Hello lovelies! It gives me great pleasure today to host Gary F. Jones and his new book, “Doc’s Codicil”! For other stops on his Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.
Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card. Also, come back daily to interact with Gary and to increase your chances of winning!
Thanks for stopping by! Wishing you lots of luck in this exciting giveaway!
by Gary F. Jones
GENRE: Family Humor, Mystery
When Wisconsin veterinarian Doc dies, his family learns that to inherit his fortune, they must decipher the cryptic codicil he added to his will—“Take Doofus squirrel-fishing”—and they can only do that by talking to Doc’s friends, reading the memoir Doc wrote of a Christmas season decades earlier, searching through Doc’s correspondence, and discovering clues around them. Humor abounds as this mismatched lot tries to find time in their hectic lives to work together to solve the puzzle. In the end, will they realize that fortune comes in many guises?
The house was dark except for the pool of light thrown by a lamp behind my chair and small multi-colored Christmas lights surrounding the window on my left. The lights gave a dim but cheerful glow to the edge of the room. The crystal, silver, and pastel globes on the Christmas tree standing against the opposite wall reflected that light, and as the furnace kicked in, the reflections danced across the wall, betraying currents of warm air moving gently about the room.
Heat, wonderful heat. I gave my wine glass a twist to celebrate feeling my toes again. The liquid ruby swirled round the glass, as I offered a silent toast to Mary, may she sleep soundly tonight. On the second glass, I was startled by a swoosh of air exhaled by the cushion of a wing-backed chair to my left. I glanced at the chair, but couldn’t bring it into focus. Contacts must be dirty, I thought and returned to my book.
I . . . poured a third glass. This had to be the last. Tomorrow would be another fourteen-hour workday. I took another bite of Stilton, crumbly yet creamy, a pungent and savory blue with a background of cheddar, when I heard a throat clear.
I put my book down and looked around the room. Empty.
. . . A shadow moved in the dining room . . . “Who’s there? What the hell is going on?” I whispered.
A man’s voice came from the kitchen. “Cripes, some host you are.”
Five Tips on Writing Humor Which I Have No Right to Give
1. Never take advice from people of dubious expertise and doubtful sobriety. I commend you for your common sense if you’re already moving your cursor to leave the page.
And this brings us to self-deprecating humor. People like it. Transferred to the page of a comic mystery or thriller, it makes your protagonist appealing and more human. An extreme example was Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther movies and in Being There.
2. Keep a diary or list of the foolish things you’ve seen or been involved in. If you can’t think of anything dumb that you’ve done, ask your spouse. She/He may have a long list they’ve been waiting to discuss with you. If neither of you can think of anything stupid in your life, call your brother or brother-in-law and ask him how things are going.
The basis for many of the chapters of Doc’s Codicil was a collection of 30 years of Christmas letters in which I briefly sketched the stupid things my family and I had done over the preceding year. That may not help someone from a normal family, but my wife, our four children, and I have all been diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It was an active household.
Don’t forget about those things you thought about doing but wisely put aside. My list of those isn’t long. I did too many of them, but I hope you’ve been smarter. Either way, they may be the basis of a story someday.
3. Death and violence are frequently fatal to humor. In a light-hearted mystery, none of the characters important enough to have a name should die because of foul play, violence, or epidemic. The mystery in Doc’s Codicil is a riddle Doc adds to his will. There was no violence and Doc’s purpose, to teach his children a lesson, is universal. Any parent can empathize with it. The no corpses rule even works in stories about epidemic diseases. In my latest novel, a satirical medical thriller, A Jerk, A Jihad, and a Virus, violence and death remain unrealized potentials. The humor worked, according to the reviewers.
4. Advice to authors writing mysteries or thrillers has long been, “When in doubt or suffering writer’s block, throw a new problem at your protagonist.” It works. In Doc’s Codicil, I simply had to dip into my memory to think of things that created trouble for Doc, my alter ego. But why limit that advice to your protagonist, especially if writing a thriller? In A Jerk, A Jihad, and a Virus, making my villain’s life sheer hell was more fun than anything I could think of that wasn’t illegal, and it got me past a bad case of writer’s block.
5. Give your readers credit. Don’t explain everything. They can make accurate assumptions, and it makes them use their imaginations. Try substituting a look, a pause, or an expression instead of stating the obvious. Be forewarned, there is a fine line between leaving them laughing and leaving them confused. You’re writing group or writing partner will tell you when you’ve gone too far.
6. (Think of this as 5b) Day dream. Doc’s Codicil was the result of a writing assignment, old Christmas letters, and a day dream. I think the best of humor reveals things too delicate to approach in any other way. You’re on the right track if you’ve hit on something with a basis so serious or personal that you find it painful to write about. For the topic of a writing assignment, I had used an envelope in my desk that belonged to my older brother. He was eight years old when he drowned. The day dream was set off by a news report of American dead and wounded during the Iraqui war. How could I explain something as costly and counterproductive as that war to a child? A supremely confident patron fairy of stupidity? Enter Doofus, the cow-flop fairy, patron fairy of wishful thinking and bad judgement, councilor to presidents and advisor to kings. He made human history understandable.
7. (Otherwise known as 5c) Remember the old saw, “Brevity is the soul of wit?” It’s true. It’s true in your humor, your sentences, and your stories. If you’re not satisfied with your book, try cutting a third of it.
According to Gary Jones, his life has been a testament to questionable decisions and wishful thinking. His wife of forty years, however, says she knows of nothing in the record to justify such unfettered optimism. Jones says the book is a work of fiction; that's his story, and he’s sticking to it.
He’s part of the last generation of rural veterinarians who worked with cows that had names and personalities, and with dairymen who worked in the barn with their families. He’s also one of those baby boomers, crusty codgers who are writing their wills and grousing about kids who can be damned condescending at times.
Gary practiced bovine medicine in rural Wisconsin for nineteen years. He then returned to graduate school at the University of Minnesota, earned a PhD in microbiology, and spent the next nineteen years working on the development of bovine and swine vaccines.
Doc's Codicil is the bronze medal winner of Foreward's INDIEFAB Book of The Year awards, humor category.
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Gary F. Jones will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.
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This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions. Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.