Monday, August 29, 2011

Amazon Queen Storyboard Video Part 2

Hey all,

Some folks asked me how to see the storyboards talked about in the last posting. The link is not the graphic, the link is at the bottom of the posting... Check it out :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I've been busy all week! Had a meeting with the mayor of San Bernardino regarding my non-fiction book, Empire of the Wheel; had some pre-production admin on the documentary I'm directing next month; plus a lot of publishing biz. But I'm back with a posting about the Secret of the Amazon Queen movie!

The linked video is simply a roll of the opening sequence of the film on storyboards. It shows how the characters end up lost in the Amazon jungle. The music that is on the video is not what will be used in the film. Also, about half the images do not have the admin data added yet. I wanted to get this posted quickly for you all to see.

My storyboard artist is Yanis Zambeis of Rancho Mirage, California. I spent the day with him and his girlfriend, Tammy Cardona, who will be a make-up artist on the film. Once we finish the storyboard process, Yanis will pick up a camera and capture video throughout production for the 'making of' special feature that will be included in the DVD/BluRay(whatever the format is next year...).

If you don't understand what storyboards are and do, please ask. The art is not supposed to be anything spectacular. It merely serves a function...

So...Click Here!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Conan the Barbarian Movie Comments


I'm going to be nice and give this film a B minus, mainly because I am not a major Conan fan and I'm not sure how the true fans will feel about it. I'm more of a Solomon Kane guy and REH's horror and other pulp adventure stories. There are some things I liked about this Conan. However, it just doesn't quite deliver.

I like the guy playing Conan, yet I don't. He certainly looks right, but my impression of the character has always been a bit more of a harder man, mature beyond his years. This actor playing Conan isn't bad, but he could have been better to enough of a degree to have made the movie better. The love interest character isn't bad and though they push the line of the 'woman equal to her man' motif, they manage to stay just on this side of the usual annoying Hollywood depiction of said theme. There was never a doubt that Stephen Lang would be without flaw as the villain, however I'm a bit disappointed in the character Rose McGowan plays. They really should have pushed this one to the limit, with the twisted sexiness and the sadism. It could have been a role that she redefined her career with, but alas it

was not. There is an aspect to the story that requires the pure-blooded priestess (Conan's aforementioned love interest)that I think they could have done better. I won't spoil it, but the pure-blooded gal should have merely been needed for a sacrifice and what they were trying to do through her would have made the movie better if they tried to do that same thing through Rose McGowan's character. As a matter of fact, there is a scene that hints at the theme that would have made the story pop and sizzle, but they blew it. Anyway, if you see the movie, you should catch my logic...

Visually and viscerally, the movie delivers, certainly. I think REH would have approved of those elements, and also the R rating. That I give them kudos for, having the balls to depict Howard's work on the level it was intended. However, the story suffers for the overemphasis on the fighting. Conan isn't Conan without the fighting and violence, but neither is it Conan when the story gets blurry because of it. It was a nice little kick to see so many bare breasts, because Conan's origins are in pulp and boobs are every bit as much a part of that tradition as the gristle and swordplay. This is a movie for boys and men, after all, but smart women with a sense of humor and an understanding of the genre will appreciate it on some level. Nitpicky moms and peace-loving feminists will not enjoy this movie. That's one of things I like about Conan!

I would say that the great Conan movie is yet to be made and will honestly be somewhere between this new film and the Arnold version of the 80s (which also has its flaws). This Conan may be acceptable to fans, but it clearly missed the crowd-pleaser objective.

That said, if they make a sequel, I will give it a chance...

Cover Art Preview For New Richard Senate Book!

Here it is, folks! The cover art for Richard Senate's second book of fiction, to be published this month at Lost Continent Library. It will be available at Amazon as a Kindle book...More to follow, once we release it...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Movie Recommendation

It's not typical adventure, but it does involve an expedition of sorts and I ended up liking it a lot.

I'm talking about the 1966 western caper film, The Professionals, starring Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan and Woody Strode, with Jack Palance, Claudia Cardinale and Ralph Bellamy. It's somewhere around 1913 or so and an American millionaire hires our heroes to rescue his kidnapped young Mexican wife. Naturally, the heroes don't have a better offer so they team up and take the job, each with their own talents. Off they go south of the border to rescue the wife from the revolutionary who has abducted her. What ensues is the usual course of events (with some nice not typical touches), but what results is refreshingly played well. I won't tell you exactly what happens because I hate spoiler reviews. Watch the movie yourself and you'll see how it unfolds.

First of all, I'm not one of those who follows the herd on movies. I've never particularly been a fan of The Magnificent Seven and, while I have grown to sincerely appreciate the greatness of The Searchers, it's not my favorite western, personally. I feel much the same way about The Dirty Dozen as I do the M7: an ensemble cast wherein everybody gets to express their characters in cloyingly cute or excessively stoic in their manliness poses throughout the "you're supposed to cheer everything they do" action. I'm not saying these are bad movies at all; I'm saying they don't work on me the way they seem to charm their fans. The team hero movies of the 60s and 70s were as iffy to me as buddy pictures were in the 80s and 90s, most of them produced simply to cash in on the star power and the story suffers.

But The Professionals surprised me, pleasantly. Where it could have been one typical "give me my solo" scene after another, it stops short of that to allow the movie to be the star, i.e. it doesn't sacrifice the story to the characters. Yet, the actors seem to have been just fine and did their jobs well. Lee Marvin is believable, Burt Lancaster never takes his grinning wise-ass over the line, and Woody Strode is a character with as much wood in the game as the others rather than being there as an excuse to make a social statement as was often done with black characters during that time of social transition. Robert Ryan shows what experience can do in his subdued but no less powerful role. I would like to note that here's a cast of guys over forty carrying a movie VERY WELL.

Claudia Cardinale is a delight, in her first Hollywood film, and Jack Palance is allowed to be something less than comic book menacing. It makes me wish he got to do more leading hero roles. Marie Gomez is a lot of fun as the gun-slinging gal who NEVER says no to ANYONE.

This film was shot in Nevada and Palm Springs and Hollywood and it looks great. The same cinematographer would go on to shoot Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid. The action moves along and, as I said before, is never sacrificed or watered down to feed some actor's ego. It is what it is, a caper adventure against an end-of-the-era western backdrop, and it delivers a satisfying time, with an ending that left me really liking this movie.

I recommend The Professionals!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Three New Tee Shirts Posted!

Thank you for bearing with these posts; I don't know how else to inform you of the details and availability of these great shirts...

Tonight's additions:

Lemurian Princess Tee Shirt features our very first print ad run in World Explorers Magazine and several other print pubs starting in 2003. This is the one that set the tone for LCL when it emerged onto the adventure literature and New Pulp world. Image on a white tee shirt for $12 plus shipping (and tax for CA residents)...

I Will See You In Time
Dragon Tee Shirt features the dynamic and colorful cover art for the LCL book by Walter Bosley (me). Image on light grey shirt, i.e. like 'college' shirts. Price: $13 plus shipping (and tax for CA residents)...

Don't forget to indicate size when you order: S, M, L, XL, or XXL. These are quality shirts for the lowest prices available! Show your enthusiasm for classic adventure and pulp! Get yours today!

(There are four more designs to be posted...)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Richard Senate & The Age Of STEAM

Look for a new adventure fiction book from ghost hunter Richard Senate, author of LCL's Flight of the Hercules later this month. The new book is a collection of stories all set in the age of steam power dominance. Richard is a very natural writer of classic adventure so if you haven't read the first book, check it now before the new one comes out!

Flight of the Hercules is available on the links list to the right...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Secret of the Amazon Queen Storyboard Images!


As promised, here are some storyboard images from pre-production on the SOTAQ feature film. I spent an afternoon with artist Yanis Zambeis yesterday and we started the long but thoroughly enjoyable process of creating the visual script for the film. For those who may not understand what a storyboard is, it is every shot of the film put down in a simple, somewhat crude, form on paper. The purpose is to be a blueprint for the visual action and photographic composition of the film. In other words, the art is not supposed to be amazing, otherwise it would take forever to do one! Some directors pay artists to do elaborate storyboards, others do the most messy stick figure storyboards you'll ever see. I'm somewhere in the middle.

Anyway, I want to share the production of SOTAQ as we go along, so enjoy these images for what they are... (They are not a complete series of shots -- I don't want to give TOO much away, LOL)

Post Coming Soon!

Hey all,

I haven't posted since Sunday due to some family business. A few years ago, an individual attacked my father, resulting in his death several months later. After a three year court ordeal, this 'person' confessed. The sentencing hearing was just Tuesday and I've been busy with stuff. BUT, I'm watching a movie tonight and will have some review comments within the next 24 hours, and maybe some other stuff...

And yesterday I started the storyboards for 'Secret of the Amazon Queen', so I'll post some of those images...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Current Reading

Presently, I'm working through two bedtime books: Soldiers Sahib, which I told you about before but publishing and other business got me sidetracked from for a while, and James Hilton's Lost Horizon.

Perhaps you've seen the film starring Ronald Coleman, or the misfire in the 1970s starring Peter Finch. Actually the 70s version has some good elements, like Charles Boyer playing the mysterious grand puba of Shangri-La and Peter Finch as Conway. But the original version is the better one.

Lost Horizon has a great plot for any classic adventure fan, even with the lofty idealism that is its purpose: A man seeking a better world ends up on a hijacked plane that crashes in the Himalayas and the survivors are rescued by mysterious local natives who lead them to a paradise hidden from the world.

Haggard or Burroughs could have written such a story. Of course, there aren't prehistoric beasts for Conway to battle, unless you consider the 'beasts' of inner human struggle, blah blah blah. I've just reached the point in the story where Conway is on the plane, it has been hijacked and they've taken off again, flying perilously high in the misty mountain range...

Lost Horizon hasn't been adapted to film since the 1970s version (a musical, actually) and is overdue, I think. Naturally, Hollywood would insist on 'rebooting' and updating the story to make it more 'relevant', i.e. infecting the tale with youth and angst. But it would be best told in its original setting, the early 1930s, with grownups as written by Hilton. I think most reboots should earn the producers and directors who do them a boot in the ass...

I'm enjoying the book!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Conan Returns To The Big Screen!

OK, I am looking forward to this, I must admit.

It was sort of logical that Arnold did the character back in the 80s. That Conan was not entirely bad either. Honestly, I liked it when it came out and can still watch it today. However, this new version looks like the next level in doing REH some justice. Much like the Solomon Kane movie, I get the feeling the producers and director have a respect for the material. At least, the trailer leaves me with that impression...

What I like already: The texture of REH's world of Conan; Rose McGowan's freaky 'Red Sonja'-esque character; and that they cast someone not well known for Conan, as Arnold was already by the time he played the character. What I like most about this new guy is it appears he brings the lethal presence the character in the book possesses that Arnold didn't quite always deliver. Like Bond, Conan must make you believe he'd kill you in an instant if you pissed him off. Roger Moore's years turned Bond into anything but a cold-hearted assassin, that's why it was refreshing when they began return that character to his lethal roots, finally getting it right again with Daniel Craig. Thus it should be with Conan: the man should be a bad-ass, not necessarily politic or child-friendly.

The world of REH is not really for kids (though I advocate that EVERY boy should be introduced to his writings at a young age...), therefore Conan needs that lethal dark edge. By the trailer, this version seems to bring it -- however, the few times Conan speaks, there is a hint that something may be lacking. I will wait to pass judgement until after I see it. Basically, I can't wait to see it...

Enjoy the trailer: CONAN

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Writing New Book!

I have officially started on what will be the third Julius Corbin gothic adventure novel, titled Black Apples.

Six years ago, while in Saudi Arabia, I had started this novel but didn't get far due to other projects. Recently I've been hankering to get back to Julius Corbin, likely fueled by the pre-production development of the Secret of the Amazon Queen movie. However, making this blog active again has had something to do with it, as well. After three years of a non-fiction project, writing a time travel novel and publishing other writers' works, I'm ready to revisit my favorite creation, the lonesome hero Corbin. I think I also needed those six years for the story to cook a little more. It is the fulcrum of the saga, originally envisioned as a five book series, so when completed will take me beyond the halfway point. But Corbin fans shouldn't think that's all there is because the novels are set nine years apart, leaving plenty of room for more Corbin adventures in between the novels.

Essentially, I look at the five first novels as the framework. When they are done, you will have a beginning, middle and a definite end. Corbin will die in the last novel, set in 1908. Interestingly, the movie is set in 1909, the year after the last adventure of the books, but you're gonna have to live with that. If more than one movie based on the books is completed, they will likely be set only a year or two apart. The story in the SOTAQ film is such that a sequel will pick up moments after the first film ends. Tropic of Despair would then take place around 1910 or so, probably prior to the sinking of the Titanic.

Black Apples has Julius Corbin assigned to a protective service duty, helping a young lady deliver much needed medicine to her ailing father living in an arctic outpost.

Along for the journey is a pharmacist who sees a potential fortune in the very special remedy that is found in only one place: the ancient underworld beneath the American west. Naturally, there will be the usual expeditionary fun, eerie horrors, and pulpy thrills you've come to expect with the saga -- with one difference: This one is probably the least sexy of the books so far. (But don't worry, the book that follows this brings erotically charged adventure back to central stage...)

I'm looking forward to the writing of Black Apples. This story has Corbin in a different environment than the first two. Yes, there is the subterranean world, but it's a different brand than the first two, and a little more fleshed out. What I'm really looking forward to is having Corbin in the American west and Canadian northwest. Corbin has mostly been in tropical settings thus far, save for the short episode in Antarctica in Tropic of Despair. This one has opened with Corbin in an explorer's club with two good friends, smoking pipes and catching up...

So, I will provide updates as I write this novel. I plan to keep within the limit I set, bringing the book in at around 200 pages or less in published form. I wrote the first two books longhand because I was traveling and couldn't have my laptop with me, and I like that so I'll be writing this one by hand with a pen in a notebook. It seems fitting.

Black Apples, the new Julius Corbin adventure, is slated tentatively for release later this year...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Radio Misterioso Interview of EMPIRE OF THE WHEEL Authors

Go to the following link to hear last night's interview:

EMPIRE OF THE WHEEL On Radio Misterioso

But remember I am also on The Kevin Smith Show tonight at 7PM PST!

EMPIRE OF THE WHEEL: Missed Last Night? Tune In TONIGHT For Zodiac Killer Discovery

For those who missed last night's show on Radio Misterioso, I will be the guest tonight, Monday Aug 1, 7-9PM PST on The Kevin Smith

Even if you did listen in last night, each interviewer is different and Kevin will likely ask some questions that will hit on other aspects of the book. So if the San Bernardino Working Murders of 1915 interest you, log on and tune in tonight!