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, May 29, 2011

Not So Special FX, More Fun and Updates

Okay, nobody panic. I'm not going through anything as serious as a relapse. However, the activities of recent weeks has clearly pointed out that I am not quite ready to leap tall buildings in a single bound. On a more practical note, I'm going to have to seriously rethink some of my short term plans. The problems stem from the side effects of the chemo. It's a poison, after all, that I was taking for several months. My primary care Doc pointed out – with great patience – that it would be unreasonable to think that it would take less than several months for the side effects to fade. And that is at minimum. I've also discovered through the support groups I've found that some of the side effects that I thought were related to the chemo are likely permanent internal changes due to the extensive tinkering that occurred during the two surgeries. None of this is life threatening, but it presents some serious challenges with a day to day routine at times. It is really difficult to work myself up to exercise when I wake up with my joints painfully locked up or my feet are either numb or very painful – but most days, I do. For something other than a daily routine, I'm going to have to seriously think about what I can handle during the next few months. This doesn't mean that my plans are canceled by any means. However, I may have to postpone some things. I plan to make decisions and announcements to pertinent people on Tuesday.

Month of fun – Home Stretch

This is some big fun for me. I got an offer to submit a story to an anthology. I just signed the contract a little while ago. This was especially nice since I wasn't sending anything out. And it was good that I had some new material to submit. It's all very exciting. I'll post the title and where to find it when it comes out.

This month's treats were usually some sort of food. There were sweets like chocolate birthday cake (finally found a butter cream icing that worked), brownies and rhubarb compote (my first time cooking with rhubarb) and the Tiramisu. When I wasn't having a home made baked good, I was indulging in the occasional ice cream treat like a Dove bar or a Hagen Das Ice Cream bar – mainly after a long walk. And I've discovered some cheeses I've never had before. One of the nearby supermarkets sells the ends of big wheels or wedges at a steep discount per pound. My favorite new variety was an aged Irish cheddar with Irish whiskey in it somehow. And I've finally indulging in my favorite fruits. Cherries are in season and those mini seedless water melons are prime now. I've even been having mangoes! I don't typically buy them. So, not all of my treats have been calorie laden. And speaking of healthy foods, I've learned how to make sushi! I chickened out on making the inside out sushi rolls where the rice is on the outside. But I made a genuine California roll! But it wasn't inside out. I also used the extra rice to make rice balls rolled in Tobiko. I really love sushi rice and didn't want to waste it. I also managed to make buttermilk biscuits. Food wise, it's been a really fun month.

In the category of miscellaneous fun, I had some odd things published or listed on the internet. I found something really funny online that was also literary. It was a pair of actors from the Broadway play The Importance of Being Ernest reading transcripts from Jersey Shore as it the words had come from Oscar Wilde. It was called Jersey Shore Gone Wilde. I shared it with Roger Ebert and he put it in his widely read newsletter. I was as jazzed by that as I was that I had amused Roger Ebert. And my lengthy rant in defense of being an anime fan was cross posted on imdb.com. That's happened to a number of my pop culture related blogs, but I've finally figured out that I should be keeping track of that sort of thing.

I didn't get to have lunch with everyone I planned on seeing, but I don't have to restrict that to one month. Thanks again for all the kind wishes and encouragement. And don't think I'm done having fun, because June is rolling around. I still have plans. Nefarious plans.


We're still casting Octodemon: The Alcamagod. I think that's going to run over a few weeks as everyone is fitting the film in around other projects. Beyond that, we're starting to crew up. I think that's going to take some time as well. As far as I know, we keeping the same start date in July. I'll post an official update on that on the film's blog page. I will also post a reminder of where that update is on this blog. As far as the productions I'm working on, I'll be blogging about them later this week. The books are coming along at a nice, regular pace. I promise, promise, promise an excerpt or two next week.

Stay tuned.

Possible Blog Delay -- Fiction Emergency

The blog may be delayed. I've been asked to submit a piece of fiction to an anthology and the deadline is Tuesday. I have to get something out to my proofreaders today. I do have most a blog, but if it gets too late in the evening, I'll post it tomorrow.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Food Fun, Mega Geekdom and Updates

I don't usually mind having insomnia. I tend to be nocturnal and I often don't start to write until after 9pm. I write fiction then. Strangely, I write scripts during the day – like a day job. Anyway, I've been up until the wee small hours a lot lately, but I've been too punchy to focus on writing. I get a couple of pages done and then, nothing. I've tried walking a lot during the day to tire myself out. I've tried herbal tea and lavender scented baths. I've even tried going caffeine free, Who knows what's up, but it is just a bit frustrating.

Deb versus Japanese and Other Kitchen Adventures

My cooking has certainly improved over the years, but I still have many misadventures. These typically happen when I push beyond my comfort zone and try a new recipe or a new kind of cooking like dishes from a culture that I haven't tried. I really hate wasting food in general. We really can't afford to waste food currently, so I have to approach new things with a degree of seriousness. However, I don't like to view food as something that is terribly serious. Some of the food blogs I follow can get downright dour. How can you be dour about food? This was especially true on the Food Network's Facebook page. I suspect they have a moderator now as it has become a lot more civil than it had been. To the 'true believers' that were snarking all over that page, the current crop of shows don't reflect 'real cooking.' The exception to this seems to be Good Eats which is widely considered as a brilliant cooking show by fans writing on that page. I think it is as well, and I've used a great number of recipes from that show. Alton Brown, the host, introduced me to pie birds. However, one couldn't call his show serious in tone. He did Sweeney Todd, for goodness sake. And that isn't as crazy as he's been. I like cooking shows that have a sense of humor (Good Eats) as much as the ones that are purely instructional (America's Test Kitchen or Martha Bakes). Thus, I'm really enjoying shows like Bitchin' Kitchen on the Cooking Channel. Host Chef Nadia G has had some good recipes, but I really just enjoy watching the mayhem on her crazy set. Hers is the only cooking show that has ever used the term 'broke ass' in the prattle. And then there is the adorable Extra Virgin -- also on the Cooking Channel that inspired making the Tiramisu. Debi and Gabriele are delightful along with their darling daughters...and the chickens...and the 800 year old poodle named Delores.

The latest show to inspire me and make me go beyond my comfort zone is Your Japanese Kitchen. It's more instructional than funny. The music is weird though. Anyway, I've already made a very successful set of goyza or Chinese fried dumplings. Last week, they were cooking a food I love to get when eating out. So, Saturday, I made shabu shabu [picture not representational though fairly close] which is a hot pot of broth and vegetables that one cooks thinly sliced meat and noodles in to eat with a dipping sauces. Jon was happy because there were noodles, so there was no problem from him. But the ingredients were Japanese. And some of them had names with more than three syllables. So, there I was at Mitsuwa Marketplace, the Japanese supermarket near our home explaining to a very patient young man what I needed. He didn't wince too much at my pronunciations. I must have done okay as he found everything. He was cute with a great voice, too. Oh, where was my Hubs who reads Japanese? Looking at ice cream. Anyway, the process was kind of lengthy with all the slicing and chopping, but I find that peaceful. And the dish was tasty, too. Still, as far as foreign languages go, I should stick to French.

Meanwhile, because someone implied that I might be wasting my time on one of my pursuits.

A Defense for Anime and Manga Geekdom

One of the best things about being a filmmaker is that I have a built in excuse for my admittedly excessive geekdom. Of course, I have to read comics or obscure scifi books and even graphic novels (though my attorney insist that they are just comic books with an uppity attitude). Even a fondness for crappy 1980s era cartoons is understood in the wake of blockbusters like the Transformers franchise in film and the development of projects like Thundercats and Voltron for TV. Even my elderly relatives have conceded that such strange interests may yet result in my supporting myself with my creative work.

All of that understanding evaporates when it comes to anime and manga. Oh, it was okay when I was younger. My fascination with the new wave of cartoons from Japan in the 60s would pass. My mother actually liked Kimba, so she tolerated my devotion to Astro Boy, Prince Planet and Speed Racer. After all, I was very young, and I still played with Barbies. That made me mostly normal. But I was still following what anime I could well into college. I was more wrapped up with Star Blazers than I was with Luke and Laura. My interest didn't diminish as I matured. It grew broader especially as more and more translated or subtitled material became available. My relatives have long given up on trying to figure me out or reason me toward more understandable interests. We have agreed that they will remain confused. After all, we can always talk about sports at family gatherings.

My friends are another matter. I find that I am as puzzled by their lack of interest in anime and manga as they are about my intense interest. Many of these friends work or aspire to work in film. They, above all of my other friends, should not only understand my interest, they should absolutely share it. I started hammering this point home some time ago with the release of the Matrix. This past year's biggest films both critically and financially really pound the point home. Many major Hollywood films lauded for innovative imagery have been heavily influenced by anime. Please note, I am not saying that anyone stole anything from anybody. I'm saying that anime has a profound influence on some prominent Hollywood filmmakers.

Let's start with the Matrix. There really isn't a question here. The Wachowski brothers showed Ghost in the Shell to Joel Silver when they pitched the Matrix. Here is a featurette expounding on this fact that includes comments from Joel Silver. This does not, in my opinion, take away from the amazing feat in imagery and movement the Matrix achieved. The film deserved all the praise that it received. However, the inspiration for that amazingly bad assed stuff came from an anime. Not impressed? The Matrix was all eye candy? How about something that was considered highly cerebral in its theme. I know there was supposed to be this big philosophy behind the Matrix. Forget that noise. It was eye candy. The film that was critically acclaimed everywhere as much for its concept as it was for its visuals was Inception. It has been lauded as the most original idea in films is ages. I looked at the trailer and tweeted one of my favorite critics that it looked like Paprika which came out four years earlier. Christopher Nolan has said that Paprika was an influence on Inception. Still not impressed? Let's try something that was not considered scifi in any fashion. I was looking at an extended trailer for Black Swan. Some of the scenes, I remarked, reminded me strongly of Perfect Blue. Darren Aronosky acknowledges that there were similarities between the films, but it was not an influence. That's confusing to me. He actually owns the rights to Perfect Blue which he bought to recreate a scene for another film, Requiem for a Dream. Whatever. Incidentally, Perfect Blue and Paprika were by the same man, the immensely talented Satoshi Kon who left this world way too soon.

And there you have it. My intensely geeky interest in Anime and Manga is perfectly justified as a filmmaker. Heck, it's justifiable for film fans as well. You could be as annoying as I am when presented with statements like 'the most innovative etc, ect. ever seen' by pointing out you had seen such innovation a few years before. It's a magical moment at a party. Oh, I didn't mention Manga? Well, many of the titles I listed began as manga. But if you want to know the latest Hollywood interest in it, just google for details about the hellacious dust up over the plans for the Leonard DiCaprio/Warner Bros adaptation of Akira. It even has ultra mellow George Takei upset. As for me, what is the anime that is inspiring my Hums and me to write the next blockbuster. I am so not even breathing that title. My Hubs and I have never discussed it outside of our home. Go fourth and watch your own!


There aren't many right now. I'm still working on the yaoi books. We're having a casting session for the horror film on Wednesday. We also plan on signing our leads this week.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Birthdays and Curses and Updates

Jon and I inadvertently avoided a politician canvassing for votes on our block on Saturday. I'm counting that as a treat to myself. I'm not pleased at politicians turning up in my e-mail inbox. I really wouldn't react well to one showing up at my door. This past week was a tiring one that began with a six and a half hour ordeal to see my surgeon for a follow up. The actual encounter with the doctor lasted literally five minutes. One might even say we got the bum's rush out of the office. And that was during rush hour. And then, there were the two production meetings. I remembered why I really don't like production meetings (and why Jon really does). But more on that later (I promise).

Month of Fun – Birthday Week

Despite my grumbling, last week was really good on a number of levels. The weather was absolutely lovely, so I got out a lot. We had a long walk with Craig and my hat on Tuesday. Craig asked us to read his script and tell him how to trim it from over three hours to under two. Typically, such a request is daunting and really boring. But this is a voyage through what Craig considers entertaining. Oh boy, was that entertaining. It was so much fun to read that we want to read the version that is TWICE as long as this one. I was laughing out loud in the wee small hours of the morning. His use of dialogue is profane and artistic and hilarious. I told him to keep the length and go for an HBO mini-series. It's a plumb leading part for some A-lister. Craig wanted to know who as there were ways of getting the script on their bedroom nightstands. We didn't ask. Deniability is sometimes a very important thing. Did I mention that some ancient panhandler out a curse on Craig? Yeah, that happened. I've never been present when an actual curse was put on someone. Craig yelled back that aliens had stolen his camels. A good time was had by all.

On the birthday itself, there was the second production meeting. That was not loads of fun (they never are for me), but considering that I couldn't have sat through one last year, things are pretty good for me. Last year, I was barely out of the hospital from what the other Appendix Cancer patients call the Mother Of All Surgeries (MOAS). I recall being full of staples. I'm certain I was resentful of the tube still hanging out of me. IV Chemo was a notion that hung over my head like an Acme Anvil. Being cancer free this year is a reason to howl at the moon. I still have a lot of healing to do(I should remember, I get nagged enough about that), but I am well on the way. I have new and exciting work that fulfills me creatively. I even have a cause to fight for. As for the birthday, it was good overall. I spent time time with Marguerite Lliteras, one of our partners, who has a desert dry sense of humor. And then we had time with her wonderful grandson. He is six and a very, very funny, witty child who can spin lengthy tales from thin air that are full of whimsy and wonder during a relatively short ride home. Intelligent children like him are joyful and delightful and a treat to listen to. My darling nephew and my adorable little cousins could brighten my darkest moods at that age by just showing up and telling me about their days. Thus, a little ride with him was a wonderful treat. Beyond that, I roasted a lobster tail and made some pasta with a little olive oil and garlic with a side of lightly sauteed spinach. We bought a slice of fudge cake from the Cheesecake Factory to share. I had a little bubbly. The was really simple to prepare and very, very lovely. I was not in the South of France or even in the South of Philly, but I had a wonderful birthday. Thanks again for all the well wishes!

But there is way more of the month to go. There are recipes to try. This week's were a chocolate birthday cake a la Marcus Samuelsson and stuffed olives a la Chuck Hughes. Both were delicious. Will this be the month I try to bake croissants? Who knows? There are a whole lot of interesting things in my bookmarks. And there are the lovely lunches. I've had two this month, so far. One was with Craig after the lovely walk and curse. Second, was a delightful lunch with dear friend and wonderful actor, Ray Proscia. He has a brutal yet hilarious way of cutting through the crap of any situation which helps when dealing with a sometimes crazy person with a serious illness. He has seen the worst that this particular cancer can dish out with another friend, thus he was the ideal person to deal with me. He has seen me at my worst and could still make me laugh. Lunch was a celebration of victory. And, as always, there was tasty industry gossip!

Updates – Many and Varied

Blast from the Past

Walter Koenig was at Lucy's studio for a shoot last week. I don't think Ralph saw him since Dragoncon nearly ten years ago. Anyway, it was really cool that he remembered working on The Privateers with us all those years ago and remembered us very fondly. that made Jon and I feel really good. We haven't been able to offer much in the way of money to actors, but they always manage to have a good time on our sets.

The Films

The production meeting blog is on the new page for Octodemon: The Alcamagod. There are even photos of some of the locations. My plan is to do as much photo documentation as I can and put them up in a timely fashion. Jon and I plan to be the videographers for this shoot. That footage will be on draggontv.com. We'll probably post that weekly. That will depend on the mayhem going on.

For Demon on the Run, I'm still working a script to fit the resources we have available. It's coming along, but I am admittedly going slowly. I want to make sure that we can shoot everything that I write. Thus, I have to research each scene to make sure I have assets in place to make it work. This is the opposite way line producing usually works. However, this is normal for web series. Those are almost always written around resources and not just around an idea.

The Books

Insomnia has been a good thing for my writing. When I finally get tired of watching late night true crime shows or reruns of Hawaii Five-O, I listen to music and work through character arcs. Despite having a clear plan for my novels, I sometimes find that the arcs of any given character weren't what I expected. A Soldier's Destiny is going very well. It's been difficult to pull an excerpt to put in the blog because there are some serious spoilers before or after any given love scene. Silly me. I need to write more gratuitous love scenes! There is a lovely moment that is developing in my head. I will try to share it soon. The dynamic has shifted between Rik and Vincent where the younger man has become the protector in the relationship. He no longer needs the nurturing he required as a young soldier. He matured through all the experiences on his own and with Rik. The shift is timely as Rik needs to be emotionally protected to do the kind of training the newest and most volatile recruits to date require. That's been interesting as the story remains from Rik's point of view. Hopefully, there will be a scene I feel safe in putting up soon.

Ensnared has been a fascinating trip. It is the first time I've broken up a couple once I put them together. This has been a challenge to deepen a relationship without physical intimacy. There have been a lot of near misses and longing. My leading man, Darius, is the most arrogant character I've ever written, yet I find him amusing and endearing as well as extremely dangerous. Andreas is amazed by his once and future lover's behavior. Andreas believes that Darius has arrogant handwriting. He is amused and befuddled at being blamed for the erotic dreams Darius has while they are apart. It's been a delightful dance for the characters as they make their way back toward each other. I will share a scene from this book soon as well.

Stay tuned.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Blog Part Two Delayed

We have another production meeting scheduled for Wednesday. I will post updates on the projects after that one. Good news though. There are casting dates and a shoot date for the horror film.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Tiramisu, Juleps and Shirtless Hestons

I'm breaking up the blog into parts this week. Jon and I are having a production meeting about the horror film later today, so I'm thwarted from doing a complete update of the projects right now. I'm hoping that this will be the beginning of an easier week for me. Some days, I feel like I can power walk twenty miles. Some days , it's very hard to get out of bed. Currently, I'm negotiating between taking my time and becoming more active. I do have to push myself to build my strength and flexibility, but I can't push too far. I must confess that I have found the search for balance frustrating. When will I feel normal? What will be normal from now on? Bah! Let's move on!

Month of Fun

This has been, despite my difficulties, an amazing week for fun and food. Well, the fun was mostly food. I ate at one of our favorite diners, The 50s Cafe in Venice. I had some fabulous cheeses. There was a lot of food last week. Well, it wasn't all about food. There was also a great conversation with my Maw-In-Law(she's a hoot). And I spent some time on the road with Craig. That involved a protracted discussion about The Omega Man (too many albino mutants with afros, too much Anthony Zerbe , and way too much shirtless Charlton Heston. That discussion shifted to one about The Last Man on Earth which Craig liked better probably because it lacked those elements of the former. Finally, we rounded things out with a lively debate over I Am LinkLegend, the film not the book . All three films were based on the same book. It was a very strange ride to and from the hospital. All I'm certain of is that Craig hates movie hippies, white afros and shirtless Hestons. And I can laugh until I'm dizzy.

Jon gave me my first present yesterday. I had asked for him to restore two photographs of my mother. This first one is of her(on the right) with her sister, Eleanor. Weren't they fabulous? They were on their way out somewhere on a Saturday night. It's one of my favorite photos of my Mom. Jon is working on the absolute favorite. I'll share it soon.

The most amazing thing about this week is that I'm not suffering through my usual May irritation over not being in France. Not that I don't want to be in France. On any given day since I returned from there, I'd like to be back. This year I'm not irritated about it. One does a lot of walking in France. In Paris, walking often includes walking up and down stairs to the Metro or in the hotel. In Cannes, at the Marche du Film and the Festival, there is a heck of a lot of walking. The market itself is at least the size of a football field while the films are scattered all over the city. Typically, our hotels have been at least a twenty minute walk from the center of the action. The last time, we were twenty minutes away and up a steep, three block long hill that is a foothill to the ALPS. I always eat like a crazy person in that country, yet I always lose weight. This year, I'm not in good enough shape to handle that much walking. And that's good, because it keeps me from being annoyed. Thus, I can better enjoy the month of fun at home.

We found the Lady Fingers! Gabriele had recommended Bay Cities Deli, but I mistook it for Sorrento's Market in Culver City. It's a place frequented by Food Network types and is down the street from where Randy Lived when he was out here. Oh boy, did they have lady fingers. Jon believes that they had a lady finger aisle. He felt that the packages were mocking him. I wouldn't go that far, but there were a buttload of lady fingers to be had there. Thus, it was time to tackle Tiramisu. Basically, it's an egg yolks whipped with sugar which is mixed with egg whites that where whipped with sugar and mixed with mascarpone cheese. There is also a dash of Marsala wine. The lady fingers are dipped in cold espresso coffee then covered with the mixture. Simple, right? NO! The mixture kind of curdled when we mixed the wine into the cream mixture. I had to use a blender to force an emulsion. The pan was too big, so we needed a recipe and a half of everything. We didn't find that out until there wasn't enough of the cream until we were assembling everything. I had to take a break and rest before we could finish. The second batch of cream came together more smoothly by not bringing the Mascarpone cheese to room temperature. It was delicious. I'll try making it again when we get a better sized pan. I do think we did a great job for a first time.

This past week was full of holidays for me. The Kentucky Derby was rolling around, and I still hadn't finished the food and drink from Cinco de Mayo. Yes, the Kentucky Derby is a holiday for me. My mother and I would celebrate Mother's Day and my birthday by having a Kentucky Derby Party. I had to put aside the burrito fixings in favor of making sweet tea, mint juleps and fried chicken with biscuits. Well, Saturday was not a good day. I didn't really get to sleep until 6am. I wasn't sure what I would be able to pull together. My last attempted at biscuits was not very good. I really didn't feel like frying chicken. But when we got to our nearest market, they had fried chicken that's really good. I got some fresh cole slaw fixings and the buttermilk. I had a plan for those biscuits. You see, I had recent found Martha Bakes, a show by Martha Stewart. She did a whole episode on scones and biscuits that showed me where I went wrong the last time. I had handled the dough way too much and rolled it way to thin. Her recipe was simple and it worked well. I had taped the Derby to enjoy with dinner. The race was fun, the julep was great, and the biscuits were not perfect – but they were really good.

The birthday itself is coming up during the coming week. I'm not sure what sort of mayhem will be involved. I'm hoping for seafood and a little bubbly. Updates will be in the next installment either tonight or tomorrow.

Stay tuned.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Big Hat, Big Fun and Big Updates

I need a hat pin. I have this really big sun bonnet with a brim that likes to catch the breeze. So, if I dont want to make like Sister Bertrill. How many of you knew who she was without clicking on the link? In the interest of complete documentation, here's a Video Link. Where was I? Oh, yeah, the sun bonnet. I didn't mean to get one quite that big though I must confess to wanting one since I was young. There is a straw version called the poolside hat that's just gi-normous. All I'll need is a huge pair of sunglasses and I'll be ready for the Riviera! Last week, Jon, the hat and I went walking from the Santa Monica Pier to Venice Circle. According to my pedometer, it was a three mile walk. It seemed a lot longer to be, but then it was the first time I've walked that kind of distance since I fell ill. The weather was perfect last Friday. It was really bright and sunny, but there was a wonderful, cool breeze. Thus, the need for a hat pin. I wasn't silly enough to look for one in a department store while we were out. It was challenging finding one on line that wasn't 'antique' (expensive). I did find one for under ten dollars on a site called Etsy.com which is an Ebay like site for handmade crafts of all types. And my hat came from a neat site called Coolibar.com. This site specializes in clothing and accessories that protect wearers from the sun. My hat has an spf of 50+. I plan to do two major walks a week to get in shape for the Appendix Cancer Awareness Walk in June and to just get back into better overall shape. Oh, and Venice has finally made it official, it now has an actual freak show to go along what was long thought to be a freak show. It boasts a five legged dog, a two headed pig and something about a lizard. I don't know. Scary.

Month of Fun

It's May once again. It's time for the month long celebration of being on the planet. The original plan was – and is – to do something that's a little special for myself each day of the month. Now, Agent Cooper maintained that you should give yourself a little present every day even if it's just a damn fine cup of coffee. This may be the secret of true happiness (it sounds plausible), but I can only seem to do it consistently for a month. Today was brownies. I made some for Jon and me. It was going to be Tiramisu, but we couldn't find lady fingers. Annoying. I hope I don't have to actually order them from Amazon.com or some other site. There are a few more markets left to try. One of them is a high end market. The odds are pretty good. Since I've never tried to make the dessert at all, I'm sure not going to try to make lady fingers on top of that. I'm supposed to be having a fun time here. [It's now Monday. I've been to three more markets with no luck in the lady fingers department. I finally had to write to Gabriele Corcos, who with his actress wife Debi Mazer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debi_Mazar , is the host of the Cooking Channel show Extra Virgin http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/extra-virgin/index.html . An episode of that show is the reason I was trying to make the dessert. They are based in LA, so I figured they'd know where to find the danged things. They did. Thank you Gabriele and Facebook!] Btw, my present for today was a burger and a cherry coke at my favorite diner, the 50s Diner in Venice, CA. The plans for the rest of the moth are shifting and nebulous. I have no real plans for the actual birthday. I do know we'll be doing casting and pre-production on the horror film. So, in the midst of that, I'll be scheduling lovely lunch encounters with friends. Jon and I will try to make First Friday in Venice to have some gourmet truck food this Friday. Beyond that, I'm winging it.

Updates – Now in More Categories!

The Secret Cancer

I've had over a dozen replies to my calls for patient/survivor/caregiver stories. I am deeply pleased that this many people are willing to share such an intimate and painful chapter of their lives on camera with a complete stranger. I must be careful about these interactions as the stories can be really overwhelming for someone who has been enduring the disease and the treatments. I've had to restrict my work on the film to twice a week at the most. In other news, I've had contact with is Audrey Hepburn's eldest son, Sean H. Ferrer. I can't go into great detail, but it was a wonderful conversation. I look forward to his participation in telling her story. I'm also still raising money for the film . The Indiegogo.com campaign is still new and it needs a higher profile. Please follow the LINK even if you cannot donate. Hits raise our profile and will eventually get us on the front page of the site. This can be accomplished faster by clicking on the tiny red link on the right hand bottom of the page. It says 'feature this.' So, donate and/or spread the word!

The Horror Movie

We're having our first production meeting(s) this week. Out of those, we expect to have a start date. We'll also be finishing the cast selection. So far, everyone is happy with the script, so that makes me happy. Meanwhile, I have to fill out the half inch pile of paperwork for the WGA. I'm letting Ralph handle SAG. As it is, I'm not looking forward to my sixth call to the WGA to clarify their forms. I still can't reveal a lot, but I can say one of our leads is raring to go! He really liked the crazy in the script.

Demon on the Run – The Mini Series

Sometimes, having to delay is not a bad thing. In the case of shows with limited resources, a real surprise can come our way. In this case, it is a location that literally was not available when we originally planned to shoot the first episode of this series. It is being managed by one of our favorite crew guys who worked both The Privateers and Demon Under Glass. It's also a five minute walk for Jon and me and a five minute drive for Garett Maggart. Now, two of our main locations are very close to home. I'm not implying that we're lazy, but not having to deal with freeway traffic to do this shoot is a very, very good thing. Also, I happened to have an opportunity to speak to Garett about a twist we had in mind to doing the flashback scenes with Simon through the ages of Vampire pop culture. He watches a lot of shows and has an eye for what will play well. When he started making suggestions that had me saying 'okay, that's really screwed up.' I knew we were really onto something. Since we don't have lots in the way of money, we have to make sure everything on screen is interesting through character work and storytelling. These twists really play with the form and do both. I was really happy that he not only got it, he could build on it. That script is well underway now. I'm also working on a web page through blogspot.com. There should actually be something on it by the end of the week.

The Novels

Tonight is an exception as I am still working on the blog, but most nights are reserved for working on one of the novels or both of them. I'm making steady progress. I've actually reached the magical moment with them where I can see so much of what is happening that I am merely reporting what is unfolding almost on its own. There have been some very interesting deviations from my original outlines in both cases, but I like where they are going. What's amazing in the Soldiers book is that there are still things for me to discover about Rik and Vincent. That's very exciting for me as a writer. I'm thinking that it will be exciting for my readers. I'm planning on excerpts in the next week or two.

Stay tuned.

Not the Blog Yet

I was late starting the blog on Sunday. Then, we went grocery shopping later than planned. I finally settled down to write the thing after a really late dinner when THE news broke. I don't look at extended news coverage anymore. I could only stand the coverage of the earthquake in Japan because it was in Japanese. I didn't watch the royal wedding not because of what it was but because news commentators send me up the wall. Though it may be noted, and would make my dear late mother and her sisters very proud, I noted that the bride's dress reminded me strongly of Princess Grace's with but ONE glance. It's a Harris sister thing. Anyway, given the gravity of the news, I couldn't not look at the coverage. Heck, I even delayed watching Last Cake Standing. Due to the nature of the coverage, I couldn't split my focus as I sometimes can. And afterward, I was exhausted for some reason. This is my very long winded way of saying that the blog will be up later today or tonight. There is a for real Freak Show, a gigantic hat, the Month of Fun and Updates.

Stay tuned.