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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!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Cow Corpses, Mood Writing and other Ravings

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.

Cow Corpses and Robot Scorpions

The development phase of The Gunslinger continues as we await a start date.

‘Do we still need a cow corpse?’ That began one of my mornings last week. I had to wrack my pre-caffienated brain for what in the heck my partner was talking about. In the many drafts written over many years, The Gunslinger had a scene in which one of the most squirrelly henchmen shoots one of the heroine’s cattle several times prior to attempting to shoot one of her ranch hands. It was going to be a particularly bizarre scene as the actor attached to the part will most likely be shooting at his own father. We had to re-write the scene sans cow corpse because of the insane expense of a fake cow. Those of you who followed the Demon Under Glass shoot know we had a cow in that (I hadn’t realized we had a cow fixation until just now), but the expense was about a third of the film’s tiny budget. We wouldn’t even have a trained cow pretend to get shot. PETA would have a cow. They demanded documentation from the producers of O Brother, Where Art Thou (incidentally, that is a really good and really funny film) that their flying cow was not real. They had to provide step-by-step proof the process of putting the CG animal in the film. We re-wrote the scene sans cow. My partner was relieved, because that would have upended our finely tuned budget. As it was we were surprised that a horse that is standing still is about a quarter of the rental price as one with a rider on it. There are a lot of horses. The other burning question of the day was ‘Have you found a robotic scorpion?’ I confessed to not really looking for one yet. Why even bother with a robot scorpion? Though Travis is game to interact with a real one, I’m not sure the insurance company will be as keen. Though we may do a real one behind glass a la Raiders of the Lost Ark and the cobra. I think we’ll need the robot, because PETA would likely object to the way Shadow Smith disposes of his little morning guest.

Scary Myspace Notes

Under the category of captions you don’t want to read on photos from your leading man: ‘Here’s where I cracked my head open under the waterfall.’ Jon wondered why I was screaming while checking my e-mail. I often scream, but not usually when I’m looking at photos of Travis. He’s fine, but oy the palpitations! Anyway, his photos under the water shirtless prompted me to release my favorite photo from the trailer shoot (gee, I wonder why). You can find it at http://www.myspace.com/hiddenpassions click on Pics underneath the yellow smiley icon. Then, go to Trailer Shoot for a larger version.

Writing Atmosphere

I’m often asked by writers and readers what music I listen to when I write. The short answer is that I don’t listen to music when I write. I get distracted by the lyrics or the memories that the lyrics evoke, and I’m derailed from writing. Jon gets around that by listening to instrumental soundtracks when he write, so the words are distracting him. We have an insanely large collection of soundtracks. That doesn’t work for me. I get to thinking about the film the music is from and then I’m profoundly distracted. I have been inspired by songs or tracks of music. A Soldier’s Choice tone of hope and despair is from the song Rise by Yoko Kanno, performed by. The song Nasty Boys by Janet Jackson looms largely in the first story in a memoir about my mother. For some reason, Extreme Ways, the closing theme for the Bourne films by John Powell, evokes the feel of A Soldier’s Fate. I listen to news when I write or TV shows that I can tune out to background noise. It’s a habit from growing up. The family wasn’t into peace and quiet when I was doing homework. They needed their TV shows. I learned to tune them out. Oddly enough, I can’t do that with music. The other thing I’ve been doing while I write the Soldier’s novels is cooking. Maybe the reason for that is that Vincent cooks. Most days while I work on the book, there is stock simmering or something roasting. The house smells wonderful. I imagine that’s how Vincent’s kitchen would smell like. Today, there is the second attempt on veal stock and a roasted chicken stock simmering. Soon, there will be a sweet potato pie. The homey aromas don’t match the emotional torment I’m heaping on my characters (it’s near the end of the book), but it helps me work.

More Raves than Rants
Warning: Major Spoilers for a whole lot of stuff

Even before I watched the recordings of the double header, CSI: Miami, I was in a kinder, gentler mood. One of the TV shows I was listening to for background noise while inputting A Soldier’s Fate is Inronside, the wheelchair detective, on hulu.com. That show was part of a litany of Detective shows that had an adjective in front of the word Detective like The old Detective (Barnaby Jones), the fat Detective (Cannon), the blind Detective (Longstreet) and the concussion Detective (Mannix). Ironside reminded me just how goofy cop shows were back in the day. Thus, I was more kindly disposed to last week’s lunacy on CSI: Miami. Turns out, it was a fun pair of episodes. There was the silliness of a civilian instigating the extradition of a police official to a foreign country, but the resolution was a delightful surprise. There was Horatio Cain with only one gun and one clip against five, count ‘em five bad guys with guns. While the central bad guy is yacking about what was going to happen to him, Horation takes aim and shoots everybody. And he takes down two more waves of villains before the opening credits! It was actually amusing. The kidnapping of our spook-girl, Calleigh actually made sense in the context of the episode and it made clever use of basic science and forensics in how she helped them find her. I found myself rather pleased. And that wasn’t the only show to top itself. Criminal Minds had a brilliant opening scene that surprised and tickled me. But the best of the week, of course, was the return of Battlestar Galactica. I won’t discuss it here. If you haven’t seen it before, you’d have to start from the mini series to follow my raving. And then there are the huge spoilers that even the most casual comment will cause. So I will say only that it’s not only the best Sci-fi on TV (smart, sexy, funny and complex), it’s some of the best drama ever aired on TV. And it never fails to surprise me in a good way.

Stay tuned for more on the film and the book next week!

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