Friday, April 10, 2015

If it's Friday This Must Be...

I recently saw again the film If it's Tuesday This Must be Belgium.


If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Music and lyrics by Donovan P. Leitch (sung by J. P. Rags)

 If it's Tuesday, this must be Belgium
 If it's Wednesday, this must be Rome
 If it's Thursday, this must be Montreux
 I feel I never wanna go home

 If this is London, why ain't it raining?
 The sun is shining on Saint Paul's Dome
 If this is real then I must be dreaming
 Can't wait to tell the folks back home
 Can't wait to tell the folks back home

 If it's Tuesday, this must be Belgium
 If it's Wednesday, this must be Rome
 If it's Thursday, this must be Montreux
 I feel I never wanna go home


To my surprise, it had a completely different ending than the one I remembered. Personally I think my ending was better, but now that I am an adult and I know the "real" ending I probably won't be able to forget how the movie closed.


I also didn't realize Donovan wrote the theme song. I still love Donovan. My babysitter used to go to Donovan concerts and talk about Donovan. ;-) So I have a great, great fondness for Donovan.


Anyway, it's another Friday and I really don't have a lot to say. We are still in Underwriting Hell with the house, so no news there. I have a bunch of people asking stuff of me, and I have no energy to respond--let alone decide whether or not to accept, decline, tackle yet another project, do another interview...


I really had no idea how stressful this House Thing was going to be. And it's right in the middle of two of my biggest projects this year -- Winter Kill which is immediately followed by Jefferson Blythe, Esquire.


 The writing is the only thing I have energy for. It's always like this at a certain point in any given project, but I think I'm more aware of it right now because there are so many other crucial things I am cutting out. I can see very clearly right now how absolutely obsessive I am about work and writing. It produces good books but it's not an attractive personality trait.


But then I am not a "personality." I am a writer. I don't get paid enough to be a "personality."


One of the interesting things in writing is how the characters change through the course of the story. I had a rough idea of who Rob Haskell and Adam Darling were before I ever began Winter Kill.


Clever and ambitious, Special Agent Adam Darling (yeah, he's heard all the jokes before) was on the fast track to promotion and success until his mishandling of a high profile operation left one person dead and Adam "On the Beach."

Deputy Sheriff Robert Haskell may seem laid-back, but he's a tough and efficient cop -- and he's none too thrilled to see feebs on his turf -- even when one of the agents is smart, handsome, and probably gay.


This is what I knew going in. And let me say now that I groan when writers talk about their "muse taking over" and side characters "clamoring to tell their own story." I know given the pressure to be out here being social we all spill a lot of inanities, but... But it is true that the storytelling process is an organic one. Characters and plot do change through the process of writing the story. Dialog evolves and as it evolves new angles appear and pretty soon the characters are off and running. And not always in anticipated directions.


Honestly, that's part of the fun of writing.


Two things I didn't initially anticipate was that Rob might be so laid back he failed to follow through on an investigation, and that lapse might have repercussions. Also, he turns out to be a lot more charming and a lot more of a player than I imagined. But it fits and it works, and those are always the exciting discoveries of storytelling. Those are the ah ha! moments.


And Adam...I initially thought Adam would be a lot more to blame for his own problems. But as the story evolves I see that while Adam was ambitious and he's paid a price in his personal life, professionally he is more a victim of circumstance. To me, that's actually more interesting. And it gives Adam a needed vulnerability.


There was another surprise there too--one that links back to the All's Fair series and one that links ahead to a series out on proposal that I haven't really talked about. I love these little surprises and it seems like readers do too, so I won't ruin them by talking too much about them now.


Anyway, that's where I am this fine April morning. And where are you?





53 comments:

  1. It sounds like a mostly fine place to be. I'm glad the writing gig is working out for you. :-D

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    1. I am moving my left foot. I am moving my right foot.

      My write foot? ;-D

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  2. Always a pleasure to hear your thoughts on writing. Looking forward to Winter Kill, the title grabbed me immediately. Hope you are out of house buying hell soon!

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    1. WHY DOES THIS PROCESS TAKE SO LONG?!

      Thanks for the good wishes.

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  3. Wishing you well for the house, and looking forward even more to Winter Kill!

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  4. As always, I love hearing about your creative process. Winter Kill sounds more awesome than ever, and the possible tie ins to other stories? Cool!

    I hear you about the "house thing" and share your suffering. Selling a business and trying to find a home in a different state is proving interesting to say the least! Deep breaths... :-)

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    1. I cannot imagine trying to sell a business AND find a new home at the same time. Let alone in a different state. Talk about stress.

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  5. Oooh, i love surprises! that have to do with books that is, and especially your books :-) And i find these insights into the writing and the characters' lives fascinating, so thank you for sharing them with us. Glad you're enjoying the writing :-) And hopefully the house stuff will all be sorted out very soon. Have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. It'll all work out in the end because everything always does. :-D But holy moly what a bumpy road.

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  6. The more something costs, the more trouble it is, and the more ways there are to suffer in acquiring it, so no wonder you are in hell. As with all big ticket items, it is worth it in the end, but only in the end.

    I am packing this pretty spring morning for a trip to China. I would rather stay here, but sometimes you have to take it on the road.

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    1. It should be fun and interesting, though I am not looking forward to the banquets. I frequently have to claim I am a vegetarian when in China to avoid eating... things best not thought about.

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  7. Where am I? I am right here, waiting for Winter Kill.

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    1. :-D Don't you need a sweater or something? It's cold out here!

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  8. I think it's good to let your characters develop - sometimes outside your control. Lately I read quite a few stories where the characterization was more "tell" than "show", I ended up not believing the characters or the storylines. I don't know if the writer(s) was too rigid in the original characterization or was it more of a skill problem.

    Can't wait for Winter Kill!
    And good luck with the house buying process - lots of fingers crossed.

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    1. Hm. I think if you try to bend the characters to plot, there will be difficulties. The plot should evolve from choices the characters make. Which means the characters have to grow and change and develop -- I don't see how that can happen except through the writing itself.

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  9. Yee Gods! That's a lot of angst!!! The entire house purchasing, moving ordeal is just that, an ordeal!!! (With lots of rainbows, rewards and 'YES' feelings to come). Funny you should mention 'If it's Tuesday This Must be Belgium,' every time I take the extra soap or shampoo from an Inn, I always think of that man with the suitcases filled with knick knacks, ashtrays, and towels!!!! The song is haunting and the ending of the movie bittersweet to say the least. Never forgot those two actors! Thanks for the preview into the Winter Kill characters! Now I'm super looking forward it!!! April for me = square foot gardening, gluing, greenhouse, deer fences, etc… Will you dig up some of your bulbs to bring to the new residence? And will your PO Box be changing? Inquiring minds want to know!!!!

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    1. Same mailing address. (Some things never change!) ;-D

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  10. I'm working on a plot bunny; someone threw me a gauntlet, so to speak. I told her I don't do shifters, and lo and behold, she gave me one.-- an alligator shifter no less. I am quite surprised to admit that I'm getting into it :) And the thing about muses? I think it's more like putting the pieces of a character together, then imagining yourself as Dr. Frankenstein. That's how I believe my characters come to life :)

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    1. An alligator shifter? Now that would be a most inconvenient thing. Especially if your character lives in Palm Springs. :-D

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  11. I hope you can leave the Underwriting hell soon and successful. I admire you deeply for the ability for writing nevertheless the whole stressful situation.
    I can't wait to read Winter Kill! I love to hear about the characters, slowly I have a perception in my mind. ( A surprise that links back to the All's Fair series..., my brain runs on highspeed )
    Thank you, that you let us look behind the curtain!

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    1. The underwriting process is making me crazy. Every few days I send a panicked letter to my real estate agent or my loan officer. WHAT IS OUR PLAN B?! :-D

      But our situation is complicated. I have a lot of money coming in from different directions and that is a scenario underwriters hate hate hate. So much to check up on and verify. So detailed and time consuming. And they don't love people who are self-employed to start with. So I understand that it is not a quick process.

      But it is still making me crazy.

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  12. Hi Josh,
    I saw that movie...twice. The second time because I didn't remember the ending. It was not what I expected or wanted. I do not plan to watch it again. :-)

    I love hearing about the evolution of your writing. It is akin to silently peering over your shoulder as you create. I dare not read any of your snippets. They will only make me yearn for the finished product more than I am now. So happy you are deep into the story to help mitigate the "house" anxieties. Good luck on all fronts, Josh.

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    1. It's funny because I remembered the movie as sort of sweet. It's an interesting film, but I don't know that "sweet" is quite the word for it. ;-)

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  13. I'm so looking forward to your little surprises, Josh!
    When I read your comment about focusing on the writing when things get tough I had to think of Kit Holmes. That's exactly what you let him say in Somebody Killed His Editor..
    I'm sure that everything will work out with the house buying, but I can understand that it must be an emotional roller coaster ride for you. I keep my fingers crossed for you and I hope that we will soon read about how much you'll enjoy your new gorgeous swimming pool.

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    1. Thank you so much, Susanne. We've only been in closing for a month and yet it seems like we've been doing this for years. :-D It really does consume you.

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  14. Good luck with the house hope all goes well, can't wait for Winter Kill plan on reading it really slowly so it last longer, love how you twist and slide other characters into your books.

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    1. Thank you, Kim. One of the pleasures of writing is the occasional moments of synchronicity -- the recognition that this puzzle piece fits right HERE. Like when you suddenly realize this character's backstory ties into THIS character. ;-)

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  15. Oh, I adore those character crossovers and surprises alike! So fun to hear you're planting something like that in Winter Kill. Yay! :-) And I always immensely enjoy reading about your creative process — Thank you so much for sharing these delicious glimpses with us. These blog posts are small treasures themselves!

    My fingers are still crossed for you guys, the underwriting and the whole house thingy. In fact, if my fingers wouldn't be crossed ALL THE TIME I'd gladly help you pack and move. ;-)

    Things WILL work out in the end. Enjoy writing and creating, Josh!

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    1. And we will NEED help moving! Good Lord we have collected a lot of stuff -- primarily books -- over the past years.

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  16. #1 - Continued good vibrations coming your way for the house. #2 - You're a writer - that's who you are and, although you may see your particular work ethic as an unattractive trait, I'm certain the people who love you love that part of you, too. Because it's you!

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    1. Well, it's is certainly who I am. And I think it has shaped who the SO is too -- husband to crazy, obsessive writer. Ideally I would like to be more...temperate in my creative output but no matter how it begins, it always ends in this frantic, obsessed, completely consumed race to the finish.

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  17. I love surprises. Thank you in advance!

    Once more: good luck with the house! Just remember that it is probable that you won't buy another one, so you can invest some energies now ;-)

    And I went once to hear Donovan in Italy, I suspect in the 80ies, because I was influenced by my brother who liked him a lot. I was sorry for him, because there weren't lots of people in that small town. But I did enjoy the concert.

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    1. You are right about that! We plan to be in this house for a very long time.

      As for Donovan...well, you know it's not the size of the audience, it's really the quality of the audience. A small, completely engaged and enthusiastic audience can mean more to an artist -- writer or musician -- then a huge faceless arena where everyone is talking and munching popcorn and not really noticing who is on stage. :-D

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  18. I have always had a soft spot for Donovan... Nothing like Mellow Yellow, Season if the Witch and so on... He always had such fanciful lyrics, and the music kind of just flirts around the words...

    Thank you so much for writing such interesting characters! I love that they are never perfect, and have depth... So looking forward to these stories.

    Good luck with the house!!! Something to look forward to

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    1. I'm really enjoying writing these two because they are so sure for so long that they are NOT going to get involved. Even as they get involved. I'm having fun with it -- although the mystery itself is a bit grim.

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  19. Think of all the times life seems to be complicated by one important project or decision or deadline being piled upon another. Kind of gets your blood racing, nerves shaking, but at the same time things get done, seemingly more things than might when we're more evenly paced. Maybe the creative juices and ability to handle things in general get a boost. Looking forward to the results. : )

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    1. I know! I think you're right about that. I do think the consumed-by-it is part of my normal process. Uncomfortable though it is for all concerned.

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  20. I get more excited to read Winter Kill each time I read a description. The release date can't get here soon enough! :-D

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    1. It feels a bit different to me. I think because I don't typically write serial killers from the detached standpoint of law enforcement. Previously my serial killer stories were all about the killer engaging with the protagonist. So this does feel quite different.

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  21. Every time I see the cover for Winter Kill I think how amazing and striking it looks! :)

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    1. That cover is by L.C. Chase. It's great, isn't it?

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  22. hope things pass quickly for your house, mb the writing will help it to do so for you [ not notice the time? hahah well we can hope eh?] IDK Donavan or whomever this person was or the movie you talked of; man i think im out of touch LOL Im excited to hear anythign you are writing about. I cnat tell you how many times I have reread or listen to the audibles again of your novels. they seriously are just that good imo. Aishen

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    1. Thanks, Aishen. I'm really happy with the audio books, and I wish I had more long works I could put into audio. Winter Kill will definitely be one of them.

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  23. Hi :)
    Sorry for the off-topic.
    I like your stories quite a lot,
    but
    I'm very disappointed by the lack of condoms (without a good reason/explanation) in many of your sexy scenes.
    This, and an inadequate preparation for anal, are very off putting :(

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    1. I wouldn't say that happens in many scenes. Or almost any, in fact. But it's true that I don't dwell on every detail in my sex scenes -- I usually don't describe taking clothes off either, but you can bet that mostly does happen. ;-)

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  24. I'd say being obsessed about your books is part of your personality (ecause you certainly are a personality in every sense of the word as far as I'm considered.) And I imagine that if it were any other way you wouldn't get them written. So I'm really glad you are just the way you are.

    It's interesting what you wrote about Adam and Robert. Your characters always seem so alive that I'm not surprised they evolve while you write about them. What they turned out to be sounds even more interesting and original than what you initially planned them to be. I'm really looking forward to this novel!

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    1. I am an obsessive-compulsive personality. Yes. I try -- I really do! -- try to control these tendencies. Because they are actually not healthy and honestly not part of what makes creativity a productive or useful thing. :-) I have come to embrace the notion that I am always learning and growing and life is a work in progress. :-)

      I think part of what makes writing so addictive -- but also satisfying -- is that organic quality of discovery.

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