Thursday, August 8, 2019

Give Peace A Chance by Juliana Aragon Fatula

Dear Reader,

The photo above is my manuscript laid out in chapters. I'm so proud that I've completed it but now the hard work begins. Revision.

Writing is hard work. It takes dedication and solitude to write. I have the dedication. I need to work on the solitude. So, I'm in the wilderness, my husband took our dogs, Bear and Yogi, to the lake. 

My husband fished. I wrote. He bought a camper for us so I could go hunting and fishing with him. I don't hunt or fish. I read. There was no wifi, no cable TV, no nosey neighbors knocking on my door. There was peace, quiet, gentle cool breeze, sunshine, and wildflowers covered in bees and butterflies. There were fish jumping, hawks soaring, and a Border Collie and mini Aussie swimming in the lake. 

The wind blew, the air smelled clean. The lake reflected the azure sky. In the meadows I collected yarrow, sagebrush, prairie grass, wildflowers: salmon, red hot fire, lemon, lavender, and a dainty star shaped white blossom of wild chives. The hills of sandstone were covered with shades of sage, evergreen, pine, and feathery grass with pink tips. The granite boulders, covered in ancient moss, red soil, and blue sky created a scene of beauty and peace. 

A storm blew in from the East. The sky grew dark, clouds amassed in thick billows from the snow melt in the Rocky mountains. I watched for wildlife near the campsite: bears, elk, deer, mountain lion, and moose hid in caves, trees, and in the shadows. They kept their distance and waited for twilight to eat and drink at the lake. 

The peacefulness, the isolation, ignited a desire in me to strip naked and run through the wilderness howling at the full moon. I controlled the  urge and crawled out of my Levi's, socks, and boots and lounged inside my "Love Shack" on my queen sized feather bed with Egyptian cotton sheets and began reading, The Red Queen Dies by Frankie Y. Bailey. 

I couldn't wait to get started. I  have always followed a routine when I read a book. I removed the jacket and examined the hard cover. I read the jacket front and back and moved on to the publisher's information. It was published in 2013. 

The following is a book review.

I finished reading the Red Queen Dies in one day. It held my interest and kept me riveted to the mystery, the who dununit. The story was intriguing, but honestly, the ending left me unsatisfied. Is that all there is? I learned from the author how to hold the reader's attention, however, I expected more of a dramatic ending. It left me with more questions. I guess that's the point? It hooked me to read the sequel, because of the incredibly interesting characters and the hints at something hidden, the unknown, more questions to answer. Who was the mystery man in Detective McCabe's life?

I'd rate it a four out of five stars. It did keep me turning pages and told a good story. Maybe I expected too much from the book, Perhaps all the great writers I've read in my studies gave me high standards. I do look forward to reading her next book. Maybe I'll learn something else to improve my own writing.

The story takes place in October 2019. I read the dedication: to my family, who always believe in my dreams. I understood the writer's sentiment. The dream of writing a book and seeing the dream happen when it gets published. Minotaur books of New York published the novel; they are part of St. Martin's Publishing Group.

The Thomas Dunn Book for Minotaur books stated. This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. I liked that disclaimer.

Mine will read, this is a work of fiction and the characters and events portrayed in this novel are figments of the author's imagination and or are compilations of real and fictitious characters in my reality, dreams, and observations. 

Most readers don't literally read a book from cover to cover, but as a writer, I do. I took in every aspect of this mystery novel and studied it as thought it were a textbook. I'm a life long learner and I continue my education into how to write. I study the master writers I admire, mostly writers of color and mostly by women of color. I noticed the very first page and Library of Congress data and ISBN numbers.

Bailey, Frankie Y.
The Red Queen Dies: a mystery 1st ed.
1. African Americans - Fiction

So I tried it on for style.

Fatula, Juliana Aragon.
The Colorado Sisters: a mystery 1st ed.
1. Chicana, Latina, Mexican Indian, LGBTQ, not Hispanic, not straight nor narrow - Fiction.

That's how I'd like to be catalogued. I've heard writers like to envision their books on a shelf in a bookstore or library and watch as someone takes the book off the shelf, looks at the cover, reads the author reviews, and cracks the book open and peers inside. The next thing is to watch as they take the book home and read it from page one to the end - nonstop, until finished.

I picture myself, as I complete writing my book, and then submit it for publishing. It arrives in the mail from the publisher and I open the box to that new book smell. I close my eyes, exhale and smile.

I'm teaching myself how to write a mystery by studying great writers who write great mysteries. I'm learning the do's and don'ts of the genre while enjoying reading the books and authors I love. Someday soon, I'll see my hard work come to fruition and my first great mystery being read by readers like you.

It's a process. I get discouraged. I feel like I'll never finish my reading and writing and get to the end product but I have friends who are writers and they encourage me to push on and do the work. A post it, Just tell the fucking story, hangs on my fridge reminding me, I have to finish. I have to tell my story.

Dillon Beach, CA where the story percolated in my mind.

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