Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Prague and Budapest

Checking in very quickly from Budapest thanks to the internet! I'll post pics once I get back, but here are my quick impressions:

Prague: Sumptuous and hard.

Budapest: Grand and melancholy.

More details to come.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Free Expert Advice

Interested in a longerm career as a novelist? Check out a free 268-page book by big time agent Donald Maas called The Career Novelist: A Literary Agent Offers Strategies for Success, which you'll find at Writer Unboxed.

It takes awhile to load, but it's chock full of real life advice from a top agent who knows what he's talking about.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Did you know, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Bulgaria let go of 14,000 employees in its secret police? At the same time, it stopped paying all the wrestlers, boxers, and weight lifters it had on the payroll. Yeah, they paid hundreds of athletes so they could dominate certain sports in the Olympics. But after the Iron Curtain fell, all those jobs went away.

What happens when thousands of secret police and hundreds of major league athletes are suddenly unemployed?

Crime. Beware unemployed young men with training in weaponry, strong arming, and criminal contacts. The Bulgarian wrestlers were soon tops in the Europe's largest car theft ring, moving stolen vehicles from countries like Germany to the Balkans and Easter Europe. Former members of the secret police used their extensive networking contacts to form multi-national organized crime syndicates that moved arms, drugs, cigarettes, and women for sale all over the world.

This is the sort of thing I'm learning as I research my next book. I love research. It gives you all kinds of ideas, sets you off on flights of fancy, solidifies the backgrounds of your characters, sends you away in different directions than you ever dreamed. It's this whole discovery phase where you start to figure out what your book is REALLY about.

So will the facts about the Bulgarian secret police, wrestlers, weight lifters, and boxers end up in my book? You know, I think they might, in an oblique way. A shadowy character is actually Bulgarian, and I just might've figured out some crucial elements of her background, thanks to this research.

But before I decide for sure - more research!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Welcome Home

Saw this on Andrew Sullivan's blog, then followed it the source. The soldier you see here called it: "My dogs greeting me after 14 months in Iraq." Andrew Sullivan called it a "mental health break," and I agree.

My dog, Missy, looked a lot like these dogs. We had to give her to my cousins when we moved back to Hawaii, but she always remembered us whenever we came to visit.

And thoughts and prayers go out to all our men and women serving in Iraq. Here's hoping you all come home soon, and that all are greeted with this kind of enthusiasm.

Time + New Knowledge = Perspective

Now that I've been working in TV development for over a year, I'm finally getting a feel for how this whole cock-eyed business works. And since I work specifically in developing for cable networks, I'm beginning to understand just how specific the networks' needs are. Each network has its own brand that they feel they must maintain at all costs.

All this is now so helpful when I take a look at the TV pilot scripts I have written myself. I went back last week and took a look at something I'd written two years ago - eons ago. It was nice to see that it wasn't half bad, but with my new perspective, I realized that it wasn't quite right for any of the networks. The writing wasn't half bad, and the idea had some merit, but it sat fat in the middle of the road, just being itself, not making a big statement one way or the other.

So now I'm tilting it more strongly in the direction I think it needs to go to appeal to a network. I've got two networks in mind in particular. I don't expect them to ever buy it or make it - don't get me wrong. But at least now I've got a goal in mind that will sharpen and focus the script. And that should make it a better writing sample.

So my unsolicited advice to would-be TV writers out there - when you write your spec pilot script, aim it square at one network or the other. That way, when someone reads it, they'll think - wow, I can really SEE this on ABC, or HBO, or TNT. You don't need to know the identities of all the networks, but if you pick one and go for it, it may help you write a script that actually feels like a real TV show.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Who Does She Think She Is?

Female artists have it tough. Don't believe me? Check out the trailer for the movie Who Does She Think She Is? (Feel free to skip the intro and go right to the trailer.)

Looks like something every female artist should show to the men in their lives, so maybe then they'll start to get it.

Monday, October 06, 2008

NaNoWriMo is Almost Upon Us

Thinking about writing a novel? Consider NaNoWriMo, that's National Novel Writing Month, which comes now every November. This is a completely free, voluntary movement to get people to write that novel that's been stuck in their heads.

The goal is to write 50,000 words (which would actually be a very short novel) the month of November, and to get support from fellow NaNo participants. You can find them by signing up at the NaNo site. Here you will find forums full of advice and hilarity. You can also sign up to join "write ins" in you area, and attend your local launch party, where you'll meet fellow NaNo-ers as you eat and drink.

I'm trying to decide whether to participate this year or not. I'm rewriting a script at the moment, but should probably get going on the next novel too. A writer's work is never done! And NaNoWriMo can be a powerful motivating force as you struggle with your writerly demons.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Website is Up!

It's a bit early for me to have a website. I don't have anything published (yet) and thus don't have much to promote (yet).

But logic hasn't stopped me. Common sense be damned. My website is up! Check out

Woo hoo! You can link to the blog from there, see some of my fave links, learn about me me me (because websites are all about narcissism), and eventually you'll be able to buy my books there. Maintaining it isn't all that expensive, and this way it'll be ready, willing, and able to do its thing once I'm officially an author. I'll get an official, spiffy author photo to go on the home page as publishing dates near, and there'll be more about the book as well.

Note how fricking positive I am. I'm trying to note it myself because I can't quite believe it. Is it arrogance, faith, or delusion? I can't wait to find out.

HUGE thanks to Elisa, the fabulous designer, and to Meg, the technical genius behind it all. If anyone out there needs a designer or a website techie, I'd jump at the chance to recommend these talented women.