Saturday, March 30, 2013

america's next top rentboy

The Real Divas of Dade County, the ballad opera I recently reviewed, got me to thinking about TV and my relationship to it. At this point in my life I have not owned a TV, or had one in my home, since July 2007. My TV was very old. It died at that time and I guess I had no desire to replace it. I decided to get a small portable DVD player instead and it has suited me just fine.
    The kind of DVDs I watch are, thanks to the drag-queen goddesses above, commercial-free! When I'm in the mood for pure entertainment I watch movies and TV series like: Dark Shadows, Frasier, The Golden Girls and Keeping Up Appearances. The types of reality shows I watch are the more competition style: Rupaul's Drag Race, Project Runway and Hell's Kitchen. I have no desire to be a drag superstar, a fashion designer or a top chef but I relate to their having goals, dreams, ambition and working under pressure. It doesn't really matter to me what the goal, dream, etc. is. The competitors want to get somewhere and their going for it! I'm interested in the struggle to get there and the concentration and focus of energy.
    Now if there was a show called America's Next Top Rentboy my interest would be less with watching ''this weeks challenge'' and more with ''being'' this weeks challenge!
     My question is why is there no reality show for authors: America's Next bestselling author. Maybe their is such a show and I just don't know about it. I hear you can get up to 500 channels, or more, these days. There seems to be a channel/show for just about every subject imaginable. But how would a show like America's Next Bestselling Author work? How could they make the challenges visual and entertaining and what would they be? Can writers be colorful and entertaining enough to keep people watching them? I guess all I do for now is keep using this blog as my sounding board. I think I'm colorful, just look at me, and engaging enough to do that!

Friday, March 29, 2013

oprah in my dreams

This post is an interview, with myself, about an interview I did on Wednesday via e-mail with SGL Booklovers Magazine.
Q. Hi Robert. Thank you for speaking with me today.
A. Oh, your welcome. It's really no problem. I talk to myself all the time!
Q. Tell us a little about SGL BookLovers Magazine.
A. Well it's an African-American LGBT magazine out of California that showcases the literary work of  African-American LGBT writers.
Q. You mean they publish book reviews, author interviews and profiles and book excerpts, etc.?
A. Yes, and there are print and on-line versions.
Q. How did you connect with SGL BookLovers?
A. Well, back in January of this year I set a goal to get back into my writing and book promotions after my three year Hyades. The first thing I did was set a gaol to surf the web everyday in search of potential book reviews. SGL BookLovers was just one of the 32 that I found and contacted.
Q. What is the process you use to find reviewers?
A. I put key words into a search engine like: gay lesbian lgbt book review or black gay lesbian lgbt book review. Then I sift through every web site/blog that comes up until I find something that seems suitable.
Q. So, you went through hundreds of web sites/blogs, etc. before you found the 32 that you contacted?
A. Yes, and out of those 32 only 7 replied back to me. SGL BookLovers was one of them.
Q. That sounds very time consuming.
A. It is. I was at it for six weeks straight anywhere from one to four hours a day. Web surfing for anything more than four hours makes me crazy!
Q. I'll bet! Did all seven reviewers/responders want to review your book?
A. No, I ended up sending review copies to four of them. One of the four was a PDF. One was a radio station I contacted for an interview but it didn't pan out. The other was a blog. He said he was backed up with too many books and to send him a copy around June. Then there was a web site that basically said ''thanks but no thanks.''
Q. They declined to review your book?
A. Yes. It happens. You just have to shrug it off and move on. It's not personal. It's the nature of the self-promotion beast. At least they replied at all!
Q. That's a humble attitude to have.
A. It's an essential attitude to have! Getting reviewed is tough. Especially for self-published authors. You have to have a thick-skin. It's like an actor going out on auditions. If you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen! Well, I can take the heat! And all that actor needs is one good role. Right?
Q. Sounds like your on your way!
A. I hope so!
Q. Besides SGL BookLover, who were the other reviewers you sent author copies, and the PDF, to?
A. Connextions Magazine out of New England, Shelly's LGBT book review out of Ohio
Q. How can we read these reviews?
A. People can either just find them on-line or wait until I post links to them. Some of them, as of this interview, are not out yet. I do have a link to one of them on my March 17 post entitled ''at rainbows end? fat chance!''
Q. Well thank you for chatting with me today, Robert. I wish you much success in the near future.
A. Your welcome, Robert. And thank you!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

the rock-n-roll city !

My two week vacation in Wisconsin is over and I'm back home in Cleveland. I left a day later than planned because I mixed-up my return schedule. I had to take a different bus line to Milwaukee to update my greyhound ticket, for a fee, then take the greyhound to Chicago A.K.A Chiraq  for a two hour layover before heading home to the rock-n-roll city! It was a bit of a costly, fifteen hour ordeal but I have nobody to blame but my self. So, I guess it is what it is. I love to visit other places but I am what you would call a proud Clevelander.
    Since I finished re-reading my sequel draft last week I must confess that I have not done anything with my fiction since. I have not even really ''spoken'' to my characters. But as I get settled in I'm having conversations with Kumi about where to take his story from where I left off. In the draft I stopped mid-sentence at the end of longhand page 181, typed page 90. So, unless I intend to publish a handwritten sequel I need some serious consultations with my characters because 90 pages does not a novel make and, quite frankly, I don't know what to write next!
    If when I sit down to write again nothing comes out I will just do something else like study my Blogging for Dummies or my blog itself. There's nothing like hands on training. Or, I can get on my bicycle and salivate at all the sweet male treats on the Cleveland streets! No, I'm liable to lose control and crash into a tree something. Trust me, It has happened before. The eye candy here is that dangerous! Anyhow, the point is that I must remain focused on the project and not the prospects.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

the real divas of dade county : a review

I love innovative art and parody and this ballad opera fits the bill perfectly. The Real Divas of Dade County is a parody on such reality shows as: Jersey Shore. The Real House Wives of Orange County and The Real World to name a few. The cast included two jersey girls and a Guido, three valley girls, a closeted flamer, an uptown diva, a biker chic, a goth girl, a new age stoner, a washed up teen idol, a county girl and a lazy slob all living in a house together. There was no concrete plot because reality shows don't have concrete plots. The story was the usual reality show %$@#& ; cat fighting, unrequited love, shopping and partying, ''my life is crap'', etc.
    As if paroding reality TV weren't enough innovation the writers, Frank Cain, Melanie Cain, and Jeff Turk spliced in musical numbers from famous operas spanning the baroque era to the twentieth century. For me , this was a new idea and I found it very exciting. My excitement did not come from a hope that my favorite Aurea would be included since I am not opera savvy and I don't have one. The excitement came from realizing that songs, written decades or centuries ago and having no connection with each other, could be fused together to create a cohesive parody of a comparatively recent phenomenon as reality TV. Brilliant!
    No composer was turned in his grave over the singing either. I found the female voices most memorable but in pop music I have always been partial to female voices and I guess that is the case with opera, too. For me, Melanie Cain, Allison Hull, Nancy Davis and Jessica Timman stood out the most. If  the Overture Center is going to allow these divas to sing in their venue they need to install safety belts because I was almost blown out of my seat! If I was deaf I would feel the vibrations of their vocals penetrate my cells. That is how powerful they were.
    One of the male performers penetrated me in another way [pun intended]. George Abbott played the flaming closet case with comedic precision and I found his rendition of Lonely House, from Street Scene, moving. It brought depth to his otherwise bubbly character.
    My detraction's are few. However, I must mention a scene in which a performer broke character during a duet. It disrupted my illusion. The announcer did not instruct the audience to turn off their cell-phones and proved that adults need their hands held like children. I also felt that funny commercial parodies would have added alittle spice to the show. After all, can there be any TV without commercials?
    The Real Divas of Dade County is a Fresco Opera Theater Production. For more information about the Fresco Opera Theater go to

Sunday, March 24, 2013

deja vu for two: a review

Yesterday I went back to the Madison Overture Center for the arts. The center not only offers Broadway shows and concerts but it also has three art galleries where professional artists can display their talents, and hopefully make a sale or two.
    The exhibit was called Deja Vu For Two and was a joint exhibit showing the paintings of transgender artist Nicole Bresnick and Todd Olson. Olson's partner, 1970's and 80's colt skin mag model and accomplished painter in his own right Lon Michels, also had a piece or two displayed. No pun intended!
    The theme of the showing, which I found very interesting, was that both artist took the same scene or object[s] and painted them from their own perspective. I found it fascinating to see two different impressions of the same subject displayed side by side. A friend of mine told me fairly recently that if you have two people looking at a coffee mug on a table they are not seeing the same thing. I did not understand what she was saying at the time but this exhibit brought it home for me. It also gave me a new appreciation for all visual art in general. I realized that visual arts are the eyes of the artist. When looking at a piece of visual art your literally seeing the world through that artist eyes. You are inside their head/ retina and no two retinas, except those of the same person, are the same. It's like fingerprints and signatures.
    Both artist used vivid and bright colors and both had a strictly modern aesthetic yet there style's were unique and undeniable. The one and only problem I had with the exhibit, and I stress the word exhibit because I found the work itself to be truly inspiring, was that the pieces were available separately. I saw these pieces as something like siblings in an adoption home. You really can't separate them because they need each other. They need to be together because they are linked and if that link is broken there is a since of loss.
    If you would like to see the world through the eyes of  Nicole Bresnick and/or Todd Olson go to and/or

Saturday, March 23, 2013

the Francis Farmer syndrome

With my writing resumed I find myself having to do something I've not done in awhile, talk to my characters! Yes, I actually talk to them out loud as if they were in a room with me. I find that it helps me to unearth my story, overcome writers block and get to know my characters and their world. I can also vent my frustrations to them and ask for guidance. Call me Francis Farmer but it works for me. For anybody who doesn't know, Francis Farmer was a 1930's and 40's movie star who had been frequently committed to insane asylums.
    If unearthing my story suggest that the story already exists somewhere then good, because I believe it does. I think all stories exists in the aether's first. The writer is selected by the characters to bring it into the world. The author is merely a channel and I believe they are carefully selected based on very complex and specific character traits that they themselves have that enable them to tell the story exactly as the characters want it told. If I try to write a story and it is not working no matter what I do I think that is because the story is not suited for me as an author. Timing factors could be involved, too. So, I don't think writers should give up writing all together because one story went south. I can just ask my characters if I'm suited to write their story or not! It also does not necessarily mean that the story was bad idea.
    It is important for me to understand and remember that my characters are my friends and I am in partnership with them. They have an interest in the work turning out well, too. So, they should be consulted with regularly. Sometimes It might take a couple hours or a couple days to get an answer but I always get it. What really intrigues me is when I write something that seems to make absolutely no since whatsoever. I'll say to myself  ''why did he or she say or do that?'' But I leave it because a few pages or chapters later that character will always justify their words or actions.
    I also believe that characters are not of our realm/dimension, So they have no need or use for money or notoriety. They Only want their story told in our reality/realm. If there are any accolades to be enjoyed the writer reaps them all. So I just look at my stories/characters like I would a sexy guy I want to go home with and I say- use me!

Friday, March 22, 2013

spectors of the buffet flat

Last night we went out club/bar hopping in downtown Madison. We went to three of Greg's regular haunts but this one place called Plan B was especially jumping. When I go out I love to dance and my 45 year old tale can still move and groove with best of these early twenty somethings, which is what was mainly in the club. While Greg, and the other people we were with, focused on the booze I focused on the boogie! The club was very diverse in terms of race, color and sex which I liked. By the time we left for the next haunt it was packed and there was a line around the building of people waiting to get in.
    It made me think about LGBT people and how we love to strut our stuff and party! We have our own unique sub-culture that must be age old no matter what legal risk existed. The question is how and where did LGBT people in bygone times and places do it? The drag queens and go-go boys are nothing new. The music they danced to must have been bouncy, rhythmic, fast-paced, and live!  But I can't find documentation on this subject. I have found information going back as far as the early to mid twentieth century but that's it. For example, in the 1920's and 30's there were places called  Buffet flats. These places were alot like speakeasies, in which illegal drug, alcohol and gambling went on except buffet flats catered to marginalized people like LGBT's and people of color, and included illegal sexual activities. The word ''buffet'' was used because it meant ''everything'' ... everything in the life. Flat is just another word for apartment which is where these places were. I'm sure they charged a fee to get in and were known by word of mouth. Bi-sexual blues great Bessie Smith often went to them as I'm sure many other famous LGBT people did. They were today's community center, support group, bar/club, bath-house and pride festival all wrapped in one.
    Anyhow, I finished reading the sequel draft today. Now I have to dive into finishing it, the draft that is. I can't say I know exactly what to write though. I know the continuation and ending of the story is inside me. I just have to pull it out. One thing I also must study is the continuity of the two stories. For example I can't have a relative of Kumi's die before Jonathan returns to Rainbow Plantation and then, in the sequel, have that relative working on the plantation when he gets back. And the historical facts have to be consistent. There are alot of those kind of things that must be watched. That's also why my re-reading was important. I might even find myself re-reading the book and the sequel draft again as I'm writing. The books must be as cohesive as I can make them.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

line breaks festival 2013: a review

Tuesday night we went to the 7th annual line Breaks Festival final performance night at UW Madison. The LBF is an event featuring youth culture performance art and spoken word pieces with hip-hop and urban themes using multi-media. The first two performances of the evening featured UW students and the 3rd and final performance featured guest artist DawN Crandell of  NYC.
    The first piece was titled Don't Just Stand There and was written and performed by Marlon Eric Lima. His was a one man narrative chronicling his struggles as a young Latino man fighting, along with his family, for legal status and a better life in America. How to progress in the wake of those trying circumstances was the subject of his piece. Lima used spoken word narrative and break dancing to covey his message. I must say that I had trouble following his story but Greg, one of the people I went with, later explained it to me and then I got it. The fact that I had trouble following but Greg clearly did not might boil down to presentation rather than content.  Maybe I was just distracted by his young Latin boy machismo and/or his electric dance moves. In retrospect, I saw a talented and insightful young man mature beyond his years. With that said he is sure to go far.
    The second piece was a dance performance  entitled The S**t We Go Through by Niko Tumamak. It was about an Asian guy who finds himself constantly in conflicts on campus over racism. In the end, he over comes his tendency to react to peoples ignorance and even ends up with a Caucasian girlfriend, who is the ballet dancer in the piece. This one I found easy to follow despite the fact that Tumamak was just as much a looker as Lima. There were no words spoken in the piece but an interesting thing I found out during a talk back session after the show was that all of the movements were based on a word. For example, the dancer was challenged to find a way to express a word like joy physically instead of verbally. All of the movement was based on a script that was seen and not heard. I was also impressed with the fact that the piece blended ballet, break dance and modern. I found this unique because most dance pieces I've seen use only one genre.
    The third and final piece was called Xenophobadelica and was written and performed by the events guest artist DawN Crandell. This piece was a one women spoken word narrative of Crandell's life as a young girl growing up female, a person of color and a bi-sexual in the 1980's and 90's. Recording star Prince had been a saving grace and muse for Crandell and his music and influence were featured in the piece. I found this piece to be very professional, concise, interactive and entertaining. It is clear that Crandell is a seasoned artist. However, I do question how an artist like Prince could be a life line and muse to a bi-sexual, feminist women. I too grew up listening to Prince. His objectification of women, statements that many would deem homophobic and use of androgynous and transgender persona's without due credit to the LGBT community  might seem contradictory to some. I for one feel that it serves as a catalyst for dialogue and speaks to Crandells complexity as a human being. If you would like to learn more about Line Breaks Festival or the OMAI, Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives go to for more information.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

a cyber slueth am I

I'm up to chapter eight in my re-read of the sequel draft. It reads well but I'm finding myself questioning the first person narrative. I have an idea as to how to make it plausible but it needs work. I will have to write a fictitious forward giving background information on the narrative itself. I thought about just rewriting the whole story in third person which would basically mean just changing the pronouns to nouns. But that would be too much like Rainbow Plantation Blues. This sequel is somewhat of a continuation of that story except  It's from Kumi's perspective and has a longer timeline. Still it must be fresh and different and be able to hold it's own.
    So I got on the web today and did some research. I found some really interesting turn of the century gay history that I can work with. By the turn of the century the word homosexual had been coined but there were also other words to identity us like  ''uranian.'' This word was coined in 1862 by Karl Heinrich Ulrichs. It is used through out an amazing speech I found by Anna Rueling. Miss Rueling is the first know Lesbian/Gay rights activist in the world. She gave her speech  What Interest Does the Women's Movement Have in the Homosexual Question? at a 1904 Scientific Humanitarian Committee gathering. The SHC was the first known Gay rights organization in the world established in 1897 in Berlin. If you want to check out the speech, which I highly recommend, you can find it on line or you can get a copy of  We Are Everywhere: A Historical Sourcebook in Gay and Lesbian Politics. The speech is way ahead of it's time and is still relevant today.
    I  was then led to a man named Henry Gerber. I already knew of Gerber and the fact that he founded the oldest known Gay rights organization in America The Society for Human Rights in Chicago in 1924. What I didn't know was that he had lived in Germany prior to founding the SHS. The thriving, by turn of the century standards, gay life there motivated him to come back to America and share the love so to speak. After he got the charter was the SHS, which was amazing in and of itself, everything went down hill from there. If you want to know more search Henry Gerber. The knowledge is well worth it. I researched some other things too, like graphology and carbon dating.
    Now my challenge is to weave, I love the word ''weave'' in this context because it's so visual, all this info together and solve my plausibility concerns. This is where the creativity in historical fiction comes in!

Monday, March 18, 2013

the cycle of the tides

I started re-reading the sequel draft today. I'm up to chapter five now. According to my records I started writing this sequel on 09-26-07. So far it, like Rainbow Plantation Blues, still speaks to me. I don't know the title yet but It's a first person narrative from Kumi's, Jonathan's forbidden fruit, perspective. This must be done before I leave Madison for home next Monday. I don't have anything else to do all day here while Greg is at work. So, there's no reason why I should go home with this draft unread. The only acceptable excuse is if I meet a real life Kumi or Jonathan while I'm still here. We don't have to worry about any forbidden fruit these days. So, if I get the chance I'll be going back to Cleveland peachy keen! My characters will just have to forgive me.
    You know, I'm really not 100% happy with this post but I'm going to go ahead and publish it anyhow. With this blogging, I guess I'm going to have days were I'm not quite able to express myself the way I want to but I will not let that stop me from posting. It's just like writing fiction. Some days the tide is high and the words are flowing and on others it's just plain out!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

at rainbow's end? fat chance!

I literally just finished my re-read of  Rainbow Plantation Blues! I hate to toot my own horn but... HONK HONK! The s#@$ is good! After having not read my work for over three years I can honestly say I still stand by it 100%. If I really want to make it tight, like a drag tucked for the gods, there's a few things I could tweak but that's it. I didn't feel self conscience while re-reading my work. Some actors say they don't watch themselves on screen and some singers say they don't listen to themselves on the radio. But I think writing is different in that it is more a reflection of you than it is you. Your physical self is not involved, only your imagination.
     Now I have to get started on re-reading the sequel draft and then finish writing it. What I mean is that I have to finish writing the first draft after I re-read what I have. Did I just make a rhyme? Okay whatever, I'm just too excited! It feels good to be back in the game!
     For any skeptics out there here is one of several new book reviews I received from Shelly's LGBT Book Review Blog. I'm not the only one tooting my horn! Read it and weep! HONK HONK!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

my trekky cousins

I know the layout of yesterdays post looks a hot mess but I had to get it up and I'd rather the layout look a mess than the actual sketches. Oops! Did I suggest that my sketches are fierce? I don't know, you decide.
    Yesterday Greg his partner George and I went to the world premier of a new musical called Space Voyage: The Musical Frontier. It was presented by the InterMission Theater and written by a UW Madison student named Nicholas Connors. The InterMission Theater is a student organization dedicated to showcasing original student-created shows. Space Voyage: The Musical Frontier is a comedic Star Trek parody that takes place in the year 2555. I myself am not big on Star Trek but I assume that Mr. Connors is a trekky. I do understand the trekky mentality though because I am a Dark Shadows enthusiast. Dark Shadows has a cult following with web sites, books, annual conventions, etc. just like Star Trek. I guess I could call myself a darkky but some people might misconstrue that!
    Anyhow, the production was very good. There were a couple rough spots but overall it was well done. Kudos to Mr. Connors. As I watched it I found myself doing more than just entertaining myself. I found myself studying it to see how the plot was weaved together. I was also watching my emotions to see if it was gripping me or holding my attention and if I understood what was going on. It's funny that with movies, musicals and plays you have to visualize the writing but with books, with the exception of children's books, you have to visualize the images. I don't think that most people watching a show are thinking about the writing much less studying it, but I do! Whether it's a character on a stage or a character on a page it's the writer who makes or brakes the story. The characters/actors only complement the writing. I remember watching a Lucille Ball interview in which she was asked why she was so funny. Ms. Ball said ''I'm not. It's my writers!''

Friday, March 15, 2013

Looks Ain't Everything...Not!

These are the sketches I did of my main characters.
Kumi- Kumi is a slave on the Rainbow Plantation and is about 24 years old. He's very handsome and very smart. He is nobodies fool and calculates every moment of his life. He knows that one false move could spell disaster for him. So he plays the dumb nigger, but never judge a book by it's cover!


Mary-Mary is somewhere in her early twenties. She is an extremely beautiful, cultured and somewhat naive Southern belle. She has led a sheltered and pampered life but is somehow still unspoiled. It's funny how sheltering and pampering never last.

Stephen- Stephen is around thirty years old. He, like Kumi, is nobodies fool and is something of a maverick. Unlike Kumi he has more freedom to express himself  because he is white. But when one carries the kind of secrets he does being white still may not be enough!

    Rev. Robertson-Rev. Robertson claims to be a man of God. The
    question is does God second that notion?
Rev. Robertson

Jonathan-Jonathan is about twenty-five years old. He is a tall, dark and handsome Southern drink of water! With his thick Southern accent, good manners, graceful masculinity and charm the belles can't get enough. He could ring them all night as far as their concerned! But Jonathan's inner world is not so gorgeous.

Isabelle-Isabelle is the mistress of  Rainbow Plantation and
Jonathan's doting mother. She was once a beautiful Southern belle
like Mary, but the sheltering and pampering of her youth vaporized after she married Jonathan's father.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

my layover in Chiraq, IL

On my eleven hour bus trip to Madison I had a one hour layover in Chi-town or the windy city or Chiraq as some of the cities more street level residents call Chicago. I found out about this term because my seatmate from Chicago to Milwaukee was a young guy from the cities South side. According to him, Chicago's homicide rate is higher than New York Cities. He said the word ''Chiraq'' comes from the fact that the city is a war zone like Iraq.  He said he was a ''gang-banger '' and that he managed to get some pot on the bus. Then he showed it to me! After he got over his shock that I don't smoke anything he told me some other things about his life growing up in Chicago.
     Now, some people might say he had a bad case of diarrhea of the mouth! What if I had been some sort of undercover something? But, as a writer, I'm all about meeting people, especially strangers, and hearing their stories. Everybody has a story to tell and most peoples mouths run like a faucet! You don't even have to turn the knob because they do it for you. And that water always runs hot! Anyhow, you never know when you''ll hear an interesting word like ''Chiraq'' or some situation that you thought implausible. And since human behavior and emotions transcend time and space, nationality and race I can apply just about anything to my historical fiction.
     Maybe in one way I am an undercover something; an undercover agent for life, people and their stories. I just put aside any judgements, open my mental files and listen.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Madison, Swissconsin 53703

I arrived in Madison, WI, the buckle on the cheese belt, yesterday at about 7:20PM. I wanted a vacation so I'm here for two weeks visiting my friend Greg and his partner. Madison is a very nice and homey kind of city. I've been here several times before and I always love it.
    Greg works during the day and his partner is out of town for a few days, so that gives me plenty of time to finish my re-reading of the novel and the draft of the sequel. I intend to have all my re-reading done by the time I leave. Okay, I know I could have been done by now but I read slow! Also, when I really like a book or a movie I never want them to end. So, I take my time with them. That might sound silly to some people but I really get swept away in their world and with their lives. I can't help it. The problem is that nagging five year deadline I set for myself. At this rate it might take me five years to re-read everything! No, actually I'm on chapter 15 right now, so progress is being made.
    Tonight we went to see a touring performance of Mary Poppins at the Overture center for the arts in downtown Madison. It was an amazing show and not in the least bit cheesy! The sets, costumes, lighting, sound, acting, musical numbers and dancing were all Practically Perfect. I had a supercalifraglisticexpialidocious time. But now I'm getting tired so I'm calling it a night.

Monday, March 11, 2013

trailer trash!

My recording engineer friend finally called me back yesterday and we got together and finished the book trailer voice recordings. Now he has to edit what we did, which includes adding sound effects and music. Actually, yesterday was not the first time we recorded for the trailer. Last Sunday we worked, too. But that time there were way more pauses, flubbed words and phrases, background noises and less characterization/inflection. My co-workers girlfriend also took photos of me that day, which have been photosphopped. Not that I needed it mind you!
    Anyhow, yesterdays session went a lot faster and smoother but there are still some kinks that need working out. Between the two recording sessions there is a lot of material that's going in the garbage but hopefully it will all sound like I did the whole thing in one perfect take. And hopefully it will generate some interest in this blog and my writing, too!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

the truman writer R.I.P.

I left this blog to languish in cyber space for over three years. When I decided to activate it again this year I  had thought about completely changing everything about it from the look to the name. The name I had settled on was The Truman Writer. It was to be a parody of the Jim Carrey movie The Truman Show. In the movie Carrey is the subject of a reality show that follows his life twenty-four seven, unbeknownst to him.
    In The Truman Writer I was to chronicle my daily challenges, struggles, adventures and quest to write, edit, publish and promote my Rainbow Plantation Blues trilogy. In other words, the goal of  The Truman Writer was the same thing I'm doing now! It was to be my very own ''beknownst'' Truman Show so to speak, but now the idea is in the blog name grave yard, I guess. This post is symbolic of me putting flowers on it's tombstone . I still think it was a catchy name and concept though. The reason I didn't change my blog name and use that idea in the end is simple. It's that nasty ''L'' word. LAZINESS!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

the art of flies and honey

I still have not heard from my sound recording engineer friend. It's okay though. With a project like this I've learned that if something doesn't pan out one day then you do something else to move the project forward. I have had to hire people many times to do things for me regarding my writing; typists, IT consultants, editors, graphic artists, photographers and now a recording engineer. Many times I have been frustrated with them for various reasons but, like my grandmother use to say  ''you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.'' Why anybody would want to catch flies in the first place is beside the point, I guess. The point, in this case, is that kindness, diplomacy and patients are an art form in and of themselves. Peoples lives don't revolve around your project. They have there own jobs, projects and lives to worry about. So, I have learned to prescribe myself a ''chill pill '' and, like I said, do something else.
    Of course, you cannot allow yourself to be taken advantage of either. There could come a time when you have to fire someone and find somebody else with their skills to do what you need done. I have never had to go that far but I've felt like it and I've felt like telling people off, too! I just don't think it's productive, and in the end people have always come through, although I found that I went through a truckload of  ''chill-pills'' beforehand!
    Un-returned phone calls and e-mails, being late to meetings, loosing materials, etc. all come with the territory and I'm having my first case of deja vu. Oh well, I haven't paid him yet anyhow and this recording session will be our second. I just hope we finish before I go out of town next week.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

something smells fishy to me

What smells fishy you ask? Well, we're in the Pisces energy field right now and today is my birthday, so it must be me! Okay, I said smells fishy not is fishy!
    Anyhow, I did practice my chapter one characterizations last night for the book trailer. When I say characterizations I'm talking about the dialogue. I want to bring the characters to life. I don't want to do a flat reading with no inflections and no energy. It's not hard for me to do but it does take practice. You can do some amazing things technologically with editing these days but things like inflection, emotion and energy can't be manipulated with a mixing board and/or a computer.
    I was suppose to get together with my recording engineer today, who is a co-worker of mine who has a recording studio in his basement, but I've not been able to reach him. I contacted the IT consultant I worked with two days ago and he is e-mailing me another file of the sketch image I lost yesterday. So, all I can do is wait to hear from my recording engineer friend and practice my taylor swift, I mean my trailer script, in the meantime. The character images post will be published soon, too!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

a bad stubble day 1

 I wanted to post some images I sketched of  my main characters today but Murphy's law must be bored to tears or has a quota to fill because it ain't happening! As I said in a previous post, I'm learning everything as I go. So I went to an IT consultant yesterday to help me up load the images onto my blog. I saved them as I planned to post them today. But as I was trying to get them ready for publication I lost or deleted one of them. I looked in my files but I couldn't find it anywhere. I went back to the consultant's office but he wasn't in. I got help reloading the image again from a librarian but it was faded and did not look good. So here I am posting about today's unpublished post! If I had any hair on my head I'd call this a bad hair day.
    However, I refuse to let this day go unproductive. I'm going home to practice my script for the book trailer I'm making for YouTube. In the trailer I'll be reading chapter one and I want my characterization to be on point. I must also stay focused and get my mind off of my  ''ghost post.''
    I titled this post A Bad Stubble Day 1 because I know, from past experience and if all goes ''well'', there will be plenty more.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Japanese bumpers and 80's beats

I rented a Toyota corolla Friday for the weekend. I needed to run errands that I can't do on my bicycle and visit relatives I hadn't seen in awhile. I also needed to club hop and cruise the boys du jour! I may be turning 45 in two days but I still have some wild oats to sew! Anyhow, with my 80's music blasting, cyndi Lauper, Eddie Money, Journey, Micheal and Madonna I'm ready to paint the town pink.
    As I zoomed around town I thought about the notes, drafts and research materials I found regarding the, as yet untitled, sequel to Rainbow Plantation Blues. There are 181 longhand draft pages, mostly in pencil, 72 pages of  what I call  ''plot scenarios''  and who knows how many pages of printed research that I did on the web. The printed research is on black confederate soldiers[yes, they did exists], and antebellum slave weddings and funerals. I have to research these things and weave the facts into my fiction. The plot scenarios usually come to me in the middle of the night. I'll wake up suddenly with some idea of how to weave some fact about, lets say, slave weddings into the story and I have to get up immediately to write it down or I might forget it. It's annoying to be disturbed if  I'm having a dream about some piece of trade I might have seen on the street that day. But an artist must suffer for is work. Art, like beauty, is pain.
     I also thought about the mountain of work I have ahead of me in sorting out this draft, the research and the notes. I have to re-read all of it! Actually, I have to add more because 181 longhand pages, typed, is only about 90 pages and this is just the first draft of the sequel!
     I decided that rather than get myself all worked up because I'm approaching Mt. work my butt off at the next turn, I would just blast Cyndi singing Girls Just Want to have Fun and do just that!

Friday, March 1, 2013

drag queens and kings, porn stars and writers

Any Rupaul's drag race fans out there? I most certainly am one. I have not missed a season yet. Actually drag queens and kings, porn stars and writers are my favorite people. It takes a certain boldness to do any one of these lines of work. Your opening yourself up to everything from super commendation to super condemnation. Now, I personally could never do drag. I would look a hot mess, although that doesn't seem to stop some of these drag queens, and I'm much too inhibited to do porn. But writing is doable for me. With a story in my head and a pen in my hand, yes I write longhand, I can be as over the top as a drag queen or king and as naked and vulnerable as a porn star at the same time. People can either love what I do or hate it. And I have had some, shall I say, disappointing reviews and rejections. It's just a matter of having a thick skin and keeping those wigs on, those clothes off and those stories flowing no matter what the haters may say!