Give and Take, the novel – progress

Jany 1987 2 - crpdI recently produced an article to provide some insight for my reasoning behind writing an erotic novel, so I’ll try to avoid repetition.

I have my reasons for writing this article, and those reasons are not related to promoting the story, or erotica as a genre.

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At various times in my life I’ve courted controversy, and although I’ve never done so for the sake of it, if I believe strongly enough in something – I will stand by my decision.

This new venture is one such case.

I’m privileged to be a member of the Indie Author Support and Discussion group (IASD), which in my opinion is the best author’s support and discussion groups on Facebook.

I feel qualified to make such a bold statement because I’ve belonged to several such groups, but nowhere else is there a sense of belonging, friendship, family, camaraderie – and yet there is still feedback and support delivered with sincerity and integrity.

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What is the relevance of the IASD to my new book?

I started a thread to say that I would be taking an idea suggested to me, to the next level. I told the masses that I was intending to go a step up from my erotic short story anthology Coming Around – to a full length novel.

I received initial feedback that to some might have been enough to throw away the whole plan, but I like to believe that I’m made of sterner stuff.

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Why was some of the feedback strong and negative?

I posted my first three drafts here on my blog, as I do with all my work. In the first chapter one character receives physical abuse from another character. Note, I do not say it was the male who was the abuser, and I do not say ‘minor’ abuse, because as anyone who has been a victim will tell you – abuse is abuse!

Yes, as a victim of verbal and physical bullying – I’ve been there.

Okay, so if you’re still with me, let’s take a closer look at my idea, and thank you for holding on for the main gist of this article.

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Yes, in the first chapter the male lead slaps his girlfriend’s buttocks, and though it might offend a lot of people, it is a way of life for some, and I believe a realistic opening to my story.

“I’m offended by that type of thing,” I can hear across the ether.

Okay, then please don’t blame me for the wrongs of others. I am not glorifying abuse – it is a fictional storyline.

If you are offended, I’m sorry, but nobody has written or complained about a statesman being assassinated in the opening paragraphs of one of my thrillers. Nobody has complained about people traffickers and pimps being eliminated in another of my thrillers.

A valid point?

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This new story is what it is – erotica. I don’t believe I can take my main characters on their journey and through their respective transformations as individuals and as a couple, unless I have a start point.

Yes, I agree that my start point might be distasteful to a certain number of people, but please keep in mind, the underlying theme in my work is retribution.

Now, on a personal level, I hope the dissenters caught that word – retribution. Therein lies one of the main characteristics of Give and Take, and where I came up with the working title.

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Whether or not you have read the first three chapters here on my blog, I’ve now updated them and altered the early part of the story, and for the better I believe. The second draft of the first three chapters appear in my Work in Progress menu.

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How am I progressing?

As of the timing of this article, I’m working on Chapter 15 of a planned 20 chapters.

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Have I had issues with the plot?

Yes, of course I have. There have been issues with psychology, ethics, level of detail, credibility, and knowing how far to take character and story development.

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Are those issues not true of any creative writing?

Yes, I answer once again, and therein we find another valid point. It is a fictional story and therefore contains a little of what I know, suspect, imagine – plus of course a great deal of planning, thought and … fantasy.

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Should I be afraid of my readers believing that I fantasise about being the male lead?

No, I don’t believe I should be afraid of such a thing. Not as long as they didn’t think I was Pete in Ten Days in Panama, Phil in Beyond The Law, Dan in Amsterdam Calling, or the fetching and adorable, if a little deadly Honey, in A Taste of Honey.

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Do I have any regrets so far?

My only regrets are:

1. I might lose the patronage of anybody who has enjoyed my other work.
2. I might lose credibility from those who believe that erotica is not a worthwhile genre to spend time working on.

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Will I write more erotica after Give and Take?

That will depend very much on the feedback I receive on the completed story.

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I offer my sincere thanks to those of you who have reached this point without treating me as a backroom pariah for attempting this new venture. Like oral sex, it may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s not fair to object to something unless you’ve at least investigated it ….

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P.S. I have no doubt there will be many women, and possibly some men who are wondering why the artwork in my blog articles does not normally include men. Basically, it’s because I don’t normally draw men, but for those of you who’d like to see an example of one of my male portraits …  and no, it’s not me! Unknown American

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A Taste of Honey – published

atasteofhoney(1)Having already produced three novels and two collections of short stories, I’ve learned that it takes several drafts and many days and months of work to produce something close to a good story. That is vital to me.

I believe that the most important thing I’ve learned has come from reviews of my work. Judging from sales figures and comments I started to appreciate where my audience wanted to be taken.

In my novel writing, I started with Ten Days in Panama (a romance-based thriller). Next I tried more action with Beyond The Law (a crime-based thriller). My third project was experimental. I aimed to tie together a travel guide and story in Amsterdam Calling (a psychological thriller).

Each of my forays into the thriller genre have led to me tackling different sub-categories and this next one is different again.

A Taste of Honey is essentially a one-woman fight against evil. The evil in question consists of more than one perpetrator, so the heroine has to stay one step ahead of the law. Anyone who has read my novels or short stories will be acquainted with my style and desire to see justice.

Honey dishes out that justice in spades.

The story is set in the USA so it is no accident that I’ve spent many hours attempting to dig out the British English and replace it with a language that our American cousins would feel more at home reading. I don’t believe the reading experience is spoiled for the British reader, but I’ve no doubt I’ll find out soon enough.

From idea to publication has taken four months, so has that time scale created any issues?

It has created issues, if I was to say that I’ve hardly been near this blog, or anybody else’s blog. I devoted my time, day and night to this story. The final version is the sixth draft although I feel sure that I could have spent more time and refined it further. There comes a point when we have to say, okay the job is done.

If you do decide to try my latest novel, please consider leaving a review. I’ve taken the precaution of giving the story the option of a sequel, but a sequel will be dependent on how Honey’s introduction goes with readers.

In 2015 I will be producing a sequel to Beyond The Law.
I am now going to catch up with some blogs before I settle down to my next story. As always, thank you for reading and remember, comments are always welcome.

A Taste of Honey – an overview

atasteofhoney(1)Have you ever read a book and thought you had a good idea for a scene?

Perhaps you’re not a writer, but you would like to suggest an idea.

Please read on.

The plot.

On 14th June 2003, Kimberley Forest, a NYPD police officer is awakened by the buzz of her cell phone. She reaches out from bed and sees that the caller is her teenage sister.

When the off-duty officer listens to the call, she hears only a conversation between two men.

In less than an hour, Kimberley is armed and driving 700 miles to the family home in Greensburg, Indiana.

Her life has been changed, and she is intent on changing a few others.

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The project.

My intention is to write a novel under the aforementioned title, but it might be a novel with a difference. I have already started working on the main character’s bio, so we are getting better acquainted with every day that passes.

Chapter 1 is posted on this blog and I’m working on the first draft of the next two chapters. The opening passage is posted on my author website on the Projects page. The ‘intro’ will remain there for one month.

I would like comments and if they feel the urge, visitors may offer suggestions for scenarios that the character might be involved in at some point in the story.

I will post chapters here and mention it on my author website. From day one, there will be an open invitation for readers of this blog, my creative writer and artist site, or my author website to get in touch with ideas.

You don’t have to be a writer to put forward an idea, and you don’t have to ‘write’ the passage – simply send me an outline. Should any good suggestions be forthcoming, I will not be trying to work them immediately, but I will make every effort to get them in. As and when an idea is used I will credit the author.

I’d like to produce a completed novel at the end of the project, so it might take many months. When the story is complete I will remove the chapters for editing and rewriting. At such time as the manuscript is complete, I will be accrediting all who have taken part with a brief explanation to the reader in the preface about what we have accomplished together.

If you have any early comments on my idea or the process, please leave a comment here on my blog, on my creative writer and artist site, or on my author website.

Up to the first five chapters will be available to read in their first draft on this blog.

Tom