Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Jump in feet first...

I've asked a man who's worked on a number of films and headed the writers' group I once belonged to if he'll read "The Alice '65" and give me some feedback. I didn't always agree with what he said in the group, but I usually understood where he was coming from. If he agrees to do it, I'll also get some insight into how much of Hollywood will see the script...and then can decide how far I want to go with fitting their mold.

Right now I'm trying to decide what sort of voice would work best for the book version -- first or third person. First person would mean telling the story completely from Adam's perspective, so we'd learn a hell of a lot about him. But that restricts knowledge of Casey to what she's willing to share or he's able to discern. Don't like that; she's just as important to the story as he is.

Of course, "Huckleberry Finn" was written in first person and Mark Twain got a lot more into it than just Huck's viewpoint. So were most of Raymond Chandler's works, and his characters are as vivid as anything. That's a wide disparity in genres but...

Problem with third person me, it becomes a bit impersonal...and I haven't really written in that voice. One that's omniscient (though Ace comes close, in LD). I know I wouldn't want to fall into the style Thornton Wilder used, where each person's life history is explained in very nice prose; I preferred the moments where people spoke to each other in "The Bridge of San Luis Rey".

However, third person is how Tolstoy wrote both "Anna Karenina" and "War and Peace" and both were glorious books. And I've already done a book that has three first person voices in it -- "Bobby Carapisi" -- and one that used a fictional character to tell the story, so I think I've gone as far as I can in that. Maybe it's time to see just how close I can get to the characters in third person.

Henry James had a knack for it. Maybe I should reread "Washington Square", my favorite of his books. William Wyler made it into an amazingly deep film, "The Heiress", thanks in no small part to to great performances by Olivia de Havilland, Miriam Hopkins and Ralph Richardson. Montgomery Clift was good but a bit too modern in his style of acting. But I can't think of another actor of the time who would have been right. But James had this way of stuffing in the psychology less through telling and more by action...if I remember right.

Of course, he was also a bit arch...but I can be too, so...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

I love cats. To me, this boy exchanging kisses with his kitty is exactly how they should be seen.

We have 2 at the office where I work, and they are the laziest, most self-indulgent creatures to walk the face of the earth. And I don't mind, because they have this way of looking at you as if to say, "What the fuck're you doing here, and why aren't you paying complete attention to something more important? Like me?" Which makes me wonder why I am there, not just writing.

Except...these two gifs show the true nature of kittehs. And make me laugh.

The complete innocence of White in just sitting there as Gray sneaks up to do his thing. Too damn typical.

It's not just that Gray traps White in the box, it's that he sits on it, to boot. Too perfect.

I think I'm going to change the ending of A65 just a hint. Make it more romantic. More true instead of trying for cute. It'll just take two sentences to do.

And that's going to be it. I like the script, right now. I may not in a month or a year, but it's the best I can do at the moment...and I think it works.

I set up a Facebook page for it, under The Alice 65. Check it out. Like it, please. Give me ideas on how to make it happen as I set out to write the novelized version. I'm ready to do that, now.

Friday, March 29, 2013


I'm not quite sure what to make of this. I got a sales report for "The Lyons' Den", today, from STARbooks Press, with promise of a check to follow. Not a lot...hell, not even triple digits in the figures...but it says 115 copies of the book sold between May and December of 2012. And 90% of the sales were in paperback, not electronic.

That means accounts for only 15% of sales, according to the figures they've given me. I wonder where the rest of the sales came from? Bookshops? Those are vanishing to the point of near extinction. Barnes & Noble online? No idea. Same for actually dropped LD from their lineup and, when I pointed it out, they seemed unable to understand that all I was concerned about was my book no longer being listed (it's back up but without the cover art) and they started out by telling me they didn't have a record of me buying the book. They kept that line up all through our "discussion," and even thought I was trying to special order it.

Amazingly stupid.

Anyway, I have to wonder where the book was sold if it wasn't sold through Amazon. But then again, I've long thought Amazon underreports sales. It's the Hollywood style of bookkeeping -- there are never any profits to share or tax, and you don't pay out a penny more to talent than you are forced to, even if you have a contract obligating you to do it.

Anyway, the big positive is, I've actually been paid royalties, now. Well, when I get the check, I will have been paid. But it's amazing what a boost that gives you. I kept saying I was a professional author, but I had nothing but my work to back it up. Now I got a check coming. That makes me real.

Yeah, bay-beee....

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Updating the synopsis

Here's the current incarnation of my synopsis for "The Alice '65". It tells the ending of the story, so be warned. I'm fighting to keep it on one page.
Books are ADAM VERLAIN’s life, so when his university sent him from London to Los Angeles to pick up a rare edition of “Alice in Wonderland” (an “Alice ’65”), he was ecstatic, even though he must leave his careful, cloistered world.

But then Adam meets CASEY BLANCHARD, the movie star who inherited “The Alice”. She casually upends his every plan by insisting he accompany her to a premier of her latest film. Casey claims it’s to show up her ex-boyfriend, LANDO GRISSOM, this year’s big action-movie hero, but Adam senses other reasons lie behind her request. Still, he agrees.

Of course, Adam’s clothes are hardly trendy, but that’s no problem. Casey has ORISI, a Beverly Hills super-style-guru, rebuild him – starting with a bubble bath and including black briefs...with silver sequins. “They even gave me a pedicure,” cries a stunned Adam. “I’ve never had one of those.” “No need to state the obvious,” Orisi snarls back. Still, Adam winds up gorgeous in a HAWT, sleek suit.

Naturally, Casey and Lando see each other at the premier and snipe back and forth in dueling interviews. Things only get worse during the after-premier party at Lando’s Beverly Hills home. There, he and Casey slide into a mean argument, and Adam is thrown out when he intervenes. Worried, Adam sneaks in through the backyard...but nearly becomes dinner for a black panther named Gertrude, is almost drowned, is humiliated in front of the entire party, and worst of all, realizes Casey was just using him as an insult to her ex.

Then Adam discovers “The Alice” has vanished, Gertrude’s escaped and wants to be his girl, and his boss was using him as a diversion to keep an avaricious Australian from stealing the book. What’s even worse? Despite the lies and chaos and manipulations, Adam has fallen for Casey. And it looks like she may have fallen for him, too.

Well...once things calm down, Adam figures out Lando has “The Alice” and plans to give it to the Australian. He and Casey race to a private airport to confront him over it. All hell tears loose, a private jet is almost wrecked, and the book is shredded into confetti by the plane’s engines.

Only it wasn’t; Adam replaced the book with some colorful pamphlets and snuck it back to London. There he learns Casey does care for him. So, even though there’s no need to state the obvious, Adam’s life has gone from a cloistered world to a wonderland of his own. Thanks to the “Alice 65.”

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Love Zyrtec and hate it...

It stops my nose and eyes from driving me nuts...and makes me lazier than I already am. I can easily drift through an entire evening and do absolutely nothing. At least I'm working on A65's synopsis.

Big deal. Well...yeah, it is. It needs to be as tight as possible and, apparently, is expected to even tell the end of the script, according to many people. So I'm gonna, albeit without telling the how of it. Just one of those "and they lived happily ever after" tags at the end.

I'm itching to get back onto the rewrite or polish of A65, soon. Despite the Zyrtec. There are a couple of competitions coming up I actually want to enter because of what they could do for the script. One has a table read as a prize. That would be cool. I used to belong to a writer's group, in LA, that had actors as members. They were there to work on their cold-reading skills. So we'd have them act out 25-30 pages of a script, cold, and the writers would give feedback. It's amazing how much that helps you in your writing.

Actors liked to do my scripts because I always give them meat to work with. I'd actually have them jockey to be in one of my bits. Loved that. And yes, mainly because it fed my ego. In fact, that group is what helped me build something of a belief in my writing and a vague writer's ego. Still carries me.

Okay...zoning, again. Seems the lethargy comes in waves. So I guess this exemplifies my current state of cheers, for now.

And one more pass on the synopsis before I do the shower and bed thing.

Hm...wonder if Christina Ricci's open to being Casey? She'd be interesting.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Starting point...

I need to trim this down and make it more representative of the script. Not for my trip to LA; I've found that sometimes my jokes are so low-key and obscure, people take them seriously. Which goes to show how questionable my ability with humor is.

No, once I have A65 to a point where I feel comfortable with it, I'll begin entering it into competitions, to see how it does. Build up some background before initiating my next step. I've spoken with a publicist and she's open to helping me get some buzz on the script if it does well in a couple screenwriting contests. So we'll see.

But they all want  a synopsis, and I honestly think many of them decide if the script's any good based solely on that and a read of the first 10-15 pages. So this has to be just as tight and just as right.

Any suggestions are welcome --

Books are ADAM VERLAIN’s life, so when his university asked him to hop over to Los Angeles to pick up an extremely rare first edition of “Alice in Wonderland”, he was happy to ferry this precious cargo back to London. Wouldn’t even stay the night.

What he didn’t count on was CASEY BLANCHARD, the top line movie star who inherited the book. She wants Adam to accompany her to a movie premier to show up her ex-boyfriend, LANDO GRISSOM, this year’s big, butch and beautiful action-movie hero. It sounds like she wants to show the guy she's over him, but Adam senses something lurking behind her demand.

Problem is, Adam didn’t bring a change of clothes, so Casey brings in ORISI, a sneering Beverly Hills style-guru who's never heard of "personal space" to do a makeover...which starts with a bubble bath…then a tres-cool haircut…and a boss manicure…and the latest in facials…and a personalized cologne…and sparkly black briefs. “They even gave me a pedicure,” cries Adam. “I’ve never had one of those.” “No need to state the obvious,” Orisi shoots back.

Of course, Casey and Lando see each other at the premier; it’s the last movie they made together before breaking up. And during dueling interviews, each tries to outdiss the other, with Adam caught in the middle. Then at the party, which is at Lando’s Beverly Hills home, Adam is ejected. Worried about Casey, Adam tries to sneak back in. Instead, he almost drowns, does his own verbal sparring with Lando, and nearly becomes dinner for a pet black panther named Gertrude. He also realizes why Casey was really using him – as an insult to Lando.

By this point, Adam fears he’s fallen down his own rabbit hole into Hollywood’s madness, especially when he discovers the book has vanished, that Gertrude escaped and wants to be his girl, and that someone is watching and hoping the book shows up in the right hands, so it can be stolen away. What’s even worse? Despite all the chaos and duplicity, Adam’s falling for Casey.

Will he make it back to London with the “Alice” intact…and his heart unbroken…and his sanity still a part of him? Will his quiet, cloistered life ever be the same? Or could it be he’ll merely awake and find it was all just a dream of wonderland from long ago?

Monday, March 25, 2013

BC gets the LD treatment

I set up a FaceBook page for "Bobby Carapisi", like I did for "The Lyons' Den", last month. It's also linked to the ad I paid for, so I didn't have to put any more cash into it for the publicity to get going.

I think doing that has helped LD get more notice...though I honestly can't say for sure. Amazon's not updating its rankings for sales, right now, and it never reports Kindle sales unless you actually published the story, yourself.

But I'll be able to follow BC's sales easily. On Kindle, at least. I think I've sold 2 copies of the paperback, and I'm surprised I did that many since it's so friggin' expensive. So that one I'm not so concerned about.

Since publishing BC at the beginning of November, I've sold 32 copies. Not a lot, but that's with minimal publicity. I'm open to seeing if the FaceBook page bumps sales up...or if it makes no difference.

I'm working on a synopsis and elevator sales pitch for A65. So far the only comment I've gotten back is, the reader is enjoying the story, likes Adam and Casey and thinks they have great chemistry...and also likes Gertrude. That's positive, at least. But nothing else from anyone else.

Nor is there word from Russell Tovey, either, even though I posted all about the script on one of his fan sites. He must hate me, even though he's never met me, because he's not calling me. Just for that, I'm gonna buy the new Depeche Mode album! That'll show him.

Do I sound psychotic, yet?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Polishing and reading...

I polished "Find Ray T" into a more immediate style of writing, then started reading Thornton Wilder's "The Bridge of San Luis Rey", about 5 people who died in 1714 when a bridge over a gorge collapsed. A monk who witnesses the catastrophe sets out to learn why those five people met their doom at that particular point.

So far, I've read half the book, to the end of the section dealing with Esteban. The style of the storytelling keeps you a bit removed during the first chapter, which tells of the accident, and the chapter dealing with the Marquessa who was killed. In fact, hers was hard to really care about because everything is being told instead of revealed.

We're told her daughter despises her and given examples, like you get in a financial report and just as dry. This continues until a woman who insulted her is forced to apologize...and we finally hear the Marquessa talk. Seriously, you never hear her voice until 2/3 of the way through her chapter. After that, there was more dialog and contemplation and less "this is what she felt and thought and did" kind of writing.

The chapter of Esteban's began in the same way...but it evolved into more dialog and revelations of character because Esteban had a twin named Miguel. They were so close, they had their own language, as twins can be wont to do. His wound up being absolutely heartbreaking.

I will say, compared to Thornton Wilder's spare prose, mine feels chatty and loose. But stories aren't exactly Pulitzer Prize material, like this one was. Of course, "Place of Safety" could be...but I doubt I'll ever get one. That or the Nobel, no matter how great I do on it. I've written books that freak people out. Some even stupidly think they're pornography. I'm not sure what to think or do about that.

Because the fact is, I'm proud of "How To Rape A Straight Guy" and the reactions it's gotten. PM and RIHC6 bring the same feelings, albeit to a lesser degree; they don't have the same intensity or attitude as HTRASG. "Bobby Carapisi" is its own category...and probably closest to what POS will turn out to be...though maybe not as harsh in its tragedy. Depends.

"The Lyons' Den" is just plain fun, like A65, and "NYPD Blood" was more like a job I grew to be part of. I'm working in fits in starts on another book that has a sociopath as its lead, one who may make Curt (from HTRASG) look like St. Francis. We'll see how that goes; I'm not in any rush to complete it.

Now I'm just waiting for feedback for the current incarnation of A65.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Today was my mother's birthday. She'd have been 85. This music video was the first one she worked on.

I dropped her off at the extras gathering point at 6am and went back home for a nap before going to work; she didn't call me to come get her till 1am the following morning. And she was covered in dust and sand but thrilled. I think she slept for two days to get over it. But then she went on to do so many other music videos, I've lost track.

What's funny is, she liked "Mr. Nas". She thought he was a very nice young man, and she was really upset when someone "accidentally" threw a real rock at him instead of the fake ones, during the crucifixion march. I can't find her mixed in with that crowd, but you can see her in the lower right corner at 3:58 and 4:51, a little old lady with a headdress yelling up at Nas.

She got to know more about Rap than any of her grandkids, and loved to startle young people she met by talking about "Mr. Eminem" and "Mr. Puff Daddy," and what their lyrics really meant.

Of course, what she really liked about the videos was meeting the other people who worked on them. Not just the actors but the crew. Because she never made better than minimum wage, and the hours were long and hard. But she felt like her own person when she was on the set, like she was Gwen and just someone's mom or grandmother.

She didn't stop till she started having trouble walking and fell a couple of times. Too bad she couldn't keep doing it till the day she died.
Dunno what that makes me, yet...

Friday, March 22, 2013

What good is money?

I doubt I'll ever know because I'll never have enough of it to really do what I want. Half because of choices I've made about my direction in life; half because I spend it like it's nothing. And I'm about to do it, again.

I got my taxes done, last night, and I'm deep in it. I'll have to work out a payment plan with the IRS and figure out how to save enough to keep this from happening again. Which I'd already begun doing.

So...what does that mean? I'm coming to LA and spending 4 days on my dime. Putting myself deeper into debt and insolvency. And I don't care. I have a packing job on the 15th and 16th then have to head up to Seattle on the 21st for another packing job. Giving me Wednesday through Saturday to visit friends and see if I can do anything about getting interest up for A65.

That's the reason I don't have any money, really. I do crazy things like this to try and advance myself, and slosh it all over the place...then take months if not years to get my finances back in order so I can do it all, again.

So...I'm getting "The Alice '65" and "Find Ray Tarkovsky" into top shape, now, now, now. And I'm contacting agents and other people to see if I can get representation. Maybe I'll even start up a FaceBook page for this. It's helping get "The Lyons' Den" noticed, somewhat.

Of course that could be a double-edged sword. I think I freaked my CPA out when I told her about my books...and took a write-off on the expenses of publishing and promoting them.

I'm such a wicked freak, sometimes.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

STEVE HAYES: Tired Old Queen at the Movies - ADAM'S RIB

Just watched "Adam's Rib" with Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in my quest to find the best tone for my script, "The Alice '65". Link on the title to view a video critique of the film.

It's been a while since I've seen it, but I remembered it as being a dramatic comedy. Yet everywhere I've looked, it's listed solely as a comedy. Well...I was right. There's some serious stuff in this as well as a lot of humorous. I mean, it starts off with a woman trying to kill her husband; hardly chuckles there. And yet...

This makes me feel a lot better about the humor in A65. Of course, a lot will depend on the ability of the cast to pull it off...but I think it's solid, right now. Once I finish tinkering with it.

Which will be never.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Taxes is fattening...

I just ate WAY too many chocolate chip cookies and drank way too much hot tea while working on my taxes...and working...and working...and now feel like a blimp. Maybe I should do a high colonic or something that was trendy ten years ago.

Fun thing about this is, my brain wanders and I find ideas for stories...and ways to add to "The Alice '65". I have Casey take Adam to a premier of her latest movie, but I never show her acting in it. I wonder if that wouldn't help show the complexity of her relationship with Lando and the breakup that happened? It'd add about 5/8 of a page...just 4 follows --

Casey watches the film play, the seat by her empty.


Casey, too-totally stylish, faces away from Lando, in a suit. A gorgeous beach panorama frames them. Hatred dances between them.

So he's already screwing you? Shit -- fast work.

Isn't that what you wanted? Quickest way to get a man to trust you is to let him fuck you.

Yeah, well -- you'd know all about that.

She spins and slaps him.

You really want to find out where the next bomb's gonna be? Then start thinking with the head on your shoulders instead of the one between your legs!

She storms away.


Casey smirks -- glances at the empty seat -- frowns.

Just that. Shows she's good at her job...and also hints at what their relationship is really like.

Now back to the great madness of numbers..

Monday, March 18, 2013

Nothin' much...

Working on my taxes in preparation for a trip to the CPA, Thursday, so I'm fighting a nasty headache and blurry eyes from so damn much crap.

I've decided Aidan Turner is the perfect personification of Patrick Thomas O'Brien in "Darian's Point", and I'm definitely going to write it as a book. It's set in 1910 on a small island off the western coast of Ireland, and he's a local boy, sort of to the manor born, who's made a success of himself in America as an architect. And despite the social mores and ideas about sex being very restrictive at the time, I can just see even a woman as controlled as Marion, who's an upper crust Boston Brahmin, forgetting herself over this Irish scamp and scandalizing her family.

Now brain wishes to curl up and die...bye-bye...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Madness grows...

I think I've fallen in love with Adam and Casey. This is a very weird yet typical place for me to be in. I wind up here with all my stories. All my characters, as I work with them. They become so real to me, sometimes, I can see everything they do and feel everything that touches them. And reaching the end of a script or story is like reaching the end of a marriage, almost.

When authors talk about the torture of writing, they ain't kiddin'. I've been through this so many times.

I think the hardest was when Bobby Carapisi reveals he's going to kill himself. When that happened, when I was first writing the first draft of the book, I couldn't face it for months. I actually shut down, because I didn't want to see it was where his whole story had been leading. He had to shame me into finishing, all but beg me, so he could be done. So when I finally agreed, I also agreed to make it hurt even more. Make it as honest and painful and necessary a decision as I could.

Now I hear from some readers it's too painful for them to face. And I think, I did right.

With Adam...what happened in this draft is he suddenly revealed just how much it hurts him to be used like he was. Not just by Casey, but by his co-workers. He's suddenly faced with what they really think of him -- nice enough, but not someone they want to know anywhere else but at the office. And not because he's a bad or obnoxious person. He's just not interesting to them. That is brutality defined.

What's good about that is Casey's reaction. And how it changes her. Suddenly, she became full of breath and blood to me, and it shifted earlier things she does in a way that should make her interesting, now. She's got an agenda not really revealed until the final confrontation. And I think it works. I hope it does. I've got three friends reading it now who, I hope, will give me honest feedback.

And so now, Casey and Adam are as real to me as anyone I've actually known in person. I should change my name to Daniel Bettancourt.

Hmm...does that make me scary, yet?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

115 Pages

And I'm not going to argue with the length. The story is what it is and I feel comfortable enough to let people read it and give me feedback. Already got one taker. Any others? It's much changed from the first version I was fool enough to let out of my sight.

I think it still needs another couple passes, to make Casey shine more. She's still too low-key for the events, but the way it's being makes sense.

I took a break after I finished and did paperwork. I also need to prepare for taxes. Man, that's gonna be fun. Then I went back in and clarified some aspects that I think got a little lost. I also decided to pull back on one moment so a similar moment, later, would have more impact.

I also went on a FaceBook page devoted to Russell Tovey and told them he'd be perfect for Adam, hoping he'd see it sometime and maybe ask me about it. Who knows?

During the break, I also started a FaceBook ad for "The Lyons' Den" to see if I can get something more going on the book. I haven't received any figures on what the sales were. I know they aren't a lot, but it'd still be nice to know.

I am going to do A65 as a book. I've removed so much detail in Adam's and Casey's lives, it's all but screaming at me to do it. Question is, when?


Friday, March 15, 2013

More partying from A65

This is immediately after what I posted, yesterday:


A MICROWAVE DINGS. A steaming box of Macaroni and cheese comes out. Casey sets it on a counter. Adam opens bottles of sparkling water. The kitchen is totally decked out.

Nice and crusty ‘round the edge.

You sure this is all right?

Baby, Lando thinks mac and cheese is beneath him. And I don’t think Veronica eats; she just sucks the life out of people. Which is what I caught her doing, couple weeks ago. That was four helpings of lasagne. With meat.

She scoops the steaming food into two bowls.

Should we really have come?

-- Had to. But it’s done now.

Casey, he’s a fool to let you go.

Hear me arguin’?

She hands him a spoon. He looks at her...takes it...digs in.

God, this is heaven.

Casey nods her agreement.

ADAM (cont’d)
Casey, I -- I have a vague idea of what you’re going through. I lived with a girl for nearly five years. Then we met for tea, one day, and she said good-bye. When I got home, that night, everything of hers was gone from our flat.

She say why?

Incompatible. You see, I have this habit of losing myself in research, and forgetting things like meet-ups and anniversaries and such.

C’mon, was it really that bad?

She wanted me tested for autism. Said I’m too easily distracted by minutia...

Adam notices slips of paper on the refrigerator.

Most are notes and dietary information, but one reads --

Meat - vleis; water - vater; come - kohm; house - huis; go - gaan.

ADAM (cont’d)
Is Lando learning German?

He was in Berlin, last week, doing publicity. He’s starting a Pacific tour, tomorrow.

You’re not joining him, are you?

I’m doing the talk shows.

Hardly seems fair. The spelling’s off, on these.

He writes -- Meat - Fleisch; water - Wasser; come - kommen; house - Haus; go - gehen.

You’re a book guy!

Adam jolts around. Lando’s behind him, holding Tito’s tablet, showing Adam’s university profile.

Lando, what the fuck?

He came for your book, and you dragged him into our shit? That’s not cool.

Oh, Adam, my ex-boyfwiend had his widdle feewings hurted at me seeing somebody else.

That’s fuckin’ ridiculous, Casey. You really think people’re gonna believe you went from a guy like me to a dork like this?

Excuse me!

Looks aren’t everything, baby.

She aims it at Lando, but it’s Adam who flinches.

What else do you care about? You and your buddy, Orisi, makin’ like nobody’s good enough for you.

So it’s my fault you dumped me for that plastic slut!?

I made one mistake! One fuckin’ mistake, and you’re gonna shit all over me for it?

I don’t see her shittin’ anywhere else but here!

Aw -- of course. That’s it! You’re not over me, yet.

Oh, I am -- totally. Here’s proof.

She slings the bowl of mac & cheese on him. He roars! Adam jumps between them.

Casey, I think we should leave.

You’re right, baby, we -- .

No, you and me -- we still got lots to talk about.

He grabs for her. Adam keeps him back.

Lando, stop it!


Tito appears in the kitchen.


He’s not invited.

Tito yanks Adam away. Lando pulls Casey to another room.

Just a minute! Casey! She wants to leave with me!

Lando, you son-of-a-bitch, tell Tito to let him go or I’m gonna be screaming about how big you ain’t.

After this dumbassed trick? Who the fuck’s gonna listen?

The party-goers’ earplugs are in. They ignore the commotion.

Bloody hell, leave me alone!

Tito signals TWO OTHER GUARDS -- that rush Adam out the door.

ADAM (cont’d)
Wait -- Casey!

Earth Mother watches it all and sighs.

Should’ve used stronger cleansing.

She lights another stick of incense and twirls it around.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A65 ain't gettin' down...

This is the latest incarnation of the party, but it still seems sedate. Anybody got any ideas?


Not as big as Casey’s. Too close to Santa Monica Blvd. A driveway curls in front. A valet service does the parking. It is deathly quiet. Even the group of PHOTOGRAPHERS across the street are properly silent.

The Paparazzi Twins scramble to join them.

Brenda (from Australia) is part of their mix.

Casey and Adam still stand in the sun roof as the limo pulls up. They hop out and up to the front door. Tito blocks their path, tablet in hand.

Hey, Casey.

Tito, you beat us here?

Left soon as the movie was over. You’re not a plus-one on my list.

He shows her the tablet.

Wanna be a dead man, on mine?

Why you comin’ here for, anyhow? Lando’s bitch’ll toss a fit.

Just answered your own question.

Tito almost smiles then stands aside. Adam follows Casey in.


Japanese style. Hundreds of lantern lights cover the ceiling. A few PARTY-GOERS dance in TOTAL SILENCE -- texting on their phones -- reading each other’s phones -- laughing at jokes on each other’s phones. A DJ works his turntables by a huge window that looks out on a well-kept yard and pool. The silence is spooky.

A MUSIC GIRL offers Adam and Casey earplugs.

You may listen through these.

What the devil -- ?

Beverly Hills noise ordinances.

She sets the earplugs in Adam’s ears. MUSIC POUNDS. He quickly removes them.


She has vanished.

An EARTH MOTHER whispers up to surround him with incense.

ADAM (cont’d)

We must cleanse your aura.

Orisi did enough cleansing, thanks.

She slips a stick of incense into his hair.

This will make up for it.

Off she goes. Adam removes the stick -- looks around.

Casey? Am I in The Twilight Zone?

A WAITER offers a tray covered with glasses of wine. Adam grabs one. ANOTHER WAITER offers a tray of canapes. Adam takes one -- bites into it -- it is AWFUL. He has no napkin so hides behind a lush plant and spits it into the plant’s soil. He swills some wine in his mouth and spits that out, with it.

ADAM (cont’d)
Do these people not eat food?

Lando and Veronica appear -- CROWDS OF PARTY-GOERS burst in, behind them...and keep coming and coming and coming, like they all got off a bus. The dancing party-goers rush over to AD LIB congratulations. Lando is like their god.

Adam backs up to the window to watch. Behind him, a sleek BLACK PANTHER casually crosses the yard.

Lando finally sees Adam -- comes over -- offers his hand.

Lando Grissom.

Adam Verlain. Good to meet you.

Tito appears -- Googles Adam’s name on his tablet.

You’re Casey’s date, right?

Yes, we came together.

Glad to see she’s finally gettin’ over me. We were worried about her, for a bit.

Were you?

Veronica comes up.

Were we what?

Just talkin’ shit.

(to Adam)
You’re Casey’s shadow.

Sorry? Oh! Yes. You -- you were in Ilithium-Four, as well. Right? The Seeress.

Watch out, gorgeous; he read the book.

How’d you know -- ?

Shit, you’re not gonna bitch me out for going topless, are you?

No. Most certainly not. Though my seat-mate’s mother might have.

Huh? What’s a seat mate?

Andrew’s just jokin’, gorgeous.

It’s Adam.

Andrew Adam. Cute name. Great accent, too. Who’s your coach?

Coach? Oh, I -- I’m from England.

Really? Could’ve fooled me. Why do you guys drive on the wrong side of the road?

We don’t; we drive on the right.

Casey come up -- slips an arm around Adam’s.

Is this the cool kids’ table?
(to Adam)
Sorry I vanished, baby. Powder room called.

Hey, Case.

-- Lando. How’s tricks?

She looks straight at Veronica, who glares right back.

I’m glad you’re gettin’ out and around, again, Case. Hope we’re all okay now.

That’s why I’m here, baby. Prove to the world I’m little miss sunshine.
(to Veronica)
Sometimes it’s easy to move on.

You should know. Word of warning, Andrew; you’re running with a girl who makes a habit of doing that.

Casey tenses. A waiter passes with canapes. Lando grabs the tray and slaps it in Adam’s hands.

Oh, here. Here. You guys tried the horse derves? Veronica worked up the recipe.

Horse derves? Oh! Um...yes, they’re -- they’re quite interesting.

She’s a little health nut, she is. Always makin’ sure I eat right and keep fit and all that crap.

It’s just because I love my Landy, and only want the best for him.

Then why’s he with you?

Okay, feast. All you want. There’s more comin’. More comin’. Oh...uh, gorgeous, I think I saw Angelina, over there.

With Brad? I wondered if they’d show. Nice to meet you, Andrew.

It’s Adam...

Lando hurries her off. Casey glares after them -- looks at Adam and the tray.

What you really think of those?

Not fit for pigs. Here you go.

He hands it off to a passing waiter.

Still hungry?

I’m close to foraging in a dust bin.

She forces a smile -- leads him to the kitchen.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hmm...the party's not partying...

I've tried a couple of ways to run this party after the premier without it just coming across as a "bump-bump-bump" kind of bash but nothing seems to be working. It's still dull and dead as dishwater. I've reversed it and made it very, very quiet with zen overtones...and now I'm thinking of having Casey and Adam get there before it even starts and having the entrance goofy. But I dunno. If anybody has an idea...anything but bodies grinding in dance moves.

Casey's revealed a hidden agenda, and now Adam being drunk fits into her plans, perfectly. So do Orisi's briefs. Funny how things go, sometimes.

I mentioned a bit from "The Court Jester" (1955) -- where Danny Kaye's character is mistaken for a Robin Hood style hero when he's really just a traveling comedian. Hypnosis and misunderstandings make him more and more the hero...until he has to duel a well-trained the death. But a princess has fallen in love with him and told her lady in waiting, "If he dies, you die."

This video is the first half of the bit, leading up to the duel; it keeps going when the knight learns about the pellet with the poison and the flagon with the dragon...and has just as much trouble keeping it straight.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

No rushing around

 Here's a photo I shot, recently, of the Appleton Edition of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland". The Alice '65 looks a lot like it but was published by MacMillan and has a copyright date of 1866 on the title page.
A copy of this plays strongly in the story, when it looks like the book everyone thinks is the A65 is really a less rare edition. It's still very valuable -- up around $20K -- and the book's boards (the front and back of the book) look almost exactly like the 1865 edition, but it's not nearly non-existent.

I've seen four copies of the '66 since I started this story. It's like they're springing up everywhere, even though only about a thousand were bound for sale. Still...that's a lot more than the fewer than 25 of the presentation copy that are known to be in existence.

I'm settling into the script's rhythm, now, and ignoring all concerns about length as I input the red-pen edit I've done. Giving Adam and Casey a bit more room to breathe helps a lot. So now Act I ends halfway into page 29. Meaning the script should wind up at about 116 pages. I can live with that.

Now it's back to doing my own thing...just like the script wants me to...and damn the confusion.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hard to please...

I watched 10 minutes of "Superbad" and turned it off. It was so...uninteresting I just couldn't make myself waste any more time with it. Instead, I watched "Mrs. Miniver" on TCM. Hardly a romantic comedy and one of those Hollywood-style idealizations of life in England...but it holds together well in the British "Stiff Upper Lip" sort of way. Got nothing else done.

This day didn't start off right, anyway. I forgot to reset my alarm clock for DST and woke up 20 minutes before I had to be at work. I was only 5 minutes late, but it scrambled my brain at the job, too. I just wanted to sleep and drift and be lazy.

No...wait...I can't say the day was a total waste. I realized I'm missing an opportunity to dig deeper into Casey's past and motivations when Adam talks with Patricia in the kitchen, the morning after the party. I even set it up the night before. I need to explain Casey's connection to the book, and decide if she's the Queen of Hearts or the Mad Hatter (Adam being the Alice character...of a sort).

The script isn't tightly bound to the storyline of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"; I just reference it on occasion. Like calling Gertrude a Cheshire cat for being able to sneak over to Casey's home without being seen.

Wait...Adam calls Casey mad, near the end. She's the Hatter. I need to make her madder.

Now if I can just make this script work...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Joy of rewrites...

Done with another draft of "The Alice '65". And I think I'm back up to 117 pages. But in order for me to make it seem like this is being seen instead of read, I'm using more space than I intended. But...there is a lot of white space on the pages, now. I'm told that's good for comedy. Besides, I got a DVD of "Superbad" from Netflix and that's 2 hours long! So I'm not worrying about the length, if I honestly really ever did think I could.

Casey's still a bit too plain, but Adam's taken on a whole personality, as have Lando and Patricia. Even Veronica's grown more depth. However, Casey is the one who decided she goes for Lasagna instead of Rocky Road ice cream when she's upset. With meat filler, not just cheese. Bad girl, for Hollywood.

I heard a song on CFNY, The Edge, "It's Time" by Imagine Dragons, and it has a fantastic background bit of music that fits A65 perfectly. It almost sounds like a mandolin...but the whole feel of the song is right. I've finally found the music.

That has a lot to do with how I write -- hearing the music of the piece as I go along. It was "Invitation To The Dance" by Weber for "Delay En Route" and a blues song I wrote, myself, for "Blood Angel" and a Russian Military Marching Song for "KAZN". Things like that. They give me the rhythm of the piece, and when I don't have the music it's harder for me to get things right in the story.

Oh, man...I'm listening to a guy do an excellent rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" on WFUV...and he just ruined it with a squawking cry of the chorus. Jeff Buckley's version is still the most exquisite.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


I tried one last time to get my power adaptor to work in my laptop...and it did. Both in the three-prong mode and in the adjustable two-prong bit. Could it be that there were four power outlets not working at Baltimore's airport? Maybe...but it's still weird.

So I canceled the Genius bar and focused on A65, some more.  I got 28 pages tightened up and Patricia's getting clearer. Casey's still a bit too subdued for this; I need to find some way of letting her rip out of her shell. And show that she's in one.

Tomorrow's Daylight Savings time, and I hate that shit. It throws me off for a good week.

I found out my nephew's been accepted to an advanced Master's Program in architecture at UCLA! Made me very happy. He's amazing when he works on his buildings. Right now he's teaching architecture at Texas Tech, which is supposedly one of the premier schools for that, so he'd have to leave there...but it's a great step for him.

My other nephew is working at becoming a real estate mogul. I've tried to help him, but my income is too pitiful to let me even be a co-signer to a property he wants to buy, and my credit union won't even think about financing a property that's out of state, for me. Oh well, I never wanted to own property. It ties you down and becomes a second job. I already have one of those -- I'm a writer.

I got to pack some of Thornton Wilder's archives, including his original copy of "Shadow of a Doubt". I'm still kind of lost in "holeeeeeeeeeee shit" land.


I dropped my MacBook charger and now it won't put through a charge. It happened in a McDonald's as I was about to plug the three-prong extension into a wall socket. Nothing came through. I figured it was just the outlet didn't work, so did some stuff using the battery for power. Then I got to Baltimore-Washington Airport early so used up the rest of the juice waiting to be able to check-in. I brought home a box of books and a light-box so couldn't do anything till 4 hours prior to the flight.

But then I got through security, had something to eat (a burrito where the barbacoa was so salty, I almost couldn't finish it), and then settled down to use my laptop...and it still wouldn't charge. I tried three different outlets. I had to shut down because my battery was down to 2%. Looks like I'm making a trip to the Mac store, tomorrow. Dammit.

So...that meant I had nothing to do for 2 1/2 hours. I'd noticed Tina Fey's book, "Bossypants", available in a store, so I bought that to see how she worked being funny. I've read through page 151...and chuckled three times. It's got raves about how hilarious it is all over its cover -- USA Today, NY Times, LA Times, on and on -- but I was NOT in the least amused. $9 for a paperback and all I got out of it was how hard she's trying to be funny. Really, really trying hard. So much so, I honestly think my three chuckles were sympathy-oriented rather than tickles of my fancy.

Maybe I don't have a sense of humor. At least, not one that works today. One of the funniest bits ever, to me, was Danny Kaye's "The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice with the palace has the brew that is true" bit from "The Court Jester". Word play 1955.

I'm beginning to wonder if I'm past my "Due Date."

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pushing hard...

Another story's come roaring into my brain...well, a continuation of one I'd started a while back. About a guy who'll do anything for money. To say he's amoral would be an understatement; he has nothing in the way of human compassion or empathy, especially if it means padding his bank account.

I'm not sure how far I'll be able to take this character, but he is elbowing everybody aside to yell in my ear, "Pay attention!" And they don't like it.

I'm able to ignore him for the moment because Adam and Casey are working their magic, again. A65 now falls solidly into the romantic-comedy genre, with a touch of the screwball but not enough to matter so very much. Reading this book on gags and comedy routines, I'm catching on that jokes work better if they're set up, even in a screenplay.

For example, Adam makes a comment about Lando being named after a secondary character in "Star Wars". It's kind of cute...but was all alone, and letting Adam be a "Star Wars" person wasn't in the cards. He's not that sort of nerd. BUT...he has seen the movie and didn't mind it because it was "original"; whereas he refused to see Casey's movie, "Ilithim 4", because it's based on a classic work of Science Fiction and he didn't want to see the book desecrated. Then later, when he's told Lando's name, he can actually ask why someone would name their child after a character from "Star Wars". And it leads up to the back and forth between him and Lando.

I may fill in one more step up the rung of the set of comments, just to see if that adds anything. But now it's believable that Adam would spit that comment out in a moment of hurt and anger. The same thing is happening with Casey and Patricia. Haven't gotten to the point where Lando's being given the opportunity to add to the moments and his character, but I'm sure he'll hold his own.

So...even a book I don't think will help me is helping me; how weird is that?

I stopped by "Politics and Prose Bookstore" en route back to the hotel, this evening. They're an independent bookshop with a nice selection, and I just wanted to see if they had any of my books. They didn't, and actually let me know not even Ingram offers "The Lyons' Den" except through one warehouse. About what I expected.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wrong book?

I'm reading another book on how to write humor, but all it really deals with is writing gags for comedians and comedy sketches. I'm 60 pages in and still don't know how much good I'll get from it except to have an idea of how one-liners come about, and how bits were developed for "The Carol Burnett Show".

Don't get me wrong -- some of the funniest moments I've ever seen were on that show. There was one instance where the props crew apparently decided to play a joke on Carol during a skit. It was supposed to be about a world famous escape artist who isn't all that great at her escaping, but they set it up so none of the props she was expecting to work did. And she kept trying like crazy to  follow the script, but when they reached the part where a collapsable trunk wouldn't collapse, she lost it. And I couldn't catch my breath, I was laughing so hard.

So maybe this book'll help me figure out how to make the party in A65 funnier. I'd like at least one good belly laugh out of the script.

They had a good one in "His Girl Friday" when a process server meets with the crooked Mayor and Sheriff and the actor playing the PC was so whiny and out of touch with reality, he couldn't even tell when he was being bribed not to do his job. Typical exchange --

Mayor (to server)
"What's your name?"

Process Server
"Pettibone. What's yours?"

Mayor (not paying attention)

Process Server (smiling and thinking the Mayor has the same last name as him)
"Oh, not really..."

Same for "Twentieth Century", when John Barrymore describes the play he's going to do with Carole Lombarde in the lead, including showing her how the camels will act, and she finally laughs in his face and calls him crazy.

In "Tootsie" it's the second exchange between Dustin Hoffman and Sydney Pollack, who's playing his agent, when Dustin reveals Jessica Lange's father asked him to marry him (thinking he's a woman). Sydney gets all happy and smiley and asks him what he said, and Dustin say, "What do you think I said? I told him I'd have to think about it."

I should watch those, again; maybe get some inspiration.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Learning interesting lessons...

GoodReads doesn't like authors to comment on reviews of their books, even to thank the reviewer or get more information. Also, you are supposed to accept it when someone uses derogatory and foul language against you. Here's what happened.

Some guy posted a vicious comment about HTRASG and gave it one star. Called it all sorts of things. I asked him what it was, exactly, that set him off -- my style of writing, the characters, the actions, the ending? -- and he went into meltdown. I haven't had language like that used against me since 8th grade.

I asked the administrators at GoodReads to look into it as a violation of their guidelines, but they decided that I was overreacting and it was my own damn fault for asking the question in the first place.

Maybe it was. All I wanted was honest feedback. I accepted the initial spitting on the book; I've been told worse things about my writing. But to me the whole point of getting reviews is to get feedback and see how you can improve your work. Apparently that's not acceptable.

So what the hell IS the point of this exercise? Even when I was posting my scripts on TriggerStreet and getting assassination reviews meant solely to tear them apart (always in reaction to positive reviews from others), I got something out of those because the twerps writing them went into detail as to why they didn't like it. Granted, 90% was just a case of, "You didn't write it the way I would have." But there was still that 10% that made sense and was helpful.

Now I'm not above being human. Negative reviews sometimes hurt, but that's part of the deal. It's just not possible to please 100% of the people who read your work, and sometimes they'll dislike it for ludicrous reasons. But I make myself thank everyone to takes the time to review my work, even if it's not a good one. I'm nowhere near the realm of James Joyce or Leonid Tolstoy, yet.

But...if sitting in stony silence and learning nothing from a person's reaction to your work is what GoodReads wants, so be it.

And that, my friends, is life in the big city.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Should I...shouldn't I...?

I'm at the stage in the writing of A65 where I'm wondering if I should just do a novelization of it so I can get a better hold of the story? And put in everything I want so I won't feel the need to slam it into the script. I want to tell this story as if the person reading it was actually seeing it, and my writing style is still too literary for that sort of scriptwriting.

Maybe I should do some quick, rough storyboards. I could get those done in the space of a month...maybe six weeks. Something quick and simple, like these...

These boards are from a horror script I wrote about a preacher who calls up a demon, hoping to prove to humanity the devil exists...

It works, and he agrees to have a demon walk the earth, wreaking death and destruction. But first he has to kill 5 innocent people...

...starting with the two girls here. The boy is the preacher's son, who's brought the girls to see how weird his father is.

In a perverse twist, the preacher soon realizes he is being made over into the demon. And that the Archangel Michael has been sent to stop the person of a gay college student.

Anyway, doing boards for the first few pages helped me work out the images...but I still wrote them in too literary a style. I've been reading scripts and the shorthand in them irritates me, but is understandable. So...I changes my ways.

Let's see how long it lasts.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Another draft done

Well...for all my planning to make major trimming...this new draft of "The Alice '65" is 114 pages long. Much of it works better. Letting Adam do his drunk thing actually smoothed over some awkwardness and made a trip to the bathroom at the theater a necessity. The story flows, again, and I'm now ready to let it sit for a while to give me space to see if it still works when I come back with a fresh perspective.

I did major rewriting on the party and the finale in the private jet. One works, the other still seems busy...which it should be, really. Maybe it's just not coherent, yet.

I still need to finish a first draft of "The Vanishing of Owen Taylor". But that one's splayed all over the place, right now, so it'll take a fair amount of time to get back in order.

Now I can finish Season 3 of "Being Human". Aidan Turner and Russel Tovey don't come back for Season 4, so this'll be the end of it, for me.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Continuing A65 from yesterday...

Yes. It’s finally been settled.

Are we absolutely certain about this? I’m always wary when some person discovers a book worth a million pounds in their attic -- .

Casey Blanchard’s not some person.

Who is she, then?

Adam...have you never seen Ilithium Four?

God, no. She’s a classic work of Science-Fiction and I’ve no interest in witnessing a desecration of -- .

I’ll lend you my DVD. She’s one of the leads. The book was bequeathed to her by her grandfather. And yes, we are certain this is an actual eighteen-sixty-five presentation copy of Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland.

So I...I’m actually going to get an Alice. Sir, please don’t toy with me. You know what happened with my father and a copy of this book.

That’s why I’m sending you. You’re one of the few people here I can trust to treat it with the respect it deserves. You’re not even to stay the night. Bring it straight back.

He leads Adam into the tiny elevator.

VINCENT (cont’d)
Your itinerary’s on your desk. Once you’ve turned the book over, you’re free till Monday. Your mother has a B and B in Sheerness, hasn’t she?

No, she and I live in Epping -- .

Supposed to be a lovely weekend. Why not take her down? Go bathing on the beach.

I -- I can’t swim, so I don’t do that -- .

Well...I suppose that does lower your chances of being drowned.


The doors close. A maintenance man steps from a shadow. He pulls out a cell phone.


Expensive. Sydney Harbor spread out below. TOMMY DOUGE (60, still Mr. Rough-and-Tumble in a thousand dollar suit) slams a phone down. Behind him is BRENDA (too elegant to be real). Behind her is an étagère with several gorgeous books on view.

Son-of-a-bitch, that bloody university got it!

Got what, Tommy?

The Alice Sixty-five.

How can they get if you’re getting it?

I waited to see if that bloody American bitch’d sell it to me. I even offered twice what it’s worth.

Crikey. It’s immoral to turn that much money down.

You’re right, Brenda. Well, I tried playing nice. But I’ve been after an Alice Sixty-five for thirty bloody years. So, change of plan. You’re off to Los Angeles. I'll follow, Thursday. I want that bloody book in my hand the second I arrive. I don’t care what it takes.


Adam sits in an aisle seat, next to a pleasant INDIAN COUPLE and their KID, who looks like trouble. A ruck-sack, hardcover book and laptop computer sit in his lap. He wears a light jacket.

What about the university?

They better not get in the way.

Adam looks at a DVD box holding an action Sci-Fi movie titled Ilithium 4. A FLIGHT ATTENDANT stops by him.

Excuse me, sir, you’ll need to put those things under the seat in front of you. We’re at take-off.

He leans over to do so. The jet moves.

The kid watches Adam and then WHOOSH -- vomits on the back of his jacket!

Adam cries out and bolts from his seat. The flight attendant hurries back as the kid’s mother tends to him.

Don’t move, don’t move, you’ll get it everywhere and we’ve a twelve hour flight ahead! Just remove your jacket.


Hold out your arms.

He does. Another flight attendant helps the first one slip his arms through the sleeves and hold it so all the vomit stays caught in the jacket.

I’ll clean it best I can and return it to you after take off. Now please be seated. Buckle up.

Adam nods and sits, now eyeing the kid, warily.

So sorry. His first airplane trip, and his stomach is weak.

Adam makes himself smile. The kid just looks back.


As the jumbo jet takes off, Adam SCREAMS.


Adam exits customs, haggard and dressed like a glittery Bollywood star, laptop slung over one shoulder. His clothes are in a trash bag; his rucksack in the other hand, his book peeking from it.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Opening to "The Alice '65"



Modern cubicles clash with a centuries old room. ADAM VERLAIN (30, glasses, a life going prematurely gray) works between his computer and an ancient leather book on his too-neat desk. A note taped to his monitor warns, VINCENT 3:30!!

(British, says to book)
There we go, luv. All set and ready for inspection and...oh, dear. Dies ist ein ausgezeichnetes Beispiel für eine frühe gedruckte Volumen. Can’t forget any umlauts, can we? Germany never forgives.

He saves the document, tenderly carries the book into --


Mystical in its play of light and dust. Adam gently sets his book on a shelf with other antiquarian volumes.


Adam pours hot water into two spill-proof mugs.


Mugs in hand, Adam passes a cubbyhole office -- HAKIM (too well dressed) and JEREMY (a happy puppy who bites) in it.

Here, Adam -- you ever plan to finish that bloody Erasmus?

Just put her on the shelf, Hakim.

Oy, is that tea? You never bring me any.

-- Next time, perhaps.

He stops by ELIZABETH (pretty, convinced of her superiority to one and all) and sets a mug on her desk.

ADAM (cont’d)
Here you go.

Two lumps, splash of milk?

Just how you like it.

Not now, thanks.

Both mugs wind up in Adam’s cubicle, then he picks up a book from her desk.

Is this that Liber Chronicarum found in Romania?

What does it look like?

Why’d Vincent give it to you? I’m more versant in Shedel, and I’ve nothing else going on.

You also keep raising questions about it.

Well, she’s a lovely volume, but the binding’s not contemporary to her and --.
(looks inside)
Oh -- she is a facsimile.

Adam, it’s a book, not a her.

But here! On the first verso page of text; look at -- .

She snatches the book away.

Give it over! Half the time you’ve no idea what you’re talking about.

He hesitates then heads off.

Jeremy slips up to grab the two mugs. She smirks at him.

ELIZABETH (cont’d)
Now, of those is mine.

Last I heard, no means no.

And I’m sure you heard it just last night. Give it over.

Come and take it.

He sneaks away with both mugs. She follows him.


Row after row of shelving units hold recent books and files. Adam pulls out an auction catalog.

It’s in here...I saw it...nineteen fifty-eight! Aisle six. Brilliant.
(in German)
Poor girl doesn’t think I know what I’m talking about.

He bolts to another aisle to sort through more catalogs.


Nein, das is zwei-und-sechzig. Forty-seven!? Oh, for god’s sake, people -- learn how to count! Sixty-two comes after sixty-one comes after sixty comes after fifty-nine comes after fifty-seven -- wait, wait, wait, where’s fifty-eight?

He finds a catalog jammed behind the rest, pulls it out, tenderly twists it back into shape, and looks inside.

Adam? Adam?

Here we go, Elizabeth. You’ll thank me for this. Maybe give a kiss...

He starts down the aisle -- and VINCENT (proper, pale and thin as a Victorian ghost) peeks around the end.

(Veddy British)

Oh! Uh -- Vincent, we’ll need to revisit that Shedel and find out what the seller’s trying to -- .

Have you been down here all this time?

Just -- just a bit. Our meeting’s not till half-past three.

It’s now four.

Sorry, sir. I was just locating information on that Romanian Liber Chronicarum and -- .

Elizabeth’s archiving that. Haven’t you your own work to finish?

The Erasmus Apophtegmatum. I’m done. Jeremy’s to photograph -- .

Then you’re free.

We have hundreds more books -- .

Come on upstairs. And leave the catalogue, there’s a good lad.

Adam jolts and shoves it back...and puts more in order.

Vincent, whoever does the shelving down here apparently knows neither the alphabet nor numeric sequence.

Adam! Come!

Adam switches the positions of two more catalogs then follows.


Narrow. Low pipes jut across the ceiling. Adam and Vincent duck to avoid them.

Is your passport in order?


Your passport. Is it current?

I suppose. Why shouldn’t it be?

When was the last time you used it?

Six years ago. I had to visit New York’s Public Library to -- .

Then you’ve been to the states. Care to go, again?

Oh, God, no. New York is perfectly dreadful. Tall and concrete -- .

I mean to Los Angeles.

Is it more open than Manhattan?

Somewhat. I want you to fly over. Pick up a book we’ve acquired. Fly back. Nothing more.

Adam stops cold.

Sir, is it -- is it the Alice Sixty-five?