Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Long drive...

It's just over 400 miles from Buffalo to my hotel in Stamford, but it took me a solid 8 hours to drive it. Seems like there's construction all along the 81 and the 86, which slammed traffic down to one lane. That part I didn't mind as much because it was mostly through nice country -- hills and streams and trees at the end of their colors. There was a lot of orange and gold and yellow around, but there were also a lot of naked trees mixed in, muting their beauty.

No, it's dealing with the 95 at rush hour, headed away from NYC. It took me an hour to go 6 miles. It's like the 101 headed to downtown LA in the morning. How people can do that every day is beyond me.

But...I did get closer to possible artwork for the dust jacket on A65. I tested the idea of a photo of the book done in poster graphics with a broke pair of glasses lying before them. I've also jumped back and forth on whether to include Gertrude's face in the background...but that makes it seem busy, so I don't think I will.

I've also been playing with the tag line -- now thinking She was always more than a book is a better line, because it plays in with something Adam says once Casey gives him the Alice '65 -- "Books are my life. They're so much more than just the binding and pages and words within. Ideas and histories accompany them, as do all the people who've touched them or been touched by them. An antiquarian book is a universe unto herself if you're willing to let her become one with you."

I may put that on the back of the dust jacket.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Focus shifting to graphics...

Okay...I now have A65 printed up and ready for my (hopefully) last pass. I've sent out a few PDFs and requests to ask for feedback and mentioned I'm still aiming for a Thanksgiving roll-out. So I now need to figure out the cover for the hardback. I'm pretty much clueless, right now.

I came up with an interesting tag line -- She was never just a book -- which might work if I'm using a photo of the 1865 edition. I like the simplicity of that...and I can play around with the image in Photoshop when I get back from this job in Connecticut. Right now I'm slated to return on Thursday, so that'd give me the weekend.

Before I did the printout, I made a couple more changes -- clarifying what happened to Adam's father and replacing my dashes with em-dashes. I also changed one character's name because it's too much like the Connecticut client's name. We want no confusion here.

Right now, I'm kind of brain dead. I hope the drive, tomorrow, helps me recharge. I'm not happy about the minivan I have -- a Toyota Sienna, I think it's called. The middle seats have to go up against the back of the front seats, no stow-and-go here. That makes for a nasty blind spot over my right shoulder. I'll be driving a bit more careful than usual.

I keep forgetting I'm not heading for Hong Kong till the 14th. For some reason I'd convinced myself that trip was next week. Duhh.

Okay...I'm zoning...

Sunday, October 29, 2017

302 pages, 64,900 words...

Again, I am done. Lots of changing and rearranging, clarifying and simplifying, but the latest incarnation of The Alice '65 is complete. I'm going to do a quick spell check to make sure I haven't messed up, there, then I'm sending it off, again, for feedback.

I want to do just one more polish, if the response is positive, enough. Make sure everything is in order and nothing is out of line when it comes to the antiquarian world. And the characters. There are a couple of spots where I just tell the back story rather than work it out, but I think that works within the framework.

I think the story's solid enough, now, for me to start planning the hardcover. I'm still casting around for ideas for the dust jacket. I want something eye-catching and nice that's reflective of both the chaos and drama of the story. Looking at other hardbacks and their jackets hasn't been of much use. Most seem to rely on either the author's name of the just the title being provocative enough to catch a reader's notice. So I don't know how that's going to turn out.

Tomorrow is preparation for the job in Connecticut, so I won't have a real chance to do my check till I'm at the hotel...and that could be late. We'll see how it goes...but at least I'm back to normal.

Next week is Hong Kong and China in Print. My 8th trip to the country. I have no idea what to do to keep myself occupied between move-in and move-out of the fair. I guess I'll check into some of the museums. Maybe take another trip to Macau and see the old village. I'll look into that later.

Guess I'm into a haven't got a clue stage, right now.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Back to bustin' it...

I worked on A65 all day and got through 136 pages of inputs. If I remember right, the biggest changes were in this part, so it's possible I'll be done, tomorrow. I've dropped about five-hundred words, to where it's hovering around 64,500. I think I'm adding some in the next part, but I won't know the final count till I'm done. I just know it's getting there.

I'm still thinking about the cover for the hardback and not coming up with anything that slays me. I'm sort of leaning towards a black and white of Gertrude lounging atop a big photo of the book, Adam's glasses in hand. The rest of the cover would be a complimentary color but nothing too vivid. I'll keep thinking and digging through Shutterstock to see if I can find a good shot for Adam and use that, instead.

It wasn't easy to get going, today. I'm still a bit uncertain about what good it's going to do me to publish another book under my own banner. I wonder if I should try to get an agent and see about submitting to a mainstream publisher. I don't know. That would take a lot longer to get the book out, and I don't think I have the patience to wait like that, anymore.

God, it's just too much to think consider. And when you're not exactly gifted when it comes to things like graphic arts, that only makes it harder. I got lucky with OT's cover; that fell together without much thought, just a few tests and then seeing Jordan's photo and getting the okay to use it made it all happen. And I'm pleased with it.

I'll keep at it. Think about it while driving to Connecticut on Tuesday and home on Thursday. Maybe something will come to me that kicks everything else out the door.

Damn, that would be so nice.

Friday, October 27, 2017

I don't like having a helper...

When I do a packing or pickup job, I'm finding I don't like having someone to help me. It tends to mess me up, and things don't get done the way I want. Like this job in Key West. For the first part I had someone to assist in picking up the Judy Blume archives (which are now safely ensconced at Yale), mainly because she's a huge fan and, fortunately, got to meet Judy.

But she's also one of the owners of the company, and has her own way of doing things...which don't work for me...but it has to go her way or the situation gets tense. So that issue we had with Office Depot not filling my order for packing supplies got more complicated than need be.

If I'd been the only one handling it, I'd have just taken the substitute boxes and headed on. But assistant got into the middle of it and wanted a credit for the difference in the boxes' cost -- a whole $5 -- so there were credits to be done and recharging the boxes and some went on my credit card while some went on hers, and I have no idea what finally got paid or charged or credited, in the end. I think I wound up taking a hit of about $9...but I can't be sure; I might not have. So I'm swallowing it and figure I'll deal with it once I get all my expenses reimbursed.

I never have worked well with others. I do things differently and approach situations from odd angles, and it can cause friction very quickly. Like today, I was asked to prep a last-minute addition to the Boston Book Fair and I was working along and suddenly found half the work I did had already been done by someone else, and me doing it was messing them up. So they got pissed off at me for not figuring out they only wanted this half done and not the other half...and I felt like dirt because I thought I'd screwed up in some way.

Of course, the same went for my screenwriting. When I did try to put aside my concerns and just follow the lead of two people I thought were on my side, all I did was get angry and hurt and ruined a script I'd been proud of, not to mention permanently damaged my friendship with them. Because while they were doing what they thought was right, it was wrong for me...and for the story, really. Completely. And achieved nothing. The script is now dead, and I helped kill it by agreeing to do what they wanted until things went too far.

So now I write my books and get feedback and use what I like and ignore what I don't, and while I get freaky and angsty and irritable and euphoric, it's all on me...and that make me feel at least a bit better about what I'm doing.

I guess that's something.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

More garbage work...

Today was figuring out where I am, financially, and working up the last of my expense reports. Plus prepping for another possible job, next week, in Connecticut. Where in Connecticut, I don't know yet. This is one of those double-secret probation deals where info is parceled out in dibs and drabs, making it hard as hell to plan for. All I know right now is I'll be driving; lots more flexible.

So I took my car in for winter servicing and was told I'll need a new battery, soon. Fun. Just in time for another storm in the Northeast.

I had no chance to work on A65...and I'm getting antsy. I want to get this draft done and off to a couple of people I know for feedback. I also want to start work on the dust jacket for the hardback and the look of the inside. I'm going for a 5x8 inch size, something smaller and more manageable than OT, which was 6x9.

I'm slowly reading through a design manual offered by a guy who's done a huge number of books for publishers (I checked his CV; he did). I also learned some tricks on OT that I can apply to working up A65. I think OT looks professional, but I'm not a professional so it may not be. Something that I do keep running into is how it's better to do different covers for hardback and paperback, hence my decision to use Zan's image for the paperback. It's better suited for that.

Right now I'm thinking of using the original Alice's Adventure in Wonderland front board (which is in public domain) and working the outline of Gertrude into it, with half of Adam's glasses over one eye, still. But I have to have time to do that...and I just don't right now.

Well...Thanksgiving was probably too optimistic a deadline, if I want to do the book right.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A65 Cover

Long, busy day so not much happening except I got the cover art from Zan Varin --
I like it and will use it for the paperback. I think the only thing it needs is some kind of highlight on the glasses bits so they're more noticeable. Any thoughts from anyone else?

I'm doing a different cover for the hardback, per the suggestion of a book designer I've met. And thinking of making the interior of the hardback something special, but still not sure about which way to go.

Too much going on in brain to continue.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

More on A65

I made some notes for the ending confrontation on the jet, inputting them straight onto the file since I don't have the printout with me. I've been told what I want to have happen can't happen in reality, so I've come up with a fix that would sort of make it believable because it just has to happen.

I try to keep everything real and acceptable in the story, but sometimes you have to go with what feels right, even if it's not plausible. I'm not going crazy and having Adam become Superman, all of a sudden, so I'm just not going to worry about it.

I'm all done with the Judy Blume archives. Worked in an open warehouse and sweated my ass off...which I wish I could have done. It was like a Turkish bath, in that place, and I soaked my bandana. Took 4 hours then another 2.5 hours through driving rain to get to Fort Lauderdale to turn in the truck....only to find the location had closed early, for some reason. So I dropped the keys through their night slot and called a cab to the hotel. And it was still raining.

I don't like Florida. Not just because of the politics -- half the places I went to, be it hotel or restaurant or UHaul facility -- had Fox News playing on their TV. That, alone, would be enough to set me on edge. But there's also this very casual attitude in so many people down here to doing what needs to be done. The location for me to pick up my truck was changed 5 minutes before we left the hotel to pick it up. Getting the packing materials at OfficeMax -- which I'd ordered online and paid for and got a text saying they would be ready for pickup -- turned into finding the materials in the store and making do with cheaper bankers boxes because the ones I'd ordered and paid for and been told were on hand weren't.

And then when trying to drop off the shipment, the warehouse was locked up. No one answered my knocks. The only reason we got in was because a driver for the company showed up and let us in, after calling his boss...and he only did that because he remembered me from the Miami Map Fair.

Jesus, as if working in the heat and humidity wasn't tiring enough.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Part of writing history...

Well...since it's already being tweeted about, I guess I can say I'm helping move some of Judy Blume's archives from Key West to Yale's Beinecke Library. Picked them up, this morning, and will have them packed and on their way tomorrow. She was there to see them off -- 78 cartons of papers and CDs. She's a very sweet lady. I've never read any of her books because I always felt they were geared towards girls. That and she started writing after I was out of high school, so it would have been a bit late for me.

I never did get into the teen angst books that came out, anyway. I read Catcher in the Rye when I was in my late 20s, which is about 10 years past its due date. I thought Holden Caulfield was obnoxious and a very privileged brat. Lord of the Flies was too cerebral to be angst-ridden, really. The Confusion of Young Törless was to arch and symbolic. Plus I found the whole worship of James Dean and Marlon Brando confusing...

At least, I did until I saw the wide-screen version of East of Eden after having read the novel. I'd seen it on TV in the hideous pan-and-scan mode that only showed part of the frame at one time, and I disliked it. And I did still think the music was too much and some of the acting poor, when I saw it as Kazan intended, but James Dean scorched the screen, especially in his scenes with Julie Harris.

It was on a double-bill with Rebel Without a Cause. Between those two films, I got the whole idea of angst and confusion, even though parts of the second movie were just silly. Like Jim Bacchus putting an apron on over his full business suit in order to do some cleaning or cooking or something, and the drag race towards a cliff in a game of chicken was over the top. And Plato's socks switching feet at the end. (I used to blame that on poor continuity, but I've heard from editors that sometimes the director or producer will use a take with an error in it because they liked the performance more.)

Anyway, a lot of the teen angst stuff was geared towards boys, and Judy's the one who got it going for girls. Makes her historic, to say the least.

And I was part of history.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Typical travel travails...

I'm in Fort Lauderdale waiting for a flight and it's already been postponed to 8:10pm. Meaning I won't get to the hotel in Key West till nearly 10. This is after I got a call, yesterday, from the UHaul center in Key West telling me they don't have the size truck I wanted; I have to take a larger one. Drive it 160 miles up a two-lane bridge, tomorrow. What fun.

On top of that, this terminal does not offer power outlets for you to use, so one of my phones is about to die. I'm sort of charging it off my laptop, which has a really good battery, but it's not happy.

I read some of Robert Olen Butler's A Strange Scent From A Good Mountain on the flight down. It's a collection of short stories about the Vietnamese in Louisiana. He's got a lovely, tender style that whispers around you like a gentle trail of incense. I can see why he won a Pulitzer for it.

My favorite, so far, is the one called "Fairy Tale", about a former bar girl/prostitute in Saigon, Miss Noi, who now dances in New Orleans. She doesn't understand English, and the way it's written almost like he's channeling a woman trying to understand another language via her own language's thought processes. Its ending is just right and actually brought me to tears.

I will read more of his books, just to see how he works his verbal magic. I'm also going to read some other modern writers' works to expand on my basic grasp of English grammar. I've been too caught up in the classics for my own good. I try to make certain I've done the right thing as I write, but sometimes I'm not sure about when to end a paragraph or how to line up a sentence; I just do what feels right and let it go.

I guess I should reread Strunk & White, just to see.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

It worked...

I have another draft of The Alice '65 set in red pen, ready to be input into my crazy-assed laptop. I'm going to wait till I'm back from Key West to do it. Give me a bit of a breather. But apparently getting angry about something takes my focus away from whatever whining I'm doing and lets me get back to the reality of my world.

I'm not doing NaNoWriMo, this year. I was planning on working up a quick draft of the beginning of Darian's Point, but if I want to make my deadline for A65, I won't have time. I'm also ready to focus my anger at the filth in Washington and America -- and around the world -- into P/S. It needs me to be angry so I can let myself dig deeper into its events and meaning...and be harsher with them. I think that's half the reason HTRASG came out so brutal -- I was pissed off about those kids getting hanged in Iran.

The probable murder of Zelimkhan has refocused me on the extreme injustices in this world. It also reminded me of how Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland would kill each other for no more reason than they worshiped God in a slightly different manner. People can say The Troubles were politically and historically based, and that's not completely wrong, but it doesn't explain masked men stopping busloads of people, asking who's which religion and then killing only the ones that they disapprove of.

This is how Muslims are treating each other, with the hatred between Shiite and Sunni. It's also how they were treated in The Balkans by so-called Christians. This is how the Armenians were treated by the Turks. And people like to forget the KKK was virulently anti-Catholic in the 1920s and 30s. Hell, even in the 60s, some people so hated the idea of a Catholic as president, there were "wanted" posters plastered all over Dallas prior to JFK's visit...and assassination.

With the rise of these new racists, who like to call themselves by the kinder gentler name of alt-right, we're seeing the sickness lives on and on and on, and will continue to do so until we stop teaching children to hate and let the haters die off.

If ever.

Friday, October 20, 2017

BAM -- mood shattered...

Seems the fastest way to get me out of a funk is to piss me off. And I am beyond angry, right now. I've been following the story of a young singer in Chechnya, Zelimkhan Bakaev, who was arrested by the authorities back on August 8th...because they suspected he was gay.
Well...the consensus today is that he's dead, and they think he was tortured to death within 10 hours of being arrested. What makes it hard to know is, the authorities insist they didn't touch him, and someone posted a video claiming to be him saying he was in Germany.

So the government just made him disappear, and is flat out lying about it. After all, if he was arrested and tortured and told about it afterwards, he's well-known enough so that people would believe him. Thing is, witnesses saw him being taken not 3 hours after he'd returned to Chechnya for a family event. What makes it worse is, it looks very much like he was fingered by a friend or member of his family, who also had access to a video he shot at an earlier date, denigrating Chechnya and praising Germany.

He is just one of hundreds of gay men and women who've been kidnapped, tortured and killed in that region. God knows how many others were slaughtered in Russia and Belarus and the Baltic states, thanks to Putin using us as a distraction from him looting Russia's treasury. This one, however, is what finally got to me. I watched one of his videos, and he had a fine voice. He had talent and a following, and that wasn't enough to protect him.

But that's not all there is to it. Our own Czar Snowflake gave a speech before a rabidly anti-gay crowd, promising to back them up in everything they want, to their cheers. Those motherfucking devils want to bring this crap here. Scott Lively has already done his part by pushing the "kill the gays" bill in Uganda and helping Russia further her oppression of gays in that country.

I wrote a script about 10 years ago, a horror script, where a preacher uses the bible and god to justify slaughtering several people then inflames a crowd of townspeople into lynching a gay college student. People told me it went too far. Now? It's becoming non-fiction.

And I am pissed as shit about that.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mood swings...

Going through a rough patch, at the moment. Wondering why I keep writing. Seems the only reason I do is because I feel an obligation to my characters and stories. They came to me and I need to do better by them than I have...but I also wonder if I'm capable of doing what needs to be done.

It may be I've relegated myself to a niche market that is not really into reading, unless the story has lots of brutal gay sex in it. My best seller is my first book, HTRASG, and half the reason is because the title is provocative and the anti-hero is a vicious animal filled with excuses for his behavior.

Curt is an anomaly in my work; my other characters have specific reasons for their actions, no matter how vile they are, and Jake, from OT, is actually heroic. But it's selling the poorest. Not even a hundred copies, yet. After pumping so much money into doing it right and giving copies away while asking for nothing but a review. I have no idea what more to do short of hawking it to independent book shops, myself.

When I was in Seattle, I did try to go by Mysterious Book Shop on Cherry Street, but they've shut down. Mystery Pier in West Hollywood said no. Book Soup will order it for you if you want it. And other mystery book shops just ignored me when I contacted them. So I guess I've written a book that nobody wants to buy...even at $1.99 for an ebook.

So I wonder if part of the reason I'm having trouble getting back into working on A65 is because I don't think it's worth the effort. I'll write it and publish it and no one will care. Even though it's very heterosexual and pretty damn mainstream. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl break up. Boy and girl get back together.

Maybe I should change it to boy meets boy and have Adam be a real asshole.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Down day...

I stayed in the hotel all day and worked on A65. I just didn't feel like being out and about and doing things I'd done a hundred times before. I'm flying up to Seattle, tomorrow, for the book fair so won't have a lot of time to work, after this, and I have a fridge in the room so stocked up on what I needed. Put the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door and went to work.

It was slow-going, because I was cross-referencing two versions of the story that were similar in 75% of the wordage, but I not only got it all input, I had new ideas and added little bits to make it fresher. I'm now through 92 pages, not counting the notes I have in the rest of the hard copy.

I think from this point it will move faster. I have about 50 pages of changes I lost, completely, so will dive into that portion like I'm doing it for the first time. The only real major change that I can recall losing is when I switched the descriptions of Casey's and Lando's mansions. I decided to make hers Spanish-style and his modern cubist; works a lot better for them as characters, but I lost everything I did to make Lando's even quirkier. Oh well.

I got the first rough of artwork for the cover and it's going to be nice. I had a couple of small changes to make so am waiting to hear how the artist feels about them. For LD he was pretty easy-going on adjustments I asked for. I try not to be too demanding, but if it's not right, it's not right...and I want the cover to be right.

I'm going to do a different design for the hardback version. Maybe a photo of the actual Alice's Adventures in Wonderland with a shadow of Gertrude mixed in. Not sure, yet. I've been looking at new hardbacks and their covers are a lot simpler than paperbacks. I know they can get away with that largely because of publishing house advertising and sales, yet it might be better for me to emulate them than like I did with LD and OT.

I'm finding my free promotion on Kindle and BookLife got me nothing for The Vanishing of Owen Taylor. Lots of people looked and nearly 600 downloaded a free copy, but not one review, yet, nor one sale. It's like the book is dead in the water. My next hope is it gets a review from "Publisher's Weekly", for which I still await word.

I hope this doesn't happen with The Alice '65.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A long trip on a packed plane

Southwest is making it harder and harder to travel easy on their flights. I flew from Chicago to LA on a brand new 737 Max 8 that was delayed half an hour due to technical issues, and packed solid. And even though I scored an exit row seat, I couldn't open my laptop enough to make it easy to use. The new seats have more of a sloped back so that even though the tray has more room, the monitor on my laptop couldn't open all the way.

And there was a screaming child on the first half hour of it all. And I do mean screaming. God, do I mean screaming. I got a headache from it because it was only three rows behind me. Didn't help I was already out of sorts. I finally downed some Advil, made myself eat some of the food I'd bought but decided I didn't want, had a couple of DDPs and began to feel better.

I then input the changes for the first chapter, and added a few new ones. At the rate I'm going, I will not have this book ready by Thanksgiving. It hasn't reached the point where I'm completely happy with it, because I'm still coming up with ways of making it better. I like it, like the characters, like the process of the story, but it still needs too much work for me to consider it completed...and when I feel like that, I know it'll be at least one more draft and a polish before I can even begin to think about publishing.

Oh's more important the story be good than be done by a certain date. This will also give me a chance to get feedback from some British book people I know, if they're willing to read it.

Y'know, on this trip to LA, I just don't feel like seeing anybody. All I want to do on Friday is veg. This hotel's goofy, even for a Best Western, but once again I've got a suite. And it being LA, I had to let the valet park my car. Totally flustered me because I had to get all my stuff out and put packing materials in, and climb stairs to get to the second floor so I could take an elevator to the third floor, so by the time I got to my room, I needed a drink. Wound up having tea...which actually worked.

It's been a weird couple of trips, and I blame it on early flights. When I go to Key West, the end of next week, I'm flying at a decent hour. I'm also close to deciding I want to use a carrier other than Southwest and go Business Class. I'm too old and cranky to do this cattle car crap for much longer.

You may now refer to me as mean old man Kyle.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

In Chicago, again...

Where it's pouring down rain, at the moment, but at least it didn't do that when I did my work. I was smart enough to get everything to my hotel and into my room before it started. Even bought a dinner to nuke so I wouldn't have to go out, again.

I wound up with a nice suite in this Best Western, along with decent WiFi. It's a new building from the looks of it, and this area seems to be hotel city. The best thing about it is, I had a counter to work on as I packed the shipment. Made things so much easier, which I needed; I had to get up at 4:45am to catch my plane and I've been very cranky. I got a message asking me not to come to the location till 2pm, so I could have come on a later flight.

Oh well. While I was waiting, I had a late breakfast at McDonalds (their pancakes and sausage are an addition, to me) and worked in the changes I'd already made to A65's first chapter...and there were a lot. I didn't realize I'd done so much work on it. Got me all pissed off, again, at how I nearly lost it all. The positive thing is, I saw a couple more bits that needed refining so added them in, as well.

Of course, this means I'll need to do yet another printout once I've gone through this one all the way, and another red pen and get the last of the story done probably as I'm en route to Hong Kong, next month. I'm also close to asking a couple people I know in the British antiquarian world to read it and let me know if I've got everything right, as regards Adam's knowledge. I know a fair amount, but I can just see me making a major gaffe over something simple -- like maybe Quires aren't all that important, or back drop boxes are not the same as Solander cases.

So much to do, still...

Sunday, October 8, 2017

WTF Did I Do?

I've lost half the changes I made for The Alice '65. I cannot find them anywhere on either laptop or thumb drives. Apparently, the draft I worked on all weekend was an earlier draft of the story. I remember making a draft titled October 5th then, on Saturday, saved that draft as October 7th to differentiate between them...and I cannot find the October 5th one, anywhere. I've searched my thumb drives and both laptops, and it's nowhere to be found.

Fortunately, I'd printed out the first 92 pages of that draft, on Friday, but it means I have to go back through and re-input everything I did. So I'm now way behind schedule. I thought I'd completed this draft, but no such luck.

Shit. Shit. Shit.

I positively despise computers, at the moment.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Alice '65 is done, again...

I just finished the latest draft. 301 double-spaced pages, 64,950 words. Tighter. More precise. Ready for more proofing. I'll think about doing that, tomorrow; right now, I'm brain dead.

The work today was mainly taken up with making the fight in the jet read more clearly. I don't know if a large passenger jet can even do what I have this one doing, but right now I don't care. It works for the story.

The nice thing about focusing on writing is, I can ignore the crap that Czar Snowflake keeps spitting out. A hurricane's hitting New Orleans, but the SOB's off golfing, again. Let the rabble take care of themselves and take credit for anything that goes right while blaming Obama for anything that goes wrong.

I wasn't crazy about Obama. He was not a real progressive. He did some great things -- the ACA, and saving GM and Chrysler, and bringing a lot of respect back to the US after Bush's disasters -- but he also increased the drone attacks that killed civilians and his plan to help homeowners wrecked by the financial collapse did next to nothing, almost deliberately, and he did not go after the scum on Wall Street and in the banks who caused the collapse. But this knee-jerk reaction by the right wing to lay everything bad at his doorstep is beyond ludicrous into diseased.

Considering the chaos exploding in the world and the vile actions by the GOP and its vermin followers, I'm beginning to think it may be a good thing for Mother Nature to make mankind extinct. Or at least cut us back to a manageable level. Right now, we're fouling our nest and turning on each other like rats trapped in a cage. It's truly frightening, and having a maniac with his finger on the nuclear button is terrifying.

I keep telling myself things have been worse in the past, which they have. Germany's 30 year war in the 17th Century killed off 2/3 of its population. The Black Plague wiped out half of Europe. Aztecs and Incas practiced human sacrifice. Tribes in Africa ate their enemies. Not so much of that, now. Just maniacs mowing down people in movie theaters or concerts or as they go to school.

What a world I'm bringing my tender little book into.

Friday, October 6, 2017

I'm close to hating my new laptop...

When I'm working on it, things seem to go bad far more often. I have to make corrections in every sentence, no matter how hard I try, because if I even brush against a letter next to the one I want, it inputs it. Or it pops up with a window that offers either an explanation of what a word means or access to some other window. And when I want to click and drag, I have to try to do it 3-4 times before it stops just opening the damned file and agrees to let me do what I want to do. Other times, even if I hit a key, it doesn't take.

I'm not the world's greatest typist, but in the previous paragraph, I had to make 14 corrections. Those slow me down immeasurably. That's half the reason I shifted back to my old MacBook to work on A65. I don't have anywhere near this much trouble on it. And it has a separate click pad from the track pad, making it a lot easier to do click and drag and highlighting and locating.

If this is the direction Macs are going, I have to rethink them. Because the reason I liked Mac was its ease of use and helpfulness. Now it's so tight and sophisticated, it's beyond my ability to use. And that pisses me off. If I have to have an artistic hand to fucking word process, that defeats the purpose.

I didn't do any work on A65, this evening; it was time to handle bills and my schedule and catch up on emails. I haven't heard from Zan Varin about my art for the book cover, yet, so sent him a message. I will finish inputting the book this weekend; I don't need to leave my apartment so can concentrate on it. Then Monday I'm printing it out, double-sided, to go over again.

It's a never ending least, the way I do it, it is...

Thursday, October 5, 2017

One of those moods...

I honestly do not know what it is, but nothing was making me happy, the last couple days. I'm tired, sure, from this whirlwind trip...getting up at 4am to catch a plane so I don't have to pay for another hotel night, not eating well the whole trip because I'm in a part of the country that believes in salting everything a dozen times and slathering it with butter -- even a Wolfgang Puck restaurant in Greenville's airport was a disaster; what they call a Margherita pizza was more like soggy toast with tomato paste, Cheez-whiz and six (6) nickel-sized leafs of basil.

So I get in after midnight, sleep till 10, don't go into work till noon, work like crazy to catch up on all the changes to my schedule, next week, and grumble and mutter, then after I leave can't figure out what I want for dinner because I've got nothing at home figure, "Y'know, I like Indian and this one place has really good curry." But then I think, "I want a real meal and that's only almost one."

Still I talk myself into it, only to have the waiter hover over me and try 5 times to fill my glass with water, even though I've told him not to. Then the Samosas are fried to a crisp and the beer is middling and it takes forever for my lamb curry to arrive, and I just want to leave.

So I come home with leftovers and somehow talk myself into working on A65...and that made me happy. I feel like Adam and Casey are my children, and they've grown into lovely adults right before my eyes. I'm at the next morning, after the chaos of Lando's party, and Adam's being tender and caring about Casey, understanding why she did what she did, and she's enjoying being with him and it all looks good for them...until a brutal crisis in the next chapter. Then it's all roller-coaster time.

When I finished for the night, I checked on BookDaily's promo to find 354 people checked out OT, which was good, I guess. Amazon did the business of getting it known, too, with an additional 200 "clicks" on the offering. Whether that will turn into reviews is still up in the air; I don't even know if any of these "clicks" wound up with people actually downloading the book; that info's not offered. But I've done what I can, for now. The next couple months will let me know if it's worth the money.

Hope it is.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Spending the night in Dillard, Georgia...

Man, some of the places I go to. This is in the northern part of the state, where the Smokey Mountains begin. Some lovely scenery and that's about it. Next week I do another round of trips to Chicago, LA and Seattle, then after that is Key West. I keep thinking there's something in the background I'm forgetting at the very end of the month, before China in Print in Hong Kong...meaning I gotta get my butt in gear if I want this book done by Thanksgiving.

I'm trying an experiment with OT, right now -- giving away free ebooks for 5 days, through Kindle and BookLife. It started Sunday, and so far nearly 500 copies have been downloaded, making it a number 1 in gay mysteries; I took a screenshot as proof.

So that part of the experiment was good. Next comes seeing if I get any reviews out of it and then whether or not it makes people open to paying the whole $1.95 for it in ebook.

But if this does work, I'm using it for A65. I got another chapter done, even though I'm exhausted. I was up at 4am to catch my plane down here, so for much of the morning I was Mr. Grouch. Good thing is, I scored empty rows on my flight to Atlanta and then to Greenville. Better for all concerned.

Now I'm fading and that's enough for the night.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

And a bit more of A65...

Continues from yesterday's to the end of Chapter 1 --


"So what about that bloody Erasmus? Been on the shelf a week and you're expert on it and — "

“It's set to photograph,” Adam said.

That is when Hakim, their unctuous, fastidious, self-proclaimed office manager, popped in to snap, “The provenance better be right, this time.”

Adam huffed. Once, when researching a manuscript copy of Richard Wagner's Die Nibelungen for The Arts Council, he'd neglected to put an umlaut over a "U" in his transcription from the German. Never mind it was he who realized it and informed Hakim before the provenance was sent over, the man now acted as if Adam's work was constantly riddled with errors.

Adam meant to respond with an off-hand, “Of course,” but instead shot Hakim a glare and noticed Elizabeth was about to pass with a thick volume bound in vellum. He bolted over.

Wait, is this Die Schedelsche Weltchronik?” he asked, in German. “The one found in Romania?

The book had caused quite a stir around the department — an original Nuremberg Chronicle, by Hartmann Schedel, created at the end of the Fifteenth Century and considered the first and most exquisite example of illustrations being integrated into printed books. This one had been discovered in some attic in Bucharest and was being offered to Merryton, for sale. Photos had been sent and most of the staff thought it was a legitimate copy, as did Vincent.

And Sir Robert. Butterworth. The most recent addition to the governors. He was the one pushing the expansion of the rare book collection, and he was more than a little perturbed when Adam insisted the binding did not look original and the photographs were of pages too easily reproduced. He had overruled Adam and now the book was here for consideration.

"This arrived quickly," Adam continued, still in German.

Elizabeth sighed and snapped, "Adam, English."

He was so used to being reminded he was speaking another language, he merely asked, "Why're you taking it? It’s outside your area of expertise while mine is perfectly suited — "

“Vincent asked me to,” she snapped.

“Why would he do that?”

Hakim snorted. “You argued with him."

To which Elizabeth added, with acidic sweetness, "And Sir Robert, neither of whom likes being contradicted."

Adam huffed. Sir Robert had also put down a substantial deposit to guarantee the purchase because he felt it was too good an opportunity to pass up. He would not like being made to look foolish, but if the book did turn out to be a facsimile and not a first printing, it would be worth a fraction of the owner's asking price.

“Elizabeth,” Adam said, taking the book from her, “you must already see the binding is not contemporary to the book. More like Eighteenth-Century, at earliest, and — ”

He looked inside and huffed, again.

Elizabeth had put her initials on the first endpaper, in soft graphite. It was to show Jeremy by whom the book was catalogued so he could note it in his log, then it was to be carefully erased once photographed. But it was not supposed to be done until the book HAD been catalogued, something she had yet to begin.

Adam cast a glance of reproach at her then tenderly shifted to the title page — and saw that he was right; it had been slipped into the volume with such expert care, only one tiny crinkle showed in the paper. “Here you go; her title page is affixed — ”

Elizabeth cut him off with, “Adam, it's not a person; it's a thing.”

He cradled the book in one arm and carefully held the page up for her to see what was blatantly obvious. To him. “But look at the — ”

She snapped the book closed, clipping his nose with a corner of the front board and making him yelp, then she yanked it away.

“Give it here!” she snarled. “Hakim's right. Half the time you've got no idea what you're talking about.” And she stormed off.

Adam noticed Jeremy was snickering, and Hakim was glaring at him as if he were fully incompetent. This was not to be borne. When he was right about a book, he was right, and he knew he was right. But if he had to prove it, he knew exactly how.

He strode back into The Dark Chamber, aiming for a tiny lift situated in a back corner while rubbing his nose to keep from sneezing. The lift was the main way down to the basement, which held row after row of sturdy shelves packed with books on collectors and collecting, bibliographies, biographies, annual sales records, auction and dealer catalogues, correspondences, encyclopedias — over ten thousand volumes the department had gathered over centuries, for research purposes. Adam considered it a treasure trove.

The basement's one drawback was how dark and dreary it was. Electric lighting had been added a hundred years ago, when the shelves were much fewer, but had not been expanded. That left large sections in shadows so deep, Adam had to use the light on his phone to see or read the books’ labels.

Elizabeth had nicknamed it The Dungeon and hated to go down there for fear of rats or mice. Adam thought she was being too dramatic, for they had Henry the Fourteenth to handle vermin. He was a ginger cat named after the thirteen preceding him, and who was always happy to greet one as the lift door opened then wander off to be content in some dry corner till it was time to hunt for supper — which, considering his hefty weight, he was not wanting for. So perhaps Elizabeth had a point.

The lift was sitting in its place, ready to be used. It had been added at the same time as the lighting, and was barely large enough for one man and a book cart. Plus one had to take extra care when getting in and out as its door and gate were manual and loved to catch your fingers.

Adam sneezed then opened the door and the gate to step in and heard —

“Now, Jere, one of those is mine.”

He turned to look past the shelving and saw Jeremy framed in the doorway with both cups of tea in hand. His expression was as innocent as that of the angels on high as he said, “Sorry, duchess, but last I heard, no means no.”

“And I'm sure you heard it just last night,” Elizabeth snapped, appearing in the doorway with him. “Hand it over. It's my cup.”

“Come and take it,” he cooed, as he backed to his room.

Elizabeth followed him.

Adam sighed and absently closed the elevator door. He was not surprised she liked Jeremy. She could look him straight in the eye, when in heels, and you never knew what he might do from one moment to the next, while the track of Adam's future was straight and obvious till the age of death. Deviation not allowed.

Adam shook his head and absently closed the gate — and it pinched his left thumb. He yelped. It had cut his skin. He pulled a handkerchief from his suit pocket to wrap around it, then set the lever to Basement and started down. He had clean bandages in his rucksack so would get one when he came back up. Oh well, at least the day couldn’t get any worse.

Or so he thought.