Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Another road trip...

Off to Boston, New Haven, and New York City, tomorrow. A total of 5 jobs, though a couple are just picking up things to ship. I got some writing done today while I did laundry, but not much else. It's going to be a very full trip so I'll be lucky if I get anything more done. Then on saturday I start back on The Vanishing of Owen Taylor.

Despite my best intentions, I still read a little of what people are saying in their feedback, and it seems the consensus is the opening 2-3 chapters are too busy and I preach too much. Which I can see. I can't wait to dig into this and tear my heart out. Spew blood all over my laptop and pound my head against my brick wall until it crushes in. Typical writer stuff.

I did have an interesting thought...as a form of avoidance -- rewriting a horror/aliens script set in the desert. We Come. I've come up with some very freaky things to do with it by carrying some aspects of the story to the logical end. Too much of it's been too coincidental and easy...and a bit repetitious. I want to get rid of the crap and make it worse than Alien...if possible. Of course, I can't do that on my laptop since I don't have Final Draft...but I do have Movie Outline 3 and may use this time to find out what that is, exactly.

Guess I've found a way to keep moving forward even as I'm off on my adventures...sort of...

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Outline good. Me follow? Bad.

I dunno...I may still be following the basic outline, but Dev keeps shifting on me and I'm beginning to wonder if he's going to wind up where I planned. Now he's begun to obsess over one of the dead men -- the last one, Martin Perriman. He does a sketch of him and it winds up looking like someone else. Plus Diana is proving to be more aware than Dev, in some ways.

This always happens to me -- the characters not only take over but wander off in their own directions to make their own stories that don't always match up with what I thought they'd be. What I intended them to be. So I get lost and have to fight to figure out what it is I'm really trying to say with this book.

I thought about dumping it and jumping over to novelizing The Alice 65, since I already know that story. But that wouldn't make any difference. I'd wind up digging so much into Adam's and Casey's backgrounds and lives and thoughts and dreams, I'd lose sight of their stories, as well.

I've never been good at focusing. It used to be I'd have a hard time getting any project completed. I'd get halfway in and lose interest. I'm still prone to that. Small wonder I've gotten nowhere with my life. I lost focus along the way and then lost interest...for the most part. I still can do things with what I've got, but it's getting harder and harder.

Guess I'm past my use by date.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Oddball me...

I couldn't sleep, last night, so I finally gave up and got up and worked on UG for a little bit. What came out was the time when Dev fought back against his father. I mean an actual physical fight when the man hit him and Dev refused to take it, anymore. He slammed the guy to the floor and stormed away...and that night the man died from a stroke.

I don't say it, but in my mind the fight brought the stroke on...and may have actually happened before Dev left. But he doesn't care. He's so filled with hate for the man, he sees it as a relief.

I should add, this is not from my personal experience. The one time my stepfather punched me, he was drunk and my mother put him in jail for the night. He never laid another hand on me. I was lucky in that way. I've known people who weren't...and this is an amalgam of them. One guy I knew actually faced charges when he fought back and knocked his father out. They were fighting over him coming out. Seems cops in Texas think faggots don't have the right to defend themselves.

I ran into that, myself, once. I wasn't arrested, not like him, but it still...stung. One of the reasons I don't trust cops or prosecutors.

Anyway, I worked till about 5 and was finally sleepy, so got a whole 3 hours sleep before work. I'd have taken the day off since I'm headed for Boston and New York, next week, but I still had a lot to do to get ready for the trip so went in till 3 then came home and took a nap.

And got back to writing...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Going to Hong Kong, again...

I'll be there the third weekend of November for the book fair. This time leaving out of Toronto, via Cathay. It's the only way to work out the connections I needed coming back; any other way I'd have to stay an extra day to be able to complete the job. And all other airlines would have me change planes twice -- like in JFK and Beijing or Seoul or Vancouver. It's insane, the way the airlines have worked their schedules.

I'm still writing along on UG. Got a bit more done about Dev and Tawfi, and have laid out more of what's going on about the murders and Dev's being involved in it all. I'm also playing with Dev and Reg a little. Still haven't worked out how coincidental this all is, but what heck...it's a fantasy, anyway...

It's not easy. We're dog and cat sitting at the office, which our usual office cats are NOT happy about, and that mutt and feline have made my allergies explode. Zyrtek might be able to handle one, but both? Uh-uh. I'm sneezing and my eyes are itching like mo-fos. I'm washing them like crazy with drops and contemplating using Claritin on top the Zyrtek to see if that'll help.

Man...if I seem dopy now...

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Careful-ness...

I did a sketch this evening. Just a pen and ink, head and shoulders of a guy who could be one of my characters, nice and simple. And I liked how it turned out. The sign of a good artist is one who knows when to stop when it's right. Well...I had it right -- a nice expression, deep dark eyes, good proportion and a hint of shading...and then I added a couple bits to the mouth and now it looks like he's got herpes.

Thank god for white-out.

Monday, July 20, 2015

I'm Betty-fied...

My mother used to watch Ugly Betty every week and loved it. I only saw a couple of episodes and didn't get why, but I wound up with the first season's DVD set and decided to watch it ...and it's amazing. The way the show combines over-the-top humor with real-life tragedy is startling. Some of it's clumsy but when it hits, it's out of the park.

America Ferrera does well as Betty, the homely girl with adult braces and cutesy innocence who tries to do the right thing. But by working at Mode, a world where she is nothing but a joke to everyone, she's becoming someone who is adjusting her sense of morality to the real world. When she first shows up, you know she's never even lied to her father. By the end of the first season, she's dumped her boyfriend, started upgrading her wardrobe and put her family on the back burner so many times, she's become the unreliable one.

Michael Urie as Marc St. James is like her polar opposite -- super queen, super nasty, superficial to the max, and yet adorable in a way I can't quiet understand. The show gives him flashes of humanity -- like when his mother rejects him for being gay after he stands up for Betty's family -- and he's damned good at his job as Wilhelmina's assistant. Always in the moment.

Vanessa Williams kills as Wilhelmina Slater. High Queen Bitch whose life revolves around her scheming to gain control of Mode Magazine. She's verging on descending into old age, is scared underneath her gloss and glamour, and will be damned if she'l let anyone know it. She has lovers, not love.

Eric Mabius is a bit bland as Daniel Meade but is beginning to work as the younger brother who's always been dismissed as worthless. Rebecca Romajn is surprising as the transexual Alexis (a nod to Alexis Arquette, who underwent her transition as this show was just beginning to be shot?) and to be honest, 10 years ago I would not have believed a man could be made to look like her...but since Lavergne Cox did it, I'm convinced.

What startled me was the show's willingness to show tragedy along with the comedy. One character is murdered at the end of the first season, in a robbery. While in Mexico, Betty goes looking for her grandmother only to find it was not meant to be in a heartbreaking way.

I found the other three seasons on ebay and bought them. Cheap, too. Which is what I need. It's giving me ideas for my work...and affecting UG in surprising ways.

Should be interesting...

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Le tortoise, c'est moi...

As I move slowly and steadily through the first draft of Underground Guy I find the story shifting in ways I don't understand, with Dev doing things that are somewhat off the wall for him. And yet, are serving to soften him a little. Why? No idea.

But he mentions how he helped his nephews fight back against a bully by showing them some less than proper wrestling moves. And they used them. And got the bully to back down. Mom wasn't happy about the less-than-legal part but still got the hint and enrolled the kids in Aikido so they could learn self-control...and be able to defend themselves.

Then when Diana, the boys' mother and Dev's sister-in-law, confronts him in his London hotel room...he acts more like a teenager who got caught taking the family car without permission than a man who's committed several felonies and faces years in prison. He even refers to an expression she gives him as "having her mommy eyes on stun."

I think Diana scares him a little...which could be fun to play with. She really is like a mother, knowing all and not letting her kids get away with any bullshit. My grandmother was like that. She always seemed to know when any of us had tried to pull a fast one.

There was one occasion where a cousin and I spent the last of our money on a packet of cigarettes and had to walk from downtown San Antonio to her place because we didn't have bus fare. It was only 5 miles and we did it in just over an hour. We thought we were so clever; no one would ever know. Next morning, first question she asked was, "How was your walk?" I never found out how she knew.

What I did find out was I can't smoke. When I try, my voice vanishes. Not as I'm smoking but shortly thereafter. I think the only time I ever had a cigarette and enjoyed it without that happening was when we wrapped the hideous shoot of Wilderness Rule, in Houston. My script. The director's money. Total fuck up, from beginning to end.

I was with a couple of cute guys named Sean and Shane, not related, who acted in the film. We drove from the location to a crewmember's apartment at top speed singing Bohemian Rhapsody because it had a lovely lyric about killing a man and we were contemplating homicide. We drank beer after beer, and since we were in a room of smokers, I smoked a couple cigs. Since it was such an emotionally fraught time, I didn't even think about the voice thing...but I was pretty much fine the next day. Probably because my throat was lubricated with Heineken.

The movie was never finished. Mostly because I tried to please everybody and wound up pleasing no one, especially myself. It left a mark on me. If you ever want to know why I'm locked into second-guessing myself, this project explains it. I refer to it as my Mark of Cain.

Maybe I should change my name to that...

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Damn you, Bugs Bunny!

He let me down!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Brain slipped for tortal fun...

This is probably how I'd handle taking care of a tortoise. Them things is party reptiles, they is.
Except I'd never let him near piss-water like Coors. Guinness or, if a lighter brew is wanted, Amstel only. With cheese sticks and marinara sauce...lots of it... 

I do not condone the use of drugs in any way, form, or fashion and had no idea he'd be dumb enough to take a selfie doing it...

Bastard caught on to what I do when I'm not working or writing, but if he thinks he can blackmail me -- HA! Got him right back...

No where's that friggin' hare so I can send them out on a race and test my theory that the old tale about the tortoise and the hare is really just good PR work from tortal's people?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Okay, I've lost my mind...

I keep thinking about turning Carli's Kills into a black comedy...which is crazy as hell. I can do black, it's comedy I'm crap at. I don't have the timing for it. Or something. I dunno. But no matter how hard I try to focus on Underground Guy, which doesn't even begin to want to be funny...except in those moments needed to leaven the suspense and drama...I can't drop thoughts about CK.

Dammit.

I've begun to wonder if I ever had any control over my brain. I've always been the type who goes from moment to moment assuming everything will be okay and never really been able to plan for the future. Wrong -- I do plan, I just don't follow through with them. I'll start then get side-tracked and forget where I was and have to start over again, albeit from a different place.

A coworker of mine is one of those people who can plan her life down to the minute and do it. Keep every one of them. If she's going to be someplace at 3:15, she's there. If she has twenty minutes to cut her lawn, it's cut. She's a whirling dervish at logistics while I'm a slug. I can pack books really well, but handle detail work? Fuhgeddaboudit...

The only thing I'm consistent about is dreaming.