A Texas Senator and his wife go missing… On the same day, their son is slaughtered by an enigmatic killer on the lawn of ex-Governor Edward Wood's residence. Sammy, Wood's drug dealing son, suspects his father of the crime. After all, his old man snapped once before and crippled his wife with a lead pipe. But there's something more to these events…something deeper and festering just beneath the surface…
In direct opposition to Homicide Detective Jim Thompson, Sammy begins an investigation of his own, searching for the truth in a labyrinth of lies, deception, depravity and violence that drags him deeper into darkness and mayhem with each step. And in doing so, brings them all into the sights of an elusive and horrifying killer who may not be what he seems.
A brutal killer on a rampage of carnage…a hardened detective on the brink…an antihero from the shadows…a terrifying mystery that could destroy them all…
Welcome to Lee Thompson’s A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS blog tour! At each stop, one winner will be drawn to win a paperback copy, and at the end of the tour we'll draw one grand prize winner who will receive a great bundle!
Throughout the book tour, I’ll be sharing fun facts about my first Mystery/Thriller, and also offering dubious advice to novice writers because I’ve had writers and editors farther along the path than myself give me tips that have helped me tremendously. If you want to up your game, pay attention and pass what you find useful on to those in your critique groups.
If you’re here as a reader, thanks so much. You’re every author’s life source. You’re the yin to our yang. The stories we set down on paper don’t seem to exist until someone else has read them, and the more the merrier.
So, You Want to Write
We writers might try, and tweak, a thousand different routines before we find how to come up with more ideas, better ideas, and faster output. We can struggle with this for years and still not know what stories we want to tell. We can know what kinds of stories we want to tell when we begin our journey, but the subject matter and our approach can change over time as we mature. It’s normal. Go with it.
I’m with the crowd that says the only way to be a writer is to find the discipline to sit down and finish the phases of the project: first draft, edits, polish, and submission. Too often I see people spinning their wheels, distracting themselves with a thousand little things that suck up all their time and energy, then they enter that vicious cycle where they beat themselves up because they feel like they should have gotten some writing done, yet they put this long list of other tasks before it. Break the cycle by becoming aware of it, acknowledging that you’re doing it to yourself and making a conscious decision to make writing your priority.
Another quality of importance is instincts. This comes simply by reading and paying attention and applying lessons you’ve learned from novels you love. It’s something we all have and something we must hone to carry off our stories in the most engaging ways. Instincts make the magic happen on the fly, which makes it kind of feel like, well, magic.
I think if you want to write professionally you need confidence more than anything. When you know you can do it, you just do it. When you’re sure of yourself and your abilities, there is less room for fear. This comes with practice fueled by passion for stories, and a hunger to reach your full potential. You want it? Go learn what you must to make it happen. A difficult thing for many beginners is knowing who to listen to. There is so much writing advice, much of it from professionals and tons of it conflicting. Soak it all up. See what works for you. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula to our careers. You’ll need the unshakable confidence that what you’re writing will matter to total strangers. Give it time to develop and cling to it. Don’t give fear a toehold.
I think if you want to write professionally, you need stubbornness, too. I don’t know how other writer’s friends and families are about their crazy endeavor to be an author, but mine laughed at me. I was a horrible student in school. I didn’t begin reading books until in my mid-twenties. I was a drunk. A laborer. I moved all over the place. But once I began writing I never once considered giving up. I had to learn a lot, sure, more than most people could imagine, and I’m glad I’m as stubborn as I am because my career is gaining momentum now. Serious momentum.
Your stubbornness is your shield, deflecting the words and gazes those of little faith try to injure you with.
You also need courage. Lots of courage. It’s incredible how self-doubt destroys so many to-be published authors. Does what you’re writing matter to you so intensely and so personally that it’s one of the key themes of your own life? I think courage come easier to those who are writing about the things that matter the utmost to them.
I also think honesty is incredibly important. It’s okay to say, I know I’m not there yet, but I will be one day. It might be a year from now, or it might be ten, but I can’t surrender. Stories are special. The great ones move us. Don’t dare give up, and don’t shortchange yourself or your audience by writing stuff you don’t believe in. You only have a certain amount of time to spend at the keyboard, and in other people’s heads, so spend it writing about what deeply moves you.
Watch or read some of your favorite authors being interviewed. I bet that the majority of them are learning as they write to be more honest with themselves. We’re so conditioned by what our schools and parents and organizations teach us that we unlearn how to think for ourselves. Start thinking for yourself. Don’t be afraid to question anything, there’s raw story gold in that alone.
None of us are perfect. We all need work. Our characters need work, which is the whole point of a character arc. It’s through overcoming what appear insurmountable odds that we are tested, and by which we grow, and can pass on the observations and knowledge we walked through the fire to obtain. To teach our children, our younger siblings, to be the rock our partner needs when disaster strikes. And it’s through questioning what we believe about ourselves and others that we accrue wisdom.
Carry that torch.
Be the light through the characters you create and the story they’re inescapably caught in.
This is a reflection made from the fabric of our lives. It’s not a perfect reflection, but then reality as we know it individually is not without its imperfections either.
In A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS, my protagonist Sammy has to have a majority of the qualities I mentioned to see the story to its conclusion. I like to think of it as a box: four walls (outer obstacles), and a floor and ceiling (inner obstacles). I believe doing so has led to a well-rounded story full of tension. If you’re a writer, look for those four outer obstacles that trap him, and the two inward ones that were there before the story started yet drive all the characters’ decisions. I bet if you pay attention you’ll find them, and you’ll learn something valuable in the process that you can use in your own work. Don’t give up.
If you’re a writer who has had some success, what qualities do you believe have been instrumental in helping you sell your work and find an audience?
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Track A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS blog tour + giveaway here.
Enter to win a paperback copy! There will also be a grand prize at the end of the tour where one winner will receive my novel, and four other DarkFuse novels in Kindle format!
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Thanks to those who participate.
Happy reading~ Lee
Author bio: Lee Thompson is the author of the Suspense novels A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS (August 2014), IT’S ONLY DEATH (January 2015), and WITH FURY IN HAND (May 2015). The dominating threads weaved throughout his work are love, loss, and learning how to live again. A firm believer in the enduring power of the human spirit, Lee believes that stories, no matter their format, set us on the path of transformation. He is represented by the extraordinary Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary. Visit Lee’s website to discover more: www.leethompsonfiction.com