First look at a possible cover for Hunter, but not happy with it. Seems amateurish. Sloppy. I may have to do some searching on Shutterstock for images to use and build from them.
I’ve done a second pass on the book and it’s at 444 double-spaced pages in Courier 12 point, just over 100,000 words. I got a bit carried away, but one complaint that’s happened in a couple of my books is that I rushed the ending, and I’m not doing that, this time. At least, I don’t think I do. Won’t know until it’s read.
I’ve printed it out and will go over it in red pen to gain some consistency and check for errors. Once that’s input, I think I’ll ask for feedback from a few people I know. Dunno if I’ll make my July 31st deadline, but it wasn’t hard and fast.
I’m down to the ending of Hunter and fighting myself over what to do. What it boils down to, however, is me wondering just how far I can go with this character and story. How amoral can I let him be to make my point?
Let him be…that’s funny. I don’t “let” my characters be who they want. They do as they please, and if I don’t let them, I churn out crap. Stories unreal and nonsensical. But does that matter when the story is over the top?
Hunter is a beast in capitalists’ clothing. The whole point of the story is he has become the perfect capitalist — he’d found a venue for making money and is fulfilling it…and that it includes ruining the lives of others, well…them’s the breaks.
I think the middle class puritan part of me wants him punished for this, as I’ve had done to other characters in my books, like Curt in HTRASG and Antony in RIHC6, both banned due to the intensity of their MCs. I’ve also done it to Devlin in UG. He committed many evil acts before saving Reg’s life, almost at the expense of his own.
So I wrote a portion that had him beaten…except it felt wrong. Next came a bit where he figures out he’s being set up…except that was just too easy. It’s like I don’t want him to go through with his plans because that makes him irredeemable. But maybe he is.
So maybe I’m caught in my own limited morality. Good is rewarded, finally, and evil is punished…eventually…and we hall have the capacity for humanity in us.
So I’m writing Hunter and I’ve gotten to a solid break-point in the story and wonder if setting it up as serialized on KDP or Smashwords would be a good idea. I think I’ll wind up with 3 or 4 sections, each with a bit of a cliffhanger. These would not be autonomous parts, but each would connect to the others in a way that they have to be read in sequence.
Would it be a good idea to do that? Or should I do like I’ve always done, so far, and wait till the full book’s ready and publish it as one piece? At the moment, it looks like the total story will be around 100,000 words, maybe less.
I’m also working on the synopsis:
Some would say Hunter was nothing more than an evil shopper’s assistant. He’s given an order and fulfills it, like others in his profession would when seeking certain clothes or food or cars or jewels. But Hunter’s specialty is finding and grabbing men. Attractive young men for his very exclusive roster of clients. At an exclusive price, of course. As for what happens to them after he turns them over? That is none of his business. He’s tested the merchandise, knows his clients will be satisfied. He has done his job.
But then he partners up with Franklin Howard Verminskiy, AKA: Vermin, a young man who was nearly one of his prospects, and things begin to spiral out of control. And now Hunter is wondering if he’s the one being hunted.
This is a new book I’m writing, about the ultimate capitalist….
Call me Hunter.
And picture me giggling at myself as I write that. Not that I’ve ever actually read Moby Dick. It’s just one of those little pop-culture touchstones that everybody knows about and is just too damn cute not to play with. Especially right now.
So Hunter it is, because that’s who…and what…I am.
Oh, you might wonder, what is a Hunter? I like simple descriptions. It’s whoever brings you whatever is needed, wanted or desired. And we’re not talking like what a soccer mom or breadwinner or anything mundane like that does; those aspects are too civilized and caught up in societal control. No, a hunter is today’s prowling beast, out for itself, unchained by any constraints, hired to bring something specific home to its client. And I love it. Love every bit of it. Love the name. The game. How the money came. Even love the fame…or in-fame.
Wait…is there such a word? Is that how infamy formed? I should look it up, I guess. But truth is, I don’t care; I’m just having fun.
To clarify a bit further, I am not one of those numb-nuts who goes into the hills or woods with his rifle to kill a defenseless creature or thinks taking a shot at a buck or bear from a hidden burrow makes him big-bad-butch and manly. Nor am I what you might call a symbolic one, who’s emblematic of those who seek wealth and fortune and power and fresh employees for governments and societies and corporations to chew up and spit out like well-used wads of bubble gum. No, I’m just your typical, everyday capitalist who figured out I could make a really good buck by hunting men, capturing men, and selling men to other men.
Just in case you didn’t notice, my specialty is men.
And not just any men. Good-looking. Twenty to thirty-five years old. Period. And absolutely nothing underage. Not because of moral objections; I learned long ago that morality is just a religious doctrine used to keep people in their place, even as it’s violated by those who claim to enforce it. Hell, look at what the Catholic Church did — not only protected its priests as they raped little boys and girls but helped them along. And look at how consistently the system of justice ignored that or tried to work around it. It’s almost funny, how obvious it was.
No, it’s just that if an adult male vanishes, no matter what their age, it’s halfway assumed they just walked away to another life and eventually will return to their home and family…so long as no body is there to be found. But when children disappear the media takes major notice, and that is very much on the dangerous side to little hunters, like me. In fact, you even have to be careful about pretty blond women and young white males. The news makes sure that everyone cares about them and uses their disappearance to work up ratings and fear and panic. Especially if they’re well-off and cute. But any other ethnic group or even hair color? Meh, no ratings to be had, there.
Of course, the first thought that’ll come to mind is, Hunting men? You’re talking about slavery. Well, duhh… That’s why I’ve been so successful.
And by successful, I mean I’ve been able to get away with a lot of shit that’s considered immoral, illegal, inexcusable, and not even nice.
For example, my clients are not few, but well over a hundred. None of whom I have met. Nor do I know their names or what part of the world they live in. I have a…well, let’s just call him a coordinator who handles all the in-between crap in exchange for half my fee. Of course, he’d see it differently; probably thinks they’re his clients and I’m his hired gun for half his stated fee. Doesn’t matter; either way works.
Sounds like a lot, sure, but it’s a lot of money. Stealing a man is neither easy nor cheap, and the more cash you got, the better man you can get and the pricier lawyers you can use to make it all nice and legit…on paper. And since I have a subterranean reputation as being one of the best at getting whoever you want when you want him, and never charge less than a hundred-K per guy (plus expenses), keeping the cash flowing is in his best interests. After all, I made him nearly twenty-two million, last year, and I know I’m not the only Hunter he in-betweens for.
Take my most recent job. One of my clients vacationed in Rio over the winter and got a real hard-on for a young man he saw on the Copacabana Beach. He snapped a photo with his phone and sent his assistant down with an offer, which obviously was not one that could not be refused. He became obsessed with having the lad so offered thirty thousand dollars for him to be taken.
Plus expenses, of course.
I chuckled at the stupidity of the client and the offer. First off, it’s almost guaranteed the guy laughed with friends and family about the faggot who tried to buy him into bed, so if he just vanished, that was going to come up. Granted it was in Brazil, which places a lower than average value on human life (and has recently proven to be a nice hunting ground). But even if he was from one of the poorest favelas, the Rio cops might sense a touch of extortion was possible and go looking too deep.
Second, even my coordinator huffed at the piddly-assed cash offer. He wouldn’t have bothered referring it to me except the guy had been a long-time client and never once argued about price or payment, before. His suggestion was to consider doing it as a goodwill gesture…and make up the cost on future orders the client would probably place.
So I shrugged and agreed. We’d grown to trust each other as much as someone can, in this business, back when I was bringing guys in from Mexico, because he knew I was careful and quick and only transported top quality merchandise. It got to the point where me just describing the guy’s dick or ass was enough for him to make a deal on. Even better, when I had an excess dude to unload, as has happened a couple of times, he’d usually take him off my hands, albeit at a cut rate.
I got the photo through a special service, on my phone; it’s got the best encryption. It wasn’t a great picture, just good enough to show the guy was tallish. Good form to his legs and an okay ass. A buff chest and flat belly. Hair where hair should be and long on his head. Not much body-fat. What little I could see of his face hit me as sort of common, with deep-set eyes and a hawk-like nose, and a beard, which I tend to shy away from. He’s not what I would’ve spent even thirty grand on.
But my contact gave me the name of a guy in one of the Favelas, so I headed down to Rio and met with him, and showed him the photo…and he recognized him! The guy was a musician and model, and in fair demand. His name — Thiago Belo, 24, had a couple of records out. Acted in a Telenovela. Modeled Speedos and designer briefs.
Google brought up hundreds of photos, as many without the beard as with, and I finally got an idea as to why my client was so fixated. This guy…oh my god! The first image was of him crossing a beach in that male-model-strut, wearing a nice, tight Speedo of swirling colors, and was he ever built for it! Thighs and calves in perfect proportion. Hips at the perfect width. Soft hair swirling over perfectly formed pecs touched by golden nips. Arms to die for. He had a tattoo over one shoulder and above one ankle, both of which had looked like shadows in the original shot, and his crotch had obviously been airbrushed to minimize how nice and full it probably was without really minimizing it. What was even better was his smile. I caught some headshots sans beard, and between hazel eyes surrounded by thick lashes and cheekbones that emphasized his perfect white teeth as he grinned into the camera, he’d have given the sun a run for its glory.
Now to anybody else, this sort of high-profile would send them back into their cubby holes crying it’s not worth the money. But I’m a Hunter, and all I saw in getting to Thiago was the hunt. The challenge. The joy of capture.
I’ve been trying to read some books that claim to be evil and dark and all that stuff, but I’m finding they’re just gross and irritating. There’s a wall between them and me, and I don’t know if it’s my sensibilities or if the stories are just not what they claim to be, but I have a feeling what I think is evil is too real for those who are making movies or writing fiction about it.
For example, almost everyone I know has seen The Silence of the Lambs and think it’s a good scary movie about evil. I found it overwrought and silly…and I was shocked it got 5 Oscars. For years, I explained that away by thinking the movie had suffered because I saw the French/Dutch version of The Vanishing the week before, and that one had cut deep into me. It showed how simple evil was. How casual. I didn’t think any film could compare, so I shrugged and used that as my excuse to not be impressed by SotL.
But the books I’ve read about evil being perpetrated brought back a memory of going to see The Exorcist and laughing through it. I thought it was silly while the people I went to see it with were scarred by it. A girl seated next to me actually bruised my arm, she grabbed it so tight when Linda Blair’s head twisted around. I chuckled at how obvious the effect was.
But something I’m finally realizing is, the vast majority of books and films using evil as a premise put a layer between the viewer/reader and what’s going on. It’s depicted way over the top. Not real, just pretend. You know deep down that could never really happen the way they’re showing it…and that’s what wrecked me about The Vanishing. I could see it being real. A man who is the epitome of decency and humanity commits an act of the purest evil just to see if he can. That’s happened, in life. That is terrifying.
And he does it not just once, but twice. And you know he will, again, because no one suspects him capable of it. That, to me, is the truth of evil…that anyone can commit it with nothing more than a hint of reason behind it.
I can’t say I’m innocent of layering in that wall in my writing. I’ve come close to depicting evil honestly, in my view, but there’s always a bit of an explanation behind what is being done. Evil committed in the name of religion. Or for power. Or revenge. Even my latest book, The Beast in the Nothing Room, uses a bit of the fantastical to make the evil being perpetrated palatable.
The book I’m working on now, Hunter, has an amoral capitalist at its core. I intended to keep him as such, to make a point…but he’s suddenly doing something to make himself likable. I wonder if I can make him banal enough to be terrifying in his evil?
Never have. Which is funny, because my books are about connecting with others, becoming one with someone, in some way, form or fashion…even as I rebelled at the thought of putting that crap into practice.
There are psychological reasons for this, I know. For one, I cannot sleep unless I am alone. If someone else is in the room, I will, at best, doze through the night. And this includes animals. I once had a cat that insisted on crashing next to me at night, and I couldn’t handle it. So I shut the door and the cat had to get used to sleeping on his own. That wasn’t fair to the animal, so I haven’t had a pet since.
When it comes to men, I want one who’ll let me use him as I choose then go away and not bother me. A thought process that could easily lead to rape and serial murder. The ultimate fuck and be gone guys were John Wayne Gacy, Dean Corll and William Bonin…but then they had to dispose of the bodies and that’s another level of no fucking way for me.
In my books, the MC is yearning for connection. Loves the idea of coupling with someone. And even after being brutalized winds up in love with another man at the end…or woman, as in my one heterosexual foray into storytelling. And maybe, deep down, it’s something I really want…but I don’t think so.
I like the idea but not the actuality. I sort of half-assed tried it once and it was not a pleasant experience. And the book I’m writing now seems geared to leaving my MC alone at the end with his idealized memories of the one man he truly loved…who’s been dead four years. Not sure yet…but it would be a departure from my usual works.
I guess I’m just too much of a lone wolf, working his way through his psychoses in his books and finding he’s not just insane…he’s also fucking weird…
I don’t understand my attraction to him. He’s not what I usually like. Blond. Snarly face. Not much hair on his body. Yes, he’s well-built and endowed, with a lovely ass…but he also seems really high-maintenance. Yet…I’m using him in Dair’s Window. Well…using a younger version of him as Bobby, an obnoxious closet case who may or may not have firebombed Dair’s home.
I also worked up a rough map of where everything is in the story. I started to get lost but now have a lot of aspects of the events worked out. Dair’s home is in the lower right; it was once a lodge owned by his father, who signed it over to him before heading to Nepal to contemplate his navel.
I’m now at 347 pages and 74,000 words, and it’s becoming a much quieter story than I’d anticipated. Much more leisurely. Building to what I hope is a solid ending…but I no longer know what that is.