Friday, March 30, 2007
I've also seen SPAMALOT and THE COLOR PURPLE, so I'll be blogging about those. Same with THE PIRATE QUEEN, which I'll be catching tonight.
See you soon!
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
No, your eyes are not deceiving you. It is indeed 4:52 am, and I'm getting ready to travel. But the reason I'm pointing out the time is that it brings back memories of how energetic I used to be when I first quit teaching and began writing full-time.
You see, back then (just a few years ago), I would wake up at 4:30 three days a week, start writing a chapter right away, and be done with a rough draft in time for going to the gym and taking a yoga class at 9:30. Yeah, you read that right. I can hardly believe it myself and, when people used to be amazed at my schedule, it didn't seem like a big deal. I felt efficient, peppy, excited.
But nowadays, when I get up at 6am to do my thing, I feel like that's an accomplishment.
I guess 4:30 wake up calls could only last so long with me: I love my sleep. I am a champion sleeper, as a matter of fact. But, somehow, that didn't matter. I was so stoked to get my work done for the day that I popped right out of bed.
Has something about you and your energy level changed within the last few years? Is it because we're getting older or just because we're realizing we're not superpeople?
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Thanks to the evil yet highly amusing Defamer.com site, here are a couple of 300 parodies to love. This first one celebrates the manliest men to ever man-up, and what you see on screen during the chorus of the song will surely make you LOL….
Now, for clip two—worth a look if only for the “Tonight we dine in (blank)!” moment. It’s the pink-backpack and lip gloss version of the film.
Have a fun rest-of-the weekend.
Friday, March 23, 2007
I've just signed a three-book contract with Blaze!
So now, in addition to writing a miniseries for Special Edition that's being called "The Suds Club," I'll be working on three projects for my "other" Harlequin Silhouette line. I've already turned in two short synopses but the third will be a "blind" work, meaning that my editor, Brenda Chin, just wanted to reserve my time. Yes--this is where I want to be in my writing career: "reserved"! It's a good feeling.
If you're wondering what those first two Blazes will be about, I'll give you a little teaser about book one....
In 2002, I had planned to write a chick-lit story about four women who take a road trip on Route 66. I even went so far as to drag my friend and critique partner Sheree Whitefeather with me on part of the route. (BTW, you can see a few pictures on the main site.) Then, I wrote three sample chapters and a synopsis. Just as I was about to polish all of that, lots of work started to come my way. I sold THE HUNTRESS, A TYCOON IN TEXAS, and BORN TO BE BAD all within a couple weeks of each other, so my Route 66 book fell by the wayside, never to be looked at again. It's still in my computer, unpolished, deserted and sad. :(
But now I'm going to use my research for a Forbidden Fantasies Blaze. You guys don't know how excited I am to revisit this subject in a different format. Though the storyline doesn't at all resemble that chick-lit book, I'm really looking forward to using Route 66 as a setting. There's so very much to play with!
Tentative title for this project? ROAD GAMES.
How about books two and three then? Well, I have no idea what the third Blaze will be about, and I have to keep the second book's subject mum for now. I'll be able to say more about it in August, I think....
Stay tuned for that revelation as well as the second half of my original announcement. It might take at least a few weeks before I can say anything, but it's really, really cool news. :)
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
In essence, the movie did such a great job of covering most of the bigger Zodiac details that "reading" the audio version was almost redundant. However, ZODIAC is based on two Graysmith books, so reading just one of them was also like constructing half of a puzzle, the larger picture left incomplete. Now I guess I'll have to read the second one. (It's not like I don't have about five hundred books waiting on my TBR shelves. Crap!)
Though listening to this book is a somewhat dry experience--the presentation is rather flat at times--the information is riveting. There's also some suspense involved, because Graysmith goes back and forth between favoring one suspect, then another. And, at the conclusion, there's a real heavy sense of darkness while the narrator presents several scenarios about what might've really happened with the Zodiac killer. I wouldn't suggest listening to this at night.
On my iPod booklist now? MARIE ANTOINETTE by Antonia Fraser....
Monday, March 19, 2007
At the same time, I've got a lot to follow up on with the workshops. You know how it goes at conferences: you sit in on a session, applying all the advice you're getting to your own stories and/or career, and you come home with a thousand more things to do than when you left. For instance, there was one workshop about contracts, and I wrote down about ten items to follow up on with my next business deals. Also, Ken Sherman, an L.A.-based literary-movie agent, motivated me to really see what I can do about getting works like THE HUNTRESS and BAITED made into movies. (I think the Sci-Fi Channel would be a great home for THE HUNTRESS. Heck, any channel that supports the amazing BATTLESTAR GALACTICA is my kind of place.) It'd also be interesting to see if the Vampire Babylon series would have a chance at being made into something like a pay channel series--one that uses a twelve or thirteen-episode format. That would be perfect for my vampires....
Another wonderful benefit of a small conference is meeting and networking with the other authors. NINC consists of published writers from a variety of genres so, for the first time, I was able to chat with and glean knowledge from pure fantasy and horror writers. (Nancy Holder--you're the best!) Of course, I got to meet some of my favorite romance authors, including Jo Beverly and Mary Jo Putney. Yes--I still get starstruck at these things and I gushed like a fool about their books, LOL. Fangirl until the end--that's me.
It's a good thing I'm still excited about being in conference mode, because I've got the PASIC conference coming up. This time, I get to meet with my editors in New York. (How cool is that--lunching with my editors in New York. Is that a wonderful cliche or what?)
In the meantime, I'm taking this week to brainstorm more stories and complete the line edit for HER BEST MAN (Montana Mavericks, September). After that and the PASIC conference, it'll be all about writing my first Suds Club trilogy book for Special Edition....
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Cool--shapeshifters *plus* aliens. That's a neat twist!
NEW MOON by Rebecca York
Berkley Sensation March 6, 2007
It's in one man's true nature to remain by the side of the woman he loves, rather than live without her in his own universe...
Landscape architect Logan Marshall is out for a jog-in his werewolf form-when a trap catches his paw. As it saps his strength, he is saved by another werewolf, who-to Logan's amazement-is female.
Female werewolves aren't supposed to exist. But Rinna is a shapeshifter from another dimension who's traveled through a portal to this world. And the trap that ensnared Logan was set by her former captor, and meant for her...
But as soon as Rinna and Logan touch, an electrifying bond forms between them. Unable to resist his desire for Rinna, in all her many forms, Logan will have to earn her trust, and travel through both dimensions to save her-and earth-from the wrath of her enemy...
ABOUT REBECCA YORK
Ever since she can remember, Rebecca York has loved making up stories full of adventure, romance and suspense. As a child she corralled her friends into adventure games or acted out romantic suspense stories with a cast of dolls. But she never assumed she could be an author, because she couldn't spell. Her life changed, however, with the invention of the word processor and spelling checker--and the help of her husband, Norman Glick, who spots spelling errors from fifty paces away. She has authored or co-authored over 60 romantic suspense novels, many with paranormal elements.
You can see an interview with Rebecca York at
Monday, March 12, 2007
If you haven’t already seen this on the main web site, Andrea Evans won last month’s Vampire Hunt Kit. Congrats, Andrea, and enjoy!
Yolanda has another short story that was just released! Congrats to you, too, Y!
I know that Karm signed a 3-book contract for a demon slayer series, right, Karm? Another kudos!
Within the next few weeks, I’ll have some announcements to make. I’m eager to share now, but my common sense is telling me to wait until things get put down on paper.
If anyone else has anything to crow about, shout it out here!
Saturday, March 10, 2007
I saw this film yesterday, but I decided to “step away” from it for a day just to allow everything to settle.
Why? Because 300 is one assault of a movie—and I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way. Not only do the images and bled-out colors attack you, but so does the GLADIATOR-esque/rocker soundtrack. So does the He-Man dialogue. And so does the unrelenting battle action. But this is a movie about the glory of war; it’s a rendering that Achilles himself would put on his keeper shelf. It’s an orgy of violence that’s so effective and amazing to behold that it actually made me dizzy at times.
Now, if you don’t enjoy watching war movies, you might want to skip this one, even though that would be a pity because 300 pushes the visual envelope in so many frenzied and breathtaking ways that it’s an experience, not just a movie. Within the first two minutes, when the first shower of blood arcs up to the camera and freefalls back to the dust, you’ll know what’s in store for you. This is one of those “Oooooo” movies. You know what I mean. When you’re rather surprised or impressed by a character’s response—say a punch to the face or a sword thrust to the throat—there’s an instinctive “ooooo” that issues from deep in your gut. You can’t help it. You can’t restrain it. And throughout 300, there were plenty of “oooooo”s in the audience, plenty of “clapping moments.” At one point, I even found that my face was frozen in an anticipatory “ooooo”—my eyebrows raised, my eyes squinted while I waited for the next slow-motion attack to find its mark.
Speaking of slow motion, I’ve heard some talk about there being too much of it in this film. And, indeed, the effect is used quite a lot, especially during battle sequences. But I liked it. Not only does it give 300 a sort of signature style, it personalizes the violence. What I mean is this: the battle scenes we’ve seen in a hundred other movies always seem to fly by in a mish-mash of blood, cries, and sword clanks. That’s realistic, but it can also be confusing. What the slow motion does for 300 is isolate a single one-on-one confrontation; it raises the stakes of these moments in which the Spartan warriors are engaging in furious hand-to-hand combat. We hold our breath as a blade makes its elegant, time-warped way to its target, and that gives us time to care about the consequences.
There’s no doubt that the battle sequences are this film’s strong point. Actually, they’re more than a strong point—they’re fabulous, even (dare I say it?) beautiful. However, even though I could laugh with some of the characters (Yes, this film does have its comic relief.), I felt…bottled. Strange, but I’m trying to describe a certain aloofness and claustrophobic tension I felt while viewing 300. Maybe it was because of the green-screen usage: the mottled skies never felt real and open. Maybe it was because of the depressing color scheme, which was nevertheless appropriate. The characters are definitely pawns in a larger story, somewhat one-dimensional, although Gerard Butler is great in his iconic role as king of the Spartans.
And there are major bonuses to 300 if you’re a chick like me. Washboard abs. Seriously. The Spartans are a traveling six-pack convention.If you can stand the violence, see it. No matter what you think about the plot construction or characterization, you’ll be taken on a ride….
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
VISIONS OF HEAT by Nalini Singh
Berkley Sensation / March 6, 2007
Go deeper into the world of the Psy and the changelings, where a gifted woman sees passion in her future-a passion that is absolutely forbidden by her kind...
Used to cold silence, Faith NightStar is suddenly being tormented by dark visions of blood and murder. A bad sign for anyone, but worse for Faith, an F-Psy with the highly sought after ability to predict the future. Then the visions show her something even more dangerous-aching need...exquisite pleasure. But so powerful is her sight, so fragile the state of her mind, that the very emotions she yearns to embrace could be the end of her.
Changeling Vaughn D'Angelo can take either man or jaguar form, but it is his animal side that is overwhelmingly drawn to Faith. The jaguar's instinct is to claim this woman it finds so utterly fascinating and the man has no argument. But while Vaughn craves sensation and hungers to pleasure Faith in every way, desire is a danger that could snap the last threads of her sanity. And there are Psy who need Faith's sight for their own purposes. They must keep her silenced-and keep her from Vaughn...
ABOUT NALINI SINGH
Nalini Singh is passionate about writing. Though she’s traveled as far afield as the deserts of China and the temples of Japan, it is the journey of the imagination that fascinates her the most. She’s beyond delighted to be able to follow her dream as a writer.
Nalini lives, works and eats copious amounts of chocolate in beautiful New Zealand.
“…if you're a paranormal reader, this is one book that you have to read!"
~Julie Kornhausl for Romance Reader At Heart
“Nalini Singh has done the enviable; she has written a sequel that lives up to its predecessor.”
~Fallen Angel Reviews, 5 Angels, Recommended Read.
“A breathtaking blend of passion, adventure and the paranormal. I wished I lived in the world Singh has created. This is a keeper!”
~Gena Showalter, bestselling author of The Nymph King
“…I read the book in one night. One single night. Stayed up until 3 a.m.…This book sucked me in and would not let go….The sexual tension between Vaughn and Faith was explosive from their very first meeting….” ~Jaci Burton, Author of Surviving Demon Island
Website http://www.nalinisingh.com/ (includes Behind the Scenes info on the Psy/Changeling series)
Monday, March 05, 2007
* Stoked to see Nathan again. I missed our smoothly pressed politician. In general, I love this bad-but-perhaps-decent vibe that the writers give to many of the characters--it makes them feel real and relatable because even the best of us have sides that we hide. It would've been very easy for a "comic book show" to have given us the purely "mwah-ha-ha" antagonists (even though we know that this actually isn't how a good deal of comic books are structured nowadays. There's a healthy dose of yin-and-yang in many of our modern heroes...as well as their foils.).
* "Don't worry--I know how to play dumb." Oooooo. Line of the night, compliments of Mama Bennet.
* This new girl makes me go "Hmmmm," much like LOST's Juliet. An intriguing character addition.
* Seriously...Mohinder? He knew about Sylar? Sweet! I am so ecstatic that his perception isn't cruising at zero. Too bad that newspaper article about Zane the melter didn't come out before the ultra-hearing lady mechanic died.
* Hiro's puppy adoration of Nathan is pretty damned cute.
* Claire, you clever little nugget of sly HRG-ness, you. Adopted Father served you well. The passport filch was subtle yet impressive.
* Karm--there's your next HEROine! Xerox Chick. Her power has a lot of Mystique-ripe potential for good fun....
* Ouch. You all, the spinal fluid scene hurts. Bleh, barf, barf. I can watch a person's head being sliced open, but needles? Hurl.
* There's the guy from Felicity! (Trip down memory lane: remember when Felicity's skateboarder stalker got hit by that bus? My roommate and I watched that about 15 times on VCR rewind because we couldn't get over it. But ever since Mean Girls, Nip/Tuck, Final Destination 2, Lost, etc., the bus splat shock effect has become rather passe, don't you think?)
* Save the victim whiny talk, Sylar. Yeesh. And--
Whoa...Mohinder's got a gun...POW and...DAMN! DAMN IT ALL, Sylar! He deserved to eat some lead justice but the tables were turned. I despise Sylar tonight. Truly de-spiiiiiiiiiiiise.
* Well played with the Mama Bennet masquerade, Xerox.
* Spidey 3. Geekasam! (BTW, did anyone watch the footage on NBC.com? I don't want to be spoiled.)
* Excuse moi? Grandma Petrelli knew about Claire all along?
* Very happy that Malcom McDowell is on board. So...Linderman: Jolly bad guy? Misunderstood decent guy? Another case of awesome yin-yang characterization?
* So Peter comes to visit Mohinder, la-la-la-la-la, and
Oh, God, the bangs...THE BANGS.
I really hope Peter opens a huge can of whoop ass on Sylar. Deliver, my nurse boy, deliver!!!!!!!
Bunches of goodness tonight, my friends. The wait for late April will be long and fraught with frustration....
Sunday, March 04, 2007
I was thinking I'd be doing a HEROES blog tomorrow, but it looks like a repeat. Dang.
Friday, March 02, 2007
Remember how I used to do lots of movie reviews? Well, here we go again—finally! I saw ZODIAC today and I’m going to try like the dickens to catch 300 next week. Keep in mind that there’s a SPOILER section at the end of the commentary, okay? However, if you know anything about the Zodiac case, what’s contained in that paragraph won’t be much of a surprise.
Now…on with it.
Quite by accident, I’m actually listening to the audio version of ZODIAC on my iPod. I downloaded it months ago because I wanted to get into the “serial killer” groove for an atmospheric thriller proposal, but as that project was pushed to a backburner, so was my ZODIAC time. Honestly, the recording of Robert Graysmith’s book is a tad dry, but I can’t say the same thing about the movie that was adapted from this work.
My God, seeing one of the first murders played out on screen before my eyes repelled me…and sucked me right into the vortex of the investigation that takes up much of ZODIAC’s screen time.
As a matter of fact, the film managed to keep me riveted the entire duration. It’s directed by David Fincher—he of SE7EN and PANIC ROOM fame—but this film seems to mark a turn in style for him. This isn’t a film student’s wet dream like FIGHT CLUB (which I liked--don't get me wrong). In fact, Fincher seems to have embraced substance over style, giving us a haunting story that plows through waves of incoming information. The pacing never lags. And, although the viewer will have to pay close attention to all the fast-and-furious details, the plot is so streamlined that confusion isn’t an issue. That’s a real trick, especially considering how dozens of characters are used to take us through the Zodiac investigation maze. And, amazingly, those characters are well-drawn, even if some of them have minimal screen time.
But beware—if you go into ZODIAC thinking you’re going to get a thriller, this is the wrong movie. Sure, there are a few hair-raising scenes that show the murderer at work—scenes in which the violence isn’t over the top, but is still incredibly visceral. (Just a side note: I was sitting in my seat going, “I wish these people had read THE GIFT OF FEAR!!!!!” A lot of suspense is derived from watching the victims act too late on the obvious doubts they’re having about interacting with a stranger approaching their car or their picnic, etc. These simple scenes are hand-over-the-eyes good because they’re so possible.) However, instead of using the murders themselves as a focal point, most of ZODIAC concentrates on the investigators who tried to go head-to-head with the killer. In fact, and the story doesn’t so much concern the triumph of justice over evil as it does the cost of pursuing that justice.
SPOILER CITY: STOP READING IF YOU WANT TO REMAIN PURE.
It’s especially sad to see how the Zodiac killer succeeds in not only murdering bodies of his victims, but in murdering the souls of those who chased him, as well. It seems as if he designed his ciphers and crimes more out of a need to screw with the living than with the dead. As he hopped from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, making crime solving difficult, we see just how much of a game player this killer was and we understand why he was never definitely identified. What a risky proposition this is in storytelling: you can’t reshoot the ending to have Glenn Close popping out of a bathtub only to be cathartically blown away by the wronged wife, you know? You’ve got to stick with what’s true: that there were strong suspects, but the magic evidence that would erase all doubt never surfaced.Fascinating stuff, this movie. I’m champing at the bit to start listening to my book again….