Fame? Me?

I know you all have been wondering – where’s that What If? blog that I love (well, tolerate) so well. I’ve been working (‘nough said about THAT) and writing. First a novella as a sequel to my An Accidental Vampire story then a short story as a bridge between the two stories so the second (well, third in the series) will work better time frame wise and vampire maturity wise. Whoever heard of a vampire amateur sleuth anyway? Simon Gireaux may be a New Blood, (remember that term, there’s a shameless promotion moment coming) and a former peasant farmwife in 1650 France, but that doesn’t mean she’s not sharp enough to help solve a murder.

New Blood, a short story now available at www.smashwords.com/profile/view/davidburton, (told ya it was coming) helps take Simone from New Blood status to Young Blood (the afore  mentioned novella coming late summer. Can you not wait?) where she might reasonably be expected to be of help solving a murder. Now, all this heavy-duty back and forth writing is all part of my plan to become rich and famous.

Now I’d rather be rich than famous, but usually (there are exceptions and  no, I don’t want to talk about it) as a writer you need to be a FAMOUS!!! author to be rich.  Of course being a famous writer isn’t like being a rock star or movie star. Sure, they make the big bucks but who needs paparazzi sticking a camera in your face when go to the 7-11 for the milk your personal assistant forgot to pick up because that bitch waitress at the restaurant where he went to pick up the seaweed salad which only they know to make the proper way was so rude, or the ones who lay in wait hoping to get a photo of you without at least a half hour’s worth of makeup, or the ones who lurk in the bushes at the back of your compound hoping for a naked picture of you (I hate that. Don’t you?). Sure they get hot girls and hunky guys throwing themselves  at their feet (or wherever), and they get to go to fancy shmancy parties and glitzy movie premiers, but then they have to spend hours getting all glammed up  and haven’t they heard that every picture taken on a red carpet takes a little bit of their soul? Who wants  that kind of fame?

My kind of fame is more likely to be where I’m working in a bare, fifth floor walk up cold-water flat, pounding out brilliant prose on an ancient computer run on power bootlegged from a garish neon sign for the sleazy strip joint next door where the Ls are all missing and so it flickers GIR S GIR S GIR S all night as Disco pulses out into the dim nighttime street, grabbing drunk and horny and lonely men by the crotch and dragging them in to watch slightly past-their-prime women  make promises they won’t keep and with the lights on you might not want them to. And if I nod off from a bit too much hair of the dog there’s the occasional flash from across the street of an alcoholic PI snapping shaky pics of overweight, middle age men being ridden by a bleach blonde with a cowboy hat and boots who’s never seen a cow in her life but knows a donkey when she sees one.

Sure the local denizens would know I was some kind of famous writer, but if I wasn’t buying the drinks, who gives a shit? All except the pretty bank teller in the branch office three blocks away on the edge of respectability where I went to cash my famous writer royalty checks. She has a loser boyfriend always urging her to spread the bank’s wealth his way, of course without any risk or effort by him. Her self-esteem is so low, for reasons she won’t tell, (but one can speculate) that she thinks she can’t do any better so eventually she will try something at the bank, get caught and sent to jail where she’ll discover true love, and self-esteem with a female prison guard and live happily ever after.  I do my bit when she asks why I come in when I could easily use electronic banking, and I say, “Just to see a little beauty in my day.”  She gives me an aw shucks you’re sweet and wouldn’t it be swell if my boyfriend disappeared look. And I might say, “Wouldn’t it.” Her bright, innocent eyes will fill with hope and promise as she says breathlessly,  “Do you think it could really happen?” And I’d just smile into their depths and start to think. “When you’re famous you can get away with anything,” I’d say. After all, what good is fame if you don’t use it to get you want?

IDEAS

See above.

What if you made a deal with the devil for fame and fortune? Been done, to be sure. But a modern-day update of The Devil and Daniel Webster is  always a possibility.

What if you already had all that fabled fame and fortune but got tired of the celebrity life and walked away from it. The fame, not the fortune. But, there was one paparazzo who wouldn’t give up and continued to stalk you even as you moved to the country or out of the country. He/she was convinced you made that deal and wanted to be there when the Devil came to collect his/her due. Despite repeated warnings, restraining orders, late night confrontations in the woods, and early morning visits with a baseball bat  to the stalker’s RV.  And maybe through all that, he does manage to witness your meeting with the Devil. But, because of all the things you’ve done to discourage the stalker and to any witnesses, you’ve inadvertently  become one of the Devil’s minions and instead of taking your soul he allows you to keep it, as long as you continue doing bad things to good and bad people, like that familiar man/woman with the camera who thinks he’s hidden in those bushes overlooking the crossroads.

What if you were sort of a genius scientist who wanted to be a wealthy  famous scientist famed for some popular civilization loved invention, but the credit for everything you did was stolen by your genius unethical boss scientist.  So you sneak into his private lab to find evidence of his thievery and you discover he’s working on a dimensional/wormhole portal to an advanced civilization but hasn’t been able to make it work. Being the genius you are, you figure it out and go through and find some amazing technology that will make your fame and fortune, and maybe you find a girl/guy who is sort of nice. But, you come back through and your boss catches you and you fight and think you killed him so you run back to the other dimension/planet/ civilization. There you find it’s really an evil dictatorship who’d love to find out how you got there and go conquer your world. With the help of your new loved one you escape and have to go to your former evil boss who is still alive and angry for help, ultimately destroying the portal machine. You and the boss make up and with some high-tech brought along by your  new love you become famous for saving Earth so that all can live happily ever after.  Or not.

What if you were a famous and powerful sorcerer/witch and, say, every month you held an audience and anybody, peasant to noble, could come an ask for you help. You listened to them all then picked the one that most intrigued/interested you. Not always the obvious choice. Let the humor, mayhem, drama ensue.

Fame, as more than one celebrity or wanna-be celebrity has found out, is a classic case of be careful what you wish for, you might get it. And if you do gain some fame I hope it’s for a talent or doing something useful. Being famous for being famous doesn’t count.

Please look for the short stories An Accidental Vampire and New Blood on Amazon.com, KOBO, Barnes and Noble, and other e-book outlets soon.

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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.