Tuesday, March 22, 2016



Hi again to everyone.
Do you really want to be an author? I have to admit, though it's been a rough row to how, it's been a lot of fun too.

Did you enjoy reading that excerpt I posted last week? I must have written and rewritten that scene 30 or 40 times. As I said before, I started this novel some 30 years ago. Hopefully it won't take you that long. Most of that time was spent trying to find an agent, but I also spent a lot of time writing and editing and rewriting until I got the book as good as I could.

It helped having a critique group. My "Writer's Pen" group was a huge help. The members were all great writers. Some of them, like me, were eventually published. Some wrote fantasy. Some wrote horror. Some wrote science fiction. Some like me, wrote young adult coming of age.

So, how did I begin? I think I started writing about this in my post a few weeks ago, but I'll take the chance I won't repeat myself too much.

I began with a strong desire to write something. So, with a pad of paper and a pen, I began. At first, the only time I had to write was during my lunch breaks. And that has pretty much been the way it was ever since. Before I had access to a computer, I would leave my office and go down to my car and with oldies playing on the radio, I started jotting down some ideas.

At first, I just wanted to write about my life in high school. But that idea didn't go very far. I had a pretty boring high school life, ha ha. Soon, I realized I was writing about my high school days, but no one in particular. Mark and Gary, Charisse and Genie, and Jeff and Bobby are all made up. I suppose if you were to examine these characters closely enough you'd see something of yourself in one or more of my characters, but I suppose that's the way it is with every novel. We all tend to identify with one or more of the characters in the story.

So, where did I begin? I know I've said this before, but I started with a rough idea of a beginning and struggled to come up with a logical climax and ending. I read with relish a book by Dean Koontz called "How to Write Best-Selling Fiction." His training (if I can call it that) was wonderful. I read "How To" books from several other writers as well. All of them said to begin by plunging your main character into some kind of terrible trouble. Then, as they try to solve their trouble, they get into deeper and deeper trouble, until the ending when everything is resolved, hopefully happily.

This post is getting kind of long, so I'll save more of this for later. I hope this gives you some hope and an increased desire to write. Like I said, it's fun and rewarding, even if it's a struggle at times.

Good luck. Please remember to "Like" and "Share" this post if you're reading it on Facebook, or "Re-Tweet" it if you're on Twitter. Also, for those who have read "Bridgetown High" or are in the process of reading it, a review on Amazon would be much appreciated.
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About Paul West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a "Prune Picker," though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah.

You can follower him on Twitter: @PaulWWest

Published: Tuesday, March 22, 2016

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Hello to all my faithful followers and friends, (which should be the same readers).

You'll never guess what I did yesterday.

Give up?

I broke down and ordered three paperback copies of Bridgetown High. They're supposed to arrive tomorrow from Amazon.

Do you have your copy yet? If not, why not?

It comes in either kindle or paperback. you can go to this page to order your copy and read the reviews. You'll be surprised that it's gotten close to all 5-star ratings and some very kind reviews. If you feel inclined, please write another review. The more reviews (hopefully all good ones) the more likely it will sell and become the best-selling novel it is meant to be (ha ha ha).

Also, don't forget to "like" and "Share" this posting.

I think I told you on last Monday that I would post a scene in Bridgetown High that I'd discarded. Well, I can't find the one I wanted to use. So, instead I'm going to post an excerpt from the current novel.

No spoilers. Just hope you enjoy it. It's a bit bloody, but a turning point in the story.


Except for the muted sounds of music from inside the auditorium, the schoolyard felt quiet. Too quiet.

The auditorium door shut behind him and the darkness hemmed him in. Looking up, he realized all the schoolyard and parking lot lights were out.

Moving toward the parking lot, Mark’s foot crunched some broken glass on the sidewalk. In the dimness, he could make out the base of a broken light bulb in the socket of the light fixture above him.

A gust of wind rustled the leaves in the nearby bushes and trees lining the sidewalk. Behind a bush at the end of the sidewalk he thought he saw a shadow move. Mark shivered. Was it his imagination?

As he kept moving down the short sidewalk to the parking lot, he heard another rustling sound from behind the bush. This time there had been no breeze.

Another shuffling sound stopped him. The hairs on his arms and the back of his neck bristled.

The half-moon broke through restless clouds, then hid again. In that moment, he saw and heard another shadowy figure skitter from one bush to the next. Was someone hiding behind that bush?

Pop… pop… pop. He heard the sound of cracking knuckles behind him. Mark spun around. Two dark gray shapes emerged from the corner of the building. Stalking toward him.

Mark turned back to the parking lot. From behind a bush next to the sidewalk, a third silhouetted figure emerged, blocked his path, and started stalking toward him in the same menacing manner.

The only route to the parking lot was through the narrow opening between the bushes and the building. Mark sprinted wide. He had to escape.

“Get him, Al!” he heard Jeff call out.

That must be the one Genie had called Alan Benaducci, Mark realized.

Alan was too quick and stepped in Mark’s path, threatening with a large knife.

Before Mark could dodge another way, Jeff and Bobby surrounded him and Alan drew closer. Even in the darkness, Mark could see the crazed look in Alan’s eyes. He looked even more dangerous than Jeff.

“I told you to watch your backside, slick,” Jeff said. “Like I said, I don’t like no draft-dodging, city slickers messing with my chick. Capisce? You get it? So, now we’ gonna teach you a lesson you ain’t never gonna forget.”

Mark knew he could take Jeff or Bobby, maybe even Al, in a fair fight, but he couldn’t beat all three of them. “I’ll fight you, Marino. Just not here. I don’t feel like getting kicked out of school over a bum like you.”

Jeff swore again, then laughed. “What’s that to me? I think you’re just a plain chicken. That’s why you’re a draft dodger, making guys like Bob an’ Alan an’ me go to the war for you. So, I don’t care what you think. When we’re through with you, you’re gonna be dead anyways! So it don’t matter none. So, it’s about time you figured out when I say something, I mean it and I play for keeps. You get what I mean?”

Mark tried to run and break free from the triangle, but Alan and Bobby grabbed his arms and pulled him off his feet, throwing him down on the grass.

Rolling out of their grasp, Mark jumped back up and tried to run again. But Bobby and Alan grabbed him again and held him tight.

Jeff shook his head and chuckled. “Now, you lily-livered puke. You’re a dead man.” He slugged Mark’s stomach, knocking his breath out, then a slug to his face stung and spun his head to one side.

“Come on, you chicken, fight me,” Jeff said, then spit in Mark’s face again.

The sick ooze made Mark nauseous. In spite of being held tight by Bobby and Alan. Mark leaned his head to wipe his face on his suit jacket sleeve. It was useless to fight against three of them.

“I said, I’m not going to fight you here, Jeff. But I’ll fight you any other day you want where no one can see how I’m going to kill you for killing my family!”

“Kill me? Ha! That’s funny!” Jeff laughed. “Me? Kill your family? Now that’s an idea. What’s the matter, worm? You afraid you’re gonna get hurt? I think you’re just chicken to fight me. You gonna run home and cry to your dead mommy? Or should I say mummy?” Jeff belly laughed.

The jab about his mother stung again. Not only had Jeff killed his family, now he had to gall to rub it in. He wanted to kill Jeff for that remark and he struggled to break free so he could slug Jeff, but Alan and Bobby held him too tight. “Tell them to let me go. I’ll show you who’s chicken.” He put up his arms to fight in spite of being held tight.

Then, Jeff slugged Mark hard in the pit of his stomach.

Buckling over, he nearly blacked out, gasping for breath. Propped up by Bobby and Alan, Jeff threw an uppercut that slammed into Mark’s wet face.

Bobby and Alan tried to push him to the ground again, but he staggered to keep his balance. He was sure Jeff had broken his nose with that last blow, and probably knocked a tooth loose too. He could taste the coppery taste of his warm blood, and felt it dripping off his chin as he gasped for air.

Mark struggled to dodge the blows. He swung his arms and lowered his head to try to block them. A high kick slammed into his left eye, shutting it.

Bobby and Alan finally let him go, but before Mark could escape, a hard kick to his groin doubled him up in unbelievable spasms of pain. His head struck hard on the sidewalk as he fell.

Rolling back onto the soft grass he attempted to escape his tormentors, but another kick slammed into his face, shutting his other eye. He tasted the sweet grass, mixed with dirt and blood. They were going to kill him. God, help me! It was the first prayer he’d said since his family’s death.

Mark couldn’t tell who was hitting him any longer. Every blow added a new layer of pain and agony.

“Should I finish him?” Alan laughed.

“No! Not your knife,” he heard someone else shout. It sounded like Bobby, but it didn’t matter. Another hard kick to his groin and another to his ribs knocked more wind out of him and crashed additional pain through his already contorted body. Another kick to his head and he saw stars.

Now, Mark was only vaguely aware of the kicks. The blows to his back. To his head, his stomach, and again his groin. Stiffly, he tried to curl tighter into a ball and covered his head with his hands and arms.

Another kick crashed against the side of his head. A bright light flashed in his head.

Suddenly he was on the bridge, in his family’s sedan. His mother, father, Sabrina and Amy. Then a car passed. Red taillights. Was it Jeff’s? The car hit his car. His dad over corrected. The gasoline truck bore down on them. The family car toppled. An explosion. He saw Amy on the pavement covered with blood.

It all happened in an instant. Then he heard a girl scream and another blow to his head turned everything mercifully black.
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 Hello again to all my faithful friends and followers.

This past week I've been reviewing a book titled "Just Another Quiet Little Town, by J.S. Frankle. It's a fantasy set in modern day. I know you'll enjoy it, it's a fun read. Here's the link so you all can find it and all Mr. Frankle's books: http://www.amazon.com/J.S.-Frankel/e/B004XUUTB8/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Mr. Frankle gave me the review I told you about last Monday. I really appreciate it.

Have you added your email address to the "Subscribe" box on my Blog's sidebar? It's a great way to keep up with what I'm doing and how, plus all my blog entries. And when I finally finish my next novel, I'll be sure to let you know.

Speaking of reviews, here is a link to the reviews I've gotten 9 so far from various people: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1680583093/ref=cm_sw_su_dp. You'll have to scroll down a bit to find them.

I just met someone on line who wants to give me a review too. If any of you want to review Bridgetown High in exchange for a free Kindle copy, let me know, either here on my blog site or on my Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Paul-West-Writer-284357001596275/.

Next week I'm thinking of posting some tossed out chapters of Bridgetown High. Until then, thanks for your following.

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Hello again to all my faithful followers and friends.

It looks like there are a lot of you out there who would love to be a writer, especially a published writer, or in other works, an author. That's the definition of published writer -- an author. I can see by the number of visits my last post generated that my following is growing. That's important for a writer, especially since that could generate sales.

I've probably said this before, but for a author, the more "Likes" you get the higher can be your rank on Amazon, and the higher your rank, the more likely you'll get sales.

Likewise, the more "Shares" you get the the more exposure you will get, as every time someone "Shares" your work it can get exposed to everyone on that person's time-line on Facebook, especially if you share it with the "Public."

There's something else that's important, and that's reviews. I read somewhere that for an author to be successful, he/she should get at least 25 reviews -- the more the better. So far, I've gotten only 9 or 10.

And speaking of reviews, I just got a wonderful one the other day from an author named Jesse Frankle and I want to share it with you:

Howdy. Finished your novel and the review is up on Goodreads. This is your first novel? Holy damn, I was impressed!!

His full review can be seen on his goodreads site:

I hope you'll enjoy this review. Thanks for following me. It's exciting to see my book gaining in popularity, and it's a lot because of you.

Thank you, all of you.

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So, after reading my last post, especially the part where it took me 30 years to get "Bridgetown High" published, do you still want to be an author?

It ain't easy, but as you write, if you truly want to be published, it becomes a passion that you just can't get over. While most people don't have it so rough as me, I write this to encourage you, my faithful followers, to not give up, not matter how difficult it seems. I mean, if I can do this, you can too.

I was fortunate, after several years of working on it, to finally find a critique group on line that helped me greatly. Over those years, I couldn't decide on a title. I started with "Mark and Genie's story," went on with "The Bridge Beckons," even tried "Bridgetown High," but tossed them all. Did I say, tossed them all? Even "Bridgetown High?" Yup. But as I kept trying different titles, "Bridgetown High" kept resonating with me. I asked my critique group their opinion and they liked it too. Well, I told myself, I'll go with it, knowing a publisher would change it any way.

So, began the arduous task of sending out query letters to agents. I tried to send out at least 5 queries a week, but rarely did that many. Years passed -- only got rejections. I don't have an actual count, probably sent out more than 200, maybe more than 300 query letters. Most agents never responded. Those that did, just said things like, "Not for me."

I considered self publishing it, but that idea scared me. Maybe it won't scare you, but I knew I didn't have the money for professional editing, cover design, and time to market it.

Then a high school friend of mine read some of my Facebook musings and gave me a referral to a published friend of hers, Theresa Messenger (don't know if I spelled that right or not). I contacted her and found out she is published through Limitless Publishing and agreed to let me use her name in contacting her publisher about my book. It was a long shot at best, but you know the adage, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."

They accepted it!!! And they kept my title!

I was shocked. A real publisher accepted it. They even did the necessary editing and made up the cover design. So, after signing the contracts, they even did a lot of the first blush marketing for me. That was great. I still have to do a lot, if not most, of the marketing, but I'm learning how and that's becoming a big help.

More later.

P.S. Please don't forget to "Like" and "Share" this post to all your "Friends" in Facebook, and "Re-Tweet" it to your friends in Twitter too.

BTW, don't miss future posts. Let me email them directly to your email. Add you email address to the "Subscribe" box on the side bar.

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