Dark, gritty, and riddled with back alley characters, The Third Step is one man's journey into the black recesses of his own soul... Meet Frankie, a young, disaffected amateur boxer, really more of a punching bag, a drunk and a drug addict. He is a loser at love, except for his relationship with his grandma, who, rumor has it, is a white witch. She, along with a handful of others, serve as his moral compass. Frankie fights a lifelong struggle to find an understanding of the creator of the universe, not the poisoned caricature painted by the church and the "holy" people who seem to torment him. His journey takes him from the East Coast down to New Orleans to face confrontations with his demons, both real and imagined. Along the way, the story is littered with tales of drug smuggling, murder, an affair with a woman who may be the devil herself, and an ultimate quest for revenge. Frankie comes to terms with his addictions, but his search for a deeper understanding of this God entity and his need to connect with his soul could be his ultimate addiction, one that may follow him beyond the grave...
During my first year of sobriety I took The Third Step literally. I got involved with some seriously shady "born again," folks. A couple of them were quite evil. This chapter is based on those guys and those days. It explores Frankie's confusion between the "good people" who seemed to be using him and filling his head full of guilt and his friends, some of the people society tended to look at down a very long nose.
Pam, possibly the love of Frankie's life or his greatest distraction and his twisted love for her led to the events of this chapter. The events of this night begin and end at The Lovely, Turf's Tavern. On this night a major change Frankie's life took place and it sets up the path he follows till the end of the story.
This chapter dives into Frankie's personal war with the church, his confusion with, perhaps jealousy of, the "holy" people. He realizes Pam is simply Pam, not the image he's created. I think reading this chapter paints a pretty clear picture of Frankie's struggle with the creator of the universe. Frankie asks for no sympathy. He simply wants you to watch the dance.
A rough chapter to write. Frankie loses his moral compass and maybe the only person who ever really loved and understood him. In typical Frankie style he makes a huge scene and finds himself isolated and angry
A face to face review with a literary agent revealed that he liked the book, but the introduction was weak. It didn't grab the reader "by the balls." I went back to my hotel room and pouted, read the first three paragraphs of The Grapes of Wrath. realized Steinbeck could write about fricken dirt and make it compelling. I stopped pouting and rewrote the intro as a prologue.
This is the story of Frankie's Grandfather, Artie. Artie was a dreamer and a drunk and a poet. He lost his oldest son in the second world war. That changed Artie forever. His life turned dark and meaningless. Frankie inadvertently followed in his grandfathers path. All the way to the end...
In this chapter Frankie, after witnessing the death of a friend, contemplates the growing weight he carries with him. A young man with an old man's heart.
I had to re-write the prologue and first chapter after it had been released. An agent really liked the book, but he said it "didn't grab me by the balls...' So, I rewrote it, hopefully this time a little more and powerful...
at the end of his life a lifelong mob hitman must come to terms with the death of his best friend, a mounting government investigation into his past and betrayal as one of his old buddies decides to clear his conscience. Ultimately he needs to face his past in the cold light of truth
This chapter has a lot of action. It is the moment when Richie and Juan cross the line. When they are officially "in." Chapter 4 is a pivotal chapter, the beginning of the rest of the of the story. The diner scene was fun to write. I love diners. I love Jersey. I love Springsteen references.
2017 - Juan's end is coming quickly. Richies past is closing in on him. New players arrive on the scene. Richie is confused who to trust. The Blond bails, she's had enough. 1980's - Richie and juan arrive back in the US, the Florida keys. The next phase, the final phase of "the life" is upon them.
A tough chapter and one that drives a lot of the rest of the story. It also solidified the bond between Richie and Juan.
At the end of his life a lifelong mob hitman must come to terms with the death of his best friend, a mounting government investigation into his past and betrayal as one of his old buddies decides to clear his conscience. Ultimately he needs to face his past in the cold light of truth
I started playing around with these guys before I finished The Third Step. The two books are very loosely related, but not a series at all. Juan, introduced later in here is modeled after Hector Luis. A dangerously violent and troubled man, and while he was alive, my best friend. A part of me thinks this book is somehow a tribute to Luis. We were horrible, broken young men, but Luis was a good soul. I miss him. I hope in this fictionalized account I've shown his good side. His good side was much larger than mine. Our dark sides were equals. I wonder often why I live and Hector Luis did not... Ain't no right and wrong in this world, bro. Just things that happen...
This is the first mention of the White Dog. Without question the creepiest and scariest character I’ve ever developed. He is way too much fun to write! I hope I don't ever meet the White dog, or maybe I have already...
This is a transitional chapter. Some pretty dark times in the Darian Jungle. The time spent here, less than a month reinforces the growing wedge between Juan and Richie. I've been told it is frighteningly descriptive. It was not easy to write
Elle, my editor and I decided we needed to experiment with a sex scene in this book, We did not want some 50 shades crap. So we went with this. Richie, cut up and bleeding and Nicola a local girl have some violent and raw sex. I think it works. it fits them. I'll probably never have a market in the bare chested men with wings genre. I'm ok with that.
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