Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

No longer homeless

I've got a nice studio apartment on the 4th floor of a big brick building that looks something like a prison or county jail. Unfortunately, getting everything set up has put me behind in my writing, so nothing much to report today. But I will say Buffalo is a very laid back town in many ways. Stores close early on weekends. People love to ignore stop signs and just roll into traffic in front of you. Ice and snow means drive faster instead of slower. And everybody talks with this massively flat New Yorker accent and I actually heard a couple of people use "youse." Hey-yell, I ain't in Texas no more, that's fer dang shore.

Still lots to do to finish up, so more discussion tomorrow. Not yet having internet or cable set up yet, I have to hop down to Starbuck's to use their free WiFi. And have some Refresh Tea and an oatmeal-raisin cookie. Nice excuse to indulge...but I can't do a lot of that; I'm at the edge of being penniless, again.

Why the hell can't I just sell one of my books to a movie producer for a million dollars? It'd make a very controversial movie, but I have the perfect actors in mind for Curt and Shayes or Antony, Collie and Jake or Eric and Bobby. Any takers?

UPDATE -- a photo of Scott Mechlowicz...who'd be excellent as Jake should RIHC6 ever be made into a Hollywood film (yeah, I'm laughing at that, myself...but you never know)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow...

So much for the idea of nicer weather. It's snowing harder today than it was yesterday. Everybody's telling me this is not normal, but I heard that in Detroit, last year, and figure people's memories are hazy. Hell, San Antonio had 13" of snow in January 1985 and people were freaking out over the snow flurries down there, recently. Of course, the climate crisis deniers say this one local snowfall is proof there is no global warming, like what happens in the mid-Atlantic states is indicative of the whole world. They sound more and more like the fools who made fun of Noah as he built his ark, and we know what happened to those idiots.

Still, it IS snowing and snowing and snowing. And I gotta go to it and move or stay another night in a motel. Rather not do that.

I worked on RIHC6v2 and got a bit bogged down in how to get from point A to point F and had something new pop up to complicate an already complicated situation. But it's needed. Jesus, I hope this thing makes sense when I'm done.

Friday, February 26, 2010

No longer homeless

I have an apartment and will move in tomorrow, which is supposed to have nicer weather than today. The news says Buffalo got 3.5" of snow...but I think it was more like 6" around my hotel. I've dug my car out twice to keep it from being too lost in all the white.

Next comes the fun of buying a futon and setting up my internet service. Im not getting a landline; my cell phone will do, especially since I've decided to upgrade it.

So I worked on RIHC6v2 most of the day and now have 210 pages with 25-30 left to go. Maybe. Antony's tossed in another twist. I swear this character thinks he's playing "Twister" with me.

Welcome to Buffalo

Need I say more?

I'll have a first draft of RIHC6v2 done by February 28th. I'll need to go back through and make sure everything connects correctly, but I got everything set up that I could ever need or want in the story. Ah...but does it have a happy ending? It depends on your definition, I suppose -- or not. But be warned, I'm back to having fun with it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Someone PLEASE explain to me why cars have trouble in the worst weather possible? And cell phones die on you just when you need them to work? Is there some law of physics I'm ignorant of? Well...I'm ignorant of a LOT of physics, but still...

Now this isn't as dire as it sounds. It's just -- I found my left rear tire flat this morning and had to change it in a steady snow shower because the road service people couldn't even begin to tell me when they'd be able to get someone out to do it for me. Not being a complete nitwit, I knew how to work a did. Took me half an hour and a frozen nose, but I got the dinky-assed spare on. Then I took it to a Firestone because I'd bought the tires at one in San Antonio and had been smart enough to get the roadside hazard protection on them. So the repair cost me nothing, but since I didn't have an appointment, he couldn't tell me how long it would take to fix.

Thing is, by this point it was 11 am and I'd done my usual minimal breakfast and was feeling a bit hungry. So instead of just waiting at the place, I went to a Tops grocery store that was nearby, bought something light to eat and set up my laptop in the solarium to do some writing. And I waited till 2:30 pm before finally giving up waiting and returning to the Firestone to see how it was going. Of course, by now the snow was worse and was accompanied by a biting wind. So I find out my car's ready, figured the guy hadn't had a chance to call me yet and head off.

I get back to the motel, buy some new WiFi time at the desk (you buy cards for 24 hours of use; it ain't free) and get busy doing other things, figuring I'll deal with the online stuff later -- until I get a call on the motel phone. It's the guys at Caladex wondering why I haven't responded to their emails and phone messages. And THAT'S when I find out my cell phone is dead. I popped in a new battery and learned that the tire repair was done in an hour and a half, and that my new job needed me to go to Miami for a couple of days. Man, I felt like an idiot. I mean, I NEVER get lots of calls on that damned phone, and I'm usually slavish about checking e-mails, but the second I'm out of pocket everyone's trying to contact me. It's irritating.

However...Tuesday, I'm heading for Miami and coming back Thursday. I feel so jet-set.

On a positive note, I did get some things going in RIHC6v2 -- a whole 5 pages fresh and new. It'll be interesting to see how this latest twist comes across.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

When you go to Niagra Falls...

Everybody tells you go to the Canadian side because the US side is depressing. And I can see their point. The Canadians treat this natural landmark as a national treasure; the US acts like they HAVE to do something because of all the history and it's a park and all that crap.

But still...on our side there's a nice riverside space of trails and trees and views of the river and squirrels and birds that will take food from your hand (the top photo is taken from that park). And while the gift shop and the park personnel tending the place are hardly of the greatest calibre, the Canadian side has its share of the same thing. Go into the amusement complex at the base of that observation tower and you'll see what I mean. Something else -- the Canadians have the better view of the Falls. As in, they can see the whole thing (the second photo is from their side). From the US, the best view you get is from a platform built out onto the river and that's a side view.

Still, it was interesting to see how neat the Canadians were with the area and how their side was serious about making it someplace to go to while we still basically treat the place like an old joke.

BTW -- these two photos were the best ones out of 60 I took. There's so much ice and spray going on, it's hard to tell what you're looking at in the rest of my shots.

I popped over there after signing up for an apartment (all bills paid, with cable) in Kenmore Village and meeting with my soon-to-be-boss for lunch. Had to go now because tomorrow a nice big snowstorm is expected...and today was all sunshine and light. So no writing done, today. Yet. It's not too late to fiddle with some things, but tomorrow will be an "in" day.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Buffalo and no snow...yet

But apparently 6" is on the way for Thursday or Friday via a Nor'easter. I found a really nice Motel 6 by the airport for under $40 a night, including WiFi, and tomorrow I'll get to looking for an apartment. Already got shot down once when I called about one I'd seen online while still in San Antonio. Oh well. I've got other options.

While driving I thought about Antony and his story and tried to understand what was missing from RIHC6v2, and 'round about Cincinnati I think I came up with the problem...and between Cleveland and Erie had an idea of how I could handle it. What's nice is, my three main guys like it, which surprised me. I'd always thought Jake was too cool to be seen agreeing with Matt, and he'd insist on it being shown he's only going along with Tone from love. Looks like I may have been dissing him without which he's just kicking back, looking cool and nodding in agreement, just to make me feel like a dork.

Or maybe a blond since my red hair is transitioning through that color en route to being white. Right now my head has the same color as the nose of a 10 year old Irish Setter.

Just for the record, my travels took me through --

Texarkana (I think, I was 5 miles into Arkansas before I realized it)
Little Rock
Bowling Green
and Erie

My car liked the roads in Kentucky and Ohio but the rest of the states need to make use of their stimulus funds and do some major repaving. Like NOW.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Movin' on up

I'm now in Elizabethtown, Kentucky in yet another Motel 6 that's in better shape than yesterday's but still has issues. For example, I had to call Tech Support to be able to sign in on their WiFi because the access code refused to work. but no smokers ever in this room and lots of restaurants about as well as a Kroger's so...I guess I got what I paid for.

Roads in Tennessee were worse than Arkansas -- one stretch between Memphis and Nashville had such ripples in the freeway pavement, I thought my tires were coming off -- but the Kentucky roads have been much better. Weather was overcast and misty but not bad. I don't mind the chill. Of course, I'm now on Eastern Time and have to get used to that and the different hours for the couple of TV programs I like to watch. I'd turn on the TV right now and watch "Castle" but it won't stay plugged in.

I'll do a bit more writing, instead. I have the feeling I'm missing something in RIHC6v2 that will keep it from joining neatly with v1 and need to refresh my brain with it, again. And I feel a bit repetitious in v2. Maybe I'm at the limit of what can happen and now am just feeding off my own little self. Irritating to sense that and not know exactly why or how to repair it. Yet.

Enough. I'm tired.

We do not like Motel 6

They used to be a great little chain of motels with a nice cheap room everywhere across the country. Well...I'm currently ensconced in one in Little Rock, Arkansas after deciding against one in Arkedelphia, Arkansas because it was hiding behind several other motels and looked pretty creepy. This one has a nice entrance and pleasant landscaping, but they promised free WiFi and turned out it'd been wrecked by a tenant. And it turned out someone was fixing their car in the parking lot. And the clerk locks herself in the office after a certain time. And people run up and down the halls and slam doors and it's almost 1am. And I'd have left but I didn't find out any of this till I'd already paid for my room and had my things set up in it. I'm now nervous my car might get broken into. All it has is clothes and books and paperwork I needed to bring -- for POS and taxes and such -- and my Mac Mini, which is old but I've backed up everything on it...but it'd still hurt to lose any of that. I'm parked directly in front of the office so that should make things all right, but I'll be very leery of Motel 6 and if things ain't perfect at the next one I stop at -- I'm aiming for Bowling Green or Louisville, Kentucky, depending -- I'm dropping them.

I got more done on RIHC6v2 so now have more than 200 pages of story. Nothing fresh, today; just clarification and a polish of what I've already done. I worked on it thinking I had no WiFi then finished and shut Word down -- and there was the airport signal showing full and ready. So be it.

The drive was nice until I got to Arkansas. Texas roads are bad; theirs are hideous. My car is NOT liking them, at all. I'm not surprised; Republicans hate to spend money except in tax cuts for the rich and wars without end - but you'd think repaving the highways would be good for everyone concerned. Guess not.

My mother and youngest brother are now on their own and dependent upon my sister and my middle brother for things like grocery shopping and trips to Home Depot and such. Here's hoping it works out.

Still doors slamming. Shit.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The end is near

I have maybe 2 1/2 chapters left to do in RIHC6v2 -- then comes a polish and repolish and re-repolish and then it'll be done. And I can get onto the third volume of "Bobby Carapisi" since I've actually been hounded a bit by the publisher on it. They've already assigned an ISBN (they thought I'd written it and was just rewriting when I submitted the first and second volumes back in September) even though I told them it wasn't ready.

This section should be fairly simple, though. It's Allen justifying his actions and Eric learning the truth behind what happened to him and Bobby...and accepting full responsibility for his part in what followed. I've already written about a third of the book, in parts -- that includes a tense face-to-face between Eric and Allen (obligatory to the max in this type of book) -- and have the rest of it plotted out...but we've seen how well THAT works. At least it's a road map that will provide me with direction when I take my little side roads and short-cuts and scenic drives.

After that, I'm adapting a script into book form -- "Coby O' and the Pink Palace of Texas" -- and will try to be as light and fun with it as I can be. It'll still have its subversive elements and some solid erotica, but hopefully nothing like RIHC6 got to be. In fact, I may tell it all in third person, just to work my skills on that venue. First person has proven to be an easier style to use -- for the most part. After all, POS is being told in first person and I'm as shaky as hell about it.

Man, I do NOT like things to be easy, do I?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Downhill racer

RIHC6v2 is speeding up to hit the finale, finally. A month ago I wrote what I thought would be the ending, but that's in the trash -- and for the better. It would have taken another two chapters to set up and then come across as gratuitous. Now -- the ending's still going to be rather gratuitous but it fits in better with Antony's mindset and situation. Can't say anything more; it'll spoil the surprise.

Okay -- my car's ready at the shop. Had it checked out for the drive, changed the oil, all that. And I washed it, yesterday, even though I knew it'd drizzle today. Buddy looks so clean and fresh, he's almost new.

Maybe more later.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Benadryl is evil

I took one last night to calm my allergies and I'm still messed up by it. Groggy. Nose trying to decide if it wants to bleed or not from being so dry. Throat like the Sahara. Mouth not willing to work right. Ugh. But it's that or not be able to sleep thanks to my mother using a broom to sweep the rug and stirring so much crap, the hell with it. I'm screwed no matter which way I go. When I get to Buffalo, I want NO CARPETS.

Busy day, too...and I have yet to wash my car, which brutally needs it.

RIHC6v2 is coming together. Last night I just let Antony lead the way and he's set it up to where he's going to betray Matt AND Jake for all the right reasons. Damn, he's getting to be fascinating, again, instead of just a pain in the butt. I like my characters to have conflicting sides that work together -- but as a kaleidoscope of black and white, never becoming that boring shade of gray so many "anti-heroes" color themselves with.

I wonder what would happen if one of my books was made into a Hollywood film? Would it even begin to work, once the screenwriter toned down the bad aspects or explained them away? I saw the film version of "Bonfire of the Vanities" after reading the book, and Tom Hanks was SO was Bruce Willis, really (a man who used to be an excellent actor)...but because the hero of the piece has to be sympathetic and he's a nice guy, in he went -- and no matter how hard he tried he couldn't ace the icy WASP aspect of his character. And so the venality of each character was shaved off to nothingness...and a vicious black satire of the lives of New York's rich and masterful became stupid and dull. And bombed at the box office, despite its so-called pedigree.

Now consider this -- "Gone With the Wind" is about a selfish bitch who chases after a married man for years and ruins the lives of three other men while clawing her way to wealth and infamy. Chasing her is a war profiteer who uses the Civil War to make himself rich, visits prostitutes regularly, buys his way out of a death sentence and bribes the bitch into marrying him. Neither Scarlett nor Rhett give an inch in their self-centered disdain for those filled with human decency and concern, yet they're still fascinating characters whose film is considered the epitome of Hollywood filmmaking. But you couldn't make that movie, today. The sharp edges of their characters would be sanded away by cowards in the VP offices beholden to the Syd Field school of screenwriting -- made even-handed, bland and safe.

Ah, the glories of writing novels. It's all on me and my characters -- no one else to blame if we screw up. No music cues to frame the emotional moments. No camera moves to clarify a character's situation. When I wrote my scripts, I could see and hear them, from the actors to the sets to the editing to the music. Now? Now I play it in my head and hope it's coming out on the page.

So -- what's Antony's music to me? I'm torn between Taiko Drums and a slow-building melody by Philip Glass. Could be it's both. That would fit the whole dichotomy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I have to stop thinking...

About this story. I have to stop assuming I know what the hell is going on or where Antony's taking me in it. Because every time I think I know, he blithely shows me I don't. And the glimmer of the ending he showed me, yesterday -- if it winds up actually going there since I'm at the point where I don't trust these hints of the story's future he keeps doling out and abandoning -- well, it works so neatly I can't think of any other way to end it. And I'm at that point in the story where it has to start coming together because it's going to be intense and will take some space to work, and I hit page 180 yesterday -- over 40K in words.

Damn, there are so many loose ends to tie up, still. And so much else going on.

I wonder if this is what POS will turn out like? Convoluted and a bit fantastic. That's not what I want -- so maybe I'm getting my Machiavelli out of my system so I can focus on Sun Tzu's "Art of War." that's not the way to go with Brendan. His is the Irish take on man trapped in his fate. I won't need outside help on that, not with my history.

Now off to deal with cable and DSL. Fun.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The joy of dust and dirt

After all the moving and shifting around I did, yesterday, stirring up such a lovely cloud of dust the sun sparkled through it, my nose is now getting even with me. Is there such a thing as a sinus transplant? If there isn't, will somebody please use me a guinea pig? I hate alternating between not being able to breathe and not being able to stop sneezing. And this was with me wearing a MASK all day and leaving the windows open. Jeez.

I've decided to let Antony lead me wherever the hell he wants to, right now, and argue with him over the complexity once it's concluded. Because I can see another situation building that will go on for a couple or few chapters and -- oh, shit. You little bastard. Oh, I hate you, Antony, I like it so much. VERY Hitchcockian.

Okay -- gotta go write and sneeze. Maybe more later.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Messin' with my mind

RIHC6v2 is getting too damn complicated. It's like I'm writing a gay international thriller in the second-rate Le Carre mode than a fun erotic-mystery-suspense piece, and it's all thanks to Antony and his need for duplicity. I have 174 pages of story that's just beginning to be understandable and which I spend WAY too much time explaining -- like, "See how clever I am to come up with this and then have a way for Antony to figure it out?" How silly.

Oh, great -- and now Antony's going to pout. Okay, not pout, just glower at me condescendingly. Apparently HE'S having fun. Me -- I went through the whole second book, yesterday, and got lost. And I friggin' wrote it!

I'm going to stuff the storage with boxes, right now, and try to figure out what the hell it is I'm doing with this story.

What's that old saying? "Pride goeth before the fall"? Hear that, Antony?

And yes -- I DO know I'm talking to myself. I'm not THAT far gone, yet. But at this rate, it won't be long till I am.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Just to show I'm not completely lost in nastiness, here's something simple and goofy and just plain fun.

See? Of course, their attire didn't hurt matters any.

Changes beginning...

And not just in my life. A week from today I'll be en route to Buffalo, right through the middle of winter. I'll have my car packed and heavy and I'm in no rush, so things should be all right, but it's still a bit nerve-wracking. Tomorrow, my boxes and things are going into storage. I've also decided to dump AT&T's internet service so one of my 5 e-mail addresses is going bye-bye...and I may get rid of another. Even 3 is a ridiculous number of those things to have when all you really need is one. I can't decide if I want to upgrade my phone or not; I'm due one and can get some fun ones for nothing more than a 2 year contract, and Sprint's been fine, so far. Ah, things to do -- the damned list keeps growing.

One good thing about having a mother who's elderly and a brother who drinks is, she finally gets tired and goes to bed and he gets a buzz and stays in his room to watch the History Channel, leaving me in peace. And I was able to write more on RIHC6v2. I'm up to page 169. Issues have been settled with the big boss and Antony's off to finalize things with Matt...and all hell is about to explode around him. So I think I'll say nothing more about the story; let the rest come as surprise or a roll of the eyes, whichever.

I will say this -- Antony's turning into my darkest protagonist after Curt (HTRASG) and may be out to give him a run for his money. When I get back to BC3 and dealing with Allen's self-justifications, that'll be nothing in comparison. And I think I want to write "Coby O' and the Pink Palace of Texas" after that, a nice little erotic-action-comedy to balance out my emotional state so I can face POS and Brendan on my own terms...and theirs. My plan is to have a first complete draft of POS by the end of the year, and the solitude of Buffalo is just right for that. When I'm not out sight-seeing.

I checked into applying for citizenship in Canada and Ontario says I'm not qualified -- not for their area. Seems they get to set their own standards for new citizens and if things change, I can apply later. Or I can try for Vancouver -- which I wouldn't mind, at all. They're looking for something different from Toronto -- more film and TV oriented. But I'd have to live there. Can't think of any way around this, right now, short of a coup in the US (not exactly unlikely, what with the Tea Party and GOP scum doing their rants and raves and carrying and/or stockpiling weapons). But if that happened, I'd be able to apply for political asylum, being a dirty-stinking-hippy-liberal-socialist-commie-pinko-fag-scumbag in the right-wing-nuts' eyes.

*Sigh* -- one can hope.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wide eyes wide crossed

My mother and brother, both, have been extremely chatty -- yesterday and today and probably till I'm gone. Solitude will be so nice. Then I can find more mundane reasons not to write or be able to focus -- silly things like "I'm hungry" or "I don't feel up to it" or "I wanna watch a movie" instead of this constant stream of chatter between people incapable of communicating with each other and who want to drag me into their mindless conversation.

I finally have everything set to continue with RIHC6v2, even know the beginning of the next chapter that begins Antony's descent into total chaos. If there be silence, tonight, I'll get on it. Right now? Nevermind.

Shit -- I give, already! And time to hit the Advil.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Lunch with family...

Namely sister and sister-in-law to lay the privilege of dealing with my mother on their shoulders since I'll be living 1600 miles away. It's both a relief and a worry, because I've been living with mom the last 15 months and catering to her while they both have homes of their own well north of town so will have to make time to come help her. But it is what it must be. I'm broke and I need the job.

Last night I spent going over RIHC6v2's second section, smoothing it and trying to better understand where it's going, and wound up cutting a little. I have a tendency to repeat the same information in a couple of ways within a couple of pages and have to be careful not to let that sneak past my rewrites. It's like, I work in the action or explanation then go a bit then think, "Y'know, I really need to clarify this a bit" and wind up rewording it and forgetting I've already added that info in. I do the same on my blog, explaining things I've already explained in earlier posts. It appears my short-term memory is now -- and probably never was anything but -- extinct.

Of course, that can be an excellent coping mechanism -- having no short-term memory. I think that's the only reason I still have a couple of people as friends...or why I considered them friends for so long. They'd do or say something to hurt me, I'd back away, after a while I'd settle down, they'd suggest a get-together and things would be like they were before. Same for family, though that carries the extra complication of blood-linkage.

Unless I'm cut too deep. One friend of mine shredded a script I'd asked him to read. Just plain destroyed it to where I couldn't even work on rewriting it -- hell, write anything, he came so close to destroying my belief in my writing ability. I couldn't even talk to him for over a year, it shook me so much. His wife basically arranged for us to be on speaking terms, again, and he claimed the reason he'd been so rough was he "felt I was capable of better" than what I'd done -- but I didn't really believe him. And actually tested him a couple of times and found he still had a tendency to cut and slash, so I stepped away. We HAVE been friends for too long just to sever the relationship, but it's better kept at a distance.

Something even worse happened with family on my mother's side...jeez, 23 years ago. They asked me to come visit for a few days so I flew up -- and it turned out they wanted to verify stories they'd heard about me being gay. And after I acknowledged it, told me they were afraid of me giving them AIDS. I'm HIV negative, but they didn't believe me. One cousin's wife didn't even want me in their house. I was so wrecked by it all, I haven't seen them or talked to them, since. The last couple of years they've been sending out hints they'd like to reconcile, but there is no way in hell that's gonna come about. I don't trust them.

I think that's why Antony's so hard-assed and unforgiving -- he's expressing a side of my character I hate for people to see in me, because in reality that's an expression of weakness. I'd rather be like Jake -- strong enough to handle it on my own terms or face it down, head on. Ah, fiction we either build the lives we wish we led or rewrite the lives we fear we lead. Being completely schizophrenic, I think I'm doing both at the same time with this book.

Typical, me wanting it all.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Still rumbling...

But not ready to shed blood, anymore. My nephew's working up my tax return and I may not owe as much as I feared. And I wrote more on RIHC6v2 -- now up to 165 pages, total...about 35K in wordage -- and discovered a flaw in Antony's logic that should be addressed but will be easy to remedy. He got so lost in figuring out how to double-cross his double-crossers, he double-crossed himself...which may work out neatly, since he is overly-confident in his ability to pull off these double-crosses (and I think I used every version of that word possible except the passive...or is it present imperfect? I need to brush up on my grammatical terms).

Hmm -- so now I'm not 100% sure I SHOULD address the logic flaw. It sort of feeds into the confrontation with the Big Boss and shows Antony has a self-centered blind side that could crush him...but which also adds to him having to go for his own Plan B because of the trouble he's gotten Matt into.

Dammit, I wish he'd stop being such a psychotic little sneak and just let me work this out so it makes sense. Who'd have thought a simple little erotic-mystery-suspense story would turn out to need a spreadsheet to keep up with all its twists and turns?

Well...anybody who knows me.

You see, about ten years back I wrote a script called KAZN (the Russian word for revenge). It centers around a young soldier planning to destroy the man responsible for his family's murder. VERY high-concept idea...until I got done with it. The soldier became Russian and had fought in Chenya. His father was a former Russian General who was in a successful business with an American partner but who also had ties to the Russian mob...which was run by a former KGB commander. The soldier sneaks into the country and coldly sets about using the killer's daughter to get to him. Of course, he falls in love with her; that was part of his own character arc...but it didn't stop him from carrying out his plans, like it would in a Hollywood film. And at the end, he commits a cold-blooded murder and waits for the cops to arrive, accepting his fate.

I wrote the script to have the past AND the present inform each other in nearly parallel sequences, so that when an action is taken in the present, you're informed about it by an action from the past...which the present action makes more understandable. If that makes sense. I got pretty experimental on it.

Well...a couple of directors I know who read it liked it. A film editor liked it. My cinematographer buddy liked it. An actor read it and LOVED the lead character's depth and meaning (which I took to mean he didn't really understand the script). But NOT ONE reader liked the script in any way, form or fashion. I got a copy of some coverage done on it and it was BRUTAL -- and so riddled with errors, I got the feeling the reader just skimmed the story and didn't take very good notes. I submitted it to competitions and paid to get coverage back -- and the same thing happened. Readers ripped the script and screwed up on the details they used to work up their synopses. Several times. Even posting it on Triggerstreet brought me a lot of negative reaction.

So I tried to streamline the script and make it clearer -- and it didn't work. I was still in the process of learning that once a story of mine has found itself and laid itself out in a way it wants to, nothing else works. Same for my characters; once they know who they are, they ain't gonna let me shift them one damn bit more than they feel comfortable with. And if I insist on it, they just sit down and refuse to help -- and the story dies on the page.

Which is why I'm still unsure about the "logic flaw" Antony's worked up. It may be deliberate and something he INTENDS to be used against him...not consciously, just his deep down demons offering up the possibility of self-destruction. Which might work.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Kitty cat's pissed off

So no scratching behind the ears unless you feel like losing some skin. First I got so busy with -- that we didn't have dinner till 8pm because no one else will cook. Apparently, when I move to Buffalo my mother and brother will live off canned goods and frozen dinners or starve to death. So I didn't get started writing till 9pm. Positive note -- my irritation fed into Antony and the moment between him and the guy behind it all (and in this type of conspiracy story, there's always one guy behind the morass) got quietly blunt and vicious.

There was more shit that happened -- but I'm putting that in my handwritten journal because I almost let this blog become my whining post once before and I refuse to follow that path, again. Suffice to say, I'm glad I'll be off on my own, soon, and have no one to blame for my foul mood except me.

International note -- tomorrow is the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, where the Shah and his family and followers left the country. His reign was brutal in its 25 years, with secret arrests and opponents executed and torture of dissidents a part of everyday life as university students kept pushing the protests forward. And what does Iran have now? Secret arrests of people opposed to the Ayatollahs, opponents of the current regime executed and torture as a part of everyday life...and university students pushing the protests forward. Once again proving the old axiom -- the more things change, the more they stay the same.

I only mentioned this because Jake is half-Persian. His other half is Irish, which is another story unto itself.

Final note -- the GOP has a budget proposal that increases taxes on the poor and middle class, cuts taxes on the rich, slashes Medicare spending and privatizes Social Security...and they're upset because people are discussing how their budget increases taxes on the poor and middle class, cuts taxes on the rich, slashes Medicare spending and privatizes Social Security. Its author -- some nitwit Rep. named Ryan -- has called these discussions political attacks orchestrated by the White House, and suddenly the GOP leadership is backing away from ownership of it. And please nobody bother to notice this budget parrots one offered by Fred Thompson during his run for the Presidency in 2007...or that Newt Gingrich shut down the government in -- was it 1994 or 1995? Why? Because Clinton wouldn't go along with slashing Medicare and privatizing Social Security.

The Democrats are a screwed up party that keeps snatching defeat from the jaws of victory via their wishy-washiness, but the Republican Party is diseased.

Down from soap box. Time to do taxes. Rrrrooowwwwrrrr.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Little things that make me smile

In my obsessive need to find validation in my work via the sales figures of my books on Amazon, I checked to see what their status was, this morning. I do this three times a day -- or four...or five...not that I'm anal or least, that I'm willing to cop to -- and I've been rewarded by seeing HTRASG jump on and off the gay bestseller lists at least a dozen times, once getting all the way up to #13 under the subheading "gay erotica" -- and I printed the page out to prove it.

So I started this little game with Amazon, checking constantly to see if any of my other books could be labeled a "bestseller" but while each one came close, none actually made it all the way -- until this morning. RIHC6v1 was #97 on the "any category > books > literature & fiction > erotica > gay & lesbian > gay (updated hourly)" bestseller list *whew* and I jumped for joy. Silly, I know, but it means I can now legally say my BOOKS have been bestsellers. Ah, me...happy to bask in the glories of my self-delusion.

I spent my writing time, yesterday, working part 2 of RIHC6v2 -- like in the first one, the story's telling itself in 2 parts -- to fit the new ending and in doing so managed to simplify it to where it feels less absurd. Plus Antony is becoming overwhelmed by events rather than controlling them, shaking his self-confidence -- and this includes having his efforts to protect Jake begin to spin into chaos and threaten his grip on sanity. I'm still not sure how it's all going to play out, but I'll follow the characters wherever they lead me. And I've backed away from pushing to get it done because I'll need to go through the whole story, now, to make sure it fits together.

Now doctor stuff for mom and working on prepping for my trip then back to writing.

I have no life but that allowed me by proxy.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The joy of screwing with your own mind

Since that's really what I'm doing when my characters start having fun with me...and I haven't decided if this is good fun or just something to be tolerated, like what you do with kids who're trying to tell a complicated story...and I can see from the gleam in a few eyes I'm being warned, "Of course you know, this means war!" (That is supposedly an infamously bad line from some Hollywood movie of the 30's but I've never been able to figure out which movie or who said it...but when it's parodied in a couple of "Bugs Bunny" cartoons, you know it HAD to be infamous...and why I'm drifting down this nonsense is beyond me.)

ANYway -- I did the bad thing, yesterday, and wrote way too long on RIHC6v2 but got Antony's storyline back on track and leading up to what I hope will be a low-key, suspenseful, very intense confrontation with the man he thinks is behind this whole conspiracy that segues into yet another double-double-cross (with one more massive sexual encounter along the way, of course) and a denouement that leaves everyone happy. So I'm feeling good. I'm now up to 145 pages and figure I have less than a hundred to go. So what if I was up till 2:30 and needed to be awake by 9? I could see the rest of the story playing out, and Antony, Jake and Matt seemed satisfied with it all. But how do I get repaid for all my work and subjugation of my brain to their needs? Just as I was about to drift into slumber, my "three Musketeers" flip the ending on me, changing nearly EVERYTHING, and I wasn't able to shut my brain down till almost 4am. And now they're eyeing me, sweetly, from the safety of my inner core, wondering if there was a problem with doing that. The little shits.

No...there was no problem...because I like the new ending. Dammit.

The problem stems from me noticing Brendan's been watching the antics of these three and is beginning to think that's the best way to handle me writing HIS story. THAT makes me nervous, because he's a real taskmaster.

Man...I need to win the lottery so I don't have to go back to work on a scheduled job and can just focus on my writing at whatever hours it wants me to. That or inherit a million dollars (I could live for 20 years on that). But having the luck I do, that's not an option.


Now off to do errands and run my brother around to look for a job. I'll face the lions of my literary liberty tonight.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Midnight at the oasis

Up WAY too late working on RIHC6v2, last night, but I'm working out how Antony takes control of the situation...and I'm not 100% on liking it but can't see any way around what I'm doing, at the moment, to make it better. Antony's now working under a time constraint but I also need him to go to Paris and start putting everything together in how he's being used while getting him back to the States for the finale and all within three days. I suppose I COULD go back and change the allotment of time, but that feels even more wrong...and the fact is, after what's just happened in the story I like the space Antony's taking to regroup and plan out his course of action. But I'm considering changing things a little to make it more acceptable to how Antony is progressing...oh -- oh, I just got it...later.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

All of this is practice, you know

An exercise in the notion that the more one does of something the better one becomes at it. Which I've pared down to -- me writing gay erotica with a brutal bent is merely a way for me to find my voice as a novelist and has little to do with venting or building my attitude or playing the devil -- and Brendan's rolling on the floor at that comment, bursting with laughter. Can't say as I blame him; it's all nonsense...and yet, it IS necessary to do. Not just to work my grammar into an understandable format -- which is harder than you think, for me, since I love taking little flights to I'm doing now -- but to feel comfortable with just letting the story flow, something I'm nowhere near adept at, yet. The fact is, I can be worse than my own worst critic; I can read my work and think I have no business writing anything, let alone something as low-level in the literary world as queer-erotica-cum-porn (pun NOT intended...okay, maybe a little).

I found that happening more and more with POS -- I'd write a chapter and then go back over it and realize it had nothing to do with reality and berate myself for wasting my time and allowing that crap to be brought forth...then go about adjusting it and ignoring the fact that what I'd done was give myself a solid base to build upon. Like Brendan's walk to Claudy (it's posted earlier), my first version of it was silly -- Brendan runs into some Protestants who're planning to sling rocks at passing cars that they think hold Catholics and try to keep him prisoner but he escapes and sneaks around to warn people but no one believes him so he walks with Eamonn and sure enough, they're attacked...and it's VERY mainstream fictional Hollywoodish crap, almost to the point it's minimizing the casual evil of what happened. I restructured it twice before I felt comfortable enough with it...and I think Brendan never actually reaching Claudy but seeing only the aftermath makes it even more horrific, since through it all he's now terrified Eamonn's been hurt or killed and can't find anyone who'll let him know one way or the other. But until it reached that point, you should have heard the little editor in my head denigrating what I'd done. "Stupid, childish and an embarrassment" were some of the kinder phrases.

I know every writer has something like that inside -- if they're planning to be any good. Granted, there are plenty of published writers who don't give a shit and just write whatever -- and I will NOT let that be me. I remember hearing about Joan Collins' second book being so unreadable, the publisher demanded its advance back. Wound up in court and she won, though I don't think the book was ever published; it might have been after some heavy editing, but the whole episode was deeply embarrassing for her. And I tried to read a Judith Krantz book years and years (and years) ago but couldn't get past page 50. I seriously think the only reason that woman's work made it into print was because she used the words "pussy" and "cock" a lot and it was shocking to the blue-haired ladies who bought her tripe. Plus she was sported as the grittier Jackie Collins -- HAH!

Of course, I'm doing a version of that, myself. I'm not so much a fool that I can't see the reason "How To Rape A Straight Guy" keeps selling and selling is because it actually delivers on the title. I've even had a couple of people tell me they really thought is was a "How To" book, which makes me a bit nervous. I, personally, think it's a solid story about a man in the process of destroying himself (and some others) in the name of revenge...but it's my baby, so naturally I'm going to put a positive spin on the story.

And truth is -- all my books are my children. They may be powered by angry alley cats ready to rip the world to shreds because of their lot in life, but they're MY pissed off toms and nobody else's. And we have a mutual understanding -- I'm using them to work at quieting that editor that screams in my head...or at least be better able to fight back. It's like exercising your body (something I REALLY need to get back to), you start off slow so as not to damage something and build and build...and eventually you look like Chris Evans (if you have his beauty-genes and natural furriness). Same for aiming to play the piano or violin at Carnegie Hall -- ya gots to learn da notes, first...then practice, practice, practice.

It's all practice.

So...back to it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Still zoning...

What can I say? Here's another snippet from RIHC6v2 that hints at why this picture is so SO true.


I lay there about half an hour, maybe longer. I spent my time counting -- one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi -- to keep track of how long. I figured if it took longer than an hour, it hadn’t worked and I’d have to reconfigure. Besides, if they took longer than that, I’d have to demand the right to pee -- or else just work my way around to figure out how to unhook that bar and make my way over to the toilet to do it -- or I’d have to wet the bed, NONE of which appeal to me. But in came Mr. Muscles and his boys and they freed me from my chains and carried me out of the room back to the shower. A new stack of clothes and such were there, waiting. He held up his hand showing “five” and left, meaning a quickie in the water. I got it going as hot as I could stand it, just let the piss out to flow down the drain with the water and soaped myself up then rinsed off three times. I’d just started drying when they came back for me.

“Almost done,” I said, wrapping the towel around me like I had any reason to be modest, anymore.

Mr. Muscles didn’t wait. He grabbed the jeans and shirt and his buddies grabbed me and I was dragged back and tossed into the same room, wearing nothing but the towel. The rest of the clothing was tossed in after me.

The room had been cleaned out, the mattress vanished and all that was there were a small table and chair. A sleek man in a five-thousand-dollar suit sat in the chair, looking like something out of “Details Magazine.” I couldn’t tell his age, but his face was hard like carved granite so his features seemed unreal even though they were attractive in a Mediterranean sort of way -- meaning he could be Greek or Italian or Spanish or Romanian Gypsy or even Turkish, Lebanese, Israeli or Egyptian. The geeky guy stood behind the table, still dressed the same, looking nervous. I figured I couldn’t call this guy “geeky” anymore, not after what he’d done to me, so I asked, “Do either of you have a name?”

“This young man tells me you have offered to help him personalize his needs. Did you?” No question, this was Gentle Voice.

I almost snapped back with, You heard everything, you sick fuck, you tell me -- but the shower had awakened my brain up so I grabbed the jeans and as I pulled them on said, “If you’ll let Jake go.”

“How many are you willing to participate in?”

“He said one -- ,” but I noticed the big-eyed guy had raised his hand to show the “Peace” sign so I added, “ -- Two? Oh, both Chris AND John, right?” He nodded, a sweet slightly crooked smile on his face. I shifted my gaze back to Gentle Voice. “Fine -- both of ‘em.”

Gentle Voice nodded and barely shifted to speak to Big Eyes. “You say you have two cameras?”

“Yeah. High-Def. One’s a little better’n the other, but it gets just as good of shots in the right light and -- .”

“You will need two more,” said Gentle Voice, cutting him off in his low-key don’t-fuck-with-me tone. They both acted like they were discussing the latest porn shoot in the San Fernando Valley.

“Will that be enough settle things?” I asked. Then I grabbed the shirt off the floor and slipped it on.

Big Eyes looked at me, frowning, but Gentle Voice made no move. “For Mr. Blaine -- yes. Three, and your obligation will be complete.” Then he shifted his granite-stare straight at me. “Of course, this depends on the quality of the project.”

I made myself smile. “Understood.”

He offered me a card. All it had was the website for Greco’d. “You may upload the footage here. You will have forty-eight hours from your release for the first one.”

Big Eyes jumped. “Wait, we need to plan it out and -- .”

“Fine by me,” I said, slipping the card in my pocket.

Gentle Voice eyed me, probably suspecting I was up to something, but since I had no idea what I was up to there was no way he could figure it out, so he said, “If you do not meet your obligation at any point, Mr. Blaine will complete it for you. I have two bids for him, already.”

The cock-sucking-mother-fucking-needle-nosed-prick-son-of-a-bitching-asshole. Probably lying, but I smiled even wider and nodded my understanding.

After a moment, he returned the nod and Mr. Muscles came over with a vial holding two small pills.

“Take these,” he said. “The clock begins at midnight, after you awaken -- and we will know when you awake.”

I popped the pill dry, without a thought. Big Eyes hesitated then took his, as well. He needed water to get it down. Maybe I would go back to referring to him as a geek. I sat on the floor, remembering how quickly the other one had slammed into me. Big Eyes came over and sat next to me, gripping my hand as if we were Butch and Sundance about to jump off that cliff. I let him, not from feelings of solidarity but because I wanted him to be as open as possible with me. It’s only by having access to lots of information that I knew I’d be able to figure out my next move. So I also made myself smile at him and lean over to kiss him -- and that’s when the narcotic hit me and I slumped to the floor and --

(snip so it's R rated)

I woke to darkness and a chilly breeze drifting in through a window. I was on a bed, lying atop the covers instead of under them, and I was still dressed in that set of t-shirt and jeans but I could feel myself with a piss hard-on and a hint of stickiness around my dick along with a satiated sense of wonder that didn’t connect right. Fuck, I hadn’t had a real wet-dream in years, and the fact that I could have one that included the scum who’d assaulted me made me a bit ill.

My head felt fuzzy but I could move around without much discomfort...just a hint of nausea that could also come from me being hungry as hell. I smelled food and rose to my feet, wobbly but sturdy enough. I crossed to the door, and realized people were talking on the other side of it. I stopped, but then the door opened and two amazingly gorgeous, dark-haired male models in the latest of sexy menswear saw me. One popped over his shoulder, “He’s up,” and his voice carried a strong accent that I couldn’t place. He and his buddy opened the door wider, obviously intending for me to pass through it, so I did.

Turned out we were in a massive suite of rooms on the top floor of a hotel that looked out over an elegant city that was surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The non-stop furnishings were ridiculously rich-looking, with flowers and magazines and crap all over the place to add to the comfort level. And seated on a couch across a glass-topped coffee table was Big Eyes, talking to a man who would be the perfect image of a 40-ish Air Force General on some TV show where they used nothing but the beautiful people from Central Casting. He looked at me with gray eyes that sparkled with intellect and were the perfect compliment to his gray-flecked hair and high-class mustache.

“Mr. St. Lazarre,” he said, his voice carrying the same accent, “how good of you to join us.”

I swallowed, suddenly thinking I may have gotten into something more than I expected...but then I saw the room service tray and smelled the food still steaming under a stainless steel lid and couldn’t help but say, “Is that for me?”

He nodded, so I jumped on it -- roast beef in wine sauce with buttery potatoes and asparagus -- and I didn’t say another word till I’d actually licked the plate clean and swilled it down with two St. Pauli Girls. They waited for me, patiently working on their iPhones and iPads and laptops and such.

When I’d finished the last of the second beer and given at least three solid burps, I smiled at the guy who’d spoken to me -- who was clearly the one in charge -- and asked, “Okay, so now what?”

He looked back at me, not smiling but not cold or wary. “Do you know where you were?”

“Guys, c’mon, I already told you I’d do what you wanted me to, so why the bullshit?”

Big Eyes rose, his whole demeanor suddenly different, more in control and self-assured, almost seeming military in his bearing. “Antony, we’re not with them, and their plans’re what we’re trying to figure out.”

I looked at him, wary. “So who are you?”

“I’m Matthew -- Matt -- and these guys -- .”

The lead guy -- Boss Man -- said something in what sounded a bit like German...and then I remembered this guy I’d met in Paris, an intern who let me get into some major trouble of the fun kind with him, who spoke not only French and English but Hebrew, him being Jewish. And suddenly I realized, “Aw, shit -- your tattoo! It’s not Japanese -- it’s the Hebrew sign for life!”

Boss Man blinked at that. “You think ‘la chaim’ looks Japanese?”

“I -- I wasn’t really thinking about it; I just -- just thought -- .” Oh, holy fuckin’ shit. “You guys’re Israeli. You’re Mossad!”

Busy doing nothing day

So far I've been doing lots and lots of stuff that I cannot even remember -- paperwork, changing info online, trying to get my tax info in order so I can have my taxes done before I leave -- and it's been wearying.

Last night, I finished going over RIHC6v2 and am up to 121 pages. That's half the book. I know what's coming next in the story; I just need to do it and make sure everything links up. I have a feeling it will, because I've laid the groundwork for some serious crap to go down in the second half, and now Antony has a helper whom he may or may not be able to trust.

After this...I'll be busy working on the new job for a while so won't have a chance to do much writing. I need to figure this out.

Brain is sinking into "huh" mode. Maybe more later, when I reboot my mind.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Regrouping and expanding

I decided to slow Antony down a little and go back over what I've written on RIHC6v2 so far, just to streamline and clarify it...and keep it from becoming TOO James Bondish -- and wound up adding 3 pages after just editing half of it. Seems once I corrected the inconsistencies I found and added some description to better illustrate a couple of things, Antony opened up and let out some more of what he was thinking and why...and I liked it. Somebody once said about writing that "you have to kill your darlings," meaning drop things you liked or loved in your story for it to work...and I could see that as applies to screenwriting or stage plays. Those two forms have very demanding guidelines that you really have to understand in order to break them. I think I got to where I thought I did -- at least, well enough to be sneaky with the rules -- but now I wonder if I was just being a bit too full of myself, again. Because people kept telling me my books came across more like novels, and the rules there are a LOT more lax. Which is why I'm not completely comfortable with that saying as regards my actual novels. All that matters is the story works and the characters are acceptable as truth. And I've read some published books that don't even begin to meet those guidelines.

I think the most recent example of that is Isaac Asimov's "Prelude to Foundation", the book that set up his brilliant "Foundation" series (well, the first three books were brilliant, anyway, and parts of the fourth). His main character, Hari Seldon, goes through some of the wildest and silliest moments I've ever read -- like believing a man he just met, who appears only moments before two attackers jump them both, is to be trusted so completely, he disrupts his life and does whatever this guy and his cohorts say...just like a child would. Without ever really questioning it. I didn't swallow that for a second. Plus it made the so-called hero of the story...or protagonist, if you prefer...passive and malleable, hardly heroic characterizations. Now I have no problem with the lead character being acted upon instead of initiating the action, so long as there's something else going on to make him interesting or worthy. But there wasn't. Hari just did as he was told. Went where he was told. And thought like he was told. And I stopped reading halfway through.

Now some of the things that happen with my characters can be seen as far-fetched, but by telling them in first person I'm able to layer in their thoughts in a natural fashion and work things out in their minds as they go to keep them from seeming too much like super-brains or lucky bastards. I think the closest I'm coming to letting that happen is RIHC6v2, but it's aimed at a deeper meaning so I think I'll get away with it. So long as Antony doesn't start jumping out of planes with just an umbrella to slow his fall until he happens to hook onto a passing goose that flies him down to a nearby lake to splash into. That might seem a bit silly.

Oh, great -- Antony's laughing at me and shaking his head. And Brendan's just rolling his eyes. O-kay...when even my characters are making fun of me, it's time to get to work.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Moving along

I've got 115 pages done on RIHC6v2 and I'm afraid it's gone off the rails, it's become so lost in this huge conspiracy Antony's uncovered. But taking a cue from Kyle Cicero (who uses the bartenders and waiters at his favorite gay bar in his books, getting him free drinks whenever he goes in; he seems to love Apple-tinies) I've written my one known fan into the story -- named Matt, and he's become an integral part. In fact, he's helping the story get back on track and has shifted the ending I initially seemed to be aiming for from one of "bleakly maintaining" to one of "potential and hope." Dunno why, exactly, except Antony sees Matt was being manipulated, too, and in a way that could easily have destroyed him...and feels protective of the guy, which is funny since Antony is just 23 and Matt's a couple years older. But this line popped in where Antony recalls his mother once saying he was born with a 50 year old soul, indicating he's always been older in life than he is on the calendar. We'll have to see how it works.

Listen, I know I'm not writing anything on the level of Tolstoy or Steinbeck or even Jackie Collins, here -- well, maybe better than Jackie Collins, just aimed mainly at a gay audience open to stories that hold intensely erotic confrontations -- but I still take pride in how my characters and stories develop lives of their own. I honestly don't know how that works; it just happens. Maybe I tap into something in the ether that's saying, "Hi, want to have fun? Follow me." Maybe I've been destined to write these works; Presbyterians believe in predestination, and I was raised in that faith. Maybe I'm just finally letting my id free to do as it likes after so many years of confining it to screenplays I wanted to sell (but that no one wanted to buy). I don't know. I just know when it flows and it works, when my characters are talking to me and leading along the roads of their worlds, I'm happy...even when I'm pissed off at them or they're pissed off at me.

I think Brendan senses this and accepts it and is willing to wait to see what happens next with POS. There's still so much I need to understand about the ways and mores of N. Ireland society at that time, but I'm getting there. And reality is, his book is not under the gun, so to speak, since it's a period piece so I don't need to worry about when it gets published so as not to seem outdated by changes in the world. That's happened with a couple of scripts I wrote -- one for the good even though what happened was horrendous (Hurricane Katrina helped BLOOD ANGEL fall into place), one for the bad (9/11 made DELAY EN ROUTE ludicrously outdated and I have yet to figure out how to make it work, again).

So now it's off to work, something I actually look forward to, even when I don't. Make sense out of THAT, if you will.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lunch with people you know

The I-35 corridor between San Antonio and Austin, TX used to be nothing but wide fields on rolling hills coupled with groves of trees interrupted by two small towns -- New Braunfels and San Marcos. It is now non-stop buildings occasionally broken up by open fields and the occasional tree. The freeway is three lanes the entire way and has non-stop traffic along the whole 70 mile route. The only way to drive it now and not be depressed by the cancer of suburban growth is in a light fog or mist, as was happening this morning. It shrouded the blight with a layer of soft grays and light blues and greens that reminded me of the first time I drove up there so many years a 1970 Plymouth Duster, going 80-85 in a 65 zone and not getting caught by any roadside cops. A friend and I were going to check out the bar scene, both of us being fully legal for the first time, and found it wasn't all that much better than SA -- just younger and more college oriented...which suited me; I was thinking about returning to school.

When I graduated High School, I lucked into a job in the visual merchandising department of Frost Brothers, a high-end department store in downtown San Antonio. Because of my art background, I was brought on to help design and build backdrops for the windows for the company's two stores. I was doing well enough to have my own apartment, buy a car, have a few credit cards and go out drinking every Friday and Saturday night. But when we hit Austin I thought that'd be a great place to start a new direction -- in film. I was already a Hitchcock freak and had read Truffaut's book of interviews with him so knew Hitch had started in the art department before moving to directing. So why not me (as so many Hollywood stories go)?

Well...a few months later came the Yom Kippur War and the first oil embargo and gas prices shot up and I decided it would be too far to go to Austin for school, so I checked the local colleges, stumbled onto Trinity University and wound up going there, instead. It was a great experience, too. Very free and open and I made friends I still have, from there.

Anyway, today I drove up to speak with the publisher of my books. A lot's been happening, it seems. All of them are (or soon will be) available on Barnes & Noble, now, as well as through Ingram (which owns B&N) and by the end of March will also be set up to download to Kindles or iPhones or desktops or whatever. They're up and running in not just the UK but all across Europe and Japan and will be printed and sold through Bulldog Book (store or wholesaler; I'm not sure about that) in Australia. So I'm no longer just internationally available, I'm worldwide. Imagine what this does to my ego -- .

Not. It's still a bit hard to accept or comprehend. Especially since I've seen the sales figures. We ain't talking Stephen King volume here even when all figures are lumped together, that's fer dang shore.

So now I'll get back to my latest round of viciousness in RIHC6v2. If I can get it done before I leave for NY, I'll be happy. Fingers and eyes crossed.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Storyboarding job is completed. "I will fight no more forever" -- which is a famous quote by an Indian chief from over a hundred years ago as he agreed to confine his people to a reservation and I can't remember his name -- Cochise? Geronimo? Anyway, I'm done and can now focus on something that matters to me.

Hit my 50+

And I'm about to put them into a Powerpoint file to send to Kasey to see if this will work. Some of it I'm not 100% on, yet, but I think I'm close. We'll see.

I didn't have dinner, last night, since I'd eaten a fair amount at that party...and actually felt a bit ill from it. I wonder if the hostess used chicken broth in her rice or queso? I'm allergic to chicken and even a little can cause me trouble. There was one occasion in San Francisco, when I was working the California Book Fair, where I went to a Whole Foods and had a bowl of their potato leek soup, thinking it was veggie. After I was done, I heard someone ask the chef if the soup had a veggie or chicken base -- and he didn't know, but he thought it could be chicken since it wasn't listed as vegetarian. Sure enough, a couple hours later I was in the bathroom. Taught me to question all soups -- and damned if 90% aren't made with a chicken broth base. So if they don't SAY they're veggie or vegan, they ain't. What a thing to learn at my age.

Anyway, since I only drank tea and had toast, I felt better so worked on RIHC6v2 and am now up to 105 pages. About halfway through the story and at the point where Antony's suspecting that a man he hates is being set up to take a fall for a criminal organization, that he's meant to be the instrument of that man's destruction and that maybe...maybe Jake is helping them, exploding the conflict Antony's already feeling inside concerning his own actions. It's a dark book, to put it mildly, because everyone in it is forced to deal with their own animal nature and instinct for self-preservation and how that can lead you to do things that you would not normally do. Another of my "immoral morality tales."

Man, I'm getting away with shit in this book that I could NEVER get away with on film.