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  • Douglas Daech


    Born near Detroit Michigan and transplanted to Tampa Florida in 1982, where he located the story called “Steeling Time”, the author now resides in Russellville, Kentucky.

    His past experience includes articles in the Tripolitan, (Journal of the Tripoli Rocket Association, June 1991) and TRASH (Tampa Regional Aero-Space Hobbyist). In 1993 and 1994 many articles were published in the Unauthorized Launch, the Tampa Tripoli High Power Rocket Club newsletter. A science fiction piece was also presented in the online magazine NTH Degree (May, 2004). Also, an award for creative nonfiction was granted in the 2007 Frank and Cellia Conley Writing Contest at Western Kentucky University

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Do I need an outline?

I believe an outline is needed for a major project, say any fiction  over a few thousand words. For non-fiction it is almost a law to have one. A debate or work of argument needs that structure. You can’t prove a point or educate without some organization. My experience deals more with fiction, so I’ll explain what works for me.

Fiction and nonfiction are different, but a written outline will still help with both. Outlines are used to layout the time line, design the ups and downs and pace of the story. All stories have sections that the readers just eat up like desert!  The readers want cake, but they can’t have cake all the time. The meat and potatoes of the story have to be there too. Give them the cake on just special occasions to keep the reader happy and attentive. The outline helps you plan this. Seat-of-your-pants writers often run out of gas half way through the project. They veer off course and often create half-done work.  The story outline has an end in sight. It helps you work to get there, and know when the story is done.

One element of the outline is the thesis.  What message are you trying to convey?  The thesis can be stated silently or shouted in the title, but the bulk of the story should support and come to the conclusion that agrees with that statement. In fiction the thesis is usually unstated. By the end of the story a reader should agree and understand the point of the story. In Goldilocks and the Three Bears the reader learns without being told that you should always keep your front door locked. It is never stated. The reader is shown, not told, the thesis. A different approach is made in the Wizard of Oz. After the adventure, just in case the reader didn’t catch the meaning of the story, Dorothy clicks her heels and says, “There’s no place like home.” Keep the thesis in mind as you develop your outline.

Your fiction outline should act as a road map guiding the story line. Start with character development and the challenges that character faces in the plot.  Is it an enemy, alien, neighbor or girl next door, or perhaps an element of nature such as a volcano, storm or tidal wave? Describe any flaws or personal problems the character has that he’ll overcome as the story makes progress. Personal growth is important for your character as he meets the challenges of the story. Remember Jaws? Sheriff Brody was afraid of water, and couldn’t swim when he started fishing for the shark.

As the conflict heats up the story must rise and fall like waves, taking the reader on a ride. Map out the challenges and little victories on the outline as the story progresses. At a point when all is lost create an epiphany point with a final solution to the plot challenge. Build to the climax of the story when the main character grows and overcomes personal and plot challenges to succeed and concur.

Finally, a summery and cool down section should finish the outline.  This allows a satisfactory tie up of loose ends and concludes the story. Focus on the main character and his success in overcoming his challenge. Happily ever after is a bit light. Each major character in the story is affected in some way by the outcome of the story. Don’t forget them.  This also gives the story teller a chance to set up a sequel.

I used outlines in almost all of my work. You can get a link to them at: http://douglasdaech.yolasite.com/

And join my Author’s page on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/writerdaech/?fref=photo

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Our talk with Christie Golden

Recently I had the honor of attending a writer’s talk by New York best-selling author Christie Golden. Fans of Sci-fi and Fantasy may recognize her name. She currently has 48 books in print, and there is new work that should release soon. The talk was offered by the Clarksville Writers Meet-Up, a small group of writers that meet to compare notes, critique work and socialize. We really appreciate that she took the time to visit us.

Christie explained that she started her career as a fan of Sci-fi and Fantasy but didn’t expect to write media tie-in books. She entered a contest sponsored by TSR, the distributor of the Dungeon and Dragon roll playing games, to create a story that meld horror and fantasy. Ravenloft won and launched her career. The rest is history. Christie Golden has written media tie-in books to please fans of Star Trek and Star Wars as well as spin offs from games World of Warcraft, StarCraft and Assassin’s Creed. She explained that it is tough for new writers to enter the media tie-in field. Experience and references play a huge part in landing new projects, and the work seems to be mostly on assignment.

Christie told stories of her early writing days and offered insights and tips on making a successful writing career. She pointed out several good web-sites for writers and suggested rules when selecting what contest to enter. She warned that there are a lot of scams targeting eager writers. Be sure your offers and contests are from respected organizations or well known writers conferences. She has known several editors who have found new talent at conferences, so don’t hesitate to get involved, do public readings and meet the people there.

Write from your heart, she suggests. Don’t write in a style or subject matter with the goal of getting published inside the current fad. Editors have a glut of that type of work. Do something different that means something to you. Your work might be the next fad. It’s always better to be on the crest of the wave, rather than swimming with a million other fishes. Something new and different may catch the editor’s eye.

Regarding editors and agents, Christie Golden suggested that you follow their directions when making submissions. Don’t offer too much information or samples. Give them what they ask for. Be ready to react when they contact you with a completed manuscript, and don’t waste their time. Christie reminded us that your agents and editors are sticking their neck out presenting your work to their bosses. If they believe in your work, trust them to do their job. She also comments that a bad agent is worse than no agent at all. Never pay an agent. They work for you!

Christie Golden commented that the opinions of editors and agents are a mix bag regarding self publishing. Some agents and publishers say that the indie-author is too independent and wants too much control, making them hard to work with. Others say that the indie-author books and e-books are the new slush pile. They don’t mind working with them. Still others just won’t contract with indie-authors because they are indie-authors. It’s a true mix of feelings.

Christie was a pleasant speaker with a strong message. She urged the group to follow their heart and write what they enjoy writing. It will be your best work, and will truly be your voice. Don’t try to be something you are not. Christie offered insight, comment and stories of real life experience. That’s something that new authors want to hear. She also offered a variety of books for sale. Star Trek, Star Wars and many out of print or hard to locate editions were available. Prices ranged from under $10 to $50. She was happy to sign what you purchased or brought to the event. I’m sure everyone enjoyed the presentation on her career, and the craft of writing.

You can view the Christie Golden website at:   http://www.christiegolden.com/index.html

Ghosts walk among us

People who have had near death experiences claim that they have seen loved ones welcoming them to the afterlife.   Some people say the soul never dies.  The physical being is left behind and the spirit realm is entered.  The spirit, or soul, continues after it leaves the body and joins the countless other souls on the other side, wherever that is.

It is said that the soul ascends to heaven, or possibly descends to hell.  The up or down reference is easy to understand, polar opposites that represent good or evil.  More likely though is the theory that a soul travels a distance much less.  Perhaps they only change spiritual levels.  The spirit level is most easily understood as existing on a higher frequency, invisible to the beings on the physical level.  So, it is possible that our beloveds soul live side by side with us.  We are just out of reach and out of sight from each other.  They are close, but yet so far away.

 

In Seedy Hills, an odd little townEric and Louanne go to the old hospital after construction workers claimed that it was haunted.  Louanne, being an experience ghost hunter, took two pieces of equipment that would assist them.  First, she took an EVP recorder. (Electronic Voice Phenomenon)   This device records voices that the human ear cannot hear.  It is commonly used by ghost hunters today.  The second tool that she took to the old hospital was the EMF sensor.  Electro-magnetic disturbances have been noted to be common occurrences when ghostly encounters take place.  These gizmos reach out and read frequencies that people cannot hear or see.

A ghost may actually be a soul that travels from one realm to another, or one frequency of existence to another.  Many think that traumatic events or emotion of love or rage may affect the spirit so strongly it causes the soul’s frequency to oscillate, allowing it to exist in both realms.  This occurs in The Sexton House story contained in the E-book Seedy Hills, an odd little town.  In this account of the haunting, young Connie Gill was struck dead by lightning after an angry argument with her father.  Because of her rage at the time of her death she is cursed to haunt the old sexton house for a hundred years.

You can pre-order the E-book Seedy Hills, an odd little town at Apple, Barns & Noble and Kobo book stores online.

Seedy Cover Daech 1600x2600rez

KOBO Books  http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/seedy-hills-an-odd-little-town

Barns & Noble  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seedy-hills-an-odd-little-town-douglas-daech/1119786702?ean=2940046016246

For Apple search “Seedy Hills” in your iTunes store.

The Blitz!

Seedy Cover Daech 1600x2600rez

 

I’m happy to say that the final revisions on Seedy Hills, an odd little town have been completed and it has been uploaded to the publisher.  The manuscript is in the process of final review to be sure it will convert correctly to the many different formats of E-book devices.  You can pre-order the E-book now from Barns & Noble for the nook, or from Apple for the i-pad.  Pre-order your copy now at Apple, Kobo or Barns & Noble for only one dollar!

 

KOBO Books  http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/seedy-hills-an-odd-little-town

 

Barns & Noble  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seedy-hills-an-odd-little-town-douglas-daech/1119786702?ean=2940046016246

 

Seedy Hills, an odd little town follows the daily adventures of Eric Green, a reporter for the local newspaper.  Eric is an arrogant, crusty, old time reporter who likes to get to the bottom of things.  Seedy Hills is not a normal town, and it keeps him busy.  When Bigfoot was spotted in the woods, the local hunters and trackers formed a posy to make it a trophy.  Eric went along on the expedition to get the story.  When UFO’s were seen above the Walmart, Eric spent the following night on a vigil to scoop the story and unexpected things happened.  Ghosts, vampires, and crop circles are only a few of the other occurrences that he reports to his readers who live in the odd little town of Seedy Hills.

 

With the manuscript complete it’s time for the media blitz, but promotion for an independent author is a huge challenge.  Even though the internet is a giant help, the majority of ads and posts are ignored by people.  To get attention you need to advertise big or advertise often, and the budget of an independent author does not allow advertising big.  The blitz is the most common tactic for the independent author.  The author must post on everything from twitter to blogs and comment on the new release with links and URLs.

 

The question at hand is does that tactic work effectively?  I guess I’ll find out soon!

 

The Ghost of the Sexton House

 

The Sexton House in Russellville Kentucky

The Sexton House in Russellville Kentucky

The Ghost of the Sexton House in Russellville KY was one of the first ghost stories about the community I learned when I moved to that town.  Being from a big city in Michigan, I didn’t even know what a sexton was.  The old house that sat at the corner of the cemetery was spooky looking.  It was not quite run down, but still showing its years.  The faded paint was chipped, with vines crawling up the foundation.  It was the kind of place you would expect to be haunted.  There was never anyone around the house, and the lights were never seen on.  It just sat there guarding the ornate markers and gravestones of the cemetery.  The second floor tower held old glass windows that shimmered colors of blue and purple in the sunlight.  When the sun’s reflection was just right you could see the outline of a girl in the old glass, and that has become the ghost of the sexton house

Legend has it that a hundred years ago a young girl who lived in the Sexton House was waiting for the arrival of her boyfriend to go to a dance in town.  The weather was turning bad and thunder clouds were on the horizon.  The girl’s father, the sexton, forbid her to go to the dance thinking that it was probably canceled anyway due to the storm, and her boy friend never arrived.  She was angry with her father, angry with the weather, angry with her boyfriend.  She cursed God and swore at her father.  At that moment, while she stood at the window cursing God, lightning struck her, forever casting her shadow into the glass of the tower window.

Good ghost stories have common elements that help them endure the test of time, a formula of sorts. They need a moral to teach a lesson to the young.  The obvious moral of this sexton house story is to never curse God and always obey your father.  A ghost story also needs a grizzly consequence if you don’t follow the rule.  These ghost stories are invented to scare kids into being obedient, following the rules, and respecting their elders.

In my E-book Seedy Hills, An Odd Little Town, I present a story involving a Sexton House.  Even though Seedy Hills is not Russellville, they have a similar legendary ghost story!  In the story the ghost of the young girl finally exacts revenge on her long lost boyfriend who never came to take her to the dance.  The unexplained murder of the old man is a mystery.  Who would kill a sweet old man visiting his wife’s grave?  Maybe it was an angry ex-girlfriend ghost?  You can preorder Seedy Hills, An Odd Little Town, at Apple, Kobo and Barns and Noble starting in late June.  Join the fun and adventures of Eric Green, a reporter for the local newspaper as he reports the strange things that happen around the  town of Seedy Hills.

Check out this book and others written by me at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/dugger50

Secret to Success

Long ago I was a musician.  I was a member of a ninety member symphonic group that performed in theaters filled with hundreds of people.  One of my conductors once explained to us that music was a temporal art.  It existed only in time.  When the performance ended, the art was gone.  It was temporary.  Life, in much the same way is temporal.  The art and grace of everything you are is only temporary.  When your performance ends, you are gone.  Time is a fleeting abstract concept that is wrapped around life.  People are always chasing, it wasting it and wanting more of it.  Yet it is really all there is.  Time is unending, but the music we make of our life will end, so make your songs, whatever they may be, beautiful.

One of the things that people struggle with is the judgments of their performances.  Whatever that performance is, dance, song, beauty, work or play, someone will have an opinion on it.  Through a person’s life, millions of judgments are made of them and criticisms can be painful.  What separates the successful artist in life from others struggling with their life’s performance is the ability to ignore judgments on their performance and just sing.  Someplace in their history, a painful criticism embedded a fear of showing the beauty of their personal art and talents.  Due to the fear of other people’s opinions they hold back and only sing in the shower.  They function in society, and live an apparently happy life, but unfulfilled artistically.  They live afraid to express themselves publically, yet many crave fame and fortune.

Successful artists are unaffected by bad press.  The covers of tabloids don’t bother them because they realize that judgments are temporary.  After a bad review they jump right back up on stage and give them the other cheek to slap, unafraid.  Reviews are unimportant to them, they just enjoy doing.  So follow their lead, do your thing without worry.  Sing whatever art fills your heart.

As a writer I tell stories.  Just like music, storytelling is a temporal art.  Passing those stories from one generation to another has changed from word of mouth to e-books.  But when the story is finished, all that is left are still memories.  When I tell a story I don’t worry that the story may not be good enough.  I don’t worry that it won’t entertain or amuse the reader.  What I worry about is the technical construction of the sentences and the grammar.  I worry that my eighth grade English teacher would turn over in her grave if she read it.  I worry about the criticism readers will make of a misspelled word or run-on sentence.  I worry they will think I’m an idiot.

Seedy Hills, an odd little town was just uploaded to the publisher’s website.  It will be reviewed and probably rewritten to some extent then eventually released for sale.  I worry that people will make judgments on my work, but I know they are just temporary.  Bad press will be forgotten, and I know time will heal all hurt feelings.  A good friend once commented, “Who are they to judge you, anyway?”  I try to remember that.  Until I get a letter from Steven King saying I should give up writing, I am going to continue.

Seedy Hills – ALMOST READY FOR RELEASE!

Seedy Cover Daech 1600x2600rez

 

Ghosts, vampires, monsters, UFO’s and Bigfoot are all occurrences that the city of Seedy Hills experiences in this collection of short stories.  Through them all, newspaper reporter Eric Green tries to answer the questions and solve the mysteries that plague the town.  But how can an earth bound reporter make peace with UFO aliens?  What can he do against the monsters that lurk in the sewers of this small town?  And what can one mortal do against the haunting of ghosts and undead vampires?

 

In my next E-book, Seedy Hills, an odd little town, citizens believes that a true blood sucking vampire is preying on the residents.  One poor soul, bled dry, crashes his pick-up into the Twisty Cone.  Ice cream hungry witnesses see the telltale fang marks and hear the ambulance workers comment on a vampire bite.  That is all it takes to put the city in turmoil.  Vampires in Seedy Hills tells the story of the worst type of vampire.

 

In the Seedy Hills vampire story I have a little fun with how rumors spread and change into something nothing close to what they were originally.  I don’t really think you can blame any one person for the exaggerations.  They just happen.  But, in the Seedy Hills Bigfoot story we know exactly who exaggerated the facts.  And of all people, it turns out being someone usually responsible for telling the truth!  Sometimes there are good reasons for little white lies.  When Bigfoot turns up in the woods around Seedy Hills the local hunters look forward to their chance to hunt some really big game.  The problem is that the big game ends up being smarter than the hunters!

 

Look for your chance to pre-order Seedy Hills, an odd little town at Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo on-line stores starting in late June.  On August 1st 2014 it will be available at most other on-line e-book outlets.

Be sure to check out Time Travel and Dimensional Journeys, and Haunted Romance available at smashwords.com and other e-book outlets now.

 

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