Archive for January, 2011

Golden Tentacles and Golden Reviews

The UK-based genre review site, Pornokitsch has an annual novel awards post. It’s a very light-hearted site, and their reviews are often very witty (though insightful). This year, for the first time, they’re having a Best Debut Novel award (called the Golden Tentacle Award) and have awarded it to me for King MakerIn part they say that:

Mr. Broaddus, an Indianapolis native, uses his hometown as the setting for his unique retelling of the King Arthur myth cycle. The Arthurian stories have been told over and over again, but by setting them in downtown Indianapolis, Mr. Broaddus layers both feverish intensity and brutal modernity on top of the original tales. Beyond that, Mr. Broaddus brings the tension, the danger and the mystery of Indianapolis’ backstreets to life in a compulsively captivating way – even before the supernatural elements start cropping up. Indianapolis is a strangely mundane location for genre fiction, but Mr. Broaddus makes King Maker feel bigger than a simple local story.

I haven’t felt this proud to be a black geek since Joss Whedon managed to not kill off a cool black character in Buffy.  It’s been a raucous weekend of celebrating in the Broaddus household (well, after explaining to my wife that an award from a site called Pornokitsch in no way involved strippers or the like).  And I’ve quit beginning most of my conversations with “as your award winning husband…” (though that stopped after her “say that one more time and that award is going to make you walk funny” retort).

And while I’m usually pretty flippant, but this really does mean a lot.  I’ve seen some of the names I beat out and that makes my head spin all the more.  Last year, they gave their Kitschie to China Miéville’s The City & The City which, as far as I’m concerned, means my name and China’s get to be used in the same sentence.

As writers/artists, we can say what we want about not reading reviews and how art, once released, belongs to the audience, but it’s nice to get some validation.  To know that your work has connected with folks.  And for that, I thank Pornokitsch and can’t wait to post pics of me and my award.

Speaking of not reading reviews, I definitely didn’t read the following one (nor Nick Cato’s).  Which meant I didn’t breathe a sigh of relief (because I also wasn’t fretting how book two of the series might be received by my readers).  Which meant that this review also didn’t  help make this weekend special (which doesn’t read in part):

So how good is the book? well, if I say 18 pages – that’s how much time it took me to be hooked, and that’s just reading the prologue before chapter one even started. I can count on one hand how many authors have the power to do that (one being my favorite PKD). Within those 18 pages Maurice Broaddus managed to evoke an attachment to those kid’s which made what happens on pages 17 to 18 really tug at the old heart strings. More importantly you get to understand why Rellik became the person he is, and even relate to the choices he makes. It’s almost like Maurice Broaddus is reliving real memories rather than creating a fictional story, the suspension of disbelief is both immediate and faultless.

King’s Justice is up for pre-order now and will be out in a month!

I Spit on Your Grave – A Review

There is an interesting back story to the film I Spit on Your Grave.  In 1974, film editor Meir Zarchi witnessed the aftermath of a brutal rape in a park and tried to help the victim as best he could.  Like many writers, the way that he chose to process what he had seen and went through was to write.  In 1978, he released the movie Day Of The Woman, a film with some heady notions of being empowering to women.  It had a few scenes cut to get an R rating and went on to fade into cinematic obscurity.  However, in 1980, the film was picked up by a distributor and re-marketed as exploitation cinema. The deleted scenes added back, it garnered an X rating, was given a new title, I Spit On Your Grave—complete with a sensationalizing poster—and went on to become 1981’s top-selling video release in the US.

The plot involves a writer, Jennifer Hills (Camille Keaton), on a retreat from her New York apartment to a cabin in Connecticut, living out the writer’s fantasy of penning her Great American Novel.   Four local men harass, stalk, and rape her.  She returns as an angel of vengeance, doling out punishments fitting their crimes.  We’ve seen such a revenge plot hundreds of times.  However, it is the leering nature of the film which has earned it such infamy.  Of the movie’s 100 minute running time, the first 45 are spent lingering on the chase and rape, the last 30 on her revenge killings.  So basically the rape and killing are only separated by a scene of Jennifer in church to ask for forgiveness for the murders she plans to commit.

Like the briefly glimpsed witness who opted to not do anything to stop Jennifer’s assault, the viewing of this movie comes with certain moral responsibilities.  Horror too often prides itself on being the “lowest common denominator” genre, not built for rigorous idea exploration.  Rarely is there a true examination of the human condition. “I’m doing an analysis of man’s inhumanity to man” usually amounts to puerile masturbatory fantasies of rape and torture justified by someone getting their comeuppance in the end.

We all have to figure out what to do with our very real emotions of hurt, anger, and the need for justice.  We see the evil and injustice perpetrated around us, to people we love, and we cry out.  It brings to mind the idea of imprecatory prayers.  Imprecatory Psalms are those petitions for misfortune, or curses, on another; the righteous asking God to carry out His justice. They are heartfelt, often angry sounding pleas for the protection of the innocent and the punishment of the wicked.

Imprecatory Psalms were recorded and preserved for use in public worship; a pattern for Israel as well as the cries of individual’s hearts.  For example:

“When he is tried, let him be found guilty, and may his prayers condemn him. May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership. May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes. May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor. May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children. May his descendants be cut off, their names blotted out from the next generation.” Psalms 109:7-13

God big enough for us to be real with? We are called to be authentic. I don’t know if there’s any such thing as being too authentic, because since we are broken vessels, the fact that we are a mess is sort of taken into account. We do have to wrestle with is whether or not it is the loving thing to do to pray for God to crush our enemies. Religion does not have a monopoly on morality, and the desire to see justice done unites the religious and non-religious alike.

Radical hatred is the right response to radical evil. We need to be angered by evil, by injustice, by the wrongs of the world. Evil needs to be resisted, opposed, even wept over. Rage is a perfectly natural, valid first response. It is human way to deal with our pent up fury. It is doubly an appropriate response if we do it before God, the God of Love and Justice. We have to expunge these “dark emotions” from ourselves. Part of forgiveness process is us venting our grief, frustration, and anger, only then can we continue with the healing/forgiveness process. Imprecatory prayers help put things in perspective. The words are, and should be, shocking to hear.

We continue to move in a Christian response by looking at circumstances in light of Christ’s mission. There is a tougher idea to reconcile: no one is beyond divine grace. We are commanded to love our enemies, returning a blessing for a curse. While often shocking, imprecatory prayers allow us to put things in God’s hands. Ultimately our prayer becomes “God forgive them and transform us.” A Christian response is moving toward reconciliation, a forgiving of our enemy. Grace doesn’t preclude justice being done. Call evil deeds what they are: evil. We must protect the innocent. However, our actions must move toward redemption.

Not that anyone expected I Spit on Your Grave to be anything more than what it is.  Not especially bright characters portrayed by terrible actors.  Trite dialogue recited to unclear direction.  This isn’t a misunderstood feminist film, it’s violence and sexually exploitive imagery reveled in for its own sake.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps – A Review

Oliver Stone’s last two films, World Trade Center and W, continue his career theme of taking political and real world events and crafting compelling films out of them.  Obviously, the recent economic downturn would be not only his perfect muse, but also an opportunity to dust off one of his most iconic characters, Michael Douglas’ hugely charismatic (and Oscar-winning) villain, Gordon Gekko.

The sequel to his seminal work, Wall Street—a cautionary tale on the pitfalls of unchecked ambition and greed—Wall Street:  Money Never Sleeps lacks the bite one might expect for a film seemingly positioned to critique the attitudes and mores of those responsible.  We get a peek inside the power corridors of global finance, but the depths of this is not really plumbed.

One almost gets the feeling Stone feels that Gekko became more of an inspiration to the very board room titans and Wall Street power players rather than a mirror to their amoral ways.  However, considering the real world context of financial ruin, too close an examination of complex economic concepts might not be palatable for audiences.

Wall Street:  Money Never Sleeps deploys Douglas sparingly, which has the audience longing for more screen time from him.  He’s just as smart, crafty, though wiser. He at first seems to be a standard repentant sinner as he meets a young trader named Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf) who wants to marry Gekko’s estranged daughter, Winnie (Carey Mulligan).  Jakes mentor, Louis Zabel (Frank Langella), kills himself after being squeezed out of his own firm.  From there the movie angles to put Gekko back in play.

Wall Street:  Money Never Sleeps explores America’s value system when it comes to our pursuit of wealth and the costs of consumerism.  Too often we believe that if we can just get that dream, that castle, that we’ll have the time and the opportunity to make up the costs of what it took to get them. We have faith in the belief that once we attain the dream, everything will work out. A mirror is held up to the value system that sustains this dream:

Consumerism – From the cars we drive, to where we live, to the clothes we wear, we have bought into a lust of life.

Materialism – that quest for more stuff that shrivels people’s souls and empties their lives. We, like any good Americans, are discontent consumers, constantly on the move to satisfy our inner longings.

Entitlement – The bastard son of our lust of life is a perpetuation of a sense of the need for immediate gratification, perhaps even a sense of entitlement, as far too many of us are duped into pursuing these things.

(Hyper-)Individualism – this “me first” narcissism which fragments community.

This leads to an economy fueled by the misery and degradation of others. But Jesus didn’t die for lower taxes, smaller government, pro-business policies, and an individualistic worldview.  If your religion is to mean anything, then be about the poor, the “least of these”.  Life is not about being controlled by money, things, or greed; but about relationships.

Wall Street:  Money Never Sleeps is smart and moves with a surety of someone who not only knows their craft, but also the hallways of brokerages (Stone’s father was a stockbroker). It teeters on pressing home the world it critiques, but doesn’t tear into it with relish.  Maybe that’s another function of a repentant Gekko.

The Color Purple – A Review

Nothing can capture the rich, lyrical prose of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, which details the life of a rural black family on a Georgia farm starting in 1909.  The novel took home the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 and proved difficult to craft a script from.  Eventually one was written by Menno Meyjes after Walker deemed her own draft unsatisfactory.  With its many layered themes—from racial identity to misogyny to sexuality to God—it is a deeply personal work that requires a deeply personal movie.

This isn’t quite that movie.  Obviously after many commercial hits, Spielberg had hit a point in his career where he wanted to be taken seriously as a master craftsman.  Steven Spielberg means well, but I think that’s part of what undercuts the film.  The other is that there’s a narrative/emotional distance between the film and the audience.  Like with the movie Amistad, the motions and production of the movie hit all the right notes, but there is a … connection to the subject matter that isn’t there.  When that personal connection is there, he can craft Schindler’s List.  When it’s not, he produces The Color Purple.

A gentle, well-intentioned whitewash—using generalities, character short cuts, and a whiff of paternal condescension—in addition to a “sexwash”, as many of the novels complex sexual themes are diluted down.  Alice Walker’s vivid characters still crackle with life despite the script.  At the center is Celie (Whoopi Goldberg).  At its heart, The Color Purple is a love story between Celie and her sister, Nettie, from whom she is separated at childhood, and, later in life, the blues singer Shug Avery.  In the novel, Celie’s story is told through a series of letters, some never sent, many never received, most addressed to God.  As a young girl, she gives birth to two children and is then married into a life of servitude to a cruel, distant man she can refer to only as Mr (Danny Glover).

Whoopi Goldberg, in her debut performance (if only she would keep picking such interesting and meaningful roles, as she never quite blossomed into the career she should have had), had a difficult job to do.  Despite the pathology porn aspect of Celia’s life, she has to gain our sympathy and propel what could be an utterly bleak story forward.

It’s stories like this that make me think that one of the greatest miracles in the history of the church (after Jesus’ resurrection) is the emergence of the black church. That somehow Christianity took root within the context of slavery and took off. At the time, Christianity was used as a weapon, pure and simple. While some people may have legitimately wanted to evangelize the “heathens,” for the most part, Christianity was used as a means of control – used to strip away any trace of the native religion–from animism to Islam–black folks were forced to unlearn this aspect of their culture.

There is a biblical story that can be used to illustrate this process. During the time of Exile, when the Israelites had been taken into captivity to Babylon, their best and brightest were re-educated. They had to adopt .the Babylonian culture, learn the Babylonian language, learn the Babylonian religion, and take on new (Babylonian) names. This is the context for the story of Daniel and the lion’s den, for example.

With American slavery, the African way of life and belief was over-ridden with a new doctrinal system, one twisted for the purpose of transformation and intended to be a spiritual opiate. Mixed in with the teachings about God–with the passages on the master-slave relationship emphasized–were fun facts like how black people were created less than a white man. How black people (via Ham) were cursed to be slaves. How black people ought to be thankful for them having been taken in by their benevolent masters.  Yet God can use the best intentions, failed methods, and even evil and unjust acts for the furtherance of His own ends. He did so with the crucifixion of Christ. He did so with slavery and the black church.

Hope is what sustains us during dark times.  There’s hope because Christ gave us a simple mission: to join Him in being a blessing to others. Reality says that not everyone will buy into that mission, even those who profess to believe in Christ, but I have hope that it’s a right and true mission. Our hope isn’t a “wait until we get to heaven and it will all work out” hope. It’s a “the kingdom begins now” hope. It’s the hope that says in light of Christ reconciling us to God, an act of supreme love, we are to love others. It’s the hope that says just as He reached out to the forgotten, those “outside” the establishment (religious or civil), we are to care for the “least of these”, widows, orphans, the poor.

Spielberg’s film is a carefully calibrated production, dodging the shame and crimes of racism in favor of a tale of the perverse trials black women faced.  It’s a testament to his consummate skill as a director that even with such a subtle failing, Spielberg can deliver The Color Purple.

Weekly Blog Round Up – 01/22/11

General

Writing

Descended from Darkness vol. 2 is available.  It contains the following dark SF stories published in Apex Magazine from July 1, 2009 through June 30th, 2010.

A collection of first-rate collections – Paul Tremblay has “been fortunate to read three outstanding short story collections (one from ’09, the others from ’10); each of them weird, dark, horrific, and beautiful. Each with their own voice and distinct feel.”  I’m taking notes.

The Business Rusch: Midlist Writers & Big Publishing – Kristine Kathryn Rusch on what some of the market changes mean for midlist writers.

Spiritual

Is Evangelical Christianity Having a Great Gay Awakening?

Christian Universalism: The Problem of Metaphysics

Racialicious

Local/Arts

Attention local musicians: If you would like to be considered for the IMAF 2011 band lineup, please send your info to imafindy@gmail.com.

Indy Convergence is coming up

An open call to Indianapolis artists:

A Few Back Dumped Comic Book Reviews

Rather than dump nearly a dozen new reviews into my blog stream, I’ve opted to back dump them.  When I’m on a tear of focusing on one topic, I get all self-conscious, especially with comic book reviews as I can only imagine that the tiniest fraction of my regular readership cares about comic book review.  So rather than give two weeks of blog space to reviews, I’ve backdated them so that it doesn’t necessarily look like I took nearly two months off from blogging regularly.  (This is me thinking too hard about this and being too clever by half.)

Anyway, click on whatever reviews you are interested in:

Ultimate Avengers 3 #4

Shadowland #1

Batman:  The Return/Batman Inc.

X-Factor #211

New Avengers #6

Avengers #7

Captain America #612

Batwoman #0

Flash #6

Brightest Day #15

Freedom Fighters #3

Superman for All Seasons

This Blog is Mixxie

In the age of the internet, some things are so much easier to do.  Writers can put together a novel and put it out there in order to try and find an audience.  Musicians can not only put together tracks and make videos available.  But just because something is easy to do doesn’t mean that you should do it.  (Ain’t none of what’s going to follow safe for work.  So only click if you’re ready to hear some profanity laced, banal idiocy.)

I know I shouldn’t waste my time on this, but sometimes I can’t help myself.  (And some of my “so called” friends keep putting this stuff on my radar when I’m trying to keep a low, unopinionated profile in 2011).  Picking on indie artists at all seems like clubbing anorexic baby seals which have washed up on shore.  There is an automatic, sympathetic sentiment which wants to respond with “they’re trying.  They’re putting themselves out there.  We should be supporting them. “

No we shouldn’t.

In the marketplace of ideas, I’m not going to support an artist just because they mean well and their heart’s in it.  That’s the usual starting place.  It’s what makes a writer pick up a pen, an artist their paint brush, or a musician their mic.  Pouring yourself into your craft and then putting yourself “out there” is part of the process.  Then I see some of this mess and I now realize why folks begin their commentary with “bless their hearts” … especially if the next thing they want to say is along the lines of “that $#!+ was whack.”

(And now our video break down of the week…)

I can almost picture the video planning meeting.  How excited they were, talking about the women and money sure to follow once they blow up.  I know they’re just teens, but part of being an artist means that your art is subject to criticism.  And as a professional writer, I kinda believe that words mean things.  So when your dream of the high life consists of smoking, drinking, having sex and “hitting people with your stick like Gretzky”, your song should be titled “This Ish is Empty.”

And when I think about it, my mom would still be kicking my behind for pouring stuff on her carpets, cause you know they were filming this in their bedroom.  And Lord help me if she actually ran across me spouting this nonsense as my “values”, revealing after her hard work of raising me, this is what I’m about.  All I’d hear is “This is what you’re doing in your room when you lock the door?  Why couldn’t you be masturbating like every other boy your age?!?”

Hey, you know some things that are mixxie?

-going to school

-not pouring $#!+ on your mom’s carpets

-not living in your mom’s basement after you graduate

-getting a job

-pulling your damn pants up and walking around like you got some pride and a lick of sense

-NOT POURING $#!+ ON YOUR MOM’S CARPETS!

I know I sound like a cranky old man whose being too hard on today’s youth.  Truth be told, they are the product of our design having dined on what our culture has fed them. The advertising, which is what videos are, fuels our consumeristic mentalities, generating or nurturing a pursuit of designer labels. We want the cars, the house, the clothes, the jewels, the gear, not realizing that we chase an illusion. This driving materialism perpetuates a sense of the need for immediate gratification, perhaps even a sense of entitlement, as far too many of us are duped into pursuing these things. As if this meaninglessness is what life is about.

But like I said, I have friends which put this stuff on my radar.  I write, so that’s how I respond.  These same friends (I’m looking at you AlluringShrew and Thesselonious) pick up the mic to offer their own commentary (though she freely cops to having no vocal skills … and that in this day and age, that’s not much of a requirement anyway).  They, too, pick up on the nexus of ghetto crackery which sees folks caught up in an aversion to work, proclivity for violence, contentment with little to no education, sexual promiscuity, short-term thinking, drunkenness, an anti-entrepreneurial spirit, reckless pursuit of meaningless things.  Plus, their video made me laugh …

Their ending coda sums it all up:  “Stereotypes are ugly … why try so hard to be one”.  QFT.

You will be Sick of Me in 2011

Well, more sick of me than usual.  Due to the vagaries of the publishing industry, 2011 will be the convergence of several projects (some years in the making) seeing the light of day.  The last two novels of my Knights of Breton Court series should come out:  King’s Justice and King’s War.  Then there are the short stories:

  • Awaiting Redemption (Of Keene Interest)
  • Collateral Casualties (King’s Justice – bonus feature)
  • Dance of Bones (Inhuman Magazine)
  • House of Blue Lights (All Hallow)
  • I, Theodora (Beauty Has Her Way)
  • In Receipt of Fern Seed (H&H Books)
  • Iron Hut (Ancient Shadows)
  • Lost Son (Griots)
  • Problem of Trystan (Hot & Steamy:  Tales of Steampunk Romance)
  • Rainfall (Cemetery Dance)
  • Shadow Boxing (Up Jumped the Devil)
  • Trail’s End (Dead West)
  • Warrior of the Sunrise (The New Hero)
  • Whispers at the End of Creation (Relics & Ruins)

Though I’m waiting on a few details before I announce a few more, all told, 2011 should see over a dozen short stories of mine released.  I promise not to spam you to death.

Weekly Blog Round Up – 01/15/11

General

Should I work for free.  Nuff said.

Writing

Your Business Model is Not Your Neighbor’s – Monica Valentinelli takes an interesting look at publishing models.

Jason Sanford wonders Where The Great Gatsby of Today is.

Five Money Mistakes Freelancers Make – We’d like to suggest that if you do anything, nip the following five bad habits in the bud now, so you never have to worry about them again. We consider them to be the five primo mistakes all self-employed people make. If you correct them before they become long-term ingrained problems, you’ll be in good shape to move forward with most of your financial goals.

An interview with Marc Gascoigne of Angry Robot about their upcoming open month of submissions.

Spiritual

Getting to know the “nones”:  “recent polls give evidence of a dramatic increase in the number of Americans who self-identify as having no religious affiliation — with their share of the population up from 7 to nearly 17 percent in the last few years.”

Should Christian Art (at times) be Offensive? – “What began as a few questions about language evolved into why Christians are so easily offended and what it means to be “set apart.””

Following your spiritual instincts regarding the poor – “ It wasn’t about the trendiness of social justice or even re-inventing cool, new ways to do church. It was all about loving God and allowing our love for neighbor to flow from that.”

Racialicious

Being a huge fan of The Wire, and in light of the Huck Finn mess, a look at what the use of the n-word meant to the show:

Local/Arts

An open call to Indianapolis artists:

Is it Safe? Guest Blog by Simon Wood

IS IT SAFE?
By Simon Wood

I was thinking about the perception of safety the other day.  My wife, Julie, doesn’t like it when I leave the front door unlocked when we’re in the house.  She doesn’t want anyone storming the castle gates while we’re at home, so she puts her faith in a deadbolt.  A two inch slug of steel not even an inch in diameter will keep her from harm.  She doesn’t worry (but probably will after this blog) that there’s nothing stopping evil doers from chucking a rock through any of our floor to ceiling windows and entering the house that way.

I started thinking about other safe things in our lives.

When the little red man tells me not to walk, I don’t.  The little red man knows all about danger.  That’s why he’s red.  When I ignore his advice, my heart rate shoots up a few beats.

The same applies to stop signs at a four-way stop.  I put my faith in the driver of the eighteen-wheeler coming from the other direction that he’ll obey what it says on a red octagon and not plow into me.

Down on the Bay Area’s subway train system, BART, a row of yellow bricks keep me safe from the speeding trains if I stand behind them.  And I do feel safe.  The moment I stand on those yellow bricks, I feel queasy.  I’ve put myself in danger.  A train could hit me.  Someone could bump me and send me sprawling onto the electrified rails.  Those yellow bricks are just yellow bricks, but they have some power behind them.  It’s really silly.  My safety can’t be measured by the width of a row of yellow bricks.  There are so many other contributing factors that can take their toll on me.

How many of us fear earthquakes, tornadoes, being struck by lightning, shark attacks or an in-law coming to stay?  While these things exist, there’s little chance of them affecting us.

I look around me without my safety goggles on and reexamine my environment.  There are so many things I perceive as safe.  Harm won’t come to me because I’m not putting myself in harm’s way.  Theoretically, that is.  But boy, isn’t it a tenuous belief system?  I am safe on the sidewalk because sidewalks are safe.  There’s nothing to say a car won’t plow into me or I won’t trip and fall into the road, but I don’t think about these things because the sidewalk is my talisman.

It all comes down to perception.  If I perceive danger everywhere I go, then I will see danger everywhere.  Perception is reality.  If I think safe, then I am safe.  I guess there’s a little bit of the Pavlov’s dog syndrome at work inside us all.

Fundamentally, we all believe in a safe world and it is when all of us agree and on how to act.  But what if someone doesn’t?  Where’s our safety then?  In jeopardy is the answer.

I quite like it when my thinking goes off the rails like this.  I cross my eyes and I see the emperor without his clothes on.  This is useful when it comes to the stories I tell.  I like to pick at a character’s world until it unravels by attacking all the things that they hold dear.  Basically, I break down their perceptions and belief system.  Life is a tightrope and I like to twang the cable while there are people on it—fictionally speaking that is.

The notion of safety tends to play a part in the stories I tell.  I don’t focus on global terror or category 5 hurricanes or anything like that because it’s too abstract.  I don’t have any experience with something like that and it’s too infrequent to worry about it.  I like to focus on the what-ifs of daily life.  What if someone ignores a deadbolt and breaks in through the window?  What if a waiter steals my credit card number and uses it?  These are things that can happen and if the situation snowballs how can that one incident keep coming back at me to make the situation worse?  My latest book, Lowlifes, centers on Larry Hayes, a San Francisco Detective.  His life spirals out of control when he wakes up in an alley after a bad trip with no memory of the last four hours, while his confidential informant, a homeless man named Noble Jon, lies dead two blocks away, beaten and stabbed.  Larry’s knuckles are bruised and there’s blood under his fingernails. Is he Jon’s killer?  The mounting evidence says so.  Hayes mounts an off-the-books investigation and disappears amongst the city’s homeless community to stay one step ahead of a murder charge.  I don’t say we’d all experience an incident like this, but consider your own private and professional life.  What little things could turn against you and send your life into a tailspin?  I’m sure it wouldn’t take much.  Bad news rarely needs much.  It’s scary to daydream about life in those terms, but bad things like these  could happen and that’s what makes it all the more powerful.  We could all fall prey to circumstances we couldn’t imagine and would have to struggle to overcome.  An act of terrorism, while real, thankfully happens rarely.  A minor indiscretion, like a dust up with a stranger is far more likely, and therefore scarier.

I hope I haven’t given any of you worriers out there something new to worry about.  Now, sleep tight and I’ll see you in your dreams.

Yours in perfect security,

Simon Wood

simonwoodwrites@yahoo.com

www.simonwood.net

Lowlifes is a little different from my usual books as it’s more than just a book.  The story is told from different character points of view using various media.  The book tells the story from the point of view of the protagonist, a San Francisco detective.  The short film gives the viewpoint of a PI investigating the cop.  The fictional blog catalogs the thoughts and feelings of the cop’s estranged wife.  The trendy term for this new kind of storytelling is transmedia.  People can learn more about Lowlifes at www.lowlifes.tv