Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Inching along...

I still don't know how to resolve this friggin' book. It's winding its way towards the end, like a lazy child walking home from a friend's house or something, and I'm finally at the point where Jake reveals all. He and I know the who, what, where, why, when, and how...but I can't figure out how to get it told in less than 47 pages. Agatha Christie, at her most Poirot-ish, was never that bad. I don't know. It's just...I know I won't have it done before I go back to work. Irritating...

What's even more fun is, for the next couple of weeks, I'll be traveling, looks like. Driving to Philadelphia and New Haven, next week. Then flying to Charlotte, NC, the following week, and driving a van one-way back to Buffalo by way of NYC and area. A couple years ago we'd talked about getting a mini-van for me to drive all over the NE corridor...and it looks like that might have been a good idea.

On top of this, I'm trying to do some animation for a job that may bring in some money. So I'm having less than happy scheduling conflicts.

Of course, it all may be moot. Obama's stupidly determined to help overthrow yet another Islamic government -- Syria's. Will that make 4 or 5 that the US has either kicked out, by herself, or with the help of others? Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya...does Iran count, thanks to the 1953 CIA-backed coup that installed the Shah?

What I want to know is, why are chemical weapons so much more hideous than bombs and bullets? All of them shred people's lives and cause untold suffering. Why is it worse to be gassed to death than it is to have a building bombed to rubble over you and be crushed to death or die in the ensuing fire? Which begs another question -- why is it the US always finds money for more bombs and bullets, but always whines about finding money for bread and butter? Why are we using our resources to destroy other nations' infrastructure while saying we don't have the resources to rebuild our own? It's sickening.

Damn, just thought of something I need to know before I do the finale and coda.

And just as it's the end of the world.

Friday, August 30, 2013


I made a potato bisque that turned out really well.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter (I use Land O' Lakes made with Olive Oil)
3 slices bacon (got a baggie of bacon bits, for that)
1 small onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
12 oz. beer (Grolsch)
3 cups beef broth (it calls for chicken but that'd make me sick)
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Heat the butter in a soup pot over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook. Add onion, carrot and saute for 5 minutes. Add the beer, broth, and potatoes. Salt and pepper is up to you. Bring it to a boil then simmer for 30-45 minutes, until potatoes are soft. Add the cream and puree in a food processor (I don't have one so I use a tea strainer, scooping out the potatoes with a sieve spoon and mashing them up in that, with a fork; takes a while but works). Transfer soup back to the pot and cook over moderate heat. Stir in the cheese. Serve hot or cold.

It's different from the potato soup I normally make, that uses ham and a hint of mint...but it's damn good. I got the recipe out of a local paper called ArtVoice.

It was a day of errands and running around, so I didn't get onto OT till nearly eight...but it's still moving forward. I cleaned up some of what I'd done the last couple days and now know where the final confrontation is going to be, and when. It'll mean going back to set it up better, but that'd a small problem.

Uh-oh...maybe I shouldn't have said that...

Thursday, August 29, 2013


That's how many words I have, and I honestly think I only have 2 chapters left to write...maybe 3. I'm at 411 pages, too. Of course, I've still got the big reveal...which has worked itself an extent. We'll see how well it goes. But Jake's ready to go for it.

What's interesting about following him through this story is how he's willing to make mistakes, and he makes a few. But it slowly, slowly is working its way down to where he's sorting it out and doing it right. I think. God, I hope.

It's going to be a very complex story, as usual for me. I've found I like having natural rhythms in my writing, where people talk and information comes out in bits and pieces. I hope this works for a mystery. But reality is, I doubt once this draft's done, unless there's a serious screw-up someplace, I'm not changing much of it. Some clarification here and smoothing over there. Dispensing with some repetition I know is in there. So it'll have to do.

Last night, I didn't get to sleep till nearly four, and slept till 10:30. I don't know what's going on, but I'm not sleepy during the day. It's weird.Maybe I've finally caught up on my rest. Or it could be I stopped taking Zyrtek...and am beginning to feel the irritation of allergies, again, so that just changed. My left eye started driving me nuts, and my nose has just begun sensing the mold and crap in the air, again.

Hope this changes soon. I'm driving to Philadelphia on Tuesday morning and then up to New Haven. Can't be sleepy on the road.

Travelin' man strikes again.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rough night...

I could not shut my brain down, last night, so wound up reading until after 5am. Normally, if I'm tired it doesn't matter how interesting the book is, I start dozing. Not last night. And none of my usual tricks worked. So today I wasn't at my best.

Of course, I got no writing done because I'm also working on a project that may bring in some much-needed cash. But it entails me doing animation, and the only way I can do that is through Photoshop and iMovie, neither of which are easy to use. But I got what I thought was a 2 second test done...that iMovie changed into an 8 second test and refused to let me make it shorter.

There's supposed to be a way when you double-click on the frame to designate it show at .1 second; that's the shortest iMovie lets you go. I never could get it to do shorter than .5, and I wound up having to go through every frame I loaded to make it stop its pan-and-scan crap. I should charge by the hour for this job.

Didn't help that my keyboard suddenly decided my 2, w, s, & x keys would not work. The one huge drawback to a flat Mac keyboard is, you can't pull off the keys and clean under them; I tried but the keys wouldn't go back on  straight. So I had to buy a new keyboard. I got a generic one for $25 after a discount at OfficeMax, but it's not money I wanted to spend.

Still, I have an idea of what I'm doing, now, and can do it. I just need to keep it cleaner-looking, more graphics oriented. The work I did was too wobbly.

I did make a couple changes to continuity errors on OT, and had an idea to refer to the townhouse complex as a fortress, since that's what it looks like from the main drag -- a Moorish castle atop a hill. But nothing more.

Hope tonight's better...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Drifting closer...

Jake's not making it easy on me with this story...but it's beginning to come together. Make sense, even. I think. Won't know till I get some people to read it and tell me. But I'm getting more and more hopeful for a happy ending for him and Antony. Of course, I won't know that until the story's done.

Going back through the story made me decide to re-read RIHC6 to make certain I was getting things consistent...and I found one error. Jake refers to when he was victimized in holding cell 6, and I'd put down that it was by 4 black guys; he says it's 5 on the previous book (and in a continuity error in RIHC6, he once says it was 6; oops). I need someone to proof and edit my work, big-time.

But...I keep going forward and trying to make it as right as I can. I still whine about how hard it can be, but I'm trying to back off that. I'm also trying to work in time to work out.

Brains and beauty

I've decided Alex Minsky is going to be my inspiration. So what if I'm more than twice his age? Anybody who can battle back after what he's been through is worth emulating. I already belong to a gym, thanks to my health coverage; I just need to stop pissing around and make that part of my routine.

He's a model (for UNDERWEAR, even!!) and has a natural camera presence packed with he's also given me ideas for Zeke in Carly Kills. I wonder if I'll get back on that once OT is done?

I never know until I know...

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Zombie writer...

Nothing much to say because I've just forced myself to stop working on OT and brain is oatmeal.

Here's a link to a post by Adam A. A. Verlain, from "The Alice '65", to take up the slack. Click if you wish...or not.

BTW, I figured out the perfect Lando -- Tyler Hoechlin from "Teen Wolf". He plays Derek, a werewolf. Watched the first season and wasn't impressed with the show, but he and Stiles have a chemistry that's got the gay blogs going wild about Sterek...

BTW -- if you plan to read the first chapter of ...Owen Taylor, it's best to start with "part 1". I thought of putting it up in reverse order, so it would read right on my blog, but just plain didn't.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Owen Taylor - Chapter 1 - part 4

“Was that necessary?”

“An observation, only.” She dug deeper into her salad. “I notice you use the past tense when you speak of your happiness.”

“Psycho-lady, q’est-ce que c’est?” She just looked at me. I shrugged. “It’s been rough, lately. No surprise. The crap we’ve been going through – it’d tear at anybody.”


“What’s this really about, Mira?”

She deliberately did not look at me. “He let his therapist share his notes. Has he told you everything he’s done?”

“I got most of it.”

“Is it wise to remain with him?”

“What do you mean?”

Her eyes locked on mine. “Your work is in Copenhagen. You are now a citizen of Denmark. It much more logical for you to be there than eight thousand kilometers away.”

“You don’t abandon somebody who’s got cancer or AIDS or heart disease, not if you love ‘em. Tone’s still healin’, both physically and legally. I’m stickin’ it out. You haven’t told me why you’re askin’. Is it Uncle Ari? You been talkin’ to him?”

“One does not talk to Ari; one only listens. He likes your work. His clients like your work. He wants you to become a partner in his business. It is an excellent idea, but you will have to return to Copenhagen to live. Antony cannot leave until next year, at the earliest. He could easily join you, then.”

Talk about a load of crap. Uncle Ari and my dad may be brothers, but Ari was open and gregarious and never met anyone he couldn’t like...and couldn’t keep a secret to save his life. He hadn’t even hinted about anything more than meeting this client and sending more art assignments my way. So there was something else going on and she didn’t have the nerve to be up front with me. Which brought her down a notch in my eyes; if she can’t tell by now that I can be trusted, she never will.

Which pissed me off. “What’re you really gettin’ at, Mira? And don’t hand me this crap about Uncle Ari.”

She stopped in mid-chew and nodded and swallowed and took a sip of her wine. Burgundy with a salad, there’s somethin’ wrong about that. Then she looked straight at me.

“Your mother has contacted your father.”

Slam-bam, blindside me, ma’am. I took a deep breath. “So?”

“I do not know why. He will not tell me. I only learned of this by accident. And when your father becomes this secretive, it worries me. I think, if you stay in America much longer, something will happen. And you are better protected in Denmark.”

“Tone wasn’t.”

“He is an easier target.”

No argument there. “Why do you think this concerns me?”

“Why would you not think so? As your father tells the story, he and your mother hate each other. Is there any other reason she would call him, except about you?”

Phone call, huh? Yeah, that meant way too much. I’d learned how to pinch pennies from my mom, so for her to spring for an overseas call to a man she despised almost as much as I did, instead of popping off an e-mail...well, that was a big deal.

“Neither one’s even tried to get hold of me, and they both know how. Maybe mom’s askin’ dad for money.”

Mira rolled her eyes at that. I shrugged in agreement. So why would she have called him?

Mira had no answers and I had to head back to the airport for my plane. I did some checking via my phone to see if I could find out anything, but it wasn’t till I got home, in Copenhagen, that I got an idea of what it was all about. Since I was over there so much, Mrs. Lund always put our mail on the table, and mixed in was an envelope from my Uncle Owen in Palm Springs. He’s mom’s half-brother, from Gramma’s first marriage. It was postmarked just over a month earlier, and in it was what looked like a house key and a printout of a note that read – “Dear Jake, You’ll need this when you come. O. #4855*”

Dear Jake? He never addressed me like that. WTF?

I tried to call him, but his phone went to voice mail then disconnected because it was too full to accept more messages. And an e-mail I sent bounced back to me. I contacted the service and found out his in-box was too full of unread messages for it to accept any more.

Then I got a text from Mira. She’d found out my uncle’d disappeared, three months ago. My father told her mom called to see if he could use his influence to push for an investigation into it.

What Mira didn’t know was, Uncle Owen’s gay, too, and had been cut off from most of the family for twenty years. The only reason I knew him was through Gramma; she figured out early on that it’d be good to have him available for questions once I started asking them. Which I did just after I turned fifteen. Then he and Gramma’d been the only ones who backed me up once I got outed, and once I went to jail, and once I got released. He knew me too damn well to call me Dear Jake.

Which meant he was in trouble.

Which meant soon as I was done at Uncle Ari’s, I was headed for a talk with my mother. Something I hadn’t done in years.

Shit, I’d sooner be back in jail.

I think I have it tight enough, now....but we'll see as the rest of it goes. I'm now at 84,000 plus words.

Owen Taylor - chapter 1 - part 3

But now that the new Attorney General had figured out the best thing to do was let it all go away, Tone might be able to leave the country, soon. Meaning we could get back to our lives in a country that actually gave a damn about people instead of profits, and maybe that would settle him down. Man, it wouldn’t be a day too soon for me.

So the fact is, I was glad he’d told Mira everything. There was no way I’d narc on him about some things, and only an idiot would think the stories would never make it across to France. That’s why the last time I’d done my Denmark tango, I’d packed on a couple extra days in Paris to lay it all on the line with my half-brothers and sisters -- your big bro’s queer and the man he loves is nuttier than a fruitcake.

I’m not sure they understood it all; their English plays second fiddle to French and Farsi, neither of which I’m fluent in, yet, but it didn’t seem to matter. Maybe it helped that we’d only recently met and I still wasn’t of their blood. Yeah, we shared the same father, but I’d been raised thousands of miles away in a legendary state with a glorious history and seriously high opinion of itself -- which was now turning itself into an major embarrassment -- so I was more exotic to them. Maybe it’s because none of them was into puberty, yet, so didn’t really understand what I was saying. I kind of doubt it, though; Mira was born and raised in Paris and was hardly your typical Persian wife. She may’ve already given them the lowdown and laid out the line that it’s no big deal.

I have to admit, I’m glad she’s on my side. She’d be worth knowing in any capacity – so I cannot even begin to figure out how she and my dad got together. Granted he’s rich as Solomon, but he’s also an arrogant, selfish, controlling prick while she could’ve had any guy she wanted – raven black hair, full-figure, close enough to forty to make her sensual instead of just least, in France; in the twelve-year-old mentality of the US, she’d be over the hill. Anyway, after what my father had done to Tone, and considering my own mother had let him chuck me into the street when they found out I was gay, so far as I was concerned, I was an orphan. I’d even considered changing my last name from my mother’s maiden one to my grandmother’s...which would’ve made me a McKittrick instead of a Blaine.

But Mira wanted her children to know their half-Persian brother and I got the sense she didn’t even give Faraz a say in it. So while to Tone and my friends my name was Jacob Michael Blaine, with them I was Iacob Mehrzad Darya-Bendari, and dad was never home when I came to call. Which I did every other month, after I’d met with Uncle Ari and gone over whatever we couldn’t handle on the phone or online.

On this occasion, I’d hopped over because Uncle Ari had a client who wanted to meet me before he’d agree to sign up with us. This’d be a major catch for my uncle. The Euro zone was still having serious trouble that was only being made worse by the idiots who were running things, but Denmark’d been smart enough to keep her own currency. That made his costs look good.

I’d kept putting him off, hoping the negotiations on Tone’s case would get finished up. But then everything got postponed till next Tuesday, again, so I told Uncle Ari I’d hop a flight, catch a nap in Copenhagen, and join him and the guy for dinner. I could also let Mrs. Lund, our landlady, know Tone and I’d be back, soon; that’s how sure I was this was almost over.

Meaning, yes – I’d kept our apartment. It was perfect for us – great view of Koge Bay, on a train that went straight into the city center, and Mrs. Lund lived downstairs and she was able to keep everything neat; we’d lucked out finding it so there was no way I was giving it up. Plus it also maintained my residence as being in Denmark. Worked a lot better when I applied for citizenship. Once Tone was free, again, maybe we could get back to how we used to be. Happy. Healing. Loving each other.

But suddenly here was Mira wondering why I wanted to.

“From the photos I have seen in the papers, he is an attractive young man,” she kept on. “But there are many of his type so I know this is not the reason. I think, perhaps you wish to rescue him. He has need of someone strong to lean upon. But this denotes weakness on your part, and you are not a weak man. Is it only the sex is good? Are you a man like that, Iacob?”

She waited for an answer, nibbling at a salad as I chowed on the best damn quiche I’d ever eaten.

All I could do is shrug. “What do you want me to say?”

“That it is not merely from pity?”

“I don’t pity him, Mira. He’d never let me.”

It’s funny, but she was the only other person in the world I felt like I could be completely open and honest with and know it wouldn’t get back to somebody. So I didn’t censor anything I said, in honor of that. “I get pissed off. I get hurt. But I’m usually really happy, ‘cause he’d always do things that let me know he cared about me. Like this one time, when I was havin’ problems with this graphic novel I’m workin’ on. I stood out on a balcony in the freezin’ cold for...oh, I dunno how long tryin’ to figure it out. Finally I came inside, still lost and frozen, and...and Tone had – he’d made some hot cocoa with marshmallows and a dark chocolate bar melted in, the way I like it. And I sipped some and he leaned over and wiped the chocolate off my moustache and licked his fingers, his eyes dancin’ like a happy kitten’s, and I -- I ached for him. I knew right then I’d kill anybody who tried to hurt him. Almost did.”


“Did Tone tell you about his second time in holding cell 6? That some bastard was stabbin’ him?” She nodded. “I was with the cops who broke it up, and I grabbed the knife...and I would’ve cut the son-of-a-bitch’s throat if Matt hadn’t stopped me.”


“Matthew. Zehavi. That friend of Tone and me. He got messed up in it, too.” She nodded, remembering. “He yelled at me not to mess up the knife with someone else’s blood. That’d hurt it as evidence. Then the cops pulled me away was good I didn’t do it. But I still want to.”

She nodded and said, “In some ways you are so much like your father, and in others you are so completely different.”

Owen Taylor - Chapter 1 - part 2

Anyway, just as I finished packing, Tone saw the story run on BBC News and muttered, “It’s gone global.”

“Their own damn fault,” was my only response.

He didn’t say another word till we’d hit the terminal and I mentioned I wasn’t going through Amsterdam, this time.

“You’re meeting Mira,” he said.

“She asked me to.”

“Shit, Jake, that story,” he muttered, his voice breaking. “It won’t matter. That story. ‘Cause I told her everything. Couple days ago. I wanted her to understand – what happened was all on me.” He was sneaking into one of his shaking fits, he was so scared of how I’d react. He continued with, “I got her number from your uncle Ari. I – I didn’t want her to hear about it from anybody else. You know how the press makes shit up and -- .”

I’d just held him close and let him take his time calming down. I’ve never known anybody who could work himself up like my big bad Tone. Well, he thought he was big-bad. And considering some of the shit he’d pulled, I could see how people would agree. Because he can get this focus going that’s so damned intense, he forgets everything else and, to use his own phrase, goes batshit-crazy.

When we’d lived in Copenhagen, he’d had control of it. Even when we had to come back to Texas, he’d found this guy in Austin who knew how to talk to him. So every Monday he’d borrow his dad’s Chrysler, pop up there, unload for an hour, have lunch and book it on home. The routine made him easy as aces.

But the last few months, if he had to give me any news he didn’t think I’d like, he’d start shivering like a Chihuahua and his words would stumble out, and I’d have to reassure him that everything’d be fine. I had a pretty good idea what was causing it; a new probation officer, in Austin, had taken over his case and had arranged for Tone’s every-other-week meeting to fall on the same day as his therapy. Apparently he was a bigger dick than any of the ones I’d had to deal with, and he was pulling a stupid piece of control-mongering meant to smack Tone around. So after the second time I’d had to beg a ride up so I could drive Tone home because he was too freaked out to even start the car, I started going with him on those days and working with the old version of Photoshop on my laptop while waiting through both appointments. Then when he left the asshole’s office, I’d put my arms ‘round him and hold him till he kissed my neck to let me know he was just my Tone, again, and we’d go have a slop of greasy Tex-Mex and a Margarita and drive home.

Just my Tone. A little taller than me. A little leaner than me. A little lighter in skin (thanks to my Persian/Irish mix and both our ability to tan easily). And a hell of a lot crazier than me. The second I saw that clean face and mop of brown hair mixed with wary eyes that screamed, “Be careful; I’ll hurt you,” I knew he needed someone to protect him, especially from himself.

I never knew what went on in his therapy sessions. Didn’t want to, and I made damn sure he understood it. I don’t want him to hold back anything for fear it might freak me out. The only thing I asked was that he trust me in every other way, which he seemed to be doing. Man, it was almost like we were being a couple, again, instead of just two guys supporting each other.

But the last few months, it’s like he can’t believe I’m okay with what happened, that I don’t think less of him or won’t leave him. It’s like he flat refuses to understand that I know how people are. In prison, I dealt with guards who were full-scale jackals and convicted killers who were on God’s side. A lifetime of learning got jammed into those eighteen months. I’d done things in there I’d never thought I was capable of doing, and I was halfway to being a hard-ass when I was sent in. So I know that nobody, absolutely nobody, has the right to judge anybody else, because you never honestly know how you’ll react to hell till you’ve been there.

But now Tone was building up his secrets, again, and seemed less willing to believe me when I said I loved him, and it bugged me. In Denmark, he’d been so happy and I’d felt easy. My artwork was kicking ass with my uncle’s advertising agency, and a graphic novel I was working on was slowly coming together. He was giving kids tennis lessons and could already speak some Danish. I mean, we got so close, we could read each other’s minds. And man -- when Tone gets close to you -- and turns his focus on you -- it makes you feel like you’re the only guy in the world. That you’re all that matters. He’s granite under your feet, he locks in on you so tight. That year gave me back all the confidence I’d lost in the previous three. Rebuilt my meaning and reality, and more than made up for his recent freak-outs.

That’s why I was willing to live in Texas, again, as much as I fucking hate that fucking state. It’s been a year and a half since Tone was nearly killed in that jail cell, but its judicial system was still trying like crazy to figure out some way of blaming him for the corrupt scumbags who grabbed control of the police, jails, and DA’s office of one fair-sized county so completely, it was like a private fiefdom. Tone’s phrase, not mine. But Fernandez, his attorney, was pretty good, and for every feint the assholes in Austin would try they got a parry in return. I figured that’s what was bringing on these sudden shifts in his mood; it’d been dragging on for so long, even I was wondering if it’d never end.

Owen Taylor - Chapter 1 - part 1

Numb of I cop out to share the opening chapter of "The Vanishing of Owen Taylor"

“Why do you stay with Tone?”

It was my stepmother, Mira, asking me. She’d heard I was making a quick trip to Copenhagen to meet with my Uncle Ari, and all but begged me to swing by Paris instead of routing through Amsterdam. I wasn’t crazy about it because it costs more and I’d have to deal with their god-awful Terminal 2, nor would I have time to pop out to see my brothers and sisters. But something was up, because she’d never been so insistent, before. Who knew this would be the beginning of a trip to hell?

Since her office is just a half-hour from De Gaulle, I set up my connecting flight for four, and called her soon as I was finished with immigration control. It meant using my Danish passport instead of my US one and going through the hassle of security, again, but she’s been a good ally against my bastard father, so I couldn’t say no.

Of course, Mira had hinted at wanting to know my reasons for sticking with Tone, before, but I’d ignored her; I don’t answer non-questions. This time she asked it straight out. In English. To make clear she wanted an answer. Of course, what she really said was, “Iacob, what is your loyalty with this Antony?”

She was being careful with her words. Sure, I’m only one who gets to call Antony Tone, but she never calls me by the Persian version of my name unless she’s edging into a totally different question and wants to set the groundwork, first.

I knew she wasn’t concerned about the trouble Tone and I’d had in Texas, a couple years back. I’d filled her in on how he’d got caught up in finding out what happened to a man he loved, who’d been murdered in a jail cell, and damn near lost his mind fighting the bastards who’d done it. And his life. On top of it, he’d done things that were not in any way, form, or fashion legal. Which is why we lived in Texas instead of Denmark, right now; he was still dealing with that fucked-up state’s system of non-justice. I didn’t get all detailed, just told her enough to counterpoint anything she’d read in the papers or hear from my father.

I also made it clear I only got caught up in the mess because one of those bastards, a deputy sheriff named Nussewald, faked up a drug bust against me and got me send to prison for eighteen months. When he pulled the same damn thing on Tone’s lover, Collier Winston Royce, he didn’t realize he’d picked on the wrong guy. I was lucky; I wound up exonerated and with a nice cash settlement instead of dead, like Collier. Nussewald lucked out, too; he dropped dead from a heart attack before he got to trial...they say. I’m not a conspiracy freak, but considering how nasty the revelations were getting to be, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn he’d been helped along to the great hereafter. Nor would I care.

Tone had filled her in on everything else that went down, though not in the extreme detail he normally uses. At least, I don’t think he did. I really doubt she’d want to meet me, if he had – at least, not till she’d finished picking his brain apart. That was Mira’s job – one of the psychiatrists at a clinic in Villepinte, so she’d have loved to see what was cooking in his crazy-assed head.

As if anybody could know what goes on in there. Even I didn’t, half the time, and I’m closer to him than blood family. He’s got pockets of secrets hiding in shadows that he won’t let you see till he’s damn good and ready. Hell, he didn’t even let me know they’d talked till he was dropping me off at the airport and I mentioned I’d changed my connection to De Gaulle.

I knew, straight off, why he’d called Mira; as he was leaving his therapist, a week back, he got ambushed by this on-line reporter who’s a right-wing-nut sleaze. Stanton and Thomas, two of the other assholes who’d almost got Tone killed, had lost their latest legal round and were finally facing an honest-to-god trial, and the fag-haters and crypto-nazis were screaming loud and long, about it. So the questions from that reporter had been so loaded and his cameraman so hard in Tone’s face, he knew they already had the story written and just wanted to show they’d talked to him.

Sure enough, when the video was posted, a few days ago, he came across like some crazed faggot out to rape innocent boys and turn the state into a non-stop orgy of homosexual lust as he brought down the judicial system in an attempt to make his legal problems go away. That he’d been nearly murdered, thanks to the collusion between Nussewald and those two scumbags, all because he’d ruined their diseased money-making scheme -- that wasn’t even mentioned. Of course, Fernandez called to let us know he knew what was up.

“It’s theater,” he said. “Something to give the governor cover.”

“What’s the point?” I asked. I was watching Tone replay that sick video for the twentieth time.

“Preemptive strike. The other side wants him to pardon Stanton and Thomas. If they can get enough people to believe both men were innocent little lambs brought down by a vengeful son of Sodom, and lay everything on the grave of poor, dead Mr. Nussewald, they have a better chance of getting their way.”

“What’re we doin’ about it?”

“Already happening,” he said. “Check tonight’s news.”

So I hung up, shut down the computer and dragged Tone away. He pulled at me, snarling “motherfuckers” under his breath, but I got him in the car and we drove to a Rudy’s and pigged out on barbecue and beer till he was too stuffed and drunk to worry about anything. We got home just in time to see the ten o’clock newscast, and it was lovely.

The stupid bastards didn’t just piss off GLAAD and the ACLU; the story finally caught the interest of the Department of Justice and was giving the state its latest black eye as regards being a hate-everybody-but-white-good-ol’-boys kind of place. It helped that fact-checkers tore the damn thing apart so fast, it might as well have been shot on toilet paper. Even Fox News and a couple Republicans said that reporter had gone too far. That’s when the A-G’d sent Fernandez his little whimper of, “Can’t we all just get along?” It was priceless.

In response, Fernandez asked for a monetary settlement and laughed when they sputtered. Of course, they’d never agree, but it was a fun place to start negotiations.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Jake...who the hell are you?

In both volumes of Rape in Holding Cell 6, Jake was the most decent guy in the story. Maybe even honorable, because he is who he is and his loyalty is what keeps Tone from causing more damage than he does. Collie, Tone's lover and the man killed in that holding cell, was also decent but he was a victim. Jake ain't.

Which is a weird thing to say, because he was busted on a trumped-up charge, raped and sent to prison, where he served 18 months...and found out the truth of the world. All before he even appears in the first book. He's angry. Hurt. Wounded. Scared. Needy. But brutally aware of how things really work. I cannot even begin to think of him as being a victim.

Oh, he was victimized, but that's not the same thing. He wouldn't let it define him. Instead, Jake fought to regain his equilibrium, something that finally happened when he connected with Antony...and why he wound up being the angel of the book.

But he's drifting back and forth in ...Owen Taylor, between decent and one scary m-fucker. I wonder if half the trouble I've been having with this book is, I don't know what Jake's fighting for. I have it on a superficial level -- Tone's freedom from the mess of Texas "justice" and getting back to their life in Copenhagen, then trying to find out why his uncle disappeared -- but there's something deeper going on. Something even he isn't sure he understands, and that's why he's whipsawing between being an angel and being a manipulative little shit.

What's funny is, I like him as that little shit. He's not just fighting back; he's reclaiming his right to be who he damn well wants. And if you don't like it? Fuck off.

Part of me says I need to reconcile these two aspects of him, while another part thinks that's wrong -- that he should be as bi-polar in his actions as he wants to be.

Holy shit -- Jake's out to be who he is, period. No hiding. No concern for the delicacy of other people's sensibilities. And that's in a world where there's always someone out to tell you how you should think, act, or say, and then scream how offended they are if you don't let them dictate how your life is supposed to be lived. While Antony only thinks that's what he, himself, is doing...Jake is doing it, even with Tone.

I need to pay more attention to the interaction between those two and everybody else. I've missed something...except...

At some point, Jake's going to say, "I was born from snakes."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


I've been busy all day and can't really tell what I've done. Paperwork...sort of. Worked up my budget for the next 30 days and fought off a panic attack. I have savings, fortunately, but no prospects for making any extra cash.

Spent an hour on the phone with the IRS about paying back taxes; that'll give you a migraine. The lady I spoke with was very nice; it's the half-hour wait that's the hardest part and then her having to dig to find out if my paperwork's in order for direct debits to my checking. They say they're still working on it...after 4 months.

Also spent nearly an hour talking to Verizon and learning Fios wants $10 extra a month to make it usable enough to stream video or music without any hiccups. I canceled my landline and cable, dropping my bill by $40 a month, but I had to convince them I meant it. And convince them and convince them. Jeez. But now I won't get any more calls for Arby's. Plus, I just don't watch TV, anymore, so it's silly for me to have HD Cable. A waste, actually.

Corrected some errors on my webpage. GoDaddy's system for building a site is damn near useless. I'm looking into other options.

I read a short script by one of the actors I met at The Indie Gathering. I think he inadvertently gave me an early pdf draft, because it won an award but this one had next to no punctuation, so it was hard to read.

I ordered business cards for my writing -- just under $25 for 250 on glossy stock. Matte would have been cheaper, but was just so wrong for the look. I should get stationary printed up, too, with envelopes. If I'm going to push this, I need the tools...and they have to look right.

I've been thinking about shooting a short script -- Unfinished Business. I posted about it, here, a couple months ago. I'd once sort of started up a Kickstarter file for it and got a whole $25 pledged from a friend...but now I think I'd really like to make it. I saw some of the things that won at IG and I certainly couldn't do worse than them.

And there I go again -- tempting the fates to find some way of making sure I'm too broke to do it. That happens every time I even think of doing this. It also got Jake up to give me a kick in the butt and discuss a bit more restructuring so not everything comes at the end.

I just learned NYPD Blood is no longer available in Kindle or, if I understand this correctly, print. Seems the publisher canceled the contract. I don't really mind; I hated the cover and the title's just a bit too much for my taste...but my co-author liked it. He's not happy. But he's also talking about a rewrite to add in things he left out. That makes me unhappy. I'm not doing any rewrites, and if he does, my name is off it. Which may be a good thing, overall, considering the books I've had published.

I'm dangerous, don't you know.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Productive day

I updated my website, a little, but find I really do not know how to properly use GoDaddy's website builder. Things I wanted it to wouldn't until I'd found a way to sneak around it. Took me hours to correct my boo-boos. It's still not perfect, but it's something I can refer people to. I have a link in the right column of this blog.

My trip to The Indie Gathering cost me a total of $150.00. More than I wanted to spend, but that is including two free nights in a hotel and a free rental car, thanks to points I'd built up with Enterprise and Best Western. So I can't complain. It could easily have cost 3 times that much.

Part of the cost was self-indulgence. I'm finding I just don't like fast-food-chain burgers, anymore. The last times I've eaten at MacDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's...I haven't finished everything on the tray. MacDonald's was the easiest to deal with, because their french fries are like crack...but I used to like Wendy's as a substitute, and this time I couldn't handle it. And the last time I ate at Burger King, I felt queasy afterwards.

Maybe I'm getting spoiled by 5 Guys' burgers. They make 'em like you want 'em, and will even put relish on 'em. But they're also close to twice as expensive (for a small one, fries and a drink) and don't have Dr. Pepper.

So I stayed in and ate tuna and hot dogs for lunch and dinner, and cleared out e-mails on my laptop, and cleaned part of my apartment, and fiddled with paperwork. I'm still only half done, but my place is starting to look livable, again, instead of like a college dorm. Maybe I should find some way of affording a maid, once in a while. Some cute guy in shorts and a wife-beater...

Hmm...both the maintenance guys look good...

My first award for screenwriting...

From the Houston International Film Festival, now known as Worldfest Houston. Though to be honest, it's really my second; my first was receiving the Gold Award for Screenplay Adaptation, which this supplanted. It was for my romantic-comedy-western, The King of the Cowboys.

Of course, in typical Hollywood fashion, within 10 days of receiving the award I got a letter from Roy Rogers' estate informing me that the King of the Cowboys was a registered trademark of his and if I didn't change the title, they'd sue my ass. I checked with an attorney, because I knew titles couldn't be copyrighted, but trademark law is totally the script is now known as The Cowboy King of Texas.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

It was an experience...

The Indie Gathering is done, and dozens of awards were handed out at the final ceremony. I made myself stay, telling myself it was a show of support, when all I wanted to do was head home. I've gotten to where I hate being in crowds, and during most of the festival, I kept to myself. The few people I did talk to, we kept it on a very surface level.

The actor I connected with, from LA, Patrick Hampton, won a couple for his scripts. He's a very motivated young man. If I'd had a third of his energy and push and positive attitude, I'd be like Steven Spielberg. We swapped scripts and I'll read his, tomorrow.

The actor from NYC, Saba, also got a couple of awards, but I didn't get a photo of him. He's a networker, times ten, and very sure of himself.

A lot of the support of this festival was aimed at Ohio filmmakers, of which there seem to be a lot. What's funny is how few of them bothered to show up to accept awards for their projects. Made me glad I stayed.

Congratulations to Patrick and Saba, and all the other winners.

Accepting my award wasn't painful. It now can go next to the first one I got, from The Houston International Film Festival...way back in 1990. I've had that one so long, it needs to be re-gilded. I should put up a photo.

12 of my scripts have now officially either won, almost won, or placed well in competitions 33 times.

I know that should mean something, but it was a tiresome drive and I just want to shower and hit the sack.


Surprisingly, there was a movie showing at the Indie Gathering titled "Buffalo Boys" that was set in Buffalo. It was interesting...about how a couple of pot-head boys wind up committing a murder for hire and only one of them feels any guilt or remorse...but every step looked and felt amateurish. The acting was adequate, at, the actor who played one of the boys was pretty good, and the other one was good enough, as was his best friend. The rest had the flat voice of actors who think they're being great and mean and revealing, and aren't.

I did some networking. Actually made myself do it. Attended a couple of seminars on using social media to expose your work and one on screenwriting (that was all but hijacked by a jerk in the audience who wanted to argue with people on the panel about some site he felt would be usable, or something). The social media one was interesting, but the screenwriting one was the usual.

Met Saba, an actor/writer/director/producer from NYC who has a clip on his site showing he's actually quite good. And met Patrick Hampton, another actor/writer/everything guy who did a good job in a music-video-story project about a guy who decides he's Icarus.

And...I got something for one of my bosses who always wants some kind off off-beat memento from places I've been where she hasn't -- it's a signed photo of Joe Estevez, to her. This should be a hoot.

I worked on honing my pitches and loglines, today, in between shows. I also nibbled at the nastiest rack of barbecued ribs ever -- 50% fat and greasy; same for the fries. And since when is St. Louis style barbecue made with brown sugar? (That's how sweet the sauce was.) I'd have refused it but I was starving, so at least got a meal out of it...a light one. At least the cole slaw was okay. But I'm eating before I go in, tomorrow. There's a Chili's en route to the venue, where I can get decent ribs and good fries, if I want them.

I'm staying for the awards ceremony, tomorrow, then headed home. This has been an experience, to say the least.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Indie Gathering's not quite what I expected...and yet it was. It's taking place in a hotel-conference building in the middle of nowhere, in a few back rooms. Everyone is very pleasant and positive-thinking. I've only seen about 3 dozen people here, so far, but I'm assuming Saturday-Sunday are the big days. They're holding seminars and lectures and all that stuff at the same time they're projecting features and shorts onto a screen -- off a Blue Ray projector.

I saw an interesting broken romance short made in Australia by a Chinese group, where a girl imagines stories about falling in love with her teacher, never realizing he's doing the same thing. And a long-winded documentary about the porn biz called "Risky Business" that could have been trimmed by half an hour and still made the same points. There were only 3 of us left in the room by the time it was over.

No one to network with, this evening...unless you count Joe Estevez, Martin Sheen's brother. He's holding a seminar on acting, tomorrow, so I may attend.

But overall, it reminds me of a Science-fiction convention a friend of mine, in Houston, put on. He owned an SF bookstore and was heavy into that and James Bond. It was at a Holiday Inn or something like that, used one conference room and had fifteen exhibitors with their wares set out on fold-out tables...five more than all the people who came to look things over, half of whom were friends like me. Nice effort, but not like the conventions I've seen.

What the heck; the awards ceremony is Sunday so I'll stick around till then. At least I came.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Weary but set...

Nothing more done on OT, today; I spent the evening reworking my loglines and synopses based on some interesting feedback. Dunno how successful I was, but they's as good as they's gonna be, right now, 'cause I'm beat. And tomorrow is a 4 hour drive to Hudson, Ohio for the Indie Gathering. I have no idea what to expect, but at least it'll get me somewhat out of my shell.

I'll have my laptop with me, and if things don't go well, I can always whip it out and get back to work on OT. I'm not getting any response from the illustrator for David Martin so I guess that own't happen over the next two week. Meaning buckle down and complete Jake's mystery, Kyle.

I got my set of Battlestar Galactica...and it's big. Lovin' that.

I've got a new ghost story knocking at my told in three parts. If it does what I think it will, the third part should be as suspenseful as hell, because it will be repeating what happened in parts 1 & 2, neither of which turns out well. Hee-hee...

Still trying to figure out some humor to add to my work. Each story is different, but I need something to lighten the load and add to the entertainment value.

Sounds shallow, doesn't it? So very NOT Woody Allen in his Ingmar Bergman phase.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I need a GPS...

I seem prone to making the wrong turn at the worst time, when it comes to following directions. In Baltimore, I wound up going south instead of north because I thought I was on one street when I was actually on another. Doesn't help that cities in the Mid-Atlantic and New England states hate to put up real street signs that are easily visible.

Anyway, the Baltimore job turned out to be both worse and better than expected. Worse because it wound up being 700 titles, most of them small pamphlets, and I inadvertently packed one shelf that wasn't supposed to go so had to unpack it. I got all but one book back in place...and, of course, couldn't find the most valuable one -- a limited edition reprint of "The Playboy of the Western World", from 1927.

That's where I screwed up -- I saw the book and looked at it...and packed it, then started doing the rest of the shelf it was on. Dumb. So the guy these books are going to will have to mail it back, and I'll have to pay for it. My fault.

What was good was, everything fit into the materials I brought; I even had some left over. And I only had to build 1 box. But I didn't take a lunch and it seems neither of the Best Westerns I stayed at had anything but fast-food joints around them, for dinner. I did Mickey D's, last night. If they advertise at the Olympics, as they're apparently going to do, I won't have them as an option, anymore. They're funneling money into the pockets of Putin and his cohorts in crime at the expense of gay men and women in Russia (I seriously believe he and the Russian Orthodox Church are pushing this anti-gay crap now in order to deflect attention from the money he's looting from the country). I won't eat there if they do that.

So...any bets as to whether or not Russia uses its natural gas sales to Europe, this winter, to shut the EU up about the Olympics? "Can it or we'll cut off your supplies," as the Mafia would say. This is not going to be good.

Anyway, the drive home took forever because there was so much road construction going on in Pennsylvania. For a state that claims to hate government spending, it sure is accepting a lot of it. I was also routed through just about every bum-fuck town there is between Harrisburg, PA and Corning, NY before I was able to get back onto a freeway. Once I hit the 86, I made decent time.

I didn't think about OT once, today...until just now. Let me see what I can do about tomorrow. Right now I'm close to brain dead.

Such is the life of a piss-poor writer.

Monday, August 12, 2013


I have been informed by Jake that I have everything I need to complete OT. Never mind it's still a jumble; it will sort itself out. Wish I was as self-confident as my sub-un-conscious character is. But I guess he's right. It's all in my notes and what I've written, so far. I just need to hunker down and release it from the morass of wordage. Wasn't it Michelangelo who once said something like, "I don't carve the block of granite, I release the figure inside it."

I'm in downtown Baltimore, right now, where pretty much everything closes down by 9pm and they roll up the sidewalks. The only place I could find open to eat was a Burger King...and I felt a little queasy, afterwards.

I've been trying to figure out what I'm doing tomorrow...and I'm afraid I underestimated the materials I need. Fortunately, there's an Office Depot not too far away, just in case, but I've got this nasty feeling tomorrow is not going to be pretty. Guess we'll know once I see the library I'm packing. If they're all big books, I'm screwed...and not in a fun way.

Driving down through Philadelphia was fairly easy; I made it in 6 hours. Chatting with Jake for a bit till he shrugged me off. Then I started thinking about my other scripts and how so many of them have little humor in them. I'm not good with comedy or movie-banter, so I usually avoided it. But it's obvious even the most horror-centric script I have needs something to lighten it up. I got a little of that in Mine To Kill as regards Thomas and his Skittle fixation. But nothing else I can think of. Maybe I need a partner to write some comedy.

As I've said before, I made that mistake with BC; it's a very heavy book. But I'm getting back the feeling that even LD is not all that funny, it's just crazy. Maybe I should take lessons in comedy on top of that comedy-writing class I took. I obviously need a lot more experience in it.

I'm trying to add it to OT, but so far my attempts are mainly quips and funky stuff. Maybe I've led too weird a life to make people laugh.

Wouldn't that be perfect?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Why not assume?

Because you never know what's really going to happen. I had it all set as to who the killer was for OT...and over the last few days that idea has been jostled and finally bumped off the ride. For now. Damn...this is getting crazy...well..crazier than usual, for me.

But every time I turn around, Jake's got something new for me to research. Like how long does the coroner keep unidentified, unclaimed bodies? 30 days to 6 months is the usual answer, but I can't find a specific one for Riverside Country, where all of this is taking place. I can just look at the coroner's press releases to find out how busy they are and what gets posted in the way of information.

Something that did come up is, they get very few John Doe's. Sometimes they withhold the name until next of kin are notified. A few times they specifically noted a John or Jane Doe was identified. But I only found 1 over the last 6 months. Plus, they deal with accidents, murders, suicides, and bodies just found lying in a ditch. Fascinating stuff...for nightmares...or Tim Burton.

I halfway think Jake is doing this to keep me off-balance, so he can sneak the killer's ID in and then make me go back and make it believable. So I get going down one path and suddenly he vanishes and calls to me from another one, and I have to find my way over to that. I honestly thought I'd have a draft done by now and could focus on DM during my time off.

But then again...I haven't heard from my illustrator, lately. So that may take longer, too.

Tomorrow I'm driving down to Philadelphia to pick up a shipment going to London, then swinging by Baltimore to pack a small library of Irish art books. That should be interesting. Maybe I'll see something fun. This Friday begins The Indie Gathering.

So maybe I'll take another break from Jake so I can make the book work, not slake off on it or forsake the characters' stake in the story's soft ache...but now a snake has  wormed its way in and I've run out of rhymes.

I blame the Zyrtek.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A complete 180

I just tossed out two chapters I'd written for OT and completely reworked a section where Jake sees two men having sex and nearly falls apart, emotionally. Digging into Jake's mind...or mind-melding, for the Trekkie in making it easier for me to understand his sudden changes. There's one character he likes then doesn't like then feels sorry for then decides to use to get even with someone else. He reacts to each moment, and shifts his plans accordingly.

The fact is, Jake's in over his head but he's not drowning without a fight. And he's already drawn some serious blood. At the rate things are going, I'll need to do a half-dozen rewrites to make the story consistent. And believable. I hope.

"I hope." Obviously I do not have the confidence in my work that Jake has in himself. He prowls like an alley cat sure of its terrain and daring anybody to mess with it. I've seen cats like that -- scarred and ready to spit at an instant. I'm more of a neutered kitteh sitting in a window gazing out on the world in ways that are faux-certain. Let a garbage truck come rumbling by and I'm -- SNAP -- under the bed.

I'm far too aware of my limitations, thanks to my upbringing, so I'm not sure where Jake's self-certainty comes from. Maybe it's a small aspect of my DNA. Maybe it's from my sort-of God complex about writing a book instead of dealing with a screenplay. I don't know. I just know I trust Jake more than I do myself...even when he fucks with me. That can't be healthy...or can it?

Or am I a budding Sybil?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Step back...

I need a breather from OT, so I've been working on short synopses for my scripts, to take with me to The Indie Gathering, next week. I'll be in Philadelphia and Baltimore, Monday - Wednesday, so may not have time to to anything with them prior to leaving Friday.

Here's one --

THE ALICE ’65 – a sheltered book archivist is sent to LA to pick up a rare edition of Alice in Wonderland from the actress who inherited it…but she wants a favor, first, one that turns his world upside down. (Romantic-comedy)

Books are ADAM VERLAIN’s life, and he expected to take over his father’s antiquarian bookshop, one day. But the man died en route to delivering a very rare copy of Alice in Wonderland, also known as an Alice ’65, and the shop was liquidated to pay his debts. Adam took a position as an archivist for a London university and settled into a dull, careful existence away from the real world. Then one day he was chosen to pick up an Alice ’65 that was inherited by a movie star named CASEY BLANCHARD, who's recovering from a recent breakup with her boyfriend. Meaning he had to leave his cloistered life and travel to Hollywood…where events take a sharp turn into chaos…and romance, and possibly even love.

This story follows Adam, who’s already hidden himself from the world, as he collides with Casey, who’s also hiding in her own way, thus changing their lives, and that of a love-sick panther’s, for the better.

Here's another --

MINE TO KILL – A brilliant woman convinces herself that she can bring her philandering husband back to life so they can kill the young intern who “let him die." (Horror)

Dr. Martha St. Lazarre has discovered a serum that holds great promise in the repair of spinal cord injuries, and has been offered a position with a major research university because of it. But when her husband, Alex dies in a car accident, she becomes convinced her serum could bring him back to life...if she first kills the intern who “let him die.”

That intern is Dr. Thomas MacGreggor, a young Scotsman who fought to save Alex. Thomas is an "empathic-intuitive" - someone who knows, instinctively, what's wrong with his patients. Unfortunately, that ability can also show him the evil in a man’s soul, and the moment Thomas touched Alex, he knew the man cheated on his wife and brutalized those who crossed him

However, Martha is too obsessed with Alex to see the truth, and as she tells herself, Thomas is "mine to kill." Which she will matter how many innocent people she has to slaughter, first.

Martha’s story shows how obsession can lead to madness, while Thomas shows how acceptance of one’s fate can save you...all brought about by the collision of a madwoman and a man who’s half-crazed.

Any thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? HELP!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

There will be blood...

...Not all of it Jake's or Tone's, but it's going to be shed. Things I'd tossed off in the first chapters are suddenly showing up as important to the story's arc. Startled the hell out of me, but not Jake. He's on top of it, now. He knows who he is and he's let me in on it.

Damn, yesterday was rough. And almost tragic. Jake and I battled it out in my brain till I had one of the worst headaches ever. Well...not as bad as this one in Houston, where I wound up on Fiorinal and had such a freaky reaction to the damn drug, I nearly swallowed the whole friggin' bottle. I scared some people I worked with almost as much as I scared myself.

So yesterday was handled with half an hour under a nice hot shower, two Advil and a slathering of Icy hot on my neck and shoulders. Of course, part of the problem might be my working setup. I need a real desk, not my art table or card table. And a better chair so I sit right. But I'm not able to do anything along those lines, right now, thanks to my financial situation.

I've realized what I'm aiming for in the story's structure is James M. Cain's sense of logical follow-through. I read "The Postman Always Rings Twice" after I'd seen the Lana Turner/John Garfield version of the movie. So I thought I knew what was coming in the book and could just enjoy reenacting the story in my brain. Didn't happen. There were little things that jolted me out of my complacency so consistently and so appropriately, it was like I was reading a whole new version.

I want that for "The Vanishing of Owen Taylor". I want the logic to be consistent and make sense at the end, so if anyone does reread the book, they'll see where it was set up...but not before. Pretty tall order. Gonna take some rewrites.

But Jake's got it goin' on, so here's trusting the little bastard...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


My brain is blank. My eyes burn. My neck and shoulders twitch. My head is threatening to leave me, forever, if I don't stop hurting it. Even my right hand aches. I got nothin' to say tonight...except I hope to god all this crap winds up being worth it.

Past history is indecisive...and negative in the monetary realm.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Jake is getting mean...

We're doing a slash and burn through OT. Ideas initially written and thought of as good are now crapping out and realigning. Jake's revealing his hard-assed side in spades, and I'm finding it both fun and frightening. He's going to get himself into some serious trouble if he isn't careful.

I don't want the end of this book to be nothing but one face-off after another, so he and I are trying to work out some way where everything comes to a head in one location and causes a full-scale earthquake of the 9.0 magnitude. But there are so many people twisting in and out of the story, and all of them have their part in the puzzle.

I'm getting close to figuring out where -- something like a city council meeting where all the suspects have shown up...or a church service...something public and prone to violence if not carefully handled. Maybe a fundraiser, since politics plays so important a role in the does religion.

I almost think Jake is going to deliberately accuse someone of murder, even though he knows they did not do it. But they facilitated it. Egged it on. Laid the foundation for it. I don't know about that, yet. It would mean he has to let the real killer stay free. How could he do that? To prove a point? To punish the partially-guilty? To gain control and use the truly guilty?

At the beginning of the story, his step-mother, Mira, observes he is like his father in many ways. He may be out to prove her right.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sleepless in Buffalo

I never got fully to sleep, last night, for some reason. I'd drift close and then just stop, my brain whizzing from one thing to another. It's normal for me to have a problem sleeping the night before a trip; I'm trying to make sure I've got everything set, and no matter how hard I try, I still wind up forgetting something. But usually I'm gone the second my head hit s the pillow.

But last night...I don't know what it was, unless my brain wanted to keep working on OT. None of my tricks shut it down. Or distracted it. On the occasions where I do have a problem, I do goofy things like recite all the Best Supporting Actress winners in the Oscars, from 1936 on. If I ever had to do that for a quiz show, I'd get 100 percent.

Of course, Zyrtek doesn't help. It makes me drowsy but at the same time unless I crash for a nap soon as I get home, it doesn't do anything for me at night. Just makes it hard to get up in the morning. And...thinking about it...I didn't get up, Sunday, till nearly noon. Maybe I just wasn't worn out enough.

Something I will say is, I slip into dreams a lot easier. I've had some vivid ones when I've been crashed out. I don't remember them except in the abstract, but I think they're helping Jake clear my head for the path we need to take. I'd been looking at those errors about Tiago and Lemm, and other things, since I wrote them and wasn't even seeing a problem...untill I got back onto it after having been to Dachau. Now I see where I've gotten too clever with the story, by half.

Seems I can't shake the Germans. They're still out to make my life hell. Turns out the export company we hooked up with told me they'd prepare the pallets for shipment, early last week...but didn't actually do it till late Friday afternoon. And we still don't have the shipment booked to go by sea freight. This, after a week of asking for the weight and dimensions of the pallets the boxes had been built to so we could finalize the bill of lading. Then today, this guy with the company asks me if we want them to proceed with making the booking, even though I sent them an e-mail on Friday saying, please make the booking and get back to me.

I have a coworker who micromanages most of the shipping companies we deal with. I'd always thought she was a bit anal, as did our boss. After this...I can see why she's like that. If you don't outline everything you want them to do, and then call them and bug them about it every day, they don't do it. Even if they tell you they will.

I need to work this into a script or story...if I can make it believable.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I am not a day person...

I spent much of Saturday and Sunday working myself up to digging into "...Owen Taylor", and got started writing between 8 and 9 pm both days. I could easily keep writing past midnight...which I did Saturday, but it's not feasible Sunday because I have to go to work, the next morning.

Even on my early days, I don't really start writing till after 4pm. I'm just not ready till then. At least, that's how I see it, right now.

I did get myself going a bit earlier today by digging into the story to make some changes to the beginning chapters. One problem with writing from the hip with my characters is the inconsistencies that show up. And how later in the story things that happen can't work within the timeframe allowed or with the location as I've described it earlier.

One thing that popped up, for example, was the situation regarding Lemm and his brother, Tiago. Both worked on the grounds of the condo-complex Owen lived in. The property is handled by Dion's management company, which is registered in California as a business. And Owen is politically active.

Initially, I had Tiago and Lemm being illegal, having snuck into the US from Chile. I can't have that. It's stupid. Dion's company would get hit hard by Immigration and the fact that Owen has illegal immigrants working on his grounds would be attack fodder. So I had to change that, come up with another way.

It also worked better for Playa Royale, the name of the complex Owen lives in, to have 18 units instead of 10. And I found a point where Jake's awareness of how his uncle made a living did not maintain consistency.

But...that's what this whole fight is about -- making the story solid and workable. And I now have close to 82,000 words set down...372 pages...with probably a good 20,000, left to add. Maybe 25,000. Won't know till I'm done.

And I'm sorry Jake, but I'm ready to be done.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

YouTube advances homophobia

This video of two men kissing -- nothing else, just kissing -- has been flagged as adult by YouTube. Men and women kissing? Anybody can watch. Videos of violence or stupid stunts gone wrong where people get hurt? Anybody can watch. Clips of rape and murder and mayhem from movies and TV shows? Anybody can watch. Religious freaks from the various churches condemning gays and nut-cases threatening to shoot people and overthrow the government? Anybody can watch. But GOD FORBID someone be allowed to happen onto a pair of two fags in love. That might bring about the end of civilization as we know it.

Now maybe this isn't all that big a deal to most people. So what if YouTube puts up an advisory on the video? Who cares? It's not like they're refusing to let you see it.

But considering the explosion of homophobia around the world, from Iraq and Iran to Russia and countries in South America and African nations setting out laws to kill gay men and women, what YouTube is doing is, tacitly. agreeing with them that homosexuality is wrong and bad and must be treated differently. That is the wrong message to send. Period.

I've told them this. Will anyone else?

UPDATE: To be clear, the only way you can let YouTube know how you feel is to send them "feedback." There's a link at the bottom of the page which opens a three-step form. Go into "About YouTube" and that offers a link to "contact us".

Also -- here's YouTube's Address and phone number --

YouTube, LLC
901 Cherry Ave.
San Bruno, CA 94066
Phone: +1 650-253-0000
Fax: +1 650-253-0001
And a LOT of the comments on the video's page are telling YouTube there was no need to flag this video.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Back to the OT

I'm writing the ending to "...Owen Taylor" so I can make this thing start drawing to a close. Once I have that taken care of, I can make the rest of the story fit into it and maybe streamline it some.

I had this whole side plot about one of the cops who messed with Jake being accused of Owen's murder, even though they don't have a body, yet. My initial plan was to have Jake and Antony return to Denmark and rebuild their lives, and let the cop deal with the accusation and threat of trial for a year. Even though Jake already knew who the real killer was. But that's no longer viable within the new framework of the story.

Oh, Jake's still going to be a bastard as regards the dicks who tried to fuck him over and the killer, but in a much more fun and less asshole-ish way. I think. Won't know till I know.

I think I've finally caught Amazon underreporting sales. No longer is it just a suspicion. You see, I can go online to find out how "Bobby Carapisi, The Complete Novel" is selling in Kindle; they report sales as soon as they happen. Well...until the end of July, Kindle was showing 4 copies of the electronic download sold. Not much, but it's better than nothing.

But then, when August 1st hit, it suddenly showed only 3 sales for the previous month. And it's not like someone bought one and then returned it; that's happened twice and it shows up as a return. Nope, this time it's just a blatant decrease of a single book.

Now this isn't a lot of money...but consider this -- Amazon has hundreds of thousands of authors offering books through them. If they underreported just one book per author, per month, that's an extra million or two extra in their coffers. And how you gonna prove they've done it? Have them audited? I can't even begin to imagine how much that would cost. All over a $3 book?

I should have taken a snapshot of the page showing sales were at 4, but I honestly never thought they'd be so blatant about it. Amazing. Seems the only way you know for sure you're getting all the money you should for your work is to sell it out of the back of your car.

Such is life in the big city.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Raymond Chandler knows me!

I have found the perfect description of myself, courtesy of an article Raymond Chandler wrote in 1950, "The Simple Art of Murder" --

The detective story ... is  usually about murder and hence lacks the element of uplift. Murder, which is a frustration of the individual and hence a frustration of the race, may have, and in fact has, a good deal of sociological implication. But it has been going on too long for it to be news. If the mystery novel is at all realistic (which it very seldom is) it is written in a certain spirit of detachment; otherwise nobody but a psychopath would want to write it or read it.

Honey, the final part of that last sentence is me to a psychopathic "TH." Having some space forced on me by this last job has been very useful. I can see The Vanishing of Owen Taylor is fighting to be realistic when I'm worried and trying to keep it within the vague norms of the detective novel. So it repeats itself and rambles and scores some vicious points, and it would all come together if I'd just accept that Jake refuses to be detached from the emotional core boiling under the surface. I am the madman through which his story is being told.

It's about so much more than just Owen's disappearance and the solving of the mystery surrounding him; it's about a society crashing into conflict over the future, and manipulations by those who think they are, and who are, in control. It's about a man questioning his decision to love someone he isn't sure loves him back, even though deep down he knows he has no choice in that love. It's about building a family that's strong and caring and supportive when your own blood relations have abandoned you. It's about maintaining your sense of integrity, no matter what, even in the face of a horrifying truth.

Suddenly there's a very real possibility Jake will never return to Copenhagen. He's got the balls and the ability to counter the growing conflict. This book is only a skirmish in a long-term war...and more battles need to be addressed. And my Jake would lead the fight, not run.

Do I sound grandiose enough, yet?