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Novel excerpts from “Just ‘Cause Overtures.”

51tznBaGUHLJamie Shank’s “Just ‘Cause – Overtures,”

Introduction : All of the information in this story is not factually accurate with that of our world’s. The best example that comes to mind is in the military titles, positions, and rankings and in much of the text throughout the prologue. Major became the title to my liking for one of my main characters (not Captain, or Corporal, or Commander, but Major Briggs), so that’s what I went with. I tried to make the weaponry accurate to that of WWII, though the aircrafts weren’t so advanced back then, and I tried to keep my musical references close to the classic rock generation and music heard during the Vietnam era.

In this story, in this existence, this world that is known simply as the World (for it is simpler than ours, yet it still exists within the same stream of time and rests within the same fabric of space alongside our own), there are many, the fallen… a few, the lost… the ones with reason… and soon, the crossovers. That’s all so much later. Now, nothing truly makes sense. Life is a mystery, the meaning unclear. It all might as well be happening Just ‘Cause.

Here lies the start to the significance of the drama that begins to unfold in these pages, defining this story’s wild existence. The story of John Anderson Jr. is the first inkling to Nanuck that a prophecy may come true, may be beginning to unfold before his very eyes. Nanuck will not be properly introduced in these pages, for this ancient of the World is not meant to truly appear to us quite as of yet. For now, this Worldly prophet has left us with four, wonderful stories about the life of one of the World’s uninformed heroes, who will become a legacy for heroes to come. Let the tale of John Anderson Jr. begin to unfold itself, as it did for me, the writer, now for you, fellow reader…

 

Drafted, called upon by his country to serve in the Second New World War – a war thought to end all wars. Unlike the First New World War, this war was not a battle fought over taking a new world, but rather a clash between the two existing Worlds for the complete and total domination of the entire planet. Winner take all, New World or Old World, both great nations sought to establish their absolute authority and reign as the supreme ruler of the whole World by the time it was all said and done with.

 

First Section of the First Chapter.

Peggy Anderson had been checking the mailbox first thing every morning ever since hearing the news about the draft having been enforced. Peggy’s heart broke the day the letter came summoning her son, John Anderson, Jr., to serve their nation in the Second New World War.

Upon receiving the mail, Peggy had noticed the letterhead of the New World government on an envelope. She dropped all of the other letters that she was holding and tore open the envelope, hoping that it wouldn’t be what she suspected. She began to read and her greatest fears were confirmed. The letter clearly stated in the first paragraph that her son, John Anderson, Jr., was being drafted for the war.

Peggy let out a shrill cry of grief and torment that echoed throughout the Anderson’s property in the early morning dew. She ran weeping back to her husband, who stood on the front porch holding an underlying understanding of what was going on within his heart. John, Sr. did not say a word as his wife ran up to him and embraced him with all her might. No, he let her tell him what he had already assumed. One of our sons is going to have to leave to go to war.

“John, our baby’s been drafted,” Peggy told her husband. “John is going to war.”

John, Sr. began to digest the information while he held his wife tightly to him. He tried to comfort and console her, but it was just so much to take in. Their youngest son would be leaving them, perhaps just for a while but maybe forever. The war would change their son. John, Jr. was a good boy, a peaceful boy. As John, Sr. looks out towards the horizon, out over their green fields, he says, “I hate this as much as you do, Peggy, but we’re going to have to be strong… for John’s sake, we’re just going to have to be strong.”

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Just ‘Cause; 1st Section, 1st Chapter

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Jamie Shank’s Just ‘Cause, First Section of the First Chapter.

Peggy Anderson had been checking the mailbox first thing every morning ever since hearing the news about the draft having been enforced. Peggy’s heart broke the day the letter came summoning her son, John Anderson, Jr., to serve their nation in the Second New World War.

Upon receiving the mail, Peggy had noticed the letterhead of the New World government on an envelope. She dropped all of the other letters that she was holding and tore open the envelope, hoping that it wouldn’t be what she suspected. She began to read and her greatest fears were confirmed. The letter clearly stated in the first paragraph that her son, John Anderson, Jr., was being drafted for the war.

Peggy let out a shrill cry of grief and torment that echoed throughout the Anderson’s property in the early morning dew. She ran weeping back to her husband, who stood on the front porch holding an underlying understanding of what was going on within his heart. John, Sr. did not say a word as his wife ran up to him and embraced him with all her might. No, he let her tell him what he had already assumed. One of our sons is going to have to leave to go to war.

“John, our baby’s been drafted,” Peggy told her husband. “John is going to war.”

John, Sr. began to digest the information while he held his wife tightly to him. He tried to comfort and console her, but it was just so much to take in. Their youngest son would be leaving them, perhaps just for a while but maybe forever. The war would change their son. John, Jr. was a good boy, a peaceful boy. As John, Sr. looks out towards the horizon, out over their green fields, he says, “I hate this as much as you do, Peggy, but we’re going to have to be strong… for John’s sake, we’re just going to have to be strong.”

This has been the first section from the first chapter in Jamie Shank’s 160,000 full-length ebook, Just ‘CauseJust ‘Cause is a war story detailing the life of John Anderson, Jr. as he experiences a draft, basic training, a war, and something overwhelmingly magnificent before it’s all over and he arrives back home. John and his family are not by any means the only characters whose lives are detailed in this two book series. Meet Major Briggs, Brad Thompon, Duece Covert, Tim Spellings, Mary Jane O’Riley and her family, Kellen Collins, Hector Birch, Alan Fohler, Victor Hughes, Roy Phillips, Duff Avery, Justin Bailey, Otis Smith and Sean Berg, Sha, Cid, & Hammer, Sven Williams and family, Nanuck and the creature comforts from Ch. 04, and a variety of others making up the supporting cast. See how their stories play out and make up your own mind on the legacy of the good soldiers’ Major Briggs as Deuce reveals all in the chapters end.

51tznBaGUHLIn Chapter One “The Letters Are Out,” the worst thing imaginable has come true and war has broken out between the two nations. To make matters worse, the nation of New World has initiated a draft and our main character, John Anderson, Jr., has been drafted. See how John’s life is turned upside-down, and how this affects family members and friends, especially John’s relationship with his high school sweetheart, Mary Jane O’Riley, all leading up to the day of John’s departure.

After that, in Chapter Two “No Turning Back Now,” you’ll meet Major Briggs and his mischievous battalion of new recruits, of which John is a part of. Join in the nightly smoke sessions, watch how the controversy plays out between two of the recruits, start putting the pieces together and tune in to the next installation to see how the war plays out!

JCFE51nWL0xOAzLIn Chapter Three; “Ye-ha, The War,” Major Briggs’ newly formed battalion is heading into battle. John Anderson, Jr. and his fellow recruits are in for the fight of their lives, as they’re doomed to find out the hard way what war truly is. When Major Briggs’ past catches up to him due to a tragic incident during their third battle on Old World soil, the battalion’s fearless leader starts to lose it and before long opens Pandora’s box, inviting the inevitable to come to him and his men in an epic and suspenseful Old World ambush which is sure to provide a reader plenty of thrills and excitement. Prepare yourself for the outcome of this battalion’s struggle against the odds, and then brace yourself for one man’s insight into Major Briggs’ mistakes and possibly even war crimes.

And just when you thought it was all over, that’s when it all really begins in Chapter Four; “A Stranger in a Strange Land,” a six part chapter detailing John’s struggles when the helicopter carrying him and his few fellow survivors mysteriously fails in midair and plummets out of the sky. In the final installation of this novel, join John as he treks across this mysterious landscape in a bid for survival. Partake in his adventures, join in his survival plan and the obstacles that are thrown in his path along the way, meet the strange being and the creatures that he comes across, and enjoy the journey! …in a land where myths and legends become real and come to life, and perhaps even heroes are formed.

https://jamieshankscrossoverswebsiteandwritingmark.wordpress.com/

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Also available from Jamie Shank,

A lot of good material and a lot to look forward to in Jamie Shank’s Crossovers Anthology…

Yahe, a crime story, will be available in late November.

The superhero saga is under construction.

The MS:B will is still in the planning phase.

A Number of Excerpts from Jamie Shank’s Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet, ebook available for free on Amazon.com May 25th thru the 29th

Kapooka41c1KJFx8sL    Book 5: Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet

– This first excerpt contains the first chapter from Jamie Shank’s Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet, a 95,000+ word, full-length novel about a real life kitty cat. This story is based on true events, yet it is told through the eyes of one of the fictional Crossovers Anthology’s main characters. Though this is an anthology, all taking place on a timeline within a fictional world, I should point out that each story holds its own unless the title indicates otherwise, and so far Just ‘Cause is the only project which was too big to fit into one book. Italics for characters’ thoughts may be lost in these excerpts due to transference of formatting. Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet, first published as an ebook on Amazon.com on 03/21/2017.

An Unexpected Addition

I wasn’t actually looking for a pet when the Kapooka critter and I first crossed paths. I guess we sort of stumbled into each other over at a buddy of mine’s place and, lucky me, the lil’ darlin’ chose me.

I live in a trailer park. I know, such places always seem to have plenty of cats running about, and the park I live in is really no exception. Well, sure enough, I was down the street, visiting my buddy J. and his sister Annabelle, when this little, fluffy, tiger-striped, creampuff-orange colored kitten came running onto the front porch while we were all out there smoking. Following Annabelle’s lead, I started to play with the cute lil’ kitten, giving it a whole bunch of attention. I must’ve played with that lil’ fur ball for twenty minutes before my friends and I decided to part ways.

It was getting late and I wanted to get home. I guess the kitten didn’t like the idea of me leaving, ‘cause the next thing that I knew I heard this broken-sounding lil’ meow coming from behind me. I turned around to see this lil’ ball o’ fur trying to follow me home. I said to myself, “If he makes it to my trailer then I’ll let him in and likely keep him.”

Well, he didn’t quite make it to my trailer, a car scared him off while he was still a few trailers away, but he sure did put up a fuss while trying to keep up and make it there. I think I fell in love with that broken lil’ meow of his right there on the spot. There’s something about the way that sound just cuts right through the air, sending shivers racing up and down my spine, quite similar to nails scraping on a blackboard or feedback screeching out of the speakers to an amplifier with the volume turned up to loud. Tinfoil touched against a filling in a tooth produces a more pleasant effect. Yeah, the sound of that little critter’s howl just soothes my soul, let me tell ya. But I digress, or get ahead of myself… whichever, whatever?

I get home from my buddy J.‘s trailer and the adorable lil’ kitten’s all I can think about. I was even a little worried about the lil’ guy. He was only a kitten, and he was running around unattended outside. I paced my house, just thinking about him. I couldn’t get him off of my mind. After about a half an hour of pacing back and forth, I reached a conclusion; Either J. finds out whose kitten that is or I’m just going to take the lil’ guy home, period, end.

So, I call up my buddy J., I tell him that I want the lil’ kitten, and I ask him to figure out who the owner is. He says to me, “Okay, I’m on it, I’ll call ya back just as soon as I find out for ya,” and hangs up the phone. Another half an hour passes by. Suddenly I hear my phone ring. It’s my buddy J. calling to tell me, “The cat’s yours! Come and get him!” So, feeling a sense of great satisfaction and relief, I head on down there to get my new baby kitty.

Turns out the owner was my buddy J.’s next door neighbor, who adopted the kitten in order to give him a home but planned to make him an outside cat. He was happy to hand him over to a fellow animal-lover with a good heart and a humble home, and by that time I really wanted the lil’ guy and I think the neighbor could tell.

It was like love at first sight, like we were destined to be together. I took him home and kept him. He became, “My good boy,” and, “My lil’ Kapooka critter,” and I became his Daddy.

He spent the first night right by my side. I didn’t have a litter box yet, but that was just a short trip away and, along with plenty of other supplies, would be obtained first thing the next morning. I would have a litter box, plenty of litter, and plenty of food for the kitten by nine a.m. Meanwhile, he only had one accident, and it wasn’t on the carpet and was easy to clean up. He was all cute and cuddly that whole night, just a-purrin’ his lil’ head off and being an absolute sweetheart. He was a good, happy lil’ kitty.

The next day I got up at the butt-crack of dawn, fed the Kapooka critter and went through the whole morning routine, and then immediately went out to get the kitty’s food and supplies. I fed the kitten part of a can of tuna and poured him some milk from out of the fridge the night before, but only in small portions ‘cause I didn’t want him getting sick on me… oh, and I put a little water down for him, too, of course, though I didn’t want to fill his bladder or bowels too much until I obtained a litter box for him. That kitten can put away some water, too, let me tell ya, but again I digress.

When I left for getting supplies, boy, oh boy, the Kapooka critter was a miserable lil’ kitten. He didn’t like the idea of the Daddy going off and leaving him home alone much at all. When I got back from getting supplies he was an elated lil’ kitty, happily prancing around my feet and purring to no end. I set up his litter box and he used it, which was a very good, very promising sign. It made me think to myself, Look at that, he’s already got it down pat!

After setting up the litter box in the bathroom and watching him use it, the kitten then followed me into the kitchen, right at my feet the whole time. It’s a wonder I’m not always stepping on the lil’ guy, the way he seems to be right under me at all times. I started to get his food ready, and he meowed in anticipation and struggled to get to the food before I was ready to serve it to him. The lil’ bugger even bit at my ankles while I was in the middle of preparing a wholesome, nutritious meal of wet food mixed with dry food accompanied by an extra side of dry food for him. Then, all of a sudden, I see this little thing do a back-flip in the air, as if he were trying to gauge his ability to jump up on the counter but realized in midair that he wasn’t quite going to make it.

I’m gonna make it! I’m gonna make it! I’m not going to make it!

Oops! He landed on all fours and hit the ground running like it were all planned out and a total thrill for him, and I imagine the latter part’s likely true.

The kitten continued to meow and pitch a fit for the food, and I soon laid his food bowl down into position and fed him. He ate, and then he became all kinds of playful. Little did I know that, if the Kapooka critter had his way, playtime would never end.

But for now, playtime would have to be put on hold. The Daddy had to make himself lunch, too, and the Daddy actually takes his time and chews his food, as compared to the Kapooka critter who woofs down his wet food in huge, heaping gulps, practically inhaling the stuff rather than just plain eating it. The Daddy also had a few phone calls to make. I wanted to let everybody know about my new companion… my baby kitten.

I first called a few close friends and told them the good news. They all said that they couldn’t wait to see him. I made sure to save the best phone call for last…

Ring… Ring… Ring…

“Hello.”

“Hi, mom.”

“Seamus, it’s good to hear from you. How’ve you been? You sound good. What’s going on?”

“Well, you know how you’ve always said that you’d like to be a grandma someday and I’ve always said it would never happen?”

“What?! You’re not even married! Are you telling me that you got a girl pregnant?!”

“Nah, I found a happy medium instead. Congratulations, mom, you’re a grandma, and I’m now the proud father of a lil’ Kapooka critter.”

“A what? What in the World is that?”

“Well, it’s either a big, hairy, man-ape type of creature, kind of like Bigfoot or Sasquatch, or he’s a lil’ kitty, take your pick.”

“I think the cat will do just fine, but how are you going to take care of him? Are you doing anything for work yet?”

“Umm, I got a few odd jobs I’ve been doing here and there. I’ll be able to take care of him and support him.”

“Owning a cat costs a lot of money. There’s food, and litter, and vet bills…”

“I know, I know, and I plan to save up and pay for all that.”

“Oh yeah, how?”

“By robbing bad, mean, vicious armed drug dealers and giving the money to the poor, by which I mean my cat and myself. I’ll be kind of like Robin Hood, if ya really think about it.”

“Only you’re going to keep the money for yourself.”

“Hey, I’m poor, aren’t I? I count. I fit the bill for the type of person Robin Hood would be giving his hard-earned stolen money to, but it seems Robin Hood overlooked me and forgot to hook me up with my share of the loot. But that’s fine by me, I figure I’ll just have to cut out the middle man and go play Robin Hood myself.”

“You better not be doing anything stupid like that. Drugs are bad, and stealing is even worse.”

“That’s why I’m stealing from the drug dealers, mom.”

“Until they shoot you.”

“Nah, I’m bullet proof. I’ve run enough tests on myself to be sure of that. Bullets pass right through me and I don’t even care. Bullets are too slow to catch me, they can’t keep up.”

“I’m serious! I wish you would tell me what you’re doing for money and work.”

“I did tell you, mom. I’m doing little odds and ends here and there, working whenever I can to make ends meet.”

“You better not be dealing and doing drugs.”

“I’m not, mom.”

“Then why won’t you talk about your work?”

“It’s boring, mom, and I’d rather talk about my lil’ kitten.”

“He’s your responsibility. You better take care of him, job or no job.”

“I will, mom. Stop by and see him sometime.”

“Okay, Seamus, I will. You take care of yourself until then. And do me a favor, make your mother proud of you and get a real job.”

“I’ll think about it. Love ya. Bye-bye.”

After saying goodbye and hanging up the phone with the Kapooka critter’s newly appointed Grandma, I then gave in to his desire to play and act like a maniac. I started making paper balls and threw them around the house for the kitten to chase after. I would later learn I could do the same thing with paper airplanes, admittedly more for my amusement than his. It’s fun to see him go after things. It’s a good feeling, to see one’s pet happy, and it’s productive for both owner and pet to interact and share in the bonding experience of the human/animal relationship.

Cat’s can be very receptive animals, given the right amount of time, patience, and the proper training. It’s all in understanding their stubborn, independent personalities and embracing the fact they are what they are with cats, and understanding is the key, or so it seems to me. The irony is that, despite their stubbornness and desire for independence, the more human interaction a cat receives the greater the bond will become, both with the owner and with all people in general. Play with your cat every chance ya get, but remember that it pays to be patient and to move at the cat’s speed while interacting with it. It can be amazing what cats can remember, too, and what they most instinctively react to.

I made the Kapooka critter a kitty-toy-house out of three twelve-pack soda can boxes, cutting one end out completely and cutting a small hole in the other end for him to look out and stick his paws through. I’d stick my fingers up through that hole and he’d try to bite them off (not literally, at least I don’t think so), and he’d even try to stick his tiny head through that small hole to get at me every time I pulled my hand away.

Then came the ultimate toy; String! I pulled a couple of laces out of an old pair of shoes and went out into the living room to sit down with them and him. I must say, I immediately had his undivided attention, interest, and intrigue. I pulled the string behind me, letting it circle around my waist with one hand, and then I dropped it and reached around my back with my other hand, grabbed it, and pulled it back around. The kitten was on it in a flash, and I soon pulled it away from him and repeated the process, trying to make it go faster, bringing it around the other way, or sometimes even hiding one end of that string where he’s not looking and then pulling it around a corner or even myself once he finally does find it in order to provoke a reaction and provide him with an added thrill. I’m amazed with how fast he can pounce over… oh, let’s say my leg… going after and getting that string.

The string was fun for about the first five hours, but then the Daddy started getting tired. The problem is, the Kapooka critter didn’t get tired, and the Kapooka critter was determined to let the Daddy know it. The Kapooka started to meow, and the thing of it is, the meow was beginning to turn into a howl. I looked at his scruffy, cream-puff orange colored fur with the tiger-like stripes and the silver streaks highlighting the hair running head to tail along his back and wondered if he might all of a sudden turn into a werewolf… or a banshee. That’s it, a howling banshee. I was crippled, taken to my knees, paralyzed by the appalling wine in that lil’ voice of his. It felt like it was cutting into every nerve throughout my spine. There was only one choice…

Come play with me, Daddy! And there I sat in the living room, pulling a flippin’ string. And there I’ll be, pulling that same string for the rest of eternity. The end.

Sorry, folks, but we have nothing else to tell ya about other than string from this point onward. I know, I know, it’s interesting and you’ll probably stick around ‘cause ya don’t have anything better to do, but I just wanted to warn ya now that that’ll probably be the direct context for the rest of this novel.

And the Daddy pulled the string around and ‘round, and the Daddy pulled the string around. And the kitty went around and around and around in circles. And around and around and around in circles.

And around in circles he goes. And nobody really knows, where the kitty’s gonna go, but all the kitties go around and around and around in circles.

And then the kitty pounces and he chases the string. The way he runs around, you’d think he’d be getting dizzy. The kitty starts hissin’ and barin’ his teeth. Then he catches up to it and pounces on that string. He picks it up and tugs on it while it’s in-between his teeth. Then he walks around lookin’ just like a kitty on a leash.

And, yes, the whole time the kitten is running around chasing the string he’s hissing at it, as if some ancient warrior had been resurrected within him upon facing his immortal adversary – that being string – for the first time in this lifetime, but he’s purring the whole time, too. Somebody must’ve done something awfully bad to him to have ended up as that string. The Kapooka critter intended to kill string, and he was going to have fun doing it, too.

I tried my best to save string, but string was doomed from the start. I tried to take string away from the kitten, but I was defeated by his loud, obnoxious protest. All string could do was run around in circles and pray for the kitty to get too dizzy to chase it (’cause the kitty definitely wasn’t getting too tired), but nothing was going to stop that boundless, little hairball of energy and spunk. He ran around and hissed, and hissed and ran around some more. It never stopped. It never ended. It was like the Energizer bunny, it just kept going and going and going. It didn’t have an off switch – trust me, I looked. I don’t remember everything, like how it ended. One minute I was deliriously pulling a string, and the next…

– This next excerpt contains the third chapter from Jamie Shank’s Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet, a 95,000+ word, full-length novel about a real life kitty cat. This story is based on true events, yet it is told through the eyes of one of the fictional Crossovers Anthology’s main characters. Though this is an anthology, all taking place on a timeline within a fictional world, each story holds its own unless the title indicates otherwise, and so far Just ‘Cause was the only project which was too big to fit into one book. Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet, first published as an ebook on Amazon.com on 03/21/2017.

Assessing the Damages

I must’ve slept for ten hours, maybe even longer. When I awoke, the kitten was nowhere to be found. I scanned the bedroom, but he wasn’t in it. I thought to myself, That’s unusual. He’s usually right there beside me at all times.

I called for him, “Kapooka, come here!” but he wasn’t coming to me this morning for some reason.

I got up and walked into the living room to find out why he wouldn’t come to me. From left to right, there’s dry food all over the floor from where he knocked over his food dish, there’s litter all over the linoleum floor by the counter to the right side of the refrigerator, the trashcan is knocked over and there’s garbage on the floor, he’s knocked over and broke a lamp, his wicker chair is knocked over, and there’s shreds of paper, obviously from a paper towel he’s pulled out of his tipped-over trashcan, which he’s torn apart and scattered all over the carpet in the living room area. I look around a little more and notice that he’s been using his litter box, and I think to myself, At least he’s not pissin’ and shittin’ all over the floor.

Sometimes they do that. Sometimes they pick the wrong spot and mistake it for their litter box. Sometimes, if ya don’t correct the mistake, they’ll try to permanently make that wrong spot their litter box.

Troubles with the litter box can develop when a cat gets old, too. And eventually they do get old, a cat’s lifespan lasting not nearly as long as that of their human counterparts, though so often we neglect to face the fact, and unfortunately there is such a thing as an incontinent kitty cat. These are things that have to be considered when a person takes on the responsibility of being a good pet owner. And mind you, being a good pet owner is a lot like being a good parent, though parenting a child comes with a boatload more responsibilities in comparison to parenting a pet. Still, the gist is the same, being that one is responsible for a life other than their own.

Sometimes litter box mishaps happen unexpectedly when a cat isn’t even that old. Many cats use the litter box but have picky litter box habits. Let me tell ya a little something about Mr. Biscuits, the sweetest jet-black tomcat I’ve ever met. You’ll officially meet him soon, I’m sure, but for now…

Mr. Biscuits was fine one day, and then the next day he wasn’t. Something was wrong with his bladder. He wasn’t peeing properly, to where he was using the litter box too often but very little urine was coming out each time. Then he started peeing blood, and that’s when his Daddy and I started to really worry.

Mr. Biscuits’ Daddy, Kapooka’s Uncle J.B., took Mr. Biscuits to his vet and left thinking that he might have to put him down. A good vet is important, and I’ve got to say, I don’t much care for Uncle J.B.’s vet. A misdiagnosis condemning is intolerable in my book, especially with the amount the vet bill comes to.

Uncle J.B. watched Mr. Biscuits very closely the next few days and I stopped by or phoned every day to get an update on him, but Mr. Biscuits continued to pee blood. Then, one day, miraculously, whatever it was that was causing this to happen passed and Mr. Biscuits was back in tip-top shape and doing great. Mr. Biscuits was a survivor, a real little trooper. He would live.

After that horrible bladder infection ordeal Mr. Biscuits went through a phase where he wouldn’t use the litter box inside, he would only go outside to do his business. This worked during the daytime, but at night, well, not so well. Mr. Biscuits’ Daddy would often wake up the next morning to find a big, ole’ clunker of a turd and a wet spot laid out on the floor somewhere around the house. Not cool, but we cope and make due with the ones we love and cherish. Besides, it’s nothing a little cleaner can’t take care of, or even a little alcohol or vinegar will do.

Like his bladder problem, Mr. Biscuits’ fear of the litter box problem also eventually worked itself out, or Mr. Biscuits psychologically worked through the matter, or his Daddy did something that worked to alter the routine and behavior pattern. Honestly, I think it was a combination of all three of these aforementioned things. Mr. Biscuits isn’t the only cat who’s ever connected the litter box to the problem he was having, but we’ll leave it at that for now.

Though at the time I was questioning the Kapooka critter’s level of intelligence and sanity, especially after this latest destroy-the-main-room stunt, I must say, cats are often smarter than we humans credit them. They can often put two and two together and will try to do so even if they cannot. If there’s a problem, especially a life threatening one like what happened to Mr. Biscuits, their curiosity can cause them to become hesitant of things related to the source of the problem and force them into trying to make a change.

A good way to correct litter box mishaps after a bladder infection is to first move the location of the litter box to somewhere else in the home and see if that fixes the problem. The difference in location might just change things and get the cat to use the litter box again, and it at least shows the distressed kitty that you’re aware of the problem and trying to solve it with them. A brand new litter box might just be the solution if changing the location of the old one doesn’t work. If that still doesn’t do it, I would recommend spending time with and watching the kitty in hopes of working with it, trying to resolve the issue and correct the misbehavior, or off-behavior, or mistake. I find that direct interaction usually produces the best results.

We’ll have more litter box mishaps soon, I assure you. As for now, we’re back to pulling a string. And around and around and around in circles we go…

And he chases the string when I pull it, and he hisses and pounces upon string, and he crouches down low, sticks his little rump up in the air, and wags his tail before he pounces, and he even stalks string before he gets into his pouncing position, and if I never see another string in my life it’ll be too soon.

So, I change the game for the moment and we begin to center our playtime on his wicker chair. Now, the kitten has this thing he does to where he runs away into the hallway, turns around, positions himself, gets a running start, then takes off and uses the rungs that make up the back of the chair to climb over it from behind. He also sometimes does a balancing act at the tip-top of the chair’s back, and it’s a wonder that he never loses his balance and falls down. However, every once in a while he does knock the chair over while trying to perform this stunt, which is likely why I wound up finding it tipped over on the floor earlier that very morning.

When it comes to that wicker chair, the Kapooka critter’s favorite game involves me sticking my fingers up through a small hole in the chair bottom, where he’s methodically ripped apart the twine while we’ve been perfecting this game, and once he sees the finger pop up through the hole in the twine he attacks. I try to pull my finger away in time while he tries to bite it. It’s a fun game, really, and usually he doesn’t bite hard… usually.

I guess he was a little too feisty on this particular day. I stuck my finger up through the hole a few times, and he got my finger a few times, but I kept pulling away from him just as soon as he would strike, before he could really latch on, bite down, and really get me. I poked my finger up through the hole in the wicker chair again and again, playing with him, egging him on, antagonizing and enticing him, and then I stuck my finger up through the hole again and there came a Knock-Knock-Knock! at my front door in the living room and I forgot to withdraw my finger.

The kitty saw his opportunity as clear as day. The Daddy’s head was turned, his attention on the person at the door. The Kapooka critter heard the Daddy ask, “Who’s there?” With the Daddy distracted and the finger not going anywhere, the lil’ kitten decided to put things in motion by biting down… hard!

Before my buddy can even answer me, a loud shout cuts through the air and I curse the Kapooka critter. I can hear Kapooka’s Uncle J.B. laughing on the other side of the door, so at least I know who’s there now. With my middle finger bleeding, and me holding it in my mouth and suckling on it in order to relieve the blood and pain, I answered the door and let Uncle J.B. in.

“What was that all about? What happened?”

“The lil’ bastard just bit me!”

“Why?”

“‘cause I was playing with him!”

“What were you doing?”

“I was sticking my finger up through the hole in the wicker chair and playing with him.”

“Hmm, you mean, like this…“ Uncle J.B. walks over to the wicker chair and starts playing with the lil’ kitten. I’m not happy about the kitten biting so hard, and the pissed-off expression on my face shows it, but I figure that it was just an accident, wasn’t intentional, and will probably never happen again. I attend to my bloody finger and everything’s fine for the moment.

Next thing that I know, I hear Uncle J.B. holler out and I look over to see him sucking on his middle finger. I ask him,

“What happened? Did he get you, too?”

“No. Yes,” Uncle J.B. replied, hesitant with a proper response. “He didn’t get me that bad.”

“No? Then do ya wanna play with him some more right now?”

“Maybe some other time.”

“That’s what I thought.”

“We need to get him a few things, don’t we?” Uncle J.B. volunteered, changing the subject and covering for the Kapooka critter, but he continued to suckle on his injured middle finger in-between said words the same as I.

“I got him all the essentials, and I plan on taking him to get all his shots and to get him neutered soon. Do ya think that’ll calm him down at all?” I asked, very serious now, with a combination of hope and desperation in my eyes.

“Yeah, it should. Why, is he a handful?”

I then tied a string to Uncle J.B. in a way to where he couldn’t untie it, even despite his extensive military background and training, and I unleashed the Kapooka critter on him. Uncle J.B. ran, but the Kapooka critter gave chase. Uncle J.B. ran ‘til he couldn’t run anymore, but the Kapooka critter never even broke a sweat – probably ‘cause cats don’t sweat. Uncle J.B. fell down out of exhaustion and the Kapooka critter was on him, eating him string first. That’s the last we saw of Uncle J.B. until the Kapooka critter used the litter box much later on. Uncle J.B. suddenly reappeared, string and all. I asked him about his journey, but he said he didn’t want to talk about it… ever!

“Yeah, he’s a handful, alright,” I cordially replied.

“We just need to get him some toys and find him something to do on his own. He also needs a climbing post and a scratching post. That should help keep him occupied.”

“He has his wicker chair,” I replied, and Uncle J.B. answered me by putting his middle finger up to his mouth.

I showed Uncle J.B. a few more tricks, like how the kitten holds the string in his mouth and walks around with it looking like he’s a kitty on a leash attempting to lead the Daddy who knows where, the balancing act at the top of the wicker chair, and how he learned how to dive into his kitty-toy-house (the one I made for him out of three twelve-pack soda can boxes), sending it and him sliding forward across the floor for a short distance. I also showed Uncle J.B. all of what I had obtained for the kitten so far, and I informed him of everything I had planned for the future. Uncle J.B. said he had a few supplies in mind and would get a few things that he already had from when Mr. Biscuits and Mrs. Piggy were kittens together for Kapooka. After that, Uncle J.B. left, the Kapooka critter played some more, and then a rare thing happened… the Kapooka critter got tired and wore out.

I picked him up and held him, and like the first time, the lil’ kitten fell asleep in my arms again. They’re absolutely adorable when they’re asleep. He purred, and snuggled, and was all kinds of cute and cuddly. I thought to myself, If only he were always like this.

Kitties are cute, but they are also predators, and great hunters. They have a plethora of carnal urges and instincts that have to be taken into consideration and addressed by the owner so that the animal will not be held back and can properly express itself and answer the almighty “Call of the Wild” through plenty of play and exercise. Even indoor cats need a little play each and every day. Balls, strings, and toy mousies are just a few things that work great for keeping an indoor cat happy. They also seem to go crazy for fingers popping out from underneath closed doors and hand movements beneath any and all sheets and covers.

Though at the time I was beginning to wonder if my cat was just downright retarded or something, I now seriously think that kittens just have this God-given youthful energy to where they can just play all day and not get tired. But when they crash, it often happens suddenly and spontaneously, and sometimes instantaneously, right there on the spot. Sometimes they’ll keep on going, even if they’re tired, but you can pretty much tell when they’ve had it. With the Kapooka critter, I would suddenly see him flop down on the floor, his little tongue hanging out of his mouth, panting, breathing heavily, his big kitten eyes only opening halfway and his eyes remaining closed for a good amount of time while performing the act of blinking. When I witness all of these telltale signs I know I can pick the critter up and let him fall asleep in my arms, no fuss, no muss.

With the Kapooka critter asleep in my arms, I soon took him into the bedroom and, also like the day before, laid down with him on my chest and drifted off to sleep for an afternoon nap of my own. The little creature was slowly wearing me out and I needed the extra zzz’s. A couple of hours ticked by and…

I awake to four paws tromping down on my face and leaping away just as quick as they came. I open my eyes and turn my head to see what he’s after and there’s nothing there, not even a fly or a bug, yet the kitten is after it all the same. He’s occupied with the invisible object in the air and he hasn’t seen that I’ve opened my eyes and spotted him, so I close them again and lie there on my back in wait to snatch his hyper lil’ buttoosky up the first chance I get.

He’ll be back, and I know it. He just can’t resist jumping on and over the Daddy again. And sure enough, I hear the pitter-patter of four little paws coming towards me, and then I feel the kitten leap up onto my midsection. I quickly reached my hands out and scooped him up, and then I held him up in front of me, looked right at him, and asked him, “What are you thinking?”

He replied, “Meow!” which translates into, “I’m a crazy lil’ kitty and I was in the process of having fun!”

He then let out another louder, more obnoxious, “Meowww!” which meant, “Feed me!”

I got out of bed with him still in my arms, and we headed for the kitchen where I then put him down and got his food ready for him. As I’ve probably pointed out, he was accustomed to being served a combination of wet food mixed with dry food with a side of just plain, ole’ dry food, and what he does is he eats the wet portion of the food immediately every time and munches on the dry food portion periodically throughout the day, and especially at night while his Daddy’s asleep.

In the mornings, when the food bowl is usually empty and the water bowls are often low (he has three water bowls at this point, one in each room), I clean his bowls. It is important to thoroughly clean food and water bowls regularly. This helps to prevent diseases and infections, like the one I told you about Mr. Biscuits having, though I doubt that’s what it was from.

We all know what happens when food spoils, but water bowls can spoil, too. Water bowls will grow a clear, slimy, algae-like buildup at the bottom of them if not properly scrubbed out every once in a while, and my theory is the fresher the water the better it is for my cat. I try to clean the Kapooka critter’s water bowls at least two or three times a week, and I even fill his water bowls with bottled drinking water ‘cause it’s the purest.

Another thing that can spoil is the litter box, and trust me, you don’t want that item to get too bad. It’s weird, when I was a kid I remember my mom buying one kind of litter which came in a bag and worked just perfect. Nowadays, however, if ya buy the bagged litter it doesn’t clump unless ya mix it with fifty percent or more of the boxed litter or the litter in the plastic containers, which doesn’t seem to work quite as good as the boxed stuff. So that’s what I do, I mix the two types of litter together. The really good stuff that comes in the boxes looks like fine, little granules, to where as the bagged litter looks like crushed shells and other things you would find at a beach or in the ocean.

I mix the bagged litter with the boxed litter in order to save in the cash flo’ department, and I always buy the unscented brand of the bagged stuff ‘cause the boxed stuff is usually so heavily scented. The bagged litter is reasonably priced and seems to last forever in comparison to the boxed litter, which is expensive and runs out much quicker, in part because it comes in slightly smaller quantities – or at least the store I most frequently buy my pet products from has the best deal on a twenty pound box that lasts about a month with the mixture I use, as compared to a twenty-five pound bag bought from the same store which lasts more than three times as long but doesn’t work nearly half as good. Hey, that’s why it’s all in the mix.

Dry food is good for a cat’s teeth, but male cats, like the Kapooka critter, especially need a good, healthy mixture of dry food and wet food ‘cause the wet food helps to keep a male cat from developing crystals in his urinary tract which can lead to a horrible bladder infection or even worse, amounting to a great deal of pain and suffering for the lil’ one. Bottled drinking water can help prevent bladder infections, too. I also stick to a brand of dry food that he likes and has no food dyes or ridiculous additives for my cat’s health. Though the Kapooka critter now gets bottled water, he didn’t always, but that’s a story for another time.

Health problems are never something to take lightly. Vet bills are expensive, but the slightest unknown ’causing one problem to lead to the next could result in losing a friendly, loyal, cherished companion indefinitely. If medical problems arise and don’t heal themselves properly within a reasonable amount of time then a veterinarian who has the proper experience and knows what he or she is doing should attend to the animal, and that person will hopefully give you an honest and reasonable diagnosis – seeing, that is, that they can properly identify one.

Uncle J.B.’s other cat, Mrs. Piggy, developed a skin condition a while back. Uncle J.B. took her to his vet, and his vet diagnosed the problem as being an allergic reaction to fleas. The thing is, Mrs. Piggy was an indoor cat at the time who got flea medication routinely, about once every month, and she didn’t have a flea on her and hadn’t had a problem for some time.

Uncle J.B. applied the medication as the vet prescribed with the hope that it would solve the problem with Mrs. Piggy’s skin condition, but it didn’t. Perhaps it was done for the sake of money, perhaps it was done out of the arrogance of not knowing the cause or the solution to the problem but not wanting to admit it, or perhaps it was just an honest mistake, but the outcome is all the same, the vet had misdiagnosed the problem. The medication wasn’t doing a thing to help Mrs. Piggy’s skin condition.

It started with a bunch of odd sores on Mrs. Piggy’s neck and back. Meanwhile, her hair was beginning to fall out towards her rear and backside, like it was loose and falling out or she was biting at it and pulling it out. The sores turned into scabs, and between the scabs and the lack of hair Mrs. Piggy was lookin’ somethin’ awful. Uncle J.B. and I aren’t vets, so we can’t figure out what’s going on with the Pig for the life of us, or for her. We’re just glad it’s not ringworm or something nasty and contagious like that. All we know to do is apply the medication his vet prescribed for Mrs. Piggy and pray for her recovery.

We never figured out what it was or why it happened, but we were very grateful when Mrs. Piggy’s fur began to grow back and her scabs began to heal over and fall off, the horrible, horrendous sores finally ceasing to recur, though it was a long slow process, the outbreak seemingly now over or at least in a state of remission. It took all of four months for Mrs. Piggy to start looking like her good, ole’ self again. I tell ya, Mrs. Piggy’s Daddy’s prayers and those of my own went leaps and bounds further than that vet’s diagnosis and treatment did, not to dis’ modern medicine, just poor practitioners.

You should see the before and after photos. No, just kidding, Mrs. Piggy was too shy and vain to pose for the camera at the time. She wouldn’t allow her picture taken while she looked the way she did. She’s really a beautiful cat, especially now that she’s healthy again.

Mrs. Piggy’s a short-haired Manx cat, with no tail whatsoever. She has grey, brown, black, and white in her striping, steel blue eyes that reflect green in the shadows when the light hits them a certain way, and she’s got a big, ole’, round belly and is just as plump as a pig can be. We’re still trying to figure out what happened to her tail. I have one theory…

Have ya ever seen the way one kitten’ll go after another kitten’s tail, like in a big, ole’ group of kittens? Well, I think that’s what happened to Mrs. Piggy. It couldn’t be that Manx Cats are just born without tails… oh no, it has to be that there was a wily, little kitten, like my lil’ Kapooka critter, amongst the litter when Mrs. Piggy was a lil’ kitten, and also like my lil’ Kapooka critter, this lil’ kitten liked string, a lot, and mistook anything that was long and straight and looked anything like string for string, especially if it moved and twitched, and you can sort of see where I’m going with this. Of course, this is just one man’s theory on the disappearance of Mrs. Piggy’s tail.

You’ll officially meet Mrs. Piggy and Mr. Biscuits just as soon as we take a trip over to Uncle J.B.’s place to pay ‘em all a visit. Maybe the Cheshire kitty cat will even make an appearance and drop by, too. As for now, let’s see what my lil’ Kapooka critter is about to get into next.

“Meow!!!” Pull the string, Daddy! Come on, pull the string!!!

I said, “I pulled the string and the kitty chased it! What more do ya want from me?!”

And around and ‘round in circles the kitty went. I stood up and tried to walk away from string, but that’s when the kitten transformed into a lil’ ankle-biter and attacked. I dodged to one side and got out of the way just in time to see the lil’ ankle-biter go skidding past me. He was on the warpath. He wanted string to move, and if string wasn’t moving he’d be darned if he was gonna see the Daddy sit still.

The lil’ ankle-biter circled around to make another go at it, hoping to strike himself an Achilles’ tendon on this pass. I scampered in the other direction, but the Kapooka critter was too fast. He was heading directly for me. I had no time to react, no time to dodge left or right, so I took off the only direction I could think to go; Up!

I leapt up into the air, hopping over the lil’ ankle-biter, who was ever so determined to get at me, and landing on the floor behind him. The lil’ ankle-biter did a double-take and circled around for a third pass at me as I rose to my knees and looked around… for…

For what? For a place to flee? For an item to distract him with? For an object to fend him off with? And then, in-between the lil’ ankle-biter and myself, I saw it and thought to myself, I never thought I’d be this happy to see you.

I had found a worthy contemporary to ally myself with. The problem is, I would always, in someway, somehow, be tied to my new ally. Right in-between the lil’ ankle-biter and myself, like a knight in shining armor, there he was; String!

Here he comes to save the day! I thought to myself as the lil’ ankle-biter crouched down low and got into striking position, ready to pounce. I reached out for String and grabbed one of his ends just as the lil’ ankle-biter was launching himself forward. With a smooth, quick flick of the wrist, String sprung to life, twisting and twirling, leaping and whirling, and goin’ ‘round and ‘round in circles.

I really feel like String saved my life back there. If it wasn’t for String, I could’ve spent my days without ankles, and that just wouldn’t be cool. I would have to learn how to walk around on the stubbies and everybody would call me “Nubby,” and that just wouldn’t be cool at all! I want to thank String from the bottom of my heart for sacrificing himself in order to save a wretch like me. I owe ya one, String! Thank you, man! You’re the best!

“We love you, String!”

Sometimes heroic actions bring about grave consequences, and so it goes for String, but I just can’t bring myself to talk about it just yet. There’s been a casualty… his first one… I just can’t bear it… What has my baby done?!

Shhh! We won’t tell. If ya tell, the Kapooka critter’ll jump out of the page and bite your ankles off. Ya wouldn’t want to be called “Nubby” and walk around on stubbies, now, would ya? Okay. Maybe I’ll tell ya about what he did to String momentarily, but for now we still gotta get to the end of this day. So, fast forwarding to that night…

I’m in the bathroom as part of my nightly routine and the kitten is in there with me, at my ankles on the floor, no longer being a bitey lil’ kitty, if ya know what I mean. He’s supervising and checking everything out in the bathroom, and he decides that he’s going to hop up on the counter to the sink again tonight. Again I let him, and he’s checking everything out from up there, and he’s getting braver about the toilet, and he’s playing with my hair whenever I let him, and while I’m standing over the toilet to take a wiz, you know who is right there, looking at me, like he has to supervise that, too.

I’m not used to the Kapooka critter being able to jump up on too many things just yet, but that’s all about to change. The kitten has managed to hop up on the counter to the bathroom sink in my bedroom for the second time, He’s leaning forward over the counter towards the toilet while I’m finishing up, dripping out the last few drops, putting it away, buttoning up my fly, and…

Whoosh! I pull the lever, the toilet flushes, and the lil’ kitten goes from curious and interested to scared stiff and caught up in a complete panic at the drop of a dime. The Kapooka critter wasn’t sticking around to see what happens to the swirling water. He heard that toilet flush, saw that water move, and was gone, darting out of the bathroom, through the bedroom, and into the main room, not stopping to look back ‘til he felt he was out of the range of his number one adversary and phobia all rolled into one; that being, “Water.”

Water, aqua, H2O… call it whatever ya like, the kitty wants nothin’ to do with anything wet getting on him. When it comes to drinking the wet stuff, now that’s a whole different story. He can really gulp it down, just don’t let it touch his precious fur coat. The kitty doesn’t need a bath, he’s got a tongue for all that.

The kitten was finally in the safety of the living room and therefore able to look back now. Meanwhile, I was cracking up with laughter. I thought the situation was rather amusing. I was getting a good rise out of the whole “kitty panicked and ran away from the flushing toilet” routine while finishing up in the bathroom, I must admit.

It appeared the lil’ guy had been so startled, he had taken to using his litter box. I was still laughing to myself when I heard him romping around out there, digging up and kicking litter from side to side, trying to mold the perfect hole to bury his droppings in. I finished up in the bathroom and heard him finishing up and exiting his litter box, and I think that all is fine so I lay down on my bed for a moment of R&R. No sooner do I lay down, I hear an off-sounding noise coming from the kitchen/dining room section of the main room.

At first, I can’t place the sound precisely, but I know it’s him. It sounds like his normal scampering, but there seem to be a couple pitter-patters missing in action. The noises also sound a bit strained and frantic, almost labored, so I quickly get up and exit the bedroom to see him immediately scoot down the hallway out of my sight. I immediately go after him, wanting to know what’s up and determined to find out.

Now, it’s dark outside but, as I’ve stated, there’s plenty of lighting in every room of my home, and the lights that need to be on are on at this time, it’s just that the Kapooka critter’s “Daddy” isn’t always the most observant creature. I saw a flash of orange lightning dart off down the hallway in a sudden sliding motion and I went after it. I failed to look down.

Squish! Guess what I wound up stepping in. I’ll give ya a hint, it sort of rhymes with, Squish! and it smells like…

I notice that a sticky, wet clunker is stuck to the bottom of my foot, and I round the corner of the main room and turn left into the hallway to see my lovely lil’ kitten crouched down with his bottom to the floor, ears back, tail hanging out behind him, back two legs up in the air, front two paws reaching out and propelling him forward as he tries to dislodge and rid himself of the poopy that’s stuck to his booty. The thing is, he’s not dislodging the poopy from his booty, he’s just smearing it all over his rear end and all across my linoleum floor.

So, here I am, limping through the house with a turd stuck to my foot, streaks of shit all over the linoleum flooring in the hallway, and a turd stuck to and hanging out of my cat’s bunghole, and I think to myself, ever the optimist, At least this didn’t happen on the carpet. I pick the kitty up and, while holding him as far away from my own, personal being as possible, I go and get the roll of paper towels. I then limp us into the bathroom on my one, good, non-poopied foot for a good scrub down and a cleaning.

Nowadays it takes a lot to make me mad, but it didn’t used to. This situation didn’t make me happy, but I did a pretty damned good job at keeping my cool. Resolving the problem is often so much easier than thinking about it and getting emotional about it. Again, carpet cleaner, alcohol, or vinegar and a roll of paper towels or a damp cloth come in handy. Remember, dab at it and get it up, don’t just rub it in. Lucky for me, my cat only poop-scoots on the linoleum flooring.

I got the Kapooka critter’s bottom and my foot all cleaned up, and then I said to him, “Don’t do that again! If you do it again, I’ll make it to where you can’t shit anymore and I can’t step in shit anymore by permanently inserting my foot into your behind, ya stinky lil’ asshole! I’ll be walking around with your fat, howlin’ lil’ kitten ass as a boot from here on out if I have to deal with another poop-scoot! How would ya like that?!”

He said, “Meow!”

I said, “Then don’t let it happen again! Gross kitty! Bad, gross lil’ kitty! No poop-scoots!”

The kitty howled in protest one last time before retreating into the main room to finish cleaning himself by licking the poop off of his butt. I didn’t bring him to bed with me that night. That night I left the lil’ stinker out in the living room when I went to lie down and hit the hay.

The horrible thing about poop-scoots is that poop-scoots are horrible things. They stink and smell. They gag the senses. They leave crusty, brown streaks on the linoleum flooring.

– This final excerpt contains all three sections to “From the Lizards’ P.O.V. I, II, and III,” which is a running theme from Jamie Shank’s Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet, a 95,000+ word, full-length novel about a real life kitty cat. This story is based on true events, yet it is told through the eyes of one of the fictional Crossovers Anthology’s main characters. Though this is an anthology, all taking place on a timeline within a fictional world, each story holds its own unless the title indicates otherwise, and so far Just ‘Cause was the only project which was too big to fit into one book. Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet, first published as an ebook on Amazon.com on 03/21/2017.

From the Lizards’ P.O.V. (I.)

1: “So, what happened to your tail?”

2: “Same thing that happened to yours, I’m sure.”

1: “Don’t worry, it’ll grow back.”

2: “What’s with this furry, little beast, anyway? I thought the giant liked us. He always talks to us whenever he sees us and has never before seemed to mind us being around. Actually, I thought we were his Big Guys. Did we do something wrong? Doesn’t he know the beast wants to hunt us down and eat us? Why does he allow it?”

1: “I don’t know. Did you see what that thing did to that bird the other day?”

2: “Yeah, it was awful, and I have a feeling we’re next.”

1: “I’m not sure about that. I haven’t seen the beast around in a couple of days. Maybe it’s gone?”

2: “I haven’t seen it, either, but I wouldn’t count on it being gone. I think it’s inside that big box-like cave with the giant. I think they’re running in the same pack now.”

1: “You think we’ll see the beast again one of these days, don’t you?”

2: “Unfortunately, yes, I think we will.”

1: “Well, I must say, I’ve been enjoying the fact that I haven’t seen it around lately. That thing really gave me a run for my money.”

2: “Me, too. I was about to eat a bug when the beast jumped out and tried to eat me. It was pretty scary.”

1: “Yeah, I know what you mean. I had a similar experience. Fortunately for me, the giant came running up, hollering at the beast. If it wasn’t for that, who knows what might’ve happened? I feel I was lucky to have only lost my tail.”

2: “Yeah, well, I hope we don’t see the beast for a while, that’s for sure, that way at least our tails can grow back. That might’ve been the only thing that saved me.”

From the Lizards’ P.O.V. (II.)

1: “Okay. I think we really need to do something about the big, furry, orange beast of a monster who’s been running around on our turf, terrorizing the reptile community.”

2: “Yes. The beast has killed more of our kind than I care to mention, and it’s not just us lizards that the beast is killing. The beast has also been going after frogs and toads, snakes, and even birds.”

1: “It seems the beast has really been stirring things. That thing has this whole community turned upside-down. Well, not for long, I say. Perhaps it is time to fight back.”

2: “Yeah, I’m with you!”

1: “We can’t take on the beast alone. We would never win on our own.”

2: “What do you propose we do?”

1: “Just wait. I think it’s time I get in contact with the real Big Guy.”

2: “You mean…”

1: “Yes, the king of the reptiles.”

2: “Can you really talk to him? Do you think he’ll really hear you out and offer us any assistance.”

1: “Yes, I think he’ll hear me out, but only time will tell if he can, or even will, come to our aid and help us. Just have faith, my friend, and try to stay out of the beast’s clutches for the time being while I’m away.”

2: “I shall wait and pray, and I’ll do my best to keep myself safe while you’re gone. Hurry back, old friend.”

From the Lizards’ P.O.V. (III)

1: “I have returned, and I’ve brought with me the real Big Guy, the irrefutable king of the reptiles.”

2: “So good to see you’ve returned. The beast is in for it now.”

3: “Where is this beast I’ve been hearin’ about? I was promised a snack for comin’ here.”

1: “Well, what do ya know, I think the giant is bringing him outside right now.”

2: “Yep, here he comes. Can you really defeat the beast?”

3: “Consider it done. That thing’s gonna be my dinner.”

Daddy: “Holy shit! Is that an alligator! It is! It is an alligator! Stay away from that thing, Kapooka!”

Kapooka: “Meow!” which translates into, Fuck you, Daddy! I’m gonna catch me a big lizard to bring into the house today!

1: “Here we go!”

2: “Why is the beast going after the king? I thought it was supposed to happen the other way around.”

1: “The king’s got this.”

2: “Are you so sure?”

Daddy: “That’s an alligator, Kapooka! Get away from it! It’ll eat you!”

Kapooka: “Hiss! Hiss! Growl! Hiss!” which translates into, I’m gonna get me a big lizard! I’m gonna get me a big lizard! Daddy can stuff it and hang its head on the wall as a trophy! I’m gonna get me a big lizard!

Daddy: “No, Kapooka, it’s gonna eat you! Run in a zigzag pattern, quick, Kapooka!”

1: “That beast is about to be a feast!”

2: “It’s not over ‘til it’s over, and it’s not over yet.”

3: “I’m gonna eat you, ya furry little runt! Get in my belly!”

Kapooka: “Hiss! Meow! Hiss!” which translates into, That’s what you think! I’m faster than you and I can run in more than just one direction. Who’s gonna eat who?!

Daddy: “I can’t watch this!”

1: “Come on, Big Guy! You can do it, king!”

2: “I can’t watch this!”

3: “I’m gonna eat you! Huh, where did it go?”

1: “No! Oh no! The beast has the king by the tail! He’s trying to eat him!”

Daddy: “Put that thing down! Spit it out, Kapooka! Spit it out! No, don’t bring it into the house! How am I supposed to get that thing back out?”

Kapooka: “Meow!” which translates into, “Don’t worry, Daddy, I’m gonna eat it. Look on the bright side; after this meal you won’t have to feed me again for awhile, but you’re gonna have one heaping pile of poo to shovel out of my litter box later on.”

2: “Did I really just see the beast run into its cave with the king’s tail hanging out of its mouth?”

1: “I know, I can’t believe it either. It looks like it’s back to the drawing board.”

2: “We’re never going to get rid of this beast, are we?”

1: “Never say never.”

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Free ebook Promotion

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Jamie Shank’s ebook, Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet, available for free on Amazon.com from Thursday, May 25th to Monday, May 29th. Pick up your copy, enjoy, spread the word and check out Jamie Shank’s other titles.

To preview Jamie Shank’s works visit:

https://jamieshankscrossoverswebsiteandwritingmark.wordpress.com/

Jamie Shank’s “Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet” is a full-length novel about the World’s most rambunctious little kitty cat. This book contains 98,000 words and was first published as an ebook on Amazon.com on 03/21/2017. “Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet” is a story about a real life kitty cat told through the eyes of one of the fictional Crossovers Anthology’s main characters. Need I really say more?

Most of, but not all of, what takes place in this story is based on true events. All of the kitty cats in this story are real-life kitty cats, right down to their names. However, the names, identities, and character traits of all humans in this story are artistic fabrications, though often structured off of real people.

Jamie Shank’s “Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet” is Book 5 in the greater Crossovers Anthology. Though this is an anthology, all taking place on a timeline within a fictional world, each story holds its own unless the title indicates otherwise, and so far Jamie Shank’s “Just ‘Cause,” at 160,000 words, is the only project which was too big to fit into one book.

Enjoy the tale of one of the most hyperactive little kitties in the World, one who is sure to put a smile on your face and really get ya laughing, the bronze lil’ bolt of lightning that he is… Simba Bella… the Bear… the Kapooka critter!

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On Writing a Novel, Pt. 3

Hi, I’m Jamie Shank and I’d like to talk a little bit about what I went through writing Just ‘Cause – Overtures, “Ch. 2 No Turning Back Now” and the technique applied therein. I basically saw each new chapter as a story within itself. Chapter Two introduces the supporting cast change. All new characters! Chapters Two and Three do more or less tie together and run consecutively, yet even they hold their own. I’m going to start off by reemphasizing the importance of starting off with a hook. To kick-off Just ‘Cause – Overtures I started off with…

Prologue : Making Fun Of History

A brief introduction to our main character, John Anderson, Jr., his family, and some history about the World in which John lives. Have patience, for this shouldn’t take too long.

John Anderson, Jr. had been drafted by his country to serve in the Second New World War, a war thought to end all wars. Unlike the First New World War, this was not a battle fought over taking a new world but rather a clash between the two existing Worlds for the complete and total domination of the entire planet. Winner take all! New World or Old World! Both great nations sought to establish their absolute authority and reign as the supreme ruler of the whole World by the time it was all said and done with…

…and then I opened up with John Anderson, Jr.’s mother, Peggy Anderson, checking the mail and receiving the draft letter summoning her son to serve in the Second New World War to begin Chapter One. To begin Chapter Two I start by introducing Major Briggs as he gives an introductory speech to the new recruits. To add a little humor I occasionally slip in John’s thoughts in italics. I do all of my characters’ thoughts in italics, often indicating their mood, emotions, and how they are at the time affected. I like trying to portray the feel behind what is being said, and I feel Major Briggs’ introductory speech and John’s first impression setup from the get-go the feel for what Briggs is going to be like as the battalion’s leader and how the majority of the new recruits likely view him. Brad and John’s conversation will go to further implicate Briggs as a hard man to serve under.

Brad Thompson is introduced as our main character, John’s, bunk-mate during basic training. When these characters first meet their is some tension between then, creating an awkward feel, a rare-to-use but clever tactic to be able to recreate. The tension will quickly be broken when John and Brad start learning that they have something important in common. The friendship is sure to blossom. Brad Thompson essentially replaces/substitutes for John’s best friend Tim Spelling’s character from Chapter One. A good, solid, well-placed supporting role goes a long ways. Otis Smith and Shawn Berg will go a long ways, too, turning the duo into a foursome while unlocking new and unexpected opportunities.

Otis Smith has been suffering from a bout of home-sickness causing him some insomnia which leads to him seeing a growing number of people heading outside at night in groups after lights-out. Otis goes to investigate to learn that the guys are sneaking out to smoke pot. Otis gets Shawn, Brad, and John in on the nightly smoke-sessions, but not everybody approves. One particular recruit is set on ruining it for everyone, and he’s going to the Major. What’s to come? Will an army of one be enough to shutdown these illegal happenings? What’s the shocking truth? And what was up with the junky who died of the overdose? Mysteries start adding up, leading up to John and Brad’s “Just in-case” letters towards the end. The setup is in place. By the end of the war, when the few troops who are left are finally heading home, all will be revealed.

Take notes. Track your setup. Be patient and plan when in the story to include what and meanwhile give hints but don’t give anything vital away. When it comes to my 88,888 word, fiction/fantasy prison story, Conner, I hint at why Conner is in there from the third part where the jokes start to appear. “That one has a message in it for you,” Conner says, yet it’s not enough to draw any definitive conclusion from. To top it all off, though the connection between Conner and his son is hinted at often, the connection between Conner and Daryl is much more obscure and is only revealed in the last couple of sections of the book, though it is the key element that makes this ending so heartwarming, heartfelt, and moving.

Never skimp on detail, but make sure you don’t ramble. Review your work and ask yourself, “Would I want to read this? Is this really my best, or could I do better?” Plan and map out your story. Build concept trees, take notes, create timelines, do what ya have to do, play with it and be innovative. Get creative! Most of the techniques I use are from seeing it done before. I’ve been taught, I payed attention in school, my father was an English major and he critiqued my writing back when he was still alive and taught me much, but mostly I just watch and learn. Monkey see, monkey do! I also name some of my own techniques without knowing or caring if it’s a correct term or my own creation. I know the story Conner is what’s referred to as a “bottle story” wherein the characters are trapped in an environment they cannot escape because I learned the term from X-Files creator Chris Carter, but when I use the term “dream and flashback sequences” or “an awkward feel” I can’t say for sure those are legitimate terms but I think any layman can understand what I’m talking about. Be creative! Try new things! Don’t be afraid to create your own techniques, improve on what ya do and see, and never think it’s a waste of time to at least test something, even if you’re not sure it’s going to work out. Reviews make for the ability to later alter what doesn’t workout.

Short stories and clever off-shoots are always a good way to strengthen the main story-line while introducing something else that’s new and interesting for the reader to follow. The more things that tie together the stronger the story seems to become. Things like shock value, spin and twist, the unexpected, and anything else that makes for interesting and appealing adds a lot of overall value to a novel’s overall strength as well. Look at what sells. What do the greats do that is so right? Then ask yourself, “How can I do better?”

I’m a very good writer, I really do believe that, but that’s not enough. One must have an edge. If I read your story, what’s going to make it stand out above and beyond anything else I’ve ever read? Why is your story going to be so memorable and stick with me? What can you teach me or do for me that only the best can compete with. I might be a good writer, but my trick is that I’ve channeled these characters through visions, voices in my head, though I fear this might make me looney as all hell, but what should one care if they can produce something great, something real, something new, something that stands out, a World worth getting lost in, all along the timeline. John Anderson, Jr. stumbles upon a strange land. Damien unlocks the secrets of this strange land in Yahe and the recruiting of the Crossovers is soon to follow. Damien’s first disciple is more or less introduced in Conner as he causes mischief in a prison just outside of the nation’s capital city as the Visitor, followed by the book about that same disciple’s cat with Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet, and the final superhero saga in the Crossovers Anthology is what I’m currently working on now that I’ve released all but one of the other novels and got this thing out there and made available. Remember, people will either like it or they won’t. Not everybody is going to love the same things. Go by overall reviews and don’t dwell on any one bad review. If the overall review is a ten out of ten then don’t dwell on a couple of fours and fives or even the occasional one or zero. Know in your heart and know by the opinion of your overall fan base. Your fans and constant readers are the most important critics you’ll ever have, for they are the ones who will keep on reading, tell ya what they expect and want from ya, and keep on reading ’em and being inspired when ya publish the next one and get it done right.

To get back to Just ‘Cause,  I had mentioned short stories and clever off-shoots, and now I want to talk about the two outros following Chapter Two. In Chapter Two there is a part where the new recruits are going through training and at the end I talk a little about nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and Shiro Ishii’s flea bombs back in WWII. It’s good to write about what ya know, but be clever and get to the point. In the first outro to Just ‘Cause – Overtures, entitled “Casualties of War,” I talk a little about what it would be like if the war hit home before I go into a bit about the Hitler’s youth and the Nazi’s pilot program and follow with the controversial and heartfelt off-short short story of Sven Williams and what happens when the war hits his home. This is followed by the second outro, another short story called “Upon the Horizon” which, like a lot of the story’s “Making Fun of History” intro, has a significant tie-in to some future important character’s far distant, distant pasts. Slowly but surely it all adds up, ’tis the point of writing big adventures as part of an anthology.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for the next instillation, On Writing a Novel, Pt. 4, where I’ll discuss the two halves of Just ‘Cause – Further Explorations Ch. 3 Ye-Ha, The War.” All of the build-ups from Chapter Two play out over the course of three major battles and an ambush that leaves John, Brad, and two fellow soldiers scrambling and scampering for their lives. Nothing but excitement the whole way through, Just ‘Cause – Further Exploration is where the real excitement is at!

Jamie Shank's ebooks on Amazon.com, $2.99 each.Jamie Shank’s full-length novels and ebooks available on Amazon.com

To preview samples from Jamie Shank’s Just ‘Cause and other novels visit: https://jamieshankscrossoverswebsiteandwritingmark.wordpress.com/ 

J.C.Kapooka Jamie Shank's ebooks on Amazon.com, $2.99 each

“Conner” by Jamie Shank, now available as an ebook and a paperback on Amazon.com

41e9KuNzOJLJamie Shank’s “Conner” is an 88,888 word fiction/fantasy prison story about two unfortunate fathers, a mysterious visitor who arrives on the cell block, an unruly cast of death row inmates, and of course the warden and the prison staff. Though still a serious story, Jamie Shank’s “Conner” is also a bit of a comedy with Conner’s line of “witty one-liners” and “Ran into an Old Friend” jokes and the Visitor’s cleverly placed short stories and a few jokes of his own. Jamie Shank’s “Conner” is a fast-paced, character oriented thrill ride which is sure to drop a reader’s jaw with the flip of each page and leave a lasting impression by the time the link between the Visitor, Conner, and Daryl is finally revealed in full in the end.

Jamie Shank’s “Conner” was first published as an ebook on 02/14/2017 and as a paperback on 04/20/2017 on Amazon.com and is Book 4 in the greater Crossovers Anthology. Though these books are part of an anthology, all taking place on a timeline within a fictional world, each story holds its own unless the title indicates otherwise, and so far Jamie Shank’s “Just ‘Cause,” at 160,000 words, is the only project which was too big to fit into one book.

The mystery of the Visitor and how it all plays out for Conner and the other… Why are these two fathers, who are honest, hard working men, Conner a single father with a grown adult son and the other a family man with a teenage son… why are they on death row in the first place? Conner is holding back, hesitant to tell his story, but the Visitor knows something and Conner fears the worst. Though the truth is heartbreaking, the outcome is worth sticking around for.

The following is an excerpt from Jamie Shank’s “Conner”:

The breaking point… What one would sacrifice? What one would give, or give up? What one would forfeit? And what if, in the end, that sacrifice was for nothing? Hopes and dreams converted, concerted, distorted, displaced, and soon to be about-faced. What consequences will the truth bring? And there’s no way to stop it from happening, it has already been done! After everything… and now nothing can be done to change a thing! A life for a better life! That had been the plan! A life for a better life! And now all that’s left is, “What to do now?!”

A second excerpt from Jamie Shank’s “Conner”:

“I’ve heard a few good, new ones,” Conner said to Brandon.

“Oh yeah?” Brandon replied. “Do tell.”

“Have you heard the one about the escaped convict?” Conner began.

“No,” Brandon replied.

“That’s probably ‘cause he got caught.” Conner moved right along to the next one, “Have you heard the one about the drunk driver?”

“No,” Brandon replied, but he could almost guess what his father was going to say.

“He died in a car crash.” Conner moved right along to the next one, “Have you heard the one about the whore’s marriage?”

“No,” Brandon replied, already laughing in response to the setup.

“It didn’t last,” Conner said, and paused. Brandon said with a smile on his face,

“I suppose not.”

“Yeah, but she walked away with a lot of cash,” Conner added.

“Where do you come up with this shit?” Brandon couldn’t help but ask.

“In here, a man listens a lot,” Conner said, then added, “and people get creative when they don’t have a whole lot of outside entertainment to keep them occupied and do the thinking for them.

J.C.Kapooka Jamie Shank's ebooks on Amazon.com, $2.99 eachTo preview Jamie Shank’s other exciting novels visit:

https://jamieshankscrossoverswebsiteandwritingmark.wordpress.com/

41e9KuNzOJL                                                                               To go to Amazon.com and preview Jamie Shank’s “Conner” visit:

https://www.amazon.com/Conner-Crossovers-Anthology-Jamie-Shank/dp/1521110808/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1494200342&sr=8-2&keywords=Jamie+Shank

“If you liked Stephen King’s The Green Mile and ‘Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption’ from Different Seasons then you’ll love Jamie Shank’s Conner, a tale that keeps on hittin’ right up to the very end, and an ending that could move most any reader. Do enjoy.”

On Writing a Novel, Pt. 2

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Hi, I’m Jamie Shank and I’m going to talk a little about some of the broader techniques I used to write my first full-length novel, Just ‘Cause.

For starters, setup is essential, especially in an anthology based series where you’ll be using and working with a particular setup for a fairly long time. Past, present, and future, it’s good for an author to know the big events that take place in a story’s timeline, as well as what events tie into other events and how they play into the future. Foreshadowing is a powerful technique for any writer. Tying past events into present events helps a reader understand the progression of events. Though most of the characters from the “Making Fun of History” prologue to Just ‘Cause – Overtures don’t appear in the story other than at the beginning, they will apply to future books and will continue to help shape the events of the Crossovers Anthology’s timeline.

Always bring the reader into the story’s reality. It is not enough to see a story’s reality in one’s head. It is essential that the words to the story are expressing every necessary detail, shaping each individual vision, or scene, to the story in the proper order, or succession. Next is character identification, for the reader needs to be able to identify with the story’s characters, especially the main character(s). Character description or story details, which should come first? I feel that bringing the reader into the story’s reality should come first and foremost. As a reader, I want to feel a sense of where I am and what I’m dealing with before I get deeply involved with a any characters. But maybe that’s just me. Still, that’s why I introduced the main character’s family history and the World’s history in the prologue to Just ‘Cause – Overtures before I went into any real intense detail about John. He’s mentioned, his family history is there as a buildup, but the World is introduced before John Anderson, Jr. really becomes a factor in “Ch. 1 The Letters Are Out.”

Make sure to hit ’em with everything that you’ve got. A good hook, some spin, a little foreshadowing, a strong punch with a heavy impact, a little humor and style, or anything else that you can do to breathe a little life into the story, making it fun, clever, witty, and interesting. A little technique goes a long way. Hit hard with first sentences and first paragraphs and never let up. Make cuts if something’s not up to par. Remember, review is an essential part of the process. Let it flow. You’ll know when ya got it.

I like to know my stories before I write them. I’ve got this anthology traced all the way to the World’s end, which doesn’t come during this saga’s timeline. The MSB is what I’m dreaming up and currently taking notes on. I see it, but I’m not near ready to write it. Patience. All things in time. The more ya see, the more ya can tie together. I start out by taking notes in a journal, profiling the characters and building their personalities, planning events, visualizing and mapping out the different locations and places. I then write out some of the sequences and try to form an order of events. A ties into B ties into C and so forth. The better the planning, the better it should turn out and the more foreshadowing can be used as a tool. I find that the better I plan and the more arranged my notes are the easier the story flows while I’m writing it. I also keep a page open on my computer while I’m working for additional notes, errors, and cuts. I like to track my mistakes and missteps as well as what I choose to keep. Remember, ’cause this is important; The better the planning and preparation, the better it should turn out in the long run.

I’ve fount the cure for writer’s block… or at least I believe I have. Planning! Planning is the cure for writer’s block. Who’d have thought it would have been that simple? When writer’s block becomes an issue, play with what you’re working on in your notes. If that doesn’t work, have something else on stand-by to move on to. Moving on to the next scene will often help to tie the two scenes together, giving the writer a point A and a point B, point A being the block and point B being the place where the next scene picks up, essentially giving a writer a point to work forward to. I find this helps to cut down on the possibilities of where I’m going with a scene, or section. Taking a break to think is never a bad thing when writer’s block gets in the way, but don’t make excuses. Remember, it’s always better to get something – anything! – done than sit around and be stagnant. Sometimes moving forward is for the best, but the segue and moving on to something else for the time being really is, in my opinion, the best tool for defeating writer’s block.

If a writer doesn’t know about a subject and doesn’t want to write about a subject, it has a tendency to show in the work. The reader has to want to read about the subjects a writer writes about, but the writer must also want to write the material, therefore the writer must pick subjects which drive them while being considerate of what the reader will enjoy as well. Know your audience when you write a book. Have an idea as to who might enjoy your stories. Marketing one’s material is going to be one of the most essential final steps for any writer. The more one knows about the process, the better off one will be.

To sum it all up, I advice fellow writers to plan ahead, utilize your notes, get to the point and don’t drag events out. Use back stories, flashback sequences, reflections, and dream sequences when you’re able in order to give your characters depth. Utilize how the subject material makes you feel so you can portray those feelings to the reader. Make sure that all of the relevant information in your head for each scene in the story is properly expressed and laid out for the reader in your story. See it in your head and have it expressed properly in your notes/draft before you try to write the finished product, and remember that even finished products need reviewed to push towards perfection. It’s not the quantity of books you kick out but the quality of each individual story that I feel makes the greatest of authors. Give every story you ever write all you’ve got!

This next part contains brief notes on some of the broader spectrum techniques used in Just ‘Cause – Overture‘s first chapter, “The Letters Are Out…”

  • Our main character, John Anderson Jr.’s mother, Peggy, receives the draft letter summoning John to serve to start the chapter.
  • The story then cuts to John, building up his character, his current predicament, and his current struggles and adversities with the war and the draft for the reader. A good portion of this section deals with John’s frustration due to the war and the draft.
  • Mary Jane O’Riley’s character is introduced in a flashback sequence to John and Mary Jane’s classic meeting back in high school. A book called Beach Music plays a big role in this sequence. The beginning of this Pat Conroy book parodies almost in reverse with the second to last outro in Just ‘Cause.
  • The reader knows John is about to be drafted, however John does not. John returns home from work that day to find that the letter drafting him has arrived. The section details his reaction to receiving the letter.
  • After receiving the letter summoning him to serve his nation, John decides he must head over to Mary Jane’s family’s home and tell her the bad news. Another flashback sequence with John and Mary Jane which makes reference to John’s best friend and coworker, Tim Spellings, and attending a party that they’re still expected to show up at.
  • Mary Jane’s father answers the door and talks to John about the war while Mary Jane gets ready. John tells Mary Jane that he’s been drafted once they get out to John’s truck.

There’s more to come, but let me talk about the story up to this point and some of the techniques that stand out to me. Flashback and dream sequences are an important part of this first chapter. Through the flashback sequences and illustrating John before he receives the letter summoning him to serve, I am able to illustrate how John is handling things both before he is drafted and after, and at several different points in the timeline.

Mary Jane’s character’s introduction kicks off the love story, and this also is John’s reason for wanting to dodge the draft, which is one of the main issues, or points of conflict, that he must struggle with in this chapter. The love story and the point of conflict are almost synonymous in this part of the tale, making for a good deal of interesting. Give up everything and go to war… It’s a heck of a burden to have to bare.

  • Tim’s party is soon to come. The Field and John’s secret crop come into play. Festivities for the party. John is set on dodging the draft. Tim talks to him at the party. A girl named Jodi talks to Mary Jane. They have essentially been talked out of John dodging the draft, but emotions are still strong. More drama plays out, but when it comes time to go, John goes.

Let me not give it all away. That’s the gist of the rest of it, but I want to talk about the dream sequences for a moment. In the later parts of this chapter, towards John and Mary Jane’s last night together, I tell of a couple of John’s dream sequences, one of which reflects upon another novel’s character’s transformation and another of which reflects upon one of the sequences from this novels third chapter, entitled “Yeha! The War…” Dream sequences give a writer an opportunity to foreshadow big events in ways that don’t quite give the big event away but prepare the reader for it. It also gives a writer a chance to be clever with some of their best ideas and material.

The supporting cast for the beginning will be utilized again throughout this novel, but the second chapter will introduce a whole new cast of characters, including a replacement for Tim Spellings with John’s bunk mate, Brad Thompson. These will be the other recruits John will be training with and fighting alongside of.

But that’s for the next edition. For now, Jamie Shank’s Just ‘Cause – Overtures and other novels are available at Amazon.com.

To preview excerpts from Just ‘Cause – Overtures and other novels by Jamie Shank visit: 

https://jamieshankscrossoverswebsiteandwritingmark.wordpress.com/

To purchase Jamie Shank’s novels, Just ‘Cause – Overtures and Just ‘Cause – Further Explorations (a two book, four chapter, 160,000 word war story, published 01/07/2017), Conner (an 88,888 word prison story about two unfortunate fathers, a mysterious visitor, an unruly bunch of death row inmates, and the prison staff, published 02/14/2017), and Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet (a 95,000 word story about a real-life kitty cat told through one of this saga’s main character’s point of view, published 03/21/2017), visit: Amazon.com

Jamie Shank’s Yahe (113,000 words), the story of Damien, a young man who gets mixed up in the world of organized crime and later becomes a hit-man for a crime syndicate, leading to one of the biggest assassinations of all time and then a return to the Land of the Ancients.

“Just ‘Cause – Overtures & Further Explorations”

Just ‘Cause – Overtures is the first book in a two part, four chapter, 160,000 word war story which centers around a young man named John Anderson, Jr. In chapter one, entitled “The Letters Are Out,” John must leave everything he knows and everyone he loves behind when he’s drafted to serve his nation in a time of war. In chapter two, entitled “No Turning Back Now,” it’s off to basic training for John, where he’ll meet Major Briggs, the rest of the staff, and his fellow new recruits.

Just ‘Cause – Further Explorations is the second book in a two part, four chapter, 160,000 word war story which centers around a young man named John Anderson, Jr. Chapter three, entitled “Ye-ha, The War,” begins with the Major Briggs’ battalion storming a beach and highlights three battles and some internal controversy leading to an ambush that leaves John and three others running for their lives in an attempt to get to an evacuation zone. In chapter four, entitled “A Stranger in a Strange Land,” the plane carrying John and a couple other survivors of the enemy ambush are finally going home when the plane carrying them crashes into a remote and desolate land, leaving John stranded and on a quest to survive and figure out a way to seek out a rescue. John encounters a couple of odd inhabitants in this strange land while on his journey, changing the pace for the main story line.

The Just ‘Cause novels are the first two books in the Crossovers Anthology. Chapter one is mainly a love story which ties into the main issue of controversy for the chapter, detailing John Anderson, Jr. and Mary Jane O’Reilly’s relationship while expressing how it’s being torn apart by the draft. Chapter two introduces a whole new cast with John leaving for basic training, the nightly smoke sessions are introduced, and the controversy in this chapter really takes place between an inmate who has a problem with the smokers, Alan Fohler, and a recruit who has been made head squad leader, Deuce Covert, but Major Briggs is depicted as the one who is calling the shots. Chapter three goes further into Major Briggs past mistakes and crimes towards the beginning of the chapter, something goes wrong which leads to him snapping and the enemy ambush towards the middle of the chapter, and all of his crimes are exposed when Deuce sums everything up for his fellow survivors of the ambush in the end of the chapter. Chapter four is where the story picks up a sci-fi twist when the helicopter carrying John and the fellow survivors home mysteriously fails and plummets out of the sky, crash landing in a remote and desolate, foreign land. John awakens to find that he is slightly injured and the lone survivor. He gets to the crash site only to have a run-in with two mysterious creatures, one like Bigfoot and one like nothing of this World. John must survive, but those creatures are out there, and his only plan is to follow a river downstream and see where it leads. Chapter four was one of the main influences for me – the start of it all – when it comes to the Crossovers anthology.

Jamie Shank’s Just’Cause – Overtures, 80,000 words, fiction/fantasy war story, published on Amazon.com as an ebook on 01/07/17.
Jamie Shank’s Just ‘Cause – Further Explorations, 80,000 words, fiction/fantasy war story, published on Amazon.com as an ebook on 01/07/17.

Jamie Shank’s Exciting, New Full-Length Novels

Four novels by Jamie Shank have recently been published in ebook format on Amazon.com. This is a word of mouth project so far, for the most part, and these books are being sold for very reasonable prices to promote this thrilling new saga. Readers needed! Below I’ve included some colorful descriptions of the five books which make up the Crossovers anthology thus far and a link which you can cut and paste into your browser to view excerpts of these novels at the very end of the page. I’ve held on to the first five stories in this anthology for a while, and they’ve been put through several reviews to produce some stunning finished products. These stories have only recently been published and are still brand new. I will include date of publication, genre, and a word count along with brief description for each title below.

Just ‘Cause – Overtures is the first installation in a two book, four chapter, 160,000 word, fictional, fantasy/adventure war story which represents the start of it all for the Crossover’s Anthology. Just ‘Cause is the story of John Anderson, Jr., and Just ‘Cause – Overtures covers the first two main parts, the draft and the love story in “Ch. 1 The Letters Are Out” and then John arriving for basic training, meeting an interesting bunch of fellow hippy recruits and experiencing everything leading up to the war in “Ch. 2 No Turning Back Now.” Two off-kilter but still relevant short stories end this first book, Just ‘Cause – Overtures, Book 1. Publication date 01/07/2017.

Just ‘Cause – Further Explorations, Book 2, picks up where the war begins with John Anderson, Jr. and the rest of the battalion storming a beach, the first of three, distinct battles which really get the ball rolling. The battles are followed by a late night, fireside scene which leads to an internal dispute among respected leaders of the battalion and a final fatal mistake by the Major, not by any means the first. The final portion of “Ch. 3 Yeha… The War” revolves around John and three other characters running for their lives after the enemy ambushes them. “Ch. 4 Stranger in a Strange Land” is where things get a little weird when the helicopter carrying John and a couple of his buddies home mysteriously falters in midair and crashes in a mysterious, uncharted, and highly peculiar land. After fighting a war, John is now stuck in a situation where he must survive and somehow seek out a rescue, and on top of all that are several unsettling encounters with more than just on unusual creature. The tie-in to the love story from the beginning and the way it recurs in the “Epilogue; (All The While) Coming Home” is stunning and jaw-dropping. The second finale in Just ’Cause – Further Explorations, entitled “Overview; Eighty-Six,” sums up everything that has happened in this story, tying it all together and wrapping it all up from a later perspective in John’s life to make for an ending guaranteed to move any reader. Publication date 01/07/2017.

Conner, Book 4, an 88,888 word prison story about two unfortunate fathers, a mysterious Visitor, an unruly bunch of death row inmates, and of course the warden and the prison staff. Conner actually fits into the timeline after a story called Yahe, which is a book being held for publishing to honor a date in late November. Conner is probably my most controversial story, definitely my most controversial beginning with the Wino’s backstory and Bubba and the Fairy’s cut-away sequence, but Conner is also probably my most humorous story, though I suppose they all possess a certain touch to them. Between Conner’s witty one-liners and “Ran into an Old Friend” jokes and the Visitor’s short stories, his antics, his attempts to mimic, right up to “Zeus’ Temple,” something about Conner just has it’s own special edge. The controversy seems to often run hand in hand with the humor in this one, at least at times, and with certain characters. And the mystery of the Visitor and how it all plays out for Conner and the other. Why are these two fathers, who are honest, hard working men, Conner a single father with a grown son and the other a family man with a teenage son… why are they on death row in the first place? Conner is holding back, hesitant to tell his story, but the Visitor knows something and Conner fears the worst. Though the truth is heartbreaking, the outcome is worth sticking around for. Publication date 02/14/2017.

Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet, Book 5, 95,000+ words, is the story of a real life kitty cat told through the eyes of one of the Crossovers Anthology’s main characters. Need I say more? Okay, I lied, Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet is probably just as funny a novel, if not funnier, than Conner. All of the kitty cats in Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet are based on real-life kitty cats, right down to their names, as are most of the major events in this story based on true events. However, all of the people in this story, right down to their names and personality traits, are fabrications, though often real people are being kept in mind, for they all have played such an important role in both the Kapooka critter’s life and my own. Publication date 03/21/2017.

That brings me to Yahe, a 113,000 word tale about a misguided young man named Damien who gets mixed up with a local organized crime syndicate. Yahe is setup in a very similar fashion to Just ‘Cause‘s setup. The story begins with “Ch. 1 Jimmy,” which is the story of Damien and his best friend, Jimmy, growing up, making the wrong choices, eventually getting into hard drugs which leads to a shocking conclusion when Damien must kill Jimmy. I’m currently including this entire chapter as an excerpt on my website, listed at the bottom of the page. “Ch. 2 The Organization” deals with Damien’s climb in the organization from drug dealer to hit-man. This part covers three main assassinations, though I suppose the third one is more twist and spin which leads to Damien beating a charge due to a buddy’s big mouth and afterwards wanting out. “Ch. 3 Parody” starts with a job which pays so good Damien just can’t/won’t pass it up. This job parodies one of the most controversial assassinations in U.S. history, recreating a very good, well investigated theory. “Ch. 4 Brew-ha-ha” in Yahe takes Damien to the same place John Anderson, Jr. went to in “Ch. 4 Stranger in a Strange Land” of Just ‘Cause – Further Explorations, a land I refer to as the Land of the Ancients. It is in this story that the tribe and Nanuck, a character previously illustrated as John Anderson, Jr.’s Mr. Spirally Eyes from Just ‘Cause – Further ‘Explorations. “Ch. 4 Brew-ha-ha” of Yahe marks the first transformation of a new generation with what Damien will go through and accomplish before it is all over. Damien is able to end the local crime syndicate, but another adversary reminds him that it’s by no means over. Actually, the Crossover’s Anthology has just begun. Yahe is Book 3 in the timeline of the greater anthology. Planned publication date for 11/22 of this year.

 

The S.A. Saga is under construction, if ya will, and the MSB saga is in the planning phase. Visit me on facebook, Jamie Shank or Jamie Shank’s Crossovers Anthology, or visit the Crossovers Anthology’s website at:

https://jamieshankscrossoverswebsiteandwritingmark.wordpress.com/ 

On Writing a Novel, Pt. 1

The key to writing a novel really comes down to planning and patience, but of course it goes much deeper than just that. I’m Jamie Shank and I’m going to talk a little bit about what it took for me to write Just ‘Cause, my two part,160,000 word war story.

First off, when I got the idea to write Just ‘Cause I knew I wanted to break it down into four parts; the main character, John Anderson, Jr., getting drafted and having to leave everything he knows and everyone he loves behind, the basic training portion of the story where John meets the group he’ll be serving alongside of (which I also knew would introduce a whole new cast of characters), the war which takes place in two parts (the original three battles start it off followed by a build up to some internal controversy and an ambush that leaves John and three other characters running for their lives), and finally there’s the crash on the way out of the war zone which leaves John stranded out in a strange land all alone. This fourth and final chapter is a mysterious survival story which was the original inspiration for both Just ‘Cause and the Crossover’s anthology.

My goal was to create an artificial world based off of fundamental characteristics of our own Earth, and to do that I knew I would have to open up with some World history for the prologue. After telling a little about John Anderson Jr.’s family history, I then introduced the concept of two main continents, New World and Old World, I told about how Old World was united under a King Hammel many years back, and I told a couple of stories about the good king and his close allies because I already knew I planned to parody these characters in a future novel. Call it a little bit of foreshadowing, if ya will.

I go on to tell about the discovery of the New World with a Christopher Columbus parable, I talk of a Revolutionary War (The First New World War), a New World Civil War, and all the time I’m building the reader up with references to the Second New World War, the war John Anderson, Jr. will be a part of, in the beginning and throughout this elaborate introduction.

Many of the events that take place in the prologue to Just ‘Cause don’t really go to support this particular story any further, but by the time one finishes reading it they understand where they are in the timeline and feel a sense of what is going on in the World. Namely, there’s an impression of the tension that the war brings.

This is a long story, divided into four parts which I’ve dubbed chapters, each chapter  made up of about 40,000 words and consisting of many sections. The prologue of Just ‘Cause builds up to the upcoming draft, and Ch. 01 of Just ‘Cause, entitled “The Letters Are Out,” begins with John Anderson, Jr.’s mother, Peggy, receiving the John’s draft letter summoning him to serve the nation of New World in the Second New World War while John is away at work. The next section details John’s overall reactions towards the war and the draft before he receives the letter and works up to his reaction upon returning home and learning of the letter’s delivery.

I’ll go into more detail on Ch. 01 in the next edition, “On Writing a Novel Pt.2.” For now let me just say that once you’re done writing a novel, you’re still only halfway there. Planning and patience are only the first part of the process. Putting a novel through the proper reviews is what makes for a finished and complete, nearly perfect product.

I start with the vision, I move on to the notes, I often write a handwritten copy of what I’m trying to accomplish (though I’ve never been good about sticking to handwritten drafts, they always change so much they’re unrecognizable by the time I get halfway into ’em), I do the original typed version, I keep an F.U.’s page for all my immediate notes and anything that doesn’t make the cut, and then I put the novel through more reviews than I care to admit to once I’m finally finished with all that. It’s about as much busy work as it is creativity sometimes, but if that’s what it takes to get the story right and produce a great product then so be it.

Be meticulous!

To preview excerpts from Just ‘Cause and other novels by Jamie Shank visit: 

https://jamieshankscrossoverswebsiteandwritingmark.wordpress.com/

To purchase Jamie Shank’s novels, Just ‘Cause – Overtures and Just ‘Cause – Further Explorations (a two part, 160,000 word war story), Conner (an 88,888 word prison story about two unfortunate fathers, a mysterious visitor, an unruly bunch of death row inmates, and the prison staff), and Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet (a 95,000 word story about a real-life kitty cat told through one of this saga’s main character’s point of view), visit: Amazon.com

Jamie Shank’s Yahe (113,000 words), the story of Damien, a young man who gets mixed up in the world of organized crime and later becomes a hit-man for a crime syndicate, leading to one of the biggest assassinations of all time and then a return to the Land of the Ancients.