Saturday, March 31, 2007

Venues

As I've started to (slowly) get back into writing, I've been thinking about venues. Most authors use their blogs/websites for promotion and discussions about writing, but their work appears on different sites or in print. But what if you can't find a venue for your story? Do you just publish it on your blog and hope people read it? Do you just let it sit and collect dust?

This has been running through my mind because I'm trying to figure out where to put some of the stories I've done. Most sites I know are either a specific genre (Thrilling Detective) or have been doing theme issues (Hardluck Stores). Other than the PI story, most of the stuff I've been producing doesn't fit in these categories. Plots with Guns is gone and Shred of Evidence hasn't been updated in nearly a year.

Do I put the stories here where nobody sees them and eliminate any chance of them being printed elsewhere since they're not first-run stories? Should I not worry about these things since I'm a "beginning writer"? Maybe if you guys have any sites that accept submissions you can leave them in the comments section.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Flash: Pasta Primadonna

Here's the second piece of flash fiction I wrote. I like the concept, but I had a little trouble with the execution. Let me know what you guys think.

Pasta Primadonna

Johnny was sweating bullets in his stupid old suit. He had a feeling this was going to be a big night. It had been five weeks since he first met Angelina. Four weeks since their first day. Three days since she first said “I love you.” They were having dinner together in Mancini’s, a small bistro in the heart of Little Italy. Which happened to be owned by Angelina’s uncle. They were just finishing the best meal he had ever eaten.

“Try the cannoli,” she said. “Uncle Sal makes the best in the city. I’ll be back in a minute. I just want to freshen up.”

She stood up and grabbed her purse. She leaned over the table and kissed Johnny on the cheek. Her lips lingered by his ear for an extra second, and she whispered, “If you play your cards right, you might get lucky tonight.”

He watched her as she walked away, the dim light in the restaurant glancing off the red silk of her dress. His heart nearly beat out of his chest. He couldn’t tell if it was because he might get some tonight or because of the way that red dress hugged her ass just so.

“She’s a looker all right.”

Johnny turned to see who made that comment. It was an overweight guy at the bar with thinning curly hair and a bulldog face. “You’re Johnny Tessio, right?”

Johnny nodded.

“Angelina’s uncle Sal wanted to have a word with you. He was too busy in the kitchen, otherwise he’d come out himself. Follow me.” The heavyset man pushed himself away from the bar and waddled to the side door near the kitchen. Johnny got up and followed him. Upon stepping through the door, he noticed he was in the alley beside the restaurant instead of in the kitchen. He spun around to confront his companion, but instead got smacked in the nose by something cold and hard.

The fat man was holding a 9mm automatic in his hand. The silver barrel glinted in the streetlight. “Sorry, kid. It’s strictly business. If it’s any consolation, I think she really did like you.”

************
Angelina returned to the table to find a cannoli waiting for her, but not Johnny. She took a bite of her dessert and reached into her purse for her cell phone. There was a muffled bang outside as she dialed the number. “Hi, daddy. It’s me.”

The door opened. The heavyset man entered and adjusted his jacket. “Yes, it’s done,” she said. “Lucky’s back.”

Friday, March 23, 2007

Raines: Week 2

I watched Raines and Andy Barker again last night. I didn't like Barker as much as the first week. The fat guy running in slow-mo was pretty funny and so were Simon's lame-ass attempts to pick up Nicole. But overall, the murder was a bit pedestrian and it wasn't all that funny.

Raines, on the other hand, I enjoyed immensely. It brought a little more humor in than they had the first week, which I enjoyed. Madeline Stowe's psychiatrist seems to be a good foil for Raines because she sees through his crap and doesn't take it. I did figure out the mystery a bit before the end, but the tie-up still worked for me.

One bit of unintended humor in Raines: one scene where Officer Michelle Lance, played by Linda Park, translates some Spanish spoken by the victim's wife. Park played communications officer Hoshi Sato on Star Trek: Enterprise, who knew many languages.

Clark, the Canadian Hockey Goalie

In continuing with the hockey theme, I found this quite funny.





Hat Tip: Attaboy

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Greatest American Player?

While surfing the net last night, I came across this blog on Hockey Blog In Canada about who is the greatest American hockey player. There is certainly a strong argument for Mike Modano, who recently became the second American to score 500 goals and passed Joe Mullen as the highest-scoring American of all time. Teebz was too dismissive of John LeClair saying that he scored most of his goals within 20 feet of the goal. The great Dino Ciccarelli also falls in this category, and very few people dismiss his career. Until injuries started slowing him down (and two ineffectual seasons with the Penguins), I always thought LeClair would be the second American to score 500 goals.

Modano has 503 goals and 716 assists for 1219 points in 1229 games. He's scored less than 20 goals twice in his career (once was during the lockout shortened season of 1994-95). He's scored less than 30 assists only once in his career (again during the lockout season).

Mullen has 502 goals and 561 assists for 1063 points in 1062 games, but his production really dropped off in his last two seasons. Mullen was also awarded the Lady Byng trophy for gentlemanly conduct twice.

It's easier to make a case for offensive players than it is for a defense like Chris Chelios given how most people look at scoring numbers to judge a player's greatness. I'm not ready to crown Modano the greatest ever, but there is a strong case.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Flash: Old Timer

Better late then never, eh? Here's my first crack at flash fiction. Written nearly a year ago for Flashing in the Gutters, but never submitted.

Old Timer

“And the kid says, ‘Milk and cookies’.” Tony laughed at that joke.

“Good one, pops,” he said.

“Did I ever tell you about how they sent me up the first time?” Tony shook his head. “It was just like a scene from one of those heist movies. Ya know, something like Elmore Leonard would write. So, the job goes off without a hitch. As I’m walking out of the bank, the manager hits the alarm. Not that it matters because I can already hear the sirens a couple blocks away. So I get in the car and the driver takes off. He seemed like a smart kid. Knew all the back alleys and side streets. Picked out the perfect getaway route. Only thing is, he didn’t fill up the tank before the job. We get about three, four blocks away from the bank and the piece of shit car runs out of gas.”

“Man! What’d you do?” said Tony.

“Nothing much I could have done. There was a black & white screaming down the same street we were on heading toward the bank. Somebody must’ve radioed in what our car looked like because he pulled over and nabbed both of us right there. I got five years, and the driver got less. But that’s OK. Somebody took out his knees in the joint. He won’t be driving anyone around any more.”

“That’s hard core, pops.”

“Then, the second time was even worse. Same thing as the first. I’m walking out of the bank with the take. I hear the sirens a couple blocks away. So I open the door of the car to throw the cash in, the driver panics. He blows out of there leaving me with all that money in my hands and who knows how many cops converging on the place.”

“That guy was a punk!”

“Yeah, but that wasn’t the worst part. He ran over my foot while taking off! Broke every bone in there. So I gotta start my stretch in a cast!” The older guy had a good laugh at himself over that. Enough time had passed that his anger toward the driver had mellowed.

“Ha! Ha! I’m sorry, pops,” said Tony, “but that’s funny!”

“Go ahead, kid. It is pretty funny. Now, I’m not telling you these stories because I want us to be friends. I’m not telling you because I’m some senile old bastard who likes to talk. I’m telling you because if you screw up, I will bury you. I’ll kill you. I’ll kill your wife. I’ll kill that sweet two-month-old daughter of yours. Now, let’s go rob us a fucking bank.”

Friday, March 16, 2007

Raines: Episode 1

Last night I watched the premier of Raines. It is rare when a pilot blows me away, and Raines was no exception. It seemed wrapped up in the premise instead of the case Jeff Goldblum had to solve. That being said, it wasn't bad at all. If the series continues to combine the same type of humor as the last scene with Raines and his partner Charlie with the overall tone of the piece, it should continue to get better and better each week.

A bonus to eagle eyed Boomtown fans was a cameo by Bobby "Fearless" Smith as the detective who found the dead private detective. It's good to see creator Graham Yost give a hat tip to his brilliant but canceled TV series.

Monday, March 12, 2007

To Quote Mark Twain.....

Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Work's been busy the past couple days (including the weekend), so no time to post anything. There hasn't even been any time to write. The story I've been referencing now has a title, but I still don't have a hook. It's just a straight-on PI yarn. Not too hard boiled. The protagonist doesn't talk to figments of his imagination. There is a bit of a ticking clock aspect to it, but I didn't emphasize that. It got sent out to a friend of mine to get some feedback. Hopefully he'll get back to me soon, or else I'll just assume he really thought it sucked.

I know I said "in March", but probably next week I'll start putting up some of the crappy flash fiction I did a while ago. I say crappy because it didn't really turn out the way I wanted. It could just use a few edits, but I didn't want to "over write" these things. Or it could be that the story needs the touch of a better/more experienced writer.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Raines (2006)

For some reason I'm getting really excited about next Thursday's premiere of Raines. Jeff Goldblum is always entertaining and one of the writers is Graham Yost, the man behind one of the greatest TV shows ever: Boomtown. NBC has put some good previews on their site. One of my favorites is here. Preview One sets up the story. Preview two actually had me laugh out loud.

I'll be watching!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Blog Fiction Project

I had every intention to join the gang in the third White-Quertermous story project, but I just couldn't come up with an idea for this year's topic.

In other news regarding this story, I spent this weekend working on it some more. By making one of the early characters slightly less helpful, I was able to add another 1200 words to the story. Maybe another round of edits will get it to where I want it to be. Then I can work on the second story.

Oh. And I did come up with a title for it.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Ribbon of Dreams

I came across this article today written by my namesake, Orson Welles. I normally agree with what he says in regards to movies, but not this critique on the wide screen process. Yes, bigger is not always better. But a lot of good directors use the full frame to tell their story. Many directors cringe when they see clips of their films "panned and scanned". And I cringe with them.

However, this part of the article expresses Welles's eloquence on the matter of being an artist.
A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.

Distributors, naturally, are all of the opinion that poets don’t sell seats. They do not discern whence comes the very language of the cinema.

Without poets, the vocabulary of the film would be far too limited ever to make a true appeal to the public. The equivalent of a babble of infants would not sell many seats. If the cinema had never been fashioned by poetry, it would have remained no more than a mechanical curiosity, occasionally on view like a stuffed whale.

Everything that lives—and in consequence, everything commercially saleable—derives from the ability of the camera to see. It does not see naturally in place of an artist, it sees with him. The camera at such instants is far more than a registering apparatus; it is a means by which come to us messages from the other world and which let us into the great secret. This is the beginning of magic. But the charm cannot work unless the eye of the camera also is human....

I think this sentiment can be applied to anything creative: film, music, literature. Be a poet in your craft.