Posts Tagged With: indie writers

Who you gonna call?

I’m having a blast while reading the nasty (and somewhat angry) reviews that the Ghostbusters 2016 movie has garnered during the past few days. Of course, you can dismiss a few of them as reviews coming from disgruntled fanboys, but that doesn’t detract from the fun I’m experiencing while reading through their rambles.

I agree with some of these, specially the one that claims “this movie has no right to exist” (I kindly replaced the stronger word the original review used with “movie” so you won’t get ofended).

However, most of the fun I’m having comes from the fact that I once wrote in 1993 a potential Ghostbusters III screenplay (of which I’m planning to post the opening snippet below) and that it would have been something the Ghostbusters franchise would have been proud of… It’d have been funnier movie and I suspect Bill Murray would have loved the screenplay as it placed him in the central spotlight, giving this actor a very meaty lead role, indeed.

However (sigh), it was never meant to be. Although I had submitted several dozens of screenplays to various minor movie production houses, I was never able to get a direct address to Columbia Pictures to send this one at the time, so the damn silly thing just sat in my hard drive until now, gathering mold as years went by. Besides, Hollywood doesn’t seem to fond of dealing long distance with writers residing in South America.

However, not all was a loss. I was able to recycle most of the fantastic scenes I conjured up for this screenplay into my book Fermata Girl vs The Medallion of Doom, though I must admit that I faced  a small problem when it came to adapting for a female heroine the scene in which Peter Venkman would dig into his trousers to find out if male ghosts still had a certain part of their anatomy, but I guess I managed quite right.

Of course, what I’ll share here is not and actual screenplay, but a cineplay, which is a general layout of the entire movie, plot, props, background scenario, camera effects and motions and what is done to who by whom. I suppose that I may end up publishing this one in a FanFiction site one of these days. Without much further ado, the opening of my never read movie script.

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

************************************************************************************************************

How to write a real Ghost******* screenplay

by Edwin Stark

NOTE: Any respectable ghosthead can easily replace the asterisks with the missing word and suitably guess who are Peter V, Ray S and Egon S, those incredible characters so masterfully played by Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis.

A PROPOSAL FOR GHOST******* III

FADE IN

This first scene opens in a desert. Anywhere with lots of sand so we can pass it as an archeological digging site. The camera slowly pans over the horizon. Real moviegoers will feel a cold sting as this will remind them of the opening scenes of the Exorcist. Suddenly, from a hole in the sand, excited and frightened shouts start to come out. A middle east type runs out of it, stumbling and shouting.

CHANGE TO

A dusty tent, with a portable generator on the side opens up to show the dirty face of Egon S. whose serious mug we should not be able to recognize yet, for he is hiding it under a scraggy turban. Inside the tent we see the most advanced equipment you can build from the special effects department – with gauges and brilliant lights so you will be tempted to press the first button you can put your finger on. Also, a 13 inches black and white TV set, showing some silly stuff, like I love Lucy translated into arabic. The guy

under the turban knows something has happened. He starts to run toward the hole. An excited bunch of guys with turbans and moustaches and filthy beards crawl out of the hole so fast they make one another stumble on the hand made ladder. When the excitement subsides to an annoyed murmur, Egon S. gets closer and starts to climb down. He glances around, to see what scared the heck out of his workers and he catches a golden glimmer. He grabs a brush and starts to remove dust with it. An ugly snout comes out of

the dirt an a crazy smile shows in Egon S. face. He grabs the medallion he just uncovered with a handkerchief and climbs out of the hole. Holding it high in his hand (can we have some Indiana J. music, please?) as a prize, the annoyed murmur is replaced by an angry chant. Egon vigorous pace toward his tent is almost interrupted when a scared worker runs away shouting his lungs out, as if he is calling for someone.

INSIDE THE TENT

Egon places the medallion on his desk and plugs a probe on it. He flips a switch and a sudden sparks blows up all his equipment and leaves him in the dark. All goes black but the dim image of static in the b&w TV set and a lamp that barely shows us the outline of Egon profile. He taps the lamp and it sparks, regaining some more light. He looks scared, enough to jump because of the scare the TV set gives him when a weird face replaces the final credits of  I love Lucy. It nastily glares at Egon an then disappears.

OUTSIDE THE TENT

The crowd grows more restless.

INSIDE THE TENT

Egon glances out, wondering what to do. The final credits give way to Psychic World, and Peter V. appears on the screen smiling wickedly as we love it. An arabian voice over translates what he says about this week topic.

CLOSE UP

Egon’s face raises its brows in surprise and he stares at the medallion.

CHANGE TO

An arabian boy comes running to Egon tent, and he gives him a few coins and a package with tons of stamps glued to it. He says something in arabic and the boy runs away with the package.

INSIDE THE TENT

Egon looks relieved. He unfold a canvas chair and dusts off some of his equipment. Peter V.’s Psychic

World is gaining momentum with awful jokes impossible to translate into arabic. Whatever Peter is doing, it surely makes him rich enough. Out of sudden, a troop of guys with semi automatic guns trample inside

the tent. Egon nervously notice they carry on their fingers an ugly ring with the medallion’s face engraved on it. He makes a nervous joke.

EGON S.: Whoa! A crash party. I think I don’t have enough potato chips and dip for every one!

FADE OUT

FADE IN

Eerie note plays while New York City skyline fades in and the POV slowly gains speed toward it.

The camera knows where its going and sweeps through a window in a luxurious apartment on

Fifth Avenue. Meanwhile, a spooky tune with playful touches plays in the background.

INT. EVENING CAMERA SWEEP

The camera glances everywhere, trying to put together the pieces of the people living here.

Covers of numerous magazines, framed for display, are placed along the wall. (If we are lucky, the studio jerks will still have in file the covers and headlines used in the first movies’ montage) Some of them mention the break up between Peter V and the Ghost******* after they dealt with Vigo. The camera continues its sweep toward a coffee table and on its top lay copies of books written by Peter V. The camera barely allows us a peek, but their dust jackets read “My dinner with Elvis” and “My date with Marilyn”. (Possibly a book  can be named “Jam Session with Jerry Garcia”, but Deadheads could get p.d. off).

CHANGE TO

The counter of a personal bar. A wedding picture of Dana B and Peter V sits on its beautiful marble top. Everything tells us the guy is loaded and his wife most responsible for the good taste of the furniture. Suddenly, the noise of keys fill the air and someone pass through the POV and drops the mail on the counter. Junk mail and a partially opened package sprawl on the top of the bar, but

EXTREME CLOSE UP

the parcel finally breaks up and the WEEEEIRD medallion and a note slip out, the medallion bounces on a bar stool and clings near its legs. The camera keeps playing its silly games of telling us the outlines of things, when we can partially read DANGEROUS and MEDALLION. Just to make us suspect something about it. Anyway, the box is addressed to Egon S, not Peter V. care of the GHOST******* with lots of Middle East stamps clinging on it.

CHANGE TO

A general view of the back of a well dressed man. He’s calling out someone while slowly turning toward us.

PETER V: Honey, I’m home  (Possibly a cheesy The Shining voice)

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A Great Writing Tool

It’s customary about writers to share writing tips with each other; I guess it’s my turn now.

However, what I’ll share here isn’t a new piece of software that will turn the output of what your sorry thousand-monkeys-persona writes everyday into Shakespeare, nor a Grammar-Nazi website that will automatically fix your penchant to confuse ‘they’re’ with ‘there’. Also, it won’t allow you to sell a gazillion books overnight.

However, if you truly are a writer, this is a potential tool that might interest you as it is a YouTube channel that could help you fine-tune your plot development skills, as it deals with the horrible way movie screenplayers write by pinpointing every single plot hole, cliché and false logics of all your favorite films. The channel is aptly named CinemaSins.

I can almost taste what you are now thinking: “Waitaminute… Why should I check this YouTube channel? What I wanna is advice to write better books!

Well, if you are following me so far, you should be realizing now how important plot is for a movie, which is just a visual narrative and an alternate way of storytelling. And, please, don’t tell me now that you were never jarred out of a movie by a glaring plot hole or by unnecessarily killing some character over which you grew fond as the show progressed.

Oh, boy! Are these guys merciless! They will grab your favorite film and tear it a new one, calling out every stupid decision, plot hole and structure flaws that the screenwriter/director may have perpetrated there (you better not watch it if you’re a fanboy or something), liberally granting cinema sins at a rate of at least ten per minute… and you certaily know the movie being dissected is at top shape when its final sin count barely goes up to seven or eight of these for each minute elapsed.

I try to watch Sinema Cins… errr.. CinemaSins every time that my craptacular jungle connection manages to cooperate with me, and this YouTube channel is certainly helping me to develop finer, tighter plots for my own books. You should give them a try.

And, oh Heavens… Am I so glad that these two dudes don’t review books… 😉

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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Scary walks

For the past five months, my life has gone like this, almost twice a week, every week:

It’s 2 AM and the dirt path ahead of me is only a ghostly gray outline that I can barely see in the scarce light that’s being reflected by the overcast sky above. And it’s drizzling, not enough to get me really drenched, but strong enough to be just annoying.
Several islands of light fleetingly dot the road as I walk past a few ranchos (shanty houses). I’m bathed by their light bulbs but I’m soon plunged into total darkness once more. In a few minutes, the road won’t be this dark, but that’s not much assuring, as I’m about to cross through a very dangerous area (zona roja) where hardly a day passes without the cops dragging away a dead body or two. The terror I’m feeling is delightfully electrifying.

What was I doing at that ungodly hour, in such a terrible place?

Well, I was on my neverending quest for the necessary documents so Kathryn and I could finally get married. The reason I was this early in the morning in such a dangerous area is that I had to catch the earliest bus to Caracas (4 AM!!!) so I could stand in line to request a copy of my birth certificate. But it was a time sensitive matter; if I wasn’t able to reach Caracas before sunrise, I wouldn’t be amongst the first 20 persons that the governmental agency handling these matters would attend that day. Yep, it was a matter of first come, first served… and only the first 20 people. If I made it to spot #21, I could kiss any chances  of success (I may have) goodbye.

And I kissed my chance goodbye at least a dozen times during those five months; I usually was # 29 or # 31… never a lucky 13 or a 19… It came to the point that if I wasn’t sitting on a bus, ready to depart Caucagua at 4:30 AM, it was just a matter of aborting the mission.

Yeah, it was as bad as that; I was already beginning to think of it as some sort of gonzo suicidal, do-or-die kind of thing… and it was no wonder, considering the dangers I had to face almost twice a week.

What else could I do? In my country, good bureaucratic service is just a wet dream, even in this digital day and age. Down here, you still have to do almost every red tape requisite in person, Internet notwithstanding (to add salt to injury—no, make that rubbing salt—Kathryn was able to get her entire share of documentation by mail. Sigh).

Then, on the glorious day of May 11th… I was able to pick a copy of my birth certificate.

And now there’s the background check…

And the vaccination records…

And the passport photos…

It’s a neverending paper chase, I tell you.

Edwin Stark
Signing Off

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Understanding Amazon’s Sales Rankings

One of the greatest mysteries of self-publishing is the way that Amazon has to calculate its sales rankings. Much has been said from the algorhythms involved, most of it hogwash coming from independent writers as they try to out-guess an intricately developed program in their feeble attempts to understand how it works, so they could scheme a way to the top bestsellers lists.

Good luck and good riddance.

On a personal level, I’m more than able to perform an educated guess, since I spent at least six years during the 80s, learning to program a Commodore 64 on the machine language side. That means, I was directly accessing the ones and zeroes that made the computer do what it did at the lowest hardware subsystems. I loved to decrypt machine code, break through copy protection systems and understand what the damn 6502 microprocessor—one of the hottest computer chips at the time—was capable of doing.

Ok, so I know a little about computer programming and that makes me a more reliable source about what Amazon’s Sales Rankings are doing in the background. Trust me on this.

By mere deduction, one is able to easily determine that this Holy Algorhytm is keeping tracks of sales and whether you picked your toes clean in Poughkeepsie, but it’s by means of experimentation that I found out that it tracks many, many more variables.

About 10 weeks ago, I asked exactly 100 people to have a look at The Recycling Kid’s sales page… and its Amazon Rankings went up by 93 spots. More recently, I lowered the price of Cuentos to 99 cents, tweeted about it (Kathryn and another person helped with this)… and its Sales rankings went up from the 964,000s to the 962,000s… but there were absolutely no sales per se of this particular title… Hmmm…

So this algorhythms also tracks social media traffic while determining your book’s final sales ranking… Of course, there are a few certain variables that I still have to test, like if downloading a sample of an e-book does affect its ranking, but…

I also had a sale in one of my zombie books, which caused its ranking skyrocket from the 1,200,000s to the 100,000s overnight… (a sale every week seems to pin your book in the 80,000s… any notion conceived beyond that, without hard data to back it up, is just a wild speculation).

I came up with an idea to glean the required hard data to prove my deductions, but every fellow writing colleague to whom I introduced it has met it with extreme suspicion, so there’s no way to truly test / disprove my theories and finally be able to clear up this intriguing mystery.

I guess there are truly things that mankind isn’t meant to know….

This seems to be one of them.

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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Ahhhh-Ruba! (Part 3)

Okay, we’re did we left off?

Ah, yes, I was about to embark in my pilgrimage across Caracas (while scavenging aluminum cans), so I could burn off the fifteen or so hours I had before I was able to check-in for my plane to Aruba.

Sure, why not? Here we go.

I started in Petare, around the subway station area; it’s the usual filth, with raw sewage spewing out of broken pipes and demolished walkways. This sorry spectacle will last until you walk out of the neighborhood and you arrive to El Marques, a more higher-class place where the filth is, well… classier.

Mind you that I hadn’t done this for almost five years, and I’m a bit shocked after witnessing the many changes which the city of my birth has gone through in that same time period. They chopped down many of my favorite trees and they build a very inefficient, ugly overpass in the most inconvenient locations, robbing that physical spot of the very little personality it had. They renamed a park (just in spite) to a more patriotic denomination and have built many social interest apartment buildings in the most inconvenient of spaces. Ugh.

One incident of note: along the way, I picked up a sizeable amount of scrap metal, specially from a liquor store where a bunch of goons stared with amused grins of mirth as I stuck my head into a trashcan. These idiots merrily pointed a few obvious ones just for getting kicks of seeing this white boy scavenging aluminum cans; I could sense it in their voices. One made an ugly remark about me scraping enough money to eat that night. Bigmouthed as I am, I snapped back with a witty observation that perhaps he’d have a nice fantasy (about me picking up cans) that he could share with a bottle of his favorite brand of hand lotion. The startled expression in his face (and his flushed cheeks) openly told me that my snappy comeback wasn’t too off the mark

Ah, well, in the end I arrived to Plaza Venezuela, where I detoured from my intended route (by a few extra miles) to get rid of my newly-found cargo of scavenged scrap metal. Total amount of aluminum cans I collected: 13 pounds. I was paid a measly 150 bolivars for this, but the same as the bus fare hike earlier that day, this bit of money was destined to help me a little later down the road.

It goes without saying that I made the final stretch of my Caracas trip in the subway (both to avoid seeing a few cans that I may have missed along the way and to spare my trembling legs the tiresome walk)

Anyway, I reached the spot where I intended to board the bus to the airport sometime around 3:20 PM. And another bit of shock waited me there; I entered the Alba Caracas hotel to buy my pass and the female clerk who sold me my ticket kindly (kindly!) informed me that the bus would leave exactly at 3:30 PM. I admit that I was shocked by this… and the fact that the bus actually departed on schedule shocked me more.

I was flabbergasted beyond words!

(T minus 11 hours and 30 minutes to go…)

Well, that was it for now… see you around in a bit.

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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Update to Curacao

There’s an unwritten corollary to Murphy’s Law that states that the chances of something going completely belly-up is directly proportional to its significance (and this trip to meet Kathryn at Curacao is very important as to see if she can put up with the budding horns growing on my forehead and my smell of sulphur). And another unwritten corollary says that if you come from my home country, these possibilities are raised to the power of X times any subject’s given value.

I solved (sort of) the matter of printing my flight information and my insurance voucher (for those of you not versed in the matters of my country, there’s a resolution from the Ministry of Tourism that says I won’t be allowed to board any plane without showing proof of travel insurance) by having a friend print it all out for me.

But that was just the first of a long series of hurdles I still have to face.

Of late, I was having issues getting online access to my itinerary on the airline’s website (which, BTW, has such a poor rating that I’m of two minds in my choices of boarding that plane or swimming my way to that tropical island). Seems this particular airline has been revamping their website recently, and apparently it has commissioned its design to Munchkins on methadone; I get tons of 404 errors while trying to access information in web pages I just loaded in my browser, and this organization is probably outsourcing the online access to reservation details to a web services company in Thala Kampell (a small unheard-of-country in the Himalayan Tibet, sandwiched someplace between Nepal and India) for, on every occasion I tried to input my booking reference or e-ticket numbers, it constantly spewed back that my name is invalid or void.

Of course, after an entire weekend tearing at what little of my hair remains (and dealing with the existential problem of being told by a Thala Kampellian computer that I don’t exist) I decided to contact the airline offices in Caracas. Of course, the only one of their local phone numbers that I noticed was buried under one of those 404 Page Not Found errors. I consulted the local Online Yellow Pages. Yep.. another phone number… this one completely outdated.

Of course, it doesn’t help either when you only have access to a phone service that seems to have been designed by Alexander Graham Bell… last week. My phone (which is just a cell phone masquerading as a regular phone) doesn’t work if there’s no electric power, takes no incoming phone calls and most communications are garbled with a nasty feedback echo of your own voice that makes everything hard to understand.

Time for a plan B.

I chatted with Kathryn today and told her of my issues, warning her that she should take over if I didn’t make any progress (we’re sort of a Online Tag Team from Hell, you know). Luckily, I managed to find a working phone number and I spent almost an hour explaining my problem to a mindless drone who thought I had an Industrial Blender working in the other room (which is the way the phone sounded to me on my side of the line). This person had a slow, monotonous drawl that made me suppose he reads Excel spreadsheets as bedside stories for his kids (though, truth be told, is anyone’s guess if this guy has ever got a chance to reproduce with that voice).

Well, after an hour of that, I was passed to a supervisor, who apparently seemed more interested in cursing me in Swahili than solving my problem. However, I was able to resolve this mix up on my own (I guess) in the end.

Now, to tackle the next hurdle.

Which involves taking a (gulp!) bus to Caracas…

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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Sigh

Sigh.

I wrote a very lovely piece on how I met my girlfriend online… but now it’s gone forever.

I usually compose this stuff in Word, since web-based editors, well, kinda suck big time; prone to crashes, slow and due to my slow Internet speed, they get to lose my carefully written prose every now and then.

Seems it happened again.

I went back Word and searched through all my auto-saved files.

Nothing.

Then I searched through the multiple copies of my pasteboard to see if there was something salvageable there.

Also nothing.

Then I returned to this blog and searched through all post revisions; all three turned out to be just an empty post with the bare title. Sigh… that was deppressing.

Well to sum it up, it was about how I met Simone Beaudelaire on the Amazon’s Customers Discussions Fora and how we slowly became friends… and how our relationship quickly evolved into real love. Of course, I also told there that her real name is Kathryn, that she’s 36, a Texan and a terrific romance writer (and that’s all you need to know as she’s entitled to handle her privacy on her own terms).

It was a very beautiful piece about our plans together in Curacao.

Well, never mind. I quickly updated the post with an apology to the couple of people who stumbled upon it and then deleted the confounded mess to replace it with this one.

Back to the drawing board.

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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Seriously?

My last couple posts were kind of a mistake for two reasons. The first one is that they saddened my girlfriend Simone, since she was finally able to witness the poor state of the place I have to live in. The other reason is that I’ve been swamped by requests of author friends who want to know how much they’d pay for one of the houses depicted there.

Seriously?

I countered by asking them why? They replied me that they were tempted to establish a writers’ colony down here and that the house looked big and nice enough to share it among three or even four writers. It looked a secluded enough place to achieve this particular goal.

Seriously?

Folks, I’m trying to get the HELL out of here… and you want to come in?

Of course, I knew better than swim against this specific current (the more I pushed against it, the more persistent they’d become) and I told them the measures of the land and the sum the owner asked for it (more or less about $20,000 in local currency)… which they found reasonable and they decided to talk it over.

Of course, I just hope they simply drop the idea and forget all about it, as it’s bound to happen with this sort of insane ideas. However, I could understand the attraction of such a concept; three guys chipping in $7,000 each, buying the property and moving in. Every writer’s dream is to find a peaceful and secluded place to pursue their writing. It has its charms, especially if you’re one of those more or less lucky independent authors who are able to sell between 100 to 200 books each month to foot the bills (hey, what the hell do you think I was trying to do for the past four or five years without any success?!?) and even more so if you have setup a retirement fund abroad.

But…. Seriously?!? Are you folks even thinking straight?

Oh, guys… grow up! Sheeeesh!

 

Edwin Stark
Signing Off
 

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A short Photographic Tour (Part 1)

Ah, great! I finally managed to get hold of some fresh batteries for my camera, which had been sitting inside a drawer, gathering dust for the best part of a year. Or at least that’s what the expiration day of the pack says, which I hope is true (things like these are never a certainty in my home country, you know!)

Just a sketchy little map... not much to see here...

Just a sketchy little map… not much to see here…

So I decided to test my new camera, taking some pictures around… just in case. (It would be silly to drag the little gadget to Curacao just to discover it doesn’t work anymore, wouldn’t it?) And I think that a small photographic tour is in order. Fear not, it won’t be one of those endless slideshow session that your boring Uncle Frank seeems so fond of.

Of course, a little preparation comes first, so fewer explanations will be required later. I made a small map of the street where I live (portrayed here on the right) which shows the spots from which each of the snapshots was taken. Regrettably, I failed at showing the rainforest in each of the shots I tried to make, mainly for two reasons: A) It’s a bad case of can’t see the rainforest for the palm trees and B) Every picture I took didn’t really convey the feeling of big that your first impression of walking through the tropical jungle makes on you. Believe me, it’s one of those things you have to experience first hand.

Originally, I intended to make this just one blog post, but after making the initial layout, I realized it’d just become a big, unwieldly mess, so I decided to split it into two halves, and publish each one independently. So, here’s the first part of this blog post…

Looks normal... but so did Elm Street...

Looks normal… but so did Elm Street…

Now on with my first picture… The one on the left looks down on the street I live; it would be a great  spot to practice some radical skateboarding moves… if it wasn’t for the awful pavement conditions that would break your neck after just a few yards rolling on the highly irregular surface.

Does the sun glare bother you? Got a surprise for you; that’s glare reflecting into the camera… that’s the general humidity of being so near the jungle. hanging on the air 24/7.  It shows heavily in this picture because it’s early November and the air is cold enough for the humidity to form a constant light mist until it’s 9 or 10 AM. It’s not normally noticeable during the rest of the year but, believe me, you’d feel it on your skin the minute you walk in.

The street ends in a knot landing (which has frequently trapped unwary idiots in a mudhole for hours; people whought they could use the knot with impunity without realizing it was in reality a cul-de-sac.

Looks like a nice place to live in? Well, you’d like it… if you’re into being surrounded by another 12 empty houses, giving you the cringe-worthy feeling that you live in a ghost town.

Particularly recommended if you’re a hermit.

Ah... Home, crappy home!

Ah… Home, crappy home!

The next picture is of my own house. It’s humid, the walls are cracking, the roof is leaking and the paint is peeling. The two trees planted in front are its natural air conditioning system, as they keep the place under a shade all a year long. I live in a comfortable 70-80°F temperature range… while outside this natural parasol the sun blazes away at 110°F on every surface it shines on. While it’s shady, you can still feel the excessive moisture on your skin all 24 hours of any given day. Even at this nice temperature you’ll perspire and your sweat will have no where to go with all this water saturating the air.

Ah, and when the day is particularly hot, you won’t avoid the discomfort of experiencing the occasional hot air breezes casually drafting through the house, blasting away all the cool air out from the insides of the structure.

Also, electric power goes out  six to seven times a day, the toilets don’t work and it’s infested with all jungle bug that’s conceivable.

Soto1

Work never ends…

Now, this plot belongs to one of my “neighbors“. This is one of the few measly sources of income that I still have left since my business manufacturing school gymnastic mattresses folded for causes beyond any human control (that, and since no one ever buys my books, that’s about it).

Before I took care of the place, it was an impenetrable field of camelote, our local version of elephant grass. You could barely place a foot into the area without hitting an African bee nest or stumbling upon a snake.

Took me six months of grueling hard work with a machete just to put it in the condition that the place now is in. Notice the haze? The photo was taken near 10 AM and you can still see it. Also, notice this yard now requires a trimming as the grass begins to show 5-inch long blades just a couple of days after it has been cut.

Selfie time!

Selfie time!

Now, I’m not particularly fond of selfies, for I’m not a very fotogenic guy (one of the reasons I look like as if I had just bit into a lemon in this snapshot). Like my new look? I call it the shave-my-head-to-prevent-you-from-noticing-my-hair-is-thinning-on-top look.

You may wonder where’s the rainforest in this picture… well, this area used to be a thick jungle a few years back, until a raging fire killed all the trees in existence over that place. Now only elephant grass, brambles and underbrush grows there, turning it into a very impassable location… except maybe for the prowlers and opportunistic thieves that like to roam the place during the night.

There’s a lot of petty pilfering happening in this place, as a dozen abandoned houses are too much of a temptation for the burglars. Most of the structures present in the area are missing windows, light switches, toilet bowls and electrical wiring; you name it, it must have been stolen already. In other words, anything that isn’t nailed down is a target for these petty thieves. These criminals have created faint trochas (trails)  through all that mess, so they basically have the run of the place and move unhindered from this spot to their stinking hideouts.

Nothing can be done about it, except keeping your eyes peeled for their illegal activities.

 

Well, I guess today’s post sort of covers the first half of my little photographic tour of my personal hellhole.

Stay tuned for the second part one of these days…

Edwin Stark
Signing Off

 

 

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Planning the Big Plan

Things have been quite still on this blog for the past month, and I’ll soon tell you why…

First of all, I haven’t had time to write; doing very little of that recently, as I now spend much of my time online (as possible) chatting with Simone. It is a far from relaxing activity for me, since I must deal with slow connection speeds and constant web browser crashes that are driving me crazy. Sometimes I don’t even know if my messages get through (they get plenty of “your message couldn’t be sent” red messages on FB… but all these nuisances are worth it, since she and I are making a lot of plans.

Yeah… we developed a very interesting plot for Xaman’s sequel involving Ixchel and Josh and a larger-than-life cast of characters… in fact, the whole idea is so big it’s almost daunting. Simone wrote a very cool prologue for a half-first chapter I already wrote down. I think it will please a lot of the people who asked that we write what happened after the events that unfolded in Xaman.

Plus, we have the barebones and first chapter for a gothic ghost story set in my fabled town of Nosfort during the early 1900’s, involving a haunted hotel.  It might become a classic, I tell you.

Just Released for the Kindle!

Also, Simone and I put together a collection of our creepy short stories; both had a few of these lying about, each one hoping to have enough short tales to build our own individual collections but, alas, that was something set for a distant future as neither one of us had the inclination to write some more short stories for the time being.

Fortunately, Simone came to me with the idea of jamming all this tales together in a single volume and market them as Darkness Waits. I thought over it for all of fifteen seconds before saying yes, as it was a terrific idea. I’m happy to report the book has already earned its first 5-star review. Just click on the picture to the right and scroll down the page to read it!

But what has been taking most of my time during this month is that we’re planning to meet at an island of the Caribbean before the year ends. Yep, Simone and I are going to travel to Curacao and have a brief encounter there. So far, it has been quite difficult to organize, as getting my sorry butt out of the hellhole of a country I live in has proved quite a challenge.

Of course, I mean to keep you all posted of what happens, but meanwhile, go and buy tons of my books to make this unlikely dream possible… (Oh, hell, who am I kidding?)

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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