Tag Archives: A Tale of Robbers and Cops

THE MONA LISA SISTERS

NaNoWriMo

It’s been almost a month since I last posted. Then I spoke of the inspiration for my NaNoWriMo novel, The Mona Lisa Sisters.

In case you’ve forgotten, National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, is an annual event in which participants attempt to complete a 50,000-word novel in the month of November.

As I finalized my research prior to the start of NaNoWriMo, I began filling out Character, Minor Character, and Scene Cards. Introduced to these by Deborah “Jordan” Bernal, I find them invaluable.

Before I started at one minute after midnight, Friday, November 1, 2013, I had three characters, two minor characters, and ten scene cards arrayed in my work folder. When I finished at 5:00 p.m. November 21, 2013, I had twenty-four cards and 51156 words.

As a winner, I’m eligible for a happy face sticker, like this one:

Happy Writer

I try to write two-thousand words a day, every day. Generally, I fail. NaNoWriMo forced me to meet or exceed that goal. Taking two days off, I still managed to average 2400 words a day.

Never having written a “Chick-Flic” story, I struggled with the lack of violence and expletives.

Back in October I gave my readers a hint, “There might even be a mysterious stranger lurking in the background.” I kept him hidden so far back that he could have been an afterthought. That is until I hit 30,000 words. In danger of running out of story line, I took a day off and pondered how to get another 20,000. Inspiration struck, as it often does, at 3:00 a.m.

I went back to Chapter 7, re-read it and inserted a new Chapter 8. The mysterious stranger now delivers in this and six additional chapters. I believe the changes enhance the story and help with character development.

It’s time to set The Mona Lisa Sisters aside and get back to A Tale of Robbers and Cops and Liberty.

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A Tale of Robbers and Cops is the story of two illiterate Georgia teenage brothers. Brutalized on a chain gang, they commit a revenge murder locking them into a life of crime.

It’s been almost five months since I pitched Robbers to a publisher, and three since the publisher asked me to submit it for reading. I’m assuming the worst, so I will be rewriting once again.

Liberty is story about people, people who happen to be cops, gang bangers, civilians, and innocent by-standers. The gangs are violent and commit both random and orchestrated murders. The cops have flaws. The gang bangers, a few at least, have a good trait or two.

If you can get by the murders that occur in just about every chapter, it’s a fun read.

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WRITING-SCHOOL-VOLUNTEERISM

After over forty years of investigative experience, I’ve officially changed career paths. While most people my age retire, I’m much too active for that. Besides, I can only watch so much television, and I’m a terrible golfer. I’m devoting my time to writing, school, and volunteerism.

If you didn’t know, I’ve written one novel, A Tale of Robbers and Cops. I enjoyed the project and learned a great deal about writing.

My second novel, Liberty, set in the fictional city of Liberty, Arizona, is a story about people. That’s right; it’s a story about people, not cops. However, among these people are cops, the leaders of a Black Prison/Street Gang, as well as a Latino Street Gang. I’ve been researching for a year. In that time, I’ve met some interesting gang experts who have been more than generous with their time.

In addition to the novels, I’m amassing a collection of short stories. Several are set for publication by year’s end.

My educational goal is to complete an AA Degree in English at Las Positas College and then enter a Master of Fine Arts program. My alma mater, California State University – East Bay has a joint campus program that should meet my needs.

For the last eighteen months, I’ve spent 2 ½ hours most Mondays in Polish Your Writing, a class taught by acclaimed author and educator Julaina Kleist. I intend to continue studying under Julaina indefinitely.

As for volunteerism, I’ve returned to the San Leandro Police Department as a Volunteer in Police (VIP). Forty-five years ago, as a rookie police officer, I shuttled cars to and from the corporation yard, to the car wash, swept the police station, emptied trash, and handled a myriad of other un-cop like tasks. As a VIP, I’m doing much the same thing, only for free.

I’m excited about this turn in the road I’ve made and am looking forward to new adventures. If you would like to read samples of my writing or hear more about my journey, feel free to check out my blog.

MERGING THE HEART OF A WRITER WITH THE SOUL OF A BIKER

Blog : http://gdcramer.com
Email : gdcramer@msn.com
FaceBook : http://www.facebook.com/george.cramer.56211
LinkedIn : http://www.linkedin.com/in/gdcramerpi/
Twitter : @WriterBiker

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NaNoWriMo

Next month will be my second foray into the world of NaNoWriMo.

What? You’ve never heard of National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo hosts, pushes, beats, cheers, and helps tens of thousands write 50,000 words every November.

NaNoWriMo is on the honor system. The prizes are children’s stickers awarded weekly. My only competition is George Cramer.

NaNoWriMo

http://nanowrimo.org

One must write 1,666 words every day for thirty days. Last year I wrote 70,000 words, or 2,333 a day. The purpose of the event is to write a novel. No editing, no critiquing, just writing. All the other stuff one can do later.

In 2012, I decided to write for NaNoWriMo. Writers should “write what you know.” I take that to heart.

For NaNoWriMo, I fudged. I wrote about events from my sixteen years at the San Leandro Police Department. Those years at SLPD were some of the best of my life. I began a list of incidents, most at SLPD. There are a few involving Oakland PD, Alameda PD, Alameda County Sheriff, Hayward PD, and even one in San Francisco where I traded guns for heroin. (Shades of Fast and FuriousWe didn’t let the guns walk.) Some are funny, some sad, some bad. Yes, bad things do occasionally happen in a police department. I created an outline of those I want on paper. Before I knew it, the list had grown to sixty-five, each a story worth telling.

I suffer from CRS. I knew the longer I waited, the less accurate these stories would be. I dug in on November 1, 2012 and started down the list. I didn’t get through all sixty-five, but I did get around forty written. Before you begin to worry, except for a few of my exploits, not all, and some outstanding and courageous officers, I changed the names.

The first novel, A Tale of Robbers and Cops, is at a publisher now. I expect the rejection notice any day. The second, Liberty, is about 50% complete.

As part of NaNoWriMo, I will start a new novel. I’m looking for ideas. Think of an incident, real or imagined and shoot me a note. If I use your suggestion, I’ll name a character after you.

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Rewrites and Edits

Over the last ten days, I’ve put in at least eighty hours editing, editing rewrites, and editing the edits of A Tale of Robbers and Cops. Writers will detect an overabundance of “echoing” in the previous sentence. Tough.

Three days ago, I finished my seventh or eighth round of edits. Wow, I’m getting there.

Two days ago, I began to read ‘Robbers’ aloud. What a mess. I began another round of edits.

Today, feeling exhausted, beyond frustration, and just plain whiny, I tweeted:

Editing “Robbers” again today. Will the book never be finished?

I haven’t written a word for the next book in weeks. Detective Hector Miguel Gomez and the other members of the Liberty Police Department Anti-Gang Enforcement (AGE) unit must think I’ve given up on them. They’re probably wondering, “How will we ever lock up Geronimo and the Knife?”

Brian Thiem sent me a note:

“I’m doing a rewrite now and plan one more after that. Once I accepted that rewriting/revising IS writing, it’s been easy. If you’re like most writers, even those best-selling authors, you’d wish you could take another crack at it even after it’s in the bookstores.”

My friend, mentor, and sometimes editor, Vi Moore sent one as well:

“Best-selling authors tell me they do at least five full edits. Congrats! You’re on your way.”

Several other friends wished me Good Luck.

Thank you all for your comments and support.

I went back to work with a fresh and positive attitude. Yes Brian, I’ve accepted the fact that rewriting is writing. With yours and Vi’s comments in mind, I accomplished more in the last four hours than the previous two days. Thanks.

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Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage on the Grand Princess

Friday, July 19, 2013 we boarded the Grand Princess at Pier 35, San Francisco. We chose this cruise because of its proximity to our home, only thirty-five miles. The last time we cruised to Alaska we flew to Vancouver, Canada, spent the night, and boarded the ship the next day. We enjoyed it, but it was a bit of a hassle and expensive.

If we board the ship in San Francisco, we won’t have any hassles. Nothing is hassle free. The first thirty-three miles took a half-hour. The mile or so along the Embarcadero took an hour.

The weather in Dublin was great. I dressed in proper tourist attire, shorts and Aloha shirt. San Francisco was cold and windy. It got worse.

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Don’t you just love Cathy’s latest hair style?

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Notice the lack of California sunshine?

It got worse, much worse. The winds continued to increase throughout the night.

Saturday morning the captain came on the P.A. System with this announcement. “No Cause for Concern.”

Instantly alert, I turned to Cathy. “What the hell?”

The captain continued. “The winds coming across the bow are running at 40 knots.” Looking out our balcony window we could see that seas were running deep with more white caps showing than dark gray water. Wanting us to feel better and I assume to appreciate the mere forty knot wind, he continued. “Throughout the night we had sustained winds of sixty knots with gusts of eighty knots.” He had our attention. It got better, or maybe worse. It depends on your point of view. “Eighty knot wind is just shy of hurricane conditions.” Oh, Boy. “Although we have closed several areas of the ship for safety, there is no cause for concern.”

According to disastercenter.com, 80 knots equates to 92.2 miles per hour. Above 73 mph hurricane devastation occurs.

Saturday was spent at sea. Heavy seas kept everyone indoors. I didn’t even write. I spent the day eating and reading a novel by recently published author, I.C. Enger. I met her at the Public Safety Writers Conference in Las Vegas. Her book, Blue Ice, is the first in a series. I found the story very interesting, a page turner. Later in the week, I read her second book, Green Ice. The third in the series, Black Ice, is due out shortly.

Sunday we docked in Victoria, B.C. just as the weather broke. It was a beautiful day. We’ve been to Victoria several times and have seen most of the sights. It’s a good thing. Victoria was hosting a Good Guys type car show. The theme was Deuce Coupe. We learned that more than a thousand 1932 Ford Deuce Coupes were entered along with another thousand or so vintage cars and hot rods. Several locals told us, “This is the largest event ever held in Victoria.” I believed them. Most of the downtown streets were closed down. Almost all tours in town were cancelled. The open streets were worse than San Francisco.

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This was the only car not sporting a DO NOT TOUCH sign.

Every car entered in the show, and all the ones parked around town were brought in by ship and ferry.

We spent Monday at sea. It was a productive day. There is a library and game area on the ship. Just like at my home office, I couldn’t write in our room. Even though kids and adults play a variety of board games, it didn’t bother me. I rarely hear them, it is a pleasant distraction. Occasionally a group of adults will take over a couple of tables and each tries to outdo the other in volume. These are interruptions and they do bother me.

Cathy dragged me away for lunch. I returned in the afternoon. While A Tale of Robbers and Cops is out to an editor, I’m concentrating on my second novel. The story is about police officers working Anti-Gang Enforcement in the fictional city of Liberty, Arizona.

It was a good day. I wrote 3700 words.

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