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!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Perils of Infamy

Consternation is the theme for me this week. No that the week has been bad, per se. It's a little early in the week to render that judgment. But events have filled me with consternation. Today, our new overlords, er landlords, commenced jack hammering the pool. I'm assuming that is being done to replace said pool. All I know is I have a headache and the dust is giving me fits despite the closed windows and doors. But that's not the only reason for my agitated state-- it's just the loudest.As a former slash writer, I am often placed in potentially awkward situations with actors. Many of the ones I've met or have worked with are aware of slash on the net. And they have some pretty strong opinions. I always have to out myself as a slasher before some well-meaning fan does.

The revelation has yet to cause me any problems in my film career so far as the actors are concerned. Though I have been in the incredibly embarrassing position of explaining Real Person Slash (RPS) when I want nothing to do with it. The fans are another story. I can always tell when Trekkies has run on cable. I get a burst of hate mail claiming that I have ruined the franchise. I am awaiting a backlash from Fullmetal Alchemist fans when they discover who my narrators on the book trailer are. And I realize that many FMA fans are really young, but I have no intention of promoting anywhere that's age inappropriate. I've even child protected this blog as I do all of my sites with registration on the sites that support child block software and I have warnings. Children shouldn't even be looking at any of my pages. I know that won't matter. Like the affronted Trek fans, the affronted FMA fans will think I am trying to besmirch that series. All of this is howlingly funny as I also received a number of notes to me or about me concerning the Slash and Burn anthology. I seems in some circles, I don't really know enough about slash to make this sort of call for fiction. This gets frustrating, and fills me with consternation, I tell ya.

But the thing that has me in an uproar this week is that I can't really talk about what I'd like to talk about in my blog. The high powered Beverly Hills type guy is pretty net savvy. He does appreciate the value of good net buzz (despite the negligible affect of the ticket sales of Snakes on a Plane). However, he likes a controlled release of information, especially before all the contracts are signed. I get that, and I agree with it. But it makes me nuts to go through grief over fandom and not get to talk about the cool stuff that's going on. And I know you're thinking 'how could he find out what you write in the blog?' A few months ago I would have agreed. However, according to my stat counter, I've had hits on my blog that stemmed from searches on the web for Elizabethan cooking (I have no idea why) to the French Rugby Calendar. All I have to do is mention The Privateers, and someone will find the blog because of it. And most of the stories have to have references by name to really make sense.

Thus, I am censored for now. I'll have more on the next book next Monday. But the good news is that the jackhammers have stopped.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Lovers, Families, Novels and Films

There was lots of drama in the apartment complex this past week. To begin with, it's no longer an apartment complex -- it's going condo. And in that process, they've cut down almost all of the trees in our environment. I was saddened by this more than I thought I would be. The place now looks like a concrete institution. But I also thought it had ended the escalating feud with the squirrel. Even the hummingbirds had disappeared. To my relief and, surprisingly, that of my room mate, the squirrel came back. As did the hummingbirds. We think it was the noise of the tree cutters that scared them away for a while. I'm really pleased that we have not lost that part of our routine -- however strange it is.

It seems my life and my creative work have attached me to several strange 'families.' I'm not counting my blood relatives and in-laws as strange, no matter what I've muttered during holiday gatherings. Out here in LA, I have among my friends lots of novelists, screenwriters, poets and actors. No musicians, which is odd. There is one stand-up comedian though. Our room mate is the odd man in the mix, but he has enough eccentricities to be a creative person. But I digress.

They are all strange in some sort of way which makes for volatile mixes at times, but we are all very close. I can't think of them as any other way but family. Which is the only reason I answer the phone at 1:30 am knowing that it'll result in an ordeal that'll last hours when I really need to sleep. At least this time he wasn't nearly naked. Hey, wait, I actually enjoyed that part of the last pre-dawn adventure. Ah, well.

With the holidays coming, having an eclectic and unpredictable family means making sure there is enough food for anyone and everyone who may take a notion to cross our threshold. This gets really interesting when my friends hand out my card to actors with nowhere to go because they looked forlorn. Some of them I know can afford a really good meal (I see the re-runs, I know there are residuals). I suppose they come for the camaraderie and the comments during bad movies we show.

Having these relationships seems to mean that I am fascinated by the dynamics of families -- even ones cobbled together because of common interests. This theme keeps coming up even in my erotica. In the Surrender novels, the relationship between Nikulainen and his brothers is as important as his relationship with Sarianna. I ended up healing the relationship between Nikulainen's father and grandfather when I hadn't planned on having that thread in the novel. I wrote The Price of Surrender because I could bear for Armas to remain estranged from his family.

In A Soldiers Choice, I started with just the two men but soon built a family around them. I think these other characters help define my protagonists. Know a characters relationships and you get to know them. These relationships also give the drama higher stakes. It's very clear that though my main men are a physcial match for almost anything, those around them are vulnerable to attack. The threat of losing someone close or the danger for the main characters that stems from them trying to protect a love one makes for more suspenseful drama.

Jon tells me that all of my work has that family theme somewhere. In Demon Under Glass, it's like the Odd Couple gone terribly wrong (can a vampire and a doctor share an apartment without driving each other crazy). In the cop novel, Freak Experts, the romance begins in the midst of a failing marriage and involves forging a new family with a squad of cops. Geez, I sound like one of my professors.

A total non-sequitur. In the Simpsons tonight, Gor Vidal mentioned my Ala Mater, Temple University and the year I was in the graduate writing program.

Enough literary analysis. I didn't spend the week doing that. In fact, I was only thinking about it as I start the polish on A Soldier's Choice. This past week was power meetings in Beverly Hills and conference calls from Europe. All of it less aggravating than usual. This was in part because I got to hire some friends for parts they've been waiting a long time to play. I also landed a major anime voice actor from FMA (Fullmetal Alchemist) to do excerpts on my booktrailer and audition for this film. That was a lot of fun. The big fat hairy deal of the week though was being solicited by and hired a highpowered agent to make the film happen. It was really cool to have this guy come after us on the strength of the concept and the script. Of course, he's one of those guys with a blackberry who may call at 5am because of something happening in Japan. Now, I only answer my cell when we're in production. I'm as laid back as he is high-powered. This should be interesting.

I must now morph into Martha Stewart. I've got six pies and pounds of side dishes to start.