Archive for December, 2012

The next big thing.

For this entry I decided to borrow a page from my friend Brad Covey, his blog is worth checking out, not only is he a longtime friend of mine, he’s also an aspiring writer, web designer and all around talented guy, who designed the cover for my upcoming book. So if you can please check him out here.

Moving ever forward into that place where all dreams begin in a world where things go wrong and we never know why.

For this I’m borrowing a bit from Brad’s page. (No this isn’t plagiarism, he’s actually asked authors to do this in his blog, “The Next big thing” And I’m now accepting his challenge.)

“The Next Big Thing blog entry, Is a bit long in the making! I mean, I started this two weeks ago, wrote a bit on it last week, now I’m finally going through and finishing it. So if you’re an author please take the time and try this challenge, it’s not as easy as you may first believe.

What is the working title of your book?

The working title of my manuscript is Losers, something I feel strongly about from being a victim of child abuse and bullying myself. This book is follows my two protagonist, Kyle Reese, and Tiffany struggling to overcome their many obstacles and trials with the aid of their friends who face similar trials.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Honestly, it came to me in a dream. I had started on working on a romantic love story, (So I can make Nichols’s Sparks eat his heart out) but every night I kept having the same dream. My characters wanted their story to be told, needed it be told.

What genre does your book fall under?
Present day.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Losers would need a very strong cast to pull off emotional driven story. I’m thinking either Dane Dehaan As Kyle Reese, Or Andrew Garfield, Mathew Fox as Robert Reese, Sandra Bullock As Miranda Reese, Paul Rudd As Mr. Remley, Brad Pitt as Sheriff Williams, Alex Russle As Zach Greeks, Thomas Mann as Derek Grober, Tiffany Williams will probably be the hardest to cast, just because she’s half native American. Other than the cast I mentioned, I would probability fill out the cast with relatively unknowns. But I would like to have actors who actually look to be the age their playing, not like almost every teen movie out there where everyone in High School looks like they’d have no problem going to a bar and buying a beer. Also on this note, I would like a cast that look like normal, every day people. I always get annoyed when I watch a movie about a school, where the entire cast look as if they could be models, which always takes me out of the movie, because it wasn’t how I remember high school.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

(This is going to be hard, and most likely a very long run on sentence.) Losers follows Kyle Reese a fifteen year old kid who moves to a new now and who’s already struggling to deal with and survive his abusive parents when he starts a new school, finding that he’s already the target of bullying, with his only solace being in 16 year old Tiffany Williams who’s a kindred spirit and with the aid of her two friends, they fight a certain strength in each other, together they stand against the perils that would otherwise destroy them.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I will probably be going the self-publishing rout because the ease of which will help get my story out there and with a little luck it could bring the attention of a few agencies.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
My manuscript is still a work in progress, and I have been working on and off on it for about a year now, I hope to have it done by mid-spring. I was hoping to have it finished but with working a full-time job and going to school, as well as keeping fit hadn’t left me with a lot of free time.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I would think that my story is fairly original, or a original take on what I’m tackling as well the way I’m focusing the story to be very character driven with a explosive climax and the shocking resolution.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
What inspired me? I would say this was a multi-faceted, first I dreamt about this story for several nights, then I started watching the news, reading about bullying, watching shows about it as well. So once I decided to write this book, I started talking to people, asking about their experience with school and if they ever been a victim of bullying, or simply hated or discriminated against. Also being a victim of child abuse where my mother used to beat me for putting my elbows on the table, then having to go to school and struggling just to be accepted and often finding myself being bullied or picked on instead. All too often had I felt completely alone and my only saving grace was the small group of friends I managed to find, or who found me. If it wasn’t for them I doubt I would have made it to where I am today.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Losers deals with very real life situations of the darker side of life. Abuse, discrimination, school bullying and those who turn a blind eye to it, many believing the problem will solve itself. While others are simply afraid of getting involved, afraid that if they do, that they may find themselves being targeted just the same. Losers tells a very different story, that you never know what struggles someone else is going through, who hard it is for them to face simple and everyday challenges. No one really knows the courage it takes them to climb out of bed every morning and it doesn’t take a lot to really be a hero. All you have to do is just stand up for what’s right and show someone a small kindness, you’ll never know how far that kindness can go for someone, especially for someone who feels completely alone. But Losers is also a story of hope, of acceptance, how even in great darkness, there’s always a glimmer of light, of hope and friendship.
Thank you for checking out The Next Big Thing and hope to have more details soon for you about Losers.


First I would like to apologize to my readers and fans, it’s been awhile since I made a new post, partly due to the fact that this lowly writer was battling strep. I did still write…granted all I did was work on my “Losers” Manuscript, which I now have to go over and revise. Because well, medication and being miserable and writing may not be the best way to write. Interesting, but still what little I did manage to write wasn’t anywhere near up to par to the level I usually like to write.

Then there was this tragedy that I’m sure we all heard about it and what about to say may sound cynical, cruel, or insensitive, (This means this is my opinion and only my opinion, if you don’t like hearing opinions you should probably stop reading…

Okay, now this is why I believe this tragedy had happened, because of the media and the news reported it. To me the news media is a terrorist group; they spread fear and promote terror. Turn on the news and that’s all you see. They cover these horrific tragedies and every day, for weeks it becomes thee major topic that they focus on and cover from day to day. They display these poor and very disturbed lost souls like celebrities. Names like James Holmes, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, the list goes on and they all become household names. But I’m willing to bet not one person can name a single victim involved. The media had made these people famous and their despicable and gross acts are compared to one another as if it’s some sick game. They compare these killings and report how it had the second highest body count in our nation’s history which sets the bar for another twisted individual to try and outdo the previous. These same people would probably just off themselves in their parent’s basement, or in the privacy of their own bedroom if it weren’t for the media. But now, thanks to the media at large they sit and think how they can do something worse and be remembered as some sick, deplorable monster, instead of being quickly forgotten as the troubled and lost person that they are.
Then CNN talked about the shooting as if it was a ball game, talking about how if the body count held up, it would become the second deadliest shooting since Virginia Tech. They the networks plastered the shooters face on the news for hours, forever imprinting his image on our collective memories. I believe in these circumstances that the media should ignore and not report anything on the identity of these twisted individuals and if they must report on it, only report on the victims and their stories and completely omit the shooter’s identity entirely. But they won’t do this because it’s not sensational.  But they don’t do this, they news has to spread fear and terror and they do this by reporting on these events and the way they report them.

Even back with the tragic events back on 9-11 the news and media served to only fan the fear that was engulfing American’s. Causing people to attack or harass their neighbors and anyone who looked different, Indians, (From India) Arabs, people who were different and who’s only crime was wanting to come to America for a new life, who came here “legally” in hopes of achieving a better life. This is America, the land of opportunity and the people who were targeted had nothing to do with what happened.

Then I watch how people were on the news saying how afraid they were to travel, and the media fanned that fear. So now you have to go through endless security amounts of security just to get on a plane.

Then in the Batman shootings, people were saying how they were now afraid to go to a theater and enjoy a movie, followed by now, when I actually read an article about a woman being afraid to send her kids to school without an armed bodyguard. Then everyone wants to talk about fun control believing that to be a problem. When that is not a problem, not in the way many want to claim that it is. Criminals don’t abide the gun laws, they obtain firearms illegally, and they don’t follow the rules. Pointing fingers at gun control and jumping on that bandwagon only adds more fuel to the fire. Because all that does is make it more difficult for you, or I to obtain a firearm, which many consumers do buy for protection. If someone breaks into my home, I like the reassurance of having a firearm handy. Because for all I know the person breaking into my home may be carrying a weapon and may not care about my physical well-being.

So in this regard, I ask for everyone to turn off the news when you see this kind of reporting being done. Let them know by their ratings that we as a people find this kind of reporting unacceptable. So Instead of watching the news, take the time and be with your family, play some board games with loved ones, hug your kids, talk to your parents, visit your grandparents, become closer with your family. Value every moment you have with your friends and family. Then have a beer with a good friend, remember to laugh and don’t be afraid to show some kindness to a stranger, you’ll never know how much a small kindness may change someone’s day, or their life.

Then when all is said and done, donate to mental health research, turn off the news and remember, every day is a gift and every moment is precious, don’t take any of it for granted.

Thank you.

It Ain’t the truth we chase

I have no name for these open wounds,
Because on my own is all I’ve ever been,
I see the world from rusted tracks,
Carrying the memories of a distant past,
As I ride these rails without ever looking back,
For my life is all wrapped up in the day,
For there’s no past or future here,
No blinding light, or darkness left to fight,
Leaving nothing else to fear,
Because nothing else seems real,
So I follow these dreams and chase the truth,
And if I find my name’s no good,
I’ll fall out of line,

And I miss you,
But there’s no coming home,
There’s no going home,
And the sky becomes a sea of blue,
And I know there’s no going back,
And I speak true,
But everyone knows,
Everyone knows,
I can’t let you go…

I’ve seen more places than I can name,
When your tired it all looks the same,
Masked faces, a haunting masquerade,
All dancing in and out of line,
For it’s not the truth we all chase,
It’s the promise of a better place,
And I’ve been searching down a lie,
I can’t find the truth,
And I don’t know what it is,
Just empty towns and people passing by,
Nothing left to do, so I’ll take the lie,
And I still dream of you,
But there’s no going back,
Nothing left to pursue,
Just the sound of the train,
And I know there’s no coming home,
Because I have no name,
Just rusted tracks for me to roam,
Even as all the stars begin falling like rain,
As the sky grows starless to mask it’s pain,
And I’ve always known I wouldn’t be back,
I’ve always known what it is,
As the sky turns pitch black,
But it beats the alternative,
So I fall out of line,
And never look back,
And everyone knows,
Everyone knows,
I still think of you.

Why I write.

-Sometimes, we must journey through an eternity of darkness and pain in order to find our true selves.”-J Cooper

Seriously, writing is hard, and I am occasionally crazy and sometimes I can be a bit spacey. I can normally be found staring into space, talking to myself, or acting out elaborate scenes almost as if I’m choreographing an epic play. Because sometimes I kind of am. When it comes to my writing, I tend to skip making your basic outline, and web, instead I simply begin writing little mini chapters, or (type being the more opportune word or if you simply want to be a jerk about it and call be a typist) I sometimes skip around and write summaries or even chapters I’ve already played out and planned in my head. So I guess you can say I’m a very unconventional writer.

Although before I even begin writing I often create character bios, background, making an entire history to shape and mold the characters I write about. Each character has his or her mini story, so before I even begin to write, I already have my characters in place, their motivations and reasons why they are the way they are. I often imagine what it would be like to be each one of my characters, or simply be the casual observer, passing my characters by along the street.

Then I usually tell myself my writing sucks and no one would ever read my crap. (It’s always good to keep a realistic grasp of the situation.) But I always dive into the story regardless, knowing that the characters have taken on a life of their own and want their stories to be heard, stories that need to be explored.

Once I’ve written or typed (if you still want to be a jerk and call me a typist) the equivalent of 30-40 pages, I usually read, or skim over it for mistakes, revisions before I feel comfortable enough to let someone else read it, at which point I become a twelve year boy, who just passed a note to a pretty girl in class, because I get all giddy with anticipation to hear their feedback, thoughts and to talk to them about my story. Because I love feedback both the positive and the negative, because I can always correct the negative and the good always assures me I’m on the right track.

But I write almost every day, including when I’m on vacation. Sometimes for ten minutes, sometimes for 2 hours, sometimes for 12 hours; most often something rational and in-between. I don’t have a daily quota. I just write however much I write, and my plan is always changeable. I don’t force myself to write if it’s not working. I try not to check email or do other distracting things, but I don’t succeed very often, and that’s okay, because small rests and distractions are part of the process and help get those brain juices flowing.

My ideas tend to start with characters in my head who are having a conversation– usually arguments, or find themselves being tested, be it their faith, relationships, their dreams, or just their lives. Although most of my stories come from my dreams, where I often become more of a passenger in someone else’s body, witnessing their triumphs, their failures, their victories and their defeats, and  I’m always there with them along their journey. But then I listen to my characters, they’re so angry sometimes, or sad, so introspective and they all talk to me, like ghosts from another life who wants their stories to be heard and I can’t disappoint them. They want the world to know who they are and why, to know what their fighting for, and what it is they want. There’s everything from hate and vengeance, to redemption and salvation, all the way to stories of all-encompassing and all powerful love. More importantly however these characters want to live!

And so it all starts to come together.

Characters, relationships, and feelings come first. Then the setting, plot, and so on, till the story begins forming, coming together and much like Frankenstein’s monster, begins taking on a life of its own, writing itself at that point. Which is also usually when my fingers struggle to keep up with everything flowing and racing to get out of my brain and there are parts of the plot I don’t know until I get to them in the book itself, and (breath) it’s then they happen and even I get surprised and feel the suspense building, and the relief…or sometimes the disappointment in the resolution. Because not every story can end well, or even on a high note. Some and the very best stories are often wrought with tragedy and pain, but more importantly growth.

My characters are similarly elusive. A conversation I’m writing may veer off course or get out of hand; I can intend a character to say something, but it doesn’t mean he or she will. Instead my characters often surprise me. And then I realize I was wrong about who it was they were, or I realized my character had been growing this whole time and I adjust my perceptions and stand aside as my characters grow, mature, or sometimes regress and withdraw.

What else can I tell you about my writing process?

I sit in an armchair.

I spend a lot of time staring into space.

I talk to myself….a lot

I make playlist for whatever story I’m writing and call it my soundtrack.

I count the glow-in-the-dark stars on my ceiling.

I act out scenes to see and feel how they would play out, by imagining I’m them and every other character in the scene and thrust myself into their situation, studying every scenario and going over every outcome I can imagine. This sometimes even leads me to me writing a brief side story explaining the minor or supporting characters motives as well as telling their story as a whole.

I walk from the living room to the bedroom in search of something specific and by the time I get there I’ve forgotten what I was looking for and then I remind myself to break myself of the control the TV has over me and I try to sketch, or doodle something I see in my head until I forget whatever the heck it is that I’m doing, before I finally crack my knuckles and dive back into my writing.

When people knock on the door, I hide. When my phone rings, I yell, “Oh, who in the blazes is bothering me now?!” and don’t answer. But always check to see if they left me a nice little message.

Or when I’m stuck on a piece I call up a trusted friend explain a scene to them and ask for their thoughts, then throw out everything they say and come up with something completely different and new as I thank them for all their help and support right before hanging up on them in mid-sentence.

When I go for walks in the neighborhood I carry my Ipad and can often be seen exclaiming in triumph or scowling or laughing maniacally as I type frenziedly on it’s lovely keyboard before screaming out with vengeance, “Damn you autocorrect!” as I raise my fist to the heavens and shake it vigorlessly towards the sky.

Sometimes I worry that the house is going to burn down. This is why I keep my notebook in a fireproof, waterproof safe and have invested a small fortune in USB drives, portable hard drives, which I have scattered all over my house and place them inside my lovely safe. So when I go on vacation, I leave the key on top of the safe with a note for robbers asking them to please open the safe before deciding to steal it, because if they’d only open it, they’d see a picture of me, with a note pleading to them not to steal it, for I am a lowly writer and I will one day write a story that changes the world, because people will read again! And if they steal from me, I will find them and forever immortalize them in my next book, giving them every character flaw known to man, also explaining that I’m most likely broke and don’t keep any useful banking info on my computer, so there’s nothing really worth stealing anyway.

Before I had a fireproof, waterproof safe, I kept my notebook in a padded carrying case, which never left my side. Then Stephen King had told me that sometimes you’re too close and you just have to back away from your writing for a while– sometimes a long while and sometimes even longer than that. Things are a lot clearer after you’ve had some distance. Much like an ex-girlfriend who no matter how hard you tried making things work, the relationship simply falls apart and can’t be saved. But also like the rare ex, when she calls you up after a period of eleven months you begin to discover her all over again and remember why you had fallen in love with her in the first place. Which I’ll remind you, can cause a whole mess of other problems. But I digress…

I worry constantly about whatever book I’m currently writing. I worry about the wording, I worry about the themes, the plot as a whole, whether the characters seem to others the way they seem to me, whether the book is getting too long, whether my protagonist is likable, whether my fantasy world is consistent, whether I’ll be able to hold everything together, whether there’s even anything worth holding. There is never a moment when I don’t have something to worry about. I have learned however that this is just what it feels like to write a book. Most of the time, I can keep it from bothering me. You get good at ignoring the voices. Or giving them the attention that’s best for them: listening to them and laughing and giving them a hug, and saying, “Yes, I know you’re worried. It’s okay. Let’s go watch a pretty sunset and oh, let’s go get us a nice strawberry smoothie!”

I take my writing way too seriously. I can’t help it. I love it so much and writing is my life. Without I doubt I would have ever survived craziness of it all.

And writing is a strange activity, but humans are weird, right? A writer is an extreme type of a human being, we tend to over analyze everything, although we seem very good at reading people and noticing subtle plot changes, which by no means do we ever like it when it happens. I for one love and embrace change, while I also hate and fear change as well. But that’s just me and I’m a writer and writers are a little eccentric, a little weird and we’re all complex souls and I’m no exception. Because I also find that everything has its own soundtrack and whenever I write a new story I can be often be found making a playlist to coincide with my story, which helps me get into tune with my story and even helps with some much needed inspiration at times, and helps block out all the white noise after a long and arduous day of maintaining one’s sanity at their day job, along with all the little nuances that come with having a personal life.

So this is why I write and I hope I hadn’t bore you much, for I did try to be humorous because writing is supposed to be fun and should have some personality, and I think we can all agree that (Good) writing should inspire some kind of feeling, hope, love, fear, excitement or leaving you feel simply inspired.

-J Cooper.