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, January 28, 2008

Soldier's Fate Excerpt

The regular, weekly blog is below this excerpt.

Here it is, as promised. Note: This is homoerotic fiction and may not be to everyone's taste. This is also very much un'betaed. Continue at your own riske and without yelling at me.

To remind everyone of the plot for A Soldier's Fate:

Love was the Easiest Battle
Colonel Rik Heron thought he and his lover, Major Vincent Greven, were finally free. They had survived the treachery of military commanders and retired to head a foundation dedicated to the well being of their kind. Their lives would be filled with love and satisfying work making the lives of Altered soldiers better. But fate is not that kind. The landscape of the Foundation was as treacherous as any battlefield. The demands of their new roles and intrigues of the staff nearly tear their relationship apart. And despite the purge of mad generals, someone is still trying to kill them. To make matters infinitely worse, Bobby Greven, Vincent’s brother, disappeared with his squad during his first mission out of training. Thus Rik and Vincent must put on their uniforms and become weapons once more.

This excerpt occurs about a third of the way into the book. Rik and Vincent have had a huge personal crisis from which they are recoverying when Bobby's sudden, unexpected and very surprising love life causes a peculiar situation. To dissuade his brother from making a serious misstep, Vincent reveals a secret involving Rik that he had held since they were first serving together.


“Um...guys...I want to go to a brothel,” Bobby said before taking a bite from his sandwich.

I couldn’t have been more surprised if he had announced that he was going to clown college. Thank God Vincent had put down his knife. He gaped at his brother while I blinked at the young man.

“Are you stoned?” Vincent exclaimed hotly.

Bobby turned red, but his jaw was set and his eyes flashed. This was serious, but Vincent was on a tear.

“We just spent two hours with your girlfriend, and you want to be with a hooker?” Vincent demanded.

“You were Ms. Kramer?”

I almost chuckled at the thought of Bobby still using that formality while they were in bed.

“Bobby,” I said while placing a calming hand on Vincent’s. “You can see while we’re confused.”

“I want to go because of Ms. Kramer,” Bobby replied. He sighed in frustration when we continued to gape at him. “She so sophisticated and...I’m not. I thought that if I got some experience...she wouldn’t get bored with me.”

My lover sank onto a chair. His expression was odd, and his cheeks were very red.

“That won’t work,” Vincent said softly. “If someone else tries to touch you, it’s repulsive. Makes your skin crawl.”

“Vincent?” I asked after a hard swallow. “What are you saying?”

“Someone made me that kind of offer,” he replied. His gaze was intent on the floor. “He figured out that I wanted you. He knew I didn’t know anything...”

“Vincent looked up at Bobby. “I really wanted to learn, but every time he reached for me, I flinched...couldn’t help it.”

I stared hard at Vincent, but his eyes pleaded with mine to wait. I looked at Bobby instead.

“Your first experience should not be a matter of commerce,” I said. “there will be no real feelings thus nothing that can translate to being intimate with someone you love.”

Bobby looked uncertain.

“None of her reactions will be heartfelt,” I explained. “You may as well rent an automatron.”


“Yes,” I assured him. “It wouldn’t be good for the relationship if you handled Ellie like a sex worker.”


“We’ll get to that,” Vincent said. His voice was still quiet. “That first time is really important, and it should happen between people who care about each other. It meant everything to me that my first real kiss was with Rik. I didn’t know what I was doing, and that didn’t matter.”

“But aren’t guys supposed to know more?”

“How old-fashioned of you,” I chuckled. “Ellie is unconventional, and so are you. She is willing to risk a great deal to respond to your letter. I was clear to us today that she knows what you’ve experienced. I believe she was deeply touched at you wanted her to be the first. It meant the world to me to be Vincent’s first.”

“What is Ms. Kramer missing?”

“She can’t cover us or Altereds as a reporter anymore,” I replied. “That may adversely affect her career. Then, there sill be all the muttering about her hooking up with a young stud.”

“Or boy-toy,” Vincent added derisively. “I hear that a lot when people think I can’t.”

I frowned at that.

“How much could she lose?” Bobby fretted.

“It’s hard to say,” I replied honestly. “But she is well aware of the risks and still wants to explore the possibilities.”

Bobby swallowed hard. Vincent patted his shoulder.

“You’ll be fine, Bobby,” he said confidently. “You’ve got past the hard part. She noticed you and is interested. Smooth move.”

“How did you get a tux for New Year’s Eve?” I asked as the mood lightened.

Bobby smiled. “General Braun helped me rent one with my savings. I think he was amused by it all.”

“I’m sure of that,” Vincent snorted. “But you did all right.”

“It helped that her date got hammered,” Bobby laughed. “I don’t know what I would have done if he hadn’t. That guy was really good looking.”

“I think you would have found a way, young Greven,” I replied. “You’re good at improvisation – the mark of a great soldier.”

“Thanks, Rik,” Bobby replied with a shy smile. “So, Ms. Kramer came to see you?”

“Yes, Ellie was worried that you were throwing away your affections before you had any experience,” I replied.

“What did you tell her?”

“We told her the Grevens make up their minds about whom they love quite young,” I assured him. “And they have a surprising amount of maturity and commitment.”

Bobby beamed at us. He really was as beautiful as his brother. No wonder Ellie was blushing so much.

“Are you guys really okay with this,” Bobby asked as he ate his sandwich.

Vincent smiled his small shy smile. “I could tell you that you’re taking on too much with your Induction and training.”

“And you’d be right,” I added.

“But fighting your heart can be dangerous, too,” Vincent murmured. “It wasn’t good for me or the squad. Probably sent me to the Medical Wing more than once from injuries. But you can’t let this split your focus, Bobby.”

“I won’t,” Bobby said resolutely. “Becoming an Altered is my priority. That’s why we’re just exchanging letters now.”

The rest of the evening passed quietly. All of us appreciated just how normal that night was. I needed to talk to Vincent about what he had revealed earlier, but it could wait while we enjoyed each other’s company. There were a finite number of evenings like that left. Vincent had been grateful that I let sleeping dogs lie, but he tensed as soon as I locked our bedroom door. Somehow, I knew who it was that had made him that offer. Knowing the man was dead didn’t really help.

“You couldn’t have protected me,” Vincent said softly as he flopped onto the bed. “You wouldn’t have seen.”

“How did he see?” I countered.

Vincent shrugged. “I think he saw me watching you.”

“You watched me? Where? When?”

Vincent blushed, lowered his eyes to consider the floor. I moved to where he sat, reaching out to tilt his chin up. I smiled at him.

“Please, tell me.”

“You would read under a tree near your office window,” he replied. His eyes warmed. “I could watch you from my quarters without your seeing. I loved catching you that way. You looked so serene and...”

“And what?” I asked softly.

“Kissable,” Vincent replied with a sigh. “I’d lose track of everything watching you...dreaming of touching you or having you touch me. I think Raden saw me then.”

Vincent saw the guilt and regret in my expression. He shook his head at me emphatically.

“He couldn’t force me, Rik. Even then, I was too strong for him. He never touched me. And he never stopped me from watching you. I didn’t care if he saw me,” Vincent said. His tone was quiet but intense.

I can’t stand that anyone offered you that – especially over me,” I whispered. “I shielded you from many eyes and advances.”


“A few dozen over the years,” I muttered ruefully. “Far too many, considering your age.”

“None of them matter. I was always yours and yours alone,” Vincent murmured. “Please, Rik...don’t let anyone – especially him come between us. We’ve been through too much.”

My lover gasped when I reached out to caress his elegantly strong jaw, moving back to grasp his ponytail.

“I wish I had known, and yet knowing would have been torture,” I whispered, tracing his lips with the index finger of my free hand.

“Why? Why torture?”
“I could have never done this?”

Lord, I loved Vincent’s kiss. He was yielding to me, allowing me to press him back onto the mattress. I covered him with my body as we kissed. I petted his hair after our lips parted.

“Tell me, love,” I asked softly. “How had you planned to have me back then?”

“Is this all about you night?” Vincent demanded mildly.

“Tell me,” I gently pleaded. “I didn’t get to be courted.”

“Jerkwad,” he chuckled.


“I didn’t have a plan,” he admitted. “I knew you sometimes dated men, but I never saw you with anyone like me.”

“Love, you are singular in every way.”

Vincent smiled as he rolled his eyes. “I had no clue other than if I was enough of a pain in the ass, you would stay close to meditate with me or keep an eye on me. For a long time, that was enough. It was all I thought I could get...when I came back and you held me like that on the battlefield – I couldn’t believe it.”

“As you walked away from me toward all that fire in that pit, the memory of our last year together in the squad slammed into my mind,” I murmured. “It finally dawned on me why you had made me more crazy in that time than you ever had, yet I couldn’t stand to have you out of my sight. You had become a man. You were of age, and I wanted you. But you were still under my command. It had been impossible to let myself think of you as a lover.

“Still protecting me,” he observed.

“Hard habit to break, Love.”

“Protect me now, Rik. I need you.”

My lover was vulnerable then. We had been through almost more than we could stand in recent days. We were still healing emotionally. I knew what he needed. I still knew how to protect him.

“You have me, Love...body and soul,” I whispered, rolling over so that he was on top of me.

Vincent peppered my face with kisses. His eyes were solemn – almost reverent when they met mine.”

“I love you,” he said softly. “It’s not just about wanting you.”

“You show that to me every time you look at me,” I replied. Then, I smiled. “It’s okay to want me, too.”

“Cocky bastard,” Vincent murmured before kissing me.

The kiss was hot, almost rough though his hands were gentle. I couldn’t think after that. His mouth was working me. First, there was that long, incredible kiss. Then he took me with his mouth, pushing me toward climax then pulling back over and over until I was rendered into a mindless and pleading plaything. My diabolical lover was then pushing into me. I didn’t climax while he pounded into me just how much he owned me, but the intense and constant state of bliss I had until lapsing into sleep was more than enough.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Costumes, More Dopplers and Ohio Boys

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.


I’m even more distracted than usual doing this blog. I’m an hour late getting started, because I was processing photos from the great costume sojourn for the short films. I’m not nearly as technically savvy as the hubby, so figuring out how to remove red eye and other things took me a while. I’m also building a myspace page for Hidden Passion Films(HPF). The website is the official voice for the projects. The myspace is more for fans of the actors and romance novel fans to see the behind the scenes stuff. It’s the fun place. Again, not tecchy savvy, so everything takes longer for me. I’ve just finished uploading the first photos and blogs there. It’s a public site, so you don’t have to join myspace to visit. However, if you are a myspace member, please friend us for updates that may not make it to this blog.

Costume Fun

On Wednesday, we took the four leads of HPF to hunt for costumes at one of the larger costume houses in the area, Western Costume (not named for costuming westerns) click on the link and check out the film and galleries. For all costume photos, so to http://www.myspace.com/hiddenpassions and click on pic under the dime novel photo. As I said last week, they buy tons of leftover outfits and accessories in bulk from the studios then rent them to big and small productions for a great price. That day, we found costumes from Charlie Wilson’s War, and there is a whole aisle of costumes from Waterworld. Its a massive facility with aisles that go on and on. Each aisle has three tiers of racks stuffed with costumes. We’ve used it for the Privateers and other projects. Funny, this photo seems familiar – oh, it is. I still don’t like going up those ladders. That day, we were searching for authentic looking western era clothing for The Gunslinger, and I wanted to eliminate that costume house as a source of costumes for The Gift of Surrender (GoS). I had a feeling, I would do better finding fantasy costumes online. We had Jennifer Sparks (KD Delaney, the Gunslinger) the least amount of time, so we were all business finding her a frontier dress and a cowboy hat. A group of four guys nearly broke their necks (actually passed us then backed up in a group), to get a look at her. She’s nearly six feet tall and quite stunning. When Travis Willingham (Shadow Smith/Matt, the Gunslinger) arrived, David Matthiessen (Nikulainen, GoS) and Lisa Lee (Sarianna, GoS) were already trying on capes. Thus, we were all together when we reached the aisle of hats. Actors in an aisle full of all sorts of hats leads to only one thing – utter silliness. And the fun went on for a while. It was all we could do not to join them. Somehow, we managed to find all the costume pieces for Travis – save for the gun. I’m told that’s a prop, so we must look elsewhere. And we found amazing capes for both David and Lisa, but I wasn’t happy with the dresses, tunics and such. If I wanted cod pieces – there were plenty of those, but overall, online shopping is my best bet for GoS costumes.

As I write this, I’m searching for links to fantasy costumes and accessories and researching pet friendly motels in our shooting location. I’m also still looking for oil lamps. Ack!

More Doppler Fun

While we were doing all this running around, it’s been raining – hard. It’s been raining so much that the Doppler-crazed LA weather folks have calmed down into resignation. It’s actually been worse this week than when the storms first started, but the rain is routine for a while. Jon and are reminded of the Albert Hammond song ‘It Never Rains in Southern California.’ Seems it never rain in Southern California, Seems I've often heard that kind of talk before, It never rains in California, But girl, don't they warn ya, It pours man it pours. Before moving out here, we thought that was a metaphor. Nope, it was literal, man was it literal. I mean, the LA river actual water in it. Yes, it’s that big canal they had the drag race in Grease. Most of the year, one can walk in the LA river. Last night, not so much. Long story short, it’s been a chore getting around. I’m really tired.

Why Ohio Matters

And I don’t mean as a political belle weather. I’m talking about film. We’ve often said that we know we have a good script concept if our Ohio friends like it. They are the middle America, all American guys that big studios covet. I bring this up because of the great debate over Cloverfield. Though I wasn’t interested in the concept, Jon was jazzed as an experimental film maker. It was a refreshing, bold take on the old monster movie. There was huge buzz and huge box office the opening weekend. But in the film biz, it’s the second week that tells the tale. How much the film will or will not drop off in box office accurately predicts what a film will make over the complete theatrical run. I was speaking to my Ohio posse last week about Cloverfield. One said that he and his friends thought they could shoot the film better. The other said too Blair Witch – done that. Neither is a good sign for the next weekend. It had a drop off of 75% -- ouch. The chic flick, 27 Dresses that Cloverfield crushed last week made more money and the over 60 year old Rambo made even more. When Hollywood is hiring all of those expensive audience consultants, they would do well to spend the money on a few phone calls to some regular Ohio guys.

Caption Contest

More than a few folks were confused with the two images for a caption in the blog. Thus, I’m extending it a week. You can find the image here.

Soldiers Fate Excerpt

I’ll post a link for that later today. Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sudsy Actors, Historical Nakedness and Crickets

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.

Once again, I have a lot to cover. It’s been a busy week and not everything made the blog last week. But, as always, my friends distract me.

Naked Book Reading
Not the author! Our own Len Richmond is seen here giving a reading from his superbly funny and sexy, Naked in Paradise. Enjoy!

Craig has a one legged cricket living on his bookshelf. We think he means the cricket has one hind leg, because it hobbles and doesn’t chirp. Craig isn’t an earthy-crunchy kind of guy who thinks insects should be allowed to live like any living creature. He is more prone to crunch the critter on his shoe and scrape it off. His lovely girlfriend is the kind soul in the household. She’s been feeding it. Thus, it hangs out on a bookshelf next to Craig’s computer watching him work. He blames his girlfriend’s kind nature on being from Ohio. I can’t verify this as my friends from Ohio are all guys. Tell me, Ohio peeps, are the women there prone to feed and shelter helpless creatures? Meanwhile, I suggested to Craig that the unfortunate cricket might be his muse. He wasn’t sure about that, but he conceded that the critter on the bookshelf is far easier to cope with than the fully grown, live sheep he found in his dorm hallway while in college. Did you know that sheep do not like to go down staircases? He still hasn’t made a decision about the webcam.

Micro-budgeted Film Making Fun

The road to our second feature has been perilous and frustrating, to put it mildly. Of late, a fun project with a cast I am longing to work with has been stalled between the funding sources and the cable network interested in the concept. Each wants proof of some sort that the concept will be a sellable one. Thus, we decided to make a five minute version that captures who the leading pair of characters are and what the film will be about and how it will look and feel. The catch in this plan is that we don’t have a lot of cash to put into a proof of concept. And I mean there is more lint in our coffers than cash. But LA is a film town. Surely, you can rustle up what you need that is professional grade and just start filming, you say. Ha! I say. In this town, film is big business. Everyone that might be involved wants major bucks or at least they want more bucks than we can afford. It requires a great deal of creativity to get what we need to make the shorts look great. For instance, there is the rain barrel.

In one scene, our hero, Shadow Smith, is rinsing the trail dust off his big, buff body with water from a wooden rain barrel. I believe that scene is pivotal to the short and spent a lot of time talking it over with our DP. Actually, I talked about little else to the DP. Getting the light foam of suds sliding down that broad back just so is vastly important to me. It may even be important to the film. Anyway, before I’m distracted beyond all hope, I’ll continue. It’s possible to rent anything imaginable for a film in this town. I’ll give you a link to a typical prop house chosen at random from the 101 prop houses listed online. There is great stuff in those warehouses. I’m sure there is a rain barrel in one of them. However, renting is not an option for us in this case. The rental price may be terrific, but almost all prop houses want an insurance rider for each of their items rented. Minimum premiums are about $1500 for a million dollars of coverage – average coverage for prop and equipment rentals. I don’t find such requirements unreasonable. We had policies for both The Privateers short and Demon Under Glass. And, oh boy, did we need them. Things get broken or lost all the time on film shoots big or small. A hideously expensive camera was damaged beyond repair shooting Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It fell in a vat of chocolate. We demolished several glass props during the return trip to the prop house during The Privateers. During Demon Under Glass, it was the wreck of the prop machine guns. The insurance was money well spent. We just can’t do it this time.

Thus, my week was spent trying to buy a wooden rain barrel and period kitchen items for another scene at thrift store prices. There actually is a thrift store/prop house near here that I plan to check out. But I wanted to see what was online first. The big problem (and one I hadn’t counted on) was how difficult the Google search turned out to be. Finding the right combination of key words was a bear. It took a week of off and on searching along with inquiring on every film list I belong to, but I found that rain barrel and the kitchen wares locally. And though we weren’t looking for one, we found an amazing, full blown costume rental and sales place five minutes from where we live. Costumes are less of an issue than props for inexpensive rentals. There are several rental houses here that buy used costumes from the big studios in bulk for cheap so the studios can have the storage space. They rent them very cheaply in return and don’t require an insurance rider. If the costumes are lost or damaged, the renter pays the purchase price for the item in addition to the rental. I mean, Warner Bros will likely not have a need for Babylon 5 costumes anymore. So you and a whole squad of friends could look really authentic for Halloween or that Youtube masterpiece for very little money.

We lucked out on finding a Director of Photography who is talented but just starting out. He has his own equipment and a lot of creative energy. That will help us out a great deal. We also have a guy who can compose and lay down music tracks and handle the very mild FX load. Typically, we’d ask Gabriel Koerner for that assistance, but he’s hip deep in digital in Mach 5’s working the Speed Racer film. The location is not local. It’s a three hour trip in good traffic north of LA. We needed real frontier-like vistas, an actual ranch and horses to pull this off. Naturally, we are acquainted through colleagues with real ranchers who act on the side. They are being obliging in exchange for small parts in the feature. The costume hunt is on this week with our cast for The Gunslinger and for the other Proof of Concept short, The Gift of Surrender (much more on those details as we get closer). I’ll provide details and perhaps photos in next week’s blog.

Caption Fun

I had one illustration in mind for this week, and it is a lulu. However, whilst viewing it on the PC, Jon walked by and blurted out what could be the only caption for this thing: THIS IS SAPRTA!!! The actual painting by Jacques-Louis David hangs in the Louvre and is gi-normous by gi-hugic, or 13 feet by 17 feet for laymen. Here is a link to a larger version of the image. http://www.goddess-athena.org/Museum/Temples/Sparta/Leonidas_David.html Though I don’t think it was on display when we were at the Louvre. I’d remember something that huge and that naked. At any rate, I had to choose a new illustration for the caption contest. It is from another historical text depicting the arrival of King Louis XI (that’s 11, not 14 as google and yahoo insist). I’m not sure what he was arriving for, but it must have been quite a gathering. Give me your best zingers and win an Amazon gift certificate. This image may be too small to catch all the detail. A larger version can be found on this link. Good luck!

Must See TV
Thankfully, the WGA strike should soon be over. Meanwhile, do go and enjoy this inspired piece of solidarity on the actors’ parts. This is a real gem.


Soldier’s Fate Excerpt

Alas, this will be delayed. My other duties prevented me from choosing something titillating without having too many spoilers. I shall post it next week.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Plots, Twists and Unruly Characters

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.

We have a lot of ground to cover today. I even manage to talk about writing! Really! But first a X-post.

Film From Sybpress Author's Story

And now a message from our own Brenda Petrakos, author of Stories from the Inside Edge:

Just wanted to let you know that our short film COP will be screening at the Cinema Slam event in Park City!We will have two screenings, one on January 22nd at 11am and one on the 24th at 10am. While we're not in Sundance, Slamdance, or any of the dances, it should be fun to screen on Main Street in the heart of the festival!!!!Details are below. If you are planning to go to Park City, let us know. If not, let your friends know!

For info:http://www.mandy.com/1/board2.cfm?v=25695150

Craig’s Yard
We have prevailed upon him to put a webcam on the yard. Despite being disturbed about the number of people from this blog being interested in his weirdness. He’s become fixated on what’s happening there when he isn’t home. Of course, when that will actually happen is another matter entirely. I’ll keep you posted. I should note that Craig pointed out that this yard isn’t nearly as gruesome as the yard he had while living next to the beach in San Diego. His beach was at the end of a current that brought anyone who drowned nearby to his front walk. Craig said he had to really careful running in the fog. He never knew who he might step in.


No, I haven’t developed a taste for anomalies. I still hate ‘em. I’m actually going to talk about writing. Even without the distractions from the holidays and my other jobs, I was having a struggle with the plot for A Soldier’s Fate. When Jon has a block writing a story, it’s because he believes he’s taken a wrong turn somewhere and needs to start over. With me, my blocks or slow-downs is because I’m fighting the direction the material wants to go in. It’s not that I have no control over where my characters go. And I do know the destination for their journeys before I start writing.

Usually, when I’m fighting with my own prose is because I don’t see what the themes are doing with one another. I never plan for my stories to have themes. Rather, I don’t consciously think in those terms. When I was writing The Gift of Surrender, I was writing and erotic fantasy romance. I didn’t notice until the end of the first draft that there were themes like the consequences of impulsive behavior and that failure to communicate can destroy a nation as easily as it can destroy a family. These themes come from character development for me. Often, I am so focused on that development that I don’t notice the overall themes until I do something that’s contrary to them.

I thought A Soldier’s Fate would be about Rik and Vincent’s developing relationship and Bobby’s journey into the military. And it is about those themes, but it is also about the choices that Rik and Vincent were not given growing up and how they impact the decisions Bobby makes. There was also a great deal going on with Vincent while he was in the squad that Rik knew nothing about. There is far more discovery between the characters that I hadn’t planned, but that’s making it a lot of fun for me to write. All of this seems disorganized, I know. I seldom do formal outlines of novels (that usually happens only if an outside entity like a publisher requests it or I’m writing with a partner). I do skeletal outlines of the plot. However, I do a lot of character work before I start a new book. I know their histories inside and out, and I really know their personalities. In the case of A Soldier’s Choice, I had to develop a world set a century from now. Most of it didn’t end up in the book, because the book was about the two lovers. I revealed enough of their world to make their actions and attitudes make sense. More of this world’s politics will be revealed in A Soldier’s Fate, because they directly impact the major characters.

I leave some of the thematic elements to unfold through the interactions of the characters. That’s the fun part of writing for me. Wouldn’t writing something that was more finely outline be more fun? I have found that is not the case for me. Demon Under Glass was very hard to write as a novel because I was hemmed in by the script and the film. However, I did find some character nuances with Joe McKay that surprised and impressed Jon. I kept the point of view of the book largely with Joe giving it a film noir quality that Jon really liked. If we are given the opportunity to re-do the film as a pilot, he would utilize them.

I’ll post an excerpt from A Soldier’s Fate next week.

Plot Twists

It is very hard for most films or TV shows to surprise me. That’s a downside to being a writer. It’s a real downer to anyone in the room watching something with me. Our former room mate forbade me from making any sort of noise during mysteries or suspense programs, because I invariably knew what was going to happen. Fortunately, I enjoy the ride just as much as the destination. Anyway, I found myself profoundly surprised by last week’s episode of Criminal Minds. I won’t give anything away here, but the ending was absolutely jaw dropping. And the best part was that the twist was in keeping with what had gone on in the rest of the episode and completely within the canon for the show.

Warning! There be spoilers ahead!!!

Coincidentally, I found this list of best all time plot twists on line. Now, Jon and I have problems with most best whatever number lists from entertainment magazines. They seem designed merely to generate angry fan mail. We saw an EW list of 25 all time great science fiction on film or TV for the last 25 years. It had V but not any of the Star Wars films (though it had the badly animated Clone Wars). That sort of list makes no sense and is infuriating. I actually admonished Jon for reading so many of them. They all tend to make him angry. This list from Premiere.com was a good one. I wasn’t surprised by two of the movie twists. Actually, I don’t know of any woman who didn’t know that was a dude in The Crying Game. As for Angel Heart, he kept looking in the mirror for goodness sake, who else could it be? The rest of films on the list had great twists. I forget because we’ve seen Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back so often that it had a huge twist. I was in a first screening when it came out. The audience gasped. I was shocked. I love being shocked in a film out of surprise – not because it was bad. I wish it happened more.

No caption this week. Really nutty with the film shorts right now. We’ll be taking our casts to look for costumes this week. I’ll likely have many tales to tell in the next blog.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Dopplers, Tree Mutilation, Brad and Angelina

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.

Ringing in the New

It was out with the old and in with the new. I kinda like that tree photo. We may use it for next year’s Christmas Card. Jon and I spent a quiet New Year’s Eve. I was really tired from who knows what, and Jon was obsessing with Legos Star Wars. That was my fault though. I gave it to him. New Year’s day involved tree mutilation and undecorating the house. We were all set to get back to work.

The weirdness began almost immediately. Strange things were happening in Craig’s yard again. Past strangeness include the discovery of a large, red McCaw parrott who addressed Craig as Lucky and Jack Nicholson having an argument with a woman that Craig did not know. On each of these occasions, Craig was en route to a job, so he had no time to ask what was going on. The oddities would always be gone upon his return. The new oddness was from a homeless woman who was the 1956 prom queen of Palisades High. She was screaming profanity in his yard and threatening to have her prom date beat up Craig and the other tenants of the building. I suggested that Craig put up a web cam to capture the oddities. Apparently, there are things going on while he is at work that he never sees though there if often peculiar evidence left behind. If he does, I will provide a link.

Dooplers and Weather Woes

For a city that has very boring weather most of the year, Los Angeles local news stations have a lot of high powered weather equipment. Most involve the word doppler. The least doppler intensive – at least by the name they use – is Live Weather Doppler Plus at Channel 4. Channel2 has Sky View Doppler Radar with Futurecast. That sounds both impressive and sci-fi. But the winner seems to be Channel 7’s Live Mega Doppler 7000 HD with forecaster Dallas Raines. I am not making this up. The problem is that when you have all this equipment and not a lot to do most of the year, actual storms make these forecasters and their stations go absolutely insane. The rain storm of the last few days was really bad. We didn’t lose power, but I’ve never had to walk in wind that strong. And I haven’t had that cold a soaking since I lived back east. But the coverage may have well included the phrase 40 percent chance of the apocolypse. This feed was picked up by CNN and Yahoo. The first of the worried e-mails from Philly came in while we were still at work. In addition to figuring out how to get home without getting wacked by falling tree limbs and palm fronds (those things are heavy) or LA drivers who spin out in a drizzle, we had to worry about our folks worrying. Criminey! The forecasters or futurecasters remain unrepentent. I think they’re drooling of the notion that LA will have a real rainy season this year.

New Year, Old Writing Projects

We hit the ground running with the film projects. Our partner had a meeting about our whole catalogue yesterday. HE gets to sit at a table next to Brad and Angelina (he said she was incredibly beautiful without any make-up). We were at the eye doctor. OY! At any rate, the meeting went places that we didn’t expect. That’s one of the truisms we’ve learned out here: meetings never go the way they are planned. It went well, but the scripts that this agent was interested were ones that we thought were dead. And the big film project, The Privateers, is finally going to have a lead. Can’t say who yet, but I’ll be able to soon. Follow –up meetings to discuss development funding are scheduled for next week. We won’t get really excited until checks clear. We’ve been this far before. Meanwhile, we’re gearing up to shoot the shorts for Hidden Passion Films. If the weather isn’t really unstable, we should start shooting them bey the end of the month.

I should have a firm publishing date for A Soldier’s Fate in a couple of weeks. I’m back to pounding that out. It’s great to be haning out with Rik and Vincent for a while.

New Caption Contest next week!