Book Three. Book Three. Book Three.

PrinceFitted.Bazinga Mitches. lol.  So I figured I would give an update on what has been going on in my literary world.  I have been lazily at work creating Blood On The Throne.  I love that title btw.  Rambling thought in 3,2,… the original idea for the title was actually going to be Coldplay (A Rush of Blood to the head) and Jay Z/Kanye Watch the Throne). or A Rush of Blood to the Throne instead of the Jay Z/Kanye (Watch the Throne) and Micheal Jackson (Blood on the Dance Floor) mix.  The reason I changed it was because my beta reader said that unless there was in fact mass amounts of death happening in this book that having the title be a Rush of Blood wouldn’t be accurate or more importantly slightly misleading.

The reason I bring this up is because I think I have killed off maybe 20 characters in the first two books combined. Granted the majority of them were off camera but dead is dead in Action Figure land. Currently the death toll in Blood On the Throne stands at, and this is off the top of my head not quite an accurate count,drum roll please… 17.

I am a third of the way through writing this book and I have nearly equaled my kill count for books 1 and 2 combined.  I guess A Rush of Blood might have been accurate. And there is a lot more to come. At least two major characters are going to kick the bucket before the ink dries on this one.

As I have said in older posts I let my characters tell me what is going to happen but all the signs are pointing to the deaths of some of my favorite characters.  There is one in particular that I really don’t want to kill but it  is getting more and more likely the further I go. As I was writing this thinking about who was going to live and who was going to die another major character told me that they were not going to survive.  In order to stop making myself sad that I have to kill these people I am going to just list my current chapter titles for your perusal.  Thoughts are always welcome.

I. Crash And Burn

2. Me, Myself And I

3. Carmen

4. Love and War

5. I Went Down to Virginia

6. Letter Home

7. Mistaken Identity

8. If I Didn’t Know Better

9. Rearview

10. Dirty Laundry

11. The Black Widow

12. Breathe Stretch Shake

Those are the first twelve.  Ironically half of the chapters do not include my main protagonist Lee.

UPDATE. That character recently decided he did in fact want to live.  Currently about half way done with book 3.

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Writer’s block: “Mental Leg Day”

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Writer’s Block:

Personally I believe that phrase is a giant misnomer.  Yes there are times when we as writers find it more difficult to come up with an interesting plot point or a witty turn of phrase but to think of these times as a block is to give them more power and more longevity than they need or deserve.

As a writer in the scifi and fantasy genre, I like to think of writing in terms of a super power.  To be honest if we even thought of it as a push up, my point would still work  All super heroes get to a point where they can’t use any more of their abilities without recharging.  Green Lantern for example can only use his ring for so long without having to go get his Lantern, say his words and recharge the battery (literally) on his ring.  The Rock can only do so many push ups before his arms grow sore and he must stop, get a protein shake and move onto legs or cardio.  Why should writing be any different.  It is after all just mental exercise.  And whether you are creating new worlds and bending space and time to your whim or simply exercising your mental thesaurus, it takes it’s toll on your brain.

Keep in mind your brain is doing a bajillion things while you create and explore the world of your characters including analyzing and chronicling YOUR world.  There comes a time in every writers creative process where they just have to stop. Your brain can’t fully flesh out the nuances of your imaginary world and perform all the vital functions it needs to in order to keep you alive and a aware of the real world.  This is when it’s time to go ‘Recharge Your Ring’.

Personally, what I do when I get to that point is two fold.  I take a couple of days away from whatever it is I am working on (currently book 3 Blood on the Throne) and I find other things to do.  I go for walks, I go to the movies,I get caught up on my favorite tv shows, I read other books, or whatever it is that makes me happy and relaxed.  The entire idea of the SMFTM Singles was born out of one of the breaks I took while writing Pandemonium Justified.  It was essentially my ‘Mental Leg Day’.

The burst of energy I received when I first started writing book 3 has fizzled at this point and I am maxed out.  The thing I want to stress is that it is important to know yourself and your process well enough to know when you have maxed out.  Otherwise, you risk hurting yourself (during physical exercise) or your characters and their world.  It’s ok for today to be Leg Day and it’s ok for today to be Cheat Day.  Your brain is a muscle, Treat it like one.  So for me today is ‘Mental Leg Day’ and like Winter in Westeros it lasts as long as it lasts and I am ok with that.  Hope you are too.

-Manny L. Birch

Summer Session

So I realized last night that I hadn’t posted on here in quite a while.  I haven’t actually gone back to check the dates but I know I have lost some of the consistency that I once had when uploading to this blog.  Part of that is a result of life happening.  My semester just wrapped and obviously the rigors of College and grad school take their toll on your work load and stress levels.  I published Pandemonium Justified (book 2 in the Songs My Father Taught Me saga) at the end of April, which as a small independent publisher, May has been pretty intensely busy for me. I have also started and completed about a third of Blood on the Throne (book 3).  Add to that, there is a large scale construction project very near my home that has been wreaking havoc on my sinuses.  When you mix all that up, you get a man on the verge of crazy. lol.

 I am going to stop there because if I continue down that path I will get truly side tracked and forget the main impetus(got to organically use that in a sentence awesome!) behind this post; being  that I haven’t forgotten about this blog and intend to return to it pretty hard core now that I no longer have to worry about writing papers as well as books.

With that said, anyone who has read Pandemonium Justified or even this blog will by now know that I started re writing songs for my characters to quote.  I had originally just been writing the bits and pieces that I needed for the moment in time that my characters were actually singing them; attempting to make the material more relevant to the story but I have decided recently to go a bit further. One example is the Prologue for Pandemonium Justified, which is set to the music of Tamar Braxton’s Love and War.  That was the first song I completed in this style and the real spring board out of the slump I had fallen into while writing Pandemonium Justified.

Another example already posted on this blog is part of the SMFTM Single Beamers, Benz, or Bentley. After writing that Single I realized that I really wanted to write the rest of the song.  I wanted to know how it went and some of my friends and other readers agreed that it was something they wanted to see.  I haven’t completed that song yet, rap is a little more difficult than other forms so I am working my way up,  

This time I decided to write the entire song before I wrote the single, even though I had the single already taking shape in my head.  So I will be posting both on here later today.  I am unsure if I am allowed to post the actual Youtube video for this song but I will post a link to the video, so you can hear the original. So go team Awesome Sauce.  

-Manny L. Birch

mannybirch.wix.com/manny-l-birch

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CKF7E0M

Poems My Brother Wrote- European

I wake in terror.  Unseeing, unknowing.  My body tenses I pray I can make it to salvation.  I slip as I begin my mad dash to safety.  I have run this path before but today it seems much longer, harsher, darker.  I pray there are no new obstacles in my path to glory.  After a lengthy journey i reach my destination and the salvation I seek.  Slowly I return back to my cocoon in search of my lost sight knowing dreams will not return.  But at least I made it to that extreme destination known as ‘The Bathroom’.

-Manny L. Birch

Now we edit our faces off.

JUST just put the last period on the last sentence of the last chapter in Pandemonium Justified.  I’m super excited to be done with this portion of the project.  It’s definitely been a long journey for me personally and I am super excited to be able to say that I have completed this.  It took a little longer than I originally anticipated but that time gave me and the characters a chance to develop into something unique and different.  I will keep you all posted on the progress of editing and formalization of the finished product.  My original goal was to have it in print by now actually but my new more realistic goal is to have it out by my birthday APRIL 21 or there abouts. Thanks to everyone involved in helping me achieve my dream.  

-Manny L Birch

(mannybirch.wix.com/Manny-l-birch) 

SMFTM Singles- Cosmic Love

Cosmic Love

Forty ran from the window looking as the beam of light that the lead guy shot out of his hands arched toward the house.

“Dad they’re here. “  He barely had time to dive to the floor as the blast knocked out the wall he was just standing near sending debris raining down on him.  Nails and glass shards cut his arms and face as he attempted to shield himself from the worst of it.  His blonde hair quickly staining red and brown as the dust began to settle.  When he was sure there was nothing left to fall. He got up and slowly continued his journey down the hall.  He stopped briefly to examine the body of one of the housekeepers, Connie or Carolina he could never tell them apart neither spoke very good English or spoke to him much at all. But he was sad to see her lying there a wood beam acting as a broken dam for the red river currently escaping her head.  She wasn’t breathing, he was glad, he had heard they sometimes made the help suffer worse for choosing to stay.  Seeing her lying there he realized that he might have fared better if he had shared her fate in that initial blast.  But he kept going. ‘Only pussies wish for death to ease the pain. You’re a fighter so fight.  Get to dad.  Plan.  Call for help. Go.  She’s gone, staring at her isn’t going to bring her back. Go. Fight’ he took another couple seconds to mentally psych himself back up, then started running again.

Everyone always said this house was bigger than it had any right to be.  Nearly 8 of his 19 years had been spent calling this place home.  Learning all the stories these halls whispered at night.  But try as he might, he couldn’t recall a single thing about the house from before he had returned from school a week ago.  None of the doctors or the medics could understand what was wrong with him.  They poked and prodded and questioned and prodded some more.  Still no answers as to what was wrong with his memory or why it was selective as to what he could and could not remember. Sometimes a single moment in an otherwise whole conversation or an entire person would just be missing from his memory.  There was something else nagging at him, some secret about himself that he should know.  He thought for the first couple of days that maybe he was gay but he couldn’t bring himself to think that way about any guys and even when he convinced himself that he was gay he still felt that nagging sensation that he was missing some vital piece of himself.   He suspected his dad actually did know what happened to his memories but was either too ashamed or too scared to tell him the truth.

“…A falling star, fell from your heart…”  The lead guy sang as he stepped through the now gaping wall.  He smiled at the sound of glass crunching under his feet.  Armed men in suits rushed past Forty as he ran toward what he thought was safety.  The men rushed guns drawn to the trio of young men that now calmly advanced in the direction of Forty.

“Freeze or we’ll-“

“…you left me in the dark!..” The leader belted out.  Some of the armed men immediately grabbed their faces, hands covering eyes, or fingers splayed in front of them trying to hold onto what vision remained.  Others maintained their vision long enough to see their comrades reactions to the boys words and his smile as the trio began to march through the armed men.

“Johnson, Oh My God. You’re eyes are bleeding.”  One of the armed man said to his partner.

“I can’t see.  Everything is just black.”

“Don’t worry Johnson, you are one of the lucky ones.  It will wear off in a few hours and you will just be night blind.  It’s the guys who can still see who should worry.  My brother saw my eyes bleed.  We thought it was because he was stronger than I was.  Until he started screaming.  I thank God every day I never saw what actually happened.  I hadn’t fought off the poison they pumped into my system, when my powers flared like they will for you in a while, it made me pass out.  You won’t be so lucky.  Whatever happens to this guy is going to be the first thing you see.” The leader said resuming his progress down the hall.

“Here Potus, Potus, Potus.  Here boy.”  The lead boy taunted as he walked down the hall.

Forty reached his father’s office rushing past the guards that were blocking the entry.  He shut the door behind him as he entered.

“Dad they’re here!”

“Yeah I know.  I have an evacuation team coming for us now.  They should be here any second.”

“Why are they coming for us dad?”

“I don’t know son.”

“You shouldn’t lie dad!”  Forty said his voice draining of emotion.

“Carey?”  The President said questioning his son.   Gun fire erupted outside the door causing the President to flinch.   Forty remained immobile staring at him.   “Carey what is wrong with you?”

The sound of singing started to leak through as the clatter of bullets died down.

“…Thousand armies couldn’t keep me out.  I don’t want your money.  I don’t want your Crown.  See I’ve come to burn your Kingdom down…”

The extraction team showed up in the office with the First lady and three suitcases and immediately made preparations for the First family to be removed from the premises.

“… and no rivers and no lakes can put my fire out.  You raised the stakes so, I’m going to smoke you out…” The body of a guard was thrown the door creating a hole that the lead boy looked through at the President.

“Here’s Johnny!” The lead boy yelled.

The extraction team immediately grabbed the First Family and teleported out of the room but not before the lead boy could grab a hold of one of the extractions team members’ powers.

“Catch you later Forty, you two Mr. Forty-five.”  He smiled at them as they disappeared.

To Be Continued

Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machine

-Manny L Birch

SMFTM Singles Run The World

Run The World

“…We run this mother…” Jade sang as she stretched in the training room.

“…lies…” Lee interjected. “PS what did my buddy get you for main chick day?”

“What is main chick day?”

“Johnny!” Ford scolded.

“What you wouldn’t tell me. What type of shenanigans is that?”

“That’s not what I’m talking about and you know it.”

“Dude, you know and I know and she knows that the rest of this statement doesn’t apply to you, so relax.”

“If this…”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

“Alright now that you two have worked that out. What is main chick day?”

“It is the sacred Cupid holiday that proves that that song is a lie”

“Are you talking about Valentine’s day?”

“Yup yuppers.  In Cupid circles it’s known as main chick day. Also in parts of the hood or so I’m told.”

“You have never even been near the hood.”

“Lies.  My mom was a cop in New York City” Lee said with a fake Southern accent while clutching a pair of imaginary pearls.  “And my daddy loves a brown woman.  You can only NYU girls for so long before you decide to see what is happening up at Colombia.  And Colombia my friends is firmly in Harlem despite what the admissions advisors will tell you.”

“Whatever how does that holiday prove the song is a lie?” Jade responded.

“Well, for the same reason that my big buddy here was afraid of me explaining this to you.  Because the very nature of that name and the acceptance of it means you acknowledge the potential existence of other less important women.  Now you are a respectable girl so the big guy was home before I was but I’m one hundred and two percent sure he at least got to a respectable girl second base.  Possibly third, I didn’t ask.  And I think you are one of the few girls who uses the day as a chance to advance an already progressing relationship.  The two and a half dates I had that night weren’t nice respectable girls.  Nor were any of them my exclusive girlfriend who I had been dating for months.”

“What about Tibet? You saw her that night.  And who were the other two?” Jade interjected.

“A gentleman never kisses and tells but a friend does put you on game. Tibet was the half. I would have gone out with her but she told me she didn’t do Valentine’s day so what’s a guy to do right.  Find that chick from the pizza shop, I’m pretty sure I got us free slices for at least the next couple months.  And then get back to the building and get ambushed by a young lady who shall remain nameless. Best ambush ever ps.”

“If it was Ryan you and I are going to fight” Jade said moving to a different stretch.

“No not Ryan, I believe she was off explaining to my brother why you shouldn’t date me in girl form.”

“Right.  It’s so weird.”

“You guys are nothing alike.  She is awful and I genuinely like you.”

“That’s cus you are my friend.  You chose me over her.  Did you think she was awful prior to me and her breaking up?”

“I don’t know… I mean…”

“You didn’t, neither did I.  …Cus honestly she turned out to be the…” Jade looked up confused as he started singing

“…Best thing I never had…” Ford joined in harmonizing with him.  Jade laughed as they continued to sing the song.

“I tell you Karma is a comedian.  And I can feel a real funny ass joke coming her way.” Lee said as they settled down a bit.  “But both of my side chicks knew I was sort of kinda dating Tibet.  And they both literally verbatim said ‘then where is she?’ to which I replied fair point so let’s go find out what your lip gloss taste like.  The pizza shop chick actually started singing lip gloss by Lil mama.  I damn near fell in love.”

“Yeah that’s the some deep intense love there buddy.  You can’t even remember her name.”

“Sahara.  But the point is I don’t have to. She didn’t ask anything of me before she was willing to give me her.   She doesn’t know anything about me but what I look like and that I go to school up here.”

“Well maybe she is trying to get pregnant by a guy like you so she can change her station in life. Did you ever think of that?”

“Station in life?  Go outside and look around sweetheart.  There are no tracks that run through this town.”

“Meaning?”

“There is no bad side of it.  God forbid a lower middle class couple moves in to the neighborhood.  The town pushes the lynch mob button. But she is a smart girl who works to save for college I doubt she would want to railroad those plans with a potential pregnancy to a kid who may not want kids and could freak and drag her to a clinic or hell push her down the steps.  Plus this is not the town for stupid pregnancies.  There are too many men who are too powerful to have babies by accident.   Like I’m not sure everything that goes into it but there aren’t that many women in this town who could carry a baby of mine or his to term.  You happen to be one of them.  But never fear my dear, he would literally kill me if you turned up with a brown little boy with gray eyes.”

“While that is good to know, none of that explains why the song is a lie?”

“Because real g’s move in silence like lasagna.”

“Really little Wayne?” Ford asked.

“Shut up you know the quote. But what I am saying, when you all actually ran the world Madams controlled the underworld and wives controlled the White House. Tell me two things you know that either Mrs. Bush did. Don’t worry I’ll wait.  Mrs. Obama has a nice side project but if she had the kind of power that women used to have her husband would be skating by on some we aren’t really racist cover up.  Oprah has you all fooled.  Yeah, she says jump and half the audience lands in a new car, but she is the exception not the rule.  There are more female valedictorians every year in this country than males but you won’t see me shaking my ass in a Walmart.  You guys gave up your power a long time ago, when you forgot coy kept him on the hook and quick moves him on to the next.  So that is why that song is a lie.  Cus you all forgot that playing dumb was just that play.  So who run the world?  I will” Jade sat down flat looking dumbfounded as Lee and Ford started doing laps.

Run the World by Beyonce

Manny L. Birch (author)