Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bad day...

Car broke down. Can't afford to fix it if it's more than a couple hundred. Took it to a dealership I usually go to. They've been straight with me...but tonight, no ride back to the rental car place. "No one there to do it." I had to walk 2 miles.

Not getting paid or reimbursed for expenses till Friday, after my credit cards are due; the guy who signs the checks had a death in the family and won't be back till then. So I'm paying a little and getting hit with interest.

Still not completely back on schedule from the trip to LA. I hope that's why I'm having a stomach ache that won't go away. O maybe nerves. Never had an ulcer; dunno what they're like.

On top of it all, my laptop's beginning to fall apart and Zeke and Carli are thinking they want new names -- Jake and Callie. I hate that. I have a Jake, already, and don't want to confuse the two. (NOTE: I knew there was an Archangel named Ezekiel, but I just found out he's the Angel of death and transformation...and that fits this story perfectly. ZEKE!)

Currently feeling very fucked by it all, and having fun remembering all the things I've done wrong or stupidly. Which wears me out, emotionally...and physically. Can't even stay awake to write this. Just want to sleep.

But I need to do dishes...

Monday, April 29, 2013

10 pages done...

I got a death scene in CARLI KILLS that will make the world weep. If I set it up right. It's where Carli finally realizes revenge hurts not only the guilty but the innocent, and she's the cause of it.

I've also found the guilt in the story. Not just for the bad guys, but for Carli. Her revenge is more than just getting even; she's out to purify herself. Rise from the ashes like a Phoenix. Maybe I should set this story close to there. Lord knows, that town's got desert everywhere around it.

I've got 28 solid pages, with another dozen so-so ones. I'm up to 10 characters, some only important to a few scenes. And just five real locations...four if all you count is desert.

It's going pretty far, too. Lots of horror moments mixed in with the noir and thriller stuff. Man...I might be confused about how well this is going. But I'm having fun.

That's half the battle, right there.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

I've got the music theme for "Carli Kills" -- "Romance de Amor". Leitmotif, if you will. I first heard Charo play this on some talk show, when I was a kid, and it was the first time I'd seen how serious she was about guitar. Her rendition was exquisite. These guys are a bit over the top near the end...but their lead-in adds immeasurably to the melody.

This came up as I was working on the scene below...when it's revealed Carli has a some backup -- a boy who used to be in love with her sister.


Tall and winding. A GUITAR ECHOES down its walls. A cool college kid -- TRAVIS BIGGERS, the epitome of a budding rock star -- sits in a corner. Plays a lovely original melody on an acoustical guitar. Beside him -- a digital recorder and mike.

He stops the recorder and takes a hit off a joint. FOOTSTEPS APPROACH.

It work okay?

Carli appears around a bend.


He holds up a memory chip.

Pop this in and keep yours. I got a professor who says, If I’m gonna take out two recorders, I gotta have two chips filled with music.

The song you were playing -- it’s beautiful.

It's for my final. I...I got some words for it.
The day I met you was the first day of my life. The love in your eyes cut me deeper than a knife. I'd never leave you, and so you had to walk away. All I can do is love you till my dying day.

-- Okay. Nice. A little top forty, but...

Yeah, right. I’m a music major; we're supposed to be stupid and maudlin.

Travis...the first three lines are exquisite.

You’re just sayin’ that so I’ll keep borrowing school equipment for you.

He takes another drag on the joint. Offers her some. She just looks at him. He kills the weed.

Get what you needed?

Yeah. I did.

Don’t look so happy.

Travis -- Lara was raped by four men. I thought I knew who all of them were, but I found out one of the guys couldn’t have been there.

Which one?

Zeke. His real name’s Zachary Karlos -- with a K -- Lindner.

Somebody named their kid that? Some parents oughta be shot.

But that's why I couldn't find out anything about him, except that he ran with Max, Grady, and Jack. So -- who was number four?

Shit -- there’s nothing about Max dealing with anybody but those three losers.

Zeke’s not a loser; he’s just lost.

Travis eyes Carli. Plays a melody like “Romance de Amor.” Carli glares at him.

Shut up.

I've given you everything I know, Carli. I had to practically fuck the dean's secretary to even get a look at the school's file on Lara's death. Did you ever get the sheriff's report?

Lost. And I know why. JJ's the sheriff's nephew, and they both own that bar.

Could JJ be number four? Or the Sheriff?

No, I'm missing somebody. It's time to talk to Jack.

Travis stops playing.

Need any help?

No, he'll be easy.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

And...just for the fun of it...

Here's a picture of Omar Borkan Al Gala, the Emirates dude who was kicked out of Saudi Arabia because he's just too damn good-looking for Saudi Womens to handle. Or maybe it was Saudi Mens. I've heard some things about those guys. What you wanna bet Omar's real crime was just saying, "No", to some sheik? Hmm?

(Of course, I can see why they'd ask...)

Here we go...

Carli's taken over, and Zeke follows like a good puppy. She's dragged in a couple more characters -- college brats involved in the whole mess, and someone to bear witness at the end -- and it's all well and good. Means one more location, but that's it.

I'm finding it very easy to mingle both horror and revenge thriller. It's all just a matter of degrees and how much you care or do not care about the people involved. Maybe I'm starting a new genre -- Film Noir Slasher Suspense. Be interesting to see what happens once I start sending it out.

I'm digging through my whole repertoire of noir and revenge and suspense films, and coming up with some surprising ones for inspiration. Like Ingmar Bergman's "Virgin Spring." It's set in the Middle Ages, and a prosperous landowner's daughter is raped and murdered by some men, who then take refuge in his home from a storm. He slowly comes to realize what they've done, and his revenge is vicious. I think I'll watch it, again; it's been years...hell, decades.

I was heavy into Bergman and French New Wave and Italian Neo-Realism for so long...and still have great respect for it all...almost love. If you want to get a jolt from a classic Neo-Realist movie, watch "Roma, Citta Aperita" ("Rome, Open City"). It has two deaths in it that will send chills throughout your body. The same could be said for a murder-suicide in "La Dolce Vita" and a murder at the end of "Rules of the Game". The only time I've ever been shaken like that by a horror film was the French-Dutch version of "The Vanishing"...which was so real and so cold-blooded, it was too close to what could actually happen. I saw "Silence of the Lambs" a week later and was irritated by the artifice of it.

I guess that's why I don't get off on the horror films that come out of Hollywood or the indies. They're mostly silly setups with obnoxious characters you don't care about, and their sole purpose seems to be to find interesting ways to kill off good-looking kids. Hitchcock did some great ones because he understood the concept of guilt and used it. Compare the original "Psycho" with that ludicrous remake -- Janet Leigh's character is torn about taking the $40,000, all but forces herself to do it; in the remake, the character is all but humming, "We're in the Money".

So...I'll need to be wary of that. I want Carli's actions to be grounded in reality...and guilt...even as things become surreal. And she and I both know what she feels guilty about. And maybe a little crazed. And Zeke's the only one who grounds her over it.

So let's see what you got, bitch. (Just kidding, Carli; don't kill me.)

Shifting characters, again

Quick note about CARLI KILLS --

More characters have shifted about in their relationship to each this may wind up being a wilder script than I expected. So far I've got --

1. Biker gang of bad boys and girls
2. A crooked sheriff
3. A low-key bartender
4. A waitress with a 5 year old daughter (dunno about that part, but she's insisting)
5. One member of the biker gang who's not as bad
6. Carli, the avenging angel who's no angel, at all.

It's set in the desert and I'm using it.

I've got a dozen scenes set up and/or written...even though I'm working in Word.

I may have this done by the end of next week.

Oh...this is where I ate my lunch the last couple of days...
That's Lake Washington, with the skyline of Bellevue across the water. I was on the back deck of a house that's to die for. I could live there.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Just wanna go home...

I had too much trouble with Best Western's WiFi to do any posting, yesterday. Plus elephants moved into the room above me, so I didn't get much sleep. I'm now at a La Quinta by SeaTac and it's better.

This job is done and the books are packed and palletized and at the cargo carrier. And I'm so glad it's over. The packing, itself, was actually fun. These were illustrated books by Cruikshank and Rowlandson and others, who were like the "Doonesbury" commentators of their day (middle 19th Century). Some very brutal stuff in them, too.
Cruikshank loved to make fun of people -- not just the upper classes but the middle and lower, as well. No one was spared.
Rowlandson was along the same lines, but not quite as obnoxious about it. And both of them sold lithos of their works that were then hand-colored. It's amazing.

The owner spent years collecting these books, and it shows. I've seen similar works by these artists at Heritage, but he has some I'd never even heard of, and they are lovely volumes to explore.

This is the one fun part of the job -- seeing the collections of fine works. Handling books with massive histories behind them.

One less fun part is dealing with the people handling the shipment out of the city. Today, even though I have TSA clearance, I was treated like I was out to blow the office up when I asked to use their copier to finish the paperwork. It's ludicrous, especially since I've been to that very office several times in the past.

I didn't know I was the type who needed to be profiled.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Got my ending...

I was packing up a library of illustrated books from the 19th Century when Carli and Zeke came to me with the ending for CARLI KILLS. And it's a toughie. It also keeps the action down to 3 main locations -- an isolated house in the desert, the desert, and a bar called Cantina Madraza. Seriously, everything happens around there. That's about as low-budget as you can get. of the two buildings burns to the ground while surrounded by cops. I'll write it in such a way that you don't have to see anything more than the flashing lights in the darkness, and actually witness a cop car or two, but the big fight at the end happens there and just about everybody dies.

It's funny -- I set out to write a horror film, but this is now an action-suspense piece with horror elements in it. What Carli does to a couple of bad guys is not what you'd want in a mainstream film. And what happens between Zeke and the sheriff is not gonna be easy to take.

So...once again, I have my beginning and my ending. Now I just need to marry the two up. That's where the fun will be. I'd work on it more, here, but I'm finding using Word to write a script is just too damn hard.

I've avoided seeing KILL BILL because I'm just not a Tarantino fan, but this story has elements of what I think are in that movie, so I guess I'll have to...if only to make certain I don't hew too closely to it.

I'm on the downhill side of a cold, right now, so it's hard to even keep awake, let alone write anything coherent. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

This popped up on my Tumbler blog

I wonder if the Fates are trying to tell me something...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Taken over, already?

I don't even have all of "Carli Kills" plotted out or all the characters determined, yet, but already two of them have begun directing the story -- Carli and Zeke.

Carli's been planning her revenge for a couple years, now, and Zeke is part of the biker group she's focused on...and I had him set up to be the second guy she kills...only she and Zeke basically told me to fuck off. They like each other, while JJ, the bartender I'd planned to have involved with Carli, was kicked to the side.

Women. Shit. Men. Assholes. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm in control of anything, anymore. And what's Zeke's response? A total diss.

I'm still using Logan as his avatar, because I found a better one for JJ...who just wants his bar to be left alone. Name of the bar? Cantina Madriza.

Got a crooked-ass sheriff, too. I think I'll use a certain scumbag in Arizona as his basis.

I wonder how far I can go with this? Do I really want to get too wild and crazy? I want to sell it and get it made...

But I want it to stand out, too.

First pass

A quick workout of a cheapie script -- "Carli Kills", a woman seeks revenge on the men who raped and killed her sister. So far, I've got a gentle bartender, a lovelorn waitress and a crooked sheriff in the mix, too.

I'm doing this on Word...which I used to use all the time but now is just plain unwieldy. Final Draft spoiled me.

Something else -- I so loath the WiFi at this hotel, I'm close to moving to another one. It's bumped me off twice, this evening.




The front door swings open and a MAN and WOMAN tumble in, kissing, grabbing at each other. Both have tattoos and piercings. Beard and a belly on him, thick blond curls and big boobs on her. True biker trash.

No lights needed as they stumble to a back room, munching each other’s lips.

Oh, baby – fuck.

That’s the idea, asshole.

They laugh and crash into –


They flop onto the bed. She straddles him. Rips open his shirt. Tattooed wings stretch over his chest. He grabs her boobs. She grabs his hands.


She spreads his arms out. Bends down to kiss him. Undoes his jeans.

He twists around, flips her under him. She slaps his butt. He laughs.

Careful what you get started, bitch.

I know exactly what I’m doing.

She pinches his nips. He yelps. Yanks her legs into the air.

Me, too.

Her hands reach to the sides of the bed. She’s ready. He’s ready.

Her right hand slips under the pillow. Pulls out a syringe.

He yanks his pants away from his ass. Pulls her closer.

She jabs the syringe into his butt!

What the fuck, bitch?! What kind of – of kinky shit’re – are you – fuck…what’d you do?

He passes out.


The biker wakes. He’s strapped to a table, naked. Gagged. Can’t move. His eyes go wide with fear.

The room is draped with plastic sheets. Four lamps – one at each corner of the room – give the only light.

The woman enters from between two sheets, now wearing a plastic poncho and nothing else. She holds an electric carving knife.

Good, you’re awake. That’ll make this fun. So…which one do I want first? The flames? The wings? The naked girl?

She’s referring to tattoos on his ankle, chest, and forearm.

The naked girl. Better if she not see what happens.



He screams through his gag. Bucks at the table.

The sheets are sprayed with blood.

The woman is all but orgasmic in her enjoyment of his pain. She turns off the knife. She is covered with blood. She tenderly lays the detached skin on a cookie sheet.

Now the flames.

The knife whirs into action. The Biker SCREAMS.


The Biker’s bloody body flops into the dirt, next to an ant bed. All of his tattoos have been cut off…and he’s been castrated.

The woman rolls up the plastic. Shoves it in the bed of a pickup truck that has a cover. She’s somewhat cleaned up. She looks around.

They are in the middle of nowhere.

She looks at the body. Spits on it.

Let the ants have you, and the vultures.

She gets in the truck and drives away.

The biker’s hand clenches in pain as ants crawl over it. HE’S STILL ALIVE.


The woman drives, impassive.


The woman showers away the remains of the dirt and blood…and the color in her hair.

She dries off. Now she’s a brunette.


She finishes making the bed then sits at a computer. Opens a folder with a set of JPEGs in it. One of them is the biker she just killed – his name: Grady Barnes. She moves him into a folder titled: DONE.

She goes online and opens a blog – CARLI KILLS. She inputs –

(known as CARLI from now)
I don’t know who said vengeance is a dish that should be served cold, or something like that, but it tastes fantastic. I wonder if stage 2 will feel the same.

She looks at three other photos in the same folder – all biker trash with the usual tattoos.

Max Castillo. Looks big. Fu Manchu moustache. He chews railroad spikes for breakfast, he’s so mean.

Jack Hornsby. Smiling eyes and scruffy beard. Your typical brown-noser who thinks he’s tough.

Zeke Willis. Sideburns and a Van Dyke beard. Total “I don’t care” attitude hiding hurt-puppy eyes.

Carli just smiles. Focuses on Zeke. Inputs—

I got a feeling it will.

Max seems to glare out at her.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

New ideas for scripts...

I'm thinking up some low-budget screenplays to work up, to have ready for when I find requests on Mandy, InkTip, or IMDB. Aiming for under 300K...maybe even 150K. Offer to sell for $2500. Some exploitation, mostly horror. I've got one already pretty much plotted out, and have two others churning in the back of my brain.

First out of the gate -- "Carli Kills". A revenge-horror script driven by a pissed-off woman. I'm going whole hog on this one, especially in why she's doing it and what she's doing to the guys she's after. It starts off with a man getting cut up and dumped on an ant bed in the middle of the desert to be eaten alive by ants and vultures.

Another one's a take-off on the legend of the Minotaur. And yet another has Spring Break college kids being used for human sacrifices.

I may as well work on this. I'm at a Best Western that's got crap WiFi. It's already frozen on me, twice, and I've been in the damned hotel for just five hours. And I know it's not my computer; when I go to Starbucks and use the wifi there, it rocks. Same for at home...the vast majority of the time. But every Best Western's got minimal service that can't handle its guests. Irritating.

Anyway, I'm using this guy -- Logan McCree -- as the image for JJ, the hero of "Carli Kills". I have a feeling it's not going to be a simple good-guy-bad-girl kind of deal, here.
Oh, and here's all the tattoos he has. He's a bisexual porn star, and I do think he likes both men and women. I'm not one of those absolutists who swear you're either one way or the other.  I know if I'd ever had a chance with Catherine Deneuve or Gretta Scacchi, I'd have jumped the gay ship so damn fast...

Guess I'll never find out.

Possible writing job maybe someday perhaps...

I know if you don't put yourself out there and take the meeting, you'll ever get anywhere in the film biz, but I do wish I didn't keep running into people who're all about the "It's any day now" kind of stuff. Any day now could mean five years in the future, and I can't wait that long. I've got too many other things to do.

Still, I've met with a total of 4 producers, and only got dissed on two other I guess that's good for what's really just 3 days of trying.

I did get asked to be more specific about my plans to move back to LA by a couple of people, and the truth is, I haven't gotten that far. I do have half a dozen story ideas for low-no-budget horror scripts -- 1-2 locations, under 10 characters, minimal special effects, possible franchising -- but I haven't written them, yet. I don't even know if the ideas'd fly.

I guess I should hunker down, work up synopses and outlines for them, see if I can get any interest in any of them first, then do the writing. But...that seems back-assed-wards to me. Something to think about once I'm back to Buffalo.

I'm also going to stop waiting for people. It's finally sunk in that many of the people I've affiliated myself with will do absolutely nothing for me. It's not malicious indifference on their parts; they all have lives they have to keep up with, as do I. And I've been incredibly lazy in my own right. what? Now comes Seattle and a job I'm better prepared for...I think. And time to contemplate my future and what directions need to be taken. I don't know anybody up there, so I'll have my evenings free to do that.

Let' see how much procrastinating I can do.

Friday, April 19, 2013

C'est vrai...

A young Frenchman's response to people who oppose gay marriage.

Minimal posting due to massive running and lots of working

I've been running like a maniac meeting up with friends but also taking a few meetings with producers, including one at a guy's home in Palm Springs, of now. He could cancel at any time, so while I shouldn't count it till I've done it, this still seems pretty much a set meet-up. So far I've discussed "Find Ray T", "The Alice '65", and "Kazn". Nothing concrete...hell, nothing even set in mud, yet...but it's more than I've done in 5 years.

I've also seen friends I haven't been in contact with since I left LA. Amazing how so many of them seem unchanged while I feel old, tired and worn out. Of course, half the problem stems from dealing with the 405 on a daily basis. Beginning at 7am on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

God, it takes so much out of you just inching along in traffic as people do so many stupid things around you -- makeup, holding intense conversations with the people in the back seats while ignoring traffic, eating lunch off the passenger seat and not noticing the car ahead's moved up till three other cars have gotten in front of you, nearly sideswiping me in order to get ahead of me. Man, I thought I was an aggressive driver...

So...when I move back it has to be in a place where I don't have to drive much. I'd kill somebody if I had to do this every day.

I'm also trying to help my nephew find a place to live that's near Jefferson and the 405. He's been accepted to UCLA's specialty graduate program in architecture, which is in conjuncture with Morphosis Architectural Firm, where he'd love to work. There's a nice area of student-like living up around Lincoln and Manchester, near the campus he'd be at, and some decent apartments on the inner side of the 405...but nothing's cheap. And he needs to have it in 4weeks. More scrambling.

I'm ready for a nap, but I'm meeting someone for Indian Food...someone who may take on A65. We'll see how it goes. Right now, I'll be happy if I make it through dinner without yawning.

(UPDATE: Didn't have to worry about dinner, tonight; I got stood up. Should never have mentioned it. Now I'm back at the hotel and I'm getting shower and going to bed; I have to be in Palm Springs by noon...if I don't get dissed, again.)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Stole this from a friend's Facebook page...

"The essence of Christianity is told us in the Garden of Eden history. The fruit that was forbidden was on the tree of knowledge. The subtext is, 'All the suffering you have is because you wanted to find out what was going on. You could be in the Garden of Eden if you had just kept your fucking mouth shut and hadn't asked any questions.'"


Rough couple of days

Staying down by Long Beach, while necessary, is proving to be a big irritant. For the first time ever, I've had to deal with commuting into town via the 405 during rush hour...and I can't handle it. Leaving at 7am, it took me over 2 hours to make the trip to Beverly hills, where the job location was.

How do people do that, day after day? It's insane...and I would be if I had to do it. I once had to take the 101 from Woodland Hills into West Hollywood during the morning rush, which was sluggish...but this makes that look like a NASCAR race.

Didn't help that I royally screwed up on this job. I had photographs of the books I'm packing, and for some reason I thought they were octavos -- regular-sized hardcover books. They were quartos, which are 35% larger and heavier, and a number of folios were closer to I wound up packing more than twice as many boxes as I'd anticipated and used up every bit of packing material I'd brought, when I thought I'd have a fair bit left over.

On top of it, the representative of the company I did this for was checking off the books on the packing list, and it got changed. Some things stayed, others were added. So I had to re-do that as well as all the paperwork for the transportation booking, otherwise we wouldn't make our timeframe commitment. Meaning Monday I worked from 7 to 7, yesterday I worked from 7am till nearly midnight, and then till after 2pm, today. I might have well have been on a film shoot; at least I'd have been helping to create something.

Good thing is, I had dinner Monday night with an actress I know and her daughter, up by Topanga Canyon. She's "guested" in several TV shows. Sunday I had lunch with two other actors I know -- both from Germany. Tomorrow, I'm meeting with a producer about "Kazn" and "Find Ray T" while Friday I'm meeting with another producer about "The Alice '65".

It all sounds great and busy-ish...but I learned a long time ago nothing counts till your project's up on the screen. Period. And Hollywood has a lot of talkers. LOTS of them. And I think that's all I met while I was living out here. But if you don't do the meetings, you don't get any chances at all, do you?

That said, it'd be nice if any of my meetings ever did lead to something.

Monday, April 15, 2013

More decisions made

It's time to move back to LA. I feel right when I'm here. This is home. And the only thing holding me back from it is me. So my new goal is to be back here by June of next year. That gives me time to gain some control over my finances and figure out how to make a living once I return. Doesn't matter how I do it, this is what I want.

Buffalo is okay, but I feel very isolated there. Running around today and seeing friends has shown me this town is the center of my world, and it's stupid for me not to be here. Cowardly, really.

So what this means is hunkering down and working out how to get writing jobs. It means upgrading my website and making better use of LinkedIn and IMDb and the like. It means cutting down on my expenses and building up a reserve to keep me going. It means bologna sandwiches for lunch and dinner, for a while, and ending the cable and land line, and cutting down on my own cell phone expenses.

It also means pushing my writing and rewriting abilities a lot better than I have in the past. No more freebies. No more spec. I'd already decided that, but now instead of just turning down jobs, I'm telling people I have a rate for a rewrite job and it must be met.

I good with character and dialog, and I can have fun with action. I'll work up a couple of low-end scripts, too, from things I already have written. They won't take much.

But I'm moving back to LA, come hell or high water.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Welcome to LA

I completely forgot to post anything on my blog, yesterday, till nearly 2am...and by then I was dead of brain. Now I'm in LA after a fun flight -- lots of turbulence going over the Rockies -- and ready to roar.

En route here, I finished some work for a packing job I'd done back in January -- a list of the book categories I'd done -- and did some writing till the battery ran out on my laptop. Both legs of the trip were late, so I didn't arrive till nearly 6pm, Pacific time. Now I'm all set up in an Extended Stay hotel that's got a stove and fridge, and I feel like I'm at home. Almost.

I flew Jet Blue, which is nice enough. They have little TV sets in the back of the seats so you can watch programs, but all I did was listen to music...except for this one music video by Youngblood Hawke, whom I'd never heard of before -- "We Come Running". Part of it was the band playing the song, fully clothed and underwater, as the lead singer "sang" to the camera, air bubbling out of his mouth. I actually watched through the whole set of other crap that plays on the JetBlue station in order to see it, again...because I thought the lead singer, Sam Martin, was in a black jockstrap on that boat.

Of course, it wasn't; he's in a pair of boardies, looks like...with part of a wetsuit on his legs. But he's a doll, with that little butt crack, and watching him sing underwater in a tank top and striped jeans was both weird and oddly erotic. Far more interesting than the song.

Of course, Jet Blue has their whole little link into music and quickie concerts in Terminal 5 at JFK. And they link to other vids by musicians and little video snippets of info from the NY Times. But this is the first time I've really paid attention...and happily so.

Okay, so I'm shallow...and yet, I also wrote 8 more pages on "Hunter" after watching that.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


A65 is fully done. I will not make anymore changes to it...unless they're so brilliant I can't help but do that. But I have to set it aside, now, and focus on DM. I want that to be readey as soon as possible.

I'm refusing to rush it. I'll make more preliminary sketches while in California and Seattle. This is a 2 week trip, so there's not much else I can do till I get back.

I'm feeling weird about this trip. I want to go, but I almost don't. I want to finish dealing with DM and that. But it's set, now.

And Saturday, I'm off to the wild.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Blind as a bat, sometimes...

As I was about to finally drift to sleep, last night, I realized I was missing a huge opportunity in "The Alice '65" -- to explain why the photo paparazzi and the video paparazzi, who serve as a sort of Greek Chorus while stalking Casey and Adam throughout the night, are so focused on my two leads.

In the car en route to Casey's after picking Adam up at the airport, Patricia (Casey's mom) lets loose a massive, profanity-filled tirade against an unnamed photographer over the phone. A tweaking of the first dialogue bit between PP and VP makes it clear the tirade was against PP. And they're hoping to get something legit they can a sort of revenge.

I also began wondering if I should make Casey older. Right now, she's 25. But if I made her 32, in Hollywood she'd be sliding into TV movie territory from film stardom. Which means a slow downhill trek to the land of the forgotten. And she can sense it. Especially if I make Veronica 23 and Lando not yet 30. Which means making Patricia in her 50s...but that'd be just right for Christine Baranski to play.

Gotta think about this, because it means adjusting Casey's character throughout the script. Hmm...

Still not happy...

This is a preliminary sketch for when David first sees Sir Richard's castle. I'm trying to find a sense of beauty and grandeur and magic, but it just seems heavy. Of course, the story's set in the time when castles were little more than stone walls with little design beyond protection to them; I'm using a fair amount of poetic license to make it this tall, even.

What's weird is, it looks Moorish to me, now. Plus my perspective's off. And David still seems a bit older than 12...more like he's 15.

I might be able to change that by making his legs and torso a bit shorter...but when I look at photos of 12 year-olds off Shutterstock, they sort of look like this. So maybe I'm just being hyper critical.

What's even more interesting to me, however, is how the inn he hides in is to his left. When I wrote the story, I thought of it being on his right. But the positioning seems better, this way.

I also found an older sketch I did on the grand chamber of the castle. It doesn't look right, either...but it's a start.

I'm so easy to please.

Monday, April 8, 2013

If all goes well...

The image of David seeing the castle for the first time is coming together. At least, I've got a good start to it, in graphite. It's still missing something...but it's a start. I'd like to get it settled before I head to LA...which is this Saturday.

I've gone back through the story a couple of times and am at the point where I'm trying to decide where to put a comma or take it out, and when to use "a" instead of "the" it's done. All I need to do is decide on what form it will take once I start the publishing process.

I've got a bit of a headache, right now, from focusing on the sketch. Combination of aging eyes and cheap glasses. The nice thing about graphite is, if it's soft enough you can erase it easily and make corrections...which I've done most of the evening. The outer side of my right hand is black from sweeping away the old and working in the new.

But it feels a lot better. A lot.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Took a Walk...

All the sketches are coming out wrong and I got brutally frustrated, which led to a nice bout of second-guessing, which led to certainty I was screwing I went down to a Dairy Queen and got a small chocolate cone. Then walked to a grocery store and got a few bottles of DP for the week. Then came home...and worked it out.

I was trying to make these too right and detailed and perfect, from the outset. Working at something like what you'd see in "Alice in Wonderland" or some turn of the 20th century pot-boiler novel. Instead, I backed it down a bit. David doesn't need to be surrounded by forest when he's seen feeding the fox and her kits. None of the sketches need to be panoramas. Just one does -- when he sees the castle for the first time.

So I've got that worked out in pencil. He's big in the foreground and the castle almost seems to be floating in the clouds. Much better. This may even wind up being the cover, if it turns out right.

I also found a color one I did years and years ago that might work for the back panel. It's not perfect, but I could make it better.

I've also come to the decision that "The Alice '65" is done. I could tinker on it till I'm dead and it won't be all that much better. It's a solid script with interesting characters, and if anyone disagrees, tough. I like it.

Now let's see what happens with it.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Out of practice...

I did 4 sketches for "David Martin" and hate them all. And that's not counting the quick studies I worked up. Since when is a fox supposed to look like a bored cat? Even if it is from nearly across a pond?

This is going to be more of a chore than I anticipated. I'm too used to doing quick sketches for storyboards, nothing with huge detail. Not cool.

BUT...I did get an idea of what I want to do with the beginning. I'm not going to show David's face till sketch #3.
I did this sketch a while ago...but it's too old. David's 12, not 15. While I do want to shift his look ever so slightly during the progress of the story, I don't want to make it too obvious or too extreme. least I know what the two first frames are. And I think I know what I'm going to do with the 3rd. We'll see if I still have the ability to do this or if I lost it by not keeping it up.

I hate it when old sayings wind up being true.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Artwork beginning...

I've worked out 12 pictures to do for "David Martin", and I'm thinking pen and ink.

1. David feeding the fox and her kits.
2. David sees the knight and his troop.
3. The knight leading David away from the village, the troop marching behind them.
4. The couple laughing at David in the Inn.
5. David helping the knight save the couple from robbers.
6. David and the knight ride side by side, no more troop.
7. The farmer and his family laugh at David's sorcery story.
8. David and the knight camp out under shooting stars.
9. David and the bear.
10. David saves Emily
11. David sees the castle for the first time.
12. The long hall filled with the king's court...all of them looking at David.

Then there's a summary bit of something for cover art and another piece to put on the back cover to go with the teaser.

14 images. Nothing much.

I do think I'll work up the cover art in colored pencil. I like the tender feeling of it.

Now I need to figure out what David looks like. So far, he's just 12 years old and dark-haired. Nothing special about him, and since he lives in poverty, his tunic's worn and his shoes are minimal. The knight's easy, as is Emily. And the troop is just guys with spears and helmets and tunics.

I did a version of David several years back that I never really liked; it seemed too much like Young Robin Hood. Don't want that. He has to be "just David."

Guess we'll see what I come up with, tomorrow.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Facebook flameout?

Either Amazon is underreporting sales of my books (which I think, more and more, is a real possibility), or Facebook don't do nothin' for ya when you're trying to get people interested in your work. I've had a dedicated page up for "The Lyons' Den" for over a month, and even set up a Facebook ad...but though the page has 140+ likes and has (supposedly) been seen by tens of thousands of people...I'm being told there were no sales of books.

I don't know what's happening with Kindle; that system is still down and has been for more than 2 months. But even my sales reports on "Bobby Carapisi-The Complete Novel" are showing nothing, and I self-published that at a low price. Plus I've had that one's page and ad up on Facebook for two weeks. It's gotten 60+ likes...and it's gone dead in Kindle sales...according to Amazon.

I makes me leery of companies like Amazon and their whole setup. There's no way to verify their reports, short of hiring a lawyer and a raft of CPAs to dig through their sales figures. But I've long suspected they fudge their numbers, just like Hollywood producers do. Reminds me of the infamous story about "Coming to America", an Eddie Murphy comedy that cost $35 million to make, grossed $325 million worldwide, and was still $30 million in the red.

I know I'll never make a huge amount of cash off my writing; it's too niche-oriented to gain a wide audience. And none of the publishers I went through are doing anything in the way of publicity for the books, so that doesn't help. I paid for LD's ad myself. Not much -- just a $61.00 budget for 2 months, of which $25.00 has been used (I get charged by the click, if I understand it right).

But man...if this is future of publishing...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Decision time...

I began working on sketches for "David Martin" -- nothing major, just quickie ideas of what might work and what the Medieval period's houses and castles looked like. Conwy Castle in Wales is a good sample. And I have a copy of David MacCauley's "Castle" showing the building of one and has lovely sketches of how the people dressed and what the interiors are like. I've also found photos...

These are reconstructed huts from the 13th Century.

Inside the home.

Someone else's drawing of a castle, good for logistics.

But I had a moment come to me for "Place of Safety", today, that set up Brendan's plan to move to Dublin with a girl he loves. Time, place, characters, conflict, you name it. It feels like he's getting restless, and this is his gentle nudge for me to stop being a wuss and buckle down.

Thing is, if I decide to work on DM, it means a commitment of at least 6 months...and I wanted to have a first draft of POS done by the end of the year. I wouldn't be able to make it. And I've been working at this book for so long...

It also means abandoning Jake and "The Vanishing of Owen Taylor" till next year. And I want to finish that one, too.

So which way do I go? I don't have time for all of them, not with this job. And I can't quit or go anywhere else because I won't make enough to live on and pay my bills and back taxes. Plain and simple.

I hate making decisions like this...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Charlie Chan at the Opera

I've seen this movie a dozen times and I'm gonna watch it, again. This is the one where they actually had a fake opera written by Oscar Levant, and it has Boris Karloff as a crazed former opera star whose ex-wife tried to kill he goes after her. It's got all the cliches of the time, as regards how Chinese people are portrayed, but it flows so fast and easy and suspensefully and Chan is actually the most decent guy in the story so he actually undercuts people's prejudices.

I'm in one of my usual moods, where I don't want to do anything. Didn't help that I had a nasty day at work...mainly due to my own fuck-ups. I'm no good at detail-oriented jobs like this, where you have to do everything just right or someone's shipment gets stopped at customs. I need a job where I can be an abstract artist by day and writer by night. Yeah, big demand there.

So...since I'm never gonna win the lottery and won't inherit anything in the way of great wealth, how do I change the direction I'm drifting in?

Monday, April 1, 2013

So now what?

Caught in a slow current drift across a wide space of water, casual and clean and thoughtless. I got Depeche Mode's new album, "Delta Machine", and haven't listened to it, yet. I shouldn't have bought it; I can't really afford it.

I finally watched Woody Allen's "Paris by Midnight" and felt nothing for it. Didn't even like the  conceit of a writer traveling back in time to to his favorite period only to find the writers and people then thought an earlier time was even better. He only got an Oscar for it because he's Woody Allen.

Paris looked nice, though.

So I spent much of the night making potato-leek soup with ham and a hint of mint. Turned out good. I can use it for lunch...have it for dinner. Break up the parade of canned soups and frozen dinners I've been eating. I need to watch my spending; I still have to pay my taxes and have nowhere near enough cash to do it....but if I'm careful this month, I can handle the NY State taxes and then just let the IRS tell me what sort of payment plan I'll be doing to pay off that part.

I'm also aiming to set aside 20% of my income so I don't have this happen again. Meaning I've told my brother I can't support him, anymore. If he can't make it, he'll have to go live with our sister. Which would not be a good choice; she's 40 miles out of town. But he has his teeth fixed, now; a clean set of dentures that I'm told look good. That only took a year and a half to complete. And he's been working more, lately. So maybe things will turn around for him.

I've begun thinking about that long-form fable I wrote, "David Martin". That's in third person, but it's so closely aligned with David, it's almost like first. It still feels a bit awkward, but that may stem more from my mood than actual style of writing. I'm not rewriting it. I can do that till the end of time and it'll never be perfect enough.

I may test the waters of self-publishing, again, with that. But it needs a few illustrations. I can do some drawings, but I wonder if they're the right kind of things for the story? And I'd want some of them to be color. I wonder if I could copy the style of Sir john Tenniell, who did the illustrations for "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"?

Never know until you do it, Kyle.