Tom Castle…White Courtesy Phone…

So back in January, I was talking about unfired guns – characters that appeared, but didn’t seem to have an important function in the book.

One of them in Night and Day was a fella named Tom Castle. The sum total of what the reader sees and learns of Tom Castle is:

The last of the early morning regulars came in a few minutes later. Age somewhere between forty and seventy. Graying, unkempt shoulder-length hair. Tall and thin, almost skeletal. Empty eyes.

As usual, Hanritty served him two slices of dry toast and a cup of black coffee. If the past was any indication, he’d sip his coffee, eat his toast, toss some money on the counter, and leave, never saying a word.

After I got friendly with Hanritty, I asked him about the guy.

“Tom Castle,” Hanritty told me. “Got tapped during the war, maybe after in a camp.” Hanritty paused and looked away. “Tapped pretty hard. Physically he’s okay. But his mind is just . . . someplace else.” Hanritty paused again. “Probably someplace better.”

A blank slate. And as I said, I’d initially thought to bring him in as a source of information about an internment camp later in the story, but went another way.

I’m so smart.

Because if I’d used Tom Castle for that, he would have been an in-and-out character. Maybe mentioned, briefly, in some future book in the series, but his moment in the sun would have come and gone.

Last night, as I lay in bed waiting for Mr. Sandman to finish up down the street and sledgehammer me into sleep, I was thinking about Blood for Blood. Cause hey, the only thing I could think about with Bandit’s Moon would be margins, span code, force new page commands, etc. – once it’s written, it’s all about the formatting for publication and boy, is that uninteresting.

So I was running the soon-to-start Blood for Blood through my mind. As I’ve mentioned, I have the beginning down pat – probably the first five chapters or so. Then something needs to happen, that kicks the story into a whole ‘nother direction.

I know what needs to happen – I just didn’t have a real reason for it to happen. And as I think I’ve said, I really don’t like the “I’m the writer! If I say this happens, it happens! Logic? Bah!” kind of thing. Yeah, everything that happens in any fiction I write does so because I want, or need, it to. But it also needs to be credible, based on the characters, or situation, or whatever. Yes, the reader may not immediately know why it’s credible, but there better be some answers down the road.

Anyway, I have this “something” that needs to happen, and I’m going through different ways of making it sensible that it does happen. And then I think of Tom Castle.

Above you see everything that Welles knows (and therefore, the reader knows) about Castle. What if it’s not true? What if Tom Castle isn’t some poor old geezer who got a little too much blood withdrawn by a vampire? What if Hanritty…was…lying?

I’m lying there in bed, and I was so excited by the possibilities that were pouring out of my imagination that I almost got out of bed, fired up the computer, and started putting it all down. But I didn’t. Mr. Sandman likes to keep to a schedule and if I’m not ready when he’s ready, it might be a while till he makes it here again. So I filed it in my mental filing cabinet, and Mr. Sandman had another satisfied customer a little later.

But I’m still excited about it. And anxious to get rolling on Blood for Blood.

First, though, I need to get Bandit’s Moon out the door – finished up the Kindle and paperback formatting in about five hours today. Paperback version is being reviewed, Kindle version needs that final readthrough I mentioned, to fix any little typos I spot (which I’ll then fix in the paperback version and resubmit). By Monday evening, it should be done done, and by Thursday, I’ll be primed to start writing Blood for Blood.

Oh…and to answer those questions I asked a few paragraphs back? No, what you and Welles know about Tom Castle is not true. He’s not some poor geezer who’s down a few pints too many. And Hanritty is a liar. But for a good reason. And because he’s on the side of the angels, he gets a first name in Blood for Blood.

Ed.

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