Life calling

Hello there!

It’s been a few weeks since I posted and I know, y’all thought I died, huh? Well, no luck there. I’ve just been very busy lately. Life has a way of sneaking up on you, ya know?

As some of you may remember, I own a very small business and I recently bought a house and moved in in late December. I’m sure that y’all can relate to how hectic the first of the year as it is. Add those two facts to that list and viola! Instant no time at all. There’s so much to do! So many things that require attention … not to mention money … when you own a home! I know … that’s news to you, right. But being a homeowner … you know … participating in the “American dream” was something that I never thought would happen. I probably already mentioned this, so on to new stuff.

I guess you noticed that, although this looks very much like WordPress, it’s not.  Last year, I “purchased” the gerardfortier.com domain name, among others, but didn’t have a clue what to do with them. Well, I still don’t have a clue what to do with them, but, thanks to a very good friend, Rich, … well, here it is. He’s also set up mirroredman.com for me and is pushing me to set a page up for my small business … which I need to do. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you doing this for me, Rich. But, that’s what friends do, right?

I recently started writing a column for an organization that I’m part of, Iromnen Ministries. It’s a men’s Christian group that meets at 6:00 am on Friday mornings for prayer and fellowship. You’re all (well the men, sorry ladies) invited. Just visit the page, www.ironmenministries.com to find out the details. Anyway, I started writing these columns, the first was about how shockingly few people actually get out and vote … so get out and vote! Then I wrote about “political correctness” … blah. The next one is about fellowship and how important it is for men to have other men that they can talk to about literally anything. Ladies, you need this too! My church has both a men’s and women’s ministry. Yours should too.

I’ve also been very busy preparing for the Atlanta Writers Club conference where I’ll be attending and presenting Mirrored Man the first weekend in May. I know, it’s more than two months away, but this is something that I’m taking very seriously. It’s the first time that my work will be seen by professionals (as far as I know) and I want to put my very best foot forward. It could be, regardless of what happens, one of the most important weekends of my life. I will be sitting across from five agents and editors who, at the very least, will give me much needed advice on how I can improve on my work. It deserves my attention to every detail of what I will be submitting and I am giving it that. I’ll also be submitting my first attempt at writing a short story to the AWC for a contest. It would be nice if this contest was to be judged before the conference, unfortunately, it won’t be until May the 21st.

Oh well …

Last but not least, I have become a father again! That’s right, Christian finally has a sister! Actually, two. He has two sisters! Triplets! I know, two would be twins and Christian doesn’t look anything like the girls, but they had a sister who was adopted by someone else. Oh, and they’re dogs. Rescue dogs. Their names are Rogue and Talia and I got them two weeks ago today! they are so cute … when they don’t poop on my carpet. That’s not cute at all. But, they’re learning. Maybe they’ll help me live longer … not that that’s a goal or a reason for getting them. I just wanted the companionship. And they are that, let me tell you. As soon as I can figure out how to get a pic on here, I will.

Okay, I just spent an hour … I need Rich.

By the way, We decided to change the title of book one. We dropped In the beginning and are now calling the first book simply Mirrored Man.

Vengeance is mine …

Hello there my faithful followers!

Echo … echo … echo …

On Friday, January 22nd, I finished the first draft of my second novel in the Mirrored Man series (and of all time), Vengeance is mine! Now, this is an accomplishment for me on many levels, not the least of which is … well, I wrote another novel. In the beginning was a labor of love, inspired by God and I was gifted by Him with this ability to “paint words on a page”. We are all gifted by Him in one way or another. Some of us in many ways.

But I digress.

When I say that In the beginning was a labor of love, it’s because there was so much labor involved. It took about four-and-a-half months to write the first draft … which by-the-way was much longer than it is today … but as you know (I hope … from reading my blog …and if you’re a first timer, then you’ve got some remedial work to do) it wasn’t the read that it is today. I re-wrote and re-wrote and -re wrote … and re-wrote and re-wrote some more, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get it right because I didn’t (and still don’t) have the education.

There, now you don’t have to go back and read my other blogs … unless you want to … which I hope that you do.

But, even though I knew it wasn’t in tip-top shape for presentation to … well … anyone, that didn’t stop me from sending out lots of query letters. I probably sent out fifty of them. And then I think I got … probably … four rejection emails. The rest, I never heard anything from. But, undaunted, I put my book on a shelf (both literally and figuratively) and went on with my life … for four years …… until last July, when I put it out on Amazon at the behest of … well, you already know about that. That’s when I found Terri. Terri was a God’s send … but you already know about that.

Now, In the beginning is out there for the world to see in all its glory! And it’s been viewed by tens of people! And I’m making royalties! I have about forty percent of my goal of becoming a hundred-aire (I stole that from the only culturally significant TV show, Big Bang Theory). And I can truthfully say that I am a professional writer. But, it’s really not about the money, is it? The writers who read this know what I mean. It’s about the satisfaction of knowing that what we’ve created has given another human being enjoyment. It’s about knowing that our work has given someone the opportunity to escape from whatever is burdening them … at least for a while … and lose themselves in another world where they can root for the good guys and sneer at the bad ones. It’s about hearing from a stranger that something that we’ve done is “good”, thus affirming that, no matter how many (or few) read it, it wasn’t a waste of our time.

I recently joined both the Georgia Writer’s Association and the Atlanta Writer’s Club where I hope to become acquainted with some of my peers. The latter group is hosting a writer’s conference on the first weekend in May, the 6th and 7th. I’m signed up to have my manuscript professionally critiqued by an individual who has been in the business for about forty years. I’ll also have my query letter critiqued and have two opportunities to “pitch” my story to two different agents. I am both looking forward to these opportunities and dreading the experience. Why? Because up to five professionals will have the chance to tell me that I stink! That’s why!

Or …

I’m praying for the latter.

Incidentally, for those of you who are regular readers of this blog, you may have noticed that I changed my header pic. I took this picture while in Kamensk-Uralski, Russia. The Iset river is in the foreground and the city of about 200,000 people is in the background. This is my favorite spot in Russia. I hope to see it again one day.

 

 

 

So … what is “Mirrored Man”?

This is a question that I get asked quite a bit (go figure). Mirrored Man is something that’s been rattling around in my head for about … like fifteen years. It’s the product of a lifetime of playing imagination games like Dungeons & Dragons (please don’t hold that against me, I assure you, I am a devout Christian. I’ve never done cosplay and I don’t have a single costume hidden in my closet … not even a Starfleet Uniform … but I do have a sword) Twilight 2000, Chutes and ladders,  Traveler, Operation, Warhammer … you get the idea. In the summer of 2010,  I was working at the hospital (I didn’t own my business yet) which was (barely) paying the bills, but not feeling particularly … fulfilled (for lack of a better term). One Sunday night, I was laying in bed, saying my prayers and I asked God to let me know what He wanted me to do with my life. The next day I started writing Mirrored Man.

“This was supposed to be a ‘what’ blog, not a ‘why’ blog.”

Fine!

Mirrored Man is my attempt at telling an entertaining for today’s audience  story that answers the question that I imagine every human being … except one about 2000 years ago … has asked themselves at one time or another. What if? What if I had done this instead of that or what if this had happened instead of that. It’s a question that none of us will ever know the answer to … unless your name happens to be George Bailey … and you’re a fictional person … in a story that someone made up called It’s a wonderful life. Well, I’m not going to tell you the whole story here if that’s what you thought was going to happen … but if that’s what got you to read this … cool! But what I will tell you is that Mirrored Man is a Jason Bourne meets It’s a wonderful life story. My main character, Commander Rob Tyler, USN (in 2010) is a Christian who has been walking the Christian walk for about ten years, ever since he was led to the Lord by his new wife, Carol. He’s about to retire from the Navy and getting involved with his church’s youth, playing on the church softball team, etc. At the time that Rob gets saved (in 2001), he’s a sniper in the elite Navy SEALs and he finds that his new-found convictions are no longer conducive with killing people for a living. So he leaves the SEALs and becomes an instructor at the Navy’s nuclear power school in South Carolina. Now, (in 2010) he’s asked to consider participating in a genetic experiment by his friend and superior officer, Captain Benny Walsh and against his better judgement and his own personal moral convictions, he agrees to participate for no other reason than it was his friend whom he trusts who asked him to do it.

Now … that’s when the story really gets interesting! So that’s all I’m gonna tell ya about it here!

Okay, fine … again!

I will tell you this … Mirrored Man is the name of the series of books that I’m writing, not a single book. It started out a single book but very quickly, it became evident that I couldn’t possibly write this story in one telling, so the first book, In the beginning is and aptly titled beginning of the story. I had to tell this story in order to tell the whole story that I wanted to. Book two, Vengeance is mine is nearly complete and almost ready for my editor (who by-the-way I would never have found had I not put my faith in God that he would provide someone to help me make it clean enough to present to an agent or publisher … and is now available on kindle in that form… if I hadn’t put it out on Amazon in its very rough, early form) and its in book two that I start the real telling of the story.  Unfortunately (or fortunately for me) the story has grown to the point that I can’t necessarily see an end to the telling. So, if you like it … and you will, I promise … you’ll have a lifetime of installments to look forward to!

So, buy it on kindle, for cryin’ out loud! Its a free app that you can get on any device right there on the Mirrored Man Amazon page! Gift it to people! Tell your friends and family about it! Otherwise there won’t be a reason for me to even put the second … and third … and forth … etc. books out there!

I really do think you’ll enjoy it if you give it a try.

God bless!

 

 

Mirrored Man

Hey there folks! I’m glad you stopped by!

Today I want to tell you about where Mirrored Man came from. I wanted to tell a story about a man who, through circumstances beyond his control has the opportunity to find out what his life might have been like had he not chosen the path that he had. In this case, he became a Christian and continued to grow in his faith for years … until … well you’ll just have to read the book. But, haven’t we all asked ourselves how our lives could have been different had we chosen another direction at some pivotal moment in our past? I know I have. I’m not saying that I would have preferred the alternate reality that my mind projects for me. I’m just saying that it’s interesting to consider the changes that would have taken place. It is, perhaps the most fundamental question. What if? Oh, I don’t think that the changes would have been as … challenging … as they are for my main character, but it sure makes for some interesting reading.

Check out the sample of Mirrored Man: In the beginning at Amazon today!

A gypsy no more!

If you had asked me two years ago if I ever wanted to own a home, I would have told you no, that I was a gypsy and I had been all my life. See, in my first thirty-six years, I changed residences (or more commonly … moved) twenty-six times … and no, we weren’t military. Dad was in the food business and the food business is like the shoe business. Everybody needs both, so you can always find a job. It just may be half-way across the country. By the time I was five, we had already lived in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, West Virginia and Ohio and by the time I was fourteen we had moved four more times within that state … and then on to South Carolina. To say moving was a routine would be an injustice. We had it down to an art form. In 1999, my marriage turned out to be somewhat less entertaining than I had originally anticipated, so I move into an apartment. There I lived for eight years until a very good friend of mine built his family a home, moved out of the small house where he had been raising his boys and offered to rent me the place for cheap … and I do mean cheap! (I had just lost a job and the apartment manager was less than concerned … except for the fact that I couldn’t pay the rent) If it weren’t for him, I might have found myself on the street or worse, six hundred miles away, living with my sister back in Ohio. During the next nine-plus years, my life experienced nothing less than a transformation as I grew in my faith, found a decent, albeit low-paying job and began writing Mirrored Man. I was convinced that I was meant to be a writer and I poured myself into the task using the talent that God had gifted me with … telling stories. Unfortunately, God hadn’t gifted me with good grammar or punctuation skills so, over the next five years I struggled to (unsuccessfully) improve my work or find someone willing to help me improve it. During that time, the most unlikely of things happened. The hospital where I was managing a service for the company that employed me decided that they like me better than the company and asked me if I wanted to bid on the contract. Of course, being the loyal employee that I was, I declined … until I realized that I was being foolish by not taking advantage of the opportunity that God had placed before me. I was awarded the contract three years later at the next renewal. Yup, I now own my own (very small) business. That was two years ago. It was then that a friend of mine started looking for a house to buy and … yup … you guessed it, I got the itch. Long story short, (yeah right) I closed on my first house on December 18th and moved in the next day … one week before Christmas! (I know, right?)

 

A gypsy no more … I hope.

Gettin’ close …

Hello again to my faithful followers! Both of you!

Well, I’m told that we’re getting close to the fully edited version of In the beginning … and I’m a bit excited! The edited version should be available on Amazon within the week! I’ve waited a long time for this moment! To read one’s own work without the errors that have plagued me for five years! The prospect is almost overwhelming! I admit to you that I am not an educated man. However, I believe that I have been blessed with the ability to tell stories. From grade school to now, I have loved telling stories that  entertain others. And recently I was blessed again when my work came to the attention of someone who believes in my story so much that she offered to help me! You see! There really are good people out there who are willing to help you even when you are a jaded, middle-aged cynic who had thought that people only cared about themselves.  Well, that’s not entirely true. Oh, I am jaded, middle -aged and a cynic … but I found out about ten years ago that the other thing … that there are people out there who are willing to help … that’s absolutely real! And there are a lot of them! Really! From old friends to complete strangers, I assure you, they’re out there.

But that’s for another time.

In the beginning … is, I’m told, a very good story. And that’s great … to have others tell me that. It’s validation that at least someone else likes my work. Here’s the thing. In the beginning … is only … yep, you guessed it … it’s really only the beginning of the story! I had to tell this story to get to the real story that I wanted to tell. A story that’s been rattling around in my head for over a decade. And it’s not just a story about duality. It’s a story of a man who is finding himself not once, but twice, in incredibly different circumstances. Originally, I envisioned Mirrored Man as a single novel. But, when I was about two thirds of the way through with that story as it exists today, I realized that I couldn’t possibly tell the whole story in one book! So, it became two … and then three … and now I have plans for at least four. Now, the thing about that is that the same thing happened whilst I was writing Vengeance is mine …  The story grew to the point that I couldn’t end it where I had originally planned. The arc of the story continues to change. It takes me places that I didn’t even know that I wanted to go.

It’s an incredibly humbling process … writing. I call my talent a gift, and it is. It is a blessing. It’s something that I readily admit to you doesn’t belong to me, but I have been allowed to use it. But not just for me. My gift is something that I want very much to share with others. Don’t get me wrong. I want to get rich too! I ain’t gonna give my work away. Not all of it at least. I gots to get paid, too! But for me, as I suspect it is with most creative and talented people, we get our reward from the people’s lives that we touch. From the smiles that we inspire. From the hearts that we, in some small way change for the better. For me and many others … I have no doubt … it’s about legacy. About what we leave behind. Oh, if we are fortunate enough to make money, more than enough to pay the bills that is, we’ll be leaving that behind too. But when I leave this world for the next, I pray that future generations will find my work as entertaining as the handful of “fans” that I gave now do.

Too much?

And yes … I do love ellipses.

 

I’m not very good at this.

Imagine if you will (where’s that line from?) a writer who doesn’t think that he’s a very good writer. Is that a common thing? It is for me, I can tell ya. I’ve wanted to be a writer all my life (not to mention Batman, an astronaut, a fighter pilot, etc.) and … I guess I am one … a writer that is. I mean, I’m writing this blog (what’s a blog anyway?) and you’re (hopefully … one day) reading it. I’ve started several novels (that I didn’t finish). I’ve completed one … Mirrored Man: In the beginning. AVAILABLE FOR AMAZON KINDLE BUT GIVE IT TWO MORE WEEKS BEFORE YOU BUY IT BECAUSE I’M REPLACING THAT FILE WITH A FULLY EDITED VERSION THIS WEEK (HOPEFULLY). I’m about to complete the second in that series, Vengeance is mine (which I’m told is better than the first). Does that make me a writer? After all, the written word is supposed to have (at least) one basic function. It’s supposed to be read. Well, if that’s all it takes … then I am a writer! My words have been read by tens of people! And I’m a professional, too! I have received  royalties in excess of $25! But, somehow, that’s not very satisfying. “Tens of people” … two digit royalties. That would be enough for some. A goal achieved. A hurdle crossed. A notch in my quiver. I suppose that some writers write for themselves … or for a select few … or even one person, which is the case here. I write for myself. I enjoy writing. The feel of the keyboard, the research I do to get as many facts correct as possible, the look on the faces of the people who’ve read my stories. Their approval, their praise, their acknowledgement of a job … no … not a job … a pleasure well done. And … dog gone it … it just makes me feel good to write. It puts me in a better mood! Which, by the way. is a blessing for the people who have to put up with me. So, yes … I am a writer. I qualify. At least by my standards.

I have a friend who advises me … well, she does a lot more than that in the way of encouragement and … oh yeah … she’s my editor … who tells me that I need to write this blog. That people enjoy reading this kind of thing. About my processes, creative and otherwise. And I promise, if I can keep it up, I will get around to that … eventually. She tells me that publishers like to see this kind of thing (and we do so want to impress the publishers, don’t we). Okay … well that seems reasonable. So, here’s my commitment: I will do my diligence and write at least one post a week. Probably on Sunday mornings. All you have to do is keep reading it.

That’s fair, isn’t it?

Hello world!

Hi!

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m the guy on the left in the picture and yes, I’m in Moscow! I’d love to tell you that story. Maybe later.

I gotta warn ya, I’ve never blogged before so you’ll have to bear with me.

I started writing Mirrored Man five an a half years ago. It took four months to finish the first draft and I tried editing it myself for … well … till about July of this year. That’s when I found Terri. She’s my editor … which is something that I desperately needed as you probably already know from the draft that’s available on Amazon today. But you have to be patient. Soon, the new and improved In the beginning … will be available, hopefully before Christmas. As it stands, I’m a little over half way into Book 2, Vengeance is mine … and I should be finished with it by Christmas as well, then I’ll give it to Terri and she’ll make it presentable.

Now for the catch. So far, sales of Book 1 haven’t been where I wanted them to be, and that’s understandable since i’m completely unknown and any serious interest will only come when it’s cleaned up (grammatically speaking). So I need your help. I need you to spread the word and generate some interest because book 2 won’t be on Amazon or anywhere else unless people are reading my first story. So get to work!

Here’s the link and I’m also putting it on facebook …but wait until the edited version is out there …please!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0110NV4RS

P.S. I’m told book 2 is better than 1!

Later,

Gerry