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Here is the latest I have to say about my novel .

Sunday, June 9, 2013

"Slayers" a YA novel by C. J. Hill?

I'm reading a YA book by C. J. Hill.

At the LDStory Makers conference I attended a number of classes that taught me I not writing YA like I thought I was. Foremost was the class on writing Young Adult fiction by the author, Janette Rallison, who also writes under the name, C. J. Hill.

Wanting to revise my voice as a YA author I thought I should read something that is broadly accepted as YA. In the bookstore, set up in the hotel, I found Rallison's section. During her class, I thought I understood her to say that her book, "Slayers" was a YA book aimed at the 'boy' audience. Being male, I thought I would give it a swing.

The book started with a prologue. A single chapter which was fast paced and engaging. I was drawn into the story and looking forward to reading more. I disagree with the author, or her editor, in calling it a prologue. It's tied directly to the plot, included characters who re-enter the story a chapter or two later, and felt like it should have just been called 'Chapter 1'.

Here's my dilemma. I get few hours each week to sit down and read a paper book, though I can listen to audio books several hours each day. My free time is extremely valuable. I could spend time with my children, cook a healthy meal, or actually spend some time writing. Fifty-four pages into the book I've lost momentum.

Our main character, Victoria Hampton, Tori, is unsympathetic. She's rich and self absorbed. While her stuck up mother was against her pursuing the 'rustic' dragon based summer camp, it may be conflict for her, but for me, I'm finding it difficult to care.

The supporting characters are as unlikable as she is. They're all arrogant and condescending to the new comer. They scrutinize and disparage Tori.

So far, Tori has been 'shown' around the camp by the boy who turns out to be her team leader. At each location her skills are put to the test, whether it be horse riding or archery, Tori has amazing skills which are, nevertheless, grossly inadequate to the team leader.

I see where the plot is headed, considering the prologue, but my only real interest is, "Will there be a character I will like?"

Again. My concern that I do not know what YA fiction is, and this story makes the point even clearer. At this point in a novel, one aimed at boys aged 14 to 16, I would hope to see a main character I would root for; one who may be an underdog, one who may need to make some tough decisions and major changes, but I would also expect someone I could relate to.

My ultimate question is, "Should I continue to read this book, or switch to one of the others I bought in the bookstore?"

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Almost done with the vampire story

I'm through 58K words of my "Teenage Vampire Love Story from a Boys Point of Veiw". Total word count is almost 71K, though I will probably cut a scene that doesn't move the story forward at all. I think a total word count of 70K is good enough for a first attempt at paper publishers.

Chad and Amy have much larger cameos now. I hope their appearances aren't too confusing to those who haven't read, listened to my other stories.

Monday, March 18, 2013

I'm Afraid I Don't Know.

I've worked as an orthotist since 1985. I make and fit orthopedic braces.
I'm not the most  secure guy in the world and I think a lot of my failure to advance results for a single fear.
I'm afraid I won't know. When I get a hospital call, I go to the hospital afraid I won't be able to figure out what they want or won't know how to do it. When I go to meet a new physical therapist I'm afraid I won't know how to do the things they are used to having for their patients. When I see a new patient with a prescription from an unfamiliar doctor, I'm afraid I won't be able to provide them with what they want, or need.
The most absurd thing about this, is that I am good at what I do, I've had a lot more experience than most of my competition and know more about bracing than 99% of the doctors in town. Add to that, I'm creative and successfully adapt, fabricate and fit virtually every patient in a successful manner.
But I lack confidence in myself and my abilities.

I realized this morning as I was editing my current project that the same fear which has limited me in my professional life as an orthotist is the same fear which is limiting me as a writer.
I've written sever novel length manuscripts. If you're reading this, you must know I published one, "The Price of Friendship", about a year ago. Granted, it's not the next Great American Novel. it has its share of plot holes, contradictions and weak writing. It took me two years to finally write it, then another year to edit it for recording.
As I got that one out to I felt I needed to get another book up at that site to maintain some sort of momentum. So I turned to my first Nanowrimo novel and thought I would just edit that and get it recorded.
Frankly, it sucked. I could barely read it, let alone edit it.
My fear is that I won't be able to see my poor prose and be able to edit it into quality literature.

As my fear about the quality of my orthotic work, my insecurity about my writing skill is likely the same. While editing my project this morning I came up with great ideas to clarify my verbiage, shorten my verbosity, and add life to my characters.
This novel is good and it's getting better.

Philip 'Norvaljoe' Carroll

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Needful Loss of Life

I saw this picture and article on facebook and it caused me to think .

Here's a link to the post by "Occupy the Firing Range".

They make the claim that 22 vets a day are committing suicide. I only say it that way because I haven't researched it myself, but I believe the number is probably accurate.

I don't want to diminish the horror and loss at Sandy Hook in any way. What happened there was devastating to anyone who has a shred of empathy for their fellow humans. The number of small children killed in a short period was shocking. Twenty little souls were ripped from the lives of parents, grandparents, siblings and friends. I consider the desolation I would feel if one of my own children or grandchildren was stolen from my life and I shudder.

I heard the event described as a 'needless loss of life'.

I really had to think of any loss of life being anything but needless, especially a child. But with deeper thought that all of us, at some point, will need to die. Hopefully that will be at the end of a long, happy and productive life.

I think our most needless loss is the suicide of our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, even our mothers and fathers who have served their country faithfully. Those who have sacrificed time with their loved ones, career advancement, and even parts of their bodies to stand as an example of our commitment to freedom throughout the world.

(Political comment: I believe our nation still stands for freedom while those who run our country may have other agendas.)

Our service members have volunteered to follow their leader's direction and carry out their missions. Killing another human being is not part of our nature. While we may believe that our children are being desensitized by violent video games, and our soldiers are trained to obey and eliminate the enemy it is incredibly difficult to pull the trigger when you know that figure in your cross hairs is a living, thinking, passionate creature like yourself.

(Ref.'On Killing' by Lt. Col. David Grossman.)

It takes a psychopath, as we have recently seen, to walk into a school, a movie theater or shopping mall and indiscriminately kill. Conversely, the psychological toll to the rationally balanced mind is profoundly crippling.

By not providing our service members the proper and sufficient opportunity to 'debrief' and 'decompress' after combat service we will continue to see a grossly 'needless loss of life'.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Here's an anthology from in which I have a short story. The anthology is a benefit book to aid disaster victims. Each of the stories runs along side an actual disaster.

I got to choose from a list of available disasters and I chose the CO2 eruption and outflow from Lake Nyos in Africa. No one knows for sure what caused the eruption. Some think it was a landslide into the lake. Regardless, the carbon dioxide flowed down the valley from the lake killing almost every living creature in its path.

I present my conjecture of what caused the death of two villages in a story called, "The Better of Two Evils". I hope you'll check it out and support this worthy effort.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Summer Surprise is live.

So, it took me an extra two months to get it done, and I hate to admit it, it was editing the audio. When I finally got down to it, it only took me about four hours to get that done and another four to divide up the episodes and do the tagging and stuff to get it ready for

I want to thank everyone who is downloading this novella. 24 hours after it went live I've had over 250 episodes downloaded and another 150 of 'The Price of Friendship'.

What is coming?

Here I go changing my mind again. My most recent plan was to finish writing my Nanowrimo. I hit 50k words in plenty of time, but because of other commitments during the holidays, I'm still working on finishing. I'm close. I'm at 65k and have, maybe, 5k to go. But there is a novella that runs concurrently with it, which I had started in September. It also has 5k to go. I'm thinking of combining them and making it one story to introduce the world to the Galactic Battle Base. I have a lot of short stories which take place there.

However, I think I may need to shift attention to the third and final book of The Price of Friendship. I got some good ideas for it as I've but this novella together.

I'll not mention my Teenage Vampire Love Story for The Guys. I thought I was ready to submit it to 'Paper Publishers' but after I had the first three chapters reviewed at Baycon, I see it needs more work. On top of that, the things that have happened in 'Summer Surprise' I need to alter some of the events in the Vampire story, and how Chad and Amy act in their short appearances in that novel.

Please let me know what you think of these stories. And, especially if you like them, please give me a short review on or iTunes.

Thanks a bunch.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What's going on....

As I've said in the past, what I need to do as a writer to further establish myself is to get more work published and available to the readers. I thought I was going to do that be rewriting "The King's Shoemaker". In retrospect, I'm finding it wasn't a simple rewrite. I've bogged down at 70k words and finding it boring. If it bores me, I'm sure you'll stop reading/listening, so when I get back to it, and finish it, there will be at least one big edit before recording.

While that was going on I switched back to finishing "Summer Surprise" and getting it recorded. The story is done and I really want to get it posted. But by the time the kids are in bed and it's quite enough to record, I'm pooped.

I wrote a story for the Masters of Macabre contest at and won that competition. Yup. I'm the master.

I wrote a Thanksgiving murder mystery for a competition which was rejected within a day of submission. I've been debating submitting that to other magazines or putting it up at Smashwords.

When I last ground to a halt on "Shoemaker" I started another Galactic Battle Base story, that I really love. I'm within 5K words of finishing that one (at about 28K words) but had to start a story for the Editor's Issue of Flagship Magazine at It's coming along ok, but I really have to think about it because it's in a shared universe with the other editors.

On top of that, Nanowrimo is coming up. I'm outlining heavily for that. My story will be about the parents of the boy in my GBB novella. They go out on a top secret mission to an uncharted star system and don't know if there son will suffer another seizure, which will have the potential to kill him.

So, in the next twenty days I need to 1) Finish recording and editing "Summer Surprise", 2) Finish "Human Magnetism" - the Battle Base Novella, 3) Finish my Flagship short story, and 4) Finalize my outline for Nanowrimo.

Wish me luck. If you do Nano and I'm not already on your buddy list, and you on mine, buddy me and I'll buddy you back.