Friday, 20 December 2013

Guest Post & Giveaway The Arkansas Connection by David Evans


Title: The Arkansas Connection

Author Name: David Evans


david-evans-199x300Author Bio:

  David Evans is a Toronto-based pain consultant with an interest in all types of chronic, intractable non–cancer pain. An avid fly fisherman, crossword and Sudoko aficianado and global traveler, The Arkansas Connection is David’s first novel but he is hard at work on a second one!  

Author Links -    

Guest Post

Starting out as a Writer- 5 Things you should know
By David Evans

Hello, and thanks for having me write a guest blog today. I thought I would give a few tips for when you are just starting the craft. Hopefully you will find them helpful. 

1. Inspiration can come from anywhere- keep your eyes open. Sometimes inspiration to write comes from the oddest sources. When you are just starting out as a writer it’s important to write down your daily observations. I write down little things like a signpost I find interesting, or a different type of headline I’ve seen online somewhere. A friend of mine took out a fiction library book about a plague in the 17th century and someone had pasted a clip of a current news item about the bubonic plague resurgence in Europe. They had handwritten the date on it. Later they were to find similar clippings in other books on the same topic. She found it fascinating and used that to develop a character who had an obsession with finding newspaper clippings to relate to books. You never know where inspiration is going to strike- be prepared!

2. It’s not about writing what you know, it’s about writing who you know. I wrote my book the Arkansas Connection set in Arkansas. I’ve never been there. I know it’s supposed to be a big faux pas to write about a place if you haven’t been there, but I think that’s part of the fun. You can do basic research and read wonderful descriptions about the place you want to write about, but it means nothing if you don’t have great characters. I set my story in Arkansas, but it doesn’t really on the setting. It relies on the WHO I’m writing about.  If you have fully developed characters that come alive then you could set them down on some far off planet and the reader wouldn’t care because they are so involved in what you are offering in terms of authenticity for the characters. Of course you should be mindful of the genre you are writing in- that will influence your decisions. I’m just saying if you focus on Who, then the where and what will fall into place. 

3. Be authentic when developing characters. If you don’t make your characters believable then your story goes nowhere. Too often new novelists try to do too much and it isn’t necessary. Sure a physical description is great for the reader when they follow the action in the story, but don’t overwork the issue. I always find that if you look around at real people in your life and use them as a baseline, then you can throw in your imagination and you will have genuine characters that people want to care about. And that’s the crux of it. Your character can be perfectly evil, but there has to be something about them that the reader wants to know more about. Being authentic is so important. If you think that characters swears, then have them swear. Don’t hold back!

4. Real life makes for the most interesting stories.  Even when you write in the world of fantasy or science fiction I think you’ll find that events that happen in real life are a great springboard for all kinds of stories. I work in the medical field, and I have an interested in baseball, and I have an innate distrust of bankers and stockbrokers. Mix that altogether and you have my book. The main protagonist being a frustrated baseball manager, his dysfunctional team; a young doctor and his dysfunctional hospital chief, and a young baseball phenom who happens to be a financial genius. Take everything you know and experience and you have a novel!

5. Behind the scene stories make for great characters. My book is about the behind the scenes antics of the Mets baseball team. At one time they really were the laughing stock of the sport. My book is not really about baseball, but what happens behinds the scenes in the industry. Everyone loves to watch bloopers of t.v shows . Sometimes they are more entertaining than the actual show. The play Noises Off! a British smash tells the stories of actors behind the scenes- what is going on below the surface is fascinating.  Television series like 30 Rock and The Crazy Ones are all about what really happens in their industry and people just love it. If you are looking for something interesting to write about then consider what your day job is and enlighten everyone on the crazy stories and people you meet! 

If you are just starting to write then I offer this advice. Don’t worry about an audience. Write for yourself and worry about the business parts later. And remember if you are bored by what you are writing. Then stop and start again!

About The Book

Book Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Jemsdale Publishing
Release Date: February 21, 2013
Buy Link: Amazon

ArkansasConnection_cover  Book Description:   Frank Munro, manager of the New York Mets, leads a turbulent life trying to win with a team of dysfunctional underachievers. Soon after the Mets lose the final game of the season, Frank finds out his mother has died, and he must return to his hometown of Catsville, Arkansas, to arrange her funeral. His attempt to give her remains a grand send-off results in mayhem, and out of pity his mother’s friend Alice invites him to a "tea party” with three other ladies, where the tea is actually moonshine. Frank gives them a play-by-play of that final game, and manages to survive the evening. He returns to New York to find the Mets’ owner has decided to give him one more chance. 

  Meanwhile, Bobby Sherward, a doctor-turned-right fielder who sustained a concussion from the fly ball and lost the Mets' final season game, decides that his future is in medicine, not baseball. He takes a position at a veteran’s hospital in Arkansas. Upon arrival, he is amazed to find it's within spitting distance of Frank's hometown.  That’s not the only unsettling coincidence Bobby must contend with, for it soon becomes apparent that Broken Arrow Memorial is the medical equivalent of the Mets. 

Run by a psychotic medical director, the hospital is the home of indifferent or incompetent doctors, electro-convulsed patients, and assorted weird experiments. Bobby soon has enough, but before he leaves town he encounters a remarkable sandlot baseball player named Jonathon Brown. Besides being a phenomenal player, Jonathon is also a mathematical genius who runs a highly successful investment group in the back room of a local diner.  Bobby manages to convince Jonathon to try out for the Mets, and his incredible skills both on the field and in finance bring him and the team fame and prosperity. But Jonathon also raises the ire of the brokerage firm losing customers to his sound investment advice. As a result, the company's CEO makes plans to “eliminate” the new competition. Will Jonathon survive his trip to the big league, and complete the Arkansas Connection?

PLEASE NOTE: There are some suggestive scenes and swearing in the book- so it’s not for children.      

The Arkansas Connection

by David Evans

Excerpt 2

Bobby did return the next week to watch the Tigers play against a team that apparently had no trouble with their septic tanks, the Brownwood Dodgers. The teams were made up mostly of young enthusiastic guys in their thirties trying to escape from their wives and kids for a night out with the boys. There were also some veterans, a few who had played in semi-pro leagues. Jonathon Brown stood out, both physically and athletically. He was twenty-two years of age, about six feet four inches tall with long, blond hair. Most women, Bobby thought, would consider him extremely handsome. He had the upper body of a heavyweight boxer and the legs of an Olympic sprinter, and seemed to glide over the field, defying gravity.

He played right field, and propelled the first ground ball that came to him like a radar-guided rocket to first base, to get the runner before he was halfway there. He moved effortlessly to the right or left, making impossible-looking catches and gathering up ground balls that were drawn to him like magnets to a refrigerator door. He was also impressive at the plate. He hit three monster homers and drove in eight runs. Bobby had to keep telling himself that this was a primitive team in a primitive league. In this company, even he might look like Willie Mays. Yet he had the feeling that Jonathon would look good in any league, including the Majors.

Bobby returned a number of times, and was never disappointed. The boy was good. Good enough that he was determined to call Frank Munro and try to get him to give Jonathon a trial. Of course, he had to talk to Jonathon first. For all Bobby knew, the guy might already have been scouted and have an agent. He knew that that even in a population of three hundred million, it was rare for someone with Jonathon’s talent to go unnoticed.

He was determined to do this after his next visit. As it turned out, he made a mistake reading the schedule and he didn’t watch Jonathon the jock perform but Jonathon the investment counselor. Having found the field bereft of baseball players, Bobby asked a gas station attendant where he might find Jonathon.
Monday nights you’ll find him in the back room at Betty’s Diner,” the attendant told him. “He runs some sort of club for people who want to get into the stock market. Can’t understand why anyone would want to chuck their money away like that. The bank was good enough for my grandfather and my father, and it’s good enough for me. Mind you, by the look of the cars they’re driving, they must by doing pretty good.”
Betty’s was about a mile out of town, an oasis in a wide expanse of cow pasture. There were about ten cars parked in front, and Bobby couldn’t help noticing that besides half a dozen of the ubiquitous half-ton pickup trucks, there were also a couple of fancy looking sport utilities, and even a Corvette and a Porsche. Betty was standing behind the counter reading the latest line on the nags running at Pimlico. There were no customers in the diner.

“I’m looking for Jonathon Brown,” Bobby said. “The guy at the gas station thought he might be here.”
“Yep,” she said, pointing a greasy finger to a door at the rear of the diner. “He’s got his meeting in the back room. Every month. Investments and things. Danged if I understand it, but some of those guys are now gentlemen farmers....Well, I dunno about gentlemen, but they’ve certainly given up shoveling shit for a living.”

“Do you think they’d mind if I went in?”

“Nah, I don’t think so. It ain’t exclusive or nothin’ like that.”

Bobby invested in a Coke and a multi-layered burger and fries, and quietly slipped into the back room. Jonathon was explaining the finer points of a graph thrown onto a screen by an overhead projector. He was dressed in black pants, a pure white shirt and a red tie. He was also wearing suspenders. There were about ten people in the audience taking notes.

Jonathon paused and acknowledged the presence of the stranger. “Can’t say I recognize you,” he said.

“You’re not from around here, are you?”

“No,” Bobby agreed. “I came to see you play baseball, but got the days mixed up. I wanted to talk to you. Would you mind if I sat in until you’re finished? If not, I’d be quite happy to sit in the diner…. ”

“No, no,” Jonathon insisted, “stick around, by all means. We’re talking stocks and stuff, so it may be a bit boring. Baseball it ain’t.”

Bobby sat down and listened for two hours, fascinated by a discussion surrounding the stock market potential of about twenty small to medium-sized companies. All were listed on various stock exchanges around the country. As far as Bobby could tell they were mostly computer companies, but there were also a couple of banks and oil and gas companies.

Each member of the club apparently had the responsibility of assessing at least one stock. This assessment meant reading annual reports, scanning the major business papers for articles or mere mentions. Specific trade journals would be scanned. Especially important was the strength of management, earning potential, product uniqueness and market share. Often a member would actually go to the town where his company was located. He would look at the plant and watch for activity. If possible, he would inveigle his way into the plant and observe production lines. He might also pick up some local gossip as to how the company was doing. All this information was given to Jonathon. He would then plug that information plus some of his own ideas into a computerized model that he himself had developed, to give a bottom line: Buy or Sell.  


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