Sam Hawken Posts

Make Them Sorry, by Sam HawkenHot on the heels of the great review from Publishers Weekly, we hear from Booklist, who’s even more excited for Camaro Espinoza (link).  While I haven’t started hearing from you, the readers, I look forward to your thoughts.  I continue to think Make Them Sorry [link] is the best Camaro novel thus far, and you’ll love it.

Miami accountant Faith Glazer is sure she’s being stalked. She’s seen him outside her office, and she senses that he has even been in her apartment, so she goes to one of the city’s fighting gyms to learn how to defend herself. But she soon decides she needs a personal instructor and approaches the most formidable woman in the gym, Camaro Espinoza (Walk Away, 2017 [link]).  Reluctantly, Camaro agrees to train her. She also tells Faith to buy a gun.

Faith does so, and when the stalker invades her home and brutally assaults her, Faith shoots him six times. Soon after, Camaro’s home is invaded by three men with assault rifles. Camaro kills them. The three dead men are found to be Armenian thugs, and Hawken is off to the races in a violent, twisty story of Colombian coca lords, bent Miami bankers, and money laundering. Camaro is a fascinating character, adding several nice variations on the typical genre “tough guy.” She’s a decorated veteran of America’s various Middle Eastern military adventures who keeps even potential friends at a distance, explaining that she has an “anger problem.” Fans of head-banging thrillers will love Camaro.

I don’t think it gets more enthusiastic than that.  Thank you to Booklist and thank you for your readership.  It means the world to me.

Be sure to get your copy of Make Them Sorry, the latest Camaro Espinoza thriller, available for purchase right now at your favorite bookseller. (link)

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Sam HawkenThere’s a cliché that writers, especially good writers, are all either unhinged, or on the cusp of being so.  While there may be some degree of truth to this, as bipolar disorder (from which I suffer) can and does contribute to periods of enhanced written production, I think I can safely say you’d probably consider not having bipolar disorder more of a plus to your writing ambitions than the other way around.  Which brings me to my point: madness is not a prerequisite for being a creative soul.

Despite that fact that it’s a new century and we ought to know better, there’s still this idea that mental illness is somehow a character flaw.  If only we were tough enough, or practical enough, or did enough yoga or had a better diet, that pesky depression (or whatever) would simply disappear.  Being tough, practical and/or healthy doesn’t hurt in general, but not being those things doesn’t cause mental illness and they certainly aren’t a cure.  If one were to say one had cancer, and someone recommended jogging as a way to fix the problem, I believe it’s legal in most states to bludgeon that person.

Mental illness need not be so severe that it causes suicide in order to be taken seriously.  Any level of mental illness is a concern and deserves treatment.  If you’re experiencing manic episodes, or suffering from long-term depression, or you’re having disordered thoughts, seek help.  Even if you don’t have a lot of (or any) money, options are out there if you look.

And whatever you do, don’t use the excuse that you might upset your writing life somehow by addressing your illness.  These things — creativity and mental health — aren’t inversely related.  In fact, you may find your writing improves dramatically when the true roadblocks to wellness are removed.

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Freewrite, by AstrohausThough I haven’t heard from Astrohaus yet — come on, guys! — I still think often of the Freewrite (link) and how much I’d like to put one to the test.  If you haven’t read about my desire to acquire one, check out the (link) to an entry where I talk about it.

In that entry, I mentioned the Freewrite was originally called the Hemingwrite.  I love that name, and I’m sorry they changed it, though I know Hemingway doesn’t have the same cachet he used to.  Which is a damned shame, I’d like to say, because “Big Two-Hearted River” (link) is the single best piece of fiction ever wrought by the hand of man.  And, no, I’m not engaging in hyperbole there.  If I ever write something a tenth as good as “River,” I’ll die happy.

Freewrite is a perfectly good name, but why “Hemingwrite” in the first place?  Well, it turns out it was called such a thing for two reasons: 1) it was meant to be used in the same manner in which Hemingway wrote his own fiction, and 2) because it was specifically designed to resemble the Royal Quiet De Luxe Hemingway preferred.

Ernest HemingwayThis latter is one of those funny things, because the day I discovered the Freewrite, I had been looking at old Royal Quiet De Luxe typewriters as a cheap, simple, portable writing option, both because the Quiet De Luxe was (and is) an excellent typewriter, and because I’m a Hemingway fanboy and it seemed like a cool thing to do.

As far as drafting goes, it’s an interesting approach.  Because typewriters are necessarily different than word processors due to the limitations of physical keys striking a piece of paper versus a screen where a cursor can be clicked anywhere for instant editing, writing has to be done in perpetual forward motion.  Sure, you can backspace and XX over a false word or two, but for the most part a writer writes, then comes back to the text later with a red pencil.  Composition and editing/revision are separate steps, which is exactly what the Freewrite does.

I’m more interested in this thing all the time.

Writing