Sunday, October 31, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
The Prizes (13) are ebook downloads of:
Alison Paige – Little Red
Lissa Matthews – Cracklin’ Rosie
Kate Davies – Ritual Love
Mari Carr – Happy Hour
Sydney Somers – Primal Pleasure
Lexxie Couper – Death, The Vamp
N.J. Walters A Touch of Magick
How to Play: Go to the websites of the participating authors (above) and look for their Spook-a-palooza icon.
(HINT: The icons are on of the following: Candy, Costume, Ghost, Skull, Scarecrow, Broom, Witch, Bats)
Once you find all 12 icons, in an email list all twelve authors and their corresponding icons then send it to samhellion.contest at gmail.com.
And the second contest is to win a Kindle!
How to Enter - Visit each of the websites of the participating authors and write down their name and the book title of their latest Samhain release or upcoming (print or ebook). In an email list the author name, book title and email that to samhellion.contest at gmail.com. Good luck!!
Vivi Andrews / Leah Braemel / Cathryn Cade / Mari Carr / Kaye Chambers / Lynne Connolly
Lexxie Couper / Kate Davies / Nikki Duncan / Madelyn Ford / Anne Hope / Mary Hughes
Sloan Mcbride / Tilly Greene / Carolan Ivey / Myla Jackson / Beverly Rae / Jodi Redford
Moira Rogers / Jayne Rylon / Sydney Somers / J.C. Wilder / Amanda Young
For more info on both contests, and links to the participating authors' websites, visit http://www.samhellion.com/. Contests end on October 31. Good luck!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Her jaw dropped. “What?”
“Samhain,” he said.
“What about it?”
“‘Tis the time when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is lifted. And if the dead can walk among the living, why could a living soul not travel across time, as well?” He shoved a hand through his hair. “It explains much. Yer strange clothing, yer words, yer mannerisms.”
“Setting aside the fact that I could say the same thing about you, it’s impossible.”
“Time travel doesn’t exist.”
“Are ye so blinded to the world beyond yer ken, ye canna consider the possibility?”
“Of course I canna—can’t—consider it. I’m a scientist, for God’s sake!”
“And what would that be?”
Moira blew out a frustrated breath. “Someone who believes in facts and reality, who researches and predicts and accepts the natural world as it is, not someone who indulges in fantasy or wishful thinking.”
“And ye know all of the world as it is?”
He raised an eyebrow. “Can ye devise another explanation?”
“Well, no, but…”
“But ye are unwilling to consider this explanation, at least for tonight.”
She crossed her arms over her chest. “Fine. Explain it.”
“Gladly.” Aedan stretched his legs out in front of him. “First, ye are right ignorant of life today.” He lifted a hand. “Not to say ye are a fool, just—unschooled.”
Unschooled? After two advanced degrees?
“Ye know naught about Columba, nor the struggle between his people and ours. Ye talk of things I know nothing about. Ye believe me to be something I am not, and I know naught of what you are.”
“How do I know you aren’t just pretending?”
He leaned toward her until their faces were mere inches apart. “I dinna lie, and I dinna pretend. Can you say the same?”
His expression darkened. “Then I dinna understand why ye keep denying the truth, and yet call me the liar.”
She glared at him. “Okay, not a liar, but not grounded in reality, either.”
“Reality.” He snorted. “Ye deny reality.”
“I deny reality? You think I’ve traveled fifteen centuries back in time!”
“And why could this not happen?”
“Because the only way that it could happen is magic, and magic doesn’t exist!”
He regarded her with something uncomfortably close to pity. “It must be a sad, empty time ye live in.”
She opened her mouth, but clamped it shut again. How could she argue with him when she’d come to Iona because of that very reason? Once Gran was gone from her life, the magic had disappeared, too.
It didn’t mean she believed his fairy-tale explanation for what had happened tonight. But he was right.
Her life was sad. And empty. But she couldn’t bring herself to tell him so.
Instead, she closed her eyes. At least she didn’t have to look at his too-perceptive, too-attractive face.
Why did he have to be so gorgeous, when he’d obviously been dropped on his head as a child?
Because face it, the man was about as close to perfection as she’d ever seen. She squinted one eye open, inspecting him surreptitiously in the dimness of the cave.
The rest of him was just as impressive. A bronze torc circled his neck. Broad, strong shoulders strained against the rough woolen cape fastened across his chest.
Underneath, he wore a tunic of the same indeterminate color over leggings that hugged his powerful thighs.
“And do ye like what ye see?”
Her gaze flew upwards in time to see the smug look on his face. “I wasn’t…” But of course, she had been, so she just clamped her mouth shut and glared at him.
In response, he laughed softly and settled back against the wall of the cave opposite her, his long, muscular legs pressing against hers. Moira tried to shift, but in the cramped confines of the cave she didn’t have anywhere to move. Instead, the friction of their legs rubbing against each other sent an unwelcome shock of sexual awareness through her.
No, dammit. She did not want this man.
Well, she didn’t want to want him, anyway.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Haven't watched it yet? Here are ten reasons you should:
1. Richard Armitage.
2. Gorgeous cinematography, ranging from the pastoral beauty of the southern countryside to the stark lines of the northern mill town.
3. Richard Armitage in a cravat.
4. Thoughtful consideration of both sides of a union dispute, with neither cast as the unrelenting villain.
5. Richard Armitage in a snowstorm.
6. "Look back...look back at me."
7. Richard Armitage and a heartbreaking proposal. Sniff.
8. Lovely friendship between Margaret and Nicholas. If Mr. Thornton wasn't around, I'd totally ship them.
9. Have I mentioned Richard Armitage?
10. One of the best onscreen kisses, ever.
Here's a sneak peek:
Seriously, it's a great movie. I highly recommend it! If you haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for? Go, go, go!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
I read the book for the first time in junior high, which was, sadly, a bit too young for me to read it. I lost so much of the subtlety and humor; when I re-read it years later I was shocked at how much I laughed. But even back then there was something there that captivated me, something that was strong enough to bring me back for a second try.
Around that same time frame I vaguely remember watching the Olivier version of P & P. I know now that it's not a particularly faithful representation of the book, and the costumes are sadly inappropriate for the time period, but Greer Garson is adorable.
Years later, I saw the BBC six-hour miniseries, and fell hard for it - the casting, the directing, the script, the performances, everything. And, of course, Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. He owns my Pride and Prejudice heart.
So when I heard there was going to be another version, starring Keira Knightley, I was skeptical. With as much love as I had for the 1995 version, could I even give the 2005 theatrical-release-length version a fighting chance?
Surprisingly enough, I really enjoyed that version, too. I thought there were some lovely moments, particularly the one where Mr. Darcy hands Lizzie into the carriage and then walks away, flexing his hand, as if the sensation of touching her was too much. Small moments like that totally make or break films for me.
There are other versions as well, each with their ardent fans. So my question to you is - what's YOUR favorite version? Who do you think played the parts best, and who missed the mark?
And for a final treat, here's a video featuring five of the different versions, including the Bollywood film Bride and Prejudice. It's not on YouTube, so here's a link. Enjoy!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
6. What are your plans from here on out? Do you have a timeline or battle plan in mind?
Well, time is ticking away, because I have to play myself in my early thirties, and I’m not quite sure how much longer I’m gonna be able to get away with that. No one who has considered ‘the (718)’ doubts that it’s decent storytelling, but the boy-on-boy content is making a lot of the money people nervous, so I’m hoping that a little Internet notoriety will help our case. With all the gay bullying that’s going on, one could argue that this isn’t the best time to fund a project with queer content, but I’d like to argue that now is the PERFECT time to fund a project such as ours.
7. What are you currently working on?
Unfortunately, a lot of XY scatter graphs and pie charts. I do all of the graphics for investor relations at a hedge fund, and the fall is when we hold investor conferences, so now is the time when I make my mad money, which frees me up to pursue other projects during the year (for example, I just returned from my third season with Vermont Shakespeare Company, which is a fantastic little gig tantamount to a punk rock vacation on the lake with an AMAZING bunch of actors). Ben Beckley just contacted me, looking to write another ‘(718)’ script, so we’re gonna flesh out the St. Stephen arc and maybe introduce a Tyler Clementi-type storyline. I think [my character] Stephen needs to be slapped out of his LGBT apathy.
8. Why should readers of this blog check out the (718)?
I’d like to hope that people will find it to be good, entertaining storytelling with an ability to change a point of view or two. It’s a universal story—I’m just looking for love and trying to find my place in the world after my friends start moving on. If nothing else, it is at the very least honest storytelling, so much so that I may have to place some distance between myself and the character in subsequent episodes; when filming the pilot, I often felt I wasn’t acting so much as I was reliving some of my most painful and embarrassing memories. No exercises in cleverness here—‘the (718)’ is my story, and I’m sticking to it. I’m excited that women are responding to it as strongly as well, as are men of every sexual persuasion.
And I never set out to be political with this project, but given the political and social climates these days, I think a prominent gay character that is sexually active and a normal Joe might do a world of good. I kind of think that television has created a gay ghetto—Most of the very few gay characters I see on television are either (1) completely neutered, single, possibly closeted and emotionally tortured; (2) the mean, bitchy sidekick to the villain, or (3) competing on a reality show, outdragging the other queens. I don’t wish to discount any one of those varieties (except maybe #2). Be loud, be proud, or stay closeted—it’s your trip. Homosexuals account for 10% of the human race, so there is need for not only a bigger representation, but a more varied one.
And I’m quite adamant about making my sexuality a given circumstance, and not the only thing that defines me (although it seems as if that’s all I’ve been discussing with you). Patrick is a master improviser, and while filming would throw in an ad lib or two referencing my sexuality and I’d beg him not to—the strength of our relationship lies in the fact that none of my friends care that I’m queer and we co-exist very well. Some of the nicer compliments I’ve gotten on ‘the (718)’, particularly at the gay and Lesbian film festivals, have nothing to do with the writing or my performance, but of the premise itself—I get thanked by gay men for creating a show that reminds them of their friends, who are straight, and this is the first time they’ve seen that mix reflected. Being a homosexual does not make you an anomaly. And being a homosexual that counts the minutes until the 1pm NFL kickoff with your straight pals doesn’t make you an anomaly either.
Failing all of that, at least you get to hear me rap about the pleasures of giving oral sex. Very awkwardly, I might add. It’s completely ill, as the kids would have said seven years ago.
9. Who are you, anyway? Where did you come from? How did you get here?
I was born Stephen Bernard Parrish on a St. Patrick’s Day in the 1970s to a close-knit Irish Catholic family in Brooklyn. My father got transferred to Allentown, PA when I was in elementary school and a long, awkward adolescence followed. I enrolled at Penn State to study film production, found that I preferred film theory and decided I was going to pursue either journalism or academic writing. Wound up covering pop music for a Times Mirror newspaper before the Chicago Tribune swallowed it up, but fell in with a fantastic, now-defunct theater company in Allentown called the Theatre Outlet and did a LOT of theater. Did as much as I could in Allentown, decided to try acting in New York City, got into the actors unions, which told me they already had a Stephen Parrish so I changed my name to Parrish Hurley (my mom’s family name). Booked a national tour with the National Shakespeare Company and played Gremio in ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ opposite Darren Coyle as Hortensio. We became instant friends and drank lots of beer. My father died suddenly a month into the tour, flew back to Allentown to be with my family, stopped in to visit the Theatre Outlet before going back on tour, saw its production of ‘The Cripple of Inishmaan’ and remarked, “My God, that guy playing the lead is amazing! Who is he?” and was answered with “That’s Patrick Edgar, he’s moving to New York soon, is it okay if we give him your number?” and I said “Sure.” Finished the tour, Darren and I were both homeless at its conclusion, so we got an apartment together in Brooklyn. Shortly thereafter, Patrick Edgar called looking for a hot shower and couch on which to crash. The three of us became thick as thieves and drank lots and lots and lots and lots of beer. Darren is now married and living in Washington, DC and Patrick is married with a two-year old son and living in the Bronx and I’m still single and living in that same apartment in Brooklyn and doing just fine. GO GIANTS!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
One of those people was Parrish Hurley, an actor from New York they couldn't stop raving about. I "met" Parrish through Facebook, and got a chance to see his short film/TV pilot the (718), which I featured Monday on the blog. (Haven't seen it yet? What are you waiting for? Go watch!)
Since the creative process fascinates me, I invited Parrish to answer a few interview questions about how the (718) came to be, and where he hopes it's going from here. The first part of the interview follows; I'll post the second half tomorrow. I hope you enjoy getting to know Parrish as much as I did!
1. Tell me a little about the (718). What was the inspiration behind it? How did you go about putting it together?
‘the (718)’ is the story of me and my two best pals, Darren and Patrick, living and playing in Brooklyn. I was having a modest amount of success doing stand-up comedy at the time, and would always end my act telling the story that eventually became the Paul the Hot Irishman scenes in ‘the (718).’ I’d be standing there at Caroline’s on Broadway telling 300 strangers intimate details about my dating life, and just when I had them thinking things couldn’t possibly get any more absurd or pathetic, I’d hit them with “Have you ever tried to give a blow job after you’ve taken a bong hit?” When that one hit, it really REALLY hit, and I said to Darren, who had given up acting to focus on filmmaking, that we should make a short film based on that story, but he thought it would be stronger as a part of a larger television pilot.
Darren had just moved out—we had been roommates for eight-and-a-half years until he got engaged—and Patrick had moved to the Bronx with his wife a couple of years earlier. I had lulled myself into the ridiculous belief that the three of us would be living together and going to the pub to watch football until we were 80 years old. I figured that would make a great backdrop for a series—my two best pals moving on, forcing me to go out and try and find a mate, despite my lack of connection with the gay community. It set up all sorts of situations, first and foremost my having to seek my identity while losing my support system. We wanted the humor to be dry and deadpan, and we added a touch of magical realism by adding the rhyming and scheming F Train Messiah—in my scenes with him, I’m literally wrestling with my conscience and struggling to stop apologizing for my appearance and sexuality each time he calls me ‘Too Tall Nancy.’ Those scenes are fun, and exploit my limitations—I’ve got those internal rhythms, but outwardly, I’m so awkward and unsure, and my journey through the series lies in learning to accept and become comfortable with myself to the point where I’m fine without my pals and the counsel of The F Train Messiah.
Anyway, Darren was working as associate producer on ‘Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane’ and he and his crew, who were hungry to work on an actual narrative project, were coming to New York for a weekend and all graciously volunteered their time and talent. So we shot it.
2. How long did filming take? How about everything else connected to it - writing, editing, post-production, etc?
We filmed in two half days—that was about as long as the crew was going to be in town, and also about as long as we were going to get away with using ‘borrowed’ equipment. We were able to do no more than three takes of any given shot, which didn’t make for a best-case scenario, but everyone stepped up, and the frenetic nature of the shooting added a character to the show that’s kind of charming. Post-production was rather short, and after seeing it with a few different festival audiences, I was able to sit down with the editor a couple more times to streamline what people were responding to, so what’s online right now is a pretty definitive cut.
3. Did you know everyone involved in the show prior to filming, or did the show bring you guys together?
Stas May (who plays Darren) and I (as well as Aurelia Lavizzo, who plays the bartender) performed together in a play called ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ at The Flea here in New York; when Darren and I decided that Darren should focus on directing and that we should cast an actor to play Darren, Stas was the one guy I knew that could capture both Darren’s charm and goofball edge (and is as boyishly handsome as Darren). Annie Scott (Cassandra) is another friend from The Flea. I wrote the part of Mark for another Flea actor, Ben Beckley, but he was unavailable to film because he was touring with a show in France, so I asked Tom Onushco, with whom I performed in Allentown, to play the part, and he was wonderful.
I have to credit Patrick for casting the rest of the roles—He had just finished a production of ‘The Lieutenant of Inishmore’ at Syracuse Stage with Christian Conn (Paul the Hot Irishman) and Sean Tarrant (Jim). We were looking for a particularly strong actor to play Paul, and Patrick told me to consider both those guys, and I went with Christian, because Paul needs to look younger than I, and Sean and I kind of read the same age, but I loved Sean so much that I beefed up the role of Jim, which was originally a much smaller role, because I knew I was sitting on a goldmine with him. And as for Christian, we asked him to do a lot, and that was a wonderfully fearless performance he gave.
As for The F Train Messiah, I envisioned that role as a black character, and wrote it with another Flea actor in mind who wound up doing the August Wilson cycle at the Kennedy Center and couldn’t commit. Another black pal of mine was ready to step in, but wound up getting ‘Shrek’ on Broadway. When it came time to do a reading in order to settle on a final shooting script, Patrick asked Brian Dykstra, with whom he crossed paths when they were both working at the Barrow Street Theatre here in New York, to step in as kind of a ‘placeholder’ until we found someone. The second Brian opened his mouth, I knew he had to be The F Train Messiah, and I now couldn’t imagine doing those scenes with anyone else.
4. I noticed that the (718) has received a great response, including awards, from multiple film festivals. Are you continuing to enter it in competitions? Where do you see it going from here?
I’m thrilled to death with the festival run we’ve had for the past year-and-half; we wrap up in South Africa next month (November), and I see little or no reason to continue with festivals. It’s been considered—whether it was accepted or not—by every festival in which I would have liked it to have screened. So now I’m trying to create an online buzz to draw attention to both the pilot itself as well as the awards we’ve won.
5. It's been referred to as a pilot for a cable channel, which makes sense, based on the NSFW subject matter and language. (Both of which I loved, by the way.) Are you currently shopping it to different channels? Are there more episodes already in the can, or is the pilot the only one currently completed?
Thanks for saying so! That cottonmouth scene has cost us acceptance into more than one festival in which we would have liked to have screened. I mean, COME ON. I’m not quite sure we could have done it any more tastefully then we did without eliminating it altogether, which would be a mistake, because it really helps define Stephen’s plight. At one point a producer from Sony Television was interested in us, and wanted to target FX, which is great, because at the core of ‘the (718)’ you’ve got the story of three Irish-American best pals and drinking buddies and a slam poet conscience. But would the suggestion of all-male fellatio fly on FX? Not sure. I’m trying to target IFC, Sundance Channel, BBC America and Starz.
There are three more episodes written, but the pilot presentation is all that we filmed. When we wrote the pilot, Darren kept telling me to write something that could be shot quick and dirty for no money, which is what we did, so we kept the locations and technical needs to a minimum. In the second episode, we develop the magical realism started with The F Train Messiah by having me fall for a barback who may or may not be an incarnation of the Christian martyr St. Stephen, who will be a recurring character (played by Ben Beckley, who co-wrote the episode) who acts as both my guardian angel and spiritual guide. We’d need to film in (what at least appears to be) a Catholic church, and the subplot involves Patrick getting bullied by a street mime, so we’d need a mime, as well as mime training for Patrick and Stas. Oh, and we’d also need the rights to use the song ‘Renegade’ by Styx. Clearly this episode has it all, and I’m not quite sure we could do it on our own.
The other two scripts aren’t necessarily the third and fourth episodes, because you’d have to kind of know our characters better for them to really fly, but I am really proud of them, and they fit somewhere in the first season. In one, modeled after a ‘Frasier’-like farce, we send up gay stereotypes, or at least how television likes to portray gay men, by having Patrick blow an audition for a gay soap opera character by pretty much doing an imitation of me, which confuses the casting director, to say the least. Later, Patrick and I are at a bar and I spot Paul the Hot Irishman and Perfect Jim, two of my botched dates from the pilot episode, together and happily smitten with each other. In an attempt to not look pathetic, I ask Patrick to pose as my boyfriend, and a depressed Patrick sees it as an opportunity to redeem himself and prove that he is a good actor (or can at least be a good ‘television gay’), so he takes it up a notch and starts acting ‘gay in stereo,’ much to my horror.
The other one, which I co-wrote with Brian Dykstra, is called ‘Seamus Coyle, the Kneeling Tosser of Ballina.’ After I catch Darren masturbating on his knees (and Patrick and I dispense with a proper ribbing), Darren tells us the story of his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather and how he (quite accidentally) saved his village from the English and Protestantism by pleasuring himself in the same way during the Irish Rebellion of 1798. It’s told via flashback, of course, and Stas would play Seamus and Patrick and I would play his two best pals. It’s not all zany, but actually often quite dark and moving, and best exemplifies our friendship by moving us to a different time and extreme place while keeping the relationships and dynamics the same. And tossing is the great unifier, isn’t it—with all this talk of heterosexuals and homosexuals, at the end of the day, aren’t we all monosexuals? Yes, we sure are.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Ever since Cambridge-bound Colin Lancaster secretly watched stable master Patrick Callahan mastering the groundskeeper, he’s longed for Patrick to do the same to him. When Patrick is caught with his pants down and threatened with death, Colin speaks up in his defense, announcing that he, too, is guilty of “the love that dare not speak its name.” Soon they’re both condemned as convicts and shipped off to the faraway prison colony of Australia.
Patrick learned long ago that love is a fairy tale and is determined that no one will scale the wall he’s built around his heart. Yet he’s inexorably drawn to the charismatic Colin despite his best efforts to keep him at bay. As their journey extends from the cramped and miserable depths of a prison ship to the vast, untamed Australian outback, Colin and Patrick must build new lives for themselves. They'll have to tame each other to find happiness in this wild new land.
I love historicals, and the setting for this one makes it even more tempting to me. I'm going to run over to Loose Id and pick up a copy. Why not join me and Buy It Now?
Monday, October 11, 2010
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
In keeping with the It Gets Better theme this week on my blog, I thought I'd hold a contest for a very special prize, one I brought home from RT. Unfortunately, I did such a good job unpacking and putting stuff away that I forgot I had it until skimming my bookshelf earlier this week.
What is it, you say? Why, I'm glad you asked. It's an autographed copy of Coming Together Against H8, a fundraiser for the NOH8 campaign. And it's not just signed by one author - I took it around at the book fair and got autographs from quite a few participants. It's pretty cool, actually.
So I'm going to give it away, with multiple ways to enter. For every comment here, on Twitter, or on Facebook, you'll get one entry. For every retweet on Twitter or use of the hashtag #NOH8fromKate, one entry. And at the end of the week, I'll draw from every entry to choose a winner. (If the winner is from a country where this book cannot be mailed, for whatever reason, I'll substitute a free ebook.)
So there you go. Easy as pie. Just comment/retweet/hashtag, and earn an entry to win! (Commenting counts on any blog post this week as well, not just this one.) So good luck!
Comment topic: What book/movie are you most looking forward to in the next few months?
Today, I thought I'd share some GLBT-friendly YA books that I (or people I know) have enjoyed. I looked for books with positive endings, ones where the characters end on a hopeful note, rather than tragedy. I think we've got enough of that in our lives right now, don't you?
Friday, October 01, 2010
The fact is, 9 out of 10 GLBT teens are victims of bullying at some point in their school career, and they're also four times more likely to commit suicide than straight teens. So while bullying in any shape or form is wrong and needs to be stopped, it's even more crucial to take a stand against sexual-orientation-targeted bullying. That's why today's Monday Movie Musings is focused on the videos featured on the new YouTube channel It Gets Better. By turns funny, earnest, emotional, fierce, and determined, the short pieces featured on this channel have a message of hope for all kids out there dealing with these issues. Here's one of my favorites.
And stop by tomorrow when Book BIN Tuesday will be looking at YA or YA-friendly books with LGBT themes.