Friday, June 29, 2007

Those unwritten novels

I've not had a lot of time to be online lately, or to be at a computer at all, except when doing something for work or the business. But I have had a decent amount of time to read and to edit hard copies of the ole Darkbow trilogy. I've also had plenty of time to think about writing and editing and plotting and all the stuff that comes with it.

Why all this is, is because in my business, lately I've been doing a good bit of just driving and a good bit of having to sit in one place or another (a client's house or in one office or another). So, no computers, but some free time to read and copy edit and think.

And the other day I came up with the entire plot, including several major characters, for a mainstream novel. All of this thinking came about in roughly an hour. It's a way to amuse myself, to pass the time. I liked the idea for the novel, and someday I might get around to writing it.

But that got me to thinking further. How many ideas for novels (meaning complete novels, not just the little flashes of ideas), have I worked out in my head over the years? I went through a mental count, and came up with about 20.

So, I have 20 novels sticking in my brain. Most of them are fantasy, though a few are horror and a few are science fiction. At least a couple are mainstream, possibly even literary. Some of them could easily change genres, from fantasy to horror in the real world, etc.

I might write some of these novels someday. I might not.

Right now, I just wish I could get through this friggin' trilogy. Even if I never sell it, I'm just kinda sick of working on the darn thing. It's not necessarily boring me, but frustrating me. I have all these other stories I want to get to, but I've spent more than two years on this trilogy (which still has a few major plot problems needing worked on, but I'm starting to think I'm too frustrated with the project to do the major work needed -- maybe I just need to set it aside for a while and start something else).

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

No. 22 - The Fountainhead

by Ayn Rand

Started: June 24
Finished: July 5

Notes: I read "Atlas Shrugged" years ago, and loved the book, and the writing, so thought it was time I got around to this one. Rand is one of the most compelling writer's I've read, and she breaks so many rules. Her stories are full of exposition, the dialogue is either brief to the point of being hard-boiled or it goes on and on in pages of political/social/philosophical manifestoes. But it's still great reading. Rand is best known for her philosophy of Objectivism, sort of an atheistic super-capitalism that focus on mankind, as individuals, being the best they can be; her philosophy sort of says "there is no god, but we should still be the best we can be from an objective sense, not necessarily a moral sense." That's way too brief of an explanation for Rand's philosophy, so I apologize to any Objectivists who read this and cringe, but readers who want to know more can look it up online. I myself find major faults with Objectivism, but understand it's appeal. For one thing, I think Objectivism has a rather narrow and limiting view of the world and of mankind. Rand herself would likely brush me off and just say I'm a cretin who doesn't understand and am thus beneath her notice. Still, Rand is such a compelling writer that you find yourself screaming out "Yes! Yes! By God, she's right! Down with the dirty communists and socialists!" But then you go, "Oh, wait a minute, there isn't a God." Anyway, I've never read any other author who seems sooooooo, 100 percent sure of themselves as Rand. Too bad she didn't write more fiction than she did.

Mini review: Without a doubt, the best book I've read so far this year. I enjoyed the reading of it even more than that of "The Count of Monte Cristo." I don't agree with Rand politically, and her philosophy lacks much, but she is a heck of a good writer. In all 700 pages of this book, there were maybe ... maybe ... 10 pages of this book where is was kind of bored, and those 10 pages were back story for two characters. At its most basic, "The Fountainhead" is a "superman" novel, and like all such novels, average humanity cannot live up to the ideals esposed. A great read.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Notes about Eastern fiction

I'm not very experienced in Eastern (or Asian, if you prefer the word) literature and/or related fiction. I'm currently reading "The Devil Wives of Li Fong," and in the past I've read a few Eastern-related short stories.

However, I am somewhat versed in Asian films that have made it to the U.S. market. I've seen nearly all of Kurosawa's works, my favorite being "Yojimbo." I've watched a lot of Woo's films, with "The Killer" being my fav, and I much prefer his Hong Kong pictures before he came to Hollywood. In the last decade I've seen a number of horror movies from Asia, "Ringu" and "Battle Royale" tied for my favorites in that genre. And, of course, as a kid and teen I watched all kinds of dubbed kung fu movies.

None of which makes me an expert on Eastern stories or films. I'm sure the literature and movies of Asia cover a much broader spectrum than my limited readings and viewings.

And let me add, to this day I don't get anime or manga; other than "Akira," most of what I've read or seen I didn't care much for.

Maybe it's a lack of relevancy. Maybe it's a difference of cultures. Maybe it's because the Eastern world is somewhat alien to me. Maybe it's because I'm just another dumb, fat American. I don't know. I don't discount Eastern literature or film, because some of what I've experienced I have enjoyed tremendously, but it's just something I don't have a lot of experience with.

All of that being said, the reason I really wrote this long-winded post is because of something I've noticed in Asian stories over the years. What I've noticed is that most Eastern characters don't seem to have much reaction to sudden, major changes in their lives.

A Western example: Bilbo Baggins. Poor Bilbo is pulled out of his nice, cozy Hobbit hole to go on an adventure for a dragon's gold. This quite drastically changes Bilbo's life and character. Throughout "The Hobbit" he bemoans the fact he has been practically forced to become an adventurer, and he misses his old Hobbit hole and a cup of tea quite constantly.

I don't see this fretting in Eastern characters. I don't mean this as a criticism, of the characters or the cultures. It's just something I've noticed. Maybe it's an acceptance of fate? I don't know.

Then again, I'm probably just not experienced enough in Asian fiction.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

No. 21 -- The Devil Wives of Li Fong

by E. Hoffmann Price

Started: June 20
Finished: June 24

Notes: Steve and Gere Goble paid a visit to me recently, and while they were here we dropped in at Half-Price Books. Steve and I saw this book in a rotating bin, he suggested I read, so here I am. Also, I want to read this because I lack in experience reading Eastern fantasy stories.

Mini review: A nice little story. The action keeps rolling along pretty well, though there's not a lot of combat. Sometimes it's a bit difficult to tell exactly what is happening, but I think that's more from a cultural divide on my part than anything. I don't read a lot of fiction based in Asian backgrounds, so this opened my eyes to a few things.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Nirvana lyrics

Serve the Servants
Teenage angst has paid off well,
Now I'm bored and old.
Self-appointed judges judge
More than they have sold.

Heart Shaped Box
Hey! Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice.

Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle
It's so relieving
To know that you're leaving
as soon as you get paid.
It's so relaxing
To know that you're asking
wherever you get your way.
It's so soothing
To know that you'll sue me
this is starting to sound the same.

I miss the comfort in being sad.

I'm not like them
But I can pretend
The sun is gone
But I have a light
My day is done
But I'm having fun
I think I'm dumb
Maybe just happy.

Milk It
Look on the bright side is suicide
Lost eyesight I'm on your side
Angel left wing, right wing, broken wing
Lack of iron and/or sleeping

Doll steak!
Test meat!

Pennyroyal Tea
Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld
So I can sigh eternally.

I'm so tired I can't sleep
I'm a liar and a thief.
Sit and drink Pennyroyal Tea
I'm anemic royalty.

Radio Friendly Unit Shifter
Hate, hate your enemies
Save, save your friends
Find, find your place
Speak, speak the truth

All Apologies
What else should I be?
All apologies.
What else could I say?
Everyone is gay.
What else could I write?
I don't have the right.

Mom and dad went to a show
They dropped me off at Grandpa Joe's
I kicked and screamed, said please, don't go

Grandma take me home

After dinner, I had ice cream
I fell asleep and watched TV
I woke up in my mother's arms.

Been A Son
She should have stayed away from friends
She should have had more time to spend
She should have died when she was born
She should have worn the crown of thorns
She should have
been a son.

Sickening pessimist hypocrite master
Conservative Communist apocalyptic bastard
Thank you dear God for putting me on this Earth
I feel very privileged in debt for my thirst.

Smells Like Teen Spirit
With the lights out, it's less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us

Come As You Are
Come as you are
as you were
As I want you to be.
As a friend
as a friend
as an old enemy.
Take your time
hurry up
The choice is yours, don't be late.
Take a rest
as a friend
as an old memory.

I'm so happy
'cause today I've found my friends
They're in my head.
I'm so ugly
but that's okay
'cause so are you.
We've broken our mirrors
Sunday morning
is everyday for all I care.
And I'm not scared
Light my candles,
in a daze 'cause I've found god.

Still working

Well, I got the first novel in the trilogy sent out to another publisher. Two more short stories have been sent out, which means six are in circulation.

So that's why I've not been updating the Bayne blog. I'll get to it, I promise. Bayne's not dead, I've just been busy.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Rage Against the Machine lyrics

Settle for Nothing
A jail cell is freedom from the pain in my home
Hatred passed on, passed on and passed on
A world of violent rage
But it's one that I can recognise
Having never seen the colour of my father's eyes.
Yes, I dwell in hell,
but it's a hell that I can grip.
I tried to grip my family
But I slipped.

To escape from the pain
in an existence mundane
I gotta 9, a sign, a set and now I gotta name.

If we don't take action now
We settle for nothing later.
Settle for nothing now
And we'll settle for nothing later.

Bulls on Parade
not food, not homes, not shoes
Not need, just feed
the war cannibal animal.
I walk tha corner to tha rubble that used to be a library
Line up to tha mind cemetary now.

What we don't know
keeps tha contracts alive an movin'.
They don't gotta burn tha books
they just remove 'em.

While arms warehouses fill as quick as tha cells
Rally round tha family, pockets full of shells.

His spit is worth more than her work.
Pass the purse to the pugilists.
He's a prizefighter
And he bought rings
and he owns kings
And now he's swingin'
And now he's the champion.
Hey revolver, don't mothers make good fathers?

Down Rodeo
So now I'm rollin' down Rodeo wit a shotgun
These people ain't seen a brown skin man
Since their grandparents bought one.

The rungs torn from the ladder can't reach the tumour
One god, one market, one truth, one consumer.

Guerilla Radio
A spectacle
The camera's eyes
on choice disguised.
Was it cast for the mass who burn and toil?
Or for the vultures who thirst for blood and oil?

Yes, a spectacle
They hold the reins
and stole your eyes.
Or the fistagons
The bullets and bombs.
Who stuff the banks
Who staff the party ranks.
More for Gore
or the son of a drug lord,
None of the above
fuck it
cut the cord.

Calm Like a Bomb
I be walkin' god like a dog
My narrative fearless.
My word war returns to burn
Like Baldwin home from Paris.
Like Steel from a furnace
I was born landless.
This is tha native son
Born of Zapata's guns.
Stroll through tha shanties
And tha cities remains.
Same bodies buried hungry
But with different last names.
These vultures rob everything
Leave nothing but chains.
Pick a point on tha globe
Yes tha pictures tha same.
There's a bank
There's a church a myth and a hearse.
A mall and a loan
a child dead at birth.
There's a widow pig parrot
A rebel to tame.
A whitehooded judge
A syringe and a vein.

Sleep Now in the Fire
For it's the end of history
It's caged and frozen still.
There is no other pill to take
So swallow the one that makes you ill.
The nina
the pinta
the santa maria.
The noose
and the rapist
the fields' overseer.
The agents of orange
The priests of hiroshima
The cost of my desire
Sleep now in the fire.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

No. 20 - The Ruins

by Scott Smith

Started: June 14
Finished: June 19

Notes: I read Smith's first book, A Simple Plan, when it first came out in the late 1990s. It was a dark suspense novel, damn close to being horror. I wasn't blown away by that first book, but I saw lots of promise for the author. This, The Ruins, is his second book, and I received it as a Christmas present. Just now, as with many of my books, getting around to reading it.

Mini review: Overall, a pretty good book. First, the bad stuff: Nearly all the characters are not very likable, and the plot is right out of a teen horror movie. The good stuff: Scott Smith, probably better than any author I've read, knows how to take a bad situation for his characters and make it worse. And then it gets worse. And worse. And worse. Until eventually you're sitting on the edge of your seat, shaking, thinking "Oh, my God! It can't get any worse." And then it does. This novel is horror with some possible supernatural or science fiction elements (it's never really explained, so don't read this book if you're one of those people who has to have everything spelled out for you by the end of your reading). It's a bit slow going the first 50 pages, and there are some slow spots here and there, but when it gets going ... it really gets going.

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to

Actually, I'm not having a party. But it is my birthday.

And, unfortunately, it sucks.

For one, I have to work at my part-time newspaper job tonight.

For two, I made more money from my writing this week than I did from my business. Yeah, that's how bad the business has been the last week or two.

But, on the positive side ... yeah, I made more money from my writing this week than I did from my business. It sounds nice. Hope I get to say it more often in the future.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

No. 19 - Playback

by Raymond Chandler

Started: June 12
Finished: June 14

Notes: I've had this for a while and been meaning to get to it. The recent reading of an Ed McBain book has got me in the mood for more hard-boiled action. "Playback" might or might not be hardboiled, but I'm sure it will serve.

Mini review: I don't know which came first, Philip Marlowe or Humphrey Boggart, but this reads like a Boggie script. There's some nice witty, hard talk, but overall I wasn't impressed. Not a bad book, but not great. I think I prefer Ed McBain. I didn't hate this book so much I won't give Chandler another try in the future, but he would have to impress a lot to get me to read more.

He's not dead, Jim

For anyone wanting to know ... no, I'm not dead. I haven't given up on blogs, or on Bayne or anything else. Just too busy with other stuff at the moment.

I will return to regularly scheduled airwaves when I get the chance.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Batman: Dead End

Other than some mild cheese, I actually thought this was pretty cool.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

News of the week

I had lots of bad news this week, some of it personal that I won't go into on the Web. Some of it financial, and again, I won't go into it on the Web.

But worst of all, I finally received the e-mail I've been waiting almost a year to read. It was from a book publisher. They're not interested in my trilogy.

But wait? What's this?

Another e-mail! It's from a publication.

Hmm? What could they want?

Oh. They've accepted a short story I sent them.

Now I'm dancin' a jig.

Writers. We're so easy. Just publish one of our stories.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Soundgarden lyrics

Hand of God
The hand of God is thick and callous,
Bruised and torn from stones and sticks.
The hand of God,
has got a ring about the size of Texas.

Rusty Cage
You wired me awake
And hit me with a hand of broken nails.
You tied my lead and pulled my chain
To watch my blood begin to boil.

I'm burning diesel,
burning dinosaur bones.

I'm gonna break
I'm gonna break my
I'm gonna break my rusty cage and run.

I'm looking California
and feeling Minnesota.

Till I'm up on my feet again
I'm feeling outshined.

Jesus Christ Pose
And you stare at me
In your Jesus Christ pose.
Arms held out
Like you've been carrying a load.
And you swear to me
You don't want to be my slave.
But you're staring at me
Like I need to be saved.

My Wave
Don't come over here
And piss on my gate.
Save it, just keep it
Off my wave.

Fell on Black Days
Whomsoever I've cured,
I've sickened now.
Whomsoever I've cradled,
I've put you down.

The Day I Tried to Live
I woke the same as any other day
Except a voice was in my head.
It said seize the day
pull the trigger
drop the blade
And watch the rolling heads.

The day I tried to live
I stole a thousand beggar's change
And gave it to the rich.

Words you say
never seem to live up to the ones inside your head.
The lives we make
never seem to ever get us anywhere but dead.

The day I tried to live
I wallowed in the blood and mud
with all the other pigs.
I woke the same as any other day,
you knowI should have stayed in bed.

And I learned that I was a liar,
Just like you.

4th of July
Pale in the flare light
The scared light cracks and disappears
And leads the scorched ones here.

And everywhere
no one cares
The fire is spreading.
And no one wants to speak about it.

Down in the hole,
Jesus tries to crack a smile,
Beneath another shovel load.

I heard it in the wind
And I saw it in the sky
And I thought it was the end
And I thought it was the 4th of July.

Blow Up the Outside World
Nothing seem to kill me
no matter how hard I try.
Nothing is closing my eyes
Nothing can beat me down for your pain or delight.
And nothing seems to break me
No matter how hard I fall
nothing can break me at all.
Not one for giving up though not invincible
I knowI've givin' everything I need
I'd give you everything I own
I'd give in if it could at least be ours alone.
I've given everything I could
To blow it to hell and gone
Burrow down and
Blow up the outside world.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

PULP FICTION- Jedi Edition

Okay, I couldn't resist.

Pulp Fiction in Typography

Not for the kiddies! Enjoy!

No. 18 -- Blood and Gold

by Anne Rice

Started: June 5
Finished: June 12

Notes: The truth is, I've had this book so long I don't remember when, how or why I purchased it (other than I've read most of Rice's vampire books, so this is a natural). I've decided to read it now because I just noticed I accidentally included it in my looooooong list of books I have read ... though I hadn't read it yet.

Mini review: A fine work from Rice, though not her best. It does, however, contain one of my favorite characters of hers, Marius the Roman. Like most of Rice's vampire books, this one is about a hundred pages longer than it needs to be. I mean, there's only so much morose whining about lost loves and thousand-year-old misunderstandings I can tolerate before I become bored. Some good, old-fashioned editing would have helped.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

No. 17 -- Killer's Choice

by Ed McBain

Started: June 3
Finished: June 4

Notes: This is a first edition paperback from 1957. It has yellowing pages and some of the pages are falling out, but at least all the pages are still there. Picked it up for a buck at Half-Price books a while back. It's got some collector's value, but not a lot since it's not in great shape, but I love it for reading. So that's what I'll do, read it.

Mini review: An amazingly quick read. Some of the prose is a bit dated, but not too bad. I would guess 75 percent of this novel is told through dialogue, and it works. Quick, fast dialogue, that hardly leaves you room to catch your breath. A fine police procedural novel. I recommend.