Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Hi folks,

I'm pleased today to have a guest poster, Lee Thompson, a good friend and terrific writer, who has a new book out he'd like to talk about. Lee and I met a few years ago at a Bouchercon and have become great friends. He's a terrific writer and I'm delighted to help give him and his work a bit of additional exposure. He also provides some great tips for writers here. Without further ado, here's Lee...

From Lee Thompson's desk...

(Lee and his nephew Austin)

A Texas Senator and his wife go missing… On the same day, their son is slaughtered by an enigmatic killer on the lawn of ex-Governor Edward Wood's residence. Sammy, Wood's drug dealing son, suspects his father of the crime. After all, his old man snapped once before and crippled his wife with a lead pipe. But there's something more to these events…something deeper and festering just beneath the surface…

In direct opposition to Homicide Detective Jim Thompson, Sammy begins an investigation of his own, searching for the truth in a labyrinth of lies, deception, depravity and violence that drags him deeper into darkness and mayhem with each step. And in doing so, brings them all into the sights of an elusive and horrifying killer who may not be what he seems.

A brutal killer on a rampage of carnage…a hardened detective on the brink…an antihero from the shadows…a terrifying mystery that could destroy them all…
Welcome to Lee Thompson’s A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS blog tour! This blog, and the others participating, will receive a paperback copy to give to a random reader who leaves a comment and shares this post.

Throughout the book tour, I’ll be sharing fun facts about my first Mystery/Thriller, and also offering dubious advice to novice writers because I’ve had writers and editors farther along the path than myself give me tips that have helped me tremendously. If you want to up your game, pay attention and pass what you find useful on to those in your critique groups.

If you’re here as a reader, thanks so much. You’re every author’s life source. You’re the yin to our yang. The stories we set down on paper don’t seem to exist until someone else has read them, and the more the merrier.
First/Easy Ideas (Are they worth writing?)

A writer (let’s call him Charles) gets an idea and immediately starts writing his story. The excitement of that idea might help him finish it, and then later, looking back a month or year from now, Charles will probably find that certain elements of his story still interest him (that quick bit of snappy dialogue, or a certain description) but with more experience and distance he’ll probably also find what had seemed amazing during the creative portion now reads and feels only ho-hum.

I think lots of easy ideas are a waste of time. Many a manuscript isn’t sellable because the first idea that strikes Charles’ fancy has occurred to ten thousand other writers, and the same idea will find ten thousand other writers next year. Editors want fresh ideas, ideas only you could write. Yet it’s understandable why Charles loves ideas like this. They’re easy to write. But they’re also incredibly predictable.

If you want to write something more original you have to resist the easy ideas that are more than likely someone else’s vision, and find your own. As a reader, picking up a book where Charles copies a Lee Child, or Stephen King, or Dean Koontz idea, the copy comes off terribly tepid. And it’s sad in a way, because in Charles’ deluded mind—I’m speaking from experience, I’m very deluded—he will believe that his creation is nearly as good as Child or King or Koontz. 
I believe experience is the best teacher, and we can get better at judging the value of our ideas nearly instantaneously, which is kind of cool.

Want to read some Crime novels with interesting and fresh ideas? Check out THE RAPIST by Les Edgerton, and FEAST DAY OF FOOLS by James Lee Burke, they’re two of my favorites.

In A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS I wanted to avoid a lot of the Crime tropes I’ve read in a lot of other novels. Luckily my heroes paved the way by writing their own stories instead of taking the easy, boring, predictable route. In their novels, and in my own, the story is about more than just one main character, which is nice because it adds depth to the story and brings out sides of every character that might have otherwise been unattainable.

Author bio: Lee Thompson is the author of the Suspense novels A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS (August 2014), IT’S ONLY DEATH (January 2015), and WITH FURY IN HAND (May 2015). The dominating threads weaved throughout his work are love, loss, and learning how to live again. A firm believer in the enduring power of the human spirit, Lee believes that stories, no matter their format, set us on the path of transformation. He is represented by the extraordinary Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary. Visit Lee’s website to discover more:

Enter to win a paperback copy! There will also be a grand prize at the end of the tour where one winner will receive my novel, and four other DarkFuse novels in Kindle format!
Simply leave a comment on this blog and share the link.

Thanks to those who participate.

Happy reading~ Lee
Thanks, Lee! Glom onto a copy, folks--you'll become a fan!
Blue skies,


Rick Bylina said...

So easy to fall in love with an idea; so hard to make others fall in love with the same idea. True enough that 10,000 maniacs (writers) are writing the same book I am. Only I WILL make it unique by adding a... sorry I can't tell you.

Writers need to push things to the edge, and then fall off it. Thanks for the reminder.

Lee Thompson/Thomas Morgan/James Logan/Julian Vaughn said...
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Lee Thompson/Thomas Morgan/James Logan/Julian Vaughn said...
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Lee Thompson/Thomas Morgan/James Logan/Julian Vaughn said...

Whoops, I posted and deleted my comment twice. Brain is frazzled.

Thanks so much for the comment, Rick! You're in the running for a paperback copy of A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS, and the grand prize.

You can tell you're a writer, teasing like that about your book. Lol. Thanks again for participating and best of luck with your work! - Lee

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Well, the biggest thing is to stop and question your ideas, ask how and--more importantly--why they might make good stories. Because that's what readers want, not ideas. Those are like assholes, as the saying goes.

It's that act of questioning that starts pulling the story out of you, makes the characters live and breathe in ways that readers will care what happens to them and--again, more importantly--why.

An idea might have some of the important elements: who, what, where, when, even how, but they seldom include that all important why. You actually have to ask yourself why you should give a shit, and if you don't have an answer, you don't have a story.

If we didn't discover that Norman Bates had a psychotic hard-on for his dead domineering mother who had warped his mind beyond repair, him killing a bunch of folks in a motel he runs becomes pretty boring and downgrades the story to a b-movie at best. It's the pathology driving his murderous instincts that makes him, and therefore the story, interesting. By the end, you almost feel sorry for the guy.

Maybe that entire plot and character arc and backstory sprang fully formed from Bloch's mind one morning while he was pouring himself a cup of coffee, but I doubt it. I'm guessing it took some thought--not all of it conscious--to weave it into cloth from threads.

So yeah, stories are much more than ideas, the way wildfires are much more than a spark or two. You got a spark, you can blow on it all you want, but if you don't give it some fuel, it flickers and dies. Those bits of dialog and moments of lyricism and whatnot you mentioned, Lee, they're nothing more than the little flare of bright burning on the palm of your hand as the spark spent itself.

Or maybe I'm full of shit.

Lee Thompson/Thomas Morgan/James Logan/Julian Vaughn said...

Thanks for the comment, Shaun! I'm with you on the 'why' of it all. Great comparison using Norman Bates.Thanks for entering the giveaway for a paperback copy and good luck for a chance winning the grand prize, man.

D. Armfield said...

That was my first mistake. When I self published. Now I read it more than once and make a lot of adjustments

Lee Thompson/Thomas Morgan/James Logan/Julian Vaughn said...

Thanks for the comment, Donald. I hear you on having to get past that. It's so easy to think everything we've written is brilliant. Lol. You're in the running for a chance at a paperback copy of ABM, plus the grand prize.

Lee Thompson/Thomas Morgan/James Logan/Julian Vaughn said...

ABM Blog Tour/Giveaway Winners: