Sunday, October 31, 2010

And Away We Go!

It's Halloween Night and NaNoWriMo participants all over the world are watching their clocks waiting for midnight so they can start officially writing their novels. Like Halloween costumes, NaNo novels are decided on well in advance, sometimes starting as of December first.

I heard about NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, four years ago when a friend asked me if I planned to participate. I'd never heard of it before and decided to investigate. After checking out NaNoWriMo.org, I decided to give it a try.

My first novel, entitled "Wall of Time", is a prequel to my sci-fi series. The first novel, "The Lone Wolf", is due in December 2010. This novel gives insight on one of the minor, but very important, characters in "The Lone Wolf", explaining her origins.

My second novel, "Deserted", didn't go as planned. I started with the idea "If you were stuck on a desert island, who would you want to be stranded with?" It was a good story, but far different from what I envisioned at the beginning of the month.

Last year's novel, "The Ninja Tattoo" is one I'm the most proud of. I got the idea from it from an odd incident that happened to me on the way home from a friend's house one October morning. It struck me as so odd, I decided to put the incident in my novel and the story grew from there.

This year, I plan to write a mystery/ romance combination called "Undiscovered". The basic premise is that a young woman who is showing a condo to a couple witnesses a man running from the scene of the crime. She becomes a target of violence after the police speak to her about the incident.

Below is an excerpt from my 2009 NaNo Novel, "The Ninja Tattoo". This is the opening scene from the novel.

Early morning sun set the sky on fire, glistening off the water, momentarily blinding him. He flipped down the visor then dug his sunglasses out of the glove compartment, sliding them up his nose with one hand. He'd chosen the scenic route to work just so he could enjoy the sunrise. The river looked like molten silver shot with gold strands. The sky was a cheerful blend of rose, lavender, azure, peach and plum. The sun peeping over the horizon was tinged with red, indicating the start of another scorcher. Hot weather was not unusual in Florida, but wasn't the norm for early October.

Teague McMurtry waved to the few pedestrians out at this hour. He knew some of them slightly, since many of them were his neighbors. Working the odd hours he did, he rarely saw anyone. However, since moving a month ago to his small house on Riverside Drive, his neighbors had made a point of coming over to introduce themselves. It was by far the friendliest neighborhood he had ever lived in.

The road was empty as he drove south toward his job site in Oak Hill. He had an estimate to do down there and had to be in New Smyrna by 10:00, leaving him a couple hours in between. By the time he got to the police station in Edgewater, only a few blocks from his home, he had joined a convoy of sorts. In the lead was a bronze Ford F150. Directly in front of Teague was a guy on a motorcycle. Behind him was another motorcycle, a red Jeep and, he thought, a third bike behind the Jeep. It seemed odd since the road had been so empty before. He couldn't quite remember noticing when he came upon these others, but figured they all had the same idea, keeping out of slow school zone traffic on US-1.

The pickup was going the speed limit, which was a little frustrating. In fact, the driver went 25, then 20, 30 and 15. Teague wanted to lay on his horn, but didn't want to startle the biker, so he kept his frustration to himself. The biker didn't look any happier with the truck than he was. From time to time, he glanced behind him, trying to see around Teague's white Dodge Ram. Apparently, the motorcycles were traveling together and somehow Teague had gotten in between them.

At the turnoff for 442, the guy ahead of Teague gestured with his left arm, motioning as if he were turning. Teague slowed, anticipating the right turn, but the biker sped up, his black and white Ninja, following the truck as it continued past the intersection. Instead, the red Jeep, followed by another biker, turned right and headed up 442. This left the Ford truck, Teague and two bikers. It seemed strange to him and he began to wonder what was going on. His overactive imagination clicked into high gear and he started imagining scenarios.

Maybe the guy in the truck is with them and he's giving directions to the guy on the white Ninja? He thought that over, wondering how they were communicating. The guy ahead of him was probably about his age with short, sandy brown hair. He had on a T-shirt, baggies, skater shoes and sunglasses. He wasn't wearing a helmet and he didn't have a cellphone out. So that was probably not the case. The biker behind Teague was also on a Ninja, this one bright blue, He wore a white helmet with a dark visor. He was wearing clothing similar to the man ahead of him. What characterized them both was the fact they were heavily tattooed. What Teague had first taken as a tan or sunburn, on closer inspection, revealed itself to be elaborate tattoos on neck, arms and legs.

The road turned right, coming to an end at US-1. Stopping for the light, the man ahead of Teague leaned back on his bike, glancing at the man behind Teague, he pointed left. The other fellow nodded, giving the lead biker a thumbs up. The light changed and the white Ninja followed the truck while the blue one followed Teague. Feeling a bit paranoid, he moved over to the right lane, anticipating that the biker would go around him. It didn't even occur to him that the other man would stay behind him, but he did. He didn't ride Teague's bumper, rather stayed at least two car lengths back, shadowing him. If Teague changed lanes, so did the biker.

The hairs on his neck stood at attention. Something was decidedly weird. This man's behavior negated everything Teague had ever seen bikers do. They generally crowded until they could pass, then buzzed around the other vehicles way too fast, disappearing suddenly as they sped up. Approaching the subdivision near Oak Hill, Teague signaled his turn. The biker looked ready to follow, but continued down the highway. As Teague checked in at the security gate, the biker slowed, making a U turn at the next intersection, then he continued back up US-1. Once he was cleared, Teague drove to the house whose yard he was landscaping. He tried to put the bikers out of his mind, but their odd behavior was so out of the ordinary, he couldn't.

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