Bobby Pins & Mary Janes / A Novel by Jamie S. Rich

(c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich and Joelle Jones
It’s been almost a whole month since this project wrapped. I had been meaning to post a round-up of all the chapter links closer to the August 5th anniversary, but last night the above drawing showed up on Megan Levens’ blog, and though she hasn’t said it was a drawing of Parker from the novel, the Garbage quote she uses for a headline makes me suspicious. Regardless, I’ll take it!
And if you’re looking for handy way to download all of Bobby Pins and Mary Janes, look no further: 
Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4
Part 5 * Part 6 * Part 7 * Part 8
Part 9 * Part 10 * Part 11
I am currently working on another novel and developing some other things, including a couple of comics projects with Megan, but I still plan to put this book out in some form or other, something complete and separate from this, hopefully with another copyedit.
Can’t wait for that? Then look for It Girl and the Atomics #1 at comic book stores and on Comixology next week, August 8th. My first real foray into superheroes!
Cheers, Jamie

It’s been almost a whole month since this project wrapped. I had been meaning to post a round-up of all the chapter links closer to the August 5th anniversary, but last night the above drawing showed up on Megan Levens’ blog, and though she hasn’t said it was a drawing of Parker from the novel, the Garbage quote she uses for a headline makes me suspicious. Regardless, I’ll take it!

And if you’re looking for handy way to download all of Bobby Pins and Mary Janes, look no further: 

Part 1Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4

Part 5 * Part 6 * Part 7 * Part 8

Part 9 * Part 10 * Part 11

I am currently working on another novel and developing some other things, including a couple of comics projects with Megan, but I still plan to put this book out in some form or other, something complete and separate from this, hopefully with another copyedit.

Can’t wait for that? Then look for It Girl and the Atomics #1 at comic book stores and on Comixology next week, August 8th. My first real foray into superheroes!

Cheers, Jamie

BOBBY PINS & MARY JANES: Section XI (Conclusion)

They were starting to get serious about moving in with each other, and the two had even spent a Sunday afternoon looking at apartments just to see what kind of places they liked. As a first step to getting ready, Brandon had gotten a storage space they could begin to move their belongings into as a preamble to consolidating their possessions. Parker still had stuff in a storage unit in San Diego that she had been avoiding dealing with. There didn’t seem to be much logic in paying for two spaces, so she borrowed Brandon’s truck, loaded the dog into the cab, and drove herself down south.

Most of the boxes had old clothes or books from her first round of university. There were also multiple long boxes full of comics. It was amazing how quickly they amassed working in the industry. Janet had advised her to save three copies of everything with her name because she might want them someday to share with people. Locking them away in a pay-by-the-month closet didn’t really seem conducive to sharing, however, and she couldn’t remember a time when someone had mentioned any of the BCP books where she wished she had one on hand to give to them. Culling was going to have to occur once she got back home.

Before driving North again, she decided to take Posh on a walk, give him time to stretch his legs and do his business. Parker could also pick up a latte for the drive. They were in a semi-suburban area, just outside of the city proper, the kind of place with minimalls and weird out-of-the-way businesses, set up so that the actual suburbanites wouldn’t have to drive into town to get what they needed. Posh sniffed at the trees that dotted the sidewalk, marking a few of them. Parker looked in the shop windows, wondering who needed a check cashing place out here and how long the typewriter repair business had been closed. No one had taken the space, but was it because the location was bad or that it was a new development, people only recently stopped needing to get typewriters fixed?

Of course, even out in the middle of a dying appendage, there was a Starbucks, and Parker tied Posh to a tree on the corner outside the store. “Be good,” she instructed, looking back over her shoulder to keep her eye on her pet, and thus not noticing that someone was coming out of the Starbucks until she practically bumped into him.

“I’m sorry,” she apologized. She looked at the gargantuan cup in his hand. “That could have been messy.”

“Parker?”

She had been so focused on avoiding the collision, mentally wiping her brow in relief that all of that coffee did not end up down the front of her, she hadn’t looked to even see who it was she had just missed.

“Reggie?”

“What the hell are you doing here?”

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I don’t recall how conscious I was of it at the time, but Brandon was definitely influenced by Rock Hudson’s character in Douglas Sirk’s masterful melodrama All That Heaven Allows (1955). Watching this trailer again, I would say Sirk’s sway over the whole of Bobby Pins and Mary Janes would make his ghost a perfect candidate to direct a film version of it.

Christina Aguilera performing “Understand” from the DVD Back to Basics: Live and Down Under. As noted in the description of Princess Killer in the fourth part of the Valerie Flames script, Christina’s dress was the inspiration for the evening gown costume the Princess wears.

BOBBY PINS & MARY JANES: Section X

VALERIE FLAMES - CHAPTER FOUR

PAGE 1

Panel 1

Three dark silhouettes move through the hull of Future Valerie’s plane.

They are Valerie, Dennis, and Henry. The latter should appear more like a little hulking blob, just so that it’s not totally obvious who this obviously is.

           DENNIS: Are you sure this is a good idea?

Panel 2

Zoom in. We can kind of see their faces now.

           VALERIE: Something is fishy here, Dennis.

           VALERIE (second): This may be the first good idea we’ve had since trusting me.

Panel 3

They push open another door, light from it bathing them.

           DENNIS: Why would you come all the way from the future to lie to yourself, though?

           VALERIE: That’s what I intend to find out.

Panel 4

The contents of the room are revealed: it’s the time machine!

We should have lots of fun with this. The technology need not make sense. Control panels, buttons, levers, light bulbs, screens.

There will be two chairs, back to back, with a keyboard in front of one of them and an L.E.D. Date/Time clock above it.

Dennis, Valerie, and Henry are all in awe of what they see.

           VALERIE: That’s why we have to visit the future and see for ourselves.

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This drawing by Joëlle Jones was done as a part of a series of 3, a commission for a triptych showing a flapper’s night out, starting with the preparation. When writing, I like to keep the works in progress in three-ring binders with clear front pockets so I can slide in a cover image. This was the image I used for Bobby Pins and Mary Janes. When it came time to describe the card Brandon gave to Parker in section 9, I used this as the foundation, adding the gentlemen to it to make it more romantic sounding. The full set of three was posted on Joëlle’s blog.

This drawing by Joëlle Jones was done as a part of a series of 3, a commission for a triptych showing a flapper’s night out, starting with the preparation. When writing, I like to keep the works in progress in three-ring binders with clear front pockets so I can slide in a cover image. This was the image I used for Bobby Pins and Mary Janes. When it came time to describe the card Brandon gave to Parker in section 9, I used this as the foundation, adding the gentlemen to it to make it more romantic sounding. The full set of three was posted on Joëlle’s blog.

Brandon’s report material is real, as well.

(a) The cover to Asaf Hanuka’s comic book adaptation of Etger Keret’s Pizzeria Kamikaze.

(b) Poster for the film version, Wristcutters: A Love Story. I wrote a review of the movie when it came out on DVD. Read it here.

St. Swithin’s Day is a real comic, not just one invented for Parker’s report in section 9. The Grant Morrison/Paul Grist one-shot was originally published in England, and the American reprint was one of Oni Press’ earliest releases—so naturally I have some personal connection to it, as well. It’s well worth seeking out.

BOBBY PINS & MARY JANES: Section IX

They had met because of a mistake. His.

Brandon had not intended to take English 255: “Is There Anybody Out There? Fiction as an Exit Strategy.” Their school had a phone registration system where students chose their classes by entering codes with the touchpad. He had wanted to take care of it online, where he could see what he was signing up for, but he was at work when his window for registering opened and the job site didn’t have internet access. He was one number off in punching it in, so instead of taking “Computer Architecture and Engineering: Building in the Digital Age,” Brandon was enrolled in one of the most depressing courses the university had to offer. He would have dropped it, but the class he wanted was full and this one would fulfill his English general elective.

Parker was taking it because she thought reading books like The Bell Jar, The Virgin Suicides, and Norwegian Wood might give her a greater insight into what some of her eventual students were going through. Her desire was to be a high school English teacher, and many of the kids she was expecting to encounter would be struggling with adolescence and their own sense of purpose, and she hoped she’d know the right books to offer them that might touch their lives and help them on their way. She knew it was a pie-in-the-sky, To Sir With Love concept of being an educator, and that she’d more likely go from passionate and caring to tired, beaten, and waiting for retirement somewhere along the road, but she’d worry about that when it came.

After her “disappear from life” stunt, Parker had returned to Bubblegum Crayon on shaky ground. She had left the department in a lurch, and her timing had been particularly bad. Without her and Simon both, it had been a struggle to get through. Her future promotion was taken off the table for the time being, and she was allowed back at her desk for a probationary period. She found Simon’s Plastic Man page waiting for her in her cubicle, but no one would own up to who put it there. Parker could only guess as to why.

Even without the punishments she had to suffer, Parker knew the editing thing was over for her. Her time alone had given her plenty of time to think about what the job meant. The cartoonists were at best selfish and at worst petulant. Why put up with the weird mind games of keeping Geoff Klein’s Battery-Powered Sailboat afloat or the disloyalty of Simon’s Green Lantern defector? Mario Franchini may have been famous, but he was comic book famous, which meant that he could go grocery shopping and never get recognized. Did he really deserve to act the rock star? Technically, he wasn’t even famous to outsiders for his own work, just assisting the construct.

So, Parker eventually put in her two-weeks notice, heading them off before they could fire her. One of the two likely had to happen, and the only thing she was glad about was being able to ride out the wave and have a little security while she figured out her next course of action. She had some money saved and there were good programs now that gave aspiring teachers a leg up, so why not put that English degree to use another way. If she was going to be working with spoiled brats, might as well do it early when they could still be saved. Plus, it would be a real job, down in the trenches, none of this crap about girl adventurers and cities of the future.

The school Parker chose was in Orange County, perversely equidistant from both Los Angeles and San Diego, like she was keeping both aspects of her past life at arm’s length. She wanted to stay in California to get the home state discount, and she thought about going further North to San Francisco or Berkeley, but eventually this seemed like a better choice—still far enough from home that she wouldn’t have to move back in with Mom and Dad, but close enough that seeing them wouldn’t be hard if it was necessary.

The English 255 course came in her second semester. She was auditing it as a grad student, which made her feel a smidge hypocritical since as an undergrad she had always hated when know-it-all uppergrads crashed one of her courses. Not to mention that every young student always hated older, returning students, because they always came off as ass kissers who made a show of being inquisitive. She tried to keep the overreaching questions to a minimum.

Brandon was someone she had noticed right away. It was hard not to. He was taller than everyone else, nearly 6’ 6”, and he had shoulders wide enough to plant a flowerbed across them. Though, actually, the guy had first attracted her attention with his smell. Not his musk or body odor or anything, but the cologne he wore. Parker’s head was down, she was working on something or other, and this gorgeous scent drifted by. It was sort of flowery and sort of chocolaty and it was as if the fumes had formed a gentle hand, touched her ever so lightly on the nose, and turned her head in his direction.

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For every novel I write, I try to create a couple of rules before I get started. Usually it’s identifying elements that I fall into a little too easily, things that could maybe get repetitious or start to feel like self-parody. All artists have this. We tend to have certain concerns or interests that sneak into the work even when we don’t mean it. I figure this kind of self-challenging will help me grow as an author.
In the case of Bobby Pins and Mary Janes, one of the things I wanted to do was basically prove I could write a novel without resorting on the shared universe I established in my first four books. From Cut My Hair through to Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?, certain threads and characters are woven into all the books, an element that got a surprising amount of focus from readers. I feared that could become a crutch, so I decided to do at least one prose story that stood entirely apart.
For a while, I considered making an exception to the rule by allowing a mention of I Was Someone Dead, my second book, and one that exists within the fictional universe of the other three, to slip into Parker’s fictional universe. Thematically, it fits into an element of this coming Friday’s section. There is a discussion of similarly themed books, and it would have been easy for me to drop I Was Someone Dead into the mix. Again, too easy. Ultimately, I held myself to my original promise.
Anyway, we’re shifting into the final act here. Only three more uploads to go. If you like what you’re reading, check out my other novels, including I Was Someone Dead. My Oni Press author’s page is a good place to start: here.

For every novel I write, I try to create a couple of rules before I get started. Usually it’s identifying elements that I fall into a little too easily, things that could maybe get repetitious or start to feel like self-parody. All artists have this. We tend to have certain concerns or interests that sneak into the work even when we don’t mean it. I figure this kind of self-challenging will help me grow as an author.

In the case of Bobby Pins and Mary Janes, one of the things I wanted to do was basically prove I could write a novel without resorting on the shared universe I established in my first four books. From Cut My Hair through to Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?, certain threads and characters are woven into all the books, an element that got a surprising amount of focus from readers. I feared that could become a crutch, so I decided to do at least one prose story that stood entirely apart.

For a while, I considered making an exception to the rule by allowing a mention of I Was Someone Dead, my second book, and one that exists within the fictional universe of the other three, to slip into Parker’s fictional universe. Thematically, it fits into an element of this coming Friday’s section. There is a discussion of similarly themed books, and it would have been easy for me to drop I Was Someone Dead into the mix. Again, too easy. Ultimately, I held myself to my original promise.

Anyway, we’re shifting into the final act here. Only three more uploads to go. If you like what you’re reading, check out my other novels, including I Was Someone Dead. My Oni Press author’s page is a good place to start: here.