Maybe God Smiles On You

I have a couple of novels which were picked up by an editor several years ago, and promptly were dropped by his publisher (who dropped him as well). Eventually my agent gave up on me, or my novels, and I went on to other stuff. Now I’m going to try hawking the originals again, but would appreciate some feedback/reaction.

The first is titled Maybe God Smiles On You. I’ve written a new lead chapter, titled “Joseph,” so the piece I’m presenting is so far innocent of editorial eyes. It’s a short chapter, but even so, it seems cumbersome to post here on the forum, and I’m leery of downloads generally.

It’s posted at

I’d appreciate any comments you have-- here, or as a comment at the site, or by e-mail (there’s an address at essoji).


y bad,mad, old whore, y!!! where`s the feckin rest of it!!!

My first impressions:

I do realize that your villain was attempting to distinguish between male and female, but you use the word ‘man’ so many times that it bothered me. Perhaps some of them could be shifted? for example:

They - instead of ‘the two men’
Neither of them - instead of ‘neither man’

It’s just something I noticed.

Also, the line “This person was nothing like the woman who hurt his mother.” That seemed like too much information for an introductory chapter. Let me slowly gain insight into the killer’s mind instead of giving me a blunt explanation up front.

I could definitely picture the gloom of the cemetery and the darkness, and I found myself keen to know why someone was looking for people to shoot in a cemetery.

P.S. Did the gun have a silencer?

vic: the last half of it is on my hard drive, ready to go. The middle third, alas, is somewhere in the recesses of my brain, reluctant to face the open world. I’m re-writing an old piece, and while the story line is complete, I’ve made several changes – mostly dropping characters and tangential events – that need to be filtered through the whole ms.

dixonge: about “men,” I hadn’t realized, and will re-read with that in mind. The pistol is a small one, and not loud, and the murder sites places where the sound would be un-heard or un-remarked. (I’m trusting the advice of a couple gun-enthusiast friends on this one.) Your point about the “mother” is valid; I wondered about it myself and may move it – though there are very few places to move it to, which I can’t explain without giving away a critical plot element.

Thank you both.


so what we sayin ere, is: Im gonna have t travel to Sheenanland; paddle me canoe up the river Jameson; set snares to catch the midddle bit, so I can join up, Begining to End. Jeeezz! s ard work that!

I respectfully disagree; I thought it was just the hook one might need to keep reading. It’s all very well to tease with mysteriousness, but readers need something concrete to care about while they are being teased down the path. I was trying to keep all the information together in my head; that line helped coalesce the vagueness into a goal I could understand.

What we hook them with in the beginning doesn’t have the be the hook that carries them to the end. But being too vague in the beginning can make the reader fell they don’t have enough impetus, and that this frustrating state of affairs might continue through the whole work.

After all, how many times has a movie or book done this to us; tease with great revelations down the road, and even if they deliver, the effort involved to “stick with it” is not adequately rewarded if too much frustration has been built up.

We want them to enjoy the journey, not just the destination.