Posts tagged ‘a year without killing’

A Master’s Degree in Group Dynamics


The Eight Sentences:

Dr. Thibaut, “Like I said earlier, this project has made me work more than usual on a candidate’s masters. Where did you find out about the work of Bandler and Grinder?”

Claudia answered, “I met a [Dale Carnegie] instructor trainer from California and he told me about their work. What they[ Bandler and Grinder] do involves therapy using a person’s choice of words and body language so it’s closely associated with group dynamics. Sometimes, the group only has two people. He’s been a great help with locating resources. Have you ever noticed that I never sit directly in front of you? If you’re somewhat to my right, you are more likely to agree with me. He taught me that — and introduced me to the study of group dynamics.”

The Back Story:FrogsPrinces

This part of Claudia’s past is autobiographical for me. I taught and sold Dale Carnegie Courses for several years in the mid 1980’s. A fine introduction to NLP is Frog’s Into Princes by Bandler and Grinder. I recommend it for anyone interested in pursuing the topic.

A related snippet prompted this blog article about Claudia’s master thesis: “What the Assassin Already Knows.”

I’ve been a member since the beginning — over two years ago.

We’re looking for more writers:

Join us here at Weekend Writing Warriors.

The  same link will take you to the work of
dozens of talented writers.
For a treat, please check out their work, too.
Here’s the Facebook link for the Sunday Snippett group.SundaySnip

Guest blogger, Julie Medina — Book Cover Designer







Our guest blogger today is Julie Medina of Garland, Texas. AYearWithoutKilling- FINAL

She designed the cover for my third novel, A Year Without Killing, and I thought

it would be interesting to hear about her work and how she views book marketing.




Ever get that question?

I do, sometimes, when people ask me what I “do” and I say I do book covers (and book interior layout).

Sometimes I get a half-blank look with the question: “What kind of book covers?”

Then I like to say: the kind that jumps on you in a bookstore, the kind that stands out from the crowd and  makes you want to pick it up and read it.

It’s the weirdest thing. You see, I believe that for most people their first interest in a book is sparked by looking at its cover. Have you ever been in a bookstore, looking for a book on architecture, for example, and out of the corner of your eye a book in the Thriller section gets you to look twice?

Something in the combination of Look and Title on that cover jumped straight past your eyes and into your brain. A face, a landmark, a flower, a mood, something someone is doing –  yes, even a color.

And now you want to know what this is all about.

Someone is shooting holes into a calendar?? Who does such a thing?

Is this some kind of a countdown to off your Husband or your Wife?

Why does someone not kill for a year? Why have they killed before, and who?

Can’t speak for other people but that is pretty much what happens to me when a book cover jumps past my eyes and into my brain. That is how I like to design covers, with that extra little burst that takes them straight there.

When I begin a project, I like to learn a little about the story, the people that live in it — perhaps some pivotal moment in their lives.

Andre Le Gallo was very specific with what he wanted on the cover of his Red Cell.RedCell

In this case I tried to accommodate pretty much what the described.

Other authors are wide open and I have only the title and a brief synopsis on the story.  I think those are actually my favorite covers. Those give me complete creative freedom and I love that. Of course sending those covers to the author for viewing is a nail-biter every time. High stakes gambling in Las Vegas couldn’t be anymore exciting when the dice roll.

Washboard RoadI drew four aces with Heartsongs From a Washboard Road by Roger Summers and won the Jackpot with CrissCross by Dale Fowler.CrissCross

Designing a book cover (or an entire book) is a little like having a baby. You worry, You want it to be beautiful and perfect and you want everyone to love it. It has to be romantic, scary, funny, dramatic, melancholy, dark and brooding or the conveyor of hope and love, all depending on the story, and it has to almost tell the entire story in one picture.

On most projects I sift through thousands of photos until just the right one grabs my attention.  The mood, colors, and themes combine into an image or images that I think will work.

Playing around with pictures in Photoshop produces crazy good effects sometimes and can change everything about any photo and give it an entirely new “feel.” A good example for this is the Compost Pile by Stephen Woodfin. [The two photos on the left were combined to make up the final cover image.]

COMPOST CompostPile

GIRL-webAnd then, when I think the cover is what I had in mind, I send it off to the “Parent”, the author, and wait.

No problem, I check e-mail only like every 20 minutes or so! No, I do not pace!

My clients report success with every project. We work together. We don’t stop until the author is as pleased with the cover. Until then the motto is: nothing is chiseled in stone, everything and anything can be tweaked and changed.

How did I get into this crazy, exciting world of book publishing?

Thanks to my friend and former boss, Caleb Pirtle of Venture Galleries, who kept telling me that I could forget about commercial advertising now and dig deeper to find that artist he knew was in there somewhere. I hope I have succeeded.

When I was young, I dreamed of being the one who wrote the books. Well that plan did not work out. But I found something equally great. I am the one who puts a story into a picture for all the world to see.

It does not get any better than that.

Claudia Barry is “The Tourist Killer”

The Eight Sentences:

Summer Shoot“You know my history and accomplishments. Not many shooters — regardless of sex — have the resume I’ve acquired and my vision is remarkable for any human. When I chose this career, it was obvious that I would never be in the limelight. I’ll be happy to be just as anonymous as you.” Claudia had resigned herself to anonymity even before the choice of professions. She had taken herself out of the fight for women’s rights with the selection of careers, because she couldn’t attract attention to herself advocating any issue publicly and then hope to reach the upper echelons of her craft. She could, and did, find ways to make financial contributions to the cause. After her first few jobs, she had stashed away enough funds to live happily ever after when and — if she ever retired.

The Set Up:

AYearWithoutKilling- FINAL My third novel, A Year Without Killing, will debut in December on my publisher’s site as a serial. One chapter at a time will be presented twice a week.

November will see a big promotion for The Tourist Killer to build interest in the sequel. In conjunction with these events, my snippets will be excerpts from The Tourist Killer’s flashbacks. Each of the seven parts of the book begins with a flashback into Claudia’s past. Today’s selection is from the first flashback and comes from Claudia’s meeting with the one who recruited her into the profession.

Calling all writers:

Join us here at Weekend Writing Warriors.
The  same link will take you to the work of
dozens of talented writers.
For a treat, please check out their work, too.
Here’s the Facebook link for the Sunday Snippett group.

Take out the papers and the trash!

The Eight Sentences:

Claudia replied with a note of authority, “Your phone calls put you into the same light as the person who squeezed the trigger. Your finger did the damage before the cross hairs were set and the shooter probably never realized when the round was fired.”

Woman n Trash

Claudia is a bit older and blonde, although she IS a master of disguise… (I love this image though!)

“You’re into Zen aren’t you? So ‘into the moment’ you don’t realize the target is falling and it’s because of you,”

“Does it bother you so much you want revenge?” Claudia asked.

“I don’t consider solving a problem for the world as being revenge,” answered Star. “How do you view your work?”

“Sometimes I’m not sure if  I’m a do-gooder ridding society of undesirables or just a psychopath taking out the trash.”

The Set Up:

Claudia met someone she did not expect to meet (Star Braun.) Their encounter was the subject of a previous Sunday Snippet and can be found HERE. This week’s eight sentences are from the tete a tete the two had after they both survived their initial meeting. Star has just confessed that she had made phone calls to engage Claudia’s services and now has regrets.

NOTE: My confession is….I got that last line, Claudia’s comment about taking out the trash from one of the reviews of my book. It was in the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

Open Call for Writers:

Attention all writers, published or not.

Do you have what it takes to write a book?AAA-WWW

Want some feedback on your work, eight sentences at a time?

Join us at Weekend Writing Warriors and also on FaceBook, at the Sunday Snippet group.

The internet brings hope

The Eight Sentences:

Image credit:

Jackson White spoke up and said with the confidence of a university professor in defense of his thesis, “In addition to social media, email, and driving directions, the internet is a powerful venue for human interaction. By  connecting with others, we discover that we aren’t alone, we aren’t broken or isolated. There is hope.”

“Well fuck you, too,” Barger said.

Scully was a bit more tolerant, but not much, “That sounds like something right outta the Reader’s Digest Journal of Popular Science.”

White replied, “It is, in fact, from an article I read in Reader’s Digest. I of course paraphrased it. Far be it from me to be guilty of plagiarism.”


The Back Story:

Several members of the League of Old Men are traveling together to their next mission.

They are discussing one aspect of the mission.


Open call for writers:

Join us here at Weekend Writing Warriors.
The  same link will take you to the work of
dozens of talented writers.
For a treat, please check out their work, too.
Here’s the Facebook link for the Sunday Snippett group.

“We need a bit more control.”

The Eight Sentences:

__________________                                                                                         Scotch

Dahl returned his crystal tumbler to its coaster on the drop leaf table.

His hand moved with the precision of an artist painting eyebrows one hair at a time.

He leaned into the light and his guest could see that Dahl’s expression had changed — his eyebrows had lowered. The lips were pursed and thin. The corners of his mouth were pulled back into his cheeks but he wasn’t smiling.

Unnerving seconds seemed to take minutes to pass. Remington’s palms became soaked with sweat. Dahl spoke, “You have always given me the impression that control of this man was unquestionable.”

The Back Story:


This week’s snippet in a continuation of the meeting in last week’s, between the mysterious Mr. Dahl and his guest, a fellow member of the secret organization who controls the world’s leaders, Mr. Remington.

Open call for writers:


Join us here at Weekend Writing WarriorsAAA-WWW

The  same link will take you to the work of
dozens of talented writers.
For a treat, please check out their work, too.
Here’s the Facebook link for the Sunday Snippett group.



Meet Claudia Barry

Cindy A invited me to participate in a “Meet Your Character” blog hop. Cindy is the author ofThe Milk Carton Murders due out next spring. Meet Cindy and view her blog, HERE.

Summer Shoot

FCEtier at Blue Ridge Books for a book signing in Waynesville, NC.

Now, Meet My Character:

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

Claudia Barry – fictional

2) When and where is the story set?                                          

Current times, eastern seaboard USA

3) What should we know about him/her?

Readers meet Claudia in my first book, The Tourist Killer. She’s sixty-two years old and has successfully negotiated a career of over thirty years. Now she’s contemplating retirement and examining her life. What’s next for a professional assassin? Who do you retire? Her assigner convinces her to take a year sabbatical rather than retire outright. A Year Without Killing is the sequel and chronicles her time off.

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

Is retirement from this career any easier than retiring from the CIA or the mafia? How do you break away and stay alive? Claudia must now find a way to be at peace with herself so she can enjoy the rest of her life. AsThe Tourist Killer ends, she and her lover are in separate parts of the country and neither knows the fate of the other.

5) What is the personal goal of the character?

 Claudia wants to settle down with John Hixon and pursue life without the burden of being the harbinger of death to others.

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

A Year Without Killing, my current work in progress is the third book in the Barry-Hixon series and is the sequel to my first book, The Tourist Killer. I participate most weekends in a blog hop, titled, “Weekend Writing Warriors” and most of the excerpts I publish for the next few months will be from AYWK. Catch up with Claudia and her exploits HERE.

7) When can we expect the book to be published?

    E-book and trade paperback versions should be available in the spring of 2015. A Year Without Killing will debut in serialized form, with two chapters per week in either late fall of 2014 or winter of 2015 on the publisher’s site, Venture Galleries.

To keep the meetings going, I’ll tag:

Caleb Pirtle , Stephen Woodfin , and David Stokes.

The League of Old Men

As far as I was concerned, it had always been an urban legend.
The League Of Old Men was as real to me as a twenty-first century Illuminati.
You may have heard the legends, rumors, and stories yourself.
Events that at first seem unrelated and overnight are connected by wingnut conspiracy theorists.
Deals, deaths, and deniable dilemmas that mark the repetition of history through the decades.
The romantic stories of great loyalty, unshakeable devotion, and a will that would make that of G. Gordon Liddy pale by comparison.
Former Hell’s Angels with a desire to preserve their culture.
Viet Nam veterans obsessed with a sense of justice usually reserved for vigilantes.
Maverick cops and detectives determined to execute appropriate sentences — with or without a judge and jury.
Were the rumors of disbarred lawyers true? Was there the connection between LOOM and congress?
Many of their deeds have attracted worldwide attention while others are known only to their victims.
Membership is estimated in the thousands, but none will claim to be card-carriers.
Their financial acumen rivals that of the Templar Knights (inventors of banking, loans, and interest).
My lack of regard for their existence was shaken recently when I walked into what appeared to be an abandoned National Guard Armory. The sidewalk leading up to the street was broken and uneven. Grass and tall weeds made homes of the cracks. Poison ivy grew up the side of an exterior wall, rooted somewhere between a window and the brick veneer wall.
But the interior was another story.
The floors were worn but clean. It was clear that the kitchen and dining area had been used recently and frequently. A mahogany bar hosted a row of bar stools from another era. The back counter was stocked with bourbon and scotch.
The American flag stood proudly with an eagle decoration atop the wooden staff.
Was it an American Legion Hall or a VFW meeting place?
Could have been.
But it wasn’t.
A short hallway lined with newspaper clippings of several wars connected the bar with a large meeting room.
A step into the room is a step into another dimension, another time zone.
There was a “presence” in that room. Was it the ghosts of long forgotten soldiers?
My skin was already alive with goosebumps when I noticed the chairs.
Dozens of wooden chairs. Straight back. Curved slat seats. The kind we had in Sunday school class in the sixties.
The chairs remained in their natural wood tones and shined with repeated layers of varnish and polish. The initials were not hidden.
Before the first coat of varnish, each chair had been labeled with stencil and black paint, “L.O.O.M.”
Now every story, every rumour, and every denial must be investigated.
Who makes up the League Of Old Men, and what are they up too in the twenty-first century?


Article Copyright ©2014 by FCEtier. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and link backs to this story may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Violators will be prosecuted to the extent that the law allows. The League Of Old Men is a fictional organization and any resemblance of the organization or it’s members to anyone living or dead is entirely coincidental.

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