photographed in the ashes of the ruined capital. Was the Second Coming was at hand? Ironically, Jillian became an infamous blood trader, a vampire whose prowess propelled her to TV prominence thanks to YouTube. She traded on her celebrity for her daughter's sake, and for her daughter's sake she joined a revolution to save America from a power struggle that threatened the roots of democracy.
Jackson Guild flees the radioactive ash heap that had been the nation's capital. He travels to New Mexico to the famous weapons labs at Los Alamos, where he encounters a crack CIS nuclear forensics team. The electricty flows when he discovers the CIS-N group deep into a conspiracy and coverup, a one-two killer blow aimed at taking the reins of government into private hands. Guild has teamed up with his last and only friend, Ellen Dreyfuss, a fire engine of a woman, who's all southern sugar and sharp edges. Together they rip into the lies of Los Alamos only to discover that uncovering the truth means setting into motion the gears of all out nuclear war.
Radiation has became the new weather, and Jackson Guild flies out of Philadelphia airport on a mission to find out why the nation's top CIS nuclear forensics team can't (or won't) identify the source of the weapon that destroyed Washington and decapitated the government. He's not alone. The nation is on the run; mobs of travelers and evacuees crowd the huge airport. And in their midst stands a cyclops of a man stalking Jack. Handcuffed to an attache case bulging with evidence proving the conspiracy, Jackson finds himself in a trap, wedged between the Cyclops and his accomplice, a woman in gray. They have the initiative, and his only defense is a frat boy in a Penn State t-shirt.
A historian crashes the gates of history where he finds he must make a choice between war and peace. But he learns that free choice poses its own problems.
This short story is based on a non-fiction title I had written, sold, and taken the cash advance for research at Churchill College Cambridge and the National Archives in Kew Gardens. On my return home I learned the publisher, Raincoast Books in Vancouver, CA, had gone belly up! Fictionalizing these events about a very sexy double agent code named Cynthia (born Amy Elizabeth Thorpe in Minneapolis, Wisconsin) brought new life to what is a very suspcious series of events. My character, a scholar, finds a hole in history, but when he decides to make a change of two, he discovers that Will is stronger than Intention.
A young man and a young woman eye each other on the New York Subway. He's excited by her rakish style, but she shows no interest. Or perhaps she fears he's been staring at her. When he follows her off the subway to her home, a ride in a taxicab makes all the difference in the world.
Sometimes, when a man exchanges a gaze with an attractive woman -- a woman of style -- he sets off alarms, for himself and for her. For both, there's the danger of embarrassment and rejection, and, in the Big City world of the New York City subway system, there lurks the risk of something darker. And when that man follows that woman to her home, it's just a step away from stalking. Or perhaps a crime.