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J. J. Brown, Wordslinger

"I Sling Words As I Go Along."

Date

December 19, 2015

Excerpt: Secrets & Howls: A Wolf’s Head Bay Mystery

 

From the Prologue:

Her skin prickled and she stopped, alert.

Whoever was watching her was back. Or he’d never left. She suspected the latter – the sensations were so strong that she instinctively knew he was still around. Gripping her keys, she turned in a slow circle, her eyes touching on every shape, muscles tense, aware of the scents carried on the ocean breeze. From the center of town, she could hear the post office tower’s bell chime out the hour.

He was close – she could feel it. The question was, where would he come from?

The attack, when it came, was sudden – her body’s instinctive reflexes were faster than her mind and she ducked just in time to miss the swinging, clawed fist.

He roared, furious. She leapt back, dropping her purse, her breath coming in sharp rasps.

He was new to this – it was obvious from the way he carried himself. But new or not, if she wasn’t careful, he may just take her by sheer brute force.

She intended to take him down first.

They circled each other – Holly hoped that something or someone would distract him long enough so that she could gain a better advantage, but she didn’t rely on it happening. She had to rely on herself.

As she studied him, gauging his skill, her analytical mind suggesting strategies that she automatically considered or disregarded, it occurred to her reporter’s mind that there were peculiarities surrounding the death of Jackson Tanner. Peculiarities that had been similar to another death…..

Her attacker growled – her eyes widened in shock as she saw him literally expand in size and knew that she was in far more danger than she had at first realized.

She had no choice now. This was a fight that would end in one way.

She roared at him until her throat was raw, her hands like claws, and she ran at him.

His first blow sliced through her shirt and opened up her belly – four neat, parallel incisions, nearly gutting her.

 

The next blow killed her.

 

Secrets & Howls

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Thirty-two years and seven months later, in a galaxy far, far away…….

……..the continuing adventures of a certain Rebel team and their compatriots are finally being told in cinemas across the world.

No, this is not a review, nor will I post any spoilers. This is a reflection of my own enjoyment of Star Wars, its sequels and, to some degree, the prequels.

I was seven when I saw the first Star Wars and by first, I mean the one that introduced us to Luke Skywalker, the Force and a complex villain named Darth Vader. I was so completely enchanted with that universe that I wanted to be a part of it. So I created my own stories and my own character and reenacted entire scenes. I began writing them down and have pages and pages of unfinished and badly written tales. I didn’t know at the time that it was called fan fiction, but that’s what it was.

They weren’t very good, in case you’re wondering. In fact, they’re pretty bad. But I learned a great deal from writing them, so I feel certain fondness for them. I learned about beginnings, endings, dialogue, character and sustaining them all with the multiple plot threads. I learned how to convey subtext without belaboring the point. Because I loved the characters that George Lucas gave us, I enjoyed the process of learning the craft of writing.

These stories were meant for no one’s eyes but my own. I wrote quite a few, featuring characters not only designed for Star Wars, but for my favorite TV shows and books and another popular science fiction phenom, Star Trek (yes, I have unfinished stories for all incarnations of Trek, except the reboot). Now, these terrible little stories live in a box, condemned to darkness and my own private amusement.

Then I realized I had stories and characters of my own that demanded attention and I haven’t stopped writing. What I learned from that foray into fan fiction (a term I became vaguely aware of in my twenties) taught me more about writing than I had ever learned in a formal classroom setting. I would still encourage any aspiring writer to take writing classes, if only to discover a support network, objective ears and to have fun with words.

I’ve always been asked when I started writing, but no one’s ever asked why or how. So, with the opening of Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens, I decided to write about the why and the how.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a lonely farm boy yearned for adventure among the stars. From the moment his uncle bought two droids named C-3PO and Artoo Detoo, he began to walk a path that led him to encounters beyond his wildest imaginings and he took all of us with him.

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