Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Rape In Holding Cell 6

I went through my docx copy of this story and reformatted it, corrected grammatical mistakes I stupidly decided made sense, and made it look more like a professional book than a self-published vanity novel. While doing so, I reread it...and I'm damned proud of it. I call it one of my adult novels because it has some very intense sexual moments in it, but it also has a protagonist who's borderline insane, driven there first by grief and then by fear for the safety of a man he loves.

I hadn't realized just how nuts Antony is in this...but he's dangerous. He believes in a scorched earth policy when dealing with those who threaten him, and has since he was a child. Yet he also loves his Jake so deeply and completely, he'd die for him. The problems that explode are when his emotions take over from his brain, without him realizing it, and he makes mistakes that nearly destroy him. He's not a hero or even an anti-hero; he's a psychotic fuck who also has some major redeeming qualities to him.

I decided to update the formatting because this book is the real lead-in to The Vanishing of Owen Taylor, and I want them to be consistent with each other. Margins. Contents page. Block justified instead of left justified...something that really made the book seem amateurish. And I can update it at no cost on Lightning Spark till the end of the month, so I'd be a fool not to take advantage of this.

It's sold okay -- not on the scale of How To Rape A Straight Guy, but that one's title is so provocative I halfway think people read it just to see if it lives up to itself. So far, no one's said otherwise and, in fact, I've gotten some pretty nice feedback on it...mostly of the shocked sort from people who never thought they could care about a man who commits a brutal rape. When I get those comments, I preen like a peacock.

I think I'll reformat Bobby Carapisi, next. It's another book people are shocked by...and horrified by...and the truth is, I was way too heavy with it. I'm not rewriting it; just using it to remind myself I prefer Tolstoy's humanity to Dostoyevsky's wallowing in the brutality of life...and need to keep that in mind when writing. As I've said before, Shakespeare put comedy even into his tragedies because he knew the audience needs the respite.

Still in the process of learning that...

Friday, May 18, 2018

Okay...scene submitted...

I sent my 6-page scene from The Alice '65 to ABC Discovers and expect nothing back, but it was free and maybe it'll get someone to read the book. You never know. I got some interesting feedback to use on it, so I think it works...and it made Adam happy. Now I can return my focus to Place of Safety and begin the step outline for the Houston section of the book.

Brendan's pushing me to take it as far as I can...so I am. I'll try and take it even darker and yet funnier, if possible, using some of my own experiences living in San Antonio during the 70s...and those of some of my friends. People I know. Not everything has to be from your own life...as this book is proving to me.

I'm going to try a slightly different manner of writing the book. As I go through and work up the first draft, I'm also going to shift over to other books I want to write, in an attempt to keep from becoming too caught up in how massive the thing is. I've sort of tried this before without much success...but I want to do it, again, just to see what happens.

I've got Underground Guy to finish, which is really just a fun piece of gay erotica cloaked in a serial killer mystery and focused on a bastard who's forced to see what damage he's doing to people. Not sure if he'll change...but no demands, either way.

I've got Carli's Kills, which would be a fun piece to do for women, with Zeke being objectified by Carli in a way men objectify women. Make it as erotic as possible without much in the way of language or crudity. Just to see how explicit I could be without a single cock or dick or pussy mentioned it...maybe no foul language, at all. It would be a simple book to shift over from script format, I think. We'll see.

I could do the same with Blood Angel, though that would be more intense. Sex connected to murderous horror, with Gabrielle and Dmitry covering both versions of it -- gay and straight. Maybe I'll change the battle over Tristan to one where each is trying to bring him to their side, drop this The One shit, since that's really pretty hackneyed.

Or...I could go the opposite extreme and make The Cowboy King of Texas into another rom-com like A65. Counter-programming with something light and farcical.  It's a thought.

It just all shows me how much I have left to do...

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Catching up is hard to do...

Today I spent preparing applications for UK export licenses for some American book dealers going to the London Book Fair. It took hours and hours, and I couldn't even do all of them because I ran out of blank application forms. We have a package of them in our London storage, but don't do me no good here. So my colleagues will have to do the remainder of them...by hand, in London. Not fun.

Just to let you know, because of a lot of cultural fraud and manipulation by various groups in past years, the EU worked up a system by which books, for example, that are over 100 years of age and valued at more than $55,000 have to get an official okay to be shipped out of the region. Each country, has its own little specifications and some can be very difficult. The UK is relatively the easiest of them all to deal with.

First you have to have an EORI number (Economic Operators Registration Identification number), which an American company can get in the UK if they show a need for it. Then, if you're bringing the books or artwork in for an exhibition or fair, you have to provide proof of import entry, fill out a long form that's in triplicate (I type them and go very slowly, because typos are very much frowned upon), submit documentation of the book's value, a description, copy of the import entry and signed application...and usually you get the okay within 5 days. Not always, but usually.

We've had issues with American dealers insisting that since their books are only going for exhibition, they don't require an export license to be brought home. Not true. Even if it's brought into the UK and taken straight out, again, you have to get a license (unless you're not declaring the book, but if you do sneak it in and sell it, then the provenance is all screwed up...and no institution will touch anything that does not have a legal paper trails of its history, anymore).

Of course, we've also had British dealers tell us certain items I know require a license do not require one. And others have told me I'm wrong when I say their license is expired or filled in wrong, because I'm American, not British. So I refer them to the Arts Council, who issues the licenses in the UK, to be disabused of their opinions. It's amazing how stubborn and obtuse people can get until smacked down by authority.

And some still try to pull shit...and they sometimes get caught. Then it's all, You have to help me! Which we do as best we can. But sometimes that means getting a lawyer familiar with customs rules and regulations to handle the situation, and that ain't cheap. But if you want your $100K worth of books back you got to fork it out.

I once made the mistake when I was at Heritage of trying to be sneaky in order to get a book to a dealer in Italy. It got snagged and took us thousands of dollars and months to get it back, and got another dealer in trouble because he'd sold it to us without the proper paperwork involved. After that, I went strictly by the book...

...so to speak...

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Reworked and ready-er...


Made it more contained...more explanatory...more of a synopsis of the story, really.

FADE IN:

A state of the art kitchen in chrome and brass. CASEY, a beautiful young woman in a cocktail dress, leads ADAM in. The same age as her, he’s bookish and in a suit. Party music and voices rumble from another room.

ADAM
(British)
Good God, this is bigger than my flat in Ruislip.

CASEY
That where you live?

She takes two tubs of Mac & Cheese from a cupboard, pours in water and pops them in a microwave.

ADAM
Nora and I, till we parted. Couldn't afford it on my
own. Casey, what’re you doing?

CASEY
You said you were hungry. And the food being served
out there is crap...

ADAM
But is this all right?


CASEY
Why shouldn’t it be?

ADAM
It’s not your home, it’s Lando Grissoms’ and —

CASEY
Hey, I helped that son-of-a-bitch find this house! Spent
months looking for it, all over town. Connected him
with my decorator. I was here more than I was at home.
Besides, I bought these, and I’ll be damned if I leave
anything behind. It’ll just go to waste. He — he thinks
Mac and Cheese is beneath him, now.

ADAM
...Sorry. And may I say, your Lando is a fool?

CASEY
...He’s not mine, anymore.

ADAM
Then why did we come to his party?

CASEY
Had to. Make everyone think I’m well and good.
That’s so fucking important in this town. Always
land on your feet. And having a man with me who
nobody knows — what better way to prove it?

ADAM
Brilliant...am I your rent boy?

CASEY
Oh, stop. There's water in the fridge.

The microwave dings. She pulls the tubs out and carefully peels off the covers. Adam gets bottles of water. She pulls out silverware and hands him a tub with spoon.

CASEY
Chow down, baby.

ADAM
Thanks. Cheesy pasta...mum calls this nourishment
for heart attacks, but when in starvation mode...

He digs in. She toys with hers as she looks around.

CASEY
Lando Grissom. I’m still trying to figure out how he
and I got together. Self-absorbed brats should never
partner up.

ADAM
I don’t see you as being like that.

CASEY
You don't know me. I don’t know me. I should’ve
known him. It’s not like I hadn’t seen him around, at
parties, awards ceremonies. Different girl, every time.
But I was too focused on another actor I was dating.
Vinny. A nice guy who couldn't decide if he was gay,
straight or bi. But he did like being with me; got him
sympathy from the gossip rags.

ADAM
Don’t they like you? Why?

CASEY
Oh, on my first series, someone on the crew called me a
demanding little diva. And it’s still brought up whenever
something goes wrong. Like it did when I caught Lando
with some bitch. Who knew smearing his car with doggie-
doo would make headlines around the world?

ADAM
Did it?

CASEY
You must’ve seen the Telegraph, Daily Mail...

ADAM
I pay them no mind.

CASEY
Good. It’s all bullshit. Vinny’s the perfect example. His
then boyfriend saw me in Neiman's and warned me, He's
using you, so don't be surprised about me. I wasn't; I can
add two and two. That's what I told him, and he nodded
and walked away. The Inquirer turned it into a screaming
match in the middle of cosmetics, photos arranged to look
like we were about to get into a knife fight. Vinny got
outed, and I was disparaged as the other woman in a gay
man's life.

ADAM
Not really? That must have taken some rather bizarre
gymnastics in in the writing process.

CASEY
They did backflips, pommel horse, you name it. Anyway,
one day I was at a party and my limo vanished, and Lando
gave me a ride home. And we talked. And we started seeing
each other. We were tabloid fodder by the second date, but
at least this spin was positive. He was kind. Attentive. Loving,
even though I was a bigger name than him. Dozen movies
to my credit. Two series. I liked him. I wanted him with me
always, so got him onto Ilithium Four.

Adam focuses on his tub of food.

ADAM
I’d rather not remember that film.

CASEY
Oh? Oh, Adam, are you one of those preferred the book
people?

ADAM
It was a classic work of science fiction and he was not
at all correct for the character he portrayed and he — sorry,
I — I didn’t mean to — I mean, you were good in it but...

CASEY
Oh, stop. It was a piece of crap. But I enjoyed making it.
Enjoyed the whole shoot. Lando and me. Five romantic
months at a beach resort near Cape Town. You ever been?

ADAM
No. I dislike travel.

CASEY
But you just flew thousands of miles to here...

ADAM
Only to collect the book your grandfather’s donated to
my university.

CASEY
I think you’d like Cape Town. Lando and I, we looked all
over that city. Once we even took the last cable car up to
Table Mountain. God, that ride. Clear sky filled with red.
City lights glistening in the evening's shadows. Millions
of them. Each one representing a person whose life was as
distinct and meaningful as ours. The beauty of it...such
overwhelming beauty...as we whispered up and up — I
started to weep. So Lando slipped to behind me. Wrapped
his arms around my waist. Put his chin in the crook of my
neck. Soft. Tender. And he whispered, That’s real cool.

Adam covers a laugh with a cough and bite of the Mac & Cheese.

CASEY
Yeah, Shakespeare reborn. But I didn't care. I was in
love. The tabloids got a lot of niceness to fill their pages,
for the next three years. Did wonders for my reputation
as well as his career. Till two weeks ago. And now look
at me; in his kitchen, comfort-eating and spilling my guts
to a man I all but blackmailed to be here. Perfect. And
cut. Print. That’s a wrap.

ADAM
I know I didn’t want to come, but I’m not sorry I did.

CASEY
You’re sweet. Definitely not what I thought you'd be.

ADAM
Nor are you what I expected, really.

CASEY
Adam, let’s be real — you hadn't even heard of me
before you came here, had you? I mean, you watched
Ilithium Four on the flight over. You said so.

ADAM
Well...my brothers and sister would know of you. They
watch the telly. Follow social media, whatever. But the
truth is, for me — books are my life. If it's not a volume
that goes onto a shelf, nothing else matters. The only reason
you and I even met is because my university insisted I make
the journey instead of a colleague.

CASEY
Insisted? They made you to come all this way to pick up
my grandfather’s silly book? We couldn’t just FedEx it?

ADAM
Oh, God, no! No! It’s an Alice ’65 — an 1865 edition of
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland! Only 25 are known to
exist. The risk of sending it via UPS or FedEx — God only
knows what could have happened. I was chosen because
it’s in my area of expertise...and I’m also the best cataloguer
they have. In fact, I’m the department joke, the way I lose
myself in research...to where I forget meals and meet-ups
and anniversaries and such. Nora was often aggrieved.

CASEY
C'mon, baby, you really that bad?

ADAM
She wanted me tested for autism. Said I'm too easily
distracted by minutia. Then one day we met for tea and
— and she told me to get on with my life. Such a simple
phrase, that...yet totally without meaning.

He notices a slip of paper on the refrigerator.
ADAM
Meat-flies; water-vaYter; come-comb; house-wees?
Is Lando trying to learn German?

CASEY
Huh? I dunno. He was in Berlin doing publicity, a few
days ago. And Paris. And Sydney. And Tokyo. You
name it they loves their Lando Grissom.

He looks at her.

ADAM
Don't they love their Casey Blanchard, as well?

CASEY
...Not like they used to.

He hesitates...turns back to the list. Writes on it.

ADAM
Well...pronunciation's off on these. So here we go,
meat should be flysh. And water is vasser. If you plan
to do it, do it right. That’s why there are so few Alice
65s; the illustrator hated how the first print turned out
and insisted the book be completely redone. So it was.
(looks at her)
As for the pasta, it was lovely, but now I think a nice
chicken curry with saffron rice, sag aloo, raita, samosas
in plum sauce, and big bottles of Taj Mahal would be a
perfect capper. No tabloids allowed. No explanations.
No sorrows. Just some quiet time away from it all. Our
own little redo of the evening. Are you open?

She smiles at him, for the first time.

CASEY
Sounds lovely.

ADAM
Brilliant. Now I’ve never snuck out on a Hollywood
party, before, but I doubt it’s difficult. So...shall we
put it to the test?

He dumps his empty tub in the trash. Casey finally does the same. They exit.

FADE OUT.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Got done early...

This packing job went very quickly so I'm headed home after everything's picked up, tomorrow. It wasn't an easy job, and my nose is still irritated by the dust involved, but I'm happy I got to do it. And even happier to be done. I'm not happy with this La Quinta. Half the plugs don't work or only barely do. Not cool and makes me nervous.

I managed to rework the scene for A65, make it more self-contained using bits from the book as background. I doubt anything will happen with it, but it keeps me pushing forward.

I'm also updating the format of my first 4 books -- HTRASG, PM, RIHC6 and BC. I can make the grammar better, too. I used to insist on doing some dumb things, once upon a time. Lightning is offering to do this for free till the end of the month, and I'd be an idiot not to make use of it.

I'm adding a character to PS, a Jewish guy who's friends with Brendan's cousin, Scott, and who gets caught in Israel during the Yom Kippur war. When he comes back, he finds the only person he can talk to is Brendan, because they've both been in a war zone and seen people killed right in front of them. It's a bit obvious, but hopefully by the time I'm done working it in, it will seem organic.

That's all I want my books to be -- organic...unlike me...

Sunday, May 13, 2018

I thief from me...

It's funny...the first scene I posted, between Curran and Geri on a rooftop, was written years ago for a script I abandoned because I couldn't figure it out. I took that for a moment in the novelization of The Alice '65. When I was told of a competition seeking a 6-page scene between 2 actors, after telling myself not to I surrendered and pulled that bit out to rework it. Came out to exactly 6 pages.

And made no sense. No matter what I did to it. So I backed away, planning to ignore the competition...but then Adam came knocking and said, "If you give it back to me and Casey, it could generate interest in the book, even if it goes nowhere." So I reworked it into a scene...and it's exactly 6 pages...and I changed a bit to make it an inclusive moment between the two of them...and I like it.

Dammit.

I'll do a bit more to it to polish it up and clarify what's going on, a bit better, and send it in. But the only reason I'm willing to do it is because there is no entry fee. If they were charging to enter, I wouldn't have thought twice about ignoring it. I've put too damn much money into script contests that achieved nothing to even think of doing it, again.

This one, I'm doing it to keep getting Adam's and Casey's story out there. I have a few more tricks up my sleeve, as well, so there's my justification.

I just did something similar for Jake in The Vanishing of Owen Taylor. I'm out for reviews, since no one I gave a free copy to is willing to post one on GoodReads or Amazon or Nook or anybody. Smashwords does require the book be got through them before you can post a review on their site, but I think I've worked around that.

We'll have to see.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

New idea for a scene...

To send in, more to get interest in A65 than anything else. Changed some things to make it work on its own.

FADE IN:

A state of the art kitchen of chrome and brass. CASEY, a beautiful young woman in a cocktail dress, leads ADAM in. The same age as her, he’s bookish and in a suit. Party music and voice rumble from another room.

ADAM
(British)
Good God, this is bigger than my flat in Ruislip.

CASEY
That where you live?

She pulls two cartons of Mac & Cheese from the freezer. Pops them in a microwave.

ADAM
Nora and I, till we parted. Couldn't afford it on my
own. Is this all right?

CASEY
I bought these. Back when I spent a lot of time, here.

ADAM
Oh. Casey, may I say that Lando Grissom is a fool?

CASEY
You may.

ADAM
And...we should not have come here.

CASEY
Had to. Make everyone think all is well and good. That’s
so important in Hollywood. Always land on your feet.

ADAM
Well...you’ve made your appearance, so let us depart.
Now. Find somewhere else to feed. My ticket.

CASEY
In a minute. I don't want to leave anything behind; it'll
just rot. There's water in the fridge.

The microwave dings. She pulls the steaming boxes out, sets them on a counter and peels off the plastic film covers. Adam gets bottles of water. She pulls out silverware and hands him a spoon.

CASEY
Chow down, baby.

ADAM
God, cheesy pasta. Me mum calls this nourishment for
heart attacks, but...

He eats. Casey toys with hers.


CASEY
Y’know, I helped Lando find this house. Spent months
looking for it. Fixing it up. Connected him with my
decorator. I was here more than I was at home. And now?
Now I don’t know why he and I got together; we're too
much alike.

ADAM
I’d argue that point.

CASEY
You don't know me. My mother thinks she matched us
up, but I'd already seen him around. Parties. Awards
ceremonies. He was up for a daytime Emmy back when
I was dating an actor from one of the Soaps. Vinny. A
nice guy who couldn't decide if he was gay, straight or
bi. But being with me gave him good press in the gossip
rags.

ADAM
Have they always been at you?

CASEY
I have a reputation for being a difficult out-of-control
bitch, and they keep trying to find ways of backing it up.
Filling pages in...oh, in England it’s like The Telegraph,
The Daily Mail, OK, Hello; I mean, you must've noticed
how they can be.

ADAM
I've never paid them any mind.

CASEY
You're unusual. It’s all bullshit, you know. Vinny’s the
perfect example. His then boyfriend saw me in Neiman's
and warned me, He's using you, so don't be surprised
about me. I wasn't; I can add two and two. That's what
I told him, and he smiled and walked away. The Star
Inquirer turned it into a screaming match in the middle
of cosmetics, photos arranged to look like we were
about to get into a knife fight. I was disparaged as the
other woman in a gay man's life.

ADAM
Bad Casey. Bad, bad Casey.

CASEY
It died down. I saw Lando at a couple more parties, but
I was with this writer, then. Who suddenly decided he
loved his wife. I didn't know he was married.

ADAM
You needn’t explain yourself to me.

CASEY
Anyway, one day my limo vanished, so Lando gave me
a ride home, and we talked, and Mom said he was just
right for me. And we started seeing each other. We were
tabloid fodder by the third date, but this spin was positive.
He was kind. Attentive. Loving, even though I was a
bigger name than him. Had a dozen movies to my resume.
Two series. I liked that. Wanted him with me...so got him
onto Ilithium Four.

ADAM
I’d rather not think of that film.

CASEY
Preferred the book?

ADAM
It’s a classic work of science fiction and...sorry, but...

CASEY
It was crap. But I liked making it, because a week into
shooting we were at a beach resort near Cape Town and
had an off day. I'd finished my PPK — Publicity Press Kit.
Lando'd done his, too, and it was getting dark, so we took
the cable car up to Table Mountain. It was the last car so
we couldn't stay up long...but the ride. Clear skies streaked
with red. City lights as we whispered up and up. Every
pin-prick of light down there representing people whose
lives were as distinct and meaningful as ours. Hundreds
of thousands of them glittering under the late evening's
shadows. The beauty of it — such overwhelming beauty
— I could barely breathe. I started to weep. Lando slipped
up behind me. Wrapped his arms around my waist. Laid
his chin in the crook of my neck. And then he whispered,
So fucking cool.

Adam covers a laugh with a cough and bite of the Mac & Cheese.

CASEY
Yeah, Shakespeare couldn't have put it better. But I didn't
care. We gave the tabloids a lot of niceness to fill their
front pages for the next three years. Helped my reputation
as well as his career.

ADAM
I find it difficult to believe anyone could believe anything
negative about you.

CASEY
You’re sweet. But my first series...word got around that
I was demanding. A little diva. It’s followed me, no matter
how perfect I am. Keeps getting brought up when something
goes wrong. Like it did two weeks ago. And now look
where I am; in a kitchen, comfort-eating and spilling my
guts to a man who never wanted to be here. Cut. Print. On
to the next scene.

ADAM
I'm glad I accompanied you.

CASEY
You’re definitely not what I thought you'd be.

ADAM
Nor are you what I expected, really.

CASEY
Adam, let's be honest — you hadn't even heard of me
till I made you come on this party, had you?

He gives her a shrug and smile.

ADAM
The rest of my family would know of you. They watch
the telly. Follow social media, online, phones, tablets,
whatever. But for me, if it's not a volume that goes onto
a shelf nothing else matters. But in truth, the only
reason you and I met is because my university coerced
me into flying here from London.

CASEY
To pick up my grandfather’s book?

ADAM
It’s an important volume, and we couldn’t risk having
it shipped via UPS or FedEx. Also, it’s in my area of
expertise, and they know that once I begin my research,
I lose myself in it, often to the point of forgetting things
like meals, meet-ups, anniversaries and such. Nora was
often aggrieved.

CASEY
C'mon, baby, you really that bad?

ADAM
She wanted me tested for autism. Said I'm too easily
distracted by minutia. Then one day we met for tea and
she told me to get on with my life. So I moved back with
Mum.

He notices a slip of paper on the refrigerator.

ADAM
Meat-flies; water-vaYter; come-comb; house-wees?Is Lando learning German?

CASEY
He was in Berlin doing publicity, a few days ago. He's
off on the Pacific tour, tomorrow. Shanghai, Sydney,
Hong Kong, Tokyo, you name it they loves their Lando
Grissom.

ADAM
Don't they love their Casey Blanchard, too?

CASEY
Not like they used to.

He draws near to her.

ADAM
I'm sure your next film will change all of that.

CASEY
You’re sweet.

He turns back to the list.

ADAM
The pronunciation's off on those words.

CASEY
Everything's off on him.”

ADAM
Then let’s go. The pasta was a lovely appetizer but
I could murder some Chicken Tikka with Saffron rice,
Sag Aloo, Raita, Samosas in plum sauce. How does
that sound?

She looks at him and smiles, for the first time.

CASEY
Lovely.

FADE OUT.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Too busy to be busy...

When I wasn't packing archives and overseeing art being picked up for crating, I was working on four different quotes for future jobs, including redoing one that suddenly expanded. All of which had to be ready to send out today or tomorrow...and all of them are going out, tomorrow. The only time I had to actually work on PS was on the flight to Oakland and back.

At least I got some of Book 2 outlined, up to the point I needed to figure out what comes next. I've got this big blank space in the middle of it that needs filling and only have a basic idea of what should go there. But even just initiating the possible chapters helps give it a spine to start working from.

I also had an interesting argument with Brendan. The more I read of Philip Cunningham's book, the more uncertain I am that setting Brendan's early life on Nailors Row is a good idea. It was a very tight mini-community and I feel like that's setting the story up for comparisons and fact-checking that will be too hard to deal with. But he's adamant.

The area was referred to as Back of the walls, because the houses faced the south and west walls of Derry's inner city...and even that was broken down to smaller units -- like Friel's Terrace, which I think was close to Walker's Tower, the column on the right of this photo. But I'm still digging for that; so far I just know they were the last part of the houses on the street that were demolished during redevelopment.

I have a map from 1905 that shows Nailors Row wrapping around the corner, merging into Walker's Place and ending at Bishop Street, with plots of land backed smack up against the south wall...but I don't know when that was torn out. And it has what's long been known as Fahan Street down as St. Columb's Wells Street, so may not be accurate...but does show Fox's Corner, so...

I'll keep going with this...but I'm wary...

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Off on another adventure...

This time, I'm flying into Oakland for a job in Berkeley and then to see another possible job across the bay. All very tightly scheduled, so I'm sure to have lots of fun trying to keep to it. I don't like doing it this way, but not my choice. Next week's job will be easier since I'm driving to it and have a lot more flexibility in the timing.

I got more done on Place of Safety's outline. What's fun about having one set out is, when you have an idea you can hang in the right spot. I had a fun one regarding the end of Brendan's time in Derry, before he's shipped off to Houston...one that makes him feel responsible for everything. It helps his reaction to a bombing make a lot more sense.

I'll try and get more done on the trip, but a job we're bidding on, that I thought I had all but worked out on Friday, changed parameters completely. So I'm digging through that to prepare a better quote. What makes it irritating is, I got bitched at for letting a subcontractor know about the change and ask him to adjust, accordingly, so we could get his estimate in a timely fashion. They basically said, "We don't know what it is, yet, or who's paying or what's going where," when I'd already noted half their concerns on the initial XLS costing sheet, so they told him to ignore my emails and told me to handle the client and get the final info from them. As I'm traveling.

I'm getting tired of screwing up all the time. Tired of making a mess of what I do. Whether I actually do or don't is immaterial. I think I'm working things right and it turns out I'm doing it all wrong...consistently. And now the world is full of people who love to not only point our your mistakes but condescend towards you while doing so...something I've noticed I can do, as well, when I know I'm right about something. I don't like that, in me or in others...but it seems I'm only able to try and stop it in myself, no one else.

I used to think I took criticism pretty well...but I guess I don't. Not really. I mean, when it's ludicrous I can blow it off...but the quiet kind gets under my skin and makes me feel even more the failure. That may be half the reason for my extreme need to rework my stories. I'm hardly a great writer; I have to rework my books over and over to make them even begin to make sense, and even then people read the first few pages and shrug the rest of it off...and...

Okay...time to back away...I'm shifting into whine-mode and that is not acceptable.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Insanity, defined...

Okay, for some reason I'm sending a scene into ABC for a competition, and I'd like to get some response to it, if possible. This would be the opening.

FADE IN:

EXT. ROOFTOP PATIO - NIGHT

Overlooking the Los Angeles basin. Millions of glittering lights rival the stars for beauty.

CURRAN (O.S.)
(sings, Gregorian Chant)
In paradisum deducant te Angeli. In
tuo adventu suscipiant te Martyres et
perducant te in civitatem sanctam
Jerusalem.

CURRAN is 30, fair, attractive, athletic, well-dressed, and a bit drunk. He leans against the railing to gaze out over the City of Angeles, overwhelmed at the endless, endless blanket of light.

CURRAN (CONT’D)
Angelorum te suscipiat et cum Lazaro
quondam paupere aeternam habeas requiem.

HIP HOP MUSIC BLASTS. He jolts.

CURRAN (CONT’D)
(British)
Bloody hell.

He climbs onto the bannister’s corner, gains a careful balance. The ground twenty floors below; above him, only sky. He unzips his pants, whips himself out and pisses into oblivion.

CURRAN (CONT’D)
(sings)
It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old
man is snoring.

An elevator DINGS. Doors open. Out comes GERI ISHAM-TOPHER, lovely, dark, in a sleek dress, a professional camera hanging from one shoulder. She stops, at seeing him.

He keeps pissing.

CURRAN (CONT’D)
It's not my intention to jump, if that's
your concern.

GERI
Y'know, there’s a men's room's by the
elevator.

CURRAN
This was more convenient.

He motions out over the basin.

CURRAN (CONT’D)
Bloody awful sight, eh?

GERI
What? L-A? I think it's lovely.

CURRAN
How can it be, when each light so
far below represents a human being?
Millions upon millions of them, each
wrapped in his own little world, lost
to all others in the fullest sense.

GERI
...That's one way of looking at it.

CURRAN
How do you look at it?

GERI
A sea of gold.

CURRAN
It doesn't overwhelm you, knowing how
easy it'd be to drown in?

GERI
I know how to swim.

CURRAN
Ah...but beneath this bright surface of
loveliness lies a cruel undertow of
loneliness, waiting to carry you straight
to oblivion.

GERI
If you hate it so much, why you looking
at it?

CURRAN
Because, I'm a bloody idiot.

He zips up and jumps back to land neatly on his feet.

Geri whips her camera up and snaps a photo -- catches Curran seeming to look out in awe at the glistening lights.

He turns to her.

CURRAN (CONT’D)
Oh, Christ...you're paparazzi. Take
another, for scandal's sake?

He hold up a beer.

GERI
How many of those have you had?

CURRAN

I've lost count. The beer in this
country is pathetic. By the time I
have enough in me to matter, I have
to piss it all out. Ergo...”
(motions over the balcony)
I should stick to whiskey or wine.

GERI
Or water?

CURRAN
Ahh...the Mother Hen sort, are we?
Likes to keep track of moonstruck
chickies? Word of caution -- mad dogs
devour hens.

GERI
You're a mad dog?

CURRAN
One of my many monikers. What's one
of yours?

GERI
Geri.

CURRAN
A pleasure to make your acquaintance,
Geri. I’m --

GERI
Curran Llewellyn. They’re lookin’ for
you, inside.

CURRAN
Let ‘em. Exercise is good for cats who
are fat.

GERI
But you’re guest of honor.

CURRAN
Honor? Merely the newest acquisition
for the football team.

GERI
Soccer.

CURRAN
Not in England.

GERI
You’re not in England, now.

CURRAN
Bloody fucking obvious. Why’d you come
up here, anyway? Sent to drag the spoiled
child back to his duties?

GERI
I just wanted some fresh air.

CURRAN
You hate this party as much as I.
(draws close to her)
Yes, I can see that, now. What fascinating
eyes you have, Geri, deep and dark with
shadows hiding pain and --

GERI
Don’t...you talk to me, like that.

CURRAN
...Sorry. I was just being an arsehole.
Another of my many monikers. You may now
lead me back to the lions, little one.
Parade me before the heathens so they may
witness what good their dollars have wrought.
I go as a lamb to the slaughter.

GERI
Take yourself; I’m not your mother.

CURRAN
Then why do you sound so disappointed in me?

He starts away. Stops.

CURRAN (CONT'D)
Geri, I am sorry for --

GERI
For what? You haven’t done anything.

CURRAN
...Night’s still young. Enjoy your
golden sea.

He goes.

She takes a photo of him getting in the elevator. Looks back over the basin...starts to take a photo...but she stops...and she cannot move.

FADE OUT.