Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Hollywood Stories, cont'd...

For years...hell, decades...I thought the overriding idea behind financing a project in Hollywood was that it would make money. Art didn't count. Meaning didn't count. Quality didn't count. What mattered was how many bucks could be brought in, be it in theaters, DVDs, VODs, whatever. Ego played a part in it, sure; ego's always a shading of the deal in Hollywood. But just a layer, not the whole damned onion.

Well...that ain't necessarily so (to steal from Gershwin's Porgy & Bess). Sometimes ego is all there is. Sometimes that's why you wind up with a project aimed at making dollars the old-fashioned way -- guns and tits & ass -- but because some of the people involved got so caught up in their grandiose self-certainty, they didn't bother to note that others would not want to do things for them if they did not get paid. "Adding to the resume" don't hack it when your rent's due.

That's why some projects get going but wind up in a crash and burn -- they run out of money not so much because of cost overruns (tho' that does happen), but because not all of the promised funds were made available. And because the powers that be were just absolutely certain once things got going, there'd be no problem.

Now, mix into this your everyday scam artist out to use people's blindness and desperation to feed his own rampant ego that seems to think he's worth any money he steals from you, and if you're dumb enough to let him steal it, it's your own damn fault...and you wind up just like a closed casino in Atlantic City -- a big, bright, empty cash drain that does no one any good.

Ah, Hollywood...where even if you're smarter than the average bear, there's still one smarter out there who will take away your honey.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Write it down or else!

I had a great idea for Jake's situation in OT, while working, and stupidly did not write it down. I figured it was so good, I'd remember it. DUMB! I've been wracking my brain for a couple hours trying to niggle that twitch out of hiding in my synapses...and it ain't makin' itself known a bit. It's like a cat -- when you want to find it, you can't; then when you don't want it around, it's in your face.

Don't get me wrong, I love cats. I'd have one if they weren't such selfish little shits. I'm the only selfish being allowing in any relationship, right I'd be better off with a dog. But dogs need yards and I've got an apartment, so that's not gonna be fair to the critter.

It's better if I not have an animal, anyway. My family has lousy luck with them. They either run off, die, or have to be given away. My last cat did the first one, when I changed apartments in Houston. Oh, he'd show up for food, every night, but wouldn't let me touch him. He wasn't crazy about the new place.

When I was leaving for LA, I looked for him to take him back to our original apt. A neighbor'd said he'd take care of him. Couldn't find him. Then the little shit showed up as I was packing my car and yeowled at me. Never let me close to him, just kept meowing. Then he left...and I felt like scum of the earth for leaving him.

Jewish mothers and Irish Catholic grandmothers could learn a thing or two about guilt trips from pissed-off cats.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lack of blogging

The last few days have been long and tiring, and when I"m done all I want to do is sit in a tub for the rest of my life and think of nothing. I'm currently reading an okay mystery -- The Dark Vineyard by Martin Walker. It's an incomplete followup to another mystery I read by the same author; same characters but not as thought-through as the first. What's good about it is I can put it down and go to sleep. I couldn't with the first one. What's bad about it is how there seems to be no emotional connection to the deaths that happen, even though everyone in the town knew both men. And one guy's dog is missing but no one's really looking for it. Feels lazy and uncaring.

But another good thing about reading this mystery -- it's making me acutely aware of how meandering can become boring. I'll need to watch that with Owen Taylor. I'm still making notes in my monster binder, and I finally agreed with Jake's wanting to change the bad guy. It simplifies things and still draws in aspects of the story I want. Which is a whole new version...rewrite...whatever...

And Carli's beginning to win about making CK a screenplay. I was talking with some friends about it, Sunday evening, and as I explained the story, it did work better as a movie. Shit. This will be my 33rd screenplay. Talk about going nowhere fast...

Something that surprised me is there are people who are afraid to read my writing, even my more mainstream work like The Lyons' Den. There's less sex in that than in a book by Danielle Steele (who was never in the same sex-please-and-often camp as the likes of Jackie Collins and Judith Krantz). I wasn't able to find out why, but it was a visceral they thought all my writing is as raw and brutal as How To Rape A Straight Guy. And this is from someone who loves horror.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. On a shoot I did some years ago, this kid from Tennessee (who'd recently graduated from Film school) was helping out and during lunch we talked about favorite films. He hated The Bridges of Madison County "because it glorified adultery" (which was nonsense), and when I mentioned my favorite was The 400 Blows, the first thing out of his mouth was, "Please tell me that ain't porn." I nearly hit him, but restrained myself enough to say, "It's a classic French film." His response? "You like French movies? I didn't know anybody did."

I didn't speak to the little prick the rest of the shoot...not that he could be bothered to notice.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Oh my god...
I would LOVE to use this photo for the cover of Carli's Kills...if I make it as a book. Carli's still pushing to be a film script. But Michael Stokes' image of Alex Minsky (and some woman...) is SO indicative of Carli's relationship with Zeke, it's crazy.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dealing... can make all the plans you want, but until they actually happen, nothing is guaranteed. I'm currently sitting in a Starbuck's using a gift card that was so kindly sent to me (by Michael) to have a nice cup of tea and banana nut bread, to settle down. I'm also using their most excellent WiFi. I have another gift card to use for tomorrow, too, sent by my buddy, Brad.

I used to do this a lot when I lived in Texas, because my mother didn't have an internet connection and I didn't have the money to start one up. A shopping mall within walking distance had free wifi, too, and I could use that for an hour. I also did Starbuck's for a month in Buffalo while waiting to get Fios set up. I like their teas (they turned me onto Tazo's Refresh Mint) and cookies, and having money again made me a lot happier.

It's amazing how dependent you become on a decent internet connection, so that when you hit a place that doesn't have decent service, it drives you up the wall. Especially when you can't even get into some of the sites you need. For example, my Caladex e-mail is through a service that kicks you off if you don't use it for more than 30 seconds. And last night I had to try three times to upload a post on my own blog.

I'm here to look into using what points I have at a couple of hotel chains and with a rental car company to get away from a deteriorating situation where I'm staying. I'd like things to be better, but it's hard to do when no one will listen to you. And when you're surrounded by smokers.

Okay, I'm veering into complaint territory, and I do not want that, either. I spent too damn much time on my blog in the past whining about everything wrong in my life and that is pointless. I am where I am in this world, and I either change it or accept it and work around the issues.

As I'm doing now.

Psycho Kyle, Qu'est-ce que c'est?

Well...looks like it's closing in on padded room time. I got caught talking to one of my characters, today, by someone who doesn't know or understand me. I probably spooked him, but it's his own damn fault for not making his presence known...the little sneak.

I was working something out with Jake when it happened. He's suggesting I change the identity of the killer, again, and I don't really like it. But another red pen note went into my copy of the book for consideration. If I lose this thing, there will be serious mayhem in my brain.

I can understand his point; doing this simplifies the revelation and aftermath. I think it's too obvious, but I'll give it time to digest. That usually works best with me.

Didn't help that today was spent at a private residence in Palos Verdes Estates with a view to kill for. Of course, it's the perfect location for a restaurant that charges more for a meal than I'd spend on food in a week.

It's while I was seated on this patio, thinking, that I got snuck up on and outed as the next great schizophrenic. I laughed it off by saying, "You should hear what the other voices in my head say." But I don't think it worked. I am now officially a psycho.

Not that I care; it's the Daniel in me...hee, hee...

Friday, August 22, 2014

LA Story

Hmm...time for another little story about the wonders of Hollywood. Once upon a time, a writer-director's script got optioned by a lower-end production company, and he was told he could direct it, so long as the budget remained in the mid-six-figures. That's cheap, for Hollywood. Happiness abounds.

A bank account was opened. Ten percent of the money arrived into it. A start date was planned. Crew were hired. Casting was done. Locations scouted. Storyboards worked up. All is good to go...except for the money meant for the actual production. Seems the money guys didn't quite have that. Oh, it's due to arrive any day now...meaning never, in Hollywood Speak.

Of course, none of this would have been brought up during the signing of the contracts. And other job offers would have been turned down. So many people who expected paychecks got told, Maybe next week...also meaning never, in Hollywood Speak.

What's sad about this was, the project could have been truly fun -- a nice little revenge thriller with stolen money and innocents trapped between warring factions and the whole nine yards. Because of this, the script was seen as damaged...and no one else was willing to go forward with it. Unhappiness abounds.

Of course, I have my own LA Story...even though mine happened in Houston twenty years ago and nearly made me a murderer. Everybody in Hollywood's got a story like this. Sometimes 2 or 3. So while I feel for people who believe in the promises of others, I also wonder why anyone would think the money will come in unless it already has come in. Moral of the story -- never sign a contract based on promises; base it solely on cash. Half up front, so even if you do get stiffed, it's workable.

That's saved me a few times, I have to admit...but not always...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hollywood is NOT the dream factory...

Nightmare is more like it. Some of the stories I could tell...all without naming names, of course, because then you're liable for slander or something like that.

But that said, I know of a lovely little story about an independent movie being made and the problems that came with the territory. Like...they cast a second-lead actress off an okay TV drama in a key role in the film. It was all, "Love it and can't wait to work with you," until the contract was signed. Then it became, "This dialogue needs work; people don't talk like this," and "No, I have to have my own hairstylist." To name two of the situations which arose.

Ah, and then there was the love scene. "No nudity. I don't do naked." After swearing she had no problem with it. Needless to say, the director was very upset. At least, he thought he was upset. But he was also the writer of the script. And said actress took it upon herself to rewrite everyone's dialogue into the most trite, punch-in-the-face un-subtle wording ever put on the page...and then present it as, "I did a little work; made it better."

And this was before shooting even began. All so very Norma Desmond...though I'm sure said actress would have no idea to whom I refer.

I've heard so many stories like this...and have a feeling I'm about to hear more. Ah, Hollywood, land of the broken fools and crowned asses.

Stay tuned...

Already got notes...

The good thing about having a hard copy of your story is how easy it is to make notes for later. Just flip to the page and voila -- Note Done. Trying to do that on a computer before you've formatted a link to each chapter is damn near maddening.

I had dinner and a beer with some good friends at my favorite Indian Restaurant -- India's Grill. Their curry sauce is to die for. I found a place almost as good in Buffalo, but every time I'm in LA, I go here to have at least one meal. Means Subway for a few days or buying luncheon meat to nibble on, since I'm broke, but it's worth it.

I had a weird Hollywood experience driving home, this evening. A song I used for an intense moment in one of my script played on the radio...and I was getting onto the 405...which is where the song takes place in the script. It's as a kidnapped man is being driven to what he believes will be his death. I thought it was a Coldplay song, but it's Radiohead. "There There." Typical of my memory.

Oh, well...with age comes experience and the forgetfulness you need to not remember how you got that experience.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

At the airport...and already my flight's late...

Good ol' Southwest; lately they've been the champions of late flights, and they're proving it with me. I'm still good to make my connection in Las Vegas, and if that one's not late, I'm slated to arrive at 9:45 pm. By the time I get my car and to the hotel, it'll be close to 2am my time. And I'm slated to start work tomorrow morning at 7am (10 am my time, thankfully).

Maybe I should stay on NY time...meaning 9am for lunch and 3pm for dinner. Yeah, that's gonna happen. I'm too self-indulgently in the moment.

I brought the printout of OT with me to make notes on, but I doubt I'll get much writing done. Not that I mind. Right now handling my blog and journal will be enough, after the fun I had getting this draft completed before I left.

I know it doesn't quite hold together, yet; too many aspects going on and I'm still not happy with how the reveal is working. But...there are parts I''m very happy with, actually proud. And the relationship between Jake and Tone does expand through the book. I think my characters are even more individual; I just need to keep them from speaking the same way. I've already worked on that and it's getting better,  but improvement wouldn't hurt.

Hell, improvement never hurts...unless you're working on your tummy and strain your back...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Another rewrite down...

...And only 47 more to go. Jeeps. I printed it up and my book is now 5.5 lbs of anything but light reading (punning here; I hope it's not too heavy a read...pun intended, again). 515 pages. I'd break my back just carting it around. But now I can get back to wondering what the hell I'm doing here instead of just trying to finish something I've lost control of.

Tomorrow I head for LA...and today I got my schedule...and I'm in use every day except the 30th and 31st. Labor Day Saturday and Sunday. This is going to be interesting. Good thing is, I've got my evenings free to either meet with friends for dinner or just collapse in a heap. I'll need a vacation from my vacation.

Fortunately, I don't leave for the airport till 2:30 -- I'm cabbing it -- so I can pack in the morning. At least I got my laundry done. Hmm...I may need do jaunt down to my sister's just to use the washing machine. Like a college kid. Well, an uncle of mine always said I'd never be anything more than a student.

And I'm damn proud that he was right, because that's what helps my writing.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Not a's a rewrite...

As I input all the changes I've made to OT, I'm finally having to say this is really a second draft. The first draft was rough but there enough to matter. I was thinking all I'd do is smooth it up to make it into something presentable, but it's been shifted a lot and rearranging is still ongoing. As are cutting and occasional it's all new, now. And I need to do another one to make sure all my bases are covered.

At least Jake's voice is clearer in this draft. In fact, each character is beginning to alter his or her speech patterns, a bit, to make them distinctive from each other. Some have pulled back from the foul language Jake uses. Antony, I had no problem with because he's a continuation of his character in "Rape in Holding Cell 6". Matt's become too one-note, so he needs more attention. Everyone else is new, so their verbal revelations are still coming together.

I've got 70 pages left to input. I'm trying to build the story so it's not necessary to read the first book, but I don't know how successful I've been. I may only be confusing the issue. Still, this ain't gonna be no Agatha Christie mystery, with cardboard characters and as shallow as of a puddle of water. I got a friggin' Great Lake going here.

Guess that comes from being in proximity to 2 of them.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lauren Bacall hits it out of the park

Hard to believe she's only 19 in this. I've seen 35 year old actresses with dozens of films under their belts unable to get even a tenth as much gravity and focus.

Guess it really does depend on who's in the saddle...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Inputting, again...

Time to polish up my first draft of ...Owen Taylor and print it up so I can take it with me to LA on Saturday. All 500+ pages. Or thereabouts. To do another red pen, if I have the time. I've input the first two chapters and already dropped 3 pages. That may not last, however. When I redid the last 20 pages, I added in more of a summation about what happened to people.

It was a fun little war, getting to this point. Jake and I are both well-bloodied. He's still fighting my tendency to soften the entry into moments or comments; he wants it straight and clean and sharp as a knife. And he's winning, as he should, since he's telling the story.

But he's had to give me something, in exchange. He can't just sit down and say he wasn't thinking about anything, he was so wrecked by what's happened. He's got to share his meaning on the page, not just in the shadows.

Right now, I think the final reveal is still too easy...and yet, confusing. And surprisingly amoral. I'm letting one character get away with murder. Literally. That's going to be interesting.

I just heard Lauren Bacall died. She wasn't a great actress but she had a sassiness to her that worked in the right project. Her showing she could be just as insolent and independent as Bogie in To Have and Have Not and The Big Sleep is reason enough to mourn her passing.

That's two, this week, and these things come in threes...

Monday, August 11, 2014

The last 20 pages...

I had so much red pen going on the last 20 pages of OT, I had no idea what was new or had been redone after having been redone. So I input what I had, last night, then printed it up and started going through it, again. Yeah...I was missing a couple of how did one character know another character was gay when it's not obvious, he's straight and has no gaydar? Has to be addressed because it plays into the reveal.

Then I learned that Robin Williams died, and it jolted me out of OT. Apparently, he committed suicide after battling severe depression. I can see where that would have been a problem with him. When he was on, he went like a rocket headed straight for to the moon. Coming back to Earth must have been a vicious fall.

I met him, when I worked at Heritage Book Shop. I gift-wrapped a book for him, and he loved the bow I'd done, so I showed him the ribbons we used -- rich colored silks and satins with light wires threaded into them for shaping. He talked about how material was the most important thing, whether it be ribbons or comedy.

I heard a story about him that only proved to me just how giving he was. Stephen Spielberg was in Poland shooting Schindler's List and the hideous nature of the film finally got to him. So he called Robin in the middle of the night and asked if he'd just make him laugh, for a bit, so he could deal with it. Robin kept him in stitches for an hour.

Over the years I've heard of many fine actors dying from one cause or another, but this is the first one to hurt.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Non, je ne regrette rien...

Peut-être...cela dépend de Jake et mademoiselle Edith Piaf...

Saturday, August 9, 2014


So far, I know The Vanishing of Owen Taylor will be in four parts spread over about 500 typed pages. I still have between 180-190 pages to rework, then comes the inputting...and another polish. Jake keeps adding dimensions to himself as we go along...or should I say, revealing aspects of himself that I hadn't figured on. Secrets and needs that factor into this. Who knows? By the time I get done with all the rewriting, I may actually have a decent story on my hands.

I'd really like to use this image as part of the cover, or one like it. But I don't know where it came from. Of course, that's assuming I'll self-publish the book. I'm halfway thinking of sending it to the people who published The Lyons' Den, to give it better access to readers...and yet I'm not sure that's the right way to go. They haven't done much in the way of publicity for it, so its sales have tanked. I wish I could get more reviews on it, but don't know how to do that short of paying people.

I've been downloading ideas on how to better promote my books, but I have to admit -- my first 3 titles are for a very specialized audience, and I seem to be hitting them, well enough. Bobby Carapisi is more mainstream, just not by much. LD could use some careful handling since it's so off-the-wall, but I'm not sure what.

So far nothing I've done has helped David Martin get anywhere. I even did a giveaway with the understanding the people would review the book, and only one has done so. Dammit. So maybe I should work with a more experienced publisher.

I'll think about it more, once I'm close to finishing this book...if I ever get finished.

Friday, August 8, 2014

New dog tries new trick...

I have ordered pants online for the first time in my life. I've ordered shirts, plenty of times, even undies and all sorts of other things. And I did buy some cabana loungers with a drawstring waist, years and years ago. But I can't find cargo pants in Buffalo, in my size, so I ordered two pair from Old Navy. I should have them in a few days.

Damn things ain't cheap -- $30 each, on special -- but I need new clothes. I'm down to 1 truly decent pair of pants and 3 so-so ones. Gotta try to at least appear to be neat.

I'm leery of doing this because I've found such wide discrepancies in sizes. One brand will fit me while another doesn't even come close, both in the exact same size and basic style. I don't do slim-cut; it feels like they're binding my legs even though there's still space in them. And I like cargo pants because they have pockets in the legs, so I don't have to put my wallet in my butt pocket. So we'll see how these do when they come. I went a bit large, just to be safe.

Of course, this is how I think I look when I'm in them -- very Joe Cool...sans cigarette since I've never smoked. But even when I was young and weighted 145, I didn't look like that. My body's not built for abs and my face was never meant for a James Dean frown.
This is closer to my reality...sans beard, since I can't grow one. The goofy style of my own, but with a satchel slung around my neck instead of a scarf.

I have to admit, there are times I look in the mirror and am shocked at what I see. hair is more red than not, as is my mustache. And I haven't gained any weight in the last three years, but neither have I lost any. Dammit.

I wonder if I can blame Zyrtek for that?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Imaging myself...

This is how I think I look when I'm writing -- intense, focused, buff and beautiful.

This is how I really look, I'm sure -- hunched over my laptop, horrified at what I'm reading and wondering, "Did I really write that crap?"

Because I'm still finding aspects of OT that need delving into and inconsistencies which have to be addressed. Like the timeframe for the last time Jake saw his mother -- I had it down as being 10 years then added a bit, in an earlier rewrite, where she took care of her mother's (his grandmother's) funeral in a cold and casual manner. But that was only about two years earlier, so one aspect of the story fell apart, as regards estrangement...because the funeral stays.

Oh, well...that's why I rewrite my rewritten rewrites that have been rewritten.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I dig the hole, I fill the hole...

This is the world of a writer. You work out the frame of the area you want to fill, slop concrete into it till it's full, then smooth it down and keep smoothing until it's nice and neat and solid. This guy is doing the last bit of polishing before the curing process begins.

Looks like this is the floor of a building, and that may be even more appropriate to how things go. Foundation is done; now comes the building of the building. I've spent the last two days, when not at the day job or dealing with online stuff, going through my notes, filling in the spots of the story that need it and noting other places that could use some more explanation, not to mention making sure consistency is maintained, and getting it ready to start inputting this latest draft.

I'm at the stage where the cement is flat and settling in, ready to begin the final stages of preparedness. I'll probably need to do another polish on this draft before I'm ready to beg for responses from readers, just something to see if it makes sense to me, right now, and correct for as many typos and missing or wrongly used words as possible.

And if anybody cuts their initials into my nice clean floor, I'll kill 'em.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Stupid cops are everywhere...

This is a letter sent out by the president of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers in response to the ludicrous arrest of an antiquarian book dealer in Denmark. It stems from the discovery a few years ago that hundreds of antiquarian books and manuscripts had been stolen from libraries in Italy over the course of a few years and sold or offered for sale to book dealers. This was done mainly by one thief, who covered his actions by destroying any trace of the books in the libraries catalogues, so the full extent of the theft may never be known.

Once the thefts were revealed, the Italian cops turned into the Keystone Cops and went bumbling about trying to act like they knew what they were doing. Instead, they are willfully destroying the reputations of innocent people. They have ignored offers of assistance from ILAB and have wreaked havoc and mayhem wherever they went. For example, the entire stock of two different book auctions (one in Germany, one in Italy) were seized and are still being held by the police, even though many of the books had never even been a part of Italy's library system. God knows when those books will be released back to their owners.

Now what the Italian police have done, and what the Danish police stupidly went along with, was accuse a well-respected dealer of having some of these stolen books. So without even talking to him, first, they arrested him like some drug dealer and the books were seized. And apparently it doesn't matter that the books were completely different copies of the ones that had actually been stolen. They just had the same title and author. In fact, the stolen books he was accused of having were actually still under lock and key after having been seized from one of those auctions.

It's insane how ignorant and absolutist cops are proving to be, not just in the US but all over the world. I have a feeling this will not get sorted out until some high-priced lawyers are brought in.
De Caro and the Girolamini Thefts – A Letter to the Presidents of ILAB's Member Associations
Dear Fellow-Presidents,

I am very sorry to be the bearer of bad news which are related to the thefts at the Girolamini-Library at Naples and Marino Massimo de Caro.

Christian Westergaard, from Denmark, was arrested some days ago - and later released - for supposedly handling stolen Italian books. The books in question had no immediate Italian provenance (some came from the Macclesfield Library) but were on an Italian list of stolen books, presumably those known to have been stolen by De Caro and his accomplices. Because Christian and other dealers openly list their stock online, it seems that the Italian investigators just matched authors and titles, without reading the detailed notes, or examining the photos on the web, which would have demonstrated that these were not the copies in question. It is also more than curious that all of the eleven books that were confiscated by the Danish Police were titles that had appeared in auction 59 at Zisska & Schauer, Munich, in May of 2012. All of the then withdrawn books– totaling up to 540 – are still kept under lock by the Bavarian Police and that factor was forgotten by the Italian investigators! It may therefore even be that they do not fully understand that these books exist in multiple copies.

It is nowadays known that De Caro had stolen from at least five other libraries: Montecassino, Naples Municipal Library, Ministry of Agriculture Library, a Seminary in Padua, and the Ximines Observatory Library in Florence. It is also known meanwhile that it was not only Italian books he had stolen but valuable books in other languages and printed in other countries as well. We should therefore no longer talk about the “Girolamini-Issue” but the “De Caro-Issue”.

I am also very concerned about a detail some dealers told me. For some time they had been aware that someone had been checking out their online stock; ABEbooks alerts you when someone looks at a description (the auto e-mails say: Someone is interested in one of your books; to find out more click on this ‘link’, and when they did so they would find twenty or so books at a time, with no common denominator, other than they were early sciences and mostly Italian). This had happened several times and it is very likely that this is what they were doing with Christian Westergaard as well.

That would mean that Italian authorities are now checking the online stocks of our affiliates! That could also mean that every dealer handling continental books could be subject to the same criminal charges being brought, which however innocent one may be, is damaging in itself even when subsequently you are found to be innocent. And this also means that the Italian authorities have lists of the stolen items which they have never showed or given us!

ILAB had offered both help and cooperation to clear up these crimes for more than two years, and so did ALAI but up to now all the letters that were sent to the Italian investigators by Fabrizio Govi, Arnoud Gerits, and Tom Congalton have remained unanswered. This situation has become totally unacceptable as Italian authorities do not seem to understand that they are intentionally damaging the reputation of both individual dealers and the whole trade.

I will therefore, on behalf of ILAB, address a note of protest to the Minister of Culture of Italy, Dr. Dario Franceschini, the Minister of Justice, Dr. Andrea Orlando, and the head of investigation, Dr. Antonella Serio. I WILL ALSO REQUEST AGAIN FOR LISTS OF THE STOLEN ITEMS. This note will also be published on our website, on the websites of our members, in relevant magazines, and in newspapers.

Norbert Donhofer (ILAB President) - August 2014

Monday, August 4, 2014

Time to dive in...

Even though I can't swim.

I finally got the reveal section down to where it's working, so now I can go through my notes and make sure I have everything in this draft to advance it...and then I will be almost ready for feedback. I've already got one victim -- uh, volunteer lined up to read the story and tell me what they think. Any other takers?

And I do mean I want serious critiques. What works. What doesn't. Where I gloss over things. When something doesn't make any sense. Which parts are slow and which go too fast. A full-scale model of all opinions, because I want this book to be as close to perfect as possible.

Meaning also point out typos and missing words; I'm bad about those.

BTW, this is Tom Daley doing his gold medal work. He's a cute little munchkin, and is almost as beautiful as Greg Louganis when he dives. I only say almost because Greg was so physical and soulful. Tom's still a boy.

And now, off to finish cleaning my fridge.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Peel the onion

When I'm chopping up some onion to add to whatever I'm cooking, I always peel off the dry crinkly layers of skin to get to the fresh sections. Normally that's enough to work, but sometimes there's mold on that part and washing doesn't remove it all, so I peel further.

It's the same with potatoes. When I make mashed or hashbrowns, I remove all the skin and wash it, then peel or cut away the bruises and imperfections. I can't eat a potato if I know it's not completely fresh before being cooked...or raw; I've sliced them up to nibble on. You have to do it fast, though, because they don't last long.

So...what I'm doing now is peeling into the revelation scene of "The Vanishing of Owen Taylor" and making it as clean and pure as I can. And it's taking some work, that's fer shure. However, by doing this I'm finding out what needs to be set up earlier in the story and how to handle the remainder of the mystery. And it's coming across much more honestly, now.

There's still Jake's goofiness, but it works with the exposure of what happened and not against, nor is it a distraction. It also leads to a moral quandary, which surprised me. Something that could be tragic, if not handled right.

But if I let this stand, it leaves Jake in a bad spot. Which means I'm peeling back another layer, to make certain this is right. Don't want no imperfections.

Onions are imperfect enough.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

"Les Enfants du Paradis" by Marcel Carne and Jacques Prevert

I finished the latest rewrite of The Vanishing of Owen Taylor and just need to input the red pen changes, so I treated myself to one of the greatest movies ever made, bar none. It's got love, comedy, romance, tragedy, heartbreak, murder, insanity, hope, perseverance, the whole scope of human experience in all its beauty and stupidity. Even Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 97% rating, and says:

Even in 1945, Marcel Carne's "Children of Paradise" was regarded as an old-fashioned film. Set in the Parisian theatrical world of the 1840s, Jacques Prevert's screenplay concerns four men in love with the mysterious Garance (Arletty). Each loves Garance in his own fashion, but only the intentions of sensitive mime-actor Deburau (Jean-Louis Barrault) are entirely honorable; as a result, it is he who suffers most, hurdling one obstacle after another in pursuit of an evidently unattainable goal. In the stylized fashion of 19th-century French drama, many grand passions are spent during the film's totally absorbing 195 minutes. The film was produced under overwhelmingly difficult circumstances during the Nazi occupation of France, and many of the participants/creators were members of the Maquis, so the movie's existence itself is somewhat miraculous. Children of Paradise has gone on to become one of the great romantic classics of international cinema. ~ Hal Erickson

Baptiste is based on Jean-Gaspard Deburau, who is credited with inventing the character of Pierrot in Mime sometime between 1825 and 1830 at the Theatre des Funambules. He was born the same day as me, albeit in 1796, and died when he was 50. The character in the movie is, of course, enhanced in many ways, but the Mime presented is supposedly very close to what he used to do.

I have the Criterion edition, which includes an introduction by Terry Gilliam that is wonderfully droll and is a lovely copy of the film, showing off its glorious black and white cinematography. I saw it first in college and have seen it a couple more times, but not in years. I'd sold my copy when I lived in Texas and needed money. I bought this one a couple years ago, when I was in LA for the book fair and had an income, again. It still enthralls me.

I do have one question as regards the film. Is it wrong of me to identify both with Baptiste, the tortured genius who suffers from love for someone he cannot have, and also for Lacenaire, an unpublished playwright whose soul was built for murder? One the romantic in search of pure beauty, the other a cynic who sees the world for the banality that it is.

Does it really matter?

Friday, August 1, 2014

I'm a pathetic drunk...

2 glasses of wine and all I want to do is go to sleep. BOR-ring. And blank-headed. Work on OT is now slated for tomorrow. So how's about something to liven up our worlds, instead? The biggest laugh I've ever had was watching this "escape artist" skit on Carol Burnett. Still cracks me up, so...
It's not what she says or does so much as how she says and does it...and I oughta put that to melody...

Ah, Liam, my thought, exaclty...