Book ’em, Danno–Episode 4

Things get heavy for episode 4 of Book ’em, Danno, which covers “…And They Painted Daisies on His Coffin” and “24 Karat Kill”. Danny is at the center of a police involved shooting, there’s a convoluted plot involving smuggling gold in fish, and Big Chicken isn’t the only fowl in town.

Listen on Soundcloud or iTunes.

Don’t let Big Chicken down.

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“I Have a Blood Pressure Situation.”

“If I ever let myself go…SPLAT!” -Frank Burns, M*A*S*H

Turns out that Frank Burns and I have that in common. A blood pressure situation, that is.

My blood pressure was fine in my twenties, back when I smoked and live on fast food and Hot Pockets. Then I quit smoking and started eating better, cooking actual meals, eating fast food only sometimes, and giving up Hot Pockets all together.

And my blood pressure started running a little high.

I will go to my grave pissed about that.

That grudge is probably one of the reasons why my blood pressure has recently gotten worse.

I would wager that my health problems over the past couple of years are probably a contributing factor as well. Stress can play hell with the blood pressure and even though I’m a year removed from that situation, it’s not hard to believe that some effects might still linger. I mean, it did take forever for my hair to start to grow back.

And frankly, my diet hasn’t been the greatest lately.

Though I haven’t gone back to Hot Pockets, and fast food is still an occasional thing, a little analysis of my diet has shown that sodium has still crept in and is probably the main culprit from my blood pressure situation getting worse.

Someone pointed out that age might also be a contributing factor and to them I say –That negativity is not helping.

So this month, I’m monitoring my sodium intake by logging all of my food (which I hate) and making some dietary changes in an attempt to reduce my saltiness. (In this case the literal. The figurative is just a personality quirk.) Maybe, possibly, perhaps a little less sodium will make a big difference.

I’m also going back to exercising first thing in the morning. Yes, I exercise most days of the week and exercise is good for the blood pressure, but I think going back to morning workouts will give this whole lifestyle tweak an extra boost. And I need a boost right now.

Hopefully, all of this will be enough to get my blood pressure back to reasonable levels.

I’d like to avoid a splat situation.

September Writing Projects

I am totally finished with Murderville. The last two seasons are written, revised, polished, scheduled, ebooked, teased, promo-ed, everything. I am done with it. All that’s left is to manage the little details as the rest of this Patreon project plays out.

As happy as I am to be done with this project that I’ve been working on for years, I feel a little lost without it. I spent half of August trying to decide what to work on next.

I’ve decided to go back to the Outskirts. That’s right. I’m revising (Vampires) Made in America. Again.

Last year when my goal was to submit the book to agents, I realized after the first few rejections that it needed more work, but I wasn’t sure what it needed.

Earlier this year, I realized that I was starting the book in the wrong place. I needed to get rid of the first chapter and start with the second. Which is easy enough to do. Yes, I lose some stuff I really love, but that’s the nature of the writing beast. You can’t keep everything you love if it doesn’t serve the story. The first chapter really doesn’t serve it.

But that didn’t feel like the only change that I needed to make. There was something else that I just couldn’t put my finger on yet.

I had my epiphany about two weeks ago. In an after-shower moment (all of those best ideas happening while I shower, after my shower, or while I do laundry), the theme of the novel fully clarified itself to me and I realized I needed to add another viewpoint. That’s what’s been missing this whole time.

So, that’s what I’ll be doing this month.

Maybe I can finally get this book right.

Episode 3 of Book ’em, Danno is out. Also worth noting that the podcast is now on iTunes, though I don’t officially say anything about that until the fifth episode because that’s what happens when I try to stay an episode or two ahead. But you don’t have to wait until then to subscribe and listen.

Episode 4 should be coming out shortly.

Murderville patrons, brace yourselves. The ebook of Murderville: Rounds of Luck will be going live on September 10th.

Yes, I might be done with the project on my end, but the goodies will keep on coming for quite a while.

Rerun Junkie–Guest Stars: Boy George on The A-Team

Season 4 of The A-Team featured a lot of what I call stunt casting: guest stars that are extremely popular at the time and are put on a show to capitalize on that. Now there can be a fine line between a genuine guest starring role and a stunt casting, but you’ll know it when you see it because you really can’t ignore it.

During The A-Team’s fourth season, they had Hulk Hogan (twice!), Rick James, Pat Sajak and Vanna White had cameos because Murdock went on Wheel of Fortune for some reason, and, of course, there was Boy George.

I know, right?

The episode is called “Cowboy George” and the basic plot is Face is doing some talent booking, working with some dude named Dash, who screws him over on his contract by exercising a clause that allows for substitutions. So instead of getting Cowboy George for some honkytonk gig, he gets Boy George and Culture Club, who have been led to believe they’re going to be playing the Arizona Forum, not a dance hall called The Floor ’em. This poses a problem to LQ Jones, who demanded Cowboy George to insure the show would be a sellout. The he and his buddies could rob the audience’s payroll. To get help get out of the jam, Hannibal impersonates Cowboy George, but Boy George and Culture Club perform, which first angers and then charms the audience. The A-Team also thwarts the robbery and takes the bad guys to the sheriff, but it turns out the local replacement sheriff isn’t really a sheriff; he’s in on the whole thing, too, and the real sheriff is dead in one of the cells were Hannibal, BA, and Face are being held. Outside, a mob of angry workers are trying to break in to hang them because they think the three men stole their payroll. Which means it’s up to Murdock (who has an obsession with the Lennon Sisters in this episode) and Boy George to get them out of trouble.

Now, here’s why I think this is the greatest bit of guest casting in the history of television.

Unlike the Hulk Hogan or Rick James episodes (which I enjoy, don’t get me wrong), The A-Team aren’t hired by Boy George to do a job. They just sort of stumble into this scenario and Boy George happens to be involved and he goes along for the ride.

And he is clearly having a good time.

Boy George is an amiable guy, willing to cut down the band’s contracted fee from $1.2 million to $600,000 and he’s confident that Culture Club can draw the kind of crowd necessary to make that kind of money if they can get some advertising. Everyone loves Culture Club (fact check: this is true). He’s not put off by the booing rednecks, either, though his first impression of the dance hall isn’t the best. He and the band go out and start their set. Of course, the crowd falls in love with them.

When the trouble starts and Face, Hannibal, and BA get thrown in jail, the not-sheriff interrupts the show to tell the crowd what happened to their payroll, hoping to work up a lynch mob. It’s Boy George to the rescue. He acts quickly, going to the radio station where Murdock has locked himself in a booth to both get publicity for the Culture Club shows, and to also play every Lennon Sisters song he can get access to.

The two of them then break into a shop because they need some supplies and a plan to save the guys. Murdock struggles to pick the lock, even when Boy George provides him with a bobby pin. In the end, Boy George just kicks the door in. He even has a funny quip!

Murdock: See, a really honest man doesn’t really have an appetite for this sort of thing.

Boy George: Yeah, but who needs honesty?

Isn’t that great?!

Murdock gets the idea to smuggle some explosives into the besieged jail by dressing up as the pregnant wife of one of the guys and Boy George gives helpful critiques of Murdock’s clothing choices.

Boy George rides along after the jailbreak to stop the bad guys at the airport. And then he and Culture Club perform one final song for a very pleased crowd of cowboys.

I know. It sounds ludicrous. It shouldn’t work at all. And it probably would fall absolutely flat if not for Boy George being slightly amused the whole time. It’s not that he doesn’t take any of it seriously. He’s not goofing nor is he acting like it’s all beneath him. He comes across as very oh-you-crazy-yanks bemused and decides to enjoy the craziness. He gets the spirit of a show in which cars flip and explode and the people in them crawl out looking a little disoriented and disheveled.

Boy George brings the joy to the episode. Pure, blessed joy.

And we are all better for it.

The New Day Job

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Now that I’ve been working at this new day job gig for a little over three weeks and we’re nametag official, I suppose I can fill folks in on the details.

I’m working as a clerk at the local library part time. Right now the hours are perfect for me. I make enough to pay the bills, but I also have time to write and podcast. Though the job is a lot more than just shelving books and checking them out, it’s not stressful. There is always someone nearby to answer any questions and so far, the training I’ve received has been very good. And thankfully, I’m getting the hang of things. It’s quite the departure from the last day job.

I know what you’re thinking. A writer working at a library? It’s perfect! Well, yeah, sorta.

For one thing, it’s exposing me to books outside of my reading comfort zones (which I’ve been trying to do in the last few years anyway). It’s also exposing me to books that I’d never read, but it’s still good to know they exist. Like Amish romances. I had no idea these were so popular, but let me tell you, we carry a lot. So, it’s definitely inspiring me to read more, which will hopefully translate to me reading more consistently so I can read more.

On the flip side, it reminds me of how much I’m not accomplishing. Processing all of the new books reminds me of the ones that are sitting unpublished or unfinished on my hard drive. I want to say that it inspires me to work, but so far it’s just been a bit disheartening. I see all of those books and I can’t find my place.

Though if there are readers for Amish romances, then I’m sure there are people out there that want to read whatever it is I write. Something for everyone, right?

Sure.

In the meantime, I suppose I better get to work.