Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Characters in The Seven Second Kiss: Jim Baskett

I named that character after Jim Baskett who played Unlcle Remus in Disney's Song of the South. In The Seven Second Kiss, when I introduce him, Jim's personality emulates that of the Uncle Remus character but rapidly shifts as the story unfolds.

Jim works in a night club on New York's 42nd street. He is in charge of the crew who wash dishes in the back. Until Connie shows up looking desperately for a job all the dishwashers are black. Connie comes from a place where there are no black people. Jim is the first such person she has ever met. Connie is the first white person over whom Jim has been a boss. She works hard for him proving her worth and the two become good friends.

Jim had been a coronet player with King Oliver's band at one time. For a long time that band was well respected and successful but due to hard times it broke up. Joe Oliver ended up working a menial job as a janitor. Jim suffered his own hardship and for some reason became unable to play his instrument in a band in front of an audience. He ended up washing dishes and then became the person in charge of washing dishes.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Characters in The Seven Second Kiss: Jordan Cropper

When I first went through imaging what the story would be about, I had imagined a young white woman with an unwanted pregnancy, a saxophone and a young black man who played that instrument.

The Hays Code specifically proscribed relationships between men and women who are of different races, so of course, I wanted to put that in the book. (It also proscribes homosexuality. There is a character in the book who is gay and there is one instance where that is indicated but I may have been too oblique, so people reading the book might not get it.)

In the book Connie is seventeen. I don't mention Jordan's age but I envision him as being about twenty-five. His first name, Jordan, comes from Saxophone player Louis Jordan, who, in my opinion still rocks. As he tells it his grandfather didn't like having a slave owner's name for his last name so he changed it to what he did, which was share cropping.

Jordan lives in Harlem with his parents and works part time as a janitor. For reasons unknown his family had a saxophone and Jordan took to it, teaching himself how to play it. In that regard I envision of him as being up there with Louis Armstrong and Art Tatum in his ability to pay his instrument, improvise with it and to take ownership of the music he plays.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Characters in The Seven Second Kiss: Connie Neiland

Connie Neiland, born in 1916, hails from a small town in the north east of New York State. Although not stated in the book, Lowville, New York could very well serve as Connie's home town. For her home town I have in mind a small out of the way community with essentially a rural economy.

In The Seven Second Kiss, Connie begins and ends looking at the world around her with a sense of wide eyed innocence. She manages to keep her faith in humankind pretty much intact. That may change if I ever write a sequel and I am toying with ideas for one.

The story starts in early 1934 with the great depression beginning to ease off. The times have made Connie hard working and resourceful. She tends to like people and she makes friends rather easily.

Singing in her church choir trained her voice and listening to the radio trained her ear for music. She has an extraordinary musical talent. When she discovers the possibility of making a good living with music she becomes very much determined to do that. She sees that as the best way to deal with her predicament.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

My Biography that I Posted on Smashwords.

Arriving in 1948 makes me a post war baby boomer close to the onset of the boom. I couldn't stand school but understood its necessity. Surprisingly I found writing difficult in primary and high school. Figuring out what to write stymied me. Looking back I could say I suffered from a long term bout of writer's block.

While in high school enthused about the camera club's project to make a movie I saw that the group needed a script. Without one nothing would come of the enthusiastic plans. I wrote it. We made the movie. We showed it in the school auditorium for a small admission fee and made a profit.

When I went to Ryerson I took creative writing classes. I got involved way to heavily with the extra curricular theatre activities. Every year a theatre group produced a show called RIOT (an acronym for Ryerson Institute of Technology). In my second year I joined the team of writers for that show. I did that for the remaining two years of my course and the year after that.

The RIOT show goes far back in Ryerson's history and as far as I know they are still doing them. It is a comedic, musical, satirical revue. As part of the writing team I wrote on my own, with small groups and with the entire team. Material included one liners, blackouts, monologues, comedic sketches and songs. I found it quite thrilling that people laughed at jokes I wrote.

Much later on when I worked in a hobby shop I joined a model railroad club. After a year or so as a member they elected me to the executive of that club and I served as secretary. As secretary I wrote a monthly report on club meetings and another on monthly display of models that members brought to meetings.

Some time later I built a radio control boat and was invited to join a model boat club, The Capital Marine Modellers' Guild. I volunteered to produce a newsletter for the club. I did that for about ten years. During the time I produced that newsletter I wrote most, not all, of the material for it. I wrote about everything I knew about model building.

At about that time I decided to write a novel. With an old Underwood portable typewriter - it weighs thirty-five pounds - I wrote 'The Cats of Gavrillac.' I will have to change the title because I can't use 'Gavrillac.'

I then got involved with the Bytown Fire Brigade, a historical society dedicated to preserving Canada's firefighting history. I used to take my father to that group's meetings. They were fun loving people and had great parties so I joined. After a year or two I volunteered to produce a newsletter for them. I produced a monthly newsletter called 'The Bytown Trumpet.' It had a minimum of eight pages each month. Again I ended up writing most of its content.

One day in 1996 while helping with drywall installation at the Bytown Fire Brigade headquarters, Will Brooks, who had recently joined, asked me what I thought the organization should be doing. I told him I wanted to see a monument built in Ottawa that would honour Canada's firefighters who had been killed in the line of duty. He thought that was a great idea and that we should make it happen.

From that meeting we formed the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Memorial Development League, which quickly grew to four members. From complete ignorance and a strong desire to succeed we floundered for some time until a series of circumstances, including the attack on the World Trade Center, we eventually contacted the National Capital Commission (NCC) in Ottawa.

After two preliminary meetings with that organization and some soul searching discussion we took steps to bring into existence the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation/Fondation canadienne des pompiers morts en service. On May 28, 2003 Will Brooks, Georges Potvin and I signed the incorporation documents for that organization.

One of the many tasks I took on for the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation was the production of its annual publication 'Courage.' I did write material for that publication but happily most of the material came from other sources than myself. I did that for three years.

To make a long story short, The Canadian Fallen Firefighters Memorial now stands on Wellington and Lett streets in Ottawa, honouring more than a thousand firefighters who have died in the line of duty.

Somewhere in that time period I obtained a copy of Final Draft, software for writing screenplays. It was expensive so I figured I better use it. I did. I wrote the screenplays, 'The Girl and the Gladiator' and 'The Clone.' I decided to take another stab at writing a novel and wrote 'The Outlaw.'

Then my Facebook friend, Anna Haston, encouraged me to get involved with Nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month. That activity involves writing a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. Thanks to Anna's encouragement in 2010 I wrote 'The Seven Second Kiss.' I sent copies of the first draft of that to a number of people and received a very positive response from my friend Amanda Greef. That encouraged me to rewrite it and edit it for publication. I hope you like it.