Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Not So Month of Fun, Other Disasters and a Few Bright Spots

April has not been a good month for me. I am embroiled in a bureaucratic nightmare involving my insurance and other aid that is taking weeks to sort out. This happened on the heels of a diagnosis of a debilitating condition that can only be managed and not cured. The plans to manage it are on hold until I can get my insurance back. Thus, I am in constant near excruciating pain. I am not sleeping well. I have not been able to swim in weeks. I actually feel worse than my 8th round of chemo – the one that put me in the hospital. Coping is an hour by hour process right now as I wait for this to right itself or decide to go postal. It could go either way depending on the hour.

Needless to say, I could really use a magical Month of Fun this May. I haven't really been able to plan any big outings, because I just can't think that far ahead. I also don't know what we'll be able to afford. Not that I am into large presents during the MoF. It's that things really are that tight right now. So, right now, my goals are to get back to my routine since coming home from Philly last year and maybe indulge in cooking something interesting. Maybe there will be a bottle of bubbly somewhere.

There is good news that keeps me going. Of course, my not wanting to go out of the house meant that some things started happening with the films that required I go sign contracts. And I had a long and hellish communte for a meeting that will mean a lot to the publishing company and our convention travels. I can't give details about any of it right now, but I hope to break a lot of that news next month. It was nice to find that I have fans in some surprising places.

And then, there is Vampire Rent Boy. It was born of a flippant comment from Jon about a stock photo I was looking at. It's turned into my first erotic parody for publication since The Secret Logs of Mistress Janeway. It is already a bestseller in four categories on Amazon Kindle. It is not for the faint hearted, but is it is terribly funny. Here's a relatively tame excerpt:

“The hardest part, actually, is trying to appear excited about a St. Andrew's Cross,” Tristan said bleakly. “I mean, who hasn't been tied up on a St. Andrew's Cross?”
Tristan didn't realize that his current popularity was largely because of Twilight. He had stopped reading with the advent of talkies, and he was always behind on popular culture. On the other hand, Klaus, Tristan's manager – he hated the word pimp – loved vampire fever. Clients paid obscene amounts of money for playmates who didn't break.
Despite his immortality, some of those encounters with his clients could be incredibly difficult. Thus, like legions of courtesans – Tristan really hated the term whore or hooker – he found himself in a booth at a tavern, in this case a local waterhole called Muttley's, trying to drown his sorrows. He didn't drink, but it did help to share woes with the others in Klaus' stable.
“Yeah, a sub can't ask a Dom to kindly shove this dildo gag in your pie hole,” Keiko muttered. Then, she smiled with glee. “That's why I'm so glad I never let my clients drive!”
Keiko's smile was more chilling than lovely, even with that beautiful face. She could easily earn ten times what Tristan earned, but she refused to bottom. Tristan wondered why Klaus never forced the issue. He wouldn't stand for the rest of them having a preference for clients.
“We know what happened the last time one of them drove,” Kevin quipped over his martini.
Tristan didn't know what happened, and judging from the killing glare Keiko shot Kevin, it wouldn't be wise to ask. Tristan really wished he could have a martini. It looked so clear and crisp. It seemed to him that it should ping.
“Shut. Up. Kevin,” Keiko hissed.
“It's Miranda to you, honey.”
“Now, now,” Tristan said before Kevin could open his mouth again. “Let's not fight, okay. I get so little time to talk to anyone who gets me.”
Kevin sighed as he reached over to stroke Tristan's waist length, jet black hair.
“I really don't know why you get so glum, Trissy,” he murmured. “You've always been comfortable in you own skin.”
“You would be, too if you'd pick one,” Keiko said sweetly.
Tristan put a hand on Kevin's thigh to keep him from getting angry.
“That's not fair, Keiko,” Tristan said with a shake of his head. “It's not easy to change gender. I find that it can be done at all a marvel. Such notions would have been considered witchcraft in my day.”
“Whatever. He's not getting snipped anytime soon,” Keiko retorted. “He doesn't call himself a she. And he still uses Kevin, despite the mega tits. Do you even have a girl name?”
“I told you! Miranda!” Kevin snapped before slogging down the martini.
“It's Miranda this week!” Keiko snapped
“I need another drink.”
“Go easy on that, Kevin dear,” Tristan said then whispered. “Klaus won't like it.”
“Screw him. I'm paying for the drinks, and that's renting the booth,” he muttered before stalking to the bar.
The weight of Kevin's breasts made his gait ungainly. The F-M heels made him look like a hazard to life and limb. Tristan wondered vaguely about how Kevin walked when he was his other self. He looked over at Keiko who was watching Kevin as well.
“Don't say it,” Keiko murmured. “I know I'm being a bitch to him today. You haven't been listening to him whine for the last hour about something he can fix on his own.”
Tristan couldn't argue the point. That would involve thinking, and that would give him a headache. Instead, he looked at Klaus' resident Dominatrix expectantly.
“I'm more than over clients that get pissed when I won't let them top from below,” she said. “Trying to keep from breaking every bone in their arrogant bodies leaves me really infuriated.”
“Why do they ask for a Dominatrix then?” Tristan asked.
“Honey, if you find out, let me know,” she muttered. “Klaus should know these young guys don't want someone like me. They barely know who they are. None of them are confident enough to really bottom for a Domme.”
“Klaus likes the money,” Tristan said.
“That's very true,” she admitted. “He's send me to a gorilla cage if the gorilla had a platinum card.”
That made Tristan laugh. He finally felt like smiling.
Kevin returned by then in a far better mood. Tristan thought it may have been the new pitcher of martinis, but he was trying to get them to look at a booth across the room.
“Where has HE been all my life,” Kevin said with a waggle of his brows.
Tristan looked over to the man at the table diagonal to where they sat. He wasn't expecting much. When Kevin had that many martinis, his taste ran toward the old and strangely hairy. This man was neither. Tristan wouldn't call him classically handsome, but there was something about the square jaw and deep set dark eyes that was compelling. He was broad shouldered and the fit of his custom suit told Tristan that he was powerfully built. His posture was perfect – something odd for this casual slouchy era in time. The man looked about for the typically elusive servers for a moment or two before standing and making his way to the bar. Tristan's jaw dropped. He was really tall. Six foot six or seven if he was an inch.
“His hands and feet are really big,” Keiko observed impassively. Tristan expected an exact measure to the centimeter. “With that height, big hands...big feet...you know what that means.”
“What?” Tristan asked, genuinely confused.
“Oh, sweet mystery of life I've found you,” Kevin prompted.
“What?” Tristan gaped.
“How drunk are you?” Keiko demanded.
“He has a big dick,” Kevin declared in a voice that was four martini loud.
“That's not very lady-like,” Tristan hissed, hoping the tall stranger hadn't heard.
“You're more lady-like than he ever will be,” Keiko muttered.
Of course, the stranger looked over at them. The amused smirk revealed a deep dimple that kept him from looking smug and made him look quite charming. Something struck Tristan just then. It was a powerful spark of recognition.
“I know him,” he murmured softly. “I'm sure of it.”
Tristan wracked his brain as he looked at the man who was smiling at the bartender while his drink was poured. He looked over at Tristan when he had his drink and raised the glass to him. His expression seemed to be that of pleasant surprise.
“Oh, no you don't, Trissy,” Kevin said. “I've seen that expression before. He can't be the love of your life when you've never met him.”
Tristan was about to protest that he had met him before, but he couldn't quite place where he had seen those eyes and that smile.

It's available here:

Amazon Links:

As for the Month of Fun, Stay Tuned.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Photos of the Infamous Pool!

I was finally able to find photos of the pool where I swim. I was too chicken to take them myself, but I could some on a services review site. I was pleased to see that the YMCA has a very nice rating on Yelp.com. I agree. So, now that you have an idea of the length of the pool. You can see how much I have to swim to do the average of 6 laps that I'm up to. They are still fairly slow due to traffic in the open pool. I'm going to start going to the lap session with lanes that are in photos number 2 and 3.
This is the pool from the driveway of the YMCA.

This is shot from the outside in from the deep end of the pool.

And this is from the entrance from the lobby. The railing is where we get in via steps.

Another angle of the deep end from near the lifeguard's perch.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Ensnared Publishing Update and Magical Moments

Before we get to the blog topic, I have big news. The next Ensnared – print version – will be released for Yaoi-con. Meaning, it will be available for purchase on Amazon and other outlets beginning the weekend of Yaoi-con (September 18). There will be a special sale price that weekend to match the convention price. That's usually a 25 to 30% discount on the list price. The ebook will be handled differently than before. We received many complaints about the ebook being too long. It was a surprising number of complaints. So, we will do a staggered release in the run up to Yaoi-con of ebooks that are shorter installments of the whole. We also plan to make sure the print versions of the book are as attractively priced as we can. That may mean that the next print volume could be two. I've been spinning this story into many unexpected places, so it is getting to be far longer than I first thought. Speaking of that, onto the blog!

Magical Moments

I was asked a question during the Valentine's Day online party that was most interesting. The question was what was the best thing about writing. The best part of writing for me are what I call Magical Moments when the characters I've written are so well developed that they begin to act on their own. It can reek havoc on my outlines, but the story is often better when I don't fight the direction the character wants to take. Darius has taken the reins in this book with some astonishing results for me. There were scenes that I thought would be a paragraph or two that turned into these lovely little character moments between Darius or Andreas and supporting characters. And some of those moments gave me a path to the climax of the book that works far better than the one I had planned. I'm not winging the plot by any stretch. The outline I created is still the template. I've just had a detour here and there. These changes have made the book even more fun to write. I suppose it's because these unexpected scenes have all been sweet or funny or hot.

These little scenes are important, because Darius goes through as many changes in this book as Andreas had in the first book. It is essential that readers are able to get past the frosty, aloof nature of the Cosi and see Darius and Mykos in a different light so that this change resonates. I've also been really pleased that I can give my readers time with their favorite supporting characters in some very entertaining ways without it appearing that I was trying to find ways to feature them. All of these scenes happened in a natural way.

It's not really surprising that this sort of magic is occurring. I've been living with the characters for years now. I've spent a great deal of time thinking about the next part of their lives. This cast of characters are very dear friends by now. I think that this knowledge is subconscious like the way I know my friends or family. I innately know how they would react in a given situation. Still, it really feels like magic when a scene starts building right before my eyes with seemingly no effort. And I prefer thinking of it that way.

I have no preview this time. There are too many spoilers in what I'm doing right now. Instead, I give you a quick sketch (30 minutes and out) of a towel clad Darius swinging his hair like a tart. The point of view is Andreas' from a reclining position. I hope you enjoy.   

Swimming, Black Women and the Hair Thing

Swimming has caused me a problem that I hadn't really thought about – fuzzy edges. In the parlance of Black hair care, this would be the hair at the hair line. It grows in fastest and is often the least chemically processed and unruly. I hadn't thought about the problems with re-touching my relaxed hair and contact with chlorine in a pool when I started swimming. I swim three times a week (ideally), so there was just no time for me to re-touch my hair when it wouldn't be dangerously exposed to pool chemicals. No matter how well fitting the swimming cap is, my hair still gets wet at my forehead and the nape of my neck. It was a big problem with my first cap. It just couldn't contain all that hair. The picture to the left isn't as wild as it can get. It's damp from the pool. It's about a quarter Chaka Kahn. When it's in the full Chaka, my cousin swears I have three heads of hair on one scalp. I had to get a new one for long hair to contain it all (Note my cool mirrored goggles. They kinda scale the seniors in the pool). Ultimately, I decided that now was the time to just stop the practice of chemically relaxing altogether and grow my hair out au natural. But that left the problem of the fuzzy edges.

Is this really a thing, you wonder. Indeed, it really is. I forgot my black beret one morning in a rush for my bus. I have my hair pulled back in a French braid and neatly pinned, but I don't use anything on my hairline as hair products will make my swim cap slip, and I end up washing my hair in the shower after swimming anyway. The driver, a lovely Black woman around about my age, actually quietly asked me if I was feeling poorly. She noted that I usually have my act together leaving the house, and those edges made her wonder. I told her I forgot my hat en route to swimming and allayed her worries.

The Bus Driver Lady's concerns made me realize that I was in need of a routine that would tame my hair while keeping from becoming a part of pool chemical induced superhero origin story. Of course, the internet had a lot of information – especially Youtube. Just look up natural hair care and a plethora of videos pop up for every situation. It seems transitioning from chemically treated hair to natural hair is a thing amongst Black women. Thus, there was a lot of advice to be had on the subject. There was a mind boggling amount of advice on the subject and a cottage industry on specific hair care products for the transition. Fortunately, I have enough stuff in my cabinet to make do. I started last week making sure my hair was properly moisturized and conditioned from the roots to the tips. My edges are no longer unruly. I like the feel of my hair, and Jon likes the way it looks as well. This could be a really good thing.

As for the the swimming itself, I am reaching the point where it's difficult to cope with the goings on during the open pool time. I found that the later sessions have lanes in the pool. And there is a slow lane for swimmers who aren't very strong. They'll even allow me to wear the float belt in the slow lane. The later start would have other advantages for me as it is really difficult for me to get out of the house in the morning on some days. I'm now doing 6 or 7 laps routinely. I'd do more, but navigating the bobbing seniors eats up time. I sure can't work on speed with all those people in the way. So, it's a new time for me.

The next big hurdle for me is buying a new swim suit. Mine is getting to be too loose as I lose weight and tone up. Still, I hate buying such garments. The mirrors in a dressing room are not my friend. And this will be a lot of exposure. But it must be done. I don't want the current one to slip off in front of the lifeguard. He's very nice and should not be traumatized.

Stay tuned.  

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Hot Locker Room and Bad Backstrokes

I am still swimming. I haven't talked much about it of late, because I've plateaued at the number of laps and intensity. There was nothing new to report. Well, the new year brings new challenges. First, there is the heat in the locker room. I needn't have fretted about being cold on the rainy days before I dried off enough to dress. That locker room is so hot (most of the swimmers are elderly) that I am dry before I can walk from the shower to the lockers (maybe 20 feet). I am usually sweating before I can get my clothes off to put on my bathing suit. It's hot in there. The ladies still complain that it's cold. Wow.

The other news is the new swimmer in the pool. I had found variants in my head for all of the characters from my beloved swimming anime, Free! Eternal Summer save for one. The back stroke
swimmer, Makoto (He's the guy in the back in the swim jammers with the green trim in the photo above). Not that there isn't a back stroker. There is. I refer to him as NotMakoto. The sweet young man from that series would never swim horizontally across a crowded pool. It didn't get any better when he was glared into swimming the length of the pool. It's an open swim -- no lanes And there are elderly people bobbing all over the place in random patterns. But NotMakoto just does his own thing. He's hit one really good swimmer even though she tends to hug the wall. He's been such a challenge that they now have two lifeguards during that session. Why don't they say something to him? I don't know. The seniors seem to like to self police. I think something will be said soon.

Meanwhile, now that we've survived the colds and other unpleasantness, I'm hoping to do three sessions a week for a few weeks before I decide about moving from the open pool setting to the lande swimming later in the day. I still don't think I'm strong enough for that yet. But I have lost more weight during the holidays. I'm now at the point where I'm looking up videos to improve my form. So, things are moving along. So long as NotMakoto doesn't run into me, things will continue to go swimmingly.

Monday, November 03, 2014

I Only Swim Free*

Actually, it was a dog paddle crossed with the breast stroke. I didn't do anything resembling freestyle until the last lap. That was so slow that I'm certain the lifeguard couldn't figure out how I was staying afloat. *Nanase Haruka, Free! Iwatobi Swim Club http://free-anime.wikia.com/wiki/Haruka_Nanase.

I started aquatic therapy and swimming today at the nearby YMCA. I'd forgotten so many things about swimming that it was hard to believe that I was once good at it. I hate wrestling into a swimsuit while wet (must shower before getting into the pool). Then, after getting everything in place, I had to go to the bathroom. That reminded me of being an eight year old. I met some nice older ladies who were regulars at the therapy classes and the open pool afterward. They were really social and wicked with a pool noodle. That was a helpful device in keeping me from swallowing a lot of water in the deep end. Hey, I take help from everywhere.
I did pretty well for my fitness level and the very long spate of time from the last time I owned a pair of goggles. I'm a good kind of tired and should sleep like a stone. I also avoided eating at the Taco Bell down the street though I really, really wanted a half dozen or so crunchy tacos.

Now, I have to see how I'm feeling tomorrow. Incidentally, I did snap the goggles on my head once. That hurt. Never again.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

WonderCon, The Book of Craig and Month of Fun 2014!

WonderCon 2014

We're trying to be more proactive at Sybpress this year by getting out into trade shows beyond what we've
done previously. We had an opportunity to assist a fellow indie publisher at her table at
WonderCon, a ComicCon event in Anaheim, CA (literally across the street from Disneyland). I think this is easily the biggest comic convention I've been to. It may be larger in area than Dragoncon. It's hard to tell, because the latter is so spread out. It was huge and full of wonderfully geeky stuff everywhere the eye could see. And we had to indulge a little shopping. And there were throngs and throngs in every aisle of the convention floor. There were enough attendees to give us hope that even our very specialized niche would have enough of an audience to do well. The question was whether or not the sales could offset the amount of spending we were likely to engage in or the price of food at the venue.

The answer was yes and no. Sharon's Yaoi Revolution attracted a surprising number of people to her table with the gorgeous illustrations she had made into banners. She was selling at quite a nice clip every day. We were selling prose at a comic convention. Some of the potential buyers were outright dismissive of a book that just had words in it. That was insulting. However, Sunday was terrific. I was selling my titles in sets of four at a clip. It was awesome. I even got to sign autographs. We even sold some of the Octavia Butler collection. That dug us out of the hole a little and restored our faith in comic book fans. We learned that these are not the trade shows for us. It wasn't even much use to cover for YGG Magazine. The cosplayers were all doing comic book heroes. There was very little anime costumes seen. And there was only one actual yaoi character. So, for our purposes, we need to go to an anime convention at the very least if we're going to make any sales.

Now, don't misunderstand. We had a great time. It would be impossible for big geeks like us not to have a great time. And then there was the company. Sharon at Yaoi Revolution and her family are charming and
very funny. And then there was Marie's Sister and niece (a zany toddler) and nephews (both brighter than their ages). Funny children was a recurring theme for the weekend. They were everywhere in geeky finery with their parents in similarly themed costumes. Jon and I saw a pair of little tourists heading toward the hotel pool and literally bouncing off the corridor walls. We were very fortunate to dine with Marie's niece and younger nephew on one night and Sharon's cheeky 13 year old son on another night. My favorite conversation that weekend was the one where Marie's nephew was talking about the robot army he planned on having someday and how we would use it to take of us in our old age. That was comforting.

A grand time was had by all, and I'm sure we'll go to ComicCons in the future, We just won't be going for Sybpress or YGG business.

The Month of Fun 2014

We are about to begin the month of May, my birthday month. This means that it is also the beginning of The
Month of Fun. For those new to the blog, welcome! The Month of Fun began the year I turned 40. I celebrated my birthday for an entire month by practicing the philosophy of Agent Dale Cooper. Of Twin Peaks. Basically, every day, you should give yourself a little present – even if it's just 'a damn fine cup of coffee.' It's difficult for busy women to pamper themselves. So, that month, I make an effort to do that in the hopes that it will become a habit. Some of them have. In recent years, the MoF has been filled with foods. I make an effort to try a lot of local restaurants or high end food trucks. And I try new recipes. This year, my dear friend Sarah has sent me a gorgeous little cookbook from her Sister's Premium Olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar Business, F. Oliver's. She also sent a gift card for me to get gadgets I've long had my eye on. I have some English muffin rings and a few other things along the way. Meanwhile, my good friend, muse and editor, Yvonne, sent me all kinds of seasonings from Germany where she and her husband are stationed. I have made some amazing dry rubs with some of these packets. I can't wait to try out this new lot. There is another recipe with croissant dough I'm keen on trying – and eating. Among them are lamb and duck dishes.

Another goal of the MoF is to see good friends that I don't get to see much of the rest of the year. That usually means becoming embroiled in an adventure. The number one conjurer of adventure I know is Craig. I think it's been a year since I've seen him. This cannot go on, especially since we've decided to publish him. I really should let him know about that.

The Book of Craig

One of the most talented people Jon and I have met out here in Los Angeles is former Jersey boy, Craig. He can spin yarns in extemporaneous fashion that are insightful, profane and hilarious all at once. Like many who write at his level, he makes me often feel that I am wasting my time. And as if that weren't enough, beyond that gruff and sometimes terrifying exterior, is a very kind soul – especially to women folk. When I got this email from him this week, I decided it was high time that Jon and I do what we have long threatened to do – put together a collection of his works. The Book of Chet (long story) will feature Craig's writings and writings about Craig by various souls who he has touched.

Jon wrote this apt bio:
Craig Charles Fischer, or 'Skreech' as he is called by absolutely no one, is a librarian, hiker, aspiring hobo, and part time Frank Miller impersonator. He has spent his life being forced to endure the incomprehensible spewings of the top Hollywood Elite that insist on infesting his neighborhood. Only the love of a good woman has prevented him from unleashing a bloodbath of carnage and retribution of the type so often covered by Dateline, CNN, and Bon Appetit.

And here is a typical ditty from the man himself:


by Craig Fischer

When the moon shines of blood and seas roil in contention, so is the advent of RAGNOROK!

Participants in this millenium's RAGNOROK are reminded to dress warmly and not to forget pocket change for tolls. Bring Snacks! Make sure all unaccompanied children have necessary permission slips.

Unbelievers will be stripped of their flesh by lashing winds! Serpents will arise from the earthquake riven earth to torment the weak and drive them toward the sacrificial fires. The vengeful Gods show no mercy!

Just a reminder, where the name tag included in the orientation packet. There will be a pre-mixer at the recreation center(BYOB and cheese). Come see all your friends! Also, fill out the slip included in your packet for the raffle.

Let the gates of perdition fall upon the unshriven. Their broken toothed and blood clogged cries call forth reviled denizens of the underverse! Their mewlings will be crushed beneath the juggernaut of the worm!

Anyone who hasn't received their orientation packet, please contact Judith Halcomb from the women's auxillary. Judy will have a booth near the starting line, and is still looking for volunteers to help man the booth. C'mon by and help out!

The innocent's blood will boil when mixed with the fetid afterbirth of the all consuming beast.

See you there!


Three quarters of my novel is with the editor. I'm furiously pushing through the last part. Mostly, I'm furious most of the time. It seems that I just can't get anything near what I need to finished. It's very frustrating. Many things are in the works with the writing career.

Stay tune.


City waste baskets being destroyed by the trash trucks.

Food truck dude won Chopped!!

Creme Brulee French Toast from a Gourmet Food Truck.

Huge line to get into WonderCon.

Post convention martinit at the Anahiem Hilton.

Italian Ice from a gourmet food truck.

Miniature horse helper animals?!

A Zen Martini with green tea liquer.

Drought lanscaping I find pretty.

Our bartender JJ at the Culver Hotel came up with a chocolaty way to celebrate 4/22.

Chives with blossoms from the farmers market.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Private Eye, Craig vs Nick Nolte and Evil Genies

Whilst running errands in Marina del Rey, I saw what I am certain is an honest to goodness private investigator hanging out at my bus stop. It's an odd bus route. It's extremely short running from Fisherman's Village in the Marina to the Expo Line  just past downtown Culver City. At midday when the traffic is light, the entire route is less than half an hour. Tourists don't know the route. If there is one on the line, it's usually a mistake. Thus, when I saw this guy, he struck me as wrong. It's like Jason Bourne said in The Bourne Supremacy  about dear Karl Urban's character, the grumpy Russian assassin, he was wrong. The clothes he was wearing and what he was carrying was wrong. He was dressed like an older, hip and active tourist, but tourists don't take buses there. He was not a regular commuter. We know each other well enough to keep up with each other's families on that route. At this writing, two weeks later, I haven't seen him since. And he wasn't looking at maps or books, he was looking at people. Then, he takes out this insanely expensive camera and takes photos down a street with nothing on it – as you can see – except for cars parked along an expensive condo. 

After taking snaps of the street – and me (he was aware that I was aware of him) – he leaves this backpack 
with a Macbook in it to talk to someone in a modest car in the gas station next to the stop. It had just pulled up. He came back just in time for the bus to show up. He got on the bus without asking the bus driver about where it was going as tourists do on an odd line. He got off the bus two stops later and walked toward the same car that was at the gas station. Yep. Private eye. Why not a cop? A cop would have been harder for me to spot. It took me a week to spot the narcotics cops staking out the block when we lived in a very entertaining area of Venice. My policeman father taught me to be hyper aware of my surroundings. That got honed when I was a professional neighborhood watch person working of the Center City District . My life has been weird, okay?

Evil Genies

Recent events have lead me to believe that trying to make it in the film industry in LA is like dealing with evil Genies. Only, there seems to be no way to cleverly thwart them and get them to grant you your fondest wish. No matter how carefully the deal is crafted, there will always be a high price to pay for getting a wish granted. I was recently commissioned to write a pilot and a series bible based on another person's stories. It was not Guild scale, but it was a decent down payment on a scale payment. It was not in a genre that Jon and I are comfortable with, but we always said that we could write anything. Of course, we were young when we were spouting that nonsense. I also believe that I was drinking more back then. But the matter came before us as a request for help, so we felt like it would be mean to refuse.

Six weeks later, I should be happy to have a sliver of financial breathing room and a well thought of script with a shot at being a series. On some level I am. But that has been at the cost of a book that has been delayed for two years, a great deal of tension between my Sybpress partners and I over another book's release and the completion of the latest YGG Magazine. I've had to have an MRI and steroid injections related to a knee injury involving a previous incarnation of that same project that commissioned me and since this all began, I have had trouble sleeping and frequent headaches. The details of why things shook out this way are unimportant. The fact of the matter is that there is always some cost to making a deal in this town, big or small. I now understand why some artist respond to this by gouging as much money out of a deal as they can get away with. That way, when the results are years on a therapy couch or many anger management courses, it can be said that 'at least that deal paid for my bitchin' summer home' or paid for something equally lavish. I'd say that this gets us a big step closer to Guild eligibility but I now know a lot of WGA members that really wish they had been more clever with the Genie they ran across. One may think that it's a case of them down playing their lot, so they aren't bragging. Nope. They are living the be careful what you wish for scenario. Still, that is a route that will most likely get us control of the projects we do. It's a huge step, something like this gig. It could be the first of many even if the script is ultimately rejected. There will be eyes on our names at levels we've never reached. Still, I'm shaken at the realization that the bigger the step, the higher the cost.

Craig Vs Nick Nolte

Just as Craig resigned himself that there is no getting past Ray Liotta crossing his path (he's now featured in photos in most of the local shops Craig frequents), NickNolte  has begun turning up. He says he's somewhere between movie star Nolte and mugshot Nolte. I doubt that Craig will ever get to the point wary co-existence he got to with Liotta. I believe those two realized that they were both from New Jersey. Apparently, Notle gets squirrley every time Craig makes eye contact. That makes Craig more squirrley or squirrlier. Craig's the kind of guy that has to have eye contact with strange people in his vicinity. This could be bad – entertaining but very bad.

Deb vs Japanese – Coscto Part Two

My Mitswa shopping bags cause me to get involved in a lot of unwanted conversations. Usually it's something like YOU shop THERE from random non-Japanese people I run across. Recently, it got me involved in another kind of encounter. I was in Costco (as I often am) looking at garlic when a young Japanese man approached and asked me if I spoke Japanese in Japanese. I knew that sentence but very little else. Fortunately, I knew the line 'my Japanese is very bad.' That was still better than nothing, he figured. He needed help in the cold produce room. I knew enough from the Japanese cooking videos I follow that he was looking for peppers and cucumbers. I knew they were in that room he was dragging me to, and couldn't figure how he missed them. And then I knew. The boxes were stacked high with no clue as to what was in them by looking at the actual produce (that has since been changed). And the labeling was very clever like Cukes and Bells and Shrooms. No wonder the poor man was confused. I revealed the produce and got the full on formal thank you with a bow! I remembered how to say 'your welcome.' I was jazzed enough to pick up my studies in earnest once more. I see him once in a while. He always smiles.

Book Lunch

I'll finally be putting out the next installment of the Soldier's Saga, Soldier's Destiny on April 22nd. It's an auspicious day for me. I'll be four years clear of cancer and four years from the MOAS. Seemed like a good day to jump back into book publishing thing. I tend to re-write characters I love that I thought deserved fairer shake than they got in their original forms. I realized when looking for that Bourne quote that the guys are very much modeled after Bourne in a lot of ways beyond being trained killers. I really wanted the film version of Bourne to have a happy ending or at least a permanent relationship. So, I gave them one. And the Foundation was an answer to the corruption that surrounded the organizations that created the characters. I don't like characters to have endings that I consider unfair. They can be sad or even tragic but never unfair. In this book, Rik and Vincent are confronted with Altereds so damaged that there is a kill order over their heads if they can't be retrained. They must deal with the most clever Altered they've ever faced. He is, in fact, the father of them all. His legacy continues to bring them great pain and grief while he holds a secret that could destroy them. And then, there is the little matter of Bobby's wedding to a major reporter. How can that be pulled off without a media circus or explosions. Rik and Vincent have a lot on their plates while trying hard not to lose sight of each other. For fans of Ensnared, there is another short story coming out soon and a third novel in the works. I have a publishing schedule in mind for the next 12 months. Heaven help anyone that interferes with that without giving me a hideously large check!

Stay tuned.

More Photos Below

Me and my favorite partner at the CCD.

The latest book launch.

An abomination at Costco.

You're not kneeling?

My first Castella, a Japanese sponge cake.

Expo line extension West to Santa Monica.

Lilacs are in bloom now.

Fish and chips from scratch including the bun.

Latest attempt at ramen.

At A Film Locations Convention

One view from my writing desk.