Tuesday, July 31, 2007

More Comic-Con: Joss Whedon!!!

Comic-Con continued!

The last panel I went to on Saturday was for Joss Whedon. In case you don't know who he is (What?), he's the brainchild of gems like BUFFY, FIREFLY/SERENITY, and TOY STORY, among other works. He is a writing god, total genius, and all around cool guy.



I have to say that Whedon seemed a bit exhausted, or maybe just bummed out. My guess is that the whole WONDER WOMAN thing has taken its toll on him. (He wrote the script, “they” didn’t like it, and “they” are going with another vision, although I’m not sure why anyone would ever decline to work with a Joss Whedon story….) He didn’t even want to talk about it.

However, he has many things on his plate, and we’re going to be the lucky feasters. Here’s what the man himself had to impart:

* Right now, if you go to www.myspace.com/darkhorsepresents you’ll see a Whedon original, SUGARSHOCK. I have yet to check it out, but it’s on my list of things I must do.

* In late winter, get ready for the launch of the SERENITY comic. I think this will be about the further adventures of the crew, in the spirit of BUFFY: SEASON 8. (BTW, here’s a spoiler if you’re reading the series—Oz is on his way back!)

* Whedon is presently rewriting GONERS. He joked about how he turned in a draft and received all these notes about why the script wasn’t working. “And they were right,” Whedon groaned.

* He’s already written a movie with Drew Goddard called CABIN IN THE WOODS. According to Whedon, it’s “the horror film to end all horror films.” Yeeeeee! Whedon and Goddard haven’t gone to market with it yet though.

* He thinks sometime in the next year, he’ll finally get to film RIPPER (the “Giles project”). It looks to be a 90-minute piece for the BBC.

Basically, during the next few years, Whedon wants to do smaller projects like RIPPER—“quick but not shoddy”—because he’s “sick and tired of not entertaining [you] enough.”

Heck, I’d wait a decade for a Whedon project, but the sooner he can get something out there again, the better. The man isn’t just a brilliant trendsetter, but he’s a master of story and character arc. He knows just how to hit an emotional beat and have it pay off.

So here’s to Joss Whedon—long may he entertain.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Comic-Con: Day 3--HEROES Juice!

Tonight, I’m just going to give you details from one single panel--HEROES--and I’ll write about the others later. It was a pretty big day, but I got enough material from this single gathering to tide everyone over.

Ready?

OMG, it was a great time. First off, almost the entire cast and some of the HEROES crew showed up; they were evidently filming and took time out for the Con, then they went back to it once their panel was over. Those who were present include:
Tim Kring (creator)
Tim Sale (artist)
Jeph Loeb (producer)
And…Jack Coleman (HRG!!!), Noah Gray-Cabey (Micah, and he was as cute as a button), Greg Grunberg (Matt Parkman), Ali Larter (Niki Sanders), James Kyson Lee (Ando), Masi Oka (Hiro), Hayden Panettiere (Claire), Adrian Pasdar (Nathan Petrelli), Zach Quinto (Sylar and the new Mr. Spock), Sendhil Ramamurthy (Mohinder, and he doesn’t have that sexy accent in real life.), Dania Ramirez (Maya, a new character), and last but hardly least, Milo Ventimiglia (Peter Petrelli).

Where to start? Well, I can tell you right off the bat that this cast gets along like gangbusters. There was a lot of high-fiving and laughs as each member came out with custom T-shirts saying things like “Hayden is my hero!”, “Milo is my hero!”, and “I’m just a paper salesman.” (Guess who that was?) Just a fun little observation: Milo’s hair was short—the bangs are definitely gone. And a newer cast member was introduced—a Latina character played by Dania Ramirez, who broke AJ’s heart in this last season of THE SOPRANOS.

One of the best moments? When a guy from the audience addressed Greg Grunberg with “My wife and I love you,” Greg zinged back with “Yes, I swing.” He was full of great lines during the entire panel. Actually, most of the cast was.

And how about the inevitable “interesting yet uncomfortable moment thanks to an outspoken fan?” When a girl asked, “Do you foresee any strong female characters who aren’t strippers or cheerleaders?” Du-oh. Ali Larter pointed out that Niki is also a struggling single mother, and that put an end to the question.

Anyway, you guys want to hear the real juice, and there’s some super cool stuff in store. MAJOR cool stuff.

* You already know that HEROES: ORIGINS will be rounding out the regular HEROES season by starting in April. There will be six stand-alone episodes, every one of them about a different person somewhere in the world waking up to their powers. They announced the first person who will write and direct an episode, and it was an awesome Comic-Con moment. All the cast members were craning their necks toward the backstage area to see who this person was, and one of the cast (Don’t know who) leaned forward and said, “NO WAY!” Then, who walks out on stage but Kevin Smith!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The crowd exploded (Yes, I was among their numbers), but he didn’t stay long, choosing to allow the cast the spotlight. I. Can’t. Wait.

*Someone must have been listening to our pal Karm, because besides this new Latina character, another leading female Hero will be introduced. Her name is Monica, and she’s from post-Katrina New Orleans. No word on her powers.

* Then—and this is pretty big so if you don’t want spoilers, stop reading now—they showed about 90 seconds of quick exclusive footage from Volume II. Again, if you don’t want to hear which characters will make it back from last Volume’s finale, please don’t read. (Yeah, I knew you’d still be here. Here are the highlights of what the flashing teasers showed: Hiro in Japan doing some swordplay with a possible love interest [and, no, "swordplay" isn't a euphamism]; Matt Parkman shooting someone; Nathan Petrelli with a huge shaggy beard and it looks like he’s protecting Molly from the bad man; Peter Petrelli looking as if he’s imprisoned somewhere [Karm’s love dungeon perhaps?]; Claire cutting off her toes with scissors [um, yeah, you read that right]; Sylar turning around and looking evil; and best of all, David Anders from ALIAS whipping off his warrior’s mask and making me almost spontaneously combust due to his utter hotness.)

And there you have it! In future blogs, I’ll be covering the preview of THE BIONIC WOMAN, the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA panel, and the Joss Whedon Show.

Hope this entry makes you just as excited for Volume II as I am now! As a little bonus, click here to see the INDIANA JONES “live” feed from Thursday’s Paramount panel.

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/33487

Yay, Marion!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Comic-Con: Day 2--HALLOWEEN Remake and THE MIST Panel


Check it out, you all—part of my Paramount swag! I also received a very nice copy of the Cloverfield teaser poster, a STAR TREK teaser poster, and an IRON MAN mini-poster. All of them are supposed to be Con exclusives, so I’m thinking of framing a couple of these babies. Can you see Sweeney Todd on my wall? Um, maybe not. It might freak me out too much.

As for today’s activities: way more relaxing than yesterday. I avoided the massive Hall H and went to only one panel—the Rob Zombie remake of HALLOWEEN/Stephen King’s THE MIST panel. (However, tomorrow will be a major day, with the HEROES panel, BIONIC WOMAN preview, and the Joss Whedon discussion if I’m lucky enough to get in to the room where all these are being held.) I also had my ULTIMATE BITE book signing.

I’ll talk about that first. It was so very fun. Farah the Fabulous (from Harlequin marketing) and Tony “awesome art director” were on hand to facilitate the free books that were given to any interested parties. I signed a lot of copies and meet many, many cool people; one was named Christina, and she’s going to email a picture of the two of us at the signing. Sweet! To all of you who stopped by, thank you so much. You, too, Farah and Tony. It was a great pleasure, and I would love to do it again next year. Maybe I’ll even be signing the sequel to THE ULTIMATE BITE….

Now, for the panel.

HALLOWEEN

Okay, honestly, I’m wary of remaking a movie that hit the target so effectively the first time out. The original HALLOWEEN has always scared the tar out of me, and I’m not sure it can be any more frightening now, especially if Michael Meyers’ background is explored. Illuminating his “evilness” might be interesting, but it doesn’t escalate the horror for me—it’s almost like shedding light on the shadow in the closet, you know? At any rate, if a remake is to be done, Rob Zombie is probably the man to do it—he’s capable of retaining the gritty, old-school vibe that I love about the original. If you’ve seen HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES or DEVIL’S REJECTS, you know that he’s already nailed a slightly tamer LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT raw horror tone that could work very well for HALLOWEEN.

The panel started with the trailer, which makes it clear that we will be delving into pre-murder spree Michael Meyers territory. Then we get stalking and screaming and scaring—just what the audience will be craving when they go to see this movie. It’s effective. Then Zombie, himself, plus Sheri Moon Zombie (who plays Michael’s stripper mother), Taylor Mane (Michael Meyers and Sabretooth from the first X-MEN movie), and Scout Taylor-Compton (Laurie Stode) came on stage to field questions. Rob Zombie seemed to be eager to get the panel done and over with, and that was fairly amusing because he wasn’t tolerating any silly questions. His wife was quite delightful though, clearly a favorite with the male fans. We learned that the movie hasn’t been finished yet (release date: August 31) and then we saw exclusive footage of Michael dragging Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) into a house and then Michael going after Laurie. It was basic horror movie stuff, but not bad at all.

Notable? Michael Meyers is much more physically imposing than he was in the original, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. It creeps me out a little more if a slasher’s strength comes more from his twisted brain than his brawn.

Best question of the panel? “Are there any plans for you to make a movie about Nazi werewolves?” Zombie’s facetious answer: “We’re working on it. We really feel that the truth must be told.”

Heh.

THE MIST

I haven’t heard a whole lot about this project before today, and I suppose that’s a good thing. As cast member Thomas Jane said, you want to go in knowing as little as possible with this movie. I can see what he’s saying, too. Based on the first exclusive scene we saw, the film, which sounds a lot like the premise for THE FOG upon a superficial glance, has an oppressive and tense tone (in a good, good horror-movie way). Basically, it’s about a group of people trapped in a supermarket when the mist closes in on them—and the elements contain some kind of monster. Frank Darabont obviously knows what he’s doing to create the best kind of scary movie: one that is disturbing and taut and filled with dread.

Case in point: the footage showed a bunch of guys testing what might be in the mist, and damned if I wasn’t getting nervous as they rolled up a door and the mist swirled there, apparently harmless. Then you can guess what starts to happen next….

A second batch of exclusive footage reminded me of one of my favorite books ever—King’s THE STAND. What I loved about that story was the characters and how they either stood up to the worst or became a part of it as society recovered from a horrific disease. I didn’t want that book to end because King immersed me in that world and made me a part of that community; I deeply cared about what happened to each of those characters. THE MIST seems to hearken back to this, and I can’t wait to see how these people evolve (or devolve) during the course of the story.

And that was the end of my day. But, as I said, tomorrow is pretty big, so tune in to see what I find out about HEROES and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Comic-Con: Day 1, Part 2--LOST (!!!!!!!)

Be warned, this post has some scoop in it. Although they're more teasers than spoilers (huge difference), there is one huge element that Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse revealed. It's been all over the Internet by now and you're going to find out what it is anyway, but don't read on if you think you can avoid it. :)

After pimping the LOST videogame, Cuse and Lindelof invited the audience to ask questions. However, they had brought little "ding" bells with them as "failsafes," meaning that if one of the two started to say too much, the other would "ring them out." In case you can't tell, these guys are fun and funny, so it was a great hour, even if they couldn't tell us a lot.

But that's not to say they didn't tell us a bunch of other stuff.

I'm going to pose the questions that were asked, then provide their answers (or non-answers).

* Will there be more flash-forwards in season 4?
Yes. And there will be flashbacks, too. The question is, how forward will the flash-forwards go? And who will they focus on? (Typical for LOST writers, eh? Answering with another question, LOL. God love 'em.)

* Will Jack and Claire find out they're related?
(Bell ring) Translation? Cuse and Lindelof didn't have the answer yet.
But don't let this bum you out. They told us that big plot turns have definitely been mapped out--including what the island is.
This led to them addressing all the filler that seemed to pop up in seasons 2 and 3. As you can probably guess, since they never knew how long the series was going to last, they had to do some "tap dancing," even though they knew when certain huge moments were going to happen (say, in the season 3 finale, etc.). That's not a problem anymore since ABC has announced that LOST will be on for three more seasons that will contain sixteen episodes each. Good deal.

A note about the season 3 finale flash-forward: What we saw with Kate and Jack is not the end of the show! There's a whole chapter that takes place after they get off the island. They said that the show was never about them getting off the island anyway.
Interesting.

* Where's Michael?
(Here's the big spoiler that has already been covered on the Internet.)
This question was awesomely answered when Harold Perineau himself walked on stage. The audience freaked out. Cuse and Lindelof told us that Harold P. left as part of the show's design--he was always meant to come back, and he'll be a series regular in season 4! They said it was hard to keep this under their hats, especially since Harold P. had other artistic projects to schedule. Harold P. himself didn't even know what was really happening.
But he'll be back, and the poo is sure to hit the fan.

* Then a very smart woman asked them what they think the audience should be asking. Cuse had a few suggestions, such as "Who's in the coffin?" (Ding! No answer.) "Who's on the freighter just off the island?" (Ding.) "Who are the skeletons from season 1?" and "Are Kate and Jack the only ones who get off the island?" (Ding. Ding.)

* In season 1, when Hurley saw someone falling off the building, was that Locke?
No.

* What's going on with Libby?
They're planning to get to her story in season 4. Yes! And they're really excited about what's in store for us. Plus, they hinted that she really does have something to do with the Dharma Initiatve.

An aside: Rosseau's flashback will be happening soon, and it'll be extremely important.

They closed out the session with a truly strange "restored film that was recently found." (Did I just describe this as strange? Par for the course, LOL.) I found a good recap of what was in it on aintitcoolnews.com, and let me tell you I needed the help recapping this because I didn't see some of the subtleties.

"The session ended with a new Dharma orientation film. It’s for the “Orchid Station.” The man who identified himself in previous Dharma media as Mark Wickmund and Marvin Candle now calls himself “Edward Allawitz.” Allawitz apologizes for deceiving people with regard to the nature of the station’s research, which does not concern botany. Allawitz holds up a rabbit marked “15.” A nearby shelf is marked “16.” A small earthquake ensues. End of film."

Thank you, aintitcoolnews.com.
Until tomorrow, when I should be getting more movie news....

Comic-Con: Day 1, Part 1--CLOVERFIELD and INDIANA JONES Scoop!

Phew. What a day--full of scoops and news, and the Con has barely started here in San Diego. I've already given you enough background on the convention in previous posts, so I'm going to hop right into the cool stuff. Tomorrow I'm going to be signing THE ULTIMATE BITE at the Silhouette booth, so it's a big day and a girl needs her rest....

BTW, I apologize for errors since I'm trying to get this done in a hurry.

Two panels today. Lots o'goodies.

Panel 1: Paramount

This one, held in Hall H, which contains 6,500 people and was overflowing, had a variety of movies from Paramount. I'm going to go over the highlights.

BEOWULF

You might've seen this trailer online, but if you haven't, you should know that Robert Zemekis isn't presenting the same-old-same-old here. First, Neil Gaiman had a hand in writing the screenplay, so it's going to be automatically awesome. Second, we've got a dream cast, with everyone from Angelina Jolie to Anthony Hopkins to Crispin Glover (as Grendel. I know--sweet!). Third, the action is animated, although it's based on live action. Now, I'm not personally thrilled with the look--it seems like a very high-quality videogame to me, although I'm willing to have my mind changed--but it's innovative, and I think it'll make the surreal qualities of the tale shine through. Trivia: Neil Gaiman (who just might be the coolest guy on Earth) and his cohort Roger Avery said they wrote this screenplay in Mexico while drinking cheap beer. Also, this film is coming out in several formats, including regular 2D and a variety of 3D platforms.

THE CLOVERFIELD PROJECT

If you've been reading my blog, you know I'm obsessed with this teaser (the one with the "home camera" footage and "that certain object" that lands in the street). Well, who showed up but JJ Abrams to tease us some more. Scoop? JJ says that this is a new monster movie for a new generation, and it has nothing to do with Godzilla or King Kong. He wouldn't give us the title, although he confirmed that it is NOT "Monstrous," as the Internet has hinted lately. Check out this great teaser poster:

(shiver)

IRON MAN

Jon Favreau showed us some exclusive footage--and this origin story looks absolutely solid. I've never really been into IRON MAN, but I'll be there come release time. Robert Downey, Jr., handles his witty hero role with as much dry, brilliant sassiness as you'd expect, and the action looks downright crazy. Huge cheers for the actual IRON MAN costume, which allows him to both kick ass and fly through the skies. We saw hints about how a medical emergency for Downey's character led to the birth of his iron suit, and then how he develops his fighting style and weaponry. There'll be a bigger presentation on Saturday, but I can't be there, seeing as I'll be in the "TV room" all day hanging with HEROES, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, and Joss Whedon if all goes well.

INDIANA JONES

The moment Indy's silhouette appeared on the big screens, the crowd went ape. Then, when the image of Steven Speilberg appeared via a live satellite hook up from the set, there were cheers galore. Although the master wouldn't tell us the official title, we got to see Harrison Ford in his weathered get-up (and he was definitely looking like the Indy of old, just a little grayer), Ray Winstone as "a sidekick," and Shia LeBouef (with some stubble shadowing his face) as another "sidekick" (although Harrison Ford later mentioned a "family"). Then...and here's the best part...Steven S. brought in a director's chair with a familiar, beloved name on it.
Marion Ravenwood.
Eeeeeee!
Karen Allen appeared, seeming as if she hasn't aged a year, and she was all smiles. I can't tell you how great it was to see her and to know she's a part of this.
Steven S. also said that this picture was made purely for the fans, but he kept a tight lid on everything else....

STAR TREK

I'm not actually a fan, although I do admire the franchise. Actually, I think WRATH OF KHAN is incredible, and whenever it's on the TV, I'm sucked right in. ("KHAAAAAAANNNNNNN!") What really interests me about this project is the involvement of JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof from LOST. The panel kept noting how great this script is supposed to be, and I'm officially getting geeked for this.
Most of the cast is still being pulled together, but they confirmed that Mr. Spock is going to be Zach Quinto, who plays Sylar on HEROES. As far as looks go, this is a fabulous choice. I'm confident he can handle the acting, as well. And if you don't think Quinto resembles the old Spock in any way, the surprise appearance of Leonard Nimoy on stage would utterly change your mind. Side by side, the two could be related. The biggest moment came when they announced that Nimoy would be "putting the ears on" one more time for this movie. Don't know exactly what that means, but could they be using a flashback framing device where Spock is recalling the early days? Or maybe there's a time travel thing going on?
We'll see during the Christmas 2008 season.

Next post: LOST. Great panel, great juice.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Outoftheblogosphere Book Tour: MOONGAZER


I'm looking so forward to reading this new Shomi line! It's not just because I'm hoping to say hey to Marianne Mancusi and Liz Maverick at Comic-Con this week, but the covers absolutely whet my appetite for these books....
MOONGAZER by Marianne Mancusi
Dorchester, August 2007

Imagine every night entering a nightmare world you can't escape and being told your life is a dream. Skye Brown has it all: the cool job, the hot boyfriend, the apartment on New York's Upper West Side. But lately she can't enjoy any of it. She's having dreams of a post-apocalyptic world. Of a bleak futuristic wasteland. Of a struggle against oppression. And she's been told she's a...
MOONGAZER
But what is that? And what is reality? In her dreams, she's not Skye Brown at all, but Mariah Quinn. In her dreams there's Dawn, the beautiful yet haunted soldier, and Skye is but the empty shell of a girl he once loved. And there was a betrayal, a great betrayal. Ripped between Dark Siders and club kids, the mundane and the mystic, Skye must discover who she is, what she wants and who wants her. And why. But in the glow of the moon, it's not always easy to recognize the face in the mirror.

Cover:
http://ec2.images-amazon.com/images/P/0505527251.01._SS500_SCLZZZZZZZ_V41968999_.jpg

Excerpt:
http://www.dorchesterpub.com/Dorch/SpecialFeatures.cfm?Special_ID=2222

ABOUT MARIANNE MANCUSI
When it comes to writing, award winning author Marianne Mancusi doesn't like to play by the rules. A multiple Emmy award winning television producer, she sold 11 novels to three publishers (Dorchester, Berkley , Dutton Children's) in less than three years. Marianne has worked in television stations in Orlando, San Diego, and Boston . A graduate of Boston University 's College of Communications , she currently produces for a nationally syndicated lifestyle show. She lives in Manhattan 's Upper West Side .


REVIEWS
“Exhilarating! Once I started, I couldn’t put this book down!”
– New York Times Bestselling Author Gena Showalter

"Dreams, reality and virtual reality collide in Mancusi’s exciting and frightening new futuristic thriller.”
- Romantic Times Magazine 4 Star Review

"An enthralling combination of The Matrix and Snow Crash with a bit of Blade Runner thrown into the mix.”
- SF Scope

Website http://www.mariannemancusi.com/

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Gearing Up for the Con

I finally seriously went through the Comic-Con, San Diego, workshop schedule for Thursday--not Friday, Saturday, or Sunday right now because it takes a long time to read the descriptions, think about them, and decide where I want to be and at what time. Besides, without fail, my preliminary scheduling *always* gets messed up after the first full day because I change my mind about what I want or I get tired of studios pimping their movies or whatever. So it's a waste of time if I schedule beyond Thursday right now.

Anyway.

Thursday used to be my favorite day at the Con because it was always so relaxed and quiet, and all the solid, philosophical craft and industry panels would lead up to the weekend's big-industry Hollywood movie schilling. (Not that I don't love that part of the Con, but it's exhausting and kind of gross because it reminds me that I'm not above being swayed by the mere presence of movie stars.) For the past couple of years, Hollywood has infringed on Thursdays and now there's barely even any room for the "real" reason for the existence of this convention. Slowly, the comic dealers are getting less room on the exhibitor floor and on the workshop schedule, and I don't like that. Sure, I'm always a sucker for those Hollywood presentations, but I do love a good balance--and that balance has certainly been tipped.

I think I have a decent mix on Thursday though. This is how things look for now:
- Start off on the massive, buzzing dealer's floor to see how much money I can spend on stuff I don't really need.
- Wander up to the DC COUNTDOWN panel at 12:15 since I'm reading the series.
-Mosey on over to the yawning-huge Hall H (holds over 6,500 people) at 1:30 to catch the Paramount presentation. How can I resist this line up: Indiana Jones, BEOWULF, J.J. Abrams, and Neil Gaiman? (I'm hoping J.J. will have something to say about the Cloverfield Project....)
- Bop over to "Where Did THAT Come From?", a panel on which authors talk about their darkest ideas. Could be therapy for me.
- And best of all...the LOST panel. Like I'm going to miss this.

I suppose it all depends on how crowded things are and what I can get in to. As I said, yesteryear's Thursdays were mellow, and you could do anything you wanted. But starting last year, lines started to form. Yuck.

At any rate, I'm stoked and ready....

Friday, July 20, 2007

Why So Bummed?

This morning while checking email and scanning the headlines from all my regularly visited Web sites, I lingered over the Ain't It Cool News pages, as usual. But something weird happened to me today.

One of those entertainment headlines brought me down.

It was nothing awful or sad or disturbing. In fact, it was good news: yet another vampire movie is heading into production. This story is called THE PASSAGE, and it looks like it's going to be based on a book that hasn't even been fully written yet. The plot involves a government-experiment-gone-wrong that produces mean, bad-ass vamps in a post-apocolyptic world.

Great tidings for us vampire/horror fans, eh? We're getting a lot vamp stuff, including 30 DAYS OF NIGHT (which I'm dying to see) and PRIEST (okay, dying for this one, too). Vamps are exploding all over the place.

And that's what is bumming me out. (Prepare for some whining.) Frankly, I wish it were my own stories getting the green light, and if I were ever lucky enough to have something optioned, I'm afraid that the craze for vampires will have played itself out. You know how long it takes for movies to happen.

Isn't that a silly piece of mild depression? What's my deal?

This same thing used to happen when I was newly published and struggling to build more of a career. I would walk into a book store and torture myself by thinking, "Why can't that be one of my books on the new release shelf? Why can't I have a trade-size release with a cartoon cover? Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" I would sit there and wither from envy.

Maybe that's not a bad thing though. Envy can be a foundation for ambition if it's tempered and focused. Envy lights a fire under a person's butt and you can either sit there and keep whining--resulting in a useless burn--or you can use the heat to propel you.

So you know what I feel like doing, even though I need to be writing a chapter today? I want to get the movie ball rolling by writing treatments for a few of my stories. Why not? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And I suspect that Comic-Con will just add more heat to this fire. And as soon as I get some time, I'm going to do it. I will, I will, I will! (Still, I'd better write that down so it becomes a definite thing-to-do.)

In the meantime, off I go to write the second chapter for the sequel to THE ULTIMATE BITE. The first chapter was quite sassy, and I wonder if it's too dark or "out there" for a Blaze. We'll see....

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Going to an iPod Party

This weekend I get to go to an iPod and Nacho party. The nacho part is pretty self-explanatory, but an iPod?

I love this idea: everyone is making a five-song playlist, and that will be our music. Most brilliantly of all, the playlists are going to provide good conversational topics, so that erases some social stress. (Yes, I'm one of those people who can be a wallflower at social gatherings if not properly motivated.)

What's going to be on my playlist? I figured it's a party, right? So there'll be no draggy songs on my agenda.

1. CHICK HABIT (DEATHPROOF soundtrack): This one has a bad-ass bass beat, and then April March's chipper voice rocks through. It's pure weird sixties/surf. Infectious.

2. EVERY DAY SHOULD BE A HOLIDAY: I love the Dandy Warhols, so I wasn't about to have a party playlist without them. The addictive melody slides along on you-must-dance-to-this rhythm.

3. EATEN BY THE MONSTER OF LOVE: A great discussion piece, and you can count on the Sparks at all times for goofy pop music. You might remember this march-like ode to never falling in love from VALLEY GIRL. (And if you haven't seen that early Nic Cage movie, rent it. Like, now, dude.)

4. BLACK AND BLUE: Because Van Halen's naughty, grinding double entendres are that fun.

5. SUCKS TO BE YOU (Simon & Milo): Hilarious chorus, bouncy beat--they both underscore the pitiful story of a man who regrets being a jerk.

Have a good hump day, you all!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Update on Cloverfield Project

Since this has clearly become an obsession for me, I'm providing a link to aintitcoolnews.com about that weird teaser that played before THE TRANSFORMERS movie. (Scroll back a few blog posts for the Cloverfield entry if you want to watch it. And you do because it truly is intriguing.)

Among other things, this report says that most of the movie will be presented via hand-held camera, just like we see during the teaser. Seems that the film's "framing device" is this: clean-up crews find a camera after all the destruction, and the basic story is shown on that camera. Sounds rather Blair-Witchy to me.

And you know what? I'm not loving that. It's not that I didn't like THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. In fact, the movie creeps me out beyond reasonable boundaries, and that's excellent. It's just that I was one of those viewers who became physically ill because of the jerky camera work. Good times, sitting there, having to close my eyes and miss half the movie because I felt like losing my cookies. The same sort of bippity-boppity lens-gymnastics has also kept me from watching FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, and I'm bitter about that whole issue because I hear I'm missing a great series.

So does this mean I won't be able to see this unnamed movie when it comes out? I can only laugh at this irony....

Saturday, July 14, 2007

iPod Shelf: HELEN OF TROY


We all know who she is: the woman whose face launched a thousand ships. Helen of Sparta, then of Troy.

This audio presentation was ideally suited for a listening experience--it was a long book, and I thought the reader did a good job covering a lot of characters. And I've never read a Margaret George work before, but I'm really impressed with all her detailed narrative. She really gets into Helen's skin, even though I'm still not fond of the queen/princess as a fictional or real person.

Depending on the source of literature, I've pretty much had a problem with Helen, and that's part of the reason I wanted to read this book--to see if she could be humanized in the midst of making such an epically selfish decision. (In the ILLIAD, there was some question about whether or not she fled her kingdom because of Aphrodite's blinding interference, and in some versions, she's actually kidnapped. In this book, it's definitely not a kidnapping and there is an Aphrodite influence, even though Helen seems to make the decision to leave more than anything else.) You might remember the basics of Helen: she was the royal daughter of Queen Leda, who had a tryst with Zeus while he was in the form of a swan. (I know. Yuck. But according to this book, when the gods took a fancy to any human, they could never reveal themselves--no mortal could survive the sight. BTW, this book is very good at weaving these fantasical elements into a pretty realistic, at times gritty, portrait.) Anyway, Helen grew up having to hide her face because of her great beauty. When she was in her teens, she married Menelaus. While it wasn't a deliriously wonderful union, he was fairly kind to her...just not that great in bed. (He also had a mistress, as was normal for the culture, per this book.) Then Helen met Paris, a younger, hotter man, and she left her husband and young daughter behind in order to marry this stud and live with him in Troy.

Unfortunately, Greece has been looking for a reason to attack this wealthy city, and Helen provides it. The thing is, as far as this book is concerned, Helen and Paris are well-aware of the ramifications of their choice, but their love trumps all that common sense phooey. This bothered me immensely, especially when you consider that Helen also chose to leave her daughter behind. Even worse, Helen occasionally gets a bit whiny about all the terrible things that are happening to her, and I didn't have an ounce of sympathy. Sure, she balances the whoa-is-me with some self-awareness, but every time she starts to get out the world's tiniest violin, I couldn't help thinking, "Can it, doll. You reap what you sow."

However, the author did such a strong job of pulling me into the story with the history and cultural details that I kept listening. And listening. For over 32 hours. (Oh, just you wait--the next George book on my To Be Listened To shelf is a fictional treatment of Cleopatra--all 50+ hours of it!)

Next up? THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Blaze Vampires

Good news: I got the okay to work on a full proposal for a sequel to THE ULTIMATE BITE! I'm calling this one BOUND AND BITTEN for now, and it'll focus on Edward. If you've read the book, you'll have a good idea who the heroine will be. I don't want to ruin anything for those of you who haven't been able to sit down with the story yet. But...yay!

Currently, I'm in the middle of the line edit for MIDNIGHT REIGN: Vampire Babylon, Book 2. It's a very light edit. So light that I keep thinking there should be more, LOL. Isn't that goofy? I guess I just love to make more work for myself. After that, I'll dive into that BOUND AND BITTEN proposal. Then...Comic-Con! I found out that I'll be signing at the Harlequin booth on Friday at 11am.

Hope I get to see a few of you. :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Cloverfield???

Cloverfield. What is it?

If any of you went to see TRANSFORMERS already, then you'll know what I'm talking about. Heck, if you're up on Internet news, you'll even be familiar with the teaser that's causing more of a watercooler buzz than the robot movie, itself.

There's no title and barely even any credits. We only know that the movie is coming out in January and that J.J. Abrams of LOST and ALIAS fame has something to do with the creepy/cool few minutes on the screen. In fact, Abrams went on www.aintitcool.com to tell Harry Knowles that he's provided a scavenger hunt composed of Web sites that offer more illumination about this project. As of yet, fans have only uncovered one of these sites.

Here's a link to the teaser. Be ready to get goosebumps. I sure did--especially when "that certain object" flies through the sky and lands on the street.

So what do you all think is happening? Who/what is attacking, if it's indeed an attack?

And how brilliant is this marketing strategy?

ETA: I must be losing it, because the basic tag-word for this project is CloverFIELD, not CloverDALE. Duh.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Comic-Con + HEROES = Geek Goodness

Getting excited for Comic-Con, San Diego, here. They haven't posted their workshop schedule online yet--and I'm waiting with bated breath to see it--but I did run across this interview with HEROES's Tim Kring. Click here to see it.
I'm especially interested in the parts about the evolution of HRG (He became a much bigger character than anticipated.) and Hiro (who was modeled in the Joseph Campbell tradition crossed with a Shakespearean fool). There are also some good tidbits about how next season will be formatted, with more than one "volume" contained within the year.

Comic-Con forever!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Total Movie Weirdness/Goodness

I've been giving myself a couple days off after that July 1 deadline gridlock. This means that I've been limiting my time on the computer unless the business has been urgent. Of course, now that I'm going to be receiving a line edit in the mail today, "time off" is over.

However, I closed out in grand style last night by watching a "TCM underground" flick. The "underground" label is funny because tons of people have already watched this stupendously bizzare film: FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL!, a movie with the best title ever.
This messed-up little gem was released in the mid-sixties in pukey black-and-white, and it's so strange that it's AWESOME. Basically, the story centers around three devil-spawn go-go dancers who like to race through the desert in their sweet cars and create **it-storms of trouble for anyone who is unfortunate enough to meet them. The leader is a Vampira-looking chick with a voluptuous figure showcased in a boob-blasting bodice and tight black pants. The second is Vampira's Italian-girl lover. The third is a white-wardrobed blonde who just likes to have fun. Guess which one dies first?

Anyway, these terrors are cavorting in the desert when they encounter these two hilarious squares: a Fabian clone wearing bermuda shorts and knee socks who drives a "cool car" and his bathing-suit wearing idiot of a girlfriend. The guy serves as a target for Vampira's evil karate death chops (I kid you not.) and the girl becomes a captive. Then the group goes to this remote ranch where three men live and the chicks proceed to cause a **it-storm there, too.

That's the plot. Or something. It's one of those odd movies where one thing is happening and you think you understand what's going on but, all of a sudden, something else is happening and it makes no sense whatsoever. However, it's so darned funny that you roll with it.

And the dialogue? Is AWESOME. Where else are you going to get a blonde go-go dancer yelling something like: "You better straighten your tie, Samson, or Papa'll spank you!"

AWE. SOME.

And even better is the fact that every line seems to have been written with an exclamation point attached, just like a Z-grade issue of COSMOPOLITAN.

Believe it or not, I got inspired by FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! (and I'm going to write that title as many times as I can because of its grand AWESOMENESS). I would love to write a B-movie book with a go-go dancer heroine. Maybe that can be my next Blaze.

In the meantime, love your weekend, you all.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th!

First, Happy Fourth of July to you all! Aside from the barbecues and fireworks, I hope everyone gets to raise a glass to the significance of this day, as well. :)

Second, we've got our contest winner for June--JD Simms! When I emailed JD about winning, I was reminded that we'd met at last year's RT conference at Daytona Beach. How about that?I'm so happy that someone would be wonderful enough to follow my books and career after meeting me, so thank you, JD!

I want to point you all in the direction of another contest I'm holding at Fresh Fiction. Click here for it.

Oh, and is anyone going to Comic-Con, San Diego in a few weeks? You know I'm going to be there, of course (and I'll be attempting to blog nightly about all the movie and TV scoops from the presentations, just like last year). However, I found out that it's very, very likely that I'll be signing there! This is awesome, because I *adore* the Con, and I'll actually be a part of it. Harlequin Silhouette has a booth, and if things go well, I'll be signing THE ULTIMATE BITE. Vampires are big at the Con. If you're going, please stop by, because I would love to meet you!
I'll confirm signing time and place when I get the details....

And have an awesome holiday for those of you who get to celebrate it! (The rest of you? Have a great one, too!)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Guest Blogger: Lewis Marcus, Cover Model



Ever wonder what goes into a cover shoot for a book cover? Well, Lewis Marcus, model for THE PLAYBOY TAKES A WIFE (SSE, on shelves now), has kindly blogged about his experiences! Here he is....


It was just another "normal" day in the life of Lewis Marcus, full time travel manager, part time actor & model when the call came in from my agent to do the book cover for The Playboy Takes a Wife. Talent agents normally submit an actor’s or model’s pictures to the casting agency or director, and in this case to the photographer on the project. From that point you are either called in for an audition or cast straight from your headshot or composite card, which was the case for me on this project.

I was actually on my way to New York City to appear on CBS' As The World Turns. I was booked for a steamy scene in a hotel room filled with upscale call-girls. I thought to myself, how hard a role could that be? A man in a hotel room with beautiful women… Wow!! It would certainly make for good conversation with friends and family. Anyway, the four hour commute I would often make from my home in Maryland to New York for auditions and bookings was just getting interesting. When my cell phone rang, my agent asked me if I was going to be in New York that week and available to shoot a romance book cover. The details were sketchy, as they normally are in the entertainment and modeling world, until you get to the set. Of course I said yes, in fact I am on my way to NY at this very moment….talk about great timing!! I had no idea it was a Crystal Green book, let alone The Playboy Takes A Wife....all I knew was to bring a suit. Fortunately the wardrobe for As The World Turns called for a business suit and experience has taught me, as an actor, to always bring an extra selection of clothes for the wardrobe lady. Always! As I got closer to New York, I thought to myself, “this was to be some fantastic week, a hot scene on a soap opera and a Silhouette romance book cover. All in one week...how lucky could one guy be? Wow!

I was spending the night at my brother Eric’s place; a writer in Manhattan. I was always thankful for their guest room since a hotel night in NYC would often run $300; which was more then what I was being paid for the book cover. Now if my brother’s guest room was occupied there was always the fancy guest room at my Aunt and Uncle’s place on Park Avenue. Thank God for family!! All I had to do was find a parking spot….a “minor” miracle in a big city like New York.
As a “starving actor” you have to be resourceful.

From the city it would take me a little over an hour on the Long Island Railroad to reach the photographer's house for the shoot. I loved the ride since I knew the train would pass through my old childhood stomping grounds of Kew Gardens. That was always exciting!! I was the first to arrive for the shoot and would soon meet Brenda, a gorgeous woman who would play "Alicia Sanchez" and her handsome 5 year old son Julian who would be "Gabriel" For the next hour and a half this would be my new "wife and son." Once we changed into our wardrobe the photographer explained the scene and what we wanted to accomplish. We were told to pretend we were coming off the Chandler Family private jet and to act like one happy family. Julian was a little ham and his mother Brenda well, as you can tell by the cover, is one beautiful woman. Looking at her for the next 500 pictures, yes the next 500 pictures... was not a problem. Holding Julian in my arms for 500 pictures was a challenge!. Ah the price for stardom! The shoot was filled with lots of smiles, a handful of giggles from Julian and of course long passionate gazing!
It took us all but an hour and a half to wrap the shoot and by the end we were definitely feeling like one “happy family.”

When we were done, Brenda was kind enough to drop me off at the train station; while Julian fell asleep in the back seat…he had a hard day on the set. And for me it was back to Manhattan to regroup for tomorrow’s appearance on As The World Turns. And you can rest assure, it was a typical steamy, soap opera scene!!!

You can catch me appearing on a Dixie Cup commercial airing now on Nickelodeon, or re- runs of The Discovery Channel’s Cash Cab, a popular game show that takes place in a NYC taxi cab. If you are shopping at Lowe’s, check out the box of Black & Decker’s battery powered lawn mower, you might just see (me) Lucas Chandler pushing the mower. Billionaire “playboys” have to work too you know? Some of you might even recognize me from The History Channel’s Count Down to Ground Zero….I played one of the firefighters from Ladder Co. 6 that survived the collapse of the North Tower. What can I say, I’m versatile….from Playboy Lucas Chandler to Dixie Cup Dad.

Thank you Crystal for the opportunity to join your blog & it is an honor to appear on the cover of your new book, The Playboy Takes A Wife, a great romantic love story!! I wish you continued success with your future books.
Warmest wishes……Lewis Marcus, “Lucas Chandler”