Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.”
So I had this article in mind for a story.
My take on it was going to be that he had pics and lustful footage of a woman that had left him on that phone, and that the stuff on the cell phone was all that he had to remember her by. Then I thought, even if actually happened, most of the readers of that story would complain that it rang a little hollow or seemed fake.
Regardless, I really didn't have enough passion for the story to overcome the flatness of the vérité.
Coming soon? Some time in early July, a story on Powder Burn Flash!
Sunday, June 28, 2009
– E.B. White
"If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad."
– Lord Byron
"Please pass the ketchup, I think it's going to rain."
The first two are from the Creative Screenwriting Weekly Newsletter and the third is obviously not an original.
BTW, Blogger? Get it together! This is the third scheduled post that did not post at the posted time, Postmaster Gerbils!
Saturday, June 27, 2009
It's easy enough, until you mull it over and then...well, here we go-
You wake up tomorrow and every person on the planet has vanished. What do you do?
Day One: I've had a few days to think this out and I believe that this should get the screenwriter treatment, as opposed to the author treatment. It is exactly like the making of sausage or hot dogs...if you really think about it, you really don't want to know.
Screenwriters tend to give things only so much detail because like a shark, they can't stop swimming and they have to move on to the next scene. The author has to pay attention because his or her audience can and will back track a few pages, and the holes will be exposed. Like a road map, I'm only putting you in the town, it's up to you to Google the rest.
Also, please note that this meem won't be pleasant, but I want you to look at this a clinically as possible, because that's how I am approaching it.
The first day is about securing; a can opener, all the canned food that I can, a mask to protect myself from airborne diseases, and shotguns from police cruisers. I work at night, sometimes outside and one of the first things that you have to do on my job is get over your phobia of rats.
If everyone but me were to perish, the rats would pop out minutes after that and that's something that movies or a certain TV series doesn't really acknowledge. I've also learned that for every rat that you see, there are dozens that are hidden. More importantly, the more rats you have, the braver they are, and thus, time to go "Dick Cheney hunting trip" on them.
The airborne diseases from the decaying bodies would start right away, so I'm moving south and westward towards the San Mateo mountains to avoid the winds carrying the stuff.
Week One: I finally saw "I Am Legend" when the cable company pulled a bait and switch, so we had HBO for a week. If there's one thing that they got right, you are going to want to have a dog, preferably two of them and a couple of cats to deal with and warn you of all the other animals that will view you as food. Hopefully by this time I've had the time and peace to mourn everyone properly. I've also switched over to "Burgess Meredith in the 'Twilight Zone' mode" and I'm reading everything I can get my hands on.
I am also reading up on antibiotics, in order to combat all the fun things that my 21st Century immune system can't handle. Hopefully by then I've also secured a way to filter the water because the water treatment plants won't be working by then.
Month One: Did I really make it this far? If I did, I've probably discovered Zoloft or something similar to deal with the absence of any other human beings. At this point, I'd even miss the sphincters at work for the usual antagonism. Hopefully not too many animals other than rats have developed a taste for yours truly. I'm not going to delve any deeper than this, the real world is intruding on my writing projects and this meme is on the verge of becoming another distraction.
I tag anyone who wants to do this and only Bubs, in specific, because he has the mental makeup for this, and I want to know how he would handle things from a logistical standpoint.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
"L-I-N-G-O" originally appeared on Powderburnflash.com-
4:50 PM on a cold, secluded, rain-soaked road just outside of Sacramento. Barry and Cap sit in a car, and even though Barry has felt Cap up for the second time in the last fifteen minutes, this isn't a date. Barry has been checking Cap for weapons both times once before he got in the car and now, just seconds ago. All Barry has found on Cap is a cell phone which he confiscated, and a pager, which he let him keep.
There are hurt feelings and silence just like a date gone wrong, but they both know that all this tension has to do with the fact that one of them isn't going to get out of the car alive.
"Let's Rorschach this situation, Barry."
"What's that, Cap?"
"You know…a Rorschach test?" Cap says as he pulls out his pager and glances at it.
"Because all I see are a bunch of ink blots and you? Obviously you see something else altogether."
"What are you goin' on about?"
"I'm "goin' on about" why you have me out here in the middle of nowhere, while I haven't done anything wrong."
"Define 'wrong,' Cap."
"While you have had your head in anything but the game, I've been the one that has been making sure that the business is run right."
Barry watches Cap gesture with the pager and he retorts through clenched teeth, "Is that so?"
"Yeah, that's so, and you need to realize that before you give me the waterboard and the full Gitmo experience. The sales are steady when I'm in charge, the product moves when I'm in charge, and the count is never short when I'm in charge. Now, can you say the same when Antoine fills in?"
"Are you claiming to be an honest man, Cap?"
"The facts speak for themselves, man."
"Well, Cap, in my experience? An honest man is like somebody who is Chinese having the name Mookie or Ray-Ray. They might exist, but I've never seen one."
"Have I ever cheated you?"
"Out of money or product? Maybe a dollar here or some rock there, but it ain't nothing that I've noticed." Barry grins and pulls out a Glock .40. "Now, other things?"
Cap looks at the leer in Barry's eyes and snaps, "hell to the no, you got this more twisted than an accident at a pretzel factory!"
"No, bro, I'm straight on this. You're the one that's always talkin' about how much you hate Ashley and she's always talkin' about how much she hates you. Both y'all ain't foolin' me on this; I got you two locked in."
"As long as you've known me," says Cap as he grimaces and points his pager at Barry, "have I ever been about anything but the money? Answer me truthfully; have I ever been about anything but the money?"
"No, but people change."
"And who has changed around here, man? I've been running this business, the same as always. You got yourself your little tail from the suburbs and I didn't trip. You spent more and more time with her, while I made sure that everything was all quo. If this was a legit biz, I woulda fired your absentee-ass first thing. But you never saw me drive you out into the middle of nowhere and try to put some trumped-up bullshit on you, like a corrupt cop paying out triple alimony!"
Barry mulls it over it over and his face strains like preschooler trying to figure out the Federal budget.
Barry chambers a round and says, "You're just trying to throw me off."
"Ain't nobody throwing you off but you. You're the one with your head out the game, playing "Ghetto Ken and Suburban Barbie." Me? I'm so far into the game, that I am quarterback, head coach, general manager, owner, and league commissioner, all rolled up into one. I'm the one that makes sure that you have money. So that you can have this nice car and so that she can spend it just as fast as it comes in. That's who I am."
Barry contemplates again with that strained look on his face, then he nods to the pager that Cap keeps pointing at him.
"What the hell is that, a wire?"
"No, Barry, it's a twenty-five caliber."
The pager lets out a loud snap and the back of Barry's head hits the driver's side window, cracking it. The strained look on Barry's face is now permanent. Cap gets out of the passenger side and opens the driver's door. The upper half of Barry's body falls into the mud and gravel. Cap pulls the rest of him out of the car and drags him off the road, and into a copse of trees.
"What's that dumb-ass saying, Barry? Oh, yeah, "bros before hos." Well bro, you should've kept your head in the game, because it's "dough before bros and hos" with me."
Monday, June 22, 2009
Then I mull this over and I realize that the very same thing happens some blocks away in the Marina District. The women, also known as "Marina Chicks," try to ply the affluent males with their wiles. The interplay can often be just as mysterious or elaborate, though the gulls certainly don't wear makeup, or have to play phone or email tag.
The result of all of them will eventually be the same; there will be plenty of posturing by both sexes, seafood will be consumed, there will be plenty of squawking by both sexes, and eventually the males will simply refuse to call upon the females.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
He had posted a video on YouTube that has since been taken down by the site's administrators, but he will mostly likely repost on his own blog. I have seen the video on a social network and I will repost here the text that accompanied the video.
Basij shots to death a young woman in Tehran's Saturday June 20th protests-At 19:05 June 20thPlace: Karekar Ave., at the corner crossing Khosravi St. and Salehi st.
A young woman who was standing aside with her father watching the protests was shot by a basij member hiding on the rooftop of a civilian house. He had clear shot at the girl and could not miss her. However, he aimed straight her heart. I am a doctor, so I rushed to try to save her.
But the impact of the gunshot was so fierce that the bullet had blasted inside the victim's chest, and she died in less than 2 minutes.
The protests were going on about 1 kilometers away in the main street and some of the protesting crowd were running from tear gass (sic) used among them, towards Salehi St.
The film is shot by my friend who was standing beside me.
Please let the world know.
Now, I ask you, are these the actions of a victor that ran a fair and proper election?
– Toni Morrison
"Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day."
– Norman Mailer
The latter quote and me are in conference, so I'll see you whenever I'm done.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Yesterday, she brought up the value of Ezines as a venue for up and coming writers to reach audiences that were previously unattainable, then she proceeded to cite the example of a certain crime writing force majeure (a.k.a. Paul D. Brazill) and how he has set a record for story readership on Beat To a Pulp.
People like to slam the Internet, but from what I can see, a more good comes from it than bad. And those good things might not come to fruition if not for communities such as these.
P.S. Here is the story that was mentioned.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
It's not a Platter's tune, yet...
They said someday you'll find
All bullets are blind
Oh, when your heart's on fire
You must realize
Gunpowder gets in your eyes
Please check out "When Gunpowder Gets In Your Eyes."
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Not to mention comedian and Paul D. Brazill impersonator, Will Durst goes with my lifetime favorite.
There's also Joan Chen...
...and let's face it, who cares what the others have to say, when you have Joan Chen? They should've devoted the article solely to her. So my recommendations for you? I'll keep it simple because I'm not a reviewer by any stretch of the imagination.
"Jack Wakes Up." Remember when Quentin Tarantino and John Woo were firing on all cylinders? Well Seth Harwood has all of that in spades. One of the best parts of this book, is that the protagonist, Jack Palms, often doesn't know what he is doing or what he is going to do next. He's purely reactive and damn it, that's perfect. Even though he is a former actor, he is real by virtue of how deals with each situation.
"Spade And Archer?" I thought that Joe Gores would nail Hammett's prose, the way that he had done previously in novels and one screenplay. I believe that he didn't try as hard as he could and maybe he didn't want the audience reading this book exactly the way they would read Dashiell.
That being said, this was a good book that while not as crisp as Hammett, is a very satisfying novel. The shadow of the real Thin Man or not, Gores does a brilliant job of creating Sam Spade's back story (don't make me use the word, "prequel") and it is a must read.
Connelly's back, 'nuff said.
Mister Bruen does what few can, he can make you empathize with a psychopath (not the psychopath's actions). He has a prose that is unrivaled and literally like no other. He doesn't write books for the cozy set and by God, who wants that? Crime is not white gloves, tea, cucumber sandwiches, crumpets, and china. It's raw as a blood-red steak on a rusty tin plate, with a chaser of Jameson's in a glass that has never seen water nor soap.
"Hammett gave murder back to the kind of people that commit it for reasons, not just to provide a corpse; and with the means at hand, not hand-wrought dueling pistols, curare and tropical fish."
Monday, June 15, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
"What I like in a good author isn't what he says, but what he whispers."
– Logan Pearsall Smith
That was from the Creative Screenwriting Weekly Newsletter, and not that I familiar at all with Mr. Smith, yet here is another quote from him-
"People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading."
Thursday, June 11, 2009
4 movies you would watch over and over again:
4 places you have lived:
Venezia (Venice), Italy
A Black Hole of A City In The East Bay That Does Not Deserved To Be Named, California
San Francisco, California
4 TV shows you love to watch:
The Tick (both live and animated versions)
The Wire (still have yet to see or buy the last two seasons)
4 places you have been on vacation:
The NYC, New York
4 of your favorite foods:
Spaghetti ala pesto Genovese
Virtually anything with eggplant in it.
4 Web sites you visit daily:
You Would Say That, Wouldn't You (Paulie has all the relevant links)
A Gasping Little Voice (Quin talks softly, but her words hit you like a big stick)
4 places you would rather be right now:
Back East, hanging with The In-Laws.
Venezia. Late May through early June and the weather is just perfect.
Hawaii. Haven't been since I was eight.
Japan. I've never been west of Hawaii.
4 things you want to do before you die:
Put my son through college.
Buy a house.
Get my anthology published.
Have my work adapted for the silver screen.
4 books you wish you could read again for the first time:
"Sailor On The Seas of Fate"
"A Red Death"
Tag 4 people you think will respond:
Let's go with five, four is an unlucky number.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
You are as disconnected as all those former pay phones that now sit in a landfill somewhere, waiting to be discovered centuries from now by archaeologists, and they will have just a tad more insight to those phones as I have to you right at this moment.
I wonder if you have been “in the moment” a day in your life.
Tell me, how do you cross First Street without all the speeding bridge and tunnel people who are so eager to return to the sanctuary of suburbia, hitting you?
I wonder if you will live forever, because how can the Grim Reaper take away what was never connected in the first place?
I know I will never have an answer, because I will always be on the outside looking in.
Monday, June 8, 2009
So, why don't we make this about you, the reader?
"Tell Me Something Good," Rufus And Chaka Kahn.
"Tell me, tell me, tell me," Fastway.
"Don't Tell Me You Love Me," Night Ranger.
"Say Anything," John Cusack and Ione Skye...just keep it fairly apolitical, short, and sweet.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Actually, Amazon finally put in print two weeks ago, some two weeks after the online version. So what do you get with the print issue, that you don't get with its online counterpart? You get a different cover from this one-
You also get my story "All The Better To," and after reading it, you'll never look at your grandma...or anyone else's grandma, the same way again. You could also think of it as a western set in The Great Depression, but see for yourself.
Granted, the story is also available on the online version, but you also get up and coming writer, Katt Parish's epic "Djinn," which is only available on the print version. So why don't you order AAM Issue #6 on Amazon, today?
P.S. The site The Novel Blog.Com, also gave AAM #6 a little write up, check it out!
Thursday, June 4, 2009
You’re absolutely not a bridezilla!
“What have I ever asked you for, Dad?”
You never asked him for a thing, Tammy. If anything, he’s always borrowing money from you.
“Honey, I’m sorry. I know you’ve never asked for much, but I gotta keep a strike fund ready…look, your uncle could get us the basement at the Elk’s Club for cheap.”
Damn, Tammy, you slammed that door so hard, I think you tore it off its hinges!
“What am I going to do? If I don’t come up with the rest of the deposit by Wednesday, we’ll lose the wedding hall!”
Not to panic, not to panic. Let’s go shopping.
Inspiration, Tammy, inspiration.
“To the mall?”
No, let’s go to Downtown Los Colinas.
“Okay, we’re here; now what?”
“I already have my engagement and wedding ring sets.”
I know. Look next door, what do you see?
“A CPA’s office.”
Do I have to spell it out for you? Think like your cousin Charlie.
“Why…would…I…ever, do a thing like that?”
Because you’re going to need Charlie’s help, as well as your fiancé Larry’s tools.
“I don’t follow.”
Think like Charlie. What do you see, Tammy? One of these things is not like the other.
“Don’t mock me…oh…Oh! There’s no visible alarm on the CPA’s office.”
Exactly. We’ll double-check around back, but I doubt that there’s an alarm. Identity thieves would rather get the information via trash, mail or online. Now comes the hard part. You are going to make nice with Charlie and invite him to your wedding.
“For God’s sake, why?”
Because you don’t know the first thing about tools, theft or anything that comes afterwards. And what are you going to do, research this on the Internet so that you leave a trail for the police to follow?
“But he’ll get drunk and ruin the wedding.”
There won’t be a wedding or a reception if you don’t make nice with Charlie. Do this right and everybody will come out happy, plus you’ll be able to afford a honeymoon.
“And how are we going to pull this off?”
What does Larry have that can cut through all of this, as if it were a slice of wedding cake?
“I’ll stay in the car, Charlie, and radio you if there are any cops.”
“Oh, no, I’m staying out here and you two will go in.”
“Charlie, let’s be realistic for a second. How much safe-cracking experience do you think I have?”
“And you know what kind of a thief I am. I shoplifted that one time when we were twelve and I got caught. Now, how much experience do you think I have with tools?”
“Fine, I get your point.”
“Why should we even cut her in, Charlie?”
“Hey, asshole, did you scout this place?”
“No bitch is going to talk to me—“
“Look, Myron! I’ll talk to you the way I like! I came up with the plan, I scouted this place and these are my fiancé’s tools! If anybody is a “bitch” around here, it’s you begging Charlie to cut you in on my job! Got it?”
“Oh, man, look at this! There must be over $250,000 in loot!”
“Don’t open that bag until we’re out of here!”
“Yeah, sorry. Hey, Myron, don’t you have something to say to my cousin?”
“I’m sorry I disrespected you.”
“It’s all copacetic now, Myron.”
That was a beautiful wedding, if I say so myself. The reception is going to be a breeze, especially without Charlie there.
“I’m worried. Where is he?”
“Who are you talking to, Tammy?”
Shut up, Larry!
“Shut up, Larry!”
“’Uh-oh,’ is right. The cops.”
Three squad cars? Charlie or Myron gave us up, probably Myron because he really did strike me as a bitch. Have the driver stop behind the catering truck before the cops see us.
“Driver? Please pull up behind that truck.”
“What’s going on, Tammy?”
Don’t forget the passports and the money!
“Just get the suitcases out of the trunk, Larry.”
Tell me the keys are in the ignition.
“They left the keys in there, yes.”
“Tammy, who are you talking to?”
Shut up, Larry!
“Shut up, Larry and put the suitcases in this truck!”
“Honey, where are we going and why is that police car chasing us?”
The cake, it’s the only way.
There’s no choice.
“Larry? Open the back door and dump the wedding cake in the road.”
“But, honey, are you going to slow down?”
Yes, look at them spin! Let them eat cake and canyon!
“Why do I even listen to you? When have you ever been right about anything?”
Beats me, what do I know? I’m just a voice in your head and if you took your medication like you’re supposed to, I wouldn’t have to listen to me either.
Aldo, Gerald and Patti have created yet another flash fiction challenge-
In the early nineties, a book was published where each story shared a single concept: "a wedding cake in the middle of the road." None of those stories were flash fiction, but let's see what we can do with that idea in a limited number of words.
Stories should be around 750 words, but anything under 1000 wrds is good. You can set your wedding cake on a road on Mars, in Montana, or anywhere at all. In other words, all genres are welcome.
The "wedding cake in the road" can be the main idea or a sidebar-so long as it's in there--like the gun in Plots with Guns.
Mystery Dawg will publish stories on Powder Burn Flash where no blog is available.
A long time ago, I was going to do a story based on real-life drunken bride that went pugilstic on everyone in sight. Her "inner voice" that steered her wrong was retained, and I added that to a real life jewel heist that happened on The (San Francisco) Peninsula last winter.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Pride and Prejudice
janeaustin: Woman meets man called Darcy who seems horrible. He turns out to be nice really. They get together
charlesdickens: Orphan given £££ by secret follower. He thinks it’s @misshavisham but it turns out to be @magwitch
Take a gander at the Telegraph article, and the book.
cbrown: BTW, this is just midweek filler. Because if you know me, you know that I'm anti-Twitter
Monday, June 1, 2009
Worse yet, more often than not, the system is set up so either the evidence must be more overwhelming than merely solid, to get a conviction. Or if there is a conviction, the punishment often, doesn’t fit the crime. So justice sometimes fails as a deterrent to both crime and murder.
It’s hard to feel safe as a woman in America, and I feel even less than safe because with my job, I have to frequently move. I did extensive research on this neighborhood before I even moved to this town, then I narrowed down the blocks that I found to be ideal. One house met my criteria and even looked picture perfect in the daytime.
At night? That was something entirely different. I found that there certain shadows that wouldn’t be cast out, no matter where I put my halogen lamps. When the sun went down and all the heat escaped to the attic, the house would moan and creak with the contractions of the wooden walls. The floors often sounded like someone was trying to sneak up on me, where there was no one to be found.
Amazingly, I was used to all this. This was my fifth move in as many years. It took me a few days to unpack and get situated, then two more to find the perfect jogging path. My chin-up bar, I kept in my bedroom closet, along with my free weights. After a week, I had to find a steady job to pay my bills. The job that should’ve been started, was at a standstill. It looked like it was going to take longer than I had anticipated.
I was always careful to jog in the same place, at the same time and stroll the same area at night. I decided to keep to myself and not socialize too much with the locals, because in the last town, that complicated my job. I practiced the few self-defense moves that I knew, who knows when they’ll come in handy?
It was an unseasonably hot evening that October, I had to open a few windows because the air was stagnating. I came out of the shower, all nice and relaxed. I slipped into a tee and some shorts, then I decided to sit in front of the living room window as a nice breeze was blowing against that side of the house.
As I flopped onto the couch, I realized that the center window was up higher than I had left it. I tensed, but before I could get up, I felt a sharp blade prick the left-side of my neck.
“Don’t scream…don’t move. Keep quiet and I won’t have to hurt you. If you understand me, say so, quietly.”
“Yes,” I whispered with a voice that sounded far more scared than I felt. I was actually quite calm.
“We’re going to go into the bedroom and you’re going to keep quiet. This will be over sooner than you think, if you don’t scream and you do exactly what I say.”
I took a deep breath, then I slowly got up. He had to shift the knife to keep it on me and I knew he would be leaning forward. I spun just as the knife went back a couple of inches and he stepped over the back of the couch with his right foot. He hesitated, they always do. His eyes went wide under his ski mask and he lunged forward with the knife.
I began with a simple aikido move using his own momentum and I turned his own knife back into him. His eyes went wider still, as the blade sunk into his chest. I used another aikido maneuver to grab him by his shirt and he fell on his own blade with a loud gasp. I smiled at the ease of this night.
I went over to the alcove to pick up my phone and call 911, when he grabbed me by my ankle. He was begging me to call him an ambulance, while he tried to find the handle of the knife. I kept an eye on him as I took the phone as I walked into the kitchen, where I grabbed a dish towel.
I looked as concerned as possible when I stood over him and said, “try to hang on, the ambulance is on its way.”
He said, “thanks," just as he had successfully found the hilt of the knife.
The concern on my face melted into another smile, and then, by God, I killed the son of a bitch. With the dish towel, I pushed down on the pommel of the knife and drove it in as far as it would go. I cursed myself for getting sloppy, mentally. If you saw as many horror movies as I had seen in my lifetime, you would know that the very first thing you do when the villain is down, is finish him.
I left the towel on top of him and went into the kitchen. I opened a drawer with my right foot, then grabbed one baggie, then another with my toes. One baggie was for the dish towel and the other was to open the back door, where I had a stash spot for any unplanned evidence in the yard. Then I worked myself up into hysterical fit and called the police.
With these small towns, it’s always open and shut with them, but I always like to make sure by leaving as little evidence as possible. The police interviewed me, taped off my house as a crime scene, while they put me up in a local motel. It never takes more than two days and at the end of the two days, I tell them that I simply have to move as soon as possible because I don’t feel safe in their town.
The easiest part is finding the paroled rapist and getting him to rise to the bait (though this one took longer than most). The hardest parts are the identity thefts that I have to perpetrate to protect my own identity. As well as wiping away all fingerprints and traces of me in the home before I move on.
This was originally a Friday Flash Fiction piece and JJ's starter sentence was, "and then, by God, I killed the son of a bitch." It's odd if you consider that the title was taken from what I originally thought was a Lynyrd Skynyrd song, but it turns out that JJ Cale originally wrote it. Wow, the name "JJ" came full circle.
I've said this before and I'll say it again, I miss Friday Flash Fiction. The closest thing to it is when Aldo, Gerald and Patti have a flash fiction challenge (there's one coming up a few days from now), but they have to limit it to every three or four months. If the writing deadlines didn't crop here and there, I would revive the Friday Flash.