Tag Archives: series

Cities That Eat Islands: Update

I reached the end of the first draft of the first part of the trilogy, Cities That Eat Islands. I’m two weeks ahead of schedule even though I started off horribly back in January. I finished at 80,000 words in less than three months. I averaged out about 1,000 to 2,000 words a day. Some days I skipped.

Again, I did not outline the book. I had points and characters planned in my head for the last few years but it has always evolved. I’ve gone back and forth if this should be a trilogy or one large book. Due to the way this book turned out, it appears to be a trilogy.

Thoughts so far on the draft:

It feels solid. I don’t think I need to change much in plotting and character, but I still need to do another two drafts, of which I will start in a week or so, to make it readable. I’m sure small things will pop up there. Also I have one or two small scenes I need to add.

It’s not exactly how I imagined it. The characters and plot took a life of their own. I did not get to put everything I wanted to in here. But I did add much I never imagined before that surprised myself and even enriches the future parts of the trilogy.

The historical context wasn’t too intrusive in the storytelling. Many times I had to break to find out if they had or what they had in 1961 or 1921. Or check on the politics or social times that I missed on my research. The later I may have to cut out in the second draft. I don’t want it to bog down my pace and flow. I just want enough to make it sound like I know what I’m talking about.

I’m finding that I’m playing around with the trilogy tropes, which I like. I’m a big fan of them and studied them closely. I don’t want to use them primarily, but still keep them there in a familiar context just to mess with the reader’s mind. Yes that sounds confusing and I may sound like a dork and that I don’t know what I’m talking about. This may be another example of ‘not being able to explain what I want to do very well and best that you just read it to understand’.

I’m enjoying creating the mystery for the trilogy and finding the common theme that links all the characters together in the story. I hope it comes together on the second book which I hope to start this summer. Also much of the mystery pertains to the Miki Radicci series and her family since the main character is her grandmother and her great uncle. After this trilogy the Radicci series should open up greatly.

For those wondering, this book will not be released until all three are done. They will be out at the same time. I’m considering this as one big book and making sure all the threads work as a mystery so this trilogy experiment is successful. Thank you for your patience if it has sparked your interest.

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Please Excuse The Explosion And Carry On With Your Day.

And research goes on. Focusing on Albert Fish. For those not in the know he was a cannibal who ate children and was caught in the 1930s. He was in his sixties when the police apprehended him. A sick fellow who always fascinated me.

For decades I was only able to find him in chapters in other books but finally found a slim pb that covers his last crime, arrest, and trial. I think someone on a bb recommended this book to me as one of the best books on Fish.

One of the villains in Cities That Eat Islands will be based on Fish, something I’ve always wanted to do in a Miki book. Maybe if the character survives this story I can still do it.

Was another terrorist attack in NYC day before yesterday. Local news covered it but social media was kind of quiet. I saw no mention of it in my Facebook feed. A young man who has been in this country for seven years made a pipe bomb and brought it to Port Authority. It went off. No one died and the young man was arrested. He was tired of Trump. An American made terrorist. Shrug. Many of us are tired of Trump. I’m surprised there aren’t more American Made Terrorists around.

I guess it’s getting so that terrorist attacks are slipping through the cracks like school shootings. In the last few weeks I read about two. One in New Mexico killed 2. The one in California killed 4.

Is this all part of not being shaken by the violent perpetrator?

We will not be terrorized.

We will not let them interfere with our lives.

Life will go on. Death and violence will not faze me.

See my smile.

Now go back to work.

Say Happy Holidays (or if you’re a fascist Merry Christmas).

Listen to Billie Christmas, pass the cranberry sauce, and pretend that sound is just thunder.

To Miki Or Not To Miki

I planned to take three years off after Miki book 11. That’s a big chunk in a series. A lot of time to spend in a character’s head. Of course I plan to come back. I have twenty more books to write in that world and I’ll probably come up with twenty more as I’m writing those.

So far during my hiatus I spent a year writing just short stories. It was something I always wanted to do. I even sold a few.

The years is almost up and I planned to write a trilogy for the last two years involving Miki’s grandmother that takes place in the 1960s and 1920s. It would also feature her brother Enzo, Blaise Radicci, Frank Welker, and the Old Woman. Maybe some familiar bad guys. I wanted to open up the world that Miki wasn’t yet privy to but the reader was.

Trilogies are good. They make money sometimes. So my mind was content. Then I started thinking about how my work outside of Miki doesn’t sell. A double edge sword. A story with out Miki but also a trilogy.

I’m grateful that I see anything, that I’m read, that people even go to the next book, that they go to the last one that I wrote. But the non Miki books I wrote just sit there. Would a trilogy be worth it?

Maybe I should just write one large tome. 100,000 or so words. Like Clive Barker’s Imagica or Robert McCammon’s Swan Song would do. Could be fun and a challenge.

Or…

Why don’t I somehow make it more marketable. Make it a Miki book. Take the new story and book end it with a Miki story that picks up after book 11. Could work.

I don’t know. My mind is going and turning.

By January first I could have ten more possibilities for this book.

The only thing I’m sure of is that it’s going to be a challenge and it’s going to be different than anything I have ever written before.

 

Out now:

 

a not so distant future where one struggles for gasoline

Finished Kharma Part 12 revisions.

Working on two short story revisions this week (MiLK and White Elephant in the Blue Room). Both are just about 5k words so that’s different lately.

Tried to find some markets to submit to and failed. Nothing in my pay rate.

As planned for June, I want to get in another short, flash or longer, before starting Kharma part 13 but I’m not sure what to write. Horror isn’t my thing, so that’s out. I could do a sci-fi/YA but it has theme setting I already used in other stories but a different plot. I don’t want to repeat myself.

Maybe something will pop into my head that will make it different enough for me to jump into it. For now I can just open my tiny notebook on Monday and pick anyone of the ideas and use one of those. Spontaneously write without a net. Maybe a crime story or a contemporary YA story will have to do.

Over the weekend I compromised my ego. The local vintage theatre was screening the greatest sequel of all time, The Road Warrior. Words can’t describe how important a film this is to me and my childhood. It’s a work of art. And a chance to see it on a 50 ft screen? When will I get another.

But for my wife’s birthday/mother’s day present I had given her tickets to see Kings of Leon that night at the PNC. I had bought the tickets back in February and the movie wasn’t announced until a few weeks ago. How was I to know the conflict. Of course I had to take my wife to the concert. You know how much these tickets cost me? Right side orchestra, row O?

Plus the context. My wife, a big fan of the group, won tickets to see them at the PNC 5 or 6 years ago. The week of the show they canceled and refunded due to health reasons. A band like this only does big venues, festivals. I’ve been stalking their homepage trying to find out when they would come back to Jersey. And they finally did.

My wife had a good time. She danced all night. I snapped some good pictures for her. She’s still shaking from the experience.

But still, I imagine myself in that seat in the theatre, looking up at that huge screen, in a not so distant future where one struggles for gasoline.

Oh, the car crashes.

Sorry.  No talking bugs or anuses.

Just about done with 3rd part of Kharma part 12 revisions. Nothing much to say. I must sound like a broken record. Writing about writing is not very exciting. Not like the movie Naked Lunch. Sorry.  No talking bugs or anuses. No spies. No Interpol. No drug taking. My life is boring. The words in the story are exciting. To me anyway. Maybe to you. I’ll have to wait and see.

Been stalling on my Italian lessons over at Duolingo. I think it’s from all the revisions I’ve been doing lately. They wear me out and take so long and then I have other stuff and I just can’t force myself to do it. I think when I get back into witing 4 pages a day of a draft I’ll get back into the Italian lessons again. It was a good system. What I learned is still in my head…sort of. It pops up in my writing. I’ve meshed it in with names and such.

If all goes at planned I can start a new short in June, one that’s been burning in my head the last few weeks, and then a new Kharma, also burning, soon after that.

Been reading this collection of Tim Burton essays about his films. Some deep analytical stuff. Before this I’ve only read his own POV of his work. Interesting to get a subjective stance other than my own.

What I love about Burton’s work, what I connect with, is his exploration of duality. I’ve talked about this in previous posts. What we show people and what we hide. The perfect example of this is in Batman Returns, the uses of masks and what we hide; real freaks verses created freaks. So many people need to wear a mask to be who they are. While people like me (and you) act the way we do naturally without the mask and suffer for it, ending up dead and carried out by emperor penguins. :-p

What I’m taking from this collection (I’m only halfway through it) is how his films are broken down into 2 plot styles:

  1. Hero story. The hero who never changes ventures into a foreign world and changes others.
  2. The artists/storyteller, how they find the means to create and execute their voice.

There may be more one or two more. I can’t fit all his films into these two structures.

The essayists also bring up society, family, sexism, capitalism, and colonialism. Funny to recall all the people in my life who have put down Tim Burton’s films and yet these people have given them such critical thought.

But let’s break that criticism with more Stain Boy, episode 4

Even years from now they may mesh

More work on third chunk of Kharma part 12.

Ideas/threads to carry over into future stories pop up in my head as I edit along. I write them down in my little book for later. Bits for the next story or even the third or tenth story down.

Can’t stress enough to a new writers how important it is to carry a tiny note/sketch book. Things pop into you head at any time. For me it’s when my brain relaxes or is distracted, in meditative states. Listening to music, watching movies, reading, showering, or by water. Like David Lynch says, You gotta grab them. Write them down even if they’re not perfect. You never know what they can be later. Even years from now they may mesh with something else that could pop up later. 1+1=3

Went over final proof before publication on short story for Unwinnable Magazine. Yes, that was the short that I did many revisions on. “You Are Disturbing The Peaceful Mood I Am In” should be out in their May issue soon.

Oddly the editor wants me to send him an invoice for payment so he can remember to pay me. Which is fine and honest of him. Sometimes these editors forget to pay. Sometimes they never pay. So I will do that.

I discovered that Thomas the Tank Engine will release a new character with autism this summer which is cool. Then I thought, shit. Not for the character. For the fact that the vaccine people out there will put it down like they put down Sesame Street and their autistic character. How it’s bad to normalize, create acceptance and enlightment for autism, how parents shouldn’t be okay with their children being defective, and okay with doctors and the pharmaceutical companies making them that way.

Grrrr, poxy fuckers.

No. I’m not going to get into it.

Thomas is good. Thomas is good for autistic kids too with those big expressive faces. My son loved watching Thomas. God, the little bastard ran tracks through out the apartment and sped ten trains at a time. I had no place to walk with out tripping and stepping on them. We had all the DVDs and I had to watch that Alec Baldwin movie. I did like watching the episodes with George Carlin in them, though.

Still have the tracks and trains in storage. I should bring them out for my daughter to play with. She’s gonna be 4 this summer, she’s just about right for them.

Anyway, here is episode 3 of Stain Boy: