Also, I learned that if you haven't been using Foxfire, the blogger text has been messed up. I think that's the big problem, so I'm trying out Explorer today. I hope this looks better....
Chris Marie Green is the author of the urban fantasy Vampire Babylon series. Her second alter-ego, Christine Cody, wrote the upcoming Bloodlands series (August, September, October). Crystal Green writes romance for Special Edition and Blaze.
Finally—here’s another installment of my New York adventure!
Saturday was all conference day. Yes, I had been planning to skip out on the later workshops to see a matinee, but I realized that I was starting to take these Broadway shows for granted—that I wasn’t really appreciating them as much as I could because I was saturating myself in them. So I decided to be All Conference Girl. And since it was the last official day, I didn’t go to a Saturday night show, either, opting instead to actually spend time with other writers at dinner. Imagine that.
But when Sunday came and most of the other writers left for the airport, it was all about New York again.
My friend and fellow writer, Mary Leo, stayed behind, too, and even though the weather was a tad rainy, we decided to go out anyway. Water does not make a human melt, after all.
We took the subway over to a vintage store near Central Park. I had visited this place before, and I had found a super cute skull-and-crossbones pirate tank there. And…what do you know! I found a couple of tops that were cut to fit me really, really well. Sweet. (I think the store is called Alan & Suzie’s—and you wouldn’t believe the mint clothes they have. Vintage Valentino, etc. I was afraid to touch some of the stuff.)
Then, Mary and I stumbled upon a great little tapas joint a few doors down. I didn’t record the name, though I did note the directions in my guide book so I can return. My methods are sloppy yet effective.
Afterward, we scrammed to a 7:30 showing of THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE. Totally laughed our butts off. Seriously. The show works on the conceit of the cast: adults who are portraying brainy and ultra-sensitive fifth graders in a—what else?—spelling bee. Were you all ever in one of these monstrosities? My spelling bee was probably the most nerve-wracking experience of my young life, and I truly don’t even like to think about it. But this show poked fun at the competitions while remaining heartfelt. All the “kids” are way more perceptive than any adults, of course, and their individual songs were clever and biting and adorable, if not forgettable in the tune department. The theater was small and had seating that surrounded three-fourths of the stage, thus assuring that there wasn’t a bad seat in the house. Also, the show makes good use of people plucked out of the audience previous to the performance (and you can see an example of this in the following clip when the "surprise cast member" comes on stage). In total, it felt like a community experience, where the whole audience is in on every joke with the kid actors. Loved it.
Here’s a clip from the Tony Awards so you guys can get a hint of what fun I had. (Mind you, the visual quality stinks. Sorry.)
Afterward, Mary and I got back to the hotel in time to collapse and watch BROTHERS AND SISTERS. I have grown to adore that show.
Next and final New York adventure: SPRING AWAKENING, a racy and somewhat disturbing new musical that has taken the critics by storm. But how did the audience react…?
Before I finally get to the New York stuff, I have one more subject to blog about, and I want to do it before the Weinstein Brothers get a hold of this movie and chop it up.
In case you haven’t heard, GRINDHOUSE, the brainchild of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, hit theaters over Easter weekend. It took in about half the money the studio was expecting (a $12 million take), so the suits are freaking out and threatening to release this movie in two segments since the running time is over three hours. Good idea?
I don’t think so.
See, GRINDHOUSE is an experience, not just a movie. It’s a throwback to a night at the drive-in, with funky “Coming Soon” music and tie-dye visuals introducing schlocky trailers. It’s a double feature with gore, action aplenty, and more gore. Serrating it is not the point here, though I understand that the studio is looking for a profit. They’re a business. But GRINDHOUSE shouldn’t be messed with.
(MINOR SPOILERS AHOY—BEST BE ON THE LOOKOUT)
Let me explain. I haven’t experienced any grindhouse movies, unless you count barely formed memories of sitting in the lowered back seat of a station wagon while my mom and dad told me and my brother to get to sleep as they watched BLUEBEARD. (That turned out not to be a good idea. I remember my mom panicking and covering my eyes at one point, LOL. Poor Mom.) As I understand it, though, the grindhouse experience consists of so-bad-it’s-good plots, boobs, damaged film, and missing reels. GRINDHOUSE has all of these in spades, and it’s fun to see all these touchstones poked at and exploited for laughs. In fact, I would recommend GRINDHOUSE for its fun quotient alone.
Cutting this movie and parceling it out totally mucks up the groove Rodriguez and Tarantino establish. So enough said about that.
Now about the movies themselves. And, be assured, these are two very different movies contained in this one release. Rodriguez starts things off with PLANET TERROR, a zombie flick with splooging blood, superhero dialogue, and so many wink-wink-nudge-nudges that we’re immediately in on the joke. The writer/director is having an awesome time, here, and we’re along for the ride. After the first five minutes, you stop expecting reality and just go with the flow. Pure, gross fun, if you’re in the mood for it—and you’d better be in the mood. Be warned about that.
Then we get to some faux movie trailers—cameos, really—by people like Rob Zombie and Eli Roth. All I can say is…Oh. My. God. Like PLANET TERROR, they’re hilarious and sick. Due to Roth’s THANKSGIVING trailer, I have now seen everything, too. There’s one moment when I actually thought, “I can’t believe I just saw that happen” and you’ll know exactly what I mean when you witness it. (You can look Thanksgiving up on Youtube.com, actually. I’m not going to link to it because I don’t want that on my conscience.) Final note about that demented THANKSGIVING moment: one guy in the theater let out the biggest, most disgusted, “OOOOOOOOOOOOO” I have ever heard in my lifetime.
Then it’s on to Tarantino’s DEATHPROOF, which stars Kurt Russell, who manages to make a serial killer kinda pathetically cute (Those dimples!!!) and pretty sympathetic. Unfortunately, this is where GRINDHOUSE grinded to a bit of a halt for me. From the shuffling and coughing in the theater, I suspect a lot of the audience felt the same way. Where PLANET TERROR was outrageous and established the spirit of a grindhouse experience with its burnt film and skipping soundtrack, DEATHPROOF seems to forget it’s on the same bill at times. What I mean is that this is definitely a more straightforward “QUENTIN TARANTINO” effort. In fact, the story is told with fairly realistic relish, with Tarantino’s characteristic riffing conversations that last twenty minutes and rely on a circling camera to add a sense of action. This relative realism gave me permission to think that some of the plot points were…well, frustrating. For instance, after a long car chase sequence—one in which the characters should be hauling ass out of the scene—they start joking around. Seriously. There’s no, “We should get going just in case Stuntman Mike speeds down the road at 120 miles per hour and rams us,” but there is a cheeky “Who was that maniac?” and the requisite smart ass observations that follow. Also, those long, hip, Tarantino conversations™? Sloooooow theeeeee mooooovie dooooown. In his others films, I found these riffs absolutely fascinating, but here? Nope. However, one thing that saved DEATHPROOF, besides Kurt Russell, was Zoe Bell, a real-life stuntwoman. She is awesome. Awesome, I say, and you’ll dig her, too. (Factoid: I studied Zoe Bell’s career during my stunt research for Vampire Babylon. I feel like I know the woman, although Bell is effervescent while Dawn is…not.) Bell drives this movie, and her stunts are up close and crazy. She steals the show.
Wow, this was long, but there’s a lot to say about this flick. I had a lot of warped fun and I’m the first to admit that I must have issues. It’s recommended if you’re of the same bent disposition.
This is the second book in Nalini Singh’s “Psy”/shapeshifter series, and it’s a doozy. Basically, it’s about a woman called Faith who is a “Psy,” a breed who uses psychic powers ranging from foresight to telepathy and beyond. The Psy are more human machines than anything—they even gather in a community area called “the Net,” which eerily resembles an Internet of the mind. When a were-jaguar named Vaughn meets Faith, she’s drawn to his animal power, even fearful of it, since the Psy try to live without emotion. After all, feeling might drive them insane due to their sensitive natures. What follows is a heated tug-of-war as Vaughn attempts to convince Faith to defect from her society. Bonuses include hot sex and a world that is incredibly realized. The characters are well-drawn and intriguing, as well—you’re going to wish for sequels for everyone you meet. Nalini Singh really took pains to imagine this story, and it’s fascinating to become a part of the action. I’m really, really looking forward to the next book, CARESSED BY ICE, and will be perusing her backlist for the first in this series.
And…what do you know—this month’s contest on my site features VISIONS OF HEAT as part of the prize package!
But, truly, I encourage you not to wait to see if you win the contest and go right out to grab this book. You’ll be drawn into the world of the Psy, too.
Two things for you to explore today:
First, here’s another interview, this one by Peach Publishing. She asked some questions that vary from the norm, so I really had to think about a couple of the answers….
Second, here’s a book trailer from Jenna Black, whom I met at the PASIC conference. Jenna also writes vampires, and I can’t wait to check out her first book, too: WATCHERS IN THE NIGHT.
Have a great weekend, and I promise I’m getting closer to blogging about New York, LOL.
I'm still catching up on posts, so enjoy these before we get down to the nitty-gritty of The New York Trip....
PARALLEL SEDUCTION by Deidre Knight
Signet, April 3, 2007
The author of Parallel Attraction unleashes the next novel in a series about an alternate world, where treachery can destroy the strongest of allies, the most loyal of friendships, and the fiercest of passions...
Warrior Jake Tierny travels back in time to stop a traitor in his beloved king's camp. But when a twist of fate proves the mission unnecessary, Jake is trapped in a time not his own, with friends who cannot learn his true identity.
Scott Dillon may be the king's trusted lieutenant, but he is also a man at war with himself, a human hybrid who refuses to succumb to the Antousian nature he abhors-and that Jake Tierny embodies.
FBI linguist Hope Harper refuses to let near-blindness keep her from joining the Refarians in their war to defend mankind. Yet her sizzling attraction to both Scott and Jake, and the strange memories they share, force all three to question the core of their beliefs. As their enemies surround them, Hope knows she must choose one man for all time.
ABOUT DEIDRE KNIGHT
Deidre Knight is president of The Knight Agency, which she founded in 1996. Since that time, she has grown the agency to national prominence, landing authors on every major bestseller list. Deidre began her writing career at age nine, when her award-winning essay on Barbie was published in her hometown newspaper, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. She has been writing in one form or another ever since. After nearly a decade of working with Knight Agency clients, helping them discover their creative potential, her fiction debut with NAL in 2006 marks the fulfillment of her own lifelong writing dream. She is excited to embark on yet another new and fulfilling creative journey.
There’s never a dull moment in this terrific series! – Romantic Times (4 stars)
I was on the edge of my chair with each and every turn of the page with this one. I hate that it ended because now I want more of the story. Each book becomes more and more fascinating and raises more questions. It is my fervent hope that talented Deidre Knight has many more Parallel stories coming! – Kathy Boswell, The Best Reviews
Just when I thought this was the end, Ms. Knight threw a curve in the story resulting in the upcoming PARALLEL DESIRE (October 2007). This series is filled with heart-pounding action, plot twists, passion and great steamy romance. I was hooked from the first book in this series, and I can't wait until October. – Jory Reedy, Fresh Fiction
Hey--I'm back! I'll be blogging about my New York trip, with an emphasis on theater, very soon. But now's the time for exploring some great new Out of the Blogosphere books that are on tour...and on the bookshelf. :) Here's one of them now....
SIGHT UNSEEN by Samantha Graves
Warner Books; April 1 2007
Raven Callahan doesn’t do it for the money. She does it for the thrills. As a consultant for API, an art recover company, she gets to steal—legally. But when her colleague is kidnapped during an assignment, Raven is forced to steal a priceless master painting to save his life.
David “Dax” Maddox was the perfect street cop—until a botched burglary raid cost his partner his life and Dax his ability to see color. Now, with his world gray, Dax has only one mission: to take down the murderer. And he’ll use anyone—even a sexy thief with questionable ethics—to get justice.
Soon Dax and Raven are forced together as pawns in a madman’s scheme. From the heart of Cuba to the New York art world, they find themselves in a race against time to stop the ultimate revenge.
Samantha Graves turned a lifelong love of daydreaming into writing fiction. Under the name of C.J. Barry, she is the award-winning author of the UN-Forgettable Futuristic romance series. She now brings her unique blend of high adventure, sizzling romance, mystery and humor to her first contemporary romantic suspense.
4 ½ Stars & a Top Pick “This fast-paced adventure provides all the action, romance and thrills a reader could ask for. " - Romantic Times magazine
Five Stars "I found myself hooked from page one!" - Huntress Reviews
"Tightly woven and suspenseful...will keep readers riveted." - The Road to Romance
"A refreshing paranormal romantic suspense thriller." - Harriet Klausner
Five Angels & a Recommended Read "Fun, exciting and at times heart-wrenching." - Fallen Angel Reviews