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Yeah, I’ve been out of the loop for awhile. Haven’t been anything other than too busy to write. That’s not the thing you wanna be when you are a writer LOL

My latest book is coming out as soon as I finish reading the 2nd proof. I love the cover: it’ s a composite photo that includes an eye. Guess who’s eye? Pops from an old WWII picture when he was coming off a field in Guam.

There’s a treasure hunt starting around 10-26-09 involving 2nd Wind Publishing. Basically, it’s a Blog Hop. My blog will be included. Good luck, have fun, try not to kill anyone.

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Our wonderful publisher, Second Wind Publishing, is hosting a three-day book signing in Winston-Salem, NC. Here’s the scoop on where I’ll be, unless I get lost LOL:

Friday, February 13, 2009
9-11 AM and 2-5 PM
Casanova’s
6275 Shallowford Rd
Lewisville, NC

Saturday, February 14, 2009
1 PM – 4 PM
Krankie’s
125 S. Stratford Rd
Winston-Salem, NC

Sunday, February 15, 2009
1 PM – 4 PM
Angelina’s Teas
125 S. Stratford Rd
Winston-Salem, NC

The only bad thing about each of these venues is the amount of chocolate available that I won’t be able to resist. I need to find someone else to blame for my weakness. Mike. I’ll blame Mike. It’s your fault, hoss, when I gain ten pounds in three days.

(Originally posted on SecondWindPub on October 25, 2008)

Music is an absolute must when I’m writing. Because I suffer from tinnitus, it’s important to have something to drown out the zillion crickets in my head when I’m trying to think about what I’m penning.

In addition, the mood of the music is critical. The best tempo for my suspense is, of course, heavy metal. There’s something about the deep, primal beat of the drum and the mysterious wail of the bass that feeds the story I’m writing.

 

As with music, tempo is important in storytelling. I try to keep an underlying steady beat throughout the story, with crescendos matching climatic scenes.

 

Dark and heavy with small glimmers of light populate my suspense stories. The music I listen to matches the mood of the scenes: Avenged Sevenfold, Pulse Ultra, Stone Sour, Godsmack, and Papa Roach are some of the more frequent bands I listen to when I want the story to pulsate with sinister tension.

 

When the mood calls for it, I switch gears. If a character becomes lost in a memory of love long gone or a life undone, I myself become reflective. This type of mood change calls for something retro and my pick of the pack would have to be Steve Perry. Other bands that bring back the good old days include Heart, Roxette, Fleetwood Mac, to name just a few

 

For me, there is a close relationship between music and writing. Music tells a story, whereas a story can be told with an underlying beat. The smooth transitions in musical chords mimic smooth transitions in writing.

 

I write stories with music as a driving force that helps me focus. Friends and family do not understand how I can write with the cacophony of noise. I cannot see how I can write without it.

(Cross-published at secondwindpub.wordpress.com)

Writing has to start somewhere.

In college I was taught to kick-start the process by free writing. The inspiration was supposed to come from the flowing gibberish I wrote and would congeal into a coherent paper eventually, or so my literature professor told me.

I was an abject failure at free writing.

I am hit by inspiration. I can’t squeeze it out of the pen if it’s not there to begin with. I don’t write nonsense hoping that it will spark a fever of writing.

My own personal muse comes from the good old what-if question. What if the world was square instead of round? What if the war to end all wars started on American soil? What if survival depended on the untouchables? What if the key to world peace was locked in an imprisoned mind? What if squirrels were actually smarter than dolphins?

The list is endless.

For me, possession is nine/tenths of the writing process. Not the kind of takeover by the ghosts of Forester or Fitzgerald, but the takeover of my own imagination. The characters in my stories come to life and I see what they see, hear what they hear, and feel what they feel.

In my mind, my characters live their experiences and adventures. As a participant in every little thing they do, I become deeply involved. Their pain is my pain.

The whole writing process is exhausting. When I get on a serious roll, I suffer the consequences, usually in the form of a writing hangover that lasts for a few miserable days.

But it’s worth it. Someone once told me that writing is birth and death with the broadest spectrum of human emotions in between. For me, this is true. I run the written gamut of feelings from fear and absurdity to anger and hilarity, sometimes within the same paragraph.

Life is such a candy shop. Inspiration is all around, waiting to be picked up. The wonderful thing about inspiration is that it is different for each of us: I see an apple where you see the beginnings of life and love; you see torn, dirty jeans where I see a struggle for world domination.

I have to be careful and keep my imagination on a short leash, else the candy bar I’m eating becomes the catalyst for the collapse of modern society or the calendar I’m looking at morphs into a countdown to apocalypse.

It starts with a single grain of sand. That’s how my inspiration takes birth. A single act, a single look, a single mistake – all have the ability to snowball into a story.

I’ve written short stories throughout my life. Most of what I write is dark. In fact, there’s a short story I wrote about choice and sacrifice, published in 2002, that I cannot read again – it is beyond dark.

In comparison, “False Positive,” the book I’ve written that was published by Second Wind Publishing in September, 2008, is right cheery. In comparison, that is.

I write about life and death, brutality and betrayal, love and loss. My mind is constantly asking, “what if,” and my fingers itch to answer that question.

The first book in the Joe Daniels’ trilogy, “False Positive” is about a man who holds a secret of which he is unaware. He faces loss and betrayal, and almost ends up losing himself to the dark side of vengance. What he uncovers along the way is a vast conspiracy with ties to the ancient past.

The book is graphically violent and I tried to keep the dialogue as close to real as I could. Of course, living in the Deep South, I had to stop myself from throwing in some “hey, ya’ll’s” and “who dats.”

The next book is coming along. I know where I want to go with it, which is one of the biggest obstacles I think a writer faces.