I had a really cool interview with a Book Reviewer - Vickie Drane March 21st.
Here is the link to it! Click Here
ArtistFirst Vicki Drane 2017
I'm thrilled to announce that I've signed a literary contract with Gavin Literary Agency.
Acquiring an agent is definitely the next step in my writing career. I've been thrilled to be with Koehler Books, John has been wonderful. A Lit agent allows you to access to the bigger Publishing houses eg. Penguin. It's like a filter for them. If a top agent has faith in you, then they will look at your work.
Mary Ellen Gavin, has signed, to help me sell my next book The Body Thieves, and hopefully more after that.
Thank you Mary Ellen for having faith in me. Onward and upwards!
Falling off the Blogging wagon.
It's been some time since I have blogged. I think it's more a matter of being very busy in all aspects of my life than anything. I thought that there was no better topic than to give everyone an update on here I'm at in my writing.
I just returned from South Florida yesterday, which always gives me a big lift. I spent several days plotting my next books etc. Here's where I'm at.
Devil in the Grass has been plodding along, which sales slowing. However, It was requested by the Horror Writers Association and is being looked at for the Bram Stokers award for best new Horror. Not horror specifically, but as you all know, there are horrific elements. DITG won 3rd place honorable mention at the Great Mid-west book fair last month!!! woo hoo! That blew me away.
The Body Thieves is complete and I've given it 4 edits. I'm quite happy with the story which has Illegal Organ Trafficking as it's core them. Dom Tavano is a Military doctor who goes undercover to infiltrate a Mexican Drug Cartel, who - of course, take peoples organs for profit. I'm my own worst critic. It ramps up pretty good and at about halfway turns into a pretty good roller coaster ride. As I write this blog, it's being read by 4 separate literary agents, which is encouraging.
I'm over a third of the way into the sequel to Devil in the Grass. The new book will possibly be called - "The Palmist." There will be a strong paranormal influence. Jackson Walker now works for Peter Robertson and is given his first big case. His client has been accused of distributing child pornography. Now of course he's innocent??? Well, we don't really know that of course. Mason Matye has escaped from prison and is hell bent on seeking revenge on Jackson. it all twists together quite nicely with a good dousing of darkness which permeated DITG, perhaps even more-so. I'm having fun with the characters in the second go around.
I'm writing a true to life Love Story - sea rescue. I've been interviewing the people who were involved with their boat sinking 15 years ago in the Gulf of Mexico. They survived for nearly 3 days in horrendous weather, with only a couple of bumpers tied together with a rope and some false teeth to gather rainwater. The rescue effort put together by the wives of the lost men is truly phenomenal.
I will be doing a book signing at MacIntosh Books Sanibel Island December 30th 12-4. Come and keep me company. I will also be doing a seminar at the Sanibel Library just after New Years.
Once I get some of this stuff squared away, I plan on doing a murder mystery / ghost story set in my home town of Niagara on the Lake. I can't wait!
Well, that's it for now. Stay tuned. I'll try to be a bit more on the ball with the blog. For interest sake, I also do a Real Estate blog which can be found at: NOTLREALTY.COM
Here is an article in last weeks Island Sandpaper which describes the issue involving the discharge of fresh water into the salt water estuaries. It was written by Keri Hendry, who also did a review on Devil in the Grass a few months back.
I feel strongly about this issue and plan on adding a lot more content as time passes. Have a read, it's very interesting.
In March of 2015, over 200 Everglades scientists – none of whom have a dog in any political fight – signed a petition declaring that, “As a scientist working in the Everglades, it is my scientific opinion that increased storage and treatment of fresh water south of Lake Okeechobee, and additional flow from the lake southward, is essential to restoring the Everglades, Florida Bay, and the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries.”
That petition has now made national headlines, and spread across social media. Called the ‘Now or Neverglades Declaration’ it has been signed by more than 24,000 people – a number that grows with each passing day.
The declaration reads as follows:
“I support the 200-plus Everglades scientists who believe that increased storage, treatment and conveyance of water south of Lake Okeechobee is essential to stop the damaging discharges to the coastal estuaries; to restore the flow of clean, fresh water to Everglades National Park, Florida Bay and the Florida Keys; to improve the health of Lake Okeechobee; and to protect the drinking water for 8 million Floridians living in Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Using Amendment 1 and other funds, we must identify and secure land south of the lake without delay, before development in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) or other uncertainties condemn our waters to irrevocable destruction.
Three nationally vital estuaries are in long-term collapse due to the damming, diking and draining of the River of Grass. The Herbert Hoover Dike that contains Lake Okeechobee prevents fresh water from following its historic path southward through the Everglades.
Today, Lake Okeechobee is treated as an impounding reservoir constantly at risk of overflow. To manage lake levels, too much untreated fresh water is discharged into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries. Consequently, the lack of fresh water flow through the Everglades makes Florida Bay, the largest contiguous seagrass meadow in the world and crown jewel of Everglades National Park and the Florida Keys, too salty.
The resulting salinity imbalances in all three estuaries cause seagrass die-offs, dangerous algal blooms, multi-year ecosystem collapse and economic hardship. Florida’s $9.7 billion fishing industry (129,000 jobs), $10.4 billion boating industry (83,000 jobs) and $89.1 billion tourism industry (1.1 million jobs) need healthy estuaries.
Additionally, sending water south would improve the water supply for 8 million people (1 out of 3 Floridians) by reducing the threat of saltwater intrusion into drinking wells and the Everglades.
Estimates of land required are approximately 15 percent of the EAA, neither eliminating farming nor harming Glades communities. This amount is less than half of the acreage that U.S. Sugar has offered to sell to the State of Florida, in an agreement that remains in effect until October 11, 2020.
Water storage, treatment and conveyance in the EAA is the best option to reduce the damaging releases to the St Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries and to improve the water flow south. Especially considering the recent devastation to the coastal estuaries and ongoing massive seagrass die-off in Everglades National Park, planning for EAA projects must be expedited and be given top priority over planning for other new Everglades restoration projects.
We can’t keep kicking the can down the road. The costs and risks of further delay are staggering. Development plans in the EAA threaten to change the region, permanently severing the link between Lake Okeechobee and Florida Bay.”
A little over a year later, with the level at Lake Okeechobee at 14.7 feet and the Army Corps of Engineers maintaining flows to the Caloosahatchee estuary at 2,800 cubic feet per second (cfs) and the heart of hurricane season yet to begin, the petition is being touted by many as formative proof of the only solution to our seemingly never-ending water issues.
From the ‘Friends of the Everglades’ group to the City of Sanibel to Captains for Clean Water – this petition has become the rallying cry to Florida Governor Rick Scott. In July, water quality proponent group Bullsugar.org, asked the governor to sign. He declined the offer.
“We gave Governor Scott the opportunity to sign the Now Or NeverGlades Declaration, and asked the Governor to restore the River of Grass, buy the land and move the water south. He smiled, and dismissed us to his staffer. Needless to say, we were disappointed with his response but it is sadly par for the course,” said Kenny Hinkle, Jr of Bullsugar.
But others have listened: State House Representative Heather Fitzenhagen, the Mayor and City Commission of South Miami, the Martin County Commission; businesses like Patagonia, Orvis, Costa, Rapala, Florida Sportsman; national conservation organizations like Audubon, Florida Wildlife Federation and Sierra Club; and celebrities like Erin Brockovitch, Flip Pallot, Boston Red Sox great Wade Boggs, Captain Bill from the Deadliest Catch, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Warren Sapp — just to name a few – have all signed the declaration.
State Senator Negron Calls for Land Purchase
Just this week, Senator Joe Negron, the incoming Florida Senate president from Stuart who has been championing clean water initiatives since 2013 – introduced a plan to purchase land owned by the sugar industry via a 50/50 split between the state and the federal government.
Negron’s plan calls for the purchase of 60,000 acres, which would be used to build a reservoir that would hold and treat 120 billion gallons of water before sending it south to the Everglades.
This would be in addition to previously mentioned projects east and west of the lake. Negron explained that the state’s portion of the project could be covered by bonding $100 million a year from the Land Acquisition Trust over the next 20 years, utilizing Amendment One funds.
The federal version of the plan, which Negron says he will present to the state legislature in 2017, would require another Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) to be passed by Congress. The last WRDA was signed by President Obama earlier this year – though it has yet to get funding. The 2016 WRDA is the first one in seven years despite a federal mandate that one be passed every two years.
Response from the sugar industry was swift. A joint statement by Florida Crystals and the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida issued Tuesday, said that the proposal represents a loss of jobs and economic activity for the communities surrounding Lake Okeechobee.
“Sen. Negron’s plan means losing a thousand or more jobs in the Glades communities, not to mention the impact to businesses in the community that provide services to us,” said Barbara Miedema, vice president of Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida.“
Jobs and businesses along the coasts are also at risk as a result of the Lake Okeechobee releases. A recent meeting hosted by the mayors of Lee County and the Florida League of Cities brought together local lawmakers from 19 south Florida counties, representing $1.3 trillion in real estate values and thousands of jobs in the tourism industry, all seeking solutions to the damaging lake discharges fouling coastal estuaries.
To sign the Now or Neverglades petition, go to gladesdeclaration.org.
Keri Hendry Weeg Missy Layfield contributed to this article.
August 16th, 2016
Wow, I can't believe the summer is coming to an end. It's strange how July comes and all of a sudden it's the middle of August. I guess it's because, for me, it's the best time of the year.
The following are some of the things I've been working on.
I have substantially finished my second book, however I'm not sure what to call it. If you've been following my blog, you will know that the them is the illegal organ trade. Doctor Dom Tavano, a disgraced military surgeon goes undercover to discover the link between a Mexican Drug cartel and its nefarious dealings and the US medical institution.
I really like Dom's character, and my ghost readers have told me that the book is a very good ride. I will be sending the manuscript off soon. My daughter Molly is helping me write some diary posts for a young rower who is in need of a heart transplant. Molly has been a bit slow as she was rowing this summer herself. I'm giving her the big push right now. The story is a different flavor from Devil in the Grass, a bit more straight forward and not as dark.
Jackson Walker returns soon. I've made substantial progress with the sequel to Devil in the Grass. I really like what I've written so far. I've taken a darker road again with this book! Jack has gone to law school and is now working for Peter Robertson. Janie and Jack work together to solve Jacks first big case. He must navigate his way through a nasty bunch of Russian pornographers to help solve the case. Mason Mattai, leader of the Church of Satan had broken out of prison. Another run in with the Devil worshipers?
I spent a week in south Florida recently interviewing people who survived a true story adventure. The longest survivors in open water after their boat sunk in the Gulf of Mexico. I think it will be a good book. I'm putting together a time line and filling in all of the blanks regarding everyone who was involved, be it the survivors or the rescuers. I still have several people to talk to including the coast guard and a few public officials who were involved.
That's it for now.
Amazon #1 Best Seller!
Okay, this will be a very short post, but necessary. I (Devil in the Grass) made it to number one in it’s genre on Amazon yesterday – Paranormal suspense. I was #3 in Paranormal and #6 in political. Pretty damned cool if I say so myself.
I don’t know what is next. I suppose that I will ride it out for a bit and hopefully sell some books.
“The Gifts Door,” (Doc Dom) is finished and is getting some polish.
I am about 10,000 words into the sequel for Devil in the Grass. I have toned down the Senatorial aspirations and have had Jackson get his law degree, where he will attempt to represent an accused pedophile, ya’ I know - creepy.
I just finished a cool fishing chapter which features Jackson and Perry catching some snook. That’s it for now.
The Doc Dom series, coming soon.
It is with great excitement that I can state that I have finished my next book. Well, finished in the sense that I have completed my second draft. There will be rounds of edits, cover design etc etc. However, there is no better feeling than to be substantially finished.
I’ve had a few people read the draft and all have said that they liked if better than Devil in the grass. I don’t know whether or not that is a bad thing. Hopefully I’m becoming a better writer, not that the first book wasn’t any good.
After a couple of month’s research, I wrote the book in a little over 3 months. DITG took me nearly 2 years. Maybe the continuity of writing the book so quickly kept me in the moment better. I didn’t have to go back to fix as much.
I’m not set on the title – as of now it is “The Gifts Door.” You would have to get into the story to understand the meaning. I’m hoping to solidify the name soon, though I’m sure that Koehler Books will have their say, which I’m actually happy to receive.
Brief synopsis: Army doctor Dom Tavano goes undercover to break the link between a Mexican Drug Cartel and the US medical establishment in the trading of illegal organs. (Kidneys, hearts etc.) The book is a roller coaster ride from beginning to finish, with a few gruesome scenes here and there that I’ve got a penchant for.
I’ve had t help of a good friend of mine, Dr. Karen Berti who has helped me with a lot of the medical intel. Some of it is a little off the wall, but she helped to keep me realistic.
Anyway, stay tuned. I’ve added a few chapters to the front page of the website. It’s not edited, but hopefully you will get the picture of what the book is about.
Book Review MEG by Steve Alten
I was given this book by a friend on my 50th birthday, along with some real fossilized Megalodon teeth. I was amazed at the edge that were still on the teeth, even though they were millions of years old. It helped to internalize the story that I very much enjoyed - Steve Alten’s MEG.
MEG is about a Paleontologist Jonas Taylor, who’s life was changed when he came face to face with a Megalodon in one of the Pacific Ocean’s deepest trenches. No one believes him and he is set to prove the existence of the prehistoric 60 plus foot shark. His obsession has caused his life to fall into ruin.
He is asked to join a research team which studies the deep water trench walls in order to better predict tsunami’s. When he and his team attempt to rescue one of the research subs, they encounter two of the prehistoric creatures. It is enough to say that one of the Megalodon’s surface and raise havoc. The book features some pretty cool scenes and a lot of interesting information on the worlds oldest and most efficient killing machines.
I give the book a 4 out of 5. It’s not a literary gem, but I very much enjoyed the read, which for me, is the most important thing.
Two Years almost to the day and Devil in the Grass is finally Launched!
In the beginning, I really had no plans to publish a book. I did it for myself. I've always enjoyed writing short stories and essays, I also spent many years participating in on line gaming, which was very writing intensive. I tried a few times to start a book, but after several 1000 words, It just wasn't right. It was my wife who encouraged me to finish something. The first draft was called "The Devil in me." I don't know why, but I knew it wasn't right. Driving through the Everglades a year or so ago I was taken by the vast expanse of the Sawgrass plains and swamps. You could hide a lot of stuff in there. So the Grass became it's own entity to some extent, and the devilish characters of my book resided within. Thus, Devil in the Grass was conceived.
The original Manuscript was much longer and had a lot of holes. I was encouraged by friends to send it to an editor. I did some research and decided upon Lori Handelman of Clear Voice Editing. I got a good vibe from her and credentials were excellent. She contacted me half way through and indicated that the MS was an exceptional story, but with a few holes. We worked on the MS for a few months and came up with something somewhat close to what I have now. I remember her telling me with her Texas drawl, "Chris if it were the 90's you'd get picked up by a publishing house. I don't say this to many clients but you should try to publish this traditionally." She also said that, "You realistically won't do it though. It's too tough."
Lori helped me with my query letters to agents and I was off and running - mostly into brick walls. I did get some nice letters back from agents, but the underlying theme was that no one want's to take a chance on a first time author anymore, unless you are a world famous heart surgeon or Hillary Clinton with a feasible marketing platform.
I was about to contact Amazon to self publish when I received an email from an agent. Woo hoo. Felicia Gomez from Savvy Literary. She specializes in cookbooks mostly, but was willing to take it to a publisher . Within a few weeks we had a deal with Koehler Books, based in Virginia Beach. It is a small press, but I will say, they have been wonderful. There are some fairly big authors there and I was taken into their literary family. They were really excited by my book. They normally charge extra for editing but because my MS was so clean, they gave me a traditional deal.
Like I've stated, I write because I like to do it. I have a great job and get paid very well. I want to tell stories and I now had an outlet to continue doing something that I love to do. If I make some money at it - great. (as long as it's enough to get another deal lol.)
The next steps involved more extensive editing and book cover design. I was really happy with the cover. It was basically what I had envisioned. Koehler Studios came up with a few other cool designs, but I knew the one that we kept was the deal.
I'm not one to let things lie. I have since moved forward with book promotion. There is no used doing something halfheartedly. I am booked for several book signings at home in Niagara and in SW Florida. I feel as if I've been dragged along by the tigers tail. I really didn't think I would ever be a real air breathing author, but here I am- Published.
I am participating in many promotions as I sit here writing this piece. Goodreads, Amazon, Print, Laurence O'Brien and Books go social have been fantastic as well as many of the book bloggers who have given me wonderful 5 and 4 star reviews. Really, the reviews are what make me want to pinch myself.
My launch is this week, Mid March. I am doing a book signing at the Old Niagara Book Store March 24th 2016.
Whats up next for Chris Bowron? I have three projects on the go. 1. Doc Dom, a medical thriller about the illegal organ trade. -2. The Senator, a paranormal sequel to Devil in the Grass. 3. A true survival story about some of my friends who lasted three days floating in the Gulf of Mexico after they boat sank. I plan on adding some excerpts here on my web site soon.
Most importantly, I really appreciate the fact that you are reading this blog post. It means that someone out there is interested in my writing and my literary voyage.
Cheers' until I can think of something else to write about.
What is Devil in the Grass?
When I thought up the name, Devil in the Grass, more than anything I thought it sounded cool. It began as “The Devil in me.” I progressed to grass as the theme shifted from a book that takes place in the city to one which took place in the Everglades. Thus the sawgrass plains took over. The sawgrass found in South Florida can hide a lot of sins. It is a vast place with its own secrets. I sought to add one more secret, even if it is just make believe.
I’ve had some comments that people were expecting Devils and a lot of paranormal stuff. Devin in the Grass is not a mwooo ha ha book. There are references to the Devil and there is a satanic cult, but it is not a book that goes beyond the scope of being realistic. I think that is why people are liking it. Devil can refer to inner demons, or the McFadden’s who live in the Everglades, while not devils, they are devilish.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some damn creepy parts in the book, but it’s not what most people think. At its heart, Devil in the Grass is a fast paced page turning thriller. There is a little sex, a little paranormal, some violence and bad language… I hate books that don’t have a bit of that. There are twists and turns and a lot of action and a bit of horror.
I don’t believe that I took anything over the top, so if you are concerned, there’s no need to worry. I encourage people to ask questions, even before you decide to give my book a try. If you do read my book, please be sure to do a review on Amazon, they are priceless!
The following is an author interview I did with Emily Lewis a top 1% Goodreads reviewer and Book Blogger
Ithink that these are fun and I hope that you enjoy reading them,
Q. What inspires your writing? A. Hmm… Pent up energy. I know that this sounds cliché, but I love telling stories. I love a good movie or a great song with a hook or awesome chorus. When I feel the greatness in something, it inspires me and I will often sit down and write a really good scene or chapter. On the flip side, I love a good fire and a glass of red wine. When all of the above happen in the same evening, look out.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being a writer? A. You get to take yourself to places and I mean high stakes places that you hopefully will never get to, but can live through your characters. I like how people are interested in what you do. People like writers. You can write anywhere. South Pole, Mexico, Paris, bring it on.
Q. What is the toughest part of being a writer? A. Not having enough time in the day to do what you love. I believe that if you write a really great book, you will be successful. I hate all of the crap about how difficult the literary business is. Believe me, it is one of the most difficult. I think that it is full of a lot of people that love self-deprecation. Write really well- you will be found. Sing really well you will be heard. Run really fast, you will win.
Q. If you could not be writer, what would you do/be? A. I would do what I am doing right now in my life long career. I am a real estate broker. I like what I do. Writing is my escape. I am both. Having my own fishing show would also be pretty cool, but folks wouldn't pay to see me sitting lonely in my boat with no fish.
Q. What would the story of your life be entitled? A. Blessed but restless
Q. What is your favorite book of all time? A. The Hobbit. It was one of the first books I read as a kid and I read it every now and again. The Lord of the Rings is right there. I've read it 4 times.
Q. Which character from ANY book are you most like? A. Bilbo Baggins - I am adventurous, but a bit of a dreamer.
Q. What character from all of your book are you most like? A. Jackson Walker - As a writer, you can't help but breathe a little of what you are into your main character.
Q. Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of? A. 50 Shades of Grey, but with my wife of course. Not Jurassic Park.
Q. What is your favorite season? A. Summer, I just love it, especially in Florida - fall can be good as well, but winter follows...
Q. What inspired your book cover(s)? Or what is your favorite book cover and why? A. My wife Carmen and I went diving through the Everglades one day and we took a bunch of pictures. One of Carmen's pictures was used on the cover of Devil in the Grass. I don't know how they did it, but I had a vision and I explained it to the Koehler graphic arts team and they got it first try. I would have to say they were awesome. I envisioned devil eyes in saw grass, a pond and bushes in the background. I saw big plain letters. Koehler was great. They also came up with a few other really cool covers options, but this one stuck from the start.
I liked Karin Slaughters cover on “Pretty Girls”. It’s simple and catchy. You have to wait to the end of the book to get it and I like that sort of thing.
Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book. A. We were at Timbers raw bar on Sanibel after visiting some cool book stores. Carmen and I were there with my aunt and uncle sitting at the small bar, we arrived just as the place opened. I kept looking behind me and there was an old crotchety couple standing against the wall behind us, just staring at us with scowls on their faces. Finally I said to the old lady staring at me- would you like to get to the bar so that you can order? She doesn't crack a smile and says: "No, I'd like your seat." I stared at the bartender and he smiled. "They come here every day. You have their seats. I say "What?" So I being the nice Canadian I am I say, "Sure." They don't even thank us immediately sit down to stuffing their faces with the bar specials." Some people, but for some reason I will link the two events.
Q. Are you working on something new? A. Three things - Doc Dom a medical thriller about the illegal organ trade. It's a pretty cool but tragic topic. 2. A sequel to DITG, Jack runs for the Florida state senate and finds himself in another paranormal mess. 3- A true life story about three people who survive in the Gulf of Mexico for three days after their boat sinks. Friends of my parents. The real story is behind the scenes, the family and prayer groups etc.
Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by? A. I had a blast writing Devil in the Grass. It has taken on a life of its own. It has made me want to continue writing books. I hope to write another that has the realism and edginess of this book. I hope that people appreciate the work that book bloggers do. They don't get paid like authors – (well sometimes we do), but do what they do out of their love of reading and books. Thank the bloggers that run these great sites. - See more at: http://mrsmommybooknerd.blogspot.ca/search?q=Devil+in+the+Grass#sthash.KiMRS88a.dpuf
Who is Jackson Walker?
As a side note, the picture is of me standing in front of Genes Books on Sanibel Island. It's one of the cooler book stores. Hopefully Devil in the Grass will be on the shelves there in March. Devil will also be in Macintosh books Sanibel and the Beach Book Nook on Ft. Myers Beach. Thank you Annette!
Okay, back to the question at hand. (Who is Jackson Walker?)
I asked myself this question many times as I wrote Devil in the Grass. In the beginning, his name was Jack Webb, but one of the editors at Koehler Books- T Campbell, discovered that Jack Webb was a fairly prominent actor in the 50's and 60's. He was the main actor who stared in Dragnet. Okay, can't have that. T, gave me a good reason. He liked the story and the character and indicated that if the book Devil in the Grass does really well, there could be some recognition issues.
Jack is the name of my son. After writing the book, I realized how many Jack's there actually are as main characters in novels. I decided to call him Jackson, Jack for short when he is with someone familiar. Jack it was staying.
Walker is a strong name. In the end, I wanted Jack to finish strongly, and I think he does, but I will let you be the judge of that. Walker is also a very common native American surname. There is a strong native theme within the book and I thought it appropriate. So, the name Jackson Walker stuck.
I wanted Jack to have been well established at something and then to have failed. Football is big in the south and thus I made him a failed college and NFL quarterback. I've followed The University of Florida Gators since I was a teenager and thought it would be cool if he had played there. As a college athlete, as often happens, he found huge success that didn't pan out at the pro level.
Jack's mother dies while he's at college and he has a hard time with the passing. He becomes apathetic and turns to pharmaceutical drugs and Jack Daniels. His indifferent play and apathy see him cut from the Cincinnati Bengals.
Jack is half Seminole Indian and after the death of his mother, he turned away from his mother's heritage probably because he was embarrassed by his short comings. His grandfather Nathaniel Portman (Gramps) is a proud man and I don't think that Jack wanted to face him. Eventually he does though as he has nowhere else to run and Gramps and his cousins help turn his apathy into the strength that he showed as a young football player playing for the Gators. His cousins were not happy that he chose U.F. over Florida State. (Just an aside).
In the beginning of the book, Jack is buffeted somewhat by the plot as it unfolds. This is not the direction that one wants his protagonist to go. I do think that the buffeting in the beginning works though as his most tragic flaw.
After he is duped by the Church of Set, he is forced to change the direction of his actions. He can no longer go along for the ride. He is forced to be the hero that he once was as a local sportsman. I feel sorry for Jack after a time and some of my readers have said the same thing to me, which means that they are hopefully connecting with him. His actions in the end are truly befitting of a hero and he changes the course of the events with his actions. This is what you want from your hero.
I imagine Jack to be about 6'2" with dark, slightly curly hair. His build is somewhat lanky, but strong. These are the kind of guys I never wanted to face in sports. The naturals, guys that are stronger than they look. He is good looking in an innocent way. His eyes are deep brown.
I do think that Sarah Courtney fell for him in the end, how couldn't she. He was strong, clever and has a boyish innocence, which she in the end exploits to the benefit of the Satanists.
Boys these days have a hard time coming to grips with the world. We see it with our Jack. Sometimes you have to be hit over the head to truly make a change that is worthwhile. Now, I certainly hope that our Jack has an easier time than Jack Walker does, but in the end, I am proud of both of them.
To make characters or villains scary or believable, an author has to put some serious work into them. You can’t just have the bad guy jump out and say “boo.” It doesn’t work. A number of my ghost readers for Devil in the Grass have mentioned that they loved the McFadden brothers, who are a family of cleaners who dispose of dead bodies in the depths of the Everglades. The family is as old as Florida.
The concept came to me when I was driving through the fringes of the great swamp. I thought man this place is big, you could get really lost out there. Then as my mind is apt to do- I wondered if there were any people who had done this. Florida is a big state with a lot of people and some huge cities. Someone is going to be murdered.
I looked up the following statistics from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for 2014
*1 crime every 47 seconds
*1 violent crime every 5 minutes
*1 forcible rape every hour and 14 minutes
*1 larceny every minute
*1 car theft every 15 minutes
So, some of these people are disposed of, there just has to be...
I tried to pick polar opposite personalities for the brothers.
Eric is the older brother, very stable, a hard worker. He is adept at disposals, clean up and murder. He’s not super smart, but as I would like to say: smart like a fox. He is the glue that keeps the family together. He has no morals and is your typical redneck.
Isaac is the smart brother. He has an MBA from Cornell University and is the numbers guy. He deals with the clients and organizes his two sibling’s business affairs. His responsibilities also lean towards looking after their youngest brother Jimmy. The two live on the same property; Isaac the manor house and Jimmy the back shed.
Jimmy is the dark horse. I see him as having severe social disorders: Asperger’s syndrome as well as being a psychopath. Every quasi horror story needs a good psychopath. Jimmy is not evil, he just can’t determine the difference between right and wrong. I would say he has absolutely no morals. It is Isaac’s lot in life to keep him on a short lead.
Devil in the Grass is about how the day to day lives of these bad Floridians and how they cross paths with our hero, Jackson Webb. Well… there is also a Witch involved, but we will talk about Henrietta LePLey soon enough.
I really don’t know exactly where the McFadden estate is located, but I imagined it being north-west of Everglade City, south of Interstate 75. Close enough to be in the middle of everything, but remote enough to be classified as hillbillies. I went to Everglades City this past October and went off the beaten trail a bit. I came across this old estate just off rout 29, with a cool locking gate at the front. I took a picture of it and I have included it with this post. It was run down and overgrown just as I would have imagined the McFadden Estate.
If you read Devil in the Grass, I hope that you enjoy these devilishly bad characters as much as I did when writing about them!
Can you judge a book by its cover?
By Christopher Bowron
I think so. There was a time when books were hidden by nostalgic looking bindings with title printed across the front, and if lucky the binding. The number of books, were fewer, we are talking the 1940’s 50’s, and the cost to publish and distribute far greater.
The book industry changed in the 60’s and 70’s with the advent of better presses and better graphics but the covers were still pretty basic. I think the saying that “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover” really had some credence up until this point. Great books were released with some fairly basic stuff. The 80's and 90's changed all of that and is looked on as one of the hay days of modern publishing.
Today’s book publishing industry has changed dramatically. The advent of the digital e-book has turned the industry on it’s head. It has become nearly impossible to become a published author in a traditional publishing house. It has become easy to e-publish or self- publish. I think that this phenomenon has increased the amount of readable material, some of it really good but it has also increased the amount of crappy literature as well. Modern graphics and computers have changed the way books are viewed. It is often the first thing that people look at when entering a book store, or searching on line. The cover has to grab you, or you will be inclined to pass it over to something more professional looking.
It can cost thousands for a great cover design. E-publishers that don't put the time and money into a cover can do more harm than good. A cheap cover can mean cheap unprofessional writing. It's not always the case. If an author isn't going to spend the money on a cover, are they going to spend it on editing? My book Devil in the Grass has been edited 4 times now by professional editors. I think that it shows. It’s amazing what you don’t catch on your own.
Thumbnail covers on amazon are of great importance. These small motifs need to be well done and is something that designers take into account. People value their time and want a professionally well done book if they are going to invest 10+ hours reading it. I am blessed to have a great publisher, who includes cover design as part of my publishing deal. I have two great covers that can be voted for at koehlerbooks.com
I'm in the process of trying to get Devil in the Grass endorsed and reviewed. I've just sent off Devil to Stacie Theis who is a book blogger. She asked me to answer an author questionnaire, which I have done and will blog it for interest sake.
Stacie Theis Discovering books one author at a time. beachboundbooks.com
Tell us about yourself.
I am a glass half full type person and I consider myself very lucky; most of the bounces in life have gone my way. I’ve always had a creative flair, I’m very artistic. It’s strange that I ended up in sales. I own a successful real estate brokerage in Niagara on the Lake Ontario, where I live with my wife Carmen and two teenage children Jack and Molly.
I have a Bachelor of Arts from Brock University in history. It was at university that I discovered I was a pretty good writer and had way of putting together succinct sentences. I’ve never considered myself very wordy and my writing is clear.
I’ve taken a stab at writing a book several times. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but would trash them at around 40,000 words frustrated with “my” perceived imperfections. It was my wife Carmen who encouraged me to keep going when I was writing Devil in the Grass. I decided that I wouldn’t worry about the first draft and would fix the thing later. After a few more drafts and the help of an excellent editor (Lori Handelman), I ended up with something I am proud of.
I love most sports, hockey, golf and saltwater fishing in particular.
What inspired your book, Devil in the Grass?
Since my early childhood, my family has spent a lot of time in South West Florida, where we have a vacation home. I love the nature that is to be found in SWF, from the abundant sea life to the starkness of the Everglades. I have this feeling that the great swamp could swallow you up in its vastness; I mean it just goes on and on forever. The kernel of an idea…I decided to create an evil family of cleaners who use the Everglades to dispose of bodies: The McFaddens, who work for a satanic cult. Of course, the cult is very good at killing people. Devil in the Grass evolved from this premise. I worked very hard on the McFaddens and their benefactor Henrietta LePley. I think that for villains to be scary, they must be believable.
I wanted to tell a story about Florida that wasn’t about the beaches. There is a dark underbelly to the state that most vacationers don’t see- real life stuff.
Tell us about your main character.
Jackson Webb is a failed professional football player who had all of the tools, but no toolbox- so to speak. Jack ends up being messed up on pharmaceutical drugs and eventually finds himself on skid row due to his apathy. He lands a job with a state senator and is determined to work hard to straighten himself up.
He gets hooked up with a girl – Sarah Courtney who is involved with the Church of Set, a satanic cult which has it out for the senator and one of his proposed Bills. Jack is used and again due to his apathetic nature, finds himself in a pickle. Jack is able to change the course of the story by realizing his shortcomings by being decisive in taking on the Church of Set.
I think that one of the most important aspects of a protagonist is their ability to enact change within the storyline. It’s important that they are not simply buffeted along with the plot. Jack finds himself in many tight spots and in the end I think he becomes a character that one can truly like, as opposed to his apathetic nature, which in the beginning is… unlikable.
What are you currently working on?
My next book is Called “Doc Dom”, which is about an U.S. army doctor (Dominic Tavano) who goes undercover to discover the truths behind organ trafficking in the third world and how these organs are being used in U.S. Medical institutions. Suspense- Thriller.
I have started a sequel to Devil in the Grass called: “The Senator.” Jackson Webb finds himself in another action packed paranormal mess as he seeks election to the Florida State Senate. Thriller
I am also writing a book about garden gnomes, yes the ones that sit in your garden. Didn’t you know that they are actually sentient beings that protect the families that live within the houses they watch over? Y.A. all the way.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
My author’s web site is: christopherbowron.com. I am an active blogger and my blogs can be followed through my website or at: christopherbowron.theblogpress.com
Twitter @notlrealty Facebook: Chris Bowron
Goodreads: Christopher Bowron
Amazon: Christopher Bowron
If you want to buy some real estate, you can find me @ notlrealty.com. If you don’t find me there, I might be wrestling a shark out of the surf on the south part of Ft. Myers Beach.
New York Times Best Seller List
Posted October 28th, 2015 By: Christopher Bowron
One can only wonder what the fate of their first book will be. I have waxed back and forth regarding what a success would mean to me with my first novel Devil in the Grass.
In the beginning, I was happy that a few of my friends were willing to make the attempt to read the manuscript. I have graduated past that point as several of my Ghost readers have in fact loved the book, and I am going to be published by Koehler Books March 1st, 2016. I figure that if it's worthy in the publisher's eyes that it be published, we have what would seem a solid enough piece of literature.
My expectations from a very low and realistic standpoint are that the novel will give me a strong enough platform to continue doing what I love to do and write more books, hopefully building a fan following whether it be big or small. But... one can't help but look at the high end as well, it's human nature.
OK, you have the James Pattersons of the world, but there are only a few of them and obviously to attain those heights, how could your expectations be better attained? In my mind, I made a goal and that was to one day find myself somewhere on the New York Times List. I'm not saying number one, but just anywhere. I believe one should always have goals. Thus, I went onto Google and tried to figure out what the parameters were for getting on this list.
I came across an article by @Heather-Maclean. The article in a nutshell states that it is not clear cut how and where a particular book gets ranked on the list.
The NYBSL ranks a particular book as to how it ranks among other books that it is competing against over a small period of time, say a week. Thus, if you launch your book just before Christmas, when The James Patterson, Karin Slaughter, Bill Clinton and a whole host of other big shooters line up, though your book sold well, it will get hammered down by the big guys. Mostly by fate, my Book Devil in the Grass is coming out in the New Year, which traditionally gives it a better chance of competing for a spot in this prestigious list.
Not all book stores count towards the list. As Heather states:"These include Target, Costco, and Walmart. Considering there are more than 10,000 of just those three stores, that's a lot of books that don't count toward the list. Amazon does report to the NYTBSL, but most internet retailers don't."
No specific numbers are mentioned pertaining to sales. The music industry bases it's figures strictly on the numbers. The NYTBSL is very ambiguous and is not necessarily a fair contest. But then again, life is not fair. Though I don't have a real target in which to shoot for. It would be damn cool to see my name there.
Devil in the Grass includes a local political theme: the clean water controversy, which is a hot and continuing topic in south Florida, affecting both coastlines and its mangrove estuaries.
The following is a letter to the editor in the October 9th, 2015 edition of the Ft. Myers Beach (The Island) Sandpaper:
Title: BROWN WATER
Congratulations to your activities on the bridge!! Finally somebody is doing something, although the Gulf waters are becoming worse every day.
Ft. Myers advertisements promise emerald beaches to tourists coming either from the North or even from overseas spending a lot of money only to find themselves betrayed. Instead the emerald beaches, they find dirty brown stinking gulf waters where going in might lead to dangerous infections. How dare people invite tourists to FMB any longer!
*We have been coming to FMB for 16 years and it has always been bad by the beginning of August. But this year tops everything. We won’t come down anymore and we’ll tell friends not to come. *
I’m sorry FMB as I loved it here so much. Ingrid Schlimm – Germany
As owners of property on FMB, we too have seen the change to the ecosystem, and inspired me to include the water issue in my novel. The following is my brief synopsis of the problem:
Over the past 80 years, the farming industry in Florida, including Sugarcane, Cattle and Citrus have slowly taken over much of the natural wetlands in central and south Florida. The once natural flow of water from the central lakes, most predominantly Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee watershed have been diverted to the benefit of the farmlands. The balance of fresh water and salt water in the Caloosahatchee is precarious. The river requires a minimum and cannot exceed a maximum flow of fresh water to maintain this balance. Water management effects other river systems as well, but I will use the Caloosahatchee as an example as it effects where I live.
In the dry season, the minimum required flow has diminished below the required level, often to the point of zero flow, which salinizes the river and its estuaries. The river in effect becomes toxic to many species of plant and wildlife, threatening to destroy some of these natural wonders, including the manatee and tapegrass as well as effecting drinking water. However, the flow of water has not been restricted to private farming industries.
In the wet season, Lake Okeechobee threatens to overflow its banks. Instead of allowing the water to take it’s million year old course through the everglades, water is let out through the major river systems, bringing with it pesticides and fertilizers. The pesticides kill wildlife and the fertilizers have created a serious algae issue in the backwater estuaries. The releasing of the excess water exceeds the maximum fresh water that is required to maintain the river system’s precarious balance of salinity. In effect, muddy water is jettisoned into the estuaries and the Gulf of Mexico, creating havoc within the ecosystem.
The Water Resources and Development Act signed by Obama in 2014, authorizes the U.S. army corps to begin work on restoring the health of the watershed. However, funding will be an ongoing issue.
In my fictional crime thriller, Devil in the Grass, the Hero – Jackson Webb works for Senator James Hunter, who supports what I call: “The Fresh Water Bill”. A benefactor of the farming industry, Henrietta LePley, is the antagonist who plots to derail the Senator’s legislation. Jackson is framed in a devilish murder and the Senator is implicated, providing the backdrop for a page turning thriller.
I welcome any comments on the south Florida water issue. Even though my book is fiction, the water issue is a real concern to me as a part time resident in Ft. Myers Beach Florida.