Monday, October 7, 2019

#84 Inside The Emotion of Fiction: "SEVEN DEVILS" by Steve McManus

*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***The CRC Blog welcomes submissions from published and unpublished fiction genre writers for INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION.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

****Steven McManus’s SEVEN DEVILS is #84 in the 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? My latest book is called SEVEN DEVILS.  I had the title before the story—it comes from a song by Florence & The Machine (Below).  I imagined Seven Devils as a place first, and crafted a plot to fit it.  It ended up being the name of a rock formation surrounding the fictional town of Emmett, California. 

Has this been published? And it is totally fine if the answer is no.   If yes, what publisher and what publication date? SEVEN DEVILS was published in November 2018.

What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? I started in early 2015 and finished the final draft in summer 2018.

Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work? And please describe in detail.   I mostly write in my office at home.  I inherited a big desk (Left) from the previous owner who didn’t want to carry it out (it’s really heavy).  From there I have a view of the pool which I often stare at while mulling over mysterious, suspenseful and thrilling issues.  Considering my last workspace was a semi-converted unventilated closet in the back of a one-bedroom apartment, this is a major creative upgrade.

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? Given my schedule I have to write in the cracks of the day, whenever I get time.  Writing is done on the desktop, but I come up with plots and work through sticky situations with pen and paper in a very free-associative way (lots of arrows and cryptic symbolism). (Above Right and Below Left)
What is the summary of this specific fiction work? Two LA crime reporters follow separate stories which seem to point to a reclusive self-help guru and his remote compound.

Can you give the reader just enough information for them to understand what is going on in the excerpt? This is a brief look at Ursula, under-dressed out in the snow and in shock following a major calamity.  Each step is heavier than the last as she staggers toward salvation or permanent sleep, whichever comes first.

Please include one excerpt and include page numbers as reference. When the crowd clotted the narrow road back to the bridge Ursula nosed the golf cart into a snowbank.  She and the Good Samaritan and the people they’d picked up along the way started walking.  Her exposed skin was so raw she felt like she’d shatter at the slightest touch.  She was in a place beyond cold, beyond freezing.  She was a wraith in a sleeveless mango dress drifting over the frost to her death.
Both gates were open and Ursula tried to aim for the one closest to her, forcing one foot in front of the other until she just couldn’t anymore.  Her skull vibrated from her chattering teeth and it took every atom of willpower not to give in.  Simply loosen the tension in her knees, drop to the ground, close her eyes and embrace the sleep coming with its knives out for her.  At this point it wouldn’t even hurt.
A mountain rose out of the ground in front of her, a huge shaggy thing materializing between the exploding red and blue police lights like fireworks on her chemically-irritated eyes.  Then her feet left the ground and a terrific heat embraced her and she knew then what they said about death was really true after all, that after the fear came freedom, came lightness, came flight, and the warmth spoke to her and it said I gotcha, I gotcha, I gotcha, and she gave into it at last.   (Pages 334-335)

Why is this excerpt so emotional for you as a writer to write? And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt? I wanted to convey how close to quitting Ursula comes, when it hurts too much to be called pain anymore, when there seems to be no chance of improvement or survival and the temptation to give up is right in front of her, but she finds it in herself to keep moving one step in front of the other.  She does a lot preceding this, so this particular passage needed to be short but poignant.  It was worked over and refined repeatedly until I got it down to three paragraphs.  I wanted an almost Impressionistic feel, nothing too detailed as Ursula struggles to keep from freezing to death. 

Were there any deletions from this excerpt that you can share with us? I don’t save drafts, but below is a photo I took as I was organizing the structure of the story.  Each chapter of SEVEN DEVILS alternates between Danny and Ursula’s POV, and it took writing a one-sentence summary of each chapter on index cards, then arranging and rearranging them (and rewriting and rewriting) to get the chapters balanced equally throughout the story.

Other works you have published? RED FLAG was published in 2015.  It’s the first story with Danny, in which he chases an arsonist during California’s ever-expanding fire season.

Anything you would like to add? My next book CALENDULA COOL will be out later this year.  It’s for younger readers and features 10 year-old Danny Kasho and his friends getting into summer mischief.  I’m also working on the third installment of the very grown-up CODA series.

          I grew up in Calgary and started writing at a young age, around 10 or 11.  After I moved to Los Angeles I became the drummer for Darling Violetta, who performed the theme song to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer hit spinoff series Angel.  I kept writing throughout.  My first book RED FLAG was published in 2015, followed by SEVEN DEVILS in 2018.

001   11 15 2018 Nathaniel Kaine’s
Thriller Novel
John Hunter – The Veteran

002   11 18 2018 Ed Protzzel’s
The Antiquities Dealer 

003   11 23 2018 Janice Seagraves’s
Science Fiction Romance
Exodus Arcon

004   11 29 2018 Christian Fennell’s
Literary Fiction Novel
The Fiddler in the Night

005  12 02 2018 Jessica Mathews’s
Adult Paranormal Romance
Death Adjacent

006  12 04 2018 Robin Jansen’s
Literary Fiction Novel
Ruby the Indomitable

007  12 12 2018  Adair Valerez’s
Literary Fiction Novel

008  12 17 218 Kit Frazier’s
Mystery Novel
Dead Copy

009 12 21 2019 Robert Craven’s
Noir/Spy Novel
The Road of a Thousand Tigers

010 01 13 2019 Kristine Goodfellow’s
Contemporary Romantic Fiction
The Other Twin

011 01 17 2019 Nancy J Cohen’s
Cozy Mystery
Trimmed To Death

012 01 20 2019 Charles Salzberg’s
Crime Novel
Second Story Man

013 01 23 2019 Alexis Fancher’s
Flash Fiction
His Full Attention

014 01 27 2019 Brian L Tucker’s
Young Adult/Historical

015 01 31 2019 Robin Tidwell’s

016 02 07 2019 J.D. Trafford’s
Legal Fiction/Mystery
Little Boy Lost

017 02 08 2019 Paula Shene’s
Young Adult ScieFi/Fantasy/Romance/Adventure
My Quest Begins 

018 02 13 2019 Talia Carner’s
Mainstream Fiction/ Suspense/ Historical
Hotel Moscow

019 02 15 2019 Rick Robinson’s
Multidimensional Fiction
Alligator Alley

020 02 21 2019 LaVerne Thompson’s
Urban Fantasy
The Soul Collectors

021 02 27 2019 Marlon L Fick’s
Post-Colonialist Novel
The Nowhere Man

022 03 02 2019 Carol Johnson’s
Mainstream Novel
Silk And Ashes

023 03 06 2019 Samuel Snoek-Brown’s
Short Story Collection
There Is No Other Way to Worship Them

024 03 08 2019 Marlin Barton’s
Short Story Collection
Pasture Art

025 03 18 2019 Laura Hunter’s
Historical Fiction
Beloved Mother

026 03 21 2019 Maggie Rivers’s
Magical Mistletoe

027  03 25 2019 Faith Gibson’s
Paranormal Romance

028 03 27 2019 Valerie Nieman’s
Tall Tale
To The Bones

029 04 04 2019 Betty Bolte’s
Paranormal Romance
Veiled Visions of Love

030 04 05 2019  Marianne Maili’s
Lucy, go see

031 04 10 2019 Gregory Erich Phillips’s
Mainstream Fiction
The Exile

032 04 15 2019 Jason Ament’s
Speculative Fiction
Rabid Dogs

033 04 24 2019 Stephen P. Keirnan’s
Historical Novel
The Baker’s Secret

034 05 01 2019 George Kramer’s
Arcadis: Prophecy Book

035 05 05 2019 Erika Sams’s
Rose of Dance

036 05 07 2019 Mark Wisniewski’s
Literary Fiction
Watch Me Go

037 05 08 2019 Marci Baun’s
Science Fiction/Horror
The Whispering House

038 05 10 2019 Suzanne M. Wolfe’s
Historical Fiction
Murder By Any Name

039 05 12 2019 Edward DeVito’s
The Woodstock Paradox

040 05 14 2019 Gytha Lodge’s
She Lies In Wait

041 05 16 2019 Kari Bovee’s
Historical Fiction/Mystery
Peccadillo At The Palace:  An Annie Oakley Mystery

042 05 20 2019 Annie Seaton’s
Time Travel Romance
Follow Me

043 05 22 2019 Paula Rose Michelson’s
Inspirational Christian Romance
Rosa & Miguel – Love’s Legacy: Prequel to The Naomi

044 05 24 2019 Gracie C McKeever’s
BDMS/Interracial Romance
On The Edge

045 06 03 2019 Micheal Maxwell’s
The Soul of Cole

046 06 04 2019 Jeanne Mackin’s
The Last Collection:  A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and
Coco Chanel

047 06 07 2019 Philip Shirley’s
The Graceland Conspiracy

048 06 08 2019 Bonnie Kistler’s
Domestic Suspense
The House on Fire

049 06 13 2019 Barbara Taylor Sissel’s
Domestic Suspense/Family Drama
Tell No One

050 06 18 2019 Charles Salzberg’s
Short Story/ Crime Fiction
“No Good Deed” from Down to the River

051 06 19 2019 Rita Dragonette’s
Historical Fiction
The Fourteenth of September

052  06 20 2019 Nona Caspers’s
Literary Novel/Collage
The Fifth Woman

053 06 26 2019 Jeri Westerson’s
Paranormal Romance
Shadows in the Mist

054 06 28 2019 Brian Moreland’s
The Devil’s Woods

055 06 29 2019
Epic Fantasy
Wings Unseen

056 07 02 2019 Randee Green’s
Mystery Novel
Criminal Misdeeds

057 07 03 2019 Saralyn Ricahrd’s
Mystery Novel
Murder In The One Percent

#058 07 04 2019 Hannah Mary McKinnon’s
Domestic Suspense
Her Secret Son

#059 07 05 2019 Sonia Saikaley’s
Contemporary Women’s Literature
The Allspice Bath

#060 07 09 2019 Olivia Gaines’s
Romance Suspense Serial
Blind Luck

#061 07 11 2019 Anne Raeff’s
Literary Fiction
Winter Kept Us Warm

#062 07 12 2918 Vic Sizemore’s
Literary Fiction-Short Stories
I Love You I’m Leaving

#063 07 13 2019 Deborah Riley Magnus’s
Dark Paranormal Urban Fantasy

#064 07 14 2019 Elizabeth Bell’s
Historical Fiction

#065 07 15 2019 Lori Baker Martin’s
Literary Novel

#066 08 01 2019 Sabine Chennault’s
Historical Novel

#067 08 02 2019 Margaret Porter’s
Historical Biographical Fiction


#068 08 04 2019 Hank Phillippi Ryan’s

069 08 08 2019 Diana Y. Paul’s
Literary Mainstream Fiction

070 08 10 2019 Phyllis H. Moore’s
Women’s Historical Fiction

071 08 11 2019 Sara Dahmen’s
Historical Fiction

072  08 19 2019 Carolyn Breckinridge’s
Short Story Collection

073 08 21 2019 Alison Ragsdale’s
Emotional Women’s Fiction

074  08 22 2019 Lee Matthew Goldberg’s
Suspense Thriller

075 08 23 2019 Jonathan Brown’s
Mystery/Amateur P.I.

076 09 02 2019 Chera Hammons Miller’s
Literary Fiction w/ suspense, concern with animals & land management
Monarchs of the Northeast Kingdom

077 09 09 019 Joe William Taylor’s
Literary Mystery
The Theoretics of Love

078 09 15 2019 Linda Hughes’s
Romantic Suspense
Secret of the Island

079 09 19 2019 Max Elliot Anderson’s
Middle Grade Adventure/Mystery
Snake Island

080 09 22 2019 Danny Adams’s
Science Fiction
Dayworld: A Hole In Wednesday

081 09 24 2019 Arianna Dagnino’s
The Afrikaner

082 09 29 2019 Lawrence Verigin’s
Seed of Control

083  10 05 2019 Emma Khoury’s
The Sword And Shield

#084 10 07 2019 Steve McManus’s

No comments:

Post a Comment