37 Comments

Excellent start, Justin!

One thing I'll say, the first paragraph read like a prologue to me, with the second paragraph feeling like a more ideal START to the story. What's nice about paragraph one, too, is it's concise, which is a good characteristic for a prologue to have.

You did a great job capturing the sensory details of Sidney being beat up. I always manage to have someone getting punched or punching someone in my YA stories. πŸ˜‚ Apart from kissing scenes, knuckle cracking/nose breaking scenes are my favorite to write.

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This beginning holds a lot of promise, Justin! I already know by name who I would like to see murdered! ha ha ha. Another bonus for me this morning, is your inspired choice of photograph. It always makes me feel so "worldly", so well-traveled, that I not only recognize the castle but remember stomping around on the same Scottish headland. Lovely!

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Strong start here, Justin! I agree with what Meg said about the prologue thing. There was a noticable tone shift there at the beginning. Other than that I thought everything flowed great! Would definitely read more of this story! I'm intrigued by Sidney and want to know more about why he's an urchin for sure!

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Congrats on starting the novel! Keep going! πŸ‘

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I have about four diifferent projects going on that,ironically or not, cover a large part of my life. I wont do them necessarily in chronological order since I am very nonlinear (except when I taught and had to make elaborate lesson plans, but, like a kaleidiscope, just keep turning. I will start however,with the most immediate.

1) I' m doing acknowledgements for my first book of poetry, Travel Tickets, hopefully to be published next year by Human Error Press, a local Western Mass press. I am primarily a fiction writer but I've written poetry all my life and feel my poetry can help awake, startle, and sustain people in the hard shaky times ahead with more raging fires, raging racists,, and tsunamis as more and more of our coastal cities become massive wading pools ( see Amitav Ghosh''s The Great Derangement, about some climaxes to make all shudder.

2) Im sending around to agets and publishes my novel Carvings, about two Vietnam Vets,one black, one white,both selftaught artists, on a carver, one a"contraptional artist' who become friends and go to New Orleans to help during the Katrina catastrophe. Think of Samuel L. Jackson and Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain (at his dreary home).

3) I am cutting and touching up a novel about Brooklyn during the McCarty period in the socalled silent fifties when a number of African countries achieved their independence, and the US engineered deposing of democratic leaders in Guatamala and Iran and helped install fascist dictatrs, and the historic Brown decison helped launch the Civil Rights movement. Millons of Americans were eating Carvel (fifties version of softserve icecream) while the US was helping Belgiun murder socialist leader Patrice Lumumba and Southern crazed crowds were screaming at African American children trying to school and threatening them with death.

4) My main project is to finish a novel that I, seriously, have been working on for over twenty years and dreaming about an average of two to. three nights. About my very intense and lifechaanging experience as a committed cvil rights activist in the historic student /community strike against racsim at San Francsco State COLLEGE (later SF University) from November 61968 to March 2l,1969 ( still the longest student strike in US history). Despite a nearly daily police presence,\

over 700 arrests. many hospitalizations we won our demands led by the BSU (Black Students Union who, in turn, led the TWLF, Third World Liberation Front,( acoalition of Biopec groups- Chicano//Latino, Native Amerca, Chinese, Philpino, Japanese, and Iranian and other Arab students.

We won an entire School of Ethnic Studies that celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019. I helped with the anniversary even though I was the only person from the East Coast ( there were many virtual meetings and I went out there several times, It was INCREDIBLE. I organized ( some people are now calling it curated five different poetry readings, and one reading where five of us former strikers read five different kinds of writing- history, memoir, comedic drama, satire, fiction, and poetry. We were particularly blessed by a leading younger poet Tongo Eisen-Martin, author of Blood and Fog ,current Poet Laureat of San Franciso, education actiivist, and founder of Black Freighter Press.

I have three hundred leaves in a roiling forest. The Anniversary was great yet I learned many new stories and incidents that have forced me to do a major rewrite.

A chapter of the novel with two sections - 'The Sound Truck" and " Phonecall from the Parents " were published last year in UNLIKELY STORIES, a litmag out of New Orlean. If you simply google my name and the name of the lit mag, it comes up. Enjoy.

5) as if all this is not enough, I am also working on THE SEMI ULTIMATE Reading list of social justice internationall fiction and poetry. This is a slow process, writing a crisp annotated bibliography of work by writers all over the world, many of whom are not in any US college lit anthologies, nor are taught in many MFA programs( we can discuss the lugubrious reasons later). So far, I have about nine pages, mostly American lit( African American,, Latino x, Asian American, Native American), International Women, Literature of The Vietnam War / American War by both Vietnamese and American writers, Palestinian Lit, Middle Eastern Lit. I am working on Working Class Lit. US, International Workiing Class lt, African Lit, South and Central American Lit,IrishLit, Poliish Lit, Russian Lit,Eastern European Lit and Asian Lit( with individual lists of writers,sofar,

from Vietnam,China,Phillipines,South Korea,Japan, India.

If anyone wants download of this list so far, or my poetry collecton, Ill be happy to send it to you. It's free, but if you want to send a donation, Ill appreciate it.

I'm 78 and overweight, I never weighed more than 120 pounds until around 1985 when I quit smoking two packs a day for twenty years. I have diabetes that is under control but I have a sweet tooth the size of Brazil.

Three years ago I was diagnosed wiith Alzhiheimer's. I have not yet put our cats in the washing machine but I have had my "moments". So, there is a certain urgency to get all of the above done and out into the world because I think the books on my list and my own work will be sustaining and entertaining. Best, eb

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Aug 15Liked by Justin Deming

Very interested in that rock!

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Nice pictures painted. Interesting wee character at the centre of it. Excellent pace. More! Please!

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Nice teaser. I would read more.

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Aug 14Liked by Justin Deming

I’d read more! I taught fifth and sixth grades and love this stuff! And, I live in the Hudson Valley!

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I’m not normally drawn to YA fiction, although I have been known to read a few YA novels. The kid in me wants to read more, Justin!

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Very exciting, very well written!

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I would absolutely keep reading! Based upon the introduction, I'm expecting some intersection between the boy thief and the stone. At least that's where my mind was headed.

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Justin, I will "continue reading". : )

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Very good Justin. I see a lot of potential in this.

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Aug 14Liked by Justin Deming

This is very atmospheric, Justin. I can picture the boys and the village. I am thinking the cart man might make another appearance? I would definitely want to read more.

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Aug 14Liked by Justin Deming

I would definitively want to read more!!! I am intrigued to see what happens next!!

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