Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Friday, July 31, 2015

BTW...

I'm putting in an order for next year's birthday present. Hook me up with Rodiney Santiago.


Better start savin' them pennies...and if you want to go in together, I'm fine with that, 'cause he won't be cheap. But he's worth any price...

Ah, driving in New York...

Don't do it unless you have to. It's hell on earth. Literally. Especially during a Houston level rainstorm.

This is Park Avenue looking south, at 77th. You should be able to see Grand Central Station and The Met Life Building at the end of it. No way. It was coming down so hard...and within 2 blocks, traffic was nearly at a standstill. I only had to get to 60th and Park, but it took me half an hour and then there was zero parking.

This was the second phase of the storm; I'd spent the first phase picking up items from a building that has no parking around it, either. Not even underground; just a canopy from the door to the curb. I already knew this so had parked a couple blocks away then moved the things I was picking up down to the doorman and gone to get my van. It was only sprinkling. But when I was a block from the entrance...that's when it let loose.

I was going to park by a nearby hydrant and run in. Instead, I did what any good New Yorker does (and which pisses me off) -- I double-parked, put on my blinkers and jumped into the lobby to get them...then used a flat box to keep them from getting wet as I tossed them inside my minivan. I got drenched but the boxes of books were fine.

It had stopped by the time I got to my next spot, so I parked and paid the meter and went in to get the book I needed...and made it out just in time to get a ticket for being in there too long and just before it came down, again. I spent enough time driving around looking for parking at my last stop to where it stopped, again...so I made a delivery and as I got back to my van, it started yet again. This time it kept up till I was almost to the George Washington Bridge.

I got drenched three times in four hours. Didn't get fully dry till I was in Parsippany, New Jersey en route home. That's only 28 miles down the 80 from NYC, but it took me two hours in traffic that would make LA proud.

Love the rain, just hate driving in NYC.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Another road trip...

Off to Boston, New Haven, and New York City, tomorrow. A total of 5 jobs, though a couple are just picking up things to ship. I got some writing done today while I did laundry, but not much else. It's going to be a very full trip so I'll be lucky if I get anything more done. Then on saturday I start back on The Vanishing of Owen Taylor.

Despite my best intentions, I still read a little of what people are saying in their feedback, and it seems the consensus is the opening 2-3 chapters are too busy and I preach too much. Which I can see. I can't wait to dig into this and tear my heart out. Spew blood all over my laptop and pound my head against my brick wall until it crushes in. Typical writer stuff.

I did have an interesting thought...as a form of avoidance -- rewriting a horror/aliens script set in the desert. We Come. I've come up with some very freaky things to do with it by carrying some aspects of the story to the logical end. Too much of it's been too coincidental and easy...and a bit repetitious. I want to get rid of the crap and make it worse than Alien...if possible. Of course, I can't do that on my laptop since I don't have Final Draft...but I do have Movie Outline 3 and may use this time to find out what that is, exactly.

Guess I've found a way to keep moving forward even as I'm off on my adventures...sort of...

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Outline good. Me follow? Bad.

I dunno...I may still be following the basic outline, but Dev keeps shifting on me and I'm beginning to wonder if he's going to wind up where I planned. Now he's begun to obsess over one of the dead men -- the last one, Martin Perriman. He does a sketch of him and it winds up looking like someone else. Plus Diana is proving to be more aware than Dev, in some ways.

This always happens to me -- the characters not only take over but wander off in their own directions to make their own stories that don't always match up with what I thought they'd be. What I intended them to be. So I get lost and have to fight to figure out what it is I'm really trying to say with this book.

I thought about dumping it and jumping over to novelizing The Alice 65, since I already know that story. But that wouldn't make any difference. I'd wind up digging so much into Adam's and Casey's backgrounds and lives and thoughts and dreams, I'd lose sight of their stories, as well.

I've never been good at focusing. It used to be I'd have a hard time getting any project completed. I'd get halfway in and lose interest. I'm still prone to that. Small wonder I've gotten nowhere with my life. I lost focus along the way and then lost interest...for the most part. I still can do things with what I've got, but it's getting harder and harder.

Guess I'm past my use by date.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Oddball me...

I couldn't sleep, last night, so I finally gave up and got up and worked on UG for a little bit. What came out was the time when Dev fought back against his father. I mean an actual physical fight when the man hit him and Dev refused to take it, anymore. He slammed the guy to the floor and stormed away...and that night the man died from a stroke.

I don't say it, but in my mind the fight brought the stroke on...and may have actually happened before Dev left. But he doesn't care. He's so filled with hate for the man, he sees it as a relief.

I should add, this is not from my personal experience. The one time my stepfather punched me, he was drunk and my mother put him in jail for the night. He never laid another hand on me. I was lucky in that way. I've known people who weren't...and this is an amalgam of them. One guy I knew actually faced charges when he fought back and knocked his father out. They were fighting over him coming out. Seems cops in Texas think faggots don't have the right to defend themselves.

I ran into that, myself, once. I wasn't arrested, not like him, but it still...stung. One of the reasons I don't trust cops or prosecutors.

Anyway, I worked till about 5 and was finally sleepy, so got a whole 3 hours sleep before work. I'd have taken the day off since I'm headed for Boston and New York, next week, but I still had a lot to do to get ready for the trip so went in till 3 then came home and took a nap.

And got back to writing...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Going to Hong Kong, again...

I'll be there the third weekend of November for the book fair. This time leaving out of Toronto, via Cathay. It's the only way to work out the connections I needed coming back; any other way I'd have to stay an extra day to be able to complete the job. And all other airlines would have me change planes twice -- like in JFK and Beijing or Seoul or Vancouver. It's insane, the way the airlines have worked their schedules.

I'm still writing along on UG. Got a bit more done about Dev and Tawfi, and have laid out more of what's going on about the murders and Dev's being involved in it all. I'm also playing with Dev and Reg a little. Still haven't worked out how coincidental this all is, but what heck...it's a fantasy, anyway...

It's not easy. We're dog and cat sitting at the office, which our usual office cats are NOT happy about, and that mutt and feline have made my allergies explode. Zyrtek might be able to handle one, but both? Uh-uh. I'm sneezing and my eyes are itching like mo-fos. I'm washing them like crazy with drops and contemplating using Claritin on top the Zyrtek to see if that'll help.

Man...if I seem dopy now...

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Careful-ness...

I did a sketch this evening. Just a pen and ink, head and shoulders of a guy who could be one of my characters, nice and simple. And I liked how it turned out. The sign of a good artist is one who knows when to stop when it's right. Well...I had it right -- a nice expression, deep dark eyes, good proportion and a hint of shading...and then I added a couple bits to the mouth and now it looks like he's got herpes.

Thank god for white-out.

Monday, July 20, 2015

I'm Betty-fied...

My mother used to watch Ugly Betty every week and loved it. I only saw a couple of episodes and didn't get why, but I wound up with the first season's DVD set and decided to watch it ...and it's amazing. The way the show combines over-the-top humor with real-life tragedy is startling. Some of it's clumsy but when it hits, it's out of the park.

America Ferrera does well as Betty, the homely girl with adult braces and cutesy innocence who tries to do the right thing. But by working at Mode, a world where she is nothing but a joke to everyone, she's becoming someone who is adjusting her sense of morality to the real world. When she first shows up, you know she's never even lied to her father. By the end of the first season, she's dumped her boyfriend, started upgrading her wardrobe and put her family on the back burner so many times, she's become the unreliable one.

Michael Urie as Marc St. James is like her polar opposite -- super queen, super nasty, superficial to the max, and yet adorable in a way I can't quiet understand. The show gives him flashes of humanity -- like when his mother rejects him for being gay after he stands up for Betty's family -- and he's damned good at his job as Wilhelmina's assistant. Always in the moment.

Vanessa Williams kills as Wilhelmina Slater. High Queen Bitch whose life revolves around her scheming to gain control of Mode Magazine. She's verging on descending into old age, is scared underneath her gloss and glamour, and will be damned if she'l let anyone know it. She has lovers, not love.

Eric Mabius is a bit bland as Daniel Meade but is beginning to work as the younger brother who's always been dismissed as worthless. Rebecca Romajn is surprising as the transexual Alexis (a nod to Alexis Arquette, who underwent her transition as this show was just beginning to be shot?) and to be honest, 10 years ago I would not have believed a man could be made to look like her...but since Lavergne Cox did it, I'm convinced.

What startled me was the show's willingness to show tragedy along with the comedy. One character is murdered at the end of the first season, in a robbery. While in Mexico, Betty goes looking for her grandmother only to find it was not meant to be in a heartbreaking way.

I found the other three seasons on ebay and bought them. Cheap, too. Which is what I need. It's giving me ideas for my work...and affecting UG in surprising ways.

Should be interesting...

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Le tortoise, c'est moi...

As I move slowly and steadily through the first draft of Underground Guy I find the story shifting in ways I don't understand, with Dev doing things that are somewhat off the wall for him. And yet, are serving to soften him a little. Why? No idea.

But he mentions how he helped his nephews fight back against a bully by showing them some less than proper wrestling moves. And they used them. And got the bully to back down. Mom wasn't happy about the less-than-legal part but still got the hint and enrolled the kids in Aikido so they could learn self-control...and be able to defend themselves.

Then when Diana, the boys' mother and Dev's sister-in-law, confronts him in his London hotel room...he acts more like a teenager who got caught taking the family car without permission than a man who's committed several felonies and faces years in prison. He even refers to an expression she gives him as "having her mommy eyes on stun."

I think Diana scares him a little...which could be fun to play with. She really is like a mother, knowing all and not letting her kids get away with any bullshit. My grandmother was like that. She always seemed to know when any of us had tried to pull a fast one.

There was one occasion where a cousin and I spent the last of our money on a packet of cigarettes and had to walk from downtown San Antonio to her place because we didn't have bus fare. It was only 5 miles and we did it in just over an hour. We thought we were so clever; no one would ever know. Next morning, first question she asked was, "How was your walk?" I never found out how she knew.

What I did find out was I can't smoke. When I try, my voice vanishes. Not as I'm smoking but shortly thereafter. I think the only time I ever had a cigarette and enjoyed it without that happening was when we wrapped the hideous shoot of Wilderness Rule, in Houston. My script. The director's money. Total fuck up, from beginning to end.

I was with a couple of cute guys named Sean and Shane, not related, who acted in the film. We drove from the location to a crewmember's apartment at top speed singing Bohemian Rhapsody because it had a lovely lyric about killing a man and we were contemplating homicide. We drank beer after beer, and since we were in a room of smokers, I smoked a couple cigs. Since it was such an emotionally fraught time, I didn't even think about the voice thing...but I was pretty much fine the next day. Probably because my throat was lubricated with Heineken.

The movie was never finished. Mostly because I tried to please everybody and wound up pleasing no one, especially myself. It left a mark on me. If you ever want to know why I'm locked into second-guessing myself, this project explains it. I refer to it as my Mark of Cain.

Maybe I should change my name to that...

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Damn you, Bugs Bunny!

He let me down!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Brain slipped for tortal fun...

This is probably how I'd handle taking care of a tortoise. Them things is party reptiles, they is.
Except I'd never let him near piss-water like Coors. Guinness or, if a lighter brew is wanted, Amstel only. With cheese sticks and marinara sauce...lots of it... 

I do not condone the use of drugs in any way, form, or fashion and had no idea he'd be dumb enough to take a selfie doing it...

Bastard caught on to what I do when I'm not working or writing, but if he thinks he can blackmail me -- HA! Got him right back...

No where's that friggin' hare so I can send them out on a race and test my theory that the old tale about the tortoise and the hare is really just good PR work from tortal's people?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Okay, I've lost my mind...

I keep thinking about turning Carli's Kills into a black comedy...which is crazy as hell. I can do black, it's comedy I'm crap at. I don't have the timing for it. Or something. I dunno. But no matter how hard I try to focus on Underground Guy, which doesn't even begin to want to be funny...except in those moments needed to leaven the suspense and drama...I can't drop thoughts about CK.

Dammit.

I've begun to wonder if I ever had any control over my brain. I've always been the type who goes from moment to moment assuming everything will be okay and never really been able to plan for the future. Wrong -- I do plan, I just don't follow through with them. I'll start then get side-tracked and forget where I was and have to start over again, albeit from a different place.

A coworker of mine is one of those people who can plan her life down to the minute and do it. Keep every one of them. If she's going to be someplace at 3:15, she's there. If she has twenty minutes to cut her lawn, it's cut. She's a whirling dervish at logistics while I'm a slug. I can pack books really well, but handle detail work? Fuhgeddaboudit...

The only thing I'm consistent about is dreaming.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Meandering...

As I've focused on UG, Carli's been rearranging the furniture of her life in my head. She's decided to be older, more focused, and Cara's her daughter from a rape when she was 14. Nothing went right for the girl and she wound up being raped and slipping into suicide because Carli wasn't there to help her. Mom feels guilt and is taking it out on the men who drove her daughter to her death. It's going to be mean...and maybe all told from Carli's POV. Dunno about that, yet...but it'll be like the anti-Gray's 50 shades crap.

UG is too vague for me to figure out. Things seem to be happening because they have to happen for the book to work. Dev raping a man who happens to be an undercover cop while the man who may actually be a serial killer was on the underground car, too...and Dev connects with him later. It's like a gay white porno telenovela. Without the heaving breasts and catfights. Dammit. Maybe I should throw one in. I think I'm taking my work far too seriously.

It's all really a joke, life is. The fates make fun of everyone behind their backs...and sometimes to their faces. They've been having fun with me since I was 12, and it took me a LONG time to finally see that. I wonder if you can make a comedy out of a serial-killer story? I had a hard time with the shifts in An American Werewolf in London...but maybe that's me being too upset at the idea a fictional character I like is going to be slaughtered.

I hate killing off my characters. I know it's needed. At times. And it's not real. Basically. But I still hate doing it. Maybe it's time for me to stop acting like I'm Tolstoy and think more along the lines of Charlie Chaplin, in City Lights.

This movie is very funny throughout, as the Little Tramp does everything he can to help a poor blind girl regain her sight. She thinks he's a rich man, until she finally sees him, for the first time. And you know she's rejecting him.

You laugh until it breaks your heart...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Not sure where this fits in yet...

I worked on this, this evening. On the slight side but I have a feeling it's helping Dev change his character's DNA.
-------------------------------
I was still drying off when I came out of the bathroom. Tawfi held up a pair of his white Armani briefs. "To wear home."

"Just to my hotel..."

He shrugged. "A well-groomed man should always have something between him and his suit. Otherwise he is nothing but a beast dressed in human clothing. Besides, I did tear yours."

"I've torn some of my own. Never paid for 'em...except once."

"Oh? Have you stories to tell?"

"Not really. Not something you'd want to hear." I held the briefs up. "Jockeys don't cost anywhere near this much."

He just smiled. I slipped them on, and even snug they felt like silk caressing my skin. He turned me around and smoothed them over my ass then wrapped himself around me, from behind. Held me close. Nuzzled the nape of my neck.

I chuckled. "Careful, you'll get something going."

"Next time," he whispered. "I snuck three more pair into your sample case. Wear them in remembrance of me."

"Tawfi..."

"Devlin, in my country it is considered rude to refuse a gift. Please don't insult me."

"Yes, sir."

"Thank you." Then he rested his head on my left shoulder. "Thank you." He kept holding me, silent for a moment. Finally he sighed, "Martin would accept nothing I gave him. He didn't refuse any of them; he merely hid them in a desk drawer. I discovered them by accident. I asked him about it, the last time I saw him. He told me his company was having difficulties and his wife would wonder how he could afford such nice things. A Polo shirt is a nice thing? A Dior belt? I was so very angry." He took in a deep breath. "I am the reason we did not see each other, again. It took me three weeks to accept the truth of him. He had a wife. Children. And he was frightened he might lose them." He let out a long sigh. "I suppose he is no longer afraid."

I held his arms tight against me. "I understand him."

"You? What have you ever been fearful of?"

"My father, for most of my life. Until I stood up to him. I came home from school. College. He was upset about something or other; doesn't matter what, he was always pissed off. He tried to sling me around and...I dropped and rolled him over my back into the couch. Broke the coffee table. Startled the shit out of the son-of-a-bitch. He looked at me like he didn't know me. I didn't say anything; I just left. That was the night he died...and the night I stopped being afraid. Till now."

"What brought fear back to you?"

"You. The last few days."

He turned me to him. "How do you mean?"

"Nothin'. Things've happened that...that got me wondering if I'm just a beast in a nice suit."

He smiled and picked up my jacket. "An adequate suit. If you want a nice one, we should visit a tailor I know."

"I wear what I can afford, Tawfi. Briefs like these...they cost more than most of my pants."

He leaned against a canopy post, wary. "Are you rejecting my offering?"

"No. I know my manners. But please don't give me any more. I...I might grow to like them, too much."

A hint of confusion filled his eyes as his smile crossed his face. "As you wish."

"And I'm buyin' dinner, next time," I said as I pulled on my pants.

"That will be a novelty. I always pay the tab."

"So do I."

Sunday, July 12, 2015

A bit more of Underground Guy...

Dev has been released by the cops. He's back at his hotel and has stepped out to get some copies made when he decided to pick up a man he knew would be interested in having some fun -- Tafiq (AKA: Tawfi), whose profile was sharp and clean, with dark hair, a goatee, and golden tanned skin...not to mention a nice tight build and wearing a Saville Row suite (very expensive). This is after they've had their fun in Dev's hotel room, and Dev's remembering as he walks back to his hotel from Hatton Cross Station. Tawfi speaks cultured British.
__________________

Normally I'm the first guy out of bed and into the bathroom. Instead, Tawfi had rolled onto his feet and taken a quick shower...as I spied on him...and sketched him, something I never did with my conquests, even though I felt more like I'm the one who was conquered. He hadn't noticed me sitting on the toilet till he was done and grabbed a towel.

"Have you been watching me this whole time?" he asked.

I nodded and showed him the sketch. Nothing lewd about it. Just from the chest up, water pouring over his head and face and chest in a way that was brutally erotic. Quick and simple.

He'd hesitated before he said, "You did that as I washed?"

I'd shrugged. "Just a quickie for our quickies."

He'd smiled and I'd melted. "You're quite good..."

"It helps with the job I'm in. You want it?"

A look of near surprise had come over his face and he'd nodded. "Thank you."

"I'll put it by your suit jacket."

He'd finished toweling off and come into the room to dress. "Do you design all of your pins?"

"Naw, I just clean 'em up. Sketches like this are just for fun."

"You're better than that." I'd grinned and sat on the bed to gaze at him. He'd looked at me. "Devlin, what're you doing?"

"Watchin' you dress."

He'd chuckled. "Shall I do a reverse of the dance of the seven veils?" Then he'd held his Armanis up to his nose and wriggled about and turned to pull them on and I'd nearly lost all control. I'd pulled him onto the bed with me and laid him beside me and kissed him.

"Wish you could stay the night," had whispered from me.

His elegant fingers had caressed my chin as he'd said, "Next time, perhaps."

I'd dressed and accompanied him to the Hatton Cross Station and waited till he'd vanished. Now I was headed back.

I'd thought about having a meal at the hotel's restaurant but it was too overpriced so I'd bought a sandwich at the station and just returned to my room, remembering every moment of being with Tawfi and feeling a bit disloyal to Reg. Which was crazy as hell. Master Thornton probably hated my guts for what I'd done to him, and I didn't blame him. So there was no chance in hell anything more could happen between us. But with Tawfi, I wanted a lot more to happen...even forever.

No way in hell that was gonna happen, either.

I was on the fifth floor but facing the wrong way from the airport. I liked seeing the planes going and coming, especially at night; it helped me zone so I could easily get to sleep, but I had a feeling I wouldn't have that problem, tonight. Tawfi had been the perfect snack to keep the chaos at bay.

I rode up alone and there was no one else in the corridor as I walked down it. I got to my door and unlocked it and entered and got slammed from behind. My high-school wrestling moves kicked in and I threw someone against the bed but they bounced back to their feet and a searing pain ripped into my left arm and I cried out and crashed against the dresser and caught the slightest glimpse of someone rushing from the room. That's when I found a nasty gash in my forearm was bleeding everywhere. I grabbed Tawfi's still wet towel and wrapped it around me then called the front desk.

Son-of-a-bitch, I'd been mugged...

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Much better...

I've rearranged the first pages, cutting them down by 15 and adding in some bits and foreshadowing. I'm now at 113 pages and just over 27,000 words. This will not be one of my opuses; I think it'll top out at about 65,000, which should work out to about 175 pages in book form. You never know...I may get an attack of the Tolstoys and go nuts, again, but it's a fairly simple story about a man facing the truth of himself and growing from that understanding. With lots of sex, involved, of course.

The outline is helping me keep track of everything, fortunately. And I've changed some names and locations. I was never completely thrilled about having the opening take place in West Hounslow, but shifting it two stops back to East Hounslow worked wonderfully as regards logistics and detail.

I desperately want to head back to London for a few days to check some things out for UG and MFD, but unless we get a job from a client that requires it, ain't gonna happen. I can't afford it on my own.

This one job I thought might work out is being driven by a man who doesn't want to follow the law, as regards exporting from the UK, so we had to turn him down. No way in hell are we flouting customs requirements; there's too much else that's too important.

I rather like having a 3-day weekend. I'm going to see if I can figure out some way of making this happen more...meaning get my bills paid off and taxes under control. That will not be easy, considering my spending habits. The only reason I didn't spend any money today was I didn't leave the apartment. Felt good staying in...

Hmm...I wonder if I'm becoming a bit agoraphobic? Probably not. I entered a competition that would send me to London to see One Direction. I could live with that; while 3 of the boys are not at all interesting to me, I do think Liam's a doll.

And I definitely feel like a dirty old man saying it.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Predictability...

God, I can be a pain in my own ass, sometimes. And shoulders. I got a nice tense headache over another little bout of writer's block dealing with UG. I tried every trick I knew to get around it...then just sat down and restarted the book. Set up a new Word doc and transferred the first 30 pages over since I liked those...and rewrote them.

Nothing major but enough to shift the setup a little bit. Made clear early on that Devlin Pope wears an inexpensive suit. Expanded on his confusion as to why he's pulling his crap while in another country, since his lawyer's in NYC. Added to his guilt and awareness of how wrong he's being.

I then dug into the draft I'd been working on and pulled over two more sections to establish the second and third chapters, cutting around a bit about a guy Dev punished in Chicago. Seems that was what was locking me up. I have this long opening where Dev forces Reg, who is the Underground Guy, into having sex with him...even though Dev knows he's straight and married and innocent of any wrongdoing...and it screws Dev up. He'd be focused on why that is. not reminiscing about another man he forced into sex...not yet.

In fact...I think he's going to be deliberate about revealing his past actions. Almost confrontational. I think subconsciously he wants to be punished, so after he's arrested he gets just as harsh with his interrogators as they do with him. Like two big cats hissing and howling and about to launch into battle. It works better...and even if it doesn't, it got me past the block.

Now maybe the tension in my shoulders will go away.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

More from "Underground Guy"

I got a bit lost, today...like I'm slamming too much of the story together and making it into a chopped salad before I've got all the ingredients in...or some stupid analogy like that. So here's some of what I'm happy with. Devlin has just been arrested and is waiting to be interrogated, and he's wondering how him being stuck in England for god knows how long will affect the company since his brother is damaged.

-------

I had to give it to Diana, she had Colin's back. They'd connected when he got lost in Queens and she brought him home. The first couple years after they got married, I'd thought she was just a controlling bitch, but I found out how much of a momma bear she could be for big bro' when Marci, Colin's little-old-lady secretary, used what she knew about it to slap me down after I made a snotty comment about Mrs. Know-It-All-Pope.

It was while I was a junior in college and living on campus, deliberately. She and Colin had been married about six months and she was five months pregnant with their twins. Somehow he'd kept the abuse secret from her, until she walked in on dad berating him with words and slaps over a messed up order. In his office. Where the whole building could hear what was going on. Diana didn't even pause for second but calmly stepped between the two and said to the prick, "You'll stop this shit right now."

Dad tried to shove her aside, but she wouldn't budge. Then he tried to shout her into submission and raised a hand to slap her. Colin tried to pull her away...but she would not budge. She only got cooler and calmer and more stuck to the ground as she glared into dad's hateful eyes and said, "Lay one hand on me, motherfucker, and I will have your ass thrown in jail. Then I will make fucking sure your balls are cut off and shoved up that ass for hitting a poor pregnant lady, because I know people in there. Do you fucking understand me?"

Dad got red in the face and stalked off, using a few choice words. She didn't move...not until Colin started bawling, behind her. Then she sat him on a couch he had in his office, kneeled before him (how she did that in her condition, I will never know), and held his face in her hands till he regained control. Marci quietly closed the office door so they'd have a semblance of privacy, but she could hear every word. And Diana finally learned the real reason he'd been coming home depressed, with cuts and bruises. Dad had sensed she wouldn't tolerate his outbursts so he'd confined them to the office, then Colin would tell her he'd run into something or fallen or whatever other lie he could think of.

He'd started blubbering an apology but she stopped him, whispering, "You were raised to fear that man. I was not. From this day forward I will be at your side, and he will never lay another hand on you. Nor will he raise his voice, again, not if he wants to see his grandchildren."

Fortunately, the son-of-a-bitch died a couple months later from a stroke. I guess in reaction to being forced to hold in his fury. The only reason I came to his funeral was to make sure he really was dead...and spit on his grave.

Of course, that's also when I caught on to why dad would explode at Colin, and I was caught between fury at the prick for what he'd done to my brother and irritation at my brother for not being able to do what dad had done with the company. He came close to ruining it, twice, before I took over. We didn't know about the brain damage, yet, so I thought he just had a porcupine's manner when it came to dealing with clients and that he'd inherited dad's hair-trigger temper. When I was at the office, on more than one occasion I had to disconnect a call as he was shifting into rant and rave mode then make a follow-up call to smooth some pissy dealers.

It was when Diana had forced Colin to make an appointment with a brain specialist and was saying I should see him, too, that I'd snarled about her. And Marci'd told me the story. Then she'd sweetly added, "Wouldn't hurt you one bit to find out how scrambled your brain is."

"What d'you mean?" I snapped.

"Devlin, I've known you since you were two. Little Sir Innocence is not one of your nick-names. Get the scan."

Then she patted me on the cheek in a way that told me if I didn't do as she said, I'd regret it. So I did.

At least Colin was better, now, what with the counseling and Diana's backup...and his kids turning out to be eleven and nine year-old adults instead of obnoxious brats. He still had his moments, but he was at the point where he could apologize for exploding at one of the piss-ant dealers who used and abused us. Looked like he'd be doing more of that, now.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

128+ pages

I connected two sections...awkwardly but in a position now to be able to work them together better. I say it's 128+ pages because I have other sections written that need to be joined in, and also have my ending done. Suddenly, there's a point during Dev's interrogation where he wants Reg to hit him. And he deliberately reveals an assault he brushed off as the guy having second thoughts about sex with a man was really a revenge rape.

He's becoming pretty complex and yet simplistic. I'm not sure how to handle that. He both feels remorse for what he did to Reg and none over his much more destructive actions with a couple other men. He has no problem excusing himself and justifying his actions, and yet he wants to be punished for them. Maybe he's just plain crazy. Dunno, yet.

Looks like I'm going to be jobless for 3 weeks in August and September. Caladex is shutting down till after Labor Day and they are my only client. I have someone trying to get me to do something about coloring books for adults, but I don't know if I want to even think about that. I am thinking more about Carli's Kills and changes in it. Like Carli being a bit older, a bit on the carnal side, and it being her daughter who kills herself. Maybe the daughter was the product of a rape when Carli was 14 or 15 and she's been bounced around by family members ever since so she's not as strong as she should be. I dunno; that might be too close to family.

I had a cousin who got pregnant and was extremely embarrassed by it. She moved down to Texas to be away from the family while she had the baby, then wound up having to marry the father to get some kind of assistance and basically brought the boy up on her own. She killed herself when he was ten and he bounced around the family. Grew to be a bit wild and wound up in prison. I don't know all the whys and wherefores of what happened, but he was trying to get back on track when he died.

I only found out about his death by accident...and I wonder if it's what's beginning to color CK? The kid never got a break in his life, and the impression I get is he was killed...though I don't know for sure. I've tried to find out but no luck. Still, it haunts me...

And Carli wants to use it...

Monday, July 6, 2015

Never make plans except to plan to change them

I was going to be off, today, but got called in to help work up a bid on another packing job. Actually three of them, but the main one got so complicated it took all day. Of the other two, I was hoping one meant a trip to London but that didn't pan out, and the other depends on the broker as to whether or not I need to go to San Francisco. When I got home my brain was scrambled, so nothing got done on UG.

I did do this, yesterday...and it's making the story shift in my mind. It's after Dev saved Reg from being stabbed...about halfway into the book; Diana is his brother's wife, and Sir Monte is Reg's boss in the Metropolitan Police --
----------

Diana was at my hotel door exactly when she said she'd be. "I could have been early," she said, "but I figured you'd prefer me being on time, after last night."

"C'mon in, I'll order coffee."

"Tea, please. Were you hurt?"

"What does the news say?"

"Couple of men got into a fight outside a bar and one was stabbed."

As I picked up the phone, I showed her my bandage. She didn't even blink at it, just nodded. I put in an order for breakfast and both tea and coffee. Then I sat on the bed as she eased into a chair, her eyes locked on me. I'd seen that look before when I was doing something she didn't approve of. Like a mother disappointed in her child. I didn't say anything; I was still too shaken by the thought that Reg had almost been killed and weirdly grateful at Sir Monte for keeping it quiet.

I took in a deep breath and shifted to lie down, my eyes watching her eyes watch me. "Okay, let's have it."

"Glass always half-empty with you, isn't it?"

"Diana, I ache all over. I didn't sleep well. And I'm still freaked out at nearly seeing someone get killed, last night."

She nodded and said, "You know how Colin and I met, right?"

"He was lost and you found him. Brought him home."

"You know where I found him?" I said nothing. She smiled. "I always thought it interesting you never said anything."

"I didn't need to."

"Thank you for that." I just shrugged. "You know...the only reason I approached him was I thought he was my connection. I'd heard my usual guy got busted and we should assume the new guy's really undercover. So I saw Colin...and no way did he belong there. A rookie, was my first thought, so I went over to play with him, but he looked at me with those lost black lovely eyes and the first words out of his mouth were, 'Oh my god, you're so beautiful'. I wasn't. I was at the tail end of a party weekend. But his attitude...his whole demeanor was so simple and straight and honest...I fell apart. Sobbed. He said he was sorry and gave me his handkerchief. Cheap white cotton. Buy 'em by the half-dozen. I still have it. Wouldn't part with it for anything."

"You've been good for him."

She smiled, pulled out a tissue and wiped her eyes. "It took me fifteen seconds to find out he'd parked his car in a lot but couldn't remember which one and he was close to falling apart. I offered to call someone but he panicked and said you were at school and your father off on business and no one could know how he'd screwed up. So we went to every lot I knew...and found it at the fifth one. By that point he was so shaken, he couldn't drive. I got behind the wheel. And I stayed. And we got married. And we have three beautiful perfect children." Then she looked straight at me to add, "And I will never, never, never let anyone...anyone at all...hurt him or anything he cares about."

"Oh, boy...here it comes," I murmured.

Her smile widened. "I just need to know...did you ever know someone named Kenneth Tavelscha?"

Oh...son-of-a-btich. It was worse than I thought.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Firecrackers everywhere...



Happy Fourth of July, America.

This young man lost his leg in our defense. The least we can do is prove ourselves worthy of his...and thousands of others'...sacrifice.

Shall we return to living up to the ideals of our nation? Or will we continue to cower in fear like children while listening to charlatans and vipers promise to protect us even as they allow the privileged few to loot our treasury and destroy our future?

Alex and his compatriots deserve so much more...

Friday, July 3, 2015

Interesting how things move, sometimes...

UG's protagonist is not at all a hero. Devlin's a rapist who justifies his attacks as being only on those who deserve punishment. But his excuses seem flimsy -- one guy was going to drug him and use him in a prank at a fraternity party; one was cheating on his wife -- and when he's cornered by the British police he uses any means he can to fight back, like a trapped animal. Even though his defense would hurt a man who'd done nothing wrong, at all. But something interesting just happened.

I'm up to page 90 and throughout Dev has referred to his brother, Colin, as being irritating and pathetic, someone incapable of handling the family business. Colin's wife, Diana, helps them learn he was physically damaged by their father's abuse, and that it can be handled. Up till then, Dev was covering for Colin in order to keep things going smoothly. But while being interrogated by the cops, he remembers how a money fund manager named Griffin shoved $500K of bad bundled mortgages off on the company, using Colin's scrambled brain to make it seem like a good idea.

Of course, then the housing market burst and financial collapse came and Dev had to put off college for a while to help keep the company from going under. Colin feels especially responsible for it and sometimes approaches being suicidal. Then one day he comes into Dev's office and says, "I'll never be whole, will I?" The implication being he's close to jumping off a bridge. Devlin winds up comforting his older brother...and suddenly he actually come across as an avenging angel. Once Colin's back from the brink, Devlin checks the courts about legal remedies but finds they will be useless, so he sets out to stop Griffin another way -- by destroying him as a financial planner...which will protect others from being ruined by him.

I'd intended to use this image as Devlin, but the haunted eyes work better for Colin, now. I'm using my old standby -- a model named Bruno -- for Devlin. The model's name is Eric Hanson, and he's become Devlin's redemptive side.

This may be a lot of fun...

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Underground Guy moves forward...

I got the first 60 pages of UG in solid form. I'm sure there will still need to be some smoothing over, but it works, so far. I'm working on cleaning up my style a bit...so I don't need so many commas or ellipses.  My writing seems a bit archaic and somewhat chatty instead of direct, which I don't really mind. I want it to seem like I'm verbally telling the story around a campfire.

But I've begun to wonder if that really works for a book. In a script it doesn't matter. All the audience sees is what's on the screen. A stage play can benefit from that sort of style, since they're far more dialogue-dependent and breaking the 4th wall to address the audience in the telling of the story has been done so often as to be a cliched device, now. But in a book aimed at adults?

I once thought of doing one of my scripts as a graphic novel just to see what would happen once it was visualized in a way other than words. I figured KAZN, with its Russian lead character who speaks as little as possible, would work perfectly.

But it turned into a glorified storyboard with little dialogue balloons...which worked fine for my purposes but could seem a bit tedious to aficionados of the format, I just don't have the training or patience to do work like Dave Gibbons or Moebius...and theirs is the work I'd aspire to.
And yet...that would give me complete freedom...and writing style would be secondary to visual style...

Alfred Hitchcock Class -- part 1


I did these in reverse posting order so they appear in the right order on my blog. A quick, simple class in how to make a movie like Hitchcock. Short and sweet.

Alfred Hitchcock Class -- part 2


Alfred Hitchcock Class -- part 3


Who says porn stars are dumb?

These guys are gay porn stars and what they say makes sense. It's all been said before, but I appreciate anyone who's still saying it...especially (shallowness alert) when they look like this...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Almost back to normal...

After a rough 9 day trip that was anything but a vacation, I'm home and well-napped and ready to get back to writing my next project. I'd taken Underground Guy and Carli's Kills with me to work on...and barely got a decent outline done for UG. That was on the trip down to Florida; from then on I was too beat at the end of the day to even think about thinking.

UG has begun to work its way through my brain, now. I'd beefed up one character -- Dev's sister-in-law, Caitlyn (I wonder if I should change her name so no one thinks of the former Mr. Jenner?) -- and she's begun to work within the story more. Turns out she's the only woman Dev has any real respect for since she takes excellent care of his brother, Colin. She also knows how to work around people to get things done, and since Dev's in a mess of his own making she can help him get out of it in a way that works for everyone.

I see her as someone like Kate Jackson, who was in Dark Shadows as well as Charlie's Angels and came across as the smart one. Able to handle herself and with a healthy dose of common sense.

The story's getting deeper, as usual with me. It's not just about Devlin facing who and what he is after he jumps Reg; it's about the whole family dynamic between brothers and their father, a violent man whom Dev both hated and wanted to be loved by. I have no idea how far that concept goes, yet, but I'm refusing to rule out anything.

And I do mean anything.