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So here is where things stand in regards to various projects of mine:

1. I’ve finished a rewrite of “St. Peter in Chains” (the first part of The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller). There’s a lot of new content, so I’m having my critique readers look it over to make sure I keep a consistent tone.

2. Because of my focus on Peter, I haven’t been working on Changers at all, so it remains half finished.

3. But I am doing this fun Hamlette thing just as a kind of writing joyride.

4. I had two scripts make quarterfinals in a competition. Only one of the two made semis, but that’s okay, I’ll take what I can get.

5. Have been collaborating on some other scripts as well . . .

6. And negotiations for the rom-com script I co-wrote continue. Hopefully we’ll get things settled soon.

In short, a lot going on. I have an unfinished Sherlock Holmes story sitting in the wings as well. And the K-Pro sequel. But my priority is to get Peter fixed up and sent back out to the couple of agents who want to see it again. Everything else is jostling for second place.

St. Peter Ascending

Back from Vegas and came home to more good news: requests from production companies to read the St. Peter in Chains script. So glad this one is getting some interest. I’d love to see it come to the screen. Of course, I’m working on the final part of the trilogy, and once that is done, I may be making changes to the script so as to incorporate all three parts into one film. We’ll see how things shake out.

And as for Vegas, Sherlock will have much to say (and many photos) in a day or two.

Birthdays and Names

It’s my birthday. Mine and the late Ford Madox Ford’s and Sarah Paulson’s and Milla Jovovich’s . . . And I used to live near where John Greenleaf Whittier was from. This is Arthur Feidler’s birthday and William Safire’s and Bill Pullman’s. Well, and Pope Francis, of course. And it’s the birthday of lots of other people besides, most whose names I will never know. But I figure we’re all in good company.

One of my presents has been the chance to choose a professional designer for the cover of the Peter Stoller trilogy. But first I must come up with a title for said trilogy! The three parts are: St. Peter in Chains, St. Peter at the Gate, and (I’m working on it now) St. Peter Ascends. I was thinking along the lines of The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller for the collection, but that feels sort of hefty. Yet shortening it to Fall and Rise is too generic. I don’t necessarily want to use “St. Peter” in the collection title since I don’t want people to think it’s about the historical/biblical figure. I had that problem on Amazon; one reviewer was unhappy when he or she realized it isn’t some Christian novel and that the main character is, in fact, gay. (Though I maintain if they had only read the description . . .)

The series is known on Amazon as “The Peter Stoller Series.” I guess I could do something like Fall and Rise: The Peter Stoller Stories. I must think on it. But I’m open to suggestions.

Uncovered

So we’re trying out this Uncovered Books thing. Here, for example is my author page on their site. And then you can get synopses for St. Peter in Chains and The K-Pro by clicking the links on the profile page. Though, if I correctly understand how it works, you need an iPad at the Uncovered Books app to actually read the works. (This is why I let my manager handle these things. It’s difficult enough to wrangle words, never mind the technology.)

Meanwhile, today is my Solar Return. Which is like the astrological version of a birthday. It means that today is the day the sun returns to where it was (exactly) when I was born. A Solar Return day sets the tone for the year ahead, so they say, so I’m doing my best to have a pleasant and cheerful day. Wishing you well!

More More Blessed

‘Tis More Blessed is a weekly giveaway throughout December. On the 27th I’ll be giving away copies of my two Peter Stoller novellas St. Peter in Chains and St. Peter at the Gate. Winners can choose Kindle format e-books or a PDF. (And I might throw in a little preview of the forthcoming St. Peter Ascends just for fun.) See my previous post on how to enter via Rafflecopter. And here is a list of participants in ‘Tis More Blessed:

‘Tis More Blessed

Fellow author Milo James Fowler has launched the December giveaway ‘Tis More Blessed and I’ve decided to participate. (Click on the link to go see who else is giving away freebie books each Friday in December.)

On Friday, December 27, I’ll be giving away a Kindle copy of both St. Peter in Chains and St. Peter at the Gate. Entries close at midnight on December 26. Think of it as a Boxing Day present, or if you don’t do Boxing Day, a late Christmas or early New Year’s gift.

The small print notes that if you don’t have a Kindle, entrants can opt to receive PDFs via email instead.

You can enter by either following me on Twitter, tweeting about the giveaway, or leaving a comment. Please note that I moderate comments and will disqualify any I see as unfit. Also note that the Peter Stoller stories are about a gay British spy. If you don’t like spies, or if you don’t like gay people, or British people for that matter, I suggest you walk away. To all others: Bon courage!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How Peter Got His Name

People often ask writers how they name their characters. For me it’s an odd process (and I’m sure many writers have equally odd ways of going about it). Usually, I have a sense of the sound of the name. Like, I’ll know it must start with a “D” or that it needs to be one syllable. That it needs to be French or melodic, that it needs to “sound like water.” Something like that.

But with Peter Stoller, even my usual process was a bit thwarted. I had originally conceived in calling him Stephen, I think, or something like that. But I really wanted to use the title “St. Peter in Chains,” which I’ve loved since I first visited that church in Rome. And so I felt my protagonist must be named Peter because it would be weird (to me, if not to readers) to have a name in a title that wasn’t the name of someone in the book.

And when I offered him the name Peter, he accepted it without hesitation. It suited him.

The last name seemed to come in a flash. But when I think back about it, I realize the name “Stoller” is one I’ve been aware of since I was a teen. I used to watch a television show—and I can’t remember the name of this show, but I think it was on Comedy Central—that was nothing but clips from stand-up comedy routines. And one of the comedians was named (assuming I’m remembering correctly) Fred Stoller. And that name just always stuck with me. And when I showed it to Peter, he nodded and said yes, that was him.

Today I’ve been working on a bit of what will become the third book in the trilogy, St. Peter Ascends, which I hope to be able to release some time next year. Be sure to read the first two—St. Peter in Chains and St. Peter at the Gate—so you’ll be all caught up and ready for the last book! Both are available as Kindle e-books on Amazon. Links to those and all my other books and stories are here.

2013 So Far (in Writing)

We’re sliding ever more quickly toward the end of the year. It’s been an extremely busy time for me, but I wanted to pause and take stock of all that has happened thus far, sort of position myself, orient myself.

In January, I won my first ever screenwriting competition when St. Peter in Chains (the short form) took Grand Prize for short screenplay in Table Read My Screenplay. What a confidence booster! It also opened a couple doors for me so that I’ve since found someone interested in potentially making a feature-length movie of St. Peter in Chains + St. Peter at the Gate. Fingers crossed!

Speaking of St. Peter at the Gate, it was published in July. Because of all the screenwriting work I’ve been doing, I’ve not been writing as much prose. But I have published St. Peter at the Gate and The K-Pro this year.

The screenwriting side of things has just exploded for me. Three of my scripts made Preliminary Finals in the Creative World Awards: Sherlock: “A Society of Martlets”, St. Peter in Chains, and 20 August. (20 August actually made Quarterfinals, too.) 20 August is also a nominee for the Silent River Film Festival River Scroll Award. The script has had some interest from various studios and producers, and I know of at least one director/producer who is serious about maybe taking it on as a project. Fingers on the other hand crossed!

Also, I’ve been asked to help rewrite a romantic comedy script and to pen a psychological thriller. So yeah, lots of screenwriting going on.

It hasn’t all been glory. I’ve been rejected a few times, lost more competitions than I’ve won. But if I look at where I am now versus last year, there has definitely been progress.

Of course, if I go back and look at the goals I set for myself at the start of the year:

  1. Edit & publish The K-Pro
  2. Finish writing & publish “St. Peter at the Gate”
  3. Draft at least one new novel (either Pretend You Love Me or An Astral Affair)
  4. Finish my Henry II play
  5. Write at least two more Sherlock Holmes stories
  6. Finish my zombie television pilot spec script

I’ve done the first two. The rest have been back-burnered while other, new projects take priority. Well, it’s good to be in demand . . .

St. Peter in Chains Free for Limited Time

My novella St. Peter in Chains is free on Amazon Kindle now through the 16th. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, now is the time to go grab a copy. The screenplay version won Table Read My Screenplay and received a professional table read at Sundance.

And then be sure to read the sequel St. Peter at the Gate, which answers the hanging question of whether Peter can truly trust Charles . . .

The Good and the Bad

The good news I got this week: Three of my scripts made it through the preliminary round of the Creative World Awards. 20 August under Drama, St. Peter in Chains under Short Screenplays, and Sherlock: “A Society of Martlets” under Television (Existing 1 Hour Drama, even though Sherlock is 90 minutes). These are all the scripts I submitted, and I sent them at different times, which is why two are under one name and the other under another. Ugh. I can’t keep track of myself any more.

There are lots of hurdles yet to jump in this competition, however: quarterfinals, semi-finals, and finals. Only after all those will winners be announced. But I’m happy to have made at least one cut—and with all three scripts no less, when I honestly only hoped at least one might get through. Still, I’d be pretty happy to continue advancing . . . Quarterfinalists will be listed next week.

Also, there’s a chance a major producer might be interested in the St. Peter in Chains script, once I’ve finished doing the full-length draft. The one drawback being they think it’s a little slow and “needs more action.” Oh dear. I’ve stumbled into the Hollywood machinery. I’m willing to compromise to some extent, but I don’t know if I’m much of an action writer. Haven’t really tried it yet. Anyway, I need to focus on finishing the draft before going back to tinker with action and pacing.

And now the bad news. I was supposed to hear from Sundance about whether 20 August had made the second round of their Screenwriters Lab “no later than August 16.” But I didn’t. And then someone at AFF mentioned that an e-mail they’d tried to send me had bounced back to them. Huh. So I began to worry that the Sundance e-mail might have bounced, too. I e-mailed Sundance to ask them, but didn’t hear back. So this morning I called my e-mail and web hosting service, and sure enough, they found the Sundance e-mail in the spam filter.

Now let me explain the backward way this hosting service works. (By which I mean it doesn’t work at all.) Instead of giving ME access to my spam, so that I can see if/when stuff accidentally gets filtered when it shouldn’t, they have a net THEY create that catches spam and automatically deletes it, ostensibly saving me the hassle and saving their servers from any malicious intent. So while they were able to see that an e-mail had come from Sundance (which they had marked with a “high spam content score” even though I’d never blocked them), it had been immediately deleted when the server/program decided it was spam. It could not be retrieved. “You’ll have to e-mail the sender and ask them to re-send,” I was told. “And we’ll put them on the list of safe senders for you.”

Really, Assholes? YOU decide what I can and can’t receive? And then, when YOU fuck up, there is no recourse for me except to go begging the sender for a redo? I am livid. And will be changing my site host and e-mail service. So if this site goes down for a little while, please be patient while we relocate it. And use my gmail for any correspondence until I have new mailboxes set up. Thanks.

Meanwhile, I wait on Sundance to hopefully re-send the e-mail. Good news or bad, I just want to know.