Workbook 9 | June: Criminal Intent

The end of June flowed nicely into a holiday weekend, so with that now out of the way, I can take a quick moment to reflect on the previous month’s productivity. Spoiler alert: not a whole lot accomplished.

The main takeaway from June is right now I am, again, all about crime (and suspense) fiction. I suppose I’ve always been about suspense since I first started writing more than two decades ago, inspired by the suspense (and horror) novels I’d borrowed from my mother as a young man. Usually with suspense fiction a criminal element is often present. In the mid-to-late 90s as a neophyte writer still fairly new to reading prose fiction regularly, I started to seek out straight crime fiction. That meant the stuff that wasn’t considered mystery fiction (they try to trick you, understand). Of course a mystery element is natural in crime and suspense fiction, even horor, but I quickly came to realize the stuff that was overtly mystery fiction simply did not scratch the itch I had for the seedier aspects of crime.

Enter the literary criminal works of Frank Miller, Mickey Spillane and Elmore Leonard, not to mention films like Scarface, Colors, New Jack City, GoodFellas, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Donnie Brasco, just to name a few from my A-list and you see it’s easy to stay inspired. A couple of recent trips to the local library has me stocking up on crime-leaning entertainment.

IMG_0653I’m not quite sure what the allure of seedier types of fiction like crime is for me. I do know one thing that I really like in dramatic storytelling is the situation of good people having almost no choice (and in some cases no choice at all) in having to do bad things to right a wrong, or to restore a sense of order amid the chaos.White merging with black to blur into gray. Tests of character and all that, I suppose. Coming out of it somehow unscathed, yet changed in some way, hopefully for the better (but not always). No better place to find that than in crime fiction.

Also, as a writer of hopefully successful, serious fiction with dramatic intent, you absolutely must put your protagonist through hell. After all, if genre fiction is about ordinary people put in extraordinary circumstances, then it’s gotta work that way.

At any rate, I’ve rambled enough. Here’s a brief work report.


Codename – Project: Crime Time – is actually a series of crime comics projects I’m doing with my best friend and collaborating artist Joshua S. Hooten. Back in May it looked like we were going to do something in the supernatural realm of things, be it crime-related or straight up horror. By June we came to realize that what we’re really itching to hit first – and what’s probably best for a first endeavor at this – would be a straight up crime story. This weekend we’re going to have a little creative summit where we’ll hammer out the finer details of the characters and the plot, probably over plates of food and multiple glasses of any given beverage.

So with that graphic novel project underway in development, a number of other comics projects previously mentioned are naturally on the backburner. The aforementioned codenames for them are: Project: Mr. Macabre and Project: Unsettled. And add to that a previously not mentioned one, let’s call it Project: RK, is also a story to be told graphically with Hooten (or another artist) later down the road.


On the prose side of things, progress is still a slow crawl. I am contemplating a breezy crime novel, which like the first comics project, should probably be the truly first novel completed. Project: Blood-Borne (novel series) could probably write itself if I’d simply trust myself to pull it off, but it would also require zero distractions and that’s just not possible at this point. Project: Micro-Mondays (writing exercise) is still a desire, but likely wouldn’t be able to commence until Fall/Winter, would be my guess.


Sporadic like always, and as usual a lot of my daily scribing goes into my Facebook groups. So Comic Book Fetish (comics commentary blog) suffers the most from that. The all-new Ruckerpedia (personal fiction archive), who knows when I’ll launch that damn thing. You’d think since I purchased the premium theme that I’d have more incentive. However, I’ve once again reconfigured and renamed this blog (the one you’re reading now). If I know me, I can’t say with any certainty that Ruckology will stick permanently, but with the former name Ruckerpedia affixed elsewhere, I like its chances. I’m going to try to post here at the very least on a weekly basis along with these monthly working updates. May try to squeeze in an additional post during the week, and maybe share stuff from other folks’ output in the spirit of community, advocacy and support.


20519-backcover2528smaller2529Neglect the Alarm activity has been nonexistent in June, so nothing to report there. If in a month there’s still nothing to report then I fear there may never again be anything to report. We’ll see. On a solo musical front, I am seriously thinking about remixing some songs from the demo album I released in the Fall of 2009, as well as finishing some of the many unfinished acoustic songs that are meant to be part of a follow up album. Recording/studio equipment must be replaced first. More details on this should come in a separate post in the future. Because the details of that endeavor and the process is a rather complex thing.

Okay, time to close this out as I’ve rambled long enough. The next update will probably come on August 1st. Until then, make sure you keep at it so you’re not a slacker like me.


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