Magical Realism with an Urban contemporary context

 

Book Excerpt:  The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead

The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead

Chapter 1: Help When You Need It

Welcome to the Circle City; crossroads of the Midwest. A major goal was to stop being a place that New Yorkers laughed at. Finally this had happened. The new Mayor was Jason Boggs. He was the city‟s record youngest municipal leader at the ripe old age of 32.

Mayor Boggs had found the debriefings he received from the local law enforcement agencies to be sobering at best and rather disheartening. He told himself in the office after hearing over an hour about some of the local semi-organized crime, “It‟ a good thing I was born cynical or I would be incredibly depressed after that.”

Jason had managed to get elected because he was an innovative leader with a combination of intense drive, profound kind heartedness, was very clever and able to handle subtlety.

A local law enforcement leader had just informed him that he suspected that they had a cocaine dealer in the area who was moving goods at the international level and doing possibly up to a billion dollars of business in a year.

The worst part about cocaine traffickers, was that once they „went big‟ they tended to have more firearms than some of the smaller time dealers, and they tended to be slick, and they often had a lot of „respectable‟ customers.

Jason thought about it. Yuppies living in his own city‟s cherished condominiums dressing professionally and working decent jobs were equally or more liable to be supporting this villain than the blue collar working class. The 3 other thing about cocaine is that like credit cards, most poor people cannot afford it.

He determined that because of all this, he wanted to get rid of the villain as quietly and subtly as the customers made the most of the available drugs.

He had a long think in his office and then played 4 hours of video games in a row at home that night before finally falling into a fitful slumber. He muttered as he tossed and turned, “get rid of them”…”don‟t make a scene”…”no, it‟s not okay actually”…”the police”…”voters”…eventually he drifted off to sleep.

The next morning, Jason Boggs woke up and wrote briefly in a notebook that he kept by his bed. Then he went through the normal waking and dressing routines and set out to help his fair city once again. He breathed cheerfully and deeply into the fresh morning air because, dear readers, he had a plan to tackle this beast of a local problem.

He called around to people who, well, it‟s better if you don‟t even know Reader. That‟s how secret the information is. They responded according to what they knew. It took Jason hours and well over thirty phone calls to start to find the kind of information that he really needed. After that, he had to schedule in some meetings and attend to less volatile local matters such as the budget, upcoming taxes and how to improve the fitness level of public school students during school hours. 4

Someone who works „back stage‟ in the local government, gave the Mayor one super important number. This was the magic number to a lone lawyer: a man named Thomas Smith. He was your basic „white guy wasp‟ being predominant ly Americanized ethnic Englishman. He was in his 30‟s. He was very powerful. Financially stable, sharp as a brand new kitchen knife, and imbued with esoteric knowledge and wisdom, Thomas was so much more than just an attorney. He was on a spiritual path that leads men into wizardry, even in the New Millenium.

The next batch of people you meet Reader will be another part of this whole story.

* * *

Skilleas Fog was his Internet name, but he had come up with it playing darts in a pub with people from the Society of Creative Anachronisms. He had a very unusual working life. The main reason for this was that Skilleas liked to fight and he was very good at it. However, he was also often hard pressed to take orders constantly from anyone, but he wasn‟t really sociopathic so much as he was simply highly eccentric.

Skilleas had a wide variety of ways of earning money fighting. He was very gifted in this area. He had managed to make some money wrestling, and a little prize fighting cash as a boxer; he had even managed to come by more than enough to put a down payment on a house by cage fighting.

This is incredibly rare, that Skilleas could do so well at so many different forms of combat. He also knew his way around fencing, and shooting. He could bow hunt quite well and he was a keen shot with a hand gun. He had learned to 5

hunt as a boy and he served eight years in the military. They had hoped he would stay in the Marines but he left because he got into too much trouble. He would simply shrug and admit: “They‟re too strict. That‟s all it is. I can‟t handle that kind of environment.” Skilleas had considered law enforcement, but he rejected the idea based on the same problems: consistently complying to higher ups was abnormal for him and he felt it was too restrictive.

Well, perhaps you can tell by now that he‟s not exactly a „cop hater‟ type of fellow. Since this is true, and because he had such an intensely independent nature, Skilleas also tried his hand at bounty hunting. Like many of his other successes, he didn‟t do it a lot.

By that I mean, while a rock solid career professional wrestler would train and win for decades, Skilleas would train for two years, win some money, but then often get restless and do something else. This lifestyle caused him to have a breadth of talents but at times prevented him from getting very far with any one thing. Like his other efforts, the bounty hunting went alright. The trouble with that was that he had to learn to sleuth or find good detectives to work with. One of the good parts was that his fighting skills came in very handy. Another downside was the length of time he had to put in before he could get paid.

Skilleas had a few pet favorites that he felt awkward about when he dealt with other people. One of these was that he preferred hand to hand combat over armed even when it led to hospitalization or death. Most people in his generation aren‟t like that. 6

Another little tidbit was that he knife hunted, not „knife fighting‟ in some gang, but wild game hunting with only a knife as a weapon. He believed that hunting was intended to be challenging and so as a grown man he hunted animals the same way that he acquired work, in a noteworthy, successful and peculiar manner.

No one knew, he often felt, how much wisdom he had come into by doing „wild things‟ such as hunting an adult raccoon without weapons. Very few people he believed would understand or accept why he felt so gratified that he had managed to hunt and kill white tailed buck during deer season with no weapons. He ate these animals and kept their fur. He was very old fashioned in that respect.

When hunters would gather at a place during the season with their rifles and their tree stands they would tell each other how they had done. Most of them agreed that Skilleas was not much of a hunter as he would tell them truthfully at the end of the season, “I only got one with only 6 points” but would never mention that he had in fact done it either with no weapons at all or in one instance a rope trap, and in another case, a knife. Nature, he thought, has an amazing power to balance all forces. When he did it that way, he could kill enough that, with curing or refrigeration he had enough meat to last him the rest of the year, but that was only because he was a childless man.

Despite these noteworthy peculiarities, Skilleas managed to do alright socially. He was actually very kind and obviously had an intensity about fairness 7

that often seems in society to have gone quietly extinct. He was moderately handsome, very graceful and charming but not much of a talker.

It was not terribly rare for him to sulk every now and then about this. Bar maids would occasionally address this issue with him. “I know, I know,” he might grumble when a woman went off with another man.

The bar maid would look quizzically at him, “I honestly think she was more attracted to you.”

I know, but did you hear that guy?” Skilleas would pout, “He‟s kissed the Blarney Stone, he has, whereas I haven‟t. I can‟t tell you how often that happens.”

One day, Skilleas received a telephone call from someone who really was one of his friends. The man was a very strange fellow also. If you have read old comic books, then think Dr. Strange. The man calling was a genuinely good man, but he was also decidedly „different‟ in that he was a long practicing modern day magician. He had a proverbial bug up his you-know-what regarding the truth that he was not what he called „a stage illusionist‟ but rather an actual wielder of the real thing.

This other man‟s name was Thomas; Thomas was an attorney. Skilleas had no idea how Thomas could like books so much or computers for that matter. However, this man Thomas was also rare. He had a shrewdness that, like his mind, was incredibly sharp. Yet he was a gentle man, who was hard pressed to arm wrestle, let alone even contemplate something brutish such as wrestling or 8

American football. Nevertheless there was something ferocious to his manner, and maybe that‟s why he was able to succeed as a lawyer all by himself.

Thomas was not evil, but there were times in his life when he had been confused about this. He was born a Roman Catholic and he liked Church reasonably well except that by the time he was ten years old he had figured out that most other people were, relatively speaking, idiots when compared to him. As it happened, this was true. Thomas was a genius and there was little point in pretending he wasn‟t. Due to this, he learned early enough that he might earn a living more by his wits than anything else.

He had a funny temper to him, and through it he had grown towards what some definitely called „evil‟. At some stage in his childhood he had realized that he could hurt people by focusing his energy and directing it. Now this is pretty normal, whether you use fists or simply harsh words, or treachery. However, none of that was how Thomas did it. He had sent someone to the hospital by using the raw power of his mind and an angry malicious intention once when he was fifteen. That scared him so badly that he had been unsure as to what to do about his „personal weirdness‟ for some time.

Also while a youth, Thomas had suffered from two other notably bizarre types of experiences. One of these was that he would occasionally look at people and just „see‟ with his mind‟s eye, what was going to transpire in their lives. He had only been about eight years old the first time that it happened, but it just didn‟t go away. So, when he was seventeen he confessed to the Father through the grate that, “he had the sight.” He wasn‟t comfortable about it, since it had so 9

often been associated with the Devil, with whom he did not wish to be acquainted. The other was that ghosts would appear to him out of nowhere and tell him things. Now, this was not so easy to learn to take well. In some ways it had been easy, because at first he had just been a boy. One of the strengths of childhood is the open mind without fear. So, okay, ghosts would show up in his bedroom at night or when he was camping with his scout troop or with his parents. That wasn‟t really bothersome, but it had taken many times for such entities to earn his trust so that he might learn certain skills. You must understand how much Thomas‟s reasonably happy Catholicism helped him to get through these kinds of things. He would confess all of this stuff at church, which helped him to work with a professional cleric to weed out the good ghosts from any demons and to snuff out any evil before it got even a chance with Thomas.

Those were rough times for the sensitive, slender youth. He did his best to lead as normal a life as possible for a very clever modern man. He considered himself very lucky that he lived in the era of „gifted schools‟ and public education and the mass media. He didn‟t have to live in constant fear of being taken down by brute force, and he was actually thankful for this. He would have been very popular except that he was a conscientious student and that he was even more hypersensitive about having the „sight‟ as the Irish call it, than he was about sexuality. People liked him, but he felt so easily that those others wouldn‟t really understand him and a bit too often he was right. He liked other people but tended to emit an air of arrogance produced by a very heartfelt sense of superiority. He was very kind and compassionate by nature and through religious and social 10

training so even the hard edge of his condescension was tempered by these other advantageous qualities.

Once he was a young grown man, Thomas delved into religious and occult studies while an undergraduate, but he loved the sciences to and daydreamed about being a true renaissance man, able to have high levels of knowledge in all the important matters in life. Still steady in his religious practices, he began to move out beyond the limitations placed upon him by his clergy Father and took up the challenge of what he had learned to call his magickal will, and what he also had learned were known as „spells‟. It was once into his twenties that he had begun to really come to terms with why no one „messed with him‟ in general but on those rare occasions when someone did he often would get extremely riled up but not physically violent and within twenty-four hours something undeniably deleterious would befall whomever had upset him in the first place. Of course this made anger management a serious matter with a whole different dimension to it. The whole thing made him feel a bit odd on an all too frequent basis and it was possibly because of that feeling of being distinctively peculiar that he had somehow just „hit it off‟ right away with the very different Skilleas Fog.

Thomas was quite a good attorney, and he enjoyed making connections with people who often intimidated the general public such as politicians. Through his work, after years of law school, he had made friends with several people in the Mayor‟s Office and had become known as a bit of pinch-hitter in certain touchy situations. 11

In fact, over a dozen years or so, matters grew most unusual indeed, but to tell it all would take far too long. Suffice it to say, that Thomas developed a well deserved reputation of being one man who could help to clear up troubles that went far beyond the kind of „touchy situations‟ that he had initially handled.

If you asked him how, he would readily admit that there was more to it than just his Church Fathers, though he maintained a high level of intimacy with his

…..Want to know more?  For sale online – just link on the link

The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead

 

 

How to write characters in fiction

Fiction Writing

Fiction writing is actually a broad category and can apply to TV, radio shows, short fiction, novellas, and of course novels. Plays and screenplays both also involve creating characters. In this article we will take a quick look at what is involved in creating good characters in your work of fiction.

Characterisation

When any of us read excellent fiction, the characters always stand out. Once you look, you will notice that they have enough depth to hold our interest, but are really held together by being exemplars of just a handful of traits. From a personal perspective, I find this easy to relate to because of how much I create my own images or senses of what other real people are like in a similar manner. I know there is greater depth and more detail to each of us, but often a few things are enough.

In creating characters for fiction, realize that the plot and the characters need to go together. If they don’t, you will get quite a bizarre tale or the story won’t go well because your characters are forced to act out of character much of the time in order to drive the plot forward.

Motives

What motivates your characters? Knowing any major life motive can help create the right kind of person for your story. A character may be most motivated by love or by sexual desire, or by money. One might have an intense personal passion and interest. One could be out for revenge or out to save the world. Of course, the lack of motive or unknown motives can be an intentional means of making a mysterious character.

The life motivations and what is driving the character through the story may be different. For example, one could easily have a sexually motivated life motivated character who is driven by the desire to rescue a damsel in distress while working as a police officer in a mystery novel. One could have an artist, motivated to achieve heights of personal self-expression over all but within the story line is motivated by her romantic desires in a romance novel.

Looks

Especially from the movies and television, people are somewhat conditioned about who we see and what we think. How people present themselves for work life and through other means also influence us. So do personal experience and personal preferences. In this case, personal experience includes other stories we have read or watched as plays or TV or film or even know from songs.

Making characters that look right may well come naturally. If you are a new writer, writer’s groups can be a great place to get feedback about what your own characters are like, including the question of whether or not they look right for the part.

As a writer, you have the choice to be intentionally conventional or intentionally unconventional. In reality, for most writers, leave the unconventional until after your career is established.

Tall dark and handsome still means something, but whether dark obviously means a black man or if it means a white man with dark swarthy hair depends. The characters need to fit the environment and the story line.

Other Traits

Your characters may well have professions. Whenever there is a good job match between a person and their profession, the job is a great way to showcase the identity of the character. A character that does not have a good job fit, and is not well represented by their profession may need to be shown to express that somehow – as a hobby or through volunteer work or some other means, or to have some difficulty with the job. A little dialog in bits and pieces might show the person’s colleagues expressing the ill-fitting nature of the job or that something about the person or situation is peculiar or even wrong.

Other qualities that may not be too difficult to express in written fiction: savvy, fear, courage timidity, enthusiasm, unforgiving, kind, impatient, persistent, inconsistent.

Intimacy

The relationship between characterization and plot is so intimate because what your characters do in response to each event is determined by who they are. As simplistic as it sounds it is that the plot of a story and the characters are interdependent.

Dialog within a story is a great way to give your characters more opportunities to express their identities to the readers while also driving the plot of the story forward.

Any other form of intimacy that occurs within the story can be used to reveal the character of the characters – silly as that sounds.

Of course, the secrecy and uncertainty people have about who other people really are is often used in writing. In many mysteries and thrillers the villain is someone who, on the surface, does not appear to be of the same character that he or she really is. In comic book hero stories, the villain is often open and well known for who he or she really is.

Characteristation

Integral to every written work of art involving people and an active story line are characters. The art of creating and portraying characters through the written word is an important part of being a writer and of every story. Some of it may come naturally, but a lot of it can also be learned. Just remember that your plot and your characters need each other.

To see how I did it in an urban novel, just click on the link : The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead

Chaos Post – poetic prose

This post may contain nonsequiters and other signs of being a stream of consciousness relationship with context than a carefully structured advertisement for an attractive new urban crime novel.

The novel shown on the left can be purchased directly using http://sbpra.com/miriampia/  .  Not only did I write it and edit it at least 7 times, but it is finally for sale in a respectable form.  I have touched it and can confirm that if you buy it I know what you will be getting.   I am actually quite proud of it, as it is my first published novel.  I wrote it after working as a professional writer for a while, mostly as a ghostwriter working from home while living in the same big city that the novel is set in:  Indianapolis.

Everyone who lives or has visited Indianapolis that not everyone there has the same color skin.  This doesn’t need to be a problem but some – and luckily only some, of the people who live there make a drama of a small matter like that.  There are characters of more than one so-called “race” in the story.  Which ones shows what it was really like there when the story was written and is not intended to insult those not represented in the story.  Unlike too many stories prior to 1970, there are both good guys and bad guys of more than one color rather than color coding the good guys and bad guys.

Meanwhile, I have tried multiple times to get the blog out without the “shame” of showing that there is a domain name problem.  What really happened is that I renewed but the system acted as if I had not.  Then, what happened was that I got a new domain name and have asked that my blog be changed over to the new domain.  I have requested this assistance at least 3 times but it did not come through for me.  I am hoping that now it finally will.