Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Making a Movie

I’ve achieved a few dreams as far as my writing goes.  I’ve been published, I’ve won awards, and I’ve achieved bestseller status.  I make my living through my heart’s desire.  Life is pretty sweet.

The thing about succeeding with your dreams is that there is always something new to strive for.  We humans are a fascinating bunch in that respect.  No sooner have we accomplished one closely-held goal when something else to work towards presents itself.

I’m no different.  Now that I have reached success with novels, my attention these days turns to scriptwriting.  In all honesty, that’s been a goal of mine for some time.  I wrote a screenplay titled Blackbeard back in 2000.  I’ve written more scripts since then.  I’ve long wanted to break into the movie biz.

I’ve gotten encouraging signs when it comes to my scripts, especially where Blackbeard is concerned.  That particular work has landed in the top ten percent of the Nicholls Fellowship Awards (a yearly screenplay competition brought to you by the folks of the Academy Awards).  It also was a quarter-finalist in the American Screenwriters Association competition.  Critiques from producers and the like have praised it up and down.  So why hasn’t it sold?  Because I’m an unknown writer and this would be a monster-budget film.  You can’t do a seafaring period piece on a shoestring.  We’re talking tens of millions of dollars – possibly more – to make this picture.  Hollywood rarely makes that kind of investment in an unproven writer. 

I’ve written other things, scripts with more sensible budgets in mind.  More glowing critiques have been issued, and a few producers and directors have nibbled here and there.  Unfortunately, they always seem to be looking for something specific, and my stories, thus far, have not been quite the right fit. 

However, I am going to see one of my scripts made into a movie.  That is a given, because I have decided that if I must, I am going to do it myself. 

This is not as far-fetched as it might seem on the surface.  I am currently working on a script for a crime thriller that I feel will appeal to a vast audience.  Once it is done, I will shop it around for a year to see if anyone wants to make it.  If not, then I will take matters into my own hands and executive produce this puppy myself. 

I know a lot of people in the production game who I can wrangle into doing the work.  I also have connections to local actors.  This area is considering getting more in the movie game, especially after Will Farrell recently showed up to shoot some scenes locally.  The Golden Isles could be the next Wilmington, North Carolina, which has a thriving movie production presence.  If I wave enough money around, I could even get a name actor to star in this. 

Ah, but there’s the glitch:  money.  It takes money to make these things.  Even if I keep costs down to a few tens of thousands of dollars, that’s still tens of thousands of dollars. 

Like anything else, there are ways to raise the funds.  Programs like Kickstarter allow people to raise money through donations for their projects.  I’ll be looking into that with perks promised to donors (like production credits, extra parts, etc).  Then there is the opportunity for product placement.  Businesses can pay to have their products/services/storefronts show up in a movie.  They can also donate items needed for sets.  There are all sorts of ways to raise money and make a good movie on the cheap. 

Yep, one way or another, I am going to add ‘produced screenwriter’ to my resume.  Stay tuned to see how this all pans out.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday's Serving - Lilith


            In the lobby, a crowd of well-dressed mourners gathered in a tight knot.  In the middle stood Colwyn and a gray-haired woman he encircled with a long arm.  Sobs wrenched from her throat, and she sagged against the funeral director as Marta patted her shoulder.
            Colwyn murmured to the woman, his words too low for Alex to hear.  She heard his gentle tone however, and it soothed until she looked at his face.
            A mask of concern covered his features.  But beneath the consoling veneer, she saw how his eyes dilated and the slight upturn of his lips.  Under the sympathy he looked ecstatic.
            Alex’s hand flew to her mouth to block the scream that tried to escape.  Perhaps Colwyn saw the movement out of the corner of his eye because he looked at her.   

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Not-So-Secret Life

Everyone has a private face that most people don’t see.  Those secret facets of a person’s identity can be a big surprise to others who thought they knew better.  We all play roles for different scenes in our lives. 

I’m no different, except my secret self is well-known in her circles.  I have an entirely different persona from the one my neighbors and even some family and friends are aware of.  When I play this other person, very few are aware the alternative Tamara – we’ll call her ‘Alt-Tam’ –  is me. 

I am a writer of mainstream science fiction and horror novels.  Alt-Tam is also a writer...a very successful one.  Much more successful than I have been, in fact.  Alt-Tam's book sales have allowed me to write full time.  She’s landed on the bestseller lists in her genre, which just so happens to be erotic fiction. 

Yes, under my other name I write naughty novels.  As Alt-Tam, I enjoy seeing my books in the top 1000 of Amazon’s bestselling books on a regular basis.  I receive fan mail.  I am nominated for Best Of lists.  Sometimes I even place in those lists.  People ask me to go to conferences so they can meet me.  It’s weird to get that kind of attention, sometimes even uncomfortable, but it’s fun. 

So why the subterfuge?  Why don’t I make a big deal out of being Alt-Tam, trumpeting my success?  

It’s not because I’m embarrassed to be an erotic fiction writer.  There is a stigma attached to such, since most of the publishing world looks down its nose at those of us who write panty-dampening prose.  The erotica writer is typically considered a hack, someone writing little more than badly edited porn.  However, my mainstream fiction has garnered praise and a couple of awards.  I bring the same commitment to good storytelling and professional editing when it comes my odes to bosom-heaving excitement.  Turgid manly crotches notwithstanding, I weave compelling stories within which dewy body parts just happen to play slip-and-slide. 

Besides, when people ask what I write, I tell them.  It’s no big deal.  I’m not really trying to hide the fact that I write naughty books, just the name I use when I’m Alt-Tam.  To those who are non-judgmental, I’ll even share Alt-Tam’s identity.  It’s no big deal. 

Then again, it is something of a big deal.  With perception of erotic writers being what it is, I don’t want Alt-Tam’s books to harm the perception of my mainstream work.  That has been known to happen.  Keeping the genres under separate identities keeps people from denigrating my sci-fi and horror novels as being by ‘that sex writer’.  It keeps the snobs from getting too critical just because I also write books that leave no orifice unplugged. 

But it goes way beyond me.  Having a son with special needs keeps me all too aware of how anything I do can rebound on him.  I worry about my innocent boy, who resides in the sphere of exceptional and outside what others call ‘normal’ (yes, I sneered as I wrote that word).  As a child on the autism spectrum, my little guy is already susceptible to bullies, both young and old.  Living in a small town where too many are quick to judge, I have to exercise some care.   

I feel others knowing I write erotica is not that big a deal.  The public at large discovering the specific books I write could make a difference, however.  I don’t want my kid having to listen to others say things like, “Do you know what was in that book his mother wrote?”  Or, “Jeez, your mom is a pervert.  Are you a pervert too?”   

It could happen.  People can be cruel because they feel the urge to express their opinion, whether it matters or not (it usually doesn’t).  They can judge me all they like (because I honestly don’t give a rat’s ass), but no one messes with my kid just because they don’t like what I do for a living. 

There is also the concern that Alt-Tam’s got some rather odd fans out there.  Some have turned a little cyberstalker, which is a very huge concern when you’ve got a kid.  I don’t want any of the stranger element showing up at my doorstep.  My son’s safety is the biggest reason I keep Alt-Tam at something of a distance. 

One of these days he’ll be grown up and my line of erotic writing will no longer be an issue in his life.  Will I unmask Alt-Tam at that time?  I don’t know.  It depends on what’s going on with my mainstream writing career at that point.  Besides, it’s fun to be someone else, someone who lets her freak flag fly with abandon.  It’s nice that I can put that persona on like a costume, then take it back off and be just me again with no one the wiser.  A double life can mean double the problems, but it’s also double the fun.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday’s Serving – Willow in the Desert


 As he mused on the vagaries of mortality, amused at his own philosophical turn, Amanda Cleary walked in.  She was only a month behind him in Becoming, and she looked nearly as alien as he did.  Her remaining tufts of brown hair boasted gold highlights, making them the color of cane syrup.  Those bunches of hair were still thick enough to imagine stroking their softness.  She’d been a beauty before the changes had ravaged her, and Gordon still admired her strong personality.  He became tongue-tied when she was around, as he always had with those he wanted to impress the most. 

Available from Amazon, Barnes &Noble, and Smashwords. You can get it in paperback too.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday's Serving - The Willow and the Stone

            This brisk morning everyone devoured their meal, anticipating the hard work of harvesting the Rock's crops.  Every table filled with the harvest crew — all except the table where Leo sat.  He breakfasted at one end while half a dozen others huddled at the other.  Surreptitious glances in his direction told him several conversations centered on him.  He ate with little appetite.
            His seat faced the door, and he saw Elijah walk in.  The lean doctor scanned the room.  As their eyes met, Elijah brightened and beelined to the table, calling out a warm hello.  He settled in the seat across from Leo, and conversation in the dining hall quieted.  Every eye stared their way.  Leo's heart sank lower.
            Elijah met the stares, his expression still friendly but his eyes sharp.  One by one, the other diners dropped their eyes and turned away.  Conversation hummed throughout the room once more.  He flashed a wry grin at Leo.  "You're the popular man these days."
            Leo sighed.  "Mrs. Short is making her influence felt.  Are you sure you want to sit here?"
            "Of course."  The question seemed to offend him.  "I'm not ashamed to have you as a friend.  Besides, I don't lose sleep over not being on Geraldine’s good side."
            "Maybe you should.  It might be healthier." 

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday’s Serving – Lilith’s Return


She found Devon standing in the living room’s doorway, nervously waiting for her to acknowledge him.  She let her gaze wander over his body.  He wasn’t bad looking for one sullied with so much human blood.  He was quite delicious in fact, with his well-groomed dark blond hair cut in a salon, a strong jaw, perfectly tanned skin with intelligent brown eyes, and wearing a tailored suit that molded beautifully to his body kept in shape with a gym membership – yes, a very fine example of masculinity.  Lilith licked her lips in appreciation.  At her reaction, Devon’s eyes grew wide with mingled fear and lust.

He cleared his throat.  “Are they coming, mistress?”

Lilith’s sense of satisfaction grew.  “Of course.  Alex Williams is as obsessed with destroying me as she was twenty-five years ago.”

“Then I’ll upgrade the house’s security.  Cover every inch of the property with cameras.  I can hire guards, as well.”

“Only if the security is made up of demonkind.  Pureblood humans might falter.  They are so weak, in heart, mind, and body.” 

That was, except for Alex Williams Lasham.  Her unwavering purpose would never falter until the human bitch fell dead.

Lilith considered.  “On second thought, don’t hire guards, though other security measures will be fine.  I have an even better plan, one that won’t involve non-demons.”

Devon nodded.  “It will be done as you wish.  How else may I serve you?”

She regarded him with heavy-lidded eyes.  “I hunger.”

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