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Hey all, it's been a while, so I'd figure I would post a bit on my new book idea that has engrossed me for the past 3 weeks or so. By the way, my wife suggested I get some author cards made since I never had any. A sample is here on the left. Cool, huh?


Anyways, the new idea is a Civil War historical fiction set in 1864 Louisiana entitled "The Cross and the Bayonet". This is a unique story in that it incorporates a cornucopia of people from different races fighting for different things in a war they were avoiding. It takes place when a rogue Union general is given the 'black flag' to wage war on the southern populace in conjunction with other Union operations to bring the Confederate army to its knees. When the main character, Horus Cain, a free black man and successful business man has his family murdered by Jayhawkers and other pro-Unionists, his view and the life of many are changed. His Christian principles are challenged when he and the surrounding townsfolk enter the war to defend family, home, and Louisiana.

This becomes fairly interesting and tricky in that I have to keep voices, accents, and views separate as I write about the men involved. Speaking as an educated black man, switching to a French Creole, jump to a poor southern slave, then a Greek, perhaps an Italian, and even an Indian will make for a very creative story and dialogue. Since I'm Greek, and being around conversations where Greek and English was spoken between various people, I shouldn't have too much fuss writing this.

As of now, I'm on chapter five, and I may post a rough draft writing sample for you all to peruse through. I've finished a Teutonic knights novel and begun its second story. It will be a duology, but unsure if it will go to a trilogy. Trilogies are a lot of work. I also am nearing the end of the first draft of a historical fiction "A Haunt of Jackals", the story of Jeremiah with a medieval twist. For some reason, I've stalemated on this, and ended up switching to "The Cross and the Bayonet". I'm hoping to get plenty of human emotion an the tragedy of the Civil War across to the reader. My novel Enemy in the Ranks did a pretty good job doing so.

Oh well, enough for now. Drop a line if you'd like.
Take care,
Nick

 
I truly hate when I am reading a book and there is a word repeated over and over and over and...well, you get my point. I am not talking about simple short words like "and, the, etc.". A good editor will catch these. I am talking about bigger words.

For example, I read a book where the word "chiseled" was used a bit too often on several pages to describe a man's features. There is a thing called a thesaurus. Use it. Repetitive words pull me away from being absorbed into the story. Change it up. Besides, if you have a weak vocabulary, this is a good way to strengthen it.

Now, my rant doesn't just pertain to words, but scenes as well. If you are going to describe a common scene that you know appears more than once in your story, change the description. Don't keep saying "the crackling hearth was ablaze" EVERY time you mention a fireplace. Be creative and figure out different ways to describe a roaring fire. You can Google your question on a particular feature you are trying to describe and something will come up. I am not privy to a specific website that will do this. Yet, I know they are out there.

Not much else today. Keep writing and do not be afraid to express your thoughts the way you see it. Who knows, your voice may be the next big thing.
Take care,
Nick
 
        Story Ideas from the Bible? Really? You're kidding, right? Actually, I am not. Even though I am not as well versed in the Bible as I should be, I discovered an avenue of looking for a story idea I never thought I would use. The Bible. 
        If you take a moment, wipe the dust off it's barely used cover, you'd be amazed. Yes, the "dust line" is sad, but true. Since putting away the fantasy genre, I knew historical fiction would be enjoyable for me. I had already had a Civil War novel about done, so I finished it and pondered on a new idea.  I drew a blank...until I sat down one day to read. I opened up to Jeremiah and began reading from around the 8th or 9th chapter. The more I read, my mind started clicking.
        I thought, "Hmm, I didn't realize how much he went through." Then I came across a scripture which described the desolation Jerusalem would suffer, stating it would become a "haunt of jackals." God slammed me in the head. I heard Him say, "Here is your new title."
        As I started researching the book of Jeremiah and his life, the amount of his sufferings entered a new realm of reality...and a story formed. I ended up adding a medieval twist to it since I enjoy writing more about medieval times than ancient, but the historical perspective is accurate. This is only one idea. The Bible has many, and you can use even a portion of a parable or a story in the scriptures to write about. The neat thing is as you write, your words will hopefully touch others. And researching is not a bad idea; it allows you to read from the Bible and perhaps enter a more in-depth study of your topic. Either way, you win.
        So, next time you are in need of a story, think about the Bible. It never hurts to read, and you'll be better for it.

Take care,
Nick


 
      Hey all, long time since I've written. As of now, I am waiting on the contract to be signed for my fourth novel, the Civil War historical fiction "Enemy in the Ranks". I am stoked. But on to other things.
      I came across some scripture in the book of Ester in the Bible. In it, Ester fussed about the situation she was in, even though it was a very blessed and noble position (she was married to the King of Persia with all the perks!) How many times have you complained about where you were, your job, sports group, living location, church, but failed to realize your placement? No? Okay, let's put this into a writing perspective. Have you bickered about your writing status, success, or the genre's you address?
      I did. I enjoy and am good at writing fantasy. Yet several months ago I had to change gears and put fantasy aside in order to take a new direction: historical fiction. I complained, moaned, almost threw things...until I focused on the situation at hand. Instead of giving up, I sat back and analyzed where I was and why I was there. It is not a mistake. It was designed for me to be where I am. Why? Perhaps to reach people in different scenarios, under different genres, with an improved skill set where it developed while writing my Christian fantasy trilogy "The Relics of Nanthara".
      There is a reason I am a Chiropractor practicing in Gastonia, NC, an assistant youth football coach, an author, and successful at all three. I don't know who I am going to touch or influence in a positive manner, but I will. As for writing, don't fuss over things not going the way you planned. Let God control the plan, you just follow it in obedience. As He clears the way, opens doors, and prepares you for the future, all you have to do is step into what He has set up...and watch what happens.

      Take care,
      Nick
 
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Hey all,

My apologies for not posting in a while. Life and work can get in the way sometimes. But I'm back!

I'm going to chat a bit on a historical novel I've written and is in the process of being critiqued as you read. Since I was a Civil War re-enactor for 15 years, it was easy for me to write about this topic. I had a plot idea, the setting was perfect, but I wanted to represent as much historical accuracy without the book veering into the realm of "Hollywoodized", so to speak. In other words, fake, or in re-enacting terms, farby.

The setting deals with two brothers, one who is a Christian and one who is not. One fled south while the other remained in the north. It is not a story of brotherly hatred, but of an unexpected antagonist, an officer in the ranks. The brothers, before the war broke out, were robbed on the street. In their defense, one of the attackers was killed. A court trial found them innocent of the incident, but the defending attorney, prominent and wealthy, never lost a case...until this one. And he also happened to be the uncle of the boy criminal who was killed.

Thus, the story follows Emory Gilroy's life in the 83rd Pennsylvania and his struggles with war and the officer, Lt. Carlisle. As the story continues, Emory battles the rebels and Carlisle while trying to find his brother, reportedly killed in action via a letter from his mother. The rest you will have to find out when it is released.

I chose the 83rd due to their prestige and the path of their battles during their 1864 campaigns. It involved many instances where I could describe a soldier's life and a bit more, yet it also gave me an opportunity to involve both of the brothers in realistic events. My experiences as a Civil War living historian gave me a ton of knowledge on how to describe some of what these soldiers went through. It is these descriptions some of my critique partners have said shed light on what these soldiers went through.

The battles were easy for me. One of my strengths in writing is describing combat in various forms, and by using my background in re-enacting and history, it was a no-brainer. But the story is more than just battle, its the human side of war; at least that is what I tried to capture. There is still some tweaking, but I am pleased so far with the result. This was my first novel spanning less than the 80,000+ words of my other works. So, look for the title, Enemy in the Ranks, in the future.

Take care,

Nick