Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A crowded Connelly, packed with Pelecanos

The title for this post may seem like something out of an Italian recipe book, but I assure you, the readers, that this was the biggest turnout I've seen at a book signing event.

I arrived at the Borders on State St once again. It was noon and there were already people filling up the chairs and a post or two for a signing line. A woman was walking around, crouched low, with multicolored post-it's asking if anyone wanted their signature personalized. I just wanted to Roberto Scarlato. Many people had Hardcovers, which only reminded me of how cheap I must've looked.

While rearranging my books, days earlier, I found a copy of Michael Connelly's The Closers, figured I could get it signed and save myself some money. Then, when entering the store today, I went on a search to find one George Pelacanos book. I read the backs of Hard Revolution and Hell to Pay but instead got a paperback copy of The Night Gardner, which I'm told is really good. I was thumbing through it while we were all waiting for them to arrive.

By 12:15, the crowd had grown over fifty. Some stood, some sat on the floor right in front of the table.

In they came at 12:24, both serious and professional.

They both sat behind the table, water at the ready, mikes lined up, ready to go. Michael was promoting his newest book The Scarecrow on the left while George was showing his book The Way Home on the right.

"Thanks for coming," Michael said into the mike.

A round of applause.

This was exciting. So exciting, my palms were sweating as I found I was firmly holding onto my paperbacks for dear life. This was big.

These are my heroes of the written word, I thought to myself.

I was giddy but at the same time I managed to contain it.

"Hi, I'm Michael Connelly," George says, getting a laugh from everyone including Michael.

George starts right in, "I just want to give you a bit of background for my new book. It is focused on a man who has a dark secret that he's hiding . . ."

"Louder!" I hear from behind me. "We can't hear you, but we want to!"

He checks the mike, it's on. "Sorry, I just am naturally soft-spoken. But, what I did for this novel was I did quite a bit of research in prisons and juvenile halls. And they are not what you see in the movies, these are very confined and they don't even have a window. The main character, in a way, is trying to find his way home. And I think that's what we all look for; a connection to finding our way home."

Then Michael says, "Hi. My name is Michael Connelly, I was a reporter for The Los Angeles Times and I have seen a downward spiral with newspapers. For ten years, I saw the changes and the social revolution it was taking and I decided early on to write. My latest book, The Scarecrow, is what I would call a Thriller. There's no mystery or any of that, you see the killer on page one. And it revolves around the character of Jack McEvoy, a crime reporter who is on the last two weeks of his job because they have to let him go. As he is following a lead, he becomes entangled in this web by this killer who is very knowledgeable in computer systems and Jack begins to question whether he's chasing the killer or whether the killer is chasing him. Usually, what we like to do is take questions first, makes everything go a lot smoother and we don't have to rehearse anything. So George, if you're ready, we'll start taking questions now."

For eight seconds, the room is booming with silence.

No takers? I thought. Okay, I have a hand. I'll break the ice. Might as well be the first one to get my feet wet.

I raised my hand.


"I was wondering, between the both of you, how much research time do you put in writing your novels?"

George nods to Michael that he'll take the question first. "About research, what I'll do is I'll do a lot of frontward research four months before I write one word. That way I'll have a lot to back the story up with. With this novel, a lot of the research came from being a father and raising kids."

Michael says, "Yeah . . . research. I hate it. (laughter)That's where George and I differ. I like to write before anything. All I have at first is a story and I don't want to constantly be checking things or stop the flow, I constantly have to keep it moving. I can't tear myself away from the screen. Then, after everything, I'll literally fire e-mails to professionals and friends and researchers I know with questions about laws and stuff like that. Even with my e-mails, I don't like to write long e-mails all that much. I'm direct and to the point, then I'll go back and fill in what is needed."

I was impressed.

Michael goes on to say that, because of the Newspapers changing, some filing for bankruptcy, he would have to revise his draft of The Scarecrow with the changes seeing as how some companies were falling away. He laments that he hopes that the newspaper will not see it's end and that we not be forced to get our news from the net. "I like the newspapers. I hold it, I open it, I read it. I like it. Nothing will beat the big block bold headlines on the front page.That's never gonna change."

He even goes as far as putting a quote in the book of a character saying something that one of his real life friends told him while the newspapers were in jeopardy. "When the world has no more Newspapers, Corruption will rise," or something to that effect.

Several people asked questions after that. This was the first time my brain felt like an Acer computer (over the hill and ready to crash) with all the information I had to take in. In a way, I felt like a reporter. I mean, why not, right? Next time I'll bring a tape recorder.

In regards to George Pelcanos, his name may seem familiar to you because not only is he a novelist . . . but also the writer of the gripping show The Wire, now in it's 5th season.

One bystander asked what Michael Connelly thought of the movie Blood Work (saw it twice) based on his novel. "Yeah. The thing is, I know it was changed a lot from the original story but it's also a different medium. I already had my shot with the story, the filmmakers have a different way of telling it. In the end, I accepted the money. Because once you accept the money, you bought yourself into it. You agree with them. So I don't think it was bad. I accepted it. If you don't like what they do with your story, you shouldn't accept the money. Also, Clint Eastwood actually helped promote the book. While the movie was out, they made a print run where it had a picture of Clint Eastwood's steely-eyed glare. (laughter) It spent six weeks on the bestseller list and I ended up having a new swarm of readers. So I'm thankful for Blood Work."

In reference to what their favorite part of writing is, (beginning, middle or end) Michael exclaims that he loves the end of writing a novel. "It's like crawling up and roof and then rolling back down. You begin to see all the little hints and minute details come together and complete the story."

When both asked what their breaks are like:

George~ "I like to take six months off after writing a novel. It just wipes you out."
Michael~ "I take all my breaks in between."

When asked what a book tour was like:

Michael~ "Writers are usually very private people. You spend the first month of the year, promoting your book, as a public person. Then you sit back the rest of the year. To give you an idea, we were at the airport at 8am, waiting on the tarmac because of the fog here in Chicago. When you finally get to the bookstore, it's like coming to an oasis in the desert. You've done it, you're finally there. But then you wake up early and do it all over again. When I brought my ticket up to the counter, it was obvious that we had a lot of places to go, but the woman wouldn't print out my ticket. Supposedly all my trips were one way and many of them so that sent up some red flags in security. (laughter) But it's a lot to do in that one month."

When asked if Michael Connelly was working on another novel:

Michael ~ "Just finished writing Thursday."

I can only assume that the one he's referring to is Nine Dragons, a Harry Bosch novel since he writes one book a year.

After having written all these books, does writing get harder?

George~ "No, You never forget how to write a book. You just wait for the right timing as a writer to go ahead with something."

Michael~ "If you have a character you enjoy writing, it will never get hard. I love writing Harry Bosch Novels. I don't think I'll stop with him."

But Michael confesses that Harry Bosch was an amalgamation of different inspirations. It is in The Scarecrow, that he states, he can relate the most to because Jack McEvoy is very much like him. It is a very close autobiographical character that he has created of himself. "I was doing what this guy did. Back then I was a reporter by day and a writer by night."

When asked what they're favorite books are:

Michael~ "I'd say The Last Coyote. That was the first book that I wrote as a full time writer. It was just great writing it. It felt great after spending all that time with it. As a writer, you work alone. It feels great to know that your published book is out there when it was really just you writing it in a walk-in closet."

George~ "The Hard Revolution. I was waiting to write that one at just the right time and it was great really creating how the character became the way he is, what shaped him, essentially."

Coincidentally, The Hard Revolution was the first book I had a look at in the store. And the main character shares the first name as my main character in my first book! But in Hard Revolution, revolving around the Martin Luther King killing, the main character's full name is Derek Strange. Now isn't that . . . strange?

In the end, they thanked us for coming. There was a signing line which wrapped around a whole section of books. They signed, we posed for pics and I was out of there. While entering the parking structure I was transfixed by the beauty of good old Chicago, like I was seeing it with a fresh pair of eyes. It really is an inspirational city, as many authors have claimed. I drove away with the window down blasting leonard skynard's Free Bird and Lovin' Spoonful's Summer in the city.

Why can't every day be this crowded and packed with awe in Chicago?

"Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake." ~E.L. Doctorow

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Triumphant Return of Sherlock Holmes

Before CSI, Numbers and The Mentalist and all that other garbage, there was one man who had the power to detect the undetectable.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, after reading the facinating detective story Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe, became obsessed with creating a detective of his own. My favorite literary detective will always be Sherlock Holmes.

Accompanied by the ever-faithful, trusting Dr. Watson, Holmes set out to solve crimes of a most peculiar nature, using simple and unorthadox methods. From 1891 to 1893, Doyle had had his fill of the detective and decided to kill him off, regardless of the demands of him earning more money per story. In the story in which Holmes dies, The Final Problem, Holmes and his arch nemesis Dr. Moriarty fall to their doom, locked together in death.

The author got quite a bit of hate mail from this. His character had grown to such popularity that readers had written him mail which they addressed to 221-B Baker street, where Sherlock Holmes was supposed to have lived.

But the famous detective would not be silenced. Doyle penned a novel length book, The Hound of the Baskervilles to which Sherlock Holmes makes an appearence. But Doyle insisted that the book took place prior to Holmes' demise. The readers were pleased and Doyle went on to write The Empty House, another Sherlock Holmes mystery.

Sherlock Holmes was prone to playing the violin to help him think and rarley took proper care of himself. The only thing that surpasses his eccentricities is his genius.

So, the time has come once again for a movie to arrive. And I couldn't be happier. Many actors have donned the persona of Sherlock Holmes. The most notable actors being John Barrymore, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Basil Rathbone (my favorite), Michael Caine, Frank Langella, Christopher Plummer, and Richard Roxburgh. Gene Wilder even played the detective (really the detective's smarter brother. When asked if his brother was the famous detective, he would say, "His name was SHEER LUCK!")

Now, added to the list, in comes Robert Downey Jr. He's already embodied Charlie Chaplin, which was played to perfection. Just by watching The Singing Detective and Kiss kiss, Bang Bang; you can pretty much tell that he can handle himself in a mystery setting. Is there any role this man can't do?

I've read that Robert Downey read a lot of Holmes stories to prepare for the role. There is also more focus on Holmes' boxing and fencing abilities. Whether you are a longtime reader or admirer of the series or if this is your first time EVER hearing about a detective named Sherlock Holmes, he is sure to thrill you with his legendary return to the big screen. There hasn't been a Sherlock Holmes movie in over twenty years. That was too long, old fellow. So I say pick up your magnifying glass, hand me that pipe and join me because "the game is afoot!"

Coming Christmas Day.

"Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent instantly recognizes genius . . ." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Must Reads

One little thing I forgot to mention from my last post. While I was sitting in Borders, waiting for Michael Malone to arrive, I was snickering a bit. For some reason, they set up the author event right next to a wide humor section. I saw some of these titles and just had to snap a few shots. Maybe you've heard of them. Maybe you've even read them.

How to Live with a Huge Penis: Advice, Meditations, and Wisdom for Men Who Have Too Much.

They really want you to look. Coincidentally, the two books to the right of it are from an author I've already read: A. J. Jacobs. I loved The Know It All. It was laugh-out-loud funny. Have got to get to The Year of Living Biblically soon.

11,002 Things to Be Miserable About.

No thanks, whoever wrote this. Think I'm covered.

Give the Bitch her Chocolate.

(Insert laughter here.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Bunch of Maloney

Today marks the second author event I've ever been to. It took me about 35 minutes to get to the borders where the event was being held and another 10 to park my car in the self-park garage which was thankfully on the same block as the Borders. I have never been to this Borders on good ole State St. But, I'll be damned if it wasn't a sight to see. The place was huge. Three floors full of books!

12:00 pm.

The event was on the third floor. I had a half an hour to go before the man of the hour came in. There was already someone sitting in the row in front. I sat in the third row in the back. I usually like to stay as quiet as possible. Have to take in a lot of information and I don't like being that much of a chatter box. But It did seem like the man in front of me (carrying with him a laptop, iphone, and digital camera) was doing enough talking altogether. He made small chit-chat with the Borders employee who had to survey and prepare the scene. Then it became a longer discussion to where he said he was a big fan of Michael Malone ever since his writing days on the popular soap opera One Life to Live. Not a big fan of it, but this guy sure was. He spent the whole half hour just talking about characters and episodes he loved from when he would watch it with his mother back in the good old days.

Then he looked over at me. I was crossing my arms, staying silent, letting my eyes wander. We talked a little bit about film and stuff. He was from this new film academy called flashpoint. It opened up about a year ago and is competing with Columbia. He talked about how he was trying to convince his buddy to come with him to see Michael but I guess that guy was busy. It became apparent to me that this man, whose name I do not know, came to appreciate Mr. Malone for his writing on the soap opera rather than his career as a novelist. I came for the novelist part.

12:30 rolled around and he came strolling in, chipper and friendly. I began shifting in my chair. I was happy to see a writer but felt guilty that I hadn't read anything of his. I only did some light research online yesterday. The guy has written 14 books. I should have at least browsed through one of them. But I knew enough to come to this event where he would be talking about his latest book The Four Corners of the Sky.

After taking off his jacket he stepped in front of the table they had prepared for him. There was a mike but he didn't use it. He was more personal, came up close to his audience. There were, if I remember correctly, seven people including me.

"Y'know, I've been doing this tour for a while and I just can't get over the fact that they keep calling this book a war story. Well, it's not a war story. It's a bit of a romance story with a female heroine. " Malone confesses that he loves writing female characters. "They are rich with emotion. They are all about emotion. Ripe with it, you could say. Men are more closed off. You wouldn't read something like Mr. Bovary. Heck, Moby dick had no female characters at all. Well, I take that back. There was probably one. Probably at the beginning of the novel, she was the one waving the ship goodbye."

After just ten minutes of listening to this man, I respected him. He was a cool guy and he loved to tell us stories. Of course it was a little bit annoying how the man at the front row couldn't stop saying how much he honored the man's presence because of his writing on the show. But hey, who was I to spoil his moment?

But Mr. Malone pushed right on.
"The great thing about writing soap operas is death has no dominion. Characters die all the time but they can always be brought back. I remember one case in where I was talking to the top person for the show's continuity issues. I remember saying to him, 'I wanna write this funeral scene for John but I'm wondering if I should have Mary visit his funeral.' The man said he would look into it, came back and said, 'Oh sure, you can put it in. John has visited Mary's funeral plenty of times. He also went to seven of his own funerals.' You see, you can't kill them off. They can even pop up as angels in the show."

I know I probably butchered the names of the show characters but, forgive me, I can't remember them. And, like I said, not a big fan of the show.

He talked about how novels, in a way, are like soap operas because they are character driven and how you fall in love with the characters and want to see what happens to them next. By the same token, he listed The Wire and a few other shows that are today's soap operas.

"Man, everybody's so nice in chicago. What's the deal?"

"It stopped raining," I said.

"Man, I guess all the grouchiness is saved for the winter, huh? What a city. But, then again, I guess it is cheerful here. Got a new president, threw out a governor. Good times."

Now came the Q and A portion. Before One-life-I-live guy could shoot any questions about the show, miles away from anything associated with a printed book, I shot my hand up.


"When did you write this book?" I asked.

"I wrote this book 10 years ago . . ."

Whoa, I thought. Ten years ago!

" . . . I was writing it along with several other books at the same time. I guess you can call me a nine to fiver, but not in the way that you think. I write at nine pm up until five in the morning. Because it's quiet, and I can think. And I can have my characters tell me what to write."

Michael Malone has always been interested in writing and the art of listening. The art of truly listening and not pretending to listen. He had to. As a young man, his mother was deaf so she would come to him and ask him, "Listen for me, please?" He admits that he would get insomnia at times but he would fill pages of stories, all ready for his mother.

Somewhere in the discussion, Mr. Malone talked about how he incorporated a book into the show. It became a printed book and was published with the writing credit going to Marcie Walsh, one of the actors on the show whose character was a novelist, and Michael Malone. Aha! said my brain. You have read something by him! The book was called The Killing Club, the second book up top. Well, I listened to the audiobook really, but I loved it's suspense. He said that he wrote the entire book, the actress had no part in writing it. I guess it was just more publicity for the show.

Afterwards, I came up to the table, trying to talk a little bit more.

I took some pictures and I was going to be on my way, but something was just nagging me to death. I never bought a book or got an autograph from the last author event. I didn't want to be a heel again, so I said, "I have to tell you, I really liked the Killing Club. Since I enjoyed your writing so much before, I'll tell you what, you pick the next book I read."

He looked happy, there were a few books that the employees brought up for him, his previous works. But mainly the table had about 20 or so copies of Four Corners of the Sky.

"Let's see . . . I would say . . . yes . . . Uncivil Seasons,"

Borders employee, "We don't have that one here."

Three floors full of books and you don't have it? I thought, What gives?

"Well . . . in that case. Handling Sin, definitely."

"Yes," said the woman accompanying him, who represented the publisher. "He should start that one."

"Now, I have to tell you. It's not like Killing Club," Malone says with a raised marker, giving me fair warning before he signs it.

"I don't mind, " I say. "I read the back before coming up here. I am really interested in reading it."

He signs. I show him the picture I took to get his approval of it, just in case he wants us to do it over again. "That's fine. So what do you do, Roberto?"

Deja vu.

"I'm trying to be a writer."

He beams. "Good, good. stick with it. I'm glad."

I say my goodbyes and exit, leaving him to the opera man who would give his left nut to have Michael come to his school to do a lecture.

I buy the book. At the entrance I make sure that I have everything. I look to my right and he's right there discussing something with his publisher. I don't want to have an awkward run in and another goodbye so I go the opposite way.

I'm in the Self-park garage, putting in my ticket to pay.

All of a sudden I hear, "Hello, Roberto!"

I turn and there's Micheal Malone, carrying his stuff, with his publisher. I do a double take. "Hey, mike. Y'know, I think you're following me."

He laughs. "Don't worry, we're not. I assure you."

After he pays we're both waiting for the elevator. I'm on 5. He's on 10. I push the button.

He talks a little bit more, then the doors open. He gives me one last good luck. I say, "Goodbye. Enjoy Chicago."

I guess everything connects one way or another. I was walking to my car, shaking my head at how funny the whole experience was. Thought I hadn't read him, when I really had. Thought it wasn't going to be as good as the last one, but it was fun. I thought that the whole thing would be over in ten minutes and that I would walk away only with a story to tell. What I got was not only photos, stories and an autographed copy of his choice of book, but a bunch of Maloney, you could say.

Next time: Michael Connely joined by George Pelecanos.
Same Time. Same Borders.

"Writing, I think, is not apart from living. Writing is a kind of double living. The writer experiences everything twice. Once in reality and once in that mirror which waits always before or behind." ~Catherine Drinker Bowen, Atlantic, December 1957

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Miles From Ordinary

You know what the mark of a true writer is?

We're misunderstood.

Sure, we have our shortfalls. But we keep on trudging on in our imaginary worlds. And it's only until we have something printed that we truly experience the fruits of our many labors. There are times in which I feel like the character Miles, from Sideways. He's got the stuff, he works hard at his stories. He's a pretty normal guy. But every time he comes in contact with someone, things are out of place. They live in a very different world than he does; where drinking heavily, not having to work for anything, and having multiple relationships is the norm. But, he's just a guy trying to get his book published. In the end, isn't that what we all want? A printed form of our world, one that people can visit?

Current word count of F.W.I.W. Short Story Collection - 66,214

"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you." ~Ray Bradbury

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stand By It

No, I haven't been writing much. I've hit a mental block again. I just have to have one day to sit down and write non stop. And that day could either be Saturday or Sunday, when I usually get a bulk of writing done. I'm trying to stand by it.

But during my dry spells, I often research other aspiring writers. Or just writers in general to see what I can find. Today, you know who I found?

Will Wheaton.

I'll give you 3 seconds to figure out who that is.

1 . . .

2 . . .

Hey! Stop looking on IMDB! Cheater!

If you've waited the 3 seconds and still can't figure it out, I'll just go ahead and tell you. A long time ago, stephen king wrote a short novella called The Body. That story was adapted into the movie Stand By Me. Wil Wheaton played Gordie, the writer of the group of four boys walking on train tracks trying to find a missing person. Well guess what, folks.

He's a writer in real life.

He's written three books so far:

Just A Geek
Dancing Barefoot
Sunken Treasures

Who would've thought that the late great River Pheonix's sage advice, "You're going to be a writer someday, gordie." would actually be true?

I always knew what happened to all the other stars of stand by me. Last I heard river pheonix, deceased at 23, Corey feldmen has just done a return to his character Frog in a Lost Boys Dvd, and Jerry O'connel has gone to star in various movies and shows and was able to swipe up Rebecca Romijn. But what the hell ever happened to Wil Wheaton?

After stand by me he joined the series of Star Trek, which I briefly remember one episode with him in it. (Hey, I am by no means a trekki. It took me 4 days, 3 nights and a couple rockstar energy drinks and the power of time traveling DeLorean to remember that episode. And that was when I was channel surfing at the time.) Sometime in the show, he quit to become a more serious actor. To his dismay, after finishing drama school, all of Hollywood had forgotten about him. His dream of becoming a serious actor faded. It wasn't until he met a teacher from his old high school that he realized 'Hell, I should pick up a pen.'

He started a blog, which then grew to great popularity, which he then wrote the books based on his blog. From listening to an excerpt of him reading Just A Geek to an audience, he sounds like a helluva nice guy and one who will continue writing for a long time. He still writes on his blog. check it out!

"Keep a diary and one day it'll keep you." ~Mae West

Update: Wil Wheaton is working with a new publisher and will publish a book entitled The Happiest Days of Our Lives. Here is a video of him reading an exerpt from that book to an audience. Enjoy.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The rustle of Wings

A bookstore is the closest thing to home for me. Walking in to one is as refreshing as falling asleep in front of a fireplace or waking on a rainy afternoon. Today, as I was greeted by the lifelong friend of a bouquet of pages old and new, I stopped to see a stand that read:

Friday, Reading and Signing.
May 8th, 7:00 pm.
by Aprilynne Pike.

I dug my hand inside my coat and checked my cell. It is the eighth. And it was 6 o'clock. I figured, why not, it'll be fun to go to one of these. Plus, it will give me some insight.

This Borders was among my favorites. Located in Lagrange, right next to some railroad tracks. I love how big it is. Upstairs, near the cafe, is where the event would take place.

Had my laptop but the wifi wasn't working, so I decided to read. I got about 40 pages into The Road, by Cormac McCarthy.

Ten minutes to the hour, I sat down, expecting a big crowd. There were only eight of us, myself included. From the front cover there was a blurb from Stephenie Meyer. Could this Aprilynne be the next big thing?

She came out, smiling. She told us of how she loved writing. "In my experience, people say that a writer gets his/her second book that he/she writes published. For me, it was my fourth." She wrote the book while seven months pregnant and finished it in six weeks, which, she laments, "No author should ever do. I don't recommend it. It takes some authors anywhere from one month to ten years to write a book. The average is nine months." She read from page 102, where the strange thing that is happening to Laurel, the main character, is being analyzed by her friend who is helping her with biology. What started as a bump on her back, which Laurel dismissed as a zit, become full-blown petals for wings. The discovery that her friend makes, while looking at her cells under a microscope is that she does not have humans cells . . . she has plant cells. The whole segment puts a new spin on the faerie world. Aprilynne shared with us how her book went through three seperate, vividly different cover designs before settling on the petals. I like the subtlety of it. This book will be part of a series that I'm sure will pick up speed. There will be a book out every May. She closes by saying, "As a first time author, you can't believe that your book turns into print form. You begin to think that it's a big joke. I remember, I went to my borders which is just a couple of blocks away from my house and I saw it sitting on the shelf and thought, ' oh my god. There it is.' But then I thought, 'oh that's just the one that they put close by me, it's probably not anywhere else.'" But it was. She has already done signings in New York and L.A. and plans to stick to the genre that she loves so much.

I was a bit dissapointed that I couldn't buy a book for her to sign, but the experience was well worth the half hour I spent listening to her express her joy of being a published writer. Three of us stayed a while to ask additional questions. One woman couldn't wait to start reading, after just having read the Twilight saga, and another short girl with dark hair and glasses talked to Aprilynne on how she was working on her novel and that she was taking creative writing classes. They talked about a site called which is a writers forum of some kind. I plan to take a look when I get the chance.

"So, all these writers just go on there to talk?" I asked.

Aprilynne turned to me, "Yeah. It's the greatest. Are you a writer?"

I smirk a little. "Trying to be."

"Well, you'll love it." she says.

With that, I said it was a pleasure to meet her and left. Y'know, I think I'll go to these more often.

"Aprilynne Pike's Wings is a remarkable debut; the ingenuity of the mythology is matched only by the startling loveliness with which the story unfolds." ~ Stephenie Meyer.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Nearing Completion

Man, it feels great when that familiar muse knocks on my door. In just a few short days I have been able, not only to finish the "clocks" story I was working on, but also my "teacher" story. It veered of in its own direction and took me completely by surprise.

All that is left is to finish my "awake" story and a few others. I'm pretty sure that one day is all I need.

Writing, though a joy, is hard. I always think I'll be able to write a short story that will be ten pages and that'll be it. But it turns out that ten pages will not suffice depending on the story. Either there needs to be more time for structure or I have to make room for three different symbols or ideas within the story. And being the stickler that I am about making a story just right, to entertain you, the reader; I have to add all that stuff to the melting pot. I wish they could all be just two pages. But that's just a pipe dream.

The longest short story I ever wrote: 38 pages

Shortest story I ever wrote: 2 and a half pages

Until we meet again, possibly when I have finally completed the collection, have an audio promo or a video promo. We shall see. Ciao, my fellow writers.

"Even if what you're working on doesn't go anywhere, it will help you with the next thing you're doing. Make yourself available for something to happen. Give it a shot." ~Cormac McCarthy

Friday, May 1, 2009

Round Two: TKO!

We're off. Looks like Roberto got off to a sluggish start, Writer's Block had him on the ropes. There's the bell. The first jab. Wait! Roberto bounces back with a left hook! A right jab! He's got Writer's Block begging for mercy! Yes, yes! He's back into his old rhythm ladies and gentlemen. Writer's Block is down for the count! Total knockout!

You better believe it, baby. For two days straight, I've been writing up a storm. I was able to finish my "clocks" story and am now 5 pages into two other stories. It won't be long now before the stories are finished. Right now the collection is 233 pages. 64,000 words of thrills, chills and a little dark comedy.

Looks like those trips to Barnes and Noble are starting to pay off.

As far as reading goes, it looks like I'm steadily devouring works from Joseph Heller. Just have to pick up a copy of Good as Gold and Picture This when I get a chance. After him I'd really like to go through some of Chuck Palinuk's stuff (already read Choke, saw Fight club) and/or Jodi Piccolt. I think I'm drawn to controversial plots now.

One show that has really helped in beating the crap out of my writer's block is hosted by Dan Wells, Brandon Sanderson and Howard Tayler. These guys have round table discussions on the many leaps us writers have to take. Check 'em out.

Until next time, in the words of Billy Crystal, "A writer writes . . . always."
"What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he's staring out of the window. ~Burton Rascoe"