Tag Archives: Hitchcock

A day of errands

I got up fairly early today with good intentions of working on my novel. Otto made sure everyone else got up too. Novel writing ended before it began.

This is one of the saving graces of having a short fiction project. It may sound funny, but it doesn't require the same level of concentration. There is no three act structure or large sweeping plot to keep track of. My short fiction has an underlying theme, and it has a timeline to follow, but it's so loose a few distractions don't ruin my ability to forge ahead.

I made a pass through a mostly finished story, repaired a few things and brought it to an ending. Then I wrote the micro-fiction about the fall out. I really like the recurring characters on the news broadcast, and they did a great job on this one.

After that the errands began in earnest. The plan was to get the replacement chair for the one Otto devoured. We'd use my wife's car, because it sleeted all day today. The new chair could stay warm and dry inside her SUV. Then we'd retrieve my truck, wash off the bird assault, and buy a Christmas tree.

The reality was that we got the chair, stopped at Whole Foods for some small items, (and a couple of good beers,) then picked out a tree on the way home. My wife didn't want to tie it to the roof of her car, but she didn't want to make a return trip to town even worse. The boys at the lot did a great job tying it down. My truck still looks like a victim of a certain Hitchcock movie.

So the chair is installed, the tree is here, and we'll assemble it tomorrow. She had to go to a work event tonight, so it's just Otto and me.

I used the opportunity to move ahead on a book I've been reading. I still have a ways to go, but it's been a fun read so far. My eyes are giving out now, and I might turn on the television or some music for the rest of the night.

Hope you all had a great Saturday, or are enjoying your Saturday night. I see a Frank Miller film is on later, and I've never seen this one. I used some of his style when I concocted The Playground. If I watch that, I can count it as research, right?


Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

A few loose things

I watched old movies, played with an app, and wrote another short piece. I also ordered some promotional material that I can use during some future promotions. I’ll address all of them in sections.

The new app simply allows me to take a photo and add text to it. All of the ones I’ve tried so far are kind of burdensome to use. This one is even worse, because it doesn’t allow me to squeeze it into a vertical shape, it simply flows beyond the box and doesn’t show everything I typed. I have other apps that work better.

Sometimes it’s nice to make up an image for a pinned tweet and get a few more words by making them part of the photo. Still, I made this and it might give some of you a chuckle.

I spent some time with my old mentor, Sir Alfred Hitchcock today. Since Halloween is on a Monday, they decided today was a good day for a film festival. I caught some of Vertigo, watched all of Psycho, and turned it off when The Birds came on. I think The Birds had a great concept, but failed to deliver. No doubt there are people who disagree with me, but that’s my opinion. I wish one of these outfits would rediscover Rope, I loved that one.

Psycho was ground breaking in its day. It was the first one that showed murder so brutally. Hitchcock was known as the master of suspense, but he drifted into horror territory with this one. (Aside: I could sure see Jamie Leigh Curtis’ face in some images of her mother.)

Psycho started kind of an arms race. Prior to this, monsters lumbered, howled, and threatened. I believe this was the catalyst of all the gore that’s come to be expected in the horror genre, and I think that’s what eventually killed it off. If Psycho were to be made today, Bates would have had sex with Janet Leigh’s corpse before dismembering it (Requiring power tools that are deafeningly loud), and possibly eating the evidence.

I kind of wish we could go back and erase all the blood and gore from this genre. That’s why I try to include a bit of suspense, but leave the rest out.

I broke down and used a coupon to order some promotional stuff for the next time I decided to do a push. Maybe people don’t want another gift card or ebook, but something unique will garner more attention. Maybe not, but I’m going to find out.

Finally, I wrote this thing. I don’t exactly know what to call it, but I’m calling them anthems. I am looking for input as to what they actually are called. They are from a narrator’s POV and use second person perspective.

I had another of my crazy thoughts, and intend to include them in my collection of short stories called The Enhanced League (TEL). They have nothing to do with the stories, but they might be fun to break things up. I like the idea of between three and half a dozen of them. TEL will be about a futuristic baseball league. Some characters will recur in the stories and some are one shot wonders.

Anyway, I don’t know how to solicit your input without sharing one, so here goes nothing. It’s draft material, but will give you the idea. Let me know if it’s too crazy to live, or has some merit.

Anthem #2

The Hardest Day


You took the wife and kids to the ballpark more religiously than most folks go to church. For you, it was church. Didn’t matter if it was blazing sun, or frosty nights, you were there.

Your wife was the life of the party. Everyone knew her, and she always seemed to draw the television camera the way she stood and led cheers. You wound up on the kiss camera more times than you were comfortable with.

You named your son after a Golden Glove winning shortstop. When the team travelled, the two of you played catch in the backyard and practiced that shovel toss to second base.

The kids grew up, and your wife passed away. Some of your old buddies from the trucking company bought your seats for a game or two when you didn’t have someone to take you. It wasn’t much, but the money helped pay for your meds.

Your son took you to a few games, until his own kids started playing sports. Now they spend most of their time kicking soccer balls around. Your daughter and her new husband took you once, but it felt like meeting your new step-parent.

Finally, the day arrived. You offered up your seats and sold them for five figures. The guys from the trucking company were pissed, but they couldn’t pay going rate.

You thought you were going to have a stroke. You sold out, Buddy. You sold a piece of your soul that day. You worried that you might have cursed the team somehow.

You wanted to give them to your kids, but they couldn’t have cared less. Your son-in-law would have sold them too and used the money to bet on horses.

So here you are, in assisted living with no family around. You bought the league pass and get every game on your new big-screen television. The old farts come around to watch, and they seem to be enjoying the team as much as you do. You finally admit the air conditioning doesn’t ruin the experience.

You’ve seen more games this year than the last three combined. Your doctor even approved a beer, provided you only have one. You never told him about the hotdogs Mrs. Corrigan brings. A hotdog never killed anyone anyway.

It was the worst day of your life, the day you sold the seats, but none of this would be possible if you hadn’t.


Filed under Short Stories & Vignettes, Writing

It’s a writer’s weekend

Old What's Her Face* is still in Nevada visiting family. I've had the house all to myself, and hit it about as hard as I felt like.

I haven't broken the 20,000 word mark on The Yak Guy project. I added a few bits to plant things that will payoff later. I stalled when it came time to name things.

Choosing names is always hard for me. I think everything sounds horrible. Yak guy is at a place where he needs to choose a name to find other people like himself. He has certain memories stripped away, and I don't like any of the names he's coming up with.

There are two warring factions in this story, and they need names too. There I am, freaked out over names. Some will say to keep writing and fix it later. I have a really hard time doing that.

To break things up, I started a short story. I nailed down just over 3000 words in two days. Looks like it's going to be a legitimate short story, and not a micro-fiction. I really like where it's going, but it needs some cleaning up. Part of the problem comes from first person point of view. I must have written 27 sentences beginning with I. (If you need an example refer to this paragraph.) I made a pass to clean that up, but it still needs work.

I finished two of three critiques. I printed the last one, but am stalling. The guy sent in double the allowed word count intending for us to do half this month, and half next month. Just another weirdness I possess, and I'll probably have to work up the whole thing. I don't want to print it twice, or re-do the first half next month.

I finished another character pass on The Playground too. There is one left, and it's a big one. I'm getting close to needing some beta readers, but not quite.

I spent a little time with The Twilight Zone, and Hitchcock. Later I'm going to check out the season finale of Ash vs. The Evil Dead.

I also baked bread and tried out my new clay baker from King Arthur. It came out with a beautiful blister crust, and I kind of want to tear into it right now. The house smells pretty darned good.

I still have to get some posts scheduled for next week. There are guests coming over, and I have work to do on their posts.

My wife won't be home until mid day tomorrow, and I might get more accomplished tonight and tomorrow morning. I really want to break 20,000 words on Yak Guy before I head back to work. Fingers crossed that I'll come up with some good names.

I seem to have this shut off at about 2500 words. After that, I need to constructively daydream the next part. My outline cards are mile markers, but I still have to come up with stuff between them. It seems as if that isn't everything in the tank. I can still write short fiction and dedicate brain cells to it.

So update the blog, kill a few deadites, and back to… Something. I'll figure out something.

* Entertaining Stories, protecting my wife's identity since 2013.


Filed under Writing

Planning for 2016

Today seems like the logical day for a post like this. It may get lost in a sea of New Year's Resolutions, but that's okay.

I can't let go of 2015, without sharing this tidbit. There were a lot of great comments on my post about family, pets, and whatnot. It occurs to me that we all have similar things in our lives. It doesn't do any good to dwell on some of this, because I can't do anything about it.

One fun thought occurred to me. 2015 is a lot like the Disney movie, Old Yeller. It was a great year, but it didn't end well. It's time to shoot it through the head and move onto 2016, like the new puppy at the end of the movie.

Things that worked in 2015 will stick around in 16. That means more trips to the writing cabin, more of Lisa Burton and others I write about regularly. Lorelei will certainly be back, I may write about Doubt the Raven, the left side of my brain, and we may even see Red Herring the traveling salesman again.

I want to use the street team concept again to announce any publications I have. This worked well, and I don't see any reason not to repeat that. I'll probably do another paid tour or two, plus another Amazon promotion. I'm going to write up some promotional pieces for volunteers too. These can be from either Lisa or me, and may include artwork with Lisa about the books.

I need to expand my footprint, and Goodreads didn't do enough last year. I won't abandon it, and it certainly didn't take much time, but I need more. This is the year to put the phobias aside and tackle Facebook. I may try another one too, but Facebook is happening. They are the largest social media on Earth. I've seen a handful of sales via Twitter, and Facebook can probably lead to a few more. It might even drive folks to my blog where all the real fun is.

I like a loose business plan for my writing, because I still look at it like a hobby. If I drive myself too hard, it may stop being as much fun. That means Facebook could happen next week, or next November, but it is happening.

I want to release two novels this year. The Yak Guy project is well underway, and I'm closing in on 20,000 words as of this morning.

The Playground is written, and I'm still finding some editing time too. I think late Winter seems about right for its release. I need a cover and will need some beta readers in a few weeks.

The Playground this winter, and Yak Guy next fall feels realistic. I'm still writing short fiction, and love it. There may be another Experimental Notebook, or something similar. There are already 4.5 micro-fiction pieces, and I want some actual short stories to go with them. I'm keeping this idea pretty loose, because it is a second string project. Experimental Notebook sold well, and it worked as a great promotional piece because of its price. How could I not repeat the process?

I also want to start another novel. I roughed out four outlines this summer, and it won't take much to get another one started. It will probably be my science fiction piece, tentatively called Grinders.

Reading has to be part of the plan too. I've benefited from a lot of supporters, and try to return the favors when I can. This means I want to read more of your stories, but I also want to read stuff I pick for myself. On top of that, I want to read another “how to” book. There is one on my iPad right now, and it doesn't look terribly long.

I want to host people, and I want to make guest spots in 2016. There are some fun guests coming soon on my site. Keep me in mind if you'd like to promote something even if it is a service you provide. Maybe a budding cover artist would like to talk about that field over here, or an editor of some kind. Maybe you want to put together an anthology and need writers. (I know some.)

I would ask guests to keep an open mind to the idea of me visiting too. I have stuff to promote on occasion, and will custom write a piece if asked. I wrote one from Lisa Burton's perspective about characters, and another one about my editing tricks last year so keep that in mind. I'm a little bit like a creature from the netherworld. You have to invite me inside.

I need to start at least one more outline too. This doesn't mean it has to be perfect, but something rough. In order to do that, it has to be an idea capable of carrying a novel. I'm writing Yak Guy, I sort of killed the African Adventure because of PC issues. If Grinder is on deck, that only leaves the fantasy about the guy who starts wars for money. I need another big idea to start roughing out.

While all of this is going on, I need to have a life too. This means camping, grandchildren, and being able to drop everything and run out the door on a whim. Having too many goals will interfere with that, so I'm going to stop here.

2015 is in the books. 2016 has a loose business plan. Right now there is a channel running a Twilight Zone festival, and another one with Hitchcock all day. This is like candy to the weird person I am. I have nearly everything on DVD, but not The Birds. Maybe another few chapters of editing, then The Birds around dinner time. I have a micro-fiction about magpies that might benefit from watching this one again.

Happy New Year everyone. Do you have a business plan for this year?


Filed under Blogging, Writing