Welcome Gentle Readers

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

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Book News and Boys with Back

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.

A Soldier’s Fate E-Book

The saga of why it’s more than a week late is below. Meanwhile, here’s how to find it:

For Microsoft Reader, use this link:

For Acrobat PDF, use this link:

A Soldier's Fate Acrobat Reader PDF

The paperback should be on amazon.com in about three weeks.

The Saga of the Missing Notebook

I got a call from my proofreader on Monday or Tuesday of last week. She said that it looked like something was missing from the manuscript. I looked at the pages she’d e-mailed back and realized a whole notebook was missing. I hadn’t noticed, because I changed my routine with doing this book. I input the notebook pages, send it to the proofreader and then refine it. Since I was typing on autopilot, I just didn’t notice. We couldn’t find the notebook, of course. I had to work from my outline and what I remembered. In the midst of all of that, there were crises amongst my friends that I simply couldn’t ignore. It was especially hard to ignore the problem that showed up on my doorstep. I was glad of the visit. But the ordeals left me exasperated, bereft and heartbroken. It’s hard to write erotica after that. Somehow, the pages were done by the wee small hours on Sunday. I sent the pages to the proofreader while Jon and I went to see Speed Racer (more on that below). Why go to a movie when exhausted? A friend worked on it and it had been weeks since the release. We had to see it before it left our theater. He’s expecting a comment soon. Jon formatted the pages into the .pdf when we got home. The website will go up tomorrow.

This was a traumatic end to what had been a largely pleasurable experience. I love Rik and Vincent more than ever, and I’m not sad that the book is finished. They won’t be away from me for long. Aside from developing A Soldier’s Choice into a script, there will be a third book sometime next year. The guys have a bigger battle to fight on behalf of their kind. And there are my readers to continue. The first book is still selling well, and I’m getting mail from all over the place. I mean, some really surprising countries. It’s all very flattering and exciting.

Month of Fun – Almost Done

I’m still managing small indulgences in the midst of all the hub bub. They are mostly food related, of course. I am having lunch with two attractive actors. I suppose that is an oral and visual indulgence. The big treat was actually Speed Racer. I know the reviews were not very kind, but I thin the reason for that is two fold. One, there’s great fun for critics to bash the Wachoskis. I never thought they were deserving of the delirious praise over the Matrix films though I really liked Bound. However, I think that lately the critics are engaging in their favorite thing of bashing what they had built up. If they knew anything at all about the subject of the film (Basically, Speed is young race car driver who gets involved with international intrigues that often involve the fate of the world and who lives with a little brother and a monkey that have their own intrigues) shouldn’t be expecting anything that resembles logic. I think the film did quite well in constructing a plot that didn’t make my head explode, and it had far more character development than it had any right to have. Beyond that, it had some really, really adorable boys to look at. And all those young man had back, if you know what I mean – even the delicious Taejo Togokahn, played by Korean pop sensation Rain, a nemesis of Stephen Colbert. It was an amusing little film, a proper tribute to the animated series and a treat for the eyes.

I have a marvelous rant on the end of the TV season, including CSI: Miami, but I’m too tired to finish now. It will be a treat for next week.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Blog Delay

I'm in the middle of a lot of craziness today. The blog and a major annoucement will be up this evening or late tonight. Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hats, Rants and Blofeld Blues

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.

Too Many Hats

I hit a wall late this week. Actually, I literally feel like I hit a wall at high speed. There have been too many hats to wear and too many tasks to juggle. And there have been many diverse, personal responsibilities pulling at me. Almost two weeks ago, while under more than my usual levels of stress, I twisted my back. I’ve since been searching for that one position that doesn’t cause me screaming pain. That position seems to change on a whim. Worry not, I’ve been through this before. It just takes weeks to really heal. Thus, those who have contacted me this week via phone or e-mail and thought I was a trifle snarky. I was. Sorry about that. This affliction has not kept me from doing the work my hats demand. A Soldier’s Fate is in the hands of the proofreader for a final check. She’s very busy and popular, but she promises that she’ll get it back to us asap. Jon has the formatting done and the web page is ready to upload (there’s even a never seen excerpt on the page). It’s just a matter of days. I'll make a blog announcement the moment the links are live.

True Art

If you haven’t yet, you must pick up a copy of Sarah Feligh’s Sort of Gone. And if you don’t believe me, hear the amazing radio interview and commentary here. Sarah knows baseball and she sure knows her poetry. But somehow, the discussion of both in that interview is so down to earth and accessible, that anyone listening would be moved by it. I wish I could write poetry.

Right now, I need a Haiku that uses the words, cellphone and flame-thrower.

Month of Fun – Halfway Through

The fun continues even if I’m on the floor with my legs propped up. Minds out of the gutter, you naughty readers. The chocolate cake was a success. And that chocolate butter cream icing is so sinfully good, I’m thinking of marketing it in squeeze bottles to use as party favors (now, your minds can go to the gutter). We had a rare day off from the Archive last Monday. And between our plans falling through and my back, we happened to be home to watch some wonderfully dreadful daytime TV. Whenever I’m home on a weekday, I like to catch an episode of Hawaii 5-0. The last time was the pimp themed episode we watched during Thanksgiving. This time it was an early episode that we had never seen before. I hadn’t thought that was possible. It was a hoot, but I’ll say more about that when I do my TV rant below. We still haven’t seen any of the new releases. I’m hoping that will change next weekend when we have another three-day holiday. I’m also hoping to feel good enough to stand in front of a stove for as long as it takes to make that fish soup a la Anthony Bourdain.

Gunslinger Trailer Q and A

We’re getting waves and waves of hits and some lovely comments. I’ve also received some really good questions via the production company’s e-mail. I’ll summarize the questions and answer them. The most asked question was Is the scene in the trailer one that will be in the film? No. The dialogue in the dinner scene is from two different scenes. I stitched them together to explain what is behind the many misconceptions about Shadow Smith and what is at the heart of KD’s range war with Tom Kenner. That scene covers most of the main plot of the film. There will be a table-top love scene in the film that plays out much the same way as it does in the trailer. That love scene is the tamest of the feature. Matt doesn’t like that Shadow Smith novel, does he? No, he really doesn’t. It isn’t until KD actually reads him some of the story that he realizes how off the mark it is from his life. The novels have made being on the run very difficult. He is also flummoxed by their popularity. This was a reality in the Wild West. Dime novel versions of real life heroes and villains were very popular and caused some strange situations for the subjects of the fiction. We’ve speculated that if there is more than one film about Matt and KD that these stories will continue to bring them problems. Will we get to see Shadow in action? I’m assuming that means action other than the love scenes. Yes, the viewer will see Shadow in action. There are early scenes that clearly demonstrate that his reputation isn’t entirely fictional. He can be a very dangerous man. Viewers need to see that first to understand how complex he is later in the film. Keep those hits, comments and questions coming.

CSI: Miami – Better with Tivo
Warning: Spoilers and run on sentences below.

It’s clear that I need to record the show first and watch it with the ability to skip the dopier parts. Though in last week’s episode, that would have been most of the show. I nearly broke the remote trying to fast forward through the thing. Before anyone gets their knickers in a knot, it is always good to see Garett on TV. I know he’s happiest when he’s working, and I was tickled when I heard he’d be guesting. But even he wasn’t happy with what he saw. Apparently, he was color corrected in post to a shade of tanning salon orange (I thought it was the make-up) and he was aged (I thought it was the make-up). Those weren’t my only problems with this real bomb of an episode. There was their Anthony Pellicano character played by Tom Sizemore, who I thought was still in jail. No Private Eye or attorney can get a crime scene investigator pulled of a case while it’s ongoing. They may have something that could challenge the validity of the evidence at trail, but no civilian has that kind of sway with a department. Law enforcement would respond by yanking the guy’s PI license and perhaps jail him for obstruction. Have none of these writers ever seen an episode of Harry O? I don’t see why they even need to collect evidsence. The department seems to have acquired the computer systems from Minority Report. Why waste time with gunshot residue or even DNA when they can just ask the Precogs who did it? The plot was so convoluted that it was hard to follow. The Hawaii 5-0 episode, King Kamehameha’s Blues that involved an elaborate caper complete with lowering a live cat from the roof onto a museum floor to see how sensitive the alarm was made more sense. No one explained why the college kids planned such an elaborate caper to steal King Kamehameha’s cloak, but it still made more sense than CSI: Miami’s plot of staging an accident which ended in a confrontation then faking a man’s voice in a 911 call that caused SWAT to bash in Garett’s character’s door and shoot him. The device the secretary of Garett’s evil partner used to fake a man’s voice looked just like the device Blofeld used to mimic Jimmy Dean’s (yep, the sausage guy) voice in Diamonds are Forever. I think that about covers it. One more episode to go. Then I can relax and focus on finding out who is the 5th Cylon.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mid Week News - The Gunslinger Trailer is Live

The trailer is live on the myspace page http://www.myspace.com/hiddenpassions (where there are photos and other fun stuff) and on the website:

Please look and comment (glowing comments, please). Travis, Jennifer, Jon and the crew worked very hard on this and are all very proud of the results. We hope you will enjoy them, too.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Food and Flies and Opera Torsos

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.

It’s been an odd week. Part of the oddness is my own distraction from film related things that have come up recently. Anything related to film has a ‘you must act now or the opportunity will be lost.’ Typically, I’d drop everything to follow-up on whatever request was being made. This time, I didn’t. The projects are unrelated to the Gunsligner, so they aren’t that urgent. Besides, the e-book for A Soldier’s Fate has to go online this week and there are some pipeline issues that have cropped up with the latest Demonspawn novel. Thus, I must wear the writer/publisher hats. Still the urgent and tense phone and e-mail messages keep coming. Oy!

Month of Fun

It continues at a fine clip. Surprisingly (or maybe not), most of the fun I seek involves food. I made a lovely mushroom soup from the Anthony Bourdain cookbook. Today, I’ll make an insanely decadent chocolate cake a la Ina Garten and a pasta dish that involves lobster. And the fun will be in the making – and in the eating. Aside from wanting to make these dishes, it would be folly to try to go to dinner on Mother’s Day. And I can still get proofing done while various dishes are doing their things. And Jon made sure I have my favorite champagne to help things along. I’m holding off on that until the blog is finished. During the week, I’ve enjoyed re-connecting with friends from past shoots and finding a cooking class in Paris that I can afford during my trip. I was so excited to find that the company we’re renting the apartment from is linked to a cooking school in the neighborhood and with a discount. This was exciting and helped a little the intense longing that dozens of Cannes Market screening invites I’ve been getting in my e-mail. It only helps a little. However, the Month of Fun is a lot of fun. And thanks for all the lovely birthday wishes.

Lording over Flies

I don’t have a lot to do for The Gunslinger until we formally start pre-production in a week or so. Jon is compressing the trailer or oppressing the trailer. I have no clue. He’s making it fit in the myspace.com format. However, I did find a solution to the biting flies this week which makes me very pleased with myself. I don’t like the notion of ‘that’s just the way it is.’ I can’t have my lovely actors eaten alive. Or lovely me, for that matter. Insect bites can’t be good for concentration on a role. I won’t know what can be done about the heat until we’ve visited the location. I’ve got some plans forming though. We saw a portable rig that worked well in the very hot and humid New Jersey warehouse where Oz was shot. It made the building very comfortable while outside was like a horrible swamp. Next up are sunscreens. All that lovely skin must be protected. Meanwhile, I have to find out exactly what Travis has been shaving. Don’t ask.

Mamma Mia

To all of those who qualify, Happy Mother’s Day. I admire Moms a great deal. I just couldn’t believe how they can handle kids, a husband, and often, a job. My Mother worked full time with only a two week vacation each year (France has six weeks vacation. And we call ourselves civilized hear). And the vacation had to be spent either in the heat of a Georgia summer with her in-laws or in Atlantic City in a rental apartment where she still had to cook. In either case, she was spending it with the two lunatic children who couldn’t stand to be in the backseat of a car together for more than ten minutes. Once I started working full time after college, I took my Mom on real vacations that involved a lot of room service. On a side note, after spending an hour with my darling little nephew in my car at age five, I took my Dad to dinner and thanked him for not leaving my brother and I along I-95 during those trips to Georgia. His very dry reply was that he was a cop and we knew his name. But back to Moms. They are all to be commended. I have trouble getting my act together with just Jon and me. I don’t think I can fit in our chores, the proofing and a movie today. Pathetic. I marvel at how My Mother held it together. And my Ma-in Law had five kids, God bless her. I salute her for never leaving the lot of them in the woods during the family camping vacations. And she still likes her kids. Amazing!

High Culture and Low

This week, CSI: Vegas was delightful. It was written by some of the staff writers from the comedy Two and a Half Men while CSI writers wrote that show’s episode this week. They weren’t inter-related, but they were highly amusing. CSI managed to skewer how sitcoms are made and the people who make them while Two and a Half Men lovingly but thoroughly spoofed everything about CSI. It was brilliant as well as keenly accurate. Meanwhile, CSI: Miami drifts further into melodramatic goofiness. One of their regulars has called it quits. I can’t say I blame her. Khandi Alexander is a critically who was given very little to do on the show. I just wish her departure had been less dopey. The upcoming episode with Garett Maggart looks even more annoying. It seems that even if you’re being held at gunpoint while managing to get the bad guys busted, Internal Affairs can still bust a cop who tampers with evidence. The justice system in CSI: Miami doesn’t seem to like it’s own police officers. It allows murder suspects to sue cops or CSIs for doing their jobs and win said suits. They almost never back their own cops if something gets remotely sticky. I don’t see why this system is worth upholding. But I’ll save the rest of the rant for next week. On the high culture side, there was Nathan Gunn’s appearance on The Colbert Report. He was there to promote opera performances that are being shown in certain movie theaters. I’m not sure what else he said, I was fixated on this photo. I’m not an opera fan, but I think I can support watching Mr. Gunn’s performances.

Gotta go bake and proofread and imbibe vast amounts of champagne.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

May Days, Pin-up Boys and Tricorders

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.

May Days

The Month of Fun has begun. It’s been low key fun, but enjoyable nonetheless. I had a surprise from my French friends who sent me lovely e-cards for the month-long celebration. Then, there was a surprise from Bruce. He’s the best cook I know amongst my male friends. He sent me a lovely set of spices and a raspberry glaze. I used one of the spices, ground Ancho chili peppers in the black bean chili I happened to be making yesterday. Thanks Bruce! I had all sorts of fun deliveries last week. The T-shirts Jon and I had made for Gabriel Koerner for Speed Racer turned out even more twisted than I thought it would. A big thanks to Bruce again for the image scan. Saturday was the Kentucky Derby. My mother and I used to have big parties on that occasion as a way of celebrating Mother’s Day and my birthday. I think it was because we could sip bourbon with impunity. In her honor and the days, I had a couple of mint juleps. Then, I had to take a nap. For such a genteel sounding drink, they’re basically straight Bourbon and pack quite a wallop. No movies this week. We have to wait on Iron Man until after Speed Racer. I really wanted to see a film this week, but Jon and I are working on projects (he’s finishing the trailer and I’m finishing the corrections on A Soldier’s Fate). The mint juleps were as frivolous as I could get this weekend. Next weekend, will be another matter entirely. Much is afoot that is strange and wonderful.

Pin up Boys

It is a great burden and hardship, I assure you, that part of the promotion for Hidden Passion Films is a full-color calendar of most of the male actors. Now, when I say hardship, I don’t mean looking at the calendar. That would be silly. No, I mean the conversations involved in getting my sometimes surprisingly shy actors on board with the notion of being a romantic pin up to attract viewers to the films. Some conversations are easier than others. After declaring that he wouldn’t pose in chaps without pants, Garett suggested appearing in just a gunbelt with his pistols strategically crossed over his six shooter. Fortunately, I had already had a mint julep before he called to tell me when his CSI: Miami was airing. He has good reason for being leery of what sort of calendar I have in mind. He’s seen the French Rugby Pin-up Calendar I hang near my desk. I think he’s torturing me in advance of finding only a thong on the costume rack in his dressing room. You do that just once, and they never forget. The HPF Calendar won’t be as risqué unless the actors go wild in front of the camera. Then, who am I to stop them? Some actors have gone through great lengths to show me that they aren’t right for a calendar. I hear ‘see, look’ and this lovely young man has dropped trousers to convince me his legs aren’t just right. It took all of my professionalism to get through that discussion without being accused of harassment. I usually don’t have that kind of good fortune. More on that later. Travis has been working out since the trailer with spectacular results. I mused aloud that perhaps Shadow Smith didn’t need to wear a shirt in the film at all. Just a neckerchief and occasionally the duster was enough costume. He didn’t think that was how cowboys of the period actually went about their jobs. However, I think he’ll go for it with the calendar. Now, the problem will be getting the elderly male actors to keep their clothes on. I speak from experience. Demon Under Glass had nearly a dozen really hot guys on set from the leads to the commandos. The one I see in an advanced state of undress was our 70 plus year old mad scientist. That’s the kind of luck I usually have. But worry not, the HPF Calendar will be smokin’!

Rik, Vincent and the Tricorder

I was asked I had what seemed to be a Tricoder used by Doc Auerbach in A Soldier’s Choice. Since the book is set in the near future, I suppose it looked too futuristic to one reader. It was a reasonable comment. Balancing the futuristic elements in the books was a concern of mine. However, I’d had heard that scientists were close to a breakthrough in developing complex, hand-held medical scanner. Behold, I found this story about a Real Tricorder in an article on Yahoo. Click here and be amazed. I didn’t think they were that close to a working model. It looked really cool. Maybe I’ll put that jet pack rattling around in my head in A Soldier’s Fate.

I must make this a short one. Jon needs to get back to work, and so do I. No CSI: Miami rant this week. Next week tells of the loss of a cast member who’s a liar and a traitor. That should give me something to rant about.