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Hey hey, to all my faithful followers and family.

This week, I thought I'd get back to teaching about the subject you are most likely here for -- to learn about what it takes to become a published author.

As I read recently written novels, most unpublished, I'm still seeing what I railed on earlier in this series, that being about the lack of capturing the reader's attention early on in the book. I see a lot of back story and setting descriptions that are, may I say BOOOORRRRIIIINNNNGGGG. That is tantamont to telling the reader to give up now before it gets worse. I mean how do you expect a person to keep reading if you turn them off in the first page or two?

Rule of thumb, your opening paragraph should plunge your POV character into some kind of terrible trouble in the first paragraph or first sentence, if possible. That doesn't necessarily mean a life or death situation. It could be some other kind of trouble. If you have ever read "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott you'll find the girls' terrible trouble was that Christmas was coming and their father was away from home with the Union Army during the Civil War, and they had no money for gifts for their mother let along to each other. A heart wrenching scenario.

When I wrote my novel, "Bridgetown High," I went through several opening scenes before settling on the one I finally chose where my POV and MC character, Mark, was bemoaning the deaths of his parents and kid sister, who all died in a fiery crash on the Carquinez Bridge in Northern California. To make matters worse, though he was in the crash, he doesn't remember it, but nevertheless he vows to find the hit-and-run driver who caused the accident.

From the first terrible trouble, the novel or story builds from that, scene by scene until the climax at the end.

Does your story start and build like that? If not, you might want to take a closer look at it. Nothing turns a reader off like a milk toast opening of setting descriptions and back story. Get the story going first, then you can add that stuff between the lines and the story develops. Good luck with it and if you need some help, feel free to email me at paulwwest@yahoo.com or find me on FaceBook.

In case I don't get back to you until after New Years, I wish you wonderful holidays. Keep in mind, my novel would make a wonderful gift for teens and baby boomers alike. Just click on this https://www.amazon.com/dp/1680583093 and it will take you to my book's Amazon page.
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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: Thursday, December 14, 2017

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Hi Gang:

I hope you're all hanging in with me -- just want you to know I'm still alive, ha ha. I know it's been a couple of weeks since my last post, but with Christmas and New Years coming on, time to write has had to take a back seat to writing (unfortunately).

I thought today, I would talk (write) about what motivates me to write. Maybe some of my experiences will resonate with your experiences. Those who know me know that I'm a hopeless romantic.

When I was a Freshman in high school (John Swett High in Crockett, California), my English teacher told us we had to write something creative during the first 10 to 15 minutes of the class time. At first I thought it was a pain in the ... but once I got into it I hated to quit when the time was up.

Later, when I was a Senior in high school my English teacher (not the same one) could tell that I loved writing about the history of my home town (Port Costa, California). I collected tons of historical facts and started putting them into a large manuscript (that never got published). I even kept working on it when I got into junior college (Diablo Valley College).

After high school, I went to work in the C&H Sugar Mill for the summer, awaiting the fall when I could go back to school. The job was boring and I began day dreaming about a girl I liked (but never dated, well she had a boyfriend). I found that boredom helped me realize that it was a blessing if I could utilize it. So, I would make up scenarios about how I would ask her out, dates we would go, our first kiss, etc.

Then the Vietnam War forced me into the Air Force and I had to quit writing for a while (several years).

Years later, I had a job where I had to write reports for my day job and realized I could write fiction during my lunch breaks. So, I began work on what is now titled "Bridgetown High" (go ahead and click on the link, or cut and paste it into your search box). At first I had to write it long-hand, but eventually I bought a computer and the rest is history. I still write during my lunch breaks (can't wait for retirement).

I love writing, and I'm hoping to finish the sequel to Bridgetown High soon. Then, I have two other books I'm anxious to finish as soon as I can.

So, in case I don't get back to you in the next 2 or 3 weeks, I hope you all will have a wonderful Christmas season, and remember the reason for the season (Jesus the Christ). And wouldn't this make a great Christmas gift for Baby Boomers and Young Adults alike?

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Hi Gang,

I have to apologize that I haven't had time to write this blog or to write my novel (The Bridge Beckons) either. I have added a few sentences to my novel, but can't get over some brick walls. In January I'm going to retire and I have plans to do some writing every day. That will help a lot, I think.

My first novel (the one I published 2 years ago) took me almost 30 years to write and re-re-re-re-write, so this novel may take more time.

I have two more novels I also want to work on. Nobody said we HAVE to write, we just do it because it's fun, a hobby if you will. So if you are finding it difficult to find time for your hobby, hang in there. Once you sit down, butt in chair (BIC), you'll find it addicting and you won't want to stop. But you have to get BIC first.

In the meantime, I'd love to have your email address so I can send you announcements of upcoming events like the sale of my next book, a blog tour / media blitz that never got off the ground (ha ha ha),  my next blog entry, and so forth.

By the way, my novel is still on sale through Amazon. Just search for my name (Paul W. West) or the name of my book (Bridgetown High).

Happy Thanksgiving. I'll try to write you, my wonderful readers, before Christmas.
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Come join me on my journey as a writer at www.paulwwest.com where I share some writing tips I’ve learned over the years. Also, you can find my novel “Bridgetown High,” set in Crockett, California at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1680583093/ref=cm_sw_su_dp. It’s an intriguing look into the minds of teenagers during the 1960s. Enjoy and pass this on to all your friends.
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Hi to all my friends, followers and family.

I hate to do this, but I need to let you know that this is likely to be my last post for a while. I'm finding it difficult to write these blog posts every week and still find time for actual writing.

Based on the actual number of comments I've gotten from all of you in my audience over the past couple of years, it doesn't appear there are very many people actually reading these posts anyway.

I will probably be back in a few months. I just need some space right now to put into practice what I've been teaching here.

It's been fun, but for now I need to do actual writing, and decide whether I want to continue with my Bridgetown High sequel called The Bridge Beckons, or resume work on another book I've wanted to finish. Some of you might remember me talking about GERTA!

In the meantime, keep going with your own writing and if you need help with something, please feel free to contact me at paulwwest@yahoo.com. I'd love to hear from you, and I'll be happy to answer any questions, or help you with any issues you may have as best I can.

Bye for now,
Paul W. West, Author
Bridgetown High

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Hi Guys and Dolls (sounds like the title of a play, ha ha)

How's your writing going? Anything I can  help with? Don't be shy. I'd love to help. That's why I write this blog.

As a published writer, I still have my struggles too. But I feel that in three-and-a-half months, if nothing goes wrong, I should be able to retire. Once that happens, I should be able to do more writing.

Right now it's tough trying to get in the mood during my 1-hour lunch breaks 3 or 4 days a week. With that consideration, and my struggle to overcome my huge writer's block, my writing ain't goin' as well as I'd like.

See, like I said, we published writers have trouble writing as well.

Here's my problem right now. I have 7 main characters, each with their own individual problems, subplots if you will, and I can't decide how to tie them all together. Based on the word count, I'm probably less than half way through the book, so I have room to do with my characters what I want (or more likely let them do what they want) .

I've found, however, that I do my best writing when I'm bored, ha ha. Can you feature that? But it works, and may work for you, because that's when I let my thoughts wander -- or you can call it daydreaming, and daydreams are where my fiction comes from. It's difficult when I have to rush to put something down on paper, or the computer. I don't have time to do the necessary daydreaming, and that's what is keeping me from writing my best.

So, that's about it for now, and until next week, my best wishes to you for your writing. If any of you have any experiences like mine, I'd love to read about them on my Fan Page on Facebook, or as a comment at the end of this post. If you have any questions you'd like me to answer about writing and publishing, or where I grew up, I'll try to answer as best I can.

In the meantime, I'd love to have your email address so I can send you announcements of upcoming events like the blog tour / media blitz I am scheduling for the first or second week in October. I will possibly reduce the price of my electronic version of my novel  (BRIDGETOWN HIGH), so if you haven't got a copy yet, now would be a great time to buy one. You can also contact me at paulwwest@yaoo.com.
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Hi, to all my faithful friends and followers.

After inundating you all with "how to writing" information I thought maybe today I'd try a different tack. I realize most of you don't have any idea who I am. I know some of you do and well, maybe you've read my bio. That does give you some idea of who I am and where I'm coming from, but I thought for today I'd give you more specifics.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I attended John Swett High School (Class of '65) in Crockett, California. This is the model for the school described in my novel BRIDGETOWN HIGH. I loved that school, and the kids who attended with me, as well as the teachers who were some of the greatest teachers I ever met. I suspect most of them have passed on to the Spirit World by now.

This school is where I earned letters in Track during my Junior and Senior years, and broke the school record in the 440 yard relays. I'm not sure that's ever been broken since then, but probably ha

This is where I played French Horn in the Concert band, and the Alto Sax in the Marching Band. I know. Those are quite different instruments, but I couldn't march with a French Horn, or even the so-called "E-Flat," or "Peck Horn" the director wanted me to play in the marching band. That horn just wasn't cool, but everyone loved a sax player. Those were also the days of Paul Desmond and Dave Brubeck, some cool and great musicians.

These were the days when I met and kissed my first girlfriend. More about that on another day? -- not -- too personal, but she knows who she is, and I think she may be following this blog.

So, that's about it for now. If any of you have any experiences like mine, I'd love to read about them on my Fan Page on Facebook, or as a comment at the end of this post. If you have any questions you'd like me to answer about writing and publishing, or where I grew up, I'll try to answer as best I can.

In the meantime, I'd love to have your email address so I can send you announcements of upcoming events like the blog tour / Media Blitz I am scheduling for the first or second week in October. I will possibly reduce the price of my e'novel (BRIDGETOWN HIGH), so if you haven't got a copy yet, now would be a great time to buy one.
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Hi to all my faithful followers, and family too.

How is your book going?

I apologize for not posting last week but I was out of town tending my twin grandsons. What a delight they are. They're 6 years old and smart as anything. They were like guides and knew everywhere we wanted to take them, and how to get there. I don't think we could have gotten lost if we wanted to.

So, I've been thinking of what writing lesson I could post that would help you with your writing. I know what it's like to be stuck, staring at a blank page on your computer screen. Been there, done that, no fun.

I got this bit of advice from Dean Koontz's book "How to Write Best Selling Fiction." he stated on page 239 and 240, "Do not worry about or be scared by that dreaded nemesis, the Writers' Block." He goes on to say, "... when you sit down to work, begin by retyping the last page or two that you finished the day before. Look for small ways to improve it.... This little trick will put you back into the mood you were in when you were working steadily and happily the previous day...."

But what if you haven't started writing yet, and I suspect some of you are in this category. I can't find it right now, but I'm sure Koontz said something like as well. He said we should play with some wording, some ideas that pop in your head, etc. Go head and put them into your computer. Keep doing that until something of a story develops. Write as much and as fast as you can. Don't stop to make correction, keep writing. Then, when you come to the end of your writing day, save it and leave it until the next day. Then, you can make all the corrections you need until as stated above, you come to where you left off and you're off and writing.

I hope this helps. It helps me, I know.

If you have any concerns about your writing, or any ideas you would like to share, drop me a note in the comments section below.

Until then, keep writing and I want to see your best-selling novel.

If you haven't yet, please get a copy of my novel, BRIDGETOWN HIGH where you can see how all my techniques I've written about in this blog have worked. And, if you feel so inclined, leave a review on both Amazon and Goodreads.

So, until next week, I wish you happy writing. It truly is addicting, the good kind.
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Hi, to all my faithful followers and friends (all the same).

Today's post won't be long. I just want to inform you of two exciting events coming up. No, it's not about a cover reveal for my next novel. Rather, it's about two almost as exciting events, at least I think so, and that is two upcoming blog tours/media blitz for my novel BRIDGETOWN HIGH. Also, my book is being sent out again for reader's review. I'm hoping these events will make my book more visible that will, hopefully, turn into sales. At least it should help my book to raise higher on Amazon's ranking. The first  tour will be done from September 14 thru 20, and the second will be the first week of October.

Another exciting thing is that YOU can help.


If you sign up by sending me your email address you will be entered. Then, when the events are happening, the tour companies will send you an (for want of an better term) advertisement. Then, all you need to do is forward it to all your Facebook and Twitter "friends," or anyone else you can think of. That's it.

Just send your email address to paulwwest@yahoo.com.

Thanks in advance as I'm sure all of you will be willing to help.

And, in case you haven't yet, BRIDGETOWN HIGH is still available at Amazon in both paperback and Kindle.

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A great afternoon to all my faithful family and friends (yah that means you).

So, how is your novel going? I know many of you may not have begun writing, but you want to. There's a remedy for that?

Grab a pen/pencil and some pads of lined paper and just put down the first thing that comes to your mind. (well, OK. You can do this with a computer instead, ha ha). But that's how I started. I think I had nearly 50 pages handwritten before I finally acquired a computer (just fyi, that was more than 30 years ago).

The point is, write something every day. Once you begin, your subconscious will urge you to keep going. Even if you only write for 10 minutes a day, that's OK. At lest your doing it. Now, keep going for as long each day as you can. Have you heard of the term BIC? It means, "butt in chair." You have to get your BIC and just begin and keep going. Soon it will become a passion. It is with me, anyway. Keep in mind, it ain't gonna get writ, if you don't write it.

So, now for the news: This week I finally paid a promotion site to run a media blitz for "BRIDGETOWN HIGH." It will be held the first week in September. I'm excited to see if she will be able to recoup my money for me. If so, I may keep hiring promo agencies to do my marketing. We'll see.
Then, the irony. Another lady from another promo service offered her promo services for free. I think she's trying to get publicity for her promo business. In spite of her services being free, she's been very helpful and she already showed me what her media  blitz is going to look like. Her blitz will be held the first week in October.

Needless to say, I'm super excited about both promos. Good or bad experience, I'll keep you posted.

So, until next week, keep working on your novel and take a minute to read mine, if you haven't already https://www.amazon.com/dp/1680583093/, and it would be great if you would write a review to help Amazon and Goodreads rate my novel at a level it is worth. The higher my ranking the more likely my book is to sell, and you can say you were a part of it.

Thanks to all of you for your support.
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Hi everyone.

Did you miss me? Being gone for two weeks makes for a long wait between my postings.

I just got a message from a man looking for help with his writing. Someone had referred him to me as thinking I could help him with his career. I felt inadequate as his writing goals seemed a lot higher than mine, but I tried to help and referred him to this posting.

However, by the time I wrote back to him, his message disappeared and I felt frustrated not being able to respond and maybe even help him. If this person was you, please contact me again, or comment below.

For today's post I though I would talk a little about characters. I for one, prefer to read about someone who feels real, verses cardboard characters.

So, how do we do that? Many novels are about magic or science fiction where the main character's only purpose is to save a world or something like that, but in the meantime we don't really get acquainted with the main character. In a book titled "How to Write Best-Selling Fiction," by Dean Koontz, he makes few comments that I feel are of value here. He says:

"Your lead character doesn't have to leap tall buildings in a single bound, and he doesn't have to stop speeding bullets with his bare hands, but he darn well better know the difference between right and wrong, and he better be kind to animals, and it sure wouldn't hurt any if he brushed his teeth regularly...

"If your heroine is a beautiful actress, a fine painter, and engineer, a cabinetmaker, a superb cook, a daring test pilot, a whiz at electronics, a doctor, a lawyer, and an Indian chief, don't you think you ought to humanize her at least to the extent of giving her a zit on the end of her nose?"

I know these sound a bit flippant, even humorous, but there's a lot of truth there. Your characters must be real if you expect to write "best-selling fiction."

So, how are your characters developing.

In my novel, "Bridgetown High," I tried my best to develop all the main characters, even to the point of going into the heads of Jeff Marino, the antagonist as well as Mark Wilkerson, the protagonist. I think I succeeded. Reviews of "Bridgetown High" have almost always been positive and one of the main things reviewers point out is the realism of the story and its characters.

So, until next week, keep working on your novel and take a minute to read mine, if you haven't already https://www.amazon.com/dp/1680583093/ and it would be great if you would write a review to help Amazon and Goodreads to rate my novel at a level it is worth. The higher my ranking the more likely my book is to sell, and you can say you were a part of it.

Thanks to all of you for making this effort a success.
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A wonderful high to all my great friends and family (er. that should be "hi" not "high). I'm sure most of you will understand, ha ha.

First, before I proceed,  I need to let you know that I won't be here next week. But keep checking and come back every week and even re-read some of my older posts so you can make fun of all my goofs, he he.

I saw an interesting discussion this last week on Goodreads. The title of the discussion was "Should life lessons be part of YA novels?" What do you think? Should they, or not? Have any of you thought about that in your writing? I have, and I think the answer is "yes," BUT!

A huge BUT here. If you are to do that, keep in mind, kids aren't stupid. They can usually see through the lesson material, so make sure you're not being preachy. Most kids are looking for answers to life's problems, especially their problems.

One commenter (me) offered the following: "In every novel I've read, and had any real impression on me, the main character (and possibly others) have had a life changing experience by the end of the novel. If it didn't, the book was meaningless.

That being said, the reader should be able to somehow identify with the main character(s) and gain a lesson vicariously.

In my novel, Bridgetown High," the main character "Mark" starts out hurt and angry. He wants to get revenge on the person who killed his family. By the end of the book, he learns who the killer is and it's like a rug was pulled out from under his feet. He doesn't know how to react.

That same commenter (me) also stated: "In almost every novel, there's a protagonist and an antagonist. Hopefully, by the end of the book, the protagonist overcomes s the antagonist and in that effort he/she learns something or grows as a result."

OK, so until two weeks from now, keep reading and writing, and thanks for following me and my novel's success. I hope you've enjoyed "Bridgetown High." If you haven't yet, you still can by going to Amazon
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Hi Everyone

I hope you're having a wonderful first part of summer. So far, here in Utah, it's been hot, but today was quite mild, mid-80s. But by Independence Day, it's supposed to bet up to near 100.

I apologize for not writing anything last week. It was a crazy week.

Anyway, today I want to ask you a question and get some feedback from you, all my faithful followers.

In my new novel that I'm calling, "The Bridge Beckons," I have 3 or 4 girls who are murdered. Of course I don't know who the murderer is, but I do know the victims. So, is it possible to write a scene from the viewpoint of the victim? Experience her being stalked in the dark by someone. Experience her being snatched. Experience her feeling the sharp blade to her neck....

What do you think? She died.
The main problem I see is how can she tell us about it if she's dead?

I hope you will add a comment to this blog post and let me know what you think. If you do, consider that you are helping to write a novel. I know you are probably doing that anyway, aren't you? Right?

So, until next week (I hope) thanks for following me and my novel's success. I hope you've enjoyed "Bridgetown High." If you haven't yet, you still can by going to Amazon
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Hi Gang,

How is your writing going?

I thought today I would talk about antagonists, or the bad guys and girls.

A lot of the time, I read stories that don't describe the antagonists beyond maybe facial features, body build, and maybe skin and hair color. They also usually give the antagonists a motive for why they are antagonists, but that's it.

While these things are important, there should be much more in depth descriptions. In my novel, BRIDGETOWN HIGH, I went into a lot of descriptions of Jeff Marino. I not only portrayed him as a bully, but also as a poor boy from the proverbial wrong side of the tracks, a boy with no family life, his mother works two jobs just to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. He has only one friend, Bobby Baker, who tries to help. Jeff has one great passion, Genie Lombardi, a protagonist. He is in love with her and she becomes the reason he hates Mark Wilkerson (the main protagonist).

As the story unfolds, Jeff looses Bobby to a horrible accident (you'll have to read the book to find out how). I described in detail how he felt, how he mourned for his best friend, almost like a brother. He then goes through what I think is a metamorphosis. He begins to blame everyone he associated with, especially Mark. He even blames Genie who dumped him for Mark. In short, I describe what's going on in his mind, how he changes and wants revenge.

If you're serious about writing, take my advice when it comes to the antagonist. Get into his/her head to make him/her real, to come alive on the pages.

Good luck. I hope that encourages you, not discourages you. For me, writing is in my blood. I just can't quit. I hope my next novel, a sequel to BRIDGETOWN HIGH, will be as well written.
So, until next week,  as always, if you like this blog/message, please remember to "Share" and "Like"it on Facebook , and "Tweet" or "Retweet" it on Twitter. Then PLEASE, take five minutes to write a review and post it on Amazon. I need all the reviews I can get to make this book a success. Also have you signed up for my email letters on my Blog Site? I would love to see you there and have you introduce yourself and give comments, good or bad, to this blog. And also keep in mind "BRIDGETOWN HIGH" is still available at Amazon. You can read some GREAT reviews of BRIDGETOWN HIGH on Amazon and Goodreads in case you need more info about my novel. Almost everyone who has read it, loved it.

(By-the-way, if you are reading this on my blog (www.paulwwest.com) the above blued words are clickable links. Just hold down the Control key and click on the blue words.)

See y'all next week, and happy writing.
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Hello, all my favorite boys and girls.

Are you ready for some more of my wisdom about writing?

Well, I don't know how much is wisdom and how much is desperation, ha ha.

When I began writing fiction, the first thing I did was go to the library to see what it had in the way of  helps. I searched the card catalog (this was before the spread of the internet) for "How to write" and found several great books on the subject. Books by Dean Koontz, Jack Bickham, Ronald Tobias, among others I can't recall right now. To me, the best was "How to Write Best Selling Fiction," by Dean Koontz. That may be the reason I quote him so much.

As I thought about a story line, I realized I needed to do some research. The first things I consulted, believe it or not, were my high school year books. Since I'd decided I wanted my novel to be set there, I wanted to make sure I described things as accurately as I could. Several of you have commented in your reviews how they could visualize the places and events I described in "Bridgetown High." Then, knowing I would likely portray kids with drugs, I did research into drug addiction and effects of taking mentamphetamines with alcohol. That research brought me to write one of the most dramatic scenes in the book, but it also let me know when I've overdone it.

Here is an exerpt of that scene. To give you a bit of lead up, Alan had bought meth and stole some beer for a drug party. Then he and Jeff, Genie, and Chris went for a joy ride across the Carquinez Bridge. There's more, but I have to keep something for you to wonder about, he he he. I also won't give you the outcome of this little chase scene, he he he. Enjoy!

“No! Bobby, no!” Chris yelled as Alan leaned over the steering wheel so Bobby could push the door open and get out.

Bobby didn’t answer. Then Genie saw the pistol in his hand.

“Bobby,” Chris screamed. “Where you get that?”
Chris grabbed Bobby’s shirt as he climbed out, “Bobby, No! Don’ do it. Get back in here!” Tears were streaming down Chris’s face as she tried to hold onto his shirt, but he pulled away from her. Then she screamed again, this time in Spanish.

“Bobby,” Genie screamed too. “Get back in here. You’re going to get hurt.” She wanted to say killed, but couldn’t bring herself to say it.

Horns blared as cars passed, barely brushing past Bobby and Alan’s open door. He dodged one car, then another, then dashed to the front of Alan’s car, then to the narrow sidewalk.

Chris reverted to English. “Bobby! In the name of God, get back in here. You acting crazy,” she yelled at him. “You loco man!” But he just stared down at the ship under the bridge. “You going get kill out there,” she kept yelling. “Please! Get back here. Oh, my God, Mother Mary, and Joseph!” Chris and Genie made the sign of the cross together.

“I got to see this too,” Jeff said, as he pushed Linda’s seat forward and climbed out to join his friend.

Genie dropped her face into her hands, forgetting for the moment her migraine. Then popping noises made her look up again. Bobby was shooting at the ship as more cars passed by, honking.

Alan rolled his window down and shouted, “Get in, quick! Cops are coming!”

Genie glanced behind them and saw the red flashing lights from an approaching squad car. Above the noise from the stereo, she could faintly hear the wail of its siren. She prayed the officer would stop them before somebody got hurt.

Jeff jumped back in next to Genie while Bobby ran back around the front of the car. As he darted to the door, another car passed at that same moment. Genie felt and heard the hard, dull thump, and she and Chris screamed as Bobby’s body hurtled into the air, into the path of another car.

Genie’s stomach wrenched as Bobby’s blood splattered across the windshields of both cars and his body bounced again on the pavement where another car screeched to a halt over his lifeless body.

Bobby’s gun slid across the freeway toward Alan’s car. He opened the car door to retrieve it and tossed it to Jeff. “Here. Hold on to it.”

Traffic on the northbound span came to a quick halt. Through her tears, Genie could see the highway patrol car struggling through the tangled traffic. Please hurry! she prayed.

Alan swore and stomped on the gas pedal, peeling rubber.

“Alan, stop!” Chris screamed, slapping the back of Alan’s head. “You leave Bobby. You can no leave him. Stop!”

“No way,” Alan said, ducking forward and swearing. “He’s dead. We got to get out of here before that cop gets us.”

At the toll booth at the end of the bridge, two black-and-white highway patrol cars waited with red lights flashing, ready to intercept Alan.

Alan swore again as he hit the brakes and spun a sharp left. He slid into the turn out before the toll plaza’s office building. It was designed for people to turn around if they’d gotten on the bridge by accident. Alan skidded on some loose gravel, then merged with the southbound traffic back to Crockett.

While Chris screamed, Genie glanced out the back window again. As she hoped, the officers had joined the chase.

Turning back to the front, she held on tight as Alan cut in-and-out of traffic again. He had a crazed look in his eyes.

The bridge, cars, and everything passed in a blur. Alan was going to kill all of them. Genie knew it.

All the while, Linda just stared out the front window, a blank expression on her face, while Chris screamed at Alan, in Spanish again.
Genie was too frightened to speak, or even scream. She knew Alan wasn’t in his right mind, and she struggled to keep bile from rising in her throat.

Jeff, bouncing in his seat, yelled, “Turn off, Al. I know a place we can hide in Crockett where they can’t find us.”

Alan cut across two traffic lanes in front of other cars that honked as he did, and veered off onto the exit.

The highway patrol cars were a half-mile behind them. Please hurry! she prayed again.

Alan and Jeff both swore and Genie looked back to the front. A county sheriff’s squad car was blocking the end of the off-ramp, a deputy stood beside the car with his gun in one hand, and a high-powered flashlight in the other. He aimed both it at Alan.

Alan targeted his car to the rear end of the squad car, like a demolition derby, and stomped on the gas pedal. “AAAAAHHHHH!” he screamed.

Genie dropped to the floor and Chris fell on top of her, still screaming in Spanish. This was it.

Genie felt a strong jolt and heard breaking glass and clashing metal. Unable to control it any longer, she vomited on the floor, then felt the car accelerate again. It wasn’t over.

Chris fell silent for a moment and sat back up.

Ignoring the sickening slime on her hands and chin, Genie crawled back to her seat, too.

The hood of Alan’s car was crumpled, but the collision hadn’t been enough to stop him.

Genie looked out the rear window as the squad car’s gas tank exploded, and the sheriff’s deputy ran from the flames.

Chris prayed her rosary in Spanish, and Genie decided a prayer wouldn’t hurt her either. Dear God, help! She couldn’t think of anything more to say, but kept repeating the words in her mind, genuflecting with each repetition.

So, did you enjoy that? There's more like that in the book, "Bridgetown High." Check it out.

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Hello to all my friends and family.

This week's post will be short. My work's computer caught a virus and died. It had been slowing down little by little until I called the doctor (techie) and after a lot of work in his part, he pronounced it dead.

So, no tears were shed when I was told I had to get a new computer. The new one is great. Much faster, a lot more memory (doubled, actually) and has the latest and greatest Windows operating system. The drawback is that I have to reinstall all my programs and settings. I have a lot of those things and after 3 days I still can't get a lot of them operating. So, with that in mind, I need to work on that instead of writing this blog post.


So, instead of writing about my writing, I'm going to post another review of Bridgetown High.


Here's one I especially love. Love to laugh off, that is:

"Teen drama.
on January 1, 2017
"This is not what I was expecting, just teenage drama. You may like it, but I'm not wasting my time."
She gave me 1 star, ha ha ha. You got to love it.
So, until next week, keep working on your novel and take a minute to read mine, https://www.amazon.com/dp/1680583093/. Thanks.
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Hi everyone. When I started writing Bridgetown High, I suppose it could have been labeled contemporary young adult. However, over the years it has slowly become historical. The 1960s is probably no longer an era in which young adults are interested. I realize that, and accept my fate.

Over the years, as I wrote a bit at a time, trying my best to write a novel people would be interested in, I tried to bring it up to the contemporary level. I rewrote the entire book as if it were taking place in modern times. It just didn't work. So, I decided to try to write to the baby boomers as a nostalgic look back to a bye-gone era, and that is who is primarily buying my books.

Another problem I've run into, is not so much the age group, but what today's youth want to read - Fantasy and Science Fiction. Those genre do not attract me at all, though I have to admit I read all the Harry Potter books.

So, my advice to all you wannabe authors, if you want to be successful as an author, you might just have to write to the masses. Young adults want Fantasy and Science Fiction. Adults tend to read a lot of romance stories. Keep that in mind when you write your novel(s).

In the mean time, thanks for following me and my novel's success. I hope you've enjoyed Bridgetown High. If you haven't yet, you still can by going to Amazon.
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Hi Gang,

Sorry last week's posting was a bit short, but I hope you enjoyed the review I posted. Most of my reviews have been a lot like that one.

Today, I want to give you more advice about becoming a best selling writer. In Dean Koontz's book, "How to Write Best Selling Fiction," Mr. Koontz suggests we write in "a style which embodies at least a trace of lyrical language and as many striking images as possible, for good writing is always vivid and visual."

So, what does all that mean?

Lyrical language. What does that mean to you? I'm not sure, exactly, but I'm sure it doesn't mean to write poetry, though I've seen some writers such as Ellen Hopkins who have done just that, i.e. wrote novels in a poetic style, and were very successful at it. But I think Koontz meant to write in a voice that belongs to your characters, not you the writer, i.e. make a boy sound like a boy and a girl sound like a girl. That's not always easy to do. In my novel, "Bridgetown High," one of the characters is a 1960s hippie. He tries to use a lot of hippie slang, "like wow," and stuff like that. I also have a Mexican girl who speaks broken Spanglish, and two who are from Italy and also speak broken English. In another book I'm writing, many of the characters are Irish and Scottish. I have to admit it ain't easy to mimic dialectical speech, and I'm not sure I always succeeded, but I haven't gotten many complaints, except for my 60s hippie, but I think in that instance people just don't remember how hippies/beatniks sounded back then. Quite annoying really. Actually, I've gotten many compliments on how I handled all the ohter dialects.

Striking images. What does that mean to you? Again, I'm not sure what Koontz mean by it (it's been a long time since I read the book), but I think he meant to describe the setting faithfully. Don't use it to excess, however. You don't want to interrupt the story with a ton of descriptive language or even back story. Don't spend a half dozen pages describing how the clouds are floating overhead, or how the trees and grass, or buildings look. More, how they make you feel. The setting can be like a character, setting various kinds of moods.

Play with these ideas. It's actaully quite fun to let you left brain go off on a fictional journey of its own. It's liberating

Just so you'll know, I may not be writing in this blog next week. I have a convention with my day job I need to attend to. But keep in mind, my book is still for sale in Amazon if you haven't got your copy yet.

Have fun with your writing, even if you think you can't, or don't want to. It's like a beautiful butterfly, the more you let it go, the more it will return (or something like that, LOL).

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Hi to all my family and friends.

Today, I'm a little short on time to write a blog posting. But I ran across a review a lady gave me for Bridgetown High. In case you are undecided as to whether or not to buy a copy of my book and read it, maybe this review will help you decide.

on February 14, 2017
Author Paul W. West, a great author and wonderful storyteller; this book is great for teenagers too. On that point is no cursing, nor sexual content, just a downright nice read that brings the reader back to the 1960’s. The characters are filled with emotions that truly stand out, especially, Mark Wilkerson, who bears a terrible sum of guilt which leads to some scary moments. I found this story to be an overall great read, very realistic in many ways and would make a great movie! Highly recommended.
You can read more review like this by going to Amazon and Goodreads and searching my name, or the name of my novel.

Next week I promise I'll get back to my review of Dean Koontz's book "How to Write Best Selling Fiction." Until then, have a wonderful week.
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Hi, everyone.

A good friend of mine recently disagreed with the title of this blog. He said, he doesn't want to be an author. Well, I think he just hasn't realized it yet.

This week's blog/news letter will be short. I recently read an article on how to gain followers and boost book sales, and I'm needing to digest it before I do much more.

In the meantime, I'll give you another bit of wisdom from Dean Koontz. This one will be short and sweet: "You must have at least some familiarity with the rules of English grammar and syntax -- the more familiarity the better, of course."

I can't express how important that is if you expect people to read your stuff. I think that is the biggest reason I give for poor reviews when someone asks me to review their novel. I recently reviewed a science fiction novel that was almost unreadable due to poor grammar and syntax. I struggled through the first 4 or 5 chapters and just couldn't go on. I had to tell the poor author the bad news that he needed to get with a good critique group, or at least go back to school and learn English (which was his native language -- well I didn't really say that to him). That book was almost as bad as the book I reviewed about a killer who was the protagonist and got into several gun fights with numerous other bad guys and even though they're only feet apart, and both fighters took several bullets, neither of them died. Duhh!

It's gotta make sense. But that's another issue called be logical.

Well, I need to quit for today. I don't know if any of you took advantage of my give-away last weekend. No? I didn't think so. I wasn't made aware my publisher was doing one until it was practically done and too late to announce it. Sorry. Keep posted and maybe another one will come up soon.

In the mean time, thanks for following me and my novel's success. I hope you've enjoyed "Bridgetown High." If you haven't yet, you still can by going to Amazon.
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 Hi again, y'all,

I think the title of this blog, "EVERYONE WANTS TO BE AN AUTHOR," is so true. I know it was for me. It took me a long time to get published, plus it took the help of some fantastic writers and critique partners to get there. But "Bridgetown High" is the result. It's not well known, yet, but those who have found it, and read it, loved it. Have you gotten your copy yet? Remember you can get it in either Kindle (electronic) or paperback versions. Either version can be found on Amazon. Also, remember, the sequel I'm calling, "The Bridge Beckons," is in the works.

Well, today I promised you I would talk a bit about Dean Koontz's advice that we have "well-drawn backgrounds." Koontz goes into a lot of detail about this subject.

Consider, for a moment, that if you've never been to the place where your novel is set, how can you portray it adequately so that the reader feels he/she knows the place? If the reader can't picture the place/setting he's going to toss the book in the trash. I've had to do that when critiquing some novels by new writers (that wasn't the only reason, but a big one). I simply couldn't follow the story, or get set in the background. It just didn't seem real.

I struggled with getting the setting right until I set my book in someplace recognizable. But even more than that, I also did a lot of research into background setting. It starts with a "real" funeral parlor in a real town, that even if you'd never been there you can still see it in your mind. Then, I set most of the novel in the shadow of the Carquinez Bridge overlooking the small town of Crockett, California. The bridge plays a big role in the story line. Actually, the Carquinez Bridge (about 35 miles northeast of San Francisco) is quite recognizable to anyone who's crossed it with the huge C&H Sugar refinery at the base of the south end of the bridge. Then, the next, and probably the biggest setting, is the local high school, John Swett High School in Crockett. I had to reach back in my memory banks a lot to make sure the setting was accurate the way things really were back in 1965, when the book is set, and that has been a big draw to readers who have been there.

Now, if I hadn't set the book in these settings, I suppose I could have set it anywhere, as long as I did the research sufficient to portray the setting accurately.

And, that's where science fiction and fantasy come in. Most often, these genre do not have known settings and the author, not if not doing a good job at the descriptions, asks us to suspend disbelief.  To me, that's a tough assignment. These settings are most often totally made up by the author, hoping that the reader will follow the made up descriptions. Not an easy thing to do, but I applaud those who have done it successfully. Not being a huge fan of these genre, I frankly don't know how these authors do it. They have to completely create a new background and be true to it all the way through the story, and many times the background/setting becomes a character as well, with motives of its own.

That's all for today. If you have any questions, or don't understand something I said here, drop me an email (paulwwest@yahoo.com), or leave a comment on this blog or Facebook site where I also post these blogs.

So, until next week,  as always, if you like this blog, please remember to "Share" and "Like"it on Facebook , and "Tweet" it on Twitter. Then PLEASE, take five minutes to write a review and post it on Amazon or Goodreads. Also have you signed up for my email letters from this Blog Site? I would love to see you there and have you introduce yourself and give comments, good or bad, to this blog. And also keep in mind "BRIDGETOWN HIGH" is still available on Amazon. Also, you can read some GREAT reviews of BRIDGETOWN HIGH on Amazon and Goodreads in case you need more info about my novel. And keep in mind, if I ever get some free time, I have a sequel in the works.

(By-the-way, the above blued words are clickable links. Just hold down the Control key and click on the blue words.)

See y'all next week.

P.S. I have no idea who took that picture above, so I hope he/she doesn't mind my using it.
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