Running and Writing  

Posted by Brock Booher

The best training I ever did for writing a book was running a marathon. Both require long lonely hours of training and preparation. Both require discipline and sacrifice. Both can bring elation, and pain.

But writing a book is like running a marathon without mile markers or a watch.

You slave away at your computer trying to put words on the page that make sense, words that move the story forward, and words that captivate. Sometimes a scene flows from your fingertips like electricity. Other times its like squeezing blood from a turnip.

When you run a marathon, cheering crowds line the racecourse and encourage you along. Nobody cheers for you when you fiddle for hours with the opening sentence of a scene until you can’t see straight. No one is there to shout inspiring words to you as you grapple with plot structure. Writing is an art form that is both created, and enjoyed,

But there comes a point where you have to get the manuscript out of the house. Your hours of effort need validation, even if comes in the form of negative critical feedback. Like the cheering crowds on race day, you need someone to say, “Keep going! You can do it!” (Or maybe, “Stop you idiot! You look like you are about to die!”)

So, here I go…

I am posting the tagline, the back copy, and the first few paragraphs of my manuscript,
Donor’s Club. I WANT FEEDBACK, even the negative kind if you are so inclined. I am only giving you the first few paragraphs, because more likely than not, that is all an agent or editor will read before passing judgement on a manuscript.

The main question is –
would you keep reading? Feel free to post below, or email your comments to All I ask is that you speak up, and let me know that I’m still in the race.


Julio fights to survive and care for his brother in the slums of Lima until a mysterious foreign benefactor comes to his aid. Then, the struggle to stay alive begins.

Back Copy

What is the value of a life?

Julio promised his dying mother that he would take care of his brother. In order to survive on the streets of Lima and fulfill his promise, he chooses to accept the help of Isak, a mysterious foreign benefactor. His life is transformed, but in ways he doesn't expect. He soon finds himself in a fight to survive, and must decide on the value of a life.

Chapter One

Julio wrung the cool water out of the stained rag and placed it on his mother’s feverish forehead hoping to ease her pain. He caressed her hand as he listened to her ragged breathing grow more shallow and strained. She was dying, and he felt powerless against her certain death.

No me mueras, please don’t die Mamá,” he begged. “Raúl has gone for a doctor. He’ll be back soon.” He squeezed her listless hand. “Please do not die!”

His mother’s eyes struggled open and the corners of her mouth curled upward into a soft warm smile. “Julio,” she said in a raw and raspy voice. Her eyes were still fixed on the ceiling. “You are such a good son.” She coughed without covering her mouth. “You carry the name of your Papá. Do you know what it means?”

Julio reached up and turned over the cloth on her head. “Sí Mamá, I know.”

“Tell me.” She turned her hollow eyes to his. “Tell me what it means.”

Julio bowed his head, and dutifully recited what he had been taught many times. “You named me after Papá - Julio César. Like Papá, I was named for Julio César the Roman ruler. My father’s last name, Camino, means the way or path. My Incan mother’s last name, Pachacutec, means one who turns, or changes the world.”


Now its your turn...

A Family That Fights Together  

Posted by Brock Booher

I woke forty minutes before my alarm went off. It was the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, and we were going to celebrate it on the field of battle.

Since it was the shortest day of the year, we watched the sun come up during the drive. The sky was cast in a brilliant orange and red as we left the house. We were all dressed in old military fatigues and armed with the latest weapons. The conversation buzzed with excitement and statements of bravado. We were going paintballing!

Somewhere along the way, the game of tag has evolved into a much more sophisticated, and expensive, game called paintball. You run around among the bushes and trees in some designated area and try and tag each other with a hurtling ball of dyed soap encased in a thick pliable shell. When you tag someone they are out of the game until the next round. When you get tagged, it can sting a bit, and sometimes leaves a welt. The measure of pain keeps you sharp and on your toes, keeps you honest, and sends the adrenaline coursing through your veins.

The morning was brisk when we got out of the truck, perfect for keeping us cool in the layers of clothing and protective headgear. Our designated spot sported some small trees, several thick bushes, and a few bunkers made of tires.

We dropped the tailgate of the truck and began gearing up for the fight. The air was filled with the hiss of compressed carbon dioxide as the tanks were attached to the guns, the sound of the paintballs plinking against the plastic hoppers as the guns were loaded, and the dull ratatatat of the weapons being test fired. It was mingled with the active conversation about past battles and future boasts.

After everyone was kitted up and ready to play, we chose teams. For the first two games, the five members of my family were pitted against the other five. A family that fights together, stays together… or dies together. We stayed together – and cleaned up the opposition without a loss!

With the adrenaline rush of the first game starting to wane, we continued to pick teams and fight. Shouts of warning and shouts of pain were mingled with shots of paint hurtling through air searching for a mark. I got nailed in the leg. I shot my son between the eyes. We laughed. We screamed. We argued. We encouraged. We had fun!

With the compressed gas and paintballs all spent, we nursed our wounds and our pride. We boasted of our prowess and our courage on the field of battle. We laughed at our blunders that ended with the sting of paint. We cleaned up our guns, gathered our trash, and with broad grins on our faces, we climbed into the trucks and headed home.

Most sports are a microcosm of life. Entering a non-lethal field of battle with my kids taught us to work together, watch out for one another, and stand shoulder-to-shoulder against an enemy hell-bent on our demise. If I could only convince them to apply those principles when the time comes to clean and sanitize their bathroom…