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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Greetings everyone!

I’m afraid the beginning of classes last week precluded any blogging on my part. With three new preparations, I lived, for a while, in the syllabus and course outline paradigm. I think the classes are all now working smoothly, but the closet/office is still so cluttered with boxes that it would get high ratings on an episode of Hoarders! Office organization is is definitely on the agenda for this week. The most unfortunate aspect in the school start-up is that work on Twin Killing has almost come to a complete halt. Just when the chilly relationship between Nick and Charlie begins to thaw just a bit, and the good guys are starting to sniff out the trail of the real crime, things come to an abrupt stop. I’m hoping to find some time this week to move the story forward. I have about 100 pages so far with maybe 200 more to come.

Meanwhile, our version of an Italian Villa here in South Georgia is still in summer mode. In spite of school, I did hit the pool twice this week. The rain still comes about 4 pm, so there’s not much grilling going on. Aija is back from England and Alek will stop in for a few days in early September before heading to the Met for the fall season.

Composing has taken a back seat to professoring and authoring right now, but I still get occasional ideas and I know one day one of them will take root.  I’ll close, as always, with a TK snippet, this time from the bad guys point of view. Bennie Cozzi, Bonacci’s chief Lieutenant is helping to plan the next attempt to kill ball player Shane Hovis.

     “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and asking around about this Hovis. I discovered that he has a girlfriend.”
     “So Mrs. Bonacci was simply a diversion for him.”
     “It would seem so.”
     “He’s even more despicable than I thought. I want him dead.”
     “Okay. The girlfriend’s name is Hatfield Yager. They call her Hattie. Her family is loaded, from the main line in Philly. Here’s my idea: let’s grab her and get Hovis to give himself up for her release.”
     “That’s good thinking, Benjamin, but it will take time to get the job done that way. I’m tired of this situation, let’s just take care of it now. I saw in the morning paper that the Phillies are playing in Tampa this afternoon. Take Nathaniel and Louis and create a welcome home party for Mr. Hovis when he returns from the game. I think a near fatal drug overdose may have caused Mr. Hovis to fall from his seventh floor balcony, don’t you?”
     Cozzi chuckled, “You know those rich ball players, Mr. B., always living on the wild side! I’ll take care of it and this time I’ll make sure it’s done right.”
     “No rough stuff. It must be perceived as an accident. No bruises, contusions, or scratches. Just an injection and then over he goes.”
     “Got it,” said Cozzi standing, starting to leave.
     “Oh, and Benjamin, I think Louis should help Mr. Hovis over the rail. That will atone for his miss yesterday.”
     “Whatever you say, Mr. B., and, thanks for the lunch. 
     As Bennie Cozzi left the pool area, he passed the pool boy, and couldn’t help but notice the significant bandage around his left hand. Meanwhile, Lester Bonacci lit up a Cohiba and settled in to enjoy the glorious Florida sunshine.

 

Have a wonderful week!  I’ll see you online!  -Jim

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August 19, 2012 · 11:26 pm

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father’s Day to all Dads!

I’m so proud of my two kids!  This summer, Dorothy is returning for another season as an administrative assistant at the famous Caramoor Festival in New York, then taking a job as administrator at the Cornerstone School for the Arts in New Jersey.  Alek is singing Tamino right now in San Francisco, then off to Glyndebourne, England for the summer, then making his Met debut in the fall. He’ll be in the worldwide videocast of “The Tempest” on November 10. I’m a proud papa!

So, on my creative side–not too much new happening. The Mozart manuscript as well as an electronic copy has arrived at Mellen Press. Nothing new to report on the choral publishing scene.  It’s looking more and more like “Love Came Down at Christmas” will be the new holiday work for this season.

As for “Twin Killing,” I’m over 8K words now. I’m teaching an online Rock & Roll class for another two weeks, so I’m trying to steal writing time when I can. Anyway, Nick Flemons had an “incident” when he stopped for lunch in Brunswick, GA. It involved an unruly biker guy and it got pretty serious:

“I’m so sorry,” replied the waitress as she grabbed a wad of napkins and tried to soak as much as she could from the table.

“I don’t give a shit if you’re sorry or not, you ruined my food!”

By now the manager had arrived with a towel. The problem was that the manager also looked like he was as young as the waitress and was obviously intimidated by the biker.

The manager said, “Sir, I’m really sorry. Let us get this cleaned up and we’ll move you to another table and replace you meal.”

“You’re damn right you’ll replace my meal.”

He had approached the manager who was helping with the clean-up and now stood facing the entrance with his back to Nick. Nick, now on alert, was interested to see how the manager would handle this situation. It would be up to the biker to determine if it would escalate into something more.

With his right hand, the biker grabbed the shirt of the manager at the neck and said, “You’re also going to fire that bitch right here and right now.”

The frightened manager replied in a shaky voice, “Sir, that’s not necessary. I’ll serve you anything you like, as much as you want, no charge.”

“What I’d like is to see her fired now!”

Over his right shoulder, Nick saw that the dad of the family was moving forward to offer some assistance. Nick motioned him to stay back and then, after weighing all the options, decided to get involved.

He moved behind the biker and pulled the man’s left arm up and behind his back, bending his wrist forward in a power grip that surprised and hurt the biker causing him to release the manager. The biker tried to circle around to his left to face his attacker, but Nick, anticipating this move, circled with him and guided him through the opening in the railing and out the entrance.  …

(It gets a little ugly after that. This segment is “R” rated with quite a bit of “biker speak!”)

After that incident, Nick does actually make it to Clearwater and Chapter Two is just a page turn away.  So far I have about thirty pages of the first draft.  I made an interesting, rookie novelist discovery this week. I wrote all about Nick arriving at the hotel, getting settled in his room and walking through the pool area seeing bikini-clad women relaxing and swimming, etc.  Then, in a dream (I’m not making this up!) it came to me that he arrived at the hotel at 11:30 pm!!!  No sun, no chicks–major re-write. Actually, I can salvage most of it for the next morning as he leaves for the game. Anyway, I felt pretty foolish for losing track of time.

Things will get exciting in Chapter Two when the actual murder at the ball game takes place. That’s all I can say right now, but the complete cast of characters is in the wings waiting to come onstage!

I’m now posting links to facebook and twitter.  I’ve set up a site on about.me/JA_Shrader.  Tell your friends and mine to check it all out – particularly following on Twitter where I’m known as @kleaspop (you figure it out!).  OK, time to get back to the weekend office, a pic of which is below.  Cheers to all, and I’ll see you online!  -JAS

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June 27, 2012 · 2:40 am

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Welcome to this new blog where I will try to keep everyone up to date on what’s happening in my creative life.

The first Nick Flemons novel is about 4,000 words into the first draft and coming slowly but surely. I’m off in July, so I hope to dedicate a daily time to move forward more quickly. I’m in the habit of re-reading and editing as I go, but I’m sure once the first draft is finished, there will be several rewrites before the upload.  I’ll give you some glimpses of Nick Flemons in subsequent posts.

Three operas are completed, one has been performed several times, and two new ones are in progress.  The second of these is a three-act opus with a larger orchestra and more characters, so it probably doesn’t qualify as a “really short” opera.

I got the Colla Voce contract last week for Balulalow, the new Christmas choral setting.  Valdosta’s Sine Nomine Singers will be singing Trust in Me on their tour to Poland this summer. Finally, I’ve been asked to write a piece for the VSU Rotunda Concerts again next year.

The Mozart book is in the throes of editorial issues with the folks at Mellen. I’m still trying to make the corrections that they want to see.  I’m hoping for a fall printing.

I’ll try to give you some insider looks at my work as this blog unfolds. Cheers for now! -JAS

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June 27, 2012 · 2:28 am