Search Chapter 2 – Sunday, 30 September 73

Search is loosely based on a real incident. The incident remains, the story is greatly different.

Enjoy. And remember, it’s still a work in progress. These chapters rough drafts. I’ve completed seventeen chapters so far and it seems I’ll complete the novel this time. We’ll see.

Read Search Chapter 1


 

Search Chapter 2 – Sunday, 30 September 73

Raised in northern Maine trailer-trash poverty, petite, dark complexioned, wide-eyed Pam Rigaux met tall, strapping, nordic blond Bill Thompson in an UMO freshman English class and visited his family once to make sure his claims were true. She quickly got herself pregnant because she realized he, a good Christian boy, would do the right thing. Marrying into the upper-middle class, she quit school and insisted on a small home on French Island, just ten minutes away from classes if he hurried, so she could raise their daughter, Stephanie, while he completed his degree, which he did in double-quick time, three years.

Now in Gardiner, Pam Thompson spread herself onto her living room settee as if spreading her robes when ascending her throne. Pam made it a point to fill whatever space she could find; she appropriated church committees, civic groups, PTA, tennis, and golf clubs she joined whether she was chair or not, and did it graciously, with a smile, assuming entitlements she did not possess and keeping track of who was with her and who wasn’t in a tiny black book she kept in her petite, tightly held purse. A pair of long knitting needles waved like some monstrous insect’s antennae in her hands. Balls of yarn jostled around her.

Bill pulled a hardwood kitchen chair into the living room and set it by the big picture window overlooking their two-hundred foot long front yard, the two lane driveway beside it, the white picket fence demarcating the Thompsons from the rest of the world, and the country road beyond.

A bit too tall for the chair, he slid forward no matter how he sat. He got a throw-pillow from the couch and used it as a chair pad to keep himself seated. It didn’t work. He gave up and stood by the window, arms folded, leaning into it every time a car came down the road.

He checked his watch, checked the shadow of their house and backyard elms stretch across their lawn as the sun set behind their house, checked the grandfather clock standing opposite their broadwall fireplace, watched its pendulum slowly sway back.

And forth. Tick. Tick. Tick.

“We should call the police.”

Pam focused on the knitting in her hands. A slight French accent emerged when she tensed. “No, they’re fine.” She snapped the needles and the balls of yarn bounced around her.

“I’m calling the police.”

“No. They stayed late. They got good fishing. Wait.”

Bill went into the kitchen and picked up the phone.

“You made me drop a stitch. I have to rip the entire thing out now.”

Bill shook his head and dialed the Gardiner Police.

“My boys are fine.”


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The Shadow’s Project Limited’s Terry Melia Interviews Joseph Carrabis

Gifted author Terry Melia interviewed me recently as part of The Shadow’s Project Limited‘s author interview series.

All cards on the table, Terry’s Tales from the Greenhills is an amazing novel and how Terry and I got in touch. We knew each other via Twitter, I enjoyed our interactions, and decided to give his book a go.

Strongly recommended.

Terry contacted me a while back about being interviewed. As my The Augmented Man was re-released by Sixth Element Publishing, I said “oh…well…if i have to…PLEASE DEAR GOD YES OH PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PRETTY PRETTY PLEASE!”

You can watch the video below or on YouTube.

Enjoy.

Search Chapter 1 – Friday, 28 September 73

I posted my umpteenth take on a first chapter of Search on 12 November 2018. I liked the idea but not what was going on in that take so (once again) set the novel aside.

Then I wrote a few short stories and completed The Shaman. One chapter in The Shaman dealt with the subject of Search. A fan and faithful reader (thanks, Joe!) told me I had to write Search next.

Who am I to argue?

As before, so now. Search is loosely based on a real incident. The incident remains, the story is greatly different. I now understand why I couldn’t write it for the past forty years; I didn’t know what it was about.

Learning as I go, now.

Enjoy. And remember, it’s still a work in progress. These chapters are rough drafts. I’ve completed seventeen chapters so far and it seems I’ll complete the novel this time. We’ll see.


 

Search Chapter 1 – Friday, 28 September 73

John Chance’s hair rose on his arms as if chased by the wind. The air around him shimmered.

He smiled. Is that you, Grandpa?

He closed his eyes and let the slope of the hill between Ramsey College’s Finance and Admin buildings guide his rake. His grandfather called raking “combing Grandmother’s hair.” The feel of the wooden handle, the tines pulling crinkling leaves, the smell of freshly mowed grass. He always smelled clove aftershave when he remembered his grandfather. “Gio, pettiniamo i capelli della nonna.” Gio, we comb Grandmother’s hair.

His grandfather always called him Gio, an abbreviation of his given name, Giovanni Fortuna. John Chance. Gio. He smiled as he pulled on the rake. Crazy old man. Always had these amazing stories. How things grew. How things were. Pay attention, Gio. Ascolta! Listen.

Gio turned his head. The wind carried a hint of salt water from the ocean a few miles away. Closer, trucks and cars traveled north and south on Rt. 128, most of them supplying Manchester-By-the-Sea, Magnolia, Gloucester and Rockport. Some, the refirgeration units, backhauled today’s catch from Gloucester, Essex, and Ipswich.

Bluejays, wrens, and starlings gathered in the branches over his head. He isolated each’s song, heard each separate from the others. Chickadees and crows hopped along the rake’s path and pecked the freshly turned grass for seeds and grubs. Crows nodded at him, waiting for his rake to turn more grass over. Chickadees took flight, their wings phht-a-phht-a-phhting to a branch only to return a moment later, realizing it was safe.

He let the early Fall coolness fill him. He held his breath a moment, feeling his body’s exchange air into blood, blood releasing air. He exhaled and the stiffness of the day’s labors flowed from him. He didn’t carry a watch. The sun told him the time. Mid-afternoon warm.

His fellow students moved between classes. Footsteps clacked and clicked on walkways. Voices called hellos, shared notes, whispered gossip.

Gio returned to his raking, to the trickling sweat under his flannel shirt, to the steamy scent of his body laboring under the sun, to the motions of his muscles and tendons under his skin, to the feel of the handle, to the roughness of his calluses.

To the screams of children, to the scent of clove.


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“Owen and Jessica” now on The Yard: Crime Blog

Subscribers may remember Owen and Jessica from previous posts. It’s a flash piece and always got laughs and applause when I read it publicly. I shopped it around, got lots of excellent comments from editors (who always asked to see more of my work) and no bites until this week.

 
Owen and Jessica was a fun, quick write that required little editing.

Blood gathered in the whorls of his thumb. He stared at it and chuckled before licking it clean.

 
It came out pretty much fully formed.

That’s an author’s way of saying “It only took twelve rewrites.” Most of the rewrites were for timing and tension; change a word here or there. One major (and important, me thinks) edit came late to the game; I added the third and fourth paragraphs from the bottom, from “He stood over…” to “…didn’t fit.”

Let me know what you think.

You can follow The Yard: Crime Blog on Facebook and MeWe.

Enjoy!

31 Years to Publication

It took two months to write, thirty-one years to get published. And you know what? It was worth the wait.

I am so proud. I wrote The Augmented Man in April of 1990. Now I’m holding copies in my hands.

 
And the delay wasn’t because of slow mail.

I wrote the novel side-by-side with the novella, The Goatmen of Aguirra (to give you an idea of what my mind was working on at the time).

I’d workshopped The Augmented Man and received high praise. I shopped it around, no publisher was interested. I asked AJ Budrys, my mentor and an accomplished author and editor, if he’d be willing to read it and let me know if I was kidding myself, did it just need work, should I give up my dreams of being a published author…?

What you need to know is I was an accomplished trade technical author in the late 1980s through the early 1990s, at the height of the PC Boom (I discuss this in my interview) and my work was in high demand. I knew the publishing industry at that time.

AJ read it and was so blown away he offered to agent it for me. He’d published some of my short fiction in his Tomorrow magazine and he knew my work from workshops. He was familiar with my work, my style, my weaknesses, and my strengths. But The Augmented Man caught him by surprise.

I was flattered, honored. I almost fainted when I read his letter offering to represent the novel (1990, remember? We didn’t do lots of emailing back then).

For reasons that had nothing to do with the book, AJ couldn’t land it. We met at a con and he explained the situation to me. Someday, should we meet at a con, ask me and I’ll share the story.

AJ passed and I got another agent. She loved the book. Could I add 30,000 words to it?

Sure, why?

Because (at 85k words) it was too short (I reedited it to its present 97k words). Thirty-k words longer and she was sure she could land it. I added 30k words, edited, proofed, and sent the rewrite to her in under a month.

Didn’t hear from her. Called and got “Oh, on second thought, no, I don’t think this is a good enough novel. Besides, there’s too much out there already like it.”

Really? Did you read the novel?

Yeah, sure. It’s about a guy lost in a jungle, right?

On to agent #3. Who was a joke. I finally asked point blank, “How many projects have you placed?” and she responded that she couldn’t work with someone who asked such questions. This after the head of the agency phoned and talked with me for an hour to let me know how impressed he was by my work.

So I put it on the shelf. I went on with life.

Because I’m patient.

And now I’m holding the novel in my hands.

I’m so proud.


Would you like a personally autographed copy?

(and feel free to pass this on to every one)