Category Archives: Screen Enemies of the American Way

Writing to sell (and a discount sale!)

No, not writing stories with an idea of what will sell sell, but things like cover copy, Amazon online blurbs, and ads. I put in a lot of work during the countdown to publishing Questionable Minds. I browsed Amazon ads when they pop up in my FB feed, and they pop up a lot. It was primarily to get a sense of how other authors push books online, though it’s also just part of my love for books in general. When I worked at Waldenbooks in the 1990s I’d read the back copy of lots of books just to see what they were like. “Men’s adventure” books, Sweet Valley High, Babysitters Club, serious literature. It’s one of the things I miss about bookselling — sure I could do it in a bookstore but I rarely have that much time.

The style in promotional copy has changed a lot. Author Gail Z. Martin (I know her from cons) says it’s due to Amazon allowing all kinds of searches so including really nitty gritty specifics about tropes and subcategories helps grab readers. Thus romances (I’ve no idea why I get so many — it’s hardly my first pick) break down into subcategories such as grumpy single dad, grumpy boss, grumpy neighbor, grumpy single-dad neighbor. Plus lists of tropes such as enemies-to-lovers, friends-to-lovers, bullies-to-lovers (that one makes me want to vomit), smoldering romance, sweet and gentle romance, frazzled single parents, etc.

So, here’s mine: ”

Enter a “steam-psi” Victorian world where newly discovered “mentalist” abilities are changing everything — and they’ve given Jack the Ripper a path to absolute power.

In Victorian England, 1888, some say Sir Simon Taggart is under the punishment of God.

In an England swirling with mentalist powers — levitation, mesmerism, human telegraphy — the baronet is unique, possessing mental shields that render him immune to any psychic assault. Even some of his friends think it’s a curse, cutting him off from the next step in human mental and spiritual evolution. To Simon, it’s a blessing.

Four years ago, the Guv’nor, the hidden ruler of the London underworld, arranged the murder of Simon’s wife Agnes. Obsessed with finding who hired the Guv’nor, Simon works alongside Inspector Hudnall and Miss Grey in Scotland Yard’s Mentalist Investigation Department. Immunity to telegraphy, clairvoyance and mesmerism are an asset in his work — but they may not be enough to crack the latest case.

A mysterious killer has begun butchering Whitechapel streetwalkers. With every killing, the man newspapers call “the Ripper” grows in mental power and in the brutality of his attacks. Is murder all that’s on his mind or does he have an endgame? What plans does the Guv’nor have for the Whitechapel killer? And if Simon has to choose between stopping the Ripper and unmasking the Guv’nor, how will he decide?

Questionable Minds is set in a Victorian England struggling to preserve the social hierarchy while mentalism threatens to overturn it. The cast of characters includes Dr. Henry Jekyll (and yes, his friend Edward Hyde too) and multiple other figures from history and fiction. It has a tormented, morally compromised protagonist, serial-killer villain, a devoted father-daughter relationship and a passionate but complicated love affair.

Trigger Warning: Multiple brutal murders. Nineteenth-century sexism and imperialism. A child in danger.”

I think it works. I hope I’m right. I’m also thinking of going back and redoing the copy for Atlas Shagged and Atoms for Peace and seeing if that can juice sales any. Can’t hurt! Questionable Minds is available in ebook on Amazon or other retailers. Or there’s the paperback.

And while I’m promoting myself, I’ll note that McFarland iscoffering 40% off all titles through November 28, including all my books such as The Aliens Are Here. Use HOLIDAY22 as the code at checkout!

#SFWApro. Covers by Samantha Collins (t) and Zakaria Nada.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Screen Enemies of the American Way, Writing

Why yes, I have a new book out

I’m hoping The Aliens Are Here will sell well, but who knows? However I’m working a little bit more to promote it than usual. I applied to John Scalzi’s Big Idea feature but no slots were open. However Hugo-winner Cora Buhlert, whom I know from Camestros Felapton‘s comments section, has interviewed me about it! That was cool (thanks Cora!).

Sales are hard to guess. McFarland targets the library and serious movie buff audience which guarantees they turn a profit and I get royalties, but more royalties is always desirable. The Wizard of Oz Catalog was easily my biggest seller — no surprise, given there’s a long-standing fandom for Oz. And I cover a lot of Oz stuff that wasn’t detailed in fan websites at the time.

I always figured Screen Enemies of the American Way would do well because the topic — political paranoia in American films — hasn’t been explored much. It’s probably thee weakest seller but it still generates small regular royalties even several years later. Cyborgs, Santa Claus and Satan still sells even though it’s been in print for 20 years I have some thoughts upon rereading the book in 2017)

Now and Then We Time Travel did way better than Screen Enemies. To my credit, it’s an excellent, thorough book on the topic. So perhaps The Aliens Are Here, dealing with another popular topic, will do well too.

You can visit Cora’s blog for details on why it’s worth reading and how I came to write it. Or, you know, buy it!

Here’s a set of movie posters representing all four books. First, for Gene Roddenberry’s 1977 TV pilot SpectreThen for the underrated 1985 Return to Oz.Warren Beatty’s 1974 masterpiece of paranoia, The Parallax ViewAnd the 1961 time travel fantasy The Flight That Disappeared

1971’s Andromeda Strain, one of my favorite posters.

And for my self-published Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, here’s the poster for the second Bond film.#SFWApro. Rights to all images remain with current holders.

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Filed under Movies, Now and Then We Time Travel, Personal, Screen Enemies of the American Way, Writing

The Witch Mountain Saga

Alexander Key’s ESCAPE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN has been remarkably successful on screen. A 1975 and ’78 Disney film and sequel, a TV movie remake, a TV pilot Beyond Witch Mountain, and 2009’s RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN. While the book is good, I suspect it’s the success of Disney’s 1975 version (above average for their live-action films of that era) that explains the Mouse constantly revisiting the property.

The protagonists of the 1968 novel are Tony and Tia, pre-teen orphan survivors of a shipwreck they barely remember. Now that their foster mother has died, they’re warehoused in a miserable orphanage. It doesn’t help that they have freaky powers such as TK and telepathy and that Tia talks in a voice only Tony can hear. Things get worse when a mysterious figure named Deranian claims custody of the kids as a relative. They know he’s lying but who will believe them?

Fortunately there’s Father O’Hara, a priest who believes them and deduces Deranian’s agenda: He’s a Soviet agent who intends to get control of the kids and exploit their powers. O’Hara helps them escape but Deranian is very competent, the law’s on his side and he has all his spy network’s resources to draw upon. The kids follow clues to what they think might be a relative or a friend of the family out in the country near Witch Mountain, but it’s not an easy trip, particularly when the locals get a glimpse of their powers and declare a witch hunt.

It all ends well, of course. The kids learn the shipwreck was a spaceship, part of an evacuation fleeing their doomed planet, reunite with the other castaways at Witch Mountain and convince Deranian they’ve left Earth by flying saucer. Even with their powers and O’Hara’s help, it ain’t easy.

The 1975 Disney movie is considerably lighter in tone. The orphanage seems to be a fun place and the bad guys — parapsychologist Deranian (Donald Pleasance) and his millionaire boss (Ray Milland) — are the kind of bumbling foes kids in Disney movies were always running rings around in those days (like I said Saturday, this was not a high point for Disney creatively). And Eddie Albert as O’Hara (not a priest) is another stereotype, a crusty old dude who only needs custody of the two adorable moppets to thaw into a lovable guy. Still, it’s way better than The Cat From Outer Space. “Do you know what the word ‘castaway’ means?”

Three years later the kids RETURN FROM WITCH MOUNTAIN to get a taste of life in the big city (which hardly seems like anything an alien colony would consider important). When Tony displays his powers he attracts the attention of wealthy Bette Midler and her evil scientist Christopher Lee, who quickly enslaves Tony with his mind-control tech. Can Tia and a gang of cuddly but street-smart kids rescue her brother? Although the cute factor gets dialed up, the villains are more memorable (Lee’s plan is to have Tony push a nuclear plant to go Three Mile Island unless the government pays up big) and there’s a spectacular TK battle between Tony and Tia at the climax.  “You’re the worst kind of gambler — you use other people’s money and want to keep all the winnings for yourself.”

RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN (2009) is a surprisingly good reboot that raises the stakes — rather than refugees seeking new life, Earth is facing an invasion from the doomed world unless two alien teens can make it back home with evidence that Earth-based research can save their planet from eco-collapse. Against them is an assassin the warhawk faction has sent to ensure the war goes ahead and DHS agent Ciaran Hinds, who wants the teens as science experiments so he can duplicate their powers (it shows the “bogeyman” principle I mentioned in Screen Enemies of the American Way, that these villains are interchangeable  — a Commie spy, a millionaire, an American operative can all serve as the bad guy here).

But not to worry, when the kids hire a cab driver it turns out to be Dwayne Johnson, ex-con and former underworld wheel man, trying to stay straight. Not that he believes these weird kids or that he’s going to stick his neck out for them, hell no … Carla Guggino plays an expert in extraterrestrial life and Garry Marshall is a UFO paranoia crackpot.

Key’s premise reminds me (and I’m not alone) of Zenna Henderson’s stories of “The People,” aliens who fled their dying world, crashed on Earth and are slowly gathering in their lost ones to the valley where they settled. THE PEOPLE (1972) is a low-key adaptation of the short stories, with Kim Darby as a teacher trying to figure out why this community seems so weird and William Shatner as a local doctor wondering the same thing. A quiet, gentle film — too gentle for some people, but I like it. “Can’t you see that the time of fear is ending? That’s why you were sent.”

#SFWApro. All rights to images remain with current holders.

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Filed under Movies, Reading, Screen Enemies of the American Way

Money for nothing and my books for free? It depends

So as I think I’ve already mentioned, I made my Smashwords short-story collection, Philosophy and Fairytales free as part of a promotion running through April 20. I’m quite happy that two people have already downloaded the book.I was much less happy to discover the Internet Archive had an ebook of Screen Enemies of the American Way available on its website for free reading. Camestros Felapton’s post alerted me that IA, in addition to storing old web pages, digitizes print books and lends them out, just like any other library — except, as Slate says, regular libraries don’t just digitize books under copyright and make them available (with exceptions such as services for the blind). Libraries actually pay for ebooks; IA doesn’t. So I asked the IA to take my book down (it appears to be the only one of mine up there) and they did. First time I’ve tackled a pirate site (and in my not-a-lawyer opinion, this does seem to be piracy) and it felt good.

My work on Leaf wrapped up Monday — one of their regular breaks in the work flow — which is good as Leaf articles seem to suffer from the distractions of TYG and pups in the current quarantine more than anything else I do. That’s probably because I try to keep to sharp deadlines writing them and there’s just enough distraction these days to slow them down. So maybe it’s simply more noticeable with Leaf than other work? But hopefully by the time they start up again, I’ll have a smoother process for the new normal.

I got plenty done this week. Two chapters of Impossible Takes a Little Longer. Final draft (subject to one more beta reader weighing in) of Death Is Like a Box of Chocolates. A good deal of work done on Undead Sexist Cliches. Finishing the second draft of Laughter in the Dark. And I participated in a Zoom-meeting of my Tuesday writer’s group. Damn, but it felt really good to see everyone’s faces.

As I woke up early this morning, I am now done. Bring on the weekend.

#SFWApro. Cover image by Lisa Wildman, all rights remain with current holders.


Filed under copyright, Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Nonfiction, Personal, Screen Enemies of the American Way, Short Stories, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

The most sensational news you’ll read today! Or at least in this post.

So McFarland, which publishes my four movie books and dozens of others, is having a 40th anniversary sale. Everything 25 percent off, including my four movie books. It’s a great opportunity to buy one, two or collect the entire set! It’s always cool to have the entire set, right?

My books are:

Cyborgs, Santa Claus and Satan, a book on made for TV specfic films of the 20th century.

The Wizard of Oz Catalog, an encyclopedic look at Oz books, movies, TV shows, radio shows and stage plays. A lot of oddball material such as a 1930s women’s college film and a sales-training video, The Wizard of Sales.

Screen Enemies of the American Way looks at American fears of the enemy within — subversion by Nazis, Japanese, Commies, pod people, Stepford Wives and extraterrestrials.

Now And Then We Time Travel lists and reviews time-travel television and film stories from around the world.

The sale runs through the end of the month. I’ll be buying a couple of books (maybe more) myself, though I haven’t completely settled on which ones yet. Prime contenders are one on The Saint in his many fictional forms and a book on witches in films and TV, Bell, Book and Camera.

#SFWApro. All rights to images remain with current holder.

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The time of Janus: Yesterday I looked back, now I look forward (#SFWApro)

janus_1So once again I’m kicking off the New Year with a list of 101 goals for the next 1,001 days. I’ve done it before and it works better for me than a New Year’s resolution. So I have 101 things to try completing before Sept. 28, 2018.

I’ve learned from previous attempts at this. I usually put multiple writing goals that I know I can’t complete all of, because I figure that will push me—and I’m not sure which story/novel/project I will manage to complete. This year I’m scaling down—fewer goals and at least in theory manageable. The only novel-length projects I’m listing (besides Time Travel on Screen of course) are Southern Discomforts (to be finished) and Brain From Outer Space (either I finally have a usable draft or I give up).

I’ve also got goals involving my social life (more events, visits to my family, visits to friends, work on a stage play), my work week (get out of the house more during Monday-Friday), reading (finish reading John LeCarre’s books), exercise (I want to bike all the way to the trail head in Raleigh again—we haven’t done it since we got the dogs) and assorted other things.

Then I translated that into goals for 2016. I find it a little funny that given I had only 20 or so goals for 2015 and did almost none of them, I have almost double the number of goals this year. But for some reason, it feels right (we’ll see). And a slightly longer list for January, because it includes things I don’t bother putting on annual lists, like getting estimated taxes in.

Like most people who make resolutions, I feel a sunny optimism about my future accomplishments and how many goals I will knock off. And after this past month’s sickness, I’m really rarin’ to be up and at ’em.

Wish me luck …

(All rights to image with current holder. Sourced from ferrebeekeeper blog).




Filed under Brain From Outer Space, Now and Then We Time Travel, Personal, Screen Enemies of the American Way, Southern Discomfort, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Writing

Structure and Time-Travel: My Book (#SFWApro)

P1190170This month, I’m focusing almost entirely on Time Travel on Screen which is working out well. While I’d like more variety, my rewrite of the manuscript is coming along and as you know from my movie/TV-review posts, I’m getting a lot of stuff watched. And in the middle of it all, I’m thinking about the structure of the book (which is why I have Glinda of Oz reading a book—art by John R. Neill, all rights to current holder—as an illustration. Which is a flimsy reason, but hey).

My first film book, Cyborgs, Santa Claus and Satan had no structure. It was a straight A-Z list of movie synopses.

The Wizard of Oz Catalog (okay, now I think I’ve justified the illo) broke down the subject works into categories—original Oz novels, non-canonical Oz, movies, TV shows, radio dramas, stage plays—and then listed synopses in each category, though chronologically rather than alphabetically.

Screen Enemies of the American Way was different as I took a more thematic approach, looking at movies about German subversives, Japanese spies, pod people, fembots and other types of fictional fifth columnists. The synopses were worked into the text of each chapter.

(And don’t forget, there are links to where you can buy them and other stuff by me on the What I’ve Written page. Just sayin’).

Time Travel on Screen is closest to Screen Enemies, but the big difference it’s tougher to decide which chapter to include a given move in. With fifth-column films, it’s obvious whether the villain is a German, Japanese, Islamic or other bogeyman. But Terminator, for example, is both a love-across-time story (“I came here for you, Sarah.”) and a alter-Earth’s-future-history film, so which chapter? And how do I arrange the chapters so the book seems to flow logically (which is probably something nobody else on Earth will give a damn about but it matters to my aesthetics.

The current breakdown is as follows:

Connecticut Yankee adaptations.

•H.G. Wells’ Time Machine, plus Time After Time and other stories where Wells is the time traveler.

•Travel from the present to other eras. For travel to the past, I’ve grouped it by era—visits to Medieval Europe, feudal Japan, the Victorian age, etc.

•Travelers from other times coming to the present. This one I’ve subdivided more by story idea — fleeing a pursuer, seeking breeders (several travelers from the future are looking for 20th century breeding stock, for example Terror From the Year 5000), making friends.

•Time travel to change the past.

•Time travelers from the future changing the present to alter their own era.

•Changing personal history—getting the girl, opting for career over marriage, etc.

•Time police.

•Love Across Time

•Family-themed stories (getting to know your parent when they were your age, for instance).

•Parallel world stuff.

And then there’s the appendix, which has all the little movies that don’t qualify for in-depth treatment (not that anything is really in-depth, but some have more than others). Would it give more depth if I clumped movies from the appendix in as short notes in the relevant subchapter (putting The 25th Reich in with other WW II History Altered films, for instance)? What about putting parallel-world love stories in the love story chapter? Which will be more satisfying and smooth for the reader.

First-world writer problems, obviously. I’m confident I’ll get it all figured out by deadline.


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Filed under Movies, Now and Then We Time Travel, Screen Enemies of the American Way, TV

A smooth ride up to the pot-hole (#SFWApro)

Which is to say today was a mess. Unexpected errands popped up this morning and by the time they were done I was running behind and also completely off my game. So I wound up staring at the story I was working on without getting anything done before finally conceding the fight. As I’ve mentioned before, if it’s a choice between stopping work and pretending to when I’m just fooling around on the computer, it’s better to stop than fritter my time away doing neither what I want nor what I’m supposed to.
Still, overall a good week. I got more work done on the time-travel book; got some Demand Media articles finished; browsed magazine racks for possible query targets; and did my first-draft rewrite of The Grass Is Always Greener. My writing group gave it an excellent critique back in April and I think it’s much closer to sellable.
I also started replotting The Stage Is a World. I can see the problems—the hero doesn’t have a goal or obstacles to overcome, the ghost really doesn’t do anything—but not how to get past them (that was what I planned to work on today). Either I give up on a conventional plot arc and make it more of a character- or setting-focused piece or I give it more of a functional plot. I suspect a stronger plot is the better choice, but I’m a long way from finding it.
Regarding the time-travel book, I’m doing my best to avoid the mistakes I made with Screen Enemies of the American Way. On that one I didn’t start my analysis of the movies until alarmingly close to deadline; this time I’m on it. And I’m making sure every single thing I watch is immediately entered in the cast/credits list. Last time I didn’t do that and wound up missing a couple, which had to be added in after the initial galleys.
And that’s about it. Back tomorrow with the week’s reviews.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Now and Then We Time Travel, Personal, Screen Enemies of the American Way, Short Stories, Story Problems, Time management and goals, Writing

Time travel films again (#SFWApro)

Despite the use of found footage, LUNOPOLIS (2009) is a good mockumentary that would have worked for my Screen Enemies of the American Way book as well as the current project. Two investigators looking into rumors of a secret lunar city discover a vast conspiracy by Scientologists (or a reasonable facsimile) to manipulate human history by sending travelers back in time at the end of 2012 (right before the Mayan apocalypse of course). Good, though not without its flaws—I can’t see why the church is responsible for JFK’s death other than that it’s an obligatory responsibility for all fictional conspiracies to shoot JFK.“Nobody knows what’s best for the world—nobody.”

THE WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE: The Movie (2009) was a spinoff Disney Channel film that comes off like a Back to the Future knock-off: Selena Gomez accidentally crises out her parents’ Meet Cute, with the side effect of the kids starting to disappear from reality, setting all of them hunting for a Magic McGuffin that can put everything right. Stock, but more watchable than I’d have expected. “If I’d known there’d be this many kids around I’d never have booked this place.”

THE FLIGHT THAT DISAPPEARED (1961) is an anti-nuclear preachment in which people of the future pull three scientists out of time to judge them for destroying all possible futures with their nuclear research. A preachy one, though it’s interesting to see how different the “let’s kill Hitler before he does anything” scenario feels when someone from the present learns they’re the future Hitler who has to be killed. “I’ve never let anyone say that to me—not even the doctors in the hospital!”

THE FUTURE (2011) is an oh-so-precious story of two thirtysomethings vaguely attempting to make something of their lives and discovering they’re totally ill-equipped to do so. I had this on my list as a possible entry but it turns out the “changing the future” theme of the story purely refers to altering the expected course of their lives so it’s closer to Mr. Nobody (the hero also does have the ability to stop time but it’s just presented as one of several weird details). “I made the sound that says ‘I am cat and I belong to you.”

TIME ENOUGH: Alien Conspiracy (2002) is depressingly familiar as an example of clunky, low-budget film-making (it makes Asylum’s “mockbusters” look like MGM) in everything from the acting to the sound editing (I kept having to adjust the volume as people a few feet away from the mike were inaudible). However it definitely qualifies for the book, the premise of the trilogy being the Greys are shark-evolved future humanoids trying to trigger the nuclear war that will create their future, countered by the shapeshifting Morphs hoping to stave off the apocalypse (this would also qualify for Screen Enemies). This particular episode has the added touch of one Morph using that race’s time-travel tech to do-over his repeated unsuccessful efforts to explain the truth to his girlfriend. Given the idea of UFOs coming from our future has been around at least 20 years, I wonder when it started? “You cannot fight a war by ignoring people on the battlefield!”

TIMECRIMES (2007) is a twisty thriller that would double-bill well with Memento for complexity: A man fleeing a masked killer winds up using a time machine to escape an hour into the past only to realize he’s the same man he was fleeing and that worse chronal paradoxes lie in wait. I’m not sure where this one will end up going in the book, but it’s certainly an entertaining one. “Looks like you bet on the wrong horse.”

BEFORE YOU SAY “I DO” (2009) is a do-over of sorts in which a man who just lost his dream girl due to her traumatic memories of a disastrous first marriage gets flung back 10 years in time, giving him a chance to win her before Husband Number One ruins her life. This is another example of time-travel morality, as the protagonist engages in the kind of lying and manipulating that’s only justified by knowing what he’s saving the girl from (though admittedly rom-coms go a lot softer on duplicitous behavior from the leads than real life would); innocuous overall. “Here’s a prediction—Arnold Schwarzennegger becomes governor of California.”

ALWAYS WILL (2006) has a high-schooler discover that touching his fifth-grade class’s time capsule (which he and his buddies dug up and stole) allows him to flashback and rewrite history, a gift he exploits to get success and the Pretty Girl before sacrificing everything to ensure his mother’s happiness. The time-travel morality here doesn’t quite work—while I can understand Will not repeating his self-serving ways in the final timeline, I can’t see why he also gives up his occasional good deeds (helping out a bullied kid, helping a friend get a date) in order to preserve the original history. I did like, however, that he doesn’t get the girl at the end, though he winds up with a consolation prize classmate. “And to think they actually reward crooks like you.”

LEAVE (2011) is another near miss, the kind of murky something-strange-is-going-on thriller that turns out tis all part of a Surreal Pretentious Hallucinatory Sequence as the protagonist confronts his own fear of death. Decidedly sub-par (though I suppose if you’ve never seen an It’s All In Your Mind movie before, it might seem pretty cool).

(Poster art rights remain with current holder)


Filed under Movies, Now and Then We Time Travel, Screen Enemies of the American Way

Hamstrung by Hump Day! (#SFWApro)

A better week than last, as we no longer have the thermostat up high. Much easier to sleep now.
Unfortunately Wednesday was a mess. I went out with my writing group the night before, so I’d budgeted the time to get up late. As frequently happens, my brain took this as a sign I was having a day off and I got started later than necessary (note to self: when getting up late either watch a short video during breakfast hours or nothing at all, so that I don’t tell myself “I have time, I’ll sit to the end.”). Then I had to scrabble frantically around to get my estimated taxes in (the equivalent of withholding for the self-employed, for anyone who doesn’t know). I never leave it to the last day, but we’d had some trouble getting all the data we needed. Ultimately I didn’t get the data so I just wrote a big enough check to be equal to what we paid last year (that should do the trick). All that took up extra time and left me rather frazzled so in the afternoon—making up last week’s sleep deficit, I guess—I wound up napping for a couple of hours instead of my usual fifteen minutes.
That aside, the week went well.
•I got in all my Demand Media articles for the other days of the week.
•I finished the 20,000 words of Brain From Outer Space I wanted done this month.
•I replotted Southern Discomforts.
•I reworked The Day the Rabbits Started Eating People (now Rabbit Indigneotem) and I quite like it. I’ll have it beta-read soon, I hope.
•I contacted two more markets about their lack of response to my submissions. We’re talking a couple of months past the response time, which I wouldn’t mind if they’d tell me the stories are in consideration. Not replying is never anything but a bad sign, so I’ll withdraw them if I don’t hear soon.
•After reading the paranormal romance Assassin’s Gambit, I took a look at my own attempt, Good Morning, Starshine, from a few years back. I haven’t touched it in four years (the rest of 2009 I was working on the Applied Science series, Screen Enemies of the American Way and planning to move up to Durham to be with TYG) and rereading revealed I didn’t even finish the last draft: About a third of the book is still first-draft elements.
Reading it now makes me wince. Like a lot of my early drafts (particularly when I’m not working on them consistently)I use the same phrases, conflicts, issues over and over because I forget I used them earlier in the story. A more fundamental problem is that my hero, Brian Dancer, doesn’t really work. I was playing him as emotionally detached and thawing in the presence of the protagonist (yeah, I know, startlingly original) but I’m not sure that comes across. I’m not sure I even like it. But as yet, I don’t have any alternative ideas, just things I don’t want (I don’t like alpha-male characters much, and I don’t want to explain his detachment with some tragic backstory).
So I don’t think I’m ready to start Draft Three yet. I’ll kick it around in my head and see what I come up with for Brian.
Even with the nap Wednesday, I only missed a couple of hours of writing time. And I made up some of the fiction I didn’t get done last week (using a time-tracker app really does help). So yay.

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Filed under Brain From Outer Space, Nonfiction, Personal, Screen Enemies of the American Way, Short Stories, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals, Writing