Don’t Fear the Changes

As you may have noticed, Kiki Writes About is undergoing some major changes. I’m bored and it’s time to shake some shit up.

I haven’t been using the blog like I used to. I used to make a lot more posts about a variety of different subjects, but over time, that creative flow slowed to a trickle of have-to posts about what writing projects I was working on, Murderville posts, and Book ’em, Danno posts. Part of the reason for that is that Kiki Writes About was starting to feel a bit cramped. I started second guessing anything I might post because it might not fit with everything else.

With my creative productivity already at its lowest, I ended up even more stifled.

This is my attempt at un-stifling myself.

The biggest change is that I’ve created a whole new site that will be going live on August 1st.

aka KikiWrites will be the new home of Book ’em, Danno, any and all other podcast ventures, and Rerun Junkie. I’m not deleting the first two seasons of Book ’em, Danno or the Rerun Junkie posts from Kiki Writes About. In fact, the last episode of Season 2 of Book ’em, Danno will show up here right before the new site goes live. But from Season 3 on, everything will only be found on aka KikiWrites. The Book ’em, Danno page and the Rerun Junkie page will also be disappearing. They’ll be replaced by a page for aka KikiWrites to help direct traffic to the right place.

The Writing for Tips page can now be found under the Read Me tab. I wanted to consolidate all of my available stories in one space just to clean up the look a little bit.

As of now, the Murderville tab remains the same, but if I decide to do another Patreon project, I’ll end up creating a main Patreon page for all of those projects. So that could be moved in the future. Heads up!

Also, no more monthly writing project posts. There’s really no need for it while I’m taking a writing break and even before the writing break, I was working on the same project for months at a time, so it was sort of pointless. With Book ’em, Danno moving and Murderville coming to an end, those updates aren’t really necessary either.

What I’m hoping is that these changes will inspire me to get back to writing on whatever is on my mind and allow me to better explore a variety of topics that I’ve been wanting to write about, but don’t really have the motivation. And I mean that for aka KikiWrites as well as Kiki Writes About. There’s been Rerun Junkie posts I’ve been meaning to write for months, but haven’t gotten around to it.

Let this be the kick in the ass that I need!

Murderville: So Long, Neighbor–Episode 7

Autopsy Results

The coroner’s office was in a small building that didn’t give much consideration to the living. The magic, as Lu Jones said, happened on the first floor; everything above them was administration. The break room was up there, too, but most people hung out in the death investigator’s office. Lu said it was more fun there. Vince wasn’t so sure about that.

Nobody was in the office when Detective Carthos and Detective DeMarte arrived. Which was a shame. It would have been an excuse not to go into the autopsy room. And Vince could have used the comic relief from Lu or Jerome. He was still reeling from the stunt DeMarte pulled with Christabelle Calder. Absolutely astounded by the fact that he actually insinuated that she was somehow involved in Lister McKinney’s death. This was the excellent detective that all other detectives in the Munsterville Police Department were held up to in comparison. This was supposed to be the gold standard.

Gold standard of crap. The only thing Detective DeAndre DeMarte was concerned with was making himself look good and he had no reservation about bludgeoning people with his authority while he did it. Detective Carpenter might have been tripped up by the Winchester Harmon case, but he was nothing but thorough and respectful. He’d never once been embarrassed to be associated with him.

Vince followed DeMarte into the autopsy room. It wasn’t his favorite place in the world to be, but it was all part of the job. The room was brightly lit and smelled strongly of disinfectant, which was better than what it had smelled like on other occasions that he’d been there. Dr. Pascal stood at a table on the other side of the room, an old woman laid open before him. Vince was surprised that he’d gotten through the autopsies so quickly to get to the old woman that Lu had bumped. It wasn’t even ten o’clock yet; he wasn’t supposed to get to her until after lunch.

There were three other tables between Vince and the autopsy in progress and he still felt too close.

“Good morning, Dr. Pascal,” DeMarte called across the room. He didn’t look like he wanted to get any closer and for the first time since his two weeks of DeMarte hell had started, Vince agreed with him.

“Good morning, detectives,” Dr. Pascal called back. He was a short man with wild eyes. To this man, everything was interesting, everything was an adventure. “I’ll be right with you.” He muttered something in Russian -his mother’s language, according to Lu- and looked at the assistant weighing the woman’s organs. “Grant. I need you to do a full toxicology work up on Mrs. Jefferson here. Include all of the heavy metals and known poisons.”

Vince shrunk back a step. Lu said the old lady’s death looked natural, but Dr. Pascal wanted to test for poisoning. He hoped Lu wasn’t going to get into trouble for bumping the old lady’s autopsy back.

“Now, gentlemen,” Dr. Pascal said as he stripped off his gloves and dumped them in a biohazard disposal bin. “You’re here about Mr. McKinney, yes?”

“That’s right, Doc,” DeMarte said.

***

Can you believe it? Murderville is almost over! Don’t miss out on the last couple of episodes of this five year endeavor. Become a patron for as little as $1 an episode.

July Writing Projects

I thought I’d be done with the revisions on The End of the (Werewolf) Curse by the end of June, but I severely underestimated the amount of rewriting necessary to finish it. I’ve got less than thirty written pages and a few more rewritten chapters to go, so I’ll be wrapping that up this month.

And then that’s it.

I’ve decided to take a break from writing for now.

I don’t know how long the break will last or what it will look like exactly. My inability to completely stop writing is known. But what I’ve been doing for the last year (and actually the last few years, if we’re going to be honest) isn’t working for me anymore. I need some time to just exist and see what happens. Because right now, I’m not going anywhere.

I do feel another site redesign coming in the very near future. I’ve got some ideas I’ve been sitting on and I think they’re about ready to hatch.

But you can still enjoy the fruits of my labors!

Episode 7 of Murderville: So Long, Neighbor will go live on July 13th. It’s the second to last episode of the last season of Murderville, so become a patron before the fun runs out. $1 an episode let’s you read. $2 an episode gets you a sweet bonus every other month.

The season finale of Season 2 of Book ’em, Danno will go live at the end of the month. In the meantime, enjoy episode 25 and all of the previous episodes as well. Then do all the things you do to show love to a podcast. Let this be the summer of podcast love.

Book ’em, Danno–Episode 25

It’s time for a two-parter!

In part one of “Three Dead Cows at Makapu’u”, Five-O is looking for a brilliant scientist who seems to have recreated his deadly bacteria. In part two, they’re looking for the test tube containing said bacteria.

Mild trigger warning: At the beginning of part one they do indeed show one of the three dead cows. So, if you’re going to watch the episode and you’re sensitive to that sort of thing, be warned. Also, I do briefly discuss the dead cow at the beginning of my commentary on the episode, in case you want to skip that as well. No hard feelings.

Listen on Soundcloud and iTunes.

Here’s the lovely Loretta Swit and the less-than-lovely test tube of death. Seriously. It looks like oatmeal spit.

Murderville: So Long, Neighbor–Episode 6

Back to the Neighborhood

Vince unlocked his front door, grateful to be home. He’d taken his dear sweet time eating his dinner and then gave DeMarte an extra twenty minutes, but the man still hadn’t contacted him in any way. Vince even checked his desk before he left just in case he missed him. He hadn’t.

Tossing his workbag in the nearest chair and slinging his suit jacket over the back of it, Vince made his way to the bathroom for some antacids. It wasn’t so much the fast food dinner upsetting his stomach (though he really should try to eat better), it was the not knowing. Vince knew that DeMarte had been at Revolutionary Medicines, but how long could he grill Revolution Dude about his cousin’s death without arresting him or Revolution Dude invoking a lawyer? Not long. So, what had DeMarte been doing? And where had he been doing it at?

Vince popped a couple of the fruit flavored chalk tabs and let them dissolve a second before crunching them up. He headed to the kitchen for some water.

His phone rang. Vince fished it out of his pants pocket and his stomach clinched at the name on the caller ID.

“Carthos.”

“It’s DeMarte. Where are you?”

“At home. Where are you?”

“At the station.” He sounded a little peeved. “When did you leave?”

“About ten minutes ago. I guess you just missed me.”

“I guess.”

Vince smiled at the man’s irritation. He didn’t know if DeMarte would make a fuss about him leaving the station without him (he probably would, if only a casual complaint to another detective to give Vince’s reputation a little smear), so he decided to take his pleasure in aggravating him.

“I wish you would have let me know you were leaving.”

“You were following up with forensics. You were gone so long that I figured you’d gone home for the night.”

“Never assume, Carthos,” DeMarte said, his voice sharp. Vince winced. “As a detective, you should know better than that. Cases can be lost because of assumptions. And as a junior detective,” Vince noted the extra aggressive emphasis, “you should always check in with your senior on a case before you do anything.”

Communication goes both ways, Vince thought, but he said, “Yes, sir.”

“Now,” DeMarte said, his voice shifting from disappointed dad to superior detective, “I need you to do some research for me.”

“Okay,” Vince said, uncertain.

“I know you’re at home.” Vince heard the smirk in his voice. “But this could be an important lead. I need you to find a female private investigator here in Munsterville. She’s about early 30’s, blonde, with pink streaks in her hair.”

“Okay,” Vince said, hustling from the kitchen to the living room so he could fish his notebook out of his coat pocket and write it down.

“She was supposedly working on a cold case about a missing person. She questioned both Mr. McKinney and Virgil Clapp about it because they and their other cousin were playing in the park the day she went missing. She might be involved in Mr. McKinney’s death.”

Vince froze, notebook in hand, pen still unaccounted for, confusion slamming him to a halt.

“What? How?” Vince asked. DeMarte wasn’t just grasping at straws; he was grasping at anything that resembled a straw. What the hell had he been doing?

“It’s important to investigate all of the leads. You know that,” DeMarte said. “This came up while I was talking to Mr. Clapp. It’s possible the woman pushed Mr. McKinney a little too hard during her investigation. I’m still looking into the case that she was supposedly investigating. An anonymous tip apparently solved it, but I’m not so sure. It doesn’t feel right. I feel like I’m just scratching the surface of something.”

Vince rolled his eyes. The surface of what?

“I need the name of that investigator by eight tomorrow morning. We need to jump on this.”

Vince wanted to tell him no, but instead he said okay and hung up.

He stared at his phone for a moment, attempting to get his blood pressure under control. After a few minutes of futility, he put down his phone, found his pen, and wrote down everything he could remember about the private investigator he was supposed to find. He was tired. He didn’t want to do anymore work tonight. He didn’t want to look for any private investigator. He didn’t want to indulge in DeMarte’s delusion. It was a pointless search. This wasn’t a murder. No matter how many leads DeMarte followed, it wasn’t going to be a murder.

But he was going to do it anyway.

###

It’s back to Hollyhock Road. What answers will they find there? If any? Become a patron for as little as $1 an episode and find out for yourself.

June Writing Projects

It should be no surprise that I didn’t finish revising The End of the (Werewolf) Curse in May. I’m almost half-way through the manuscript, so it’s entirely reasonable to assume I’ll have it done this month.

Yes, I know. Best laid plans.

The thing is that I’m really enjoying taking my time with this. I haven’t looked at this manuscript for about three years. This round of revisions is going to take a few heavy rewrites to make the changes I want that I think will improve it. I really like this story and I want to take my time with it. Maybe reacquaint myself with a time when I used to be good at this.

Speaking of being good, I submitted a couple of poems to the Writer’s Digest Annual Contest at the beginning of May and then a couple of weeks later got the rejection from the 100 Word Story Contest I entered last September. Sunrise, sunset. One day I’ll feel that victory high again.

Maybe.

Season 5 of Murderville is quickly coming to a close. The next episode of So Long, Neighbor goes live June 8th. There’s not a lot of time left to become a patron. $1 an episode lets you read. $2 an episode also gets you a sweet bonus, like the one due on June 22nd. Don’t miss out!

 

Season 2 of Book ’em, Danno is also winding down. Episode 25 should go live at the end of the month. In the meantime, entertain yourself with the most recent episode, which was just released at the end of May. Or entertain yourself with past episodes. Hell, go back to the beginning! I’m not the boss of you. Listen, like, subscribe, share, comment, love, and enjoy.

Book ’em, Danno–Episode 24

Episode 24 features an old second season episode and a new second season episode.

In episode 22 “Nightmare Road”, Five-O attempts to solve the mystery of a very important scientist who disappears after apparently killing a man. Is he a killer or is it all part of an elaborate plot? I think you know the answer to this one.

I also talk about episode 18 of the reboot, “Lekio”, which features James Caan playing opposite son Scott as a retired NYC cop turned PI investigating the death of his friend. It’s as much fun as you think it is and I hope you think it’s a lot of fun.

Listen on Soundcloud and iTunes.

I’m going to continue to cover at least one reboot episode a season. Obviously, I’m going to cover any episode that directly relates to the ’68 series, but since I didn’t really watch the reboot much aside from seasons 9 and 10, I think this will be a fun little thing for me to do. I’m going to pick stand alone episodes as much as possible to avoid any season arc spoilers and confusion, and if they happen to have minor classic series ties (like “Lekio” featuring a small guest spot by Jimmy Borges, who guested on the original series) even better.

And if that’s not your bag, that’s cool. You can just skip to the end and miss me talking about the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Movie.

Murderville: So Long, Neighbor–Episode 5

Family Secrets

Unlike a lot of other places in Munsterville, Revolutionary Medicines closed at ten on Sundays. It had been a few hours since DeMarte had first talked to Virgil Clapp but as the owner of the business, he was sure the man was still there. He wanted to have another chat. Whatever the man was hiding needed to come out.

DeMarte parked in the lot in front of the shop, the brightly lit front door calling to him like he was a moth.

The bell above the door jingled when DeMarte opened it and like a retail magic trick, a young man appeared from a backroom. He stopped when he saw DeMarte, looking him up and down with suspicion.

“Can I help you?” he asked.

DeMarte noted the less than friendly tone.

“I’m Detective DeMarte. I’m looking for Virgil Clapp or Revolution Dude as he’s called now.”

“Dude,” the young man hollered, not taking his eyes off DeMarte. “You got a visitor.”

Revolution Dude came out of the backroom, glaring as soon as he saw DeMarte.

“Can I help you?” he asked as he walked behind the counter to stand next to his employee.

“Friendly staff you have here,” DeMarte said, indicating to the man with the stone face.

“Never had any complaints about Burt,” Revolution Dude said.

“I bet not.”

“What do you need, Detective?” Revolution Dude asked. “Another one of my cousins dead?”

“Should they be?”

“We’re all getting up there.”

The two men had a momentary stare down. DeMarte just smiled. He loved these kinds of challenges.

“I came back to ask you a few clarifying questions about your cousin,” DeMarte said, approaching the counter casually.

“Which one?

DeMarte appreciated this little cat and mouse that ol’ Virgil was trying to do, but it really wasn’t fair for the man to be playing with an expert.

“How about both of them?” DeMarte said.

Revolution Dude stared at the detective for a second and then looked at Burt.

“Go ahead and take off for the night, Burt,” he said. “I can handle the last few hours alone. Aurora Dream will be here in the morning to open.”

“Right,” Burt said.

He moved out from behind the counter, glaring at Detective DeMarte for the duration of his walk to the front door. The bell over the door tinkled a jolly notice of his less-than-jolly exit.

“Is there a reason why you’re pestering me about my cousins?” Revolution Dude asked, getting DeMarte’s attention. He turned to him with his patented, pleasant smile.

“There is always a reason why I ask questions. I’m a detective. That’s what I do.”

“I see you didn’t bring your other detective with you.”

“He’s working other leads.”

Mr. Dude snorted. “I bet.”

The temperature of the shop rose a degree or two in the moment of heated silence.

“What are you not telling me about your cousins?” DeMarte asked.

“Who said I’m not telling you something about my cousins?”

“You are.” DeMarte smirked. “I could tell by the way you answered a few of the questions I asked this afternoon. You were a little too quick with your denials.”

“So? I don’t need to think about a question I know the answer to.”

“No?” DeMarte chuckled. “It’s funny how the questions you knew the answers to so quickly involved both Mr. Gorski and Mr. McKinney.”

Revolution Dude said nothing.

“Now, here’s what I think,” DeMarte said, taking a little stroll around the shop as he spoke. It really was a marvel of the sixties. The shelves were lined with all sorts of essential oils and other such natural medicines. DeMarte wondered if any of them could be used in a nefarious way. Maybe Mr. McKinney fell over because he was poisoned. “I think that something transpired between you and your other two cousins. Something that you don’t think is anyone else’s business, but maybe it is. Something you don’t want anyone else to know. Definitely not me.” DeMarte indicated to himself and smiled. “It may not be something illegal. It may not have anything to do with Lister McKinney ending up dead in his garage. But I bet it does. And that means it’s something I need to know.”

DeMarte ceased his strolling, ending up nearly opposite the former Virgil Clapp at the other side of the small shop. Revolution Dude looked at him for a solid minute, staring hard at him. But DeMarte was a professional. He wasn’t going to break the gaze; he wasn’t going to break under the gaze.

“Both you and Otis Gorski said that you both went to Lister McKinney’s house back in February. Now, from what I’ve gathered talking to both of you, this isn’t the sort of thing that happens very often. It must have been a special occasion. So, what was it? What was so important that the cousins had to get together to discuss it?”

***

Every family has its secrets. Did one of them contribute to Lister’s death? Become a patron for as little as $1 an episode and see what beans are spilled.

May Writing Projects

Since I managed to write a few decent poems last month, and since I also found some even more decent poems that I’d written previously, I’m going to submit those to the Annual Writer’s Digest Contest. I don’t expect anything to come of it, but I’m in the mood to waste some entry fees.

In addition to this questionable decision, I’m going to go back to the Outskirts Universe and do another revision on The End of the (Werewolf) Curse. In theory, I would like to be done with all three of the Outskirts novels one day and the only way I can do that is if I actually revise them. To Tell The (Conjurer’s) Truth needs a heavy rewrite and I should do it first, but quite frankly, I’m procrastinating on it because I know the amount of work it needs and I don’t feel like it. So, I’ll do this one first and then see how I feel.

I’m also ruminating over what to do with my Patreon after Murderville ends. Do I want to do anything with it? It’s kind of nice having a dedicated project that I get paid for, but at this point in my existence, I’m not sure what I’d want that new project to be. Another writing project? Something more in line with podcasting? I don’t have the answers to any of these questions at this point. But I’m thinking about them.

I’m also thinking about Episode 5 of So Long, Neighbor, which goes live on May 11th. Become a patron now just in time to bid farewell to Murderville. $1 an episode lets you read, $2 an episode lets you read and gets you a sweet bonus every other month. It’s not too late to see how it all ends.

Episode 24 of Book ’em, Danno will go live at the end of the month, but you can pass the time by listening to an extra long Episode 23. Dan Budnik joined me to talk about “Cry, Lie” and “Most Likely to Murder” and I can assure you that there’s enough fashion discussion and facial hair talk for everyone. Give it a listen and then go give Dan a listen over at Eventually Supertrain, which contains all of his wonderful podcasts.

Book ’em, Danno–Episode 23

In an extra long episode, your favorite and mine, Daniel Budnik, is back to talk about a couple of season 2 episodes, including my favorite of the season. In episode 20, “Cry, Lie”, Chin Ho is accused of bribery, and in episode 21, “Most Likely to Murder”, the wife of a police officer, who is Danny’s friend, is murdered. It’s Martin Sheen with a mustache and Tom Skerritt without one.

Like our previous chat, Dan and I will be spoiling the episodes. I’ll give you a spoiler warning in the episode, of course, but here’s your timestamps: Spoilers for “Cry, Lie” happen about 41:35 to 47:18 and spoilers for “Most Likely to Murder” happen about 1:34:17 to 1:52:09.

I cannot stress it enough to watch both episodes before you listen. You do not want to be spoiled for either one of them. Don’t ruin the experience.

Listen on Soundcloud and iTunes.

My eternal thanks to Dan for joining me once again. He’s a good sport considering the last time I subjected him to Gavin MacLeod in a prison shower. Be sure to go to Eventually Supertrain and check out all of his writing and his podcasts, including Rockin’ All Week with You, which he somehow failed to mention during the closing and I didn’t realize it. That’s what happens when you’re so prolific.

Here’s a picture of Steve talking to Gloria Warren (Linda Ryan). She’s the reason I have a pixie cut. Watch the episode and you’ll understand why.