Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Friday, January 30, 2015

New face needed...

I think I'm as ready as I can be for my trip on Sunday, paperwork-wise; tomorrow's the day I do errands like inform the bank of where I'm going and get my travel sizes and do laundry so I'll have clean clothes to take. Tedious nonsense that means running around. That gave me the chance to start looking for another face for Jake, this evening, and I found some interesting ones...though none exactly right.

I happened onto a site called CanStockPhoto, and a photographer who's come close to what I'm looking for...and who may be open to working up one just like I want.

This one is interesting for his expression and eyes, but not enough of a goatee. Still, he'd work; he's got a decent growl going. I'd just have to get rid of the racket and arm.

This guy has the goatee, nose and eyes, but he's a bit soft. Still, for the cover his expression is also good, in a surprised and wary way. I bought a license for both at $8 each for a quality file. That's a bit cheaper than Shutterstock and you can buy them individually instead of having to get 5 to get the decent price.

I do like this one of Jon Gomez, who does self-portraits. His face is damn close to Jake's, but his beard is full. I may contact him -- he lives in Brooklyn -- and see if he has anything similar to this, only with a goatee and wearing a shirt. This is not going to be an erotic novel, so I don't want to give off the wrong impression.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

I go Portugal...

Bought my ticket, today. Be there 5 days, with a car for three of them. This may prove interesting. I'm thinking back, and the only literary reference I can recall to Lisbon is in Candide, then he gets there just after the earthquake of 1755 and is nearly executed as a heretic, or something. It's been a while since I read the book. Of course, there's the last plane to Lisbon, where there's a Clipper to America, in Casablanca.

And that brings an odd sense of connection to my writing, since I just changed a script to be set in Casablanca. I know I posted this before, but it seems even more appropriate, now...

World goes round and round...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Feeling better...

Cipro's doing the job, even though it's the granddaddy of all antibiotics. I'm still worn out and a bit down, but that could be from other causes.

The photographer refused my request to use Guilherme's photo for the cover of The Vanishing of Owen Taylor. Seems my earlier work freaked him out. Oh, I know what I'm looking for. I've got a couple of credits left at Shutterstock; I'll check there in more detail, but first glance is not promising. A full beard is NOT a goatee, and most of the guys are just ugly. Maybe I'll contact the photographer who helped me on the new cover for Porno Manifesto. He came up with a damn good image.

Man, February's shaping up to be an intense month. I've got the packing job at UCLA, The Miami Map Fair, a pickup to supervise in Dayton, OH, and a trip to Lisbon to plan...and that's on top of helping with the setup of shipments back to dealers from the Pasadena and Oakland book fairs (that's 130 shipments at one time, with customs paperwork to file on ⅔ of them). My co-worker, who can multi-task like you would not believe, is even a bit frazzled. For me, multi-tasking is chewing gum and typing at the same time...and even then I sometimes bite the inside of my lip.

That hurts.

OT's not getting done, yet

I got overloaded, today, with prepping for the upcoming book fairs and packing job. I also had an EEG, this morning, to make sure I have a brain; they say I do, but I'll wait for the results. And I'm in the middle of prepping a brief for the packing job I went to scout, which will be a fun one; I need that done before I leave on Sunday. And even better, I wound up with a urinary tract infection so spent half the evening at the doctor's late hours clinic and am now on Cipro. I will be throughout my trip to LA. MFSOB.

Oh, least it wasn't cancer or a kidney stone or an ulcer or even my liver deciding it's had enough of me. I had a friend with Hepatitis B and his liver went nuts, to where he was in a hospital, hallucinating, for a week. Such is life in the big city. My new goal is to have a good draft before I head to Lisbon (yes, they accepted our bid!).'s some photos I took of the drive back.

 Naked trees stuck in snow.
A babbling brook that would probably make you into an ice cube if you even stuck your toe in it. My phone said it was was 8 degrees and wind chill -3. They weren't kidding.
And this is along the I-90. I don't know what it is, but I love the look of these frozen cascades. I missed getting a picture of the best one; it was nearly 60 feet tall, but there was nowhere to pull over and semis were barreling down on me. What makes that spooky is, I was going 70.

I also tried to do a video of me whipping down the I-90 at that speed. Can't use it, unless you take dramamine. But it is pretty country, and The Berkshires are magnificent in the snow.

It's just, since I'm under the weather, right now, I want winter over (and my non-stop typos to end).

Monday, January 26, 2015

Long drive home...

...It took 8 hours, thanks to snow and sleet, but made it back. Grumpy because I didn't stop for dinner and didn't like anything I had here, to least, anything that wouldn't take an hour to fix. So I had some tea and finished off some snacks I'd brought along in case I got snowbound.

What's good about these drives is, once I let my mind roam, I get ideas on stories I'm writing. What's bad is, I get ideas that show me I made some wrong choices. My ending for OT needs to be rewritten because I finally realized it's totally backwards. I like it...but it ain't right. Jake's actions on the last two pages are totally wrong. Dammit.

However, the new direction I'm taking it has given me the answer to the question that starts off the book. Which I didn't really have yet. I'd plugged in a response, but it was weak. Now? It's granite.

I better watch it. I'm starting to feel comfortable about how the story's playing out. That's always a bad sign, with me.

I had ideas for other stories, too. The Alice '65 is starting to seem more and more like a book in my head. Same for Carly's Kills. And I'm trying to figure out how to spend two months in Ireland to research both Place of Safety and Darian's Point. The latter to dig deeper into Irish mythology and research at the University in Galway. The former, returning to Derry and digging into the society that was theirs in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

Hmph, sometimes I wonder if this is the direction I was meant to go, the whole time, and I'm just now seeing it.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Illness does not become me...

I made it to Springfield in 7 ½ hours, but it was a struggle. I barely slept, last night, thanks to this cold or flu or whatever, so stopped at every service area on the 90 between Buffalo and Massachusetts to keep from getting sleepy. I even drank a Red Bull. Not my favorite drink...especially in blueberry.

I rented a car to drive here, which I will be reimbursed for. It's a Nissan Juke 4-wheel drive and is not easy on gas, but I figured it's better to have extra traction than take the little-bitty Fiat I was offered. I can just see me trying to get through snow in that.

Problem is, the Juke is not very comfortable. The seats are on the hard side with minimal support, and it's difficult to position them in the right place for me to hold the steering wheel. It had cruise control, at least, which I kept at 5mph over the speed limit. That way, I was able to avoid getting tickets, because state troopers were out everywhere.

Leaving Buffalo, there were snow flurries and occasional threats of worse, but not enough to cover the road. Once I got past Syracuse, it was blue sky. I hear the storm is now expected tomorrow, hopefully not till I'm en route back to Buffalo. All I'm doing is scouting out a packing job's logistics; my goal is to be out of here by 11am.

It's a long drive, and I don't like doing it when I'm not feeling good...and I did not let a single writing thought enter my brain...but that's the way it works. And truth is, I like the solitude.


Long drive ahead

Headed to Springfield, MA to scout a job, tomorrow, and it's going to be cold icy weather all the way. A 7 hour trip may take 10 hours. Not looking forward to it.

I found an image I want to use for the cover of OT, and got hold of the photographer who took it. It's an image of Guilherme Duprat, who I used as the image for Daniel in The Lyons' Den. We're discussing my licensing it, but he has to talk to the guy. Of course, if it's too expensive, I can't do it.

Since getting my flu shot, I've tried to come down with the flu, twice. First time was in Hong Kong. Today it hit me and made me cranky, and it was hard to focus. At least I got through another chapter then sat in a hot bath for an hour. I feel a little better.

I'm trying to get into The Blood of Others, by Simone de Beauvoir, but the way she's got the women as flighty subjects of the men, and the men as deep thinkers who are all action, even as they say they are's hard to believe this was written by a woman.

Shit, I'm tired; I'm going to bed.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Crazy time begins...

Let's see, we have two book fairs and a map fair, four packing jobs and a scouting trip happening in the next four weeks...including what looks like a probable trip to Lisbon, Portugal the last week of February. My head's spinning trying to keep track of it all.

Sunday I'm driving 350 miles to scout out another packing job that's not due for a while but will be good-sized. The 8th I'm headed to Miami to handle the Miami Map Fair after spending a week in LA on two other jobs. Both whirlwind trips because of all the paperwork that needs to be addressed for the California book fairs.

It amazes me, sometimes, that I'm able to still be able to work on OT. But I've gone through two more chapters, again, and it's twisting its way to the end. My feeling is, the explanation's still to convoluted, so I'm going to keep aiming for clarity. Problem is, that increases my word count, something I've been trying to avoid.

I did get an idea for the book's cover image. An over-the shoulder shot of Jake, looking back at the camera, his face in profile; a silhouette of a man's figure on a hillside in the near distance; and the lights of Palm Springs spread out between them up to a set of dark mountains and midnight sky. I did a quickie sketch of it, last night. Now I just need time to start working on it.

Ah, time...the poor man's luxury...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Wildness in weirdness...

Okay, you have to see this to believe it...because Carol Channing can rock even the craziest of moments imaginable...and she proves it in spades, here...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Promises are absurd...

I'm going through the last part of OT in pairs of chapters to keep from getting all caught up in the story and characters, and it's been good to do. I see inconsistencies easier and find my typical typos. I also get ideas to make those chapters stronger, but that sometimes means going back and changing things.

Like just a moment ago, as I was about to shut down...all of a sudden Jake pulled out his sketch pad and did some sketching. And it reminded me that's the first time I have him do that in the whole book. He's an artist. If he's anything like me, he'll need to do some work every day to feel like he's okay with the world.

So...I now want to go back and add in a couple of bits where he pulls out his sketch pad or book or something. Guess it's going to come together despite me.

I'll be in LA the first week of February, working in Westwood. I got a hotel on Sepulveda, not too far away. And there's the possibility of me being sent to Lisbon to pack up a library. That's still in the formative stages so I can't even begin to be hopeful, but I think it'd be wild. That's another place I'd never go on my own.

Hmm...I've been trying to come up with a good image for the cover of OT. I want to start doing some preliminary publicity for it and one thing would be to work up some images. Maybe I should have Jake do a self-portrait and use that. I did that after the fact for the characters in The Lyons' Den and like how they turned out.

But I doubt I'll be allowed to use Aidan Turner's image.