Write What You Know – Really?
The old saying, 'write what you know,' sound good on paper, but what if your life is boring? Should you write about 'boring?' Granted, my life isn't boring but it's not all that different from everyone else's so in a sense, it would be a boring read.
But law enforcement characters seem to excite readers of many stripes and especially in romance books. I work in law enforcement, and I can tell you the glamour and shine you see on television is nothing like the real thing. Sure there are some hot cops, I've seen and worked with a few, but no grass is every quite as green as it is in fiction.
I did try my hand at a legal story. It's posted on Gay Authors for free. The Trial Of Jordan Colmar was a companion story to a much much, much, longer story – too long probably – Second Shot. It is not a romance, not a m/m story, not sci-fi or fantasy. It my an attempt at a courtroom story. It is written from the perspective of the prosecutor and follows him and his team during the trial of a very rich defendant who gay bashed someone in a small college town. [So I guess that semi sorta qualifies it as a 'gay' story.]
Having been a prosecutor for almost fifteen years, and a public defender for seven years before that, I tried to make it as true to life as I could, without being boring. It might still be boring, I don't know. But what you see on TV is so far from really happens. Granted, time is a huge issue. How do you put an entire case, from investigation, interrogation, trial and verdict in fifty minutes? Hell, I've been in hearings where we can't get through a preliminary argument in less than fifty minutes. An entire trial? Fuggedaboudit!
Seriously, in a halfway-complicated case, you couldn't do closing arguments in less than an hour; two is probably more realistic. And if the trial lasts for days, do you think any lawyer is going to talk about one point and then sit down? Makes for great drama I suppose but it's not realistic.
In The Trial Of Jordan Colmar, I tried to take snippets of each phase: openings, government's case, the defense's case, closings and verdict. For those interested, I warn you, it is NOT edited professionally, so there are going to be mistakes. Also, although I think it's a stand-alone story, to fully appreciate the background, you probably need to read the much longer Second Shot.
The other side of law enforcement is the police. I tried to write about a bit about how police officers work in my upcoming novel Purpose that is due for a late May, early June release. In Purpose, the main character is a vigilante of sorts. He is the human host of a spirit of vengeance. As you can image, dead bodies, even dead thug bodies, would be a concern for the police. One of the main secondary characters is a police detective with the violent crimes unit. He is not one of the m/m characters, but he is fairly essential to the story.
In portraying the detective, I drew on my interaction with detectives in DC – since the story is set in DC it made perfect sense. Here again, reality might not be as exciting as needed for fiction, so I might have taken a wee bit of an artistic license here and there. That said, most of the places and procedures are fairly close to what actually happens.
Don't get me wrong; I see the allure of a legal drama. I love being in trial. Yes it's a ton of work, and you wouldn't believe how exhausting a day of trial can be, but it's still a bit of a rush. Yeah, I know how geeky that sounds, but dorky sports metaphors side, when the trial starts and you're prepared and ready, you get locked in a zone. I think writers know exactly what I mean. When inspiration strikes and your fingers are flying across the keyboard trying desperately to keep up with the rush of words you want – need – to get down, you know what being 'locked into it' feels like.
To leave you with an anecdote of how much in the zone you can get during a trial, let me tell you about my first trial, lo these twenty plus years ago when I was a public defender. I was ready, really ready, for trial. I had my file organized, my witnesses prepped, my closing, my opening, my questions were all written out and waiting for me to use. So when the government rested, the judge turns to me and asks, "Defense, do you have a motion?" And me, all locked and loaded and ready to put on my killer case answered, "No Your Honor, we're ready to put on our case."
Thankfully Judge Ott was a kind man – kind to all who weren't convicted criminals that is – and took pity on me. "Do you want to make a motion for Judgement of Acquittal?" Now, every defense attorney knows, you always at least ask that the court rule as a matter of law, the government failed to make it's case. It almost never succeeds because the standard is, 'if I believe everything the government witnesses have said, and drawing all inferences in favor of the government, is there enough to convict?'
Think about it. The standard boils down to, 'if I accept everything the government said as the truth, is there enough to convict.' What prosecutor would go forward if there weren't witnesses to say the defendant did it? So it's an almost impossible standard.
But I realized I was supposed to make the argument so I said the magic words, "I move for Judgment of Acquittal."
Sometimes it pays to breath a little when you're in the zone.
The Last Grand Master their very survival.
Champion of the Gods: Book One:
In a war that shook the earth, the Six gods of Nendor defeated their brother Neldin, god of evil. For the three thousand years since, Nendor and the Seven Kingdoms have known peace and prosperity.
But then a new wizard unleashes the power of Neldin. Meglar, wizard king of Zargon, uses dark magic to create an army of creatures to carry out his master's will.
One by one, the sovereign realms fall. Soon the only wizard who can stop Meglar is Grand Master Farrell, the Prince of Haven, the hidden home of refugees. An untried wizard, Farrell carries a secret that could hold the key to defeating Meglar—or it could destroy the world.
While helping Nerti, queen of the unicorns, Farrell saves Miceral, an immortal muchari warrior the Six have chosen to be Farrell's mate. But Farrell approaches love with caution, and before he can decide how to proceed, Meglar invades a neighboring kingdom. Farrell and Miceral find themselves in the middle of the battle. Farrell pushes himself to the limit as he and Miceral fight not only to stop Meglar but for their very survival.
Klissmor stopped without warning. Nerti too. Everyone behind them swerved to keep their distance. Farrell gave no explanation. He leapt down, turning back the way they’d come.
He raised both hands, and an enormous energy bowl formed over his head. A sudden blast of sickly black and red energy ripped through Northhelm’s shield, striking the protective dome and forcing him to his knees. A grunt slipped out of his mouth at the same time Miceral jumped off Klissmor.
Raising a hand, Farrell pointed at Miceral. “No! Stay back.” He needed to complete this. He’d been fortunate that the hastily wrought shield held the last attack.
When Miceral continued to close in, Farrell muttered under his breath and threw a barrier between them. He’d apologize later. Right now he needed to focus on defending everyone from the next attack.
Another attack ripped through the sky. He struggled to keep on his feet as he hurried to close the circle of energy. Once the ends merged, he launched it back the way it came. Forming a second shield, he anxiously peered skyward. A flash of light on the far horizon brought the hint of a smile to his face. It didn’t answer their problems, but it helped. Without releasing his shield, he engaged his wizard’s sight, looking in the direction where the attacks originated. Seeing nothing, he relaxed.
The barrier dissolved between Miceral and him.
“What was that?”
“What did you do?”
Questions darted at him from all sides. He waved a hand, dismissing them. He didn’t have time for an inquisition. Then his eyes landed on Miceral, a small frown cutting between the man’s brows, and the urge to explain made Farrell open his mouth. But a slight rumbling beneath them had him shutting it again and searching the ground.
His hand went to his endless pocket. After checking the distance to the entrance, the position of the rocks, and the contour of the ground, he settled on a suitable spot. He removed an oddly grooved stick with a large mushroomlike head, half the length of his staff. It looked to be made from a live tree branch, with sprigs of green along the stem.
Using both hands and all his weight, he firmly embedded the stick into the rocky ground.
He stepped back, checking his distance. In one fluid motion, he grabbed his staff in both hands and swung it directly at the head of the stick. When the staff’s metal head struck the wooden top, sparks flew, and the stick sank further into the ground, leaving only its head visible. A sudden burst of energy pulsed outward from the stick. When the flash subsided, a new shield replaced the one Meglar destroyed. Much better. He turned and walked back to the others.
“That ought to give us enough time to get everyone to safety.”
Miceral fell in beside him. A small grin replaced the frown. Farrell liked the way the man’s cheek quirked with the smile.
“Next time”—Miceral’s deep voice sent a shiver through him—“you could warn us we’re under attack.”
“There really wasn’t time for an explanation.” Reaching back, he returned his staff to its place.
Then, catching Miceral’s eye, Farrell gave him a shy wink before placing a hand on Nerti. Almost immediately he snatched his hand back. “Honorus help us!”
Moving so he could look her in the eye, he shook his head. “You’re exhausted beyond your limits.”
Nerti trembled slightly and tried to pull away. Despite his lack of familiarity with unicorns, he grasped her head with both hands and pressed his forehead to hers, just below her horn. He said nothing, and Nerti ceased her effort to pull away. For a brief moment a light blue aura engulfed the pair. When it vanished, he released her and stepped back.
Nerti no longer trembled. He smiled and turned toward the distant gate. “Come, we should get inside. When Meglar recovers from the shock of having his attack shoved down his throat, he’ll probe this area to find out what happened.”
Before he advanced three steps, Grohl barred his way.
“What do you think you are doing, silly wizard?”
“Trying to get inside.” Checking around him, he found everyone staring at their exchange. “What are you doing?”
Grohl didn’t move. “And you expect us to let you walk?”
“Nerti can barely make it back herself, let alone carry me, and though magically weary, I am not—”
A low, deep growl forced him to step back. A hand grabbed the back of his shirt, yanking him upward. What the…? He landed in front of Miceral. The man’s arms snaked around his waist, pulling him closer. Torn between annoyed, embarrassed, and thrilled at the closeness, he opted for thrilled.
“You could have warned me you were going to do that.” He picked at a loose thread on the side of his shirt. “You almost ripped my shirt off!”
A laugh rumbled from behind him, causing another shiver. Miceral leaned forward, his lips so close Farrell could feel the warmth of his breath. “When I want to take off your shirt, believe me, I’ll do it somewhere more private than this.”
Klissmor began an easy jog toward the now open gate. Acutely aware of how they moved together, he let out a nervous breath. Good thing the others were well ahead. He hadn’t been this embarrassed in years.
“Farrell, are you blushing?” Miceral twisted to his left, and Farrell turned the other way. Not to be deterred, Miceral twisted again. “Your neck is turning red.”
“Fine.” He felt his cheeks warming even more. “Yes, I’m blushing. Your attention, while welcome, is also uncomfortable. I’m not sure what to say or do in response.”
Miceral’s grip seemed to slacken, but he didn’t say anything.
“You are supposed to kiss him, Wizard.” Nerti’s voice bubbled with amusement. “That’s what he wants.”
Honorus help him, could this moment be any more mortifying? Now Nerti gave him advice? And how did she know Miceral felt that way? This mind-sharing thing was going to be a pain.
“I heard that,” she said. “I’m just trying to help you.”
He laughed and shook his head.
“I missed something, didn’t I?” Miceral said.
Annoyed at the unwanted attention, he tossed caution aside. “Nerti said I ought to kiss you.”
Miceral pulled him closer again. “A wonderful suggestion, I’d say.”
Farrell’s blood rushed someplace other than his face. Don’t notice, don’t notice. Miceral pressed a fraction closer, his warm breath tickled the nape of Farrell’s neck again. He felt Miceral having the same “problem” and smothered a smile. Maybe this wasn’t so bad. He relaxed into Miceral’s embrace a little more.
Book page (with links to all major outlets for the book: http://andrewqgordon.com/books/the-last-grand-master-coming-february-1-2013
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