Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Highlight: Reluctant Spy by Victory Crayne

ABOUT THE BOOK:  Jake Dani is a private eye on the newly colonized planet of Rossa, hired by the planet's prime minister to clear his son of the murder of the First Lady. When Jake agrees reluctantly to help his best friend Ron on a spy mission, he uncovers the genocide of the napes, a native sentient species, by a powerful pharma company.

But if Jake stops the genocide, he puts his own daughter at risk of dying from a deadly brain disease. Then Jake learns that his estranged father is on Rossa—and is missing.

Who Is Victory Crayne?

Ever since I was a child, I've loved to create stories. My dad was an alcoholic and we ended up moving a lot before he passed away when I was thirteen. Now you have to realize that if you are always moving to new schools, it's hard to develop friends. I was alone a lot. So I daydreamed to fill my lonely hours and read a lot. When I could play "school" with other children, I was usually the "teacher" and told stories.

When we had family gatherings for the usual holiday meals, I volunteered to entertain the screaming children by telling them a story. In the beginning, a new child might complain of hearing "Goldilocks and Three Bears." Yeah, I'd heard that story a few hundred times too. So my reply was, "This story is so new even I haven't heard it yet."

Much later, I joined a short story group on the Internet. My first effort came to fourteen thousand words, a bit too long. I saved that sucker for later, after I'm a best-selling author and will try my hand at teaching creative writing, perhaps in a community college.

Then I'll pop that weak story on my poor students and tell them, "If you report to me that this is a wonderful story, well-written, I'll give you a flunking grade. Your best bet to get a good grade is to find as many weaknesses in this story as you can. It's full of them so you should have little trouble." My purpose will be to let them know that if I had started out writing junk and eventually learned enough to write best-selling novels, maybe they could too.

Since that first story, I've written more than two dozen others, ranging from a hundred words to twelve thousand. Sold two of them too.

I turned to novels. Realizing I needed a mentor, I studied bestselling authors with an eye to learning what those authors were doing that I had yet to learn. Along the way, I've participated in many critique groups. I even founded one on the Internet called And I wrote two novels that I now label as "training material."

Sue Grafton once said, "The smartest thing I ever did was to invent somebody who now supports me." She was referring to private investigator, Kinsey Millhone, the protagonist of her best-selling alphabet mysteries. That woke me up to the idea of creating a series of novels with the same protagonist.
So I took two years to design my Jake Dani series. Jake is a spy whose cover is that of being a private investigator. He's on another planet that's being developed by people from Earth. Along the way, he discovers his estranged father is missing. Jake learns that life is a series of lessons. If you don't learn the lesson, you're stuck at that level until you do.

The first novel in the series is Reluctant Spy. The next is tentatively titled Nuclear Blackmail. Each can be read without reading prior novels.
Have I got the magic yet?

The answer is up to you.

-Victory Crayne


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