Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

First step to God knows what...

I submitted the paperback edition of BC to CreateSpace and they're reviewing it now. I had all the tools I needed to do it in, the worst part was making sure everything was consistent. I now think it is and the previewer says they can't find anything wrong, so...

This is the final cover I worked up. They gave me the parameters and it's within them, including space for the bleed. The only thing I'm concerned about is the face, since it's up against the fold to the spine.I hope it works.

I'm going for a 5x8 book, which, once I finished making sure all the headings began on an odd-numbered page, is now 624 pages long. That's a Steven King novella. But I'm not in his league...oh, pun intended. Except for price -- $22.95. Amazon has a minimum you can charge and that's enough over it to make it worthwhile. I guess. Still pricey for a paperback.

All the black space under the blurb on the back is to make sure there's room for the bar-code. Amazon provides that and an ISBN, and I got the enhanced distribution for the book, since it was only $25. Everything else is paid for through Amazon's cut of whatever I sell.

I'll find out in about 48 hours or so if I did everything up to CreateSpace's standards, then I get a proof to go over. If it's not, I think I get notes on what needs correcting. Damn, it's tedious work...but I owe it to the characters.

I'm still not able to figure out what the hell's wrong with the Kindle adaptation. I've sent e-mail requests in to them but they ignore me. Maybe they don't even know and don't want to admit it.

Tomorrow, I hope to get onto "The Alice 65"...but I feel like I'm fighting off a cold that was probably given to me by one of my bosses. She got a flu shot...and caught the flu. Perfect. Maybe that's where my headache came from, yesterday.

Now I'm headed for a long, hot shower, hoping the steam will clear out the cobwebs.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I can't go any farther with translating BC into Kindle until I find out what the issue is about the Table of Contents, so I prepped it for Create Space, to do a paperback edition. Shifting the size to 8x5 from 8.5x11 and using Palatino type instead of Courier...and dropping the type size to 8 point lowered the page count to 561. I dunno if any of that is acceptable, yet; but at 100% viewing size in Word, it's very readable.

It helped that I worked from home, today. With NYC shut down for the next couple of days, nothing much is happening at the office. I have a couple things to work out in Paris and Malibu, but even one of those is in a holding pattern till Friday. And apparently November 1st is a holiday in France and much of Europe. Is that All Souls Day or All Saints? Can't remember.

But sticking with the computer all day has given me quite a tension buzz in my neck and shoulders. I've slopped on Icy Hot and popped some Advil, so now I'm a doper.

More ideas are coming to make A65 better. I've realized one character is doing things another character should, and vise versa. And it helps to reverse one set-up, completely. If I can get BC sent off, tomorrow, I'm plowing into A65, whole hog.

Buffalo didn't get much of Sandy, really. Some wind and rain, and the temperature's dropped a good 15 degrees in the last hour, but up here we were spared the worst of it.

Back on le job in the AM. Guess I'll hit the Kindle boards, before I go to bed, and see if I can get an answer to my ToC problem, since their techies ain't responding to my inquiries.

Typical Amazon bullshit.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Kindle is out to make me crazy

I ran a test of what BC would look like in Kindle, now that it's all formatted. And almost everything was coming out just fine. Title page. Table of contents linking to assigned chapters. Formatting of the paragraphs nice and neat. I can test it in 8 different Kindle formats, and in every one, everything comes out great except for 3 items.

1. The copyright declaration stays at the top of the page instead of going to the bottom, where I want it.

2. My dedication page does the same thing.

3. I cannot get Kindle to recognize I have a Table of Contents to link back to. Like, if you're on Chapter 10 and you want to go back to the ToC to get to chapter 6, you just hit Control T and it's supposed to go, automatically. But it won't. It keeps telling me I don't have a Table of Contents set up in the program. And this is after me doing everything it says to do to set that up.

I've tried just about everything from making the ToC a heading to not making it a heading to closing the program out to restarting my computer to chanting some Indian spell. Nothing's worked.

It's like 97% right...but it has to be 100%.

And to think I may have to go through this with other programs, too. It ain't easy being published.

I wonder if, now that I have 9 books published, Random House or Penguin would give me a look-see? Then they can handle this crap.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Done proofing...

I still have some formatting to do, but I'm rather cross-eyed, right now, so quit before I made a major mistake. I got all the way to setting up a bookmark for a Table of Contents, but I'm doing something wrong because it just won't take. Everything else did -- chapter links and paragraph formatting and such. I'll deal with it tomorrow.

It's 657 pages long, now. But in one version of Kindle Preview, it's only 255 pages. Weird.

I can't think. Here's some photos I took when I was in Seattle weekend before last.
It was raining so I shot this from under an overhang at the Science fiction Museum.
 This is just a fun shot of the Space Needle reflected in the metal siding of the building.
I caught this just as the monorail was headed off.

Nothing else I shot was in the least bit interesting, since the sky was overcast and I'd already taken pictures of just about everyplace else I wanted to, in the city, the times I've been here. before.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Past work

I've been proofing and reformatting BC, and I'm finally at the end of book 2...and just want to share some of my writing that I'm actually a bit proud of. This is Eric's voice, after he's had an earth-shifting revelation.


The night drifted past in its own time. Not long. Not short. Just real. The dark room was quiet. Still. At rest with me. Vague moonlight filtered in, reflecting hints of shadows on the ceiling. I slowly grew aware of how many shades of night there are. How many shifting colors of gray. Some whispery. Some warm. Some thin and cold. Some deep and mysterious. Some welcoming. All blending together in my crowded little life to add room where there once was none.

Even the silence was gray. Nothing harsh or sharp or startling shrieked at me, that night, not from the street or the sky or my neighbor’s abodes. Nor was there an absence of sound. Just the eternal breath of gentle existence flowing in, flowing out. Soft in. Soft out.

I felt at peace. Complete and utter peace for the first time in...well, honestly, in my life. Not tired. Not sad. Not weary of the world. Not angry. I was just...pleased about lying there, if that can make sense. Pleased because it meant nothing. Not one thing more than what it was. And I savored it. I drifted in it. Floated upon it. Let it hold me and caress me and make love to me in its nothingness. Let it banish any disturbance against my quietude. Even Jag, who can sometimes be restless as he sleeps, lay as still as death.

Just as the day was beginning to make itself known to the night, again, I felt something whisper over the tips of my hair. And lay itself on the left side of my face. It was like someone’s left hand covering me from the top of my eyebrow to the line of my chin, its little finger nestled in the crook of my eye by the bridge of my nose. It was cozy. Warm. Exquisite in its strength and tenderness. I felt as though I knew it would come. Hoped it would. So when it did, I rolled my face into it. Let it glide over my nose and caress my right eye and drift soft against my right cheek. Its thumb drew gentle across my lips. I felt as though I’d been kissed. The fingers trailed down my neck and whispered away. I don’t know whose hand it was -- Bobby’s, God’s, my guardian angel’s, my imagination’s -- it didn’t matter. I felt so light and easy, I smiled and went to sleep.

Friday, October 26, 2012

I gets the sleepies...

It comes from all the editing I'm having to do to get BC ready to publish. I finally revealed all the non-printing characters on the book so I could view them and make certain they're properly set...and they aren't. Some of my "returns" are coming up double. Not all of them, nor is it consistent. So I'm going back through what I've already done and correcting them. And god, it makes my eyes droop.

I'm only about halfway through the re-proofing, so far. And I'll have a lot more formatting to do, apparently, once I have that part settled. I'm getting guidance from a guy who's done it, already, and his suggestions indicate I've got a LOT more editing in store.

On top of this, today I started the process of changing banks. First Niagara has decided they want to play games with me and charge me fees for things I did not agree to. This has happened a couple of times over the last two months, but the final one was holding my paycheck until it cleared...even though it's drawn on their bank...while letting checks I've written pass through until I'm in the red, then adding my paycheck in and charging me a fee of $35 because I'm overdrawn.

I talked with them for half an hour, yesterday, and got a great big, "What you gonna do about it?" Which says to me that don't care to have me as a customer. So...I'm shifting to a credit union. I applied yesterday and was accepted today, so after work signed the papers and opened a checking and savings. They're affiliated with thousands of other credit unions around the country, including a lot in San Antonio, so I can use their ATMs without charge. Meaning they're a better fit for me, anyway.

I need to get control of my finances, anyway, and maybe this will help. I'm too close to the edge, again. Thing is, I'm the main support of my youngest brother, right now, paying his rent and giving him money to run on. He works, occasionally, but he's a hard case when it comes to getting a job. But he's finally getting some decent dental work, paid for by my sister, and should have dentures in a few months, once his mouth has properly healed. And he does go looking for work and does temp stuff.

He's living in part of that duplex my nephew's bought, and he's willing to do some work on it, but for some reason my nephew doesn't think he can do it right so is laying out for a contractor who's not getting the jobs done.'s better for my brother. Steadier.

Only thing is, he takes 25% of my income...and it's getting tighter and tighter. I guess this proves I'm an artist -- most of us are screwed when it comes to money. We can't all be as rich as Picasso.

Or as avaricious.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Not hard, just tedious...

A guy following my Tumbler blog turned me onto Kindle Preview, an app that will take your book and show you how it'll look in an electronic upload. Doing that showed me where I'm making mistakes in formatting a hell of a lot better than the so-called manual Kindle puts out.

For example, it's good to name or number your chapters. That helps the Kindle user skip to where he or she needs to go to keep reading (I guess). But it also clarifies that there's been a deliberate break in the setup. I hadn't done that and skimming through I could see how hard it would be to find your place in the book if you lose it.

I also can see why italics are difficult to read on a Kindle or Nook. And I don't need to keep the lines double-spaced. Man, when I submitted my manuscripts to those publishers, they had a lot of work to do to make them presentable.

My assumption is, this will also work for Nook, Kobo, and print publishing, but I haven't gotten to that point, yet.

When I make A65 into a novel, I'll name the chapters as I go along. I did that for LD and it actually worked out fun.

It'd be nice if I could make some actual money off this. I'm so broke, right now, I'm juggling bills, again. And my car needs servicing. And don't get me started on the taxes I'll owe. At least I finally met my deductible for my health insurance, so now I only pay a co-pay on meds and 20% of the allowable on Dr. visits.

Who knows? Maybe Romney'll win and I'll move to Canada and work in Saskatchewan.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

And the winner is...

I'm going with this layout for the cover of the full BC novel. I could futz around for the next six months and maybe come up with something better, even with my limited resources...but why? The cover works for the story. It just needs to be neatened up, a little.

I've combined all three Word documents into the one book and am reformatting it while also still checking for typos and bad grammar...well, inconsistent grammar. I'm just over a third of the way through but have a lot left to go. It's over 192,000 words and 825 double-spaced pages long. Damn...I DO think I'm Tolstoy.

Of course, that's in Courier font. If I shift it to Palatino, page count goes down, and when the book is fixed up for printing and downloading, the number of pages is cut by nearly a third. But that's still Steven King big.

However, I'm using this as a learning process. Sort of test the waters of self-publishing for future reference. I'm weary of letting other people handle my books, especially since I've realized all three publishers I've had books brought out by are using a glorified version of the self-publishing route.

What's worse? None of them are doing any publicity for the books. At all. Maybe Wheelman Press is using its mailing list to announce NYPD BLOOD, and they say they've done more, but it's not translating into sales. So...I couldn't do any worse, I guess. We'll see how this goes.

One thing I will say, as sort of a back-pat to myself -- the story is damn solid. Bobby and Eric have completely distinct voices and grammar and are their own characters. I'm actually proud of parts of the book. Arrogant, I know...maybe a bit egotistical...possibly even self-deluded...but I don't care. I like how it is.

Guess my next job is to find out how to get more people to read it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


That's how I'm feeling, right now. Dunno why. No, that's bullshit. I do know why. It's family -- the gift that keeps on giving. And giving. And giving. And even 1600 miles isn't far enough to be away from it all, not with the glories of modern technology. All I want to do, right now, is spit nails.

I'm helping my nephew buy a duplex. I'm co-signing, and my brother is going to live in the smaller unit. But said nephew is discovering that dealing with contractors is not...oh, let's just say...easy. Especially when you need the work done within a certain timeframe, and the guy ain't exactly bustin' butt to do it. Everyone I know who owns a house has had a similar problem when dealing with a contractor.

My sister in San Diego, who is never wrong about anything, got hold of one who thought he could BS his way around her. BIG mistake. You cross her? You regret it.

A friend of mine was having work done on his home and bought into the promises made by one of those guys...years ago...and said house is nowhere near done.

The people I work for thought by using a friend to do the contracting they'd avoid that mess. No way, Jose. Lawsuits were being threatened by the end of it all.

This is one of the reasons I never wanted to own property. Being a renter, all I do is call the manager or the landlord and they have to take care of anything that needs doing. And if they don't, I have recourse to make them. Which I've had to do, a few times. And if it gets too ridiculous, I can move to another place.

You can't do that if you own the joint, can you, Gertrude?

Yes, Gertrude's come rolling up to remind me of my duty to her and her beloved Adam...and Casey, since she gets her some salmon. Which is why I feel sooooo growly, myself, again.

All right, all right, all right, lemme finish up BC and then I'll get onto A65.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Still moody and broody

But getting back to creative...if still hard to please.
Here's the latest version of the cover for BC. I'm still not completely happy with it...but it's getting closer.It's busy. Maybe if I don't have the cobblestones start till farther up the image...have them come out of black. I dunno.

I bought the picture and having it clean helps, a lot. And I used India Ink and a calligraphy brush to do the title, then scanned it in and colorized it. None of the fonts I have available are really very interesting or seriously dramatic. This was the best out of a dozen different ones I tried.

And the flare is too sharp. I need to cut that back.

Adam and Casey are nudging at me, but I'm wary of getting into A65, yet. Still...I can't waste much more time. I may have a packing job in DC on the 7th. And I want to do the novel thing through November.

It's just...I'm not feelin' it, right now.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

King of Typos, am I...

I'm going back through "Bobby Carapisi" and checking for typos missed during the editing process. I felt it was needed because even just in the reformatting, I found three of them -- a missing word, a parenthesis when one was not supposed to be there, and a comma in pace of a period. Grr. So today, while doing laundry, I scoured the first hundred pages for screw-ups. Found two more -- a missing letter and the same word twice in a row.

This evening I completed Eric's half of Book One. Tomorrow I'll get into Bobby's beginning. I've been able to keep myself from rewriting parts of the book, so far, even though I found an inconsistency. It's not that big a deal of one; it's just irritating to think of all the work I did to get this ready and still missed so much.

At least this keeps me moving forward while I get past this foul mood I'm in. I can't subject A65 to my hyper-critical crap, right now, even though Adam and Casey are ready to rock. They need a fair reworking of their material, not one where I won' be happy with anything in any way, form, or fashion.

This election isn't helping me, at all. It's looking more and more like Obama is deliberately blowing it because he hasn't got the backbone to face another 4 years of GOP obstructionism or just plain isn't willing to accept that he'll always be "boy" to them, no matter how much he tries to compromise with their vile demands. Romney can barely hide his contempt of the man, and his sons are proving to be the epitome of white entitlement bullshit in attitudes that parrot their father.

If Romney wins, we'll return to the 1890s, known as the Gilded Age, where robber barons ruled the country and the courts sided with them any chance they had to.God help us, then.

I guess I should say, feeling pissy's made it easier for me to find those typos and mistakes, since I'm looking for reasons to snarl.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


No writing done today. I'd intended to work on the new draft of A65 but my mood was all wrong to even think of attempting comedy. So I handled some family crap and worked on another version of the cover for BC and did started reformatting the book for Kindle and, I think Create Space.

It's good that I've got the new version of Word. It supposedly works better with Amazon's requirements than earlier versions. All I've had to do was reconfigure the chapter headings, remove the page numbers, and correct the set-up for spacing between paragraphs.

I'm in no rush to do it, right now. I still need to settle on a cover for the book. But it's getting closer.
I like this workup, except for the font on the title; that's still a bit lightweight. And I almost think I need to return some color to the bricks leading up to the cargo van, for better balance. And the banner at the bottom is a bit too wide.

But...I've got the haunted eyes seeming hidden and the flare works a lot better than a black background. Even the silhouette works for me, now. I'll work up a complete one, tomorrow.

I watched the 1952 version of "The Prisoner of Zenda" on TCM. Never seen the whole movie, before, and it's fun. Gets my brain off things.

Friday, October 19, 2012

I has an ennui...

Life's decided to mess with me, a little, so I'm being self indulgent and piddling. I worked up another version of my BC cover, and already think it needs to be changed. Maybe I'll post the next version. I dunno. I just want to sleep.

Sometimes complications are just not worth dealing with. That's when you need distractions...

(UPDATE): I just realized why this photo grabbed me; this model looks so very much like Dwayne, a guy I knew in Houston, it's scary. He hated being gay and was drinking himself to death. He's the one who showed up at the book store I was working in, drunk out of his mind, and lost control of his bladder in the middle of the store. I took him home to his parents' in a small Texas town, they got him into rehab, and he did great for a while. Then fell off the wagon, bigtime.

I cut off contact. You can't save someone who doesn't want to be saved. I've tried too many times to prove that's not true...and failed at all of them. His was the one who finally proved it to me.

That was twenty years ago. Literally. And to see this picture's like the time never passed.

I have no idea what happened to him. My hope is, he climbed back on the wagon and lived a happy life.

It's good to have hope.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


 This is what a friend of mine came up with as an alternate cover for BC. Anybody got thoughts on it? Yes? No? WTF? Don't even think of changing it?
This is what I came up with, as another possibility. Same questions abound.

Doesn't help I'm using a 9 year old version of Photoshop and never really did know how to use the program to its fullest.

I've pretty much decided to keep this face. The baseball player's cutout is free, and that works for me.

I just need more feedback. Anybody?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I'm working on other things, today, to keep from jumping back into A65 too quickly. I want to get to it Saturday, when I can spend the day on it and go through the whole script and get a feel for the flow of the story. Right now, it seems a bit off center; maybe I'll know better how to make it kick ass if I take a couple more days.

So I worked up another potential cover for the complete "Bobby Carapisi". One that's not as focused on the sex, as that other one was. If anyone wants to give me feedback...
I'm not looking for comments on the quality; I found the photo on Shutterstock and just used their sample, so the edges and color are crap. And I had to change his eyes from blue to brown. But...I can license it for use, and I like the "hiding" aspect of it. This is the proper size for it, too, if I publish through Create Space.

It won't be cheap to do and I won't make a lot on the book's sales, but I think as a single volume it'll come across a lot better. And it was me who pushed Nazca Plains to make the 3 volumes' covers too subtle. My fault, there; sometimes in your face is better than being coy.

Because the fact of the matter is, HTRASG -- which is a VERY in-your-face book -- is still selling steady, and PM is following up, nicely. I guess because they are on the obvious side, even though the stories still contain surprises...I think. The reviews are positive, at least. The only 2 negative reactions came on GoodReads, both apparently female, and they won't tell me what they didn't like.


Unless...they thought it was supposed to be slash fiction. Oh...I wonder what would happen if I wrote a similar story involving Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans, as their characters in "The Avengers", going after Robert Downey Junior's Iron Man? Or vice versa?


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

United is low rent

It's funny, but United has this history and image of being a great airline, but it's really cheesy. All of their terminal facilities that I've been in, so far, have been awkward and uncomfortable, at best. And while the jet I flew on between Seattle and DC was brand new, it was so cramped and minimally appointed, I felt like I was on a cut-rate carrier.

Southwest can be cheap, but you get free drinks and snacks and their planes don't seem quite as tight. Maybe it's because they don't have a first class section. Jet Blue's the same way, and with their planes you get videos, if you want them. On the United flight, I couldn't open my laptop wide enough to see my DVDs without angling it. Granted I'm not as thin as I used to be, but when I'm on Southwest and Jet Blue, I can lay my laptop on the seat tray and open it.

As for Dulles...the name is appropriate. It's a very dull, disinterested airport with minimums of everything.

I'm sure half my grumpiness is due to my sleep schedule being off. I watched "Being Human" on the first leg of the trip because I can't sleep on a plane. I'll doze and rest and all that...but actual sleep never comes. So I don't bother trying, anymore.

I like BH, a lot. It has the ability to surprise me. Like the final confrontation between the good critters and the bad ones at the end of episode 6 -- I knew basically what was going to happen, but the writers and director probably figured that and played with it, so it was still a surprise. What grounds the series even more in how they don't shy away from the fact that the lead males are a vampire and werewolf, and those creatures kill. I do find it interesting that the female lead is a ghost. Symbolically, that's a bit too much...but it makes sense in the context of the story.

I'm warming to Aiden Turner as the broody bloodsucker. He's built a good charisma on screen with his fellow actors. Russell Tovey's shown he can go overboard on the twitchiness, but it fits into his character. And Lenora Chrichlow can shift from cool to crushed in a heartbeat, and make it work.

I may actually buy this series.

Monday, October 15, 2012

N Terminal sucks

As much as I like Seattle's airport...that's limited to the Central Terminal. It's bright and airy and has huge windows to watch planes land and take off, not to mention a wide array of places to eat. But N Terminal is everything Central Terminal is not -- cramped, minimal food offerings, and worst of all -- next to no electrical outlets, and half of those have no chairs next to them or one socket doesn't work. It's ludicrous in today's flying market.

And don't get me started on the pathetic setup for Security getting into N Terminal. Took 45 minutes.

I've got a nasty headache brewing from this. Well...that and having walked over a fair portion of Seattle. It's about a mile from the LINK station to the warehouse we contract with for the book fair...and a mile back. It's a mile from the Westlake station to a night club I wanted to see...that was closed. It's a mile from Westlake to my hotel, where I left my bag...tho' I took the monorail partway there. But all that walking in the exhausted me.

Now I'm facing an overnight flight into Dulles Airport and not looking forward to it. Now I wish I'd made it a round trip on Southwest and used a free hotel night I have at Best Western. 20/20 hindsight at work, again. At least I was smart enough to have an extra change of clothes and shoes., so I'm not flying in wet things.

I was going to watch the rest of Season One for "Being Human" on the flight home...but now I don't know. We'll see how Advil does.

Rain and fog

Seattle has not disappointed. This morning I strolled down to the harbor and wandered through the sculpture park, and it was overcast and a bit blustery. Then about 2pm it started to drizzle...and kept it up for hours, with moments of actual rain in between. Lovely...except for the fact that books tend not to like getting wet. But that's what plastic's for -- to keep things dry. Now it's foggy and reminding me of London.

One great thing about book fairs like this is, you can usually find anything you want. And a bookseller I know has a copy of the 1866 edition of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" that was put out by Appleton Press. When John Tenniel made Lewis Carroll withdraw the first printing of "Alice...", as I understand it, the unbound sheets were sold to Appleton and the 1866 copyright was added. Lewis Carroll had a low opinion of children in the US due to his encounter with an American child a few years before, so he had no problem letting the second-rate printing come here.

He also gave the presentation copies he'd gotten back to a children's hospital, after removing his signature page. Those have turned up, on occasion, as well...but it's the 15 presentation copies he did not get back that are the "Alice '65."

The dealer let me look the book over, and to my eye the illustrations were clean and nice. But each artist is his own worst critic and the most demanding of people, so maybe it was just the awkward placement Tenniel didn't like.

Another great thing about this fair is, I get to see friends I haven't seen in a while. Catch up on life. Revisit past moments.

I need to make it clearer in A65 that Adam is a total book person who has friends in the field.

On another note, I don't like my workup for BC's new edition, at all. It looks like it's bondage porn. I think I'm going to aim for a picture of a baseball player of some sort. That ties it together much better.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Decisions made...

In November, I'm working A65 into a book, using the NaNoWriMo challenge. They only want 50K in words to make their minimum; I figure it'll be 65K, but that's cool. That'll give me the chance to flesh out the characters, better, and not have to worry about keeping all the ideas I'm having for it in the script...because it's now up to 113 pages and that is too long for this story.

I'm also reconfiguring "Bobby Carapisi" into a single volume, and I have this worked up as a possible cover. Obviously, it's a lot more explicit as regards what the book is about...maybe too much so. I have to think about this, once I can focus on it. Then I'm self-publishing it in electronic format and in paperback, and putting it solely in the fiction offerings.

The book is over 600K in wordage, so that may be a problem. I'll need to do more research into the limits of companies like CreateSpace and Kindle.

I think I'll also look around to see what other formats are available. There is no way I'd go solely with Amazon, especially considering how casual they are about screw-ups, weasels sneaking in to steal sales of your books, and the general reporting of book sales.

Now it's off to the airport and a long trip to Seattle. I'm not due to get in till after midnight, my time. But I don't have to be at the venue till 5pm my time. And I've got episodes 4, 5, & 6 of "Being Human" to keep me going on the way back.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Second draft...need to craft...

113 pages. And it's chattery, I'm sure. But now it's set for me to dig through and hone it down, again. I'm not taking it to Seattle. I want the 3 day's distance between me and it. I'll print up a copy when I get home and start on it, then. I can already see one place where I don't explain how something happened. I'm sure there'll be others.

I'm close to the point where I need critiques to let me know if the story and characters work. I'm way too close to them. Plus I think Adam needs to have a more delineated character arc. Right now he sort of has one, but it still feels a bit fuzzy. And Casey's is too scattered to make much sense, yet.

this really has become more of a romantic comedy than a straight comedy. Aren't those one of the hardest scripts to sell?

I'm having issues with Amazon, again. Apparently some companies have begun posting my books through Amazon as if they are new listings for sale, and making it look like my books have gone out of print. They're asking ridiculous prices for them -- from $40 to $225! I can't get Amazon to do a damn thing about it, yet, and my publishers are shrugging them off as after-market sellers when they aren't coming across that way. It's irritating...but I don't have the time to dig into what to do about it, yet.

I think I need to find a good lawyer who I can ask legal questions of without paying $400 an hour.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

There I go, again...

A65 is now 111 pages long, and I have 25 left to rework -- including the ending, which I pushed through -- and then print up. If I do make it back to 105 pages, it'll be a miracle...because I like what I've got, so far. But this is what I do -- start with a goal of keeping my work from expanding...and then it expands. And it usually does so through my characters.

This image is of a first edition "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" but is an official version from 1866. I seem to recall the Alice '65 I handled way back in 1997 looked like it, and was in a neat clasp-box for protection. This is what the whole uproar is over...and Adam is the only one who really honestly cares about it.

It's a quick script. 95% of it takes place in a 24 hour period. And I think it's true to everyone, so far. But is it a screenplay, yet, or am I prepping to make it a book? I have no idea, yet.

I seem caught between depth and dimension...and "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"

Hm...isn't that what sank the Lusitania?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Writed out...

This is of the Cliffs of Moher on 21 September, 2012, as the moon is setting. It looks surreal, it's so lovely.

I'm up to the mac & cheese moment in A65. About page 50. It all needs to be funnier. Lots funnier. That or I make it a romantic comedy and drop the pretense that I know what I'm doing.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Well...turns out I wasn't making the script crueler so much as I wasn't paying attention to Patricia (Casey's mom and brain) and her sneakiness. She wanted some layering of her own and was gonna get it, if she had to crash the whole damn story around me. But that's my Pat. The bitch.

So I smoothed over the 29 pages, and she's happy. She's got her bits set up, and it's helping to soften Casey a little, at the beginning, while Adam has someone to play off of till Casey shows up.

Reading about how Garry Marshall would add bits of business for every character in his sitcoms -- from when he was writing for Lucille Ball and Danny Thomas to his "Happy Days" and "Laverne and Shirley" shows -- is beginning to help me see ways to make the script stronger and funnier. Maybe no belly laughs, but so far it's off-kilter enough to where I can see people chuckling.

I even have an unnamed paparazzi dude doing a little dance and song as he gloats about how he's going to get the cover of "People Magazine" with what's about to happen.

I don't think I'll get this draft done before I leave for Seattle. It's looking like I might have to pop up to Toronto to oversee the load-in of that book fair, Friday morning. Early. We'll be discussing this, tomorrow, looks like.

A lot of people in the antiquarian book world are upset that Toronto's holding its book fair the same weekend as Seattle (where I'm going to oversee the load out). It's considered a breach of etiquette. But it turns out the Canadians were forced to do it by the convention centre. They were even moved to another room; it's all allowed under their contract with the venue. I have a feeling next year's fair will be in a hotel conference center, which works better for one its size.

There's also a small chance the Hong Kong Fair will still happen, albeit on a smaller scale. A number of the UK dealers do not want to miss the Christmas season over there; it's too important to maintain a presence. I doubt it'll mean me flying over to handle it, but it bodes well for next year.

If there is one. We'll find out on 12-12-12.

Monday, October 8, 2012

There's something happening here...

What it is ain't exactly clear. I just input the first 27 pages of A65...basically, act one...and it's grown darker. And the humor seems to have faded a bit. I didn't realize it till the last few pages of what I worked on. Orisi's bit is still fun...and I think the act ends on a funny note...but some of what Adam goes through is a bit cruel. And while I know comedy can build from cruelty, I wasn't quite expecting this.

Maybe I'm reading too much into it. I've always told myself -- "First draft is to find the story, second draft is to find the characters, third draft is to blend them together." So I shouldn't let myself freak out, yet. Wait till I've done another draft and then see what's going on.

Now if only I could get myself to accept that.

I find it interesting that it's easier for me to write cruelty than happiness. HTRASG is a truly harsh book, as are PM, both volumes of RIHC6, and BC. "The Vanishing of Owen Taylor" was turning out that way and there are parts of LD that are. I can just imagine what a psychologist would say about that. "Ever torture kittens and puppies, little boy?"

No. I hate actually causing anything pain. I think that's one of the reasons I despise torture-porn in the movies; it's all about the hurt and nothing about humanity. I actually turned down a storyboarding job because the script was just plain vile, and I wanted nothing to do with it. Guess I wasn't alone; the movie never got made.

Of course, I know where the darkness comes from. Always have.

That's why I work so hard to keep redemption of some kind in my stories.

Maybe I'm not meant to write comedy or even humor.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Being Human

I just watched the first three episodes of what is apparently a cult hit in England and the US...and it reminded me a lot of "Buffy..." in how it dealt with everyday issues that people face. George, played by Russell Tovey, is a Jewish werewolf who has issues, and we ain't just talking about him getting all hairy and wild once every 4 weeks. Mitchell, played by Aiden Turner, is a vampire in the "Angel" mode but without the curse and with more than a dash of blood lust and problems with self-control. Annie, played by Lenora Crichlow, is a needy ghost who who needs to find out why she's being kept on this earth instead of passing into the next plane of existence.

The boys work in a hospital and help each other out, even as the vampire clan keeps coming around. And Mitchell's nature is not glossed over; he feeds on a girl in the first episode. Some of the set-ups are a bit sit-com-y, but the actors pull them off. And Russell has no problem with shedding his clothes out in the wild as he changes. I seriously doubt they'd include that much nudity in the American remake.

This is one of the few programs that caught me unawares, a few times, and doesn't hesitate to mix in the tragic aspects of their existences. I really like it.

My one complaint is, they start everything partway into the story. Apparently there was a pilot episode where Mitchell and Annie were played by different actors, and that set everything up. I wish I'd known; I would've seen that, first...and may still. I found a couple of links where I may be able to watch it online.

I let myself indulge after I worked through a restructuring of A65. Tomorrow I'm inputting it, and this will, hopefully, be a more solid draft. Then I'm off to Seattle on Saturday and not back till Tuesday morning (redeye for my return), so will dig back into it come Wednesday. And then will be open to getting feedback.


Depends on how funny I can make it seem to me.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Like thinking...

I just read a wonderful series of ruminations by bibliodeviancy in London...and everything he said in it highlighted sections of my soul. I've long known that I'm a book person, though not quite a bibliophile. I love books. Period. As much as I love movies...well, some movies.

But I shifted away from reading as I got deeper and deeper into writing. I mean, I still read non-fiction works, but not so much in the way of fiction. And that's the wrong way to go if you want to tell stories. That's going to change. And if I can't find modern authors I like, I'll go back to the classics. There are a huge number of them I haven't read or read so long ago, I seriously doubt I truly understood them.

I've also long thought books are revolutionary weapons, since by reading people become informed and better recognize just how manipulative their governments and religions can be. He puts it together much better than I could have, even with his questionable grammar.

I've provided the link to the blog, above. I know Adrian Harrington, whose bookstore hosts it, but I doubt it was written by him. The whole feeling is much younger and more current. Scroll down to part 1 of "The Best Lack All Conviction" and read through...and tell these final paragraphs at the end of part 3 don't resonate through you.

"(Books) don’t care if you are rich or poor, black, white, mixed race, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, gay, straight, undecided, indiscriminate or just plain content. They have no interest in the size or shape of your body, your lack of working limbs, life expectancy, family life, prejudices, bigotry, misconceptions, triumphs or regrets. They will offer up what they contain regardless of whether you are happy, miserable, sick, healthy, ecstatic or desperate.

In the thousands of years that we have been gaining, accumulating, transmitting and sharing our knowledge through them, they have always been there for us. They give what they have unconditionally and without judgement. When the people you trust can no longer be trusted, when the ones you love become your enemies, when the ground underfoot is shaky and the sky above looks dark and forbidding there will always be a book with an answer in it somewhere. Even when a book contains something you reject, when it contains information you despise the very fact of its existence has taught you something. You have the choice to take an opposing stance, to decide on the best course of action for you. The book has given you the tools to make your decisions, to stay or to go, to fight or to run, to change or to remain the same.

The trick is that you have to read them. If you don’t, they can’t help."

Friday, October 5, 2012

First draft of "The Alice '65"

It's 106 pages long and still meanders a bit. And I just thought of a point of logic I need to address. Plus...I glossed through a couple of scenes I wasn't sure about just to get to the next part of the script. But now I have a first complete draft and am printing it up and can do my notes and corrections on that. And I feel...relaxed. Almost pleased.

I think I've established Adam as something of an innocent, and Casey starts out totally self-involved, just not in a typical or obviously Hollywood way...I think. I hope. I dunno. On top of it all, Lando's revealed a bit of vulnerability that surprised me, but Gertrude is all set. Yes, it still needs a lot of work, but the hardest part's done.

No...not quite. I have to work in some serious comedy. THAT will be a bitch and a half. But at least I have some guidelines, thanks to that class, and I'm reading Garry Marshall's book, "Wake Me When It's Funny" to see if I can get a better clue as to how to do this.

November is National novel Writing Month, and something I learned from reworking "The Lyons' Den" into a book was how much better I could have made the script, now that I knew even more of the back story. I may do that with A65 -- spend November working it into a novel so I can expand on the story in ways as yet unknown.

I got authorization from Nazca Plains to shift the 3 volumes of "Bobby Carapisi" into one and offer it through Amazon, but I have to come up with my own artwork for the cover. A friend of mine pointed out that no one really knows what the book is about from how it's currently set up, so I may also work in a sub-heading to the title to better indicate that.

I'm going to use BC to test the waters of self-publishing. I haven't done much serious research into it, yet, but if it works, I may put A65 out as a self-published work -- electronic and paperback -- and do something along the same lines with "David Martin". Though for that one, I'll need to work in some illustrations. Just pen and ink, for now.

Who knows -- maybe this way I'll actually make a bit of money off my books.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

New opening to Alice... here's how it all begins..


Cubicles in an old, dark room. ADAM VERLAIN, 30, bookish, glasses, and fussy, works at his computer, neat stacks of paperwork and an ancient book in dark leather on his clean desk. A note is taped to his computer -- VINCENT 3:30!!

He types as he speaks.

Dies ist ein ausgezeichnetes Beispiel für eine frühe gedruckte Volumen.
Talk about poetic license...

He saves the document into a folder on the server, rises and carries the book into


to set it amongst similar antiquarian books.


Adam pours hot water into two mugs.


Adam enters with two steaming mugs of tea. He passes an office with two awkward-looking men in it -- HAKIM and JEREMY.

Hold on, Adam -- have you finally finished that bloody Erasmus? Jeremy’s ready to scan it.

Just put it on the shelves, Hakim.

Oy, is that tea? None for us?

Maybe next time, Jer.

He stops at a cubicle holding an attractive woman, ELIZABETH, who pays him little attention. He offers her a cup.

ADAM (cont’d)
Here you go, Elizabeth. Just the way you like it.

No, thanks.

He shrugs and sets the teas in his cubicle and looks at a book on Elizabeth’s desk. He carefully picks it up to examine.

Is this the Shedel? The one found in Romania?

Vincent just dropped it off.

Why didn’t he give it to me? I have nothing going on.

Probably because of the questions you raised about it.

I still say the binding’s not contemporary to the book and -- .
(looks inside)
Oh -- it is a later printing.

Adam, stop it.

Here! On the first verso page of text; two of the words are reversed and --.

Give it here! Half the time you’ve no idea what you’re talking about.

She snatches the book away. He huffs and storms off.


Row after row of shelving units holding books, catalogues, and papers under a gentle light. Adam rummages through a shelf and pulls out an auction catalog.

It’s in here...I saw it...I know it...AHA! Fifty-eight. Aisle seven. Dummes Mädchen denkt, ich weiss nicht, wovon ich rede?


He shoves the catalog back and bolts to another aisle to rummage through more catalogs.

Nein, das is zwei-und-sechzig. Forty-seven!? Oh, for god’s sake, people -- learn how to count!


Sixty-two comes after sixty-one comes after sixty comes after fifty-nine comes after fifty-seven -- wait, wait, wait, where’s fifty-eight?

He notices a catalog is jammed behind the rest. He pulls it out and tenderly twists it back into shape then looks inside.


Hier sind Sie. I was right. You’ll thank me for this, Elizabeth.

A man peeks around the far end of the aisle -- VINCENT, 60, too precise.

(Veddy British)
Adam! I’ve been looking for you.

Oh, Vincent, we’ll need to revisit the Shedel and find out what that seller’s trying -- .

Have you been down here all this time?

Just a bit. Our meeting’s not till half-past three.

And it’s now four.

Adam looks at his watch.

Oh. Sorry, sir. I’ll be right up.

Why’re you down here, anyway?

Oh, um -- getting some information on the Liber Chronicarum and -- .

Elizabeth’s doing provenance on the Schedel, isn’t she?

Yes, sir, but -- .

You’re helping her when there’s your own work to finish?

Um, I...I’m done, sir. The Erasmus-Russworm. Just waiting for Hakim to review my provenance and then -- .

Then you’re free the rest of the week.

Yes, sir. I’m ready for more -- .

Come on. Upstairs.

Adam starts down the aisle.

VINCENT (cont’d)
Oh, and leave the catalogue -- there’s a good lad.

Adam jolts and shoves it back in place...and puts more of them in order.

Vincent, whoever does the shelving down here apparently knows neither the alphabet nor numeric sequence. The books are in deplorable -- .

Adam! Come!

-- Yes, sir.

But he quickly switches the positions of two catalogs that are out of sequence.
After this, he learns he's being sent to LA to pick up a recently discovered presentation copy of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"...signed by Lewis Carroll.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Does reality matter, anymore?

I honestly have to wonder. Movies are becoming more and more divorced from any semblance of reality, it seems. And I'm not just talking about dopy action films where the hero outruns a nuclear blast on his motorcycle or fights for two hours and is barely wheezing or has little more than a scratch. I'm looking at comedies and dramas and romances and even detective stories that don't even try to be honest or real.

Like "Castle" on ABC. Nice chemistry in the cast, and I accepted long ago that TV mysteries were silly exercises in taking up space between commercials, but to have an experienced detective discuss a case in front of a witness or suspect takes me out of the story. I stopped watching for a while; tried it, again, and it's still doing it.

And "Sherlock Holmes, A Game of Shadows" with Robert Downey Junior (?!) as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson. The movie's set in 1891, but it starts out with Watson using a typewriter that wasn't developed until 10 years later (and which types amazingly neatly) and has him driving an automobile that hadn't been made, yet. And a train keeps rolling after half of it's been blown up...and it goes downhill from there.

But then, in "Notting Hill" the whole "meet cute" bit between Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts was not at ALL believable, especially when she kisses him out of nowhere. Same for the stupid press junket that was supposed to be funny...I think.

BUT...they're all very financially successful. Apparently, people don't care about fidelity to the truth when it comes to...well, to anything.

It's the same in life and politics. Obama was born in Kenya and raised Muslim and is helping destroy the US with his commie ways, despite massive amounts of evidence to show that's nonsense, that he's actually more of a Reaganite than anything else. Global warming is already causing weather patterns to change and adding disruptions to crop cycles, but few people really thinks it's really bad enough to do anything about, yet, when in reality it's probably already too late to stop. Oh...and God created the world in 6 days, even though science has proven the earth and life on it is billions of years old.

Facts don't matter to far too many people. Truth doesn't matter. All that matters is what they believe.

Ranting and raving, right now. I didn't watch the debates because it's not worth my time. Romney's scum who will crush the US if he wins; Obama's a bit better, but is already negotiating back-room changes to Medicare and Social Security with the GOP, thinking for some stupid reason they'll play nice if he does what they want. They haven't yet.

So now I wonder if I care too much about locking my stories into their reality, even if it's a fantastical one? Maybe I need to throw logic out the window and have 4 drunk men sneak a stolen tiger into a stolen police car that the cops aren't even looking for then slip it past a casino's security system and have a man stranded on a rooftop for 48 hours in the middle of Las Vegas with no one noticing he's up there in my script. That'd be the easy way out. And financially successful.

And lazy as shit.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Waiting on the doctor...

...and planing to take my laptop to the Genius Bar to find out why it's gotten so quirky, so I worked on a new version of the synopsis. This is a full-page one that covers most of the story, but not all. Maybe this is better than rest. Maybe not. I dunno. But it does help me see where I need to go.

Kyle Michel Sullivan

Books are ADAM VERLAIN’s life, so when his university asked him to hop over to Los Angeles to pick up an extremely rare first edition of “Alice in Wonderland”, he was happy to bring this precious cargo back to London. Wouldn’t even stay the night.

What he didn’t count on was CASEY BLANCHARD, the top line movie star who inherited the book. She wants Adam to accompany her to a movie premier to show up her ex-boyfriend, LANDO GRISSOM, this year’s big, bad, brutal, butch, beautiful, action-movie hero. It sounds like she wants to make the guy jealous, but Adam senses something lurking behind her demand.

Problem is, Adam didn’t even bring a change of clothes, so he needs to be made presentable for the premier’s red carpet, and right now. But Casey has just the guy to do it – ORISI, a sneering Beverly Hills style-guru who doesn’t understand the word, “No.”

Orisi’s regime starts with a bubble bath…then a tres-cool haircut…and a boss manicure…and the latest in facials…and a personalized cologne…and pink…uh…salmon colored briefs. “They even gave me a bloody pedicure,” cries Adam. “I’ve never had one of those.” “Obviously,” Orisi shoots back.

Then comes the ten-thousand dollar tux. Adam doesn’t even want to touch in it, let alone wear it. Still, he’s ready…and he turned out too nice for Casey. But it’s too late to undo Orisi’s brilliance.

Of course, Casey and Lando see each other at the premier; it’s the last movie they made together before breaking up. And during dueling interviews, each tries to outdiss the other, with Adam caught in the middle. Then at the party, which is at Lando’s Beverly Hills home, Adam is ejected. Worried about Casey, Adam tries to sneak back in. Instead, he almost drowns, ruins the tux, does his own verbal sparring with Lando, and nearly becomes dinner for a pet black panther named Gertrude. He also realizes why Casey was really using him – as an insult to Lando.

By this point, Adam fears he’s fallen down his own rabbit hole into Hollywood’s madness, especially when he discovers the book has vanished, that Gertrude escaped and wants to be his girl, and that someone is watching and hoping the book shows up in the right hands, so it can be stolen away. What’s even worse? Despite all the chaos and duplicity, Adam’s falling for Casey.

Will he make it back to London with the “Alice” intact…and his heart unbroken…and his sanity still a part of him? Will his quiet, cloistered life ever be the same? Or could it be he’ll merely awake and find it was all just a dream of wonderland, from long ago?

Monday, October 1, 2012

The last 15 pages are the hardest...

...And driving me nuts. I know what needs to go into them, but everything I come up with reads flat or unbelievable, and I want everything in this script to be organic...from the actions Adam and Casey take to the comedy to the events surrounding them to what is looking more and more like a romance.

As I dig deeper into the story, one aspect of it makes less and less sense...but it sets up so much of what happens and works so well on an emotional level, so I hate to change it or lose it. It's important to Adam's character. Maybe that's where the trouble lies...or maybe I haven't dug deep enough, yet. But I have to work this out before anything else can work.

Adding to the chaos in my mind is a dream I had about this script. I was on the red carpet and spilled my coffee, which doesn't make sense because I HATE coffee. Russell Tovey smacked me in the back of the head and said, "Now you've got to clean it up, and you in a nice suit." But Casey stepped in it and suddenly the cup was back in my hand. Thing is, I don't remember who was playing Casey...but I knew her. And all I said was, "Figures."

Shit, I just figured it out. It's Adam's outburst as he's leaving Lando's party -- it's not justified by what's happened. I've been pulling back on Casey because I'm afraid of making her too much of what she is -- a self-centered actress.

Shit, Kyle -- you can be such a wuss at times.