People Have Started Getting The Odds Job

Some who have Pre-Ordered through Amazon have received their copies of the book early. I am not sure how that is happening, but go for it if you want to get it.

The eBook version, for Kindle, still won’t drop until the 3rd of December because of how it was scheduled.

Thanks you everyone who has supported The Odds Job release.

The Odds Job by William Boulanger

Patreon Now Active

Hello Book Bakers!

I now have a Patreon page where you can get access to:

  • My undying, but unwritten, thanks – by supporting me with a monthly cup of coffee
  • Penny dreadful length short stories – monthly Early Access serialized shorts
  • Quasi-Exclusive Baker’s Dozen short stories – monthly short stories from my published collections
  • Exclusive early content from my upcoming science fiction novel “The Odds Job.”

Please come and support my journey as a writer and thank you!

Become a Patron!

Blood Ties Screenplay Act 1 – DRAFT

Part of a project for my Screenwriting Class at Southern New Hampshire University for my Master’s of Arts in English and Creative Writing (currently taking the class).

FADE IN:

INT. COFFINDAY

A smart phone buzzes and illuminates, revealing the pale face of sigourney “ZIGGY” wallachia. she is surrounded by expensive and comfortable red silk coffin walls and lid.

ZIGGY raises the cell phone to her face and looks at the screen.

ZIGGY

Ugh….6:00AM. Time to get ready for school….sigh….in person.

ZIGGY turns on the camera to selfie mode and watches herself retract her fangs, which takes a moment of willpower.

ZIGGY

This is always easier after I’ve had my coffee. I don’t know why Mom insists I retract them before I even get out of my coffin. It’s not like me crawling out of a coffin in my bedroom isn’t already a clue to normal.

ZIGGY lifts the lid on her coffin carefully, testing her hand in the sunlight outside the coffin. She sighs with relief.

ZIGGY

Still doesn’t burn. Dad’s theory is right. I probably won’t turn into a real vampire until I’ve drank human blood.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. BEDROOMDAY

ZIGGY’s coffin, a modern day style construction, rests on an ornate dias, among an otherwise normal teenage bedroom with band posters, clothes strewn on the floor from not cleaning as much as she should, with a school bag hanging from the bag of a chair in front of a computer desk.

ZIGGY crawls out of the bed, dressed in pajamas, and looks in the mirror at her unnaturally pale reflection. She changes out of her pajamas an puts on clothes that cover all of her skin except her head, then lifts the hood on her hoodie and slips on her sunglasses over her golden-brown eyes. She tilts her head to hear her mother calling from downstairs.

NATASHIA (O.C.)

ZIGGY! Hurry up or you’ll be late for school!

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. KITCHENDAY

the kitchen at the back of the house have stairs to the second floor independent of the stairs in the front living room. in the kitchen, standing at the counter, natashia, ZIGGY’s mother, talks on a cell phone. sitting at the table in the kitchen, reading the newspaper over his breakfast, is bob, ZIGGY’s stepfather.

ZIGGY walks down the stairs and moves to the coffee maker.

NATASHIA

No, Diane. The pants should keep their pleats and tell patterning to plan for thin padding on the shoulders. The late 80s are coming back…again….God knows how many times.

I don’t want them changing my designs.

ZIGGY puts some (brand name product with obvious box) in the toaster and proceeds to add sugar to her coffee. BOB glances up from his newspaper, barely noticing her, as usual.

BOB

I can’t believe you only put sugar in it. If you want to cut the bitter, just add milk or creamer like anyone else.

ZIGGY

I don’t know how many times I have to tell you, milk curdles around me. It’s part of the curse.

NATASHIA

Just a moment, Diane.

NATASHA faces BOB but keeps her hand out of sight of ZIGGY. She wiggles two of her fingers at BOB.

BOB

Huh?

BOB pauses, confused.

BOB

Whatever.

BOB returns to ignoring ZIGGY and reading his newspaper. The backdoor opens and, without knocking, ZIGGY’S friend AZ walks in cheery, a cloth mask on her face.

AZ

Good morning Mister and Misses Smithers! Morning Zig!

BOB glances up from his Newspaper and returns to it. NATASHIA waves quietly and points to the phone to indicate she’s busy on a call. AZ nods that the message has been received.

BOB

Good morning, AZealia.

AZ

Like I said before Mister Smithers, I just go by AZ.

BOB grunts half-attentive acknowledgement.

AZ

Excited for school Zig?! First day out of lock down from COVID!

ZIGGY screws the cap onto her coffee go-cup and pulls out her mask.

ZIGGY

I see you’ve already had your coffee this morning. I’m not quite caught up.

AZ

No coffee for me, Zig. You know I’m a tea girl. Like Star Trek – Earl Grey, Hot!

ZIGGY

Ha. Nerd.

AZ

It’s the first day back to school after the lock down, ZIGGY. We better not be late or your parents will ground you and lock you down again.

ZIGGY and AZ wave goodbye to NATASHIA instead of interrupting her call. She waves back. They wave goodbye to BOB who fails to notice.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. HIGH SCHOOL MAIN HALLWAY

STUDENTS BUSTLE ABOUT AS AZ, ZIGGY, AND THEIR FRIEND BONDY STAND BY AN OPEN ORANGE LOCKER, ONE OF HUNDREDS LIKE IT IN THE SCHOOL. AT THE ARCHWAY OF THE HALL IS A SIGN READING “PICADILLY HIGH SCHOOL” AND “WASHINGTON STATE CHAMPIONS 1999.” INSIDE AZ’s locker door are stickers for both lgbtq pride and a commonly used lesbian pride flag.

AZ

How did your parents take you coming out as Trans, Bondy?

BONDY shuffles their feet and looks down.

BONDY

I didn’t have the guts to tell them…

ZIGGY

I get it. It’s hard to risk rejection. I haven’t come out to my parents as…whatever I am.

AZ

Well, whatever it is, you aren’t lesbian, bisexual, or pansexual. As far as I can tell, you’ve never demonstrated sexual preference at all.

BONDY

Well you clearly identify as female, or at least you haven’t said you don’t. What you prefer is inside, so no one really notices what you aren’t as what you are.

ZIGGY

That’s true. It sucks that you have to keep coming to school wearing those girl clothes your Mom keeps pushing on you. You want to borrow my hoody again?

BONDY

Are you sure? Last time you did that you broke out in a rash because of your sunlight allergy.

AZ

It was just an allergy, though! It’s not like ZIGGY is going to burst into flames or anything.

ZIGGY glares at AZ, who chuckles nervously at nearly revealing ZIGGY’S real secret. ZIGGY pulls her hoody off and hands it to BONDY.

ZIGGY

I have long sleeves on today. I should be fine. I’ll just wear my hair over my ears in class. Mister O’Leary’s class is the only one I have to sit by the window.

AZ

Still? I thought your mom had the Nurse write him a note. He is supposed to let you…

AZ keeps talking but ZIGGY doesn’t hear any of it as she stares, in awe, as SAMSON “RINO” TANER emerges through the main doors of the hall in his yellow letterman jacket with a large purple “P” on it. He is flanked on each side by two larger football players, linemen from the school team.

AZ

ZIGGY? Hello? Are you listening to me?

ZIGGY does not react to AZ attempting to snap her out her glAZed look. AZ looks back and forth between ZIGGY and RINO, frowning. BONDY looks curiously between AZ and ZIGGY and sighs, rolling their eyes.

BONDY

I’m telling you, she’s never going to realize you like her.

AZ stares daggers at BONDY who puts their hands up and waves goodbye and heads off putting on the ZIGGY’S hoodie.

Suddenly AZ leans in to ZIGGY’S EAR and whispers.

AZ

Your fangs are starting to show.

ZIGGY’S eyes go wide as she suddenly blushes and turns away just in time for RINO to see the embarrassment, but not the teeth. The football players joke to each other inaudibly about it as they make their way down the hall toward a group of cheerleaders.

ZIGGY

Oh my God! He didn’t see did he?

ZIGGY concentrates and retracts her fangs.

AZ

Oh he noticed, but not your teeth. They’re over their laughing at you for obviously crushing on him.

ZIGGY looks over to the football players who finish their jokes and start flirting with the cheerleaders.

ZIGGY

I should go…bells about to ring. See you at lunch, AZ.

The two friends part ways in the hall.

DISSOLVE TO:

QUICK MONTAGE OF ZIGGY’S CLASS LIFE

ZIGGY CHECKING OUT RINO FROM ACROSS A CLASSROOM AND SNAPPED OUT OF IT BY ANDREA, A POPULAR GIRL, AND HER FRIENDS THROWING CRUMPLED PIECES OF PAPER TO SNAP HER OUT OF IT.

ZIGGY SITTING BY THE WINDOW, LOST IN THOUGHT ABOUT RINO, AND SNAPPED OUT OF HER DAYDREAM BY MISTER O’LEARY. SHE LOOKS DOWN AT HER HAND TO SEE IT IS STARTING TO GET A RASH FROM THE SUN AND FEELS FOR THE SAME RASH ON HER NECK, COVERING IT WITH HER HAIR.

MISTER O’LEARY WRITES A NOT ABOUT ZIGGY AT HIS DESK: “RASH FROM SUNLIGHT.”

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. KITCHENevening

NATASHA IS RUBBING ALOE CREAM ON ZIGGY’S NECK RASH LIKE IT IS A SUNBURN. ZIGGY IS SITTING AT THE TABLE. THROUGH THE OPEN DOOR TO THE LIVING ROOM, BOB CAN BE SEEN WITH A REMOTE CONTROL IN HIS HAND WATCHING THE NEWS. AZ SITS BY DOING HER HOMEWORK.

NATASHA

What did I tell you about loaning BONDY your hoodie? Last time the rash was so bad, they almost sent you to the doctor. Then what would have happened?

ZIGGY rolls her eyes and answers as if she knew this argument by heart.

ZIGGY

They might have done some tests to find out why I react to sunlight and possibly figured out that I am a vampire.

BOB

What was that ZIGGY?

NATASHA goes to the open door to the living room and wiggles her fingers at BOB.

NATASHA

Nothing, Dear. Everything’s normal.

NATASHA closes the door to the living room as BOB goes back to watching television.

NATASHA

Well be more careful in the future, ZIGGY. I’ll put this lotion in the downstairs bathroom if you need it.

NATASHA disappears around a corner near the kitchen stairs.

AZ

So, I’ve been learning some Mind Magic from my mother’s coven and I am pretty sure your Mom is low-key altering BOB’s perceptions.

ZIGGY

What do you mean?

AZ

I mean does BOB know you’re a Dhampir? A half human, half vampire?

ZIGGY

Sure he does! I’ve never kept it a secret from him.

AZ

I dunno. Every time BOB even pays attention to you, your Mom seems to distract him and sense a little tingle like a spell went off…then Yeet! Off goes his attention again.

ZIGGY

No way. Mom’s not a witch. Just because she knew some back in Salem before we moved here, doesn’t mean she is one. She’s as normal as they come.

AZ

Normal huh? If I didn’t know better it was like she was making him forget things so he thinks you’re normal and so you don’t have to live in your own house keeping your secret in the closet.

ZIGGY laughs.

ZIGGY

Keeping it in the coffin is more like it. As for keeping things in the closet, that’s what I’m trying to figure out. I know I feel sexual urges…I just have never felt them about anyone particular. I’m not attracted to…anything. That’s definitely not normal.

AZ

There’s nothing wrong with having nonstandard sexual identity or preferences. Not only do you know that, but you do a great job of sticking up for BONDY…and me.

Besides, I saw how you were looking at RINO of all people. You were practically drooling, with your fangs all out and stuff.

Maybe you’re a little bit more normal than you thought…not that normal is really that normal.

ZIGGY blushes and becomes thoughtful.

ZIGGY

Normal….

NATASHA emerges through the closed door from the living room. BOB is seen having dozed off watching television. She is carrying a brown wrapped mail package.

NATASHA

I forgot to tell you, ZIGGY. Your father called.

ZIGGY perks up at the mention of her father, VOIVODE “VINCENT” WALLACHIA.

NATASHA

He sends his apologies that he can’t make it for your birthday. He’s working a big case with the Boston PD and they wouldn’t give him the time off.

ZIGGY slouches, crestfallen.

ZIGGY

This sucks. We move all the way across the country to Camano Island and this rinky dink town of yahoos…

AZ

Hey!

ZIGGY

Present company excluded, AZ. And your Mom, and her coven. All cool people.

AZ

And BONDY and the rest of the Pride at school. It’s not like you don’t have a tribe here.

ZIGGY

Sorry, AZ. I just mean there isn’t as much to do here as there was in Boston.

AZ

We have our first Boba Hut Tea Bar down town now. That’s not nothing.

ZIGGY

And this is the first time Dad has ever missed my birthday since the divorce.

NATASHA leans in and gives ZIGGY a hug.

NATASHA

VINCENT, your father, is doing his best. He does more than many divorced fathers. He pays a very handsome child support, in ancient coins no less, and if he didn’t have someone very dangerous to hunt down in Boston with the Police, you know he’d be here. It must really be important.

NATASHA slides the package across the table to a teary-eyed ZIGGY.

NATASHA

Besides, he sent you a birthday present. But he says you aren’t to open it until your 18th birthday this next week. Something about being an adult then and needing to make adult decisions and him wanting you to open your presents on your birthday like a normal person.

ZIGGY

Pfft….normal….

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. BOBA HUT TEA BAR – DAY

THE DRINK ESTABLISHMENT IS LOUD AND OBNOXIOUS LOOKING IN COLORS AND FULL OF TEENS FROM THE HIGH SCHOOL. SOME ARE DRESSED IN COSPLAY, SIMILAR TO THE ANIME CHARACTERS HOLDING BOBA TEA CUPS WITH LARGE STRAWS DECORATING THE NEON FILLED WALLS. EVERYONE IS WEARING MASKS EXCEPT AT THEIR SOCIALLY DISTANCED TABLES. BOBA HUT IS A VIBRANT OASIS OF ASIAN-AMERICAN CITY CULTURE IN A SEA OF AMERICAN PIE RURAL ISLAND LIFE.

ZIGGY gets a pair of plastic Boba Cups, full of orange thai tea, ice, and black tapioca balls.

ZIGGY

Ok, try this one. It was my favorite back in Boston.

AZ sips the orange liquid and a pair of boba up the large straw, swallows the liquid and begins chewing on the boba.

ZIGGY

That is so weird. I love it! I’m so happy they set this place up last month! I was afraid COVID would keep it from opening. Thank the Goddess we went into Phase 3.

ZIGGY nods in acknowledgement as she sips at her own straw, oblivious that AZ is watching her lips intently.

ZIGGY

And they opened it right next to the only place in this town I otherwise feel like going to outside of school.

ZIGGY and AZ in Unison

The Bookstore!

ANDREA and her popular girl friend enter Boba Hut, maskless, and no one requires them to put on face coverings. They’re dressed in expensive fashionable clothing, their parents being old money in town. ZIGGY looks at them pensive.

ZIGGY

AZ, I was thinking about what we were talking about last night. Being….normal…

AZ

What do you mean?

ZIGGY

Well, everyone at school thinks I’m the Goth kid because I don’t wear any color or anything to draw attention to myself. I cover my head with my hood to protect from the sun, the mask is an extra bonus for that. I wear sunglasses in school, thanks to permission from the Nurse. I come off very antisocial.

AZ

So? I notice you.

ZIGGY

Well, I think I finally know what attracts me…I think.

AZ

Are we talking about yesterday at school? About Rino?

ZIGGY

Yeah. I….I think I’m attracted to him. Not because he’s a cute boy, and he is cute, or because he’s a boy at all. But, because he represents…normal.

AZ

Rino’s a jock. He’s just about scoring touchdowns…and probably just about scoring in general.

ZIGGY

You don’t know anything about him. Either do I really. But, he is he high school football captain. He’s dashing. He’s cool. Everyone likes him. If I was someone that someone like that liked back…that would mean I was….normal.

AZ

I like you the way you are.

ZIGGY

I don’t. Or rather, I don’t like having to hide. And being who I am has to. I want to be normal. And I think I want Rino to like me. I think it would make me feel normal.

AZ

That’s just hiding in the closet farther, ZIGGY.

ZIGGY

I’m already in the closet. And I’m in the coffin about what I really am. I just want to actually….live. AZ, I need your help. I need you to help me be normal and get Rino’s attention. Will you do it?

AZ

You’re already pretty, ZIGGY. I’m telling you as a lesbian, you are a pretty girl. And not being normal makes you interesting. Normal is…boring.

ZIGGY leans in, taking off her sunglass, urgency in her golden-brown eyes.

ZIGGY

Please, AZ. You’re my best friend. I need your help.

AZ looks away, closes her eyes and nods.

AZ

Fine. But, I don’t have a lot of experience in that area either. I like girls, which means I can at least imagine was boys might like in girls. But I don’t have any experience trying to get their attention. And I’m a witch…it’s not like I’m out of the broom closet about that myself. So, I’m kind of in the same place.

ZIGGY

We can figure it out together. Where do we start?

AZ

I’m a witch, ZIGGY. It comes from same root word as wizard….wise. And my mom says the first place you can find wisdom is with knowledge…and the first place you can find that….is the library.

ZIGGY

The bookstore is next door. Close enough?

AZ

Close enough….

FADE OUT: (probably DISSOLVE TO: as we enter ACT 2)

Interviewed by WOWI

As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, I was recently interviewed by the guys over at Writing On Whidbey Island (WOWI). This is a local blog and podcast on my island.

We talk about my Short Story collection (Baker’s Dozen Vol1. – Fresh Baked) from 2016 and my upcoming science fiction novel and my efforts (and the challenges during COVID) to get it traditionally published.

You can see the blog entry and hear the interview at https://writingonwhidbeyisland.com/

Check it out!

Has it really been 5 months?

Well, it’s been about 5 months since I last updated. Mostly still in some form of covid-19 shutdown. Where I live has opened up a bit and school is back in session – but entirely online for everyone grade 5 and up, restaurants are open at half capacity, and our local two screen movie theater is open 3 days a week (full deep cleans in between each showing and between each day open) at half capacity.

As for my personal life, it’s been pretty hard shut down still, though. I have significant respiratory issues and some autoimmune problems – so I can’t take a lot of chances with COVID out there.

But, work has to happen at some point and I need to put this English degree to use in the only place, other than writing, it will do much good. As such, I’m applying as a substitute teacher in a nearby school district for whenever high schoolers find their way back into the classroom. I’m anticipating that will be just after the New Year at this point, assuming the phased approach of kids going back to physical school works out.

In the world of writing, I’ve been slowly crafting my Fantasy novel in parallel with my Master’s in English and Creative Writing program from Southern New Hampshire University. I could write faster, and with all of this down time I certainly am chomping at the bit, but I feel this is a great way to directly apply my learning as I go.

The Science Fiction book is getting on more round of edits – I learned stuff in this Master’s program that I wish to apply to it. Then, I will make a final push for Agents and Publishers. The market isn’t great for traditional publishing right now though. It got hit hard with book stores having been shut down, transportation of books to book stores facing challenges, paper stocks in warehouses that weren’t considered essential being closed, and overseas supplies of paper being the source for most American printing having been closed for a while. So, the entire industry is way behind schedule even if I found an Agent.

So, should that avenue fail, I will self publish. I just want the book out there at this point and I can pursue traditional publication with the Fantasy novel when it’s done. And who knows, maybe some of you folks will tell your friends you like it and it gets enough demands for copies that an Agent and Publisher sees it worth reprinting and making some money off me.

There are wild fires all along the west coast, hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, social and political tension mounting with potential violence from either side of the aisle, and a world wide plague claiming the lives of almost 200,000 Americans at this point. America isn’t feeling so safe right now, so watch out for yourselves and your people. Stay safe Bakers and catch on the next update.

COVID-19 Lock Down Update

Here’s the latest update. Pardon me for being brief and infrequent with my posts. I anticipate things will build up more soon.

  1. My mother-in-law in Canada does not have Caronavirus – just an unrelated pneumonia, strep, and bronchitis. She’s getting the right meds and will likely be fine.
  2. I have started my Masters program in Creative Writing online at Southern New Hampshire University (the same school my oldest daughter is attended in person). This will no doubt generate some stuff I will likely share here, in terms of projects.
  3. I am making steady progress on Volume 2 of Bill Baker’s Dozen, which I am thinking of subtitling either “Pi Rack”, “I Scream Cake”, or “Quarantine Edition: Coughee Cake”. Not sure…lots of choices.
  4. My science fiction novel’s edit is coming along….slowly. It is taking so long because it is just tedious work and one of my areas of self improvement I need to work on. This isn’t story edits, it’s the mind numbing act of making sure everything is consistent and necessary. The grammar and spelling is all done and the story itself is written. I’m on the nit-picky details.
  5. The fantasy novel is developing nicely! Not more to add to that just yet news wise. Early months still on that project.

That’s about all that I can think of as a writer. But, as a reader, I am super excited that one of my writing heroes, Jim Butcher, is finally releasing not one, but TWO, Dresden Files books this year. The Wizard Detective has been absent from my reading consumption for too long! If you have not checked out that series, GO GET IT. That should keep you occupied for a while.

Until next time, be safe out there. Wash your hands. Keep your distances. And stay in contact with your loved ones for their mental health.

Obligatory COVID-19 Post

I’m fine. Nothing bad happening specifically in my life from all the caronavirus stuff…yet. Some suspicion that my wife’s mother in Canada might have it – and they won’t let her come in for testing. But, it could just be a basic bronchitis. She’s in the risky population that should be extra concerned, though – and she refuses to be. We’re keeping an eye on it.

Otherwise the world is basically stuck at home for the most part and life feels like we’re in the flashback scenes of some Young Adult dystopian novel, where they talk about what lead the nation/world to that dark and oppressive place.

Speaking of stories, don’t forget that my short story collection is out there for purchase if you’re stuck at home.

I’ve removed the ebook from the Barnes and Noble site, since I’ve never had a sale there, and as soon as that’s delisted, I’ll be signing up for Kindle Direct Publishing’s ability to have sales on my stuff. You can’t sign up for that if your ebook is available somewhere else.

When that goes through, I’m planning on marking the short story collection down to make it cheaper during these hard socio-economic times to buy…maybe for a month or two.

Watch here for a sales announcement.

Untitled Poem (by me)

From within nebulous gradients
Creeps countless horrors grey
Innumerate and unyielding all
Lurking eidelons, misty they

Ephemeral, we witness them
Disbelieving our Godly gifts
Assiduousness, blind eyes turned
Abiding, seeking our shrifts

To rend them from us nocturnally
Whispered from trembling lips
Exposing us and hidden desires
Far beyond our fingertips

We grasping for lost causes
Lost causes grasping for us
Till ash returns to ash
And dust returns to dust