Friday, March 11, 2016

Onyx Webb Book One by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz

“A Married Writing Team” Or, “This Married Writing Team Did Not Kill Each Other” By Andrea Waltz

We have been writing together since 1998 when we wrote and published our first book. Since then we’ve written several business parables, screenplays, and now our long running fictional series, Onyx Webb.  People ask us all the time how we manage to work together. 

And how do we not kill each other? Here’s my advice on how to write together and stay married. 

Have the same vision for the story. 

If you have two writers who have different visions for a story, it’s probably time to split up – the story I mean, not the relationship! Maybe you both could take your visions in different directions and write two different books. But if you have the same vision for the story and the characters, then it will be far easier to collaborate. Since we have had exactly the same vision for Onyx Webb – through countless hours of discussion – we are all good here.  

Someone has to take the lead.

We’ve tried it both ways and at least for us, it was far easier for someone to finally sit down at the computer and start the actual writing so that the voice stays the same. If you can go back and forth and each write a chapter then you have hit the co-writing jackpot. For us, we plot, talk through, and collaborate on every aspect of the scene but when words begin, Richard is the one to type. Then I get the red pen and edit everything he turns back to me on paper. 

Respect each other’s ideas. 

When you’re married this can be challenging because you have lost that polite phrasing you tend to use with friends. For example, there was the time I said, “There is no way in hell that we are doing that… ever.” I learned pretty quickly, this doesn’t engender happiness in your writing spouse. So we’ve gotten good at talking things out. How? For me, I learned to keep an open mind, truly listen and consider his ideas. Sometimes we do what we call, “marinate.” If there is an idea on the table and we aren’t sure what to do – we’ll put it aside for a couple days to see how we feel about it later. Marinating gives us the time and clarity we need to make a decision. Richard also has learned to accept my edits. There have been several times where I have slashed a scene to the bone – but he accepts 95% of it and we talk through the 5%.    

So that’s my advice surviving writing together. Oh, and since Richard is the main writer, I make sure I feed him on regularly scheduled intervals and let him out to see the sun at least 30 minutes a day. 

Onyx Webb
Book One
Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz

Genre: Paranormal Suspense

Publisher: Lust for Living Press
imprint, Courage Crafters Inc

Date of Publication: April 2015

ISBN: 0990751813

Number of pages: 216
Word Count: 47,000

Book Description:

A multi-genre mash-up that combines elements of supernatural suspense, crime, horror, romance, and more. The Onyx Webb series follows the unusual life of Onyx Webb along with a central group of characters in various locations and times. The billionaire Mulvaney family, piano prodigy Juniper Cole and her brother Quinn, paranormal show hosts Cryer and Fudge, and a few others make up the core of the series.

Written like a book version of a supernatural soap opera, each character’s story moves forward with most every episode. It may appear that the characters are entirely unrelated and yet episode by episode, the connections will become clearer. Like being an inch away from a spider web, with each book, the web will move further and further away revealing the full story of every character and most importantly, the stunning conclusion for Onyx Webb herself.

Excerpt: Onyx Webb: Book One

Lake Ponchartrain, Louisiana
September 21, 1927
here were three events that made 1927 a memorable year for Onyx Webb.
The first event was the Great Flood, a disaster that decimated the bayou and surrounding area for hundreds of miles, setting in motion a mass exodus—including many of Onyx’s friends and neighbors—cutting the region’s population in half.
The second thing was an explosion of artistic creativity that possessed Onyx with a constant need to express herself—writing, drawing, painting, poetry, photography, singing—and any other art form imaginable. It was exactly what Onyx’s mother, Jofranka, said would happen.
“Onyx is half-ghost, Andre, the child of a human and a ghost,” Jofranka had told Catfish. “When the time comes, her need for energy will be insatiable—you must help her feed that need every way you can, for creative energy is the source of life.”
Catfish Webb did not want his daughter to be a half-ghost, whatever that would entail. He wanted Onyx to be 100 percent human—100 percent alive—like him.
Though he’d been warned, Catfish found himself in an ongoing state of denial, as if ignoring the truth would not make it so. So, when—at the age of twenty-nine—Onyx began begging Catfish to buy her pencils, paper, and other art supplies, he balked at the requests.
“A young woman needs to be out of doors,” Catfish told her, “in nature, child, not cooped up inside.”
“That’s the thing, Papa! I want to draw trees and deer and streams and rocks and birds and glorious sunsets!” Onyx exclaimed, twirling in circles in the old houseboat. “I want to capture every beautiful thing in all its majestic glory, Daddy, please please please please please!”
Catfish continued to avoid his daughter’s requests until one day she began ranting about wanting a piano.
“Fine, fine,” Catfish said. “I will get you some paints and a drawing canvas or two, but there’ll be no piano. A heavy thing like that could fall right through the floor into the swamp.”
*     *     *
There was something else that happened in 1927 that would have a profound impact on Onyx…
She met Ulrich.
Onyx was sitting on a stool with a canvas and her paints, directly across from the Tchefuncte River lighthouse on the northern shore of Lake Ponchartrain, when she saw him. Even from forty yards away she could tell the man was handsome, his bronzed muscles gleaming in the southern sun.
He was also suspended a hundred feet in the air from a rope tethered to the railing atop the lighthouse, a bucket of whitewash hanging by his side. The irony that they were painting the lighthouse at the same time—even if painting it in different ways—was not lost on her.
“I’ve blossomed into a woman of marrying age, Daddy!” Onyx had declared to her father years earlier. “It’s time for me to find a man, bear children, go places, and have a life of my own.”
Every time Onyx broached the subject, Catfish simply put her off.
“What’s the rush, child? The right one’ll come along, and when he does, you’ll know. The right one just ain’t appeared yet is all.”
Onyx felt she’d waited long enough.
This was the one.
She just knew it.
Onyx continued painting, carefully applying the final few brushstrokes to her canvas and trying not to think about the man—as if that were possible—while the August sun beat down hard on her.
Eventually, the man climbed down off the lighthouse and made his way toward her. She worked hard to pretend she hadn’t seen him coming, continuing to paint until she was suddenly covered in shade.
Onyx looked up at the large, muscled man standing over her. “What are you painting?” he asked in a strong German accent, pronouncing the word what as vhat.
“I am painting you,” Onyx said.
“Me? Might I see your masterpiece?” the German asked as he stepped behind Onyx without waiting for her to answer.
Onyx waited in suspense for his response.
“It is nice but boring,” the German said, noticing a look of disappointment spreading on Onyx’s face. “Not the painting,” the German added quickly. “I mean the lighthouse is boring. The painting is marvelous, but the lighthouse is all white—no color, no pattern, nothing to draw the eye to a focal point.”
Onyx exhaled, realizing she had been holding her breath in anticipation of his response.
“I guess you are right,” Onyx said, her cheeks blushing.
“There is no guessing about it!” the German declared. “My father was a collector of fine art and taught me of such things.”
The handsome German extended his hand. “My name is Ulrich, Ulrich Schröder.”
“Onyx Webb,” Onyx said, taking Ulrich’s weather-worn hand in hers and shaking it.
“Well, Miss Webb, perhaps when you return tomorrow to finish your painting, the lighthouse will not be so boring.”
“But what if my painting is already complete, Mr. Schröder?” Onyx said playing along, having gained confidence by sensing his interest in her.
“That would be a tragedy for us both,” Ulrich said. “When fate draws two people together, it is the job of man to comply.”
Fate, thought Onyx.

Yes, it was fate.
About the Authors:

Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz are best known as the authors of Go for No! (which hit #1 on Amazon’s Sales and Selling list and has remained in the Top 10 for the last five years.) They are also professional speakers who speak internationally to audiences on how to overcome fear of failure and rejection. 

Although all of their business books are fables, the Onyx Webb series is their first serious dive into fiction.

But Richard and Andrea have been in love with creating stories together since they met almost twenty years ago and even spent some time in Hollywood writing screenplays, being represented by the producer of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.   

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