Sherlock By Moonlight

For over a year I have had trouble falling asleep.

There are many things I can point to as possible blames for my restless evenings. Three jump quickly to mind.

  • The obvious one, and the one we probably all share, is the 2016 election and what happened afterwards. For more information on that, tune in to NPR on any day (or hour).
  • The second is more personal. With my writing, I’m still trying to figure out what to do with my latest book (which I believe is probably the best original fiction I will ever create). It’s a very unique position, where each reader (agent or publisher) says it is important, some even say they love it, but it has yet to find a home. It’s like being the nice guy in high school; everyone wants to be its friend, but no one wants to date it.
  • The third one is I changed jobs last year. While I am very happy with the results of that experience (and it turned out to be a very good thing for me), everything around those stressful months still wears on me.

I wouldn’t say all of this is dramatic enough to call it PTSD, but it does linger in the gut sometimes at around 11 o’clock when my entire family is asleep and a part of me feels like I need to stay awake to keep an eye on all of them. I don’t have time to sleep. It feels like a luxury I don’t get right now.

I’ve tried a few tricks to fall asleep. The first was I got a sound machine, one of those devices that can do the sound of rain or thunderstorm, etc. (Strangely many of them just make me feel like I have to use the bathroom.)

The sounds did work for about a month and then my nine-year-old son discovered it, and I have not seen it since. It lives in his bedroom now, and while I am struggling to fall asleep he is experiencing a peaceful summer night with crickets.

Analyzing myself (which I love to do), overall, I need to put my mind in a sense of peace and harmony. Give myself the “okay” to fall asleep. Just lying in silence doesn’t do that for me. Reality bears down too much in the quiet moments.

…Strangely what has been working has been solving mysteries with literature’s greatest detective. Continue reading

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Three Things I Have Almost Blogged About…

Broken PencilSo when I started this blog, I had nothing but the best intentions. I made lists and lists of different things to write about.

… Then I sat down and did way too much about Disneyland and Game of Thrones (two things that should never be in the same sentence again).

Let’s have a brief tangent- I’m one of the few book readers that is thrilled that Game of Thrones is passing the books. The script writers for the show certainly have their problems (for example, they go darker than the books, amazingly), but one skill they do have is the ability to edit. They cut, cut, cut the books down to something a little easier to consume and that is no small feat. I’ll never be totally happy with the calls they make (poor Sansa) or even the calls Martin makes (poor Ned), but at least we’ll be getting an ending to the tale in the new few years.

Okay, where was I? Recently, I found my list of original ideas for blog entries, focused on only one current theme- what interests the guy writing this.

Hey, it’s my blog, what can I say?

Below are three items I always wanted to dive into and never got around to. Not to say they aren’t interesting, it’s just… I’m a very important and busy man (no, I’m not). I have a lot of writing responsibilities (ha!). These short essays are the best  I can do (that is probably true). Continue reading

“Lucky Man” By The Verve

ZombieAnother music and memory post today!  This is the fifth in my “With Music” series. The others  so far included a song by Ben Folds Five (you can read it here), Sheryl Crow (here), one of the best songs ever by Beth Orton (here) and an embarrassing love for a Dean Martin single (here).  This time, I take on a lost week and a zombie.  Enjoy!

The easiest way to describe radio drama in the United States is to compare it to a zombie.

While in England and other European countries you can still find radio dramas (new and old) on their stations (many time with famous actors and writers supplying the talent), here it is something different. When television came around, the media world couldn’t have dropped it faster and all of the radio celebrities ran from the waves to the boxes.

Here is the thing though; it is not dead… well… not entirely.

It struggles, it grunts and it staggers forward, hands outstretched, craving listeners to bring it back, make it truly alive again. Not brains, ears is what the monster craves. Ears… Ears!

I have always had an obsession with radio plays. I remember the first time I heard The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It was like a revelation. Douglas Adams took his crazy idea and with some sound effects and wonderful actors made a movie in my head that was better than any I could have hoped to have seen. I went from there to The Firesign Theater and then to old time radio. There was an AM station in my area that would play it randomly late at night, and as a kid I would stay up, leaning over the player, ready to press record on my tape deck if a show I loved came on.

There is something awe-inspiring to me about radio plays. They take really little to produce, anything can be a sound effect (Douglas Adams made the sounds of the end of the universe with a bath tub, for example), and you were playing in the mind of someone else. And since radio dramas rarely get bogged down with descriptions, the listener is really an active audience, dressing the characters and the set with their imagination. It’s a personal experience, and the audience can own it as much as the performers.

So when I started to dream of being a writer, my first thoughts were all about radio. I wanted to capture the zombie and give it new life, I didn’t want to be eaten.

Yes, I dreamed of feeding it ears. Continue reading

“The game is afoot!” Some comedy for my now 1300 followers!

sherlockThis is a few days late, but I wanted to write and thank my now 1300 blog subscribers.  (Which is at 1306 or so now.)

Thank you!

Over the next few months I have a lot of new things planned, including sharing the release of the audiobook version of A Jane Austen Daydream (which sounds awesome), a new book, and a collection of my blogposts entitled Me Stuff.  So stay tuned!

To celebrate this milestone for my little site, below you will find some comedy. (Man, this really makes me smile.) I think you will really like it, especially if you are a fan of the inhabitants of 221B Baker Street.

It is a Sherlock Holmes parody I wrote, which was recorded by Mind’s Ear Audio Productions (the same good people who produced my radio series The Dante Experience, which you can listen to for free on this page).

I hope you enjoy “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Dating Dilemma.”

Thank you again for following my site!

Singing Devils, Tigers, Hell and College Students! Discover the Comedy of THE DANTE EXPERIENCE

The Dante Experience“…a cross between Monty Python, the Marx Brothers, and the Airplane movies.” — Bennet Pomerantz, AudioWorld, January 2002

My comedy radio series The Dante Experience is now available to listen to directly via my site! Actually, the buttons right below. (I know you see them.) How cool is that?

Inspired by Monty Python and Douglas Adams, The Dante Experience (winner of the Golden Headset, and many other radio competitions) was produced by Mind’s Ear Audio Productions. I am really proud of this mad little series. I hope you will press play. (You know you want to.)

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

Episode 6

Episode 7

Episode 8

Episode 9

Episode 10

You can learn more about my series on The Dante 3 page.  If you would like to order a copy of the series, you can do so via the catalog for Mind’s Ear (here).

Episode 7 of The Dante Experience

Where were you the first time you went to Hell? Well, if you have been listening to The Dante Experience chances are on a computer. Ha!

It’s Friday and time for episode 7 of The Dante Experience, the radio comedy series. You can hear today’s episode here:

You can catch up on previous episodes (and read more excerpts around the making of the series by the author, me) via the Dante 3 page on this blog.  If you would like to purchase a copy you can do so via amazon.com (here), or by contacting the producers at Minds’ Ear Audio Productions (here).

Exposure

Hearing your work come to life, for a writer in radio is a multilayered event. It is happy, but emotionally overwhelming; it is disappointing and surprising; it is a relief and a frustration; and there is a sense of peace. A great sense of peace because a chapter in your life is done. No matter what, that chapter is done. To be honest, it’s probably the same feeling I am sure most writers feel around movie, TV, and theater (Completing a novel is very different for me); and you relive in your mind all of the work you went through to get to that point. Continue reading

Writer’s Corner: Four Projects I Would Love to Adapt for the Silver Screen…

A few days ago I went through some of my old writing files on my computer seeing what jumps out at me and what inspires me today; and, for some unexplained reason, my mind began to think about film adaptations.

There is a great public misnomer about film adaptations. When you hear people talk about films adapted from books or plays, the audience seems to think that the screenplay writer had a choice in making changes for the big screen. “Why couldn’t he have just filmed the book?” You would hear that complaint a lot around the Harry Potter films in podcasts and forums, for example.

The fact is film is a different medium than books, and with it comes its own limitations and strengths. While the borders on a book are only limited by the imagination of the reader (and writer), a film has to be focused on one point at a time, understanding that there is only so much space on the screen at any given moment. Length, pacing, and audience need to be considered (You can’t have things happen “off screen” in a movie, for example; the audience will think it didn’t happen if they didn’t see it).

The greatest difference between film and books, is that a film has got to “earn” your attention for every minute. It is harder for a film to “suspend disbelief.” Which means a story, while in a book can be stretched out, in a film there has to be action. In other words, there must always be movement; it’s how they keep our eyes on the screen and our hands out of the popcorn bowl. Continue reading

One of My Favorite Finds of Last Year: Graphic Audio’s DC Titles

I have a new review up on GreenSpotBlue today.  This one is a find I am really excited about, as you will see from my review. In many ways, Graphic Audio are bringing life to an artform I thought was dead and that is, in my humble opinion, awesome.  Here is the beginning of my review:

This may sound like the beginning of a bad country song, but when I found Graphic Audio, I was not looking for love just a way to pass the time.

See, in 2011, my daughter was born and after the experience of her older brother I knew I needed something to help keep me awake and focused during late night feedings… or even afternoon feedings (something about holding a sleeping baby that knocks me out every time). Continue reading