Rants & Raves

Boston for what ails ya …

Don’t Look Back … but I absolutely have to. Last week’s 7-hour drive south across the border to Missoula was a pilgrimage of sorts. Boston played the Montana outpost as part of their 40th anniversary tour. I sang their hits in the shower — but had never seen them live. Sadly, the glass-shattering lead vocals of Brad Delp were gone. I’d lost touch with the goings-on of the band and didn’t know he’d taken his life in 2007. A further google behind the scenes told how when Delp first auditioned for Tom Scholz, the band’s founder said he “knew in the middle of the first line that a guardian angel had just presented him with one of the best vocalists to ever step in front of a microphone.” There has since been a constantly changing line-up and a litany of law suits.

But it was Scholz’s meticulous touch and hard work that kept their music alive. It was a sweet, wonderful tide that night that picked us up and carried us away to the very heart of classic rock. As the familiar refrains of More Than a Feeling, Foreplay/Long Time, Rock’n Roll Band and others filled the sky behind Big Sky Brewery, the decades simply disappeared. Precise moments from the 70s and 80s zoomed into focus. Lead singer Tommy DeCarlo was very good, an impressive, welcomed copy of Delp’s voice, save for the high notes we all knew remained with the band’s original singer. The night was cathartic … an adrenaline rush … a true blessing in 40-years disguise. It was the vibrancy we need to revisit time and time again … for music has many emotional stamps, but Boston’s a biggie. …  It is to listen. Thank you, Tom Scholz & Co.

Rants & Raves

The Brexit Bre-Entry Plan …

Incredibly, the UK hacked off its nose to spite its face. How to reattach the ol’ schnoz? I’ll play mediator for those 4 million folks who want a do-over … and the EU bigwigs who want to save other EU members from nasty nose jobs.

Tragically, the Brits were told a Channel-stretching Pinocchio lie on how much the UK sends the EU. We’ve all seen the Big Red Bus number of 350 million pounds per week. Let’s back that bus up a moment. Each of the 28 EU member nations are required to send 1% of their annual GDP to the EU. The UK sent just under 1% — 17.8 billion  —  which is where the 350 million-a-week figure came from.

Woah, don’t put away your calculators. The British Treasury would have us now subtract the 4.9 billion pounds the UK received as an annual EU budget rebate … and a further 5.4 billion the EU gave back to the UK in public and private funding for everything from poor farmers to scientific research … and you have the true figure of 7.1 billion pounds the UK sent the EU this past year. Weekly, that’s 136 million pounds, 60% less than the 350 million pounds figure that had predominantly old, rural-based UK citizens checking the ‘Leave’ box in droves.

I blame the media for not getting the word out on this before the referendum as much as I do UK citizens who’ve had 40 years to see and be the EU in action.

Sherlock Holmes would scratch his head at the notion the UK will now get better trade deals with EU members they just thumbed their nose … er, zombie face at. The UK’s GDP, ranked 5th in the world, could fall to 15th. Rules are rules. There are no do-overs. Boris “Go Start the Bus” Johnson wouldn’t be the first politician to tell a whopper of a campaign promise. The Leave group’s promise of the weekly 350 million being transferred to the National Health Services is already off the table. I haven’t even finished the soup.

The solution? Money still speaks volumes. The UK should pay a stiff fine … The Double Whammy … to the EU for it’s colossal brain cramp. Half a billion pounds to every member of the EU. With 27 members … that’s 13.5 billion pounds total from the UK on top of what they would normally pay over the next 2 years (14.2 billion) as a functioning EU member. They’re paying twice … to get back in.

The UK could counter offer with a quarter billion pounds to each EU member, an increase in their immigration quotas, that they will gladly — no, gleefully —  use the euro, etc. Let the negotiations for Bre-Entry begin.

Book News

Back in the Saddle …

Finally. Back in the writing position. Seat of pants to seat of chair. Check. Spent the past three weeks catching up with All Important Marketing. It can be so all-encompassing … like a non-expense paid trip to Veiled Hopes, Virginia … that pseudo mecca where writers go to wail, er … request book reviews. (Insert FREE book link here.) … Blinders in place, it’s full  steam ahead with my latest novel … a political satire with a title so scandalous, the Kardashians are lining up to co-produce. But seriously, I can’t reveal the buzzwords yet. Satire is as satire does. Anticipating a pre-Christmas release. This summer promises to be a wild merry-go-round of free-wheeling words. Amen and stay tuned.

Book News

August 6 Launch for “Forever We Play” …

Bat meets ball and heaven meets earth Saturday, August 6 when my novella Forever We Play will be available on Amazon.

It’s a story where baseball is gospel, Jesus is a slick-fielding shortstop from the Dominican Republic and Fielding Schmelling is a rookie soul taker for the Houston Astros. When an attractive realtor falls out of a Florida upper deck, he shepherds her soul aboard the Evans / Murgatroid bus in preparation for Opening Day. She must choose a team, who then must win the World Series if she wants to get to heaven.

Things are “looking up” this summer … pre-order your copy today.

On Writing

SATAN helped me do it …

You’ve written a screenplay and pitched it to the world. Incredibly, all have taken a pass. But it’s a great story that deserves to be told. Somewhere. Do not despair. You are one lucky writer … a prime candidate … destined to meet SATAN.

Religious denominations aside, SATAN stands for Screenplay Adapted To A Novella. Countless Oscar movies have been adapted from novels. It’s time to spin Oscar and breathe life into that screenplay that has reached the depths of your despair.

Having recently completed two successful “conversions”, I found similarities in the process and report now on how you too can make SATAN work for you. There is a method to the madness. The Six Sins then — so there’s no confusion — needed to play the game.

It’s Okay to Read …

The only people who read scripts are Hollywood, Bollywood and Elijah Wood. The rest of the world reads books.

Unplug The Slug Line …

Plains of white space will disappear as you hack and slash slug lines, pausing only to make the Nebraska corn field more than just the “EXT — NEBRASKA CORN FIELD — DAY” it once was. The husks, combines and Stephen King scarecrow now beckon for you to set the mood and tone.

Behold The Voice …

Remember that little voice in your head you were holding back as you conveyed the character’s thoughts only through action and dialogue?  It’s time to release this hound … to corral your thoughts and provide the much-needed narrative string through the story.

The Bat Out of Hell …

You will quickly find that your screenplay by nature moves incredibly fast. You will know when to ease off the gas pedal to let the reader breathe. Just pretend you’re driving through a school zone every five pages. Slow down. Then again, comedy writers have a lead foot.

Weight Watchers Beware …

Where your screenplay was once a lean, sleek animal able to leap 90 pages in a single bound, you now need to add meat to the bone. How much meat? I hear the echo already … a story is as long as it needs to be. If you’re looking for a 300-page novel, you’ll need more than a week or two with SATAN. In that case, you’ll be heading back to your outline with major renovations to the story’s soul. SATAN promises a much quicker turnaround.

For the two novellas (Forever We Play and Screwball) I adapted from screenplays, I found that I added 6,000 and 4,000 words respectively to their already existing lengths of about 19,000 words each. Thus, the ‘N’ in SATAN stands for Novella.

Saving Grace …

Lo and behold. When you’re done, at the very least you have a novella you may peddle as an ebook on Amazon. You’ve put an end to that other little voice harping in your head, “Nobody reads screenplays.” It will now be saying, “Ching, ching, revenue stream.”

Your story can now be heard. Thank you, SATAN.


Book News

Screwball Ready to Proof

Screwball_CoverFront“Screwball” is a tale about Hayward Templeton, a psychiatry grad student at the University of Iowa. He grudgingly agrees to pitch in a co-ed baseball game, discovers online how to throw a screwball pitch … and excels at it. He wins the game but during post-game celebrations, he’s accidentally dropped on his head. In an L. Ron Hubbard twist, while unconscious, classmates around him discuss an upcoming quiz on mental health … and he soaks it all in. When Hayward comes to … he unfortunately begins living various illnesses … on his way to the major leagues as a screwball pitcher.

I wrote it originally as a screenplay and have just completed adapting it to novella form, coming in at about 120 pages.

Book News

First blog post

Welcome. I’m a novelist and screenwriter that looks for the funny in every bone of contention. I plan on using this blog for announcing my latest ebook … updates on where I’m at in my writing … and musings that have my fingers reaching for the keyboard.