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!

Monday, December 31, 2007

Year's End Musings

Warning: If you find yourself here via a google search for such things as TV shows or films, recipes or cities, this blog has some facts. However, this blog is one author’s very twisted musing on many weird things. It is sometimes graphic in content. If you read on, don’t write to yell at me.

Steamy Goodness

It’s getting steamy here this New Year’s Eve. And it has nothing to do with champagne. I’m cooking up the traditional dishes of collard greens and black eyed peas. Serving these are for good luck and prosperity in the New Year. It’s both a Southern and an African American tradition. I’ve altered the family recipe over the years from flavorings based on pork and fat to smoked turkey, garlic and olive oil. Ours will be a more subdued celebration than our norm. We’re really tired. It’s been a grueling year.


It was a tough year for us. We moved from a place we liked and enjoyed for many years without knowing where we’d end up. Moving in stages is not the best way to go, but condo developers don’t really care. We were still juggling the production company and the press while in interim housing with an intermitted and fussy internet connection. Both business suffered while we hunted for an apartment. A friend accurately described apartment hunting in LA as a steel cage match with other applicants. It was two and a half months before we lucked into this place. That experience made even Jon give a nod to observing good luck rituals. During this ordeal, we made mistakes, ruffled a great many feathers and hurt some feelings. We also found out who our real friends are and what kind of baggage we were better off without. Ultimately, we are stronger for the experience.

Looking Ahead

We have been presented with some great opportunities in the last few weeks of the year. We start acting on them right after the holiday. In the past, we’ve learned that we gain more ground in the film arena when we are aggressive. This year, we plan to do more on our own to draw attention to our projects. We have some film shorts planned with great production values and even some special FX starring the actors who will be in the full features. And we are close to beginning our second full feature. Book wise, I will finally put out A Soldier’s Fate and there will be a third Surrender book. I will also finish my collection of short stories based on family memoirs. It’s called Adventures with Miss Patty. I hope to have the first short story published early next year. We have a lot on our plate, but we also have a lot of good plans and determination.

Many Thanks

There are a lot of you out there all over the place that visit the blog weekly. I am very pleased and flattered by this. I thank you all for your attention and your support.

May you and yours have a happy, healthy and safe 2008. Don’t forget to celebrate!


Cross Promotion: Musings on Barberella

Sypress' own Marie Lecrivain has some wonderfully witty musings on life and Barberella at Media Cake. Check it out at:http://www.mediacakemagazine.com/cake_spring_07_081.htm


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Football, Films Rip Offs, and Year End

Warning: If you find yourself here via a google search for such things as TV shows or films, recipes or cities, this blog has some facts. However, this blog is one author’s very twisted musing on many weird things. It is sometimes graphic in content. If you read on, don’t write to yell at me.

Fourth Quarter Blues

The season has ended for the Philadelphia Eagles at 8-8. Ah well. I have suffered through much worse. There was times in the 70s and 90s were we prayed to end at 500. I remain a staunch fan who will wear the jersey during the playoffs. I think team fans should remain supportive no matter what. I really admire Ron Moore this season for his continuing support of the Miami Dolphins. And there are up sides for me with the season being over. Truth be told, I enjoy the playoffs more when there is nothing at stake for me. I can now just enjoy the games and hope for a great Super Bowl that doesn’t involve the Cowboys and has some good movie trailers. My biggest regret at this time of year is that all too soon, there will be no football until the Fall

The Bad and the Ugly

I can’t say I received any seriously snarky notes after last weeks rant about snobs. I did, however, get some really pointed ones. Most wanted to know if there was anything in film that I would consider bad. In a word hell, yes. I just don’t think I’m superior for having a taste for certain kind of films. I don’t have the time to list all the films that I considered bad and why. Though I will mention the worst film I had to sit through (I was a film critic at the time) was The Villain with Kirk Douglas, Ann-Margaret and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Allegedly, it was a live-action version of The Roadrunner cartoons. I got that. Everyone meant well. They just couldn’t pull it off.

However, there are some films that seem to aim at being awful. There is a production company called The Asylum that seems to have such aims. Aside from their titles looking very familiar. My particular favorites wer Snakes on a Train and The Transmorphers. Rip off titles like that have no right to take themselves seriously, but they do. And that’s disappointing. A title like Snakes on a Train should be hilarious with tongue firmly planted in cheek. I lament the wasted opportunity.

A wasted opportunity phrase is more accurate than whether I think something is bad. I usually can see where a film maker is going. It’s when the film doesn’t reach it’s goal that there is a problem. With Soul Plane, it was clear where they were going. They got there, and it had an anudience who enjoyed it. Whose Your Caddy had an aim that was a bit lower. It didn’t hit that and it didn’t get any kind of audience. Sometimes a film can reach it’s goal and still not have an audience. A prime example is Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. When Jon and I saw the first trailer we knew two things: we would be crazy about the film and it would have no real audience. The film was critcally acclaimed, had an astonishing look and was everything the film makers wanted. And it had Angelina Jolie! It just failed to connecy with a mainstream audience. Jon thinks it was too much like the film seriels of the 30s it was emulating, and thus, didn’t connect with an audience accustomed to a different pace and very different leading men and women. At any rate, yes there are films that I view as failures. I tend to be harder on films that are near misses like Resident Evil (yes, I know it made a pile of loot, but it just missed being a really great film) than ones that just are what they are (the Saw Franchise). I make no judgement on fans of films I view as failures. However, if anyone insists I go see one or insists on talking about them in hopes of changing my views, they they get an earful for a very long time.

The other question I got this past week was an example of advnaced film watching I’d recommend. Easily, that’s Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang. It is brilliant, hilarious, profane and fearless. It’s one of those films that critics love to analyze, but anyone into action and comedy will adore. Run out and rent it, but make sure there are no tender, young ears about. There be a lot of cussing.

Year’s End

I’ll post the New Year Blog tomorrow night or on New Year’s Day. I’m still mulling over how I feel about the year that is about to end and what my hopes are for the one that is about to begin. That said, I hope all my readers ring in the New Year safely. But you should have some fun!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Merry!

Have a happy and safe holiday. And if you want a differnt kind of Christmas Carol, click HERE!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Films, Snobs and Food

Warning: If you find yourself here via a google search for such things as TV shows or films, recipes or cities, this blog has some facts. However, this blog is one author’s very twisted musing on many weird things. It is sometimes graphic in content. If you read on, don’t write to yell at me.

As always, my issues are many and varied.

More Holiday Viewing

I forgot to mention some other films and TV shows that are fun for the holidays. Don’t worry, all of these are relatively safe. Shrek the Halls was good fun. It may repeat before the holidays are over. I also loved films like Pockerful of Miracles, a sweet, funny Cinderella tale with Bette Davis and a hilarious Peter Faulk reprising his role from Murder, Inc. for laughs. Then there is Bell, Book and Candle, a strange Christmas romance between a witch (Kim Novak) and a publisher (Jimmy Stewart). That film made me fall in love with backless dresses. To round out the list, there’s The Thin Man that was listed in the LA Times as a Christmas set film with more martinis than all of the James Bond Films combined. And Die Hard that also is set during Christmas.


I don’t like snobs of any kind. It’s silly to think one person’s interests or tastes are superior to someone else’s. I’m not saying that there aren’t good and bad ways of executing an art or a craft. There are badly executed films and books and music and whatever you can think of as an interest. However, I don’t think one person is superior because they prefer La bohème to Spamalot. Most of what is studied today as high art in literature began as pop culture. One of my favorite lit professors in grad school, a scholar in Victorian lit, said that the lions of fiction in that era were writing the equivalent of soap operas today. There are certainly different levels of sophistication to creative work, but that does not make them superior, merely better crafted. Jon and I really enjoyed Solaris. Jon calls it advanced film watching which means you really need some film or lit critical theory under your belt to know all of what’s going on. However, we also enjoyed The Day After Tomorrow, even with the ice chasing people down corridors and the attack of wolves in New York City. We adored Aquateen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters which Jon called remedial film watching. It may have damaged our brains. I think The Closer is one of the best police dramas I’ve ever scene in every way. Yet I watch CSI: Miami religiously, cursing all the way.

Why do I bring this up? A flame war over the quality of a diner started it. I was looking for an image of the 50s Café in Venice, CA for last week’s blog. I was going to mention that they had a sign in the entry proclaiming their support for the WGA strike. But the blog was unwieldy by then, and I decided to leave the reference out. In my search, I ran across a review site. One of the blogs totally dissed the Café. It’s a long time favorite for Jon and me. We’ve held production meetings there. It was where I first met Garett Maggart (who also loves the place). I have never had a bad meal there, nor have I ever had bad service. From what I gathered of the posts, it wasn’t fancy enough food for these diner connoisseurs (like those words go together). I find that silly. Diners are not for fancy food. If they can make a good burger and good breakfast, they have fulfilled their mission. I fired off a retort, but had to register for that privilege. Thus, I was exposed to more blogs. One of them was dissing The Food Network for their TV cooks‘with low cut blouses’ and quoting Mario Bitali’s lament that the network was going for the Walmart audience. Well, then it was on. I don’t fault Bitali for his crack, because he’s been having problems with the network. But these other foodies are really annoying to me by implying that food by non-chefs has no place on a 24/7 network. First off, it would be impossible to fill all that time with four star chefs. Second, the audience would be really small. Third, what the heck are they talking about? TV cooks like Rachael Ray and Paula Deen have inspired legions to pick up an apron. Ina Garten had no formal training, but God bless her for making me take on phyllo dough or Beef Bourguignon. In fact, much of what is considered French haute cuisine like coq au vin or Beef Bourguignon comes from cuisine À la Bonne Femme. That is a French term used to refer to a homey and simple but honest cooking style done by farm women. Enough of being on their high horses. They web site moderators will probably revoke my membership soon.

Holiday Fun

The baking is finally done, done and done! We’ll be handing out the LA goodies over the next week. We’ll also be mailing out packages to folks we missed. I really need a new address book. Today, I start on the Christmas dinner prep. We’re going out to visit our Sybaritic Press buds on the big day itself, but I like to have food here as well. I enjoy visiting or being visited upon at this time. We don’t see much of our cronies from the 3rd Street Promenade or ‘Traumenade’ anymore. The holidays are about the only time we have to catch up. Jon and are are blessedly free from the day job until Jan. 2nd. It’s paid time off, to boot! There will be much in the way of writing happening over that time. I can also address my long neglected work on Sybaritic Press.

I don’t like to get on a soap box, but I would like to mention a couple of charities that could use some bucks this time of year. The USO provides care packages for the troops and their families who need support no matter how we got in that conflict. Information can be found here. Also Second Harvest is reporting that food bank donations are down while need has sharply risen.

Seasons Greetings

I’ll post my holiday greeting later tonight or tomorrow. For now, I have roast beast to attend to and many more calls to make.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Frenzies, Actors and Christmas Stories

Warning: If you find yourself here via a google search for such things as TV shows or films, recipes or cities, this blog has some facts. However, this blog is one author’s very twisted musing on many weird things. It is sometimes graphic in content. If you read on, don’t write to yell at me.

Wacky Week

Much wackiness is about to ensue, including at rant on two CSI shows. And there will be much wandering in the narrative. And I think there are more links in this blog than any I've written. Do visit them all.

It’s been a busy week. I apologize to everyone that may still be waiting to hear from me. It’s been hard keeping up with even routine e-mail. The cookie insanity has entered phase two – local deliveries. The first batches turned out well and had a lot of variety this year. The marshmallows stayed in the bowls and turned out light and fluffy. And the menorah didn't catch the apartment on fire. But the baking was the easy part. Over the past week, I’ve packaged and shipped 35 boxes with an average of three bags of cookies or cookies and hot cocoa mix. Thank goodness for flat rate boxes and labels with postage that can be printed at home. Everything was ready when we got to the Post Office. Today I will try my hand at making chocolate truffles and mini baklava. The ladies on The Food Network make it all look easy. We shall soon see.

Right now, I’m enjoying a surprisingly good glass of wine in preparation for the Eagles/Dallas game. It’s surprising because I bought it at the 99 Cents Only Store for only 99 cents. I’ve had really good wine in France for under $2.00. It was 1€ 20, I believe, for a lovely red wine. I always enjoy a glass of two buck Chuck but this is my first under a dollar vintage. I must say that Foggy Bay white Table Wine is quite nice. I don’t think it will help with this Eagles game, but maybe I won’t care by the time I finish drinking it.

Holiday Viewing

This year, I didn’t yield to the strange way networks scheduled their holiday programming. One should not be watching A Charlie Brown Christmas before it’s December. We recorded all of the usual suspects and watched a number of them last night while I was trying to cook. I almost never just sit and watch the shows. I’m usually baking or decorating or wrapping or something.

Our holiday viewing is a bit ecclectic. We watch the shows and films we grew up watching like How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Scrooge, the version of A Christmas Carol with Alistair Sim. It is really the best one to me as it adhere’s so closely to Dickens’ text, and Sims is a hoot. It may be running on cable, but if not, buy it! Of course, I watch the endless Holdiay specials on The Food Network. They have a series of them under Season’s Eatings with programs for cooks of every skill level. I watch for new recipes like the truffles and baklava. I also watch for the warm, fuzzy feelings from my favorite chefs.

But there is a darker side to my holiday viewing. Jon and I never fail to be twisted, even during the holidays. I even found a twisted Holiday cooking special. Anthony Bourdain’s Holiday Special was a nightmare version of anything The Food Network would show. His neice carries a switchblade and his young nephew curses like a long shoreman. The cooking instructions include terms like ‘a crap-load of butter’ and ‘enough sugar to make you smile.’ But my favorite line was ‘Uncle Tony is not huffing glue. I’m checking it for quality.’ It’s repeating at various times on The Travel Channel. Try not to miss it. I adore Anthony Bourdain. He is so funny and so crazy. His No Reservations is addictive. The episode on Beirut, filmed as bombs were falling on the city, was such riveting television that it was nominated for a news documentary emmy. Each show is a gem though, and Bourdain is always fascinating.

However, we found a wonderfully twisted yet touching anime Christmas film. Tokyo Godfather’s comes from the folks who made the amazing series, Paranoia Agent, which ran on Adult Swim. Here is the trailer Tokyo Godfathers is a re-make of Three Godfathers. In this case, the ‘Godfathers’ are a drunk, a drag queen and a runaway teen who are homeless. They find an infant on Christmas Eve and undertake a harrowing, funny and poignant adventure to reunite the child with her parents. In the process, they find their own way back from the streets. It’s available on Netflix and we highly recommend it. Here is the trailer.

Our favorite slightly irreverant Christmas shows are two Futurama episodes, Xmas Story and a Tale of Two Santas. In these, Santa Clause is a violent robot who tries to kill people instead of giving presents. The take on Christmas is really screwy, but it doesn’t leave other faiths unscathed. There is The Hanuka Zombie and the Kwanzaa bot is particularly funny. From there, the animation we like to watch becomes more and more profane and drifts into the blasphemous. Be warned (that means you, mother-in-law, dear) the language and action is graphic and really adult (thought not mature). There is the mobster spin on Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Raging Rudolf and the Reinfather, and the original South Park Chritmas video that spawned the series. And then there is the brilliant depravity of Robot Chicken’s Holiday that manages to offend everyone.

So, the cleaning and baking and shopping frenzy will continue until next Saturday. I’m having major dental work then. Next week’s blog may prove quite interesting under the influence of painkillers (No, it isn’t always written under the influence. It just seems that way.)

Playing Santa

We do have fun during the various frenzies. I really enjoy meeting up with my actors and spreading some holiday cheer. We catch up with each other, and I update them on the status of projects. Mainly, we just enjoy their company. Yesterday, we met with David and Lisa Lee, my leads in The Gift of Surrender. I always enjoy spending time with them. They are so funny and talk about som many interesting things. And they are just gorgeous. Jon and I had so much to do in a compressed amount of time, but I am really pleased that we made the effort and slowed down to enjoy the moment. We get to do it again with our Gunslinger leads, Travis and Jennifer on Monday.


I actually got back to writing. It’s slow with all of the distractions, but I’m back to a few pages per day. That makes me feel a lot better. When I’m not writing something each day, other parts of my life suffer. Ireally need that creative outlet to be whole and relatively happy. I’ve been asked how I keep at my creative work when getting films made or promoting the books is so hard. I’d be writing even if none of my works went anywhere but my website. I have to keep writing.

Last year, I wrote a bonus chapter for those who purchased A Soldier’s Choice. I also complied a mini cookbook of all the recipes Vincent Greven made in the novel and in the bonus chapter. I’ve decided not to include them in the second edition of A Soldier’s Choice. Nor will they be in A Soldier’s Fate. They don’t fit in either book. Thus, I've uploaded them onto the website for A Soldier’s Choice. Go to Cookbook for the recipes and Bonus for the chapter.

The Rants

Okay, the vaporizing machine gun on CSI: Miami was ridiculous. I can’t remember the name of the darned thing, but it had an insane number of bullets over a barrel shapped like a wide cross and fired with an electronic trigger. The affect was a hail of bullets that ‘vaporized a target.’ It was gooey to watch. Jon and I decided it was less phaser and more disruptor. But Jon panned the gun as idiotic for any application because it would take forever to reload. Beyond the silliness of the gun, was some really violent action. Horatio Cain dispatched of three gun runners by himself with a shot to the head each. Even Steve McGarrett never did that. Though he did spray people with machinge gun fire from a helicopter once or twice.

But I must commend the show for not being as stupid as the previews indicated. From the clips, it looked like Delko was about to be shot – again. Now, even in the 60s, everyone realized that Mannix could only get hit in the head so many times before he’d have some real brain damage. I was cringing at the thought of a guy having two bullets in the brain in one year. Fortunately, it was a falshback. But shame on them for such a misleading promo!

And CSI needs to abandon this conspriacy thingy with the mob and their department. It had become a slick, fun show without the incredible goofiness of it’s successor. Last season had some brillaint episodes (though I still wish Sarah Sidle had been the minature killer). One epsode, Ending Happy, had a tribute to Tor Johnson. Brilliant. This year, goofiness is gripping them though the Lab Rats Game episode was wuite good). Knock it off!

I'm off to continue the baking marathon. See you next week.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Cookies, Content, Consent and Towelboy!

Warning: If you find yourself here via a google search for such things as TV shows or films, recipes or cities, this blog has some facts. However, this blog is one author’s very twisted musing on many weird things. It is sometimes graphic in content. If you read on, don’t write to yell at me.

Dough is Me

Yes, I plan to talk about writing this week, and that subject will have some racey material. But there are other things on my mind and all over our apartment. It’s the cookies. They’re everywhere. I chortle at my favorite Food Network chefs baking two dozen cookies and acting like they’ve done a lot for gifts. Somehow, my little college aged efforts have exploded into a two week production involving nine pounds of butter, so far, four five pound bags of flour and sugar, and a lot of other stuff. And we aren’t done yet. We have to ship to six cities in the US and two in Canada. The LA deliveries are mostly in person. It’s a lot of work, but we enjoy the process for the most part. It’s just a trifle cluttered in here at the moment. I’m making the marshmallows and hot cocoa mix this year, but I’m hoping to avoid the attack of the hot stickiness by using the wonderfully stable Kitchenmaid mixer that the lovely Marie kindly loaned us. We need to get all this stuff out of here, or the tree won’t fit.

Adult, as in Grown-Up

I write admittedly adult content in that it is sexually oriented and sometimes graphic. However, I also write content that is adult in that it is responsible and rash actions or inappropriate behavior has unpleasant consequences. This has been the case in my erotica even in my slash fiction. Because of my bdsm themes, I make sure that it is crystal clear that my characters are consenting adults who have entered into the relationship willingly. There is no drugging or coercion.

A Soldier’s Choice presented a sticky situation because Vincent had been under aged when he came under Rik’s command. There is the double taboo of crossing the age line and taking advantage of a subordinate. However, I make it clear that Rik was not aware of an attraction to Vincent until they re-united during the first battle in the book. By then, Vincent is 21. When they begin the affair, they are not on active duty. Then, they resign their commissions at the first opportunity. In A Soldier’s Fate, Vincent reveals a lot about the strong feelings he had had for Rik from the first time they met and how he suffered in silence because of those feelings. Meanwhile, Rik reveals just how many inappropriate advances he had deflected from Vincent over their years in the squad. Rik didn’t allow his own feelings for Vincent to surface until it was more appropriate to act on them.

It could be argued that my Demon Under Glass story, Identities has Joe McKay in a forced marriage to his Vampire companion, but that’s not the case. While it’s clear that Joe is entering into the marriage to have access to Simon’s considerable assets in order to protect himself from their pursuers, it is clear that there is an attraction. Joe also understands that the marriage makes it unlikely that Simon will ever let him go, but he willingly accepts that. I must note here that the story is a speculation of what would actually cause Joe to marry Simon. We don't consider it canon.

My characters also court in full view of their families and friends. They don’t engage in the more kinky aspects of the relationship in full view of them, but the relationship does not grow in a vacuum. These relationships do push boundaries, but the characters feel no shame in them. They seek and receive support for their union from their loved ones. Thus, when I say I write adult content, I mean I write erotica that is gown up.

Fun Stuff

Not that I have any time for shenanigans, but these sites are really fun. You can view some really crazy old movie trailers here. And if you have a hankering for old newsreels check out this link. The whole website is filled with amazing books, films and audio collections. There are whole feature films available for download. If you’ve never seen Frank Sinatra play a treasonous killer, you should see Suddenly. And if you want to see the first film about Nazi hunters, you must see Orson Wells amazing performance in The Stranger. Both are free here.

Fundraiser for WGA Strike

There is a great fundraiser in the works for those effected by the strike. It inexpensive and easy to do by Paypal. You can even win prizes in some cases. The info is available here for the fundraiser in general, but the best prize involves Battlestar Galactica and a towel. Go Here!

Guerillas in the Mist

That’s the title of this week’s CSI: Miami. It involves a machine gun that can vaporize a person. Yikes! Their titles are getting to be quite amusing. Last week’s was CSI: My Nanny. Funny title though the episode was not so much. I have a feeling I’ll be ranting next week.

No caption contest this week. I really need to finish baking.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

LA Style, Mr. Whipple and Caption Contest

Warning: If you find yourself here via a google search for such things as TV shows or films, recipes or cities, this blog has some facts. However, this blog is one author’s very twisted musing on many weird things. It is sometimes graphic in content. If you read on, don’t write to yell at me.

‘Tis the Season, LA Style

Happy Hanukah, y’all! The festival begins before my next blog. The weather is feeling more like the holiday season. My favorite weather quote this week was from the Malibu Fire Battalion Chief. ‘we’ve moved out the fire brigades and moved in the swift water rescue teams.’ It’s December in LA once more. For Jon and I, it’s been nice to have gray skies and even pouring rain. I’ve been wearing my winter coat more than since I received it last Christmas. It’s a great change of pace, and I hope it holds up. There is nothing stranger than shopping for a Christmas tree in 80 degree weather.

Procurement – LA Style

I got a call this week from our friend and medical consultant Lucy Doty. She need a connection for hospital bassinets in Vancouver, BC for a commercial shoot occurring on Wednesday. I gave her a number to a set dresser up there whom, I was sure, knew where to get one or knew someone else who knew. I didn’t think much of it until a co-worker heard me talking about it later that day. “You KNEW someone who had that?” I guess I take it for granted. That kind of call happens a lot. And in the time we’ve been making films or trying to make films, we’ve searched for a coffin, a free-standing elevator and a automotronic cow, and we found them all. They were all too expensive for the film, but you keep the contacts. And those contacts always have contacts. Right now, I am having trouble finding an old-fashioned wooden rain barrel without renting a whole western set. It’s been a bigger problem than I thought, but I’ve got people working on it. However, I'm always open for suggestions. I've also been trying to find a laundramat for a location in LA that will be free or close to free, if anyone has ideas.

Ode to Mr. Whipple

Veteran character actor, Dick Wilson, died recently. He is best known as Mr. Whipple , spokes-character for Charmin bathroom tissue. In tribute to the actor and the man, my friend Craig told a little known story of heroism from this TV icon. Sometime in the mid '90s, Craig was walking along the beach in Pacific Palisades when he heard a woman screaming that she was being stabbed. Craig ran up a flight of steps to a house that didn’t have security gates for help. He knew he had to act fast, but froze in his tracks. ‘There was a woman screaming, and I’m staring at Mr. Whipple with my mouth hanging open. I mean, it was Mr. Whipple. I tell hip to call 911 and to give me a flashlight and a bat. He said, ‘I’ll give you the flashlight, but I can’t give you a bat. Meanwhile, a surfer- kid is behind him, I assume it was a grandson, mouthing that he’ll get me a bat. When Whipple went for the flashlight, the kid ran to a beat up van and pulled out the bat. I hid that from Whipple when he gave me the flashlight.’ Craig then rushed down the steps to a guy out of the bushes by putting the light on him and the woman and pretending to be a cop. The woman was bleeding and naked and wanted to hug Craig, but he made her stay in the bushes. During that encounter, the man made a move at Craig, making use of the bat necessary. The cops were coming by then, so Craig marched the guy up the steps where they were both taken into custody. Craig was released when Mr. Whipple and the woman verified his story. The last thing Whipple said was ‘Where did you get that bat?’ The surfer kid was behind him giving Craig the thumbs up. Though a nice tribute to Mr. Whipple, it is not the strangest thing Craig has found on the beach. In fact, we chose him as the hiker who finds a body in Demon Under Glass because he’s found bodies or pieces of a body in one instance while hiking before.

Writing Updates

My various writings are moving along. It seems we have to do some development on both film and some TV stuff. Its re-writing existing material for new representation. That’s going to be time consuming, but we will have time off toward the end of the month. I plan to clear out a lot of old business then. And I plan some surprise postings for my long time fans. After that, I will – hopefully – have more time for my fiction.

Caption Contest

The best response this week was: "I saw this same act last year. Funny thing is, he had a female assistant then. I wonder what happened to her?"

New contest next week.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Fog, Turkey, Pimps and Caption Contest

Warning: If you find yourself here via a google search for such things as TV shows or films, recipes or cities, this blog has some facts. However, this blog is one author’s very twisted musing on many weird things. It is sometimes graphic in content. If you read on, don’t write to yell at me.

Naughty Author

Writing this week was profoundly interrupted by Thanksgiving prep, celebration and recovery. I made progress on some things, but it was a shamefully small number of actual pages. However, I managed to get some things done on the publishing front. Len Richmond’s website is live. His novel, Naked in Paradise, is doing very well and he has some signings coming up next month. For more info and to read his delightful bon mots on just about any topic, click here. The dear man sent Jon and I a lovely present for our holiday décor. And the little heart even looks like him. The man is an absolute pleasure to work with, and his book is being picked up by bookstores all over the world. Naked in Paradise is in more bookstores than any other title by Sybaritic Press. And I have a feeling that it’s just the beginning for Len.

Pea Soup

There was a lot of fog in and around LA this past week. The fog was something I never knew this city had until I moved here. It’s hardly ever shown on TV shows or films. When the Fog comes, it can be thick and scary. The last time I recall fog as thick was when we were shooting The Privateers. Poor Phil drove us home from the set in Sylmar all the way to Playa del Rey which is next to LAX. The headlights were bouncing off the stuff and reflecting back. Visibility was nil. We were really worried about rear ending a semi that night. Monday was about that bad. We couldn’t see our apartment building until we were in front of it. And given the problem we’ve had with late night motorists running us over, I was very concerned about crossing streets even at crosswalks with traffic lights. Of course, the local media lost its mind. It was the countdown to The Busiest Travel Day of the Year! The fog led to speculations about delays compounded from Monday and the possibility that no one would make it home ever!


We’re in a much more intimate space than we were last year (that means small). Thus, I had some concerns over finding the space on the counters to put all the dishes. In fact, I was concerned about having space to put the guests. I don’t think Martha Stewart would approve of dinner guests eating on the bed. It was cramped, and I had to be creative, but all the food was set out and everyone was comfortable enough. Holiday meals have always ended up as odd sorts of Salons. We did discuss some literature. Our Marie has been published in the latest issue of The Los Angeles Review. That makes her quite literary. However, we also discussed Hawaii Five-0 at great length, because I had it on when the guests arrive. Our guests saw The Sunday Torch an episode with what we believe to be the first appearance of a profiler. Unfortunately, they missed the episode run the next day. [Major Digression Begins. Tricks are not Treats was the episode that integrated the series with Blacks and Hispanics en mass – all of them were involved in prostitution. My favorite parts were McGarrett using the term mack and one of his men saying ‘The hos are on the stroll.’ The episode also featured Barney Miller regulars Ron Glass and Gregory Sierra as rival pimps, and Pat Morita as the inexplicably named Phoebe. Classic! End Digression] Our guests also indulged in some racy adult viewing on the computer. That’s right, baby. We watched some raw, bareback Seseme Street. If you’re really opened minded, here’s the clip from Monsterpiece Theatre. A good time was had by all. Oh, and all the frenzied Foodnetwork viewing and prep paid off. I was really happy with how everything turned out.

Yes, It’s the CSI: Miami Rant

While they did not put my favorite character in jeopardy for long, it did have some inanities that made me want to scream. First, their already ultra fast dna tests is now a matter of feeding the sample into a machine which displays the double helix on a color screen that magically brings up a photo of a suspect in seconds. Why not just go to a tricorder and be done with it. The other hugely irritating plot element that came up is one of their favorites where a murder suspect who gets injured during an arrest threatens to file suit against the officer and the department for personal injury. This is during an active investigation. And they take him seriously! And there is much wringing of hands and Internal Affairs is menacing. They can’t seem to figure out any other way to increase the drama, and it drives me nuts. And yes, I’ll keep watching.
Blogs I Like
For those who ask what I read, blog wise, there are some new links along the side of this page.

More Caption Fun!

I’ve sent one of the winners of the last caption contest, a radio personality in Columbus, OH. However, the other winner who used Damnit, girl, how many times have I told you! Not haddock, HALIBUT!, has not come forward. Please e-mail me at: deborahlwarner@gmail.com for your prize.

And now, here is this week’s image. Send a clever caption and win a prize from Sybaritic Press.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

The hedonist in me wishes that the food and wine are good and plentiful for all of you. I hope there are good freinds and family about. And I hope you all stay safe. Remember those less fortunate. And celebrate all that makes you thankful!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

WGA Strike, Frat Boys and New Trailer

Buckle up, this is a strange one

LA Journeys

Our errands took us past a lot of LA oddities. Actually, one LA oddity and one that is probably typical of many college campuses though I’d never witnessed anything quite like it. We saw picket lines in front of Sony Studio’s gates. I didn’t know that picket signs came in child sizes. The pickets were orderly. So orderly that they didn’t block the entrance to the gate unless they had a green light. We didn’t see any actors we recognized. There were a lot of baseball caps and sunglasses obscuring faces. Not that we were looking at hard. We were running errands not star gazing. As I’ve said in previous blogs, most Angelenos aren’t looking for actors, we’re usually trying to get around them to get everyday things done. The strikes trickle down impact is beginning to be felt all over LA. This story about support services was typical. For more details, here’s a link to the LA Times Business Section coverage. Yes, entertainment here is covered by the business section. The TV and film season slowdown or meltdown is viewed with extreme concern over an economic disaster.

The other incident we witnessed on our way home from UCLA. I really wished I had a video camera, it could have been a Youtube classic. A pair of young men with backpacks wearing UCLA hoodies was walking past a frat house. On the staircase to the building where a raucous party was happening, a frat boy was upbraiding the young men for not being as incredibly drunk as he was. “What, you don’t have the balls to party? Where are your balls!” He yelled at them while swaying slightly. His volume increased with the level of profanity as the young men ignored them. I have never seen such indignation over not getting drunk. It may be a reflection upon my age, but the level of partying we see during the week on that street is far beyond my experience. And I haven’t been exactly living like a nun.

Holi-daze Part Deux

The big excitement for me this week was the re-opening of a local supermarket. Yes, that does sound really dull, I suppose. But every artist I know has some sort of quirk – or several sorts of quirks. I readily admit to being food obsessed. This market makes shopping a lot more convenient for us at a time of the year when everyone is a bit food obsessed. I’ve already made my turkey stock for the Big Dinner. All the fixin’s are in the fridge, and my schedule is in motion. But beyond Thanksgiving, there is the huge cookie bake that begins in early December. We’ve added to the repertoire of goodies, and the list has grown to include authors and vendors and film contacts along with family and friends. It will be so many cookies and treats that the list looks like I’m going into a new business. It’s lucky that I really enjoy the process. Cooking and baking have become a therapeutic and meditative process for me. And it’s helped with my writing of the Soldiers novels. I have defined Vincent as a cook, and food looms large in a lot of character exposition.

Writing Updates and New Soldiers Trailer

Speaking of Vincent and company. We received word from our book distributor that unless a title is ready for distribution by the end of next week, they cannot guarantee delivery by the end of the year. Thus, the pressure is off on finishing Soldier’s Fate and the other titles we were working on. I’ll put up another excerpt or two in the meanwhile. I’m actually relieved. I felt that some of the scenes were being rushed, so I’m glad that I’m forced to take more time with the characters. I won’t set a new date for release until after the New Year. I have some December surprises planned for my fans, so stay tuned.

I made a trailer out of the last audio clip Travis Willingham did for A Soldier’s Choice. It’s on Youtube. Click this link. Yes, my trailers are very simple, but when a voice like Travis’ is reading, there is no need for a distracting image. Enjoy the deep, dulcet tones of Colonel Heron.

TV Rant

No, it’s not about CSI: Miami. I’ll likely re-visit that next week as this week’s episode is messing with our favorite character Calleigh Duquesne, or as we call her, spooky girl. This time my rant is about CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and the leaving of Sara Sidle. I’m pleased that she left, though it was not in a box as I would have preferred. But it was a ridiculous episode in a show that had managed to become less silly over time. They played fast and loose with the law to bend the plot for maximum melodrama. She was devastated by the suicide of a character she knew had gotten away with one murder years ago, and felt sorry for the sociopathic sibling who had committed the current murder. The one on screen kiss she has with her lover did not involve participation by said character. Gil Grissom has more chemistry with his perserved pig in a jar than with Sara. And their parting reflected that. It was if the whole show shrugged at the departure. Next week, is a funny episode (they do those well). Sara has been deservedly forgotten. I still think it was a waste of a great mystery to have not made her the minature killer. Meahwhile, Criminal Minds has recovered nicely from the loss of Mandy Patinkin. In fact Joe Mantegna, has provided a twist the characters interaction and some badly needed black humor that would be natural in such a unit. But then they mess with one of our favorite characters there. It was silly and completely sloppy for someone in the background like Garcia to get shot especially after two front line agents had been attacked. So disappointed, and she had better not be dead!

Caption Contest

No new caption contest this week. I’ve had no time to go through the files. Since I have a very long weekend next week, look for one then.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Strikes, Hyphenates, Beatles and Vets

Gray Days

It was an unusually gray week in LA. We like it because gray, cool days feel like the Autumns we remember from Philly. It’s supposed to rain soon. That’s not good. All the fire damaged areas will turn to mud that will slide and take the remaining houses elsewhere or clog roads. The other bummer this week in LA is the writer’s strike. It got really nasty very quickly when the studios unexpectedly and inexplicably suspended development deals with production companies forcing them to layoff their staffs. Many of them are what’s called Hyphenates. I never heard the term before last week. Apparently Jon and I are Micro-Hyphenates (director-writer or writer-producer). Anyway the Hyphenates responded to the suspension by walking off their existing shows. Since these were the folks who would have kept shows running into next year, no one can figure out why the studios made such a boneheaded move. This means that many shows will run out of material before the end of the year. We have friends who were working under development deals. It’s a very scary time for them. For once, I do not envy their situation. We have two films that will have to be a WGA signatory, but we're not members yet. I'm not sure what this means if we need re-writes. And no, we still don’t know what we’re shooting or where it will be shot. Though given the flood and explosion at one of the locations, I think one has been eliminated from the running. At least, I hope it has.

The year is running out far quickly than I’d like it to. And my writing is moving more slowly than I’d like. I’m not fighting the pace anymore. My books suffer when I try to force the prose in a particular direction or rush the pace. If I had the time that book advances allow, I could make my deadlines more easily. But writing competes with everything else on my plate (I think I have two or three hyphens in my title), so the pace will be what it will be. Stay tuned for release dates on A Soldier’s Fate.

Much Happiness

A new release, deluxe version of The Beatle's Help is on DVD view the Trailer here. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. I know that A Hard Day’s Night is considered the better film, and I loved that as well. But there was a singular silliness to Help that I always loved. I was really disappointed just last week to find I’d missed most of it on cable. I still quote lines now and then. (yes, big dork) But I’m a long time Beatles fan. I have seen one Beatle in concert – George Harrison with Ravi Shankar and met another in Philly when he was visiting an old friend in Philly(John Lennon was visiting Larry Kane and even did the weather report on my local news). Help may be the film we show at the Thanksgiving gathering. Or I’ll just watch it on my own repeatedly.

Movie Night

I watched Twelve O’Clock High for the first time. It was a coincidence that it is also Veteran’s Day weekend. I am not one for war flicks, but Jon insisted that I see it for the relationships between the men. The film is still shown to officer candidates as a lesson about leadership. I found I really enjoyed the film. And for my avid readers who know my bent well, there is a distinctly D/s relationship between commanding officers and their subordinates. There has to be. Gregory Peck should have had a riding crop, but he was still quite effective in the role.


It is Veterans Day or Remembrance Day , depending on the country. While enjoying the holiday off, please take a moment to remember why there is a day off. One in four homeless are Veterans. Those that aren’t homeless, often need more help than is available. Organizations like The Yellow Ribbon Fund are a place that you can support in this effort. And every city and town has Veterans’ organizations that can use a hand.

Caption Contest

I received some terribly funny though often rude responses to the caption. The least rude and most creative were:

Damnit, girl, how many times have I told you! Not haddock, HALIBUT!


"Unable to find a knife, Columbus Magician John Hill uses what he can to practice his knife-throwing for his Las Vegas magic act."

The actual caption was:

Get out of sight, you hussy! Seriously.

Our winners will receive an Amazon.com gift certificate courtesy of Sybaritic Press.

New Caption contest next week!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Updates, Surprises and a Contest


There isn’t much that’s exciting or really strange this week. Well, there was my supervisor’s attire on Wednesday, but that was Halloween and he wasn’t the only one in a different persona in that office. I was Donovan McNabb complete with cornrows and Campbell's Chunky soup. The kids on Frat row partied so hard that we didn’t see anyone out for the rest of the week. I made my first batch of turkey stock for Thanksgiving. It won’t be the huge meals we did in Playa del Rey, but we will have some company, and they expect the same quality. The apartment smells wonderful with all of those herbs bubbling away. I have also begun my prep for the Great Holiday Bake-off. I’ll make the fruitcakes next weekend. We’ll begin the cookie dough production over the Thanksgiving Holiday. We’re adding two cookies to the repertoire – peanut butter and oatmeal. I’m also adding chocolate truffles and bite-sized baklava to the hot cocoa mix with homemade marshmallows. It’s not mixed together, mind you. All the recipes are super easy and making them is relaxing (save for the attack of molten marshmallows that I plan to avoid this year). I’ve found some nice shipping containers that make for a pretty presentation. Now, don’t think I’m that organized with the holiday. I’ll be running around a few days before Christmas like everyone else. Then, I’ll buy a fistful of gift cards.

Actual Writing News

I’m still working on A Soldier’s Fate. I think it will be out by the end of December though I have had some developments in the story that are forcing me to slow down and go places I wasn’t planning. It’s fun when a story gets a life of its own, so I’m going with the flow. I suspect that Rik and Vincent just want to keep my attention on them (it’s statements like that which make my family worry about my mental state, but most writers understand). I had Jon help me with some military minutia for the chapters involving advanced training and the climax of the novel. The Soldiers books are by no means military thrillers, but I do need for the military and the futuristic aspects of the story to make sense and have an internal consistency. The book has developed some unexpected themes (I won’t reveal them here. I don’t want to spoil things), and my characters have continued to surprise me. All of this is occurring despite a detailed outline for the sequel, but that frequently happens when I write. It is impossible for me to plan for everything in an outline. Each twist in the plot reveals something about a character’s personality that I hadn’t considered. Each new reaction from one character produces a new kind of response from other characters. Even in a sequel, I’m covering a lot of new territory. That makes me happy and keeps me sane or sane-ish.

Leaping Limbo

I’m also working though much more causally on the memoir and the D/s treatment. In late November and through December, I’ll either be on a shoot or writing full time during the holiday breaks. I can’t plan anything until that decision is made. Thus, I’m cramming in writing time everyday before and after work and where I can on weekends in case I’m tied up with the shoots until the end of the year. Have I mentioned how much I hate limbo? Since I don’t know where the shoots will be (not our decision), I can’t even make a packing list. Those who know me well know I MUST have a packing list weeks in advance of a trip, or I get really buggy. Not even the promise of fun with cute actors is enough to overcome my intense loathing for travel without proper prep. But I still have no control over these powers that be. The only good news this week about the shoots is that SAG actors are going to work despite WGA strike looming.

Weekly Rant

Needless to say, there were no werewolves on CSI: Miami. There was a wolf (four legged), the return of CSI Wolf and a guy who was taking wolf hormones (they explained why but it made no sense, so I forgot what they said). I’m thwarted from the return of regular episodes of a really good show until April. Battlestar Galactica will return for a two part-er (Razor) this month. But that’s not enough, and I don’t see the sense in postponing the rest of the season until April while running such gems as Dinocroc and Dracula 3000 with Coolio.

The writer’s strike won’t impact weeknight TV for a while, but we will have no Daily Show or Colbert Report for the duration. We’ll also be in for a buttload of Dateline . I support what the issues are fighting for, but geez.

Caption Fun

I see a lot of odd things as I work in the Archive, and I don’t just mean my co-workers. I’ve decided to share some of the fun. To the right is an illustration from a real book, an American novel from the mid 1800s. Give me a caption to go with it. The best one will win a prize from Sybaritic Press.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Smoke, Vampires and Giant Robots


This week was very difficult, writing wise. I suppose it was difficult all the way around, but the biggest impact was on my writing. Not that I didn’t make progress on the various stories/script that are in the works. I work on them in my head all the time. I even solved some key plot and character issues with the ending of A Soldier’s Fate. And I fleshed out the lead characters in the D/s script tentatively called The Proposal. None of that made it onto any kind of paper. All of that work remains in my head. It may have been the smoke. It wafted south and west to coastal neighborhoods. Unfortunately, we live in one of those and our commuter route took us within minutes of the edge of one evacuation zone. I had burning eyes early in the week. And after that, it was sinus irritation and some wicked headaches. Oh, and then there was the stress over whether or not we’d get a film going only to have a sympathy walkout by our actors. That turned out to be an unfounded worry, but the stress remained.

I spent my off hours staring at the television. I didn’t even have the energy to read last week. Thus, no writing on paper or PC occurred. I was barely answering my e-mails. Yes, I know there are a pile of you awaiting a response. I plan on getting to those after this blog.

But, as I said, writing is happening. I now know how A Soldier’s Fate ends. I mean, I always know how it would end, but now I know precisely how they all get to that end. And, for The Proposal, I figured out what kind of family histories the lead characters have and how their roles in the business world lead them to agree to the roles thy play in their D/s relationship. It’s all tremendously not sexy, but it has to be done for the script to make any sense. I’ll be sharing snippets of that script along with more excerpts from A Soldier’s Fate in the next few weeks. I’ll put warnings on the excerpts.

Vampire Updates

Much to my surprise, there will be another Demonspawn anthology. It’s not completely new. I am including stories from Demonspawn 2 with new stories from a new author, Florence Wall. The original novel continues to have consistent sales. And there is an audience of Vampire readers that found the anthologies but had not known about the film. Sybaritic Press had a consistent number inquires about them and we had the material, so we decided to go ahead with another. There will be an announcement here and on the Sybpress blog and newsgroup when it comes out. That should be late next month.

More on the Fires

I want to thank everyone who sent notes in concern over our safety during the fires last week. We were never in any danger from flames. I can understand why there was a lot of concern. The media maps of the fire used a an outline of the coast with a big flame over Malibu, but the scale of the map was such that the flame also looked like it covered Santa Monica and was really close to Venice and the environs where we live as well as some of our friends. In reality, we were more than 20 miles from the closest fire. Only our friend and former assistant Phil saw any action as we had to help evacuate the very pampered guests at one of those infamous rehab centers. I think he’d rather have run into one of those blazing canyons. What we all needed saving from is the fire coverage on the local media which is still only 48% contained. I know that they had to get information out to the affected areas. And I admit to joining my friends in the pool as to whether or not chuck Henry from Cannel 4 news would burn another newsvan. Here’s a paragraph on that from his Wikipedia article:

Henry was once nearly killed in the field filing a report about California forest fires in October 2003. Although the newspeople were told to leave by the fire department, the NBC team decided to stay longer and were soon surrounded by flames. Their van was completely engulfed and lost to the fire and the team had to be rescued by the LAFD. Chuck Henry was later seen on air crying about the situation referring to the newsvan as a "Stupid truck, full of equipment." This incident was parodied on a 2005 King of the Hill episode Gone with the Windstorm.

Incidentally, that’s one of my favorite King of the Hill episodes. And I didn’t know until today where the inspiration came from.

All of this was intriguing, but the news never told viewers where the shelters were or where the road closures were. They would refer them to websites. How in the heck are they going to do that while on the run? We had to look at the transit websites to figure out if we could get to work via our regular route. In the hours of couverage that we watched, I never saw a list of places or recources for evacuees. Nor did we see a full weather forecast which was supposed to be important to the firefighters. I gave up by day two.

The Joy of Stupidity

Yes, CSI Miami wins again. We have a character going to a crime scene in stilletto heels (and she was always one of the smart ones). And the episode itself was ridiculous. Everyone interviewed needed to be arrested and in any police reality, they would have been. But this week, we’re gonna have Werewolves! Sweet!

Now, I’ve gotten notes from folks who bristle at my ribbing of CSI: Miami. What I saw in my criticisms is true, but it doesn’t keep me from watching. It is one of those inexplicable pleasures (I can’t say guilty pleasure. I don’t feel guilty). I have many inexplicable pleasures. Take the film Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor. I will watch that thing every time I find it on TV. Can’t explain why, but it’s fascinating to me. And I do criticize it. I invite people over to help me criticize The Ten Commandments. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy watching it.

So, don’t let a little critical observation take away the enjoyment of viewing.

Summer’s End

My summer finally ended yesterday when I saw the last of the season’s blockbusters on my list. Transformers was not nearly as stupid as I feared it would be. I actually found it amusing as well as exciting. Originally, I had only wanted to see it for the giant robots fighting on the 105 freeway. And that was really bitchin’! But the characterizations were pretty good and the dialogue was quite snappy. I got misty when I heard ‘I am Optimus Prime.’ Of course, I watched the cartoon. Heck, I can’t wait for Thunder Cats. Though I am certain that film will be stupid. Hopefully, it will be joyfully stupid. My only nit with Transformers was that they didn't do the theme from the TV show. So here it is: Click here.

Well, I’m off to do some actual writing.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Bear with me here, this is going to be a very circuitous trip, but it is related to my writing. Weird is relative. Sometimes weird is your relatives. In my hometown of Philadelphia, we don’t think it’s weird at all that our old Football stadium had to have a courtroom in it to deal with fan ‘exuberance’ or hooliganism, depending on the point of view. Many wondered why it took so long. This is the same city that ran Mitch Williams out of town under threat of death (though I blame the General Manager for putting him in that last world series game). And our weirdness is not just sports related. There is the Mummers Parade where straight, largely blue collar men dress in ostrich feathers and parade for 12 hours (not kidding) on News Year’s Day. In all of that weirdness, I was considered weird there because I wanted to write novels and make films for a living. It’s relative. New York and Los Angeles are advanced level in their weirdness. Even Paris can be quite weird. We are convinced that tourists are assigned an accordion player while in customs at Charles de Gaulle Airport. That is the only explanation I have for the one I swear was on every Metro train car we used during our visits. And then there was the weather ‘general’ in full uniform with ribbons on VE day. We’re not sure he was a General. He sure should be if he isn’t. He looked very impressive in that uniform doing the weather. I’d love to have an imgae of him, but I couldn’t find one. On a side note, save for the metal painted statue performers we’ve seen in Paris and Cannes, we’ve never seen a classic, white faced mime. That’s weird. And in Columbus and Dayton Ohio, the term gay can be applied not just to those who are attracted to the same sex, but to those who have lived in any big city like New York or LA or anyone who still has long hair (I believe that pro-wrestlers and Bill Ray Cyrus are exempt). That is weird.

My point, aside from I see a lot of weirdness, is that the condition is relative to the surrounding community. I could get into actual relatives who are weird, but that’s for my therapist.

The same can be said for possessiveness. Whether or not such an element in a relationship is wildly romantic or frightening and abusive is relative from couple to couple. I bring this up because it has been brought up that most of the relationships in my erotic fiction involve highly possessive lovers. It surprises those very close to me, because I abhor possessiveness and jealousy in my relationships. However, I argue that my fictional couples are clear that they consent to having that kind of attention. The consent is explicit and reaffirmed throughout my novels or short stories. Nikulainen is so possessive of Sarianna in The Gift of Surrender that as soon as he is able, no one but he touches her – not even her own maid – unless it is absolutely necessary. She does not mind and that is clear.

In A Soldier’s Choice and even more so in A Soldier’s Fate, both Rik and Vincent are extremely possessive of each other. They freely admit it. Rik often says he hates sharing Vincent with anyone – even his brother. And Vincent can admits he hates smelling someone else’s scent on Rik even though he knows the situation couldn’t be helped. Each character accepts that in the other. It’s part of the passion of their relationships. It’s also clear that this degree of possessiveness does not prevent them from having close friendships that are independent of each other. In the Surrender books and the Soldier books, the lovers have extended families that include an odd assortment of friends. Their relationships are neither insular nor unhealthy for them. I have seen some very scary possessive relationships in books where if those characters were real, I recommend the police should be called and retraining orders obtained post haste. It’s more common than not that the relationships I’ve read about in other books are unhealthy. It’s similar to how bdsm relationships are badly written. There is almost never real consent from the submissive partner (the protagonists do a whole lot of assuming about what the lover wants or needs). I’ve been appalled to see such relationships begin with the submissive under the influence of drugs or a head injury. Oh yeah, you can get consent when someone is unconscious. Geez.

So enjoy my possessive guys and gals guilt free. And appreciate the weirdness around you.

New Book Trailer

Technically, it's the film trailer for Demon Under Glass, but it works for the book as well. And since there will be a new anthology of Demon Under Glass stories, we thought this would be a good kick off. It's best viewed on the smaller screen setting.


No Zombie!
Spoiler alert!

I was so disappointed with the storied return of Speedle on CSI: Miami. He was a hallucination of Delko who is inexplicably back on the job after being shot in the head. Yep, that’s who I want handling evidence and giving testimony, a guy freshly back from having a bullet in his brain. It’s still in his brain. Thus, hallucination Speedle. I’m not sure if that will be his only appearance.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Moby Dick, Psuedonyms and More Zombies

Book Fair Part Deux

I don’t know how I could forget these incidents at the West Hollywood Book Fair. Maybe my mind blocked them out. For those fans of Herman Melville and who isin’t? Marie and I witnessed performance piece of Moby Dick by a guy laying across two chairs in an all white suit making whale sounds while someone played music and did narration. Unfortunately, there was no Queequeg. One of my favorite statements from the Book Fair was from a woman who went from a consultation on a book proposal to ranting about Opera. ‘I’m so over LaBohem. 'She should take some panicillin and get over herself.’ I have no idea on how we got on the topic. But the statement of the day belongs to Len Richmond’s mother (she’s the owner of the drunken parrot, Chicky). She’s led quite the interesting life. “You know, I think I’ve handled 10,000 penises in my lifetime,” she informed me. Fortunately, I was didn’t have any liquid in my mouth at the time. And she wasn’t a proctologist, either. We were all impressed.

Speaking of Len Richmond, Naked in Paradise debuted in the top 50 of amazon.com’s list of hot new books in Gay Fiction. We’ve had inquiries from book stores in the US, the UK, France and Austrailia. It’s also carried on TLA.com, Powells.com and libreriauniversitaria.it. We’re expecting reviews from some really great places soon.

In Plain Sight

The refreshing honesty of Mrs. Richmond about her past brings me to a topic that comes up for me and some of my authors fairly often. How much do you let family, friends and co-workers know about the nature of your fiction? I don’t use a pseudonym in my fiction. Though I make no judgement on those who do, I think the days of remaining completely anonymous are over in light of the internet. It’s certainly not possible to schedule readings or signings while using a pseudonym. I have run into family and former co-workers in all kinds of locations and cities where no one knew me. And the six degrees of separation theory is fairly true. Someone you know will inevitably find out what you’re desperately trying to hide. I don’t need the additional hassle or stress. Besides, I’m not embarrassed by what I write or how I came by the information to write what I write. My family has always known that I walked on the wild side. They just don’t ask. With co-workers not in the entertainment industry, it’s a stickier situation. Those pesky rules on sexual harassment mean I can’t really talk about what I write. I mean, even answering the question of why I was in Trekkies is a vilolation of those policies. I rarely send co-workers to my web sites without a very strong warning about the content. I’m still wigged out that my darlin’ Mother-in-Law (hello, Maw-in-Law) has been through my web sites. But I’d rather be open than try to skulk around in the shadows. It’s always fun telling my actors about my kinky background. Most shrug as if to say, ‘Is that all you’re into?’ Some embrace it and even tease me though the naughty boys who keep asking ‘When are you going to spank me?’ Have no clue how much trouble that can bring. All that said, I do not proselytize (though that is tempting with cute actor boys) and I am careful not to rub my family’s collective noses in my entire life. I’ll likely have a separate web page for the memoir I’m writing for folks like my Dad and Grandma to send to the chuch folk. And Jon and I are doing a family page of photos of our lives and travels for the younger folks in our families to look at. However, I’ll never hide who I am and what I write.

Creative Tempatations

Just as I am finishing up A Soldier’s Fate, I am being distracted by another novel and a script. It’s all the fault of Ed Quinn on Eureka. His character, Nathan Stark, on that show looks like someone who would be very much at home in the world of d/s. That inspiration and an annoyance about the inaccurate portrayal of the lifestyle in films and on TV set my mind wandering, and a week later there is a full-blown treatment. I had to let my mind develop it completely before I could get back to my soldier boys. That can be very inconvenient. I don’t know when I’ll actually write it. I’d like to tackle the memoir and the Surrender sequel first. But Dom’s can be really pushy. I may have to write that next.

And Still More TV Rants
Warning: More spoilers for this season and seasons long ago

I totally forgot to rant about Sara Sidle on CSI last week. I had been mightily displeased that she was neither the minature killer or a victim of the miniature killer. I wasdoubly annouyed at the waste of that opportunity when I found out that Jorja Fox who portrays Sara Sidle is leaving the show because whe feels her six figure per episode income is unstatisfactory. Meanwhile, I am plased to have seen a preview of Zombie Speedle on CSI:Miami . I think they are leaning toward zombies, because the tage line read ‘and the dead shall rise.’ Awesome.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Drunken Parrot, Watergate and Cheerleaders

I wanted to write this last Sunday, but we here exhausted after the Bookfair. It had    been brutally hot at different points in the day, and that was draining. Then, we had to set up and break down the tables and carry all the heavy stuff across the park to the car. Combine that with less than four hours of sleep, and you get two brain dead people Sunday night. The most I could have written was fire bad, tree pretty. And you, gentle reads would have missed a heck of a tale.

Book Fair and Watergate
Difficulties in getting boxes of books, magnets, 40 lbs of lube and a 7 by 8 foot sign across town aside, the West Hollywood Book Fair was a success for Sybaritic Press. We were in the same area as last year, but the booths were reconfigured so the sun wasn’t as much of a problem after 12 noon. We had our stock well in advance this year, so we didn’t have the angst over having a sparse spread. Jon’s new signage look great. I was glad. He’d lost a lot of sleep putting on the final touches the night before. Our neighbors across the way were the The Los Angeles Science Fiction Society. They had some really big authors as guests, which was cool to listen in on. But I was amused about how much the volunteers talked about slash between the authors. I tried not to show any reaction lest I get drawn in and distracted from my booth. The organizers of the Book fair were to put us in that area.

The strangeness began early. We were visited by a goth pair who had a big, fluffy, annoyed kitty in something that looked like a baby coach. There were the West Hollywood Cheerleaders. The one in the photo is the one that shaved his beard. And then there was the well dressed gentleman in the briefcase who passed by a couple of time. Each time, he eyed our booth nervously. I realized that it was John W. Dean, who was speaking at one of the stages. In the name of my journalism professors, I really wanted him to come closer and perhaps, sample some of our wares. Alas, he did not. However, that was not the end of the strangeness at the booth.

Drunken Parrot

We had a drunken parrot in our booth. And that wasn’t the weirdest part. No, wait...I think that was the weirdest part of the day. But there was a lot of strangeness prior to the drunken parrot. Now, I have to clarify, the bird didn’t arrive drunk. He was a little freaked out from the car ride, but he was sober upon arrival. The parrot belongs to Len Richmond’s 80-something year old mother. She owns the sex toy factory that provided the free mini bottles of lube for the table. The African Gray Parrot is called Chicky. He didn’t talk at the booth, but we hear he yacks up a storm at home. Anyway, Len’s mother and brother were in attendance for the debut of Naked in Paradise. I had brought a nice bottle of champagne to celebrate the launch and our pleasant and successful collaboration. I gave a cup to Len’s mother who promptly fed some to Chicky. We thus had a drunken parrot in our booth. And it turns out that Chicky can be a frisky drunk and is apparently gay. He was later making out with one of the popcorn boys I found wandering around the booths promoting Gays on Film. Once I saw them, I had to bring them over to share with everyone.

But back to Naked in Paradise, Len and his friends were a whole lot of fun in the booth. They bring a joy and mayhem that’s a real treat to witness. His book was also well-received. The cover garnered a few sales before he arrived, and it was sold out by the time he and his mom trundled away. The title will be carried at the A Different Light bookstores and a store in London. It’s well ranked on Amazon, and it’s only been out a week or so. We’re very pleased and hope do do more events with Len, his Mom and hopefully, Chicky.

Overall, Sybaritic Press did very well at the fair. In addition to Len Richmond’s title, Brenda Petrakos’ Stories From the Inside Edge did very well. One man bought a copy of all of our homoerotic content and another bought all of my titles. We had a great, if exhausting day and look forward to participating next year.

Vampires, Zombies and Hawaii Five-OWarning, spoilers for current season and 40 year old shows.

Because I was largely brain dead last Sunday, my only option while waiting for my body to keel over, was watching TV. Jon had gone to bed before 8pm, so I didn’t watch our usual line up. I found that CBS had the first episode of Moonlight for free on Itunes, so I thought, why not? I was curious, and I wanted to make sure that their vampires weren’t the same as the vampires in Demon Under Glass. I found I disagreed with my friends. This show wasn’t a pale imitation of Buffy or Angel. It was a pale imitation of Forever Knight. That’s surprising as Forever Knight wasn’t exactly great TV. I followed the show, but chalk that up to shows that I watch and don’t know why. It wasn’t horrible, but it was sloppy and more than a little silly. I doubt I’ll make the effort to tune in again. Meanwhile, there was no Speedle on CSI: Miami, zombie or otherwise. However, I found an amusing parallel to this week’s episode and the opener for Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Both, it turned out, had a plot about a young man seeking revenge on those who put their fathers in jail. Where Criminal Intent dealt with well-meaning peace officers who made errors against men they truly believed were guilty and had an outcome that was messy and complicated and brought closure to no one, Horatio Cain decided on a more Hawaii Five-O approach to resolution. Cain managed to have his would-be assassin steal his gun from his city issued Hummer and use it on him only to reveal that it is filled with blanks. This was very satisfying in Season 7’s A Gun for McGarrett (no, I dind't know this off-hand, I had to look it up. Search engines do amazing things these days), but that was a long time ago before TV writing evolved. Yeesh. Yet I will continue watching because I can’t help it.

I'm in the final quarter of A Soldier's Fate and expect that to publish in January. Meanwhile, we'll be shooting the short for The Gift of Surrender next month followed by either the short or feature for The Gunslinger. I know I'll regret saying this, but I can't wait to get back on a set.

Stay tuned!