In the ink well

Dog Ear

August 21, 2012

Fans from Hell (DOG EAR)

I’ve heard tell that one of the drives for Steven King’s novel Misery came from his reaction to fans stealing bat statues off the tops of his gateposts. I don’t know if it’s true, but it should be. We all dream of adoring fans popping up at opportune moments to gush about how great we are. I’ve had that happen exactly once (when a person at a train event, realizing who I was, went delightfully ga-ga about Fire and Bronze). Very, very nice. But what we don’t think about are the over-cooked fans, the ones who haunt us, pester us, […]
August 14, 2012

Watership What? (DOG EAR)

Just had an eye-opening (and speech-busting) moment in my Dale Carnegie course this week. The speech was to be done with enthusiasm, addressing an earlier goal. Well, MY goal for this task was redoing my agency-pitch cover letter. See, I had the idea that I needed a cover letter for every occasion, an actual stable of them on hand, maintained and ready (see Augean stables). And it worked well. So now I had to report. Enthusiastically. About cover letters. Tricky. So I figured that, rather than describe the monotone tasks actually associated with this effort, I’d give them a slam-bang […]
August 7, 2012

A copyright of passage (DOG EAR)

I told this story a while ago, but for those who came in late, here’s the short version. Was at a book club speaking about Early ReTyrement. The questions were fun; how come I was so clever? How come I was so smart? And then came the question: Isn’t Dion’s The Wanderer a copyrighted musical work? How my heart chilled at that. Was it? I didn’t know. You can see how I used it HERE – it’s rather a critical component of my first chapter, the moment that tells us that this is a time travel book and a humorous […]
August 2, 2012

You say Yamato (DOG EAR)

Retelling a story, especially a classic, is always dangerous business. Movies are generally updated (“reimagined” as Hollywood suits refer to it) to suit newer (i.e. duller) audiences. As for books, its generally not done. The major exception to this are those “zombies” and “robot” editions of classics, but that is, of course, simply a parody (and a rather stupid one at that). Normally I focus on written storytelling, but this weekend I had a curious episode of visual storytelling (i.e. a movie) that had been updated for a modern audience. It was none other than Space Battleship Yamato, based on […]
July 26, 2012

A kindle up your nook (DOG EAR)

At dinner the other night, a friend was flashing his reader at me, showing me his “stack”. Well, first, don’t wave your toy at me at the table. Adults talk books, they don’t thrust ePuds under their companion’s noses. Second, I have stacks. I have 30 feet of books (four shelves deep) in my Florida room. I’ve got hardbacks over my sofa, a huge shelf groaning with historical references in the living room, and piles along the side of the bed, my “next reads”. I’ve got stacks. You, you have folders. Big difference. I was thinking about this piece, my […]
July 19, 2012

Augean stables (DOG EAR)

Was in the Dale Carnegie course the other week and there was an exercise concerning putting enthusiasm to work. Now what, thinks I, could I possibly be more enthusiastic about? Cover letters. Ugh. I have a pretty nice cover letter for Indigo. It’s clever, interesting and to the point. It’s got a great hook (“Indigo, where Watership Down meets Top Gun”). But if you’ve ever looked at some of these agency requirements, you’ll realize that they are often specific in their demands. And sure, a book about semi-sentient crows is not really science fiction, not fantasy, not quite. And this […]
July 12, 2012

Ash cloud (DOG EAR)

My writing instructor from long ago told us this would happen, that true writers are morose, suffering bouts of depression that could even lead to suicide. I knew this going in. But then again, it wasn’t the writing that brought the darkness, it was the darkness that brought the writing. But in the last 24 hours, everything went into the crapper. I got a rejection letter from an agent who said she couldn’t get into Indigo , that it didn’t catch her (well, then get your nose out of Harry Potter and seek things fresh and new). At work, the […]
July 5, 2012

The Irony of Irony (DOG EAR)

Eric Frank Russell once wrote a wonderful science fiction piece where a scout ship discovers a planet, green with fields and ripe with cities. The crew emerges after their fiery (and highly visible) descent to find… nobody coming to see them. Finally they head towards the nearest town, only to discover the inhabitants “racing” in their vehicles towards the landing site, but because of a difference in time scale, they are barely moving at all. The crew returns to their ship, going about their business and ignoring the forest of “statues” that slowly gather around their landing field. Finally an […]
June 28, 2012

The Air that I breathe (Dog Ear)

We’d just come out of the movie Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and a scene was stuck in my head, a beautiful image that’s a bit of a spoiler so I’m not going to tell it other than it was magnificently sound-tracked with the Hollies’ The Air That I breathe. In this, the music and imagery really worked to form a perfect meld, the moment where what the director wanted me to get, I got. Before the music industry became the hip-hop ring-tone thing it is today, individuals could still produce music that touched our souls, […]
June 21, 2012

Rejection (DOG EAR)

This was how my story started… The shotgun trembled in Hector’s grip, his crucifix tinkling across its twin barrels. He was frightened – dry-mouthed, ass-puckered frightened – more frightened than when Mr. Sethman had come to their town meeting with his damned proposition. But this current fear wasn’t diluted by misgivings and second-thoughts. This fear was final. And this was how the rejection started… Choosing which stories to accept has been a difficult decision, and we regret that we won’t be taking it for the collection. It was a very creative semi-western, semi-gothic, all-wonderfully-bonkers-and-evocative piece, and we hope that it […]