When developing characters, it is always a good idea to create a history of that character even if it is never used in a novel. The third book in The Temporal series (tentatively called, #TemporalJustice) involves a total of 15 Temporal “superheroes” as well as two new villains. I’ve started sketching out their backgrounds, and I got the idea to post them here just for fun.
If you’ve read The Temporal, you’ll know Sam Williams is the star of the show. If you haven’t read The Temporal and would like to, please grab a FREE copy at Amazon.com (click here). It has seven good reviews (4 or 5 stars) and if you like super hero stories (X-Men, Bat-man, Avengers) or Science Fiction/Thrillers, give it a chance and then please let me know what your thoughts are.
Sam was born in Hattiesburg, MS while his father’s U.S. Navy Seabee unit was conducting Field Training Exercises at Camp Shelby, but they soon moved to Alabama and then Hawaii by the time Sam was three. When he moved to Japan at age eight, he hadn’t been in one place for more than 18 months. His father was stationed at Yokosuka Navy Base in Japan for five years. For Sam, the five years in Japan meant Japan was the only home he really knew. Japan was, to Sam’s memory, safe and welcoming.
The father relocated the family to New Mexico when Sam was 13. Sam was angry he had to leave Japan and didn’t adjust well to life in the States. He began picking fights with children at each school he was placed in. Against his mother’s wishes, Sam’s father put him in a boarding school in Virginia. Sam rebelled more, but calmed down once he realized he only had a year until graduation. When he turned 18 and graduated, he moved as far away from his father as he could. His father was stationed in Hawaii again; Sam moved to Tampa, Florida.
Sam was cynical and angry and was content to work minimal wage jobs—perhaps just to spite his father. He was an unmotivated 20 something preferring to play games and watch TV than to do anything productive.
In Tampa, he met a man in his 60s, Mr. Richards, who mentored him (a surrogate father). He was always “Mr.” Richards to Sam; the man taught Sam to respect his elders and to desire to make himself better. This man encouraged and even helped pay for Sam to go to college. Mr. Richards taught Sam industry and patience, calming the angry young man down. Mr. Richards made Sam dress like a gentleman and use correct English. (Sam had been rough with his language.) Sam, eager for a loving father figure, grew to love and respect Mr. Richards as if he were his real father.
Sam still dreamed of going back to Japan and with the support of Mr. Richards, he chose Teaching English as a Second Language as his major. He took a Japanese class which further renewed his interest in all things Japan. Upon graduating, Sam applied to the JET program twice. Both times, he wasn’t chosen. He started working as a sales clerk at a Macy’s department store in Tampa while continuing to apply for positions teaching English in Japan. He also volunteered at an English school for international students called, “The English House.”
Mr. Richards forced Sam to contact his father after a relative told Sam his mother had passed away. They agreed to meet in Colorado—halfway. The meeting at an airport coffee shop was cold and short, ending with Sam storming out after his father said, under his breath, that he wasn’t surprised Sam hadn’t done anything with his life. They hadn’t even left the airport. Sam refused to call or make contact with his father again (until Suteko makes him call him at some point.)
He met his wife by serving her at Macy’s and a month later, they were married. She was five years younger than him and at 20, she was smitten by Sam’s (age 25) good looks and sharp dress. He had received a firm offer of a position as an assistant professor of English at Fukuoka Jogokuin. But his wife had no desire to leave the country. Wanting to please his wife, Sam gave up looking for jobs teaching English. Sam also gave up volunteering at The English House and started taking night classes to get a more useful (for living in the States) degree in business management.
His wife’s father (owned a successful creamery) offered him a managerial position at the creamery. At first, Sam declined the offer knowing he didn’t have the right experience and his pride didn’t want a job that was just an unmerited family favor. After a year, however, Sam’s wife convinced him to accept it or else she would leave him. Sam’s sales clerk salary couldn’t support the kind of lifestyle she had been accustomed to. Sam quit school and took the job.
Sam hated it. The employees, all of whom were older and more experienced than he, resented Sam. His wife belittled Sam often, told him he wasn’t good enough for her and that because he had wasted his schooling on a useless degree, he would never amount to anything unless he did everything her father told him to do. Sam countered by explaining that he had given up a good career job in Fukuoka for her. Everything that went wrong was always his fault.
Sam’s anger from his youth resurfaced, but Mr. Richards helped him through each challenge. Sam learned to grin and bare each time his wife angrily accused him of something. She would often apologize to him the next day—sometimes tearfully, but it was clear, she had little respect for him.
But Sam’s mentor died when Sam was 33 and relations with his wife became worse. She no longer apologized and it seemed hard for either of them to speak to each other peacefully.
Then, one day, he found an email on his wife’s computer. Sam confronted her and she blamed Sam for driving her into the arms of another man. She demanded a divorce and Sam’s father-in-law fired Sam, accusing Sam of cheating on his daughter.
This was all too much for Sam who decided to throw the past away and go to Japan. They had no kids and Sam hated her cat. His mother and Mr. Richards were dead. There was nothing good left, except his positive memories of Japan, his childhood home.
He goes to Japan to return home. He arrives but instead of being welcomed, he realizes he is just one among millions of strangers. His trip to Hiroshima and to Ishikawa only make him depressed and angry.
And then the earthquake brought the echoes and Suteko…
Today only–you can get both books in the Temporal Series absolutely free.
A Temporal Trust–After stopping a terrorist plot to position a murderer as president, Sam Williams must come to grips with his newfound abilities. As one of the Temporal, his encounters with eternity give him both gifts and challenges to overcome. Click to download.
The Temporal is ranking #7 right now in Amazon’s Superhero category (for free eBooks).
It’s a little funny since I had no intention of writing a “superhero” novel. But that is kind of what it became. I don’t know how Amazon categorizes things, but it seems to be pretty accurate.
One of my early beta readers told me he was following the progression of the Temporal’s “powers” in relation to eternity just fine until it got to the part about their quick healing abilities. Then, he told me, he realized he was reading a superhero novel. Why not? It’s fun and superheros are in demand now.
Download the complete novel for free at Amazon. The second novel in the series is now on sale for only .99 (I will maintain the normal price of $2.99)
We are working on a side project that has grown to be something fairly large. At first, it was to be a somewhat simple iPhone multiple choice game, but it has now grown to a less-than-simple game and a paperback to boot.
Our hero, the penguin learned his ninja skills while studying under Master Namakemono (a sloth) in Okinawa. But, being a penguin, he had to leave for cooler grounds and before his training was complete. Master Namakemono gives him the final task of traveling all 47 prefectures of Japan. If he reaches Hokkaido, he will become a master ninja penguin.
Here are two over-the-top cartoons I did that will be included in both the game and paperback. The language may change and it probably is too silly, but that is the style of the book:
These two will bookend the sections for Mie and Shiga prefectures–both of which are historically rich with ninja clans.
We are having a lot of fun with this project. More comics and information to come…
Clay & Yumi Boutwell have just updated their Momotaro Japanese reader. It will be out in paperback very soon. The ebook version should update tonight. Here is the new cover I just finished.
I thought it might be fun to document the steps I took.
1) First, I sketched out some ideas in a notebook:
(Click any image below to see a larger image)
2) Once I had what I wanted in mind (including a few changes), I pulled out the good paper and started sketching there.
3) Then I inked it. I don’t do many line shadings here. It makes it easier to use Photoshop’s magic wand if the open spaces are left open.
4) I scanned the image and did a quick magic wand in Photoshop to get rid of the background. (I first made a copy of the original!!) Under Blending Options in Photoshop, I added a thick stroke so I could easily see the dots the magic wand didn’t pick up.
5) Next, I put a Blending Color Overlay over the original so I can easily tell where I need to color. Here I did the monkey with flat color.
I just used the magic wand to select the dark brown area, created a new layer called “dk brown” and filled that with brown. Did the same with the lighter color.
6) With my Wacom Graphics Tablet (you can use a mouse if you like torturing yourself), I put darker and lighter browns to give shadows and sheen.
Maybe the flat color looked better…
7) And I colored in the rest of the characters–every color has its own named layer. Don’t be lazy!
8) And added some shadowing and details and lines:
9) And added a starburst background using a Brush I found–maybe this one.
I decided the oni needed to be orange.
And here is how the paperback will look once printed:
The ebook should be updated tonight. If you’ve bought it before, please email Clay (clay AT The Japan Shop dot com) and ask for a free updated version. The new update also includes the Tortoise and the Hare story as well as MP3s for both stories. Click here to view in Amazon. (If you see the new artwork, it has been updated.)
The Temporal, the first novel in the series by the same name, is FREE for Kindle. If you are even slightly interested in science fiction/superhero/supernatural thrillers, please check it out.
Sam was ordinary. Then came the Echoes of Eternity, a mysterious Japanese woman, and the realization that he alone can stop a terrorist plot.
☆ After his wife leaves him for a former friend, Sam Williams moves to Japan to start his life over.
☆ But a quiet life for Sam was not to be.
☆ A devastating earthquake in central Japan sends eternity crashing into time, enabling Sam to hear echoes of the past and even the future. Through these Echoes of Eternity, Sam and a mysterious woman he had dreamt about since childhood learn of a terrorist plot that could plunge the world into turmoil and position a murderer as the leader of the free world.
☆ They alone have the knowledge and ability to stop the plot.
☆ But even with eternity on their side, can they stop it in time?
From author Tim Greaton:
I was captivated from the first couple of pages…
You get a nice fix of some interesting action setups as well unexpected events. Never really hit any dull boring moments it holds strong till the last page.
From the prologue:
Fakhr al Din was left with his mouth agape and without comprehension of what just happened. He had heard the rat-tat-tat of the weapons to his left and right, but what he saw straight in front of him defied understanding. Instead of blood and flesh ripped by bullets, he saw, for the briefest of moments, the two dark men’s hands go from their hips to at level with the incoming bullets. The motion—if it could be called motion—was quicker than his brain could process. It was as if their arms were in one position and then in the next moment, up to meet the bullets.
Luke Murphy should be an inspiration to all aspiring novelists. Here is his book and… here is his story:
From Professional Hockey Player to Published Novelist
In the winter of 2000, after sustaining a season ending eye injury while playing professional hockey in Oklahoma City, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands, and a new hobby emerged.
I didn’t write with the intention of being published. I wrote for the love of writing, as a hobby. I continued to hobby write through the years, honing my craft, making time between work and family obligations.
Then I made a decision to take my interest one step further. I’ve never been one to take things lightly or jump in half way. I took a full year off from writing to study the craft.
I constantly read, from novels in my favorite genres to books written by experts in the writing field. My first two purchases were “Stein on Writing”, a book written by successful editor Sol Stein, and “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers” by Renni Browne and Dave King.
I read through these novels and highlighted important answers to my questions. My major breakthrough from Stein’s book was to “Show don’t Tell”. I had to trust my readers. I even wrote that phrase on a sticky note and put it on my computer monitor.
The Self-Editing book helped me learn how to cut the FAT off my manuscript, eliminating unnecessary details, making it more lean and crisp, with a better flow. I learned to cut repetition and remain consistent throughout the novel.
I continually researched the internet, reading up on the industry and process “What is selling?” and “Who is buying?” were my two major questions.
I attended the “Bloody Words” writing conference in Ottawa, Canada, rubbing elbows with other writers, editors, agents and publishers. I made friends (published and unpublished authors), bombarding them with questions, learning what it took to become successful.
Feeling that I was finally prepared, in the winter of 2007, with an idea in mind and an outline on paper, I started to write DEAD MAN`S HAND. It took me two years (working around full time jobs) to complete the first draft of my novel.
The first person to read my completed manuscript was my former high school English teacher. With her experience and wisdom, she gave me some very helpful advice. I then hired McCarthy Creative Services to help edit DEAD MAN’S HAND, to make it the best possible novel.
I joined a critique group, teaming up with published authors Nadine Doolittle and Kathy Leveille, and exchanging manuscripts and information. Working with an editor and other authors was very rewarding and not only made my novel better, but made me a better writer.
When I was ready, I researched agents who fit my criteria (successful, worked with my genres, etc.) and sent out query letters. After six months of rejections, I pulled my manuscript back and worked on it again. Then in my next round of proposals, I was offered representation by the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency.
After months of editing with Jennifer, and more rejections from publishers, my dream was finally realized in April, 2012, when I signed a publishing contract with Imajin Books (Edmonton, Alberta).
What happens when the deck is stacked against you…
From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.
…and the cards don’t fall your way?
When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.
What if you’re dealt a Dead Man’s Hand?
Against his superiors and better judgment, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer, while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to silence them.
“Dead Man’s Hand is a pleasure, a debut novel that doesn’t read like one, but still presents original characters and a fresh new voice.” Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author of Poison Flower
“You may want to give it the whole night, just to see how it turns out.”—William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Lincoln Letter
He played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. Since then, he’s held a number of jobs, from sports columnist to radio journalist, before earning his Bachelor of Education degree (Magna Cum Laude).
Murphy`s debut novel, Dead Man`s Hand, was released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012.
For more information on Luke and his books, visit: www.authorlukemurphy.com, ‘like’ his Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Luke-Murphy/268343729930467 and follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/#!/AuthorLMurphy
I’ve been following David Farland’s newsletter since I found his wonderful Million Dollar Outlines. His almost daily newsletter is a goldmine for any author.
His sixteen year old son was left in a coma from a tragic accident recently. Mr. Farland’s friends have organized a book bomb to help raise money to pay for the $1million+ medical expenses expected. If you are an author, I don’t think you will be disappointed with Million Dollar Outlines. The other book set for the book bomb is a young adult fantasy thriller called Nightingale.
I’m always thrilled to get a new review–I do hope I get to a point soon when it becomes ordinary (hehe). But a review today really made my day.
Kattia from Florida wrote the kindest thing about my short story, Tanaka and the Yakuza’s Daughter.
stars Short But Sweet, February 1, 2013Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)This review is from: Tanaka and the Yakuza’s Daughter (Kindle Edition)
The book as a whole is VERY small in size, but that does not mean it is not good! I was hesitant to get this because of its size. How could something so short possibly be all that good. I was pleasantly surprised to find my self corrected.
C.J. Martin has now become one of my favorite authors now because of this little story. The book literally jumps straight into the action, so if that is what you like, go ahead and get this! You won’t be disappointed!
Wow! Thank you, Kattia. You are so kind. I wish I knew who you were. I’d be thrilled to send you what we are working on to continue the Tanaka story. It is slow going (my Temporal series seems to come together faster), but I really believe the Tanaka stories my partner and I have planned will be fun.
Please click here to read more about Tanaka and the Yakuza’s Daughter.
Originally, the redhead was the cover for book one (with a red background). I decided, however, The Temporal was more about Suteko and A Temporal Trust, about Kaileen. These covers are the result of much tweaking and experimentation over the course of the past year. Whew. I’m finally happy with them–I think.
Here is the first page from A Temporal Trust.
“How many of them, boy?”
The old man’s eyes were wide, his mouth hanging open as if still in the process of releasing his last word. Sam couldn’t tell if it was from fear or simply the anticipation of the moment.
Sam closed his own eyes and shut out the world around him. Patterns soon emerged within his mind that represented Nephloc—the dark creatures under the enemy’s control.
“Three—no, four,” Sam said, opening his eyes and turning to Marcus who was not twelve inches away. “And they are closing in fast.”
Seeing a burgeoning smile, Sam determined the wide eyes were revealing anticipation and not fear.
Sam looked down from the rafters upon which they were hiding and watched as Suteko walked casually around a chair on the floor below. She wore her long, silky hair back in a ponytail. Her clothes were loose to enable quick and varied movements. She was dressed for battle.
She was the bait.
The Temporal – a 327 Page Supernatural Thriller
A Temporal Trust – a 370 Page Supernatural Thriller