Chapter Four: So . . . They’re Back?

This trilogy has been fraught with examples of the point I try to make when asked about my writing. I am the one telling the story, but my control over the whole thing ends with my wording of it. It’s not me who decides who lives or dies, or how they go about the living or the dying. I’m just here to tell the story, as best as I can, as true to the way I see it. From my perspective, all this stuff actually happened to actual people, and somehow I have a porthole to that dimension in my mind. Safe on the other side of dragon-proof glass, I can watch the story play out and do my best to record what I see. I’m like an historian with a crystal ball and no political pressure or social programming. (Give me a moment while I chuckle darkly for the thousandth time about how I supposedly write fiction and the historian supposedly records facts.)

Sometimes I wish things would go a different way for folks. In life, in movies or television series, in all the stories told and untold, there are some tales that lose my interest or never grab it to begin with. Those that do play a special role in my life, and hold a sacred place in my heart (this is all a sweet way of saying that I am a fish full of hooks that has trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy).

Writing Book I was great; every trauma fairly quickly produced some positive consequence that helped soften the initial shocking blow in the following pages. I made myself feel squeamish for the first time as I wrote some of the scenes, and it dawned on me as I told the story that the damned tale was keeping secrets from me.

This became more evident as I wrote Book II. As things got darker and the body count meter turned into a spinning blur, I wondered how I hadn’t foreseen this. All the characters I had fallen for in one way or another in the first book were dead or in a place that made death seem either inevitable or preferable or both. I looked back over my process in choosing to begin this avenue of my writing with this story, and I had some strangely familiar realizations.

Whether you are a lady or a guy, if you have had any experience in dating or relationships, you can surely relate. Do you remember the first time you realized that someone was lying to you just so they could be with you? Maybe it was a small deception, perhaps even just minor evasion, or possibly it was an elaborate web of outright lies. Maybe you’ve seen a wide range of examples, as many of us have. You might have even stepped up to the next shocking level of realization and found yourself guilty in some way or another, or fallen into the bitter trap of thinking that everyone is that way to some degree. Wherever you are with it, surely you can remember that initial flash of feeling that came with the realization that you had been betrayed.

The simple fact of the matter is that that moment is not always where the story ends. Am I right? Sometimes the moment of reveal comes when the hooks are too deep, and the reveal is just not violent enough to pull them free. At that point, the story does one of three things. Most stories get boring and formulaic here, and lose my interest in both fiction and Earth-fantasy form. The rest go one of two ways.

A lot of stories get dark here. For some people, dark is synonymous with interesting. It’s not for me. The darkness is an aspect of the light for me, the light an aspect of the dark. Asking one to exist without the other is asking the world to go back to being flat, and my philosophical foundation would be shaky indeed if I did. However, there has to be a point in exploring the darkness for me. I tend to be more interested in a story that takes the other path after the great reveal, living or reading a tale where every aspect of life changes for the better with each new level of understanding. As I reviewed the way this story had courted me in the beginning, I realized that calling it deceptive was a bit harsh.

I got to see several scenes, vividly, whenever this was the porthole that grabbed my attention. The final few moments of each book were shown, as were many other glorious clips, and the basic premise was laid out pretty clearly. In defense of the story’s perspective, it couldn’t exactly tell me the whole story until I wrote it . . . at the risk of sounding like a guy defending his girl’s decision to not reveal her sweet tooth for heroin until after the wedding.

In defense of my perspective, writing these books made my role as a writer clear as never before. Like life, my own stories will surprise me in ways that I never anticipated. These surprises will not always be pleasant or pretty, but they will always be a springboard to something better. Like life, the ability to extract the something better from every surprise commands the full attention of the one doing the living. That being said, some chapters are just hard to write.

You know, like life.

Thanks for reading!

Walking Between Worlds; Book III: Fall of the Walker King will be available in ebook and paperback formats on December 1st.
Walking Between Worlds on Amazon

Need to start at the beginning? Read Chapter One here.

Continue reading “Chapter Four: So . . . They’re Back?”

Chapter Three: Kris Pays Grim Unintentional Homage To Kevin Smith

Do you see now why I don’t name the chapters in my books? It would probably pull you right out of the mood that’s being established if I had stuck the above title at the top of Chapter Three in Fall of the Walker King. At the risk of sounding preposterous, let’s just say that one or two people exist in this world that know who I am but do not know who Kevin Smith is. I’ll explain, but quickly, since my premise is indeed a preposterous one.

Kevin Smith is a big part of the dork culture in modern America. Remember when the dorks and nerds and geeks somehow became the cool crowd? That was due in large part to Kevin Smith. Don’t believe me? Well, crawl out from under your rock on Mars and Google the dude. There’s not much he hasn’t done, and most of his accomplishments look a lot like the list most dorks would come up with if they stumbled across a wish-granting genie. If I were to recommend any of his work to someone unfamiliar with him, I would have to recommend all of it. If I had to pick a favorite, I would push the movie “Dogma” on anyone who hasn’t seen it. That really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

For this particular homage, however, we need to go back to the beginning. Kevin Smith’s first movie was of course the classic “Clerks”. Set in a convenience store, the story features a character who has come in to work on his day off. He’s a whiny little bitch, and his mantra through the entire movie is “I’m not even supposed to be here!” It’s funny, but it’s also relatable: the world is ironically overpopulated with a whole bunch of people who feel out of place, like they don’t belong. Even those of us that don’t experience this chronic state have days now and then where we wish we just hadn’t bothered showing up.

Well, suffice it to say that Kris was one of my favorite characters from the beginning (Like any good parent, I have to lie and say that no one is my very favorite, of course). He was a solid guy, smart and critical and sensitive to the needs of others. He was a good friend to Paul before all this weird Walker shit came along, and his role became an invaluable one when they were both transformed in Book I.

After Kris died, he became the picture of confidence for the first time in his life. Something clicked in him when he became a Guide, and a million questions suddenly became answers in his mind. Watching him come into his own in Demons & Angels was great fun for me, and when he and Jessica came together at the end it seemed that all was right in his world. In Book II, the romance between them blossoms and we see a whole new side of Kris. It’s a beautiful build-up to a terrible let-down, and the Guide loses everything in the last few fateful pages of Rise of the Walker King.

So here we are in Book III, with all this behind him and only bleakness ahead. Fall of the Walker King will see the Guide’s mettle tested as never before, and it remains to be seen whether or not his strength of spirit is up to the task. For now, in this chapter, you will see that Kris is clearly in a dark place. There is no humor in his unintentional homage to Kevin Smith, as he repeatedly goes back to the thought in his mind. He’s no Walker, after all, and what is a Guide without a Walker? How can he make any difference at all in the world that is falling down all around him? It seems true, as he thinks about it: he shouldn’t still be here.

Thanks for reading!

Stay tuned for Chapter Four, coming next Tuesday. Need to start at the beginning? Read Chapter One here.

Continue reading “Chapter Three: Kris Pays Grim Unintentional Homage To Kevin Smith”

Chapter Two: Cal and Sarah Pay Roche a Visit

Can a thing be unintentional and deliberate at the same time? I would have probably answered that question with a resolute “no” had I posed it to myself before writing this trilogy. Now, I’m not so sure . . .

When Dawn suggested releasing the first four chapters of Book I in a scheduled blog series, I thought it was a great idea. I was pleased that Book II worked perfectly in the same format, although the format was chosen after those chapters had long since been written. We were all caught up with all the main characters by then, and the tone of the book was pretty clearly established.

Book III needed an outline even more than Book II did, and I was more than halfway through writing it before I thought to check: would it fit the format as well as Rise of the Walker King did? I had to ask myself, as I flipped thought the pages, if I would change it if it didn’t.

“Of course not!” a voice cried in my mind, the one with the heavy French accent. “I am an artiste!”

I still wondered, though, and was relieved to find that it was a moot point as I leafed through the outline. The first four chapters were faithfully following the same pattern, and I realized why: it made sense that they would.

Writing these books has really been one long hard exercise in learning to get out of my own way. I wanted to tell this story as true to the way I saw it as I could.

That meant getting all my usual pretensions and preconceptions out of the way as much as possible. Luckily, I have tried to make a regular practice of this in one way or another my entire adult life. But some of me had to stay, and one facet that seemed important to keep was the reader in me. I had to write a story that I would enjoy reading, in a way that was entertaining in all the ways I liked and unburdened by all of the things I didn’t like.

What do I like? Well, I like a story that is in motion from page one and stays in motion until the final word. I like to get to know characters as they make their way in the world, a little at a time. I like my imagination to have some minor blanks to fill in, which is a nice way of saying I don’t like to be overwhelmed by thousands of words that take me away from the story to describe a character or a room or . . . pretty much anything. That way when an author does it a few times, I know it’s important and I should pay attention. I do it a few times. That’s because it’s important, and the reader should pay attention. Most of the characters in these books could be played effectively by a variety of actors or actresses, and they have the freedom to be pretty unique in each of our minds. (Except Brenna: she just looks like Kristen Kreuk.)

So it makes sense that nobody has to wait until the ninth chapter to find out who did and who did not survive the cliffhanger I left you with at the end of Book II. Both writing and reading Fall of the Walker King felt fast-paced and urgent, despite the time it took, to me.

I hope the story sweeps you up as completely as it did me, and that you’re rooting for someone who manages to survive the blood-stained pages to come. In my defense, I didn’t know that violence would be such a major character in this series when I began writing it. As it turns out, I get quite a bang out of describing this kind of action . . . so much so that it played a part in deciding what I would write next. I’ll write a blog about it in the next few months, to keep you posted about what I’m up to as it happens.

Right now, I want to leave you with Chapter Two of Walking Between Worlds, Book III: Fall of the Walker King. !!SPOILER ALERT!! Remember Jessica’s destructive dragon dance? The one she did before going to Hell at the end of Rise of the Walker King? The one that tore up The Devil’s Brew and set the whole place on fire? Well, Cal and Sarah stop by looking for Mason in this chapter. They talk to Roche and see what the place looks like now. Brace yourself if you only like Roche when he’s chipper, or if you were attached to the new nightclub.

Remember to sign up for the newsletter, if you haven’t already. You’ll get a free ebook copy of the first of the Walking Between Worlds companion stories. If you’d like to see the next short story feature a particular character, let me know. Send me a message at Jay@jaynorry.com telling me who you want to know more about, and why. I am often amazed at how much I know about each character, too much to write if I am to tell any other stories. I would like to know whose story is a source of curiosity to you as well.

Thanks for reading!

Stay tuned for Chapter Three, coming next Tuesday. Did you miss Chapter One? Read it here.

Continue reading “Chapter Two: Cal and Sarah Pay Roche a Visit”

Chapter One: Sorry, William…

Well, here we are in those exciting final weeks before a new book release. That means it’s time for a sneak peek. As each book in the Walking Between Worlds trilogy has been released, we have shared the first four chapters in the weeks preceding. I’ve also written a brief introduction to each chapter, sharing details about writing or publishing or other relevant goings-on. I like that practice, and plan to stick with it. However, it’s probably best to warn you: if you haven’t read books one and two, this is not the best place to start. The first four chapters of Book I: Demons & Angels are available to read for free here. You’ve got time to download the ebooks or order the print version if you like it, and you can be ready for Book III: Fall of the Walker King when it releases on December 1st. Subscribe to my newsletter for the companion short story to Book I – subscribers receive this for free!

If you have read books one and two, thank you! I hope you find yourself as spellbound reading the final installment as I did writing it. We begin this book from William’s perspective, the old Walker introduced in the second book. There was more than one painfully challenging situation for him in Book II: Rise of the Walker King, and it’s nice to think that maybe things will get a little easier for him as time goes on. I even had that thought for a while when I was writing the second book; I liked William a lot, and had it been up to me things would have surely smoothed out for the solemn immortal. Unfortunately it’s not up to me, and William begins this book wedged firmly between a rock and a hard place.

This was a tough story to write, through all three books. I knew that some of my beloved characters were going to experience horrors that I would have to describe, and that more than a few lives would be lost. Yet the story needed to be told, and it had decided I was the one to tell it, so I got off my ass and got to work (metaphorically, of course. This all happened without me actually having to go to the trouble of standing up).

So I’ll leave you now with William, with his dilemma and his worried thoughts. If it helps, remember that I really do feel for the guy . . . sorry, William.

Check back next week for “Chapter Two: Cal and Sarah pay Roche a visit”. If that’s not enough, every Wednesday is #1lineWed. Some very clever romance authors came up with the concept, and it soon caught fire in the writing world. Each week they choose a theme, most of them as clever as the concept itself, and authors from every genre submit a relevant line from their work in progress.

Like I said, I think it’s a great idea. I try to find something every week, and these are the last few submissions that will come from this book. There won’t be any spoilers or anything, just brief peeks into what I think are my better turns of phrase. You can find these on Twitter or Facebook every Wednesday, faithfully posted by my “Awesome Girl”. And don’t forget: if you haven’t already, sign up for my newsletter and you’ll receive the companion short story to Book I: Demons & Angels for free! It is called The Way of the Walker, and will also be included in the upcoming Sudden Insight Publishing charity anthology.

Thanks for reading!
Continue reading “Chapter One: Sorry, William…”

Seven Days, Seven Blogs, Seven Chapters – Day Six, Chapter Six – The Distant Sound of Violence by Jason Greensides Relaunch Blog Tour

Seven Days, Seven Blogs, Seven Chapters – Day Six, Chapter Six

The Distant Sound of Violence by Jason Greensides Relaunch Blog Tour

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To celebrate the relaunch and Kindle $0.99 / £0.99 promotion of Jason Greensides’s acclaimed literary coming-of-age debut, The Distant Sound of Violence, you can read the first seven chapters on seven different blogs over seven days. I’m proud to host Jason for day six of the tour, featuring chapter six.

Author: Jason Greensides
Title: The Distant Sound of Violence
Genre: Literary/Contemporary/Coming-of-age/mystery
Book Content Rating: Adult, based on language, violence, and sexual content
Synopsis: Do we ever escape the decisions we make when we’re fifteen? Continue reading “Seven Days, Seven Blogs, Seven Chapters – Day Six, Chapter Six – The Distant Sound of Violence by Jason Greensides Relaunch Blog Tour”

Rise of the Walker King – Chapter Four

Book II: Chapter Four – “Some Chapters Are Just Hard To Write”

{Missed the first three chapters? Start here – Chapter One]

In the first book of this series, I had a little difficulty writing some of the scenes. I am not the fan of violence that I may seem if you’ve read it, but I recognize that it is a feature in a lot of stories worth being told. When it comes, it can be helpful to have a description that brings a telling image to mind; violence should shock us all, even when it is something we feel is called for.

When I write, I’m mostly quiet. Sometimes tears stream down my face, and some of those times I am wearing a triumphant smile rather than a troubled frown. I’m still quiet in those moments, though. It’s only every once in a while that I’ll laugh or proclaim “Yeah! Hell yeah!” aloud, and I seldom think about what the neighbors might think when I do (I usually write outside, notebook on my knees on the porch). The chapters that make me a noisy writer are the ones like the one to follow. Every character in this series has a special place in my heart, and when they feel pain it strikes a chord within me that often finds me voicing it aloud. Continue reading “Rise of the Walker King – Chapter Four”

Rise of the Walker King – Chapter Three

Book II: Chapter Three – “Time Can Be Quite A Character”

[Missed the first two chapters? Start here – Chapter One]

My excitement continues to grow as the release date gets closer. The time it takes to create a book start to finish is considerable, and laced with challenges as much as it is punctuated by minor victories. As this countdown ticks away, it brings to mind another countdown that makes time itself a featured character in this book.

It is noted in passing that time moves at a different pace above and below than on Earth in the first book. It’s explanation enough for us to realize that Paul is able to experience a long string of seemingly time-consuming events at the end of the book that happen in the space of a couple minutes for Mason and Sarah. Continue reading “Rise of the Walker King – Chapter Three”

Rise of the Walker King – Chapter Two

Book II: Chapter Two – “The Way Things Change”

[Want to start at the beginning? Read Chapter One.]

Now that we’ve shared the first chapter, part of the tone for book two has been established. The perspective will be more of the Guide’s than the Walker’s as we move on, and a big part of what is going on with Kris is his continuing adjustment to his new life in death. He’s also riding a wave of love that has been a long time coming, and having a chance to swim in its depths rather than watch its beauty from afar. The first chapter brought us back to the sacred intimacy Kris and Jessica had discovered together at the end of the first book.

At first I wrote that introductory chapter with Kris waking up, like most folks do, and feeling the weight of Jessica’s head on his chest. The Guide and the story got my attention in the re-write, reminding me that sleeping and waking were different for him now. I thought it was funny; the only teaser we had released had been the opening sentence, and it disappeared right away when I edited. So it goes; it’s done now, and better than before. Continue reading “Rise of the Walker King – Chapter Two”

Rise of the Walker King – Chapter One

Book II: Chapter One – “You’ve Got to have a System”

Well, we liked the way we did this with the first book in this series so much we decided to make a pattern of it. When Sudden Insight Publishing released “Walking Between Worlds; Book I: Demons & Angels”, we posted a chapter every other week in the months leading up to the release date. That way, everyone was given opportunity to read the first four chapters, as well as a little behind-the-scenes commentary from yours truly.

It’s worth noting that the moment I finished writing the long-hand first draft of the first book, I put away the notebook I had been writing in and grabbed a fresh one to begin writing the sequel. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. The moment I finished, I lifted my eyes to the heavens to give thanks. A gigantic white feather drifted slowly down from the sky, and I caught it easily in the air. Then I put away the full notebook, grabbed an empty one, and kept writing. Continue reading “Rise of the Walker King – Chapter One”