Inside – Outside Offshore – Onshore

The story is complete and ready to go. Wattpad readers  – you are in for a thrilling ride. Here is the synopsis as of October 2018.

                     

Against the frantic 2015 Canadian Federal Election campaign, four forces are embroiled within dark places, battling to control the election outcome.

Yvon Archambeaux, a respected television reporter with the cash-strapped CMZ network, is assigned to the Prime Minister and his Traditional Party’s campaign.  Yvon (Outside) is frustrated with the cheapness of his boss, and with the control and predictability of the Prime Minister’s messaging. He is contacted from within the Canadian spy agency. Hamed (Inside), an Arabic speaking, contract security specialist, has discovered illegal surveillance and money transactions from within Canada’s surveillance agency, CCSS. He reaches outside to Yvon, trusting him to help tell of the misdemeanors and how far up the political chain the corruption goes. Together, they agree to throw a “disruptive bombshell” into the election fray just before Election Day, to take out the governing party. Mike (Onshore) an old political fund raiser of the Traditional Party, is officially retired, but runs a quiet, tight operation, obtaining off the record donations in exchange for political favours. Julio (Offshore), an ex-Quebecer – biker money launderer, controls an investment company in the Bahamas. The self-styled ladies’ man, oversees the transactions making their way around the world into the secret operations fund. Also under his tutelage is a group of hackers, working with duplicate copies of Canadian government files.

Will the fake voters they create tip the election balance? Who donates to the secret fund and who benefits? What is the planned historic disruptive “event”? Can the moralistic spy analyst and truthful journalist diffuse the process in time?

And, just who is Bowman and what is his role? Is there yet another darker force?

This political thriller will keep you engaged and bring to light the fragility of our democracy.

This story marries the passions of investigative journalism and personal moral values, to do battle against the length and breadth of government sanctioned spying, the dark forces of off-shore finance and the influence that has on Canada. It mirrors the uncovering of government sanctioned spying by Edward Snowden, the murky world of offshore tax evasion as in the Panama Papers and the subsequent money laundering. This is also a parallel to the hacking of US government and private files by Russian and North Korean agents for control and the reporters who risk their safety to uncover the truth.

 

This story was first written in 2015 during the Canadian Federal Election. Eerily, it matches much of the corruption and chaos of today’s White House and what is being uncovered during the 2016 election.

 

 

The Best Sled Ride Ever

Well the story is off to the publishers to see if there is a dance partner. A number of thoughtful changes were made to improve the characters and the story’s warmth. Thanks to Diane Schoemperlen for editing assistance and the grade 5 classes who read and provided valuable feedback.

Here is the synopsis:

Synopsis – The Best Sled Ride Ever

The year is 1962 in rural Ontario. It is two weeks before Christmas and there has been no snow. The kids are antsy. Our story opens with a rural classroom, packed with grade three, four and five students facing a big arithmetic test to start the day. We are drawn back in time to the sights and sounds of children at school. The story characters are introduced: Alex, Jack, Sandy, twins Susie and Jane, the poor kids – Danny and Jessie Brown, Ricky the bully and the narrator.

As the narrator, the author describes what unfolds. The first snowflakes arrive waving at the narrator and energizing the class, to the consternation of Mrs. Bowman the sometimes mean teacher. The kids rush to the sledding hill, but their joys of the first sled rides are defeated by the mushy snow. Conditions slowly improve over the next days, creating that joyous sledding experience. The Browns have only cardboard to the other kids newest snow craft. The improvising Danny improves his cardboard with an ice coating, for a turning of heads.

But there is also bullying of the poor kids. Ricky from grade eight, takes delight in picking on Danny in grade 4 and sister Jessie in grade 3, because they are poor. There is taunting, snow balls and fists. As the sledding improves, Ricky and his buddies increase the harassment of the Browns, and the other sledders. The final confrontation occurs when Jessie and Danny in a monster cardboard case are blocked by the leering Ricky. The other kids, led by the narrator move to support the Browns. Jessie raises her fist at the large Ricky, and the craft is launched right at Ricky.

The Browns win the day with the longest slide. The narrator then sees Jessie in a whole new light, not the poorly clad ragamuffin, but as a strong person and new friend.

This story and the characters are based on actual events of my childhood; the wonder of the first snow and outdoor play, and the fear of bullies. It is also about children overcoming adversity with ingenuity and perseverance. The massive cardboard box becomes the ultimate sled.

This book tugs at two audiences, children 8 to 10 years old who resonate with bullying and adults revisiting the nostalgia of their youth. The young readers will relate to Jessie and Danny, being harassed, beaten and belittled as occurs today. They will too feel the joy of sledding. Being poor and taking abuse for that, may not be top of mind. The adult reader will find themselves back in the classroom of their youth, seeing the faces, smelling the odors, worrying about the big test, and riding their sleds on their favourite hill.

Placed at the start of winter, this story might be considered for the Christmas market. Word count approximately 2500. Editor – Diane Schoemperlen.

“Jessie, her eyes fixed on Ricky, raised her fist, and yelled, “Let’s do it!”

It was the best sled ride ever!

Driving Through Hell

It has started – not the hell of writing or the darkness of war, but the light on the story.  This historical fiction will be about common folk before, during and after World War 1.  The writing has begun – first challenge a harrowing winter crossing of a lake with horse teams and heavy laden sledges. Then the love interests…

In 1913, what were the feelings at home and towards the jousting empires of Europe?  Why did young men enlist? What were the pressures to commit oneself for King and Country? What relationships did the young men have with family members, girl friends, peers?  Just what were lives like – urban, rural?

Then the war years 194 – 1919 , enlistment, conscription, training, travel and then the front. Hell! And what were the fears at home? What were the communications back and forth? Tragedy – loss – shell shock – humanity destroyed. Angst – grief – prayerful hope.

After the war – 1919- 1925, what was it like to return to a changed Canada? Buddies dead – jobs lost – families shattered. But there was the resilience of people who loved each other, who just got on, who tried to forget. There was the light of hope to the future. Happiness again allowed – lives continued.

The story is not a war story but a people story of those hurled into war and how things changed forever.

A number of characters will be in play – using the records and experiences of Canadians in the 3rd Ammunition Column, their friends – their relationships and how many survived, and how many did thrive in their own fashion. Goodness from evil. Human suffering to human love.

 

The Best Sled Ride, Ever

Book 3 is complete, a 2300 word children’s story from the early 1960’s. It is two stories in one. Nostalgia for old times: the joy of the first snow, fast friends and school sounds, smells and touches. It is also about bullying. The characters are a compilation of my childhood experiences. The bullying real. In this delightful story, the poor kids who are bullied, persevere, conquering the sledding hill by their ingenuity and strength, to stand up to the bullies. The poor kids are not so poor after all. Who knew cardboard boxes were so fast! 

The Best Sled Ride, Ever

Recently I heard Roch Carriere speak on CBC of his life altering book, “The Hockey Sweater”. It evokes a simpler time in rural Quebec where a boy worships Les Canadiens and their star, Rocket Richard.  When an Eaton’s delivery boo boo sends a Maple Leaf sweater instead, Roch is ridiculed, humiliated. This story is so very Canadian.

That interview brought back to memory, my childhood in Creighton Heights, just north of Cobourg Ontario. The early 1960’s. It was full of ponds for hockey and hills for sledding in winter. We loved and lived for winter sports. It also brought back memories of childhood interactions: unsupervised fun, fast friends and yes, bullying.

“The Best Sled Ride, Ever” has its first draft completed. It is winter fun, fast friends and bullying. Those children who had less income (poor) were teased for their, shabby clothes,  small houses, poor “sleds” and sometimes body odour.

But – this story has the poor kids winning at the sledding contest, overcoming the bullying by smarts and persistence and gaining respect. It is based on my own experiences. This is a heart warming story for young readers.

Fall Feedback

“Loyalty is getting attention. This fall, Patrick Crean of Harper Collins (one of Canada’s most respected book editors and literary experts) and Samantha Heywood, President TransAtlantic Agency (arguably Canada’s largest literary agency), looked at “Loyalty” and provided positive feedback. “strong potential” . But – no contract yet to move “Loyalty” along to publication. The fact that it was reviewed by these respected people and CBC Drama, plus others, means it is good and should be published. 2018?

Book #2 Inside-Outside : Offshore-Onshore Prophetic?

 

Book #2   Inside-Outside : Offshore-Onshore  – Prophetic?

When I wrote the first draft of Inside-Outside: Offshore-Onshore in 2015, I had no idea that it would be so prophetic, and so soon, now the summer 2017.

I commenced hammering out plot, characters and inserting contentious issues early in 2015. During the winter and spring of 2015, there were rumblings of a snap Canadian Federal Election, that Mr. Harper would pull the plug early on Parliament. But he stuck to his promise, announcing a marathon campaign, culminating in a historic change in government October 19, 2015.

During 2015, as I knocked on hundreds of doors from January until October 17, the story unfolded. I wrote about another election scenario, with a different outcome from the actual one. The first draft was completed before Election Day. I decided not to change it to match the actual. But I did write about those current issues and concerns and those I thought might be there anyways – just covered up. They were: election fraud, money payments for political influence, unchecked government spying on civilians, fake news, offshore money laundering, hacking of government files, fake voter lists, and organized crime influence. Yes, that was 2015. I knew some things were true and others were speculative.

However, I did not foresee what is now unfolding in Washington. The Russian criminals seem to have been gaining control of power, from behind the scenes, with Trump as the front man. The 2016 election may have been rigged from outside influences. The air is full of fake news and cover ups that blur reality – deflecting from the public view, what is really going on.

It is madness!

Is Canada immune?

Inside-Outside : Offshore-Onshore is all the above madness and corruption played out against a frantic election campaign. Forces of good and evil are racing toward the election with the intent on influencing its outcome. It is a political thriller, with an unexpected outcome.

Loyalty Fans

Fans of one’s book are both appreciated and desired in order to build a presence, as a new author. The attached photo from this spring, is of David and Audrey, my new best fans.

David and Audrey are well into their 80’s. They are very active and very social within their retirement living building, their church and their community of family and friends.

Over a number of weeks, David read “Loyalty” to Audrey as she worked on sewing and knitting projects. That togetherness was unique. They experienced and discussed the events and characters, week after week; together. It was a time they looked forward too.

I met with both recently, and was rewarded with praise and thanks for the offer of the read, but also of sharing Sarah and Isaac’s story. I am grateful. Thanks, my number one fans!

Audrey and David’s comments can be found on this website.

Dearth of Guy Books in 2017. No Canada Eh?

Three weeks ago I went to my local Indigo store to check out the new reads. I had a guy question, thus I sought out and found a mid aged man to pose it to.

“What are guys readings now?” I asked the greying man.

I received a stunned look.

“What books would you recommend to a guy for a good read?” I asked again.

After a moment, he replied that there was one self-help book in the best sellers area.

Now I was stunned.

He had no idea, as well he made no attempt to get at what I was seeking.

I explained in more detail I was doing a non-scientific survey to determine what books and genres were popular with men today.

It was obvious he was limited to best sellers, but not clued in on customer help.

Segue to my point.

Currently, there is a dearth of new books that are of interest to men. I asked a librarian two weeks ago the same question, only to find that men may be reading what is offered as choice, but these titles and genres may not be their top choices.

So, what is book genres are hot in today’s market?

Light romance

Graphic novels

Thrillers (with romance)

Erotica (romance)

Historical fiction (romance)

You see a trend here.

 

And there is certainly a dearth of books celebrating Canada on its 150th birthday.

Where are the books that endear us, captivate us and make us proud to be Canadians? What about the builders of the Blue Nose, or the Chinese constructors of the CPR, or the Grey nuns and others who cared for the fever stricken Irish poor in 1847, or Metis Charlotte Small, wife of explorer David Thompson?

No it’s more the same offerings.

I guess I’ll just have to read rereads.  My wallet rests.

photos – Chinese workers on the CPR, Charlotte Small Thompson,  Grey Nuns with sick at Grosse Isle, the Blue Nose.