Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Generation Kill vs. Full Metal Jacket: A Look at Modern Storytelling

I own the box set of Generation Kill, and it's one of my favorite all-time war series/movies. I'm not girly in that I have always been interested in history and war films. I watched with great interest the HBO mini-series The Pacific and Band of Brothers. In fact, if I were to compile a list of my all-time favorite shows, Band of Brothers and Generation Kill would probably make the list. The other day, I happened to catch an old favorite I watched many years ago, Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. I remember when I watched it for the first time how intense and enthralling it was. I remember the scene where they photographed the dead body sitting in the chair just how upsetting that was to watch. Then at the end when Matthew Modine's Joker performs an act of mercy and kills the sniper how absolutely unsettling it was to watch such violence. Now fast forward to the 21st century. I was re-watching Full Metal Jacket and it hit me. After watching all of the gore and violence and realism of Generation Kill, this older film didn't even resonate the same way. The up-close and personal reality depicted in Generation Kill made Full Metal Jacket look staged and fictional. Generation Kill is so gritty, they didn't even include a soundtrack, and it has a documentary style about it. So going back and reviewing and older classic like Full Metal Jacket just amplified the feeling of it being a scripted movie. Also, modern film is so much more violent, gory and realistic that it made this classic film seem almost hokey. What does this say about modern storytelling and violence? It's a good question. Think about it? When First Recon's lead team drives over a decapitated body in the road and Joker shoots a sniper in the head (we presume in the head), what seems more realistic? Nothing in Generation Kill is varnished down to the naked Iraqis surrendering in the road. We see full nudity, because that is real and truthful. We don't have music to manipulate our emotions in Generation Kill either whereas Full Metal Jacket's soundtrack (which is fantastic) is all about loading our emotions. It's kind of interesting to compare the two and think about it, especially as a modern storyteller.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Funny Excerpt: California Girl Chronicles: "I'm a man now!"

Disclaimer: the following passage has some profane language. Reader discretion is advised. This excerpt is from California Girl Chronicles: Brea and the City of Plastic. It is available for sale on Amazon or the 3L Publishing website.

He fell back on the bed. We both lay together and tried to recover from such a powerful physical act. He turned his head to face me. He raised his eyebrows in surprise and said, “Fucking wow! What the fuck was that?”

“I think that was the best sex I’ve ever had,” I replied and reached across to wipe the sweat off his brow.

This suggestion seemed to intrigue him. He looked at me with this strange grin and replied, “Really? You? Me?”

I sighed, leaned into him, kissed his lips, and replied, “Quite right.”

“All right, look at me. I’m a man now,” he declared facetiously. “Sweetheart, you made me a man. I think … no, I know, I have superpowers too. See what you did! Now I’ll have to save the world or something. Or just make a movie about it.”

“I’ll write it for you,” I replied, smiled, and kissed him.

Kale’s eyes light up. He liked that idea. “I think so. Yes, we’ll remake Superman for the 100th time. No, wait! Spiderman … again. Or no, Batman! Yeah, Batman and Brea – that has a nice ring too it.” He put his head back on the pillow and looked up at the ceiling. My producer and lover looked quit self-satisfied.

I threw a pillow at him. “Don’t look so smug!” I cried.

Kale sat up, grabbed me by the waist, and hoisted me up onto his waist. He smiled so brightly at me. He really looked so happy. His happiness was catching, and I realized for the first time in a long time I felt great. I leaned over, kissed him again, and quietly whispered, “Thank you.”

“For what? Fucking your incredible body? Sweetheart, I would do that anytime,” he said and then realized I wasn’t kidding. He became serious, touched my cheek, blinked in recognition of my genuine feelings, and pulled me in for a tender kiss. The rest of the night we fucked just that passionately another five times. I came every single time. And for the record, it was the best sex I ever had. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Funny Excerpt: We're All Dead: Beauty and the Lame-ass

This excerpt comes from the forthcoming book, We're All Dead due out in spring 2012. This little scene happens after our heroine Cookie Gingerbreadhouse escapes the deadly clutches of General Wilhelm, the necromancer lord and ends up in the company of the vampire king's "lesser" twin brother Lt. Colburn. Have fun! 

As I was walking along, I saw a poster in the window of another storefront. It was like one of those old Army posters that said stuff like “Uncle Sam Wants You”. This poster read: Resist! There was a phone number. It occurred to me this might be associated with the resistance. Now I needed a smart phone. I felt certain this was the group I needed to contact to find Jellybean. Then I felt a hard blow on the back of my head. Someone had thrown something at my head. I rubbed my head and turned around. It was a vampire. I could tell by his white pallor. The minute I turned around, his fangs popped out and he circled around me.
“What are you?” he said and smelled. “You’re not human.” 
“Who the heck are you?” I cried still rubbing my head.
“Oh, sorry, I’m Lt. Colburn, brother to the vampire king. Now what are you?”
I squinted to get a better look. He was kind of regal and handsome with blond hair and soulful blue-green eyes. He was also very tall and towered over me like a solid oak tree. “I-I’m, ugh, a zombie,” I said reluctantly.
Lt. Colburn’s eyes grew large and he moved in very close to smell me. “Why do you not smell nasty and stinky? You smell like … formaldehyde or something else … something strangely sweet… grapey. And-and you’re so pretty! Zombies are ugly, decayed pieces of shit. You’re no zombie that’s for sure.”
I sighed and shook my head and said, “Unfortunately, I am. Somebody ‘zombie-fied’ me against my will.”
Lt. Colburn reached out and touched my blond hair and let it fall between his fingers. He was utterly enchanted and reached out to touch me, but I flinched away. “Hey!” I cried. “I’m not a toy,” I protested against the unwanted touching.
Lt. Colburn started laughing kind of like an idiot. He grabbed me and pushed me forward. “Oh, this is too good,” he snickered.
“What are you talking about?”
“You,” he replied still snickering and pushed me forward.
“Where are we going?” I protested.
“To my brother’s titty bar,” he replied.
“What? No, I …” I cried as he just kept pushing me forward to walk. “Hey, stop pushing all right. I can walk on my own. And why don’t you just pick me up and we can fly?” I asked.
“Um, well, fuck! I’m not a very good flyer,” he replied sheepishly.
“Oh, aren’t we just a pair,” I said rather sarcastically. “Beauty and the lame-ass.”

Frozen is a "Solid," Little Film

A skier's worst nightmare.
Every once in a while I stumble on something interesting while channel surfing. Last night, I was flipping through the premium channels and came across this little movie titled Frozen. It was slotted in the "horror" category, but when it said horror, what it really meant was horrific nightmare. Frozen is not a horror film like Scream. It's what they call in screenwriting, one of the premises that would fall under "your worst nightmare." Here is what impressed me most about three young people who find themselves stuck on a ski lift all alone on the mountain, the low production value. This well-done, little film didn't involve much in terms of budget. I would imagine a great deal of it was either filmed on an actual chair lift or sound stage. They probably rented a small ski resort for a few days. The acting at times got a little cloying, but I'm going to give this one three stars for its simplicity and tension being built around being stuck on a simple chair lift. The three young people get stuck on the chair lift and end up spending the night and so the story goes. Throw in some hungry wolves and you really have a serious problem. Now note to the screenwriters, you were a little on the nose with the foreshadowing when the kids start talking about their most dreaded ways to die and Jaws. We could have scooted around that discussion, because you pretty much gave it away. Other than that flaw, I enjoyed a tense diversion into a skier's worst nightmare. It's playing on Encore right now. So, see if you can find it. Frozen stars Shawn Ashmore, Emma Bell and Kevin Zegers.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Jensen Ackles vs. Alexander Skarsgard ... Really?

Fan sites absolutely and without a doubt just give me nothing but utter smiles. Now we have a poll, yes another infamous poll, asking whether Jensen Ackles from Supernatural could beat Alexander Skarsgard from True Blood in a fight. Jensen is winning our vampire Viking by a serious margin. I have to tell you, I only find these little gems that make me laugh every time, because of my Google Alerts. I don't go out surfing to find them. I'm not amazed that someone made this up on a fan site. You see all sorts of different things on fan sites. Don't get me started on what people do on fan sites that would astound and boggle your mind. It's the rabid outcry and response in the comments by the other fans. Wow! And double wow! People take their characters soooooo seriously. Oh, the furious scorn and outrage if you even remotely say one, little unpopular comment. It's utterly crazy to me fans get this, well, "into" it. I even sat down the other day, and a girl started talking to me about my heroine Brea Harper from California Girl Chronicles as if she were her nearest and dearest. As the author, I found myself in Bizarro world. I didn't know what to say. A big part of me wanted to say, "You know she's not real, right?" Oh, a fine line seems to exist between the real and the imagined. In the meantime, while you're all taking a poll about whether or not Ackles could kick Skarsgard's cold, dead butt? Here's a real-life fact? Anyone ever notice that the person, the real guy, Skarsgard is like 6 feet 4 inches and built like a solid tree? Did you see him in Strawdogs where he picked and threw James Marsden like a twig against the wall? I'm going to put a hefty wager that one would NOT want to pick any kind of a fight with Mr. Skarsgard. I'm pretty sure that's a losing proposition. Just saying!!

A Feast of Alexander Skarsgard's, A-Hem, Eric Northman's Backside

Eric Northman and Sookie in Season 3.
This blog gives a really great rundown of all of the scenes in which our Viking vampire exposes his derriere. I read the well-documented times Eric Northman gives a visual feast on his rear-end and started laughing. I don't think the writer meant it to be funny, but come on. You're documenting butt shots. Alexander Skarsgard seems to have absolutely zero qualms about giving us a feast of butt shots to choose from. I didn't post him from behind, because I have taken a vow not show naked shots on my blog LOL. But I have no problem giving you a nice look at that sublime body (Yum). Oh yeah, and my favorite female character Sookie is here, too. Go read the other blog, though, if you're a Skarsgard naked fan! It's very entertaining, I promise. I do have to say in some respects I admire a guy who can disrobe on cue and have absolutely nothing on it. Of course, this coming from the mouth of a woman who writes sexy scenes in her book California Girl Chronicles. I don't post the sexy excerpts (mature audience stuff and I don't know who exactly reads this blog), but if you want to read some steamy fun, my book is for you ;).

California Girl Chronicles, Book 1, Second Edition Additions

Readers of the first print run of California Girl Chronicles: Brea and the City of Plastic missed out. When I did the second print run, I rewrote and added a lot of new material. Some of it was to provide more character development and some of it was to develop relationships a little deeper. The reviewers, and we've had over 20 requests to review the book in the last two weeks, are seeing the new edition. So, here on the blog I'm going to pull some relevant excerpts from the new edition to give you a peek at what you didn't get to read. The following is the revised scene when Brea first meets our kind and loving producer, Kale.

I smiled and slinked by him just enough that he could feel my energy but far enough that we didn’t touch. I sensed his smile, turned, and grinned back. As I walked into the lounge area, I heard Drew’s band already playing. I decided to find an open stool at the bar and just hang back until he finished. Fortunately, a guy already drunk got up, or more like fell off, and weaved unsteadily toward the bathroom. I swiftly grabbed the stool, slid up, and could see Drew already at the microphone. I saw his eyes move my way, and he stared right back just for a moment. Then he drifted off into the song. Before I could order, a lemon drop was plunged in front of me by a cute guy sitting to my left. He was smoking a cigar and wafts of smoke twirled up into the air. He exuberantly grinned at me. “I bought you a drink,” he said with a wide smile that exposed perfectly white, straight teeth. He had one of those vivacious, electric smiles that you wanted to see on his face all of the time. It was sweet, genuine and nice. I found his smile very attractive, and I immediately warmed toward him.

“Oh, how did you know I wanted a lemon drop?” I asked with true surprise. It was my favorite drink.

“Girlie drink,” he replied with that same electric smile. “My name is Kale. I produce movies.”

I turned a bit and looked at him. Only in Hollywood did people offer what they did at the same time that they introduced themselves. I marveled at the abrupt nature of his introduction that included his job title. “My name is Brea. I write movies,” a slight lie given that I hadn’t written anything, but when in Rome or Hollywood-land.

“Hello Brea who writes movies,” his voice sounded silky. He looked right at me and took in the measure of my form with one swift appraisal. “You look more like an actress, though. Have you thought about acting?” he asked.

“No, not interested,” I responded. “Tell me, Kale, how does one end up a producer?”

Kale took a sip of his whiskey, inhaled from his cigar, blew out smoke, which made me cough, and answered, “Family money and good taste in film … well, more like good instincts on what sells.”

He reached in his shirt pocket and pulled out a card. He flipped it over and handed it to me. “You’re much too pretty to hide behind the lens,” he complimented me and extended his card, which I took. “You really should act,” he said in his silky, sublime voice. The tone of his voice alone could have seduced me.

“No, not for me, but you’re sweet and thank you,” I replied.

Now I took in my own appraisal of him. He wore all black shirt and slacks. His dark blond hair was cut short and slicked back nicely with the perfect amount of hair product so it wasn’t greasy or pasty looking. I was extremely attracted to Kale and leaned in closer. He smelled natural and sweet. He had a genuinely pleasant nature. He seemed authentic and not phony like all the want-to-be actresses and actors in this bar who posed like models. He also gave me his full attention and looked me right in the eyes. He was very tall (my fetish for tall men again) somewhere around 6’ 4”. I could tell he was roughly this tall since his lean body did not fit well on the barstool designed for average-height people. While my feet didn’t touch the ground, and I had to tuck them under the stool, his long legs reached all the way down. Yet it was his eyes that just captivated me. His eyes were light blue-green and acted like reflections for his every emotion. When he smiled, his eyes sparkled and lit up. When he frowned, his eyes darkened and seemingly deepened. He could have been Svengali and used those translucent, clear eyes to hypnotize and lull me into his mind control. I was drawn into those endless eyes, and then I had to shake myself loose so I could pay attention to what he said. He was something if not rich as he had more than just said. I wasn’t into guys for money, though, so that was really only a checkmark on my list of good points – unemployment was on the low end of that scale.

Kale and I talked back and forth. He asked about my fake script. I adlibbed and told him it wasn’t ready to share, which seemed to satisfy him. I did tell him I was laid off. I explained how I ended up at the bikini place. He was amused by the idea that trying on a bikini landed me a job but said it didn’t surprise him with my looks. Before I realized it, Drew suddenly showed up. I hadn’t noticed his set ended. I had been too busy talking and staring at Kale. Drew just seemed to show up in the middle of our conversation. He stood there and looked right at me. It took me a moment to notice him, and then I did and laughed.

“Hey! Great set,” I smiled.

“Really? You blabbed at this guy the whole time,” he replied clearly annoyed.

“Jeez, Drew, whatever. Great job, and this guy’s name is Kale. Kale, Drew,” I replied.

“Hey man,” Kale said and extended his hand, which Drew shook and put his attention immediately back on me. A girl came up from behind Drew, and Drew wrapped his arm around her shoulders. She giggled and seemed pleased with the attention. “This is my girlfriend Amy,” he grinned in some strange triumphant way at me. “Amy, this is my friend Brea and Kale.”

“Hi,” she pleasantly replied, exposing her stained, crooked teeth.

She was much younger than Drew, maybe by two or three years, and her brown hair was long and cut around her ears almost like a mullet. She wore a too-small white tank and simple skinny, black jeans with red heels. Drew’s taste in trashy women again exposed. Well, I thought, if he had another girlfriend, why was he hovering over me and interrupting my conversation with Kale, a hot, interested and clearly available man? Once more, Drew managed to send off mixed signals.

“Well, you got a job, huh?” said Drew. “Where?”

“I told you. Teenie’s Bikinis? What do you care anyway?” I replied with my angst showing. I was weary of his odd attention. I was also aware of the young girl who hung on him and marked her territory. Drew’s odd interest in me made her insecure. She started kissing his neck and giggling into his ear. He smiled, turned, and kissed her, but he kept his eyes opened and looked right at me.

About that time, Kale caught on and grabbed my hand. “You want to dump this dive and head out for some real drinks somewhere else?” he asked with the same open smile.

I turned away from the spectacle in front of me. “Yes, that sounds great. Can you drive?” I asked.

“Sure,” and with that he stepped down from the barstool, and I followed suit.

Drew stepped back and let me pass. “Have fun,” he called after us.

When we got out front, the valet pulled up with Kale’s black convertible Mercedes. I smiled and realized he wasn’t putting me on about the money. I got in and was careful to keep my legs together to avoid pulling a Britney beaver shot.

As we pulled out, Kale adjusted the mirror and talked again. “What’s with band boy?” he asked.

“What do you mean?”

“What an ass,” he declared. “He interrupts us, stares at you, and then brings over the little girl with the bad teeth. What the hell was that about?”

“Who cares,” I shrugged and tried to play it off even though it bothered me too. I didn’t get it. Was I just some member of his harem or a good, reliable fan? I was too good to be his doting fan. I made a mental note not to show up at more of his concerts. And the girlfriend – what terrible taste in low-class women! If we were just friends, as he claimed, then why get territorial when I talked to another guy? Well, I figured tonight I wasn’t going to analyze it. Kale seemed really nice and very interesting. Attention was required to go toward him – this absolutely sexy, gorgeous man. 

We had a wonderful nightcap at this bar with an outdoor patio. Kale mostly talked about the business and the movie his production company had under way. He didn’t share the particulars since it was confidential, but he said it was a $50-million film that would be finished in two years. He offered to have me come on set as an extra, which once more I declined. He was an intense guy, and he kept laser-beam energy on me all night. I didn’t tell him about Lance. I figured that information would be a major turnoff. I didn’t tell him that deep down I had feelings for Drew either. I just acted completely single and available.

“What do you like most about writing?” he asked.

“Escape,” I replied. “I like it when you’re not even in your own body anymore. You’re molding and shaping this story. I’m visual too. So it is almost like watching my movie on the screen in my head. It’s the great escape for me. I’m not worried or concerned about reality. I’m in an entirely other world. You know sometimes, it’s not that fun being me,” I admitted with a chuckle.

Kale cocked his head and looked at me with a frown, “How could it not be fun to be you? I can only imagine the kind of trouble you could get into. And now you live here?” he rolled his eyes and threw back the last sip of his  merlot. “Just be careful. Most of the talented, creative people are fantastic. I love all of them. They are my second family. I’ve heard the stories, though. Don’t be fooled and check people out. This town is littered with pathological liars.”

I smiled at him. I had all sorts of hot feelings boiling over for him. He sounded protective and caring. I wanted a fresh start. And Kale could help me with my career. Kale was clearly attracted to me too. He never shifted his gaze off my eyes. He wasn’t just looking at my body. He was listening, hearing, absorbing, and responding like an admirer. He leaned in very close to me. His face was inches away. I could smell his peppermint breath mixed with a tinge of scotch. He stopped talking for a moment and just looked at me in silence. He held back his desire – it was written on his face. Yet he behaved like a gentlemen, which was honestly refreshing. At least he wasn’t going to piss in a drainage ditch right in front of me. By the way, despite some really nasty and rude behavior, I still just couldn’t help myself when it came to Drew. A guy normally takes a leak in front of me anyplace and that is a deal-breaker.

“Do you meet women who try to seduce you for jobs?” I asked and grinned. “You’re pretty hot. I can only imagine young actresses all over your shit.”

Kale frowned and replied, “That’s not how I roll, sweetheart. I respect women. My mother is a scientific genius who works as a professor at MIT. She raised me right. You don’t treat women like hamburger, and they won’t treat you like hotdog.”

“Hotdog?” I burst into laughter, which also made him laugh. I paused and asked, “Any brothers or sisters?”

“On my dad’s side. He divorced Mom after I was born. Dad loves kids. I have three half-brothers and a little half-sister.”

“Who’s got all the bank?” I asked mostly out of curiosity.

“Dad and Mom both,” he replied and motioned to the bartender for a refill. “Tell me, Brea,” he said my name with an emphasis on the “e” sound. “Do you have a boyfriend?”

“Yes, many,” I replied with a sly smile.

“A lover?” he asked and raised his left eyebrow.

This question begged for a seduction. I twisted to one side so that my crossed and extended leg could tap against his calf muscle. I slipped my shoe off and maneuvered my foot just under his pant leg until I found his hairy skin. I ran my toe up his leg a bit, leaned in very close, and said, “Do you want to be mine?” This gesture gave rise to an intense look of arousal. His mouth dropped open a little, he unconsciously licked his lips, and then gave me one of those wide, electric smiles.

He moved in just a little closer so our lips were nearly touching and coyly replied, “Maybe.”

This made my pulse quicken and my girl parts warm. I barely knew this man, and I had an urge to fuck him. I liked him, though, and tonight would not go that far. I pulled back, caught my breadth, and fanned myself right in front of him. “Umm, wow!” is all I could muster. Kale took another drink and looked very pleased with these results. He had just won my sexy game of mental chess. A woman full of nothing but words was now speechless and utterly turned on.

Later that night, Kale brought me back to my car. He pulled up and stared at me. Those clear eyes mesmerized me yet again. “You want to come to my office? Pitch your script?” he asked.

“Oh, yeah, great,” I responded immediately and realized I faced a serious problem without a real script or good idea to pitch. I didn’t want to tell him I was a colossal failure. A girl lured to Hollywood by stupid relationships with men who had just ended up working for a ridiculous bikini shop instead of a professional job. I could barely face those facts let alone admit it to anyone else including this hot producer with the great eyes and hair.

Then Kale decided to seduce me. He leveled his eyes on mine. He said nothing, and silence fell between us like a pregnant pause. He used this quiet and his desire to mentally pull me toward him. I did move to the middle of the car and prepared to feel those tulip-shaped lips on mine. Kale leaned over, took his time, and pulled me gently by the back of the neck toward him and into a slow, passionate kiss. His lips were warm and perfectly moist. He was a great kisser. It was one of those surprise kisses. You know the one where you think it will be nice yet there is something super sexy about it – the kind of kiss where you want to strip down right there and do it. He kissed me over and over then ever so slowly he used his tongue to sweetly, gently lick until I accepted it into my mouth. We kissed more passionately, and I was almost uncontrollably turned on. I could have kissed Kale for hours. And we lingered in that kiss. When he pulled away, he was breathless. His face was flushed red, and he sucked in air and released it like air out of a balloon. He pulled his emotions and desire back under control.

He turned and said, “You’re so sexy.” Then he ran his hand along the top of my arm, which made the hairs stand up. I smiled and realized I had better leave now before I wound up at his house in bed. I just nodded and replied, “Thank you for the drinks.”

The valet opened my door and off I went. Kale gazed at me, waited until I handed the valet my own keys, nodded, and drove off into the night. As I stood there, waiting for my little, inexpensive and less-sexy Corolla, I felt a twinge of lustful desire. I liked Kale. And now I really had a problem. Time to move.

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Two Favorite Fan Videos of Eric and Sookie

In my insomniac hours, I like to surf around and use my Apple TV to find random and fun things to watch. I have discovered numerous fan videos of my two favorite characters Eric Northman and Sookie Stackhouse from True Blood. Here are those two video links. Out of literally dozens, there are just fun and sexy.

Eric and Sookie -- Let's Go Straight to No. #1
We all like no. #1 ;).

Eric and Sookie -- Devotion
Well, this one is romantic and very hot and sexy. I have to be honest, I really like the song! Of course, I like the scenes, too. I (squee) like the romance, too. What can I say. I am a romantic at heart.

What Eyebrows, Skarsbrows, Eric and Sookie Lovers and Ship Eric and Sookie have in Common?

You have to love Cheryl Mullick and Tre Bella Spa!
Check them brows! If I had a picture of the original
state of the brows, you would really catch my thrill
over what she does with "the frame to your face."
It's Friday! And like Sunday, I don't feel like posting a serious blog. Besides, have you ever gotten so behind on your projects that you just have to shrug? What are you going to do? There are only so many hours in day, right? So today rather than rant and rave and go off on some tangent, I thought I would focus on nothing important at all. Like I said, it's Friday. Soon, I will also galavant off to Tre Bella Spa owned and operated by my dear friend Cheryl Mullick, who gave me the infamous "dirty girl" quote on the cover of California Girl Chronicles, enjoy Rain Drop therapy and get some eyebrow landscaping done. And you know what else, just because I love Cheryl's ability to take what originally looks like a caterpillar and turn it into an amazing shapely line, here is a great close-up of her work (see picture). My other dear friend said to me the other day (she sees Cheryl, too) that she marveled over my love of my brows. I chuckled and told her she didn't see the "before" picture!! Okay, all right I am moving on ... back to something even more frivolous (although, you know, eyebrows do count).

Here are two favorite and meaningless things I love to do online when I have a spare moment.

My current favorite blog -- Eric and Sookie Lovers -- Erika, the blog administrator, is a doll. I've been corresponding periodically with her, and I booked her on First Word Radio. She came to my attention when she re-blogged one of my pieces on my favorite character Eric Northman. I love her site. It is all things both book and TV show Eric and Sookie. While I enjoy True Blood, it's the characters of Eric and Sookie that I tune in each season to see what happens next. Her blog is loaded with fun games and trivia. She has an amazing following of relatively mild-mannered fans. Some of those fans sites ... whew! Watch out. Fan sites can get a little crazy with perhaps an over-abundance of snarky enthusiasm. I once said I didn't like Sookie's peter-pan collar in Season 4 before they go to confront the witches, and oh no! Don't say anything against the wardrobe anywhere near some of those fan sites lest you prepare yourself to take cover. No, Eric and Sookie Lovers seems to be filled with like-minded and "tame" fans. I have yet to see anything terribly disturbing on this site. You see I get a little troubled when people start using actor's private parts for their profile pictures. And I'm not going to go off about what I saw yesterday on Tumblr that if I were brave with a good weapon, I would commented about the huge inappropriateness of it. Alas, do take comfort in the good, clean fun on Eric and Sookie Lovers.

Ship Eric and Sookie -- Yes, do you see a theme here. I do love my True Blood. This gal is very, very funny in her You Tube video posts. Her video in which she protests copyright infringement legislation, SOPA not to be mistaken for Mexican soup, was hysterical. When she started called True Blood "Authentic Hemoglobin," I just LMAO. She then taped over the logo on her Merlotte's T-shirt and that did me in. She is a riot! Her videos are funny and insightful commentaries on the show, too. I've seen every single one and I can't wait from week to week to see her latest. She sometimes tries new things, but I love her core videos the best.

All right that's all folks. And yes, I realize this blog was a complete frivolous waste of time. But did you like it? I know I did. So on with the show. P.S., I must answer my headline question: and that would be "nothing."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Drawing the Lines of Good Taste and Respect

The other day I read about this famous author who Tweeted about a famous actor's sex appeal after seeing the celebrity naked in the gym locker room. Now I'm not going to perpetuate who the author was or the famous celebrity, because it was tasteless in the first place. After I had a few days to simmer on what an invasion of privacy that was, I decided to blog about it. Even if I have a small glimmer of influence to get people to think about just how much that Tweet invaded that celebrity's privacy. Let's for the sake of argument suggest that while the gym is a somewhat public place, the locker room is not. If our celebrity had streaked or walked around in the public gym naked then this person would be fair game. Otherwise, if someone is changing or showering in the gym, he/she is not, in my opinion, fair game. Just because you happen to spot someone changing in the gym locker room doesn't give you license to Tweet about or talk about it. I was further turned off knowing that the offending Tweeter was also a pretty famous person. Maybe in this person's world it's okay to invade another's privacy, but would this same person be down with it if the shoe were on the other foot or the pants off the other body? Since the author lacked boundaries in the first place, I am willing to suggest probably yes. The rest of us ... hmm ... not so much. Just because you have achieved fame doesn't mean it's complete open season on your private life or your "privacy". I have paparazzi suggest that celebrities know this comes with the territory, but I ask you, "Really?" Do you really think that when someone achieves fame they believe they are going to forfeit their privacy down to dressing or undressing in the gym? Do we really think fame gives the rest of us a get out of "decent behavior" free card? I know we are a culture with a big appetite for seeing our favorite celebrity du jour doing things out in real life, but I really think we debase ourselves when we think it's perfectly okay to cross certain lines out of the rationale that, "Hey, this person knows this comes with the territory." I would wager that no famous person truly believes he/she has to give up all of his/her privacy for fame. And that's my rant for the morning. How is your day?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Girl Power: Favorite Female Characters for 2011

Now I have covered the male characters I loved in 2011, and I thought now I would cover the girls. Girl power is big in Hollywood right now. The Carrie Diaries is being developed by the CW Network and HBO has a new girl-driven series coming this spring titled Girls. Now I am honestly not intrigued with Carrie Bradshaw's teen and young adults years, so I will be passing up that show. Girls looks like it might be somewhat interesting, sardonic and sarcastic. And with all of this current and upcoming girl power, we have some great female characters to cover. So, here we go.

Sookie Stackhouse (the book version): I love Sookie. She's fun, sexy, courageous, and human even if she's "fae". The TV version, I have some qualms about her on True Blood. She has vacillated quite a bit and changed and "rearranged" so to speak. She can be bad-ass, but the writers, while I know are trying to reset the story for 2012, had her say and do some things that, while I'm sure it was not intended, made her fall into a victimhood role. When she forgives Bill (especially when she goes back to Bill after he very nearly kills her in Season 3) after he lies and offers that they have both done stuff to each other, I scratched my head. I know forgiveness matters, but someone tell me what exactly she did to him? It's been suggested she is apologizing for wanting to fit him in her dream-man box, but somehow it didn't resonate with me as a viewer. I'm sure that might be the case, but it really bothered me, especially given that he almost killed her and she went back to him anyway. Book Sookie has her issues too, but I like how Charlaine writes her a little better than TV Sookie. I even like how human Sookie reacts over her hair being burned in Dead Reckoning. What girl can't relate to having their hair burned and ruined. We all have that vanity in us.

Enlightened - Laura Dern -- Amy on this year's new HBO show Enlightened is hardly a girl since she's in her 40s! She's a mature woman, but she is feisty, hopefully misguided, kooky and crazy with a huge desire for balance and center in her life. She knows better and has a moral compass -- something that clearly lacks in her corporate mates. She still loves her former husband but cannot except his drug-addled lifestyle. She wants and needs love and acceptance, but cannot find it with her mother or some co-workers, and when she does it's in an unlikely and shy co-worker, who sits next to her in her new basement office run by the resident misogynist and IT manager. I love that Amy is frank and honest and totally nuts. She's also clever and driven to get what she wants and goes for it. The series isn't about a soft, meditative state we wish we all lived in. It's not about being Zen. It's about realizing you want to live a full, rich and extraordinary life among the ordinary. I heard it's renewed for a second season! I'm eager to see what comes next for Amy.

Dr. Chi Park, House -- All right bring in this short, cute and interesting Asian-American doctor to challenge House! Beneath her bowl-cut hairdo and glasses lives a ninja warrior princess who will shock you. Just when you think maybe she's mild and nice. Not at all! Last week's episode had the good doctor admit she had slept with 30 boys in the frat house next door. When the other doctor asked if it was true, she said no, which left the other doctor to ask more or less? I'm going to wager ... more! She even started her new tenure with House trying to avoid assault charges after having hit a doctor who sexually harassed her. Go Dr. Chi Park! I suspect we're going to have more fun with this little surprise all season long.

Tips to Use the New Social Media Tumblr

I am learning so much about how to work with Tumblr and create a following for Brea's Blog. I am still learning, and I suspect I have a long way to go. In the meantime, I wanted to share a couple of tips and my favorite bloggers/blogs.

1. I noticed you need to find common ground and interests with your Tumblr "mates". I am a huge True Blood fan. I love other shows too, but the show has so many compelling characters that I find interesting to discuss with others. It is also based on Charlaine Harris' book series, which gives it even more fodder to discuss as opposed to just the TV show. So I started following some of the Tumblr blogs that focus more generally on the books and show than just an obsession with a single character on the show. Believe me when I say there are some serious (and I mean serious) fan sites on Tumblr.

2. Participate in your community of interest. Once you start participating in your community of interest versus just blogging your own content you will start to attract followers. I'm not saying don't put good content on your site. I'm just suggesting that if you do run out of fresh material or ideas, go Tumble with your mates. You will enjoy the discussions too. I've found that the more literary-interested channels are in a small way like a book club. You get to dissect your favorite subject and hear some refreshing perspectives on the material. I am really enjoying that part.

3. Keep your content interesting, fresh and relevant. I had one person suggest I re-blog other Internet information. I prefer to write my own content or at least comment on the content provided. Since I am promoting my creative projects, I want to post material from those projects and provide commentary about it too. If you are a fan of my new book California Girl Chronicles, Brea's Blog is where you'll unearth many nuggets about book two and updates on the book's progress with Hollywood.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Eric Northman Voted Top #10 Vampires ... and Gotta Respect the Track Suit

I noticed on Skarsgardnews that my resident favorite vampire Eric Northman on True Blood got voted in the top 10 favorite vampires. As I have more than amply said, the Viking is my favorite character from 2011 and possibly one of my favorite all-time characters. I also smiled over the reference that he is the best vampire in a track suite, too. I guess unlike Dracula, his tastes in men's fashions don't involve a cape. Well, I do think I should point out that he likes to spend a lot of time in racer-back T-shirts and tanks too. If we're going to critic the wardrobe, my favorite outfits appeared in Season 3 when he dons various Talbot-influenced garbs including the oh-so-popular blue-green sweater and the famous brown-stripped shirt he ultimately disrobes from to reveal, a-hem, his very nice body when he seduces and kills Talbot. Hey, do you suppose Talbot's choices in designer clothes has anything to do with his name and the famous women's clothing store? Hmm ... I digress.

Now why is Eric Northman my favorite vampire of all time despite him only being listed in the top 10? Here are my reasons:

  • I am not even a vampire fan in the first place, and yet I love Eric Northman.
  • He does everything quietly and with great force and power.
  • He's actually a "good" vampire underneath all that fang and blood stuff.
  • His love and passion for Sookie and his true sweetness toward her are ... ahhh ... squee!
  • And yes! The man can wear the hell out of a great dark-blue or black track suit.
Now for my readers wondering what any of this happens to do with literature, publishing, books or fiction? Well, it's all fiction, isn't it? And if you're a writer aim high. If you can write a character as fantastic and interesting as Eric Northman then you have a hit! As does Alan Ball with True Blood and Charlaine Harris with the Sookie Stackhouse series.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Four Fabulous Marketing Tips to Promote Your Book or Business

I like to live by example. So when I tell authors or business clients for that matter they should do X, Y or Z, I prove my point by walking my own talk. So for authors, in particular, this information will be invaluable. For business readers, the same theories apply for products and services.

Conventions and Trade Shows - reaching out and touching directly with your customers is no better way to understand their buying habits. Some booth space can cost $2,000 or better for the larger shows. I try to find shows put on by non-profit where they sell space for $800 or less. I see the value in prospective clients and not just book sales. Otherwise I wouldn't do it. I rarely sell enough books to cover my expenses. I love, though, the opportunity to talk to people and fans. I like to hear what they're thinking and want to buy. I love meeting and greeting new authors.

Giveaways - We are working on a T-shirt for California Girl Chronicles with the infamous phrase, "Love my Coconuts" on the front and the book brand on the back. We'll be sending this out as a thank you to reviewers. Fans will be able to buy the shirts as well. We're trying to gain exposure for the book. The more people who walk around with the book literally on their backs, the better. And we have an appropriate thank you for reviewers.

Blogging Every Day - I blog six days a week. As a result, my blog has grown exponentially. Now people are re-blogging my most popular blogs and even Tweeting them. What does this do? It's more exposure for my brand and books. The more readers I have, the more opportunities and word of mouth spreads. Make sure you load your blog with general, valuable and broad information to attract a wider following. And make sure your readers have a way to easily find and buy your products.

Public Relations and Publicity - I have consistently done my own PR and now I've hired Victoria to do more PR for California Girl Chronicles. I promote myself as a subject matter expert. The more publicity I receive for 3L Publishing and the book, the more exposure, and the more opportunity to close sales. If you want to make your company or products national brands, you need national exposure. A consistent, ongoing PR campaign pays off in national and international exposure.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

California Girl Chronicles: True or False

It's Sunday and I only do fun things on Sunday for the blog. I get asked all of the time, "Are you Brea?" And I tell people "no" all of the time. So what do Brea and I share in common? Here you go:

We both worked on a magazine. I worked on several over the course of my long career, and I was promoted to publisher of California Computer News. It wasn't until about two years ago that I pulled back writing magazine features to focus exclusively on 3L Publishing's books. Brea's magazine stint lasts only a few months before she's laid off with the infamous day-glow pink slip. I've never been laid off in my entire career. 

Brea's best friend's name is Denise. My lifetime best friend's name is also Denise. Denise in Brea's world has zero in common with my beloved Denise. Denise in California Girl Chronicles is an exhibitionist and very direct and messy. My Denise is none of those things. 

Brea is a screenwriter. Yes, I am also a screenwriter. I would not be able to write authentically about that experience without having firsthand knowledge of what it's like to do it. In book two, which is unreleased, and Brea steps onto a film set for the first time and realizes it all came from her head, well, that is how I felt, too. I didn't lose it the way she does, but I did introvert a little. Brea's screenwriting career comes to her much, much easier than mine has. I am still working to really breakthrough. My goal is to write one novel and one screenplay a year. When California Girl Chronicles gets picked up as a TV series, I will write episodes and write one book and run 3L Publishing. Brea has the good fortune of getting into a love affair with a powerful Hollywood producer, Kale who thinks she has incredible talent and mentors her. 

Brea attracts sexual drama. Unfortunately, I have had some unpleasant sexual-harassment moments throughout my career. You don't see most of her workplace sexual drama until book two, but in book one she is a magnet for men and some unusual come-ons. Been there and done that too just not quite in the same situations. 

Brea's men. Well, let's just say there are small traits in her men of some guys I've met over the years. I cannot point to any one man I have known and say one way or the other, this one is X or that one is Y. Each has elements and characteristics of some men I've met. They are kind of a stew of mixed ingredients. 

Private matters. The one thing you will absolutely never see revealed in any of my books is my private life. I don't believe in bringing my private life into my art. You will also not be privy to my private likes and dislikes in any upcoming interviews either. I've been asked and I declined to discuss. I think it's more interesting not telling and protecting some part of my world that just isn't up for public consumption. And it's more fun for readers not knowing all the answers to the "why?"

Saturday, January 21, 2012

California Girl Chronicles Available at 3L Publishing

Hugely annoyed that California Girl Chronicles is out of stock on Amazon and not yet available in bookstores? Well, you can purchase a copy at the 3L Publishing website and forget waiting for Amazon to restock. Our distributor Bakers and Taylor will not start listing the title until March, so it will take time to weave into the stores. In the meantime, you can get it at 3L Publishing, and you're really supporting me, the author, and not Amazon, which I'm sure doesn't need all of your support anyway. We've had over 20 book reviewers request the book this week.

Here is what the book is about: Meet Brea Harper, she is the next Carrie Bradshaw only transplanted in Los Angeles. Funny, witty, beautiful, and very sexy, Brea takes readers on a wild ride into her outrageous romantic and professional life. Demoralized and forced to work in what she calls bikini hell just to make ends meet, Brea pursues her career to become a screenwriter only to be continuously distracted by hot men. Delightfully misguided, Brea makes poor choices many women of all ages will find highly relatable. She is one of those unforgettable characters readers love to love.

Please note: the book contains sexy content. If you don't like shows like Sex in the City, this book isn't for you. But if you love a book that is funny and entertaining AND sexy, then you'll adore Brea's adventures. If you email me directly at michelle@3LPublishing, I will give you a little discount and sell it for $10 plus I will autograph it for you. Considering our upcoming meetings with TV producers, this could end up a TV series and you've got your own autographed copy ;).  

Thank You to Eric and Sookie Lovers Blog

Eric and Sookie Lovers Posted this Picture!
I want to personally thank Erika over at the Eric and Sookie Lovers blog who has reposted two of my blogs. She also allowed me to use some of her very cool pictures, and this one to the left was her response to my big shout out, "Hell to the no" to the "bromance" idea between vampires Eric Northman and Bill Compton on the forthcoming Season 5 of True Blood. Nobody seems to be Team Erill! Or is that Errrrrrill! We all keep praying to the great shrine of Alan Ball that maybe, just maybe he's throwing us all off! No shipping Eric and Bill! Maybe he just planted that idea to send us all screaming into the Scandinavian forest in Narnia where Bill will be tossed down the Wardrobe and fed to the Lion and the Witch! How about that one?! Although my disappointed little shipper heart noticed that right before Season 4, Alexander Skarsgård hinted about what was coming, and it turns out the hints were accurate to what happens in Season 4. Darn it! Other spoilers dropped indicate a budding love interest with our resident werewolf Alcide and Sookie. Now please, refer to picture on left to figure out how I feel about that one!! Insert those first two words _____ and ______ and voile! You got it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

I Wish I Could "Skarsbrow"

An authentic Skarsbrow!
I wanted to find a picture of Kristin Bauer Van Straten aka as Pam on True Blood doing the infamous Skarsbrow, because I have fantasies in which I will my one eyebrow to arch solo when someone does something ridiculous or questionable. Like the other night, I so wished I could Skarsbrow when my networking buddies were grabbing each other's "girls". Yes, the moment of ass- and boob-grabbing antics was a well-deserved Skarsbrow situation. Unfortunately, I don't have the required eyebrow dexterity to pull it off. Anyway, in my search for a photo of Pam doing it (she's a woman after all), I found this hilarious link in the Urban Dictionary. Unbeknown to me, Mr. Alexander Skarsgård is so famous for the ability to lift a single brow, he got an official term for it in the dictionary. Go Skarsgård. When you're impacting the slang, you know you've made it to the big time LOL.

Is the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse for Tweens? I Don't Think So!

I had a recent comment on the blog that I removed (it was rude) that suggested that the Charlaine Harris books are for tweens. Let me first share that "tweens" are young pre-teens between the ages of 9-12. Teenagers are in the teenage years 13-19. Now I have not read the Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, but my teenager has. The Stephenie Meyer's series is somewhat tame without the overt sexuality contained in the Charlaine Harris books. Meyer's books are acceptable reads for tweens. For the reader who suggested Harris' books are for tweens, I must correct you. Harris books are not for tweens and should not be read by tweens or some teens under the age of 16 (18 in my book, but I'm a little stricter). Anyone who would say that Harris' books are for tweens or teens has not read the Harris books. They are for a mature audience and contain violence and sex. The graphic book covers might fool you, but they are not for the younger audiences, and any suggestion of they are for young kids is misleading. True Blood, my favorite vampire series (as you all know) is based on the Harris novels. And I can tell you without a doubt (as most of you already know), True Blood is definitely for a mature audience. It is loaded with violence and sex. So when I wrote my last post about my favorite show Season 5 spoilers, I wrote it tongue-in-cheek. Sookie might be a fairy on the show, but she's no fairy godmother from Cinderella. The only reason I am addressing this point is that I don't want other parents to confuse the Harris books with the Meyer books. I would never recommend young people under the age of 16 be permitted to read the Harris books. And for the matter, I do not suggest young people under the age of 18 (again, I'm stricter) be allowed to read my book series The California Girl Chronicles. It is loaded with sexuality, and the true messages outside of the wit and humor are very pointed about women's sexuality. A young person would only read the sex and not get the message.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Phooey! Who Wants to See a Bromance with Eric Northman and Bill When They Can See Romance?

True Blood Season Five spoilers are starting to drop. And so it seems that my favorite Viking Eric Northman will share a hinted at "bromance" time with our "southern comfort" vampire Bill (see article). Ugh! Who wants to see that? Not me. Bring on the great "shipping" of Eric and Sookie and forget "bromancing the bill". All right Truebies, you all raise your hands if this is what you want to see in Season Five? As my friend Sonya cites as her favorite Michelle phrase, "Hell to the no!" So not interested in this "dynamic duo". I fear we'll be put on hold minimally another 12 episodes before we see our Viking God reunited with his fairy princess. Doesn't the True Blood writing team know that we all can't get enough of Sookie and Eric? Can't we at least get a single season of how they would be as a real couple with our vampire's memory actually functioning? I mean come on, we had to spend two agonizing season watching Sookie and Bill fail miserably as a couple. Give us at least one "regular" Eric and Sookie season before you send them shipping to Narnia World (that's an inside joke and throwback to their Scandinavian-forest bed romp). Are we to assume, we get to stay on the downward slope the writing started to take at the very end of Season Four? Come on writers: hear your fans roar! We don't need MORE Eric-Bill time! Give us Eric and Sookie, and I promise your ratings will soar!!!

Wouldn't You Like to "Love My Coconuts" Too?

Whenever I go out networking, I inevitably return to home base with fun stories. If you've read my book California Girl Chronicles then you know my heroine Brea is demoralized when she's forced to wear a funny T-shirt with the phrase "Love My Coconuts" emblazoned across her chest. Here in 3L Publishing La La land, we thought it would be great fun to send book reviewers that phrase on a T-shirt as a thank you for their reviews. When I mentioned this to my girlfriends last night, two of them immediately demanded I have 40 extra printed for them to gift or sell to their friends and associates. I started laughing. I had no idea there was so much passion about wearing the infamous coconut phrase across your chest. One of the women said it was way better than the breast cancer phrases. I never thought of it that way and laughed. Yes, I think I would have more fun with that, too. Now dear readers if you think you too are going to want one of these darlings, you should send an email to info@3LPublishing.com and let us know. We will order more if demand requires it. Next up ... the infamous phrase and arrow "Dive Here" LOL ... just kidding! Not sure I would even wear that one!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Alexander Skarsgård at HBO Golden Globe After Party

Alexander Skarsgård 
Oh darn! I tried to grab the entire set of pictures of the True Blood cast at the Golden Globe HBO After Party ... but ah shucks! Look who was the only picture I managed to download LOL. Whoops! Or maybe not exactly whoops ... perhaps apropos since Alexander Skarsgard plays my favorite character on the show, Eric Northman. And hey! Guess what! He looks cheerful. Let's see why would he look cheerful here and not so much in the recent paparazzi snaps? Hmm ... let me mess with you for one moment. Maybe it's because, well, it's an event. It's expected to walk the red carpet for promotion of the show. Um, he's not being stalked and snapped while eating or drinking or (more famously) coming or going from the gym! Which reason do you think? All right I am so being a brat here and I know it. In defense of all celebrities who don't like photos snapped of them while they eat or drink in particular, I must point out that no one not even the photographers like to be photographed whilst stuffing their faces full of food! Come on! How many times have you been at a party and someone snapped you dipping the chips and shoving them in your mouth? Let me ask, "Just how attractive do you think you look in those photos anyway?" As an homage to my dear, old friend Lynette Day, who for 10 years straight managed to snap a candid shot of me eating something at her parties, I can safely say I didn't look great in any of those shots! If I had one I could dig out for you to nod in agreement, I would! Well, now imagine being a celebrity with photographers taking never-ending shots of you eating, drinking or even smoking (not that Skarsgard smokes), but still! NOT attractive!! Just saying! And how was your day :).

California Girl Chronicles Praised for its Dialogue and Why it's Important to Storytelling

"The dialogue is enticing yet real, which Michelle uses to bring more depth to her characters than initially meets the eye." ~ Ziggy Soto, New Book Review

Today's topic du jour: the importance of writing great dialogue and its value to the storytelling process. What Ziggy caught and mentioned in that book review is a dead-on perception of what I did with the dialogue in California Girl Chronicles. It's nice when readers get it. Another reviewer on Amazon made mention of the use of the dialogue, too. She referred to it as pedestrian, which means commonplace. So let me make some points about the value and importance of great dialogue when telling a compelling, grounded and realistic story that feels authentic and real. 

Keeping it real. First, great one-liners are always memorable, yes. As I more than posted here on the blog, one-liners become completely unforgettable in both film and books. Great dialogue becomes just as memorable, but also it grounds the story in reality and helps readers suspend disbelief. When the Amazon reviewer called it pedestrian, that is a huge compliment. Most people don't talk like they're giving speeches. Our everyday chats with people are quite pedestrian and often about nothing important. You want your pedestrian dialogue to drive the story, of course, so you don't want characters talking about pancakes when your story has absolutely nothing to do with pancakes. When Lance asks Brea if he can kiss her and her response is simply, "No, but you can take me out," it's meant to get them going and onward in the story. It establishes Lance's desire to simply make love to her and her unwillingness to do so at that point in the story. When about to go out for the evening, Lance isn't going to discuss mundane things like pancakes unless, of course, you're trying to make a point that this guy is a big bore. Also, since Brea has a sense of humor, she is the witty and sarcastic character. So, she has some of the funniest things to say.

Points of View. What Ziggy Soto points out is critical. California Girl Chronicles is a first-person narrative. How do we get to know the other characters when we're up in Brea's head? Their actions and "words" have to inform the reader about them and who they are. I used the dialogue with the other characters to tell the reader what he/she needs to know about those characters: how they think and who they are as people. This point also drives home the point of the importance of "voice". You need to make sure your character's voices are clearly their own. They do not sound the same. They are applicable voices for the character's age and background. As I've said in the past, find a person to base your characters upon. I always use someone to model my characters after. It helps me. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fun, Sexy Novel, California Girl Chronicles: Brea & the City of Plastic

Here is a new review of California Girl Chronicles reposted from Ziggy Soto's blog. Ms. Soto does book reviews for a number of mainstream book review sites as well as her own. I would like to personally thank her for taking her valuable time to read the book and write her critique. Thank you!

Book 1 of Michelle Gamble-Risley’s California Girl Chronicles is not what you’d expect—it sure wasn’t what I expected anyway. And I’ll admit I wasn’t disappointed at all. Everyone loves an entertaining, escape-for-awhile novel, and that is exactly what Brea & the City of Plastic is. Book 1 takes us through Brea Harper’s journey of moving to Los Angeles to make it as a screenwriter, while going through some fun, sexy, humiliating, and heartbreaking moments along the way. In a world where business and professional lines are blurred, this novel is more than appropriately titled, and there’s never a dull moment.

While Brea may be a born-and-raised Cali girl, women everywhere can relate to her on some level. She is genuine, unpredictable, good-hearted, at times fickle, and well-aware of her flaws, which makes her all the more likable. There are moments where she is vulnerable and other moments where she is strong. Who can’t relate to that? I found myself having shake-my-head moments when Brea knowingly makes mistakes as well as ha-take-that moments when she triumphs.

The characters Brea meets along the way are as equally intriguing and multi-dimensional as Brea, with some you will love to hate, others you will hate to love, and everything in between. While I was rooting for Brea every step of the way, I also couldn’t get enough of Brea’s love interests, especially Kale, the successful, sexy, almost too-good-to-be-true movie producer who is head over heels for her. And add into the mix Brea’s new and old friends, including Kale’s Latina housekeeper, Maya, and Brea’s straightforward roommate, Denise.

Michelle’s first novel is refreshingly honest. With Brea, we see and experience things that most women think but rarely admit. The narration is playful and humorous, though we can easily feel Brea’s conflict and dilemmas at the right moments. The dialogue is enticing yet real, which Michelle uses to bring more depth to her characters than initially meets the eye. Since Book 1 is such a fun read, I can’t wait to see what new adventure Brea will take in Book 2. Honestly, I think I may like this even more than Sex and the City.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Comedic Lines from California Girl Chronicles

If I blog on Sunday, I always try to focus on inconsequential fun. Since my reader statistics showed that many of you like to read the funny and comedic excerpts from my books and screenplays, I thought I would start the day off with humor from the California Girl Chronicles series. Enjoy!

"You don't treat women like hamburger and they won't treat you like hotdog." ~ Kale, Brea and the City of Plastic

"My logical smart girl side of me was screaming, 'Run Brea, run!' Yet here I was on the back of a mare with a guy who appeared to have no brains, which was really unattractive in a man. Remember I was smart and smart likes smart. Today I wasn't smart enough to get off that horse and go home." ~ Brea, Brea and the City of Plastic

INT - Red-Velvet Loung - Night
Tom Jones wears a boring white shirt and black trousers. He walks on stage, strips off his horrible corporate attire to reveal black disco plants and a red silk shirt. He sings, "She's a Lady." ~ Brea and the city of Plastic

I playfully pushed his arm. "No, I don want to be famous. I don't want paparazzi to photograph me while I eat breakfast or grab a cup of coffee. Or snap a closeup of cellulite on my thigh. God I hate that shit!" I replied. ~ Brea, Brea's Big Break

Saturday, January 14, 2012

It's a Free Facebook Country!

Sookie and Eric from True Blood.
Yesterday I had a Facebook connection write me a private message in which she demanded I remove this beautiful picture of characters Eric and Sookie from my Wall. She didn't suggest (not that the suggesting would have been appropriate either), she straightforward demanded, as if she any power at all to tell me what I could or could not post on my "private" Wall on my "private" Facebook account. Within two seconds of receiving her demand, I de-friended her. Now she looked like she was from a foreign country. And maybe in some less open countries, you could get away with such a ridiculous demand, but not in a free Democracy. I could say I was shocked, but then again not really. People say and do some pretty absurd things. I once had a gal tell me essentially 3L Publishing was not a "real" publishing company (I think our some 30 books would suggest otherwise). But aren't you really happy we live in a free country where we can freely post or express our opinions? Now Facebook has standards, of course, and I could not post a naked picture of Sookie and Eric; but this picture is a beautiful, harmless, fully clothed picture of two lovers kissing. They are touching each other's hair and heads not their privates! And even if they were fully clothed touching their privates, Facebook wouldn't have made me remove it. I think, however, the real cherry on the proverbial sundae is that my Facebook Wall is PRIVATE! You are there by choice. If you don't like what I post, remove yourself. You have absolutely no right to tell me or anybody else to remove a post you deem offensive! Guess what else. My blog is private too. If you don't like what I write about, don't read it. No, the world doesn't revolve around you, and no, you don't get to tell me what to post on my private Facebook Wall or what to blog about. I think sometimes people lose sight of personal responsibility. You are in the driver's seat. Vote with your de-friend button or your ability to not read something. Do not run around and act like a dictator and tell others what they can or cannot write about. Freedoms in a Democracy should never be taken for granted. And that is a reminder of why I love the USA.

P.S. the offending picture is the highest rated page view in the history of this blog. I am willing to suggest the some 250 people who voted with their view don't exactly agree with our little dictator.