Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Face-Lift 587


Guess the Plot

At Play on the Isle of Song

1. Lenore has a figurine carved in the likeness of a musician her father once heard. She thinks if she finds the musician and brings him back, her dying father will finally love her. Her search takes her to the Isle of Song, where she resolves to bring the musician back, even if she has to kill him first.

2. Song's Tropical Island Getaway has been called educational, relaxing, and culturally enlightening... but never fun. Will Song be able to pull off the "Woodstock of the 21st Century" and turn her resort's reputation around? Or will Jack, handsome owner of the Carnation Garden Resort on the other side of the island, foil her plans? Also, a bum with a concertina.

3. Unicorns frolic with purple ponies on the Isle of Song, where all the flowers are happy all the time, and all the faeries are princesses. Also, a dragon.

4. A theatrical production of “Oklahoma” at a Nudist Colony’s Island resort goes awry when too many of the actors want to play horseys. Also a Sea Creature turns their weekend frolic into a fight to survive.

5. Kassie longs to be a singer, but unfortunately she's mute. One night a strange bird leads her to a boat which takes her to an island where she finds her voice and sings. When she leaves, will her voice be left behind?

6. The Isle of Song is the biggest music-themed amusement park on the planet. After hours, though, it becomes a Mecca for the spirits of deceased musicians. Anna Holenk has snuck into the park hoping to catch a glimpse of Elvis only to find herself in the middle of a ghostly war between Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis, and new arrival Frank Sinatra. To survive, she'll have to either join forces with one of the leaders, or be forever relegated to a netherworld populated by soulless groupies.


Original Version

Dear Evil Editor:

Lenore's adoptive father is dying. Since she was five, he has protected her, treated her kindly, but never once shown her that he loves her as he loves his biological children. When he was Lenore's age, [Which is...?] he overheard a mysterious musician playing a song of heartache on the edge of a forest. The song has haunted him ever since. Lenore believes that if she finds this musician and brings him back to play for her father, she will win her father's love before he dies. She leaves home with a figurine carved in the musician's likeness and a resolve not to return until she has found him.

[Lenore: Excuse me, I'm looking for a musician my father overheard twelve years ago.

Stranger: What's he look like?

Lenore: Twelve years ago he looked a little like this figurine: ]



In the north, Lenore finds a distant branch of her remaining family and the school where the musician was trained, a place called the Isle of Song. She learns that the man she seeks committed adultery with the wife of another man at the music school. Lenore suspects that this man knows where the musician is and what happened to him, but he is just as intent on silencing her. In the face of prejudice against her nationality [Which is...?] and the nature of her quest, Lenore must use cunning and lies, and endanger a member of her newfound family and put her own life at risk to discover what happened to the musician. The fact that no sane man can tell her where he is, [What does that mean? Did an insane man tell her where he is?] the fact that he may be dead won't stop Lenore from bringing him back.

[Lenore: Dad, I brought you something to help you get through your last days.

Father: What is it? And make it quick, I want to see my biological children.

Lenore: It's a rotting corpse. Bring it in boys.]

My short stories have appeared in Realms of Fantasy [Yes, but have any of them appeared in magazines of reality?] and Fantasy: The Best of the Year 2007 (Wildside, 2007).

AT PLAY ON THE ISLE OF SONG is a 60,000-word Young Adult fantasy novel. The complete manuscript is available for your review.

Thank-you for considering my query.


Notes

I don't see why lives are in danger. I can guess that maybe the musician was killed by the guy whose wife he slept with, but if there's a conspiracy to protect this guy, why not say so? The more we know, the more likely that we'll feel the danger.

I don't see the point of bringing the guy back if he's dead.

This didn't feel like young adult until you said so. Partly because we don't get Lenore's age, so she could be thirty, and partly because the adultery semed more like an adult topic.

Also, there's no indication of why this is fantasy. Is there magic? Are there musical gnomes? Give us a hint at the fantastical aspect.

The title is kinda blah.

Cartoon 289

Caption: Writtenwyrdd

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 Face-Lift Awards

Here are the results from the vote for 2008's Best Face-Lift.

3rd Place: Slow Burn

2nd Place: The Academy

1st Place: Plaguewind

Cartoon 288

Caption: anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 New Beginning Awards


The votes are in. Turns out the top two vote-getters have been made into Evil Editor Films. Coincidence?


5th Place
564

4th Place
587

3rd Place
518

2nd Place
510

1st Place
465

Cartoon 287

Caption: Writtenwyrdd

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Saturday Film Series

Man, it's hard to think of new ways of using the phrase "in Evil Editor's Shorts." Thus I'm accepting suggestions for future lead-ins.


video

Friday, December 26, 2008

2008 Guess the Plot Awards

2nd Place

The Taj Mahal Romance Repair Agency

1. From the outside it is looking like ordinary Indian restaurant. But those couples being strangely attracted to its most exotic menu are finding its warming food and most philosophical waiters are exceedingly putting the spices back into their troubled relationships. Also, a chapati.

2. Three clueless Indian virgins are starting running an agency specializing in the fixing of the ailing romances for some other Indians lacking the clues, but are quickly getting sucked into some most amusing misadventures.

3. Arranged marriages can be most great for the families, but for the couple thrusting together without the spark of the romance, getting to know each other can be most traumatic. Jaswinder and Anjul have a plan to fix that with their newest business idea. But when they are setting their call center up in Lexington, KY, the miscommunications lead to hilarity on two sides of the world.


4. Sanjiv has made his fortune as Kama Sutra instructor, and his mother is after him to seek the wife. Hilarity is ensuing when he meets his future in-laws. Can he be convincing Mr. Gupta that he is computer repairman before Mrs. Gupta is recalling "The Reverse Cowgirl"?

5. Bishakha's husband has died twenty years before, but she isn't seeing why death should be a barrier to the romance. With help of Taj Mahal Romance Repair Agency, she plans to hunting down her husband's reincarnation, and marry him once more. Also, a sacred elephant.

6. Going to work for top literary agent right out of Brown is Sissy Lions' dream. But no one is telling her she will be slogging through endless piles of romance novels rather than literary fiction. And now they are wishing her to be editing this tripe? Is there any escaping...The Taj Mahal Romance Repair Agency?



1st Place

The Tea Master

1. After tea master Warren Pax saves the Xapa tribe from pirates, Mira Manchu makes a film of his exploits, starring jailbait pop tart Hamadryad Botticelli. Warren, who had once been married to Mira, but lost her to his nemesis Victor Fishfire, then marries Hamadryad. Hilarity ensues. Also, unicorns and a sea monster.

2. Foo, a young martial artist, is apprenticed to the old Master, whose Lapsang Souchong style is legendary. But when the Earl Grey Ninja attacks, terrorizing the school and the countryside, the old man is killed. Does Foo have what it takes to become the new . . . Tea Master?

3. Another Starbucks? Li Po Chuang can stand it no longer. He gathers all the other Tea Masters in the dead of night, and they dress as business executives, board a container ship, and dump all the coffee beans into the harbor. Also, a haiku-reciting vampire.

4. This urbo-pop comic thriller culminates in a battle scene as spectacular as the clash of gods when the Tea Master fights the Coffee Demon and the Vodka King for the heart of Tiffany Johnson, freshman at Kansas State University.

5. Early in her career, Jane Cartwright was nothing but a scandalous latte-&-muffin stripper. Now she's the Tea Master of London and she doesn't have to put up with any guff from Guido, the brainless pizza junky from Chicago. He'll satisfy her hunger or the mash-and-banger crew will waste him.

6. The fate of Samoa hangs by a thread as a faceless fiend known as The Tea Master finishes brewing his most diabolical Cup of Doom. But all is not lost--a team of superspies are headed for the beach, disguised as ten burly surfer dudes and their amazing swimsuit photographer chick, Mae Wong.




The actual plots:


TMRRA: 2

TM: 1

2008 Cartoon Caption Awards

The Evil Editor Awards provide those who contribute to the blog an opportunity for recognition from your fellow minions. Of course, if you contribute anonymously, your fellow minions don't get to praise you voluminously, so if you'd now like to take credit for a caption below, feel free.


2008 Cartoon Caption Awards


4th Place

Caption: ril



2nd Place (tie)


Caption: Anon.


Caption: Anon.


1st Place

Caption: BuffySquirrel

Cartoon 286

Caption: Anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Holiday Film

video

Cartoon 285

Caption: Anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

New Beginning 590


Death was reborn in the slender man who stalked the shadows. A thin bead of sweat trickled into the corner of his eye, stinging and making him blink. He blotted his face with a handkerchief, but it didn't help much. It was midnight, and still more than a hundred degrees outside.

In the desert, lightening burst, bloomed and withered. Death watched, face lit in planes and shadows. Lightening was the power that surged within him; he could feel it firing the rage inside. The glorious incandescent moment when his true nature emerged, filling him with purpose, his victims unaware, until they balanced on the razor's edge, that they were dancing with Death himself. Then the flash back into nothingness when he was finished, gone with no trace until he was ready to strike again.

The killing time was almost upon him, and he chafed at this last, small wait, even while the anticipation tortured him with thoughts of the pleasure to come. Then, a distant sound - his discomfort was forgotten; he leaned forward to listen, until the meaningless noise resolved itself into the quavering voice of his prey, an old man singing softly as he shuffled down pavement still sizzling three hours after the sun had set.

The old man's voice got closer. "...O'er the fields we go, laughing all the way... Ho, ho, ho..."

Death jumped out of the shadows and locked his empty, black stare on the old man's face.

"Oh my..." The old man said, startled. "What's this?"

"Do you not know me? You bring joy to millions and you don't recognize your antithesis? I am Death!"

"Death? Let me see; have you been naughty or nice?" The old man checked his list. "Says here, you tricked hundreds of people into giving up their souls this year."

"Well, yes, but--"

"And that you cast thousands of people into a lake of fire for nothing more than thinking impure thoughts."

"But--"

"And that you were solely responsible this year for the pain and suffering and anguish of billions. Billions?"

Death blushed with pride. "Guilty," he said. "But with an explanation."


Opening: Debhoag.....Continuation: anon.

Cartoon 284

Caption: Whirlochre

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New Beginning 589

Satan pouted.

Thousands of damned souls shuffled before him in a chained off queue. Every four meters, a sign flashed the estimated time remaining until one reached the torture devices. Anticipation fed the terror. So did bats. One swooped down to gouge a cheek. The Damned recoiled with yelps. What did they expect? Hell was hell. Satan used to love that line. Now, well...

He flicked a talon at the next soul in line, which bore the curved form of a human female. She cowered, head darting in search of escape. A first timer.

Satan inhaled her salty, warm aura. “If you can spell ‘Mephistopheles,’ I’ll give you a pass this round.” Tough luck if the language she’d spoken on outer-Earth had been character-based.

Hope flashed in her eyes. She straightened up. “M E P H I S T O P H E L E S.”

Satan summoned an oily assistant demon. “Escort her to the elbow-wrencher.”

Her knees faltered. “But I spelled it correctly.”

Satan rolled his head, working out a neck kink. He pointed to a small sign that hadn’t been there a moment earlier,

NO EXCEPTIONS, NO EXCUSES
(AND NO ONE LYKES A GOOD SPELLER.)

Right. No one likes a good speller. Damn, she should have got that one. Cursing herself for her mistake -- as though being cursed could make things any worse -- she followed the demon into a waiting room. With a sigh, she squeezed herself into an open space between Rod Blagojevich and Bernie Madoff.

As she scanned the room, she saw another demon off in the distance arguing with Simon Cowell. She shivered. When she'd filled out the application form, she'd never guessed that the auditions for Fox's America's Gone to Hell would be so tough.


Opening: Jeanne Ryan.....Continuation: Anon.

Cartoon 283

Caption: Chelsea

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Monday, December 22, 2008

New Beginning 588

The boy with the butterfly on his nose sat on the path, his cotton-candy coated hands moving slowly towards his face. Quickly, without missing a step on her walk through the insect exhibit, Prunella reached out and tweaked his cap. The butterfly flew to the safety of the trees as the boy’s small mean eyes focused on Prunella’s name Tag--“P. Bird, Head Keeper.”

“You may not touch the butterflies!”, she barked. The boy made a noise of a piglet in distress, half squeal -- half grunt, and fled to the arms of his parents who looked daggers at Pru. Giving them a queen’s wave to the troops she continued her march to her office.

Twelve years of Zoo work had taught her it was useless stopping to discuss behavior modification with a family group that sported mismatched socks, plaid shorts and three different plastic animal noses from the gift shop. This was the type that would teeter their small children unattended on the edge of the savanna overlook rail while they were busy downloading ringtones for their cell phones. Oh well, as Walter the grumpiest man at the Zoo once told her, “ It’s no loss, better the Hippo Pool than the gene pool.”

Due in no small part to her brisk and purposeful stride, Prunella had exited the insect house, passed through the reptile house and reached the Savanna Plains compound before the family caught up with her.

"Ma'am," the objectionable, plaid father accosted her. "Listen here, we're customers at this here zoo and you ain't got no business talking to customers like that."

"Really?" Miss P. looked the "customers" up and down and sniffed. "Well customers should look and not touch"-- she fixed her gaze on the boy -- "so if you'd be so kind as to return the monkey to its enclosure..."

"Well I never!" the mother exclaimed, letting out a grunt not unlike a rhino in heat--which was somewhat unfortunate as the gate to the compound was not secured and the bull rhino was feeling particularly frisky.

Needless to say, this was a vacation the "Plaid" family would remember for years, not least because Mrs. Plaid had to stand the whole way home.


Opening: RW Glover.....Continuation: Anon.

Cartoon 282


Caption: Anon.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Saturday Film Series


Hang the fire code. This time of year you can always count on finding the Yule log in Evil Editor's Shorts.

video

Friday, December 19, 2008

Face-Lift 586


Guess the Plot

Out of the Ice

1. Everything's hopping as Uvik and Druge inspire their fellow Greenlanders to play steel drums and reggae dance. The glaciers are melting and these citizens of the north must prepare to trade their dog sleds for surf boards. But will Rimba look as good in a bikini as she does in her seal parka? And what to do with all that mud?

2. In the late sixties, South African diamond mines produced millions of dollars of jewelry-grade stones. Ikthe N'kumbi, destitute, black and little more than a slave to the Rockwell Mining Company has a plan to escape his condition and cross the border into Mozambique a wealthy man. The only thing standing in his way is Rockwell's obsessive security, including an X-Ray machine and a team of inspectors with rubber gloves.

3. St. Angel, Quebec. Marc Bedard and his cousin Abel find a wooden box painted with strange writing in the pond ice where they play hockey. What will they unleash when it is opened?

4. When Chad Davies, lead singer of boy band, The Ice, breaks away in search of a solo career and commences his debut with the single "Girl, Just You" he doesn't expect success or people to hail him as a musical genius. Oddly, he gets both. And also a new horde of fans that breathe new life into the term "fanatical," including the conductor of an acclaimed symphony orchestra who begins to stalk Chad and make threats should Chad refuse a joint recording venture.

5. Dr. Norvitch & his colleague, Dr Gannen, have finally done the impossible: they've resurrected a baby wooly mammoth frozen in Siberia. Now they must protect their find from the government. Also, an autistic boy who speaks mammoth.

6. Anthropologist Dana West must become a detective when she finds herself at odds with the U.S. Navy and the government of Iceland. What is the deadly secret they don't want Dana to discover? Also, a police psychic.



Original Version

I hope you will consider my literary mystery set in Iceland, Out of the Ice, for publication. The novel emanates from my three years of anthropological fieldwork in Iceland [When it dawns on you that you've just blown three years digging up Iceland and have nothing to show for it but a few bones, you have no choice but to write a novel.] and experience as a journalist and science writer. It is about 87,000 words.

What anthropologists do is unravel secrets, but for Dana West in Iceland, the mystery surrounding a human body found by a reindeer hunting guide in the melting ice of the great glacier, Vatnajokull, is most impenetrable. [I seem to recall reindeer being declared an endangered species in Iceland, so I hope your character is a reindeer who's also a hunting guide.]

It may provide a definitive clue why the medieval Greenlanders disappeared, colleague Richard Eakin, lichenologist, tells her. But that doesn't explain why the Icelandic government and the US Navy are hiding the frozen corpse. Or why a notorious medical anthropological sleuth has approached Dana for Iceland information. [Editorial tip: When you've got a character who's a notorious medical anthropological sleuth, don't bury him in paragraph 3.] [In fact, dump Dana West from the book and make the notorious medical anthropological sleuth the main character. Why? Because when this book hits it big and you decide to write another anthropological mystery, this one set on a dig in Turkey, you're not going to want a main character whose only experience is as a field worker in Iceland. You're going to want a notorious medical anthropological sleuth.] But it may be her ticket for a journey into the heart of Icelandic society.

Eakin warns her that a larger storm is coming and then he vanishes. Dana follows Eakin's path in Iceland with help from his research assistant, Ragnar, [If that was supposed to be a palindrome, you screwed up.] and a police psychic, Asta. [Another carelessly constructed palindrome.] [Lichenologist, notorious medical anthropological sleuth, police psychic . . . does anyone in Iceland have a normal occupation?] Finally, a death on board an Icelandic fishing boat points her toward Eakin's location in Iceland. [Iceland? Did you mean to say Ireland? Because I had just formulated a theory that Eakin had gone to Ireland.]

[Ship captain: One of my crew members died.

Dana: That can mean only one thing: The lichenologist is in Seyðisfjörður.]

There she learns the significance of the body from the ice and why Eakin wanted her to have a role is in finding that out.

Dana is a naïve, but well-intended person—acting at the insistent demand of a respected scholarly figure—who discovers (along with why Eakin disappeared) realities under the realities (such as why the romantic heart never replaced the intellectual liver in Iceland). [Get rid of that sentence before you're accused of causing editors' heads to explode.] As a detective, she is led around Hrobin's barn [You say that as if we know what you're talking about. There's been no mention of Hrobin.] by Asta, Ragnar, and Yngvar, the Reykjavik police chief. [If you can't walk around a barn without three people to guide you, I suggest investing in a good GPS.] Nothing is ever what it seems in the actions that take place in the darkest days of winter, December 1-25 in this northern corner of the planet. [I've never read the line "Nothing is ever what it seems" in a query and found myself unable to easily prove the author wrong.]

As she gradually discovers the deadly secret they are concealing (the body is infectious with a fifteenth century smallpox virus for which there is no vaccine), Dana becomes more and more of an insider there, something she achieves as a detective rather than as an anthropologist. [She's gradually morphing into a notorious medical anthropological sleuth.] This work tries to do for Iceland what Susanna Kaysen's Far Afield did for the Faroe Islands in presenting a picture of the present day country. [Am I showing my ignorance if I admit that not only have I never heard of that book, I've never heard of the Faroe Islands?] I note that you have published one novel on medieval Iceland, Saga, by Jeff Janoda and I am hoping you will also be interested in a novel on the country today (Some people claim nothing has changed, but I would not go that far...) I think Out of the Ice would be popular with suspense/mystery fans who like exotic settings, book club readers, and the ever-growing number of Icelandophiles. [The number is now up to 23.]

I am an anthropologist who has published articles on my work in Iceland ________. My work there was supported by a Fulbright-Hays research grant and the Arctic Institute of North America. I have a doctorate in anthropology from SUNY, Stony Brook and I also have a graduate degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley. I have done public health research at Brown University, the University of California, Berkeley and the University of the Health Sciences of the Uniformed Services in Bethesda, Maryland.

I worked as a science writer for The American Museum of Natural History and Scholastic Magazines (New York, New York) and Science Service (Washington, DC). I was a newspaper reporter for The Record in Bergen County, New Jersey.

I have a short story, "Hibernal Onding" in the online journal, A Long Story Short, August 2008. It will be print published in The Taj Mahal Review, December 2008 (with slight revision).

I thank you your attention and look forward to hearing from you.


Notes

This is too long; it needs to fit on one page. Most of your credits can go. You've worked as an anthropologist in Iceland, and have a graduate degree in public health. Those are your credentials. If you're also a notorious sleuth, you can add that.

Get rid of the psychic and the police chief and Hrobin's barn. Dana is the first scientist to examine the frozen guy. The government and the navy take him away before she's done with him, and she wants to know why. Teaming up with Eakin, she discovers that the body had smallpox.

Is that the mystery? Is there a murder? Who are the bad guys? We need bad guys and danger. Is the navy risking the release of the smallpox? Is it up to Dana to prevent this? What are these things that aren't as they seem?

Of course you did call it a "literary" mystery, but if you can get us unsophisticated mystery fans to want to read the book (which means you need to convince us there's an exciting mystery) you'll sell more copies than if your audience is just Icelandophiles.

Cartoon 281

Caption: Whirlochre

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cartoon 280

Caption: Writtenwyrdd

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Face-Lift 585


Guess the Plot

Lucifer's Porsche

1. Sherry Turner owns a ski lodge on Mt. Ames, home of the treacherous run known as Lucifer's Porsche. When handsome Olympic skier Ross Hardman is nearly killed on the slopes, she must choose--her man or her manor?

2. T-Dawg had stole some fine hoopties before, but nothing like this black Porsche. Tha peeps down at tha Park gonna love his mad skillz! Little does he know he's stolen Lucifer's car, and he's gonna really be ghostrifing this whip.

3. When Satan finds himself having a mid-life crisis, he has two choices: He'll either have to fall in love and start performing acts of kindness . . . or buy a Porsche.

4. Tom Stop figured he'd boosted the sweetest ride on the streets. But, as he pulled out of the parking lot at Club 666 and the painted flames along the sides burst into real flames, he began to think he'd made a mistake. Now he's got 24 hours to find the car's owner or he'll discover that "highway to hell" isn't just a figure of speech.

5. When the devil offers to trade in his 2008 Porsche for a 2004 Prius--and the salesman's soul--Honest Bob doesn't think twice about closing the deal. After all, has any car salesman ever made it to the Pearly Gates anyway?

6. Amy Jackson lost control of Todd's new Porsche convertible on her way to the veterinary clinic with Mad Felix, the injured cat. As the car plunged into Lake Wintucktim and disappeared, Amy could barely swim ashore and save herself. Felix, alas, died of his injuries. Good thing the car wasn't totaled!! Too bad it's now haunted by the glowing-eyed ghost of Mad Felix, who sits in the backseat and flies the vehicle on his evil missions from Hell, using mental telepathy.

7. As the Devil attempts to make his stylish reentry into modern society, his cloven hooves slip off the pedals of his Porsche speedster, which crashes into a tree, sending this churlish Demon head-over-hooves into the garden of spinster Madge Gatwick as she fails to prune the mistletoe from her plum tree. It's love at first sight for this odd couple, but how will the ladies' charity club react? And what will Father Murphy say?


Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Satan's having a mid-life crisis. Mutilation, asphyxiation, blah, blah, blah. [Don't you mean yadda, yadda, yadda?] Nothing's delivering that old, delicious zing. And his minions are threatening mutiny. Can he help it that the pristine souls needed to power the underworld are becoming harder to locate and almost impossible to seduce?

Gazing at an endless line of the Damned, Satan feels the weight of eternity pulling on his leathery wings. He sets off to outer-Earth on a soul-acquisition journey. Per the Elysium-Hades treaty, he and God are each allotted one soul-deal per decade. Satan targets Eden Grace, a Seattle landscaper who possesses a soul pure enough to fuel ten new disembowelment chambers. His plan is simple: hire Eden for a big-budget job, fog her mind with romance, and offer to save her sickly daughter. Problem is, he experiences more of a thrill from helping Eden than from hurting her. What kind of King of Darkness gets a buzz from doing good? And why does he feel such deranged exhilaration whenever he's with her? His celestial powers are waning, his assistant demons are conspiring, and Eden's invading his psyche. Ultimately, he must choose between an eternity of crushing despair and a love that could destroy him...Damn.

LUCIFER'S PORSCHE is a 70,000 word urban fantasy which placed third in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association's literary contest this year. [I'll try not to hold it against you that you couldn't even win your category of this obscure contest; there's no accounting for the taste of contest judges.] I've completed the advanced fiction writers program at the University of Washington. Although I do not have direct experience with hell, I spent five years in Detroit.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

[Title note (not part of query): The Porsche is a reference to Satan's 'mid-life crisis'. Obviously, immortal beings don't have a mid-life; however, he needs something to combat his crushing ennui. The only thing that provides the sizzle he misses is performing good deeds, i.e., his version of engaging in dangerous behavior.]


Notes

I like this, though not necessarily as an urban fantasy. As I understand it, urban fantasy has come to mean a contemporary fantasy with a kick-ass female protagonist who has a lot of attitude. Humor is common, but the humor tends to be in the heroine's 'tude, not the plot, which is fairly dark. This query makes the book sound like a comedy (which I assume it is), and Satan seems to be your main character. So unless the minions say otherwise, you might want to call this a fantastical comedy or a humorous fantasy.

Mutilation, asphyxiation, blah, blah, blah, makes Satan sound like a run-of-the-mill serial killer. The biggest serial killer ever does things on a grander scale. Try something like "Lake of fire, pit of despair, arena of tortures . . . Nothing's delivering that old, delicious zing."

You might turn that long paragraph into two, breaking after "decade" or "chambers."

Cartoon 279

Caption: Khazar-khum

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Beginning 587

July 14

A fleck of blue gleamed in the sunlight on a patch of white snow and gray sand.

"A flower on a glacier?" Einar asked himself as he scrambled up the slope. "A single forget-me-not?" The sight of it brought to mind what he had been trying to remember all morning: today was Bryndis's birthday.

Einar was not a plant man. He was a birdman, especially when it came to the savory ptarmigan. And hreindyr—reindeer hunters were his thing now. He was on hreindyr surveillance now, checking the trails and the herds before the utlendingar came in August. He knew no bird would fly this high and hreindyr were also rare: there were no plants. Nothing more than the wind and lichens usually made it to this elevation. But somehow a seed had found the spot and a blue gleym-mer-ei had sprouted.

The flower was just outside the shadow of a boulder. Rivulets of water spilled from a pool of ice and snow at the base of the rock. A ragged piece of cloth poked through the water and the debris. Einar stepped into the pool to pull up the rag, thinking it was probably a burlap picnic sack dropped by some hiker. But when he touched the rough material and tried to tug it from the ice, he could feel the ribbed threads of woven cloth. The material was not burlap sacking and it was frozen to a hard leathery surface which he could glimpse where the stringy cords had rotted. He suspected the piece of burlap was clothing, a cloak or a hood unlike any he had ever seen before, a garment from a human body in the ice. And he was certain this find was not anyone who had gone missing recently.

A sound behind him made Einar freeze. He was not alone. A voice rumbled and boomed across the icy wasteland.

"Dammit, Roxie -- I thought I told you to clean out the ice box? There are freaking roaches in here!"

Einar scuttled away.

"And one of 'em's still alive! Gross. I'm gonna order Pizza."

Fearing for his life, Einar hid himself behind a tall Hrar-gen Dass and considered his past sins as the world went dark.

Karma. It was indeed a bitch.


Opening: Ann Cassin.....Continuation: Anon.

Cartoon 278

Caption: Raymond Terry

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Crappy Day


For those who were wondering what EE looks like, here are some shots taken today during my colonoscopy. I wish I could tell you all about it, but while I remember watching some of it on a TV monitor, and making such comments as, "What the . . . ? Is that a squid?!" and "This scene reminds me of the batcave, only cooler," I have no idea if I forgot most of what happened or if I slept through it. The crappy day, by the way, was yesterday, when I couldn't eat.

Zombies!


The 3rd Annual Zombie Guess the Plot Quiz


As they so often do, zombies have made it into several Guess the Plot sets in the past year. But three of the plots below turned out to be the actual plots of books. Which ones? Correct answers are at the bottom of the post.


1. On a dare, Ted crossed the line, but now he's dead and an army of zombies is determined to make him their newest recruit. Can Bella LaBod rescue her lover from a fate worse than death? And will she be able to come back to the land of the living after she's ventured beyond the . . . Dead Line?

2. Zombie alligators crawl from their swamps to the subways of New York, consuming everyone in their path. They're the minions of Dr. Hannah Wild. She's taking over the world. Meanwhile, a daring team of meteorologists and astronauts struggle to bring a great blizzard from Winnipeg that will turn the monsters to ice.

3. Literary Fiction author Bromeliad Fauntleroy has written the definitive novel of male ennui during the teen angst years. However, to do so, she had to invoke the ghost of King Tut. Now she's stuck with a dusty, moldy zombie with delusions of Godhood and immortality. Can she send Tut back or will the next Empire be governed by the boy-king . . . and his blushing new bride?

4. Tax collector Ryan Conner doesn't know why no one in Colmera Springs ever pays taxes, but he's going to put a stop to it, even if it means throwing the whole town into jail. Maybe Conner would have thought twice if he'd known the truth: that the residents of Colmera Springs are all . . . zombies!

5. An epidemic of terrible disease spreads across North America. For three days, patients seem to have influenza. On day four they become zombies. But everyone at the Happy Hills Organic Herb Farm and Goat Dairy collective commune in Tennessee stays healthy. President Hannah Jones reads the Top Secret report from the CDC and wonders: could it really be -- the garlic?

6. Memoirs of a career fireman, focusing on the numerous people who've died in his arms at the scenes of vehicle accidents and house fires. Also, a dead man opens his eyes: resurrection or zombie?

7. In the city of Necropolis, nothing is as it seems. Zombies roam the streets, vampires rule the night, and werewolves make travel dangerous. When the new head of the NRA is found in rigor clutching his rifle in his cold, dead hands, Detective Paul Fontane knows he's looking at a murder. Figuring out the suspect should be simple, since the victim is also missing his brains. But getting around the People for the Ethical Treatment of Zombies protesters to get a DNA sample won't be easy.

8. When evil scientist Ray Winegast accidentally infects himself with homemade zombie microbes and starts an epidemic, it's up to Thor Jones and Bongo Mugwump to save voluptuous Screaming Mimi from the roof of Virus Central before the US Air Force flattens Pittsburgh.

9. The instant longshoreman Joe Dentmore saw the dude and the dame in the white coats running toward his forklift, he figured -- mad scientists! And how right he was! They're attempting to take over the world with the aid of a woman whose outfits scandalously fall off at critical moments. Can Joe stop them, or must he call in Team X97Z -- the zombie axemen?

10. Sean and Brendan, a pair of exchange students, try to join Sigma Xi. Blackballed for being geeks, they seek revenge in a Guinness-fueled killing spree, only to find that Sigma Xi is home to a pack of zombies. Joined by fellow losers, they form their own fraternity, dedicated to destroying the zombies before the Physics Department becomes a brains buffet.

11. The love letters were anonymous, but the envelopes had return addresses. Lonely spinster Mildred Marshall decides to investigate, but when she discovers that the address is a local graveyard she must decide: was it was all a prank, or does she have a secret admirer who happens to be a zombie?

12. Queen Voula rules with an iron fist, especially when it comes to her servants. But that doesn't keep Linea, the zombie maid from shirking her duties to be with Leo. When Leo dies and becomes a zombie, can he and Linea kill Voula before she destroys their souls?

13. Morris the Cat meets the zombies in this action packed thriller of kitty redemption. Does Morris have enough lives left to defeat the zombie master?





Answers Below




Zombie fanatics may click on the "Zombie Guess the Plot Quizzes" label below to view the previous quizzes.




The plots that aren't fakes are #s 4, 6, and 12.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday Film Series


Tickets may now be purchased on the Internet, so if you haven't been getting into Evil Editor's Shorts lately, it's your own fault.



video

Writing Exercise

It's the weekend before Christmas, and Evil Editor decides to stop at the mall for a cinnamon bun. But finding a parking space is proving impossible.

As you may have guessed, EE has been known to express his thoughts aloud when alone in his car. Your task is to put his words to paper, or in this case, blog post.

300 words max, deadline Sunday, 10 AM.

Friday, December 12, 2008

New Beginning 586

It was later, later on that second night I spent in Las Esperanzas, I mean, much, much later. The time was well after the hanging; it was long after Ernie Obregon had been boxed and buried and it was well after I had missed my first chance at the freedom bird back to Miami. As I told you before, I was back at the hotel, half shit faced and, since I had now failed for two nights in a row to turn up any wild chica mujeres, once again I was alone with nothing to do, a partially stiff lonely dick and the beginnings of what would turn out to be a decently sized hangover. Times like that I grow introspective and analytical.

Then there are the times when methodical thinking follows the alcohol and introspection and if my resulting mood deteriorates too far I sometimes wind up getting myself into a jam. I say that because it's happened before.

So there I was, sitting on the bed with a couple of stale tacos, a half a bottle of some really questionable wine, a few crumpled cigarettes and I was sifting through the journey, the reasons for it and what I was going to do from that point on.

"Hey pal," Stiletto Jane said as she unbuttoned her top, revealing a lace bustier underneath. "I'm just here to take care of the partially stiff lonely dick. If I have to listen to you grousing about your pathetic life, too, it's going to cost you double."


Opening: John Dwyer.....Continuation: Freddie

Cartoon 277

Caption: Evil Editor

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Beginning 585

In retrospect it should have been plainly evident, even obvious, especially to an academic from Boston’s celebrated Trent University Hospital, but the diagnosis didn’t occur to Dr. David Randall, not until it was too late.

The sounds were out of synch as Randall sprinted downstairs to the ER, and the colors seemed overly vivid. What could have happened? Barry was young, still just a kid, really. Referred to Randall’s refenterine study by that Sarah Ellis. He’d seen Barry only yesterday afternoon. What had he missed?

Through the windows in the swinging double doors, Randall saw that Sanjay Patel was on. They’d been interns together. Barry was intubated, bagged by a figure in mask and scrubs. Patel murmured to a young--resident, he must be--up on a stool doing chest compressions. The resident nodded once and stood down.

"What happened?" Randall gasped as he joined the team.

"You're too late," said the resident.

"You mean--"

Sanjay nodded, grim-faced. "Yes. This plot is DOA."



Opening: Scott.....Continuation: khazar-khum

Cartoon 276

Caption: Anon.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Success Story


Dave Fragments reports that the story whose opening is New Beginning 555 was accepted by Darkened Horizons Magazine for the next issue.

Also, his entry in the December 29, 2007 writing exercise, a poem entitled "Who Was This Robbie Burns" was published December 1st in the poetry section of FLASHQUAKE http://www.flashquake.org/poetry/robby-burns.html

Yankee Pot Roast published the final version of what Dave wrote for the writing exercise on October 12th, 2008 - http://www.yankeepotroast.org/index.html

New Beginning 584

In the darkness he brooded. But it was not darkness that oppressed him. Darkness was his ally. His image, when shrouded in darkness, terrified the so-called Free People even more than in light.

He looked at his thin, drawn and deathly grey hand. Frail in appearance, it was stronger than any creature on the Sea save, perhaps, the great dragons. But even they lacked his raw power. His face was a living skull with unblinking eyes and a taught, skin like covering pulled and stretched to reveal the form beneath. To those lesser things across the Sea he was the living dead, and all but one would cower before him. This Other, though. Where was he and when would he appear?

Time moved forward. Time was his enemy. He was trapped in time. But to be anywhere else was to risk assault, and he was not ready for that. He was not invincible. Not yet. That had been a difficult lesson. Curse Kensington and his interference! How could he reclaim his advantage? Then he felt it! The feeling of new inspiration. With a quiet breath he summoned his servant.

"Listen Mac," he said, "this will never fly. Time moved forward? Time was his enemy?!! Yawn. What a snoozer."

Morrison threw his story board down and popped another handful of Cheetos in his orange rimmed mouth. "We've got just one week to get this G-Novel nailed," he growled as bits of day-glo goo landed on Mac's script. "I'm giving you my best creepoid stuff here. Look at that claw of a hand, man--just beautiful. The gleam on the naked scull shines through that leprous skin like a lightbulb from hell. We're talking Shazam Award art here. I need rough liquid words that seep into minds and make women run to lock all the doors, and men glance over their shoulder in dark alleys. You're giving me a whining grown-up ET with delusions of grandeur. The Other? What is that? The other woman? Is this guy going through some kind of zombie divorce? It just won't fly man."

Mac looked sheepish and picked up his script by a clean edge. It looked like his creative writing degree from Harvard wasn't going to cut it in LA.

Opening: BBJD.....Continuation: anon.

Cartoon 275

Caption Evil Editor

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Face-Lift 584


Guess the Plot

Stoned

1. The special seeds from Amsterdam that Dane ordered to save his gardening business from ruin will earn him a fortune, if only he can keep the cops away and stop his partner Craig from smoking most of the crop. Oh, and escape the heavies that Ted "The Shiv" has sent to kill him.

2. Alexander Weiss has been charged with a difficult task: find a husband for Medusa's sister, who has a bad habit of turning her suitors into stone. Hilarity ensues, especially when Alex falls for the bachelorette himself. Also, a javelin contest.

3. When the wizard Greybeard bequeaths the fabled Gravel of the King to the brave young halfling Mojo, no one anticipates the effect these magical elf stones will have on his smaller physiology. Only two things are for certain: they're going to need a lot of munchies and this is going to be the grooviest quest Medium Earth has ever seen.

4. Spaced-out toker, Floyd T. Droop, drops his entire stash of class A drugs when a bunch of equally out-there cops raid a neighbouring apartment searching for potato chips. With only the spirits of 1,584 dead Navajo Indians to guide him, will he ever make it back under his bean bag?

5. Melody Harker finds the alcoholic satyr Silenus stumbling around the dandelions in her window box. She takes him in, sobers him up and gives him back to Dionysus, who (also drunk almost to incoherence) gives her the Midas Touch in return. Unfortunately, he's afraid of what a sudden influx of gold will do to the modern economy and substitutes igneous rock. Now she's afraid everything she touches will be taken for granite.

6. When bumbling politician, Mike McMichaels, argues for the legalization of marijuana and is successful, he doesn't realize his campaign slogan--"Getting stoned: Not as bad as it seems"--was misinterpreted until he's found guilty of fraud and positioned against a wall for some old-fashioned punishment.


Original Version

Dear EE,

I am seeking representation for Stoned, a 65,000 word satire.

Alexander Weiss's morning routine is interrupted when a whale is dropped on his head. The twelve Olympians have returned after a much needed vacation, [I'll save the minions the trouble of Googling the Twelve Olympians. They are: Zeus . . . um . . . Mrs. Zeus . . . Michael Phelps, Apolo Anton Ono, Thor, Sauron, Penelope Cruz, Hemingway, Aquaman and the Beatles (without Ringo).] and he just happened to be caught in the crossfire of one of their squabbles. [They settle their squabbles by hurling whales? Have they considered rock, paper, scissors?]

Dying should have been easy, but when Alex crosses into the Underworld, he manages to insult Athena, goddess of wisdom. [If she's so wise, what's she doing in the Underworld?] To make amends, Alex is forced into a simple task -- find a husband for a girl named Euryale. Unbeknownst to Alex, the bachelorette is like her sister, Medusa, and has [snakes on her head, which tends to be a big turn-off to guys. Also, she has] the annoying habit of turning her suitors to stone. After amassing a hefty collection of new statues, Alex falls for her and proposes. [When the minister says, "You may kiss the bride," I'm gonna have second thoughts about marrying a woman with snakes on her head.]

A happy ending should have come posthaste, but in the celebrations, Alex bests Ares in a javelin contest and things become tense. [I bought the flying whale and the woman with the snakes on her head, but a dead guy beating the god of war in a javelin contest? Only if it was a javelin catching contest.] Fortunately, Ares is a good sport, so when he announces his intent to wage war, he gives Alex a week's time to raise an army in response. After all, there is no glory in beating down an unprepared mortal. [When you're the god of war, is there glory in beating down a prepared mortal? I wouldn't expect Tiger Woods to do a victory dance after beating Stephen Hawking at golf, even if Hawking's been practicing all week.]

Now, Alex will need the cunning of Odysseus and the strength of Hercules if he is to survive Ares' wrath, rescue his bride, [From . . . ?] and not piss off the remaining Olympians that still find his antics entertaining.

I am a chaplain, [Are chaplains allowed to say "piss off"?] have an M. Div., [Cleverly abbreviated so we won't realize you mean you have a Moroccan divan. Reminds me of the time I put on my resume that I had a Ph.D. from Brown. When they called me on it I said, "Oh that. I meant I have a Phoenician doorknob that was delivered by UPS.] and am well read in Greek Mythology. Stoned is my first novel. [Unpublished my first novel is. Why are we talking like Yoda?]

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.


Notes

I didn't see the movie Snakes on a Plane, but it would have been cool if it turned out the pilot was Medusa.

Is Alex seeking Euryale's bride among the dead, or in the mortal world or among immortals?

This sounds good. I think I'd like the stakes spelled out better. The stakes should be that Alex's bride needs rescuing, and that he can find happiness in the underworld only by defeating Ares. These antics of Alex that the gods find entertaining don't impress me as stakes in a war.

If you're dead and in the Underworld, does it really matter if you lose a war to the god of war?


Cartoon 274

Caption: Anon.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

New Beginning 583

The lugger ghosted northward, parallel to the rugged shoreline, its gray hull and oak-tanned sails almost invisible in the pre-dawn darkness. All through the midnight hours it had silent crept up coast and down beneath the scudding clouds, waiting for some signal from the thin, dark line of the land. Three passengers huddled in their damp cloaks between lashed barrels and tried to believe they were comfortable.

It might almost have been true for the older woman, whose sturdy bulk seemed to withstand the chill better than her young companion’s smaller form. Shivering violently, Amelie wished, not for the first time on their long, secretive journey, that she might find even a quarter of Marthe’s stoic strength. She wondered again at Marthe’s revelation, given only when they were safe aboard with sails set for England: she was going home.

Until the long-ago age of fifteen years, old Marthe had lived along that inhospitable dark shore lurking somewhere off the starboard bow. In those days, nigh unto fifty years ago, travel between England and France was open to anyone who could pay for passage. Now the only possible journey between the two countries was dark, dangerous and wet.

Still, the passengers, wealthy though they were, willingly endured all manner of hardship. Amelie wondered if perhaps they did it to prove they weren't soft at the knees. All this cold and rain and exposure to . . . "questionable" people. And for what?

She looked at Marthe, who seemed content despite her discomfort, and realized: the trip had been worth it. Where else could they have gotten a decent croissant?


Opening: jeb.....Continuation: freddie

Cartoon 273

Caption: Sophia

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Saturday Film Series


While Evil Editor understands the desire of some of his minions to slip in the back door, he much prefers that you use the front entrance to his Shorts.

video

Friday, December 05, 2008

New Beginning 582

"I saw them and immediately thought of you."

"Derek...they're condoms."

"Yeah, they made me think of you."

Rachel put a hand to her forehead, like a clairvoyant reading someone's mind. Her uniform opened a little, but not much. A little more breast showed, but not even down to the bra. Derek couldn't even tell if the breast he was looking at was the real one or not.

"Derek, we just pour java and throw burgers and cake at customers who are just passing through. That's all we do. There's no relationship here, and after twelve hour shifts, I don't feel like banging anyone, let alone you."

Rachael looked out over the truck-stop-shop. Gas, food, and a few supplies offered to drivers who, increasingly, were not coming through the stop any more. Commerce was changing, and drivers were tending to take one of the two newer routes. But there was still enough trade to make a buck, even if there were downtimes when almost no one was coming through.

Just after lunch, a guy in a dark blue suit walked in and strode to the counter, a big shit-eating grin across his face and a big briefcase in his hand.

"What can I get you?" Rachel asked him.

"It's more like, what can I do for you?" he said as he slid onto a stool. A salesman. "You ever heard of wi-fi?"

* * *

A month later the place was full. Every seat taken, glowing Apples and shiny Dell badges lined up the length of the counter. Day traders and writers. They came in the morning, after the school run, and left before dinner. She'd never seen it so busy. Now, if she could only get them to buy more than one small coffee a day...

"Hey, buddy." One of the customers, walked over to Derek. "You got any more of those keyboard coffee protectors? This one's too small for my 17-inch Macbook."

"Sure." Derek grinned and reached for a Trojan Magnum. "That's $11.99."


Opening: D Jason Cooper.....Continuation: anon.

Cartoon 272

Caption: Evil Editor

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

New Beginning 581

The bombs had fallen and the planes gone, but the fires they left behind still stretched toward the moon like brilliant orange streamers. The air raid sirens were silent. Instead there were the sounds of ambulances and fire trucks, shouting rescue workers and scraping stone, and a few cries of the injured. London huddled underground. Just another night.

Wilbur Birch stood near what had been the doorway of what had been St. Aubrey's church. The pews were gone; the left apse folded into the ground like a tablecloth slipping over the corner of its table. Bits of stone wall were still dripping into the crater. There had been a church on this site for nearly one thousand years. To the bombs, nothing was sacred.

A slap on the arm roused him. "Nobody's here, mate," said the man who had slapped him: a rough dock worker named Jones. "Houses just over yonder though. No time to waste."

Wilbur watched the dust settle, coating what was left of the woodwork in a film that made it look like it had been abandoned for years.

Better get over there, he thought. He grabbed his case and headed off across the rubble. If Wilbur Birch couldn't sell a Kirby Vacuum Cleaner today, he wasn't worthy of the title Sales Blitz Commander.


Opening: 150.....Continuation: Anon.

Cartoon 271

Caption: anon.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Face-Lift 583


Guess the Plot

Drug Money

1. When heartthrob Justin Spears is killed on the set of his new movie "Drug Money", homicide detective Zack Martinez knows two things: the stunt gun was replaced by a real .45, and he'd better get an original picture of Spears if he doesn't want his wife to shoot him.

2. After a bad night on the town, Falzy Eclandis can't tell the difference between his hallucinations and reality. A particularly bad flashback leaves him seeing fifty dollar bills everywhere. Now he's in trouble with Big Ed Washington, whose gang owns the fast food outlet where he just tried to pay for three hundred cheeseburgers with a bus pass, three clothes pins and a toilet brush.

3. It is 1969 and Iguana Dave is delivering the goods to Swami Bob at Sleaze-Dog Howie's infamous Rainy Bar & Grill, where Mae Wong and the Psychadelic Virgins are perfecting their future hits. But Swami keeps all his money in a battered old guitar case and when Howie fires Mae's crew halfway through their second set, the girls leave in such a rush, they grab the wrong "guitar" by mistake and run. Car chases and hilarity ensue.

4. Spike and Woody are waiting for Jack to deliver the smack, when along comes Sarah Murphy, undercover cop, in her long tall leather boots and microskirt and lures them away with rumors of cheap sex -- a dream quickly destroyed by handcuffs and a ride to jail. Next, these idiots plan to rob Jack, hoping to pay their legal bills with drug money. Plus, a flying witch named Roxanne and her vampire hoard.

5. Wanda Murphy invests everything in Todd's new formula for Wrinkles-Go-Bye, a miraculous rejuvenating creme, and soon they're both billionaires, but will they find happiness together on their little love beach in the Bahamas? Not with a hurricane swirling toward them and Ernie Gumball slinking around the shrubbery with his spy gadgets, trying to steal the formula for the Russians, they won't.

6. Psychiatrist David Randall, conducting a study of a new antipsychotic drug, discovers an alarming side effect: death. Should he blow the whistle on the drug company? Or should he listen to the drug company's "pharmacologist," Borgo the Disemboweler?


Original Version

Dear Agent/Editor:

Academic psychiatrist Dr. David Randall discovers that big pharma is downplaying the risks of a new blockbuster antipsychotic medication and finds out how far the company will go to protect its investment. [Assuming "big pharma" is the entire industry, I would change that to the name of the drug company.]

Randall, an assistant professor at Boston's celebrated Trent University Hospital, is conducting a study for a drug company, at his chairman's behest. When his young study patient dies from malignant diabetes only a day after his last visit, Randall feels compelled to investigate how he could have missed the diagnosis. His investigation reveals what looks like a pattern of deliberate statistical dirty tricks covering up similar risks of the experimental drug in other patients, and he has to decide whether he's sure enough to blow the whistle on the company at a professional meeting in Bermuda. [If you're planning to halt your employer's cash-cow drug study, it's best to wait till after they've sent you to Bermuda.]

But Randall's chairman challenges his evidence and pressures him to drop the issue or lose his promotion and academic appointment.

[Randall: Sir, I gave the drug to a patient, and he died.

Chairman: You're saying he's no longer psychotic? That is promising.]

His girlfriend, the chairman's daughter, fears he will ruin her prospects for marriage and advises him to give the company the benefit of the doubt.

[Randall: The drug I'm testing is killing my patients. I have to stop administering it immediately.

Girlfriend: Not today, honey. Today's the day you promised to help me decide between the vellum and ecru wedding invitations.]

Randall doesn't know about his chairman's conflict of interest, or about his girlfriend reporting on him to her father. Or about the drug company's "special projects" operative, [Borgo the Disemboweler,] a cashiered pharmacologist with a penchant for torture, who is brought in when the usual influences prove insufficient.

[Borgo: You the guy who's been spreadin' rumors about the new drug?

Randall: Who the hell are you?


Borgo: Drop your pants. It's time for your anal probe.]


To grasp the right thing to do and then to get it done, Randall will need to overcome his need for approval from authority and finally become his own man. [If you're being pressured to approve a drug that cures patients by euthanizing them, and you're having trouble grasping the right thing to do . . . ]

DRUG MONEY is a psychiatric thriller, complete at 90,000 words. Please consider it for representation/publication, until November 26, 2008 on an exclusive basis. [Oops, I'm too late. I should have bumped this one to the top of the queue.]

Thank you for your time. I am a professor of psychiatry at Yale. [Make sure you put your novel on the required reading list. That's always good for a few dozen sales every semester.] You can reach me ...


Notes

While med students spend a lot of time in the hospital, I assume that's not where they take classes. I never see assistant professors wandering the corridors on House. So maybe Randall should be an assistant professor of psychiatry at Trent University.

Did they put an assistant professor in charge of a major drug study because they knew a full professor would never play along, even after Borgo was sent in? It's easy to be ethical once you have tenure.

Was the patient who died diabetic to begin with or did the drug make him diabetic?
Chemist: The boys have come up with a new antipsychotic drug, but it kills people over time. Should we scrap the project?

Drug company president: Hmm. Tell them to add an ingredient that gives patients a fatal disease that kills them even faster. That way--

Chemist: Say no more. I see now why you get the big bucks.
I assume a patient in a drug study would be having his blood and urine tested constantly, and that even the rapid onset of diabetes would be discovered in time to prevent it from causing almost immediate death. Of course what do I know? I get all my medical knowledge from House. Do you think it might have been Lupus?

Cartoon 270

Caption: anon.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

New Beginning 580

The old man sat biting his lips and waiting for his trial to begin. He had never liked to speak publicly in civilian life, even to give a short message at his church. He could get out the words that he had to say, but he did not know what to do with his eyes and his hands. His lawyer’s presence at his side was not reassuring.

At their first meeting the lawyer had told him “Your only chance is to be human. Don’t try to justify yourself, for God’s sake. Let them see that you’re old and confused and frightened. Stop that ridiculous show of dignity, and don’t wear your uniform.”

He had accepted the suggestion about his uniform, which was stained and ragged anyway. He had been unable to accept the rest. His dignity was not for his own sake. He was only a low-ranking officer charged with a task as unpleasant as it was undistinguished; but he was being tried as a representative of the Pure State.

The judge came in and everyone stood. When everyone around him sat again, the old man followed their lead. Despite his lawyer's pleas, he would maintain his dignity. However, he would also try to convince the court he was human.

After shuffling herself to get comfortable, the judge turned to the bailiff. "What is the case?"

The bailiff stood. "The United States versus the Pure State."

The judge rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Just what I needed," she said. "Another Texan."



Opening: Joanna.....Continuation: BBJD