3D (Maybe I Need a Lighthouse)

by Robert Gregory Browne

Chapter 1 – Discomfort

I’ve never been comfortable with self-promotion.


Oh, I’ve got the obligatory Facebook page, the obligatory Twitter account, the oligatory blog and, of course, the obligatory billboards on the bumpers of cabs and the sides of buses, not to mention the ones flashing over Times Square.


But for the most part, I tend to shy away from tooting my own horn, much to my wife’s chagrin.


Some might argue that I’ve put the lie to that particular claim with all the talk about the TV pilot these last few months, but I consider that a bit of an anomaly, so I hope you’ll forgive me for it.


But yesterday my fourth novel came out. So now it’s my duty as a responsible author to tell you all about it. It’s called DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN and it’s quite possibly the most brilliant thriller you’ll ever read.


Really. It’s pure genius.


Too much? Okay, how about if I simply quote the back cover and let you decide:

The newspapers called it Casa de la Muerte, a grisly house of horrors in the Mexican desert where five Catholic nuns were brutally murdered.

Freelance journalist Nick Vargas knows it’s a terrific subject for a true crime book—and a chance to revitalize his ruined career. But when he arrives at the scene, he learns there may have been a sixth victim: an American woman whose body has disappeared. Now Nick is dead set on finding her…

L.A. prosecutor Beth Crawford thought it would be fun to join her sister on a cruise to Baja Norte. But when she meets a pair of seductive strangers onboard—and her sister mysteriously disappears—Beth follows her suspicions into a sinister world of crime, corruption, and dark superstition.

Now, with the help of reporter Nick Vargas, Beth must enter the heart of evil itself, where all shall be revealed…on the Day of the Dead.

Okay, that’s it. I’m done with the BSP. Now on to other things.


Chapter 2 – Disappointment


I have a confession to make. Every year I sit down with my wife to watch American Idol. I’ve fallen off lately, thanks to my crazy schedule, but I still catch up online to find out who’s going home. And with all due respect to Lee Dewhat’shisname, if Crystal doesn’t win, this puppy is rigged.


Whoever winds up getting the axe tonight, you can bet you’ll see disappointment in his or her eyes. I almost made it, that look will say. I had the crown and somehow it slipped out of my hands.


A guy named Jim Fiebig once said that “Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone.”


Well, it turns out that the TV pilot (there he goes again!) was my scoop of ice cream and it appears it has fallen from the cone. Or rather, CBS knocked it out of the thing and decided to go with another flavor called Tom Selleck.


Of course, THE LINE/ATF was not the only flavor up against Selleck, but that doesn’t keep the disappointment from stinging just a little bit.


But after many years getting battered in Hollywood, I take the position — like many of your favorite stars (and American Idol hopefuls) — that it is an honor to have been nominated.


So don’t cry for me, Argentina.


Chapter 3 – Dumbfounded

I don’t care what political party you belong to or what particular world philosophy you hold dear… Is it me, or has this world gone batshit crazy?

I simply cannot stomach the news anymore. I turn it on and within minutes I’m on the phone to my therapist, asking for an emergency session.


Yes, I know that the news is mostly bullshit. That it’s slanted one way or another and geared to scare the crap out of all of us so we’ll stayed glued to our sets and buy SUVs and sugary cereals and cleaning products that make our floors sparkle —


But come on. Do we really need to be pummeled with negativity day in and day out? And can’t you raving fringe maniacs — on both sides — just take a breather for a while?


I mean, really. You’re exhausting the hell out of me and sending my blood pressure through the roof.


The way things seem to be going out there, I’m wondering if the book I’m writing is a waste of time. Will there be anyone around to read it?


I remember reading once about a woman who moved from the city to become the keeper of a remote lighthouse. Out in the middle of nowhere, she was cut off from the world. Didn’t read the paper. Didn’t watch the news.


And she was happier, she said, than she’d ever been in her life.


Go figure.


Maybe I need a lighthouse.


What about you?


24 thoughts on “3D (Maybe I Need a Lighthouse)

  1. JD Rhoades

    Sorry about the pilot, Rob. TANJ.

    But I hope the book goes on to make you dirty filthy stinking rich. Living well is, after all, the best revenge.

    As for the news…Oy. I’m also considering a moratorium. Definitely having a moratorium on reading the comment sections that some online news providers have after stories. The stupid! It buuuuuurns….

  2. Louise Ure

    A question from a film industry outsider, Rob: Just because they didn’t pick up the pilot this season, does that mean that it won’t be considered in the future? Live in hope.

    And the batshit crazy seems to come from the same 26% of the nation, no matter what the topic is. I can live with that. Twenty-six percent of my family is crazy, too.

  3. Becky LeJeune

    Oh, well, Rob. I bet the Selleck show gets cancelled anyway. Everything does these days.

    And a lighthouse sounds fantastic. I could listen to music (cds or something to avoid any possibly news breaks) and bring my books of course. And I want access to movies. I would love to be cut off from the news, though. It stresses me out! I have no clue what is going on in the world (not totally true) because every time I turn on the news I feel like I should be preparing for the inevitable apocalypse. Something’s going to kill me, someone’s going to kill me, and now my house is out to get me as well.

    But I’m looking forward to reading your book. I hope I’m still around for the release 🙂

  4. Judy Wirzberger

    You write fiction. Pretend you’re someone else blowing your horn. You’ve got a right to make your book sound as wonderful as it is. Love the jacket copy.

    Thanks for sharing your TV experience. Why is Tom getting back to work? Does he need the money as much as you do (and I do and every other writer does).

    As I read your post, I realized that I haven’t watched TV News in weeks and I haven’t missed it. The murderers keep murdering, the warriors keep warring, and the damn rain keeps falling in the Bay Area. I think you’re right. We could all use a little less mayhem in the news.

    And from a cruise ship to the desert. Can’t wait to read about that hop, skip and jump.

    BTW, sounds like you have a terrific wife.

  5. Robert Gregory Browne

    Louise, the producers have mentioned other possibilities, but I have no idea what will happen. Maybe it’ll wind up on FX or TNT or something. Your guess is as good as mine.

    Judy, I don’t think Tom needs the money, but don’t worry about me. The beauty of Hollywood is that you get paid even if the thing doesn’t play — and they paid me handsomely. Part of the reason I’m not blubbering like a baby.

    And, yes, I do have a terrific wife. Thirty-one years this Saturday.

  6. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    First of all, let’s hold out hope that the series will still be picked up somewhere. FX and TNT ain’t chopped liver. If it got this far it could still get a lot farther.
    My wife and I actually looked into the lighthouse situation recently, since we’ll be losing our house. Ultimately it seemed a bit scary–too remote. We uncovered articles about people who rob lighthouses, because, I mean, after all, how long do you think it takes the cops to arrive at a robbery call for a lighthouse? It’s easy pickings. Made me think of "In Cold Blood."

  7. Allison Davis

    Sounds like we’re doing a group draft of a murder mystery in the lighthouse, and then we’ll pitch it as a TV pilot…oh, sorry, got carried away. So sorry about the pilot, Selleck, whatever. More will come and congrats on the book. Another addition to my TBR pile.

    As for news, I was in New Orleans when the pipe broke, I can’t believe what’s going on in Korea, on our borders and the 99th Bay to Breakers was a bust because of the party drunks peeing and pooping on people’s front lawns. Pure guano.

    Seriously, one of the best times I had was five days cut off from everything, no humans, with my writing, painting and some good red wine. It didn’t hurt I was in a little house on a hill in the Caribbean but I had food, a view and my mind got quiet for the first time in my life (that I can remember) We need more "quiet time" — some solitude to let the noise die down. With the advent of electronics, we are always plugged in, ever watchful and being fed tons of information.

    You deserve a real break…the pilot the book…go rest on your laurels with your lovely wife.

  8. Allison Brennan

    I’m sorry about your scoop ice cream falling off the cone. But you still have the cone–talent.

    I want a lighthouse, too. I don’t watch the news (I will get sucked in if I do.) I rarely read the news, though I do check out crime-related news but that’s more research. I used to be a newshound, and my husband is shocked that I don’t know some things that are "all over the news." But I don’t watch TV in my office — if I’m watching, it’s a movie with the kids, or a tv show through my Apple TV.

    But I need a lighthouse to finish this book! A weekend alone would be bliss.

    And not only do I love your title, but the cover is creepy and fabulous. I pre-ordered the book, so it should be here today!

  9. Tom Barclay

    The show will be picked up for cable, I will bet. Got my official Dirty Dollar right here. Takers?

    Publishers and producers run the news that sells the soap and cat food. This means they are in the distortion business as much as the truth business. Remember that at all times.

    I wonder if there’s any kind of real estate development career to be had, building (fortified) lighthouses for writers? Property in the Mojave is still cheap . . .

  10. Dana King

    I’ve more or less built my own lighthouse. I read the paper and a couple of news blogs every day, and that’s it. No TV news. None. If I’m watching television, it’s either sports, a DVD, or Justified. period. I read, I write, and I play a cards-and-dice baseball game I’ve played since I was about 12. I’m aware of what’s going on in the world, but I care little about what talking heads may say, and refuse to get drawn too much into it.

    TNT or FX might be a better deal for you. From what I’ve seen and heard (mostly from watching Justified), you get a lot more liberty there than on the "major" networks. Remember, doors rarely close without another opening. Something about abhorring a vacuum.

  11. Allison Davis

    Tom, I’ll take you up on your bet, because I NEVER win and maybe that’ll help push the pilot towards cable….

  12. Tom Barclay

    Allison Davis, you’re on. Of course, if you’d like to make the wager a little more interesting . . .

  13. J.F. Constantine

    1. Congrats on the new book. It sounds awesome!

    2. I didn’t like Tom Selleck much before (I know women everywhere are supposed to love him, but he ain’t my type). I wanted to see YOUR show. Bummer…. 🙁

    3. The world *is* batshit crazy. I have noticed the same thing about the news and I want to know who all these extreme people are my own self. Where the hell did moderate, open-minded thinking go??? **sigh**

    Why don’t we all co-op that lighthouse?


  14. pari noskin taichert

    # 1 Haven’t watched AI in a long time. Is it worth it this year? If so, I might try to catch the end.

    #2 Sorry to hear this, Rob. Very sorry. It’s the same mentality we see in other media decisions: go with the known.

    #3 Yep.

  15. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Rob

    Commiserations about the pilot, but take heart from the fact that you got a hell of a lot further up the mountain than most writers manage.

    Congratulations on the new book – sounds terrific.

    And I’m with you all the way on the news thing. We haven’t had TV for about five years now. So, whenever we stay in a hotel, we excitedly, grab the remote and start flicking round. It usually takes about thirty seconds before we put it down again, disappointed, because there really is nothing on… News is the worst – opinionated and biased views being presented as objective reporting. Argh!

  16. KDJames / BCB

    Oh hell, Rob. So sorry about your ice cream. But, as others have said, I’d rather have FX-flavoured ice cream any day of the week (yes, another fan of JUSTIFIED). Sounds to me like a whole bunch of smart talented creative people believe in your work. Enough to make it their work. That ain’t nothing.

    New book sounds awesome. I really really really hope that Kindle sales count toward list numbers… (do they? anyone know?)

    Several generations ago, one of my ancestors was a lighthouse keeper — in Bergen, Norway. I think a person has to be Viking-tough to do that job. Intruders are not a problem.

    And completely off topic, may I say that sometimes I do not like it, Sam I am, that there is a new post every single freakin’ day. Because some days in my life are just not conducive to reading posts, let alone commenting coherently. Or even incoherently. Not a complaint, necessarily, just an observation.

    Okay, fine, a surly observation. It’s been one of those days.

  17. Robert Gregory Browne

    Tom, from your fingers to God’s ear or something like that.

    Dana, yeah, cable would be ideal. But as I’ve said many times, it’s completely out of my hands, so I can only hope/dream/wait/delude myself. But the people who did this also do Justified, so maybe that’ll help in some way.

    And Allison, I love Justified, too. Glad it was given a second season.

    JF, co-op a lighthouse? I’m there.

  18. Robert Gregory Browne

    Pari, re: AI, I certainly think Crystal Bowersox is one of the best — and most authentic — talents the show has ever had. Think Raitt/Joplin/Etheridge, only not. As for the show itself, it’s over the top. But then it always has been.

    Zoe, you’re absolutely right. I take comfort in knowing that I can pop a DVD into the player and watch something I inspired and gave a lot of people jobs.

    KD, I don’t know if Kindle sales count toward the list (somehow I doubt it), but hey, a sale is a sale!

    P.S. I actually LIKE Tom Selleck, so it’s hard to complain about him getting a new show. I saw a clip and I have to say it looks pretty damn good.


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