Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rancho Diablo Trailer!

Livia Reasoner, wife of Rancho Diablo author James Reasoner, created this trailer to go along with the series.  It's pretty cool.  So have a look.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Action Comics #1 by Jim Lee

Kind of a new retro thing.  Still not sure how I feel about the new costume.  And DC's new universe hits the stands in a couple weeks.  Gonna be interesting to watch.


I read and enjoyed the book by James Sallis (Bookhound review here), but I never thought they'd make a movie.  However, the book was awesome and it will make a good movie.  However, I think the first-person narrative might be MIA on this one.  That voice echoing in my head as I read the book was great.


I know where I'll be a couple hours this weekend.  This is from Luc Besson (Transporter, La Femme Nikita, The Professional) and features Zoe Saldana (The Losers, Avatar).  I want an action film to just relax with, and this could be it.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

I wasn't a big fan of the first movie, but this one looks different.  Lots of action and some humor, and Cage isn't swaggering all over the place, something that I never saw Johnny Blaze doing.  Could be fun.  Out February of 2012.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rancho Diablo: HELL ON WHEELS Is Live At Amazon!

The book went live this morning at Amazon, and I know several of you have been waiting for this one.

Everyone in Shooter's Cross knows that Mike Tucker isn't a ranch hand. He's a shootist, lightning quick and totally lethal with his Tranter pistols.

Jenny Blaylock has always been nervous around Tucker because she knows he's a stone cold killer. Something's broken inside Tucker, and she's afraid that he's going to get her family hurt.

But when her husband Sam is out of town and her daughter is kidnapped by a ruthless gang, Jenny has no choice but to saddle up and ride with Tucker. The trail is long and hard, and she knows its going to end in sudden death, hellfire and gunsmoke.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Of Interest to Young Writers

From one of my OU Professional Writing Students.

WriteStart Class

by Dorathea Maynard, Writer on Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 7:24pm
Hey! My fellow writer and dear friend Rebekah Roberts and I are offering an intro class to the art and fun of writing--fiction, short story, poetry, blogs, and more--for the 2011-2012 school year, 6th grade through adulthood (we have a heart for all beginning writers). We will be available to talk in person at the NAHE Back-to-School Event this Saturday, August 20th from 9:30am to 12noon at Wildwood Church. If you can't make it, feel free to email me at theplotpoint @ gmail . com with questions or to sign up. WriteStart will meet Tuesday mornings from 10am to 11:30am at Wildwood starting August 30th and is only $25 a month per student. Rebekah and I have been educated in writing and fiction from Moore Norman Technology Center and the University of Oklahoma, and we're excited to share out love of story and writing with you.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Prime Suspect Debuting In Fall

I know Helen Mirren did the series in the UK, and I wasn't too thrilled about the remake in the US, but the commercial trailers for the series are beginning to warm me up to this one.  And Maria Bello is an attractive woman who can amp up the cop tension.  I was surprised by her acting in the trailers, and now I'm intrigued.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


Posted just because I needed a laugh today.

Review: Cowboys and Aliens *spoilers*

I went into this movie with high hopes.  I'm a Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, and Jon Favreau fan.  I love Westerns and science fiction.  How could it go wrong?

But it did.  The opening was filled with mystery and action, and I liked the way Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) took care of himself when threatened.  But the movie quickly went downhill from there.  Jake rode into town and quickly met a preacher who stitched him up, then got crossways with the local bad boy, son of the cattle baron, Dollarhyde (Harrison Ford), who basically ran roughshod over the town.

Except for the mysterious manacle on Jake's wrist, this could have been an everyday Western.  I know that one of the conceits of the movie was to blend the Western and the science fiction movie genres, but I felt like the story really dropped the ball at times.

Then when I found out Jake Lonergan was a bad man, I felt really betrayed.  There was no hero to root for.  The guy was a jerk, and continued to be something of a jerk throughout the movie.  Not a tough guy, a jerk.  Even the weak love story that stumbled throughout the film (two loves stories, actually, if you count the infatuation with Ella -- Olivia Wilde's character) never really sparked with me.  We never found out enough about the woman (can't even remember her name) to know who she truly was.  Lonergan's old gang referred to her as a prostitute, but she didn't act like a prostitute in the flashbacks.

Even worse, Dollarhyde was an unsympathetic character as well.  I got the feeling that he was supposed to be the retired war hero turned cattle baron, but his relationship with his son and his permissiveness with him really soured the mix.  To add insult to injury, there was the screwed-up relationship between Dollarhyde and his foreman.  I don't know which was more egregious to my willing disbelief: that Dollarhyde would try so hard to put distance between himself and the foreman, or that the foreman would put up with all the crap from Dollarhyde -- much less love and respect the man.  Of course, that was all to set up the touching "death" scene at the end of the movie.

And Ella was an alien entity that was out of this world.  She died and came back to life at one point in the film.  If she could do that, why couldn't she find the aliens?  Why didn't she have more weapons?  Where was her real body?

Let's move on to the reason the aliens were here in the first place: they were after our gold.  When that was revealed, I just couldn't believe it.  You'd think that any species capable of interstellar flight would be able to get off of the gold standard.  The plot point just did not make sense.  An advance scouting team for potential colonization would have been better.

And then there was the whole alien medical procedure subplot.  Supposedly, people were being taken so the aliens could study them and find weaknesses they could exploit when, and if, they returned in force.

And -- since the aliens had all this medical gear -- why did they have so few weapons?  Especially since they had the cool aircraft-grabber tech?  Didn't make sense that they would go after the humans barehanded.

The scenery was breathtakingly beautiful and the scenes were well shot.  If there had been true heroes in the group, instead of just actors for us to follow around, the story would have been better.  I can't fault Harrison Ford or Daniel Craig or Olivia Wilde.  They did the best they could with what they had to work with.  The story just didn't go deep enough to elicit any kind of real connection with me, or with my 13 year old, who was seriously bummed by the film as well.  If you can't win over the two of us, at disparate ends of the audience poll, there's something wrong.

At best, this is a Redbox rental ( and will probably be best served if you get it just to assuage any curiosity you might have about the film.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Writing Seminar

Two weeks from today, I'll be delivering a how-to clinc for writers that want to learn how to publish their books as ebooks on the Kindle and the Nook.  I'll be there with three other writers:  William Bernhardt, Nathan Brown, and Rilla Askew.  They'll be talking about other aspects of writing.

The clinic is FREE, but you will need to register.  More info here.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Fantasy Caught My Eye

Mountaineering and fantasy!

Dev is a smuggler with the perfect cover. He's in high demand as a guide for the caravans that carry legitimate goods from the city of Ninavel into the country of Alathia. The route through the Whitefire Mountains is treacherous, and Dev is one of the few climbers who knows how to cross them safely. With his skill and connections, it's easy enough to slip contraband charms from Ninavel - where any magic is fair game, no matter how dark - into Alathia, where most magic is outlawed.

But smuggling a few charms is one thing; smuggling a person through the warded Alathian border is near suicidal. Having made a promise to a dying friend, Dev is forced to take on a singularly dangerous cargo: Kiran. A young apprentice on the run from one of the most powerful mages in Ninavel, Kiran is desperate enough to pay a fortune to sneak into a country where discovery means certain execution - and he'll do whatever it takes to prevent Dev from finding out the terrible truth behind his getaway.

Yet Kiran isn't the only one harboring a deadly secret. Caught up in a web of subterfuge and dark magic, Dev and Kiran must find a way to trust each other - or face not only their own destruction, but that of the entire city of Ninavel.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Joe Lansdale Never Ceases To Amaze Me

Joe Lansdale is one of my favorite people, and one of my favorite writers.  It's always good to have people in your life that are multi-purposed.  Makes the Christmas shopping list shorter for one.  Joe and I grew up in the same kind of redneck backwoods that people think of unkindly when they think of Texas (in Joe's case) and Oklahoma (in my case).  Both our fathers were mechanics.  Both of us grew up to be writers.  Both of us dream of better days for our children.

He wrote an essay that came out on the Mulholland Books site today that I think is simply awesome, understand and elegant and impactful.  Most of you that read this didn't grow up where Joe and I did, so the nuances might be truly lost on you, but I think the piece is strong enough that you'll remember some things to be thankful for.

So I'm giving you a link to the essay here, and I'm snickering because I used a picture that makes Joe's head look really BIG!  He not that way at all, being one of the kindest and gentlest men I know, yet a godfather of martial arts mojo.  He's a man of many pieces, and I'm glad he shared this one.  Enjoy.

Hat tip to Bill Crider.

Take The Money And Run Debuts Tonight!

What critics are saying:



What if you were given $100,000 and told you could keep it only if you could hide the money for 48 hours? Seems simple enough, right? Not exactly. In ABC's new show "Take the Money and Run," contestants are given $100,000 in a suitcase and are given exactly one hour to hide it. After the time is up, they're taken into custody by police detectives and are interrogated for 48 hours. The detectives can use cellphone records, any receipts and GPS coordinates to try to figure out where the money is. If the detectives are able to find it, it's theirs. If not, the contestants are $100,000 richer.

MSN spoke with Executive Producer Bertram van Munster ("The Amazing Race") about how the idea for the reality game show came about, and where he'd hide the money if he played the game . . .


Need to shake up your summer nights? Try this new show out. The producing team of Jerry Bruckheimer and Bertram van Munster ( The Amazing Race) is behind Take the Money and Run, starting 9 p.m. on ABC. It’s truTV on fast forward. The deal: contestants hide $100,000, and then are interrogated by actual investigators on its whereabouts, CSI style. If they can keep it stashed and cool under pressure, the dough is theirs. Where do we sign up?




The police state becomes total when the police become the heroes and the criminals begin policing themselves.

These are not ordinarily the values of reality television, which prizes mischief and mild lawlessness and depicts police officers as, at best, tragic figures, shouldering responsibilities that no one else will.

“Take the Money & Run,” which begins on Tuesday on ABC, upends all that. Part game show and part psychological warfare, it’s a showdown involving three pairs — two contestants in the role of criminals, who stash $100,000 and hope it’s not found; two moonlighting police officers assigned to uncover it within 48 hours; and two interrogators, who try to pry information out of the criminals with stern looks and steak dinners and lines like, “You’re lying now, and you’re not real good at it.”

The criminals are regular folks hoping to earn money and TV time without having to study hard for “Jeopardy!” or demean themselves on “Wipeout.” This should be a cakewalk for them: hide shrewdly, reveal little, collect prize. (If the cops find it, they win the money.)

But this sometimes gripping show isn’t so benign. First, the adversaries are worthy. The interrogators — Paul Bishop, a detective and author, and Mary Hanlon Stone, a deputy district attorney and author — have a flair for the dramatic, and the police officers live up to their cities’ stereotypes. In the premiere the ones from San Francisco have an unhurried affability. The Miami detectives in the second episode have sharper edges; one, with slicked-back black hair and a tight black T-shirt tucked into black pants, looks like the stunt double for Cop No. 3 on an early episode of “Miami Vice.”





Benvenuto Paul su Liberidiscrivere e grazie per aver accettato la mia intervista. Iniziamo con le presentazioni. Raccontati ai nostri lettori. Detective del Dipartimento di Polizia di Los Angeles, autore di thriller. Chi è Paul Bishop?

Sono un po' un camaleonte. Sono da 35 anni nel Dipartimento di Polizia di Los Angeles - 27 dei quali li ho trascorsi ad indagare su crimini sessuali - e ho scritto professionalmente per 32 anni. Mi sono sempre ritenuto eccezionalmente fortunato professionalmente per essere riuscito a fare le due cose che amavo di più - mettere le parole su carta e mettere i cattivi in prigione.



Admit it. You’ve contemplated committing the perfect crime. No, I’m not implying that you’re a crook or that you’re dishonest in any way. Just that, in an idle moment, you’ve vicariously daydreamed how you might be able to pull off some dashing heist or some daring scheme. Would you be able to cover your tracks and outsmart the cops?

That’s essentially the concept behind ABC’s new reality show, Take the Money and Run, which premieres tomorrow at 9 p.m. Contestants are handed a briefcase full of $100,000 and given one hour to hide it anywhere they want. Then the cops move in, and they have 48 hours to find the stash. If they do, the money is theirs. But if they fail to recover the money in time, the contestants get to keep the prize. Not too shabby. Winning 100 Gs hasn’t been this exciting since the days of Jackie Rogers Junior.

I'm glad they explained the tools that law enforcement has at its disposal -- phone records, receipts, GPS coordinates -- but I guess we'll just have to trust that cameraman filming the contestants while they hide the cash. If I'm the cop, I quickly offer him/her a generous cut and start spending my money. But that's just me, daydreaming about the perfect crime.

How does the show look to you? Did you recognize the show's "bag man" from several Farrelly Bros. films? Will you be watching tomorrow night?


Steampunk -- Caught My Eye

In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the "thing" inside her.

When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch….

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help—and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on—even if it seems no one believes her.

Caught My Eye And Blew My Mind

Publisher's Weekly:

Sedia's evocative third novel, a steampunk fable about the price of industrial development, follows Mattie, an emancipated automaton, as her home city is rent by conflict between alchemists and the mechanics whose clanking, steaming inventions are changing society. Though created by a leader of the mechanics, Mattie chose to join the alchemists, but her creator still holds the key that winds her up. When a terrorist bombing and an assassination touch off all-out war between the two factions, she discovers the ugly secrets and exploitation that keep the city supplied with food and coal. Sedia's exquisitely bleak vision deliberately skewers familiar ideas from know-it-all computers to talking statues desperate for souls, leaving readers to reach their own conclusions about the proper balance of tradition and progress and what it means to be alive.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Meredith Fletcher's New Book Out Now

From author Sharon Sala:

This is one of those books that you love to pick up - a grab-your-attention story from the first line of the book to the very last page.

It was the perfect combination of romance and adventure that kept me turning the pages. Loved the characters. Loved the Alpha hero and the smart woman who kept him on his toes.

Great Story! Great Plot! Great Entertainment!!!

Rancho Diablo: Dead Man's Revenge Review

While this third Rancho Diablo book picks up on loose ends from the first story, as well as carrying on themes from the second book, it should be perfectly accessible to new readers in its own right. (Although, really, at $2.99 a pop, it's not that difficult to catch up on the whole series at this relatively early stage.) That's one of the advantages of an inexpensive series of short ebooks: it's not too intimidating to pick up the back catalog, either in terms of investing time or money.

I'm starting to think of Rancho Diablo in terms of a really good Western TV series: each installment tells a self-contained story, but each one also builds on what came before, adding to the ongoing character development and themes. And while this story focuses on a relatively traditional tale of revenge (hardly a spoiler; it's part of the title), it also fleshes out ranch owner Sam Blaylock's relationship with the town of Shooter's Point, and his nemesis,local entrepreneur and newspaper owner Mitchell McCarthy.

While I had been concerned in earlier books that Sam Blaylock was too perfect a hero, it's clear that the series authors plan on addressing that issue. While the fact that Blaylock and Rancho Diablo attract trouble that more often than not gets resolved with gunplay allows the series to feature the traditional motifs of Western fiction, it doesn't come without a cost. The town is very aware of the high body count coming from Rancho Diablo, and it's not something they approve of at all. I'm really enjoying the fact that the elements that make Rancho Diablo a fun, traditional Western series are also producing ramifications that are being explored in a realistic way.

While Bill "Colby Jackson" Crider writes in a clear, straightforward manner, he still does a great job fleshing out the characters and their emotions, making them feel real. He, and the other writers of the series, are also doing a great job keeping the material all-ages appropriate. Not that today's young readers are looking for an exciting Western ebook series, but if anyone is, it's nice to know there's one out there for them.

My only real complaint, as I write this review, is that I've now read all the Rancho Diablo books published to date, and probably have to wait until the fall until the next one!

Review from A. Kaplan on Amazon!