Did Milo see what I saw in the faces of those sitting at the tables in Meilori's?
Eyes haunted by past choices, voices shedding truth like skin or lovers. Maybe. Maybe not.
We were both English teachers, engaging in sentimental tango's of Us vs. Them.
We had something else in common:
we both grew up with magic ...
the magic of creating worlds, pushing against the boundaries of what was and was not possible in publishing.
I smiled at him across the table:
"Your book, YAKUZA TERRITORY, comes out this Friday, doesn't it?
"Yes, and I am pretty proud of it. It is the 3rd time I've used Charlie Madison, a private detective, as my hero."
" In Girl of Great Price, he was hired to track down a kidnapped little girl with an ability too bizarre to believe.
In Immaterial Evidence, he was on the trail of an invisible criminal with revenge in his sights. While those two novellas were more like Blade Runner meets The Maltese Falcon,
the third installment, Yakuza Territory, is like Die Hard meets Assault on Precinct 13. "
Milo smiled, "You've read my books?"
"Certainly, but Amazon, or DayStar, keeps taking down my reviews."
"DayStar is just a fictional character, right?"
I sighed, "Yes, just like Sherlock Holmes ... who is sitting at that far table chastising Benedict Cumberbatch."
I said, "You should thank Benedict. Before he strolled in, Holmes was about to chastise your Charlie Madison for failing to notice the details when he first walked into that fateful police precinct."
Milo smiled, "Charlie was one of the first characters I created at age 15. He's grown deeper since then, but he is still all too human."
The ghost of Mark Twain settled into the chair besides a startled Milo and asked, "What writers inspire you? Besides me, of course."
Milo said, "Ray Bradbury inspired me to write and submit a short story every week since 2011.
Robert Heinlein's rules for writers have also inspired me to keep my work on the market until it sells and to dive right into new projects in the interim."
Whiskey glass in one hand, cigar in the other, the ghost of Ernest Hemingway sat down heavily on the other side of Milo. "Please tell me you are not one of those NaNo's this month."
Milo said, "No, but I do have a daily goal:
After my day job (teaching junior high English), I try to write 1,000 words of fresh material in addition to ongoing edits, revisions, and resubmissions.
On bad days, I churn out about 500 words. On great days, it’s closer to 5,000. But I’m content with 1,000 a day."
Hemingway glowered at Milo. "500 words daily was my usual output."
Victor Standish, playing the trumpet on stage next to Quincy Coleman, called out. "Everyone has their own limits, sir."
"I enjoyed Under the Dome by Stephen King; somehow, he was able to keep me reading a thousand-page novel without even realizing it. He’s a master of suspense and escalating conflict.
I also started reading (and still am—I read at a slug’s pace) Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, which has got to be the most imaginative, unique, and utterly cool novel I’ve ever read."
Hemingway smiled smugly and snorted up at Victor, "Ha! Seems you weren't good enough either."
As Victor lost himself in his music, I asked Milo, "What piece of advice would you give writers for the rest of this bruised year?"
" Believe in yourself, believe in your work, and cool stuff will happen. Write often, submit often, and join Write1Sub1. Come for the challenge, stay for the community. You’ll be glad you did!"
Milo looked around. "I really like Sam McCord's adventures. Is he anywhere around?"
A voice of velvet ice murmured behind him, "You are so lucky you mentioned you liked my husband's tales."
Milo looked over to me. "You did warn me about this place."
A Public Service Announcement concerning Milo James Fowler