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March 1st, 2005

Listening to Elliot Smith: From a Basement On a Hill – outlining a new novel project, and thinking about ALL of the things going on in my life…

I got a new guitar this past weekend. I may sell it, but probably won’t. It’s an Ibanez – the “Black Beauty,” a 1970s black finish copy of a Les Paul – quite the famous guitar, actually. It needs help. I took it to the music store today to have it gone over, electronics fudged with, cleaned, strung, etc…we’ll see how that all pans out. I like the guitar, but money may become the deciding factor. I HAVE a beautiful black Epiphone hollow-body that is my baby, and a Washburn acoustic that is my everyday play all the time instrument. I would love to live in a world that gave me the money and leisure to collect guitars, because they are all so different, but I don’t’ know…in any case it’s been fun messing with it.

Tonight (probably not long after I post this) the lettered, tray-cased edition of This Is My Blood will end on eBay and we’ll see if I’ve picked up in value, or dropped off. It was at $70 or so last time I looked…

There is a new noir mystery line called Hard Case Crime. Stephen King will be publishing in their lineup this year with his short novel “The Colorado Kid,” and I am THERE. I am also in contact with the publishers, and it’s possible I have an off chance of selling them something, so I’m working on it. My first hard-boiled crime novel. I need the sort of break this will give me after rushing through two long ones – “The Mote In Andrea’s Eye” which will hopefully come out from 5 Star, and “Ancient Eyes,” that will DEFINITELY come out from Bloodletting Press. In the past four months I’ve written two novels and rewritten one. It’s a lot, and it’s a lot, and it has taken its toll on me.

I’m filling the gaps in my head by doing more work on my screenwriting, following leads in different directions, and reading. I finished one short piece I’m pretty happy with. It’s a pulp-style tale about a kid and his dream of being a baseball player – and ghosts – and an accident – but I’d hate to spoil it. The title is “Play Ball,” and I sent it off to the editor this morning. I won’t know how he feels about it for a day or two, so I’m trying to add that to the long list of things I’ve invested my time and energy into that I have to wait on …

That list is LONG – Borderlands – Corpse Blossoms – Nightshade Books – Cemetery Dance – 5Star – Pocket Books – and a few other places. I even have “The Bearer of Bad Shoes,” my cautionary tale of Olympic fame, at Story Time Coffee (or is it Story House?) to be serialized on coffee cans (lol). Then there’s the screen stuff, three pitches at the independent TV production I mentioned a few days back, and a pile of stuff out in California that will seep into the hands of some of the right people and take’s its shot at producing “contendah’s…”

The Pig book sales have slowed. Come on ladies and germs, less than a dollar a day to own a cult classic? To have a shot at owning PIG himself? This is a paltry sum, and you should all rush over to DELIRIUM BOOKS and sign up for your copy! You really NEED that pig.

Darren – if you are reading this ( you of the weaselboy fame, brawn and brains behind GOTHIC.NET) I am still hoping to get e-mail one day…

I’m going to leave this today with a quick excerpt from some of the aforementioned screenwriting. Here is part of the teaser for the PILOT of the DEEP BLUE TV series I’m working on:





The final notes of a song die away discordantly. SYNTHIA, mid twenties, slim and athletic, dressed in black with dark, spiked hair, stands alone at the microphone. Other than the spotlight, the only lights are candles on the tables around the club, and a set of lights lining the mirrors behind the bar.


Thank you very much. That’s all for tonight. Be sure and tip your waitress on the way out, and remember, we’ll be here all week.

There is a squeal of feedback and the lights flash on suddenly, indicating last call. The dark room comes to seedy life. The stage is a snarl of cords, speakers, and dust. Directly behind SYNTHIA is BRANDT, late twenties, long stringy dark hair and his face painted like a Harlequin rises from the stool he’s been sitting on. His makeup is a smeared mess.

Without looking at the others, BRANDT steps off the stage and opens a guitar case. He places his guitar inside, flips the lid closed, and grabs a bottle from the shadows behind the case.

On stage, SYNTHIA, DEXTER, early twenties, tall with wiry hair and SHAVER, early twenties, short-cropped blonde hair and bright blue eyes, stare after BRANDT who pays no attention to them and starts off along the bar. He passes through the last remaining patrons without a glance and opens the door. At the door he slips past the WAITRESS. As he exits, she leans close to speak so only he will hear.


You look like a melting clown.

The door closes behind BRANDT with a bang.

Brandt climbs the stairs of his apartment building slowly. He has trouble balancing and is obviously drunk. He has his guitar case in one hand, and the bottle of tequila in the other. The stairs are cheap and dingy. Plaster peels from the walls, and garbage lines the hall. He stops in front of his door and set his guitar down, leaning on the wall for support.



He fumbles in one pocket, then the next, searching for his keys. On the door, a slip of paper proclaiming “NOTICE” is taped just above the doorknob.

After a moment’s searching he stares down the hall. At the far end is another doorway. Above it a white sign sticks out perpendicular to the wall proclaiming:




BRANDT stands in the doorway of his apartment, the safety chain keeping it from opening fully. Through the crack in the door we see THE LANDLADY, fat, dumpy with a shapeless yellow dress and patchy, uncombed hair. She glares at BRANDT and shakes a handful of crumpled paper at him.


You’ll pay, or you’ll get your sorry ass out on the street. I heard your excuses last month, and the month before. You owe a week, and tomorrow this month comes due.

She tries to look through the crack in the door at the contents of his apartment. She scowls in distaste. Her arm extends through the crack in the door with the papers and she shakes them under Brandt’s nose.


We get paid tomorrow night for the whole week. I’ll have the month’s rent then.


You’ll have it all, or you’ll be out on your ear. I’ll lock this damn place up and sell everything to the pawn shop. Says I can do that right here. You signed it.

Brandt shakes his head wearily and closes the door against her arm, forcing her to withdraw. She struggles a bit, and her hand, still clutching the papers, catches, and then pulls through with a tearing of paper.


You get my money, boy. All of it.

The door closes and BRANDT leans his head against it.



BRANDT leans as he did in the flashback, but on the outside of the door. He rips the notice from the door and crumples it, then picks up his guitar and the tequila again and heads back to the stairs.


He staggers down the stairs and stands on the street, looking both ways, uncertain whether to go back to his car.

SFX – low harmonica music rises, almost too low in volume to be heard.

BRANDT cocks his head at the sound, turns his head, and looks down the street in the opposite direction from his car. He listens for a moment, then sets his guitar down, opens the tequila bottle, and takes a long pull. Then he closes the bottle, picks up his guitar, and starts off down the street toward the music.


I've gotten (finally) my copies of ROLL THEM BONES - the deluxe traycased edition - and I have one last copy of THIS IS MY BLOOD - the deluxe Traycased Edition - both are up now on auction under the eBay ID I share with Trish:


I also have copies of several of my books up now at the regular site


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