Author Archives: Jeff Ambrose

Editing Days

Well, I’m now spending my days working on the final pass-through of The Kingless Warrior. I’m doing this by having Mr. MacBook read aloud the book to me. I’m catching all sorts of errors these ways, from using “chose” instead of “choose” to sentence problems.

With this final pass, I’ve decided I’m never going to work this way again. That is, starting drafting a new story while one is need of editing. I find there are two problems I’m dealing with. One is the fact that I don’t want to go back to old work when there is new work to be done, and the second is, the longer the old work sits around, the less and less I like it.

Another thing I noticed is that the way I write — cycling through a draft several times as new plot developments come up, fixing things as I go along — produces a relatively clean story. That is to say, a story without gaping plot holes. So with my next novel, The Seer and the Madman, I’m going to do something like this: complete the first draft, do a continuity read on the kindle, then do a edit-draft with Mr. MacBook reading out loud to me.

Recommended Reading For Those Who Struggle With Self-Doubt

Though it wasn’t my intention back in June, Summer 2014 proved to be the summer I read a whole lot of books in the so-called “self-help” category. The reading started rather innocuously. James Scott Bell, a thriller writer, wrote a blog post about an old book by Dorthea Brande. I read that book, and that got the pages turning. One book led to another. I broke out a brand new composition notebook. My wife called it “my secret project” because I wouldn’t tell her what I was reading or why I was spending all my free time filling pages with handwritten notes.

I’ve thought about writing this post for sometime but never could figure out how to do it without spilling my guts all over the place. It’s one thing to say, “Hey, this book helped me.” It’s something else entirely to say, “And now I will tell you in shocking detail just how it helped.” Let’s just agree these books were helpful. Very helpful. I’ll make a little annotation after each to get you a general idea of what you might learn by reading one (or all) of them. Finally, I’d rather not waste my time looking up links to each of these; if you’re reading this blog, you know what to do.

Here’s what I read. Here’s the order in which I read them. And here’s the general take-away from each book.

1) Dorthea Brande, Wake Up And Live! The thesis is simple. Stop saying you “can’t” do something. Stop telling yourself that you’re “going to fail.”

2) Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Education of a Bodybuilder. Forget what everyone else thinks is possible. The only way to achieve your goals is to work like hell. (A personal note: For someone struggling with self-doubt, ask yourself if you’re really working as hard as you can.)

3) Anthony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within. Despite Robbins over-the-top writing, I’ve come to believe in the basic “Robbins’ doctrine”: success and failure are rooted in how you talk to yourself, in your internal communication.

4) Arnold Schwarzenegger, Total Recall. Arnold’s autobiography. Biggest lesson: You need to see it before you can make it happen. You need to convince yourself it is possible before you can do it.

5) Maxwell Maltz, Psycho-Cybernetics. Despite its off-putting title, this book is all about visualization (think: Schwarzenegger) and self-communicaiton (think: Robbins). The best of the lot, but maybe that’s because when this book brought together everything I had read in the other books.

Happy reading!

THE HOLDUP AND OTHER STORIES

Cover-Holdup-ebook

THE HOLDUP AND OTHER STORIES contains three of Jeff Ambrose’s crime stories.

THE HOLDUP

Driving home from a job with five thousand dollars cash, hit woman Ginger Greene stops at a roadside diner for a quick bite. When two armed men show up, Ginger knows she must play it cool if she wants to get our alive. And with all her cash. But when one customer plays the hero, all hell breaks loose!

THE REVERSAL

The hit: A married man. The goal: Make it look like a suicide. The glitch: His children. For the first time, assassin Ginger Greene wants to quit a job. Her conscience aches. But quitting won’t help, and either will doing the job.

WHEN THE THIEF CALLS THE GUNGIRL

Years ago, hit woman Ginger Greene worked with a man named Nathan Frey — good friend and occasional lover. But it ended when someone put a bullet in the back of Nathan’s head. Now, Ginger might’ve found his murderer … and she wants revenge.

Ebook at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Print book at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CreateSpace

SISTER MISSING

Cover-Sister-ebook

SISTER MISSING: A Novel

The tragedy still haunts him years later. Rick Goodwin’s two brothers — killed in a car accident. A close family became even closer. And Rick and his sister grow very tight. So when she goes missing, Rick begins a frantic search. Soon, he meets a mysterious woman claiming to know sordid truths about his sister’s hidden life — truths that lead Rick into an underground world of sex, drugs, and violence that threatens to destroy both him and his already broken family.

Ebook at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Print book at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CreateSpace

Summer Update (8/8/14)

Since I’ve spent the last week reorganizing this website, I suppose it’s time I start using it.

So, what’s up with me?

Summer vacation down here in Texas is almost to an end, and I’m ready for it. I’m a stay-at-home dad, and with four kids, I’m ready for the peace-and-quiet of the school year. The kids leave with their mother around 7:15 in the morning and I don’t need to leave to pick them up until 3:15 in the afternoon. That’s eight hours of silence; and it’s only a week-and-a-half away! The kids are ready to get back to school — they’re bouncing off the walls — which is why I’m ready for the end of summer.

Not much is happening (or has happened) on the writing front the last month or so, and I’m okay with that. Though I haven’t been writing, I’ve been thinking about writing, about what’s worked for me, what hasn’t, and what I can do to improve.

One thing I realized is that it’s fairly silly of me to think of my year in terms of January through December; rather, I need to think of it in terms of a school year (plus a summer vacation) — that is, a year that begins in September and ends in August. Moreover, I need to think of my writing schedule in terms of two “seasons” — one long writing season (September through May) and a shorter season (June through August) which I use to wrap up loose ends.

That’s how I’ve been thinking about it the last two weeks, and boy, it’s helped me think with laser focus about all I want to write. Knowing I have nine straight months of writing in front of me is energizing, to say the least.