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Everything posted by RLHicks

  1. I can handle bossy very well. 🙂 But seriously, you should think about it. I really think it's a great idea! Speaking as someone who had a very dark upbringing, life more often than not can be very dark. Especially if you don't have Jesus at the center of it. He is the true Light that brightens our lives. No offense intended, but I've learned to never say "never." Especially when Jesus is involved because through Him ALL things are possible. Probable, probably not, but possible, yes. We are talking fiction after all, and while it can be based in realty, it isn't real. That being said, I don't know that I'd write a serial killer character that was "released" to help solve cases (plural) but the idea that @Thomas Davidsmeier presented of having him escorted on a sort of field trip to a crime scene to help is intriguing to me. I'm one of the many who actually likes NCIS and others like it. I don't sit there watching it and think, "Oh, come on, that would never happen!" I don't do that with any fiction genre. Romance, for instance, I don't really believe it ever happens the way they portray it in books and films - some of which are kind of cheesy - but I like to pretend in that moment that it could. Then when the book is done or the movie is over, I come back to reality. The overall message in my book is "salvation and redemption is there for anyone who chooses to accept it and believe," while the reality is "not everyone is going to choose it."
  2. I agree @Thomas Davidsmeier, I think it is a character many people would be interested in. I know I am and I was told to "write something you would want to read, chances are someone else will want to read it too." I was going to say, "I think I'm going to steal that opening line" because, it's a good one. However, after reading the rest of your concept, I think I might have to try and convince you to co-write the sequel with me. I really want to steal the whole concept, but I won't. 🙂 It definitely has the potential of a book I would not only love to read but would enjoy writing as well.
  3. Thanks @Thomas Davidsmeier! That gives me a lot to think about with my WIP. I'm starting to think I have a series brewing along the lines of Dee Henderson's and Dani Pettrey's books. Almost all of Dee's books tie together in some way with character's from the various books showing up in others. And Dani does something similar between her Alaskan Courage and Chesapeake Bay series. The protagonist in one book may be a supporting action in another telling a sibling's or friend's story. It's not 100% the same in that the "villains" in their books don't get saved in the end. So ultimately I may scratch that idea, not sure. But, if I do set it up to where the villain eventually gets saved it will occur in a sequel and not the current WIP.
  4. Hi @carolinamtne, I was going to send the following to you in a private message because I felt like maybe I had gotten this discussion thread off topic or something. But it said you couldn't receive messages. I realize I may have read too much into your comments and you may not have actually been offended. Sometimes it's hard for me to tell. My friend tells me I worry too much about these kinds of things and she's probably right. That said, when the nagging feeling won't go away, I have to say something and try to make amends regardless. I pray that you or anyone else on here I may have offended would forgive me and I pray that, if I'm being silly and no offense was taken, y'all would forgive me for wasting a post. 🙂 ****** Original private message... I'm not sure why but I got the feeling I may have offended you for some reason, which was not my intention. I was agreeing with you about jailhouse conversions. I know that often they are not real and yet sometimes can be. I know it's my "job to write him the way" I want him to be. I apologize to you and to everyone if I overstepped any boundaries by asking for thoughts on the possibility of making his story span across more than one book should I decide on having him saved from behind bars. I'm still learning the ins and outs of this site and what is appropriate or not. I don't want to do anything that will "get me voted off the island."
  5. I see your point but I'm not sure if I agree completely or not. Without going into too much of the story let me get an opinion of my general overview on the story. Afterwards, if you (or anyone else) believes that having the "villain" get saved in the end will him become the "'de facto' protagonist of the story," then maybe that helps narrow down what I do with the villain in the end. So my story is about a young woman who as a child narrowly escapes being killed with her family presumably by her stepfather (back story stuff). As an adult she gets the sense someone is following/watching her but doesn't know who or why. She basically goes into hiding, changing her name (again) and tries starting over. She wants a new life, to find love, to feel safe if possible, but her past won't seem to let her go and ultimately comes crashing in. During the process she learns that what she needs most of all is Jesus. That's the baseline of the story and she is my protagonist. There are two "villains" in theory and possibilities for restoration -- the stepdad whom everyone thinks killed the family and the real killer. So my dilemma with the real killer is whether he lives or dies at the end and whether he eventually receives Christ himself at some point and/or gets reconciled with his the protagonist. @carolinamtne, your response came in as I was already typing my response to @Thomas Davidsmeier post. I'd like your input as well on the intended WIP. It could be a complex enough situation where I need to lay out the story over a series of books. Any thoughts on this? Am I reaching too far with fitting it in one book? I get your point about jailhouse conversions and I agree. So if I try for a conversion with the real killer in jail, maybe it needs to done in a sequel to the original story. I appreciate all of the feedback being given!
  6. What does that price translate to in US dollars?
  7. Thanks @PenName, those are great examples in the movies that I never put together until you pointed them out. Yes I can see how they are mirror images and you meant by "on the nose." I too am selective in what I read, more so than what I watch, and have not come across this dichotomy in literature. I also "get weirded out when a villain has a fan club," but maybe that's because my brother's favorite character is the Joker and my brother is weird. 🤔🤭 Seriously, it just seems odd to me on one hand to make them even a little likeable and yet on the other hand I get the necessity of doing so. I'm struggling with this in my current WIP, which is a story of redemption and restoration. I'm trying to decide if in the end the "villain" ... ultimately gets saved in jail and restored to a relationship with his daughter if he dies (or goes to jail) unsaved and alienated from his daughter and Jesus, etc. I've played around with several different scenarios but just haven't settled on it yet. I believe part of why is the struggle I'm having with making him likeable to begin with. Thanks @Thomas Davidsmeier! This is a great explanation and the following example is great as well. It instantly made me think of a movie that I really liked but could see your point in -- The Quick and The Dead. Maybe not 100% an example but I can at least see it in the bad guy turned priest and the abandoned good son who wants and tries to be like his corrupt father. This made me chuckle. Don't stop! We get some of our best ideas when we're helping others.
  8. Not to be dimwitted or anything, but could I get some literary examples of what "not being too on the nose with it" is or would look like? I am truly trying to learn so that I can improve my writing skills and for some reason don't think I'm grasping your example of the Avengers films clearly enough. Also, is there a point where you can make the villain too likeable? I actually do feel a little silly asking these questions, but I've always lived by the motto that the only truly stupid question is the unasked one.
  9. Thanks @Jeff Potts, those are some helpful tips!
  10. I enjoyed the quotes... my favorite is: A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit. —Richard Bach
  11. I like to write.... well, I'm a wordy person, so really, I love to write. But in the past, when I've written short stories, I never consciously thought about POV or theme or any other stylistic structure or concept. I just wrote what was in my head. It hasn't been until recently that I've have the courage to try and write for anyone but myself and so I've been researching and studying and trying to learn everything I can about the writing process. And while I was an excellent English and Grammar student back in high school many moons ago, I confess that today I get tripped up by such things as POV, theme, character building, etc. I have a very short story that I wrote some time back, sort of a dream within a dream, and was wondering if there was a way I could get feedback on it with regard to POV, theme, etc? Because to be honest, I don't really know if I'm writing in 1st, 2nd or 3rd person or some sort of mishmash of two or all three of them. Thoughts?
  12. Thanks @lynnmosher! I needed to be reminded of that... I do tend to beat myself up more often than not, but I'm working on it. 🙂
  13. Reading through this post, I felt a bit overwhelmed and somewhat doomed. I understand the concept of a blog and have actually had a couple short lived ones in the past. I'm okay with starting another one eventually, but to add all the other social media types - even at 10 min intervals, on top of reading/critiquing/reviewing others work, trying to work to pay the bills, etc, etc, etc... seems like there is little time left to actually write the book(s), let alone sleep. I'm not saying, "I can't do it!" I just haven't figured out how to fit ALL the things I need to do or want to do (not always the same thing) in the hours of day we have. I'm not just talking about the writing side of things, I'm talking about the everyday things of life - the day-to-day. It all takes time and I simply struggle with time-management. I try and try... I think I'm figuring it out... and then some unexpected life event happens to turn it all upside down and I get flustered or frustrated. Before I know it, I've stuck my head in the sand and try to ignore life as a whole. I was just talking to Jesus about this very thing this morning. It is a pattern I've had in my Christian walk as well. I get overwhelmed (or whatever other emotion - fear, anger, whatever) and my go to instinct is to hide or give up. I really don't want to give up this time... so how do you overcome the overwhelm and break the day-to-day life into time manageable pieces? I apologize @Shamrock if this got "off topic" a bit.
  14. Thank you @suspensewriter! I really appreciated the thought provoking question and responses. I'm still trying to learn how to use this site to the fullest, as well as learning to piece together the story I've been working on using various resources. These topics of discussion help me realize I'm not alone in the process. There is comfort in that knowledge.
  15. I most certainly will... I purchased it right after posting my previous comment. As soon as I finish the current books I'm reading, I read yours and post a review on Amazon. 🙂
  16. I agree with everything @suspensewriter has said so far @Thomas Davidsmeier. After reading the description of your narrative, my impression of the first cover didn't fit... the vision of the sushi roll w/ eyes along with the line "When one more roll is one too many." was equally creepy and funny and don't think either was your intent. The second cover, while better, still left me chuckling at the cheesy line and weird eyes on the soldiers. The 3rd cover, however, was a lot closer to home. It intrigued me and made it feel like a suspense drama/thriller I'd want to read. I am intrigued by the story line and now by the cover as well. Great job! I look forward to reading your book. 👍
  17. I don't have children of my own but it sounds like this is going to be a great series for children to learn more about Jesus. Sometimes I feel like I lose site of who He really is and how much He really cares about me. Do they have a similar version for adults? 🙂
  18. I've been reading all the responses to your original question as theme is something I always struggle with. And I believe you've hit the nail on the head with "overthinking this".... I believe I do exactly that. Then I get frustrated or flustered and my project stalls out. I do believe you have to have a strong story but an equally strong (or impactful) theme to support the story. I think it comes down to the "chicken and the egg" scenario of which comes first... theme then story or story then theme. In then end, I don't think it really matters as long as the end results is a strong story with an impactful theme. Whether you weave your characters and story around your theme or your theme naturally develops through your character and story building. That being said, I still struggle with making sure it all flows the way I want. Of course, I'm relatively new to the process for many reasons. 🙂
  19. Suffering with a migraine straight from the pit of hell, I decided to turn in early. My mom, Rachel, didn’t believe I had a headache. In fact, she never believed me when I claimed one of my classic “it hurts so bad I’m going to be sick any moment, someone please turn out the light” headaches. She thought it was an excuse to get out of chores or homework, so as usual she was angry with me. Oh well, such was life. I had a Chemistry final the next day and I couldn’t afford to miss school again. So downing a couple of extra-strength Excedrin, shutting out the lights and draping a cold wash cloth over my face seemed like the perfect solution. At quarter to seven, I drenched a rag in cold water and stuck it in the freezer to get as cold as possible. I washed some Excedrin down with a glass of milk since I was skipping dinner, grabbed the rag from the freezer and headed to bed. I didn’t realize I had fallen asleep. It felt like I was feeling my way around a quiet, fog covered forest when I suddenly heard a distant but familiar sound. As I stumbled about, the sound got louder and I began to make out the word, “Sam.” That’s weird, who would be calling my name out here. Louder, the voice called to me, “Samantha.” I heard myself groan and felt myself shift as I realized I was not in a forest but was lying in my soft, comfortable bed with the cold rag still over my face. I peeked under the rag and noticed it was still very dark outside. Oh! Please tell me mom is not yelling for me again. “Samantha Jane,” she hollered, “I need you out here, now!” Oh, for crying out loud. What could she possible need at this hour? It’s has to be what, midnight, 1 am. Head still hurting, I dragged myself out of bed and stomped into the living room. “What?” I shrieked as loud as my throbbing head would allow. “Would you please see what that dreadful dog is barking at?” Seriously, she is 5 feet away from the door. Why in the world does she have to wake me up? She has two legs, two arms and a thinking brain. Couldn’t she have gotten up, walked the 5 feet and checked for herself? I can’t wait ‘til I’m 18! I’m so out here. The familiar mental tapes replayed over and over as I headed for the door. I flung open the door to yell at the stupid dog and stopped cold. I barely noticed the sharp intake of air as I let out blood curdling scream. My mom moved faster than she ever had and was by my side in an instant. “What’s wrong? What is it, Sam?” she frantically yelled as she tugged my arm. I couldn’t speak for the screams coming uncontrollably out of mouth from the center of my soul. I raised my arm and pointed. My mom followed my raised hand to the oak tree in our front yard. Seeing for the first time what I had a moment ago, she screamed herself and collapsed to the ground. There, in the middle of the yard, Michael, my brother, was hanging from the majestic tree. His hands and feet were hog-tied behind his back. My mind did not want to comprehend what my eyes were seeing. This couldn’t be happening. Michael didn’t even live in our sleepy little back-water town anymore. He had run away to Denver a couple of years back in search of father who wanted nothing to do with him and we hadn’t seen him since. I’m not sure how long I stood there transfixed and screaming, or how long my mom sat rocking and wailing on the floor beside me. It could have been seconds, maybe minutes or even hours for all I knew. It wasn’t until our neighbor, Martin, slapped me across the face that I snapped out it. Stunned by the slap I looked away from the grotesque site of my dead brother and stared blankly at Martin. Where had he come from? I didn’t hear or see him or his wife, Wanda, walk up. The howl of sirens echoed in the night mixing with my mom’s cries. As I continued to stare at Martin and the sounds of the sirens drew closer, I realized they were coming for my brother. Then I fell to the ground alongside my mother and wept. ⩫⩫⩫ It had been a week since the gruesome discovery of Michael’s body. Martin and Wanda were extremely helpful. They called my older sister, Ruth Ann and gave her the news. They put us up in their spare bedroom because we simply couldn’t stay in our house after that. Wanda made sure we tried to eat and drink something later that day. They sat with us after the police left, cried with us, and prayed over us. Ruth Ann drove into town the next morning. By the time she made it to the Blake’s house that afternoon, I had pulled myself together enough to help with funeral arrangements. Mom was inconsolable. When she wasn’t screaming, she was crying or moaning. She was cursing God, blaming Him for not saving her only son. She refused to eat and was having trouble sleeping due to nightmares. Doc James finally had to prescribe Ambien to help her sleep and Xanax for anxiety. The coroner released Michael’s body to West Haven Funeral Home the day after the official autopsy report had been issued to the lead homicide detective, Patrick Washington, and the district attorney’s office for Wharton County, TX. Two days later, 10/22/1987, a week and a half after his 21st birthday, we buried my brother. ⩫⩫⩫ My sister insisted that we move in with her while my mom figured out what she wanted to do about the house. She couldn’t bring herself to go back there especially with that horrible death tree looming over the house. The tree that she used to love sitting under in the summer while she read her latest mystery novel, the same tree we use to swing from on a tire swing when we were kids was now at the center of her nightmares. If she decided to move back to the house, the tree had to go. Three months after funeral we were still living with my sister. I was back in school and Ruth Ann was back at work. Mom rarely left her room or bed. The hunt for Michael’s killer had hit a dead end. Detective Washington was clearly frustrated as he relayed the news. “I don’t know what to tell Mrs. Cooper. We have exhausted all leads at this time. The one suspect we had in our sights has an air-tight alibi. There isn’t any more we can do right now unless someone comes forward admitting to the crime or at least knowing something about it or something new develops. I am so sorry for your loss.” I hadn’t seen my mother cry since Doc James gave her the pills but, when she heard the case had stalled, she broke down again. “A parent should never have to bury their child, never! Get out! Get out, now! You and your department have done nothing to find justice for my boy! Is this what my tax dollars are paying for?” “Mom, stop it! This is not the detective’s fault. They are doing everything…” “Oh, shut up! Just shut up the both of you! I can’t, I can’t… I just can’t!” She turned and walked away leaving me there with the detective in the living room. Once again, she retreated to her room to cry in private. “I’m so sorry Detective Washington…” “Please call me Patrick.” “Okay, Patrick. I’m sorry my mother lashed out at you. She doesn’t mean it.” “No apologies necessary. I know what she is going through. Five years ago I lost my little girl to a drunk driver. Losing a child is the worst kind of pain a person can go through. I only made it through because of my faith in Jesus and the love and prayers of family and friends. I knew Jesus wept with me over the loss of my baby.” “Mom blames God for not saving Michael. I don’t know if she’ll ever go to church or pray again.” “Well, I’ll pray for you both and for your family. Find a way to lean on Him. It won’t take the pain away but it will bring you a peace that surpasses all understanding and the strength to get to the next day. One day you will be able to remember your brother with joy instead of sorrow.” “Thank you Patrick, that means a lot to me. Please let me know if anything new develops.” “Of course I will. Take care of yourself, Samantha, and your mom.” “I will.” ⩫⩫⩫ By the time valentine’s day rolled around there still had not been any new developments in my brother’s case but things had home seemed to be slowly improving. We were still living with Ruth Ann while our house was on the market. My mom was slowly becoming her old self again, even though she had taken early retirement. She had stopped taking the pills and was back to getting up early in the mornings to have her coffee and read. She was also back to her old habit of waking me up at the crack of dawn to get her said coffee. A week and a half before my 18th birthday, when I woke up at 6:30 in the morning on my own rather than at 5:00 to her yelling for me, I was confused. It was eerily quiet in the house as I grabbed my robe. My sister was away at a conference all week and wasn’t due back until later that night. I went to my mom’s room first to see if she had slept in this morning. She wasn’t there so I headed downstairs to see if maybe she had decided to let me sleep in and gotten her own coffee. She was sitting at the kitchen table with her head down as if praying. Something in the pit of my stomach told me she wasn’t. “Mom,” I whispered, “are you okay.” No answer. No movement. Something was off. I just knew it. As I approached from behind I noticed her right arm was hanging at her side and beneath her hand, lying on the floor was my sister’s handgun. I was frozen for a split second as the realization that my mom had committed suicide sunk in… “NO!” I screamed. I screamed again, but this time I realized I was back in my bed. Confused, I stifled the next scream as I collected my thoughts. That was a dream! A stupid, awful, vivid dream! Ugh! Then, I heard it, the sound of my mother’s familiar yell. “Samantha Jane!” I jumped out of bed both relieved and annoyed. I was relieved that it had just been a terrible nightmare. I was relieved that my mother and brother were still alive. Yet, I was annoyed because it had been an exhausting nightmare that had done nothing to ease my raging headache. I rushed into the dining room. “What?” I yelled. “Would you please see what that dreadful dog is barking at?” “Um, what did you just say?” “Can you please see what that…” “No, no I can’t. You want to know what that dog is barking at you get up and look for yourself!” I broke down in tears. When I collected myself enough to speak, I explained my nightmare and subsequent outburst to my confused mother. © Rebekah L. Hicks 2018
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