Saturday, August 30, 2008

Do the Dead Mourn the Living? The Case of Bobby's Trace

Haunting, my novel, Bobby’s Trace, is a most unusual ghost story. Readers have contacted me with questions concerning the title spook, because they have never encountered anything like him before. Traditionally, literary ghosts are either vengeful, ethereal, wise, or desperately trapped. Bobby may have all these attributes, but his most pronounced characteristic is that he is in mourning — mourning for his lover and for his life. While he is the antagonist to Perry Chaplin’s stressed-out protagonist, Bobby is also a protagonist, trying to figure out the new world that has engulfed him.

As a fantasy writer, I realize that our task is to create parallel worlds, but with Bobby’s Trace, it is the trace that concerns us — the wake he creates as he tries to pass into the next world. We see this world only through Perry’s presence. He channel’s it, a doorway that opens only through him. Perry has wandered into a crack between life and death and is as confused as Bobby. However, while Perry is trying desperately to get on with his life, nothing can nudge Bobby onward to his death — well, not nothing, but no spoilers here.

Writing about death and mourning is a writer’s preoccupation. Most writers do it. Even J. K. Rowling’s landmark heptology, Harry Potter, has death as its principle theme. Mourning is something I know about, but I wondered whether the dead mourn the living. Is there a reciprocation between the worlds — a Taoist balance, a feng-shui between life and death. To this I added the notion that a ghost’s mourning is fed by the level of a beloved’s mourning — a lover’s desperate holdfast. Denial on its pinnacle. Of course, to turn this clinical discussion into a novel that touches the heart is another task altogether. Balancing pace in this short work depends on mutual themes — deception, renewal and sleight of hand. Still, I am pleased that so many readers have seen fit to express themselves to me by mail and in reviews that Bobby’s eyes still haunt them beyond the last page.

Edward C. Patterson

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First On-line Book Signing a Success

I want to thank my readers and all those who came to the first-ever On-line Book Signing and Reading of my novel Surviving an American Gulag on August 24th and the encore on August 26th. A complete review of the event can be read at the following link -

Edward C. Patterson
Dancaster Creative

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Edward C. Patterson To Hold First Ever Digital Book Signing Event This Weekend

Edward C. Patterson To Hold First Ever Digital Book Signing Event This Weekend

Author Edward C. Patterson will hold what is believed to be the first ever digital book signing event this Sunday at

PRLog (Press Release) – Aug 21, 2008 – “Surviving an American Gulag” by Edward C. Patterson will hold the first ever On-line Book Reading and Signing on Sunday August 24, 2008 from 2:00pm – 2:30pm EST. Mr. Patterson is believed to be the first Author to hold an on-line book signing. After a live introduction and short interview, Mr. Patterson will read an excerpt from his seventh novel, “Surviving an American Gulag.” It is a story the military would prefer to remain lost.
complete Press Release

Monday, August 18, 2008

Invitation to On-line Book Signing and Reading

Invitation to all for an On-line Book Signing and Reading

Next Sunday, Aug. 24, 2008 from 2:00pm - 2:30pm EST

Surviving an American Gulag by Edward C. Patterson will be spotlighted in a new Webinar e-book reading and signing.

Go to the following link to reserve your space at the webinar meeting:

Please come and join us for an interview and reading from this author. Questions and answers will be available through live chat or VOIP or telephone connections.

System Requirements:
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.4 (Tiger®) or newer

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Self-based Protagonists - Truth vs. Dare

In a recent BLOG, a question was raised concerning writing novels based on an author’s direct experience. The crux of the matter was whether an author could remain objective while presenting situations that they had personally lived through. Would an author gloss over darker detailed to obscure their own warts, dimming the truth by shining it up? On that BLOG, I gave a cursory answer that needs elaboration in light of my own direct-experience novel — Surviving an American Gulag.

Early drafts of Gulag were written in the first person, and although I assumed the name of Winslow Gibbs, I set out to express my thoughts directly to the reader through terse narrative — a narrative that I must admit was biased with a gay agenda. This is a case where the author has an axe to grind and does it at the expense of the reader’s enjoyment (it is a novel after all) and an overlay of themes that dull the senses to any compromise or rebuttal. I was marching through Georgia like Sherman, burning the world with my own opinions. I thought I was being objective. I presented myself as a fat slug, who went through an Army hell to survive, but in the end, I lost objectivity — that objectivity being the truth of novel authoring, which is to bend the truth for the sake of characterization and the reader’s pleasure.

In the case of Surviving an American Gulag, I decided to recast the work in the 3rd person and draw the self-based protagonist — Winslow Gibbs, as any character that emerges from my pen. As a result, Winslow observes and experiences far more than I ever did, and without all the gay preaching. "It is what it is." The work is about surviving, not victimization. It presents basic hurdles that all young American men need to face — questions of sexuality, patriotism, loyalty, companionship, and peer pressure. In the 3rd person, I found warts I never knew I had until now — forty years after the fact.

Ultimately, an author needs to distance themselves from personal experience to engage the reader. In my opinion, the creative process is hampered when the author develops a character from the inside out. I must enjoy my characters and the situations that beset them. If I can’t enjoy the landscape, how can I expect my reader to sign on for a really good read? As Private Avila says: "There are white lies, black lies and pink lies." Well, there’s a fourth lie — a highly crafted, premeditated one. It’s called — a novel. Happy reading.
Edward C. Patterson

visit me at Dancaster Creative