Jake Cross Can’t Live Another Day Without Her

Seven billion people dead; yet his selfish heart only mourned for one.

The distraught figure dragged his body to the ledge of the mountaintop, as if he alone towed the burdens of a dying planet. He looked down on the futuristic metropolis constructed over the ashes of mankind. The alien city with its pale glass structures resembled a crystal cemetery of broken dreams.

Clutching the last remaining evidence that humans once inhabited the Earth, he groaned.

Through misty eyes, Jake Cross admired a photograph of his wife Lisa. His heart pounded against his ribs like a relentless bill collector at the door. Intolerable emptiness grew inside him like a cancerous black hole, eating away at his brittle psyche, devouring his aching soul.

He pressed the photo against his heaving chest as if her image could wipe away his pain.

Who better to console him? Lisa always neutralized his sorrows with a smile or warm embrace. Wiping the moisture from his eyes, a warm breeze caressed his skin reminding him of her gentle touch. He trembled like a virgin relishing her first kiss. Would he eventually forget the sound of her soft voice?

Jake couldn’t live like this. Earth without Lisa would be as cold and desolate as Pluto. He vowed to search for her. He needed to know if she survived. A horrifying thought crept into his mind like a swarm of stampeding centipedes. What if she suffered the same fate as the seven billion others?

He rubbed the photo against his chest with violent motions like an irritated student hoping to erase an error from a page. He preferred to cling to diminishing hope because the alternative…..

Jake shut his moist brown eyes.

It would be easier to stop breathing than to live another day without her.

  • – Jake Cross is the main character of my manuscript/screenplay Paradox.



Do Fiction Writers Live Vicariously Through Their Characters?

Yes, I do.

Remember the last time someone acted a bit snarky with you at the supermarket or on line at the local bank. Have you replayed a moment like that in your mind wishing you had said something clever? Well, one of my secondary characters in my manuscript Paradox, his name is Razor, always has a wry remark ready. Yes, and I grit my teeth and shake my fist every time he says the clever line that’s never discharged from my mouth.

Do I Live vicariously through my characters?

YES, yes, yes. I admit it. With no shame or guilt. My characters accomplish all the things that I never could. They lead exciting lives traveling the world, sipping on the finest champagne, making love to the most beautiful women, and most importantly; overcoming every obstacle. And trust me, I make it hard for them!

Andrew Duran the mysterious fugitive with the secretive past; skilled in combat and in bed. Veyda the unselfish warrior determined to save mankind, ready to sacrifice her own happiness to save the world. These guys are filled with such passion. Theirs lives are extraordinary.

So, I admit my characters bring excitement to my life. And why not? They are the most interesting people I know.

Do you live through vicariously through your characters?


Does Blogging Help An Unpublished Writer

Hello, as a new member to the blogging world, I ask myself is this platform useful for an unpublished writer. Having read varying opinions about this, I will offer a few random thoughts about the subject.

First, what negatives can come from blogging (other than carpal tunnel syndrome)? Not knowing how to effectively manage one’s time can be a major setback. Blogging your life away when you could be editing your manuscript, writing the next chapter, or improving your query appears to be the greatest danger. Too many people get caught up in social media and forget the priorities in their lives. If your goal is to become a published author, your writing must come before your blog.

Blogging doesn’t necessarily translate into improved book sales for a fiction writer. I have read reports that state blogging is a huge plus for writers of non-fiction, who have a platform to demonstrate their expertise. Their followers will mostly likely be people interested in the subject matter. A fiction writer can post short stories and have a following, but not all of your followers will enjoy the type of fiction you write, thus no guarantee of greater book sales.

What are the positives? Well, I am trying to use my blog as a platform to introduce my characters. I don’t use excerpts from my manuscript, I write about my characters in other periods in their lives; days or years before the time period of the book. My queries will mention my blog and advise literary agents they can learn more about my characters on my blog.

Having this blog has also forced me to think more about my writing and the marketing aspect of the publishing world. We as author need to wear two hats. writer and salesman. And the first thing we need to sell is ourselves. I admit marketing myself and my work has never been my forte. Hopefully, this will help me improve my queries and my self confidence when approaching literary agents. It can’t hurt.

What do you think about blogging helping or hurting your unpublished work?


Melinda Gordon Conversing With The Dead

From September 2005 until May 2010 CBS produced and aired five seasons of the supernatural drama Ghost Whisperer. Jennifer Love Hewitt played Melinda Gordon a young lady with a special gift; the ability to see and speak to Earth bound spirits (ghosts). She helped these lost souls and their grieving families resolve unfinished business in order for the ghosts to eventually cross into the light. Thanks to Hulu, my wife and I have spent valuable (yes, honey I said valuable and typed it in italics) time watching the life of Melinda Gordon.

Figured October would be the perfect time to discuss death. We will be discussing ghost dead not zombie dead (Ha ha, you see I know zombies are in and vampires are out).

Of all the gifts in the world to receive, conversing with the dead is pretty low on my list. Probably comes right after the gift of tooth decay and mental illness.

My apologies to Mitch Albom author of One More Day and The Five People You Meet In Heaven, but other than my parents, I don’t wish to speak to anyone from beyond unless its Bed, Bath, and Beyond. (My wife just bought these wonderful leaf shaped place mats for Thanksgiving. You have to see them). Every week the dead waste their time fighting and complaining with Melinda like Walmart shoppers on Black Friday. And if you believe courtesy and politeness are out of style, the dead don’t bother with any formalities. They are selfish, unforgiving, and cold. Well, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised by the cold part.

The dead don’t talk about sports, politics, or the weather. Even the ghosts of the elderly act strange. No mention of their hip replacement surgery, their rheumatoid arthritis, or cholesterol. And wouldn’t you know it; I have yet to see a smoking ghost. I guess they finally learned that cigarettes kill when they arrived on the other side. At that point, you may as well continue smoking, it won’t kill you again. Hey, Surgeon General we don’t need to see those disgusting commercials that ruin my late night snacking. Trust me, all smokers are going to quit.

On a positive note, if I received the gift of talking to the dead, I can talk to my parents again. My mom would complain about my poor diet. My father would snicker, still writing stupid crap? I told you to study accounting.

Yeah right, talking to the dead. This is one present I will definitely re-gift.

What are your thoughts? Would you like to talk to the dead?

Please note: asking for directions doesn’t count.



Without a doubt this is the most whined about topic in writing forums. When I receive a rejection letter there are two thoughts that automatically come to my mind. 1) My query didn’t induce enough enthusiasm in the agent for them to request a sample of my work. 2) The first five pages (my brief sample included in the submission) contained faults or weaknesses that lead the agent to conclude the novel is unmarketable (or worse. LOL). There are many reasons why an agent may not want to see your work; not currently looking for that genre, already has too many writers, etc. I prefer to be hard on myself and take the blame.

My attitude: my work or presentation could have been better. We as writers need to be honest with ourselves when it comes to the rejection. Taking on this attitude can only make us better writers and marketeers. Blaming the literary agents may be easier, but that doesn’t force us to view our own work with a critical eye. Were your first five pages as tight as they can be? Is your hook strong enough to attract interest? Are you presenting this manuscript in the right way?

For me, the most difficult and frustrating part of this process is not receiving any feedback. Not knowing what part of your presentation query, sample pages, or synopsis lacked appeal makes it so challenging. The process as it currently stands, leaves you trapped in the twilight zone (or in a lonely literary hell like a car caught in a ditch of mud and unable to escape). It is a shame agents don’t use a response form letter with a list of options they could check off to inform you what they didn’t like. For example; weak query, synopsis vague, writing not up to par, too many typos or errors,or even a simple I don’t like you. (I’ll accept any kind of criticism at this point). As crude as this may seem, it would provide invaluable information.

Any kind of input would be great as long as it isn’t destructive criticism (see photo).

What do you think?