Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Friday, February 28, 2014


I tried to watch a movie called "Point Blank" this evening, to clear my head...and turned it off after half an hour, I so disliked it. Lee Marvin's the star. John Boorman's the director. I don't know who wrote it because it's not like it mattered. The whole thing was so stripped of anything human or real, I felt like I was reading a comic book overdosing on ennui and deliberate obfuscation.

The opening five minutes set me wrong, so I doubt even if the film had been perfect from that point on, I'd have cared. The first scenes set this story up -- Lee Marvin's a crook who helps a friend in a heist and is screwed over when the buddy kills two men while stealing $93,000 and is then double-crossed by the "buddy", shot and left for dead. It jumps back and forth from after Marvin's shot to how the buddy begged him to help to the heist going wrong to watching the money men get their dirty cash to Marvin lying on the floor of a dirty cell in Alcatraz after being shot point blank in the gut to the buddy counting the cash and realizing he doesn't have as much as he thought to Marvin's wife sleeping with him to being shot to...hell, who cares?

This is one of those movies that thiks it's being cool when it's really just being lazy and incoherent. I like jumping around in a story -- I think the way "The Limey" does it is cool -- but bad dialogue and illogical characters and actions make it all just plain god-awful. This is one of those movies where somebody breaks into an upscale house, fires off 4-5 very loud gunshots and nobody calls the cops.


So I dropped in "The Queen" and watched how a great cast, good writing, and sharp directing can make a simple story about people making mistakes and coming to terms with the changes in the world exciting and involving. I feel a lot better now.

BTW, you can't blame the fact that "Point Blank" was made in 1967 for its shortcomings. It was just badly done, and I think John Boorman's a good director. Stephen Frears, who directed "The Queen", also did a god-awful movie called "The Hit", that had a brilliant hit man take on a stupid assistant, leave a witness alive even though she knew what he was responsible for a man's death, and stupidly kill off two people out in the open where he could be seen.

Guess nobody's perfect.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

On a separate note...

Writers on writing...

1. Stephen King. In his book On Writing, King says that he writes 10 pages a day without fail, even on holidays. That’s a lot of writing each day, and it has led to some incredible results: King is one of the most prolific writers of our time. (I've read this book; invaluable)

2. Ernest Hemingway. By contrast with King, “Papa” Hemingway wrote 500 words a day. That’s not bad, though. Hemingway, like me, woke early to write to avoid the heat and to write in peace and quiet. Interestingly, though Hemingway is famous for his alcoholism, he said he never wrote while drunk. (I wrote my most commercial script while buzzed on a week)

3. Vladimir Nabokov. The author of such great novels as Lolita, Pale Fire and Ada did his writing standing up, and all on index cards. This allowed him to write scenes non-sequentially, as he could re-arrange the cards as he wished. His novel Ada took up more than 2,000 cards. (I've done this with film scripts...hmm...)

4. Truman Capote. The author of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “In Cold Blood” claimed to be a “completely horizontal author.” He said he had to write lying down, in bed or on a couch, with a cigarette and coffee. The coffee would switch to tea, then sherry, then martinis, as the day wore on. He wrote his first and second drafts in longhand, in pencil. And even his third draft, done on a typewriter, would be done in bed — with the typewriter balanced on his knees. (I can't do that; I get a backache)

5. Philip Roth. One of the greatest living American writers, Roth works standing up, pacing around as he thinks. He claimed to walk half a mile for every page he writes. He separates his work life from personal life, and doesn’t write where he lives — he has a studio built away from his house. He works at a lectern that doesn’t face the view of his studio window, to avoid distraction. (My current setup is in a corner of my apartment facing two blank walls...and a very messy desk)

6. James Joyce. In the pantheon of great writers of the last century, Joyce looms large. And while more prolific writers set themselves a word or page limit, Joyce prided himself in taking his time with each sentence. A famous story has a friend asking Joyce in the street if he’d had a good day writing. Yes, Joyce replied happily. How much had he written? Three sentences, Joyce told him. (I know from whence he speaks)

Just thoughts...

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Blank of mind...

I stole this off Johns Hopkins' website -- a brief biography of Cervantes. Don't know who wrote it.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Spain's greatest literary figure, was born in Alcalá de Henares, a small university town near Madrid, where he was baptized in the church of Santa María on October 9, 1547; he died in Madrid on April 23, 1616. We know little of his early life. The fourth of seven children, Cervantes, his siblings and mother accompanied his father, an itinerant surgeon, who struggled to maintain his practice and his family by traveling the length and breadth of Spain. Despite his father's frequent travels, Cervantes received some early formal education, in the school of the Spanish humanist, Juan Lopez de Hoyos, who was teaching in Madrid in the 1560s. His first literary efforts--poems written on the death of the wife of Philip II--date from this period.

In 1569 Cervantes traveled to Italy to serve in the household of an Italian nobleman, and joined the Spanish army a year later. He fought bravely against the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, where he received serious wounds and lost the use of his left hand. After a lengthy period of recovery and further military duty, he departed Italy for Spainin 1575, only to be captured during the return journey by Barbary pirates. He was taken to Algiers and imprisoned for five years, until Trinitarian friars paid a considerable sum of money for his ransom. This experience was a turning point in his life, and numerous references to the themes of freedom and captivity later appeared in his work.

His new-found freedom and return to Spain had strings attached. He was deep in debt for the ransom paid to release him. In 1584 he married a woman almost twenty years younger (he was 37 at the time), and soon managed to obtain a position as a government official in the south of Spain, requistioning wheat and olive oil for the campaign of the Invincible Armada (1588). Within two years of the Armada's defeat, he requested permission to emigrate to the New World, most likely to improve his situation, but was turned down and told to find some gainful employment "at home."

By 1590, Cervantes was already known as a promising author. In 1585 he published his first work in prose, La Galatea, a pastoral romance which had attracted qualified praise from some of his contemporaries. He was also writing for the theater. At this time he also began to write short stories, some of which were later included in hisExemplary Tales. His most famous work, Don Quixote de la Mancha, was published in two parts in Madrid. Part I appeared in 1605; the second part in 1615. The novel was an immediate success. The first part went through six editions the year of its publication, and was soon translated into English and French. The fame of Don Quixote broughtCervantes to the attention of a wide audience. In 1613 his completed collection of short stories appeared in Madrid; his satiric poem, Journey from Parnassus was published a year later; and in 1615, Cervantes was able to publish some of his theatrical works. His final prose fiction, The Travails of Persiles and Sigismunda, generally described as a Byzantine romance--whose dedication he finished four days before his death--was assessed by Cervantes as among the best of his work.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


French Connection Blues has been set up on Smashwords (for e-book) and Lightning Source (for paperback). The e-book is supposedly available now; the paperback in a few days. I can now wash my hands of it...and I feel a great relief.

For what it's worth, if you plan to do self-publishing, Smashwords will set the e-book up for free, including adapting a Word file into epub. Vook charges a huge amount to do it, and Lightning Source will not take a book unless it's already formatted in epub, but the couple of formatting files I tried didn't work worth a damn. Which wouldn't be a problem if any of them could tell me why...but they couldn't. So I'm getting a refund all the way around.

Now I can shift all my focus back to my own work...and I'm going to shut up about it, for a while. I don't want to discuss Underground Guy or ...Owen Taylor or even Place of Safety until I'm done with them and can start to crow and beg for feedback.

I kind of wonder if that saps your energy, always talking about a project. Last night, I could not think of a single solitary thing to say about any of my writing.
So instead I'm reading up on Cervantes -- Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, born in 1547, died the same day as Shakespeare in 1616. He was rather good-looking, even with his Andalusian nose.

Man, he had the troubles of Job. Bankruptcy, being made a slave, wounded in battle, commissary for the Spanish Armada...he never made a living at writing. Hell, he didn't even publish Don Quixote until he was 58. It's amazing.

And scary.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Total plotting done

I now have all of Underground Guy plotted out and have worked up all the characters I need. Now comes writing it...and that will be fun. I've got my research done and setting it in London has made it even better. A couple of changes to the murder victims has also made it tighter and cleaner...and hit me hard. Seriously, I had an oddly painful reaction to the moment when Dev sees the crime if they'd really happened. Now he's earned his hurt eyes...

I've always had a hard time killing people in my stories, even though it's necessary, on occasion. It took me months to accept Bobby's suicide in Bobby Carapisi...and the murder of Collier Winston-Royce -- I had to just refer to it. Antony never gets to see the video that was shot of him being killed; it would've changed the whole story.

It's the same in my screenplays. When the story demands a death, I have to talk myself into it. Someday I want to write a suspense thriller where no one dies but it's still as scary as hell. I wonder if I can. Hitchcock could do it with the murder of one person...

I worked on UG while doing laundry and then spent the evening catching up on my ironing. Hours worth. I wound up watching The King's Speech, again, and snippets of another video. I still think Tom Hooper was a crap director on this, but Colin Firth's subtlety was impressive, as was Geoffrey Rush's. Helena Bonham-Carter's role was minimal but she did a lot with it. The script was very workmanlike.

Next weekend is the Oscars. I haven't seen a one of the movies nominated. Have no idea who should or should not win. I'll still watch and pig out on bean dip, Doritos and Dr. Pepper...but I guess movies are no longer my life's blood.

Which makes me sad.

Okay, let's get something understood...

I like men. Especially if they look like Rodiney Santiago. If that bothers you, stay the fuck away from me. Nobody's forcing you to read my blog or facebook page or Tumbler thread or anything. I'm not telling you how to live your fucking life; give me the same fucking courtesy and stop preaching fucking Leviticus at me.

I know what it says; I've read the damned thing. Hell, I've read the bible from cover to cover. I also notice people only quote the parts they agree with and ignore the parts that might make too many others uncomfortable.

Now just to be clear -- I'm GAY. Queer. A fag. Never been anything else. If I had a chance to be in Rodiney's bed, I'd do it in a heartbeat. He is exactly my type. I've been with guys who resemble him in many ways, and I loved everything about them. Still do, in my memories. And that's in spite of the repression shoved down my throat during most of my life. Repression I will no longer accept.

Meaning there is no way in hell I will go back into the closet to suit your pathetic needs. We can't change our DNA, even if we want to. Which I don't. It's not like like dyeing your hair a different color or pumping iron to rebuild your body or getting caps to make your teeth perfectly straight. It is who you are, to the very core of your being. To deny that is to deny yourself.

So in short -- to anyone who doesn't like that...fuck off, 'cause I ain't puttin' up with your shit.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Up to 21,000 on UG

Most of what I've done has been rewriting to clarify where the story's if I know. But the fact is, I do. I also wrote part of a chapter that will come near the end and begin to explain what's going on, but mainly I'm focusing on who the characters are and what their basic personalities will be as the story progresses. And how they will change...if they do.

Dev's already pulled a major mistake and it's come back to bite him in the ass before he even knew it. And will set up huge changes in his life and attitudes. He's also finding out he's not the smartest guy on the block, nor is he even the hardest. This story is proving to be a major awakening for him.

Hmm...I wonder if I should keep counting words as I write? Because this thing is going all over the place and worrying about word count may be a detriment. I get focused on something immaterial to the outcome of the what I've done with ...Owen Taylor and Place of Safety. I keep looking at how much I've written and worry about having so many, so I lose the notion that the story will be as long as it wants to be. So I have to remind myself and that screws up the rhythm...

Okay...I need to watch a movie and clear my mind.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Working on it

I worked on making the confrontation between Dev and Sir Redmon better...and it's...getting there. This is a pivotal section of the book and needs to be believable and right. At the moment, it's till too A-B-C for my taste...but it is a case of one man with complete power going against another man who doesn't give a damn what the guy thinks he has in his hand; he's calling the man's bluff. Thing is, the man's not bluffing.

It never ceases to amaze me how a story will start doing its little backflips and manipulations if you just let it. I say I want harsh, hard and romantic...and it's working towards that. Granted, it's more of an Almodovar-style romance than Hollywood; he's infamous for turning expectations on their heads and having people do outlandish things but still wind up happy with each other...or not. Atame is about a man kidnapping and raping a woman then holding her hostage till she falls in love with him. Not mainstream, fer sure.

Lightning Spark just blew me off, and not in a fun way. They won't help find out what the problem is in adapting Pete's book to epub. Instead they said to contact Vook, whom I have used. I dunno, maybe it's just the fact that I have a Mac and most of this stuff is done with PCs. I had that problem, once, with Kindle and had to do an adaptation at work on the office PCs.

Makes you feel so stupid and angry, this kind of crap...and I'm too damn old to be feeling that way.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

18,300 words, already...

That's Underground Guy. I just finished a fun confrontation between Dev and the head of the Met, the police force in London and the UK...that's probably as brutal as anything I've written. The man actually threatens to have Dev killed if it turns out he was connected in any way to the murders, and lets him know it would be, first, like putting down a mad dog and, second, would be done in a way the US Government wouldn't care. England doesn't have capital punishment, but as Sir Redmon says, "There are always methods by which laws can be ignored."

This is my new visual metaphor for the balancing act of writing...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


I'm still grappling with the epub version of French Connection Blues. I finally got a response from Lightning telling me what the weird error messages mean...except they still make no sense to me. "The title is 9 characters long and should be 8"? WTF does that mean? They want it sent in using the ISBN in the title, which has 13 numbers, not including dashes or the .epub crap. I sent everything back to them -- epub file, PDF and Word doc -- and asked them to tell me what I'm doing wrong.

But this took the entire evening. And while going through the epub edition to verify I had everything right, I found some typos and a couple of formatting errors I'd missed -- Pete used tabs and the space bar to make indentations at the beginnings of paragraphs, and I thought I got them all but found I missed a few. I have to admit, my sense of obligation is dwindling fast, as regards this book. I'm now telling myself this is a learning experience, and I do NOT want to use Lightning Spark for e-book publishing; they are a pain in the ass.

I've caught a glimmer of what's going on with Reg in Underground Guy -- he's Tawfi's polar opposite. Uncertain. Confused. Too aware of how easy it is for evil to triumph over good. And somehow Dev is in the middle, having aspects of both...but how that will work in, I have no idea yet.

I also did work out the spine of the story...well, work on what I'd already done. Figured out what comes where, when. Added in more info at points to remind myself of what's needed. Expanded the roster of characters so it's not too obvious who the killer is. It's already shifting around, some, but that's par for the course.

I love finding characters in my stories. In The Vanishing of Owen Taylor, a lawyer who was going to be very secondary just shook his head at me and said, "Shut up and learn." Then he became a guy from Yonkers (married to a woman from Santa Barbara), who might be Jewish, might not, he never says, whose attitude is joyful at causing distress to the DA's associates, eats like a slob but is aware of it so has a bandana he uses as a bib when he's in a suit, has a minimalist office that looks freshly moved into even after having been there nine years, and wants to tell his wife Jake made a pass at him because it might impress her (joking, of course...I think).

I used a facebook friend named Preston as  his model, and even stole his name for the guy...though I made his last name Niemczyk. I defy anyone to pronounce it right...but even if you did, I wouldn't know.

Facebook Preston was first runner up as Square Hippy of the Year, a couple years back. Now he's an animation student in San Francisco and doing some amazing stuff. Very off-beat. I don't know if he's gay, straight, or pan-sexual, but I have a feeling he'd be fun to know, in person. If I ever get over my reticence in meeting new people...hell, just dealing with people, in general...I may call him next time I'm in SF.

Yeah, right, that's gonna happen.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hmm...I sense a pattern in my madness...

Undercover Guy has become another book about control and the lack thereof...or the manner in which people get it or exercise it. Devlin comes from an abusive background -- his father used to beat him, his brother and his mother as his way of keeping control of them. Until the man died. And I see hints that Dev may have helped him along in his death...but so far the dude's not talkin'.

Tawfi has his own sort of control. He's shifted from being a mere rich brat to next in line to his family's throne or sheikdom (in an unnamed country, of course, though I do hint it's along the Persian Gulf) to a man in total control. But he's so sure of that control, he either doesn't see danger looming or thinks he can handle it; I'm not sure which, yet.

Just for the hell of it, here's some of the back and forth between Dev and Tawfi. Dev's asked Tawfi if he's jealous of another man Dev's been seeing.


He laughed in that soft chuckling way he has and asked, "Devlin, who do you think you are? A Padishah with his concubines? You disappoint me with that question. Jealousy is a weakness, and a man in my position cannot afford to show anything like that, not if he doesn't wish to be torn apart by the dogs snapping at his heels."

The way he said it made me disappointed in myself. "Tawfi, all I meant was -- ."

"You meant you are still caught in Victorian conventions, whether you choose to admit it or not. 'One is not half of two, but two are halves of one?' With apologies to e. e. cummings. Do you think me exclusive to you? Exclusive to men?"

I leaned against the dresser, feeling like a kid being schooled on the facts of life by a middle-aged hooker.

"You know," he continued, still half-chuckling, "I will marry, some day. Not because I must; because I wish to. Because as wonderful as men are, until such time as they can bear children, the female sex is necessary, and I wish to leave behind many of my progeny. However, for them to be legal, they must come from a traditional Muslim marriage. Which I do not mind; I am not averse to women."

"Jeez, how high up in your country are you?"

"England is not the only constitutional monarchy in the world."

Oh. Shit. "Guess that makes me the concubine."

"My father would disagree...and might have you beheaded. The old hypocrite. He thinks I don't know of rumors about him and a certain lieutenant in the Palace Guard, when he was my age. And if you ever repeat that, I will know from whom it came...and I will have your head. Both of them."

He tossed in a wink to soften the threat, but no question in my mind he was capable of it.

Monday, February 17, 2014

UG is taking over

I worked on Tawfiq's character...and Dev's, in the same section. They're turning into an interesting pair, where even though Tawfi's younger than Dev, he's much more honest and aware of the reality of the world. I don't mean just the political reality or societal, his knowledge is of human beings and what they truly are. He's also developed a sense of entitlement that I find surprising. Guess that's endemic to being a rich little bastard.

The contrast is against Dev's self-certainty that he knows the world...and is finding out it's limited by his very American viewpoints. Aspects of himself he thinks he's above. Reg hasn't factored into anything much, yet, except as someone innocent and on the right side. Guess we'll see what happens with him.

I'm still waiting to get FCB finished. I contacted the company that sold me a program that converts pdfs to epubs and they are supposedly looking into why Lightning Spark is saying the file I tried to upload has errors. It's supposed to be set to go. Something that makes me leery of these guys is, I tried to e-mail the epub file I'd done to them to see for themselves...and it bounced back 3 times; seems the size of it exceeds their ability to accept attachments.

As regards the latest twerp who's quoting the Bible's "kill the gays" passage at me, he said he didn't mean me and then proceeded to explain that no one has the right to cast stones at anyone's sinfulness because none of us is without sin. It's obvious he thought he was making things better, but in reality he made them worse. Because what he's saying to me now is, the way I was born is a sin. I've always been gay. I even used to play dress up when I was 4 years old, putting on this old cotton skirt of my grandmother's and swishing around like Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind. But me being gay is a sin, like it's something I chose.

Yeah, right, when I was 12 years old (the age I finally saw I wasn't like other boys) I sat myself down, wondered what is the one thing that would pit me against God, society and my family and chose to be that way. Sure. Makes one hell of a lot of sense.

Look, if you need God and the Bible to make it through the day, I got no problem with that. But to use that to spit on people like me? Than we got a problem. I used to take it because I didn't know any better. I had ministers and members of my family and cops telling me I was wrong because of how I was born. Like having red hair is a sin, and it's taken me too fucking long to get past that for me to sit back and accept it, any more.

I am what I am and it's not a sin to be who I am, and if you don't like it, fuck off.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The disease is spreading

I just had another facebook friend quote Leviticus 20 at me -- that's the part of the bible that says kill gay people. Westboro, as vile as they are, have that part right -- God does say kill fags...and adulterers and astrologers and children who cuss out their parents and whole host of others, but you don't hear much about them; it's about the fags. I've asked him, flat out, if that's what he means...and I've got a feeling I'm about to defriend someone else on facebook. I won't accept that crap, anymore.

Thing is, it makes me more radical in my writing. I've already got a lot of subversiveness going with Underground Guy; I'm taking it all the way. Same for The Vanishing of Owen Taylor. It's not much that I'm doing, but it's the best I can do, right now.

I worked more on UG and am seriously thinking of linking it to OT. Dev is becoming quite a character, now, with self-doubts surfacing that he doesn't want me to see. But arise they do...and they are informing on the ending in ways still not quite understood by either of us. If this story turns out half as good as I hope it does, it'll kick ass.

I've been getting an odd feeling, lately, that maybe it's time to move on. Something's nudging me that things are about to change at the job, and since I'm contract labor, it will affect me the most. I can't really explain why I feel's just me settling down and finally having the breath to notice things that make me wary and put me a bit on edge.

If that happens, I'm returning to Los Angeles and crashing on some couches, if I can. I don't want to do the day-to-day job thing, anymore. May mean bankruptcy...we'll have to see. But I cannot return to Texas. And I can't make a living in England or Ireland. And I've got years to go before I can collect Social Security, and that's only if it's still around; the GOP is itching to kill it...and stupid senior citizens support those maniacs.

The disease, btw, is stupidity...which has always been around but suddenly has become de rigeur in today's world.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My day has been made...

I spent all of it trying to get everything set up right for FCB at Lightning Spark, and finally had to give up because they won't let me continue until 3 errors in the submission of the e-book file are corrected...but I have NO idea what those errors are. Their gobbledy-gook explanation means nothing to me, and they ani't responding to my queries. So I guess this fucking book keeps on the plat till Monday. Dammit.

BUT...I did get some uplift in finding this on Tired Old Queen at the Movies' facebook page -- a movie about a killer condom made off a Ralf Groenig comic book. I nearly died laughing. Can't be real -- it is. Here's the IMDb page. Gives me hope for Hollywood.

I've had three people now tell me I should make How To Rape A Straight Guy into a film. Maybe I will look into that. See if I can connect with Chi-Chi LaRue, again.

I could use Johnny Hazzard for Curt and Benjamin Godfrey as Shayes...

Johnny'd be the right age, but I don't know if he can act. I've only seen him in photos. Most porn stars have zero charisma or ability when they open their mouths to speak, but a few have indicated they could have been decent movie or TV actors.
Ben Godfrey's a bit on the young side and may be a bit too skate-board boy...but his look works. And he's got a nice snarly persona that would fit an uptight cop.

Which now begs the question -- have I gone crazy?

Friday, February 14, 2014


Here's what I've been working on, the last couple days. All it needs, now, is the barcode and the price. I don't know what Pete wants to charge for it, yet. Then this weekend I'll upload it to Lightning Source to do as both paperback and e-book...and I will then close this chapter of my life.

Next is Underground Guy, though I am going to spend an hour a day on prepping How To Rape A Straight Guy for reissue. I bought the photos I need; now comes just formatting the book's text. And I'm going to make it clear this is a very angry, politically oriented book that happens to have some very intense sexual situations in it -- both gay and straight.

I also need to spend some time promoting David Martin and Bobby Carapisi. They aren't selling, and I hope it's because people just don't know about them. But maybe I have a reputation as a bad author...or dangerous one.

Lately, I've begun to think a vicious review of The Lyons' Den killed its sales, mainly because it's the latest commentary about the book and I only have two others that are positive. I took it like an adult and thanked the prick for taking the time to read it...but I wonder at how someone can decide their reaction to anything is the only reaction that counts, and start telling people not to buy your work because they didn't like it? Takes a certain kind of asshole to believe he or she is the arbiter of what should and should not be read, in this world.

Too bad no one else is willing to write a review. I think it's damn good book, and I've had people tell me they liked it...but nothing comes from that except a bit more mortar to build my wall of self-certainty. I'll have to figure out what to do about that, as well. Posting those positive reviews on its FaceBook page did nothing for it.

Such is the life of an author...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

French Connection Blues...

I worked on a cover layout for the book, this evening. Here's what I like most:

It'a a bit on the stark side, which I like. I have another one with a soft image of the Empire State Building in the background in place of the plain black, but that just seems too busy.

This is Pete's synopsis of the story. I only cleaned up the grammar and the spelling. It has very little to do with what actually happens in the book...well, until the end. I think it promises a completely different type of story...but it's not mine so I don't care. I'm happy enough that it's no longer a mess.

I shouldn't feel that way about something I worked on, but it's the only method I have to keep from killing somebody over what they did to my work. I came very close to doing that on a project I wrote and co-produced in Texas, years ago, and never want to get to that point, again. Fortunately, that catastrophe never saw the light of day.

It could well be that's all that kept me from cutting the motherfucking director's throat.

My jaw still hurts from that fall, 2 weeks back. Mainly just under my ears, where the joints are. I wonder if I broke something? Can you eat with a broken jaw?

What the hell, it keeps me from yapping too much...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Keep mouth closed...

Any time I say something dumb like, "I'm almost caught up," it seems crap happens to knock me back in place. Doesn't matter what it is -- writing, finances, work stuff, taxes, you name it, the second I start feeling relieved or easy about it, the fates decide to show me who's really boss in the great void of life. Like feeling I was on top of the job, for once. Today wound up being an eleven hour day just getting everything done that needed doing, and tomorrow promises to be just as rough, thanks to the weather blowing in and making a mess of our scheduling.

So I have a choice...I can stop whining about this crap and get back to my real life, or I can keep letting it get me down. Today...I flipped it the finger. No writing done but rather than mope, I made a meatloaf with carrots and potatoes and tomato soup (and red peppers and onion), and rather than extend my time away from home to eat a very late dinner, I made a cheese sandwich and feasted on chips (meatloaf takes at least an hour to cook right and I was too damn hungry to wait...but I have snacked on it). It was faster, just as tasty as anything I'd eat in a fast-food joint, and I saved myself $7.

Tomorrow I'm leaving at 5, no matter what. I want to be done with FCB and being a slave to a job I don't really understand is foolish. Of course, I shouldn't say much. A lot of writers had piddly jobs to pay for food and rent -- was it Edgar Allen Poe who worked in a post office or customs office or something? For a modern equivalent, J K Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter in a tea shop in Edinburgh, her only time of peace and quiet. I bought the first book in the series; guess I'll start reading it on the john.

Hmph -- reading Harry Potter on the pot...too appropriate.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Almost caught up...

I'm feeling edgy from not writing. Too bottled up. Ready to rip something open...or someone...on the page. It doesn't help that I keep running into stupidity every time I turn around. For instance, I had a reservation at Best Western in Pasadena for my stay during the book fair, but I postponed it when the Santa Barbara job came in. I called on Friday to tell them, and the clerk said she'd take care of it...but didn't. So they charged me a night for not showing up. That's why my reservation vanished and we spent an hour getting me checked in, the following night. And it went downhill from there. By the time I checked out, I'd given up on Best Western.

I didn't find out about the charge until today, when I printed up my Amex statement. So I called and the desk clerk wouldn't let me talk to the manager. After trying to get him to understand when, where, and why it happened, he finally asked me to send him proof of the charge, because he says they didn't do it. Can't find any record of it. And on and on. I sent it, and they're gonna refund this. Period.

But it was like that all day -- dealing with people who can't, who don't bother to read the information on an airway bill that actually gives them the information they're saying they don't have. And with a fax machine that suddenly decided to send faxes through twice, causing mass confusion on the other end. And with a shipping system that suddenly won't let you update information in it. I guess it's not just me and my laptop having problems in the world. I've even got a couple of websites telling me they won't even talk to my system unless I switch my browser to Chrome or Firefox.

So this non-stop frustration feeds into Dev's mental state and Jake's antsiness and will even fit Brendan's simple desire to be left alone to live his life. There's too much to keep up with in this brave new world; no wonder people are tensing up and freaking out.

I better get back to my writing before I become one of them.

Brain dead...

Work was insane due to various issues and needs, so I didn't leave till 6:30 pm, and there's so much to catch up on, my brain is fried. I need more hours in the day. But don't we all?

My car, last night. Not as bad as I expected. Only took me half an hour to clear it out. Now I'm still beat from it, and feel my allergies kicking in, again.

I thought I posted this, last night, but apparently my own WiFi was getting squirrelly. Can't blame that on the hotel or my WTF is going on?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

En route home...

I'm actually kind of happy to be headed back to Buffalo. It will give me a chance to regain control of things, to an least, as much control as I can muster. It's supposed to be 12 degrees when I land, and I'm sure I'll have to dig my car out from under a couple feet of snow, but I have no idea how my finances are (I will not check my cards or bank balance while using WiFi on the road) and my mail is piled up with crap and a couple of bills I'm still trying to set up as automatic debits.

I finished the edit of French Connection Blues; now comes configuring it for the e-book and then for the paperback. I already know what to do about the cover and will get that done ASAP. then I'm reissuing HTRASG. Seems there are people who've actually contacted me about buying it. figures my first book and the one that's the most confrontational would be the best-seller.

Underground Guy is going to be a joy to write. The Vanishing of Owen Taylor is fun but not in an enjoyable way; I'm fighting too much with Jake over it and want it to be deep and meaningful and all that crap, while UG is just going to be as trashy and obnoxious as it can be without hitting an X rating.

They're already calling my flight? We're not supposed to leave for another hour. WTF?

Damn you, Southwest!!!!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

This is too much fun not to post...
It suits my whole idea behind writing in ways that are surprising...even to me...

Friday, February 7, 2014

Busy, busy, busy....

No editing or writing done but met with friends and all caught up on my world...except for the photos I took of the dealers' trunks in their booths. The images are several megs large, each, and we don't need that much quality; it's just for our records. I should tell my camera not to do it, but I know I'll forget to change it back, so I'm just slipping into iPhoto to downsize them.

It's fun seeing people I've known for so long. Makes me homesick, a little.

Tonight I'm having dinner with too-cool Brad the cinematographer, his girlfriend, Cathy, and his sister, Sharon, as well as an old friend who does killer SFX, Adam. It's at a vegetarian place, but I glanced at the menu and this one doesn't look impossible. I guess I do need to make up for the massively great Tex-Mex at Marix, last night...and 2 beers. It was vegetarian, too -- enchiladas, rice and beans with a slathering of guacamole and tons of chips. Mmph.

I was having dinner with my nephew, Daniel Pruske, who's working as an least, he is till his wife tells him not to. Her wants are, apparently, much more important than his and always have been. Drives me nuts because he gave up a great possibility to further his education in an exclusive program at UCLA and is currently ensconced at his dream architecture firm here in LA, but she's in Dallas with their son and she won't come out because she's at SMU and will be for the next 4 years.

I know he's an adult so the choice is his. It's just...he's so fucking talented and the breaks are falling his way and he can't take advantage of them because of someone else. I dropped the ball on my chances thanks to my own insecurities and immaturity, which is ludicrous but no one is to blame except me. To have his dreams thwarted by his just plain hurts.

Which makes me glad, in a way, that I'm not involved with anyone, at all, anymore.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

In LA and fellin' good

Well...except the hotel I'm staying at is seriously questionable from a utility viewpoint. Best Western has finally shot itself in the foot with the latest hotel that's got serious WiFi problems...on top of other issues. And I know it's not my laptop; I'm at the Pasadena Convention Centre using their WiFi without a hint of trouble. Got on and no delays. Next time tech support says the fault is in my Mac, I gots the response.

I've gotten no writing done the last few days and only a little editing. It took forever to get my work done thanks to the sloooooooow internet service and the breaker flipping off on my hotel room, twice...and I'm beginning to complain. Not cool. Besides, my brain is still working well enough to think and prepare for the next bit of work on OT, UG and even FCB...and I know I should just spell the titles out but I'm trying to get a lot done and even more caught up with so I'll deal with that later.

My ending to UG has become more specific, thanks to a photo I saw. Dev is not a nice man, in so many ways, but that's what makes him capable of handling the problem. He's as dangerous as the killer, though he'd never admit it. And aspects of his life are coming out that deepen least, I think they do. He's veering closer to Curt in HTRASG than Alec or Antony in PM or RIHC6, respectively...which is making the whole situation interesting.

Tawfi has a hint of gentle chaos to him, which is proving off-beat. It's my hope that I'll figure out what the hell to do with it as the story progresses. And Reg is fighting to be simple and straightforward...and rather innocent. Which I find interesting for a cop to be.

What the heck...a story is exploration of sensibility and reality and all the attendant nonsense that goes along with life.

Monday, February 3, 2014

San Francisco is done...

I got to drive up the coast a ways to pick up some books, so when I came back, I pulled off and drove up the hillside to capture this shot...
The Golden Gate Bridge looks so fragile from here...and the city seems so far away...

I'm back to eating solid food, even though my jaw still aches a little. Mouth is sore but working.

Up to 2/3 done on FCB. The less said about that, the better,

Now time to pack and head for LA.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Too blue to care

Working on correcting just the grammar and spelling in French Connection Blues has depressed me so much, I just want to post something fun. Because what that guy did to my work...

I'll get it done. I've been able to keep myself from rewriting the confusing parts, though I have added words where one was obviously missing. But it's not easy, and right now the only reason I'm still doing it is I committed myself to it and I'm keeping my word. Period.

Aw, fuck it. Fuck it all. I'm more than half done; I'll deal with it tomorrow as I wait for the dealers to get done packing.

For right now, here is Ben Cohen, a British rugby star who's straight but not narrow as regards human rights. He's got partial hearing loss but that didn't stop him from making it through several weeks of the British Strictly Come Dancing (their version of Dancing With The Stars) even though he's not really a great dancer. But he's willing to poke fun at himself, and has started an anti-bullying campaign in the UK.

The above photo is one of his costumes while doing the Strictly Come Dancing tour of England.
He's a lovely man and decent human being, it seems. Here's what he looks like without the silly blond wig. A teddy bear of a god with a wife and kids and farm and a dog...who's trying to do good.

It's people like him who keep the hate of the Christian Right and GOP, not to mention the stupidity and ignorance of so many people, from becoming overwhelming...


Finishing off January with a prat-fall. I was headed out to grab some dinner, when I tripped on some uneven sidewalk and planted my face into it. Busted my lip, chin and scraped up my nose, very nicely. Scared the hell out of a dog tethered nearby. It wasn't pretty.

So booked it back to the hotel and lay ice on it for nearly an hour. Feels a lot better but looks like I've been in a bar fight. There's also a scrape over one eye and a cut along one nostril of my nose. My jaw aches a bit and I'm feeling it in my neck, too, so fortunately I don't have to do anything tomorrow and can recuperate.

Wound up having cup of noodles and a pint of Mango Sorbet for dinner instead of a burger I was aiming for. It'll be fun to explain this to the dealers, come Sunday.

Worked on FCB's reformatting...and it's still bad. I'm a third of the way through. I'll see about getting it done, tomorrow, since I don;t plan to go out...except to eat. Find some pureed soup and sip it through a straw.

So damn dumb....

UPDATE: I don't like to do selfies, but this is a special occasion. Here's how I look 24 hours later. I feel like I should have a caption over my head going "Grrrr....don't you go messin' with the French-Norwegian-Irishman, punk."