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I’ve recently gotten very interested in screenwriting. In part because I have an idea that seems to lend itself better to film, and that got me thinking. It seems like whenever a book is adapted to film, and I have read the book before seeing the movie, the movie ends up disappointing me. How about you? That said, when I do it in reverse order, watch the film first, and then read the book, I don’t judge the film nearly as harshly. Usually. My experience isn’t scientific, so take it with a grain of salt, but I’m curious what others think. Share your thoughts in the comments.

I do believe, as in the case of the screenplay I am working on, that some ideas are better suited to the screen (big or small) and others are better suited to the written word. I can’t put my finger on exactly why, it is just that when I come up with some ideas, they tend to fall one way or the other in my mind. There are plenty of exceptions, I’m sure. Perhaps you can think of some. Armageddon comes to mind. I can’t imagine it as a book. The Rocky movies are some more examples. Any Quentin Tarantino film, of course. Those come to mind for me, but I’m sure you can come up with a lot more.

Sometimes, it isn’t that the book wouldn’t make a great movie, it is just that the filmmaker made a bad movie. To be fair, at other times, it could be that it is a very good movie, but it disappoints those who read the books because changes have been made. Changes to beloved characters, for example, are high on my list of annoyances when watching a movie that was adapted from one of my favorite books. Clive Cussler novels are a good example. Some decent movies have been made from his novels, but they have never measured up. I think that Sahara was good as a movie, but they took a lot of creative license. Matthew McConaughey wasn’t my idea of the ideal Dirk Pitt actor, but he actually did a good job. The same with the actors who played the key roles of Al Giordino and Rudi Gunn. None of the actors looked like I imagined the characters in the novel looked, but I’d rather have good actors in the roles than doppelgangers who can’t act.

I have been reading the Syd Field books on screenwriting and I do recommend them for the shelf of every aspiring screenwriter, as they make up the bible of screenwriting, but I have also found another one that I am really enjoying. It is “Save The Cat!” by Blake Snyder. So far, it has been a very fun and eye-opening read. If you too have a dynamite idea for a movie or television show, you might want to add Blake’s book to your library. I’ll provide links below and if you buy though these links, I will get a modest commission, and it will be much appreciated. I will share some more about my screenplay in future posts as I learn this craft that is still new to me.

I’m back! It is hard to believe that I haven’t posted an update here in over four years. I’ve really neglected this space. That ends today, though actions speak louder than words. I’ve posted occasionally on social media, but even that has been meager. I’ve let my sequel to Terminal Tendencies, titled Malicious Machinations, languish at about 50% complete. So much has happened, but let’s get to the good and fun news.

I’ve got a new determination to get back to writing. Since January of this year(2020), I have been writing a column, twice a month, for the Augusta Medical Examiner. The column is called, Adventures in Middle Age. Please check it out and tell me what you think. Writing this column has gotten me back into the habit of writing and a few recent incidents have put things in perspective. I don’t want to work the rest of my life on things that aren’t nearly as fulfilling as writing is for me. I have too many interests and too many hobbies, but those all need to fade into the background so that I can do what I like best. I feel like I just woke up to realize what life is all about and I have to go for my dream to do what I love instead of just working to get by. It might take me a few years, and I wish I had gotten a start earlier and stuck with it, but as the Chinese proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” I’m planting that tree right now and not just one, but many trees, but all of them related to writing as my career.

I have found some excellent books that have inspired and informed me recently and I will start sharing them here in posts. Perhaps they can help you, if you also decide to pursue writing, or maybe they just get you to think about what it is you want to do for the rest of your life, whether it is writing or something else entirely.

The first one I will mention is Joanna Penn’s How To Make A Living With Your Writing. You can buy it below, either on Kindle (on the left) or in paperback (on the right). In either case, I get a small commission. Thanks.

I will share more as I get farther along in my reading, but this one has already made an impact on my outlook for a career in writing. If you have considered that before, it is worth a look.

So, now, I will get back to my work on Malicious Machinations, and since deadlines seem to work for me, my goal is to have it published and available for purchase by April of 2021. I will also be working on an audiobook edition of my Terminal Tendencies novel and hope to release it around that same time. Speaking of my first novel, if you haven’t already gotten it, you can find links below for the kindle and paperback version, respectively.

Besides working on my next mystery novel in the Jack and Elle series I’ve been doing lots of other stuff that I wanted to share with you. I haven’t posted here in a long time and a big part of the reason is my health (though that is on the mend quite nicely now, thank you very much) and the other projects I have been working on, many times to the detriment of my mystery writing. Those things and life in general. I don’t write for a living, YET, though I hope that happens one day, so it has to take a backseat sometimes. Now back to my status update.

For one thing, I’ve been working on the story for a game and I have really been enjoying it. It isn’t a mystery at all. Instead it is an old time adventure in the vein of the old Saturday afternoon movie serials. The same types that inspired George Lucas when he wrote Indiana Jones. The same ones that later became Saturday afternoon television serials when I was a kid. The skeleton of the story is complete and some of it has been fleshed out. It mostly takes place on a fictional river in Africa in an indeterminate time somewhere between 1865 and 1914. This allows for some flexibility and some things that might otherwise have some people shouting “anachronism!” But wouldn’t that sound petty? Better to cut them off at the knees by not saying when it takes place. I’m lazy and devious that way. The same guy who created the amazing cover for my first novel is doing all of the artwork for this game, so that excites me as well. I have no clue on a release date for it, but I can say that the plan is to release the game on IOS (iPhone and iPad), Android, and PC at a minimum. There’s no website for the game yet, but it should be up in the next month or two. In the meantime, I’ll post about it here.

The other thing I’ve been doing is trying to feed one of my other loves and by that I don’t mean my belly, though I’ve done a good job with that too. I’m talking about the affinity for gadgets that I share with one of the co-main characters of the Jack and Elle series, Jack Chalker. Please check out my gadget blog at http://growingupgadget.com. There isn’t much there yet, but I’ve promised myself that I will try my best to write an entry at least once per day and I’ve kept that pace for two or three whole days! Impressed? Me neither, but I hope to keep this up for a truly impressive amount of time. We’ll see. There is one more connection between my gadget blog and my new book, but I need to be careful about what I say so as not to spoil anything in the book, so for now, I’ll only say this: At least two gadgets play an important part in the book and I hope to build something at least approximating them in real life. I’ve started on it and have the heart of one of them done already. It isn’t complete, but a big chunk of the functionality is in place already. I’ll say more about this when and if I can, but most of the details will have to remain a mystery until you read the book. Let’s just say that it involves drones. Something really big in the news for a while now.

I plan on delivering some chapters of my new novel to my proof readers shortly. I just wanted there to be enough chapters so that they didn’t run out before I could deliver some more, so I probably need another month of writing to reach that point. You know who you are. I’ll also try to at least post something here each week until the book is released, though that should ramp up quite a bit near the release date and shortly following it with book signings, etc.

Until then, please check out my other endeavors if you have a chance and the inclination.

Regards,
JB

For those of you who missed it, or couldn’t figure out how to program your VCRs (Is that still a thing? I don’t think so), my interview from June 6th with WJBF Channel 6 is now available online. Just follow the link below:
http://wjbf.com/2015/06/17/your-hometown-stories-jb-cullom-local-author/

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This is just meant as a quick thank you and recap for the Book Signing event this afternoon at The Book Tavern. I’ll post more details and photos later.

A big thanks goes out to everyone who made this successful. To name a few that I can remember off the top of my head and roughly in the order that they arrived: Jeff, Sandy, David, Carol H., Dad, John G., Kate, Pat, Lorie, Teresa, Carol A., Rick, Lauraine, Todd, Tyler, Lauren, James, Sonja, Glo, Brooke, Chuck and Vicki. Sorry if I forgot you. As I said, this is based on my memory and that isn’t the safest place for anything. We cleared the table of books and had to go to the box for more, so it was good. I saw many old friends and a few new ones. I hope you all enjoy your books and that I don’t find them in a used book store in the very near future without any indication of them being well-worn.

One highlight was that my high school English teacher, Carol Armstrong, was able to make it and she promised not to bring the book back with red pen marks to indicate my mistakes. That was a condition of my signing it, though I didn’t get that in writing.

Another highlight was the completely unexpected gift of a beautiful pen with my name on it from Chuck and Vicki. Thank you both very much!

Regards,
JB

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Would anyone be interested in a Terminal Tendencies T-shirt?

I’ve been toying with the idea of having some T-shirts at book signings, but I couldn’t make it happen in time for the one this weekend at The Book Tavern (1-3). However, I may place an order depending on the feedback I get.

I was thinking that maybe I could give a few away, like the first five people in line, and have some available for sale. Another option would be to take orders for those interested. I’m not sure yet. Just let me know what you think.

Thanks,
JB

I just finished a very pleasant interview with John Lynn of WJBF, Channel 6 that will air this coming Saturday, June 6th between 7 and 8 AM. Kevin Niewood was also there and will be the anchorman for the broadcast. The interview is part of their “Your Hometown” segment and you can find out more about it at this link: http://www.wjbf.com/category/286506/your-hometown-stories

I’m looking forward to seeing you all this Saturday at the book signing, but if you get up early Saturday, you can see me first.

Regards,
J.B.

June 6th Book Signing Poster at The Book Tavern at 936 Broad Street in Augusta, Georgia

June 6th Book Signing Poster at The Book Tavern at 936 Broad Street in Augusta, Georgia

Thanks to you, dear readers, our Kindle Countdown sale week was a success. In the last two days of the sale, we sold more than the previous 30 days combined. Thank you very much! I can’t wait to see many of you at the book signing this Saturday.

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Tell your friends that the 99 cent Kindle Countdown Deal for Terminal Tendencies ends in less than 15 hours.