A moving experience

Today is the first day of Spring Break. I woke up at 7am and spent the day with my mom and my mom 30 years from now (she is sooooo going to hate that reference when she reads this but writing is nothing if not honest, right?). My grandma has moved three times within the same complex and there’s been a half eaten roll of jellied cranberry sauce in her fridge every freaking time. This is a woman who didn’t eat breakfast this morning because she thought she would throw it up due to nerves. Now mind you, she didn’t actually DO any of the moving. Apparently sitting on your butt in a chair and directing other people where to put your knitting needles is a stressful job.

I hate moving, I really do. I’ve moved every one of my friends ( and many times their girlfriends or family) at least once, and some three or four times. When I moved, how many of those people were there to help me? Not a one of them. It was me, my dad, an s-10 pickup and a lot of luck.

At least this time when we moved her she dipped into the cranberry purchasing fund and hired movers to do the heavy lifting, including a buffet and cedar chest apparently made of lead painted to look like wood. The movers themselves were an entertaining lot, kind of like Keastone movers. During the course of the dad my dad said,” these guys move people for a living?” I looked at him and said, “These guys MOVE people for a living.” There were other assorted adventures but I’ve already probably been written out of a couple wills so I’ll shut my mouth.

On the writing front, Spring Break is all about the new ending for my first novel, Lunchbox Hero. The first 50 pages are out to an agent who requested them so I’d like to have a complete faked death-free novel manuscript for him to read if he requests such a pleasure. I know where I’m going to go looking for an ending, but I don’t exactly know what the ending will be. The PI’s clients are a set of hot twins and, toward the middle of the book, one of them comes to our guy and says her sister is missing. This is after the second victim has been murdered. My guy says he’s got more important things to do. Now he’s a bit flaky and this actually makes sense for his character, but I realized it never even occurs to him that right after the second victim is murdered HIS CLIENT GOES MISSING!!!! I’m still going to have him ignore that for a bit but eventually he will realize what a dope he is and go looking for the girl.

These are the scenes I need to write and where I expect to find my new ending. Then of course I will have to rewrite the scenes at the end where the killer is unmasked and our hero fights it out or whatever, but the final twi chapters will remain the same. I’m not a person who really cares all that much about the whodunnit of a mystery novel, it’s that final denoument where the themes of the story and the impact on the characters is dealt with that I really love and that’s what I’ve got now. In theory, I’m hoping I can add at least 10-15 pages to the current manuscript total because it’s skating the bottom line of acceptable novel length for a mystery.

If I get the book monkey off my back soon enough, I’d like to write a short story for Dave Zeltserman’s heist issue of Hardluck Stories. I LOVE heist stories and would love to do something for this issue but it will ultimately depend on whether or not I can find a new way to tell a very old story. I’ll also be reading Crais’s The Forgotten Man which I’m really looking forward too, even though I had to do a bit of scamming to get a copy.

Last week I went to a book signing sponsored by my school’s creative writing program. The author was young and had been an editorial peon and Random House and wrote a novel about it. I being young, (not as young as Dave, but not nearly as old as Duane) and a former Random House peon thought it would be interesting. I love new guy in the city stories, especially about publishing, so I spent $13 that I didnt have to buy a copy of the book and have the guy sign it.

The book sucked harder than a hungry baby.

I hated that I’d wasted $13 on the dumb thing and really wished I could have used the money to buy The Forgotten Man. So I got an idea. I used an Xacto knife to excise the autographed page from the book and took it to Barnes and Nobel to return it. I exchanged it for TFM which had been discounted 30% as a bestseller and was the same price as the trade paperback I originally bought. Sure, it sounds slimy but they put the book back out on the shelf and will sell it and get their money. The autographed page was a blank page, not the titlepage or anything like that.

Anyway, the deed is done, my fate is sealed. If anything, I only moved the from the back of the hellbound bus to the handicapped seat up front. Right next to John Rickards, the driver.