Category Archives: Random Musings

Audi, New Tool in the Vamp Slayer’s Arsenal?

Did you catch the 2012 Super Bowl on Sunday?  I did, but here in Okinawa we don’t get the commercials, which can sometimes be the best part of the game.  Thankfully, the internet has made it easy to catch-up on all the commercials I missed.  And, I couldn’t resist sharing Audi’s Vampire Party commercial.  In case you missed it, here it is:

So, what’d ya think?  I thought it was hilarious, in a “Dumbass!” kinda way.  That’s what makes it funny, in my opinion.  I love the two dudes at the end – the one who smiles and starts to say “Hey!” and the one who pops up behind the rock before poofin’ into non-existence.  Then, the driver … “Dumbass!” Too funny!

One blogger claims it was one of the year’s worst commercials stating “First off, it’s stupid that vampires are bursting into dust at the visage of an Audi. Secondly, a vampires-centric commercial? What is this, 2008? This would’ve been cutting edge the last time these two teams matched up, perhaps.”  I tend to disagree, especially since the vampires aren’t sparkling, but rather sport True Blood-like fangs, but ok.  You’re entitled to your opinion.  And, another stated, “As for the subject matter of the commercial, I think they tackled a pretty touchy subject with a lot of respect; the biggest murder-suicide in the history of vampires. But if what I’ve heard happens in True Blood is true for vampires, these vampires probably deserved it. And you have to make sure you hit the demographic that buys cars based on the brightness of their headlights. Good effort, overall.”  This makes me laugh, “…they tackled a pretty touchy subject with a lot of respect…”  Seriously?  That’s a bit deep don’t you think?  I, for one, can’t picture the Audi advertising group thinking, “Ok, this is a touchy subject, so we must be respectful about how we approach it.”  Can you?

This year’s commercials seemed to be auto manufacturer heavy, which is understandable I guess considering the financial state of things in the US, but there was one more commercial that made me laugh out loud.  It’s not at all para-related, but I thought I’d share it as well.  And, really, who can resist a nekked M&M shakin’ his booty to LMFAO?  Not me!

If you’d like a play-by-play of the commercials, check out the Washington Post‘s break-down here.   And, while I didn’t really care who won the Super Bowl, congrats to the New York Giants for pulling off another win.  Hopefully my Steelers will make it to the Bowl again in 2013.  🙂


Return of ‘The Walking Dead’

AMC’s The Walking Dead returns Sunday, 12 February.  I can’t wait!  How ’bout you?  What’d you think of the mid-season finale?  Were you happy with Shane’s actions?  What will happen now?   Here’s AMC’s sneak peek at Ep 208, Nebraska. [SPOILER ALERT: Video clip contains spoilers from Episode 07 of Season 2.]

For those who have missed some episodes, don’t fret.  AMC is airing a two-day marathon beginning on Sat., Feb. 11 at 8/7c, covering the full series to date. They’ll show all six episodes of Season 1 back-to-back on Saturday starting at 8/7c. Then on Sunday, the marathon continues with Season 2 episodes starting at 1:30PM/12:30c, leading right into the Midseason Premiere, “Nebraska” at 9/8c.   You can check here for the full recap schedule.

Word is the show’s third season has been extended to 16 episodes.  While I’m thrilled I have more Walking Dead to enjoy, I hope the episodes are more intense that they have been so far in Season 2.  Is it just me or where the episodes in Season 1 just a bit more edge-of-your-seat intense?  That said, I have enjoyed Season 2’s more character-based episodes.  They have allowed us to get to know them all a bit better, even if that means we like them a little less.

I have to say, the character who surprised me the most in Season 2 is Daryl.  In season 1, he was just a background character and not one of my favorites.  In season 2, we get to see him shine.    He is quickly becoming one of my favorites.  Who’s your favorite?  Are you ready to see some changes in the group’s leadership? Or think all is as it should be?

If you’re not already a fan of the series, what are you waiting for?  Catch-up this weekend and you’ll be hooked like the rest of us!

Be sure to check out AMC’s “10 Ways to Get Ready for The Walking Dead Midseason Premiere” for more videos.  You can also take their “Which Character Are You?” quiz to see who you’d likely take after should you survive the apocalypse.

[The Walking Dead Midseason Premiere Airs Sunday, 12 Feb]

Related Posts: Get Ready for the Return of The Walking Dead, The Walking Dead Returns, and Zombie Awareness Month (ZAM).

Fiction2Film: Zombies … an Oral History & a Love Story

In our Fiction 2 Film (F2F) posts, we will share news and tidbits we learn about author’s stories which have made the jump from paper to film.

~ Zombies … An Oral History ~

If you are a fan of zombie novels, you have already heard about Max BrooksWorld War Z film adaption starting Brad Pitt.  In fact, if you’re a major fan, you’ve already read the book.  But, have you heard the major changes to the story?  writing for Screen discusses the fact that, although it is a “tricky narrative format to transfer to film” the main character, who in the book is a U.N. employee that interviews zombie apocalypse survivors on their experiences, will be quite different in the film.

Paramount’s announcement stated, “The story revolves around United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Pitt), who traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself.”  This is indeed a different take on the story.  How does author Max Brooks feel about the change?

He acknowledges how difficult it could be turning the book into a film during his interview with the Daily Record.  He admits, “It doesn’t have a main character, the storyline is told from a hundred different points of view, would be prohibitively expensive filming in all these different countries.”  He also realizes the challenge this brings saying, “You couldn’t pay me to turn it into a film.”  However, he doesn’t seem worried about the changes, but rather excited to see how it all turns out.  “I’m not involved so I just want to be able to enjoy watching the movie when it comes out,” he explained. “At least I know they did at least as much research into things as I did for the book.”  In his 26 Aug 2011 blog post, after visiting the set in Glasgow, Max stated, “While I’m still largely in the dark concerning the overall story, it was reassuring to hear from Brad Pitt and Marc Forster that their goal is to make a smart, deep, geopolitical movie. I trust their talent and their intentions and I look forward to seeing what they come up with.”  He also learned from the January 3rd LA Times article, that states, “Forster [the director] and Paramount Pictures each view “World War Z” as a trilogy that would have the grounded, gun-metal realism of, say, Damon’s Jason Bourne series tethered to the unsettling end-times vibe of AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead.'”  That’s a nice thought (for them financially), but will fans love the first film enough to support the making of a trilogy? 

‘World War Z’, the Fiction

“The end was near.” —Voices from the Zombie War

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.

Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?”

Note: Some of the numerical and factual material contained in this edition was previously published under the auspices of the United Nations Postwar Commission.

‘World War Z’, the Film

Will the film be a hit among Brooks’ fans?  Zombie fans?  Pitt fans?  Only time will tell.

But, in E! News’ interview with actress Mireille Enos, who plays Pitt’s wife in the film, she said, “It’s like zombies are the new vampires.” And, it would seem she isn’t far off as we have seen the number of zombie-related books increase over the past year.  “It’s taking over. But somebody said to me this movie might end the zombie genre because, after this, what else is there to do? It’s huge!”  Now, this statement is not one with which I can agree.

I’ll watch the movie, I may even love it, but “end the zombie genre” because of its awesomeness?  Nah, probably not.  Romero has been doing good zombies for many, many years.  Others will surely follow.

‘World War Z’ is scheduled to hit theaters on, you guessed it, 12/21/12.  How apropos.

[Trailer can be viewed here.]

~ Zombies … A Love Story ~

Now, I have to admit that about a year ago, someone told me about a zombie romance and my first reaction was “Thanks, but no thanks.”  Then, I decided to give Isaac Marion‘s Warm Bodies a go.  The story is told from the perspective of R, a zombie who, try as he might, cannot remember much about his life before now.  Then, he meets his (living) sweetheart.  The book was a quick read, but one that proved in the end that Virgil may have had it right when he said, “Love conquers all things; let us too surrender to love.”

I was happily surprised to see on that Isaac’s book is also being adapted to film.  Unlike Brooks’ “fiction2film,” Marion’s appears to be more of a direct adaption than a variation on the story.  Although director Jonathan Levine is writing the script, he consulted with Marion during the process.

In an interview with Jonathan Liu, or “GeekDad” of Wired Magazine, he explained, I’ve not been directly involved as far as collaborating on it, but I’ve been consulted a lot, a lot more than what’s normal, from what I’m told. When they first hired the director he had lunch with me and just chatted about his ideas and vision for the whole thing, and he’s been interacting with me as he wrote the script. He’d call me up and ask me questions: what’s this part about, or how do you see this and that.

I read some draft of the script — I’m not sure how far along it was — and then I got to give notes on that, and later read another draft and gave some notes. It seems like they’re really respectful of my opinion and they seem to really care what I think, which is cool. Very unusual, from what I’m told. Even major best-selling authors who have all the clout in the world, sometimes they just tell them: “Get lost, we don’t care what you think. Just let us make this movie.” Everyone I’ve told about this who knows how that works has been amazed, that they actually have involved me.

Do you think that will make a difference to those who have read the book and watch the movie?  I know it will for me.  As much as I enjoy seeing a film director’s interpretation of a novel, sometimes I want to see the author’s original story, as is, on the big screen.  Of course, just because there has been so much director-author collaboration does not mean the film will be identical to the novel.  It is always hard to completely translate one to the other, yes?

Either way, Marion sounds excited about the film.  Although he did not have much say regarding the casting process, per the USA Today article, he didn’t see that as a problem because he wasn’t sure “how it would have been if [he] had hated them. But they worked out.”  He plans to watch the film in the theater instead of with the executives because “If something bad happened, [he] wouldn’t want them to see [him] cowering.”  That said, he wants to visit the production set as much as possible because, “The whole thing is fascinating and exciting.”   He may even try to “… sneak in the background and get eaten by a zombie.” 

‘Warm Bodies’, the Fiction

A zombie who yearns for a better life ends up falling in love—with a human—in this astonishingly original debut novel.

R is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listening to Frank Sinatra. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Not just another zombie novel, Warm Bodies is funny, scary, and deeply moving.

‘Warm Bodies’, the Film

As I said, it was initially hard for me to envision a zombie novel as a romance.  However, either Marion’s writing changed my perception or love really does affect us all – living or undead.  Marion can relate to our uncertainties about a romantic zombie.  “I didn’t want to sanitize him into something I called a zombie,” Marion says. “You watch him kill people and eat people and do horrific things zombies do. There’s a germ of change in there, so you hear him give his distaste for things but this is what we do.

“A lot of people can relate to that mindless repetition, that people do things they don’t want to do all the time. It’s the starting point for his character, and he develops an awareness for what his options are. It seemed natural to make him sympathetic because everyone’s been there at some point, in a place of misery and wanting to get out.”   The fact that R goes through his routines even while he dreads them was absolutely something to which I could relate.  It made him feel more real, I guess.

Teresa Palmer, who plays R’s love interest, Julie, says Nicholas Hoult is “… so beautiful to work with. He does such an incredible performance. He’s playing a zombie, so he can’t say much, but he’s very expressive with his eyes.”   And, he would have to be to pull this off.  The book is full of R’s internal dialogue, so  I’m very interested to see how that will be represented on screen.  I’ve certainly seen that work well in some and not in others.

I wasn’t going to say this because so many others are asking the same question, but after seeing this picture I feel I have to ask … Will these two be the new Edward & Bella?  It may not be too far fetched a question since Summit Entertainment, the production company behind Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight films, is also behind Marion’s film. The picture is certainly reminiscent of Twilight pics.  I’d say they should try to be more original, but on second thought, it was most likely intentional as they try to lure young adult paranormal romance readers into the theater.

‘Warm Bodies’ is scheduled to hit theaters on 8/10/12.

[To date, no official trailer exists, but you can view the book trailer here.]

Related posts: “Fiction2Film” feature on Stephenie Meyer’s ‘The Host’ and our “Zombie Awareness Month” posts

1 Year Until…The End?

It’s December 21st 2011, 1 year to go until the Mayan calendar comes to an end. Many have interpreted this to mean the end of the world. The Apocalypse. Revelations. Judgement Day. The End.

Friday 21st December 2012 ~ TGIF takes on a whole new meaning.

There’s no question 2011 has been a tumultuous year. Both Mother Nature and mankind have suffered some extraordinarily tough times but do we really think the end of the world is nigh? The long dead Mayans may have simply decided to stop recording time at this date because they could not have indefinitely recorded every single day, month, year there ever could be. Today also happens to be winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and summer solstice in the southern hemisphere, a date which marks the shortest day and longest night and vice versa, respectively. This may be why they chose to end their calendar at this point.

Let’s look at 31st December 1999 -The Millennium Bug. Many believed technology wouldn’t be able to cope with the turning of the century. The changing of digits, simple numbers. The year meant nothing to technology. It didn’t care. Only we did. Nothing happened. Dashed hopes and red faces were all we suffered, much milder than the predicted alternative.

But now we supposedly have a “credible” source for this doomsday theory. The Mayans. They’ve been lauded as the most developed civilisation for the age they lived in, established well before Christ. But again, is it our interpretation of the meaning of the end of their calendar that is wrong? Did the Mayans explicitly say the world would end on that date? No. Is there any scientific evidence to base this assumption on? No. So, is it likely the world and it’s inhabitants will still be around in 2013? Yes, although no one could ever say for certain. That’s life.

Related posts:
Freaky Friday ~ 11:11:11 on 11/11/11

The Next Big Thing…?

The publishing industry, due to popular demand and profitability, are finally becoming less snobby about sci-fi and fantasy, according to The Bookseller. The genre has become hugely popular in the last decade with authors such as Terry Pratchett, J K Rowling, Suzanne Collins, George R R Martin and Charlaine Harris pushing the genre into the mainstream. So what’s hot right now?

From Vampires…

Bram Stoker is responsible for catapulting the Vampire to stardom and since then it’s had a few revivals helped along by Anne Rice, Laurell K Hamilton and of course Ms. Stephanie Meyer with Twilight romanticising the blood-sucking creatures. Movies such as Blade and TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer as well as those influenced by books such as True Blood and The Vampire Diaries have flooded the market with all things vampire but perhaps we’ve reached our limit for now?

…to Zombies

Just another form of undead, but far less glamorous. I don’t see any sparkling zombies seducing silly under-aged girls any time soon but there have been a few zombie romances -eww! Zombie movies have been around since the 1930s, many of which were made by George Romero. More recently we’ve seen Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, Resident Evil, 28 Days, Shaun of the Dead, on TV now were watching The Walking Dead and next year we’ll see Brad Pitt starring in Max Brooks’ World War Z.

John Landis says “So many of these zombie movies are about the collapse of social order. Chaos. Anarchy.” At what better time would we have this on our minds than when we’re experiencing a global recession, the toppling of dictators, political protests are on the rise, and the potential collapse of the Euro and even the European Union with the worryingly impending resource scarcity, are on the horizon. Fearing the end of world as we know it is the perfect atmosphere for zombies to feed on our flesh fear of what’s to come. It’s zombipocalypse time!

From Dystopia…

Although The Hunger Games wasn’t the first, it is most likely responsible for the recent explosion in the number of available books in the genre, especially in YA. What attracts teen readers to dystopian fiction?

Moira Young, author of Blood Red Road, says:

There are a number of opinions, but the main drift seems to be that books set in either chaotic or strictly controlled societies mirror a teenager’s life; at school, at home, with their peers and in the wider world. Let’s call it the “my own private dystopia” theory.

I’m going to offer a much simpler explanation. Teenagers like to read dystopian fiction because it’s exciting. It all comes down to the story. The story comes first, and the setting – extraordinary though it may be – is of secondary importance.

For the most part, dystopian fiction owes more to myth and fairytale than science fiction. These are essentially heroes’ journeys – they just happen to be set in an imagined future world. The hero, reluctant or willing, is just as likely to be female as male. Something happens – an event, or a messenger arrives bearing news – and the teenage protagonist is catapulted out of their normal existence into the unknown. They cross the threshold into a world of darkness and danger, of allies and enemies, and begin a journey towards their own destiny that will change their world. They will be tested, often to the very edge of death. The stakes are high. The adults are the oppressors. The children are the liberators. It’s heady stuff, far removed from the routine of everyday life.

The outer, global journey of the characters is matched by an inner, emotional and psychological journey. These are no cartoon superheroes. They, like their teen readers, have to deal with recognisable concerns and problems, including friendship, family, betrayal, loss, love, death and sexual awakening.

A new wave of dystopian fiction at this particular time shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. It’s the zeitgeist. Adults write books for teenagers. So anxious adults – worried about the planet, the degradation of civil society and the bitter inheritance we’re leaving for the young – write dystopian books.

We create harsh, violent worlds. These are dark, sometimes bleak stories, but that doesn’t mean they are hopeless. Those of us who write for young people are reluctant to leave our readers without hope. It wouldn’t be right. We always leave a candle burning in the darkness.

No doubt the movies of The Hunger Games, the first of four (Mockingjay will be a two-parter) will be out next year, will elongate the Dystopia trend. There are a fair few books to be released in 2012:

…to Science Fiction?

I’m talking aliens, outer space, time travel, steampunk and other science-y themes. It’s been gathering steam (haha!) quietly in the background for a while now. But will sci-fi go supernova? In recent times we’ve had both a book and a movie of I Am Number Four, bestselling author Kathy Reichs has moved both into YA and sci-fi with a new series beginning with Virals, and Across the Universe by Beth Revis -have all done incredibly well.

Some 2012 releases:

From Fae…

Books like Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series, Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely, Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey and those by all ready big author’s like Patricia Briggs and Richelle Mead have given the fae a high profile but I think they’re on the decline. I can only think of a couple of new series based on the fae which have so far received a positive responses: The Shadow Reader (McKenzie Lewis #1) by Sandy Williams, The Iron Witch (The Iron Witch #1) by Karen Mahoney, and A Brush of Darkness (Abby Sinclair, #1) by Allison Pang.

…to Mermaids?

Ever watch The Little Mermaid, sing “Under the Sea” and wish you could live under the sea? Then this is for you!

In 2012 we’ll be see the following released:

From Angels…

Although not waning as of yet, the popular angel trend driven by Hush, Hush and Fallen is fast-becoming over-saturated. If you’re not affected by it now then I predict most of us will be suffering angel-fatigue by 2013 at the latest. There are a good many angel books due out in 2012:

…to Death?

Staying within the biblical, religious and mythological realm but moving the focus onto everything surrounding death i.e. reapers, resurrection and reincarnation. There are a fair few due out in 2012.

Fairy Tales

Books on Fairy Tales have always been popular but that popularity has recently been reflected in TV with Once Upon A Time and Grimm both debuting this year. In the movies we’ve had Red Riding Hood and Beastly, both based on books of the same name, and next year there will be not one but two Snow White movies: Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Hunstman! There will also be movies like Jack the Giant Killer, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Pan (based on Peter Pan) and Enchanted 2 to name but a few. Is 2012 the year of the fairy tale movie or what?!

What do you think will be the next big thing?

“YA Comes of Age” by Sue Corbett

‘A few concerns are voiced consistently: YA’s transcendence may have come at the expense of middle-grade, which most believe is undersold. Picture books have yet to rebound. And within the YA category, there’s an industrywide case of paranormal fatigue.

“I was at a writer’s conference a few weeks ago and got four different pitches for an angel series in one day,” says Curtis Brown agent Ginger Clark, who was in London last month to shop her agency’s list to British publishers. “Almost all the editors I saw said they are not buying new paranormal. There was some agreement that readers might not yet have paranormal fatigue, but a lot of editors do.”

“Everything in my in-box is paranormal, but the problem is, I’m not interested,” Laughran says. “It can’t be just two shiny guys and a girl anymore.” Instead, the books that are going to be successful, she believes, are the ones that do something different with the paranormal elements. She cites Maureen Johnson’s just-released The Name of the Star (Putnam) as an example. “There’s a paranormal element, yes, but it’s super funny on one page and super scary on the next.”

But just as you’re about to classify paranormal as “done,” a press release from Sourcebooks announces Embrace, “the first in a multibook, paranormal romance saga debuting March 2012.” Another, from Bloomsbury, announces Diabolical (winter 2013), a paranormal thriller trilogy with “a dash of the creepy and supernatural on the side,” set at a premier ballet academy. Goldblatt teases that he can’t yet release the details of a sale he made recently (“waiting on the press release,” he says), but it involved a vampire novel that should have been “absolutely unsellable” these days. “And yet it did.”

With the forecast calling for hardcover YA fiction to continue selling strong, everybody’s on the hunt for the next book with potential to crack the toughest nut: the New York Times chapter book bestseller list.

Many believe (hope?) it will come from outer space; Clark of Curtis Brown has high hopes for a “straight-up science fiction” series she’s shopping titled The Julian Path by Washington Post writer Monica Hesse. But she gushes, too, over Code Name Verite by Elizabeth Wein (Hyperion, 2012), a historical novel about two girls working in Britain’s Royal Air Force during WWII. “Oh, it will make you weep,” she promises.

Historical fiction as the next big thing? Who knows?

“Who would have thought that the next big thing after Harry Potter would be Twilight?” Goldblatt asks. “Followed by… Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Followed by… The Hunger Games? All it takes is one book to start a new trend and no one will see it coming. That’s the fun of what we do.”’

Extracted from “YA Comes of Age” by Sue Corbett [bolding mine]

Why We Can’t Have Great Movies

Universal Studios chief Ron Meyer recently made a startling admission:

“We make a lot of shitty movies.”

In a speech made at the Savannah Film Festival Meyer made some very candid remarks regarding past and future movies. Here’s a summary of what he said:

Less 3-D

3-D is only suitable for a small number of movies where it can add to the viewing experience.

Who cares about winning awards when there’s money to be made

“It’s great to win awards and make films that you’re proud of and make money, but your first obligation is to make money and then worry about being proud of what you do.” “But we did A Beautiful Mind, and I don’t know that we’d do A Beautiful Mind again. That’s the sad part.”

Low risk, medium budgets and average movies

“None of us would be able to do, or afford, what Jim Cameron was able to do with Avatar,” that kind of project is just too high risk which is why he recently turned down Ron Howard’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. For such a huge budget ($200m) he was worried about what they could make back on that investment. Clearly, from the past 5 years only Fast Five, Despicable Me and The Bourne Ultimatum grossed over $200m at the Box Office so it’s a legitimate worry despite interest from King fans.

Humanity on screen

Interested in making movies which show how great the human spirit is in the face of adversity.

New sources of revenue?

  • Meyer would like to see if he can make money from Video-on-demand -making the movie available to download only a couple of weeks after they are released in theaters for a premium price of say $59.99. Unfortunately his attempt to do this with Tower Heist did not succeed due to fierce opposition from theater owners.
  • There are plans to build more Harry Potter-themed amusement parks to capitalize on its success.

So, really in these hard economic times, Meyer is saying he hates the fact that he’s made crappy movies in the past but he can’t afford to take huge risks by spending enormous amounts of money on a project, not even if he believes it would be a multi-award winner because that doesn’t bring in the big bucks. Instead he’s looking to spend the least amount of money on using readily available techniques showing middle of the road fare aimed at family (or teenaged, at the oldest) audiences. He’s not willing to reach for the stars or develop innovative movies which could put them on the map.

If other production companies take Universal’s view, then perhaps this is why there are so few great movies these days. Few are willing to take a risk.

What’s in a Name? {Pseudonyms, Pen Names & Nom de Plumes}

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet” ~ William Shakespeare

pseu·do·nym | noun |ˈsoōdn-im| a fictitious name
* Geisel was best known by the pseudonym ‘Dr. Seuss’

* Synonyms & related words: pen name, nom de plume, assumed name, false name, alias, professional name, sobriquet, stage name, nom de guerre.

* ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from French pseudonyme, from Greek pseudōnymos, from pseudēs ‘false’ + onoma ‘name.’

I have always been a bit confused by the reasons behind a pseudonym.  But, then I realized I have several myself.  We all do, probably.  We have screen names and avatars for different sites scattered around the WWW.  Hopefully not for any nefarious reasons, but sometimes it’s nice to go unnoticed by those who know you best.

During my search for not only which authors use a pseudonym, but the reasons for them, I found several interesting articles and a YouTube video that helped clear up my confusion.  The first article I found, 9 Reasons Why You Should Use a Pseudonym, was written by Carmela for the Huffington Post.  It showed some of the more odd reasons an author would use a pseudonym such as when William Sydney Porter was released from prison in 1901 and wanted to reinvent himself or Fernando Pessoa, who apparently had multiple personalities and wrote under 70 different names.

Nah, make fun, but that's typically NOT the reason

There were others, but the one that really helped clarify it for me was the YouTube video discussion between Brian Felsen of BookBaby and author Jennifer Ashley at the 2011 Romantic Times Convention.  Jennifer explains her reasons for writing under four different names {Jennifer Ashley, which is her real name, Allyson James, Allison Gardner, and Laurien Gardner}.  It started when she was trying to get published.  She was submitting different stories, in different genres, to different publishing houses.  Two houses wanted to publish her writing, but they asked her to use two different names –

hence the creation of her first two pseudonyms.  She explains that the differences in her writing styles {POV, tone, and genre} were good reasons for the different names.  It was a way for fans to distinguish between the different types of writing and therefore know what to expect from her books {under each name}.  When she decided to write some spicier, erotic novels, she felt the use of a pseudonym offered her some protection and anonymity in case she wasn’t any good at it.

The way in which Jennifer explained it helped me better understand why an author may choose a pseudonym.  It’s a way for authors to establish different writing styles within different genres without confusing their fans.  It’s a way to be carefree when you write about steamy, hot sex without worrying about offending the family, your friends, or fan base.  I’d love to hear from authors about why they chose their pseudonym(s), if you’d like to share.  🙂

Additionally, I found some good reference sites when trying to hunt down who’s who.  Sometimes you may think you’ve found a new-to-you author, when in reality, it’s an author you’ve already been reading and following.  Here’s a list of some authors I follow and their pseudos, plus some websites to help you on your hunt.

Author Pseudos

Tessa Adams = Tracy Deebs = Tracy Wolff

Ann Aguirre = Ava Gray = Ellen Connor (with co-author, Carrie Lofty)

G.A. Aiken = Shelly Laurenston

Jennifer Ashley = Allyson James = Ashley Gardner = Laurien Gardner

Julie Kenner = J.K. Beck

Laura Bickle = Alayna Williams

Jessica Bird = J.R. Ward

Jayne Castle = Jayne Ann Krentz = Amanda Quick = Stephanie James

Maureen Child = Regan Hastings

Dawn Cook = Kim Harrison

Sydney Croft = Larissa Ione & Stephanie Tyler

Kristina Douglas = Anne Stuart

Mira Grant = Seanan McGuire

Sherrilyn Kenyon = Kinley MacGregor

Jill Myles = Jessica Sims

Savannah Russe = Lucy Finn

And, my favorite writing duo, husband and wife team, Ilona & Gordon make up Ilona Andrews

There are many, many more.  Here are some links to sites that can help ya out:  A-Z Pseudonyms | Mystical Unicorn’s Pseudo List | Wikipedia’s List

Get Ready for the Return of The Walking Dead

WooHoo, Baby!  Are You Ready for Season 2?!


If you just can’t wait until Sunday, there are other ways to get your zombie fix:

  • Catch the latest trailer with the Sheriff bustin’ some zombie heads like coconuts
  • Design your own zombie avatar with AMC’s ‘Spread the Dead’ application on Facebook
  • Check out their Sneak Peek (US only, unfortunately) video
  • Or the daily Webisodes
  • Pop over to and find a wicked zombie getup for this year’s tricks-and-treats day
  • Try your hand at AMC’s ‘Ultimate Fan Trivia Game
  • Or crack some skulls in one of the games at
  • And, if you missed out on Season 1, don’t despair, you can catch up here
  • Finally, check out the new book!

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor  

In the Walking Dead universe, there is no greater villain than The Governor. The despot who runs the walled-off town of Woodbury, he has his own sick sense of justice: whether it’s forcing prisoners to battle zombies in an arena for the townspeople’s amusement, or chopping off the appendages of those who cross him. The Governor was voted “Villain of the Year” by Wizard magazine the year he debuted, and his story arc was the most controversial in the history of the Walking Dead comic book series. Now, for the first time, fans of The Walking Dead will discover how The Governor became the man he is, and what drove him to such extremes.

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman, Jay Bonansinga,  Published October 11th 2011 by Thomas Dunne Books, is available for purchase at Amazon | BookDepository | B&N

Freaky Friday ~ True Blood(y) Fondue?

Anyone up for some bloody fondue?

Check out the True Blood(y) fountain!

The beautiful Janina Gavankar, who plays Luna on HBO’s True Blood series, posted some wicked TB fountain pics on her website.  She references two sites, which I checked, but one is in Italian.  I ran the text through Google’s translator and it came up with this:

It was October of 2007, the Trevi Fountain was red around the web, some “time” talking about the fountains wrote bloody guerrilla marketing to promote the television series Dexter.

At a distance of 4 years back to talk of fountains that gush blood and specifically in the land of Dracula and Transylvania to promote True Blood ‘series focuses on the adventures of vampires in the fictional town of Bon Temps.

Gotta love it!  That’s some serious series love right there!


Ref: & Bloguerrilla