DL Fowler's Blog

I Feel Like Being a Tease

Posted in Lincoln, Lincoln's Diary, Prologues by DLFowler on February 4, 2011

Below is the prologue to Lincoln’s Diary – a novel.  Tomorrow another excerpt.

Prologue

 “As God is my judge, I believe if I had been in the city, it would not have happened…” US Marshall – District of Columbia, Col. Ward Hill Lamon.

 Martinsburg, West Virginia, May 7, 1893

 Col. Lamon drew shallow, raspy breaths as he lay near death. He clutched President Lincoln’s private diary to his chest. He had not opened it, even once, since the President delivered it to him just before the assassination. Only Lincoln knew what it contained, and he never intended for its entries to live on after he was gone.

With the taste of death filling his nostrils, Lamon arched his back and wheezed as he fought to expel his final instruction — to keep the diary safe.

“You need to rest now, Father.”  Dolly wanted him to be comfortable in his final moments.

Lamon reached for her arm. His eyes bulged as if his words would force their escape by any conceivable means.

President Lincoln’s friend and bodyguard carried two measures of guilt to the precipice of eternity. He had disobeyed Lincoln’s order to destroy the diary, a failure he tried to excuse by complaining it was all he had left of his friend. On the other hand he lamented obeying Lincoln’s directive to travel to Richmond despite numerous threats against the president’s life.  By doing so he was absent from the Capitol on the fatal night of April 14. And Lamon berated himself for the remainder of his days. “As God is my judge, I believe if I had been in the city, it would not have happened.”

When Col. Ward Hill Lamon’s last breath slipped away, his final instructions dissolved behind his lips.

After kissing her father on his forehead, Dolly pried the diary from his grip and whispered, “I love you.”

Kindle and Nook Editions of Lincoln’s Diary

Posted in Kindle, Lincoln's Diary, My Books, Nook, Special Print Edition by DLFowler on January 20, 2011

It’s been a big week.  Thanks to the release of both the Kindle and Nook Editions of LINCOLN’S DIARY.  But that’s not all.

On top of those releases, March 4 will be the release date for a limited edition print run of LINCOLN’S DIARY. The edition will commemorate the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s inauguration.  Numbered copies will be autographed and sold at an inauguration anniversary celebration at Morso Wine Bar in Gig Harbor, WA. A limited number of unnumbered copies will be released through my website http://dlfowler.com

Major News Coming

Posted in Kindle, Lincoln, Lincoln's Diary, My Books, Nook by DLFowler on January 14, 2011

Expect major announcement in next 24 hours.

Show Me

Posted in Lincoln's Diary, My Books, Show Don't Tell, Writing by DLFowler on January 6, 2011

There’s an art to writing. But it’s an art that requires discipline, even hyper-vigilance. Especially when it comes to executing the powerful technique of showing rather than telling.  

I was reminded of this again last night when I came across a Twitter post that led me to a literary agent’s blog post.  The subject was showing, not telling, in a query letter. Hey, I thought those were supposed to be business letters.  Anyway, here’s an example of before and after. Before is telling, after is showing.  Can you see the difference?

Before:

Like most people, Sarah Sue Morgan wants the truth, but when the truth includes an unpublished Lincoln diary that may prove the sixteenth President arranged his own assassination, the truth could kill.

While unraveling her own family’s well kept secrets, Sarah learns about a private Lincoln diary her mysterious grandfather received as gift. And when she goes to confront a professor who she believes conned her mother out of the family heirloom, she’s accused of his murder.

On the run from police and a powerful conspiracy that’s determined to destroy anything or anyone connected to the diary, Sarah turns to the only person she trusts  – herself – to find the diary and expose the real killer. But when she’s forced to accept help from strangers, she learns whom she can trust and who will betray her.

After:

Like most people, Sarah Sue Morgan’s hackles go up when she’s held back from the truth. But when the truth includes an unpublished diary that could prove Abraham Lincoln arranged his own assassination, the truth could kill. 

 While digging into her own family’s well kept secrets, Sarah learns her mysterious grandfather once cherished a private Lincoln diary he’d received as gift. And when she goes to confront a professor who she believes conned her mother out of the family heirloom, she’s accused of his murder.

On the run from police and a powerful conspiracy that’s determined to destroy anything or anyone connected to the diary, Sarah turns to the only person she trusts  – herself – to find the diary and expose the real killer. But after she stares death in the face and reaches out to strangers for help, betrayal is right around the corner.

Past as prologue?

Posted in Inside a Writer's Head, Prologues, Writing by DLFowler on August 21, 2010

There are times when I wonder if the problem with publishing isn’t that editors and agents are out of touch with what readers actually like to read.

Now this isn’t about my book. I’ve never submitted it with a prologue because agents almost universally say not to – people never read them. So why is it that when I asked 400 Facebook fans if they read prologues all 12 respondents declared “yes”, most with emphasis?

And I wonder how many other absolutes don’t hold water either.

I have now idea whether I’ll add a prologue. Instead I may write an alternative history of Lincoln’s assassination and weave it into my main character’s story by alternating chapters – a chapter of the past, a chapter of the present, etc. The hard part with that would be jarring the reader with frequent and dramatic changes in voice.

Damn, that would break another absolute.

Did Lincoln Plan His Own Assassination?

The better question is what would possess him to do so?  

Now this is not my question. Joshua Shenk prompted me to think about this possibility through his book, Lincoln’s Melancholy.  But everything that followed is a product of my fertile (some would call it compost pile) imagination.

In Lincoln’s Diary – a novel, Sarah Sue Morgan wants the truth. But when the truth includes an unpublished Lincoln diary that may prove the sixteenth President arranged his own assassination, the truth could kill.

Lincoln had motivation, opportunity and means.  Means you ask – consider that Booth was his favorite actor (Lincoln loved the theater). Lincoln would have welcomed him into the presidential box – he didn’t have to jimmy the lock. Booth was at the White House days before the assassination.  Lincoln’s bodyguard was in the vicinity of the Surrat boarding house while Booth met with co-conspirators. Conspiracy theorists have long argued that Booth had inside help.  Could Lincoln have been his co-conspirator?

Well, he knew he was losing his battle for a conciliatory plan of Reconstruction.  Would it have crossed his mind that martyrdom might push his plan forward?  I mean, after he threatened to hang himself during a cabinet meeting. Twice he was on suicide watch during his early adult life.

Okay, so at this point you’re still thinking – no way.  But then again, you haven’t seen everything that’s in Lincoln’s Diary – a novel. Oh yes, it’s fiction. But isn’t life supposed to be stranger than fiction?