Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Friday, November 17, 2017

Pleasant day and everything done...

Friday morning, I dropped by the Maritime Museum to check on everyone, and there were a few things that needed addressing. Not on my end but in preparation for the move-out. Overall, everyone was included. Especially since I got to see two of the book dealers I used when working up Adam, in A65.

One provided me with Adam's beginning manner, curious kitten expression and sweet smile. He's tall and lean, like a basketball player, while Adam turned out short and solid...but in a suit he looks just right -- neat but not flashy. He's also got that aura where, even though he never demands it, you know he'd love to be petted.

The other is how I see Adam at the end of the story -- buff, sure of himself, walking with confidence and wearing a suit like he's straight out of Gentlemen's Quarterly. Broad shoulders, trim hips, looking sexy as hell in a fitted shirt and slim-cut trousers. He's an alpha who's faced catastrophe with a Let's get through it very British.

Both are extremely knowledgeable in their fields and have good reputations, from what I can tell. I've used what they know as much as I could. I'm tempted to ask another friend in the antiquarian world to read the book and let me know if I've got it right, but I can't them; I almost think they might recognize themselves and I prefer to wait till it's published before having to deal with case they don't like what I've done.

Which is silly. Adam's like about 5'6" or maybe 5'7" and both of them are as tall or taller than me (I'm 5'10"). He worked out that way as an even bigger counterpoint to Lando, who's the perfect image of an American man in every way except intelligence and personality...and maybe even those, depending on how you view Americans. The contrast was needed so Casey's shift from being torn up at Lando's betrayal was shown better and made sense. It also adds to her hate for Veronica, who's already tall yet still wears 6" stilettos, forcing even Lando to wear lifts so he's not a midget next to her.

Something that's come out in the story, to make Casey more of a fully-fleshed character, is her concern with image. How the gossip rags have abused her. How she has to show the Hollywood world she was able to land on her feet after breaking up with Lando. What's left unsaid is how she feels that's more important than just letting herself grieve and get through it.

She contrasts with Adam's actions after learning his father was dead. He's 15 and winds up having to just get through it because his mother and a brother shut down and the other brother and sister are handling funeral arrangements and a burial plot. He's the one who makes arrangements for their father's body to be brought back to London.

Of course, I may be reading a lot more into my writing than is really there. I dunno. But to remind myself of what my obligations are to my characters, and to keep myself from taking an easy way out, I've re-read some of the critical reviews of my books -- the ones that pointed out what I can now see were lazy or inconsistent character development in The Lyons' Den and Porno Manifesto. The LD one focused on Tad and how I made him 3-D until the end, when he became a one-dimensional character; PM's was about how Alec never got past the superficial in looks when it came to choosing a lover.

I just hope I'm doing the right thing by Adam, Casey, Patricia...and even Lando and Veronica.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sometimes efficiency is a detriment...

All was going well, yesterday, as I got ready to head over to the Hong Kong Maritime Museum. Plan was -- get there at noon, scope things out, post my location numbers, meet with the fair organizer, then have the dealers' trunks show up and be ready to go. Talk about best laid plans -- as I'm exiting the hotel I get a call from the delivery guy that he's at the museum and where am I?

So instead of walking I grabbed a taxi and got there in under 10 minutes, and he's got all the dealers lined up ready to break down and be put in their booths. And it's not even noon yet. And inside, the booths are still being set up. And he can't stick around too long because there's a limit on how long he can leave his truck in the drop-off circle. Fortunately, the organizer is okay with us moving in early, so long as the construction crew can move them trunks if needed. What ya gonna do?

We were done by one, so I came back to the hotel and started inputting changes to A65. Got 3 chapters done before I began to zone, Still jet-laggin' here. But it gives me a head start. Now I'm about to drop by the venue to meet with each dealer and make sure everything is all right. Then I'm off to Stanley...

Except, the show organizer for the San Francisco Fair, next year, is in Hong Kong and wants to meet. I suggested this evening, after I'm back from the other side of the island, so we'll see how that goes.

I still have no intention of leaving my room on Saturday. I've been to Hong Kong enough times and done enough sight-seeing, and completing A65 takes unless it's required by the job, no go.

Now off to see the book wizards...

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Greetings from the future...

Hong Kong is 13 hours ahead, so I'm writing this on Thursday morning while it's still Wednesday night in Buffalo. I feel very prescient...and may I add, comfy. The great thing about Ibis Hotel is, I get breakfast with my room and it is massive. Like the All-You-Can-Eat buffets in the US -- eggs, bacon, 3 kinds of sausage, cereal, oatmeal, baked beans, luncheon meat, cheese, 3 kinds of potatoes, lots of fruit, yoghurt, toast and muffins and jams and on and on. I'm treating it like dinner, since my body clock is still really on US time, and I'm set till this evening.

I've already done some emailing, this morning, and will be leaving for the move-in, shortly. Got a good sleep, albeit on a hard mattress; they like those, here. My only plans, right now, are to get my dealers prepped, drop by in the morning to make sure everything's all right, go to Stanley for fish & chips and a Guinness and some shopping, maybe wander the waterfront...and then spend all day, Saturday, working on A65.

I'm not really joking when I say my first...and second and third drafts wind up looking like this crazy-quilt hare, and that they begin to simmer down as I go through the story over and over and over. That's my method of writing -- throw in everything and work it down and adjust and add and cut  and alter direction until it stops being too insane. As it currently stands, I think I still have one tooth to hone away, and then she's ready.

If I can get all the changes input before heading home, Tuesday, I may try to do some more polishing on the flight. Then comes my own corrections editing process -- reading it backwards so I don't get lost in the story. And then...

Then I can start contemplating work on Place of Safety.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

In Hong Kong waitin' on a hotel room...

This was a long flight, but I finished my red pen of The Alice '65 and then watched Baywatch to distract myself...and it was horrible. It took 9 friggin' writers to come up with that ludicrous piece of shit? It wasn't even on the level of a high school musical. Its one redeeming quality was how pretty Zac Efron looks in trunks. He bears no resemblance to a human being, but as a mannequin, he's nice to look at.

To wipe it out of my head, I watched Fargo, again. It's a pretty bleak movie, but well done and funny in spots while amazingly brutal in others.

Right now I'm marking time in a Starbucks because it's only about 9:30 am and my room won't be ready till noon...and I'm zoning. I managed to nap on the plane but not enough to matter on a 15 hour flight in a tight aisle seat next to a woman who needed to tinkle once an hour.

It's warm and sultry in Hong Kong, as usual. And busy as hell. And prices have gone up, a bit.

Hell, I can't think; I'll post more later...

Monday, November 13, 2017

In Toronto waitin' on a plane...

Pearson Airport is so much easier to deal with than JFK when it comes to international flights. Drive for 1.5 hours, park off-site in a reserved lot, breeze through security since I have a Nexus Card, and I'm at the gate in a very comfortable seat 3 hours prior to my flight. I've even got some Smart Water and access to Diet DP. It's like home.

In Hong Kong I usually drink Watson Water Green Cap and little cokes. But since I'm arriving at 6am, I doubt I'll be interested in those...except that'll be like 4pm in the States, so...who knows? There's a Mickey D's in the arrivals lobby; I may have a Big Mac before I snag a shower and head for my hotel on a super-fast, super cheap train.

In comparison to airports like these, those in the US are antiquated...practically 3rd world. It's an embarrassment, and I haven't even been to the serious airports around the world -- like Qatar or Seoul or Narita, one I would LOVE to go through...and which I'm being teased with.

We'll be working with the Tokyo Book Fair in March, something that used to be handled exclusively by Mr. Nitta of Yushodo Antiquarian Books in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, before he passed away. If we're going to be coming in on such a major fair, one or both of my bosses will be making that trip to lay the groundwork, which makes sense. They've dealt with international customs a lot more than I have, and may already have contacts in the country.

But oh, man...that would be fantastic. I'd love to see Tokyo on someone else's expense account.

Oh, well...this 15 hour flight will give me a chance to finish my last red-pen of The Alice '65. There may be a few rough edges to polish, once I have it input...but that'll be it. And it seems to be sticking at right around 65K in wordage...which I think is a good length for it. The story happens over the space of 72 hours and forces Adam away from his sheltered life back into the real world, so too much more would be...well, it would be wrong. But if all goes well, I should have an ebook available Thanksgiving weekend.

Meaning I would, technically, meet my deadline.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Heading for Hong Kong, again...

Today was laundry and cleaning out the fridge and ironing and packing working on A65 as much as I could and I'm not done yet. Still much to do. I leave tomorrow night and have to go into to work to finish paperwork and pick up all the papers I need for the fair and I'm already beat. I may actually wind up sleeping on the plane, something I very rarely do.

Quick note -- Pronoun, the company I published the e-book of Bobby Carapisi through is shutting down so I'm about to have to put out a new edition of the book. I think I'll change the cover, a little.

And that makes this a short post. I've got a sink full of dishes to wash, still.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Halfway done with the latest polish of A65

Busy day for errands -- dentist, shopping, getting a new battery for my car. The last one kept me in place for a few hours, but I had my printout of The Alice '65 with me so used that to work on it. I'm now at page 149 out of 302, meaning it's coming along. Tomorrow is laundry -- a LOT of laundry, so I may be there for hours, too, giving me more time to work on the story.

I'm also rereading The Elements of Style and catching myself in a couple of grammatical errors -- like getting cute with my sentence structure to the point of obscuring the point. I've also noticed a couple of my paragraphs don't work as well as they should, so I'm doing a bit of restructuring. Who knows? Maybe I'll get the book to where it's a fun read, after all.

I'm still nervous about how long it will take to work on P/S, considering the length of time it's taking me to complete a much less complicated novel...and much shorter. What I have of Place of Safety, right now, is over 120K in wordage, and it's nowhere near done, yet. I can see it being well over 200K words. My saving grace is, War & Peace is nearly 600K in length, and Catch 22 is about 175K, so I'm not totally out of the realm of sanity.

I'm still fighting to figure out a good cover for the hardback. I'm not thrilled with anything I've come up with, and Zan's artwork isn't right for the dust-jacket. Won't be able to do much about it till I get back from Hong Kong; maybe this break will give me a chance to come up with something decent.

One can hope.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Headed home...

I'm writing this on my flight. Jet Blue initially delayed the flight 6 times, due to an incident in Orlando, then rather than have to put us up in a hotel brought in a new plane, so we left on time. And the WiFi is free on the flight, so...

Today was collecting the last archives that needed to be shipped, from a storage facility in NYC that we were led to believe was an office building, and which pretty much doubled in quantity. I didn't mind; the reusable container I had fit everything nicely and offered a lot of protection for the cartons.

But twice on this job I've skipped lunch. I don't like doing it because it sets me up for a headache, but this time while I was repacking the container at the warehouse, I was able to use about a dozen small candy canes to keep me from starving to death. And voila -- no headache.

I got to the airport early but since I wasn't checking a bag I was able to sail right into Terminal 5 and chow down on a decent cheeseburger and onion rings. Good for the soul if not your breath, but I had gum for that, not to mention toothpaste and my toothbrush available.

I did some more note-inputting for A65 and think it'll be pretty much ready to go once I've input them. I feel good about the wholeness of the story, and how different aspects of it connect. I like Adam's character arc, though I do think Casey's could use a bit more clarity. I've tried not to explain what she's doing but have Adam react, and while it adds to her mystery and beauty, it can seem a bit perfunctory, at times. Still...she works.

I'll be interested to hear how women react to her.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Feeling so restless...

Dunno what it is, but my mood has gone from woo-hoo to edgy and almost pissy. Nothing satisfies me and yet I won't get up and do anything more than piddle around on the web. I could work on my new idea for A65's cover, but no. I could start going back over A65 to polish it up, since I brought my printout, but no. I could cast about trying to figure out what might interest me enough to cut the mood, but no.

Not sure what this means, but I don't want to do anything or deal with anyone, and tomorrow I have to deal with a foundation that's been shut down but that no one told us about when we agreed to go get the archives we need from it at a time that's ludicrous but wasn't asked for until yesterday.

I think I'm sick of people. I've actually have a pretty vile thought running in my head -- that Mother Nature is using man's stupidity about guns, in this country, to effectively bring about some population control. Weed out the fools who leave loaded guns around for kids to find and kill someone or themselves with. That way at least, their children won't have a chance to keep that particular gene of stupid going in the general  population.

Maybe that's why there's an explosion of gay men and women around the world; Mama's doing what she can to slow down our headlong rush into catastrophe, and never mind it's driving demagogs and assholes into killing people who've done nothing to them. Hell, the greatest democracy in the history of the world invaded a country that had done nothing to it and tore it apart, killing up to and probably over a million people. Sets a perfect example.

That leads me to think maybe we should have another war. This time wipe out a couple hundred million people and make some the of the earth uninhabitable for centuries...if not eons. Then maybe people would catch on to how poorly we're using the planet and start acting like our world means something instead of just being there to use and abuse...but I don't hold that much hope for humanity.

I think some of this pissiness stems from being stupid enough to read some tweets from Czar Snowflake's supporters saying crap like they love him and he's the greatest president ever and there will be a coup of he's impeached and removed from office. And I started thinking, "Fine, motherfuckers, make this country a piece of shit and you wallow in it. Let's see how much you like it when you get sick and can't pay for medicine or surgery. And when your jobs keep going to other countries as businesses use tax credits to cut down on the burden of moving while you don't get to take a dime off your taxes for anything to make up for it."

I hate to tell you this, Mama, but if you want to save the planet, you're going to have to bring about a new version of the bubonic plague and wipe our civilization for a few centuries. Give the earth time to heal, then sterilize the dumbest men and women so they can't procreate. That should take care of 99% of the problem.

Too bad you didn't start that with Czar Snowflake decades ago...maybe even before he was born.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Over the moon...

Oh, I am so beside myself, right now. Total fan-boy mode. I spent hours, today, handling the artifacts of a man whose meaning in history is without question. We're talking boxes and boxes of papers, awards and photographs of his. What's even better is, as I worked I listened in on the conversation between the archivists and donor's associate discussing plans and histories and details of his world...and I can't even think, I'm so lost in it all.

It kills me that I cannot name the guy, but there's still too much to finish and blabbing too soon would jeopardize the entire deal. I have to wait till everything's been carefully put away in its new home and an announcement is made about it. But I had to let out a little and hope that in a few months I can reveal his identity. And bounce off the walls, again.

What's especially great is hearing stories about how he dealt with moments where his creativity was at low ebb -- he'd basically garden, albeit on a larger scale than a flower patch. More like landscaping. Let his mind sort through the issues as he concentrated on more immediate tasks. And it turns out he was about as disorganized as I am. It wasn't till he brought on his assistant that his papers began to get into order.

This is one of the job's perks -- working with working writers and artists and scholars. I stay quiet and let them talk and learn more about life and how things work than I ever could on my own. Even dealing with an antiquarian library of books on British law from the 16th and 17th centuries makes me intensely happy. It can be back-breaking work and sometimes the people involved make things a lot more difficult than it needs to be...but it's like I'm helping keep history alive, in my own small way, and that makes up for a lot of turmoil.

I know my own writing will never achieve these heights, but it's still fun to see how the work of others has.