December 30, 2003 Affirmation exercise; expanding my creative influences.
“…my standard advice to people who want to write fantasy: Stop reading fantasy” – Michael Moorcock.
So I’ve been reading some of the superlative novels of the last fifty years. Books I wouldn’t normally read since they’re not about monsters, spaceships or magic. Here’s what I’ve read so far and the empirical knowledge gained.
Toni Morrison’s Beloved
I wanted to start with a book that is as far from a sci-fi as possible, the flagship of the Oprah Book Club.
Holy Fucking Shit this book intense! Turns out, it’s not that different from what I usually read. This book shows what a damaging experience American slavery was. Most of the characters in this book were driven insane by the experience. It shows that the African-American background is different then other ethnic groups. I have a number of black characters in Seize Him! and a separate novel that’s stewing in the back of my mind. I need to keep Beloved in mind when developing their personalities.
Joseph Heller’s Catch-22
My favorite so far. I love Heller’s style. He refers to “the dead man in Yossarian’s tent” every couple of chapters but doesn’t explain who the dead man is, how he died and what he’s doing in Yossarian’s tent until the book is almost over. It’s like the self-referential humor of The Simpsons, except backwards.
I’ll be reading more Heller.
John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces
I didn’t find this novel as funny as everyone else told me it’d be. Probably because I kept looking for signs of the author’s pending suicide in the narrative and prose.
I don’t think that I learned anything about writing from this book, but it did remind me that you can write a truly great book, but it won’t matter if you don’t get it to market.
Julies Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The only science fiction novel on this list and the dullest book I’ve read in a long time. (I’m also reading the books that inspired The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) It’s about traveling around under the world’s oceans looking at fish and eating them. Yeah, that’s exciting.
Kurt Vonnegut’s Timequake
This one was weird. The original Timequake was giving Vonnegut trouble. He just couldn’t make it work. So he kept the best parts and interlaced them with stories from his life.
This alternation between life and fiction almost puts you in the space Vonnegut was in while he was writing the original Timequake.
I learned that creativity doesn’t have to end in one’s late forties, and that you don’t have to be Jewish to be quippy.
At Xanadu in 2001, I asked Kilgore Trout for his ballpark opinion of John Wilkes Booth. He said Booth's performance in Ford's Theater in Washington D.C., on the night of Good Friday, April 14th, 1865, when he shot Lincoln and then jumped from a theater box to the stage, breaking his leg, was “the sort of thing which is bound to happen whenever an actor creates his own material.”
I’m about to read an Ian Flemming collection. I think it’ll be an good influence for Seize Him! and I read in the Aleister Crowley biography Do What Thou Wilt that Flemming knew Crowley during WWII and based the bad guy in Casino Royale off of him. Then I’ll move on to other authors with styles that I think I’ll like; Dorothy Parker, Philip K Dick and Ernest Hemingway.
December 19, 2003 How are people finding tonemilazzo.com?
I have a utility that tells me some basic information about who is visiting tonemilazzo.com. Operating systems, web browsers, most popular pages, country codes (21 page hits from the Netherlands!), etc.
One of my favorites is Search Keyphrases. This tells me what people put into their search engine to find my site. These are some of the top phrases that bring people to tonemilazzo.com.
- crimes in the 1300s
- jared lindenberg (At number two!?!)
- darkhold chthon
- church bishop during plague
- milazzo job (yeah, I’ve been searching for that one too)
- tone milazzo
- the plague and church involvement
- dante inferno reformation 1300s
- how the church handled the plague europe
- infernal signs
- bar (How badly was this guy looking for a ‘bar’?)
- gurps cabal jesuits
- 7th comm okinawa japan
- plague and the church
- crusade wars between rival religious groups
- religious wars in the 1700s
- execution and plague
- it’s dot com
- horned god dianus
- malleas maleficarum
- denying religion through black plague
Most of these are from the 7000 word proposal for GURPS Black Magic, which explains why I’m so popular in the Netherlands…
December 17, 2003 The flu…
…I don’t recommend it.
At least the symptoms this year were fairly easy to live with. No coughing, no sore throat (mostly, I feel like I have one on the way) and only a little vomiting (that peach yogurt never had a chance…)
I was feeling better most of today (day 11) but I feel myself coming down again and I think I should head home for some more rest.
November 25, 2003 100 Word Story – "The Optimal Foot for this Mouth"
“You’re breaking up with me?”
“It’s Game Theory, Laura. If we stay together while you’re gone that’s one point. But, if one of us finds somebody else then there is betrayal and pain. No points.
“But, if we break up now and one of us hooks up, we can still be friends. Half point. And maybe get back together when you return. One point.
“The average value of staying together is point five, while the average value of splitting up is point seven five.
“See? This is the better strategy.”
“But I’m only going away for a month, you idiot.”
November 23, 2003 Pure Hubris
Tone: “Do either of you guys want these regular sized condoms? They’re way too small for me.”
Steve: “Yeah, I’ve started using Hefty Bags.”
Dan: “I’ve been using a car cover, myself.”
Tone: “Well, I’ve been using this decommissioned, blimp I bought on ebay. It’s a little snug, but it does the job.”
November 22, 2003 Wha' happen?
Here is a list of the
- Michelle and Dana
and and Matt and Tina
- And me and Sumi, making me the luckest one on this list.
Have I missed anyone? What the heck is going on here?
November 21, 2003 Triple Etcetera – "Two Doms Don't Make a Right" looking for feedback
As you all know, my primary project is Seize Him!. But while I wait for the publishers to get back to me on that I’ve been working on a secondary project, Triple Etcetera.
TE is a collection of erotica. Two or more stories per issue, black and white, various artists, for an alternative audience.
I’m looking to you folks for feedback, it’s strengths but also it’s weaknesses (typos, misused words, dull or confusing sections etc)
Many of you haven’t read a comic book script before. You should know is that panel descriptions are not narration. Part of the writer’s job it to make life easy for the artist. Panel descriptions will often give away plot points and hidden details so the artist will know exactly what to draw.
I’ll be posting one script a week. Here is the first 12 page story…
“Two Doms Don’t Make a Right”
Ideally, the artist for this story should have a good knowledge of S&M equipment and practices.
Most of this story is told in flashback. Panels that aren’t flashbacks are Karma’s police interview, but we don’t want the reader to know that she’s under arrest until the last page.
During the flashbacks the captions that represent what Karma says should have a different design then the captions that represent what the cop says.
Full page on Karma. From the waist up, she is seated at a table and holding a cigarette. The police have given her an overcoat, underneath she is wearing the bondage gear from the last page. She is lit from the mouth down by lamp that is hanging from the ceiling, her upper face is in silhouette.
KARMA: You know what a sexual deviant’s biggest problem is?
KARMA: Finding other sexual deviants.
Close up of Karma’s hand ashing her cigarette in the ashtray.
OFF-PANEL: A pretty girl like you? Come on…
KARMA: Pretty gets quantity.
KARMA: I’m seeking quality.
Back to Karma, she has leaned into the light so we can see her whole face. She has a serious look on her face.
OFF-PANEL (top): What would a quality guy do for you?
KARMA (bottom): He’d whip the fuck out of me and make me beg for more.
Stunned silence. From Karma’s perspective into the darkness that hides the interviewer. The only thing we can see is the ashtray, his hand in the edge of the light, and the cigarette that’s almost falling out of his mouth.
Karma has sat back in the half light again, like on the first page.
OFF-PANEL: >cough< OFF-PANEL: So... so how do you go about finding... "quality" gentlemen? KARMA: At first I tried to train them. Panel 5 CUT TO: Karma being dominated by what looks like a frat guy, and he's not taking this S&M thing seriously. We see Karma's eyes rolling and she wears an expression that makes it clear that this isn't working. GUY 1: Now bow down before me wench! Bow down before the king of sex! PAGE 3
CUT TO: Another example of why some guys just aren’t cut out to be doms. She’s just shown Guy 2 (attractive goth guy) her blackjack. He’s holding it in his right hand and evaluating it. She is wearing a hopeful smile.
GUY 2: What’s this?
KARMA: It’s a blackjack, it’s weighted to make it hit harder.
GUY 2; Oh yeah? Let’s see.
Guy 2 hits himself over the head with the blackjack. Karma knows how hard this thing hits and she’s shocked that he just brained himself.
Guy 2 is knocked out on the floor. Karma can’t believe how stupid that was.
CUT TO: Another, this guy is a nice guy who doesn’t want to hurt Karma. He’s holding a cat of nine tails and looking at it uncertainly. Karma is agitated by her previous frustrations and his reluctance.
GUY 3: But I don’t want to hurt you.
KARMA: Then what fucking good are you?
Back to the interview.
OFF-PANEL: Sounds rough.
KARMA: …and not in a good way.
OFF-PANEL: So what’d you do about it?
Karma is sitting at a computer. On the screen we see her personal ad. The add title is “Bowing in Submission”. Also on the screen is a list of check-boxes all of them are checked: Being a Submissive, Spanking, Paddles, Bondage, Nipple Torture, Candle Wax, anything else you want to add. And a few unchecked boxes in there; Being a Dominant, Water Sports, Public Places…
CAPTION (Karma): “I went where everyone with a need goes these days, to the Internet.”
Karma looks pissed off as she deletes messages from sub-par suitors “UR TOTALLY HOT!!!!” etc. The way the rest of us look when we get a dozen spam in one day.
CAPTION (cop): “How’d that work out for you?”
CAPTION (Karma): “Not well. The online S&M community consists mostly of overweight men in their fifties and sophomoric idiots who can’t complete their words.”
CAPTION (cop): “No quality?”
CAPTION (Karma): “Hardly.”
Karma’s face, lit my the monitor light, she has gotten a message from Osman and Sonia that makes her sit up and say to herself “Well! This is something.”
CAPTION (Karma): “That is until I got a message from Osman and Sonia”
CAPTION (Karma, carries over into the next panel): They were attractive, eloquent…
The computer screen, we see Osman and Sonia’s profile. They’re decked out in pretty serious S&M gear and standing in their personal dungeon. It’s obvious that they know what they’re doing.
CAPTION (Karma): …and most importantly, they were serious about the Lifestyle.
CUTTO: A club, Bondage-a-go-go. This is a real club up in San Francisco, if you want visual references here’s their website http://bondage-a-go-go.com. Karma is seated at the bar anticipating the meeting with Osman and Sonia.
CAPTION (cop): “Think that’s safe?”
CAPTION (Karma): “As safe as meeting anyone in a public place. We arranged to meet at a goth-industrial-fetish club, ‘Bondage-a-go-go’.”
I think this part of the story is better told without dialog.
Same shot, Osman and Sonia slide up to either side of Karma. Karma is pleasantly surprised.
Sonia is complementing Karma’s appearance, we see the women click. Osman orders three drinks.
The three are drinking, talking, laughing and having a good time.
The three dancing, Karma is in between the others.
Osman and Sonia move in on Karma, rubbing up against her while they dance. This panel should look very sexual, Karma has made up her mind that she’s going home with them.
Back at the bar, the club is shutting down, the house lights are on and people are filing out the door. Karma is finishing off her last drink. Sonia is grabbing her coat and purse.
The three are getting into Osman’s car. Karma is a little drunk.
Osman and Sonia lead Karma into their brownstone.
They enter the dungeon. Osman and Sonia take off their coats. Karma is eying the rack, she’s impressed with their extensive set up. The walls should be covered in S&M equipment.
Sonia is using a riding crop to raise Karma’s chin while Osman puts a leash around her neck.
Sexplodo! For the rest of this page and into the next page Osman and Sonia work Karma, and she loves every second of it. These two pages will depict one scene and they should all gradually loose clothing. Karma is on the rack for the whole scene. The doms are mostly using cat-of-nine-tails and paddles on her. The only sex she’ll be having is oral sex (giving and receiving) with Sonia. We have to save some S&M for the montage that starts on page 9.
END OF PAGE 7
Second to last Panel
The scene is finished, a satisfied and exhausted Karma is being let off the rack. She has a tired smile on her face.
CAPTION (cop): This doesn’t sound very safe. How do you know that they’d let you go?
CAPTION (Karma): I arranged a safecall.
Karma is pulling in her coat and talking on the phone. She’s calling a friend and telling her everything is OK. Everyone has a look of post-sex satisfaction about them.
CAPTION (cop): What’s a “safecall”?
CAPTION (Karma): I called a friend before the scene started and if she didn’t hear from me again in an hour she’d call the police.
Back at the interview.
OFF-PANEL: Sounds like a classic American romance.
KARMA: That condescending tone doesn’t suit you.
More S&M. The rest of this page will show a montage of S&M activities that Karma, Sonia and Osman engage in over the next couple of months. To show this let’s give them all a different outfit in every panel. Karma can be frequently naked. Let’s also show a variety of S&M play. Things you can use are; a violet wand, a TENS unit, tape bondage, rope bondage, nipple clamps, candle wax, a vampire glove. Things not to use; medical equipment, knives, ball-gags.
Over this month they’ll be adding more sex into the routine, at first it’s just Karma and Sonia but gradually Osman will get involved.
CAPTION (Karma): “For the next month, things were good…”
Panel 3 and on
Sexplodo! More of what I described in Panel 2.
The Sexplodo continues from page 8. I might add some dialog for some of these panels after I see the art, but I don’t want to limit you.
Back to the interview, Karma is lighting another cigarette.
KARMA: …but nature abhors good things.
She exhales as she says…
KARMA: We were hobbyists, not friends. Not close.
KARMA: I don’t know what happened but a scissure developed between them.
OFF-PANEL: What’s a “scissure”?
KARMA: A crack.
OFF-PANEL: Then why didn’t you just say “crack”?
Karma glares at the unseen interviewer. A glare that says “Don’t question my diction, plebeian.”
Karma takes another drag and continues with her story, pretending that she wasn’t interrupted.
KARMA: Their relationship was in decline.
CUT TO: Karma is tied up on an x-rack. Osman and Sonia are arguing. The violet wand lies broken on the floor by Sonia’s feet. Osman is pointing at the broken wand, Sonia is pointing at Karma.
CAPTION (Karma): An open disagreement here…
OSMAN: That’s three hundred dollars you just cost us.
SONIA (chilly): NOT! In front of the slave! We will discuss this later.
CUT TO: Karma is bent over a kneeler table and Sonia is wearing a HUGE strap-on dildo and is about to mount Karma. Osman is standing by Karma’s face feels threatened by the strap-on. Sonia knows this, that’s why it has become her favorite toy.
CAPTION (Karma): …a snide comment there.
OSMAN: The Black Mamba? Again?
SOMIA: Well, I wish we didn’t need it but…
CUT TO: Karma is on all fours and wearing a harness, a bridle and there is a horsetail butt-plug sticking out of her ass. Sonia is wearing an English riding outfit, sans pants. This is Sonia’s scene and Osman isn’t happy with it, he doesn’t care for horse training. He is leaning up against the wall with his arms crossed.
CAPTION (Karma) (top): “This behavior culminated in this afternoons… ‘incident’.”
SONIA: You’re a very pretty horsey now aren’t you?
KARMA (in agreement): Neigh!
OSMAN: Looks like someone never did get the pony she wanted as a girl.
Sonia turns on Osman, finger in his face.
SONIA: I’ve been tolerant of your exceptionally juvenile behavior, Osman.
SONIA: But I will not tolerate any attempts at undermining my scene.
Osman knocks her hand out of his face with the back of his wrist.
OSMAN: Get your finger out of my face!
Sonia reaches behind her and grabs a dildo off the wall and smacks Osman across the face with it. Her dildo has a handle, it looks like a knife with a dick instead of a blade. You can make it one of those textured dildos with bumps all over it’s surface.
Sonia: I’ll put more then my finger in your face!
We see Osman turns back to Sonia, he is seething with anger, one hand reaching back and grabbing a riding crop off the wall. We see a dildo-shaped mark on his cheek.
Osman and Sonia are in an all out fight, she with the dildo, he with the crop. It’s a hair pulling and scratching kind of fight. Karma (still in the horse gear) is crawling away and trying not to be noticed.
CAPTION (Karma): I was more confused than scared. Suddenly, everything was wrong and I needed to be someplace else.
A confused Karma bolts out of the brownstone…
…and runs down the street during the late afternoon dressed only in a bondage harness and a bridle. The horse-tail butt plug is still in her ass. There are a few witnesses on the street.
CAPTION (Karma): “However getting ‘someplace else’ when dressed for pony-play is something of a spectacle.”
Back to the interview, now we all see that she is in a police station and the unseen interviewer is a uniformed policeman taking her statement. He’s amused by the story.
KARMA: But I don’t have to tell you that, do I?
November 17, 2003 I call it “doing research”.
I went to a local S&M store, The Crypt, to do some research for Triple Etcetera (my secondary project, more on that in a week or two). I talked to the guy working there, “Scix” his name tag read, who told me about the BDSM scene.
Regional differences: In San Diego, flogging is very popular. Flogging is the act of repeatedly striking another person with a whip, paddle, cat-of-nine-tails, riding crop or other such device.
In Chicago, “Electro Play” is the norm. Not vibrators, but violet wands (Tesla coils) and TENS devices (you’ve seen those electric ab workout machines advertised on TV?). In San Francisco, anything goes.
The Other S&M Scene:The gay S&M scene has little to do with the straight S&M scene. In fact, a lot of gay men don’t want women around when they’re doing their business, the presence of a female throws off their groove or something… I’m sure
The creepiest S&M gear: medical equipment. Surgical clamps, enema kits, and other things that I didn’t want to know about.
Safety: There are two clever safety techniques. The “safe word” is an agreed upon code that the submissive can use to pause or call off a scene. The “safety call” is prearranged by the submissive when in a scene with someone they don’t know very well. Before the scene begins the sub tells a friend where they are and when the scene will be over. If the friend doesn’t get a call from the sub when the scene is over then the friend calls the police.
Lifestyle: Many cities have one or two clubs that cater to the S&M scene, SDPD ensures that San Diego does not. The most popular way to meet other people in the San Diego BDSM scene is via the Internet. Either one-on-one via personal adds or by meeting BDSM groups. It was Scix’s preference to meet the group in a public place like a coffee shop, this allows one to gage their personalities and appearance without committing to anything.
So now you’re all familiar with the S&M basics, go out there and spank some ass! Or get your ass spanked, if that’s your preference.
November 14, 2003 100 Word Story – "The Instauration of a Tyrant"
“It’s not criminal, Enid, I’m enforcing the law.”
“Well, then it’s immoral!”
“I won’t debate this. I need employment, and I need it now.”
“By oppressing the masses? Oliver, if you had any gumption you wouldn’t consider becoming a… Martinet!”
“So you have ‘gumption’? You’re squatting in a derelict building cum commune with the Bohemian Ennead; Pretension, Ostentation, Exhibition, Fatalism, Peculation, Retrogress, Habituation, Melancholy and Flummox.”
Enid considered his riposte then asked, “You think Sara embodies flummox?”
The next morning Enid’s words still pestered Oliver. He felt like a Hessian as he mounted the electric Parking Enforcement Vehicle.
November 10, 2003 100 Word Story – "Insatiable"
Dillon checked himself once more in the hotel elevator’s mirrored interior. He was getting nervous. This wasn’t just a first date, it was his first date for pay.
Room 214, to the left.
They called her “Insatiable”, the agency’s best customer. She devoured men, at least three a week, sometimes in pairs. She was the agency’s initiation and trial by fire, less then half of the new escorts passed.
He knocked on the door.
When it opened Dillon knew he couldn’t go through with it.
He looked down at the familiar woman in the red evening dress and said, “Mom?”