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I was fortunate enough to be part of an author meet and greet/book signing on Sunday, March 5th in my home town of Menifee, California. The turn-out was great and the level of support from the community was fantastic!

This is one of many photos provided by my good friend Michael Perez, a top-notch inland empire photographer behind fotohaus studios.

Check out fotohaus at http://www.fotohausco.com

He took some great photos of the event, which I will be sharing with you all as soon as they become available.

I would also like to offer a very special thanks to the handful of attendees that signed up to be beta-readers for the sequel to Whispers of the Wakinyan, the work is untitled as of now, but will be the second installment of the ‘The Things that Follow’ series.

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Things have been pretty crazy at the desk of Jim Gammill!

First off, my poem-novella, Not only the Dead is now offered both in print and as a kindle edition on amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/author/jimgammill).

Second, my novel, Whispers of the Wakinyan is in the final stages of editing and should be released in print and ebook formats this month! More announcements will be coming soon, and as a thank you for my loyal followers, I will be posting portions of the first couple of chapters here as a sneak peak of what’s to come.

The journey to see both of these books in print has been an interesting one to say the least and will certainly be the subject of upcoming blog posts.

For now, I would like to share an unfinished portion of the front cover and the back cover synopsis of Whispers of the Wakinyan with the subscribers of jimtgammill.com; I hope that you all like it and as always, thank you for reading!

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  Whispers of the Wakinyan

The Gordons are an ordinary family from Riverside, California. Hank, the family patriarch, is a level-headed accountant that has realized the American dream by marrying his high school sweet heart, Theresa, and happily raising their two children, Joey and Addie. Their lives were soon to be forever changed after witnessing a freak accident during a tour of The Grand Canyon. Upon return from their ill-fated vacation, the family finds itself the target of a malicious Native American spirit.

A haunting chain of events calls in a cast of unlikely allies for the family, all of whom must be ready if anyone is to survive the dark forces that stand against them.

But, as in all things: where there is darkness, there is light.

 

“Things Taken” is a feature length screenplay in which an award winning journalist and rape-survivor struggles to regain her sense of identity in the years following her attack. When a series of home-invasions becomes too bizarre for her detective boyfriend to handle on his own, she decides to assist in solving the case. As the two get closer to unraveling the mystery they are terrified to learn that the perpetrator may not be of this world.

Fear of woman victim of domestic violence and abuse (Shutterstock)

Fear of woman victim of domestic violence and abuse (Shutterstock)

Things Taken” is written in a lean and visceral style that allows the reader/viewer to be transported to both familiar and alien landscapes. The script also offers a unique perspective on what exactly may lie beyond the grasp of human consciousness while staying true to the basest human desires.

A green energy expert claims humans and aliens have made hybrids

The protagonist to “Things Taken” is a woman named SARAH who is searching for more than the outer story arc of the script suggests; she is determined to regain the strength and dignity that was taken from her by the murderous rapist that left her for dead. The abduction of her friend, MELINDA is the inciting incident that demands she face her inner demons in order to keep others from suffering her own hollowing fate. Her inner journey depicts a broken woman’s reclamation of life’s most important elements: feelings of safety, self-respect, and personal beauty.

It would make sense that the process of editing and finalizing would be the most drawn out and pain-staking to a group of individuals (writers and other creatives) that are traditionally self-critical and border-line paranoid about how their work may be received.

Yet, despite this unfortunate reality, editing and proofing is not only the best way to make a work stand out, but also for an author to transcend from amateur to professional. Many literary powerhouses have passed on their wisdom about the editing process and regardless of what they say or how they say it, the end result is generally the same:

Writing down your ideas is only the beginning!

or the ever-popular euphemism,

Real writing begins AFTER the first draft is complete.

For me, the thought of editing is no different. I feel the urge to tell another story the second I wrap up the one that I am working on. But, how fair would that be to the characters that inhabit the pages, the meters within the stanzas, or the themes shrouded beneath the webs of prose that we, as writers labor so hard to create?

The answer:

Not at all.

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Editing takes determination and patience, but the resulting drafts are far more rewarding than half-finished or open-ended manuscripts that are not just unsuitable for the market place, but questionable for even sharing with a friend or family member!

As some of my more regular readers probably know, I have just completed a close-to-final edit on my upcoming full length novel, The Legend of Thunderbird, Coyote, and Joey Gordon. The time spent in editing that beast could have allowed me to create a couple of smaller sized works from concept to print (or kindle), but like the ideas outlined above:

The end product was totally worth it!

To effectively end this post, I would like to leave you with a couple of my favorite editing quotes:

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

-Stephen King-

“I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.”

-Truman Capote-

HAPPY EDITING EVERYONE!

Have you ever noticed that sometimes a movie, novel, or other work of creative prose may have an outstanding premise, but ends up leaving you wanting?

Like dry turkey without gravy.

A peanut butter sandwich without jelly.

You get the idea.

When I used to encounter these common offenders in my pre-writing life I would ask myself questions like where did the author go wrong? Or, the story was so cool, but why did it leave me unconvinced and unfulfilled?

And then, late one dark and stormy night (aka sitting at my desk writing about a subject that was new and unfamiliar) it happened to me. I was feverishly writing a suspenseful paranormal   screenplay about extra-terrestrials through the eyes of a hard-boiled detective. I successfully dodged clichés (aside from hard-boiled of course) and everything was coming together, and THEN:

I re-read it.

AND CRINGED!

I took a break from my writing desk and stepped into my backyard, which for me always offers some distance from the worlds in my head by showcasing the world that we live in. In the foothills of a secluded semi-desert valley, I am always treated with scenes of local wildlife, bright stars, or air traffic from the local military base. I thought about what was working in my story and what wasn’t. I realized that the detective, who’s perspective the story was told through was just too strong and level-headed to create the tension that I was really looking for. His girlfriend, a journalist and rape survivor, was a much better outlet for a story about vulnerability and offered the reader more of a human connection.

I re-wrote the story through the journalist’s perspective and was amazed that it not only increased the overall tension, but made the thought of alien abduction all the more terrifying as she could relate it to her past experience of being raped. People usually don’t like movies for aliens or monsters alone (although in my opinion, they DO help quite a bit), the stories that are really successful and memorable are usually the ones that speak to audiences on an emotional or human level.

Of course, if a story isn’t working the way that you want it to it could just be bad (I have had a couple of those too!), but if you have a great premise and feel that your narrative is not as strong as it could be, a change in perspective could be just the thing that you are looking for.

Hey there horror fans!

I couldn’t sleep a few nights ago and decided to write this creepy little diddy. I hope that you all like it.

Reader beware if you have a mirrored closet door…

Or a brother named Bobby.

‘Bobby’

The house creaked and settled; each sonic intrusion breaking the silky silence of night. We used to live in the city. We used to have the buzz of traffic to lull us to sleep. We used to have strangers talking and passing each other in the night to remind us that we were not alone. That there was a pulse to the city and that if something were to happen, help would never be too far.

My parents just bought a home in the country. A variable farm estate to tell the truth, and it is all the things that our old house was not. I stare at the bottom of my brother’s bed and try to imagine the sounds, but I can’t seem to do it over the absoluteness of the silence. I wonder if Bobby can hear me breathing, because I can’t hear him. I think it is because he has the top bunk, but what if he had actually stopped breathing?

I think of the acres of green farmable land just beyond our bedroom and what would happen if I actually did find my brother dead and lifeless. I imagine throwing the window open and screaming into the night. The still air and statuesque trees swallowing my cries like a vacuum. A black hole manifesting, random and cold just beyond the barrier of our walls.

I don’t know how long I lie in bed before I could fall asleep. But when I do I feel like I’m sinking. Like the vacuum thing from outside crept between the crack in the window, slithered under my bed, and is now pulling me into my mattress.

Hours into the night something jars me from sleep.

A sound.

Something that I am not familiar with.

I open my eyes and wait for them to adjust to the inky blackness of our room. They do not adjust, at least not completely. I can see the outline of my dresser. Of Bobby’s. My mind fights to identify what exactly the sound is, but something else distracts me.

Blocks me.

Freezes me.

Makes my breath sit heavy in my chest. I can hear the pulse of my heart expanding and contracting in my ear drums.

There is a woman in front of our closet, at least that’s what my eyes are allowing me to experience. Something is not right about her. The closet sits about ten feet from the bed that Bobby and I share, but somehow the woman’s feet are planted on the carpet about a foot and a half from the open mirrored slider and her head and shoulders are obscured from my sight. I can tell that she is leaning over my brother in the top bunk. I wonder to myself how the woman is able to do such a thing from such a far distance because she doesn’t look tall.

“Shhhh huuuuh,” I hear Bobby sigh, “shhhh huuuuh.”

I look again the woman’s body and realize why it doesn’t look completely impossible; the woman’s mass seems believable, but her torso has stretched across the room allowing her to do whatever she is doing to Bobby. My pulse quickens to a point that I think that my eardrums will pop right out of my head. I look at where the skin of the woman’s stomach is illuminated by a thin sliver of light from the blinds. I can’t tell for sure, but I think that her skin is scaled like a snake or lizard. The light also highlights the tiny outlines of bubbles crawling down the center of her torso. They remind me of crawling spiders or one of those Discovery Channel specials that shows a snake swallowing its prey.

“Shhhh huuuuh. Shhhh huuuuh.”

And then the gravity sets in.

This thing is going to kill Bobby.

And then.

It might decide to kill me too.

“B–,” I begin. I feel the pressure in the room increase. My ears pop and for a second I think that my eardrums did pop out of my head, just like I thought they would.

The woman’s body stills completely. The room silent save for Bobby.

“Shhhh huuuuh. Shhhh huuuh. Shhhh hu—“

And then it was silent.

I close my eyes.

“B–“ I take a deep breath, “Bobby?”

I open my eyes and the woman is over me now. Her piebald skin glistens in the slivers of light; like the underbelly of a toad. I am drawn to her mouth that is opened wide. I see the glimmering hint of tiny teeth that look like sewing needles. Beyond them is darkness. The kind that can be felt in the heart and the bones and the soul just as much as it can be seen with the eyes.

I am completely paralyzed now.

At the mercy of this thing that had done something terrible to my brother.

To Bobby.

Unable to move my body, I force myself to look the thing in the eyes. When I do, all I am met with is more darkness. Two tiny mouths with the same little sewing needle teeth stare back at me.

Into me.

And then, somehow, I scream.

 

Not Only the Dead now live!

Posted: April 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

Hey there horror fans,
My novelette is now live on amazon. It is only 0.99 and I would love some feedback. I had some minor formatting issues, but I think that they are all worked out now.

More to come VERY soon.

Full length novel edited and awaiting cover art.

Follow up to ‘Not Only the Dead’ in the works and nearing completion.

Going to be a big year everyone!

Thanks again for your support,
Jim

Not Only the Dead https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DSIBMJ8/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_Rz9axb76FAQBG