Bye, Forks.

Well, that didn’t take long. I told my landlady, through my realtor, that I’m not happy in Forks and wish to break my lease. She agreed; now, I can leave any time. There’s a trailer for $40K I was looking into in Port Townsend, but since I don’t qualify for a personal or home loan from my bank, I may have to end up going back to Santos Housing, the transitional shelter in Seattle I’d just left three months ago. At least I gave it a shot. Forks isn’t conducive to my mental health at all; in fact, it’s been downright depressing these past couple of months. Everything works at a snail’s pace here. The operative word is wait – wait for this, wait for that, wait for the other thing. In the meantime, you just sleep to pass the time. That’s what I did. I accomplished nothing – no writing, no blog entries, no walking. (You can’t freely walk around here because of the large amount of dogs strolling about loosely). It was costing me a fortune to stay here, too, as everything had to be paid for – electricity, gas, heat, mailbox, garbage disposal, internet, etc. I went from $405/month at Santos to about $1,000 a month here, and I was happier at Santos! Hey, at least I gave it a shot. Tomorrow, I’ll call up Santos and ask to go back. Hopefully there’s a room available. If not, I’ll just look for another transitional shelter somewhere. I’d stay in my car but it’s a bit cold for that.

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Four Days In Forks

This is Day 4 of my new life in Forks,WA. It, unfortunately, hasn’t been the peaches and cream I was hoping it’d be. I know – what was I expecting? A red welcome mat? Whoo-hee! Robin’s in town! I can’t help it, but so far, I feel like I’m trespassing since I’m the only black person around. I was actually wondering if I may be the only black person in this town of 3,500. I haven’t actually asked anyone here about that, but maybe I will today. That seems like such a sensitive subject these days that I should just leave it alone.

My phone isn’t working. I have to buy a new sim card from Walmart and have Safelink Wireless activate it from their end. The problem, of course, is finding a phone to contact Safelink in the first place. Maybe I’ll just get a TracPhone from Walmart or Amazon or something. No rush. I have no one to talk to, anyway. It’s just for businesses who always request your phone number.

I also wasn’t expecting to pay out of pocket for so many things I took for granted in the big city, like waste disposal, a P.O. Box, propane, internet and electricity. I’m so fearful my bills will be high that I limit the amount of heat I use in the trailer. This can make for uncomfortable sleeping and general living, so I’ll look on Amazon later for an efficient space heater. A very, very efficient one.

Another jarring change for me, of course, is trailer living. The small road I’m on consists of four or five trailers and one or two houses.  Like a lot of roads in town, mine is in dire need of repair. I suppose since it rains and floods very often, fixing the roads is the least of the problems in a city where 21% of the population live below the poverty level.

Trailers are relatively small by nature. I have to get used to bending in the living room and bedroom, and sidling past the bathroom to get to the bedroom. Trailers are fairly narrow, too. That will definitely encourage me to keep my weight in check. I’m not really complaining about this trailer since it only costs $550/month. I just wish it wasn’t so, how should I say this, unprepared when I moved in. The washer & dryer room the last tenant annexed to the trailer leaks like a mofro when it rains; that is to say, every day. The electricity on one side of the trailer no longer works. I’ve tried fixing it, even bought and installed a new 20 amp GFCI outlet but that doesn’t help. I’m just receiving a massive surge of power which an electrician will have to look at; definitely out of my league.

Did I say it rained all four days I was here? The natives told me this is normal; in fact, it’s been light. Really? It’s been heavy by Seattle’s standards. Well, I do like constant rain – I’d better. The road I live on is called Raindrop Place, but I hope it doesn’t trigger my depression to extremely low levels. Next week I’ll look into getting a counselor and psychiatrist in town as well as look into getting my prescriptions filled.

I was thinking about getting rid of my car and opting for a scooter/moped. Thus far, I have seen none in town. This place seems like it’d be a good place for one, considering if you’re driving around town you’re only doing four or five miles at a time. Maybe it rains too much here and riding a moped would be counterproductive or dangerous. At least my insurance went down. I now only have to pay $350/year. That’s better than the $476 I was paying in Seattle.

I think, all told, my average expenses should be around $900/month – $550/rent, $200/utilities, $100/food, $50/gas. I haven’t budgeted for medical insurance yet, though. That’ll be another hit. I may end up spending around $1000/month just to live. Once my bills start coming in I’ll head on over to the human resources center to see if they can help with food, heating, etc. I’m glad I don’t spend money on washing clothes since all I own I wear. The sheets and blankets can be washed once every two or three months. I’m not that dirty a person, I hope!

Right now, I’m using the internet in the library. So far, this has been the biggest plus in this town. The hours aren’t bad, either. Mon – Thurs 10am – 7pm. Fri & Sat 10am – 6pm. Closed on Sunday. That’s pretty close to how it was in Seattle. The internet has some restrictions on it, though. I’m sure I can circumvent them, but I’ll do that some other time. I’m just glad to at least be able to reach out to the world some kind of way.

I was surprised to find that the crime rate is fairly high  here in town because of drug abuse, the crimes mainly limited to car and house break-ins. No wonder there are two shelves of Guns & Ammo magazines in the local supermarket. I notice that the graduating class (avg, 55 kids) don’t go on to college that much, just 10%. Maybe the mjority go on to work in their family farms. Hopefully, it isn’t because they’re dropping out of higher education to join the drug statistics.

So, did I make the right move by moving to Forks? My intention was moving into subsidized housing here. My rent would be $405/month with all utilities included. Right now, I’m No. 35 on the list. I’ll have to wait until 35 people drop dead before I get a room. Oy! They promised live would be easy. didn’t they?

Obey the Darkness: Horror Stories

I’ve kinda sorta released my latest opus, Obey the Darkness: Horror Stories, unto the world. It’s in contention for consideration for a publishing spot from Kindle Scout. If that proves fruitless I’ll just publish it myself and get to publicizing it as much as I can.

In other news, I might be moving soon, maybe even today. I applied for a one bedroom trailer in Forks last week and the realtor says my application looks good. She’ll call me back tomorrow and, who knows? Maybe I’ll even get the key tomorrow.

In other news, my novelette “Lamp Black” was accepted for publication by Scarlet Leaf Review and will appear in their November issue.

In other news, my short story “The Black Cumin Cure” was accepted for publication by Aphelion. I’d forgotten I’d sent them an early version of “Cumin.” Oh well. Too late now. I’m glad they thought my earlier draft was still worthy.

In other news, I wrote three screenplays in the past two months and sent them off to InkTip and Black List for producers to take a gander. The three scripts are Strung Out, Crystal Mine and Tears Of A Clown. So far, one producer has shown interest in Crystal Mine, so that’s fairly promising.

In other news, if I was under close psychiatric supervision right now, they’d say I’m waaaaay too busy with my writing. Yeah, I admit, my output has been pretty extreme these past couple of months, especially since I just got done with a month-long book tour and and scoping out several publicity venues at once. I know for myself I have to slow down, but when I do, I get depressed as hell. I can’t fight that beast, and I can’t conquer it. Yeah, my over-activity could probably destroy me someday. You win some, you lose some, right?

Tears Of A Clown

Recently, I’ve been trying to breathe new life into an old script of mine, Tears Of A Clown. For the uninitiated, I wrote it when I lived in Hollywood 1n 1999. Wow! That’s 18 years ago. Since then it’s become an ebook and paperpback novella, audiobook, and “screenplay based on the novella.” Tonight, I edited the first draft of 155 pages to its current 115 pages second draft and released it on InkTip for all the world to see. Hopefully, I’ll get a bite, get paid and, um, retire in style. I’ve always like Tears Of A Clown. Yeah, it was written to be a commercial sell, but what can I say? It’s time I ventured back into movie making, right? I’m way overdue.

Soon, They’ll Have A Photograph Of The Soul

Recently, a team of chemists working in cryo-electron microscopy won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their photos of human cells working at the atomic level. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/10/04/555524708/nobel-prize-in-chemistry-honors-views-of-human-cells-at-the-atomic-level

Things like this fascinates me and is even mentioned, somewhat, in my last novel, “Murder in Rock & Roll Heaven.” Since I borrowed from Jain Cosmology for those micro-cellular explanations, it does give gravity to a religion deeply rooted in science and not superstition. Nevertheless, without getting religious myself, it’s interesting that photography can become so finite now. It’s probably only a matter of time before they’re able to snap pictures of karmic matter which, again, Jains believe obfuscates knowledge by binding to the soul. Tres cool.

New Affiliation: Horror Writers Association

I was accepted as a member into the Horror Writers Association today. I guess that means there should be opportunities available on there to help my writing career. I’ll take a closer gander that later because I’m currently prepping my new book, Strung Out, for an October or November release. Strung Out will be a 30K-word long novella. That’s not as long as Stranded in Paradise or Tears of a Clown, so I’ll fatten it up by adding the sci-fi novelette, A Walk in the Park with Mozart, to it.

I’m Free! No More Writing For A While!

Hi, all. Trivial matter, this. I mean, looking at everything else going on around the world – threat of hydrogen testing by the North Koreans in the Pacific, hurricanes and earthquakes coming out of the woodwork, daily protests in the streets, drugs and crime always in the news…me finally getting a break from writing is absolutely inconsequential in the scheme to things. This is not earth shattering, but it matters to me.

My virtual book tour for “Murder in Rock & Roll Heaven” has just one more week to go. I’m done putting the finishing touches on “Obey the Darkness: Horror Stories,” and last but not least, think I’ve finished rewriting the novelette, nee short story, “The Black Cumin Cure.” Of all the prose I’ve ever agonized about in my life, it was this one, hands down.

I first wrote “The Black Cumin Cure” for a sci-fi/horror magazine about three years ago. It failed. I reworked it, sent it to another publisher, and they also passed on it. Thinking the third time the charm, I restructured it and sent it in to a third online magazine publisher. They weren’t interested. Consequently, I let the work die a slow, painful death.

About four months ago, I had another look at it, tweaked it a little, and sent it off. It failed. Subsequent tweaks also failed to get it published. The difference this time around is the publishers all gave me reasons why my work was lacking. Interestingly, some of the critique appeared to contradict the other, making me think me think my work wasn’t what they wanted, not that it was lacking in the grammatical arena. In any case, “Black Cumin” went from a 3,500 word short story to an 8,200 word novelette. I sent it off yesterday to five publishers for consideration. At this point though, even if all five reject it, I’m still going to go ahead and publish as is. It’ll be the third story in “Obey.” The book has 11 stories, so obviously, its ranking at No. 3 is pretty high.

Why did “The Black Cumin Cure” have such a lengthy development arc? It’s sci-fi meets horror, but my original intention was that the horror was the strong parts and the sci-fi, well, not so much. I suppose in this age of technology, I can’t afford to skimp over technical details which, to be fair, I did. The publishers saw through my laziness, though, and call me on it. Drats. I’d hoped they wouldn’t have noticed. Sci-fi is very hard to write. The research I did for “Murder in Rock & Roll Heaven,” itself being mystery/sci-fi, caused me weeks of mental aches and pains. I’m not sure if another horror/sci-fi short of mine, “The Vented Chamber” is a success. If not, my biggest takeaway from all this is this – leave sci-fi writing to William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Larry Niven, John Scalzi, Stephen King, Michael Moorcock, Neil Gaiman, Connie Willis or whoever’s writing sci-fi these days.