Monday, June 3, 2019

#45 Inside the Emotion of Fiction's "The Soul of Cole" by Micheal Maxwell

*The images in this specific piece are granted copyright privilege by:  Public Domain, CCSAL, GNU Free Documentation Licenses, Fair Use Under The United States Copyright Law, or given copyright privilege by the copyright holder which is identified beneath the individual photo.

**Some of the links will have to be copied and then posted in your search engine in order to pull up properly

***The CRC Blog welcomes submissions from published and unpublished fiction genre writers for INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION.  Contact CRC Blog via email at or personal Facebook messaging at

****Micheal Maxwell’s The Soul of Cole is the forty-fifth in a never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific excerpt from a fiction genre and how that fiction writer wrote that specific excerpt.  All INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION links are at the end of this piece. 

Name of fiction work? And were there other names you considered that you would like to share with us? The Soul of Cole.  The rejects were mostly in my head! Each book in the Cole Sage series has Cole’s first name in the tile. Diamonds and Cole, Cole, Fire, Cole Dust and so on. So, with each book tying the plot to the title has become more difficult.
Fiction genre?  Ex science fiction, short story, fantasy novella, romance, drama, crime, plays, flash fiction, historical, comedy, movie script, screenplay, etc.  And how many pages long?mystery/thriller/suspense/romance
Has this been published? And it is totally fine if the answer is no.   If yes, what publisher and what publication date? I am an Indie author and publish under the Maxwell Books LLC banner.
What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? I started writing in earnest on 11/14/18. I finished it on 1/28/19. The curious thing is, I was working on another book, Cole to the Bone. I intended it to be #9. The way the story was playing out I decided it would be a lot better as the series finale. So, with about 20K words written in Bone, I changed horses, and wrote Soul of Cole.
Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work?  And please describe in detail.  And can you please include a photo? I am blessed with a huge window in both my office and living room that look out on to the lake we are on. So that’s where this book was written.
What were your writing habits while writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day? If I am anything, I am a creature of habit. I always begin with a twelve chapter outline and start from there. I almost always start with an idea for the opening scene and shortly thereafter write the ending.

I always start off listening to music. Usually the Grateful Dead, or a mix of tracks with long instrumental passages. I actually have a friend who lives in Thailand that puts together mixes that run anywhere from one to four hours of long jams with the vocals removed and the solo passages melded together without a break. It has to be medium to slow tempo.
I write notes and asides on a yellow tablet. Years ago, I heard an author on TV, I’m ashamed to admit I can’t remember who, say he always carried blank three by five cards in his pocket and would jot down ideas, quotes, even make rough sketches to be used later. I have done that for years too. We do that in the car a lot. My wife jots down my babblings. LOL Got a lot of autographs that way too! Depending on location I switch between my PC and a laptop with a one terabyte travel drive.
I am not a morning person. I find I do my best work after ten in the morning and before five in the afternoon. When I am in the zone I don’t look up.
What is the summary of this specific fiction work? The book opens with a double murder of a much -loved pastor and his wife. So, right from the jump we have a who-done-it! Cole also gets involved with an Army veteran who needs help getting his Muslim wife and son to the USA from Iraq. The wheels of government move to slow for him, and he finds a different and dangerous path.
Into mix we find Cole emotionally struggling, finding himself at loose ends, lacking direction, and fearing failure. The award winning journalist finds it difficult to write fiction. Should he stay/go, everybody seem to know what he should do except Cole.
To quote Bob Dylan, (Right)
Well, the moral of the story
The moral of this song,
Is simply that one should never be
Where one does not belong.
So when you see your neighbor carryin' somethin'
Help him with his load
And don't go mistaking Paradise
For that home across the road.
Can you give the reader just enough information for them to understand what is going on in the excerpt? I think we all have been in a relationship, job, town, school, major, or situation that has tied a knot in our soul. In the scene I’ve included here, Cole has really reached the end of his tether. He is not used to losing, failing, or not calling the shots. He has held it all in to the breaking point.
Why is this excerpt so emotional for you?  And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt?. This book finds Cole on the edge of his emotions, confidence, and faced with losing face. He has lost too many people he loved and cared about, and never really took time to grieve. To cut and run isn’t in his nature, and this book has him facing a third strike, personally. As they say, no good deed ever goes unpunished, and that’s where we find Cole.
For me as the writer, I could relate to his situation. It is hard for men to throw in the towel, admit they need help, cry, or let it all out. As I wrote I could feel him coming a part. As he spills his feelings it is apparent the pain goes far deeper than we expected. The people who love you, and know you best can see your hurt but often don’t know what to do. I felt Kelly’s helplessness as well.
Please include the excerpt and include page numbers as 
reference.  The excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer. Cole leaned back from his laptop and closed the lid. Kelly didn’t speak for a long time. She watched as Cole pretended to plug in the mouse.
“It’s a nice story.” Kelly finally said.
“You hate it.”
“What’s going on Cole?”
“What do you mean?”
“Why are you writing this book? Or any other for that matter?” Kelly sat up and faced the desk.
“I’m a writer. It’s what I do.”
“Did. You were a newspaper man, a journalist. You wrote non-fiction, the news, your opinion and insights. You didn’t write novels.”
“How long has it been since you quit the Chronicle?”
“I don’t-”
“Four years. Let me rephrase the question. Why are you doing this?”
“The money.”
“We don’t need the money. Fame? Limelight? A return to your former glory days?”
“I don’t need that.” Cole was lying and he prayed Kelly wasn’t seeing through his desire to write again.
“I’m worried about you. Do you realize you just read me a Harlequin Romance, fairy story, with World War Two thrown in?” Kelly was beginning to see Cole’s veneer cracking. She hit the nail on the head. He found himself living at a snail’s pace when he was used to running, going, doing, chasing a story, a lead, doing interviews and being at the very heart of the news of the day.
“I don’t know what to do with myself.”
There it was, Kelly thought. She gazed at Cole sitting in the chair at the desk and realized he was defeated. He looked old, sad, and lost. Her heart was breaking.
Kelly leaned forward. “What do you mean, sweetie?”
“I don’t know what to do with myself!” Cole eye’s flared as he looked up at Kelly. “You do all your volunteer stuff, ladies Bible studies, whatever else you do, I got nuthin’.”
“You could volunteer, the church is always looking for help with various things. There are places to help in the community.”
“That’s you Kelly. Not me. I go to church. The people there are not like me. We have nothing in common. What am I going to volunteer to do, plant daisies downtown, hand out candy at the Christmas parade? I’d kill myself.” Cole tried to sound sarcastic with a twist of humor, but the pathos of his voice could not bury the truth just beneath the surface.”
“What you’re saying is you hate it here.”
“What I’m saying is I have no one but you to talk to. As much as I love you, I need people. People with interests other than Friday Night Football at the high school, and drinking beer at the Legion Hall.” Cole was getting wound up. “I don’t give a royal rip about corn prices, the weather, or the Dallas Cowboys, or whoever it is they cheer around here. And, my gosh, other than the ribs at Big Pete’s and a sandwich at Ernie’s I haven’t had a decent meal since we moved here.
“Well thank you very much!” Kelly said indignantly.
“Not your cooking. You know what I mean. Don’t you miss real Italian, Mia Sophia’s raviolis? Kowloon’s Dim Sum in Chinatown? Korean BBQ, Rosenberg’s Deli? I’d kill about now for a Chicago style hot dog. I miss buildings more than two stories high. I miss baseball games at Wrigley Field.  I miss Mick Brennan, I miss Chris Ramos and Chuck Waddell, I miss Olajean, I miss Hanna.” Cole’s voice cracked, he looked down. “I miss the kids, and I miss my Jenny.” Cole put his hands over his face.
Kelly fell silent. She didn’t know what to do. She didn’t know what to say. She crossed the room and stood behind Cole. She put her hands on his shoulders.
“I had no idea you were hurting so.” Kelly spun the chair around and hugged Cole.
“I feel like a fool. I don’t know what has come over me. I have you, what else could I want?” Cole wiped his eyes.
“All the things you mentioned. I’m so sorry. Let’s go. Let’s go for a trip. Anywhere you want, a road trip. You know I’d love some Chicago deep dish Pizza, some Memphis barbecue, or maybe we should just get on a plane for Paris. Surprise the kids.”
“We have to do something.” Cole squeezed Kelly tightly.
Were there any deletions from this excerpt that you can share with us? And can you please include a photo of your marked up rough drafts of this excerpt. I write on the computer. So, I have no rough drafts. I edit the original when I finish. I start out with an outline, then a chapter by chapter draft. When that is cleaned up as best as I can, I give them to my long suffering wife, who REALLY cleans it up, and puts them in to a single document. That “proof” copy is sent to several trusted and much appreciated reader/editor/proofreaders and by then we have a publishable copy. So any errors and deletions are cast adrift into the void of the binary wasteland.
Other works you have published? I have the Cole Sage Mystery Series that will soon conclude with the publication of the tenth volume, Cole to the Bone. It was a hard decision but not wanting the series to grow stale, and having far more ideas that I will ever be able to get written, I decided to do a Seinfeld and go out on top.

      I also have Three Nails, and Dara and Dupree which are stand alone novels, and a new mystery series the first of which came out in November 2018 entitle Dead Beat.

The First Chapter is a collection of short stories, and the first novel I wrote. The Time Pedaler is the first in a series of Time Travel books for young adults. So, I have thirteen, soon to be fifteen published works. To quote another lyric, “the road goes on forever and the party never ends.”
Anything you would like to add? Yes about eight more hours in the day, so I could write all the books I have outlines for.
To quote, singer/songwriter John Stewart, “I never had a job where the boss wouldn’t steal the bass drum from his own brass band.” I was raised in the Central Valley town of Modesto, California. The population was a hybrid of Dust Bowl Refugees, Mexicans, Farmers, and rich people. I had a love/hate relationship with school. I loved to read, and explore people, places and things on my own. I hated the pointless curriculum (does anybody REALLY need to be able to diagram a sentence?), and for the most part the tired, old, cranky, teachers that didn’t know what to do with a kid that needed way more stimulation than they offered. As a kid of the 60s, college was a kaleidoscope of possibilities. I was in the truest sense a Renaissance man. I studied, art, film. Broadcasting, English literature, creative writing, communications, and anything that struck my fancy.
I think it would be fair to say I hate work. I could never figure out why the people in charge seemed hell bent on the destruction of what they claimed they wanted achieve. The best job I ever had was owning a small chain of used record stores. But in the 80s and 90s the government seemed to do everything they could to crush and stifle the success of small business.
At thirty-nine I became an English teacher. Ever the idealist, the machine that is California education, destroyed any possibility of teaching anything important. I was a misfit in a system filled with people who never had a real job, or any experience outside of the classroom. I was once told I was a mal-content. I wore that as a badge of honor.
To escape the soul sucking tedium of lock step guidelines and teaching to meaningless tests, I began to write. The heavens opened, the words poured out and for the first time I felt a purpose and meaning to work. I know live between the between the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, and a lovely home on a lake in Washington State. I write daily and my wife Janet proofreads, critiques, and helps to keep me focused. I am content.

No comments:

Post a Comment