My Writing Process: Larry Lee Farmer

Today I’m delighted to be welcoming Larry to my blog, to talk about his writing process.

Every Monday, authors blog about how and why they write, then pass the baton to three more writers. You can find Larry’s hand0vers at the bottom of the page, but first, here’s a little about the man  himself.

LarryFarmer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What am I working on?
The Kerr Construction Company is about a period of my life where I was in transition. I went to college, but was looking for something. I was restless. I am of the sixties generation and there was a lot of turmoil in my day. I was of the ilk though that believed in the war in Vietnam.

I grew up in rural Texas and had a father that was a hero in World War II. I did not relate with most of my generation. I chose to go to Vietnam and quit college to join the Marines. When I got out of the Marines, I traveled, trying to sort things out. I came home, finished college, and worked in prosperous, booming Houston. I had nothing against wealth or capitalism or the industrial age, but the rat race and materialism, mixed with so much of my generation being on drugs and into the fast lane and parties, turned me off. I wanted to get away. Not to rebel, but to find my head, as the saying back then portrayed.

I went out to the desert in western New Mexico and worked for minimum wage as a laborer on a construction crew, living in the back of a panel truck. I worked with Navajo Indians and illegal aliens. And loved it. No one could figure out what I was doing there. I didn’t belong. Or at least wasn’t supposed to belong to this scene. But it was the America I loved and missed much more than the materialistic one I left behind.

And I met a girl while there. A gorgeous Hispanic girl. Also in transition in her life. Just divorced and trying to find herself too. She was precious. Even me being an Anglo and her Hispanic added to the allure. We weren’t trying to be politically correct. We weren’t trying to be anything. Just ourselves. Whatever that turned out to be.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I do have an imagination and I do write fiction. I like the definition of fiction I heard in that, artistically speaking, you can tell the truth better through this medium. Most of my stories are based on events I lived in my life. I will give an artistic expression and flair, but not for the sake of fantasy, or fabrication. But for insight. I want to be entertaining, but lived in the sixties generation and love having a message in it all.

Why do I write what I do?
I need to relate things. My feelings and insights. Share things I’ve experienced. I need to say things. I have to do it in an entertaining and marketable manner, but with all this in mind.

How does my writing process work?
I start off just trying to get the ideas out there. I put forth effort getting it in a presentable way at the beginning, but mostly start off just trying to get it out at all. Then I go back and smooth it up and add new ideas, or improve on the old. I layer my writing in this manner.

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Dalhart McIlhenny is restless after finishing college. With old school values from his rural upbringing in Texas and a chip on his shoulder from being a Marine during the Age of Aquarius, he sets off on a quest. He wants something different in his life. Something others of his generation wouldn’t understand.

The Indian Capital of America. That’s what they call Gallup, New Mexico, and that’s where he’ll search for whatever it is he wants. But first he must find a job. One no one else wants. One as a laborer for minimum wage for the Kerr Construction Company, working with the local Navajo and with illegal aliens.

Far away from the fast cars and parties he doesn’t care about like others do. He becomes best friends with an ex-bullfighter from Durango and finds allure in just trying to survive in a world that doesn’t care. Then he meets Carmen.

“Quitting time, McIlhenny,” I heard Ira shout.
“Another five minutes,” I shouted back.
“I’ll load up,” he answered. “Oh yeah, another thing.”
“What’s that?” I asked when he didn’t follow through.
“Didn’t you say you used to play football?” he asked.
“Yeah.”
“You’re a fast runner, right?”
What does that mean? “Yeah,” I answered again.
“You better be. This is a stick of dynamite here in my hand.”
He lit it and threw it my direction. I didn’t look back until I heard the explosion. There was a hole ten yards from where I used to be.
“Come on,” he shouted again, not bothering to laugh. “Let’s go home. Go get your shovel if it’s still there.”

The Kerr Construction Company is available on Amazon.

Next  bloggers are Angela Hayes, Michael T. Curd and Daniel Schlueter

Angela Hayes
A married mother of two, I split my time between bringing characters to life by computer, and yarn to life with needle and hook.

You can find me at my blog.  I’d love to hear from you.

Angela will post her My Writing Process on her blog on Monday 12 May.

Heart, Soul, and Happily Ever After
Love’s Battle- available on Amazon.

Michael T. Curd, D. Min., BCC, LMFT, DP.
Michael spent sixteen plus years as a clinically trained chaplain in all levels of health care chaplaincy and twenty years as a U.S. Army Chaplain.

He has been a psychotherapist for forty years and is a Subject Matter Expert in the resolution of trauma, Post Traumatic Stress/PTSD, grief and conflict.
Dr. Curd developed and wrote the first approved “Protocol for the Role of Chaplains in a Trauma/Medical Resuscitation” in 1993 which continues to be used throughout the Armed Forces.

He is the father of four adult children, grandfather of three and an avid angler.

Blogsite: Pages of Wonder

Through the Valley is available on Amazon.

Michael’s My Writing Process post will appear here on 5 May 2014.

Daniel Schlueter
Daniel Schlueter received both his BS in Nuclear Engineering and an MS in Computer Science from Texas A&M University.
He served on active duty in the U.S. Army attaining the rank of Captain.
He then received his MA in Theological Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

After working as an engineer for GE Aircraft Engines for more than 28 years, he received his DMin from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Spiritual Formation.

He and his wife, Lita, have been married for more than 40 years.

Blogsite: In the Crucible by Dan

 

 

 

My Writing Process: how and why I write Victorian mystery romances

Hello and welcome. I’m Frances Evesham. I’m going to let you into some of my writing secrets and share an early peep at the official publisher’s description of my new novel. Only the friends on my email list have seen it so far. Scroll down to the bottom of the page if you can’t wait!

Frances cropped

My author friend Pat McDonald, kindly invited me to take part in this Writing Process blog hop. You can read her post on her Facebook page.

What am I working on?
Life is extra exciting at the Evesham’s just now, as we’re busy getting ready for the launch of my first novel,  An Independent Woman, a historical mystery romance, on 11 June 2014.

At Thatcham Hall, an English Great House, the fiery, determined Philomena leaps straight out of the frying pan into the fire. She’s escaped the perils of 19th century London only to tumble into a whole new set of predicaments that force her to face an impossible dilemma.

Her story was enormous fun to write, and Thatcham Hall made such an impression on me that I couldn’t wait to go back there with the next story.

The sequel to An Independent Woman, half-written,  is set just a few years later. It promises plenty of danger, excitement and romance.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I love a strong plot and plenty of action. I’m proud of feisty Philomena, who’s brave enough to take her destiny in her own hands in the 19th Century, when women came a distinct second to men.

Debbie Tailor has designed a deliciously atmospheric, Gothic cover for An Independent Woman. It made me wonder what other secrets and gossip the walls of Thatcham Hall have heard.

An Independent Woman
An Independent Woman

Why do I write what I do?
One day, when I was very small, I visited the Post Office in a tiny Cotswold village where my mother grew up. There, I met Great Aunt Annie, a maiden Victorian lady, almost a hundred years old. Tiny and neat, with cotton-wool hair styled in a careful bun at the back of her neck, Aunt Annie bustled about, making cups of tea and cutting slices of fruitcake.

Aunt Annie lived quite alone, content, full of lively interest in the world and its news.  She would have adored the internet.

Philomena, the Independent Woman of my novel, is a Victorian woman: self-sufficient, spirited and capable. The Victorians invented and built things. They engineered steam trains, bridges and factory machinery. Their photographs suggest they were solemn and unsmiling, but that was because they had to keep still for 30 seconds for every shot.

I believe the Victorians were like us inside, nursing their own hopes and dreams of adventure, love and happiness. I’m having fun writing their stories.

How does my writing process work?
Some say writing is a form of self-hypnosis, where your subconscious takes over from the careful, sensible, everyday part of your brain. I love the feeling of travelling into another world in my head as the story unfolds.

Before I begin, I get to know my characters well. Who are they? What happened to them that made them who they are? What do they want and how can they achieve it?

A rough plan for the story takes shape and then the fun starts. At once, my characters grab hold of the tale and startle me with their actions and reactions. They invade my dreams so I wake in the night with a scene in my head that insists I record it then and there. I make a quick note on my phone: sometimes I can read it in the morning, sometimes it turns out to be nothing more than gobbledegook.

I write at a tiny desk in the smallest, cosiest bedroom in the house, now that our children have all left home. My shelves are full of family photos, presents from the children, folders of family history and, of course, far too many books.

I scribble unreadable notes on scraps of paper and pin them to a corkboard above my head. I like to research in the evening and write during the day, leaving time to cook spicy things for dinner and watch nonsense on television.

When I have a plot problem, I walk in the Somerset countryside or visit Burnham on Sea’s nine-legged lighthouse on the beach, and I read, read, read whenever I have the chance.

Please keep in touch
An Independent Woman will be available through Amazon and The Wild Rose Press, my publishers, on 11 June 2014.

Enter your email address here to join the group of friends who’ll be first with news of my books, including the launch date for the print version of An Independent Woman and a first look at an excerpt.

via Wikimedia Commons
via Wikimedia Commons

Next week, I’m handing the  parchment and quill pen to three author friends: Heather McCollum, R.E. Mullins and Larry Lee Farmer.

Heather McCollum is an award winning, historical paranormal romance writer, a member of the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood of 2009 Golden Heart finalists & a surviving warrior of ovarian cancer. She resides with her very own Highland hero & 3 spirited kids on the mid-Atlantic coast.

Heather’s post will be on her blog  Heather McCollum.

R. E. Mullins was born and raised in Joplin, Missouri. She has also lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mt. Clemens, Michigan, Springfield, Missouri and Colorado Springs, Colorado. Though she has loved each area, the Ozarks hold a special place in her heart.

Find R. E. Mullins’ post on Goodreads or on her Facebook page.

Come back here on 28th April next week, for Larry Lee Farmer’s post on my blog. I’m hosting it for a  while as his site is under construction.

Larry recently published a mini novel, ‘The Kerr Construction Company,’ through the Wild Rose Press that is now on Kindle ebooks through Amazon.

Finally, as promised, here is the Official Publisher’s Blurb for An Independent Woman:

With nothing left from her childhood except a tiny portrait of a beautiful woman, some skill with a needle, and the knowledge of a dreadful secret, Philomena escapes her tormentor, Joseph, and the dank fogs of Victorian London, only for a train crash to interrupt her quest for independence and freedom.

Trapped between the upstairs and downstairs occupants of a great country house, Philomena hears whispers of the mysteries and lies that lurk in empty corridors and behind closed doors. Her rescuer, the dangerous, enigmatic Hugh, Lord Thatcham, wrestles with his own demons and makes Philomena’s heart race, but she must fight her passion for she can never marry.

Haunted by her past, Philomena’s only hope of happiness is to confront the evil forces that threaten to destroy her.

Join my friends for early news of the launch of  An Independent Woman.

 

Crime in Victorian London: 19th Century Murder at Manor Place

A sudden noise above their heads startled Philip and Susannah Beard awake, early in the morning of 31 July 1860.

The Old Bailey in 19th Century via Wikimedia Commons

As Philip hurried upstairs to the third floor of 16 Manor Place, he heard a scream.

At first, he saw only a spot of blood on the stairs, then as he climbed higher, he found the body of an 11-year-old boy lying dead on the landing. His throat had been cut. “Murder!” Philip cried.

There was more horror beyond.

Next to the young boy lay a woman, lying on her face. A second woman lay on her left. In the next room, on a bed, lay another young boy or around 7 years of age.

Family
John Youngman, a tailor, lived in 16 Manor Place, Walworth in 1860 with his wife and two young sons, Thomas and Charles, in the rooms above. An older son, William, had been there for a week, after giving notice to his employer, Dr Duncan. William had worked for Dr Duncan as a footman.

Mary Wells Streeter, William’s sweetheart, came to stay on 30th July 1860. She and William went out for the evening, returning on good terms at 10 pm. That night, William slept in a bed with Thomas, with their father in the same room. Mary and Charles spent the night in the next room, with Mr Youngman’s wife.

July 31st
at 5 o’clock in the morning of July 31st, Mr Youngman left home to go to work with another son, John, at the tailor’s workshop.

At 6.20 he was called home to the horrific scene.

His wife, his two sons and Mary were all dead. Mary and the two boys had all been stabbed and had their throats cut, while his wife had died just from stab wounds. There were two adult footprints in the copious blood in the room.

William, present at the time, with blood on his hands and feet and a torn nightshirt, told the police, “My mother has done all this, she has murdered my two brothers and my sweetheart and I – in self-defence – I believe I have murdered her.”

Evidence
William owned the knife used in the attacks, claiming he used it for food. The point was broken off by the violence of the attacks.

Wiiliam’s family had a history of insanity, with his maternal grandmother dying in a lunatic asylum and his father’s father having spent some time in an asylum.

The most damning evidence in the case came in the form of letters.

Letters
William had asked Mary Streeter to marry him. The police found a series of letters kept in a box to which William had the key. The letters were long and full of expressions of love and arrangements for the marriage.

July 13th
We will be married at St Martin’s Charing Cross on Saturday Aug 11th next….

You need only wear your black clothes, my dear girl, at our wedding….

I have published the banns of our marriage …

After marriage you will have all you wish for: the clothes you have will do for the present …

I want to assure your life when you come up on Monday week …

July 16th
In this letter, William explains that he has given notice to leave his post in order to get married. He says he will,

Give Mrs Duncan a good talking to …when I hope the doctor will tell me to go at once …

He says this will enable him to leave early, but still have his wages paid until 11th August.

He tells Mary to send him details he needs for the life assurance policy, including her birth certificate and the ages of her parents. He also needs her to state that no one in the family has died of any one of a list of diseases, including consumption. Although her sister had succumbed to this disease less than twelve months earlier, William was at pains to explain that Mary must say all were healthy.

The policy will be for £100.

The next letter William sends to Mary is undated. He writes:

I am very much hurt to find you state in your note that you do not wish to have your life assured…

He refers to her parents.
You can do has you like without them preventing …

If Mary continues to refuse to allow him to take out life assurance, William tells her,

I cannot think you would love me …

On 19th July, William wrote again. Mary has clearly agreed to go ahead with the life assurance policy.

Do not say anything to your mother about what you are going to do …

By 21 July, Mary must have changed her mind again, for William writes,

I am very much hurt to find you say you will not have your life assured …

I cannot believe you love me unless you do …

You have promised me, now if you love me do this.

28 July
The business clearly settled, William writes to Mary, now calling her My beloved Polly.

He gives instructions for Mary to meet him on Monday 30th July at London Bridge Station. She is to bring or burn all her letters.

Life assurance policy
The policy, for £100, effected by William Godfrey Youngman on the life of Mary Wells Streeter, commencing on 25th July, was produced in court. It contained Mary’s untrue response, No to the question Has any member of your family died of consumption?

Verdict
Given the chilling evidence of a motive, it is no surprise the jury brought in a verdict of guilty. It took less than half an hour for them to reach their decision.

Sentence
William Godfrey Youngman was sentenced to death. He was hanged on 4 September 1860 at Horsemonger Lane Gaol, in front of an audience of 30,000. He refused to admit to the offence even at the gallows.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle writes a highly embellished account of this affair in the strand Magazine of 1901, calling it The Holocaust of Manor Place.

The transcript from William’s trial is on The Old Bailey Online

Victorian crime is endlessly fascinating. Please leave a comment if you can point me to more!

 

Victorian Crime: Murder in London

When London grandfather Samuel Nelme sprinkled sugar on his stewed apple one day in 1847, he had no idea he would be dead within five days.
Still Life with Apples, a Pear, and a Ceramic Portrait Jug Paul Gaugin 1889 via Wikimedia commons

click for true crime stories v3The bowl contained arsenic mixed with pounded sugar. Samuel, a Londoner of around 73 years of age, kept arsenic at home in Hackney in a locked drawer. He used it for killing rats. This was a common practice in Victorian times.

Suspect
William Newton Allnutt, Samuel’s twelve-year-old grandson, was accused of the crime.

Trial
At his trial at The Old Bailey, London’s Central Criminal Court, the jury heard that others in the house also fell ill, including Samuel’s widow, who used sugar from the same bowl to sweeten arrowroot – after Samuel’s death.

The doctor then passed some of the sugar to a London Hospital physician who discovered arsenic in the sugar as well as in Samuel’s stomach and liver.

State of mind
William was 12 years old at the time. The court asked many questions about his state of mind: he had fallen on a ploughshare at the age of 18 months, suffered from headaches, talked of voices in his head and walked in his sleep.

Two doctors, one in practice at Clapton and one from a lunatic asylum, agreed he was of unsound mind, although the surgeon at Newgate Prison disagreed.

Previous crime
He had once stolen a watch, claiming that voices told him to do so.

Confession
After a session with the Chaplain in Newgate Prison, William wrote a long confession to his mother, saying he was terrified God would not forgive him if he did not confess. He wrote that his grandfather had “knocked me down into a passage” and threatened to kill him.

Sentence
William was sentenced to death although he was too young to be hanged. Instead, according to the Black Kalendar website his sentence was commuted to transportation. He spend four years at Newgate Prison before leaving from Plymouth in 1851 for Fremantle, Australia. Two years later, he died of tuberculosis while still in Fremantle Prison.

Violence in the home was commonplace in Victorian England, but murder was a crime. I’m interested in how this relates to the treatment of young offenders now. What would have happened to William today?

More true crime stories in this FREE ebook, Murder Most Victorian. Just click the button…

click for true crime stories v3

 

Find out more…

Murder Most Victorian title page v3