Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Still shakey...

So I stopped at Starbuck's on the way home to do e-mails and check some things online then went home to watch "Departures" thanks to Netflix.

What a lovely little Japanese film. It's the story of Daigo, a man who's lost his dream to play cello for an orchestra because he doesn't think he's good enough. He and his wife move home so he can live in a house left to him by his mother, and he winds up becoming someone who ceremonially prepares the dead for cremtation, all done as the family watches and with all the grace of a Japanese Tea Ceremony. It leads him to a new appreciation for humanity and also a deeper love for his music.

A couple of times it fell into formula (I knew from the first introduction of this one character they were deat meat) and I think the timeline was off for some of the plot points, but overall it was a very moving experience, and people's reactions to his job are fascinating. I can see why it won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

This is the kind of movie I'd like to have made. Even my horror scripts were based more in character and reality (as much as possible). I wrote one called "Killing Moon" where the first ten minutes are this minister trying to raise a demon, having a trick played upon him and then winding up becoming the demon he asked for. It's basically showing how people can convince themselves of things that would seem fantastic (hell, look at the Tea Party crowd and their claims of death panels for seniors, all ludicrous but still they believed it)...and how when the devil makes a deal with you, he plays by his own rules. As does God, when he's fighting back. No one who's read the script got that. Comments were -- "How would he not know it's a trick?" and "This guy doesn't think he really raised a demon, does he?" and such. It wasn't easy to hear.

I will say, though, I shrugged off the comments that were just "Doesn't work for me" and focused on making the script better. And now it's ready to be made into a book, I long as I throw in some serious sex. After all, the guy God sends to fight the demon is gay and has a lover, so let's have some fun with it.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I have no control over my life...

Some inner part of my brain does. Literally. I may decide I'm going to do something, but if that one little section of said brain don't don't happen. I want to go out for a nice dinner? No way. Get sidetracked on this or that instead. Read a book? Forget it. You need to do research online. Stupid things like that.

Therefore -- I spent the last few days writing a short story instead of letting my batteries recharge, as I intended...and it drained me. Last night night I finished a first draft...a very rough first draft, 4400 words...of a little piece titled "Desert Land" and when I was done I felt a bit crazed, both emotionally and physically. Like I'd been punched in the chest. I may have been on the verge of a panic attack or something because it was nearly 11pm and I was pacing the floor. I wound up putting on some Enigma and turning out the lights and just letting the music take over. I've never had that sensation, before...and honestly don't want to, again.

Of course, it's a pretty intense little story...and I honestly don't know if I'll be able to share it with the world. I used the worst year of my life as its basis -- the year I spent in El Paso, Texas which built up such a hatred of that city, I will not stop there when I drive between LA and San Antonio. One year I even went the I-40 route, to the north to avoid it. So I still have to think about this. And think. And think.

What's even funnier is, I'd intended to write about this time in boy scouts when I was 12 and stupidly gave the assistant scout master a compliment in front of the other guys. I wasn't in scouts much longer, mostly at their request...though to be honest, I was just about to have to go up for my swimming merit badge so I could advance to Scout First Class, and I can't swim. Still can't. So maybe I was already backing away from it all.

That's me...backing through life.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Weird deja vu-ing

I've been having a lot of odd little deja vu moments working in this office, from the view out the bay window I inhabit when there's a line of parents in cars waiting to pick their kids up from the school next door and a school bus can't pass because a pickup truck's parked illegally to a cat crossing my desk to sip from a highball glass full of water to seeing the kitchen in a certain light after a certain discussion on the phone. I've had them at my apartment, too, and during a drive to work as I passed the local "Forest Lawn Cemetery" which has Millard Fillmore as one of its permanent guests.

Driving past the cemetery is actually nice, because it's all to the east of this winding road while to the west is a park with a lake (another moment of deja vu). I usually hit 75% of the lights; seems Buffalo hasn't learned Beverly Hills' trick of setting all the lights to go at the same time...which is fun to see while driving down Santa Monica.

I got an acknowledgement from Nazca Plains that they'd received RIHC6v2. Another step on the road to completion.

I watched "The Queen" again, last night, and think it's a VERY well-done drama that makes the Royal Family's concerns about showing concern and sympathy to the public over Princess Diana's death compelling and real. Of course, Helen Mirren was letter perfect as QE2, but the rest of the cast was up to her level -- Michael Sheen as Tony Blair, James Cromwell as Prince Philip, actually everyone involved, making it seem almost like a documentary instead of a dramatization. Highly recommended.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I must have slipped into workaholicism...

Because I intended to spend today catching up with the piddly stuff as I did my laundry and contemplated a road trip to big-bad Toronto -- but as I sifted through my pile of paperwork I found a note to myself about a story and before I knew it, I'd written 2000 words for a short story, using my one year of hell in El Paso, Texas (I was 13/14) as its foundation. It's sloppy and WAY too wordy, right now, but I have the opening section and the closing section done and have only to connect them with the other four sections I've determined will build the story, then hone it down. trip went out the window as did my special dinner. Instead, I had a half rack of the BBQ ribs at a Chili's not far from me and there was no big deal about that. Maybe I'll wait till I get the proof copy back and see how much work needs to be done on RIHC6v2 before I celebrate. Or I'll have a fine meal in Paris on my own dollar...or Euro. We'll see. Maybe this was my characters' way of warning me not to get too cocky, yet. I dunno. I'm not irritated by it or upset or even let down; I'm in this weird space where I'm thinking, "Good, I did something solid, today," and the rest is yet to come.

There's a mall near that Chili's and it has a Penney's so I dropped in to pay my bill and actually wandered through the mall to see what it's like. And it felt small and tight. Low ceilings. Odd entrances to major stores (Penney's is at the end of a hallway but to the side instead being the anchor of the area.) There are two A&Fs, 2 Express, 2 Macy's (one's the Men's store), no book stores, one music and movie store and a food court that is almost sad in its offerings. It was packed with people and cute guys worked the kiosks for Auntie Mame's Bagels and Sprint...but overall this is NOT a place I'd make my destination in the future.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


I just sent RIHC6v2 off to the publisher. I've done rewrites and polishes and spell-checks and scans for formats...and I know when I get the PDF to proof, I'll find more. I'm bad with typos. But this is the first step on setting Antony (top) and Jake (below) out into the real world. They're big boys now; they can handle it...I just don't know if I can, and I know this is their second foray into publication, but still...I seriously feel like a parent seeing his children off into the cold cruel world. I'd keep them home and protect them the rest of my life, probably, but what good would that do? And seeing as how ill-served my scripts have been by my protectiveness, I'd be a fool to continue it.

So...eventually I'll have my sixth book (and seventh work) available on Amazon and Barnes & Nobel and around the world. And it has yet to feel like it's real. HTRASG is continues to be my best-seller, but it seems "Bobby Carapisi" is doing well, too, since it's more mainstream than anything else I've written. PM and RIHC6v1 just bounce up and down the scale.

So now comes my traditional celebration dinner. I had a pretty good fish dinner at a restaurant in this shopping mall, back when I first got here. Maybe I'll go there. Naw -- I feel like a steak. I wonder where I can get a good one in Buffalo without spending a hundred bucks? Maybe I'll drive up to Toronto; they have a Ruth's Chris and I have a gift card. Hmm.......

Friday, March 26, 2010

Busy day

I started pulling together info for the Seattle Book Fair in September, so here's an image I snapped last year, when I hopped up there from San Antonio to help load the fair out and reconfigure the skids of books to be shipped back to their owners. The exhibition hall is in the same complex as the Space Needle.

I almost want to start talking about my job...but it is NOT what this site is about and I don't want to get into the near habit I started when I was beginning this blog -- that of whining about my daily life. I'd rather whine about my daily writing. Makes for more interest than the usual "Oh, how hard my life is." Hell, that sentence bores even me. I will say next week looks like it'll be getting crazy, so blogging may be consistently late in the evening. 'Nuff said about that.

I worked up a brief blurb for the back of the book and the Amazon page --

Antony wanted to build a new life and let go of his past, but then he was dragged into a vicious conspiracy of rape, murder and shifting allegiances that threatened to destroy both him and his beloved Jake.

It's a bit too one-liner-Hollywoodish for me, right now, so I'm working on it some more...but it's a start. I don't think I'll do a synopsis. The story is too twisty and turny to be condensed into anything that makes sense. What's funny is, watching "The Big Sleep" actually did set my brain in the direction of a murder mystery involving Antony and Jake, but told from Jake's POV, this time. I think his steadiness would work beautifully in that framework. It's just the first splitting of the seed within and I have no idea if what will come out is a bush of roses, vine of tomatoes or a hell of a lot of okra (which I hate). Maybe I'll wind up with nothing but weeds. That's half the fun...figuring out what the hell it is you're growing.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Easy Street

Casual is the word for a couple of days as I let this last rewrite settle in then do a polish and spell check on Saturday and send it off Sunday and shift my focus to something new on Monday and wonder why I'm scheduling myself so much, today. I guess I have too much I see in need of doing and want to get it done before I'm 97...which at the rate I'm aging won't be all that long from now.

The disk I got from Netflix on "The Big Sleep" had a nice little documentary showing the changes made between the first version shot by Howard Hawks -- which I saw on Turner Classic Movies, once, and is pretty clunky -- and the classic version that established Bogie and Bacall as THE couple of the 40's and gave her a seriously long-term career. Added in -- the famous discussion about race horses that drips of sexual double entenres and Bogie's straight-to-the-jaw line to Bacall as he's leaving her boudoir. It's like Hawks and his writers had a year to contemplate the storyline and come up with ways of making it better, and then were given the freedom (and money) to do it. One of the positives about the old studio system.

But seriously, if you haven't seen the movie, you should. It set the standard for LA detective stories. Hmm...wonder if I could write something like that, set in WeHo?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Winding down

I joined Netflix, again, and have "The Big Sleep" coming to watch tonight. One of my favorite Bogie and Bacall films and a fun twisty little mystery that even Raymond Chandler couldn't follow -- and he wrote it. There's an infamous story where Howard Hawks and either Jules Furthman or Leigh Brackett were working on the script (William Falukner also worked on it) and they couldn't figure out who killed this one character, so they called Chandler. He snapped that the explanation was in the book...then a few hours later called them back and said he couldn't figure it out, either. So rather than actually SAY who did it, they strongly indicated who they thought the killer was...and it worked out. Makes me feel good about my sneakily intricate style of writing.

I'll be watching it on my computer. I don't have a TV or VCR yet -- I left mine in San Antonio -- and actually haven't needed it, really. I've been so locked into writing RIHC6v2 my nights and weekend have been taken up. Now I'm kicking back for a little bit, I guess I need something to do...and reading is great but not for hours at a time. Not with some of the books I'm slogging through for POS.

Of course, I COULD just let myself be a workaholic and jump into the next book without thought. I'd get it done fasterish.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The more I change...

The more I'm still like I am. If that makes sense. I'm refering to the edit I'm doing on RIHC6v2 and getting weary of talking about. When I'm considering animal adoption for my characters, it's definitely time to end this and get it off before I get carted off to a padded cell.

Halfway through a chapter in section 2, I decided to add back in a character I'd taken out -- not completely but just in that part of the book. And I'm of two minds about it. On the one hand, it seems to dissipate the energy of the first half of the chapter...but on the other hand, it just makes sense for this person to be there -- too damn much sense to ignore, because it's part of an intimidation game being played between people who hate each other. And now I'm loathe to change it because it worked in without adding any pages. To me, that usually means it's a "yes" from the ether.

And also means I'm deep enough into the story to just sense what works with the rhythm and not think about it. So I think I will just finish this edit and do a spell check and that will be that.

Of course, Nazca Plains is backed up with books to publish, now. I wonder how long it'll take to become available on Amazon? And if I can finagle a way to cut in front?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cat fur envelopes me

The two longhairs at my work have decided I'm their new best friend since I took time on my Saturday to come feed them. For about ten minutes they sat flanking my keyboards, watching me and then looking around the room as if seeking out something to destroy...then watching my fingers work the keyboard. I felt a bit Egyptian, with my guard cats maintaining control of the perimeter.

The owners of the company are in Florida for a conference and I took cat duty one weekend day. What's interesting is, I thought I was very allergic to cats. The last few times I'd been around them, my nose would go nuts and on one occasion one of my eyes swelled shut from the dander -- I thought. But I haven't really had trouble with these two...and I got white hairs all over my maroon shirt. Note to self -- wear light colors more often.

RIHC6v2...I now dream about it. Did so last night, wondering why Antony and Jake don't have a dog. Dunno where that came from, but Jake would love one. Antony's more of a cat person...even though he refers to his inner creature as a hound. I think he'd want a tough old tom cat adopted straight out of an alley. Jake would have an Irish Setter named Kells.

Or maybe I've got it backwards. I have no idea. Right now these two are so real to me, it's spooky. I can actually see a series of books about the lives and adventures of Antony and Jake, with their new pack-mate, Matt, popping in once in a while to stir things up.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Finally had to get out...

Spent most of yesterday and today working on RIHC6v2 and it's getting there. Each time I go through the story, I find something new to explain or add or cut or rearrange, no matter how often I do it. Of course, I used to pull this nonstop rewriting with my scripts, too, but in those it didn't matter as much since scripts are there to be ignored and redone by idiots who have no concept of how to make a movie, so any rewrites I did were just for me. In a book...grammer and style matter. A LOT.

I heard a story once of how John Fowles rewrote one of his books years after it had been published -- the Magus? -- and I remember wondering why. Now I know. If you're growing as a writer or fighting to find the right way to tell something without it being trite or tedious, you're always rearranging words and moments in your book. Hell, I do that with other writers' books, so much so I find it hard to read fiction, these days.

Anyway...i've given myself until next Sunday to complete this book; otherwise I'll be working on it this time next year and that's just avoidance. I think Antony and Jake and Matt and company are ready to face the world on their own. And to anyone who thinks this is just a book of erotica and it's silly for me to work so hard at getting it just right, picture a big Gallic shrug right now. If it's got my name on it, I have to be proud of it.

No package. Mom never sent it off. She finally gave it to my sister who took it to the PO Friday.'ll be hard for me to get it till Saturday since packages are kept in the office and they're only open the hours that I work. Irritating.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

So much to do...

Now that I have the full story laid out on RIHC6v2, I'm lost in making it work from page one, meaning some additions and subtractions taken in the text, thus far. Antony's being quite helpful in a way that makes him look even smarter than he thinks he is. Thank God for Jake being around to keep him in line. I hadn't realized how perfect a fit those two were until trying to do this rewrite. Gives me something to lean on and dream about.

I've been keeping an eye out for a package from my mother that contains all the mail that was delivered for me in San Antonio. Some of it's bills I need to pay and another looks like something dealing with my credit that I need to see. She said she'd send it Monday...but I have a feeling she hasn't done it, yet. This wouldn't be the first time she's told me she'd do something for me and didn't do it. So I have to rush back to my apartment and see if it's in today's mail. If not, I'm calling my sister and asking her to send it to my work address, Express Mail. It's irritating.

I had my second bad meal in Buffalo, last night. I went to a place called Mike's Subs that looked good and had their fish and chips. So greasy, I had to soak it off with napkins...and NO MALT VINEGAR!!!! Sacrilege.

I'm sticking with McDonald's, jeez.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tonight's the night...

I'm getting back to my rewrite of RIHC6v2 and will spend the weekend working on it. I want to get a polish off to the publisher by the end of next week so I can focus on not only my next book but also the job I'm doing to make a living since I ain't making a living no other way. *rant-rave-snap-snarl-growl-grr*

Suddenly I'm reminded of a Donald Duck comic book I had back in the 60's, about Donald and his nephews being in the Caribbean and running into an ancient conquistador who was guarding a hidden treasure. He was dressed in armor and spoke in odd phrases, and he kidnapped one of the nephews to train him to take over as the guardian. Donald won the day by catching a rat with attitude and putting it down the back of the conquistador's armor. But before he did that, he showed us the pissed off rat in a cage...and this little thing was going "snap, snarl, grr" all over the place, and it scarred my brain -- in a good way. Whenever I feel facetious, I use that little critter to emphasize to myself how silly my supposed anger is.

I have a feeling book 3 of "Bobby Carapisi" is going to be as much of a process as RIHC6v2 was, maybe more-so. I don't want to refer to this as a fight or battle anymore; I may whine about the process and complain and bitch and moan, but I still enjoy it in too many ways to go all "snap, snarl" on it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. Pat's in Buffalo

It ain't like it was in Dublin, that's for sure. I went to a bar across the street from me called Malone's to feast on corned beef and cabbage and guzzle Guinness...and their corned beef was of the luncheon meat variety and, to make matters worse, was served lukewarm. I guess I should have sent it back, but it had taken me so long to get a table I just dug in. As for the Guinness, it's served in the usual American way - FAST. I got it on tap but it was cold and there was little head on it. I'm told there's a bar in South Buffalo, where the main Irish community is, called Curley's that pulls a Guinness the way it should be done. I guess I'll head down there to see what that's like, sometime.

I'm reading a book called "Mother Ireland" that seems more a memoir of the country than the person telling the tale and is quite engaging...if a bit difficult to follow at times and some of her dates are off. For instance, she has the potato blight that lead to the great famine starting in 1847 when it began in 1845...but since it's more of a rumination, I guess it's not that big a deal. What's interesting about it is the window into the mindset of the Irish as seen by an Irish woman who considers herself sophisticated. The layer of condescension is elegantly accepted by her, without even a thought.

Of course, it's given me clues into Brendan and his mother and other people in the story. I almost said characters, but that's a diminishing of their role in "A Place of Safety" and I don't want to do that. So I keep watch for anything that minimizes them in my own mind.

It'll be interesting to see if I come out of this with my own mind still intact.

Here's that picture of the Niagra River's ice.

Taken from the US side, three weeks ago. I wonder if it looks like that, now?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Went brain dead, yesterday, and got zero done on anything after spending mose of the day working on the company website and prepping that for a meeting with my new employer. Now I'm still trying to kick brain into start and not having much success. So this will be a short post and a mind slowing photo to make the day worthwhile...dude.

This is Zuma Beach, up north of Malibu. Got a history here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Odd little occurence going on

A little challenge I joined up with nearly a year ago, where I wrote a one-act play to go along with some short stories and scripts about a pair of adventurers seeking to recover some stolen jewelry, has become very complicated. For a while, it was part of a competition where people chose one of the stories and made a short film out of it, but that went nowhere because the guys sponsoring it were rank amateurs. Now the stories have been made over into screenplay vignettes, with someone else having rewritten my play into screenplay format. I read the first one and nothing was changed except the format...but now another guy who wanted bigger changes in the play when I first submitted it (and whose ideas I mainly blew off because they were silly) has done another rewrite and I'd like to read it but they won't send it to me. I still have all rights to the play, but it seems this new deal is based on what I agreed to when I said they could use the play for the competition to make a movie. Not cool.

Doesn't help that I'm not really impressed with anyone else's writing abilities. They all have this "steal from movies I've seen" thing going on with their characters being characters who are faux cool, while mine was deliberately not like that. I sort of made fun of it all. Looks like I'll have to be rude and demand a review of the new rewrite, or I'm taking my toys and going home. It's childish, but sometimes that's all people listen to.

I printed up RIHC6v2, last night, using up the last of a tub of ink in my HP printer. Even before I started, it was telling me I needed to replace the ink cartridge, so I printed 10 pages at a time, keeping an eye on it and thinking it should run out after about 40 or 50 (I've been through this before with this printer); I wound up printing 200 pages. Man, If anyone does what HP's printers tell them to do with their ink, they're wasting money and resources. That company is a scam...and now the woman who made it into a scam -- Carly Fiorina -- is running for Senator on the GOP ticket (big surprise), hoping to replace Barbara Boxer, someone who's actually done a damned good job as the Senator from California (Diane Feinstein...she's too willing to deal with the scum in the Senate).

Next time I buy a printer, I'm getting an Epson.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Weird things going on

Buffalo is a curious city. Stores close surprisingly early on Sundays -- like 5pm -- so I couldn't get some things I needed because I waited too long. I mean, even the Target was closed when I went back to it. And the selection of things when you DO get to these stores is amazingly minimal. I went to Target earlier in the day to find a pair of sneakers to wear at the office (we're California casual here) and they only had one aisle of men's shoes and maybe 20 square feet of men's clothing. I was taken aback. I blew off buying anything, thinking I'd find all I needed at a grocery store and JC Penney's...but Penney's was closed and the groccery story didn't have ANY of the things I was looking for. I felt very Third World, for a moment.

I will add, I've been spoiled by the massive stores in LA and SA. In Texas, I lived within walking distance of a Target that was twice this one's size. I guess I just have to get used to the idea that things are different, up here.

I managed to keep my hands off RIHC6v2...for the most part. Here's hoping I can do so for a week to give me space enough to find out if the story's working. I'm going to print up a copy to do corrections on. I find I locate typos much easier, that way. Then it's off to my editor for one last overview...and then it'll be off to the publisher.

Fingers and eyes crossed.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mr. Impatient

I did a quick once over RIHC6v2's second part to put in some ideas I had, last night, and correct a continuity error I didn't think about until I was l almost asleep. So...I didn't get to sleep officially till after 3am since this stupid Daylight Savings Time's come back to wreck my life. And yes, it's all about me.

Of course, the ideas lead to other changes and the correction lead to more details and expansions here and there and I'm now over 65K in wordage...and back to wondering if it's making sense anymore. Hopefully, I'll leave it alone till I'm ready to view it with a fresh set of intentions.

There were actually snow flurries in Buffalo, today. Kind of a shock. None of it stuck -- the ground was too wet from the rain -- but it was interesting to watch. I'm still a bit off-center, here...but then my whole life's been off center in one way or another, so nothing new about that.

I found out the Shaw Festival's about to begin and it's not even thirty miles away, in Canada. I think I'll try to attend a few plays -- they're offering "An Ideal Husband", "Harvey" and "The Women". Plus they have a playwright's program. I've been thinking about turning "The Cowboy King of Texas" into a play. Maybe they have a workshop I could attend.

Man, would THAT be a change of pace.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Happy at last

I just finished another polish of RIHC6v2 and feel good about it...which is probably a mistake. So I'm going to let it sit for a little while. I talked to the publisher, today, and he said they're running WAY behind. He's currently trying to add people to the payroll so he can catch up. Wish he'd mentioned this before I moved to Buffalo...but that would have meant staying in central Texas and that's not a good place to be, right now. Not for someone like me, anyway, being a liberal. I mean -- yes, Austin's a much more advanced area than anywhere else in Texas, but it's also the city that spit out a crackpot who flew his airplane into an office building full of people, the majority of whom had nothing whatsoever to do with the IRS.

Enough of that. Let me just say I like how things worked out in the book. I think it's pretty much ready and I couldn't be more relieved. I was starting to worry I'd gone in too many directions for it to come together. It's still a bit ragged at the end, but I don't really mind that. Let's see how I feel after it's been sitting for a week.

In anticipation of my trip to Paris, I downloaded all the images off my digital camera and found a couple worth sharing. This is a drive-by shot of downtown Miami on the causeway to South Beach.

Came out a LOT better than I thought it would, seeing as how I was driving at 50 while taking it. Let it never be said I'm unwilling to take chances in exchange for something fun.

I was going to do one of a river of ice under Niagra Falls, but I just realized it's too big and need to minimize it to fit on here. Oh, well -- here's a river surfer in Boise, Idaho.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be visiting there for any reason, but I did a year and a half ago, to pack a library on fishing...which does NOT surprise me.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I surrender, Dorothy

And I finally set up a land line with a WiFi box, to be installed on April 3rd. It's Verizon FiOS and is costing me more than I thought it would but I just can't handle this scrounging for the interweb. I actually bought a gift card from Starbucks so I could sign on and get access to my .mac e-mails. Not cheap but I can live with it for a little while.

I wonder if Brendan did this to shut down my use of the online-able stuff and better focus on his story. Problem with that is, some of the best info I got comes from the NICRA site in Derry -- lots of photos and background info on the actual protests and history of the horror that followed -- and I like to jump onto Google to grab a bit of info when I'm thinking about it; if I wait, I have to dig through my notes and remind myself of what I needed to know.

For example -- I thought Denmark was on the Euro, since it's also part of the EU. But like the UK, Denmark opted out from using the Euro and kept the Krone...and it's apparently helping them during this financial crisis, unlike Greece and Spain, who both adopted the Euro and are now faced with brutal austerity measures to handle their sudden budgetary problems. If they'd still been on the Peseta and Drachma, they'd be better able to handle the problem.

BTW -- did you know Goldman Sachs advised Greece on how to hide their growing national debt, thus setting the stage for their possible default? American financial wizards -- the gift that keeps on giving.

Just when I think I got a clue...

Technology springs up to remind me of just how dumb I am. I made the mistake of trying to download an image onto a PC, yesterday, and can't find where the hell it was stored. Unnlike my Macs, who make it EASY to locate downloads because they actually HAVE a Download folder that things go into and actuall ASK you if you want it to go there, PCs just do it then laugh at you as you search and search and search for some way to actually SEARCH for the download.

Now I'm sure PC freaks are rolling in the aisles laughing because they know how to do it, but anybody who tells you the damn things are easy to use is fooling him or herself. There was an old saying that to use a PC you had to know some programming; it's still true.

To top if off, my AT&T account expired before I could set up a replacement service here, so now I can't access WiFi on my laptop. My SBCGlobal page is still up, as is my account, but the only way I can get to them right now is by using this vile PC at work. Same for my blog. ARRRGGGHHHHH!

I took my frustrations out by working on RIHC6v2's second part and calmed some of Antony's attitudes down, a little...and by doing so had an idea on how to deepen it, a bit. Something that's necessary to keep Jake from turning into a stock character in this book. The understanding boyfriend who's always there with his support (albeit with a typical Jake snap to it). Still...the hell with that -- I can't diss Jake that way. He's too important to the story.

I'm getting this polish done, this weekend...even WITH the stupid Spring forward crap. I hate and despise Daylight Savings Time...but it's probably because I'm a night person, not a morning one. Which will come in handy. I may wind up going to NYC to pull an all-nighter after the NY Book Fair. That'll be my second one this year -- after tens years of not doing them. But I want to get past this stage since it's solidifying the story, then go over part 2, again...and maybe again, to make it as neat as the first part. Anal? Naw...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Je fait un voyage a Paris

And don't hold me to my decades old French, that's fer dang sure. I pulled out an old copy of "French For Dummies" to peruse in a silly attempt to become fluent before I hit Paris, next month. I'll only be there three days -- ah, the world of business travel -- but it comes at just the right moment. An important part of RIHC6v2 Part 2 takes place in the La Defense District of the city, and I'll have all of Monday to explore. Je suis tres heureux de faire ce voyage.

I cleaned up part 1 of RIHC6v2 and will get onto part 2 soon; that's the part that needs the most work, right now. The book is now over 60K words and 260 typewritten pages...but it's getting cleaner, leaner (seriously!) and meaner.

The next book I'll tackle is part 3 of Bobby Carapisi -- Allen's version of events. That's about 40% done, already and first needs to have the separate sections I've written linked up and a solid structure put into place. I know where it starts, some of the middle and the ending. I hope to have it done soon; I want to shift my total attention back to POS. Brendan's been patient and I've been inconsistent in it. But now I want the book finished. It's time and I'm at the stage where I see my skittishness as silly.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I'm surrounded by cats

Well...just two big fluffy ones that seem to love sipping their water from a glass on my desk. And taking my seat when I get up. The joys of working in a small office -- you get critters to join in with your life. I was afraid it'd be a problem and I'd have to get allergy shots (and since I needed the job, that's what I'd have done rather than decline the offer), but so far other than a hint of sneezing in the mornings, I'm fine. Guess there's more to my allergies than just kitty dandruff.

I'm not used to working full days; when I got home last night, I was beat. All from sitting at a desk and working on prepping for a book fair in New York. And packing a work of art to be shipped to Florida. Today so far, I've sent out e-mails asking for documentation from certain book dealers. Nice to have a salary, again, but it's tedious work.

I did get back to RIHC6v2 and worked through a couple of chapters. I'm taking my time -- doing just a few hours each night so I can work on my French and get my life into a new sort of schedule. Next comes BC3...and I'm thinking more and more about POS and Brendan. If I want a first draft done by the end of the year, I need to get on it. I still have a lot of reading to do, but maybe I'm being a little too afraid of it and ought to just jump in and make it mine, again. I owe it to Brendan for being so patient with me and my jitters.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Not at all disappointed

In the Oscars, last night. Too much of it was a foregone conclusion but it didn't matter, I think it's cool the director of "Near Dark" is the first woman to win an Academy Award for directing, but as much as I like Jeff Bridges, I'd have preferred Colin Firth getting the Best Actor...but I guess it's too much to have someone win two years in a row for playing gay.

I reread book 1 of RIHC6, yesterday before the party, and found a few aspects I didn't get back to in book 2, so need to work those into the next draft. Man, I got carried away in the complexity of this tale. I hope people can follow it and still have fun with it. Maybe I should start writing political intrigues...wait...that's what I'm doing with "Coby O' and the Pink Palace of Texas" eventually.

Hmph, I'm so far ahead of me, I don't know where I've been.

A note on the mechanics of my blog -- I went back and removed the name of that company I did the storyboards for. Seems I may have gotten the advertising agency in trouble by whining about them. That was never my intention...but I guess this is why I don't do well in the corporate world -- I don't know when to keep it to myself.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

First draft of RIHC6v2 is done

Came in at 255 pages and just under 60K in words. I need to do another draft of it to make sure everything works, but this was the main hurdle. And I'm especially proud of the last line and everything it means. Ah...the relief...the joy...the worry that maybe I've gone too far or totally off the rails. You never know till it's out there. Which hopefully will be soon.

Right now I'm in a Starbucks having a cup of Refresh Tea and a CHOCOLATE brownie. In a little bit I'm heading for an Oscar party. Should be interesting to see how they're put on in upstate New York.

For the first time, I haven't seen ANY of the films nominated. Not a one -- well, AVATAR, which I despised so much I have a hard time counting it. Yes it's a technical marvel, but the storyline is insulting and I give one big YAWN as regards anything else. During my time in SA, I didn't go to a theater but that one time, and it was so distressing, I haven't been back. One point -- part of the previews was a music video of Kid Rock singing about how great the troops are, which had something to do with the National Guard or Reserves, if I remember right; and while I have no problem with people supporting our soldiers, I think it would mean more if they were paid a living wage and didn't have their benefits being cut left and right by these same rah-rah types who don't want to pay their share of taxes.

So I'm going in blind. I have my sentimental favorites which have nothing to do with the actual films. I'd like George Clooney and Helen Mirren to win. Same for Christopher Plummer. Kathryn Bigelow is a kick-ass director so I'd like her to get it, but I've heard from too many soldiers how absolutely WRONG "The Hurt Locker"'s depiction of bomb disposal units is to want it to be best picture. I think "Up In The Air" would be a better choice, considering its focus on downsizing and joblessness.

So the hell with it. I'll just kick back, have a Peroni and enjoy the spectacle.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


So close...and you may think it insane for me to be so obsessive/compulsive about RIHC6v2, but that's just how I am. If it's going to have my name on it, I have to be happy with it. And I decided a long time ago I would never use a pseudonym. It gives off the impression you're ashamed of what you're writing and I have enough trouble with my characters without adding that layer of crap to it all. My guys and gals are mine, and I accept them for whatever they are.

I still don't have the "interweb" at home. Looks like I'm doing the landline thing; I just found out the building doesn't have cable, it's got Dish. I'll check to see if they offer anything, but I'm not hopeful; I don't recall anything about it. Anyway, right now I'm taking time at a Starbuck's and sucking off their Wifi while I sip a Refresh tea and pound down a scone. I want to head home and get back to writing, so bye for now.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Good ol' Cleveland

I had a 3.5 hour layover there, yesterday, en route back to Buffalo and got a solid object lesson as to why some airports have bad reputations. Cleveland's sucks. The terminals are half a mile apart, and you have to go underground to get to them. The food services is close to non-existent. The only place I saw to use your laptop with a plug for power was where you had to stand, no sitting. And when I tried to log onto WiFi to do some things, I'd get on for 5 seconds then get dumped...and the one time I managed to stay on, the downloading was so slow, it wasn't even matching dial-up speed. I finally gave up and just worked on RIHC6v2 till I'd drained my battery. The one positive? One shop had bottle of Dr. Pepper.

I've gone back over part one of this volume of RIHC6 to clarify some things...and found more typos. I'm bad about reversing letters or dropping them by not hitting the keys hard enough...but I've also noticed I forget words, sometimes. It's like I get going typing and think I've put everything in then go back and sometimes find my sentences don't make sense (on the occasions where I don't just fill the word in when I'm rereading the bit so don't notice it's missing till the fourth or fifth read-through; that's half the reason I keep going though it). There's nothing consistent about it so I don't think I can do anything to change it short of slowing down when I write...and I don't like doing that. When it's flowing, I can't let the beauty stop. So I go back over it and over it and ask a buddy to edit it and hope for the best.

Of course, I also did some rewriting and editing as I went. And trimmed back a bit. I have just under 220 typewritten pages, total.

No internet service at ahome, yet, and it's proving to be a problem setting up. I may wind up having a landline whether I want one or not, since cable's being such a pain in the ass and Verizon's Fios WiFi is so damned expensive, by itself.

As for Miami -- that place is chaos on the beach, and tedious at that. Poorly marked streets. Palm branches covering the few signs that are there? A deliberate plan to confuse anyone trying to get around the city proper. Traffic as nasty as along the 101 or 405 in LA. EXPENSIVE tolls. Ugh. And I didn't even see anybody good-looking enough to look at twice. Total waste of time and space.

Not that I'm picky or anything.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Quick note about food

I just had the best meal ever at a place called Bellini's Italian Bistro on Ocean Blvd. in South Beach. First I had a Caprese salad followed by the Tilapia with new potatoes and a sauce of tomatoes, olives, onion and butter that was so excellent, I used what was left of my bread to dab up the last of it. Washing it down -- my first Peroni beer, which I've also fallen in love with. My waiter's name was Marco and he took good care of me, even though I was a one-top...a single. Wasn't cheap but wasn't ludicrously priced, either -- going by LA pricing, not SA or Buffalo. Man, I'm going back if I'm in Miami, again.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I finally heard one of Taylor Swift's songs on the radio -- "You Belong With Me"(?) -- and enjoyed its sweet bounciness laced with longing. What's interesting is, it took me back to my updating of the Beauty and the Beast script, "5 Dates", and I pictured something like it (with happier lyrics) over the end titles of the movie as Mitch, Charl, his posse and mother, and her siblings and father danced along to it. Sort of like the ending of "Out To Sea" with a dash of "Slumdog Millionaire". Came out of nowhere but it got me to thinking (dangerous, I know).

I'm still visually and aurally oriented when it comes to my writing...well to just about anything. As I write my stories, I see them and hear them and inhabit the rhythm of them -- I have to before they work for me; it's almost organic. And something I finally noticed was, I just recently came up with Antony's music...and even then it was sort of a "this kind of works" thing. I don't really know what he listens to or hears in his head when he's pulling music up. In the first volume of RIHC6 I used a variation of Bernard Hermann's score for ""Vertigo" but it was a stop-gap; I'd used the same melody for a few moments in "Kazn" to build tension in my mind's eye -- specifically the luxurious "Wandering" and "Driving to the Mission" sequences. And I'd thought of using Enigma, but that's so tied into "Dair's Window" and "5 Dates" in my mind, it didn't seem appropriate.

So...what does this mean in the scheme of writing the story? I have no idea. Just musing, I guess. Contemplating. I don't know. But I have a feeling once I find it, I'll find the key to fire up my engine and finish this thing...because while I don't want it to end, I DO want to find out what the ending is. Hell, I've been yammering about it long enough.

Hmm...I wonder how he feels about "Nine Inch Nails"?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I don't want it to end

I think I'm resisting finishing these last two chapters of RIHC6v2 because I honestly don't want it to end. I love the process going on between Antony and Jake and Matt and the scum surrounding them. I like how focused Antony is and how in control Jake is and how Matt is growing before my eyes. It's selfish of me, but I keep reworking the end because I don't want it to be that. Maybe this is the first stage of a complete psychotic break with reality, when my characters are more real than the real characters in my life.

You know...I get like that. I like watching films I've seen and enjoyed before, over and over -- classics like "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Big Sleep" and "Pride and Prejudice" (1940) as well as modern films like The Bourne Trilogy (I own all three) and anything by Hitchcock and Kurosawa and Truffaut. I did a ton of ironing over the last couple days and watched "Stray Dog" and "M" for the umpteenth time as I did it. And still got engrossed in the stories. The characters in those movies are like -- shit, like I wish I was...people who do instead of just watch, who develop and deepen with each viewing instead of maintain a steady blandness in themselves.

Not that there's anything wrong with voyeurism when perpetrated against the appropriate subject...and think what you wish about that. Or that consistency is bad...except when it is...and try to make sense of THAT one.

And just for the hell of it, this is how I really picture Antony. I posted another photo, earlier, but this one better reflects him.

Schedule's still off

Busy day and I was exhausted to begin with. Seems the trip's finally caught up to me. I'm in Charlotte, right now, aiming for Miami and hope to do more writing, but got nothing done yesterday or the day before.

Something I have to get used to in a Buffalo winter is the ice that appears out of nowhere. I parked my car at the airport and got out, headed for the shuttle, bags and hot tea in hand -- and whoosh, there goes the feets. I landed on my clothing bag so only scraped my knee (it bled through my pants) but they were a light brown and now have little red dots around the center right leg. I bought a Sprite and sloshed that on it -- I'd heard carbonated soda works on keeping the blood from setting, but it looks like all I did was smear it. Oh well -- they weren't exactly new pants. And I have another pair with me. Still it's irritating.

I'm behind schedule, now, on RIHC6v2. Dammit. Sometimes I get too ambitious and forget I'm not 20 years old, anymore -- I'm 23...and will be till the day I die. I also forget how much I want my characters to work right in the stories they give me, and it can take a while for me to clear away the crap that's floating around them. But it's getting there. I hope.

Time to get ready for the second leg of my flight.