So you can read my books

Sunday, August 26, 2012


{"If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it."
— Ernest Hemingway.}

Raymond Chandler, ghost, here.

I'm substituting for Roland who is laid out with that migraine still. To hurt like that and still have to work a weekend he was supposed to be off.

Hemingway and I are going to pay his supervisor a visit later on tonight. We'll be bringing the ghost of Lovecraft with us. We'll explain some things to him.

Speaking of Hemingway, I don't know if I totally agree with those words of his I quoted earlier.

But they occur to me as I think of the star-crossed love of Alice Wentworth, the Victorian ghoul, and Victor Standish.

The pair remind me of a young Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake in my BLUE DAHLIA.

You, who visit Roland's blog, think Victor's and Alice's love affair is fiction. Alas, it is not. Fiction, unlike truth, must be logical.

And as Alice Wentworth keeps saying : Their love breaks the chain of reason.

Reason you say? Yes, and good fiction must obey the RULES.


Rules. Most struggling writers think there are mysterious magic rules out there that if followed will insure success.

There aren't. But I'll give them to you, anyway.

Rule #1 :
The most durable thing in writing is style. I had mine. Hemingway had his. We're both imitated.

Be inspired by your favorite authors but leave them be. Keep the original. Lose the copy. Be yourself. But a self that grows each day.

Rule #2 :
Unlike the age of Jane Austin, this age is not remote. It is as intimate as a lonely heart and as intense as the bill collector over your phone.

Do not cliche your words. Brutality is not strength. Flipness is not wit. Do not mistake cool for character, attitude for competence.

It is not funny that a man is killed. But it is sometimes funny that he should be killed for so little, and that his death should be the coin of what we call civilization.

Rule #3 :
It's the journey, the struggles of the hero that grab the reader and keep him turning the pages. Make the hero sweat. But let him get the girl. Even Victor will get -- no, I won't go there. I can't.

Rule #4 :
Pull your nose from the computer keyboard and live life -- don't just write about it. Tasting each drink, feeling each breeze, touching the soft skin of the woman who loves you and only you.

God, I hope Victor does that with Alice ...

if only for a moment.

Sorry, you don't need to read an old ghost's keening.

Rule #5 :
Remember that human nature has learned nothing over the centuries, yet has forgotten nothing either. Men do things for reasons.

Your characters, if they are to be believed, must do so, too. You cannot shove them into actions that your prior words would not imply they would take.

Yet human nature is fickle : a man who is steel in the fires of adversity will melt at the glance of a pair of ice blue eyes. Eyes like Alice has ....

Sorry ... that ... that is all I have the heart for.

I will sit out on Roland's terrace now and look out as the night fog slips away from the bordering bayou.

The rains are over. The fields are still green.

And with my ghost eyes I will look out over the vastness of America to the Hollywood Hills and see snow on the high mountains.

The fur stores will be advertising their annual sales. The call houses that specialize in sixteen year-old virgins will be doing a land-office business. In Beverly Hills the jacaranda trees will be beginning to bloom.

And none of that will matter ... for I know how it must end for Victor and Alice.

The French have a saying that to say good-bye is to die a little. They are right. I am a ghost, and I thought I was past feeling dead inside. I was wrong.

I think I will always see Victor walking down lonely streets, leaning against the grimy bricks of shadowy dead-end alleys, saddened but never quite defeated.

Down those mean streets Victor went who was not himself mean, who was neither tarnished nor afraid ... only mortal -- who loved too well ... and not at all wisely.
Why not LIKE the kid's AMAZON author page? You wouldn't want a visit from Lovecraft's ghost would you?
This is a standard publicity photo taken to promote a film role. As stated by film production expert Eve Light Honathaner in The Complete Film Production Handbook, (Focal Press, 2001 p. 211.):

"Publicity photos (star headshots) have traditionally not been copyrighted. Since they are disseminated to the public, they are generally considered public domain, and therefore clearance by the studio that produced them is not necessary."

Nancy Wolff, includes a similar explanation:

"There is a vast body of photographs, including but not limited to publicity stills, that have no notice as to who may have created them." (The Professional Photographer's Legal Handbook By Nancy E. Wolff, Allworth Communications, 2007, p. 55.)--Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 09:35, 15 December 2009 (UTC)


  1. I hope you and Hemmingway do have a quiet word or ten with Roland's supervisor. Ahem.

    I like writerly rules - only because I am too lazy and unfocused and rules do ground me a little. Only just!

    As for rules of love... poor Victor and Alice!

    Take care

  2. What's wrong with a happy ending for lovers?
    Good rules for writing. You know the only thing I would add. "Thou shalt not suck." Think that's my new motto. Need to make a badge for it...

  3. Awesome post! Not every story ends happily. Especially in real life.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  4. Kitty:
    Writing rules are the stars that guide us over the vast ocean of prose. We never can touch them, but we chart our course by them. :-)

    If the ghost of HP Lovecraft went with Chandler & Hemingway, my supervisor may never be the same ... or sane! LOL.

    It is Hemingway's rule but it jives with a statistic from psychological studies: 85% of all romantic relationships end badly for one or both parties. It is a percentage that never varies from study to study.

    So any romance has only a 15% chance for success. That is still better than most gaming tables at Vegas though!

    Your new motto sounds like Elmore Leonard's rule: cut out the boring stuff! LOL.

    Thanks for the kind words. Yes, life has a way of hitting from the blind side! :-) Roland

  5. Great advice, Roland, particularly the part about being original: "Be yourself. But a self that grows each day." I like it.

  6. Milo:
    Each moment we struggle against the inertia of "fitting in" of copying to blend in with the crowd. Authors need to focus on the reader who wants to dream, to live that dream. Thanks for visiting and staying to talk awhile, Roland

  7. Always enjoy a visit with your ghost friends Roland. Hope you enjoy your Sunday, you don't have to work on Sunday do you? I suppose you do since the need for rare blood follows no calendar. Anyways, good advise :)