Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Stuff

So here we go into a new year. I feel lucky to have emerged relatively unscathed from this one. For a lot of people I know, it's been an absolutely awful time, but I'm very optimistic that 2010 will be so much better....

When I went over my calendar to see what I accomplished this year, I was at first surprised at my stats--usually I'll write about five books per year, but in 2009, I wrote "only" three books and one short story. But as I analyze that further, those books were big ones--two of my post-apocalyptic urban fantasies (to be published in 2011) and one Vampire Babylon (DEEP IN THE WOODS, to be released on 3/2/10). Normally, my statistics look more productive, but that's when I also write shorter Special Editions and Blazes, too. So, considering that, I didn't do too badly.

Next year is going to be a write-a-pa-looza though. Here's my schedule:

* The first book in a new Special Edition series, Cowboy Billionaires, Inc.
* A Montana Mavericks book (to be released in October, 2010)
* The second book in Cowboy Billionaires, Inc.
* The third post-apocalyptic urban fantasy book
* The third book in Cowboy Billionaires, Inc.
* A Blaze book

And that's what I know at this point. Naturally, I'll also be working on proposals for other projects, and I have an idea for a sort of paranormal epic fantasy that could go a lot of ways--paranormal romance or in an urban fantasy type vein. I'll be thinking about that more.

I hope your new year is fantastic and full of little gems that you discover day by day. May you find contentment and happiness (and thank you for keeping the publishing industry going by reading!). : )

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all! I'm so glad you guys come here and I've had the pleasure of meeting you.

Here's a little holiday fun, and it just proves why "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is the most repetitive, annoying song ever while, at the same time, being one of the most awesome.

Thank you to Christina Radish for passing this along!
Have fun today, you all. :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Amazing Sam Tsui

So my music loving brother has been drawn to GLEE, right? He heard its version of "Don't Stop Believing" on YouTube, and it was over.

But that cover song led to a link of GLEE-type songs, and now my brother has lured me into the world of Sam Tsui.

I guess this guy is a college student who works with another student, and he's put his songs on YouTube. He is AMAZING. Just watch this video of a Michael Jackson medley, and I know you're going to agree. He and his friend used simple equipment to mix Sam's vocals (and one vocal for the friend) and every person in this video is Sam (except for the friend on the side).

Sam--you are ready for the big time!

Enjoy, you guys.


Monday, December 21, 2009

SUPERNATURAL Blog at Selena's Site

Our wonderful Selena is hosting a week of TV features over at her site. She asked me to muse about the greatness of SUPERNATURAL and, naturally, I was all over it.

Come on over and tell us why *you* love SUPERNATURAL, too!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Okay, I might have to see AVATAR. After the holiday rush, of course.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

From Mail--Christmas Eating Tips

This is being passed around on the Internet, and it pretty much sums up my "screw it" attitude toward eating during the holidays....


1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate and wine in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

I'll eat better come the new year. I promise!!!

Thank you to Mary Leo. :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Robin Hood!

Hey, guys,
I've been in my writing cave. I'm winding up that second Bloodlands book and having a good time, but I'm getting increasingly nervous about all the post-apocalyptic urban fantasies I'm seeing released waaaaaaay before my 2011 shelf date for this trilogy. I'm really afraid that everything I do will be "been there, done that." I'm even seeing more western-themed post-apocalyptic paranormals out there, in the spirit of PRIEST or HELIX. I'll blog about this at a later time, because it's really been on my mind, but I just keep telling myself to keep writing. Period.

In all this drama, I wanted to share this new trailer with you. It's for the new Robin Hood movie with Russell Crow. Love! I've missed him. And talk about a subject that's been done many times before. This just reminds that you can take a story/subject that's been approached by other authors and spin it into something very cool.

(Sorry I couldn't find a way to embed this, but here's the link):

Have a great one!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Life Is Weird

Okay, so I'm sitting around yesterday, and I start thinking about one of my old projects that was put far, far away on the back burner. I've talked about this one before--it features an early twenties heroine who is a pop culture geek, and she aspires to be a manga penciler. Old school style, of course. I wrote it way back when Red Dress Ink first came out, so it's got that chick lit voice. But it came just short of selling to RDI because it wasn't *quite* what they were looking for. I remember there being something about the heroine being a little too young, and there's a strong storyline about how she and her "best friend" are realizing that they aren't the same people any more, and they're floating apart. At the same time, the heroine is making new friends--ones she never expected. It's about transition and how tough that can be. To me, it was very real, because I went through a time when I experienced that same heartbreaking realization about one of my own friends.

Throughout it all, there's a subplot, told in graphic novel/manga form, about the heroine's alter-ego, a girl raised by wolves who turns into a kick-ass superheroine. It echoes what the real heroine is going through, and in the end, it shows that, no matter what happens to her--no matter how she's been broken by life--she's going to be strong and continue fighting on.

I think this book was sent to fifty million editors a few years ago, and it came close, but wasn't *just* right for anyone. Luckily my agent has always kept faith in this book, and there might be some new avenues opening up for it. She told me this morning...after I was thinking about the book yesterday.

Coincidence? Or Christmas miracle?

I'm rooting for the latter!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

What This Geek Is Looking Forward To This Month

December usually brings some pretty good movies to the theater, and even though I don't go to the movies half as much as I used to, there are two films that'll get me there.

I just decided recently that I want to see this. The first trailer didn't do much for me, although it looked fairly funny. It was only when I saw Jude Law as Watson calmly telling Holmes to get whatever is in Holmes' hand out of his face that I decided I've got to be a part of the hilarity. The partnership between Robert Downey, Jr., and Jude Law looks to be very amusing, and I just can't pass that up.

I haven't seen NINE on stage, but I did see 8 1/2, the film on which NINE the musical is based. Basically, it's about an Italian director--a fairly major scumbag, even though he's all cool and suave--who thinks about all the women who've impacted his life while he tries to come up with a real premise for his movie. And his movie is already in production. I can't resist all the star power of this film. Just. Can't.

What I decided I'm not looking forward to:

I know. How can this be? It's James Cameron, and he *always* pulls through. The man never fails to mix a truly touching love story with some major kick-ass action. I was really anticipating AVATAR, too, until the first trailer came out. It's those blue things. Like a lot of other geeks, I can't get over them. I hate looking at them. It could be that'll I'll change my mind; after all, I'm sure the 3-D viewing in and of itself will be spectacular. Also, Stephen Lang is in this (Did I spell that right?), and I saw him in a play once. Plus, he was in TOMBSTONE, and we all know that TOMBSTONE is one of the best movies ever.

Do you guys have anything you'll rush out to see in the theater--or *not* rush out to see?

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Today I Explore a Mine Shaft...Sort Of

I'm revising today, and a part of that includes finessing some details that I didn't include during the "hair-on-fire" writing of the first draft. (Occasionally, when I want to look up more details about, say, a Predator Drone or something important to a scene, I'll just put ******** and then move on. This allows me to keep going in the flow of the scene, and I'll come back to the chapter very soon to wipe out those helpful *****.)

I thought I'd show you guys what I "finessed" today in my postapocalyptic western paranormal world for BLOODLANDS, Book Two. I needed a place for my characters to hide after they committed quite a bit of trouble back in a city, so I decided upon a mineshaft, since they're near in a place that used to be Denver. Thanks to this lovely video posted on YouTube (among others), I got to travel to a mineshaft and peek inside it, without the hassle.

Technology can be good.

Here's the link:

Kudos to Redneckman for posting this.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I Made the Sci-Fi Scene!

Near Halloween, I chatted with Robyn Carr at the Paseo Verde Library in Henderson, NV. Brenda Dupont, from was there to report! You can check it out at .

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

And the Writer Wrote On...

Well, after being majorly stuffed during Thanksgiving and then taking advantage of the holiday to excuse a couple of days off, I'm back in the saddle.

The next couple of days will be all about revision on my second Bloodlands book (2011 release date). Currently, my characters are in that "entering the Death Star" phase, where they've arrived at the Hidden Fortress, Dragon's Lair, Evil Castle part of the hero's journey. I'll be tweaking the big action scene today. Those are always a challenge, mostly because of the pacing. I want the scenes to be vivid, so instead of going off on a lot of description, I try to find economical words that'll convey much more than a long sentence would. Does that even make sense?

Of course, during those action scenes, I always want there to be some character development, as well. It's not just about Character One fighting off, say, a zombie or whatever. It's about how the fighting affects them and either advances their character or threatens it. Same with love scenes--you can't just go from position A to position B; the actions lead to very telling *reactions.* A character should never come out of a love scene or action scene unchanged, right?

Off to work....

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Toast

Here's to all you guys who make life a pleasure. Thank you for reading my work! I hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving.

A toast, with a sweet drink to you and yours.

1/4 cup citrus flavored vodka
2 tbl. lemonade
1/3 cup blue curacao
a bit of 7-Up

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add vodka, lemonade, curacao, and 7-Up and shake. Strain into a martini glass and toast!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Great Event Day Yesterday

How lucky am I to have a job in which I get to meet authors like Linda Howard, Beverly Barton, and Linda Winstead Jones? They visited my RWA chapter yesterday to give enlightening talks and sign books.

Thank you to everyone in RWASD who worked so, so hard to bring yesterday's event to life. What a great chapter!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Supernatural, 11/19/09

Holy crap, what a great, great episode. It felt like it belonged in season 2, which is my favorite season, but it also had the benefit of my knowing these characters in a deeper way than I did then. I choked up. Didn’t you?

The bad news is that the next new episode is 2 months away. Did I read that correctly? January 21???

No. : (

On with the virtual water cooler talk…

* LOL for Castiel’s low comfort level with the hip surveillance speak.

* Awesome for using Jo and Ellen and the Colt again, baby! This series has such great continuity. It’s really a fan’s dream.

* “I’m in sales, damn it!”

* Castiel, the Master of Tequila. Who’ll take advantage of our poor drunken angel first when the alcohol hits—Jo or Ellen? (If this was HBO or FX, it’d be both.)

* Aww, I really like this “maybe it’s the hunters’ last night on earth” scene. The black and white photo really conjures one of those old-time outlaw pictures. You just know it’s going to be used poignantly by the end of the eppie.

* Castiel just keeps getting funner. (And, by the end of the hour, we will have needed the humor….)

* Hellhounds. Why’d it have to be hellhounds.

* Oh, god. Choke-up time. In one of the series’ best scenes ever, Jo goes out like the hunter and grown-up she always wanted everyone to see her as. Ellen once again proves that awesome comes in a tough-talking roadhouse mother of a package. A Supernatural salute to the gals.
: (

* Useless Colt.

* Useful Castiel!

* And, yes, we come to the poignant final view of the outlaw picture while I fight tears. My mom said, “Dean loved Jo.” But I’m not sure. I think maybe Dean is wishing he could’ve loved Jo while the photo burns….

I’m thrilled that the episodes just keep building on what’s come before, and they’re matching if not topping previous installments. I’m absolutely confident that this show—and the boys—will go out on top.

Now excuse me while I cry--this time because I have to wait two damned months for more!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Supernatural Update

Hey, guys, I won't be able to post my Supernatural entry tonight. I'll try to get it going tomorrow or Saturday though, okay?

Thanks--and have a great time!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Event and Signing This Weekend

If any of you are in the San Diego area this Saturday, there's a big event happening! Linda Howard, Beverly Barton, and Linda Winstead Jones will be speaking at a special Romance Writers of American meeting at the El Camino Country Club. Afterward, they (and I, plus more San Diego writers) will be signing at the Oceanside Barnes & Noble from 4pm through 6pm.

As I said before, I'd love to see you there!

Click here for more information and directions.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Just so you all know, my web sites should be updated tomorrow. I'm sure you'll want to sign up for the contest, because here are the prizes:

Signed copies of Amber Benson’s DEATH’S DAUGHTER, Jeanne C. Stein’s THE BECOMING, Ann Aguirre’s GRIMSPACE, and Chris Marie Green’s A DROP OF RED, Vampire Babylon, Book Four. Also included is a cute snowflake necklace and pierced earring set.

Yes--I said signed copies!!! When I have an event with another author, I jump on the chance to get one of their books for my contests.

On the writing front, things are still fun with the second BLOODLANDS book. I'm currently getting my characters into more trouble than they might be able to handle. As always. :)

Have a good one!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Supernatural, 11/12/09

As most of you know, I like Comic-Con. My Con reports, which have shrunk in size from year to year, will support that. : ) So you won’t be surprised that this episode tickled me happy.

* Return of Inappropriately Gropey Fangirl! Sam might want to wear pec shields to this con.

* What kind of person would dress up like Ash?

* OMG—“the homoerotic subtext of Supernatural.” The writers totally visit the forum boards, don't they?

* Love the guy who imitated a gritty Winchester voice.

* I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I’d be so into the live action role playing. Yup.

* Fangirl wants some Sammy-pec.

* Graveyard alert! I think might like those even more than going to conventions. But it’s a close race.

* Considering Sam’s recent track record, I’m surprised the ghost woman didn’t try to smack him in the nuts instead of the face.

* German Hook Man is hilarious. (sigh)

* LOL for the Bionic Man Chuck sound effects!

* “Like a monkey on the sun, it was too hot to live.” One of my favorite Supernatural lines of dialogue EVER.

* Hah! Fangirl will be the Colt’s savior. At Comic-Con, Kripke said the gun would be making a comeback.

So will next week mark the full-on return of the apocalypse? (BTW, my mom loves Castiel. Good taste, that woman! I missed our scruffy, confused angel this week.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chatting at Bitten by Books Today!

There's an impromptu chat going on about Vampire Babylon over at Bitten by Books. I've dropped by a couple of times, so why don't you do the same? ; )

Here's the link:

New Years Resolution...But Early

I decided that I'm going to start my New Years Resolutions early. Why not, since I feel like doing them now, right?

I began my main resolution last weekend. I went to AAA, picked up some maps and guides, then jotted down some places I should've seen a long time ago around my living area. I want to visit them all by the end of next year which, by the way, is going to be a killer. (I'm scheduled to write six books, one of which will be the third postapocalyptic urban fantasy. Those take longer than romances.) My list is basically a bunch of "ghosty" or paranormally inclined places, like the highway by Area 51, ghost towns like Rhyolite, and the submerged town of St. Thomas.

I picked the closest place on my list and headed for Goodsprings, which is said to have several ghosts. It's a tiny little place, with just under 300 people living there. It used to be a boom town back when the area produced lots of silver, but what's left now is some houses, a general store, a cool saloon with many bikers, and a graveyard. Needless to say, the cemetery was my favorite part. I was able to do a little Veteran's Day thinking because of a small monument to the town's fallen soldiers. Also, there were some pioneer graves with stark wooden crosses that appealed to my sense of history. It was a quiet time that I really appreciated.

Since the holidays are coming up, I'm not sure when I'll be able to schedule my next trip. I think I'll be heading out to Hoover Dam or hiking somewhere at Lake Mead though....

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Supernatural, 11/5/09

I think these Trickster episodes are some of my favorites. Remember the tall tales one? And of course “Mystery Spot” for sure. Vive le Trickster! (Okay, so I don't do French.)

* OMG for the dorky opening sitcom credits. Dyin’ here.

* The GREY’S ANATOMY spoof? I cannot wait until Dean and Sam become Doctors McUberHorndog and McAnalRetentive.

* I am already begging to Dean or Sam as the Incredible Hulk. Which TV program would you like to see in this eppie tonight? I’m putting my votes in for BAYWATCH and GLEE right now.

* I love how they have the GREY’S hallmarks down, like repeating words and phrases over and over again. You’re afraid. You’re afraid to operate again. And you’re afraid to love.” (One real-GREY’s example that comes to mind is when Lexie visited McSteamy and asked him to make lurv to her. “Teach me.” “Teach me.” “Teach me.” Oh, that was so barfy.). And the playful, fluffy estrogen music. And the ghost. Gah, the ghost.

* Dean’s reaction to Dr. Shepherd…er, Dr. Sexy. BoyCrush.

* Nutcracker! The sad thing is that I can totally imagine this game on a Japanese show.

* This is the season for Sam getting nailed in the nads, isn’t it?

* I am rolling. The genital herpes ad? Brillllllliant.

* Spot on CSI/procedurals, with the dramatic taking off of sunglasses, catchphrases, and even a Kojak lollypop. There’s probably a certain “no-talent douchebag” who’s squirming if he’s watching Sam and Dean imitate him.

* No way. KNIGHTRIDER is the best of all. I bow to the Kripke.

* I love how they tied this seemingly stand-alone episode into the mythology, just as they’ve done a couple of times this season. Everything’s coming together in this last season…. : (

Isn’t it funny how the “stay tuned” tag shows the much younger Sam and Dean? Such babies!

I can’t wait to see the Con Sams and Deans next week… See you then, too!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

BLOODLANDS, book two

As some of you know, I've got a second series going for Ace, and it's a post-apocalyptic urban fantasy western with some noirish elements (coming some time in 2011). I don't have clearance on the titles yet, but I called the first book BLOODLANDS. This second one that I'm working on right now has a Work In Progress title of [NO] SPILL BLOOD. (Yes, it's a take on the old Oingo Boingo song....) I'm not sure about the third title yet, but I wanted to call it BLOOD BOUND, which is the title of a Patricia Briggs book. Dang.

Anyway, I'm plugging away on book 2, and things are going very smoothly. Almost too smoothly, and that bugs my neurotic-writer within. You know how it is--there are no big plot holes to untangle yet, so, of course, something must be wrong and I'm just not seeing it.

But I'm having a lot of fun. I call the first book "a paranormal SHANE meets MAD MAX," but this second one is reminding me of a paranormal/post-apocalyptic cross between STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. It's SW:ANH because I've got a couple of characters on a Luke/Obi-Wan type journey-mission to a place that could be the Death Star if you really wanted it to be. And it's ESB because characters have branched off from each other for a time.

What's even more fun is that I put something into this book for any Vampire Babylon fans who venture with me into the Bloodlands. There's no way I'm going to tell you what I'm talking about (Tease!!!), but anyone who's read even a single book will figure out this "easter egg." I just hope it makes it into the final draft, but I'm not sure why it wouldn't....

So I'm on chapter 10. Writing it tomorrow. Today I'm revising previous chapters. Fingers crossed that things remain smooth!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Supernatural, 10/29/09

Shall we settle in for our weekly dose of chills and Winchester goodness?

* Remember that episode about the witches in season 3—the one that opens with the woman looking in the mirror and her teeth start falling out? I almost thought that was going to happen here again since I know this one’s about a warlock.

* It’s suit time! I love those boys in their suits. It runs second to shirtless Winchesters.

* Daggonit, Bobby. I seem to recall a time when he almost kicked Dean’s butt for giving up his soul in order to bring back Sam from the dead. I know Bobby’s undergone a change of attitude lately, but it’s surprising to see him be a hypocrite by engaging in this poker game. I guess if Bobby can give in to magical temptation, there’s not much hope for the rest of us. Bummer.

* And Dean is still playing fast and loose with his own life. It’s just more important for him to be a hero for a short time than it is to live a longer life and not be a hero.

* Hah! Chad Everett as old Dean. Perfecto.

* Amused Sam says, “It’s like Grumpy Old Men.” Perfecto, Part II.

* Chad Everett is working it!

* I can’t help noticing that the warlock lives in my dream apartment. If there’s an island in the kitchen, I will fall into fits of ecstasy.

* OMG—the clap. This show tends to kill me.

* Aw, Bobby. The brothers’ relationship is the heart of this show, but Bobby is the soul.

* “Idgit.” Didn’t Bobby say that with all the fondness in the world when young Dean comes pigeon-winging out of the building?

* Another aw with Dean propping Bobby up with a chat. Sometimes I think their relationship is much healthier than Sam and Dean’s.

Happy Halloween, you all! Don’t get into too much mischief.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Tale of Two Sisters: Halloween Awesomeness, VI

Another Halloween movie with…

A TALE OF TWO SISTERS is another film with subtitles, but I hope this isn’t a roadblock for anyone. It’s a real gem. In fact, it’s like one of those great character studies mired in suffocating Southern gothic horror, except Korean-style. In other words, you’ve got an idyllic, beautiful country setting, an old house with terrible ghosts and secrets, and a very screwed-up, repressed family that allows those ghosts to flourish. Good to know that America doesn’t have a corner on this market.

Things start out in a mental institution where a doctor is questioning a girl about “what happened that day.” Right away, you see that there’s a mystery to be had, and the action settles into the past, when two teen girls arrive at the previously mentioned house. One of the girls, Su-Mi, is clearly not happy with her father. There’s an angry distance that trumps a reluctant fondness she still has for him. It’s very well played in the writing and the acting—in fact, you could say this movie is artistic on every level, so you can feel good about watching your gore and frights this time around.

Next, the girls run into a very chatty, henpecky, obviously evil stepmother. The villain has descended. After that, you get everything from a J-horror inspired ghost (you know—with the dark, messy hair obscuring most of the face, the weird, disjointed way of moving, the animalistic creaky sounds) to some very, very good scares that result from tense build up. There’s lots of talk about “craziness,” and it gets to the point where you start to wonder exactly who is crazy and who isn’t.

Then you go, “A-ha.” That’s because this is a twisty movie, where clues to what’s happening are fed to us bit by awesome bit. Every minute, you put another piece in place, but you’re not always led to the correct answers.

Another thing—A TALE OF TWO SISTERS is gorgeously filmed, with startling usage of reds and blues against the bleakness of that house. Some might say the film is slow going, but I’m telling you that the payoffs are worth the wait.

Oh, and I heard that this film was remade here in the States as THE UNINVITED, so I’m curious to see how Hollywood flubbed it up.

If you love stories that mess with your mind, this definitely for you….

Library Talk Tonight!

Hey, guys,
Just a reminder that I'll be at the Paseo Verde Library tonight at 7pm to chat and sign books. I believe you have to sign up for this, so for registration and info, you can click here!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mr. Tony Lee on the MTV blog

Guys, Mr. Tony Lee, author of the fabulous HARKER (which I crowed about over a month ago...maybe two?) blogged at the MTV splash page. He writes about vampires...and mentions little old me!!!

Click here to read it....

Book Giveaway at Lynda Hilburn's Blog....

If you guys drop by Lynda Hilburn's blog today, you can leave a comment on my guest entry and that'll give you a chance of winning signed copies of mass market versions of NIGHT RISING and MIDNIGHT REIGN. Also, since it's Halloween time, I blogged about creepy--"legend tripping." To find out exactly how that phrase applies to my life, go here!

Additionally, for those of you around the Las Vegas area, I'll be at the Paseo Verde Library in Henderson on Wednesday night at 7pm. Robyn Carr hosts an author chat every once in a while, and I'm the featured guest this time around. It'd be great if you could come! You can go here for information and to register.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

[*REC]: Halloween Awesomeness, V

Another entry in my Halloween movie mini-marathon:

I knew that [*REC] was the template for QUARANTINE, which is a remake of this movie, and I’d been meaning to watch the former because it’s supposed to be superior to the latter. Then a review appeared on one of my favorite Web sites, so I stepped it up and popped it into the DVD machine.

[*REC] is a Spanish movie, so it’s got subtitles, which I didn’t really notice after the first few minutes. It’s also a BLAIR WITCH/PARANORMAL ACTIVITY “found footage” style film, with a cable show hostess filming for a twee program about what people do during late night-shift jobs. On this night, she’s at a firehouse, and the first twenty minutes or so show her and her cameraman going about their business, interviewing firemen about what they do, etc.

Then an alarm goes off, and she takes to the streets with two firemen to a call where someone is supposedly stuck inside an apartment building. No biggie, right? But when they get there, the police are present, too. Someone called them because they heard screaming. Oh, oh.

Now, it’s important to note that you realize this hostess has got some ambition, so she and her cameraman decide to keep the film running as they go upstairs to help this screaming old lady. The hostess thinks this footage will get higher ratings than usual, so she and camera guy forge right ahead, even though the police keep telling her to shut the darn camera off. When it turns out this old lady has some huge issues, biting one of the policemen in a majorly grotesque manner (eeeeek!), it’s all on tape.

Lucky us! And, as all hell breaks loose in that apartment complex, I totally bought into how they kept the camera rolling and didn’t just put the thing away in favor of running: suddenly the cops quarantine the people inside for seemingly no good reason. The tenants, of course, get feisty, saying, “Let us out!” and “You have no right to do this to us!” And viola—the TV hostess has an even bigger story, so she’s not about to have it go undocumented.

Then there’s a boring part, where the hostess interviews about a million people, some with information that’ll soon play out. Some who’re just kind of there and making you think, “Get to more gore already.” Then…

Ah, then [*REC] turns into a scary mo’fo. It’s one of those hand-over-face experiences for the last twenty minutes or so, as we’re led upstairs to an apartment that’s supposed to serve as shelter for our survivors. There’s no way I’m telling you what happens next, but it’s some damn good horror.

Worth a rental for the last twenty minutes alone, if not for a pretty good time in general….

Next up? I don’t know yet, but I’m eying THREE EXTREMES….

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Prowler: Halloween Awesomeness, IV

I’m doing pretty well with this mini-marathon stuff!

Last night, it was all about

THE PROWLER is an 80s slasher flick that, somehow, I’d never seen before. It was fun to discover this fact. Equally cool was that Tom Savini, master of horror makeup, was on staff. I didn’t realize this while I was actually watching the flick, but I kept thinking how great the effects were, even though the story pretty much stunk.

Yup, this is not a very good movie. But even bad horror movies can be good sometimes because I’ll forgive it if it has some decent atmosphere.

This didn’t.

However, there’s something inevitably comfortable about a formulaic 80s slasher movie. You get a prologue with a set up kill. Then you move to the present time, where you get your basic innocent final girl to use as a placeholder for your own viewing experience. You get your usual man in the mask, lurking around and offing people for some screwed up reason. You get dumbasses getting ready for a party, then booze, boobs, bad acting, and blood. Lather, rinse, repeat. You know what’s coming and you anticipate every bit of it in these older slasher movies, and you eat it up, just like me. You know it.

THE PROWLER really knows this formula, which also includes introducing a horny-soon-to-be victim, dispatching him or her creatively, and planting the body in such a way that it offers maximum scares to the heroine when she stumbles upon it. The flick additionally has a vibe reminiscent of the original PROM NIGHT, which is one of my favorite slasher movies, though THE PROWLER never remotely approaches the grandly weird pathos of that awesome train wreck. The film even has FRIDAY THE 13th type string music but without the screeching PSYCHO homage and cheh-cheh-cheh-hah-hah-hah. (Okay, I know that’s not what’s on the soundtrack, but I keep forgetting what it’s really saying. I think I heard that it’s actually ki-ii-ill-her-her-her, which is what Mrs. Vorhees keeps saying when she’s chasing around the final girl in the first movie. Not sure though.)

Besides mindless, formulaic comfort, there are really merely three reasons to watch THE PROWLER:

1. The special effects that I mentioned. There’s one near the end that made me go “Ewwwwooooo” in a great horror way.

2. The poofy, blow-dried hair and high, too-tight running shorts that people wore in the 80s. There’s even a guy who evoked thoughts of a Q-Tip in me. He was supposed to be the hot hero. You’ve got to tune in just to be enthralled by his girly hair.

3. The sight of guys dancing to 80s music. Truthfully, this was really the most horrific thing about THE PROWLER, but then again, if I wanted to gape at something similar, I could’ve just watched VALLEY GIRL and had way more laughs. VALLEY GIRL is one of the five best teen romances ever, and it gets bonus points because everyone runs around with their Izod shirt collars up. There’s also a guy named Skip whose hair rivals the audacity of THE PROWLER Q-Tip man's locks. Double feature time, you all!

I get to watch [REC] soon, and I hear it’s really good. I’ll be back with that next time!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Splinter: Halloween Awesomeness, III

Lean and mean and only 82 minutes long. I like that.

Upon first impression, it seems that SPLINTER would:

a) be a movie about a split personality
b) be a torture porn flick about sticking stuff under nails (I don't know why I thought of that.)
c) *not* be about what it really is about.

In case you didn't guess, it's the "c" option. And I don't want to tell you what the movie is really about because, like a lot of scary movies, the coolest thing about this one is that you don't know what's coming. I'll just tell you, though, that things start off with an attack involving the "splinter thing." Then we switch to what we think might be a movie about campers getting stuff wedged under their nails by a sadistic killer (see "b" above). Then it seems SPLINTER will be about the danger of stopping for a stranded person on the side of the road to help her (see "a" above).

Actually, it's a little bit of that stopping to help a stranded person part, but then we get to an isolated gas station during the pitch of night, and just about everyone has to lock themselves in from what they encounter outside....

This is a good, solid movie because, first, it's got characters who seem pretty real because they use their brains. Second, there's a scene or two that reminded me of EVIL DEAD but not because something's possessed in a traditional sense. Third, I didn't catch any CGI!

(BTW, this is becoming a big thing with me. I think I became vehemently anti-CGI after it messed up INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL. Well, that and a few other things which messed it up [cough...tarzan...cough].)

I'll also tell you that the threat in this movie is treated a lot differently than you think it'll be, too. It snaps the bones in a person's body, splits them apart, and totally makes you go "Ewwww!" in a good horror way. But everything just isn't about gore--there's a ton of suspense involved, especially in a sequence near the end.

One last thing: how can you not like a movie that contains this line:
"He can't change a tire, but f*&% is he can't chop off an arm."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Trick 'r' Treat: Halloween Awesomeness, II

My mini- Halloween movie marathon continues with

TRICK ‘R’ TREAT had gotten a lot of buzz previous to this DVD release. There was a question as to whether or not it’d be released in theaters to take advantage of a sort of cult following that developed from word of mouth and festival showings. It did get a limited release, and I’m pretty surprised that it didn’t get any more than that. It’s a good movie that reminds me a lot of TALES FROM THE CRYPT with a PULP FICTION structure; four main stories weave in and out of each other one night on Halloween in a small town. At some points in the story, you’re like, “I thought that guy was dead!” See? Tarantino-esque.

Now, I wouldn’t say this movie is scary-scary. It’s more atmospheric and creepy-funny. There are also moments of some very nice suspense. And I was surprised at the cast they collected: bigger names like Bryan Cox, Dylan Baker, and Anna Paquin as well as shoot-I-know-the-name-of-that-actor people like Helo from BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (and DOLLHOUSE) and that skinny blond chick from POPULAR.

The stories aren’t fabulously original or frightening—they’re more like comfortable, eerie ghost stories told around a campire. There’s a story about a “red riding hood” young woman who’s navigating the Halloween streets, looking for a guy who appeals to her virgin self. A story about a regular guy who just happens to kill people in his spare time. A story about a cranky old man who finds a malicious creature in his house. A story about a bunch of kids who were killed on a school bus. They’re all connected by the presence of a tiny little kid with a burlap mask who seems to be at every violence-ridden location.

The best things about this movie are 1) the lack of CGI and 2) the evocative “Halloween feel.” The first one is obvious: it’s awesome to see old school special effects being used. If there’s CGI, it was done so well that I didn’t notice. The second is a valuable element in a movie you’d want to watch during this time of year. You can practically feel the chill in the air and smell the fireplace smoke on the wind, just like on Halloween night. It’s a fun, ghoulish feeling yet, at the same time, safe.

Great Halloween movie. Have fun!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Supernatural, 10/15/09


* LOL for stupid little baby-sittee antics.

* Ooo-hoo, this episode is gonna be season 1 fun! Another urban legend/ghost story type installment.

* I’m a bit scared to see what the Tooth Fairy is going to look like….

* Ew. I expected more of a warped fey person than Bluto Swan Lake Marathon Man. (BTW, did you ever see MARATHON MAN? Awesome. To this day, I can watch just about anything in a horror movie except for dental and nail extractions. And needles.)

* Hah! “His face froze that way.” Who knew that, all this time, Dean was Plastic Man?

* Please, please, please have there be Sea Monkeys in this episode. I wanted those soooo bad when I was young. Sea Monkeys just seemed like the ultimate Barbie dolls.

* ROFLOL. Hair on Dean’s palm. That did not just happen.

* You know, it’s relaxing to get away from the angels and demons. One-shot episodes are a pretty smart way for the brothers to find each other again, just as they did when Dean first showed up in Sam’s house all those years ago.

* Yikes—poor possessed woman and baby boy. Let us never forget that demons are very bad news.

* What was I saying about angels and demons taking a vacation?

* Best Whoppee cushion EVER. It’s especially hilarious that this gargantuan toot happened during the middle of a serious scene. And Castile’s dignified, “That wasn’t me”? Gold.

* I wonder how they’re going to handle this anti-Christ thing. That’s a really big can of worms to open. (As if the apocalypse isn’t a huge undertaking in itself, LOL.)

* Ouch when Castiel points out that Sam didn’t make the right choice. His tone would’ve been enough to make me wither.

* Action figure Castiel! That’ll be a hot item at the Cons. Many fans will be hoping it’s anatomically correct.

* Loved this eppie. All it was missing was Sea Monkeys.

Looks like the show is taking a break next week. I think I’ll blog about another Halloween movie in its place though….

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Paranormal Activity

I said I was going to post about this movie tomorrow, but I got to writing my thoughts about it and here it is....

I had no idea that a nearby theater was playing PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. With all the hype of this “little film,” I was pretty sure the releases would be relegated to the big city venues. But no!

If you haven’t heard, PA (I’m too lazy to type out the whole title, as usual.) is the second coming of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. At this point, we’re far enough away from that film for people to degrade and make fun of it. But, you all, BLAIR WITCH scared me. Not only did it make me sicker than a dog because of motion sickness, but when I went home that night, I was utterly convinced that the witch was behind my blinds, just waiting for me to open them so I could see the face I didn’t see in the film. I was scared witless, and I can’t tell you how much sleep I lost because of that cackling, stick art-loving wench. (This, coming from the girl who had extremely active nightmares about JAWS, which I’d only heard about from an excitable great aunt until I saw the movie years later and became scared all over again. My conscious life has nothing on my imagination.)

BLAIR WITCH, in my humble opinion, is a really well laid-out jeeper-creeper, much like JAWS, with the monster remaining a mystery throughout a lot of the movie. Bit by bit, we’re fed enough information through legend and visual peeks so that the dread and tension build to the point where we don’t even want to see the creature that’s menacing our character/placeholders in the film. In BLAIR WITCH, we never do witness the monster. Also, the film used a structure that is, by now, a horror chestnut—“this is a true story” found footage. And, maybe, with our society's fascination with reality shows and You Tube, this is what we’re going to get for the next fifty years. This format is perhaps what will speak the most profoundly to us.

You might’ve heard that PA is the scariest thing that’s come along in ages. Indeed, I did get many a goosebump. In fact, I’d say that I spent most of the film going from hands in front of my face to hands balled under my chin to hands folded expectantly in my lap in the anticipation of having to put them back up in front of my face. The first half hour or so is pretty sedate: it dwells in the ordinary world of a couple who suspects that there could be a ghost haunting their house, so the guy buys a camera to record the paranormal activity at night in their bedroom. From the half-hour mark on, the build-up to what exactly is haunting the couple is what makes this movie worth a ticket. It definitely has that all-important dread factor. But what REALLY makes this movie work?

It plays on our fears that when we hear things go bump in the night, there’s a reason. It’s not just your house settling. It’s not just a branch rubbing up against the window. And I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a movie use footsteps in a way that makes you forget to take another breath.

What’s kind of hilarious is that this cheap movie has much more impact than most of the $100 million plus crud that was out this summer. It’s a lesson in how you can’t dig deeply into your audience by manipulating the screen with CGI impressions. And that’s another reason PA was successful for me: I was riveted to the dramatic progression. I cared about what was happening to the characters, especially the heroine, who’s the focal point of the story. The only drawback was the ending, but that’s a small detail when I spent the first hour and half strung so tightly that I had to hide my dang face.

One last thing? I have a refrigerator that makes sounds, so I’m kind of afraid to go to sleep now.

Damn this movie.

Signed A DROP OF RED giveaway!

Over at Selena Illyria's blog, I'm talking about why the Vampire Babylon series fits into the "urban fantasy" subgenre. I'm also giving away a signed copy of A DROP OF RED, book 4, if you leave a comment, so come on over!

I just saw PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, and I'll probably blog about it tomorrow. Meanwhile, suffice to say, I got my money's worth of goosebumps....

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Halloween Awesomeness, I

If you look around the Internet, everyone who runs a blog or who Tweets is having a horror movie marathon for Halloween. I'd love to do that, but I can't watch a movie a day. Besides, sometimes I wonder if I've already seen most of the horror flicks out there worth watching. That isn't to say I've seen *everything," it's just that finding 31 new scary flicks worth my time might be a challenge.

But the temptation to at least watch a few monster movies as Halloween approaches is too much, so I decided to have a "Here and There Horror Movie Marathon." What that means is that I'll probably watch one or two a week. Small potatoes, but there it is.

My first foray into hunting down a scary movie that I haven't seen before resulted in my watching a curious little film called SATAN'S BLOOD. Gah. I know. But the back cover blurb involved a Ouija board, and that was what got me. Indeed, there was some Ouija action. There was also lots of naked people frolicking during Satanic ceremonies. Orgies, that is. In addition, I was treated to an evil walking doll. And a dead dog.

Now, I know what you're thinking. WTF? Believe me--I'm right there with you. But there are some of you out there who know what's it's like to be strangely charmed by a creepy horror flick, no matter how weird it gets. You enjoy the "Eeee" of it. You enjoy the organ music and the thunder, lightning, and shadows. You enjoy being somewhat repulsed because you can always hide your face behind a pillow or watch through your fingers.

So let me tell you a bit more about this flick, should you want to watch it. (Chances are low, but whatever.)

It opens with this super freaky scene in which some dark priest guy totally gets it on with what I think was a sacrificial virgin. I'm not sure this scene is ever really fully explained during the course of the movie; you have to infer that it has something to do with all the Satan stuff going on, I suppose. Or maybe I was spacing out, as I often do during TV time.

Anyway, the action moves forward to what was then "present day." Our hero and heroine walk out of a theater playing STAR WARS--no joke--so I think that's partly why I couldn't stop watching this movie, because of my utter, crazy loyalty to STAR WARS. Meanwhile, some lady on the soundtrack is going "La-dah-de-dah-dah-deh" to total 70s/Rosemary's Baby type music. The protagonists are toodling about their normal lives, having no idea that this lady is stalking them with devil tunes.

Oh, and what adds to the creepiness is the fact that this is a Spanish movie and it's badly dubbed. Somehow, this always makes things more surreal.

Next, our hero and heroine meet a couple whom they supposedly know, but the h/h don't recall ever knowing these other people. (The guys supposedly have a mutual friend named "Frank Bradshaw," which cracked me up because...really? There's a Frank Bradshaw in Spain? Come on, dubbing people, we already know this does not take place in Farmville, America, so just name him Julio Peralta or something.) Then they trek up to the mystery couple's house, which is introduced through a veil of mist and ominous organ music.

I have to mention that this mystery couple is WAY too friendly. Like, ucky friendly, where any sane person would NEVER go home with them. Of course, whacky foreshadowing starts happening up at that house: porcelain dolls laying about, a picture of a man wearing a, like, goat devil head. Best of all, the heroine catches the hostess in the kitchen snorting and snarfing something right off a table, like she's literally a pig. I don't know about you, but if I saw someone gobbling up gut kibbles from a tabletop, I'd jet.

But our hero and heroine somehow stay put, because this is a horror flick and they need to be stupid and keep to the conventions of the genre. (Okay, so their car won't start--but are their legs working? Run, fools, run!) Even when a convenient storm gathers outside and something starts howling, they're cool with it. They even take part in that Ouija board stuff I talked about earlier, as if this isn't asking for a shitload of trouble.

Then it all goes porno and nuts. There are rituals, complete with lots and lots of massage oil. There's also blood, blood, blood. Actually, it's a tad awesome, because there're some twists in the plot so you can tell yourself that you're still watching the movie because you're into the story.

Would I recommend this? I don't know. It had some good Halloween mood going for it. If you like insane, dubbed devil movies from the 70s, this would really be up your Satan's Alley. And it did have STAR WARS, too....

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Supernatural, 10/8/09

So are any of you itching to see PARANORMAL ACTIVITY? It’d better come to my town. I’m dyin’ for it.

On with those intrepid Winchester boys and their numerous attributes (dimples, shoulders, arms, suits and ties…).

Erm, let’s discuss.

* Little Bastard is a devil car. You know it.

* Holy crap! Windshield devours man’s face! Cool.

* Scowling, grimacing, blood-splattering Abe Lincoln! Oh, this just gets better and better. BTW, isn’t it fun to have a stand-alone ghost hunting installment right in the middle of the apocalypse? I miss these lil’ one shot episodes.

* Okay, so here's an update on my mom’s SPN indoctrination: she’s in the midst of season 3 now and I’m waiting on pins and needles until she gets to "Mystery Spot." That’s one of my favorites. She loves when the boys bicker, so that episode should be extra entertaining for her, especially the part where Dean says that Sam Winchester cries during sex.

* Dean’s Abe Lincoln impression. Need I say more?

* Something I thought I’d never see before I kick the bucket: Wrestling Gandhi. And what’s funny is that Sam can barely take him.

* Can someone provide a reason for a remake of THE STEPFATHER?

* Sam, you play that Thumbelina violin! Not to be mean, but my patience with Sammy is at a low ebb since last season, when he used up all my good will. Heck, I want to trust him again, but I absolutely understand Dean’s reluctance. I’d think Dean was a weenie if he didn’t remember Sam whaling on him and going back to Ruby. Don’t get me wrong—I still love Sam, but he nearly broke my heart.

* I have to say it: Sam is tied up again. Someone is definitely attuned to my idle thoughts.

* Oooo—awesome near-subliminal flash of grotesque skullery as Paris Hilton turns toward the camera!

* “I’ve never even seen HOUSE OF WAX.” Cue flummoxed look from Jared P. Hee. (BTW, I have seen HOUSE OF WAX and it…wasn’t as terrible as I expected. It was fabulously ucky when Jared P. was under all that melty crap.)

* Having said what I did about Sam, I do want the brothers to make up. (softie)

* So my indoctrinated ma and I are having a debate about Dean’s hair: is it dark blond or light brown? I say dark blond. Look at him in this last outside shot. Dark. Blond. Yes?

Did I just hear a laugh track in the coming attractions? Love! Also: evil child shenanigans. Castiel. Grey’s Anatomy. Sam getting nailed in the jewels. Looks like fun approaches!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Supernatural, 10/1/09

I just watched Sam die in season 2 during a DVD marathon, so I’m a bit verklempt. Remember when Dean gave up his soul for Sam? Oh, the days.

* In the recap—wow. We’re going all the way back to the Croatoan episode? Please tell me tonight will include the Meg demon.

* And there’s the Croatoan reference, but it’s in a 28 DAYS LATER nightmare scape.

* As I said, I was watching the end of season 2. I'm having a marathon with my mom, whom I’m indoctrinating into SUPERNATURAL fandom, so, tonight, when Dean wakes up in a post-apocalyptic world, I think of the Jinn episode. Remember that one, where there’s a crazy alternate reality for Dean going on? Oooo, do you also remember the other alternate reality eppie from last year when there was the Dean-as-yuppie-office-drone/Sam-as-loser-techie hunter effect? I can’t take these dream sequences at face value, so I'm wondering what triggered this alternate reality??? (Zachariah again? He makes me wonder if the angels live like Dr. Manhattan in WATCHMEN: experiencing past, present, and future all at once. Whatever the case, he’s a manipulative son of a...whatever he's the son of.)

* Future Dean meets Present Dean?

* LOL—Future Dean’s grown in some ways (leadership), but he’s still a slut.

* Castiel is Baltar. It’d be interesting to see his journey from stiff scardy cat who almost wet his pants in the brothel last week to orgy enthusiast.

* LOL for Chuck’s advice to hoard toilet paper.

* Okay, so Castiel is on drugs, which led to his change. I guess he’s like me when I drink rum and coke on a plane flight so I don’t give a crap about turbulence.

* I’ve got to see ZOMBIELAND.

* We're definitely dealing with a Milton-eseque Lucifer. Jared Padalecki’s doing a good job of making him come off as heartbroken and innocent yet intolerant and jealous. And he looks like he’s a vampire with that pale skin.

* I like how Zachariah just appears and is like, “Hey, I’m back. Made my point. Later, Dean.”

* No Meg in this episode. Oh, well. I kind of liked that actress they used for the Meg demon this year, but maybe we'll see her in the near future.

* Thank goodness they didn’t keep Sam and Dean apart for long! But it looks like we'll have to pay for this boon by enduring Paris Hilton next week.

See ya then!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pied Piping the Muse Songlist

This is for the wonderful writers at the Tucson Chapter of RWA! The rest of you might enjoy this songlist, too. I presented my "Pied Piping the Muse" music brainstorm workshop to the chapter yesterday, and I promised I'd post additional song suggestions here on my blog. You can see the mood tags in parentheses next to the titles. I've included the selections I used during the workshop, as well.

Thank you, Tucson. You guys were really fabulous and you blew me away with your ideas {and your hospitality)! Good luck to everyone...and have fun. ;)

Pied-Piping the Muse: An Interactive Workshop
by Chris Marie Green (aka Crystal Green)

Examples used during presentation:

Story creation
“Main Title” by Jerry Goldsmith from the Basic Instinct soundtrack (classy, mystery, suspense)

“Requiem, K. 626: Confutatis” by Mozart found on the Amadeus soundtrack (sublime melancholy, dark forces, aftermath of a mentor’s death)


“You’re So Cool” by Hans Zimmer from the True Romance soundtrack (whimsical romance, innocence)

A character emerges…

“The Yearning/Sirens Suite” (whimsical romance, heroine) from the Sirens soundtrack by Rachel Portman

Other Suggested Songs/Albums

1492: Conquest of Paradise soundtrack by Vangelis (dreamy, inspirational, seafaring)

“Main Theme” from A Dangerous Mind soundtrack (inspirational, Ivy-league setting, a bit eerie)

“Main Title” by Danny Elfman from the Sleepy Hollow soundtrack (horror, menace, scary chase)

“Main Title” by Hans Zimmer from the Rain Main soundtrack (sexy, exotic, urbane)

“Requiem, K. 626: Introitus, Dies Irae, Rex Tremendae Majestatis, Confuctatis, Lacrymosa” by Mozart found on the Amadeus soundtrack (sublime melancholy, dark forces, aftermath of a mentor’s death)

“Early 18th Century Gypsy Music” by Bubak and Hungaricus found on the Amadeus soundtrack (wild bohemian celebration)

“March Past of the Kitchen Utensils” by Rachel Portman from the Sirens soundtrack (whimsy)

“Cursum Perficio” by Enya from Watermark (action/battle, fantasy)

“La Resa Dei Conti” by Ennio Morricone from the For a Fistful of Dollars soundtrack (western epic, action)

Batman soundtrack by Danny Elfman (dark hero, action)

“Carmina Burana” by Orff (epic action/battle, victory)

“Charging Fort Wagner” (epic action/battle) and “An Epitaph to War” (melancholy, epic hero) by James Horner from the Glory soundtrack

“The Raiders’ March” (epic hero) and “Truck Chase”? (action/chase, adventure) by John Williams from the Raiders of the Lost Ark soundtrack

“Anakin’s Theme” by John Williams from the Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace soundtrack

“Main Theme” by John Williams from the Schindler’s List soundtrack (major heartstring plucking)

“Hoedown” by Aaron Copeland (western imagery)

“Main Theme” from the How the West Was Won soundtrack (epic western, cowboy hero)

“Main Theme” from the Silverado soundtrack (western imagery)

“Main Theme” from The Natural soundtrack (mid-western imagery, Americana)

“Main Theme” by Hans Zimmer from the Crimson Tide soundtrack (meltingly gorgeous hero, action/adventure)

“Introduction (Titles)” by Danny Elfman from the Edward Scissorhands soundtrack

“The Imperial March” (epic black moment, menace) from The Empire Strikes Back soundtrack by John Williams

“Flight to Neverland” by John Williams from the Hook soundtrack (whimsy, innocence, adventure)

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King by Howard Shore (epic action/battles, fantasy)

“Han Solo and the Princess” (epic romance) from The Empire Strikes Back soundtrack by John Williams

“Main Theme” by John Williams from the Born on the Fourth of July soundtrack (tragic hero, sadness, heartbreaking reflections)

“Libra Me” by Elliot Goldenthal from the Interview with the Vampire soundtrack (melancholy, horror, vampire, gothic)

“Dracula – The Beginning” and “Vampire Hunters” (menace, horror, vampire) and “The Brides” (dark seduction, romantic horror, vampire) by Wojciech Kilar from the Bram Stoker’s Dracula soundtrack

“Main Title” (epic hero, romance, adventure) and “Promentory” (romance, adventure) by Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman from The Last of the Mohicans soundtrack

“Harvest” (melancholy mid-west) and “Days of Heaven” (melancholy mid-west) by Ennio Morricone from the Days of Heaven soundtrack

“Aquarium” by Saint-Saens (dreamy, flowing, gorgeous)

“Duel of the Fates” by John Williams from the Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace soundtrack (epic action/battle)

“Love Theme” by John Williams from the Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones soundtrack (epic romance)

“Progeny/The Wheat” (exotic epic setting), “The Battle” (epic action/battle, epic hero), “Barbarian Horde” (epic action/battle, epic hero) by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard from the Gladiator soundtrack

“Humming Chorus” by Puccini from Madama Butterfly (romance, melancholy)

“Main Title” by Ennio Morricone from TheGood, the Bad, and the Ugly soundtrack (mysterious/dark hero, western setting)

“Forrest Gump Suite” by Alan Silvestri from the Forrest Gump soundtrack (mid-western setting, innocence)

“Main Title” (gentle Irish pluck, sweeping romance, inspirational) and “Tryouts” (inspirational action) by Jerry Goldsmith from the Rudy soundtrack

“Main Theme” by Maurice Jarre from the Lawrence of Arabia soundtrack (epic exotic setting, sweeping romance, epic hero, sheik stories)

“Main Title” by James Horner from the Willow soundtrack (swashbuckling action/chase, fantasy, romance)

“Main Theme” by Jerry Goldsmith from the Patton soundtrack (epic military hero)

Black Hawk Down soundtrack by Hans Zimmer (intense action/ battle, exotic setting, mournful, soulful farewell)

The Last Samurai soundtrack by Lost Summer (hero, epic battles, eastern influence)

The Passion of the Christ soundtrack by John Debney and Mel Gibson (hero, inspirational, exotic locale)

The Aviator soundtrack by Howard Shore (action, Hollywood/Coconut Grove vibes)

Sideways by Rolfe Kent (jazz, lounge-lizard groove)

Music by Tangerine Dream in general (for instance, Risky Business) (dreamy, modern, exotic, futuristic)

Music by Vangelis in general (for instance, Chariots of Fire, Mutiny on the Bounty, Alexander) (dreamy, exotic)

Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis (dreamy, futuristic, sexy, noir, action)

Music by Brian Eno (for instance, Music for Films, More Music for Films) (dreamy, modern, exotic, futuristic)

King Arthur soundtrack by Hans Zimmer (hero, epic battles, knights…)

The Ring/The Ring 2 soundtracks by Hans Zimmer (eerie, action and suspense)

Lemony Snicket’s: A Series of Unfortunate Events soundtrack by Thomas Newman (menacing, playful darkness)

First Knight soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith (romance, knights…, heroic)

Congo soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith (Africa, exotic, adventure, suspense)

Van Helsing soundtrack by Alan Silvestri (adventure, monsters, menace)

Finding Neverland soundtrack by Nick Ingman (gentle, elegant, old fashioned, tragic)

Hero soundtrack by Tan Dun, Itzhak Perlman, Kodo (heroic, epic battles, eastern influence)

Troy soundtrack (heroic, epic battles, exotic locale, tragic)

The Merchant of Venice soundtrack, David Juritz, leader (historical – Europe, elegant, tragic)

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek (sublime, sensuous, eerie)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Supernatural, 9/24/09

Even though the brothers are in a depressing place, I’m feeling a vibe of early SUPERNATURAL fun here. Like, end of season 1 fun mixed with the roadhouse grit of season 2. Sweet.

* Do you ever wonder if Sam is ultimately going to end up with Jessica again in some shape or form?

* I do love Castiel, but Dean on the road without Sam is like the Lone Ranger without Tonto. Like a cupcake without frosting. Like…sniff…the Chipp without the Endales.

* Angel zapping doesn’t sound like very much fun.

* Undercover Castiel = pod person.

* I’m gonna die if Dean takes Castiel out to get laid.

* I die.

* Castiel: “This is a den of iniquity.” You know, at first I typed “Dean of iniquity.” Heh.

* Should we believe Raphael? God is dead in SUPERNATURAL-world?

* I don’t know why this enthralls me, but what’s your verdict on Sam’s hair? I think it looks kind of girly. I like his season 2 style, when he had bangs. He also had hair wings, but…still.

* Wait—dang. I wasn’t listening for a sec. Did Raphael say that God actually just ran away? If so, I’ll bet George Clooney is his vessel.

* What’s up with the Sam versus hunter guys fight? Sam could totally bench press them, so why’s he losing?

* Okay, when I made that first comment about Jessica, I wasn’t talking about her being in the form of Lucifer.

* Whoa…next week? Mind trip.

Already this season is rushing by, and it's probably because it might be the last one. Aye, me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

BTW, No Heroes

Since season 2 of HEROES, I've been dialing back on the recaps for the show. It used to hold a veritable wonderland of opportunity for fun speculation and snark, but something happened last year. Watching the show felt like a huge chore, and recapping it...? I couldn't find the energy.

Did anyone watch it last night? I switched to football after the first 20 minutes, so maybe it was good. Nonetheless, no recaps. I do them for SUPERNATURAL now, though, so if you want some virtual water cooler talk, stop by late Thursday nights!

Monday, September 21, 2009


The most recent winner of the contest is Misty Malik. She's going to receive a pack of signed Vampire Babylon books (1-4, plus FIRST BLOOD) and a Neko "Stone Princess" print.

New contest is up now, so click on the link to enter!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Supernatural, 9/17/09

And we’re off and running with the apocalypse!

* Here’s one of those useless questions. Which series has more hospital scenes: SUPERNATURAL or SMALLVILLE?

* “Enough foreplay,” says Cranky Bobby as Castiel and Dean chat. Fanfic boards are buzzing with glee.

* What? Dean’s constant necklace is God radar? Who knew?

* Dean: “Now I feel naked.” Legion of Deangirls: “I wish.”

* Ellen! With the hunters coming together, doesn’t it feel like the glorious days of season 2?

* I was going to crawl into the TV to kick Sam’s butt if he drank that stanky blood.

* Roger with the glasses is way too inept with a shotgun and I recognize the actor from, among other things, DEADWOOD. He’s totally a bad guy. (re: The TV Axiom of Recognizable Character Actors Figuring Heavily into the Climax…and It’s Usually as the Villain of the Week)

* I feel for Sam, but I think Dean has every right not to trust him.

* Sam is tied up again. Methinks some show writers have been peeking into my diary.

* So, for some reason, the black-eyed people are good and the others are bad. I can’t wait for this explanation. Seriously. It’s a fun twist.

* Wormwood! That reminds me: If you haven’t read that collection of short stories by Poppie Z. Brite, go thee out and get it. She’s incredible.

* Points to Dean for the brain work. Whoo, Smart Dean!

* Yup—the TV Axiom in action.

* I’m going to love seeing Rufus and Bobby together. It’ll be the cranky Olympics.

* I like this episode, mostly because it reminded me of THE STAND, which is one of my favorite books.

* No way—even though Sam has a lot to make up for, I can’t believe Dean let him go. It was so sad watching Sammy walk off like a sad little (big) puppy.

* But without Sam, it’s going to be the Dean and Castiel show… That makes me extra sad for some reason.

Next week—same apocalyptic time, same apocalyptic station!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tony Lee's HARKER

(Possible teeny-tiny spoilers ahead)

You guys know that I was on a vampire-related Comic-Con, San Diego, panel this year. One of the participants was Mr. Tony Lee, writer of graphic novels, such as DR. WHO. He was there to talk about his upcoming release, HARKER, which is an unauthorized sequel to DRACULA.

I sat next to Mr. Tony Lee at the signing and we struck up a conversation. He even showed me a few panels of HARKER on his iPhone, and I was excited about what I saw and knew of the work at that point. Much to my surprise, Lee was recently kind enough to email me an advanced copy of the graphic novel. (Eee!) Naturally, I dove right into it.

What can I say except that I loved it? There's no way I'm going to give you major spoilers, but I will tell you that this is a very worthy successor to the original. Reading it made me feel as if I'd just put down DRACULA and was rejoining it soon afterward. I got to reunite with characters I'd missed and catch up on their lives after the traumatic encounter with Dracula. And I got to be swept up in an evil that postdated the Count. (Remember, some people maintain that Dracula didn't actually die at the end of the book--he turned into another form....)

Graphic novel fans will love the art: the images and coloring really make you feel as if you're in the midst of a gothic adventure/nightmare, and the tone feels absolutely true to DRACULA. Story-wise, the pacing is breakneck, but leaves enough room for the development of those characters we love. (There's one character who's going to stand out more than any other, I'll bet. It's the way this character drawn, designed, and developed. An outstanding villain. You'll know *exactly* whom I'm talking about after you read the graphic novel!)

A big thank you to Mr. Tony Lee, and a congrats to him and his cohorts on a job very well done. ;) I'll be buying my hardcopy when it comes out.

To see a preview of HARKER, click here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Scary Movie: EDEN LAKE


A few weeks ago I talked about IMPRINT, a short movie by Takashi Miike that tested the limits of my viewing abilities. This didn’t mean that IMPRINT was a bad movie. God, not by any means. It’s just that it was truly a “horror” movie that plunges you into a real dark place, unlike a “fun” slasher flick. It’s not the typical “legend tripping” sort of experience, where you get together with friends for a FRIDAY THE 13th installment or a trip to the nearby graveyard. It’s not a manufactured attempt to conjure fear and squeals while everyone proves how cool and brave they are by making jokes about the scary movie victims or drinking booze while brazenly sitting against a headstone and daring the dead to come get you. True horror goes beyond legend tripping—instead of us invading the graveyard, the graveyard invades us.

Accordingly, there are movies that are hard to watch because you genuinely dread what’s happening. The original LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT was on of those movies that left me feeling like I needed a shower…and not just so I could get my skin clean. IRREVERSIBLE was another. IMPRINT came real close, too, but IMPRINT didn’t grab me by the emotional collar and choke me. It didn’t make me so damned angry that I wanted to scream or rage.

Well, I can add another movie to LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and IRREVERSIBLE now. It’s a little UK flick called EDEN LAKE, and by the end of it, I was so upset that I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. Even now, days later, I’m pissed off in a profound way because the story felt so real.

The action starts off nicely enough when we’re introduced to Jenny and Steve, who happily drive off to a weekend getaway at a lake where Steve spent his childhood. It’s a location that’s about to be overcome by a flood of corporate housing, so their trip is sure to be a bittersweet one. When they arrive at this idyllic spot, a bunch of kids start hanging out just down the beach, blaring their music and letting their dickwad dog off its leash so it intimidates the protagonists. To be blunt, the kids are total assholes, and right away, your blood starts to boil. Haven’t you run into people like this at one time or another? I think so. Steve, being a manly man who feels it’s his responsibility to confront this boorish behavior, mildly asks the group to cool it. They just laugh at him, throwing in a few douchy insults for good measure. But you can see Steve bristling because his ego has been smacked. Even so, Jenny is like, “Be cool, hon. They’re jerks, but they’ll leave soon and we’ll splash around in the water.” The kids do leave, but as I said, they’re assholes, so they passively aggressively leave a bottle beneath the tire of the couple’s car. Guess what that does to the tire. You know that Steve’s not gonna let this pass if he finds those kids again.

At this point, I wanted to stop the movie, because I knew it would lead to no good. I won’t tell you exactly what happens, but even as I wanted to stop watching, I couldn’t. This is one movie where, for better or worse, you’re really hoping for a reckoning. You need to see it. After all, Steve and Jenny didn’t start this crap. (Yes, they could've ended it by just leaving, but how much do you take from someone before you can't stand to see the injustice any more? At least, that's the bigger picture, here.) The scary thing about this premise is that you could find yourself in a situation where you get fed up with assholes, just like Steve and Jenny do, and when you stand up for yourself...

Well, you might just want to leave with your tail between your legs instead.

I was so furious at the end of this movie that I actually directed my ire at a couple of plot twists that I thought were a real stretch, and I found myself thinking, “Nu-uh. That never could’ve happened, so I’m going to pretend like it didn’t.” And fooling myself made me feel better except…not really.

Seriously, don’t watch this if you’re not willing to be highly unsettled.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Supernatural, 9/10/09

If I were a boygeek, you know what I’d be doing? Haunting all the SUPERNATURAL boards and fan clubs that I could. Do guys realize just how many hot ‘n’ bothered females are there, all gathered in one place? Even an amoeba could get laid after an episode airs.

Now, putting aside my relationship expertise…

It’s back on, baby!!!

Some random thoughts as the episode played out:

* Opening: Somehow, I think we’re watching LOST, and it’s not just because a plane is going down. There’s a definite WhatTheHell feeling in the air. Let it be said that I will not be happy if quantum physics or whatever is involved.

* At Comic-Con, they screened this part where the boys regroup with Chuck. Kripke wouldn’t show us what came before. Not that we would’ve been able to figure anything out anyway.

* Oh, Dean, you had me at “asshat,” so, really, reciting the whole Winchester insult dictionary to the angels wasn’t necessary.

* Upon meeting Sam, I, too, would go straight for the pecs.

* You call it, Bobby**! Sam’s gonna do a lot of mea culpas this season due to Ruby and her grotesque harpy-tongued influence. Good riddance!
(**Or not Bobby.)

* Confused. Didn’t Bobby, of all people, have some sort of tattoo (like the boys) that keeps demons from entering him? He’s the last person I’d expect to be careless.

* “What is that, peanut butter?” BTW, did I happen to mention that my mom is now a Deangirl? I recommended the series to her and she’s watching on DVD, and she is currently in competition with me for my boyfriend-who’d-be-a-terrible-relationship-prospect-in-real-life-but-he-suits-my-fantasy-needs-just-fiiiiine. I’m not sure I like this Mrs. Robinson dynamic, but I’m glad SPN has one more fan.

* Ouch--that girl kicked Sam where the sun don't shine. Poor Sam’s balls! Listen, there are some things you can never be forgiven for, and this would be high on the list. That and shooting the boys, just like when Sam got shot in the shoulder by Bella. And you saw what happened to her. I sent hellhounds after that bitch. Beware, Meg, beware.

* Dean is the Fifth Element…er, Michael Sword.

* I can’t believe someone shot Sam again, this time with just a frakkin’ finger.

* Castiel makes an entrance! He does tracheotomies, too.

* Lucifer: “I don’t lie. I don’t need to.” Yikes. Things have gotten so bad that no fabrications are needed to sway someone to the dark side.

* Ellen!

Ready to Winchester-up for the apocalypse, you all? Until next week, sweet dreams. ;)


Finally! Shoulders, chests, arms...oh, and a bit of Lucifer hunting. I'll be recapping SUPERNATURAL tonight, but I'm on Pacific time. That means you lucky spawn on the East Coast get to see it long before I.


Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Two days and counting until SUPERNATURAL premiere. Can hardly contain. Stay tuned for a recap after show. Wondering if it's worth Twittering about, too....

Might get to finally see INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS tonight....

Tony Lee sent a link so I can see advanced copy of HARKER before it comes out in October. Will be peeking at it soon because I can't wait!

Supposed to be my day off, but I'm a bit spastic and will be plotting a Blaze instead....

And there it is.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

This is what I write when I'm procrastinating

So you're standing on the fringes of the dance floor in a club. You're twenty-one, newly initiated into the scene, holding a Zima in your hand and wearing a sassy little top and hottie pants with your favorite strappy shoes. Your hair looks super cute, you're showered, shampooed, and shined and so very hopeful about the night ahead. There's a Potential Guy who's also lingering by the dance floor, kinda checking you out. You play eye tag. You drink from your faux-drink. You wonder what the hell to do next in this room where you will have to bellow over the music to communicate and establish anything meaningful with the Potential.

Then, just as he sidles a tad closer to where you're awkwardly striking a cool girl pose, it happens.

See, there'd been this other guy on the floor--the awesomely confident one in the red shirt who has picked up some streetwise, ass-slapping, Night Fever dance moves. He has been asking every wallflower to boogie with him. His name is McLovin, and he has seen you, too.

The room, with its flashing lights and blaring music, has confused you enough so that, when he begins pimping out in front of you in a ritualistic attempt to entice you onto the floor with his flailing charms, you don't quite know how to react. Do you run? Do you revert to the nice girl you've always been and pretend to dance, also, just so you don't embarrass him? Do you glance over at the Potential Guy to see if he'll come over and rescue you by pretending to be your boyfriend?

While the options whip through your mind, the guy in the red shirt dances on, and you wonder if this is what he looked like fifteen years ago:

In the end, this guy gets bored with you and goes on to score the most bodacious chick in the club. They get married, and he makes a billion dollars designing green technology. Then he goes on to teach his children to do the "these are my eyes, those are yours, we are connecting and understanding each other on a disturbingly intimate level" move. Basically, he lives happily ever after, dancing into the sunset while you waste your time watching YouTube. The end.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Bloodlands series update

I Twittered yesterday that it looks like my BLOODLANDS series (the post-apocalyptic urban fantasy) will be released sometime in 2011 because Ace would like to publish the books three months, back to back. I love that approach, so I'm very happy with the decision. The reason the books won't be out until 2011 is because I have only one of three installments finished at this point. If we're going to go for three consecutive releases, there's no way I could complete book three in time for the trilogy to appear any earlier.

Meanwhile, I've been reading everything from The New Yorker to Camille Paglia and watching Discovery Channel shows to look at cultural markers that give me ideas for building this new world....

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Writing Cave

Now that I'm into the second manuscript in my as-yet-unreleased BLOODLANDS series (post-apocalyptic urban fantasy), it's time for me to lock myself down and go for it.

When I do a first draft, I go into that Commando Robot Girl mode, and banishing myself to my condo is all a part of the process. Everything becomes about what's going on in the story. I'm an airhead because I'm always thinking of the next scene. I'm moody because I want to get the damned thing done. I'm a freak who doesn't really live on this Planet Earth until I type THE END.

It looks like it's going to be a busy stretch, even after BLOODLANDS 2 is written. I think I'll be diving into a continuity book for Special Edition, then a couple more stories until I write BLOODLANDS 3, which is due in July. (God, that seems so far away, yet...not so much.) But am I complaining? Yeah, right.

Best. Job. Ever.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Makeover for

If you have a sec, you can swing over to my to check out its new look! I asked Webcrafters to give me something sleek, easy to navigate, clean, and mysterious. They nailed it. :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Guest blogging today with book giveaway!

I blogged about my Vampire Babylon series at today. I'm primarily talking about the London trilogy and THE PATH OF RAZORS, so there's a book giveaway involved, too. Come on down!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Takashi Miike is more messed up than I first thought

A while ago, I watched AUDITION, a horror film which is known for its shocky twistiness and a truly barf-worthy scene at the end. It was directed by Takashi Miike, who'd developed a cult following for his gore-riddled, disturbing tales, and I hopped on that wagon right quick. It isn't often that I see scary movies that stick with me, and AUDITION still creeps me out when I think of a few key scenes. When the now canceled Showtime series MASTERS OF HORROR enlisted Miike to create an installment for the anthology, a lot of horror fans geek-spooged for days. Now, I'm above spooging in such an undignified manner, but I was dying to see what he'd give us anyway.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, Showtime pulled "Imprint," Miike's installment, from American airwaves, and those legions of geeks went into spasms of gorus interruptus. It was said that "Imprint" was too extreme. However, the episode was eventually released on DVD, thus saving us from an epidemic of horror-fan blue balls.

It took me a while to get to "Imprint," butI finally watched it last night and...*gak.*

As some of you know, I can watch just about anything in a movie--exploding heads, young adults being fried over campfires in sleeping bags, buzzing chainsaws bursting through chests, you know, the usual. But damned if I wasn't hiding behind my hands during this hour-long short-format movie in some parts.

Here's the set up for "Imprint": an American dude in the 1800s goes to a Japanese island where whores ply their trade. Christopher (a hysterical Billy Drago) is searching for his long lost love, Komomo. Then, while a "little person" pimp picks what's left of her nose (Seriously, there's only a half nose on her face--it's that kind of movie), she tells Christopher that Komomo has left the island. He's bummed, of course, but there's no boat until morning, so he chooses to spend the night with another prostitute. Half of her face is...well, melty-looking, hence she's not the highest earner on the island, to put it politely. Bless her heart. Nonetheless, she tries to make Christopher comfortable, offering herself, as prostitutes do. He declines her hospitality, accepting the numb promise of sake instead, and instead of that-there nookie, he asks her to tell him her story.

That's where begins. You see, this woman knows a whole lot about what really happened to Komomo. And as she keeps correcting her story, it turns out that there's way more to her than just sake and hospitality.

The first part of "Imprint" has wonderful buildup: the island, with its tree of hanging red ribbons, is beautiful--oppressive, Asian-gothic, dark with straining mystery. That beauty is frequently punctured by little details like the nose-picking pimpette, as well as a bloated, very pregnant corpse found floating in the water as Christopher's boat first pulls up. The whores are even striking in a garish mockery-of-a-Geisha way, so they're appalling, too, as if they smile while hiding blades under their ultra-upswept, blood-tinged hair. You definitely know something awful is comin'.


Then the story goes off the rails. Totally. And not only plot-wise. It pulls out every grotesque thing you ever hoped you wouldn't see on a screen. A torture scene that goes on forever (and this is where the whole peeking-through-my-fingers element came in). Incestuous scenarios. Child molesting. Fetuses. My jaw kept unhinging as one was piled on the other but, after that torture scene, I couldn't look away from what was happening. Just...couldn't. And the ending features such a WTF twist that it was both balls-out fabulous and kind of huh? at the same time.

The fact that the movie is dogging me today speaks to some of its power. In spite of its missteps, it did leave a lasting impression. But that's what horror does, right? It digs deep and sometimes makes you wonder just what the heck is wrong with it...and you.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mysterious Galaxy

Just a reminder: I'm at Mysterious Galaxy today at 2pm for a signing and Q&A. More info at . Wish you all could be there!

Friday, August 21, 2009


As you all can see, I've added a running Twitter column to my sidebar. (What's listed are my latest Tweets.) By clicking on the link below the column, you can follow me....

Monday, August 17, 2009

Signing at Mysterious Galaxy

I'll be signing THE PATH OF RAZORS, Vampire Babylon, Book 5, at San Diego's Mysterious Galaxy this Saturday at 2pm. If you can't make it, they'll have some signed copies on their excellent web site:

Hope to see ya!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

District 9

I wanted to see this movie before spoilers got vomited all over the Internet, and I'm really glad I took care to preserve my ignorance. (BTW, when did it become so much work to remain unspoiled? Yeesh.) Needless to say, this commentary will be spoiler-free, because I wouldn't want to ruin the flick for you all.

DISTRICT 9 really worked for me because I wasn't expecting one thing or another--the first trailer only showed enough to hook my interest, especially with that alien guy saying he only wanted to go home. And if that tweaked my emotion, it was nothing next to what I got from the movie itself. It delivers on emotional, action-geek, ooky-gore, cerebral levels, too.

I was engaged from the get go, even though you wouldn't think that a story that uses a "documentary"-type approach throughout most of its presentation would lend itself to grabbing you by the heart and twisting. There are scenes in this movie that are so devastating on a personal level (both from the main character's POV as well as the sympathy you feel for some of the aliens) that you can't avoid ye ol' wrench of the guts. It helps that the special effects are seamless, making the aliens seem real. It was only after the film that I realized how good the CGI is.

There are moments where the movie could've been trite, and after you see it, you'll be able to point them out easily. (Avoid this sentence for anything resembling a spoiler if you want, but I'll just give you one hint: cute kids in horror/action movies, just like freakin' Star in TERMINATOR SALVATION.) But D9 never fully goes into cliche territory--it actually kind of teases you with the possibility and dances on the edge of it just enough to give you payoffs to these set ups.

What really stuns me about this film is that is was made for a fraction of the cost of a regular sci-fi/fantasy blockbuster. I did they pull this off when it takes almost $200 million to finance something like TRANSFORMERS? D9 schools Hollywood, and just for that, I adore it.

Just so you know, there's LOTS of splatter to be had. Bodies exploding. Blood hitting the camera. Meat making those wet smacking sounds as it hits people in the face. A ton of it. I'm only warning you. And there's a good deal of F-word action, also, but since this takes place in South Africa, they say "fook" instead, which tickled my funnybone for some immature reason. If you're good with both of those things, this is one you'll want to see on the big screen. So go. :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I started Erin's HAUNTING BEAUTY last night, and I love, love, love her voice. The writing is just beautiful, and I feel like I'm floating in the prose. (Does that make sense? It's a good thing!) Can't wait to get further into the story....

BTW, you can still enter at Erin's site to win a signed copy of THE PATH OF RAZORS, Vampire Babylon, Book Five. Go to

Also, I want to note that if you go to the bookstore and browse the fantasy shelves, you'll come upon a new book called SINS & SHADOWS by Lyn Benedict. I had the opportunity to give an advance quote, and you can see my little ol' comment on the back cover! I'm such a geek to be excited about this, huh?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Chance to Win a Copy of PATH OF RAZORS!

Erin Quinn, whose HAUNTING BEAUTY is now on shelves, has posted a little interview with me on her blog. You can also enter a contest for a chance to win THE PATH OF RAZORS, so click here to take part!

I have to say, I'm excited to go to the bookstore today to get her novel. Her trailer (which you can find in the previous post) is so evocative, and I love Ireland! Erin is smart and chock full of energy, too--you can read all about her on her web site, also....