Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sybaritc Press Calls for Slash Writers

Sybaritic Press will be publishing an anthology of fanfic converted into original fic called 'Slash and Burn' for the RT convention. So if you have written some slash or know people who do, check out this site and pass the link along.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Joie de Vivre - Of Literature and Pop Culture

Fasten your seat belts. This will ramble hither and yon and to yon's suburbs, but I promise to tie it together in the end -- sort of. Now, I know that many of my readers here have commented on not being too into TV or the movies. I understand that you're into books. That's why we're here. I just ask that before shunning mass culture or my ramblings upon them, remember that Dickens among others was considered the lowest of low brow when he was pubished in weekly rags. The Victorian Lit scholar at my grad school was an avid soap fan because of their similarities. the Melville scholar preferred westerns for some reason. And recently, I found out that James Joyce liked going to the cinema. I cannot admit to that making me admired Ulysses, but I find him more of a regular Joe because of it.

I had a conversation over a lot of beer with William Goldman over whether it is better to be remembered for literature than for pop culture contributions. That argument was far safer in that bar than whether the NY Giants were better than the Eagles. I told them to leave that to the lit professors and to keep telling stories like The Princess Bride. He gave me the valuable advice that to persue writing as a career, one needed a head of cement.

So, I embrace all forms of entertainment, and if pressed I can give really educated reasons for why they're important to the creative mind. But generally, I indulge because it allows me just to enjoy something for its own sake. Writing hasn't been that for me since I stopped writing fanfic. Everything has a stake now. I still write and I really enjoy living with my characters, but there isn't the sheer joie de vivre that just watching something inconsequential brings.

And it's not just me experiencing this. Our dear friend Gabriel Koerner, the wunderkind in Trekkies and Trekkies 2 is discovering the difference between enjoying Sci-fi as a fan and working in the industry. He was called to a meeting at Universal today to sit in between a sculptor of Battlestar Galactica merchandise and one of the actors who had image approval. He was sent there to lend and air of calm to the meeting. I laughed out loud when he told me. I just couldn't help it. The uber fan was going in to keep another fan calm. The meeting went well, but he was exasperated by all those disaprate creative types trying to get their way. Another fan has seen the man behind the curtain.

But back to the joy. We watch a lot of cartoons here. I think we only watch cartoon sitcoms anymore. And we watch a whole lot of Adult Swim. It's pop cultrue gone horribly wrong. Among our favorites is The Venture Brothers, essentially Johnny Quest gone spectacularly wrong. There is a new run of it on now on Sundays, but it won't make sense without seeing earlier ones, if then. But it's danged funny and twisted. I watch while doing other things, but manage to get sucked in enough to follow.

In addition to twisted comedies, we follow some anime. For Jon and I, it's partially because we grew up in the 60s in Philly. They showed a lot of anime on a UFH station back then. I knew who Speed Racer was long before the Geico ad and even my mother recognized that the Lion King had 'borrowed' from Kimba the White Lion whole down to the hyenas see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimba_the_White_Lion. Jon was more obsessive. He used to watch bootlegs from Japan of many thing running on cable now. That's why he reads Japanese.

One show, Ben got us into was Fullmetal Alchemist (see photo).
We followed the pathos of two cursed brothers through 53 episodes that made me laugh with delight or sob in turn. We even rented the first subtitled version of the feature that wrapped up all the considerable loose ends in the series. It was a translation of Japanese to Cantonese to English. A lot got lost in translation -- including me.

On Friday, Ben found out that the English dubbed verison of the film would have an LA theatrical run of two days, and the first day was sold out. He bought tickets online for Saturday. I can't tell you how crazy busy I am, and if I had 90 minutes to spare, I should be soaking my locked spine in the complex's hot tub or curl up in a ball away from the phones. Yet, there we were in a packed theater full of teenagers in costume. The only reason I wasn't singing the theme song with them is that I only knew 'Ready, Steady, Go', the three English words in the tune.

It was a raucous time whith the kids cheering and whistling, but they didn't drown out the dialogue. There was even a quite unexpected slashy turn in one of the relationships (thank goodness that brother was an adult at this point). Jon accuses me of seeing slash everywhere, but this caught even me by surprise. The girls in the audience loved it. And I was a happy girl for the rest of the weekend. And I didn't lose all that much time. I was up until 4am working on my presentations for dragoncon and the various minutia for the films. Ieven thought about some creative writing. None of it was what I'm supposed to be writing, but it was nice to be inspired.

We're almost ready for the trip. I'm not sure if there will be a blog next week. At least, not on Monday, but I'm sure I'll have lots of news. I'll be preaching the joys of erotica and of slash and shaking up various fandoms. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Fangirl Extreme -- A 'Royal' Audience

Oddly enough, despite the distractions, I have made some progress on my Hot Cops novel. We have a cover and I actually started a new chapter. Though still an early chapter, it is an important one in displaying how my main men interact with each other on the job, and it contains some major points on the case their are trying to solve. I am making progress. It doesn't sound like much, and I'm certain now that I will not make my own dealines, but it is quite huge considering the size of the distractions.

In this blog, I will talk about one of the films I'm developing and a couple of the actors we've met in the process. I will not name the film nor the actors. Though if you're film saavy, you'll figure it out. I can't reveal much for a number of complicated reasons. Some are legal and some are for the sake of not alerting competitors. 'Who cares what is said in a blog?' I know that is the question. Well, I've learned in the last couple of weeks that search engines have become so sensitive that any name I've mentioned in my blog has turned up via a google or yahoo search. I know this because my hit couter tells me how everyone gets to my pages including the blog. It gives an exact link from the search. Thus, the precautions. We aren't ready to be public.

Anyway, we've been inundated with submissions of some really cool names for this film. And we were slap happy with the choices. Usually with well known actors, one doesn't get to have a face to face meeting until after contracts are signed. We already had a meeting with a young up and coming actor. He was a charming and very good looking, soft spoken Brit who has been in one of the Sci-fi Dune miniseries. He even looks a great deal like one of the pirates in POTC. The meeting was in defference to a rep who handled another actor we were very interested in signing. However, we are now quite interested in this young man, so it was time well spent.

I wasn't going to take anymore 'meet and greets' until we were ready to offer contracts in a few weeks. However, we got a call that one of the actors on our wish list was in town and wanted to see us. He was a valiant yet troubled king in one set of blockbusters and a tragic ship's captain in another. I was thrilled for the quality he would bring to the production. the fangirl in me went promptly ape.

The meeting was amazing for us on many levels. He really liked the script, and had some insightful observations about how to tweak an admitted difficulty with exposition. For more on the poject, the shot synopsis is here:


The full script is here:


He asked very intelligent questions that showed he had closely read and respected the writing. He liked our views on an actor's role in the production beyond the part he or she is playing. For that alone, it was one of the grooviest encoutners I've had in my entire time in Los Angeles. But then, he shared actor antics from his films. It was so delightful, it almost made up for the insane amount of money the very light breakfast for four cost. Best acting kudos go to me for not screaming at the amount of the bill -- which could have provided five steak dinners at any family restaurant -- for four cups of coffee, juice, toast and fruit in Beverly Hills. I didn't show the check to jon. He would have fallen backwards in his chair.

Of course, there is weird fallout. I can't read anything in my favorite slash archives because his character has popped up there for some reason. I'll have to read about Benton and RayK for a while. Then there are the stories I heard that day which have further eroded heroic images into a lot of silliness. There was also some disappointment among close friends that I didn't take pictures. I actually took a camera, but it just wouldn't have been cool. We were in our serious suits and such trying to make a case for working with us. I will have tons of pics during the shoot. I always do.

To sum up, I'm way behind on the novel and my author chores and that's distressing. But I am making progress with the narrative, and that's something. Meanwhile, I'm coping with two phones and three e-mail boxes and a lot of people who all think what they need to say to me is urgent. I am way behind on almost evrything, but I have found some moments of artistic satisfaction and fangirl fun. I really need to sleep now.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Book into film, Shenanigans, and of course, Naked Men

It's mid-August, so I say a fond farewell to Sergio Parisse and a big bonjour to Juan Martin Hernandez, whom I suspect may not be French, but he seems to be a member of the Paris Stade team and a welcome site on my calendar.

Shenanigans are what I seem to up to that more than I am writing ficition. I await the start of the Western. We are now haggling over pay rates I thought had been settled weeks ago. We're getting ready for Dragoncon. I'm doing my first powerpoint presentations ever! And we decided to develop yet another film. It is a prudent decision. I'm swining sans net now and need that next vine to grasp onto. And it all seems to be paying off with keen interest from some surprising parties. There'll be a website and a blog, naturally. I can't blog now on any of the films until we're shooting. I can give some details on minutia.

I spent the weekend playing with strip schedules. They're what's on the links below. There's a program that converts a script into numbered scenes that you can program characters, sets, props, etc into. You have to arranged the strips into a schedule that is both budget minded and realistic. Sample 1 on the first link shows you the number for each character. The strips on sample two are examples of how scenes are scheduled. You have to try to keep the actors working in groups of days, so it's economical, and you can't have too many pages per day. It's minutia, but it's a lot easier since paper strips in a frame gave way to interactive software.


Right now, I'm avoiding my phone. We also did a casting call for the inevitable 'star names' to sign on for the new project. I think everyone wants to be a pirate lately, even if it's in space. I thought the western's responses were mind- boggling, but youwza! I'm even getting names submitted that were on my wish list. Still, I have to ignore the phone because the calls would keep me from getting anything else done. And I really have nothing to say to Coolio's manager.

Here's the link to the casting Breakdown:


And what really makes the calls unproductive is that the manager will extoll his client's talent for twenty minute, but won't tell me their pay rate. They want you to make them an offer. Getting that info is really hard. Even IMDB pro is inaccuarte. It only gives the pay rate for the last project, if know. It doesn't give an average. I really doubt Michael Keaton's rates is $100 a day, but that was what he made on some artsy independent film that was his last gig. And casting directors won't divulge unless they get a fee. I had to bribe my regular guy with a tasty treat that I cannot divulge.

I'm hip deep in all sorts of grids right now. But I have stolen time to inch forward on my Hot Cops novel. It's been fun getting into their heads. The wisecracking is coming more easily and I think I'm building the sexual tension. I may do a call for beta readers for content and not just grammar and typos. Now, I have to add the space pirates to my piles of ficition to be written. This one will be fun because their are several threads from the proposed TV series to choose from that couldn't be included in a normal length film. Unlike the Cop novel, I'll pick a plot thread that happens after the film script -- not before. I can also make the novel version more naked than the film will be. Alas, bigger budgets means having to strive for the PG-13 rating. I have no such restricitons in the ficiton.

I haven't talked much about it much, but the Western is part of a larger effort to bring romance films to DVDs and cable. We're doing original scripts for the first couple of films, but later we want to do films of some of the Sybpress titles, including the m/m ones.

For this week's prize, I'll ask you to slip into my shoes and cast The Gift of Surrender. The major roles are: Sarianna, Nikulainen, Armas and Julin. I'll give a bonus prize for good suggestions on Magnus, Taraasta. In keeping with the film thingy, I'll give an amazon.com gift certificate to the best suggestions. My budget will not be the same as the the one I posted about. So let's keep the actors in the popular TV range, not a-list feature film.