Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Bad Wolf Productions Indie Short Film Fest

Bad Wolf Productions is accepting short film submissions for the Bad Wolf Productions Indie Short Film Fest.  All selections chosen will be shown Saturday, February 20, 2016, at 9:00 p.m. at the Zeitgeist Theater in New Orleans, Louisiana.  A short reception will follow. 


1.  All entries must be received by January 24, 2016.

2.  While we prefer films of ten minutes or less so we can showcase as many films as possible, all films will be reviewed.  If your film is a masterpiece, we will not disqualify it because of length.

3.  All genres are eligible.

4.  We have no rules as far as profanity, nudity, violence, or gore, but we do have to consider what is appropriate for a public audience.

5.  All entries must be submitted via a Vimeo link, minimum requirement 720p but 1080p preferred.  The download button must be present.  If you password protect, please be sure to provide the password.

6.  The Vimeo link must be emailed to badwolfproductions@cox.net and include the name the filmmaker wants associated with the film, the city, state, and country where the film was shot, if the film has premiered anywhere and if so, where, and if it has received any awards in any film competitions. Include your password as well if your film is password protected.

7.  If your film is chosen, you will be required to sign an agreement certifying that you have all of the necessary actor, crew, music, property, location, etc. releases and have cleared anything that needs to be cleared. This must be either scanned and emailed or printed and faxed back to us by February 7, 2016. If the filmmaker is under 18, his or her parent must also sign the agreement.

8.  There is no entry fee and no fee for admission.

PLEASE NOTE:  You will receive an email confirmation within 24 hours of our receipt of the film. If you do not, please email us to verify receipt.

Notification of films accepted will be emailed and posted by January 30, 2016.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Hello 2016

So it's a new year, that time when I make resolutions I have no intention of keeping and plan to be a better person.  This year will be different, right? Not so much.  

So with the idea in mind that I probably won't keep them anyway, here are my ten resolutions for 2016:

1.  Try to be less adorable.  It's hard. As I get older, it's a natural progression that I get more precious. I'm too old to be beautiful or sexy or even really pretty, so I'll take adorable.  But since I probably won't keep this resolution anyway, I'm going to pretend to try.

2.  Pay off my bills.  I can barely write that with a straight face. I'll go right from this blog to some online shopping trying to catch New Year's deals.  I just cleaned out my closet from last year, and it is looking hungry.

3.  Lose weight. Okay, this one I probably will keep, the most difficult one, the one no one keeps. Because I lost 30 pounds in 2015.  Really, since September 22, which is when I started walking on a tread climber to rehab my legs from a head on collision in 2008.  Yes, it has taken me that long to decide I was ready.  I hate to write down how much I've lost, although I'm kind of proud of it, because anyone who actually knows me will then realize how fat I was because they can see how much weight I still have to lose.  But I lost another pound during Thanksgiving and managed to maintain during Christmas, even with being out of town, so I think I'll keep this one going.

4.  Quit cursing.  Like hell I will.  I am a lawyer. I am a writer. I am a good person. I feed stray cats and all three of my dogs and my two cats were rescues.  I was the PTO president at my daughters' school for a year and on the board a bunch of years.  I give bums dollars.  Sometimes fives.  I over tip, even when the service is crappy.  I pray for strangers on Facebook even though I am completely not religious.  If I want to curse, I'm going to curse. Even good people need a stress outlet.

5.  Quit treating driving like a competition. I'm a Sagittarius.  Everything is a competition.

6.  Finish writing book three and four of my series with Oak Tree Press.  This is another one I'll actually do. Chocolate City Justice Part 1, The Party, has a July release date, and Part Two, The Storm, a December release. Not finishing isn't an option.

7.  Organize my office.  Nah. I prefer working in the living room anyway.

8.  Make the hubby finish renovating the bathroom he started in 1999.  If it hasn't happened yet, it probably won't.

9.  Walk the dogs.  We have a big back yard, I'm not sure why that's even a thing.

10.  Be a better person.  This one I always try. I don't know if it's really fair to call it a resolution. I mean, who really tries to be a worse person?

January of 2017 I'll look back and check my progress.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Baba Yaga and the Road to Georgia

I recently wrote a short script--40 pages-- called The Road to Georgia, for a grant competition.  The prize is 50 Gs to shoot the film.  I'll admit the process was arduous.

The application process included not only submitting the screenplay, logline, and synopsis, but the director's vision, social media/marketing plan, distribution plan, key people involved in the project and their experience, two letters of recommendation for the team, which included me, as writer and director, and my husband, as producer, and any additional material.  We also included a link to a prior short film we produced, The Shylock's Daughter, and a link to the trailer made just for the contest.  And then there was the budget, which required calls to get prices for insurance, including worker's comp, tech people, grip, equipment, not to mention how much of the budget to pay cast and crew. The production needed a tentative caterer, a costumer, hair and makeup, an accountant, and a food truck.

The film is a romantic comedy and involves Baba Yaga, a character from Russian folklore.  We have taken a few liberties and made her a fortune teller.  Because it's a comedy, and depictions of Baba Yaga show her to look curiously similar to my hubby, he is playing her in the film.

If we don't win the grant, we are going to look for other funding, but it would be nice to win.

Here is the link to the trailer:  https://vimeo.com/139158287

My favorite part about the process so far was shooting the trailer and getting a group of actors to workshop the scenes so I could see what worked and what didn't.  It is so valuable to listen to the characters interacting as opposed to just reading the lines myself.  I may see if the troupe will read dialogue from Chocolate City Justice, the third of the Crescent City Mystery series, while I'm still working on it.  

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Writing and Editing

I spent the better part of yesterday editing one of my novels that is already in print. A reader complained that the novel was poorly edited. There was one glaring typo in it, which I won't point out in case other readers haven't found it. But the reader also indicated a misuse of the word "there" in place of the word "their."  I went through the manuscript and used the 'find' feature to locate every time the words  "there" and  "their" were written and found they were all used correctly.  So the reader either is unaware of the correct use of the words herself, or she was just being spiteful.

I don't think one typo--which is actually a real word, just not the word it was supposed to be--constitutes horrible editing.  I have a publisher. My books are edited. We try our best not to let anything sneak through the cracks.  That being said, even the best editor  or publisher or writer in the world can miss a word.

Our brains tend to make sense of the words we see on the page, whether they are misspelled or not.  This means it is difficult to make sure that any manuscript is one hundred percent perfect.

So now I am looking back through both of my published novels and trying to make them perfect to have my publisher in effect re-publish them.  I am also working on the third and fourth books in the series, trying to make the story, which was originally going to take place in one book, less complicated by stretching it over two. 

And then I will rewrite, edit, have it edited, and it will be published in two parts, Chocolate City Justice Part One and Part Two. 

And they may not be perfect. A typo just may get through.

Hopefully, my readers will enjoy the story anyway.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

How the 2015 Vampire Diaries finale is like a flawed novel

I don't ordinarily blog about TV shows. I tweet about them, and occasionally post on Facebook or Instagram or even Pinterest, but I tend to write only about writing novels and screenplays, maybe occasionally a short story.

Image result for vampire diaries
But since January I got really hooked on a CW show called The Vampire Diaries.  I discovered it by accident on Netflix.  I was catching up on a few episodes of Reign that I had missed early on, and a bunch of episodes of Blue Bloods that I started watching late in the game. I had seen two or three parts of episodes of TVD before, and it seemed interesting, but it was difficult to follow because it's serialized and I hadn't seen the earlier episodes.

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Vampires are Sexy
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Damon and Stefan Salvatore
So I watched the first episode and kind of liked it.  I particularly liked the evil character, Damon Salvatore, who they brought in at the end of the series premiere.  I decided to watch the second episode and at the end of that, I was hooked.  I binge watched like crazy until I had caught up to the middle of season six, which was just coming back on after a brief hiatus.

Since then, I have been an obsessed viewer.  Although it's really a supernatural melodramatic nighttime teenage/young adult soap opera type of show, it has a lot of elements that I love in novels. 

It has a lot of suspense and mystery.  It has its share of really well-written characters, and a few of the characters get some really exceptional dialogue. More than that, and near and dear to my heart, it has a lot of double crosses that you just don't see coming.  I love an unexpected double cross.

So I was happy with my new TV show, although the writers do occasionally recycle the same plot lines.  But since I really loved most of the characters, it was a forgivable sin.  And then I found out, along with all the other fans, that Nina Dobrev, the actress who plays the protagonist, Elena Gilbert, was leaving the show at the end of the season.

Now the show centers primarily around Elena and two vampire brothers, Stefan, her former love from seasons 1-2 and part of 3, and Damon, Stefan's brother who started out evil but changed a whole lot to win her from his brother.  So it was difficult to see how the show was going to continue without her.

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Damon and Elena
The big issue was how they were going to write her off of the show, particularly since the focus of much of the last two seasons has involved her volatile relationship with the evil brother who is now halfway good.

So tonight was the season finale. Everyone pretty much thought next year was going to be the last year of the show because ratings are falling dismally, although on the CW the ratings are never that high to begin with, and it still may last only another year.  But the issue remains how do they go another year without the leading lady and was there a chance she would come back on for a series finale in the future.

I expected a lot from the show. It should have been phenomenally sad with Elena telling everyone goodbye (from a coma, no less) while she is put pretty much in storage until she can wake up again. It's kind of like a Sleeping Beauty spell was put on her. 

Ultimately, I was left disappointed.  The plot devices felt cheap and full of holes. A lot of the logic and continuity of the show was lacking, which is not good for a show in the supernatural genre which has to rely on the consistency of its mythology in order for the viewers to buy into it.  The entire episode felt sort of schizophrenic and disjointed, and I felt disconnected to most of the characters for the first time.

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Elene and Jeremy
It made me think of some novels I've read where there's a good story in there, but then there's a lot of extraneous stuff that isn't necessary to push the story forward, not even for character development or as a red herring.  It also reminded me of novels I've read where the story is kind of all over the place and then the ending is rushed just to tie up the loose ends.

Maybe this should have been two episodes, one containing the actual plot, and the other all of the goodbyes.  And even the goodbyes didn't draw the emotional response they should have, with the exception of two-- one scene with her guardian whose pregnant (with twins) wife had just been murdered during the episode, and one with her brother, who will likely be dead by the time the spell is broken.  (Nearly everyone else is a vampire, so they'll be the same when she wakes up regardless.)

So while I don't normally blog about TV shows, this particular finale was so similar to a poorly crafted novel I felt a need.  And I'm pretty sure my obsession with The Vampire Diaries has ended for the time being.  Of course, that doesn't mean I won't watch it next year. Maybe.

Friday, April 3, 2015

F.M. Meredith (aka Marilyn Meredith) Guest Blogger

My Writing Process
Marilyn with Billie Johnson

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that authors all have their own writing process—and this is how I do it. To be perfectly honest, though, mine has changed a bit over the years.

I’ve never been one to outline or plan ahead what each chapter will be. When I was writing historical sagas (only two) I did a lot of research as far as an historical timeline so the fictional events would coincide appropriately. For this, I kept 3X5 cards with pertinent information.

As far as 3X5 cards, I still have a set for each of my series with information about the ongoing main characters such as physical attributes and cars they drive. I haven’t really kept them up-to-date, nor do I refer to them as often as I should.

Violent Departures
Because I’m writing two series, which means two books a year, I’ve streamlined my process.

For each book, I have a spiral notebook where I write down the new characters I’m going to introduce like the person who is going to die, who might have wanted that person dead and why (usually for three or more suspects), the way the person will be killed, and any other facts that I want to weave into the story.

In this notebook, I keep track of the days things happen. In most of my mysteries, time moves quickly.

When I have a pretty good idea of where the story is headed, I try to begin with a catchy or at least intriguing first sentence. And then I just start writing. I usually end each chapter with a cliff-hanger—sometimes in the middle of a scene. 

As new ideas pop in my head—and they do often—I jot them down in the notebook.

I do my writing directly to the computer in most cases, but if I’m out of town I might write in longhand in that same notebook.

Some brainstorming I do on trips with my husband, while he’s driving.

I try to write at least five days a week, always in the morning when my brain is freshest. Sometimes I get distracted by other jobs—such as writing a blog post such as this one.

Every chapter is read to the critique group that I’ve belonged to for many, many years. I pay attention to everything that is said though I don’t always do exactly what they’ve suggested, but usually I’ll make some change.

Once they’ve heard everything, I go over the manuscript again looking for typos, awkward phrases, dialogue that doesn’t sound right, and inconsistencies. I have an editor I like to use who is good at catching inconsistencies I missed. Once I’ve addressed her suggestions, I send the corrected manuscript onto my publisher.

When she sends the proof back to me, I go over it carefully, looking for typos etc. again. It’s always shocking how many I find.

While all this is going on, I’m busy planning my promotion for the book, and writing the other series.

F. M. Meredith aka Marilyn Meredith

Violent Departures:
College student, Veronica Randall, disappears from her car in her own driveway, everyone in the Rocky Bluff P.D. is looking for her. Detective Milligan and family move into a house that may be haunted. Officer Butler is assigned to train a new hire and faces several major challenges.

F.M. Meredith, also known as Marilyn Meredith, is the author of over thirty published novels. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Besides having family members in law enforcement, she lived in a town much like Rocky Bluff with many police families as neighbors.

Because it has been popular on my other blog tours, once again I’m offering the chance for the person who comments on the most blog posts during this tour to have a character named for him or her in the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery.

Or if that doesn’t appeal, the person may choose one of the earlier books in the series—either a print book or Kindle copy.


Purchase Violent Departures  http://tinyurl.com/jvmubw5

Tomorrow I’m visiting http://justthefactsmaam.blogspot.com/ and I wrote about the research I do.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

JOYCE ANN BROWN - Twelve Question Tuesday

Joyce Ann Brown
1.  Please tell me the three most important things people should know about you.
The protagonist I invented for my mystery series is a landlady.
I am a landlady.
I’m a story teller.

2.  Are you a dog person or a cat person?
I’m both, but I’ve had more cats in my life than dogs. My cats are named Chloe and Moose.

3.  Tea or coffee?
Tea, for sure, even at Starbucks.

4.  Boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, or commando?
I don’t relish seeing jolly ‘ol St. Nick in a commando, but I do like eye-candy.

5.  What was the first thing you ever wrote?
I wrote stories and poems in elementary school and loved it, but I don’t remember the first. For pay, I wrote an article for a local magazine several years ago and earned a whole eighty dollars. Wow. I knew I’d made it big.

6.  When did you finally decide to call yourself a writer?
Oh, that eighty-dollar feature article did it. But, author? My first two books have just been published, and I’m excited to tell people I’m an author now.

7.  Which of your works are you most proud to have written?
I’m always most proud of my most recent project. So, in that regard, I’m most proud of Furtive Investigation, the second Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery.

8.  What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?
I saw my life pass in front of my eyes, as they say, the time a deer jumped onto the highway in front of my car and crashed into the windshield. But another event, which happened when I was only eight years old, comes to mind. My family moved to a new neighborhood over winter holiday. On the way home from my first day at my new school, I turned on the wrong street and lost my way. I could write a spooky story about the elderly lady who saw me crying on the sidewalk, took me in, and helped me find my way home. A nice lady—but the entire episode seemed scary to me.

9.  How did you end up getting published?
I rejected or received rejections from various presses before being encouraged at many authors at conferences and writers groups to Indie publish. With help from professional editors and cover artists, that’s what I did.

10.  Would you be food or fighter if the zombie apocalypse were to happen?
Fighter, of course. No one wants to be zombie food. Or—do they? I’d like to become food for a lovely tree when I die.

11.  What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
I parachuted from a small plane. Oh, wait, I stayed in the plane and watched someone else do that. I’m not a super daredevil.

12.  Would you rather be rich or famous—and you could have only one—and why? The fame would be based on something good, not something like being the best serial killer or anything like that.
I pick fame over riches. If I become famous, it will be because people love my writing or because I’ve brought about world peace. Either of those would make me happy. Therefore, I’d have fame and happiness.


Joyce Ann Brown, http://www.joyceannbrown.com/ is a former librarian, a landlady, a story teller, a freelance writer, and the author of the Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery series. In CATASTROPHIC CONNECTIONS, Sylvester, nicknamed Psycho Cat, alerts Beth, the landlady, to the disappearance of her niece. Beth discovers that investigating a missing person is dangerous as she runs into thieves and a murderer. Psycho Cat isn’t daunted.

Psycho Cat sniffs out another dire mystery in FURTIVE INVESTIGATION when he discovers a human skeleton in an attic of one of Beth’s rental units. Police investigators are told to drop the cold case after a short time, and Beth takes up the sleuthing. She contacts former tenants for clues to the identities of the victim and the killer and uncovers a drug king in the process.
Find out more about the author on her  author page  Joyce Ann Brown Amazon Author Page and read her blogs: https://retirementchoicescozymystery.wordpress.com/ and https://hikingkctrails.wordpress.com/

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