Wednesday, November 30, 2011

HUGO Actor to Star in Adaptation of SF Classic "Ender's Game"

I don't have to be shocked anymore that there isn't a film adaptation of Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game even in the works. Because now there is! GalleyCat tells us the film is currently being cast.

Asa Butterfield, who flawlessly plays Hugo Cabret in the current adaptation of The Invention of Hugo Cabret seems to have accepted the role of Ender, according to the cast list on IMBD. And after seeing the skilled young actor's performance in "Hugo," I can definitely buy him as the brilliant child protagonist Ender Wiggin.

Deadline New York tells us a bit more about the plan for the film:
Asa Butterfield, the 14-year old title star of Martin Scorsese’s 3D film Hugo, has been offered the title role in Ender’s Game, the Odd Lot Entertainment adaptation of the Orson Scott Card science fiction novel. Summit Entertainment will release the film March 15, 2013. Gavin Hood, who helmed Tsotsi and Wolverine, is directing. Ender’s Game is a seminal futuristic novel that Card originated as a short story in 1977 and then turned into a 1985 book that won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards and spawned a series. The storyline begins on Earth after a devastating alien attack, when gifted children are recruited by a government desperate to fight back. The kids train to fight the seemingly invincible, ruthless aliens on a hyper-realistic spaceflight/combat simulator referred to as the game. A young boy emerges as a genius strategist and the planet’s best hope to destroy the alien Formic race.

Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are producing through their K/O Paper Products banner, along with Odd Lot’s Gigi Pritzker and Linda McDonough, the author and Lynn Hendee. Digital Domain is also an equity partner.

Read the original post HERE
And check out the clip below of Card himself discussing the film during a lecture at Christopher Newport University.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgivings with Morrie: What Character Would You Dine With?

With Thanksgiving Eve upon us, if you will, and my energy continuing to wane from a stressful week, I thought we'd take a hint from the Huffington Post today and talk about our favorite literary characters and who you'd invite over to your Thanksgiving table.

As a child, I hated Thanksgiving, but if you'd asked me back then what character from a book I'd suffer through the turkey and stuffing with, I'm sure I would've spouted the name of ever babysitter from The Babysitter's Club, all the Sweet Valley High folk, Harold (and the Purple Crayon, of course), Ramona and Beezus (what a crazy meal that would be), and the list would go on and on.

Now that I'm grown, the tables have turned: I adore Thanksgiving food and am struggling to figure out which character I'd invite to dine. Part of me feels it'd want it to be someone from the Classics, to fulfill that whole Thanksgiving-feeling of history and culture--like Laurie from Little Women or Jean Valjean from Les Miserables. But then I think how fun it would be to chat with someone more modern, someone youthful who crosses lines and surprises people with his/her strength of character--like Lyra from The Golden Compass or Katniss from The Hunger Games.

What about you? What character would you share your Thanksgiving with if you could??

Friday, November 18, 2011

Guesting at Warrior Writers Today!

I'm guest blogging today about the 8 building blocks of a great story over at Warrior Writers, the blog of the fabulous social media guru and author Kristen Lamb!

Check it out! (And if you comment, you are entered into the running to win a critique from Kristen herself--whee!)

GO HERE! -->

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Country Launch! It's Official!

This morning, Book Country--the project I've been slaving over for the past year--has officially launched!!!! It's stressful and scary but also super exciting so I wanted to share it with you all. Our press release is below!


Penguin’s Online Genre Fiction Writing Community Broadens Path to Publication

NEW YORK, November 16, 2011 -- Book Country, the online community dedicated to genre fiction launched by Penguin Group (USA) earlier this year, today introduced a suite of self-publishing tools, marking the first entry by a unit of a Big Six publisher into this fast-growing, non-traditional segment of the book industry.

"In combination with free access to our community and all it offers readers and writers of original genre fiction, these professional tools provide a direct path to publication for those who choose to go the self-publishing route," said Molly Barton, president of Book Country. "And the site remains a great way for authors to get their manuscripts read, critiqued and workshopped in preparation for readers."

The site has attracted more than 120,000 unique visitors since going into public beta in May and has close to 4,000 members who have posted over 500 works of genre fiction and offered thousands of constructive critiques of those works. Publishing professionals have used the site to scout for new authors. A small number of writers in the community have secured agents. The new self-publishing tools will add another way for site members to reach readers.

David Shanks, chief executive of Penguin Group (USA), said, "Penguin is committed to maintaining its leadership position in digital publishing and that includes offering self-publishing services that are consistent with our overall strategy of connecting a broad variety of writers to the reading public. With its focus on nurturing and supporting new voices, Book Country is the perfect vehicle for introducing a new kind of self publishing that offers a more professional product and provides guidance that isn't currently available from other players."

While there are dozens of book packagers and self-publishing sites, Book Country is the only one that allows writers to create an eBook and a print book in one simple flow. Book Country combines a robust peer review process, a staff with decades of book publishing experience, and groundbreaking browsing tools to help writers be discovered. Book Country also provides a cover creator tool and suggests fonts and styles that would be appropriate for the book's genre. And unlike other self-publishing sites, the author can make up to 15 free formatting changes if they need to make small refinements late in the process. Three options—user-formatted eBook only, user-formatted eBook and print, and professional eBook and print—are available. Start to finish, the Book Country self-publishing process is streamlined and simple, while offering flexibility and customization.

"Self publishing is a trend that isn't going away," said Ms. Barton. "There are a growing number of authors who simply want to go directly to readers with their books. We respect that new reality and the changed landscape that technology has brought to book publishing."

In addition to being Book Country's President, Ms. Barton leads Penguin US's efforts to publish apps, enriched eBooks, and eSpecials, which are digital-only essays and short stories. As Global Digital Director at Penguin, she is applying her vision and knowledge of digital publishing to developing key elements of Book Country's offerings.

“Book Country is egalitarian and merit-based while fostering an atmosphere of encouragement and creativity,” explains Ms. Barton. “We created the site because while writing and publishing sites have proliferated in recent years, none are focused on supporting genre fiction writers from inspiration to publication.”

Visit Book Country at

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Firelight" Coming to the Big Screen = I am Giddy

In the past five days, I've devoured the first two books in bestselling author Sophie Jordan's new YA series--Firelight and Vanish. And I mean, DEVOURED. I zipped through them, basically drooling for more. And I have no idea how long I have to wait for the next book!

Another thing I have to wait for? The film adaptation! But I won't have to wait too long. Firelight has already been optioned by Mandalay Pictures, according to (and Sophie herself! I met her at a conference last month and she officially rocks.):
In a pre-emptive move, Mandalay Pictures has nabbed big-screen rights to the just-published young adult novel "Firelight." Supernatural tale, the first in a three-book series, was penned by bestselling author Sophie Jordan, aka Sharie Kohler.

Story follows twin teenage sisters, the descendants of dragons who live in secret with their endangered pride. When their mother learns that the pride has a dark plan for one of the girls who possesses the rare talent of fire breathing, she spirits the twins away to live a normal life among humans.

The Harper Teen book was one of the five selected by the YA Editor's Buzz Panel at Book Expo America in May.

Peter Guber and Cathy Schulman are producing "Firelight" via their Mandalay banner. Adam Stone will oversee for the company and serve in some producing capacity.

The pre-emptive move is the latest for Mandalay, which recently optioned the bestseller "Horns" by Joe Hill, the soon-to-be-published "Machine Man" by Max Barry and "Lonely Hearts Club" by Elizabeth Eulberg.

Mandalay just wrapped the Pierce Brosnan-Ed Harris starrer "Salvation Boulevard" and the Sean McNamara-helmed drama "Soul Surfer."

The "Firelight" deal was made by Maura Kye-Casella at Don Congdon Associates. Book scout Marcy Drogin brought the material to Mandalay.

See the original post HERE

So excited I can hardly stand it!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Amazon Lending Library = FAIL

Since I've been living under a big rock called "Pre-Book Country Launch" for the past week, I just heard news of Amazon's recent foray in the library world. And I kind of wish I hadn't.

I like Amazon for its ease of shopping and quick delivery. I don't like Amazon for its requirement of proprietary DRM on Kindle and the way its trying to monopolize that aspect of the industry. I had thought I was going to give Amazon another "pro" on my little pro-con list when I first got word of the lending library endeavor. But then I kept listening.

I expected the Kindle Lending Library to be much like the Nook's Lend Me feature, something which I haven't gotten to experiment with yet given none of my friends have Nooks (that I know of, at least!). But the concept is brilliant. I'd love to be able to share eBooks with friends, just as I do with print books. It's one of my favorite ways to spread the love.

But much to my dismay, the Kindle Lending Library is only available to Amazon Prime members. Which means, there's an approximately 80-dollar price tag on that sucker. And that's not all: members can only borrow one book per month. So, really, you aren't borrowing an e-book at all. You're paying over $6.50 to read an e-book that you can't even keep.

Sure, a Prime membership gets you other features like deals on shipping from Amazon, etc., but for users who strictly wanted to partake in the library? It's no longer an option. For those readers, it makes more sense just to purchase the e-book and then have it at their fingertips to read whenever they want.

Amazon FAIL.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Celebs Knocking Celebs--Funny or Fickle?

When skimming the Books page at this morning, a headline caught my eye: 'Celebrity Autobiography: The Next Chapter' Finds Unintended Humor in Stars' Memoirs.

At first I thought, "Oh man, this is going to be great!" but as I clicked in and started reading, I's kind of just mean! I know that's part of being famous and you open yourself up to scrutiny, especially when you write a not-so-good book, but come on now. Yes, some of it is hilarious, I'll admit, and the fact that many celebs have signed on to have their own work mocked is telling, but can't we create fresh humor anymore instead of just busting on other people for laughs? I've never been much for this kind of humor--SNL's constant people-bashing bothers me and only ever so often do I find those kinds of impressions actually funny. I don't get's like sports fans who, instead of cheering for their own team, just put down the other teams. It drives me crazy!

I guess this turned to a slight rant about media these days in general and their lack of originality.

Anyway, take a peek at what the HuffPo has to say (and watch a sample video) and choose for yourself. I'm undecided:
Among the many lessons you'll learn when attending "Celebrity Autobiography: The Next Chapter": Joining the "mile-high" club is a lot more physically demanding, and considerably less erotic, than it looks. Italian really is the language of love -- at least for one of the world's biggest pop superstars.

And finally, don't ever, ever f**k with America's sweetheart.

Ironically, a bevy of America's sweethearts both past and present are among the many celebrities given a humorous roast in "Celebrity Autobiography," the laugh-out-loud, endearingly kitschy show currently playing at New York's Triad Theatre. A unique comedy stand-up/cabaret/one-act theatrical hybrid, the show features a talented rotating cast (many of them well-known stars or media personalities in their own right) reading verbatim, usually with a wink and a nudge, from a vast array of celebrity memoirs. The self-indulgent, often eye-rollingly smug musings of a number of Hollywood and MTV A-listers, from Justin Bieber to Suzanne Somers to Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, lend the show its crispy comedic edge.

The show is a mix of monologues using straightforward passages read aloud from a given book and what creator Eugene Pack likes to call "mash-ups": different celebs' accounts on a similar theme (for example, celebrity diets) or a specific incident (a clever segment that weaves together varying accounts of the Elizabeth Taylor/Eddie Fisher/Debbie Reynolds love triangle is one of show's highlights). Yet Pack insists the show is meant purely for humor rather than to be mean-spirited toward the material's A-list, and often legendary, authors.

"When you listen to these passages, it's funny to discover what people are willing to reveal, how they reveal it and how seriously they take it," Pack, who says he developed the idea for the show after reading excerpts of Vanna White's autobiography, told The Huffington Post. "We don't ever want the show to be perceived as being skewering of celebrities. A lot of the performers in the show are actually admirers and, in some cases, close friends of those who wrote the books. If anything, we're making fun of memoirs in their own right and why we, as an audience, are fascinated by these details."

Once Pack had firmed up the idea for "Celebrity Autobiography," he and co-producer Dayle Reyfel began scouting out material for the show via used book shops as well as the hottest new releases on the celebrity memoir market. The pair continue to refresh the evening's program with fresh passages; over 300 biographies have been covered in the show to date.

"You usually can skim through the book and see if the tone is right for the show," noted Reyfel, who also performs regularly. "Burt Reynolds has so much great material in his book; some books really are golden from beginning to end."

No doubt the success of "Celebrity Autobiography" also rests on the shoulders of its many performers. The Oct. 10 line-up featured Tony Danza, "Saturday Night Live" alum Rachel Dratch and Sherri Shepherd of "The View" (who revealed a surprisingly natural talented for mimicking celebrities' accents) but Kristen Wiig, Ryan Reynolds, Justin Long and even "Brady Bunch" matriarch Florence Henderson are among those who've also dropped in for a performance.

"It's a wonderful surprise for the audience," said "Saturday Night Live" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" scribe Alan Zweibel, a regular performer in the show who lends a particularly dry wit to most of his readings. After recalling one night when he was required to physically lick Henderson during the show, Zweibel noted that, in many cases, the unintended joke is actually on the audience rather than the authors: "What's pervasive is the absolute, unmitigated ego of these celebrities who think that we care about these minute details of their lives. At the same time, everybody's got a story, and there is always someone out there who is buying these things."

Reyfel says she and Pack also maintain a running "wish list" of performers they hope to eventually feature in the show, including Ricky Gervais and Bette Midler. And to those who feel "Celebrity Autobiography" is too harsh on their idols, Pack is quick to point out that celebrities themselves have, in some cases, even suggested their memoirs for use in the show. "Brooke Shields wants us to read from her book," noted Pack. "Everyone usually seems game to jump in and really go for it."

See the original post HERE

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Release: "Unquenchable" by Natalie MacLean

If you know me personally, you probably know that I am a BIG wine fan. I'm not quite a connoisseur but I know enough to understand my father when he begins the wine talk as he decants and I can follow along when visiting a vineyard or wine bar. I'd love to learn more though--and with my friend Natalie MacLean's new book, Unquenchable, releasing today I now have a great opportunity. Whee!

Natalie's traveled the world researching, tasting, and exploring some of the best bargain wines. She's taken those experiences and blended them up to provide not only entertaining anecdotes and delicious recommendations but also to give the amateur wino some real knowledge about wine. I, for one, am stoked to give it a read.

To celebrate, I just may have to raise a glass of my own favorite bargain wine find--Apothic Red (also known in my apartment as the "house red"). I'm not sure what it is about this vino, but something about it is just right!

Happy Release Day, Natalie!

Check out her book trailer below for more info and visit her website: