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Showing posts from January, 2020

More of the usual...

Ran into a brick wall because something's not right in the direction the story's taking and I need to let it work itself out before continuing. This seems to be the way I work -- all background reconfiguring when I'm having a problem. I can do the frontal thoughts and seeking possibilities, but they rarely get anything resolved until my head says, Okay, we got this now. Drives me nuts, but it's happened on every book I've written so it not unexpected. Dammit.

Driving to Albany awoke me...

The drive from Buffalo to Albany is along Highway 90, a tollroad all the way. It runs over flat farmland then rolling hills, through ares of trees and of open plains and sharp cliffs, and has very few exits but is very well-maintained. Which was good, today, because it snowed the 120 miles to Syracuse, sometimes very hard. Then from Syracuse to Albany it was just cold and gray and icy. However, it woke me up. I love how soft everything looked and gentle and lovely, and my mind relaxed...and I let it work over the Houston section for  A Place of Safety and BAM! I saw I was assigning a betrayal of Brendan to the wrong character. By having it come from someone he trusts who is not a family member, his reaction once he knows explodes into a vicious anger that nearly destroys the perpetrator while actually helping protect himself from the serious legal consequences of being an illegal immigrant. It also predicates him crashing into drugs and apathy for the next few years. It also bett

A little more of APoS

I had a hard time concentrating, today. Off to Albany in the morning and it's been snowing out, but seems to be turning to rain. It'll be fun getting my car out from under that. So I did more sales work on BNR and it's helping a little. I also joined a Facebook group that is geared to helping you figure out how to market you book...and I've already run afoul of the rules by just posting I was happy to be there, so I dunno about that. Still...I got a little more done...added in...and here's some of it. Brendan's moved into the pool house behind his aunt's residence and has some independence, now. ------ I found I liked working at The Colonel’s . The night hours and the dark silence of Houston as I walked home brought to mind my walk to Claudy and around Derry before The Troubles took hold, even though the air was warm and thick well into October. Sometimes the rain would pour, but I always had a poncho with me so never worried about it, despite how harsh it

I am not a free man...

My life has been shaped and scarred by violence visited upon me when I could do nothing about it and had no idea what it meant. I'm only now beginning to see just how deeply wounded I was...only now...and my writing has done more to get me to this point than years of therapy ever did. I'm still driven more by worry and concern than anything else. Fear of offending someone. Causing them discomfort. But I can see that slowly changing. Finally. I once commented I could easily have become a serial killer, and the coworker who heard me said I was wrong; I was too empathetic. And she was right. It jolted me, but I began looking at myself and saw I would often put the concerns of others above mine. Not always. Sometimes I held onto my place as I saw it...but afterwards would feel like I'd done something wrong and wonder if I hurt others by doing so when, in reality, I was only hurting myself by not being that way from the outset. I think I finally reached the zenith of this w

When the story and characters take charge...

I'm finding APoS may become a three part series of novels, because now that section 2 has begun revealing itself, it's expanding in ways I'm not sure I can...or want to...keep contained. Brendan's going through some PTSD here that bounces out at odd moments...and some not so odd. Like being in Houston on the 4th of July, for the first time He's working 3 nights a week at a bar in The Heights section, restocking, cleaning, keeping inventory of what they have on-hand. He's 17, illegal, and being paid straight out of the cash register. So he's working that night. Fireworks and guns have been going off all over the city, but not so much so that he can't handle it...until it gets dark; then they go hog-wild and he winds up cowering under the bar, freaking out. It takes quite a while for the bartender and a waitress to calm him down because he's flashing back to Bloody Sunday and the insanity of the paratroopers as they murdered demonstrators in fron

Step by bloody step...

I'm working through the story in baby steps, really, but finding ways to make it keep moving. This section is a few chapters in, when Brendan, who's still 17, is taken to a gay bar by his cousin, who claims to be straight...but I'm beginning to wonder...only it's 1973, before sex became political, and a lot of straight guys were willing to try out something new and different. Believe me... ------- Well...it wasn’t much of a pub -- or bar or disco or the like. It was a made-over two-story house off Westheimer, near Houston’s downtown, and the traffic was hell. Cars backed up for miles, going slower than it would take to walk the length of the area. Seems this was, as Scott put it, Montrose. And as for the traffic, he added, “People’re just cruisin’.” “Cruisin’?” I was incredulous. “They’re barely movin’.” “That’s the point.” I just shook my head. I was now feeling weary from working all day in the heat. Scott had shown me this trick of wetting a bandana in ice

En route to NYC on a train...

Working on APoS . Here's the first chapter ------------------- An old black windowsill appeared before me. Paint weather-beaten and dried and bleached by the sun till it curled into little shreds to reveal gray wood that used to be pine. I think. Bits had shredded away thanks to rain and wind. Maybe someone’s careless pulling at the splinters. Maybe me doing that. It was almost lovely in its weaving patterns and grooves. But what caught my attention most was the steady line of ants whispering back and forth across it to swirl over and dismantle what was left of a half-eaten sandwich and crisps on a dish set in the corner. Some sort of fish salad on light bread. Not so very old. Part of a crust lay next to it. Had it been mine? There was a taste in my mouth that was rather fishy. And in my hand was a long bottle of Coke. Still chilled, sweaty and half gone. If it was me who sipped it, I didn’t remember. I was on the first floor of a house, it seemed, looking down at a yard that was

Near catastrophe...

I did something dumb and took a window seat on the flight from Denver to NYC because it was in the exit row and I got more space. It wasn't a full flight so I was hoping the middle seat would stay vacant. No such luck. One of those people who takes up all the space they can decided she wanted that seat...and proceeded to do her makeup...and dug through a half-dozen weekly mags...and watched videos on her tablet as she crossed and uncrossed her legs and bumped me over and over...saying Sorry each time. I was close to getting up and finding someplace else to sit. Then I got my drink. A DDP on ice. And I made the stupid mistake of setting it next to my laptop as I shifted in my seat and it spilled on my keyboard. Not a lot but enough to freak me out. My own damn fault. I flipped my laptop over and blotted the mess up and powered down and stuck a bandana between the screen and the keys and left it upside down for a bit then aimed the air vent at it to dry it out...and it seems to be

Managed to get more done

On the second leg of my trip to Denver I scored an exit row seat so was able to use my laptop with ease. I'm wandering through the Houston section of APoS and it's meandering a bit, but that's good. It counterpoints the flashbacks Brendan's having, what we'd call PTSD, now, but back then was called battle fatigue. And since Brendan actually did come out of a battle zone, it fits. Bits are now appearing in Brendan's memory that need to be added to the first section, in Derry, so they can connect his old world to the realities of his new world. Things like seeing someone get kneecapped, a vicious punishment that cripples the person it's done to and is usually carried out by members of the IRA, PIRA or INLA against criminals or touts (snitches); and getting beaten by Joanna's brother and friends; and comparing an American Irish Pub to the real thing, in a derogatory way that makes him miss it. He also has a load of guilt because he's the reason hi

It's working, again...

Letting Brendan travel a new path in APo S...one he hadn't bothered to mention till after I finished BNR ...has exploded the story in ways I'm not yet sure about. He's revealed a hint of cruelty lying deep within...and it works for him. He's also admitted he feels free, living in Houston. Freed from the horrors Derry is drowning in. Freed from his mother's anger and hatefulness. Free to follow whatever path he now chooses. But he also is torn up with guilt because his brother, Eamonn, was arrested thanks to him. It wasn't intended, but now he's locked away for 20 years as being an accomplice in a fatal bombing. Brendan also knows the British want to find him to question him about the bombing, even though he only witnesses it and was badly injured by it. He was smuggled out of the country to keep that from happening so is in the US illegally. Not much he can do about that. So now Brendan has three main emotions to play with -- happiness at being free, gu

Back to it...

I read over the first two chapters I'd written of the Houston section of A Place of Safety and made additions and corrections to set the pace. I also intensified Brendan's new reality, that he's banished from his home and living with his aunt and uncle illegally. He's showing flashes of anger and viciousness, as well, but also tenderness and decency. He's finally taking form in his new world. The story is, as well. I know where it's going, now. Only took me months of head-banging and avoidance. Hell, years. Brendan's going to be a lot more complex in this section, less a reactor and more of an angry young man on a nihilistic binge. He's seen death and destruction up close and knows how suddenly you can go from living to dead, with nothing to protect you. He skirts close to disaster more than once but somehow manages to keep going. He's using up his nine lives, here. I have a lot of work to do to make this section fit right, still, but it's

Slowly shifting...

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I now have The Beast in the Nothing Room up in paperback and ebook , and I've let people know about it so it's begun to sell. Now I'm shifting my full focus to APoS . I've begun doing my usual thing of writing moments to string together and make the story. Brendan becomes friends with an older gay man, Everett, in Houston, who winds up gay-bashed and nearly killed. The man he was with does die. Bren visits Everett in the hospital and learns it wasn't the first time he's been attacked, and he finds out it's probable the guys who did it will probably get off using the gay panic defense. It's Texas in the 70s; it's a viable excuse to too damn many people. Brendan's going to be something of a head case, for a while. Not sure how to approach it, yet, but it's going to cause him trouble, more than once, so that some of the things that happen to him are brought on by his own actions. This will wind up leading into what happens upon his retu

Back to the beginning

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I've spent the last two months focused on finishing another of my MM horror books, and it's now uploaded to both Smashwords (and available in ebook) and Ingram Spark (waiting on a proof and print copy to make sure it's all okay). The Beast in the Nothing Room is one of my dark stories but built around multi-dimensional human characters, each with his own arc. There is some very violent sex in it and the premise says it all -- How can you stop a serial killer who never kills anyone and doesn't even exist? It's a rip on HG Wells' Time Machine taken to a logical extreme -- What if a psychopath from the future went back in time to rape men just before they were slated to die? It's no crime to brutalize someone who's already dead, nor is it murder. If I changed the concept to that of a Jack-the-ripper type coming back to kill prostitutes, I could probably sell the damn thing for a million bucks. Make the hero female...or male with a female partner ta