Destiny plus 6

A quick announcment: Hell Cop: Sneaker will be a free download on Amazon.com this Saturday and Sunday, March 31 and April 1. No fooling. Find it here. (It’s your Destiny. That sounds better than Fate, don’t you think?)

What’s your destiny, and do you even have one? And how can you tell? After all, no matter what you do, you can never know if it was of your own free will or just what Destiny, one of Dream’s  brothers in Neil Gamin’s Sandman graphic novel series, had written in one of his books.

Speaking of books and destiny – I recently finished the first draft of a short story that experienced an unplanned  growth spurt to 25000 words. Destiny made me do it. Maybe Destiny has the hots for beautiful French Accidental Vampires? Maybe it’s my destiny to become rich and famous by writing about Simone Gireaux’s first 350 years. I’ll never know until I try and you buy. (Sorry, couldn’t resist. It’s the long hidden, for good reason, huckster in me.)

Coincidence or fate, can you ever know the truth and could you handle it if you did. Like, you can never know if that person you had a one night stand with and then slipped out before they woke up and then, with some trepidation, ran into a few days later but they were only pissed because they wanted to ask you out on a proper date and they did and you ended up happily/unhappily married to was only a coincidence or Destiny looking at his Big Book of You and pushing you here or there with his Unfickle Finger of Fixed Fate.

The only way that I can think of offhand to KNOW if you fucked up your life on your own or if it was written in some big blank book by a pothead with a trust fund, would be to die and ask St. Peter, if you go that way, or Joe Smith the ticket taker on Captain Charon’s Cross River Excursion pontoon boat for an appeal. It’s your right, after all. That way you get to review all the documents and videos pertaining to your life and you should be able to ascertain why it went so bad.  If it went good, keep your mouth shut and take the credit.

One reason to believe in Destiny is that you don’t have to take the blame if things go bad. “Oh come on. It’s not my fault I’m  lazy and carry a few extra pounds which BTW I can take off any time, and nothing good ever happened to me, and I still live in my parent’s basement and that stupid manager at the video store won’t give me a raise to $8.25 an hour so I can get my own place and go to school and get married to my high School girlfriend even though she lives in an oceanfront mansion with her husband and three kids. It’s destiny’s fault. I’m the victim here!”

I think we’re all born with a do-it-yourself Destiny Kit. All you have to do is read and follow the instructions, even if the ones giving you the instructions (presumably parents) didn’t follow them because they believed that Dream’s brother had already written their life so why bother. Bother, man! Maybe Destiny has an eraser.

IDEAS

What if Destiny really did have an eraser? What would his price be to change yours? You know there’s always a price for that sort of thing. But what is it? Maybe you’d have to seek out a Fate Broker. It’s his or her job to go to Destiny’s secluded secret library and negotiate with the head librarian. There’s usually a task involved in these things. If you achieve your task then you get what you want out of life. If not, you go back one step. Make sure you read the fine print.

What if you weren’t happy with the way your life turned out and then you died. You’d been beginning to believe in reincarnation lately and thinking maybe you should do something good for someone else for a change when you died. Then you’re standing in that never-ending Purgatorial line waiting to find out if you get the golden escalator up or that rattley, stinky service elevator down, when you see stuck in a crack in the rough stone wall a business card. You take it. It’s for an attorney who promises to handle an appeal/assessment/refund of your destiny. Hmmm? Eventually you come across a pay phone, but you have no dimes (Inflation hasn’t caught up down there, yet.) A guy behind you has a slug on a string. You have the number, he has the slug. You call, make an appointment for both of you. He/she is slick and slimy – Angel, Demon, Soul? – and makes you fill out stacks of bureaucraticly official red tape, jump through hoops, (literally) and find witnesses (far too many are already in Hell. Hmmm). Finally you get your professional assessment of your destiny, and you find… What?! Your attorney urges you to sue.

What if you worked for Destiny? You had to make sure that what he wrote, happened as he wrote it. So you go to Life on a job and… fall in love. We all know the crazy shit that makes people do.

So we do have a destiny. But you’ll never know whether it’s Dream’s brother’s fault or your own. So just in case it ain’t him, better get to it.

Please watch out for the new novella whose title I don’t know yet. It was Mentor, then A Novice Vampire to go with the orignal, An Accidental Vampire, but neither one is quite right. If you happen on a novella by me and it’s about a Young Blood French vampire named Simone Gireaux, that’ll be it.  Young Blood. Hmmm.

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Destruction + six

Destruction is the brother of Dream in Neil Gamin’s legendary Sandman series of graphic novels.

Destruction means everything or nothing. It depends on what skewed  viewpoint you’re looking from. In the story I’m writing now, (not right this second, because I’m at a point where I know the grand scheme of the thing but am not sure of the details so I’m writing this instead hoping the details will come in a dream or some such thing that avoids my having to actually figure it out for myself) a sequel to An Accidental Vampire which is doing very well, thank you very much, on Smashwords.com and KOBO, it’s almost (there’s some sex and violence, too)all about certain people out to destroy a particular person.

So for the group, the destruction of the man is a good thing as it allows them to get what they want. For the man, not so good, as he’ll be dead, with no vampire to save him. On the other hand, The Novice Vampire, (the probable title) Simone Gireaux, besides attempting  to learn how to survive as a vamp, is trying to figure out who the group is and destroy them. Her viewpoint is just the opposite of the group. Like most things, destruction has two sides.

While “Destruction” is usually considered a bad thing, it isn’t always. Consider the Nazis, or polio or smallpox or disco. Nobody sane wants those undestructed.  Sure, destruction can bring tragedy with it, but if “Death” is considered a form of destruction,  imagine if nobody died. Where would we put all those immortals? (see IDEAS below.) What if everything ever built – every cheaply built tenement, outmoded factory, monument, vehicle –  was still standing, running, or lying around in trash heaps two hundred feet high. You could probably build a stairway to the stars with the beer cans alone.

Self-destruction, while mostly a preventable tragedy if someone was paying attention, could, under certain circumstances, also be called Death With Dignity if certain people would butt out and allow it to happen in the dignified manner it deserves.

In my upcoming (as soon as my novice French vampire sorts everything out) novel Ancient Mariners two characters and their old ways die, not voluntarily, to make way for the new ways.  And so it goes, old ways, old things, old buildings, and most times unfortunately,  old people, must destruct to make way for the new. Being new doesn’t mean being good. That’s how evolution works, everything gets a chance.  If it works, it survives. If it doesn’t, destruction will rain down on your head.

IDEAS

What if nobody died, but continued to be born? Where would they go? Up or down? The possibilities are, if not endless, multiple. Sub-plots abound!

Going down. Digging caves and mines into the ground, deeper and deeper. Who knows what we might find?  Underwater, deeper and farther from shore with all its dangers and dramas, human, creature or natural. Who gets to live where? Where would the prefered neighborhood be? What conflicts might come to the deep dark? What destruction might they inflict on those weird bastards in Bubble 34 or Tunnel 28? You know that would happen.

What if everyone wanted to live underwater or underground and after a century or two nobody lived on the surface to see aliens land, thinking it’s a pretty nice planet, so they move in. What happens when they discover each other? Who destroys who? You know they would try. Unless some other not so nice aliens came along and the two Earth residents had to band together to fight their mutual destruction.

Going up. Population pressure forces migration. Space is the place. What if our big plans to migrate off world were destroyed by Aliens who did not want such a violent species banging about the galaxy? They didn’t interfere with us in any way except we were under house arrest. How would that work out? Who would step up to make an attempt to bust the blockade? Governments, corporations, individuals? What slimy, traitor sons of a bitches would work with the Aliens in return for special favors, that may or may not be what they promise?

What if the above blockade could not be broken and the population swelled and swelled till finally it reached critical mass and all humans became one Earth mind, the Mind of Gaia, so powerful they could destruct the Alien ships. So powerful we didn’t need ships, we could move the Earth itself.  And go find their planet. What if, humans being humans, some wanted control and then some others wanted control and the factions started to duke it out and suddenly they were not working together and became stranded in the literal Middle of Nowhere and they’d better start working together because they were drifting into a star where they would of course be very deconstructed. A bad thing for Earth, a good thing for the Aliens who were surreptitiously helping things along.

What if you wanted to destroy someone’s marriage, but your natural charm, wit, beauty, sexiness or deviousness wasn’t working? Maybe you’d go see that psychic palm reader just on the outside edge of town who might say yes they can help if only you’d do one little favor for them. And in doing that little favor that didn’t really seem so much you quickly find that you have much more to worry about than the destruction of some nice people’s marriage.

What if you were a  well-meaning, in your own warped mind, Sorcerer and you could capture the souls of suicides with the thought of since they wanted, at the time, to die, they’d make good cannon fodder, bombers, henchmen, puppets if you put their souls into regular people in a position to do your dirty work for you. Might work out until a few of them decided they hadn’t really wanted to die and in order to live again they had to destroy you. The title, The Suicide Wars comes to mind.

Any story, especially movies, that blows a lot of shit up, is good.

Any psycho, pyro, manic who blows shit up for the purpose of the destruction of life, property, or ideals, is not good. And therefore worthy of destruction themselves.

Without destruction, what have we? Sometimes good, sometimes bad, Destruction, like time, marches on, clearing the way for the new yet soon-to-be-old, sometimes causing tragedy, sometimes relief, but always a story.

P.S.

Read an e-book week is coming up. I have some to offer. Check them out over on the right there.

P.P.S

I’m looking for a photo or design of some sort to use as a header for this blog. Something that will catch the eye and represent What If? Ideas welcome.

Delirium plus six

Ah, delirious Delirium, one of the Sandman’s sisters in the Sandman series of graphic novels.

DELIRIUM 1. A state of temporary mental confusion and clouded consciousness resulting from high fever, intoxication, and shock characterized by anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, delusions, and incoherence.  2. A state of uncontrolled excitement or emotion.

So says my ancient (1982) copy of The American Heritage Dictionary. For an updated definition on my birthday in 9 months you could send me a new dictionary. Just throwing that out there.

Who among us has not experienced delirium, especially that intoxication one. Who? Me? And people wonder why I don’t drink anymore.

There’s high and low delirium. High is when my novelette Hell Cop: Sneaker had 146 downloads in 3 days when it was free for the Kindle from Amazon. Now a 146 downloads is barely a drop in the proverbial 5 gallon bucket of the  e-book world. But 146 of something is better than a zillion of nothing. I was positively giddy as I stared at the report, counting along with the numbers.  Two, even three, an hour! Ah the delicious intoxicating delirium of low expectations met.

Low is now, as I try to write a sequel to my An Accidental Vampire story which is doing well (the next step up from barely a drop) as an e-story. Like the vampire it’s about, it’s kicking ass (mine) and searching for names (All those 17th Century French people weren’t named Smith? Who knew?) I have a good start and I know the ending, it’s all that stuff in the middle that’s giving me  an anxious, finger twisting,  typing incoherent, delirium of failure. I mean, how hard can it be for a Young Blood vamp to find the murderer of a Duchess?

Love is high Delirium. Or low depending on which end of the relationship you’re on. Are you at that point where you bump into things,  ignore your friends, and generally walk about in a daze of happy delirium with pictures of your sweet Honey Bun dancing in your head and you can’t wait to feel them in that intimate way unique to  you two of all people on Earth?

Or, are you in that low delirium state of having been dumped where you bump into things, ignore your friends  and generally walk about in a daze of sad, painful, disillusioned, angry delirium, and ripped up pictures of that lousy, lying, bitch/bastard beat against the inside of your skull, and the only thing you want to feel is either your hands around sweet Honey Bun’s neck or that whiskey burn in your throat, or the blissful nothing of head to pillow and the blankets pulled over your head?

Which ever level you’re at, wait, don’t do anything stupid, especially those of you in the high delirium state, and it will all be better in the (some future) morning. Unless your (temporary?) bout of delirium causes some nasty form of  Destruction, (next post)  in which case you’re screwed and you might as well settle into Despair (last post.)  Unless, Destiny, (next next post) should you choose to accept it, has something else in store for you.

IDEAS

What if somebody did you wrong (broke your heart, broke your bank, broke your psyche) and rendered you suicidal? You were about to martyr yourself to your sad delirium when you realized that the only action that would make life worth living would be to destroy (murder the bitch/bastard!) the person who wronged you. And you do, and you get caught. Can you claim self-defense? Compare and contrast the two obvious sides of the question in a gripping, can’t put it down, fictional form. Extra credit if it gets made into a movie.

What if you were in a blue funk delirium brought on by disappointment, failure, loss, humiliation or any of the thousand other things that might bring on such a state of Why me? or What now? And then, you saw the future. Not some daydream or hypnosis induced fantasy – The Real Thing. You were happy and successful and… and.. HAPPY. You had everything you wanted – except it came at the expense of someone you knew. A friend, a family member, maybe that nice man down the block who always said “Hi” and had returned your new puppy when it got lost. All you had to do was carry on as usual and you were gold and they were fools gold. They wouldn’t die or anything so severe, but as you went up, they went down. You could change it, but that big Happy wouldn’t happen. What would you do? Something? Nothing? Or try and finagle a compromise? What would make you happy?

I’m getting delirious trying to come up with ideas that haven’t been done a 100 times before, like going through strange adventures then finding out “It’s all a dream.” Or finding out the strange stuff was real and the surreal boredom you thought was your life is actually your delirium, a refuge from all the strangeness. Sort of a reverse Walter Mitty effect. Or a strange person touches you and you experience a time of incoherent hallucinations and when you wake up you’re some – body, where, time – else. Or when you wake up you’re part of an unrotten Alien Zombie undercover army bent on taking over the world one bite at a time. clichés like that.

So, enjoy, or at least accept, your delirium, embrace it, wrap yourself up in it, because you never know if it might be the highlight of your life. Just to leave you with a pleasant thought.

An historical delirium of Vampires awaits my attention. Until Destruction comes, don’t let any strangers bite you.

Death plus Six

First, A Shameless Promotional moment! (Except for Mitch)If you are getting or giving a Kindle or Nook or any other E-Reader for Christmas, don’t forget the e-books to go with it.  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/davidburton can help.

I am just now reading the last volume in the Sandman series of graphic novels created by Neil Gaimin. The Sandman is Dream, one of the Endless along with his brothers and sisters – Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium, Destruction and Destiny. (6, get it?)

Death is the oldest. This is perhaps a practical matter. Without Death making way for the new, where would we put all of them? Immortality may be an interesting idea, but practically speaking, except for me and you, it’s a no go. Unless, and you’ve no doubt already figured this out you smarty you, you develop space travel early on and send the Newbies, or maybe the bored Oldies, off to another planet, and then another and another – but that’s a different blog. (Oh great, another immortality post) Death is the oldest because all things, bugs, animals, people, planets, stars, galaxies and the like all end up in her arms eventually.

When Death takes you in her arms is up to Destiny. That, too, is a future blog.

What if Death gets bored? He/she/it is always busy, as most people know too well.  A million times a day she (He or it – your choice) scoops up souls on Destiny’s timetable.  In the book I’m working on,  Ancient Mariners, Death is  represented by, wait for it, a large black Albatross. I think the Death in my story decided for whatever reason, to go off book.  Maybe the bad guy was scheduled to die at a certain time – heart attack, a fall down stairs, a random bullet. But Death, to relieve the tedium of embracing the dead since Time began, (or maybe just to screw with her Endless brother, Destiny) picked my two protagonists and created a mission for them. They were trained, prepared, nudged to be at the proper place at the proper time so that the bad guy’s death was not  random. But unlike so many meaningless, stupid, untimely deaths, had some meaning for those present at the time.

Death isn’t a bad guy (person or being,  if you need to be PC.)  Though it might seem she is pursuing you, she isn’t really. She’s just making sure that when the time comes, she’s there to catch you.

IDEAS

What if Death wrote a book? What would she (see above) have to say? I read a novel a few years ago, that I unfortunately can’t remember the name of, narrated by Death as she followed a girl/woman throughout her life.  In your book, maybe there’d be a day in the life, so to speak. Maybe interesting stories of particular people and how they came to be in her arms.

What if (oh damn, here’s those immortals again) your novel followed the cat and mouse existence between an Immortal and Death. Both aware of each other, maybe they have a coffee or a drink together sometimes.  Oh the stories they could tell, the comments of the past, present and future. Maybe the Immortal sneaks in to Destiny’s den and almost sees the date of his/her death. Or maybe it’s open-ended, a mystery to all.

Many people would do anything to prolong their lives. What would you do? Make a deal, your life for someone else’s? Offer to be her apprentice, then stab her in the back? Best be careful, she’s been around a long time and knows all the tricks. If money can’t buy a longer life, what can? What does Death want to  jigger the books for you, or push you back when you fall into her arms? Maybe there are two Deaths and you could play one against the other.

What if Death fell in love?  What if without his/her knowledge Death did jigger the books? Then they met, and the object of Death’s affection fell in love, too. Then they were found out – What would they do, where could they run, who would be chasing them, besides love, what else did they have to lose?

Unless you know something I don’t, you can run, but you can’t hide. So don’t worry about it and do your best to enjoy the time you have. Then you’ll have some stories to tell.