Neighborhood Character

People and the places they populate generate neighborhood character. I’m not talking about the franchise joints tested by marketing focus groups. I’m talking about your corner bar, barbershop, or back room, where, for whatever reason, people congregate. I like these places. The social fireworks are fun to watch. Hence, the photo of me with Sandy, the bartender at Bonk’s Bar.

Dan and Sandy at Bonk's

Bonk’s Bar features all the usual action of a corner tavern: local color, reliable booze, minimal interference from skyscraper geniuses looking to make everything the same. It’s been more than 20 years since I first set foot in there. Looking forward to many more years doing the same. Support your local establishments. They’re worth it.


Published in: on June 19, 2013 at 12:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bonk’s Bar, cover

Here’s a sneak peek at the cover of Bonk’s Bar, my next novel.

bonkscovpostIt’s amazing how well the designer captured many of the elements of the story in such a small place. Yes, there are spicy crabs and poker games in the story, not to mention Russian mobsters, live music, and a brawl or two. I love this cover. Let me know what you think. See my website for the first chapter. More info about the release of the book is coming soon.

Published in: on March 5, 2009 at 12:16 pm  Comments (1)  
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Writing With A Soundtrack

Music has always played a significant role in my writing. Not long after I start composing the main passages of a story, a theme song will work its way into my mind. In the case of my novel, An Island Away, the song was Soy by the Gypsy Kings. For my next book, Bonk’s Bar, it was Roadhouse by The Doors. These are two very different stories as are the songs. Each one shares the tone of the accompanying story. When I read passages, I compare them to the music and see if they mesh with it. If not, well, there’s something wrong.

Lately, I’ve been working on Under A Blue Flag, which is the sequel to An Island Away. The theme song for this book is Tobaco y Chanel. (There are several versions of this song. My preference is the one recorded by Bacilos.) The song begins with a violin solo that evolves into the first verse. The violin then plays counter-point to the words, dipping into the lower regions of the instrument’s range. The same violin is played pizzicato-style for transitions into the chorus. It also punctuates key lyrics from time to time. Throughout the song the percussion instruments maintain a familiar rhythm even as the violin roams about, seemingly doing it’s own thing, but all within the context of the overall theme.

So it is with writing a novel. There are those characters and events that form the background and foundation of the narrative. Then there are others that pop up, injecting elements of contrast or surprise. When mixed together they provide tension, conflict, and ultimately a satisfying resolution. Of course, if the author did a good job, the reader (like someone listening to a song) doesn’t notice these elements as distracting parts but rather a single flowing experience that sounds right.

At least that’s how it works for me.

A Finished Manuscript

Bonk’s Bar, my next novel to be published, is complete. The photo below shows the stack of pages. Doesn’t look like much, but the whole story is there, from start to finish and everything in between. What a relief!

bonkjpost1Thanks to my editor, I made some last minute changes that truly improved the story. Happiness is having a good editor who makes you’re writing better, even when you thought you had the story exactly the way you wanted it. This has been a pleasant surprise for me during the completion of Bonk’s Bar, as well as An Island Away. Soon I’ll be working with her on my next novel. I’m looking forward to it.

As you can see, I’ve switched from Coca-Cola Classic to Caffeine Free Coca-Cola Classic. The only reason for this switch is that I can turn down the amperage now that this novel is ready to go. I can cruise a little through the one I’m currently knee-deep in writing. Still, it’s Coca-Cola or water and nothing in between (except Jack Daniels but that serves a separate and distinct purpose).

Enjoy your reading and check back for more updates.