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!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tasty Bits, A Memorial and Wah Battle

A Tasty Saturday

I was feeling pretty good once free of the Borg chemo machine, but I wasn't certain that I was up to the really fancy cooking. And yet, I was hungry for something new. Enter Cooking Channel's Laura Calder and her addictive French Food at Home. This episode, Lazy Daze featured her super simple Basil Beef was just the ticket as I had a small tenderloin roast in my freezer and what is becoming a basil tree on my window sill. I hear you now. You have a tenderloin roast in the freezer? Well, la di da, ms megabucks. Au contraire! I learned from one of my very favorites Food Network gurus, Alton Brown, that tenderloin is an very affordable luxury. Follow the edicts in Tender is the Loin pt 1 Video clip One and Video Clip Two and you'll see. I bought a PISMO of tenderloin at my local Costco for about $50. I cut it down myself. After making my Well-zones and cutting the rest into steaks or roasts, the price per serving came to $2.00. I've acquired seafood at similar savings (lobster tails and king crab legs can go on incredible sales), but you have to be able to use them the day your buy them or within a couple days at most. Tenderloin even as a roast cooks super fast and it is very, very lean. It's a great protein for me especially when I'm not up to heavy cooking. The Basil beef recipe was just lovely seared then marinated slices over a lovely green salad. All that was missing was a hunk of French bread. Just awesome! So, when you get a little flush, buy a PISMO and follow Alton's advice. You will have much freezer goodness at your finger tips.

In Memorial - Satoshi Kon

The anime journey that began for me when Wee Willy Webber introduced me to Astro Boy and Speed Racer, reached it's maturity when I discovered Paranoia Agent and the work of Satoshi Kon . He had a way of looking at the underside of society, families or even pop culture that was as enlightening as it was humorous and compelling. Kon died on august 24th from Pancreatic Cancer at age 47. It is a horrific loss to anime. I strongly recommend taking a long look at his body of work and pass along that recommendation to others. Paranoia Agent -- See the trailer HERE ran on Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network but is also available on DVD. It is a tale of pop culture horror in which one episode, Mellow Maromi (the first one I happened to see) posits that working in the entertainment industry can result in death. The most frightening aspect of that episode was how reasonable that supposition is. Though I love Paranoia Agent, my favorite of Kon's works is Tokyo Godfathers . See the trailer HERE . It is a joyfully crazy, scary and touching film that has taken a place beside the Alistair Sim Chistmas Carol, Scrooge as part of our Christmas tradition. It is tragic that we will not have anything more from this tremendously talented man, but we can spread the word about this incredible body of work.

Kon's family posted his final thoughts on his blog which was translated HERE .

Demon Under Glass Update

The reaction to the trailers has been interesting. I've lost count of how many TV shows, books and films the web series is being compared to. Though some comparisons perplex me – as I understand the premise of the CW series, Supernatural, I don't get where we fit. Most of them are favorable, so we can't complain. I'm very pleased about the reaction to Owen Szabo as Simon Molinar. It's not just because he is a very good looking young man – though I have fielded a number of inquiries at how often we will have him in states of undress – it's also been a positive reaction to his innocent face. Even his co-star, Garett Maggart has noted that this Simon will be harder to read for Joe because he isn't obviously dangerous. He said that Joe would have to be on egg shells to figure out when Simon is reacting badly to something. And that when Simon does something horrible, it will be all the creepier with that innocent, young face. And that's what we are looking for from Owen, thus we're pleased with the reactions so far.

The Battle with Wah

I'm still in the midst of a writing frenzy, and while it has been really satisfying, I'm struggling to find a balance between getting the superstructure of the book down versus capturing the finer details. Jon has defined the details as wah, a Japanese term for the moment just before a pitcher releases the ball – the moment a fan is most present in the game. In a romance, which the Soldiers books are despite all the high tech mayhem, there should be a lot of wah moments. This is especially true for the love scenes. While I was very happy with the one I posted last week [warning – it's still yaoi and it has spoilers], I consider it very much a draft as there is much in the way of fine detail and hanging in the moment that is missing. It looks like this battle will wage while the jag rages. I'm really pleased with how much I'm getting down and that there is actually a good bit of detail to the plot and the underpinnings. I've been really pleased at the ease I've had in writing the fight scenes. I've almost always struggled with those. This time, I've been able to write them without battle music. The last one was written while listening to Petula Clark's Downtown and the Bangle's Manic Monday though I'm writing the current one to Yoko Kanno's Get 9 from Ghost in the Shell. I love this video from this not only because a character throws Catcher in the Rye off a balcony(the strange smiley faces relate to that accursed book) but also because it captures the show's funky, hip violence. But I digress. It's not that I'm having trouble spinning wah moments from the action, it's that I'm being more strongly compelled to write action at present. And given that on chemo days and just after, I barely have the presence of mind to read, I think I should get as much of the book down while I have the energy. So, what I'm doing is making one word notes on the finer detail that I'd like to add later. Yes, one word is enough of a trigger. The word hair next to Vincent's name brings fourth all sorts of descriptive phrases about how cool his hair feels on naked skin; what torture it is to not be able to touch his hair or his skin. Before you know it, there's the wah. I think the main thing is to not let the superstructure of the book get too far ahead of the wah. Hopefully, it's a balance I'll be able to strike.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Simple Treats, Character Creation and Book Excerpt

Considering Simple Treats on a Sunday

I wonder why it is that bagels smell so amazing when passing through a train station? I've found this to be true in any train station I've visited that has a bagel stand. Maybe it's because the scent is intensified in a closed space. Maybe it's because the bagel shop owners have a fan that sends pure bagel essence into the station causing travelers to drift in demanding smears butter or cream cheese on the somehow crunchy and soft circles of loveliness while they are still warm. I enjoy this scent so much that if I have to make a connection anywhere near Union Station in LA en route to my many appointments, I always choose to walk through the complex rather than ride the next two stops to connect just to smell those bagels. I also love old train stations and this one is really gorgeous. I shall have to make time to actually have a bagel and enjoy the comings and goings of the station sometime soon.

Simple Cooking on a Sunday

I'm giving my freezer a break and even restocking it a little today while making some deceptively simple fare. I'm revisiting the roast chicken and the meatloaf. For this dinner, we'll have the chicken with fluffy mashed potatoes and just to be extra decadent, some bread stuffing and gravy! There was an insane sale on whole chickens and hamburger, so I couldn't resist. And it's always good to occasionally work on the basics. According to every major cookbook I've read and TV chef I've watched, the roast chicken is how a cook is judged. Oh, I forgot to mention that veg will be the insanely inexpensive fresh corn (6 ears for $1). Crazy cheap and so very sweet right now. The roast chicken will also yield roasted chicken bones which means more lovely stock for soup. I'll need more as I've been making soup a lot lately. Of course, it's finally decided to get really hot here, but what can you do?

Book Updates

There have been some changes at Sybaritic Press. The big one is that all of the titles are going to be available on Kindle including a big upcoming, long awaited opus. I also took the opportunity to have Jon change the covers of The Gift of Surrender and The Price of Surrender. They are, as you can see, very sexy. I had him do this in anticipation of third book. Sybpress is about to get fairly busy. We're working on another Demonspawn book for those who crave more adventures the Vampire and the Doctor. We're not completely back in business yet. But it is nice to have some new titles coming out.

Writing Update

I've been very excited about my writing this week. It's reached that point where spending time with my guys is my big treat for the day. I thus have to finish my chores and errands, and writing some pages that involve being with them is my treat for the day. I love that even more than when the frenzy descends that forces me to churn out pages until the thing is done. When I'm in this sort of place with my writing, the experience is productive and there is time to savor the ride. And this wonderful turn happened because of something I chanced to catch online this week.

I was fortunate enough to follow Jane Espenson during an online discussion about writing. She always gives the best most succinct advice on spinning plots and crafting characters. My favorite type of that night for quickly figuring out a character was 'what does the character want and how is that being frustrated.' Brilliant. That creates a plethora of material in a very short span. The advice was particularly timely as I work on A Soldier's Destiny. I have a whole new novel full of characters that all want something and every one of them is being frustrated in some manner. For my main guys, Rik and Vincent, they were looking for lives that were dedicated to training and research. What they are getting is situation after situation that involves the potential for extreme violence. Some of that violence is visiting them in the heart of their Foundation. For Rik, the situation is particularly daunting, because he had hoped to distance himself and Vincent from the perception that they are primarily killers. However, it is the fact that they were crafted and conditioned to be such innately ruthless killers that makes them the only beings capable of dealing with the Vampire, Simon Molinar when he appears. They are the only beings that can unnerve him, because they will kill him without hesitation if they are pressed to, Meanwhile, Vincent is growing more and more worried about Rik's well being as his humanity is being taxed further and further. It is revealed that Rik nearly killed himself before Vincent reappeared in their world. He remains fragile in some way. In this book and likely for those to come, Vincent has assumed the role of Rik's protector. For the first time, readers will see the calculating soldier in Vincent. And readers will begin to learn about his experiences in the other world.

Excerpt from A Soldier's Destiny

Warning Adult Content Yaoi or Homoerotic Themes If you read it, I don't want to hear complaints.

It was only 2200 hours when we finally finished prepping for Molinar's inevitable appearance and reached the apartment, but all of the restfulness I'd felt at the end of the vacation evaporated. Fortunately, we were to be alone at the apartment. Bobby was going to spend as much time with Ellie as he could before reporting to his next post. Though he would be just across town at Central Command, he wouldn't be visiting very often at first. Vincent didn't begrudge him that time. He and I could managed to find ourselves at the base whenever we wanted. This was not the case for Ellie. I was grateful that we were on our own. I was feeling far from social. Percival was his usual, indispensable self. He hadn't scheduled any meetings for us until 0900, giving us time to work out then have a leisurely breakfast before getting back into the Foundation's routine.

Still, I was out of sorts. My thoughts were racing with all the things that were undone in my office. My mind was somewhere else completely though I was responding to things Vincent said. That is, until I finished the locking the door. Then, I was pressed against it. Vincent had me by the hair. My cheek was pressed firmly against the smooth cool wood.

“Do I have your attention?” He asked softly very close to my ear.

My eyes slid closed. I sighed. “Yes.”

“I don't believe you,” he murmured, licking my ear. “You'll have to convince me.”

I was dragged into the bedroom and tossed onto the bed. Before I could recover, Vincent was on me, stripping me naked. Then, he was straddling me. My wrists were crossed over my head and pressed against the mattress, pinning me. His glare had more anger than desire in it. I was confused.

“Why?” I asked with a hard swallow.

“You need this,” Vincent murmured. “You're too much in your head sometimes.”

I almost chuckled at that, but my Lover's face was far too serious. I was too much in my head most of the time. That's how I never saw how he'd felt about me before he disappeared for all of that time. I was crazy enough to sometimes worry about all I continued to miss. His hold tightened on my wrists.

“Stop it,” Vincent ordered. His voice was soft, but there was an edge of steel in it. Then, he tilted his head to one side to kiss me. His mouth was hot and sweet as always. His kiss was intense, stealing my breath with my moan.

Vincent's free hand was caressing my torso lazily and slowly. Oh God, he was going to slowly drive me insane. I groaned against his lips, arching my body in a silent plea to be released.

“Not a chance, Rik,” he whispered pressing my wrists firmly with one hand while the other played with a very sensitive nipple. “Not yet.”

While he toyed with my nipple, Vincent slid his tongue slowly down my neck to the curve of my shoulder where he bit then sucked at the skin.

I cried out, arching against him again as I instantly hardened. Though I felt him smile against my skin, it was clear that this assault on my body, mind and senses had just begun. Later, much later, I would wonder where all of that patience and control during our love making came from. But right then, my mind was gone. All I could do was feel him and what he was doing to my body.

Vincent's free hand moved down my torso as his lips took over torturing my nipple. I felt him grasp my erection with a sure hand. He stroked me to just before I found release, but then, he denied me. The bastard did that over and over while muffling my frustrated cries with that diabolical mouth. He took me up and down like that I'm not sure how many times before I was mindless and nearly exhausted.

“Look at me, Rik,” Vincent commanded softly.

Somehow, I dragged my eyelids open. The torture continued. Vincent's eyes were so dark with desire that the gold was nearly enveloped by the dark. I moaned loudly just as the climax coursed through my trembling body. He watched as I was wracked with intense pleasure. He watched as I rode through it all. Finally, he smiled his most angelic, frightening


“My turn now,” he murmured.

Vincent still held my wrists as he turned me on my side. Despite the lead in my limbs,

I pulled the outer knee up to receive him. He grunted in approval then quickly prepped me. It seems my torture had had a profound affect on him as well. Had I been more aware, I may have been smug about it. But I had no mind at that point. My body needed him in me to complete the circuit. That was all that was the only thought I had left in my brain.

With blessed speed, Vincent pushed inside me, canting his hips to unerringly caress my sweet spot with each thrust. I was hard again then barreling toward completion in what seemed like an instant. Vincent had barely touched me when I came again. This time, the intensity of the energy between us and my exhaustion sent me into the bliss of oblivion.

It was early morning when I woke. I was on my back with Vincent half covering me. His golden head rested on my chest. His hair fanned out everywhere. Upon my movement, his arms tightened around me.

“What time is it?” He mumbled against my chest.

“0530,” I replied. The alarm wouldn't sound for a half an hour.

Vincent raised his head to look at me. His expression was softer than the night before. He seemed very pleased at what he saw.

“You look much better,” Vincent murmured with a smile. “I'm glad further measures aren't necessary.”

I felt my brows raise. “Further measures?”

He smirked at me. “I wasn't letting you out of this bed until you looked relaxed.”

I was flummoxed, unsure whether to start my day or take him up on that challenge. Vincent gave him a lazy smile.

“You know you won't be able to stay away from that desk,” he murmured.

“Your insight is correct, as always,” I sighed before rolling him beneath my body. “Good morning, Love.”

He was smiling when I gently kissed him. He moaned into the kiss, making me wish for much more than a half an hour head start.

“We can take our time in the shower,” Vincent suggested as my lips moved to his elegant neck.

I sighed. My lover was right. It was easier to get out of that bed if we didn't start something. I rolled off Vincent then offered him my hand.

“Where did you find all of that patience and focus in bed, Love?” I asked mildly as I shampooed his hair. “It was only a couple of months ago where you were all but ripping my clothes off and having me almost without prep.”

Vincent hummed his pleasure at what my fingers were doing to his scalp.

“One of your most important lessons was to learn the objective well then learn what you need to get it done,” he replied almost languidly. “I take care of you, Rik. After what happened with Ms. Becker, I realized that I had to be aware of everything that could hurt you. Sometimes that will mean protecting you from the Foundation. Sometimes that means protecting you from you.”

I rinsed the great mass of hair carefully as I considered Vincent's simple, direct statement. It was impressive. He would have had to analyze me like any other target then decide on the best strategy to defeat me. It took not just skill but a patience in extreme situations I had not seen in him before. It had to have developed during his time away.

“You were always my best, most adaptive Altered,” I murmured as I dried his hair. “You put all of that study and strategy into me?”

Vincent looked up at me levelly though his cheeks flamed slightly. “You are mine, and you are my life. I can't think of anything more important.”

I gaped at him for a moment, profoundly moved. Then, I crushed him against me and kissed his temple.

“Lord, I love you,”I whispered.

His arms looped around to squeeze me close. “I love you so much, it frightens me some times.”

“I'm not afraid,” I assured him. “It's what we need. And your stomach is growling.”

Vincent swatted my butt before pulling away. He smiled sweetly at me. “Let's get to it.”

Thursday, August 19, 2010

DraggonTV.com is Live!

Welcome to DraggonTV.com

Sometime last year, I discovered that there were filmmakers I knew with films and shorts that had not yet found distribution. Most had edited very short versions of the longer works to run on Youtube in parts to compete with thousands of disparate posts uploaded hourly. We thought about this situation and decided that we could offer something better. Thus, DraggonTV.com was born. We are offering independent filmmakers a site where they can run anything up to a full feature to attract an audience. What's more, we can offer access to the distributors we've established connections with over the years of attending world film markets to pitch our own films and concepts. Though it shouldn't matter, the fact that we have traveled several thousands of miles to meet with people who are across town leaves an impression. Our company has such longstanding connections with distributors that we have gotten letters of commitment based solely on a concept. Furthermore, we can offer filmmakers guidance on creating onesheets and press kits that will assist them in their efforts. Though DraggonTV.com is open to all kinds of content, we're particularly interested in genre (sci-fi in particular though we also want horror and paranormal). Sci-fi as it gets the shortest end of the stick, release wise in film and TV. So, check out the page. Then, if you have a short, serial or feature you'd like to have us run, consult the Submissions page and follow the instructions.

If you have a product or service you'd like to advertise, check out our Ad page. Our rates are really reasonable as we are a start-up. We'll be running ads of up to 90 seconds at the beginning of the films shortly for those with book trailers and the like.

A big thanks to Lucy Doty for use of the incredible Central City Studio for our photo shoot. FILMMAKERS, this place is a must for any sort of genre shoot or medical or cop drama. They give tours seven days a week!

And as always, to our partners, Ralph and Margeurite Lliteras for their hard work and unwavering support.

Shout out to the Buckeye State

For some reason, much of the support staff for Dragoncor Productions is located in Ohio. It all began innocently enough. It beings with Bruce Kline, a very close friend from the days when I worked in Advertising in New York City. He is a composer, guitarist and singer as well as a radio DJ. Bruce and I have kept in touch over the years, and I have tapped his talent on a number of occasions as a composer. For DraggonTV.com, in addition to being the smooth voice that welcomes the viewer to the site, he is also the composer of the theme for 15%. His compositions will also be heard on the upcoming film short, Blood Oath. So, a big shout out thanks to Bruce Kline!

The next shout out goes to Randy Payne. Aside from being crew-guy extraordinaire on many of our shoots both big and small. He is an original set elf (you'll have to ask him what the heck that means). Anyway, aside from listening endless complaints from thousands of miles away, he's been helpful in connecting me with all manner of talent. Most importantly for DraggonTV.com, was connecting me to his good buddy, Bryce Holland. He is a talented web designer, and we were in need. Why go so far for a web designer? Los Angeles doesn't seem to understand such terms as 'small start up' or 'modest budget.' The average bid I received in response to my ad was 10 grand for the site and the team it would requires. We've never had that big a team when we shot a feature. So, Randy eventually got tired of my grousing about the whole thing and put me in contact with Bryce. I must say that he, like the other Ohio brethren, is infinitely patient with us Hollywood types. And his work is first rate as well. So a big thank you shout out to both Randy and Bryce.

More Changes

There will be additions to the page often, so check back frequently. We are adding behind the scenes interviews for Demon Under Glass and adding more shorts.

Stay Tuned!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Snacks, Sliders and Deb of Borg

I did find an excellent use for the bounty of my unruly basil window hedge. I made a marinara sauce a la David Rocco with canned tomatoes and some tomatoes, garlic and onions that I roasted. I used the basil laced sauce on a pizza. This recipe was from America's Test Kitchen and is more like a Focaccia than a pizza. It was super easy, at any rate. I ate mine with caramelized onions in addition to fresh mozzarella cheese. Jon had his without. It was quite tasty, and there was enough for an afternoon snack the next day. I'd never planned to make my own pizza, but I find that I like very few that are available for delivery since having them in the south of France (I was told by Mario Batali himself that the region used to belong to Italy. And there seems to be an awful lot of Italians and their fabulous food there.). I've had a wide range of results making my own dough including the dough that tried to eat my fridge. This dough is the easiest though I still prefer the more troublesome recipes when I'm in the mood for battle. The pizza was all the more tasty having been made with my own basil infused oil and with that final sprinkling of shredded basil on top.
Special Snacks

I decided to give myself a pre-chemo treat and try a seafood recipe I saw on one of Paula Deen's shows. This was a scallop slider. It was made like a crab cake and eaten on a slider bun with a spicy mayo. Now, I do love a good crab cake (heavy on the crab and light on the cake) and I have made many kinds over the years. These shooters were very, very simple and the result was just amazing. They were delicately flavorful. They had a great texture and the mayo didn't overwhelm the taste of the shooter itself. Of course, the other part of the treat was a bit of was a little bit of bubbly. Alas, I will be vino free for the duration of the treatments. Don't be bummed for me. I'm enjoying a lot of healthy, tasty things during treatments. Among them, the Lassi. I'm gong very, very light on the spices and using mangoes or strawberries for flavor. This helps me with nutrients and keeping the old plumbing balanced. And I'm having the first of many batches of soup. This one – chicken noodle! Dull choice? No, it was quite tasty. One of the most intriguing prohibitions during treatment may result in some elaborate desserts. I am to avoid cold drinks and food. Frozen treats are thus out of the question. What to do when one has a jones for vanilla or chocolate ice cream (yes, my favorites are that mundane). Well, first there is cocoa (regular or white chocolate) or home made vanilla or chocolate pudding which are fine at room temperature. But then there is also homemade mousse!! Again in chocolate or white chocolate. And for a real jolt of vanilla yumminess, there is crème brûlée, baby! All I need is a blow torch!

Deb of Borg

Deb of Borg, that's what Jon's taken to calling me. He's also gotten good at dodging flying objects I throw toward his head. I have a number of tubes attached to my person at present. For about 48 hours, I had a little machine attached to me as well. There was much in the way of clicking and whirring in my wake during that time. The tubes ate the PICC line that runs from mu upper arm to just at my heart (by far the most gruesome thing that has happened to me in this entire ordeal was putting that PICC line in. Oh, all that long line in the photo on the link is what got threaded through my veins. Unpleasant. But, I must say, the nurse was excellent – as are all of those managing my care. The other tube has been in my abdomen since the surgery in April. That's gotten old, but there isn't anything to be done about it for a while.

Round One

The first round was okay. Jon and I watched Toy Story2 on my portable DVD player. That was a hoot and a half. I was surprised that we were served a nice boxed lunch – though I wouldn't have picked tuna salad for one with an iffy appetite and potential nausea issues. Still, it was a nice thought. I figure we can run through the vast list of films we've missed in the past year during the treatments. So far, I'm side effect free save for fatigue. That's astonishing when it hits. I'll be quite fine and typing something, then I'm waking up from a really deep and sudden nap. That will make timing my walks very interesting. The heavier side effects turn up later in the treatments – if I'm going to get them at all. Though I whine about the number of trips I'll be making to the hospital in the next months (and it is a whole lot of trips per week), I can't complain. I am really healthy compared to the other patients I see there. And even the weakest ones move with a determination that I admire. If they can buck up and get it done in that state, I've got nothing to complain about. The only bit of news that I found daunting is that the number of rounds is three times longer than I'd thought. The assumption was an error on my part. I think I read somewhere that the minimum number was four rounds and decided that was what would happen. Not so. I'll be going the full twelve rounds. Still, I should be quite fit by the time the Cannes Market rolls around. By then, I'll really need some proper pizza.

My thanks again for all of the cards, notes, calls and other well wishes. I really appreciate those and the prayers. And thanks for thinking of Jon as well. He's got an awful lot on his plate with me. Caregiving is never easy and he needs support as well.

Part two of the blog with the writing updates and details on the new website are coming in a few hours.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Blog Part Two -- Shooting Actors, New Vampire & Other Fun

Year of Fun -- On the Set
Warning! Link to a Hasselhoff Video below!

Actually, when thinking about my experiences on sets, fun does not immediately come to mind. I didn't have to plunge toilets this time. But then, Jon pointed out that was only because we had been part of the crew that made the bathrooms usable at the new studio. Ah yes, caustic chemicals in extreme heat. I'd never scrubbed a urinal before. Motion pictures, dahling. At any rate, I never seemed to have nearly as much fun on my sets as my crews had. Well, there are a few elements that made this photo shoot tons of fun. First, Craig was working on the same floor. I spent his lunch break with him patiently listening to his numerous and dubious reasons as to why I should read Neanderthal. It's like Michael Crichton but with psychic Neanderthals, he said. That wasn't a really good reason for me. I had read a couple of Crichton's books during my last hospital stay, Prey and State of Fear. I was keenly disappointed. I really didn't think that the addition of psychic, cannibal Neanderthals would help matters. What I suspect is that he had been extremely annoyed by the book and wanted to visit it upon me. His thirst for vengeance likely stems from my sending him a video of David Hasselhoff doing Hooked on a Feeling (I take no responsibility if you click on that link). Thus, I understood his urge for revenge, but I wasn't taking the bait.The next key to Deb's fun factor on the set is a loose crew. I've found some folks who are super fast, really professional, laid back and damned funny. Which is really good, because the last element to the fun is Garett Maggart. I've never met an actor that can be so really crazy in one second and then completely focused in the next. Luckily, Cat Elrond, make-up artiste extraoridnaire rolls easily with this. The rest of us (Ralph, Jon and I) know the drill. I was very impressed that our new vampire, Simon Molinar, is laid back and quite funny himself. More on him in a moment. We were shooting images to go with a promo for both the books tied in with Demon Under Glass and for the web series we'll be shooting later this year. The promo is designed like a book trailer in which brief images are blended with voice overs and music to quickly tell a story and set a mood. I picked images from the voice over script, and we got to work. Hopefully, there will be the paranoia and desperation that will be in the series, but the humor as well. The photos are mine. We're saving the official ones ones that Ralph took for the launch. Those are extraordinary. Mine were snapped from a slightly different angle with a far less powerful camera and just after Ralph took his, so my flash wouldn't interfere. We got some amazing stuff from Ralph as he sandwiched us into his typical day of doing 80,000 things at once while remaining relaxed. It was nuts, but I had a very good time.

Meet the Vampire

Though more than one person was involved in making this decision, I know that I will take the brunt of the heat for it. So be it. Let me say straight off that we were all quite happy with Jason Carter's choices in playing Simon Molinar, and he was great to work with on set. His choices created a cultured and charming vampire. When we decided to mount a series for Demon Under Glass, we decided to take advantage of the passage of time to go back to the original vision for the character Simon Molinar. He had been written for a very young actor who had the calm maturity of almost two thousand years. It was to be an unnerving juxtaposition of incredible patience and maturity in an very young package. The original Molinar was written to be much more overtly sexual. We want him to be the type that could succeed in seducing a room full of disparate people no matter their sexual orientation.

When we were presented with Owen Szabo, we found his training to be exceptional. He is certainly very good looking. My only real hesitation was his hair color. I strongly considered having him dye it, and he was quite willing. But then, I was online with Facebook fr
iend, Geraint Wyn Davies, formerly of Forever Knight. He had directed me to one of his interviews that happened shortly before Forever Knight premiered. It seems that the Powers That Be at CBS didn't want him for the part primarily because he was blond. I realized that was not a good reason to pass on a casting choice or change his hair when he looks great as is. To digress, we kept Garett's silver hair for much the same reason – he looks good with it. Cat said he had a George Clooney thing happening. Garett likes Cat a lot. Back to Owen, He's got the acting chops – though from Boston, he did a very good British accent. Actually, until he told me, I didn't know he was from Boston. He has a wonderfully expressive face. And he naturally exudes the old soul in a young body that we wanted Simon Molinar to possess. He's got a deep, bed-roomy voice that can work a girl's nerves. The big question then was how would his chemistry be with Joe McKay. That Simon didn't run for the hills over Joe's frequent questions about when they were going to 'do it,' calls for lube and complaints about bottoming was encouraging. But when they managed to raise my scolding eyebrow as a pair, I was certain that they would work well together and that I'd be sighing a lot. Still, I was quite pleased. We look forward to working with Owen and hope that Demon Under Glass fans will embrace him as well.

A Soldier's Destiny

I had hoped to put up an excerpt today. I'll likely do it mid-week. It's been a little crazy. However, in developing the time line for Demon Under Glass, I have bridged the two works. I've also realized that there will have to be a fourth Soldier's novel to cover all of that and the plots I have going. I plan to write them straight through and have them released a few months apart. I have the time line between the Delphi Project and the Altered Soldier's Program in the updated writer's guide. It also contains the canon fate of Joe and Simon. I will put up the link, but strongly advise only those who want to write stories or script to read it. To say it has spoilers is a gigantic understatement. The Writer's Guide Link .


The debut is Saturday. Information on the site will be on this blog, my lists and face book pages starting Wednesday. Please, spread the word everywhere you can think of. Many filmmakers, actors and crew will really appreciate it.


I start chemo on Thursday. I have no idea how it will affect me. As always, I appreciate any spare prayers or good thoughts.

Stay Tuned.

Blog Part One -- What's Cooking Sunday?

You name it! You see, this new cooking channel, Cooking Channel , is an insidious thing. It's causing me to wander into territories unknown cooking-wise. Like I need any more encouragement. First, there is Laura Calder with her French Food at Home that just torments me, because I'd rather have French food in France. Though I find I'm settling for making Consommé. Never considered making it before. I barely know what it is. I really need to know where she buys her clothes. And there is Rachel Allen of Rachel Allen: Bake! who seems to have convinced me that I can make puff pastry. That would have seemed crazy to me yesterday as I was more than content with the frozen variety. I don't even want to tell you what Iron Chef Michael Symon of Cook Like an Iron Chef has me thinking about. And why did I buy chick pea flour when I had no idea it existed a couple of weeks ago? That danged, adorable David Rocco and his Dolce Vita, that's why. Something to do with some kind of pizza. I don't know. It just looks tasty. Ah well, it's good therapy even if I'm finding myself getting more than a little obsessed lately. I suppose I need to make a pizza or some pasta sauce asap. My little basil plant is rapidly becoming and unruly basil bush. My freezer is full. I may have to start giving food away – again.

the rest of the blog will be up in a few hours.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Frenzies, Pirate Vampires and More Countdowns

What's Cooking

The cooking frenzy I had hoped to 
have happened pretty much all week long. I didn't think it would last that long, but I kept having to stop and rest between dishes. Strangely, the most exciting thing I cooked this week was completely unexpected. Whilst picking up some herbs and veggies for the soup stock, I found actual green tomatoes in my supermarket. I have never seen those on the west coast before. Frankly, I think I've only run across them when we were in Georgia visiting relatives. Dad liked to cut them up and put them into collard greens. I prefer them cooked. Thus, I pounced upon them to make myself a batch of fried green tomatoes. Actually, I pounced on them early in the week, but didn't make that dish until yesterday. My appetite was off most of the week. I didn't want to cook them until I knew I was going to eat them. They were well worth the wait. Meanwhile, the rest of the frenzy consisted of making dishes like chicken pot pies, Brian Boitano's calzone style beef Wellingtons., and a couple of pasta dishes. All of the recipes lend themselves to single serving portions and all were freezeable. After I make a couple of soups, I'll be well prepared for times during chemo when I don't feel up to cooking. It was a good week. I really needed the cooking therapy and I turned out some really good food.

Year of Fun – Adam and The LA Farmer's Market

This week was difficult physically. Most of my plans were thwarted by my uncooperative body. However, I did manage to keep an appointment that was very important to me. That was a meeting with a former Borders #93 peep and fellow writer, Adam. I was surprised and pleased when he found me on Linkedin  a couple of weeks ago. The last I'd seen him, he was bound for a return trip to Amsterdam with ambitions to enjoy all it had to offer. My fellow Borders peeps agreed with my assessment that he might never come back from the smokey haze. Imagine my surprise to find he has a serious gig at the Writer's Guild of America. Strangely, as we began to interact via e-mail, I realized that I knew his e-mail address from the event Jon and I attended to see Ron Moore's talk on Battlestar Galactica (highpoint of my Month of Fun from last year). I didn't recognize his last name. But then, we never used them at Borders. Adam had always been among my favorite co-workers. He has a surfer-dude mellow to the point of catatonic verve, but he was always the smartest person there when it came to fiction and lit. Oh, and he's gorgeous. None of that has changed over the years save for allowing his smarts to show more now. I was also delighted to discover that he is a wine connoisseur – he even has a webiste to advise the uncertain, and he's a foodie! We had one of those rare and wonderful conversations about writing and food and wine that make LA magical for me. And I now have a new connection with a much missed friend. We plan to cook together sometime this fall.

As if that weren't enough to make the trip to mid-town worthwhile, there was the Los Angeles Farmer's Market. I was in search of ingredients for premium chicken stock. I'm talking backs and feet, kiddos. The feet being weird on a roasting pan and in the pot, but this stock is all unctuous and jiggly without being reduced, so I've got a vat and a half of it. Ah, there will be some soups made for the frozen larder this week! And then there was the applewood smoked bacon from Huntington Meats. Maddeningly good. I also found a shop that I'd never seen before. Mr. Marcel's Pan et Fromage is a terribly dangerous place for me. It has too many imported French products that I would love to use in my cooking. The only reason I escaped the diabolical establishment with most of my money was that I couldn't carry all that I wanted to purchase. My bearer, aka Jon, wasn't on this trip. So my purse was safe – for now. I did buy some lovely country pate and a freshly baked batard. Pure happiness.

Countdown T Minus 13 Days

We've been tweaking the look of DraggonTV.com. It is a very handsome site. I will sing the praises of those involved when we launch. Suffice it to say, a great deal of the talent is in Ohio. We'll be uploading the initial videos this week to work out the bugs. The Demon Under Glass Interviews are being edited. A few more will be shot this week, I hope. Meanwhile, we prep for the photo shoot. Years ago, when everything was wrapped for Demon Under Glass, we auctioned most of the costumes and props. Foolishly, we thought that once a film was done, you move on. Since then, I've learned better. We hang onto everything we can store, because we never know when a re-shoot will come up or a publicity shoot. Thus, we need to re-outfit Doctor McKay down to his Caduceus. Most of that load is handled by Lucy Doty's medical wardrobe supply at her wondrous Central City Studio. That leaves clothing the Vampire. There are plenty of casual clothes that make what he already has look good, I wanted something additional to show that he was from another time. Thus, Jon and I found ourselves in a local costume house looking at the frock coats and cravats of a Victorian gentleman. I had considered an 18th Century pirate look. Then, I had to discard the notion, and not just because Jon quipped that my first choice is usually pirate wear. I admit that the pirate look is always among my choices, it isn't always the first choice. The pirate image is a very strong one in pop culture. The term pirate would come before vampire. Simon is not a pirate vampire. It would be a very impractical thing for a vampire to be a pirate. To be a successful pirate, one would have to be able to raid at anytime of the day or night. And it would be hard for a pirate to work in the close confines of a pirate ship without anyone noticing the not coming out during the day. Being from a time of great superstition, most pirates would have dumped a vampire into the drink. Likewise, I didn't think a cowboy outfit would work either. There's the monicker of a cowboy vampire – not good at all. And, again, there is too much in the way of unsheltered open expanse. I think Vampires would have been city dwellers until the west had better transportation and more population and buildings. But I'm rambling At any rate, the Victorian gentleman looks the most like a Vampire to me, and the actor looks good in that type of clothing. We did find something that looked cool – though Jon wouldn't go for the cape – and will fit the actor. Everything is coming together. I just hope that the Caduceus I ordered from Ebay arrives on time. All I have to do now is a shot list to make sure I get the type of photos I need. I will post one or two pics next weekend, but the rest won't go up until DraggonTV.com goes live.

On the web series front, I've been slogging through the scheduling program. It's a new one for us and quite comprehensive once all of the data is entered. That is just a long and tedious process. I should be finished by the time of the photo shoot. Then I have to deal with getting a go ahead from the various guilds before we cast the rest of the parts. This is all very dull though necessary.

Book Update

I'm working my way through the first draft of A Solder's Destiny at an acceptable pace. I'll likely post another excerpt with the next blog.

Stay Tuned!