Monday, December 1, 2014

Brooklyn's Lilac Brew (Summary)

When the trumpeter blared and the songbird sang…
IT HAS BEEN 57 years since Horatio Peters’ mystical horn and jazz songstress Delia-LaRue Amat’s otherworldly voice brought Fable Avenue out of the ethers and into physical existence among the streets that make up the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, New York. People from all over the African diaspora have flocked to this street, answering the call sent out by Horatio and Delia’s enchanted jazz and blues songs, becoming permanent residents and adding to Fable Avenue’s conjure culture.
Rite into the hands of destiny...

ALL OF FABLE AVENUE’S young boys and girls go through a series of rites, but only the Goodspeed children, at the age of nineteen, receive what is known as the Second Gateway Rites. Tragic happenings have interrupted the last few ceremonies, and whispered rumors abound of Fable Avenue’s ill-wishers casting hexes against anyone from the Goodspeed family engaging in the traditional observance. Community elders are taking a chance with GORDON GOODSPEED, the latest in the Goodspeed line to come of age. Changing aspects of the ritual, the community’s elders hope to perform the sacred rites and invoke the lilac spirit.
FEY FORRESTER lives with her grandmother in Mount Vernon, New York, estranged from the Fable Avenue community after her mother’s suicide and her father’s mysterious disappearance. She has not been sheltered from her culture, however, learning its values and enchantments from her grandmother, and nurturing her ability to conjure African fairies called yumboes into the world. Now, at the age of nineteen, as Fable Avenue’s elders reach out to heal past wounds, Fey Forrester is set to receive the rites she’d missed after being alienated from Fable Avenue for thirteen years. When she and Gordon Goodspeed take interest in one another, the two of them begin scribing a grand, mythological tale that will guide them to the stars to dance with cosmic spirits, haunt the streets of New York to protect innocent residents, and move Fable Avenue closer to procuring the Grand Wish.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Moving a saga along

Editors at Twin Griffin Books are on the grind to put together the final product of Brooklyn’s Lilac Brew, the second installment of The Fable Avenue Saga. But as edits are applied, suggestions are considered, and queries are answered and resolved, I realize more than ever that I’m not just writing Book II of this series. I’m also laying the groundwork for what’s to come, and in this particular installment, it’s a lot trickier than in The Ghost of Gabriel’s Horn. This isn’t just an installment to a saga, the saga is one looooong book. And I gotta make sure all the chapters line up, because a couple two-t'ree of them are being published separately in large volumes.

There’s always been an outline for the entire series, once I figured out how the story connects. I knew what would happen in each installment (book) and how each book would lead into the next and leave a breadcrumb trail of clues pointing toward things to come. In the final stages of editing for Brooklyn’s Lilac Brew, coinciding with a lot of note writing and reviewing for Book III, I’ve found myself rewriting dialogue and scenes so that something introduced down the way doesn’t seem too random. I also don’t want the ‘breadcrumb’ of information to sound forced. I try to make it sound as conversational, and as pertinent to the story at hand as possible. How the ‘breadcrumb’ plays into the larger story is played down, given a passing mention. That’s been the tricky part, but I found a way around that [secret ingredient withheld…sorry]. One subject in particular, by book’s end, becomes a topic of discussion, which is an obvious lead-in to Book III. But in the final scenes of an installment to an on-going story, of course that happens.
Though history is often explored in Brooklyn’s Lilac Brew, the goal is to move forward, pushing the story ahead and into the future and toward its and the Fable Avenue saga’s conclusion. The Ghost of Gabriel’s Horn does this, but there’s a slightly didn’t outcome in the mechanics of the story. The Ghost of Gabriel’s Horn takes place between 1917 and 1957, not including the past lives of characters that arc back to the 1700s, expressed in the epic poem The Son Dial Tone. The main story itself is not told in chronological order, starting off in 1957, arcing back to 1917 and moving up to 1938 and then jumping back to, and concluding the story in 1957. Doing this allowed the story to reference itself. For example, in ‘57 we see the character Curly Burneside state that Sarinda has gotten impatient, no longer appreciating the drawn out battle and fight. He states that this wasn’t always the way. Arcing back to 1917 and going up to 1938, we experience Sarinda’s more patient side, but we also get to understand the experience that may have worn on her. As for future series events, there are small hints of what’s to come laid down throughout the book, even in the Epic Poem The Son Dial Tone. The obvious stuff comes from Joseph Pepper IV’s dialogue, but that still rings into time periods that the rest of the saga will cut back to.
Brooklyn’s Lilac Brew will show Joseph Pepper IV’s London adventure, taking up his story from when he said farewell to his beloved, sultry jazz singer Theresa Amat. It will also tell the tale of his excursion with legendary mystical outlaw Thunder John and The Brother Dogs, as well as delve further into their mythology and origin. Brooklyn’s Lilac Brew will also explore Joseph Pepper’s conspiratorial claims on what started World War I, what was found in the German occupied colony of Tanzania that spurred The 1884 Berlin Conference and jumpstarted the politics that culminated into WWI.
For the most part, Brooklyn’s Lilac Brew and the rest of the series will be set in contemporary times. The biggest clue about the modern Fable Avenue culture comes in The Ghost of Gabriel’s Horn, expressed in Theresa Amat’s prophetic words as she gives birth to her daughter Philomena. “Dooley is a lilac flame…”
As the series moves forward, editing goes through its final stages for Brooklyn’s Lilac Brew, and as the outline for Book III thickens, I’m getting to know this second installment more, and seeing exactly what it needs to lay the groundwork for the rest of the series. I’m finding myself jumping back into BLB and saying, “I need to flesh this idea out enough to be accepted when its story really comes out.” or “I need to pull this back a bit, it’s a little obvious.”
I’m sure readers will inquire about some of the concepts, and I can answer “yes” or “no” on whether they will play a greater role in the larger story. But how they play out is a whole other story. I’m just making sure that all things have a proper connection.
Stay tune for some quotes from new characters from the Fable Avenue series...
b write black

Monday, September 8, 2014

Like a Rockstar

Been a while, but don't worry. The book is on track. Intense editing. The editors have shredded the first act, and I have taken in all comments. I’ve mulled over all of them. Had some meetings, vetoed some (but still made changes to make the writing clear and not lose its flow), and incorporated the rest. Now the first act is going through the proper pagination, getting a setup for a final transition into book form.

There was a fair amount of red, and as much as I joke about my ego being torn to shreds, I really enjoy the editing process—even the long meetings with the long talks where I’m defending why it’s imperative that a character look over their left shoulder and not their right. It must happen that way. It must! It’s all a part of the larger story and deeper meaning! Can’t you see? Don’t you understand?
But at the end of the day, whether it’s just to do their job, or whatever, it’s good to see people toiling over your work to make it better. It might be uncomfortable to see big notes of red ink asking you to change a perspective, or really hammer the point that something doesn’t make sense, or is redundant (or that you’ve already said it), but the challenge to rethink what you’ve put down is always a welcomed experience. What’s truly scary is when a page is blank of red marks. Or several pages in a row.
The next parts of the book have been in the process of editing for a month or so, and while that's been happening, I’ve been creating the “intro pages” and carefully applying the edits to Act One. When all acts have been assembled into one “body final” document, the copyrighting process will begin, and so will a submission for a final proof.
Can’t wait for the copyright to be done, though. That’s when I can start running me mouth about some thangs concernin’ the plot and characters. I've also been hard at work with the final book trailers.
b write black

Monday, August 11, 2014

Honeymoon on Fable Avenue

After a long stint of planning a wedding with myeditor-now-wife (Okay…she did all the planning, I just showed up…but at the end of the day, it was my idea)…we have now settled back into a full run with editing Fable Avenue’s second installment. While she and two other editors/proofreaders toil over the manuscript, tearing my ego to shreds, I’ll be overseeing some business to help publicize Fable Avenue (both Book I, The Ghost of Gabriel’s Horn, and Book II).

In the coming months there will be a partial release of the book’s synopsis and a video marking Book II’s official title. A few character bios will pop up to promote Fable Avenue’s next installment. All of this to get the audience properly prepped for this next project.

A late fall release is on the horizon, and even in a good span of time, there is a lot to be done.

B write black

Monday, July 14, 2014

"I do."

We did it. We now husband and wife. She's the best editor a writer could ask for.

And the beautiful bride know how to strike a pose.

We married. Holla!

Get out the way! Get out the way!

"I do."

(Central Park Conservatory Southern Garden July 13, 2014)

b write black

Monday, June 30, 2014

"Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up."

The synopsis has been finished and its text applied to the back cover. That was a couple weeks ago. Been meaning to post about this. This synopsis took some time to write, and since my editors haven’t taken a look at it, it is still considered a rough draft. There’s a lot packed into Fable Avenue’s second installment, and there’s a lot to the synopsis. But no worries, it’s not overwhelming. Fifty-seven years has passed since The Ghost of Gabriel’s Horn’s conclusion, and Fable Avenue is an established culture residing in Brooklyn, New York (with other branches of its cultures throughout the United States and abroad). This bit of information was important to start off with when it came to the synopsis, and I decided that should be the synopsis’ opening. Next, I needed information on the two main characters and a little backstory on where they are when the reader opens the first pages. I thought that was more interesting than giving an overview of Fable Avenue’s African conjure culture. It started to look like an encyclopedia entry. So, I did away with that and kept the first few sentences as a setup to the years that’ve passed since The Ghost of Gabriel’s Horn, and from there, I went into the two main characters and their journey together.
At one point, the opening text was cut from the synopsis I’d written, but it felt like something was missing. There were no set of words that grounded the curious reader on where this book was about, especially considering this is book two of a series. The text was reapplied when there came the wonderful trouble of getting the synopsis to fit on the back cover of the book. When I saw that there was enough space, I put the first few lines back in. It looks good and reads well.
But, many writers dread the write-up of their project’s synopsis (and most usually have someone else to write it). Personally, I can’t wait for it. It’s cliché for a writer to make the joke that if they could sum up what they’d written it wouldn’t be a 200-400 page book. Even though I’ve made the same joke from time-to-time (just to be funny), I actually love writing up any current literary project’s synopsis. I’ve always been inspired by the opening crawl in the STAR WARS movies, they themselves inspired by the opening crawl in adventure serials ofthe 40s and 50s, like FLASH GORDON. In the beginning was the Word, from movies all the way back to early stage plays from ancient times, there’s always been a quick, intense set of words as exposition to pull the audience in.
I also love movie trailers, and I believe that the synopsis is the literary form for the visual movie trailer. It’s the first set of words cast to immerse an audience into whatever world awaits them. I love movie trailers so much that I have a few of them on my iPod. And I don’t mean the actual visual. I have the audio. I even have trailers from movies I don’t like. It wasn’t the case of I got so involved in the trailer that the movie didn’t live up to it. In fact a couple of the film trailers I got stored on my iPod I wasn’t interested in and even knew the movie wasn’t going to be as exciting (for me). But I listen. I listen to the trailer’s music. I listen to the sounds of the movie and dialogue, and I get into how it all syncs up and creates an emotion. And it’s that when it comes to what I’m looking for in a synopsis: A dazzle of words that draws a curious reader in, and captures the emotion and tone of the book, but doesn’t oversell or overhype it. When you get into the book you see the synopsis as correct, what it was hinting it, what it was keeping from you. What it was proposing. What it delivered and left up to the book to expound on.
Now, let’s just get this out of the way and say it. A synopsis is exposition. And many writers fear exposition because it’s often considered bad writing. A lot of movies that use opening voice overs or words are really bad, and to be honest, if we’re dealing with a fantasy, it’s always put up against Star Wars’ opening crawl. What can also make any written form of opening narration bad is if expository dialogue was chopped or edited away and put into what’s being explained to the audience. So how do you make sure your synopsis isn’t boring? Well, I have no formula to give. I can only lead by example and talk about what gets me going to sum up 4-500 pages in a couple two-t’ree paragraphs or shorter.

As a quick UPDATE, if you're struggling a bit with your synopsis a simple template can be: 1) a hint of where your main character is at start of story. 2) what he/or she (or they) come across that advances his or her arc/plot, and 3) a hint of where the story will go, enough to lure in the reader's curiosity. Then you can give and take from that, expand as you see fit. Also, as an exercise, write a synopsis for your favorite movie/ or book.
What I can say is this: It’s your prologue, and you get to be the satyr to introduce your tale.
b write black

Monday, June 2, 2014

Under Cover

There will probably be a few tweaks, but for the most part, the cover has been finalized. The cover evolved, and then it split into two monsters, which, on closer inspection, were good companions and blended into one. I like the cover’s look, and it continues the simplicity of The Ghost of Gabriel’s Horn’s cover while also adding its own flavor and announcing the second title of The Fable Avenue Saga. I started doodling the cover around January 2013. It coincided with me straightening up the notes I had for this next installment, turning the first act of this book into an outline. I always had a vision, but I also looked at other book covers to try and bring that vision more into focus.

I’m particular about my covers. In a very pretentious way, lol! I want a “classic” feel to my works. I’m not trying to make the book something it’s not. The Ronin Poetz is my fanciest cover. The art by Ray Cosico is spectacular. But it doesn’t scream ‘faux graphic novel’ with its drawing. It’s stripped down, rugged and rough like both the story and poetry that makes up the narrative. And it’s inspired by Star Wars posters. But it makes its own statement outside of its inspiration. I had fun working with Ray Cosico, and had a lot of fun putting it together. He knew what I wanted the cover to look like, and he had the knowledge on how to make the cover be its own, separate itself from its inspiration.
I wasn’t 100% focused when first approaching my other covers. A Company of Moors was the easiest concept, and by that time, I had something. 12 Stories High was the hardest. I always wanted a classic feel for that one, but I didn’t get it until this final iteration. Code-47 didn’t hit home either with its first swing. But as I started to really understand what I wanted (i.e., a classical approach, vintage, something that looked like a classic book, simple in its design), I went back and arrived where 12 Stories High is now (perfect, in my opinion). With Code-47, I was inspired by heist films and books. And the ones with the greatest influence were the simple designs for the Ocean’s movies.
When it comes down to it, I like the simple covers. I prefer the title being the heaviest thing that exists in the space. And though this cover will go through some more tweaks, the layout of it all is finished.

So what’s in other news? I’ve finished tightening all the acts of the manuscript. Now it’s all in the hands of the editors, and I’ll probably get the first blood-drenched, red-inked, manuscript massacre toward the end of the July. We’ll start our meetings. We’ll go over the edits and suggestions, and they’ll be applied. A second run through will be done throughout August, and we’ll have a first printed proof early September.

Over the weekend, a new teaser for Book II was created. It will be showcased after copyright.

b write black

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fable Avenue Book II Writing Concludes

Another project closes, but it's only part of the work. Now it's all about editing, video making for promotion, proofreading, book/cover design, discussions, and of course...outlining Book III (already outlining. Will run my mouth about it sometime toward the end of this year, early next year).

The forthcoming Fable Avenue book is dense, packed with character, heart, mythology, social commentary, and action, carefully setting up the next installment(s).

The story left inside my head will span the next two books, concluding in the fourth.

How did it all end? On the last page, that's all I can say. Lol. But it went as outlined, with a few rearrangements here and there. I can say, that a few scenes outlined for the final chapters were moved to either the third or the fourth book. When you have an outline, it's so much easier to maneuver through your story, especially when it's a larger story.

So it's business. And one of the businesses I gots to be gettin' back to is editing a friend's book of short stories. He hasn't touched writing in years, and he's jumping back in it. A lot needs to be tightened as he's reworking old, old, old stories and coming up with new ones. But at the end of the day, this guy is writing the Black Speculative Fiction I've always wanted to read. He is Cliff Johnson, Kit Williams, Joss Wheddon and Philip K. Dick all rolled into one blunt. Where I look at my creations as "divorce papers" from the many things that inspired me (I love 'em, but I have my own heroes now), he says his writings are declarations of war. So badass. He's far from apologetic, though he isn't rough or offensive. He really understands the genre without compromising, forgetting, or being apologetic that he's black.

That aside, I'm diving into "post production". Will be running my mouth about that in the next coming posts.

b write black

Monday, April 28, 2014

A long way this day

A year ago, on this day (April 28, 2013, which fell on a Sunday) I started the journey of writing the second book in The Fable Avenue Saga. I posted an entry highlighting that I was starting the beginning chapter, accompanied by a screen shot. Now I found myself at the end, writing the climax of the story that has a sinister reflection of the first chapter (as if that opening scene wasn't intense enough). It won't be too long now before the writing is complete. From there comes an intense session of editing. Two full rounds of edits will happen, and then we'll submit for a proof. In book form, we'll be able to see what's working, what's not. We'll be able to weed out as many typos (hopefully all of 'em) as possible. Two proof reading rounds will take place, and then book two of this story will see release.

b write black

Monday, April 21, 2014

Purpose 21-37

Right here. Right now. On my birthday, April 21, 2014, I have concluded my fourth and final epic poem. Its story crisscrosses into the narrative of Fable Avenue’s second installment, much the same as my third epic poem (The Son Dial Tone) that ran parallel to the main story in the first book in the series, The Ghost of Gabriel’s Horn. From this point forward, the remaining two books of the Fable Avenue Saga will feature no poetic narratives running parallel with their prose stories. My days of scripting lengthy, epic poems with symbolic heroes and grand, social commentary are over. I was near finishing it yesterday. But I stopped writing, leaving notes on how things should be versed before the end arrives. I wanted to end today on my birthday. Epic poetry writing ends on the day I began. But where did all this epic poem writing begin?

Back in 1997, I came up with the idea of writing an epic poem. I was doing performance poetry, and was starting to get bored with it, from a creative standpoint. It was all the same to me, and I wanted to get back to writing stories, manuscripts. But I didn’t give up on the poetry. It was fun, and was a breath of fresh air to hold cyphers with other inspiring poets (and writers) rather than the lonesome sessions of putting together plots, places, and characters (as fun as those brainstorming sessions can also be). Coming up with concepts, sharing them, and engaging in the occasional battle kept your wits sharpened, and had you constantly thinking creatively on what could be said through a poem, and how it could be expressed (performed or simply written). In a solo brainstorming session, after composing a 7-page poem titled “The Ronin Poet”, I decided to write an epic poem.

To be fair to history, this self-imposed challenge was nothing new to me. As far back as the tenth grade I wanted to write an epic poem, but I needed a concept. The intro chapters to a work I wrote in tenth grade titled “7” were composed of poems. But they sucked really bad. Atrocious is too nice of a word to describe the awful poetry written as that manuscript’s early chapters. When I went to rewrite the work, however, that first chapter (which was a 20-page poem) turned into a 400 page book (prose). Too much was trying to be said in such a short time, and in a terrible, pretentious way (in stanzas).  The other “poetic” chapters were turned into regular prose, and after writing an entire manuscript from the 20-page suck fest of poetry, I resumed rewriting the “7” manuscript. The two pieces would become “books” 5 and 6 in an 8-part series titled The Infinity Cycles.

By 1999, I had four concepts to write from. Again, to be fair to history, all four concepts were a bit of an accident. From the 7-page “Ronin Poet” poem, I knew I could create a story surrounding the character and subject of the piece. I imagined his many adventures, and at the time, there was no social commentary involved. But I would do what I had done for a long time in my life and writing, take from my own life and recreate some situation as a grand, mythological advanture and track the stages of my life. That concept, which had “The Ronin Poet” project without any kind of social commentary, would be saved for…what I’ll call, the hidden “fifth” epic poem. But as I started dealing more with black studies and history, I put mythologizing myself (thank the Lord) aside and went for talking about something worth writing, reading about, and something far more serious.
So concepts came, and this is when the happy accident occurred. I always envisioned The Ronin Poetz to be a short chapbook. But the story expanded, what with all the things black people have been through and all. And though the commentary was intense, there wasn’t enough room for all of it. So I split it up. What couldn’t make The Ronin Poetz would then be a concept for another story. And I didn’t want “sequels” or an epic poem “series”. Each concept would have new characters, and a new focus on the social commentary surrounding black people. There were roughly four concepts, however, that hidden “fifth” was still nagging at me, so I kept it in the pile of ideas. This separating of concepts came as I was composing The Ronin Poetz. I saw what worked and what didn’t work for the particular story I was working with. The many paths I wanted to take the story didn’t always fit. Maa Kheru being captured and enslaved was taking too long. It was cut down and saved for the first act of 2 Enlighten the G.O.D.Z. The scenes dealing with enslavement and spirituals really didn’t fit, and thus went to The Sun Dial Tone. Composing The Ronin Poetz had its share of trials and tribulations, but nothing compared to the publishing (Part 1, Part 2). However, the work was released through The Chosen Publishing in 2002, was pushed through black bookstores, and eventually saw a worldwide release in 2005 (Part 3, Part 4).
I finished The Ronin Poetz in 2000, and I immediately went to work putting together something called "What the Ego Said and How the Id Replied". Sounds very Dr. Seuss. To plagurize myself from an earlier post, I have the first five [scenes of that epic poem] scripted...The idea was so abstract and so personal I didn’t believe anyone but [myself] could connect with it. I still jumped into this venture, despite the unshakable feeling that there was no way I could make this idea fly. And a little ways into it, I realized as much. Fortunately, 2 Enlighten the G.O.D.Z. started taking shape. And the 300+ page poem was completed in a year's time. I believe it was December 2001 where the poem came to an end, but to this day, it's been collecting dust on the shelf. I haven't found the time to put it through pubishing, or considered what would be the proper time to do it. All my works that have been published thus far have become obstacles for getting out 2 Enlighten the G.O.D.Z. But I've put my sights on February 2015 for the publishing date. I do have to go through it an iron out some concepts, as I've grown and either no longer believe in some things, or have come to realize others, and some concepts then need extending. Some January 2008 entries in this blog go into greater detail of the story and subject matter for 2 Enlighten the G.O.D.Z (Epic Poetry. Epic Too, Racist Commentary, 2 Enlighten the G.O.D.Z.). After finishing 2 Enlighten the G.O.D.Z., I thought about going back to What the Ego Said and How the Id Replied. But inspiration didn't hit me to do so. I moved on.
From 2002 to 2004 I started composing the third epic poem, and at this point, there was no intentions to pair it with The Ghost of Gabriel's Horn (which was being written as a simple, short screenplay, and its story was not attached to the Fable Avenue Saga, which was being scripted as a graphic novel called The Nu Ancients). Before writing the poem, I emersed myself in music, its origins, and in the period of African enslavement in America. I stuided close Negro Spirituals, and all the music that blossomed from the hardships of African-Americans. Jazz, blues, gospel, rock, funk, hip hop. I started expanding the small notes I had written while putting together the final touches on The Ronin Poetz story. For this third epic poem, what was composed first was not the opening scene. This mirrored how 2 Enlighten the G.O.D.Z. was composed. The first scene in the third act for 2 Enlighten the G.O.D.Z. was composed first, but, I wouldn't know that at the time. I realized I needed some background story for the main character, Kham Noize. It was supposed to be a simple two or three page sum up on where he'd come from. That turned into the first two acts of the story, which by page count, dominates the third act where I began composing. The Son Dial Tone was not that intense, but I realized I wanted some explanation to the hero's lineage. It was here that I experimented with past lives, and Mother Harmony and Father Voice showcased that there love's spanned lifetimes. And as he was growing in the womb, and reading the hieroglyphs etched on the inside of his mother's belly, Mojuba Kimoyo would understand what love and freedom was. This would be the source of his strength when rebelling against his enslavement in America. In 2006, I lost the notebook that had composed within its wire-bound pages, the first two scenes. Luckily, the more complex poetry written within those scenes was taken from a notebook still in my possession, so all was not lost...even if I was pissed as hell.
Up to this time, there was still no plan for my third epic poem to coexist with The Ghost of Gabriel's Horn, which was now being eyed as a novella project. I'd also just released my book of short stories, 12 Stories High. The book is put together from old and new ideas. In that intense writing session spanning from October 2005 to May 2006, I was bombarded with idea after idea. It was a creative growth spurt that was all smiles and no growing pains...yet. In that creative spurt came the idea for The Son Dial Tone to act as the pastlife for the main characters of The Ghost of Gabriel's Horn. I was like Ma Otter at the end of Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas. I saw that the two stories fit together, their common thread being music and freedom, expression. I was excited, but I wasn't ready to start writing. I knew that my novel Code-47 and my historical fiction novel, A Company of Moors, were my next projects up. And they needed to be. 12 Stories High was very metaphysical, symbolic, even in its more straight forward stories. Code-47 and A Company of Moors were more grounded in reality. Fable Avenue was nowhere on my sights, but I did always keep checking on the notes and couple pages I had scripted for the graphic novel. But between this idea of combining prose and epic poem, and my next projects was three years of preparation. In that time, The Fable Avenue Saga took shape, and The Ghost of Gabriel's Horn was outlined to be its first installment (or, to some degree, a prologue to the larger The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings series). The story of enslavement on a 18th century plantation, African culture and African spiritual systems, and rebellion was tied together through the notes played on a magical horn by a young jazz player in 1957.
During this time, I thought about my fourth and final epic poem. Everytime I tried to release a work, I also attempted to release 2 Enlighten the G.O.D.Z. later in the same year. It never worked. And ideas for the fourth epic poem had been bombarding me even before I started penning The Son Dial Tone within The Ghost of Gabriel's Horn. The flow and rhythm of poetry started coming back to me, but I wondered if my final epic poem would suffer the same fate as 2 Enlighten the G.O.D.Z. So, I started thinking if it would fit within the story of the second installment of The Fable Avenue Saga. Would it make sense? The Son Dial Tone and The Ghost of Gabriel's Horn had a common musical thread, the first common aspects that anyone could readily identify. But I wondered if this would work. And I didn't want to seem as if I was trying to recreate the samething. If they were going to go together, it couldn't be for the purpose of "This might not get a release any other way". It had to serve the story. When I thought about my two main characters, and a couple opportunities missed in The Ghost of Gabriel's Horn, I realized that quite possibly it made more sense for these two to fall in love while composing their own mythology, and for them to use it as a guide to help defend their culture on Fable Avenue.
Between the release of The Ghost of Gabriel's Horn and January 2014, old notes were looked over and combined with new ideas. Composition began early February 2014. And as of today, April 21, my birthday, the epic poem concludes. Now all that's ahead is the rest of the prose narrative...and two more books in the series.
Writing epic poetry has been a long, epic ride. It's had twist and turns no different than the turn of a phrase. And it's not over. The fourth, along with the second installment of The Fable Avenue Saga will be published later this year. 2 Enlighten the G.O.D.Z. still has to see the light of day. But it is finished, though some editing will take place. And that hidden fifth? There are plans, but not as a written out work. Stay tuned.
b write black

Monday, March 31, 2014

Nowhere to go but forward

I'm down to the last three or four chapters as of March 28. Last Tuesday, on March 25, I finished the final story that arcs back in time and deals with the greater history of Fable Avenue.

The last leap back is set in the year 1899, far past the glory days of the Old West. The tale expounds on the story of Joseph Pepper IV and his adventure with the Fable Avenue Saga's universe's legendary African-American outlaw Thunder John and his crew called the Brother Dogs. This exploit was mentioned by Joseph Pepper IV in The Ghost of Gabriel's Horn as he recounts to his lover, Theresa Amat, the means by which he acquired the mysterious veil he presents to her as a gift.

Before jumping into the writing of this grand adventure, I took time out to write a chapter dedicated to the origin of Thunder John and The Brother Dogs, which takes place in 1878. Like I mentioned in the last post, the story was gritty and bloody, and I listened to nothing but Wu Tang while scripting it. A short chapter after this narrative puts the reader back in the Old West, nineteen years later. Thunder John and the Brother Dogs are a little war torn. And here's a young Joseph Pepper IV dragging them into a hunt. It felt good to present the story in its entirety. One thing that was added to the mix was an antithesis to Joseph Pepper IV, a rival to his scholarly teachings. This character is in addition to Joseph Pepper's Belloq-esque arch-nemesis Ethan Cassidy (also featured in the story). Joseph describes this new character, added to his rogue gallery, as doing more damage to his own people (black people) than the slave master. A man obsessed with traveling to areas where Joseph has spoken and holding lectures attempting to negating his words. Humorously, Joseph says the man is a shame mostly because he has such an interesting name for a black man. It sounds strong, but Joseph considers him weak minded despite his name. Completing the story put a great deal of references made in The Ghost of Gabriel's Horn, concerning the larger story, to rest. The story took longer to write than I expected, putting me about four or five days behind my writing schedule.

As it stands now, for the second book of this saga, there's nowhere to go but forward. So what's ahead? Well, we're sticking to the contemporary setting of the story for the remainder of the book. Chapter 30, which is the chapter following the final leap back in time, was a blessing to write. Though I've talked a great deal on Joseph Pepper IV and his adventures, he and his exploits are not the main focus of the story (as important as they are). It was easy to slip back into the main characters and their drama, as it now winds up to a grand climax (for this installment of Fable Avenue). The main female character pays homage and gains inspiration from Thunder John's wife (the true leader of his crew, and Governor-Queen of the town Copper Lyall mentioned in The Ghost of Gabriel's Horn). With danger looming over Fable Avenue, this young woman looks to the past to help her keep her home and culture safe.

Chapter 31 is what I'm looking at now. This chapter is a bit of a sandwich. After some narrative I'll be flowing into the second-to-last stanza of my fourth and final epic poem. Coming out of that, we flow into an action sequence that starts off with a bunch of stealth moves. Once the sequence meets its climax, and when things are settled, we flow into the conclusion of my fourth (AND FINAL) epic poem. This will be great, and of course worthy of an entry into this online journal (and perhaps, a little more). My quest for writing four independent epic poems will come to an end. And this will setup the concluding chapters to this installment of The Fable Avenue Saga.

And as I write, the editors are tearing through the manuscript like a caterpillar eating up a leaf. Chew. Chew. Chew. Red mark. Red mark. Red mark. But it's all for the good of the story.

b write black

Monday, March 10, 2014

February Forever and the 150 page Race

February, hands down, was one of the most bizarre months ever in recorded history. Ever. And for some reason it would never end. For the shortest month of the year, it sure as hell did drag. To be fair to the month of February, the bizarness of things began in January. Bee-zar. But we in the middle of 'here' so we ain't gon' mind the past. Thankfully, a lot of writing was accomplished in that time regarding Book II of the Fable Avenue Saga™. The good thing was that a teaser trailer for the book was created, and there was a boost in digital and hardcopy sales for The Ghost of Gabriel's Horn, as many people (who I am grateful to) scrambled to get their hands on the first book of the series to prepare themselves for the second. The teaser debuted late, as I was distracted from finishing the simple video. It was intended for an early February release, but it was late February that saw the teaser trailer posted to social networking sites. But, it's out. People's curiosity and interest are up, and a renwal in book purchases has occurred.

So I got that going for me, which is nice.

No entry was done for February to this blog, but I was able to keep people up-to-date with social network outlets. Originally, I planned for this entry to be a character study. The Fable Avenue story has once again arced back to the past, and we're covering ground that was first touched on in The Ghost of Gabriel's Horn. That ground covered is the story of the legendary, mystical outlaw Thunder John and his crew called The Brother Dogs. He was first mentioned in passing by Jackson Fable, who managed to have possession of one of his LeMat revolvers. He was next mentioned by Joseph Pepper IV, who insists he shared an adventure with him. This adventure is purported to be Thunder John's last, but Joseph Pepper's cryptic dialogue within The Ghost of Gabriel's Horn suggests otherwise. I am currently composing that adventure, and writing a 26-year-old Joseph Pepper's interaction with these rough, mystical outlaws is a thrill. I looked back at notes written long ago outlining this tale and just smiled. I began writing those notes in early 2010. Each time I made changes to the story, I marked the month and date. The last note is dated early 2012.

But that's the second story concerning Thunder John and The Brother Dogs. The first story recounts a young conjure woman hiring Thunder John, his brother Donovan, and their mentor (also mentioned in passing by Jackson Fable, and named as Top Hat by the crossroads guardian). She sanctions a rescue that turns into a violent bloodbath (as opposed to those poignant and endearing bloodbaths). I wrote the story while listening to particular Wu Tang songs (from Clan albums to solo joints). Tough and rough is this story. I had a lot of fun getting to know The Brother Dogs, and as I write their second tale with Thunder John, it feels less like a story expounded on (from Joseph Pepper IV's rendition in The Ghost of Gabriel's Horn) and more like a crossover of comic book heroes. My heroes. A teaser video focusing on Thunder John and The Brother Dogs is due in the coming months. The story was written over February and was a lot longer than I intended. But I'm still on track for the overall length of the book.

And so, I continue writing, and I'm within 150 pages from finishing the second book in the Fable Avenue Saga™, but the celebration is far from close. There's a lot to cover in these final pages, and as it looks from here, Books 2 and 3 (the middle acts of this 4 act saga), will most likely be the most dense in their page count. Heavy editing has started on Book 2, and I stand nervous. In this month of March there will be a great deal of business being worked out. This passed weekend saw a letter composed that concerns the release video for Book 2, debuting later this year (fall). This weekend coming up, I will continue to hammer out the update and new look for Twin Griffin Books. The weekend of the 22nd has me grinning, and that's about all I can say. Big, all-day business meeting. We're also working on the cover.

After the book's 2nd run through with edits, there will be a proof made and reviewed. Copyright will be made, attached to The Ghost of Gabriel's Horn as part of the Fable Avenue Saga™. Then we'll reveal a title. A lot happening.

And then there's a wedding coming this summer.

But, my fiancee and her friend are doing most of the planning. I'm just showing up and standing where told. I am. I do.

b write black

Monday, January 6, 2014

Curtain fall. Curtain rise.

Let’s go back a little. It was December 24, Christmas Eve, close to midnight. I was hammering away at the final pages of Act Two for the second book in The Fable Avenue Saga, stopping every once and a while to stand, catch a breath, pace, and think about its close. Shortly after midnight, Act Two came to a gut-wrenching finish with the villains displaying how they earned the right to be called villains. It's brutal. And no hero is spared.

The next phase of the book can be described as either act three or two small acts that finish the story. Either way, it all adds up to the fact that I’m writing the third act for the book. Act three has begun, and already has a chapter wrapped up for it. I’ve also outlined the remaining plot points for my fourth and final epic poem that runs parallel to the main story. I haven’t done a page count yet for my final epic poem, but I’m sure it’s the shortest. Even with four more parts to compose for it, I don’t think it will run over sixty pages. The second epic poem, the yet-to-be published To Enlighten the G.O.D.Z., is the longest of my epic poems, running close to four-hundred pages. That story will see the light of day…one of these days.
With the rest of the manuscript laid out with outlines for each act and parts of the epic poem, it’s just about getting to the finish line now. I would hope to hit that mark come late March or early April. If I stay at the pace I’m writing now, that shouldn’t be a problem.
After finishing the first chapter for the third act, I went back and made some additions to the previous acts, putting in a character that’s talked about but won’t be seen until the end of the book. I had to work the character in and make it seamless with the rest of the story, and I think I’ve done that. There were only four moments where I had to do that, and the character was appropriately addressed. The character was always supposed to be there, but I was having a hard time finding her place. Now her importance has been figured out (besides just fleshing out a family tree), and I can move forward with bringing her to the forefront when we finally get to see her.
This weekend I will give a pause in writing to go back through the first act and prepare it for print to give to the editors. It’s coming to around that time where all the confidence I have in what I’m writing will be smashed and cut to pieces by the close scrutiny of evil, editors’ keen eyesight. Good times.
The weekend after next, act two will get its first run through by my eyes. I’ll be tightening the text as best I can, catching whatever typos are there, and prep it to move along to the editors once they finish hacking at act one and scarring my confidence for life. And as all that is happening, parallel to writing/finishing the manuscript, the first of three commercials will be scripted.
The end is not too far off. I just have to stay on track and keep pushing forward with the writing. Having an outline saves a lot of time. There have been things added, subtracted, or put into different points in the story. But for the most part, I have a plan to follow. Reworking something is a lot less stressful when you have the ground rules properly laid out.
Once this book is finished and out, I can really call The Fable Avenue Saga a series. One book doesn’t cut it, but you gotta start somewhere.

b write black