My blog entries have become rather scarce of late. Yeah, sorry about that. Things like work and children and a thousand-dollar-a-day coke habit tend to wreak havoc on my writing schedule. The other main distraction has been, well…writing.
Quick backstory: I’m a failed screenwriter. Okay, that’s harsh. I guess I could say that I’m a successful screenwriter, as I penned two screenplays and entered them into the Project: Greenlight competition around the turn of the century. One of ’em made the Top-100 (out of over 4,000 entries) but it still wasn’t enough to garner any interest from studios or, just as importantly, from agents. Agents that COULD potentially get interest from studios. In other words, I never became a professional screenwriter. The scripts sat there for a while before a couple of different friends mentioned that I should turn them into novels. So, that’s what I’ve been doing with my spare time. Transforming what I now know to be very amateurish screenplays into (hopefully) readable and sell-able book manuscripts.
Will I run into the same difficulties getting published as I did trying to get the stories optioned for films? Probably. Will I decide to e-publish them, hoping that people will shell out $2.99 at Amazon or Barnes & Noble for a Kindle or Nook version? Truthfully, I’m still working that all out as I strive to polish this baby into something resembling a presentable final draft. But I thought I’d let you read a little sample, since you’ve read all my other silly stuff. This excerpt is from the opening of Chapter Seven of my novel “Dead Air.” It’s a fun little murder-mystery set in the good ol’ days (the best days) of radio: the Mid-90’s. The main character’s name is Trey, and he’s pretty much me. (But you probably would’ve figured that out.) Please excuse the formatting. WordPress is great, until you want something to read like an actual “book.”
Thanks for reading, guys.
Night-shift jocks keep bachelor hours. Into the station around five for production duties, checking voicemail, show prep. Staying after, sometimes as late as one or two in the morning for additional prod or putting together show elements for the next night. A solid five hours of actual on-air time. All told, it makes for some lengthy worknights. Of course, when the jock is done at work, the party is just getting started in his or her favorite haunts. Dancing, karaoke, live music; they’re all on tap until last call. Then there are after-parties, breakfast at IHOP, etc. The point is that sometimes a night jock doesn’t crawl into bed until near sunrise.
That’s why the digital, birdlike scream of my phone at 7:38 a.m. was so damned cruel.
Trust me, I realize that the simple thing to do would’ve been to turn the ringer off. Permanently. Doing so would’ve saved me all kinds of heartache. But as much as I resisted being a responsible adult, the fact of the matter was that most real-life decisions are done during the day. If I was going to be fired or promoted or there was an emergency staff meeting or my mom had finally left dad for that old sailor buddy of his or whatever, I would have to hear about it during the bright, clear sunshine of midday.
7:38 in the morning? That’s early even by the standards of real, God-fearin’ people.
Alarming. That’s what it was, no pun intended. By the same logic I employed in keeping the ringer on, I knew that if the stupid thing rang, it meant trouble. It meant that something mighty important was going down, or better damned well be; otherwise my ass was staying in bed. I yanked the cordless handset out of the cradle and barked a non-standard ‘good morning.’
“WHAT?” I demanded of the caller. It was Jim, who wanted to know if I had been listening to Doc’s show. He knew damn well I was doing no such thing.
“No, Jim, I sleep. Now. I mean, I sleep in the day. I was asleep.” My brain slowly came online and my words started making more sense. “Did he play that ‘Wheel of Scrotum’ bit again? He knows what he’s doing. I wouldn’t worry—“
I stopped. My spine became rebar. I sat upright on the edge of my broken-in old futon. The expression on my face must’ve been classic: the look of someone who has mistakenly backed over their girlfriend’s cat. On Christmas.
“Jesus fucking Christ…” I muttered.
“Yeah. Yeah. I’ll be right there.” I hung up without saying goodbye. It had always annoyed me when people did that in the movies, yet I didn’t even give it a second thought. Not that day.
“God damn it. No. Please. Not Janice.” That was as close to a prayer as I think I’d ever gotten.