creative choices

Wrestling with Monsters…[NSFW]

Author’s Note: This is a converted blog entry. It was originally published on 04.21.14 @ 10:10pm, US Pacific.

[NSFW] Not Safe For Work entry! Fair Warning…

So I didn’t post yesterday.

You wanna know why? Cause I spent all of Easter Sunday (I am NOT religious by any stretch of the imagination, so no worries there – just giving a common frame of reference for ya) battling the server that this site is hosted on.

So why the battle that raged since 3am on Saturday morning through the day and well into Sunday evening? Well it seems that the application I am using to build this here site is a tricky bitchy monster when it comes to its built in SFTP capabilities. I put the tech at TMD Hosting through the wringer this weekend. And since I am a network engineer by profession (aspiring to move away from that to full time writing if I can swing it) I knew what they were dealing with on their end trying to get my software ftp client to consistently allow my newly changed files to upload to their servers.

Yeah, it was a monumental struggle. Ticket updates flying back and forth. The really pisser of this whole thing? The FTP builtin client on this web development app just plain sucks (and not in a  way that a guy needs things to suck if you get my meaning).

Well, what should be simple has turned into a crap assed convoluted way to upload and sync my files. Not that you give a rat’s ass about it. I don’t expect you to. I am just sayin’ it cause I missed doing my daily writers blog because I was so fucking wrapped up in my server/ftp shit that I plum ran out of energy when it came to actually posting shit here.

[Putting soap box away now]

Okay, so down to the other monster: the one in my Fae Wars saga. I had a vision last night as I was putting my weary head down. And it was monumental in the shift of my story (it’s a good thing that I am still in the early stages of writing the first book). This whole shit though is killer and it’s so gonna rock the story even better. Movie option time better. My Fae baddies just got a whole lotta bad ass-ier…(I know that’s not really a word – but that’s the beauty of a living language: say it often enough and it will be a part of the vernacular. It just happens. Something the hubby rails against cause he comes from a looooooooong line of educational professionals).  School runs knee deep with his brood. I’m good with that. He’s definitely my Marco Sforza (and if you don’t know who that is – mosey on over to Angels of Mercy free read in the Works section and find out).

But here’s the dealio with my new and improved super baddy Fae (actually, I need to stop calling them Fae cause they are what started the whole Fae thing – they are the Feigr). They hark back to their Viking roots rather than the Celtic variety. And as such they are a whole lot vicious and vile when they want to be. The Feigr in my story are bringers of life and death. There are two sides and they are at war. This war has spilled over into our world for a very specific reason. I won’t say what it is just yet, but suffice to say that it is a real switch up from the original Viking Feigr. You could say they are the gay version of the Feigr but that’d be such a human way of looking at it. No, my guys are way more scarier than that. Think fundamentally as in the foundation of life scarier. And the people of Earth are nothing but pawns in this war. They don’t stand a chance. They are merely fodder for my Feigr (hence the title of the first book: Fear the Feigr). There’s a very good reason for humans to think that. But as I said, there are two sides to this tale. Two parts to this war. Bringers of life and the bringers of death. The ultimate clash of what is good and evil if you really think upon it.


As a kid I’ve always had a thing for monsters. Perhaps being gay I knew that I was different too and would be persecuted, belittled, followed, chased even. So I identified with their ‘outsider-ness’, their removal from the mainstream but being complex creatures all on their own. Dracula wasn’t evil. Not by a long shot. He was a man in great pain. I got that. I got the pathos. Something that I was so super grateful when my granddaughter (at the tender age of 3) watched the Frank Langella Dracula with me one Saturday afternoon. After we got through the whole thing – she was super still through it all. Never once shirked from any of the vampiric stuff. Didn’t hide her eyes once (granted the Badham/Langella version is a bit overly romantic). Even for a three year old – my girl was on tough cookie. So we got through to the end. I turned off the movie and the TV so she could talk about it.

I asked her – “So, what did you think?”

She’s a wise old soul of a little girl, “It was sad.”  (Pathos – I LOVE this girl! No really, even if she weren’t mine, I’d still be rockin’ the whole Keely-monster thing!) 

“What do you mean sad?”

“Well, he just wanted to be loved and they wouldn’t let that lady love him. It was sad.”  That’ssa my girl!

Pathos – at the age of three. Fucking bloody brilliant moment in my life: given to me by a three year old. So yeah, Keely and I are good with monsters.

So when I started to form the Feigr storyline, I knew who my protagonists were. It’s a love quadrangle (if you can believe it – full of deceit and malice on Seth’s part and love and healing on Sylas’). And the story is very sexual in nature – very liquid in how they use their bodies to augment what they can do.


Without a doubt, Antonio Biaggi one of the sexiest gay porn actors out there.
Doesn’t take away from the hubby, but Antonio’s definitely got it goin’ on…

For the Life Bearers –  Sylas (I used porn actor Antonio Biaggi (above and below) as the basis for this character – as his public persona just embodied the part – the man knows how to seed, that’s for fucking sure)) – the reigning King of my Feigr Life Bringers. His first husband (Sylas’ not Antonio’s – just to be clear here) – Thorn, who was the Captain of his  personal guard before they were married. Sylas is the ultimate life bringer but also a voracious lover. So much so that Thorn is not the only husband to share his bed.


For the Death BringersSeth Stormbringer (porn actor Gavin Waters fits that bill just fine but with all the  snarky-ness of a Tom Hiddleson).


These two brother’s carry quite a bit of pain between them. And Thorn and Sebastian are in the middle.


I particularly like how Gavin looks in this picture – and i am not normally attracted to blonds.
But he just does it for me on some level. Maybe it’s just the way he fucks.

Then there’s the golden one – I can’t just say what he is because the entire saga hinges upon it –  Sebastian Alexander Collins (where I get my nom de plume). Sebastian is the one that all three men are after – for good reason. Sylas and Thorn because Sebastian came to them for help only to be pulled from any safety they could provide and whisked away.

Out of reach – and into our world. With no memory of who or what he is. But that (as they say) is just the beginning…

My Feigr are fucking dangerous motherfuckers (good and bad). And there is very little that separate them. And the humans of this world can precious little about it. There’s no ‘evil loses because we all prayed it away’ or ‘an infection that they can’t cure takes them out’ or the Hollywood go to – ‘let’s just nuke ‘em.’ None of that will help the human’s involved in this story. It’s gonna be brutal, apocalyptic in scope and scale.

But all is not lost…

Sebastian can turn it all around. If only he can remember who and what he is. But it’s not as simple as just walking up and to him and tell him. There’s a twist in why no one can do that – and the drama is born out of that little twist.

Sebastian is just a senior in high school, got a rockin’ ballet dancing girlfriend and is just trying to figure shit out before he graduates. ‘Cept his eye keeps roving over to his bestest buddy in the whole world: Thorn. Thorn means the world to Sebastian (maybe even more than his girlfriend). And that’s starting to scare him a bit. And a little bit, not.

When you are the beings that live on the cusp between creation and devastation (in equal measures), some bad assed shit his bound to happen. I can’t wait to get it rolling either.

Free Fear the Feigr read to be posted this weekend (5/26) so keep an eye out for it.

Yeah, monsters can definitely kick your ass. But they can also be the best fucking gift around.

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Books and Movie Options

Author’s Note:  This is a converted blog entry. It was originally published on 04.19.14 @ 11:16pm, US Pacific.

Okay, so I just finished watching ‘The Geography Club’ which is based on the novel of the same name by out-gay author Brent Hartinger.


The ‘Geography Club’ book cover as it was originally published.

First off, I love the books (even if one of them in the series was not my particular favorite – the plot seemed a bit contrived or too messagey for my tastes). Russell Middlebrook is a great GYA (no, I didn’t misspell that ) – gay young adult, character. The series virtually has no sexual scenes in it. It is more about Russell’s evolving ownership of who he is and what that means to him and to those he surrounds himself with.

I’ve reread the books several times. I love the tapestry that Mr. Hartinger brings to the table with his characters (both large and small) within this creative and entertaining world. Brent is a great storyteller with a fine and distinctive voice. It’s no wonder why the book(s) were optioned. It’s a great story to tell and in this modern age where we are taking up the no bully call, it’s a very timely message to get out there. When I heard they were making the movie of the first book I was thrilled.

Then I started to hear about the ‘creative choices’ that Hollyweird was beginning to make regarding the work.

So here’s the dealio with this – My daughter graduated Magna Cum Laude from SFSU film school. So you can best believe I was in the thick of it with her required movie shoots, her film projects (hell, I assisted in the editing process financially, physically and emotionally). I have well over forty years of being in theatre. I’ve worked on various film projects throughout those years as well. So when Hollywood (even an independent movie company) makes ‘creative choices’ that deviate from the core essence of the film as a reader and an audience member in that theater i feel nothing but disappointment with a light dusting of rage.

The production of Geography Club as a movie unit was cohesive and professional all the way. There was nothing amateurish about the project or the final product. The cast was great (even if they barely were passable as teens in high school – (why do casting directors insist on casting like 5 to 20 years beyond the actual age of where the characters are supposed to be??) I liked the cast as a whole – even if Alex Newell’s character didn’t really gel in this new ‘creative choice’ version of the Hartinger story. I knew it was a name the youngsters would recognize from his stint in Glee. I get that. Not that I agree with it, but I get it.


Sidebar casting note on the film: There was absolutely NO way that I was ever going to believe  Alex’s character was even remotely 80/20. That actor only seems to have one note when it comes to acting (thus far) and it was rather tiring on Glee. To foist his girlish mannerisms and try to get the audience to accept that he remotely thinks of himself as 80/20 (straight/gay) would’ve worked better with an actor that could play the straighter part a bit more deftly. 

In the books the sport was baseball. Why the producers went with football was beyond me. It just didn’t make any sense creatively. There’s nothing wrong with the macho image of baseball – so why the change up? Was one of the producers a fucking football fan? Great – keep it out of the movies you produce and go watch your fucking games on TV or in the stadium like the rest of us. The actor playing Kevin btw, couldn’t even respond like a quarterback would in a game. Did no one think to coach him? My hubby used to play for Clemson back in the day. And before that it was at Massillon back in Ohio – arguably the birthplace of modern football as we know it today. So while I am not the football fanatic fan here, the hubby is. When Justin Deely’s Kevin had the ball my hubby just rolled his eyes. Now for the other eye roll moment of the film? When the geeky bullied Bryan character – played beautifully by Teo Olivares, was soothing his battered soul by playing the cello in the band room while crying, the hubby rolled his eyes again (why? well, only because he used to study piano under Szell and his father was the assistant conductor and head of the brass section for Szell’s orchestra). We both have a grumble about how badly Hollywood misses the mark when an actor has to ‘play’ an instrument. Teo obviously was left to his own devices when figuring out how to play the scene. The only issue was he didn’t have the greatest coaching while doing it. That lack of direction broke the great drama going on with what was supposed to be conveyed in that scene.

But I am getting ahead of myself a bit. You see, when books get optioned into films the first thing the studios often tell an author is – ‘well, books aren’t movies, so there’ll be some creative choices we’ll have to make along the way.’ To which, if it were me, I’d say fine – either I am in and have to approve any changes to my world or deals off. And yes, I’d walk away from any money or implied prestige (and let’s be honest here, even if a book gets optioned there’s no guarantee it’ll be a hit) of having my work produced for film.

Way I figure it, you came to me because of the world I created. Because of the way I told a particular story. Therefore, let’s discuss this whole thing but keep it buried in the back of your little skull that it is my story – different medium I’ll grant you – but no different in its execution. That part is a lie. It is the greatest lie that Hollywood pushes to novelists who are caught up that ‘Hollywood’ called and wants to make a movie of your work. They are banking on the fact that a novelist knows nothing about movie industry. And they play upon that misconception to their advantage. Suddenly the screenwriter swoops in with the producers and begin with their machete’s whacking away at the world they ‘supposedly fell in love with.’

Not that I think that my stuff will get turned into a film – unless of course, my daughter decides to do something with one of my books and is successful in raising the cash to do so. Then we’ll talk. But then again, I’ve got the Daddy card to play as well.

In the end my feelings about Geography Club were mixed. I was happy that it was made. But the screenplay was TERRIBLE. OMG, it was fucking flat as all fuck. The actors did the best with what they were given but the screenplay carried none of the weight in the light humor or the darker pathos. It was just flatlined right out of the gate. I watched it with my granddaughter. In the end she said it was an okay movie but was more interested in what I told her the books were about and how they panned out and where the movie deviate and went horribly wrong. So at least she’s interested in reading Hartinger’s series, so that’s a plus. But I was saddened that it never made it’s money back so they’ll be no other Middlebrook movies down the road. The series was a brilliant one to choose in this time of the anti-bully movement that is solidly taking root in America. Because of the mismanagement and seriously misaligned creative choices (really, that term alone should equate ‘cancer’ to a novelist’s world – I am telling you know.) And don’t think that audience members don’t already know this. I have NEVER heard a viewer say – ‘gee, that was BETTER than the book…’ You never really hear that… But the reverse is often true.

And don’t get me started on the Harry Potter series – or I’ll be writing about that travesty until the cows literally come home.

I am beyond sad that the Middlebrook blew it’s wad on this production. The ‘creative choices’ just flat out sucked. It’s not even my world, but dammit, it was a world I loved nonetheless. I hold the director and producers completely accountable for the product that arrived flatlined before it even had a chance to take its first breath.

So grab a fucking clue Hollyweird. If you can’t write the good shit, then stop crapping on those that do actually write them. Do them justice rather than try to come in at the last minute and trash up some novelists world just cause you think you can. (**cough** “Mortal Instruments, much? **cough**)

Another gay series has been optioned for production. Jay Bell’s brilliant Season’s series. If I love Hartingers books, I fucking am obsessed with Bell’s series. Now the worry sets in. The film site is up – Something Like Summer .  And if Hartinger’s work was any indication, I am seriously worried about Bell’s foray into film. The site looks good. The word from Bell is encouraging. I just hope they do the author and his world justice this time around.

We’ll see, though, don’t expect me to hold my breath about it (even if I do cross my fingers and toes on it).

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