“Twisted Key”

 

I am back to work on “Twisted Key”, the latest installment of the life and times of Terrance Charles Rankin of Leakey, Texas. Actually, I am about half-way through the recent round of edits. I hope to be writing original material near the end of this week. I have a few days of field research scheduled for the end of next week, but there are a lot of pages I can write before I need the material from the research.

Once I have all of the current crop of edits done, I will post the first three chapters on my web site and create a new *.PDF for the Free Downloads page. There are some changes in the text, of course, but they are all to eliminate confusion and impart clarity, not to mention a touch of absolute brilliance, to my writing. Unh-huh. I wrote that. Didn’t mean to. Guess it just slipped out.

Actually, I don’t expect there will be any major changes to the first three chapters after this last round of editing, so what you’ll read in the posted chapters will be pretty much what you’ll read in the published version when it comes out next year.

By the way – my editors are brilliant. Not me. They see right through my puny efforts, polish it up and make me do it right. Editing is a drag. It takes a long time, a lot of thought, a lot of attention to the nitty-gritty, and a lot of patience. I’m not sure the Good Lord likes editors, since He didn’t make many of them. But I have two of the best, so I’m not complaining.

Good writing is re-writing. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise. If you don’t have the self-discipline and intestinal fortitude to re-write your material, don’t bother to write anything down, ever. Good writing is re-writing. It bears repeating.

About a week ago I received an offer to purchase a copy of Serif’s brand new photo editing software, “PhotoPlus x4”, for a bit less than half the retail price. I’ve used the trial version of their DTP software, PagePlus, earlier this year and liked it. Since the price for PagePlus x4 was so very tempting, I went for it. I should receive the installation CD some time this week, so I’ll give you a blow-by-blow of the installation and my first impressions as I install it.

This is really a great opportunity, since I am fresh from using Adobe’s Photoshop Elements 8 for the last month or so. I am excited at the opportunity to do a real side-by-side comparison of these two products!

I was at a group book signing event last Friday night. One of the visitors stopped by to visit while his wife browsed through the books on another author’s table. This visitor was in his mid-thirties, I guess. He bought a copy of “The Big Bend” after speaking with me for a few moments. Then he asked the oddest question – one I never heard before – “What’s it like to write a novel?”

I’ve been asked ‘Why’ do you write, and ‘How’ do you write, but no one ever asked me ‘What’s it like?’

I had to sit and think about that one, with my face all scrunched up, an embarrassed – flummoxed, actually – look on my face.

He didn’t want to know if I wrote in my underwear, or if I used a pencil and paper or a computer. He wanted to know – well, I’m not sure, but it wasn’t the mechanics he was interested in. I think he wanted to know how I thought my way through a novel.

This is going to sound dumb, if not insultingly dumb, but the only valid answer I could think of that would explain the process I go through to develop my plots and scenes is that it’s sort of like herding cats.

You’ve got to gather the cats together, get them all moving in the same direction and keep them from turning on you. You’re almost certainly doomed to failure, but when you do succeed, it’s always worth the effort.

He laughed and thanked me, gathered up his spouse and left. He forgot to ask me to sign the book he bought.

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About Gary Showalter

Gary Showalter was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He lived in Aruba, Florida and the Panama Canal Zone before joining the U.S. Army during the 1960s. Following his discharge from the Army, Mr. Showalter picked cotton in East Texas, baled hay in Ardmore Oklahoma, sold light bulbs in Los Angeles, California, and built cattle pens in Fallon, Nevada (during a blizzard, of course). After settling in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Showalter worked as a professional gardener before turning his hand to furniture making. In 1981, he moved to Israel, married, and raised four children while working as a furniture maker, silversmith, goldsmith, and ornamental wood turner. He served in the Israel Defense Forces Reserves for sixteen years, and when not on active duty he worked in government and private security. He has also served in senior management positions in two software development companies in Israel. During his time in Israel, Mr. Showalter published articles dealing with international terror and the Israel-Arab conflict in the Jerusalem Post, Israel national News and several political science web sites. Mr. Showalter returned to the United States in the fall of 2003, to care for an elderly parent. He published his first novel, “The Big Bend”, in the fall of 2008. His second novel, “Hog Valley”, is now in print. Mr. Showalter's third novel, “Twisted Key”, was published in the fall of 2011, and his fourth novel, "Lonesome Cove" is now available in Kindle format and should be published in paper near the end of 2012. He currently lives in Deland, Fl, where he is co-authoring "A Silent Star" with Tony Attanasio. "A Silent Star" is the true tale (though novelized, with names changed for security reasons) about the 4-person covert action team sent into Yemen to capture Osama Bin laden immediately after the bombing of the USS Cole in the Aden harbor in Yemen in October of 2000.
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