Friday, March 31, 2006

E! Online: Superman Visits Another Dimension

by Natalie Finn

Superman is returning, and he's going to bust right through the screen.

Warner Bros. Pictures announced Thursday that the Man of Steel will be coming at you this summer. When Superman Returns opens June 30 in wide release, the film is also going to be shown on IMAX screens, with 20 minutes of the action converted into 3-D.

This will mark the first time ever that a live-action Hollywood feature has been shown in IMAX 3-D, perhaps a sign of things to come in the days of declining theater attendance. While Superman Returns can easily be considered one of the year's most anticipated movies, studios are probably figuring that any added incentives--better picture, bigger sound, cool glasses--can help.

I'll have to see both the 2-D and 3-D versions to compare. This had better be good, Singer.

How could you let this happen?

Smallville returned from winter reruns last night. From the episode description—Lex searches for Milton Fine; Clark is hypnotized and reveals his powers to a seductress—I knew only the last fifteen minutes would be necessary.

Chloe: It will crush her, Clark. You'd better be absolutely sure you want to do this.

Clark to Mom: I didn't see any other way to do it. It was either make a clean break or tell her my secret.

Mom: I know you haven't told Lana because you want to protect her, but you've done more than break her heart. You've given her reason to hate you. I just hope she doesn't do something we'll all regret.

And of course, she does, gravitating toward Lex. From the beginning, the awkward distance between Lana and Clark has been the trademark twist in Smallville's telling of the Superman legend. This was the writers' way of establishing that anything could happen. If Lana is to become the trusted friend we know from other versions, they've got a long way to go. On the other hand, Smallville's Clark is perhaps the most passive, indecisive lead character I've ever seen. Who'd want to befriend him? I can hardly watch him anymore.

It doesn't matter if a protagonist doesn't know what he wants at any given time, so long as the majority of the time he takes action to achieve what he thinks he wants. Characters who brood, sulk, sit on the fence, and otherwise let things happen may as well be minor.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

SAY IT WITH BULLETS by Richard Powell

Another fine reprint from Hard Case Crime follows young WWII veteran Bill Wayne, back stateside to take revenge on the five Air Force buddies who left him for dead and went on to steal $500 million in gold.

Wayne signs up for a cross-country bus tour coincidentally stopping where each of the five men live. Also by coincidence, the tour guide is Holly Clark, who's had a crush on Bill since high school. At the tour's first stop, Bill visits his first target, but freezes when it's time to pull the trigger. After a struggle, Bill is knocked out and wakes to find the first man shot dead.

Did Bill get off a lucky shot? If not, who might be framing him for murder? While Wayne's predicament is serious and treated as such, there's plenty of wry humor in the mix. Bill tries to uncover the truth while fending off inquisitive Holly. Meanwhile, an understated romance develops between them.

Definitely worth another look.

Studio Briefing: Voice-Over Actors on Cable Cartoon Shows To Get Raises

Actors providing voice-over work in cartoons produced for cable will be receiving a 20-percent hike in their residual checks under a new pact agreed upon by Screen Actors Guild (SAG) negotiators during their current talks with producers. Although the deal is similar to one rejected by SAG for live performances, a spokesman for the union pointed out that animated episodes are generally rerun more often than live episodes. "The performers who work under this contract have waited a long time for these well-deserved gains," SAG President Alan Rosenberg said in a statement. "The Guild achieved this important victory by standing together as a united group of actors."

Studio Briefing: Indy To Return, Plus a New Game

Barely a week after published reports disclosed that George Lucas had approved a new script for a fourth Indiana Jones movie and had passed it on to the Steven Spielberg, the filmmaker's Lucasarts and Industrial Light and Magic units announced that they would jointly produce a new video game for Sony's PlayStation 3, which is now due to hit the shelves in November, and Xbox 360. The announcement, made at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose, appeared to be the first official indication that the popular character was being resurrected.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Hollywood Reporter: Kidman goes on a spy mission

Nicole Kidman will star in and produce an untitled spy thriller described as a female version of "The Bourne Identity"

Screenwriter Simon Kinberg's project, whose plot details are being kept under wraps, was pre-emptively picked up by Regency Enterprises and 20th Century Fox, the firms behind Kinberg's "Mr. & Mrs. Smith."

Kidman originally was attached to co-star in that film alongside Brad Pitt. She dropped out because of scheduling conflicts, paving the way for Angelina Jolie to join the cast and ignite a well publicized romance.

Essentially, Shane Black's The Long Kiss Goodnight (Geena Davis, Samuel L. Jackson) could be described as a female version of The Bourne Identity. The less Kidman's movie resembles it, the better.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Happy Birthday, Captain Tightpants.

Nathan Fillion, Firefly's Mal Reynolds, is 35 today.

Take my love, take my land,
Take me where I cannot stand.

I don't care, I'm still free,
You can't take the sky from me.

Take me out to the Black,
tell them I ain't comin' back.

Burn the land and boil the sea,
You can't take the sky from me.

There's no place I can be
Since I've found Serenity.

But you can't take the sky from me.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

SUICIDE SQUEEZE by Victor Gischler

In the prologue to Suicide Squeeze, set in 1954 New York, Horace Folger takes his son Teddy to meet Joe DiMaggio on the set of The Seven-Year Itch. DiMaggio signs a baseball card for the boy, and Marilyn Monroe volunteers her signature and gets director Billy Wilder to sign as well.

When Teddy's dreams don't pan out in the following years, he sets fire to his comics and collectibles shop to collect insurance money. Though the one-of-a-kind card is said to have burned in the fire, Japanese billionaire and American pop culture fanatic Ahira Kurisaka doesn't believe this, and sends agents to America to obtain the card at any cost.

Enter Conner Samson, ex-jock, gambler, slacker, who takes the job of repossessing Folger's sailboat so he can pay off a loan shark. Folger's various pursuers collide in a bloody, funny, immensely readable affair. Gischler's characters are offbeat enough to sustain the chase and grounded enough to win sympathy along the way,

Next from Gischler is Shotgun Opera, due April 2006.

"Live long, and prosper."

Leonard Nimoy, who, as Spock, showed generations the value of logic, turns 75 today.

Friday, March 24, 2006

AP: '99 Red Balloons' Video to Air for an Hour

They're kidding, right? VH1 Classic will present a full hour of the English and German music videos for the 1984 hit "99 Luftballons," aka "99 Red Balloons," by German rock group Nena.

The music video presentation, to air Sunday (2 p.m. EST), caps off the cable channel's "Pay to Play for Hurricane Katrina Relief," which raised over $200,000 for Mercy Corps, a humanitarian relief organization.

"Everyone's a superhero, everyone's a Captain Kirk."

Fox Picks Up Bones

Lee Goldberg relays Variety's report that Fox has picked up Bones for a second full season.

More from

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The legacy of one of my favorite songs

`Lion Sleeps Tonight' deal likely to boost poor musicians

By Michelle Faul
Associated Press
Published March 23, 2006

JOHANNESBURG -- Three impoverished South African women, whose father wrote "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," have won a six-year battle for royalties in a landmark case that could affect musicians worldwide.

Article continues...No one is saying how many millions will go to the daughters of the late composer Solomon Linda, who died in poverty from a curable kidney disease in 1962 at age 53.

But the family's settlement last month with New York-based Abilene Music gives Linda's heirs 25 percent of past and future royalties, has broad implications.

Linda composed his now-famous song in 1939 in one of the squalid hostels that housed black migrant workers in Johannesburg. According to family lore, he wrote the song in a matter of minutes and was inspired by his childhood tasks of chasing prowling lions from the cattle he herded.

It was sung, in true Zulu tradition, a cappella. Linda's innovation was to add his falsetto voice, an overlay of haunting "eeeeeees," to the baritone and bass main line. To this day, this style is called Mbube in South Africa. Mbube is the Zulu word for lion.

The song sold more than 100,000 copies over a decade, probably making it Africa's first big pop hit.

In the 1950s, at a time when apartheid laws robbed blacks of negotiating rights, Linda sold worldwide copyright to Gallo Records of South Africa for 10 shillings, or less than $1.70.

Gallo also tried to sell the work in the United States, but American folk singer Pete Seeger had adapted a version that he called "Wimoweh."

Then it became one of the best known songs in the world as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," attributed to George Weiss, Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore.

Owen Dean, South Africa's leading copyright lawyer, argued successfully for Linda's family that under the British Imperial Copyright Act of 1911, which was in force in South Africa at the time Linda composed his song, all rights revert to the heirs, who are entitled to renegotiate royalties.

"Now the way has been shown," Dean said. "Others in similar circumstances can fight such injustice, and I have no doubt that there are other people in this position."

The 1911 act affects all countries that were part of the British Empire at that time--a third of the world.

It remains to be seen how the settlement with Abilene, which holds the copyright to the popular songs that grew from Linda's composition, will affect his family. Abilene Music couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Of his three surviving daughters, only the youngest has a job, as a nurse, and she still lives in the family home in Soweto, a satellite suburb set up for black workers under apartheid. Her sisters never reached high school. One runs a home-based grocery. The other recently lost her job cleaning a doctor's office and supports a daughter who gets some work cleaning homes.

Linda's fourth daughter died of AIDS in her 30s in 2002 as the lawsuit dragged on, without money to buy drugs that could have saved her life.

Kevin Chang, a Jamaican reggae expert, said the case means that "musicians living in poverty, and other artists, may finally be rewarded for their work."

Chang believes the decision could be applied to a continuing British court case in which Carlton Barrett of Bob Marley and the Wailers is suing Marley's estate for royalties, arguing songs he co-authored are being credited only to Marley.

Web sites list hundreds of versions of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." Folk, swing, minstrel, big band, reggae and R&B versions have been sung over the years. The American doo-wop group The Tokens reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts with the song in 1961.

In the 1970s, Linda's widow signed over the rights to Abilene.

The song was featured on the soundtrack in Disney's blockbuster musical "The Lion King," one of at least 15 movies in which it has featured.

"The musical was netting millions of dollars, and Solomon Linda's daughters were trying to survive as domestic servants, not earning enough to feed their families," said Dean, the copyright lawyer.

Dean's tactics included winning a court order last year freezing Disney's rights to income in South Africa from legendary trademarks including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Winnie the Pooh pending resolution of the dispute. That appears to have been a turning point, though Disney never was sued in the court case.

More Title Change News

The title of Robert B. Parker's next Spenser novel (due October '06) has changed from Dream Girl to Hundred-Dollar Baby.


Richard Grieco

...turns 41 today.

I wasn't much a fan of Jump Street, but the concept of Dennis Booker working investigations and security for the multinational Teshima Corporation intrigued me.

In my favorite episode, Teshima client B.B. King's famous guitar Lucille is stolen, and Booker must track it down while entertaining Teshima's number-one son (Gedde Watanabe) and trying to keep a date with the lovely Skylar Samperton (Tawny Kitaen circa 1989). The episode also featured Thomas Haden Church as a radio DJ friend of Booker's

If you, too, were a fan of Booker, you'll enjoy this page.

More obscure was Grieco's 1995 return in UPN's Marker. Grieco played a slacker who travels to Hawaii for his father's funeral and inherits his debts. Also starring Gates McFadden.

What Fresh Hell Is This?

In conjunction with the March 21 release of his second Jack Keller thriller, Good Day in Hell, J.D. Rhoades has renamed his blog.

I liked the previous title, All the Clever Blog Names Were Taken, but that may have been too anonymous. Check out my review of the first Keller book, now out in paperback. I look forward to the sequel. Best of luck, Dusty.

In case you missed it...

My caper story "Stunts" originally appeared in Flash Fantastic #21 (July 2005) as the second story down on a webpage. The zine folded with the next issue, but I'm happy to announce the reprint of "Stunts" at Flashing in the Gutters. Thanks again to Tribe.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

75 Years of Shatner

Happy birthday to the actor behind Star Trek's best-known captain. The older he gets, the more youthful he seems, May he continue to live boldly.


Clashing law partners and lovers Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord are bathing in the waters off the Florida Keys—Victoria waiting for the right moment to tell Steve she wants to start her own firm—when a yacht runs aground, almost running into them.

The captain of the yacht is Lord family friend Hal Griffin Sr., more affectionately known as "Uncle Grif." His only passenger at the time of the accident is one Ben Stubbs, who's managed to get shot with a speargun. When Stubbs dies, Griffin is charged with murder and hires Solomon & Lord to represent him.

Victoria asks Steve to sit second chair on the case. He agrees in theory, but has a hard time checking his instincts in practice. Adding to the partners' tension are Victoria's reunion with childhood sweetheart Junior Griffin and a sudden visit from Irene "The Queen" Lord.

Meanwhile, Steve has his own set of problems as he reopens the case of his father's resignation from the Bar.

No slump in Paul Levine's sophomore entry to the Solomon vs. Lord series. Again he delivers the fundamentals of good mystery—keeping the stakes high, leading the reader—in fine form.

UPDATE: All four books in the Solomon vs. Lord series are now available for Amazon Kindle.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Timothy Dalton

The tallest (6'2") actor to date to play James Bond turns 62 today. Sean Connery may have defined the role, but Dalton brought back Bond's hard edge after Connery's final films, George Lazenby, and Roger Moore wore it down.

Dalton's two turns as Bond (The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill) are arguably the most realistic of the series, aided by Dalton doing many of his own stunts.

Here's to you, Tim.

WENN: Moore: I Want Nothing To Do with 'Vendetta' Film

V For Vendetta creator Alan Moore is desperate to be disassociated from the screen adaptation of his classic comic strip - and is begging the producers not to credit him for his work. The cartoonist, who also conceived From Hell and The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, hates seeing his work diluted by movie-makers, and refuses to put his name to the result. He says, "I want them to say, 'We're not going to give you any money for your work, you're not going to get any credit for it and we're not going to put your name on it.' To see a line of dialogue or a character that I have poured that much emotional involvement into, to see them casually travestied and watered down and distorted... it's kind of painful. It's much better just to avoid them altogether."

Moore may be striking a blow for the integrity of his work, but the only way to ensure integrity is not to sell the rights to your work. Apparently Moore is willing to go that far, claiming he wants no profits from the movie.

Many writers complain that movies dillute their work, but true readers and moviegoers know that a movie cannot be a book and a book cannot be a movie. Personally, I see movies as advertising for books, Movies get people to buy books. Once they do, it's the author's job, same as always, to hook them with a good story.

WENN: Broccoli Begins Work on 'Casino Royale' Sequel

James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli is so certain Daniel Craig will be a huge hit playing 007, she has already started working on the sequel to forthcoming movie Casino Royale. Craig has come under intense scrutiny since he was announced as Pierce Brosnan's successor last year, with die hard fans setting up a website encouraging cinema-goers to boycott his debut as Bond. But Broccoli is convinced Craig is the perfect person to give the traditionally suave superspy a grittier, rawer edge. And she has shown her commitment to Craig's appointment by announcing his second role before Casino Royale has even completed filming. She says, "We are already working on the sequel. We're in the early stages of that. It will be an original story but will continue part of what the story is in Casino Royale."

Monday, March 20, 2006

Night School

On the heels of my latest acceptance, I salute one of my inspirations in poetry, Aida Zilelian, on her birthday. We met at Queens College in a workshop taught by Kimiko Hahn, and her poems were so lean, real, and moving, I had to write some in response.

After grad school she claimed to have burned out on poetry, devoting her energies to music. I wish her the best and thank her for opening a world of words to me.

"And she knows just what it takes to make a pro blush."

WORDs DANCE editor Amanda Oaks has accepted my poem "Precocious" for Issue #9, to be mailed next month.

WENN: 'Sin City' Sequel Waiting for Jolie

Actress Rosario Dawson has confirmed reports Angelina Jolie will be signing on for the sequel to Sin City and production on the film is on hold while the star is pregnant. Jolie is currently expecting a baby with Brad Pitt, but is eager to co-star with Dawson, who will reprise her part as rogue hooker Gail in the movie. The Mr. And Mrs. Smith star is rumored to be playing the role of "A Dame To Kill For" in the next installment of the film. Dawson says, "The film's kind of been postponed because Robert (Rodriguez, the director) has been interested in Angelina Jolie for the lead. But she's very pregnant right now. So that's putting an understandable hold on the film." The second film will be based on Frank Miller's graphic novel stories "A Dame to Kill For" and "Lost, Lonely and Lethal," according to website,

I thought Sin City was over-the-top male fantasy. I'll see the sequel if friends feel like it, otherwise on video or not at all.

The Case of Vanishing Susan

My friend and fellow Spenser fan Mark Luebker stumbled upon a TV Guide article explaining why Susan Silverman (as played by Barbara Stock) left Spenser: For Hire after the first season, then returned for the third and final season.

The year Spenser: For Hire premiered, a story arc reached its climax in the Spenser books. After separating from Spenser for two books, Susan finds her new lover is trouble. She calls Hawk for help and, only as a last resort, calls Spenser. This was Parker's fictionalized replay of his separation and reunion with Joan.

I thought the show was simply mirroring the books. In interviews, Parker had said Stock was busy being a mother, but according to TV Guide the show needed better ratings and the writers didn't see much potential for Susan as a character.

Happy couples like Spenser and Susan mean little if any conflict or sexual tension. Robert Parker might succeed in making the relationship a background feature because the books are mainly about Spenser. Television viewers begin to wonder why an actor is standing around. Doesn't she have more to do?

SMFS Derringer Finalists

The list as posted by coordinator Pam SkochinskiFlash:
The Last Journey by Mary Schenten
Word Power by Michelle Mach
Secondhand Shoe by Patricia Harrington
Hell Hath No Fury by BJ Bourg
No Athiests in Foxholes by Stephen D. Rogers

Twilight of the Fireflies by John Weagly
Zipped by Stephen D. Rogers
Roses at His Feet by Todd Robinson
The Day the Bad Men Came by Andy Henion
Hangman's Tree by Deanne Boast

Best Wishes by JR Chabot
The Spare by Woody Hanstein
Johnny Cash is Dead by Jordan Harper
One Step Closer by Iain Rowan
A Death in Ueno by Mike Wiecek

Monday, Sweet Monday by John F. Dobbyn
Good Shepherd by Frank Zafiro
Fish by Stephen Johnston
The Safest Place on Earth by Mark Best*
The Cherries of Lucullus by Steven Saylor

*first appeared on The Thrilling Detective Web Site, Spring 2005

Good luck to Mark and all.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Just a little bit more than the law will allow

Tom Wopat, who played Luke Duke on the TV series "The Dukes of Hazzard," faces a drunken driving charge in northern New Jersey, authorities said Friday.

Wopat was arrested in Ringwood and charged with driving while intoxicated and reckless driving, said Bill Maer, a spokesman for the Passaic County sheriff's department.

He was pulled from a Ford Bronco Wednesday night after hitting orange traffic cones and nearly striking a Ringwood police car sent to an accident, Maer said.

Wopat, 54, of West Milford, was released into the custody of his girlfriend, Maer said.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

"Let's be bad guys."

On last night's episode of Bones, someone tries to kill Brennan as she looks into a couple of bodies that may be tied to the mob. Booth takes it upon himself to bodyguard her, but his first night at her place is cut short when he opens her refrigerator to a bomb blast.

While he's laid up in the hospital, Booth puts Brennan in the care of Special Agent Jamie Kenton (Adam "The Man They Call Jayne" Baldwin). By the time Booth figures out Kenton is bad news, his only means of rescuing Brennan is Hodgins's Mini Cooper.

I enjoyed this episode as it really shows how human Booth is as opposed to the superheroic Angel. In the hands of nice-guy bad guy Baldwin, I genuinely believed Brennan was in danger and pulled for Booth to get there in time.

This episode convinces to buy the show on DVD. Hurry up, Fox (but do release a quality DVD set with good extras).

E! Online: Ford: "Indy 4" Script Ready

By Josh Grossberg

Looks like Harrison Ford can finally take the fedora out of mothballs.

The Hollywood megastar told a German magazine on Wednesday that after rewrites too numerous to count, he and director Steven Spielberg are finally satisfied with the script for the forever-in-the-works fourth installment of the whip-wielding, tomb-raiding adventurer.

"Steven Spielberg and I now have a script in hand that we both like. I believe that we can start with the filming soon," Ford was quoted as saying in an interview with Fit for Fun, a German lifestyle and entertainment magazine.

The 63-year-old actor, who's been making the publicity rounds this month for Firewall--his first certifiable action thriller since 1997's Air Force One--demurred, however, on a start date.

That depends on the busy schedules of the Indiana Jones triumvirate of Ford, Spielberg and producer George Lucas. But Ford indicated he was ready to get back into the swing of things, adding that he needed "to do a little practicing with the whip" to avoid injuries.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Chatterrific Lives

I used this blog's sluggish period to bring Chatterrific up to date. All the DetecToday chat transcripts are now available. Let me know what you think.

I plan to keep Chatterrific lean as blogs go: transcripts, chat announcements, monthly reminders of DetecToday's featured discussions.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

2005 storySouth Notables

The list of 100 has been posted, and "The Face in the Concrete" by Tapani Bagge (translated from the Finnish by Minna Haapio) and "Consider It Lit" by Stephen D. Rogers, originally published on The Thrilling Detective Web Site, made the cut. Congratulations to the notables.

Chatterrific a blog I've created to store chat transcripts with guests like James Hime, Rob Kantner, and Barry Eisler. This lets readers comment more readily on the chats and lets me add author and book images.

The current transcripts are associated with DetecToday, but I'm open to future chats with screenwriters like Lee Goldberg and Paul Guyot under the CrimeSeen banner.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Dublin Noir Signing at Coliseum Books

Luck was on my side tonight as I attended a panel discussion and signing of Dublin Noir, edited by Ken Bruen. On hand at Coliseum Books on 42nd Street were featured authors Reed Farrel Coleman, Jim Fusilli, Peter Spiegelman, Jason Starr, and Sarah Weinman. In the audience with me were Dave White and Charles Ardai.

The authors expounded on the deceptively complex nature of the short story. Great to hear each author's appreciation for the form. My thanks to the guest speakers and everyone I met.

Final Derringer Odds

The nomination period for the SMFS Derringer Awards ended yesterday. The final tally:

12 Flash (up to 500 words)
43 Short-short (501 to 2000 words)
73 Midlength (2001 to 600 words)
26 Longer (6001 to 15,000 words)

154 total stories

Good luck to all.

Dana Delany

From Dana Delany Official Website

Versatile Delany, best known as China Beach's Colleen McMurphy, also known as WB Animation's voice of Lois Lane, turns 50 today.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

WALKING MONEY by James O. Born

The attorney for a community activist group decides a Miami riot is the perfect time to make a run at the group's $1.5 million stashed in a safety deposit box at Alpha National Bank. Little does he know the bank manager has also been eying the money, as have the group leader and the close-to-retirement FBI agent watching the leader.

Walking Money is about what happens to almost everyone who gets a whiff of an easy score. Only Florida state cop Bill Tasker has no interest in the money, and he's the one framed for stealing it. A fast-paced caper follows wherein I could never be sure who to trust or what the outcome would be as the characters constantly one-upped each other.

This kind of unpredictability is exactly what I want in a crime novel. Through the many twists, Born also keeps the characters' motives grounded in their personalities. Born's storytelling talent is backed by his experience with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, giving a sense that the whole madcap yarn could happen. Recommended.

Friday, March 10, 2006

What Would Hawk Do?

In Robert Parker's latest paperback, Cold Service, bookie Luther Gillespie hires ever-lovin' mercenary Hawk to protect him from the emerging Ukranian mob presence in the Mass town of Marshport. For reasons Parker doesn't explain, the usually preternaturally-aware Hawk gets shot in the back and his client is killed.

Similar to Spenser's recovery in Small Vices, Hawk takes a year (50 pages in Parkerland) to heal and get back into shape. Then, with help from Spenser, Vinnie Morris, and the enigmatic Gray Man, Hawk takes revenge—not only on the five Ukranians who attacked him, but on the thuggish mayor of Marshport, ahem, Boots Podolak.

This is the deepest Parker has gone inside Hawk's head. We still don't get his inner thoughts, but the tone of the story is very harsh and singleminded as Hawk is, with Spenser simply acting as backup. As usual, Hawk never outwardly doubts his competence. We know that he will eventually be back to full strength and the bad guys will get theirs. Because we know all this, the book seems very padded, very slow to the punch, despite Parker's lowest page count in years.

WENN: Stone Proud To Bare All

Sharon Stone had no qualms about baring all for the steamy sequel to Basic Instinct because she is fed up with ageing actresses being restricted to unsexy roles. The middle-aged star shamelessly flaunted her figure in the upcoming Basic Instinct 2 in a bid to break the mould with her provocative character Catherine Tramell. She says, "By the time the film is released, I will be 48 and I wanted to do the nudity in a way that's quite brazen. I wanted her to be very masculine, like a man in a steam room and I wanted the audience to have a moment where they realize she's naked and then realize that she's a fortysomething woman and naked. Because we're not used to seeing that in movies. We're used to seeing Sean Connery and his granddaughter, you know what I mean? Or Mel Gibson and his daughter."

Thursday, March 09, 2006

WENN: Hatcher's Trust Issues After Child Abuse

Teri Hatcher finds it difficult to trust men after enduring sexual abuse at the hands of her uncle as a child. The Desperate Housewives star bravely assisted police in jailing pedophile Richard Hayes Stone when she heard his abuse had driven a teenager to suicide. But despite having moved on with her life, Hatcher, who was molested by Stone between the ages of five to eight, has suffered a disastrous love life as a result of her horrific experiences. She says, "I am a woman who carries around all these layers of fear and vulnerability. The biggest effect to me is this area of love and men, which hasn't been so great."

Though her latest show is past my bedtime, I've been a Hatcher fan since MacGyver. The news that she was abused angers me, but I admire that she was the one to break the story. I wish her happiness.

Where in the World is Linda Fiorentino?

Fiorentino in Where the Money Is

The alluring and allegedly difficult actress turns 46 today. While I respect her for dodging the Hollywood machine, I wish she'd been in more movies before dropping below the radar.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

'Shaft' Director Gordon Parks Dies at 93

By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times
March 8 2006, 5:48 AM PST

Gordon Parks, who became the first African American staff photographer at Life magazine in the late 1940s and broke more ground in Hollywood two decades later as the first black person to direct a major studio film, "The Learning Tree," followed by the landmark black private eye movie "Shaft," has died. He was 93.

Let's Dance

I've submitted four poems to WORDs DANCE.

Polishing My Flash

Still making the rounds of zines, I've retitled my new flash story "Sweeper" and switched from third-person to first.

Andrea Parker

...of JAG, The Pretender, and Less Than Perfect, turns 37 today.

Parker at the premiere of Monster-In-Law

Monday, March 06, 2006

"Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride."

Received a rejection this morning on four poems I submitted back in November. Luckily this comes just as I've worked myself back to poetry mode. Looking on the bright side, I have four more poems to fill out batches I'll send elsewhere.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


From The Superman Homepage:

June 2006 is definitely the month for Superman. With the release of "Superman Returns", the annual Superman Festival in Metropolis Illinois and a whole slew of DVD releases. But if June is Superman Month, then June 20th is definitely "Superman Day", with 5 Superman related DVD sets being released on that day:

"The Adventures of Superman: Seasons 3 & 4", "Lois & Clark: The Complete Third Season", "Superman: The Animated Series - Volume 3", "Superboy: Season 1" and "Justice League: The Complete Second Season".


Return to Robert Crais

I just finished Crais's latest Elvis Cole novel, The Forgotten Man. Cole is called in by police when a shooting victim claims to be his long-lost father. Partly working to clear himself as a suspect, Cole becomes obsessed with uncovering the man's identity. Could he really be the father Elvis never knew?

I've criticized Crais's use of multiple viewpoints in his books since L.A. Requiem, and in The Forgotten Man there are spots that work against suspense (e.g. cutting to the POV of a villain so unbalanced I couldn't relate). However, in the final analysis, the many viewpoints turn what might have been a very sloppy, almost selfishly personal outing on Elvis's part into a more complex, well-woven yarn.

There are fewer cutaways from Elvis's familiar voice, but the book is most successful in slowly revealing the larger picture, the subtle clues a preoccupied Elvis doesn't catch. Intriguing.

Andrea Bendewald

Maddy Piper on Suddenly Susan, the only reason ever to watch Suddenly Susan, turns 36 today.

Bendewald at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, promoting Employee of the Month

AP: 'Charmed' a Casualty of WB-UPN Change

The spell is broken. The witches on "Charmed" won't be making the move when the WB network combines forces with UPN to become the CW network in the fall.

A WB spokesman confirmed a TV Guide report on Friday that said the supernatural series, which stars Alyssa Milano, Rose McGowan and Holly Marie Combs, will end after eight seasons in May...

"It's been a hell of a run," Brad Kern, executive producer, told the magazine. "But all good things must come to an end."

I watch Charmed in reruns, but my interest fades after the Shannen Doherty episodes. (I like Rose McGowan, too, though.) Overall, it's a fantasy show where love is the ultimate power. Lois & Clark highlighted fantasy under Kern, but his ideas worked better in the more wide-open world of Charmed.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Thursday, March 02, 2006

"No power in the 'Verse can stop me."

I'm back to writing poetry, having submitted a batch of three to Apogee Magazine.

UPDATE (6:41 PM ET): Editor Heather Bowden has accepted these poems for publication in mid-March.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Five Thrilling Years

In March 2001, I joined The Thrilling Detective Web Site as Assistant Fiction Editor to Victoria Esposito-Shea. At the time, I'd had two stories rejected by Thrilling and wasn't sure why I was asked aboard...

In all honesty, since catching the reading bug in college I've never been able to passively accept a story, giving the author the benefit of the doubt. I have to wonder why the author chose the words and how different choices would change the story.

My experience at Thrilling has helped me market and accept feedback on my own writing, and whether by rejection or acceptance, I aim to help writers find their distinct voices.

Thanks to Victoria for showing me the ropes and to Kevin Burton Smith for keeping me sharp. Finally, thanks to the authors I have and will work with.

Current Derringer Stats

The current odds of winning a SMFS Derringer:

12 Flash nominations
36 Short-short story nominations
62 Mid-length short story nominations
22 Longer short story nominations

Twelve nominating days remain.

February Shred of Evidence

The new issue of Megan Powell's crime and mystery e-zine is now live. Great content and presentation as always.

AP: Sampras: Don't Call It a Comeback


Pete Sampras is returning to the tennis court, signing up for the World Team Tennis Pro League more than three years after his last match.

"This is more about just getting myself a little busier and focused on something I used to be good at," Sampras said in a telephone interview ahead of Wednesday's announcement by the league. "It's time this year to do a little more. Last year, I was kind of floating along."

Sampras' last professional match was the 2002 U.S. Open final, when he beat longtime rival Andre Agassi for his record 14th Grand Slam title. Sampras held a news conference a year later at the U.S. Open to say he was retiring.

As much as he says he's looking forward to playing in the WTT, he made one thing quite clear: Don't call it a comeback.

"I miss playing the game. I miss the majors. I miss competing. But to play at the level I used to play is a whole other animal. I've done that, and I know what it takes," he told the AP. "Me playing a little tennis this year is something I can control; there isn't any pressure. I can relax and have a little fun. Coming back is not something that crossed my mind."