Batman: Gotham by Gaslight

Gotham by Gaslight is one of the better DC animated films to come out recently. The story is an adaptation (not a direct recreation) of the one-shot comic book by Brian Augustyn (writer) and Mike Mignola (artist) published in 1989. An “Elseworlds” tale, Gaslight is an alternate universe take on Batman. This means while some elements are familiar (character names and roles are largely the same) it isn’t a slave to the mythos so a lot is changed. Think of it as a “What if…” way of storytelling.

Set in Gotham City in the Victorian era, the vigilante Batman is after a terror of the city: Jack the Ripper. The Dark Knight vs The Night Terror, if you will. With a guy running around at night dressed as a bat, the people think he is the murderer when women turn up butchered on the streets. Of course, Bruce Wayne is on the case as soon as the first woman is discovered and he works the cast to catch the real killer. When Batman first encounters Jack when he goes after Selina Kyle, he quickly realizes that this guy isn’t a random thug, he has serious training. A game of cat and mouse, Batman must quickly put the pieces together to stop this serial killer.

I like these types of stories because it offers great freedom to the writer to take an established character and do something interesting and unexpected. Staple characters are given altered roles and backgrounds and I find that to be pretty engaging as it makes for new character interactions that can play with what’s expected. A taught 74 minutes long, Gaslight doesn’t waste any time.

Gotham has always been presented as a gothic looking city, but altering the setting to resemble the Victorian era offers great visual changes. The backdrops are different, Batman’s outfit is much simpler, as are his gadgets. Sure it’s still top of the line stuff since Bruce Wayne is still from a wealthy family, but it’s a paired down to fit the time. I think this is one of the more striking Batman animated films as it harkens back to the look of the Bruce Timm led 90s Animated Series. While that was aesthetically set in the 1950s, this is similar in that the era frames all the events and resulting action.

Great voice work tied to solid animation and a powerful score made this one of the more enjoyable DC animated films for me. I really liked the simplicity of it. Batman isn’t kitted out in military-style gear. He’s pretty new to the vigilante gig so his instincts aren’t entirely honed. All of the action is up close and personal with an emphasis on more boxing for hand to hand combat than weapons or crazy martial arts. The fights show off some of the best animation and the rooftop chase with the out of control blimp is a real stand out.

The supporting characters are great, the stand out being Selina Kyle. She’s not Catwoman in this, but she has the same personality, abilities, and most importantly, strong drive and motivation. She doesn’t wait around for things to happen and she is no pushover.

I was surprised by how adult they took this. Of course, Jack attacking prostitutes sets the stage for what’s going on, there was more cursing than I ever expected to hear (Jack has a certain view of women and isn’t shy about sharing his thoughts when it comes down to it).

I dug this a lot, it scratched an itch that I’ve had for awhile.

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And We’re Back

The TV broke last Saturday (backlight problem) and I managed to get it back fixed on Friday. Not something you want to do with a 4 1/2-year-old set but that’s the kind of quality you get with modern TVs now. So I’m a little behind on my programs.

The new season of Channel Zero has started. Butcher’s Block has two female leads as the protagonists again but aside from that, it’s a very different story so far. I like what I’ve seen.

Homeland is back on Showtime! It picks up two months after last season. Carrie is largely on her own and she’s doing everything in her power to live up to the oath she took to defend her country. Carrie lost a lot last year and under normal circumstances, anyone would have a hard time dealing with the loss of someone that close. The new presidency is off to a terrible start and whenever Carrie is on the outside looking in, she tends to make rash decisions that don’t go well. I’m not too sure where they’re headed with this season, but two episodes in and I’m engaged.

Netflix is throwing up new content nearly every day and it feels like I’m eons behind at this point. I finished Punisher which I thought took too long to really get going. Another case of a Marvel show with too many episodes being ordered. Enjoyable in the end though. I’ve started on Black Mirror but I’ll write about that later when I finish the season.

The big one on the horizon for me is the final season of The Americans. The ads have started showing and that’ll start at the end of March, so we’re pretty close. That will get weekly posts as it airs.

The New York Rangers are in a spiral that is painful to watch. It was always a “maybe if they pull things together” they could get to the Cup Finals. That’s always the stretch goal. At the start of the season, I was sure they’d make it to the playoffs, at least continue that years-long stretch. Now? Forget it. What’s happening now is depressing…the team hasn’t played this bad in a very long time so it’s a bewildering experience. I’m hoping at this point for them to get some in the next 6 regular season weeks (!) to finish with a positive win percentage.

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The Detour is back on TBS. I hated the season 2 finale but two episodes in and the show is back on track.

Baskets is back on FX. More people should be watching this.

Happy! has finished it’s first season run. Wild show that was smartly 8 episodes long to tell its story. That left no time to waste so it moved along and had no chance to get stuck in a rut or overstay its welcome. I think enough background to the characters were given and satisfying resolution at the end made for a complete story. A good start with a perfect set up for more, I look forward to the next run.

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Shameless S08E12 <> Season 8


The best way to talk about a season finale is to look back at the arc of the entire season.

We’ll start with Kevin, V, and Svetlana. After duking it out all season, Svet becoming depressed over her rival beating her to ultimate gold digger status opened the door for our favorite next door neighbors to get her to move on clean and clear. Lining up an old wealthy man is a challenge though and Svet got desperate last week with her replacement bride scheme. A risk, to say the least, Kevin and V go along with it, working to cover all the angles to get Svet hitched in a wedding most people seemingly already saw as a sham. They do find success in getting the bride to the altar with a near-death groom but this story isn’t over yet. Coming into this I thought two things could happen: it would blow up on the wedding day or Svet would get away with it and her time on the show would come to an end. The writers have a different idea. Svet gets married but there is a prenup. There is no info on the actual clauses but it’s definitely going to be The Next Problem for this trio (and Svet currently doesn’t know it exists). Not sure how I feel about this as it felt like this story for Kevin and V had been heading for closure. Kevin’s family that came around this year seems to be forgotten and his domination angle disappeared without a word (strange that they never gave V her scene to shut it down). While this group will always be the third string in the story department, I’d like to see them get mixed back into the Gallagher whirlwinds.

Deb has been a soldier all season long. Doing her best to be independent and provide for Frannie, she doesn’t take grief from anyone. Sure she’s made some bad decisions but she took a horrible injury like a champ and continued on her way. Derek made one last appearance to give her one more life hurdle to navigate. He’s getting married to the woman he found after ditching her and Frannie and wants joint custody of his daughter. He left because he was a scared kid with nothing going on and now that he’s made his own moves in life he wants to get involved and be responsible. This, of course, makes Deb furious that all this time later he now wants to be a decent person. She ends up talking to Carl of all people (in a rather odd scenario) about it and it sounds like she could be warming up to the idea that getting help from Derek would make her and Frannie’s life better. Child support would be huge but I don’t know how well Deb would deal with Derek’s wife being around her daughter all the time. It’s a grown-up decision, that’s for sure. Not sure if Debbie has grown up much in that department though.

Speaking of Carl, he takes the male Gallagher route in decision making by running from his problems. Sure he loves Kassidi (as much as a trapped teenager can be) and wants to be with her but his obligations to his Army brothers is just as strong. Since Kassidi can’t be reasoned with, running is the easiest option. She catches him though and chains him to the bed which makes you wonder how much of this she’s actually thought out. Lucky for her, Debbie is no help to him (everyone did tell him not to marry the crazy girls so he’s gotta learn). Unfortunately, Liam is a help to him. With a midnight assist, Carl makes it to the Greyhound bus out of town.

Liam’s been bobbing around this season like a cork. He pops up in everyone’s lives (usually in the kitchen) but he’s been closest to Frank. I must say this has probably been Frank’s best behaved season. He hasn’t truly done anything horrific to his family and managed to do a lot of good. Even for Liam. Sure he got him involved in some scams, but nothing that would pull him down the drain. Until the last con, to rob the father of Liam’s friend. Everything else has been a pretty easy explanation for Frank to get Liam on his side. But this one involves a friend, a person Liam cares about (and is a reprieve from his Southside Chicago life). He stakes out the mansion for Frank (quite smoothly might I add, he’s picked up on quite a few grifting tricks from Frank) and it looks like it could be quite the heist. But Liam is different from Frank, he has a much louder conscience that points him in the right direction. He gives Frank the wrong code to disarm the alarm system and leaves him to fend for himself. Rather poetic and a smart way to keep himself clear of getting the Frank Gallagher reputation of “Do Not Trust.” What doesn’t kill Frank… lets him live to scam another day. At this point it’s for the best, he doesn’t know any other way to live.

Ian has been looking for a reason to live for awhile. A sense of purpose is the better way of putting it. This “Gay Jesus” title seems to fill that void. Being an EMT he’s recognized that he enjoys helping people. This social movement that is growing behind him gives him the attention that I think he ultimately craves. Blowing up a van is rather extreme and has consequences that take Trevor to remind him of. Blowing up that van did get him tens of thousands of internet views so his time in the spotlight is far from over, as witnessed by his grand display when he gets arrested.

Lip is another Gallagher who has been searching for himself. He’s lived through others, taking on their problems, to avoid is own. It’s easier to ruminate on problems that aren’t your own. While everyone rises and falls around him, he’s been diligent about keeping sober. That’s really the only tangible goal he’s had in some time. That and the project motorcycle Brad handed over to him. Idle hands are the devil’s playground and building something has served Lip well when he has nothing else concrete to turn to. So through Charlie screwing up and Lip doing his best to stay out of it, pushed Sierra back to him. With all the relationship drama it’s made him think about himself. How he met Sierra and what their relationship was like. In a major milestone, he realizes that them being together isn’t good for either of them. He’s still in murky waters. He wasn’t sober for any part of the time they were together. He doesn’t know what will make him happy and what he wants so he can’t be a reliable partner for her. It’s pretty stunning idea coming from him. Lip doing the breakup is something I didn’t foresee. She’s shattered and he’s not too happy about it either but he’s finally putting himself first. He tells Brad (whose on an upswing) who agrees he made the right call. Eddie meanwhile, has taken off leaving her niece in the lurch. She’s around the shop all the time so Lip has become friends with her and seeing a kid in need of help brings out the nurturer in him. Unlike his role with Sierra, he can do a better job at giving this kid some stability until she finds out what’s next for her.

This season Fiona has been making professional moves. Wheeling and dealing trying to climb up that economic ladder. She’s done well (with a side of luck) until this lawsuit threatens the rest of her life. And then there is Ford, the looming question mark in her personal life. She has a lot to figure out and she works things out with Ford first. After being run over by Sean she turned to Tinder to cope. No dating, no commitments, no attachments. Just hookups. So when she met Ford, she had enough of the hookup world. Maybe she wants a relationship after all. Ford’s a mystery though. A world traveler with relationships all over the world (and even when they’ve broken up, they’re still friendly? Who does that? That’s the real head-scratcher for Fiona who’s known and seen only dysfunctional couples aside from Kev and V). So they’ve hooked up and gotten close over the summer but there’s…ambiguity to it. So she flat out asks him: what are we? What are we doing? Is this future worthy? Considering what he’s gone through with (and for) her and he hasn’t run for the hills, I’ve been thinking he’s ready to commit. He’s seen and known her enough to know what’s up. And he tells her as much. With this revelation, she’s ready to tackle her lawsuit problem. She gets advice from the developer that bought the laundromat after getting some rather unnerving options from her lawyer. The tip: give them an ultimatum that won’t kill you and will seem like a good last-ditch deal for them.  And who gives Fiona the tip-off to start the bargaining? Frank. Seek out Pyro Pete. He makes a smoke bomb that successfully forces the squatters out of her building and then the final press: lean on the greed of the husband.  She offers them a few thousand bucks in cash to drop the lawsuit and take off. Plus, a promise to send them monthly payments for the next year wherever they land. She wisely puts the crunch of the decision process, telling them a lawsuit can take years to play out and bluffs that her lawyer is sure Fiona is going to win and they’d get nothing. Burning cash in front of them starts the timer for the rash decision. Fiona’s gamble pays off when the husband folds. She is free of a major problem and things are looking up.

While not the best season of the show, it was another solid one to add to the series. The absurdity was reigned in, keeping it from falling off the rails. While that made for fewer high stakes situations and dark humor, I liked the balance. Especially because the journey of a lot of the characters (I’d put Lip as my favorite) was really good. A good sense of movement and I’m still all in to see what happens to the Gallagher family next.

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The Darkest Winter

I received the second chunk from Wil: review and editing have begun.

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Shameless S08E11

A Gallagher Pedicure

A Super Shameless episode! Finally, the crazy gets cranked up.

Sierra drops in on Lip, her lunatic father has been released from jail on probation. She’s terrified he’s going to look for her so Lip takes her in. With such a threat out there, Lip figures it’s best to get this guy off the streets again. He finds out what halfway house this guy is staying in and instigates a fight. He gets Eddie’s niece to record it and lo and behold, who strikes first? Later in the day, Sierra is overjoyed to hear her dad got locked up again and Lip pretends to not know anything about it. Points to Lip.

Deb has got a serious problem on her hands. Or foot. The pipe that smashed her foot crushed two of her toes and it’s going to cost a fortune and a long time to get them fixed. So Deb goes the Gallagher route and shoulders this herself and takes the cheap DIY approach. She sterilizes pruning sheers (Deb, those look super rusty) and inlists Liam to cut off her three toes. She takes some painkillers with some alcohol and gives the final instructions to Liam. He passes out, she gets mad and passes out too. And who comes into the house? Frank. Taking in the scene, he knows exactly what’s going on and does Liam’s job with no hesitation. If she doesn’t get an infection I’d say this is a win for Debbie.

Since we’re talking about Liam and Frank, we’ll stick with them. Liam’s rich friend has invited him to go on vacation with his family. They’re going yachting and it looks/sounds amazing. This kid’s dad is crazy loaded. At this time Frank is annoyed he can’t retire. Turns out working a legitimate job for 6 weeks in your entire 50+ year life means you have no savings. Even trying to steal the identity of three people is less lucrative than you may think. So Liam asks Frank again if he can go with his friend and Frank comes to realize that he could be an arm’s length away from a rich guy opportunity. He meets the father and when the scope of this guy’s wealth come apparent, the scam gears in Frank’s head start spinning.

Gay Jesus Ian is really hitting his stride. When a young kid comes to him trying to hide from his family, those that are there to advise Ian warn him to back off. The kid is a minor and that complicates things. After a failed kidnapping attempt the father comes to Ian to reason with him. Ian hears a lot that mimics his own life and that makes him turn to the kid to suss out what’s true. He doubles down on protecting the kid when he hears the answers.

Carl and Kassidi are stuck in a loop that needs to be broken just for the simple fact that something interesting between them needs to happen. It’s the same thing on repeat. They have lots of sex, they’re both happy, they go do something, Carl says he’s leaving for military school, she wigs out, he apologizes and bends over backward for her to make her happy again. This time he tells her he won’t go back to school, something that everyone around him knows is a death sentence for him. Is it going to take some kind of intervention to jettison this spoiled brat? I hope it’s dramatic and loud to make this storyline interesting again.

Fiona heads into battle. After getting terrible news from her lawyer (she could very well be on the hook to pay the family off for the rest of her/their lives) she tries to reason with the squatters in her apartment. Fiona has made a few bad choices by being a good and understanding person. The barricaded themselves in the apartment and are essentially holding her dog for ransom. When she hears the dog in distress, Fiona snaps and digs into the Gallagher bag of tricks. Ford helps her block off their door so they can’t get out, stops the running water, and bumps Fog Hat at full blast into the walls. Then the rescue mission. Ford cuts a hole into the wall for Fiona to crawl through and Fiona finds the dog tied up in the hallway. Dog in hand, one of the kids sees her and sounds the alarm. The mother chases Fiona and tackles her down the hallway. With a hasty dog pass to Ford, Fiona delivers a few well-placed kicks to break free so she can crawl back out. Hole sealed up and some celebratory love making ensures. Now, what kind of fallout comes from this could go either way. They double down on the lawsuit or they come to an agreement to a much lower price (best case scenario: they take the max 500k payout from her insurance).

Gold digger Svetlana gives up. She can’t figure out how to get it done like Freelania managed to do, so she eats crow and goes to her for advice. It doesn’t go well. Freelania would rather step on Svet’s throat than help her out. Freelania cackles away to organize her wedding leaving Svet exasperated. She doesn’t know what to do and then her future hobbles up to her. Freelania’s fiance is senile. He thinks she’s Freelania and a plan is born! Cut to Svet dragging a rather large and heavy  bag into The Alibi.

Next week is the season finale!

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The Darkest Winter Update

Yesterday I finished my (final-ish) editing pass on the first ten chapters of my book. I got that material back from Wil just before Christmas and pulled all my notes together from all my sources to do it.

The good news is that it was pretty easy. No major changes in writing. The biggest change is about to be worked on in the next section.

Starting with Chapter 10, there’s a big plot point about the main character, Tim, planning on leaving New Jersey. I’m going to change how those plans come together. It extends through chapter 11 and if I’m recalling my notes right, chapter 12. There are some references to it further on that I’ll have to change for continuity.

This is right now, far and away the biggest chunk of writing I intend to change. There are 2 other things I have in mind to change much further in the book, but those are much simpler.

So I’ve changed things in Chapter 10 and I’m going to wait for the next batch of material from Wil to continue these edits. I think I have it mapped out well, it’s just a matter of execution. I’m confident about it though. I’ve thought a lot about this segment and I’m going to be moving larger sections around so it’s not a total rewrite. It doesn’t feel like a daunting task, more like a refinement that I think will make this part much better. So that feels good confidence-wise.

Outside of this, the one big thing Wil brought up to me is to consider changing the order of the first 7 chapters. Right now, the chapters jump around in time and location. I did that to keep interest up, show what the Event of the book is and to introduce Tim. It works, but it makes the reader wonder what Tim has to do with the story. Going from the hackers to him is a big swing and while it comes together and does click, it takes some reading to get there. By reordering these chapters it should make for a cleaner and faster on-ramp to the story. I think the set up will be much more accessible this way and could end up keeping more readers from bailing on the book early.

So I’m playing with the order now while I wait for Wil to send me the next section. That way I’ll have the beginning all squared away and can move on from there.

Feels really good to be making progress, I’m excited for you to get what’s been in my head for years into your hands.

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Shameless S08E10

Church of Gay Jesus

With Frank out of lucrative hustle, he hooks himself to Ian’s rising star. His advocacy work interrupting gay conversion meeting is gaining more and more steam. Crowds of people wait for him at work and more local pastors are asking him to do speaking engagements. What started out as talking to a dozen kids quickly turns into a hundred. Frank knows an opportunity to make cash when he sees one and starts making Gay Jesus t-shirts to sell when Ian is speaking, He agrees to give most of the money to Trevor’s organization but you better believe Frank will work around that.

All of this has gotten Ian off of Fiona’s back. It’s an overwhelming experience for him and when Fiona says he shouldn’t do it if he hates it, he replies that he doesn’t hate it. It just doesn’t know what to make of it. This is new territory for him and scores of people are coming to see him speak. He’s no longer a middle child, but a growing star. The fame is pushing Trevor to the side so Ian has some work to do to balance his life.

Fiona spends more time with Ford and it seems like they are actually in a relationship. After one of the workers who was fixing her apartment building roof fell off the building last week, she offers him and his struggling (homeless) family a helping hand. She asks Trevor if he knows a temp place for them to stay while the man heals from his busted leg and Trevor sets it up. Then, she offers them to crash at her new apartment (that she’s fixing up and moving into) for two days until they can move into the shelter. Her good graces quickly get whipped around into her face. They squat in her apartment (they invited like 8 people to stay in the apartment) and then sue Fiona for the accident. Six million dollars!

A shock to the system comes to Lip: Professor Youens had a seizure in jail from alcohol withdrawal, hit his head and died. Lip is flippantly told the news, like the guy barely existed. His next of kin was notified and the body was claimed. Lip goes to Youens’ house and he meets Tabitha, Youens’ daughter. In no big surprise, Professor wasn’t much a father. But he was a mentor. Lip hears from many people Youens helped at the memorial services and he ends up mourning with Tabitha.

Deb picks up scab welding work to make good money and while she feels conflicted about snaking work from a welding union she will soon want to join, the pay is really good. Working off books at night has its drawbacks…she gets seriously injured when a pipe she’s working on lands on her foot.

Everyone says Kassidi is crazy. They say it to each other and they say it to Carl’s face. He’s desperate to keep her around and he goes along with the engagement. When he gets cold feet and asks Kassidi to slow down, she comes up with a suicide trap to force his hand in marriage. Carl is doomed.

Seeing Svetlana so miserable, Kevin and V work to get her hooked up with an old rich dude. That’ll get her what she wants (money) and get her out of their hair. Svet might know what she wants, but she doesn’t want to debase herself to get it. It’s going to be an uphill climb for this one and I doubt a happy ending is going to result from their efforts.

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Shameless S08E09

The Fugees

Aaaaaaaand Frank’s out of a job. It looks like he only accomplished the Canada smuggling route once. With a new group of Fugees, they are discovered by the Royal Canadian police. Turns out tying flags to trees to designate your route isn’t a good way of keeping it secret. Once spotted. Frank tells the group they’re on their own and everyone makes a break for it. One of them follows Frank (much to his dismay) and they get arrested. With a dash of Gallagher luck, the trip to detainment is stopped by a moose and Frank and they man escape. A few more shenanigans with a bad run-in with a young girl sends Frank sprinting home. He manages to make it home but not only is he back where he started, he doesn’t have the medicine (or their money) for his neighbors. He might be back home but he isn’t done running.

Ian’s crusade is building steam. He’s got feelers out to notify him of when someone needs help so he and his youth posse can mobilize to help them. With each confrontation, video is taken and what Ian is doing is getting exposure. Two religious leaders come to speak with him in support, so Ian is getting more weight being his Jesus loves LGBTQ message.

Lip is still caught between Charlie and Sierra. He keeps his bro code by keeping Charlies secret. Charlie says he’s still waiting for the right time to tell her he has another kid on the way and it turns out that the birth of the child is really hard to keep secret when you sprint out of dinner with your first baby momma to the hospital of baby momma 2. Despite getting interrupted hooking up with his rough friend with benefits, this puts Lip into the scenario he’s always wanted. It pushes Sierra closer to him and Charlie closer to the dumpster. Stupid Charlie asks Lip to mend things between his dumb ass and Sierra which pushes Lip and Sierra into bed. So this puts Lip into another layer of drama. Charlie is going to be a problem. How will Sierra react when she finds out Lip knew (this might not be bad, Fiona did advise him to let it play out on its own). Eddie is clearly mad Lip ditched her. They’re in that friends with benefits zones but Eddie digs him.

Deb hustles to stay in school! Good to see her do what she can to make ends meet and dog sitting a narco dog looks to be a lucrative opportunity. But gadzooks, why is she boosting that amount of drugs? Did she learn nothing from Monica’s meth inheritance? The people who have that much weight are going to be looking for it.

I was right, Carl is in in trouble. After seeing Kassidi with Carl for 30 seconds Kermit called it too! The kid just wants a relationship but that mount of crazy can’t be contained or controlled, you have to get the hell out of there! His innocent “I like you” gesture got twisted into a marriage proposal. He better wear his military gear to keep from getting shanked when the bottom completely falls out of this one.

I don’t like Ford. Out of every guy Fiona has gotten close to, this one is the most annoying. The faster this one hits the ditch, the better. And now Fiona is going to see the worst aspect of owning and renting  property: lawsuits.

Kevin is getting a bit big headed. His focus on dominance is slipping into being an obnoxious bully. I’m surprised V didn’t stomp it out the second she recognized it. Svetlana is straight up depressed after seeing a girl who used to work for her, “make it.” With no control (power) anymore, she’s looking up from the bottom of a barrel wondering what happened to her life.

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Shameless S08E08

Frank’s Northern Shuttle Express

Frank hits the ground (and the road) running with his new business. Smuggling illegals out of the US into Canada and then picking up pharmaceuticals for his neighbors before coming back home. It takes him a good two days to do the work but he succeeds and seems to like it. Frank’s always been a people person when he needs to be so the job fits him pretty well. And it’s illegal so that fits him too. It won’t be long until he’s caught. Nothing he likes lasts long.

Carl gets a taste of crazy from his new girlfriend when she scares off one of his NotUber customers. He’s never seen Entitled Spoiled Brat Crazy before so he has no clue how to handle her. She spins from positive to negative so fast (and to such extremes) that it’s bewildering to anyone (hence her father’s attitude when we first met him). I called her a problem from the start but I don’t think Carl is too clear on it just yet.

Deb is in a panic the whole episode about possibly being pregnant. She runs around trying to get her ducks in a row (since she’s now unemployed) and it’s a huge relief for her when she finds out she dodged a bullet. The stress she went through after the bender weekend should make her more careful. She’s one of the more responsible Gallagher’s at her age so she should learn from it.

Lip goes through his own internal reflection period as he looks for a new sponsor. Professor is going to jail for a long time and Brad is in the process of climbing out of his own hole. So the new sponsor he meets tells him things he doesn’t want to hear and bails. The next two are no help what so ever. When he goes to Planned Parenthood with Deb, he sees Sierra’s baby daddy there. He got another woman pregnant. This drives Lip up a wall but manages to not tell Sierra as Charlie swears he’s going to tell her soon. So all this is swirling around Lip’s head and comes to realize the sponsor was right. He’s co-dependant. He uses the drama of others to keep himself away from his own problems. Lip goes to see his new sponsor. Hopefully, she works as well as Brad did.

Ian turns his anger for Fiona on a much more important issue: gay conversion therapy. He and Trevor find out about a local pastor doing this “work” and go to see what this guy is doing first hand. Sitting in the back of the service, Ian starts to boil which kicks any thought about Fiona to the curb. He later confronts the pastor at another meeting and leads the parade of newly found at-risk youth out of the building where he and Trevor will help them live their lives. While the space for the new center is still being cleaned up and not ready to house anyone, it looks like Ian could become an LGBTQ activist from this. This new youth center could turn out to be something great and a new found focus for Ian.

With Ian off her back, Fiona is left to her own devices. Everyone keeps driving her crazy (Carl runs off with her car all the time, Deb hogging the bathroom, Frank running herds of people in and around the house) she bitches and moans to her two favorite tenants. Mel asks her if she’s ever lived on her own and Fiona realizes she hasn’t. It’s more complicated than that of course, being forced to raise her 5 siblings. So why not move out to the space that’s open in her own building? Fiona deflects saying she needs the money the apartment will bring in and Nessa scoffs at that idea. It puts the “I’m outta here” seed in Fiona’s head for sure. She goes on a day date with newfound hunk/carpenter, Ford. She takes his signals that he wants them to get together and he stops her advances, saying “She’s complicated.” She’s offended at the call and takes off and when she goes back home to tell her siblings what happened they basically agree with Ford.  So she looks in on herself (a lot of reflection this week) and well yes, she is complicated. Her family is complicated. I think it’s safe to say that the seed of moving out is going to turn into a tree. Fiona also gets a bit of a personal boost. Ford is complicated too, he’s a surrogate father to 3, going on 5 kids. The latest being Mel and Nessa’s.

That leaves us with the thrupple. Kevin’s new found dominance in the bedroom comes out to the workplace. He puts his foot down on some os Svetlana’s decisions at the bar and that gets V all hot and bothered. While Svet mans the bar herself while Kev and V go for a quick shag in the back (that everyone can hear) it’s become obvious that Svetlana’s power is sliding away from her.


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Happy New Year


Since Christmas I’ve been either behind or ahead one day. The holidays landing on a Monday made for long weekends and that screwed up my internal clock.

So it’s been an “off” start to the new year. But it is 2018 and I’m excited for it. I have a lot to work on and I’m looking forward to getting things done. None of that will be done outdoors for awhile as the Antarctic has descended on the east coast.

It’s legit dangerous to be outside right now. The wind is nuts and today’s high of 24F is going to be tops for the next few days. Saturday is looking to peak at 10F and a low of 1F. That is absurd. Good reason to get writing done at least.

Cheers to the future!

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The Darkest Winter

It’s been about 3 months since I “finished” writing my first novel, The Darkest Winter. In that time I’ve looked into getting published through the traditional market and self-publishing it. I decided to go with self-publishing and found a great professional to work with. Wil Mara is now my editor and we will be bringing my book to market together.

I’ve had many alpha readers from my writers’ group and a few beta readers to whom I sent the entire manuscript to. I’ve gotten all of that back along with the first 10 chapters back from Wil.

So the past four years are coming to a head. I’m starting the final editing pass now, I’ve got a ton of reading and consideration ahead of me to make The Darkest Winter the best I can make it.

It’s a very exciting time for me and I’m looking forward to the end product. I have a lot planned and I’m going to learn a ton from this. I’m aiming for a late March release, April at the latest.

I’m going to make updates about the process here over the months. I’d like to have a record of this experience and I think it could be interesting to share my thoughts with other upcoming authors. So stay tuned, you’ll be able to get all the scuttlebutt on THE DARKEST WINTER right here.

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