Showing posts with label Death Overrated. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Death Overrated. Show all posts

Monday, March 24, 2014

Guest Post: The Writer's Life by Jeffrey Perren

This Writer's Life by Jeffrey Perren

Up before dawn — make tea for me, coffee for the wife. Check emails — marketing tasks, correspondence with beta readers, and miscellaneous. 

So far, that doesn’t sound very exciting. But that’s the business side of things. I leave as much of that as I can to my publicist — remembering how blessed I am to have one who loves my work.

Later, write or edit the latest story. Currently, that’s Clonmac’s Bridge, the tale of a maritime archaeologist who discovers a Dark Ages bridge near Ireland’s Clonmacnoise Monastery — and finds it perfectly intact. Soon, it will be a re-telling of the William Tell legend and later a trilogy set in the Age of Discovery.

But whatever the subject matter, the process is similar: research everything you can about the history, technology, and general society and daily lives of the period and people. Then, weave a plot within and around all that — filled with drama, romance, and ideas to enrapture the reader for every single page until the end.

Tall orders, all of them. But that’s what makes the writer’s life a glorious adventure all on its own. Visit places I’ve never been but want to see. Be people I’ve never been but strive to become.

Like life, the effort is three-parts tedium to one-part heart-pounding excitement. And you’re continuously trying to shift the ratio, despite the never-ending resistance of the universe to move it in the undesired direction. Still, you have to try — and try and try again. To give up is to decay, to die a little, on your way to complete dissolution. No profit in that.

It isn’t for everyone, for sure. It’s cerebral and emotionally taxing. It’s isolated and isolating, and it takes far more self-discipline than most people — me included — can manage on a regular basis.

No one orders you to write all day, every day. But if you don’t the page doesn’t get filled. You feel guilty when you slack off, and rightly so. You realize that no one, yourself included, is paying you to not write — neither in coin nor in praise. So, you pick yourself up by the bootstraps and plunge in.

Then, you find you’re enjoying the process so much you wonder why you procrastinated so long.

That’s one writer’s life, anyway. Your mileage will no doubt vary.

A maritime archaeologist raises a medieval monastery span from the mud of the River Shannon, sunken for 1,200 years… and finds it perfectly preserved.

What could account for this astounding longevity?  Why are his colleagues and the Church so desperate to prevent him learning the secret?  And why is his consummate lover his greatest enemy?

Griffin Clonmac will go through hell to find out.

He won’t go alone.  Inspired by a real discovery, Clonmac’s Bridge shifts between contemporary times and 9th century Ireland.  It tells the story of two men who struggle against envy and mediocrity--a millennium apart--aided only by a loyal helpmate and an unconquerable will.

An archeological thriller, a love story, and a pensée on society then and now, Jeffery Perren fans are sure to find this latest novel his best yet.

Jeffrey Perren

Excerpt from Chapter 1

     Mari Quispe looked down from the peak of a hill above an archaeological dig near her home in Cusco, Peru. She was the official head of the project, largely owing the influence of her father, but she had no illusions. Few would follow her instructions without it, despite knowing she was the most knowledgeable investigator among them.
     As her gaze crossed the dry expanse she saw her assistant climbing the hill toward her. She smiled down warmly. She waved a second then replaced her hand again over her thick eyebrows when the sun blinded her.
     As she waited for Sandrine to walk up the rise, Mari looked off into the distance. She could see the tall rocks of Sacsayhuaman rising from the desert-like ground, some of them heavier than 100 tons. The sight of the Incan site made her smile, just anticipating what treasures she might dig for there in the future.
     At last, Sandrine reached her and said without any chatty preamble, “I think we should shore up that section behind the corner.” She pointed. “I’m worried about the weight from the earth above.”
     Mari nodded her agreement about the cave. “We’ve made good progress. Maybe too good.” She checked the angle of the sun. “Do you think it can wait until tomorrow, or should we clear everyone out now?”
     She scrolled rapidly down a mental list of who would have to be contacted to do the work and how long it would take. She had enough men on staff to tackle it, but no one with the expertise except Sandrine and the three students. She didn’t want to spare them for that.
     Sandrine read her mind. “It will wait, I’m sure. We can get a whole day in today.”
     Mari thanked her and went off to find someone to take a message to town for the contractor. This high in the Andes and several miles from Cusco her cell phone was useless.
     One of the local workers told her the contractor was at a small house a kilometer from the site. She trotted off to deliver it herself, reaching the shack in a few minutes. She knocked on the door and out came the man, the leathery skin on his face looking flushed from drinking too much Chicha de Jora.
     She was still arguing with him, insisting over his drunken resistance that he start first thing in the morning, when a young man rushed up to her. He hadn’t bothered to knock on the open door, a serious breach of local manners. Mari suspected the reason. She turned to him, ignoring the barking coming from the contractor.
     He said, “It’s collapsed! The cave!”
     She rushed up the hill, her running feet barely touching the trail sloping to the dig. She rounded a turn a few minutes later to see a group of young men standing in front of the cave. She screamed, “What are you waiting for?”
     Mari hustled forward to the now-blocked entrance, transformed by the cave-in to an avalanche of dirt, limestone, and shattered support beams. She tapped the stone beside the entrance with a hand pick and waited.
     She heard a hollow echo, a good sign. The interior hadn’t collapsed, just the front. If Sandrine had been deeper inside she would be uninjured. Mari checked her watch. She estimated they had about two hours to dig her out before the air ran out.
     Her time estimate had been too optimistic.
     Three hours later it was nearly dark and everyone was exhausted. Mari was sure they were nearly through, though. They had opened up a hole big enough to admit adequate air. Everyone fed off her confidence and she refused to let up. She urged them on. An hour later, there was at last a hole large enough for a person to slide inside.
     She pulled Sandrine’s upper body by the armpits between her own legs and onto her stomach, then she grabbed her around the chest. She scooted backwards, pushing with her heels, dragging her precious cargo along, careful not to bang her friend’s head on anything.
     When Mari scrambled out after her, she saw Sandrine stretched out near the rubble, lying alone. The group of onlookers stood back several feet. No one was looking at the body. She was about to shout what idiots they all were but stifled it and began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. She worked at it for a solid two minutes, then paused to examine Sandrine’s face with the flashlight.
     She could see the effort was futile.

Clonmac's Bridge Amazon & Createspace Links

Inspiration of Clonmac's Bridge was a real-life discovery

Perren has always been fascinated by important archeological discoveries, and he found this one particularly interesting. Maritime archaeologists aren't common characters and they fit splendidly in the story he had in mind. 

Also, it’s set in Ireland, a land he loves very much. Like the main character, his mother's ancestors were Irish and he admires the people. But mainly, he wanted to tell about individuals who strive to give their best because they love their profession.

Reader Snippets

"Fascinating, detailed and complex, an investigation that takes us from the present day back to 9th century Ireland." Lili - Goodreads

"Perren's masterfully crafted adventure story covers more than just one marine archaeologist's discovery of a twelve hundred year old bridge. Flawlessly written and paced to take the reader on a journey of discovery with main character, Griffin Clonmac," Gregory Lamb – Goodreads

"Jeffrey Perren has created some fine, odious villains for his protagonists to contend with even as they explore and deepen their feelings for each other."  James Ellsworth, Amazon

Professor Thomas Payne didn’t intend to wind up dead on his caving vacation, and the truth he wasn’t the victim.  But proving his identity to the police becomes tricky after they pull his passport off the lookalike body.

Things go from bogus to baffling when as mysterious phone call at the crime scene leads to the arrest of the young scientist.  His fate seems sealed when the victim’s fingerprints match the professor’s work visa.

Intervention by the police inspector’s daughter frees Thomas to search for clues to prove his innocence.  So, it’s off around the UK with sculptress Terri, one jump ahead of the authorities--and running from his estranged sociopath father.  One slip and claustrophobia will be the least of their problems.

Thomas’ journey soon becomes as much about healing his troubled past as recovering his present self.  Along the way, he’ll battle betrayals by his envious staff, romance the rebellious artist, and suffer harrowing misadventures at historic sites in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Travel--even to find yourself--was never so perilous.

Jeffery Perren

Excerpt from Chapter 12

     “She opened her eyes again and searched discreetly for the man who had invited Thomas to the island.

      She was determined to appear casual, to keep her observer off guard. But the strain of waiting was taking its toll. With every muscle taut, she was beginning to tire. Relax, girl, just relax, she told herself. He’ll get here. And his face will tell you somehow whether he’s the one who put Thomas in the path of the police by false implication.

      She was glad now she’d stopped at a shop in Glasgow to pick up a change of clothing. The bikini top and shorts suited her purpose much better than her business suit. She flicked a look at the lowering sun and hoped she would still be glad in a little while. The weather in the Hebrides could change from bright to stormy on a whim.

     She tipped her head back and slowly moved her face from one shoulder to the other, like a delphinium following the sun. But she took no pleasure in it this time. It was a feint so she could look around again without seeming obvious. She was sure she would recognize the man who sent the email, though she could not have explained why. She saw no one nearby.

     Even during the summer, in late evening there were but a dozen people on the island that held Fingal’s Cave. This day, two were sunning themselves, but far from her. Most of the rest were clambering over the rocks, leaving the cave, trying to avoid slipping off the basalt columns and into the sea. A couple were already waiting at the shore. There was less ten minutes before the last boat left.

     Terri debated whether she should check inside the cave. If she stayed where she was much longer she’d miss the boat and camping on Staffa overnight could be suicide. She looked at the dark clouds in the distance and judged that trouble was on the way. Then she measured again how low the sun was. She’d give him another few minutes to show.

     When he didn’t, she looked at the boat anxiously, checking her phone’s clock for the fourth time. To avoid being reported by the tour boat captain she watched from behind a boulder as the boat left, then ambled back to her previous spot and lay down.

     Unseen, a man lying on his stomach watched her from the flat, tan bluff atop Fingal’s Cave.”


Death is Overrated Amazon & Createspace Links

The inspiration for Death Overrated

Death Is Overrated had its genesis in an old film called DOA. The protagonist is poisoned and has 48 hours before dying to discover who gave him the fatal dose. Perren spun that idea into a scientist on a caving vacation who is accused – through mistaken identity – of killing himself. He has to prove he’s neither the victim nor the murderer. That, combined with his insatiable travel bug, led to the characters and plot of this romantic mystery.

Reader Snippets

"The author has managed to create well developed, likable characters and scenes which are not boring, but realistic.” Teritree001971 Amazon

Death is Overrated is a great blend of suspense, tension, action, villainy and excitement. A modern day crime thriller with the heroic characters and daring escapades of a 1940's Hollywood film. Mr Perren writes in a style that conveys topics from the humorous to the philosophical with great clarity, accessibility and pacing.”  

Frank Palmer-White

Death Is Overrated by Jeffrey Perren is well made mystery novel full of twists and turns that will keep reader excited to the last page.” Denis Vukosav


Jeffrey Perren is an American novelist, educated in philosophy at UCLA and in physics at UC Irvine. The lure of writing soon outweighed everything, though.

He was born in Independence, MO right around the corner from Harry Truman's house. But then, at the time, everything there was right around the corner from Harry Truman's house. Right now he lives in Sandpoint, Idaho with his wife.

He wrote his first short story at age 12 and went on to win the Bank of America Fine Arts award at age 17. Since then he has published at award-winning sites and magazines from the U.S. to New Zealand. He has had short stories published at the award-winning sites Apollo's Lyre and Mystericale.

You can connect to Jeffery at...

Jeffery's Blog

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