Monday, September 7, 2015

Deadly Messengers Proof is here

Or how a book had a great holiday on my dime!

   Well, the miracles of the modern world and airfreight have combined to allow me in Perth Western Australia to order a proof of my book Deadly Messengers from the east coast of the USA, some 11,439 miles (18,409 kilometres) away and have it delivered here in Perth on Friday at 10:30am.
   Along the way, this little baby has had quite the holiday, which obviously explains why the proof cost less than $10, but the freight cost me something close to $A40 to get it here. But, I can't have my wonderful readers reading copies of my book unchecked and that release date of 30th September is coming up fast.
 For your viewing pleasure (actually probably not a viewing pleasure), here is the grand unpacking video of the very first printed copy of Deadly Messengers, the book we all know will  go on to sell millions around the world. (Did I hear someone out there clearing their throat?) Well, ya gotta be optimistic, doncha?

   Deadly Messengers has actually garnered some amazing reviews and is enjoying quite the buzz around Good Reads since I put it up there about four weeks ago. As of today, it's been added by over 200 readers and already received 65 reviews, all positive bar a couple. The reviews and the words of complete strangers who've told me they love the book, with some saying it's one of the best books they've read in a long time, have been overwhelming. I've had tears, people. Really. An author dreams of readers universally responding to a book that way. What's surprised and thriller me is that the amazing comments are coming from all ages, male and female, and all around the world: USA, Canada, Australia, India, U.K., New Zealand, Italy, Belgium, and more. And its, all ages, too, from people in their sixties to cool young, twenty-somethings. Somehow, the story is entertaining across ages and cultures. I truly can't believe it.
   I've also noticed that most people seem to read the book in one to three days from the time they start. One reader said they only meant to read the first chapter and then couldn't stop. Another wrote me that she ended up not doing her housework, while another said she kept wishing she was at home reading instead of at work. You don't know how that thrills a writer to hear all these kind of comments. 
   The last two weeks I've had a horrible persistent head cold. I should have gone to bed and rested, but I haven't been able to rest with the steady stream of enthusiastic emails and messages sent by readers. 
   I don't care, though, how sick I am. You know what I've discovered? The best thing for a cold isn't vitamin C. It's wonderful readers taking the time to tell an author how much they've enjoyed their book. With that, I can run a marathon or climb the tallest tower, or keep editing this next book The Troubles Keeper, when I just want to put my head down and sleep.
   My books are reader-powered entertainment, so thank you all my early readers, I feel turbo-charged.
    Deadly Messengers is currently on pre-order at your local Amazon story for only 99c until the 30th September, and for a few days after. Order now so you don't forget and discover why everyone is saying it's a book you can't put down and why terrifyingly it could be torn from the headlines.

DEADLY MESSENGERS is released 30th September 2015

Available in e-book and paperback worldwide. Here's a few of the Amazon sites, but it's available from every Amazon store for $US99c or equivalent in other countires for a short time only.

3 massacres, 2 detectives, 1 writer, 0 answers
Freelancer Kendall Jennings writes fluff pieces for women’s magazines. When a horrific massacre occurs at Café Amaretto, she scores an exclusive interview with a survivor. Suddenly, she’s the go-to reporter for the crime. 

   Investigating veteran detective Lance O’Grady and his partner Trip are tasked with finalizing the open and shut case. Seven people are dead at the hands of an unprovoked killer wielding an axe. It seems simple.

   Then another mass killing occurs. This time, arson, and ten eldercare facility residents die in the blaze. Both killers die at the scene. The crimes have no motive, and Lance O’Grady is left wondering how evil can strike twice.
  Then it happens again. Even more shocking: a mother with a gun goes on a rampage at a family birthday party.
   The killers share one odd detail: none have a murderer’s profile. No history of violence, no connection to terrorists, no vendettas. Ordinary citizens suddenly became killers. 

Drawn deeper inside the crime investigation, Kendall finds herself not only clashing with O’Grady but also struggling with old demons. O’Grady resents Kendall’s involvement as her presence provokes memories of a personal tragedy.

   O’Grady and Kendall are caught up in a plan greater reaching than the crimes. They just don’t know it. Someone is sending a message. And unless they can decipher the meaning, very soon, many more will die.
   Deadly Messengers is a page-turning thriller taking readers into the minds of mass killers in all their disconcerting madness. It poses the question: Is there a killer lurking inside everyone? The answer could prove more frightening than the crimes.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Film Stuff 3rd September 2015

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It only takes a few seconds at:

Straight Outta Compton. ✪✪✪✪½  (Opens 3rd September Screens at most cinemas)
My thoughts
From the poster, you would be excused for thinking this film is about a rap band and will only appeal to the hoodie, baseball cap wearing young ones. It’s not. Even though it does tell the story of the true-life rise of N.W.A., a group of rappers who spawned Ice Cube, Dr. Dreh, and Eazy-E, it’s about so much more. This is not just the history of the beginnings of hip hop which revolutionized music and culture, it’s about a time and a place in history in America where the beating of Rodney King by police was just the tip of the iceberg of the disgraceful treatment of African Americans. It’s a chunk of important history told to the beat of great music.
O'Shea Jackson, Jr. son of rapper and actor Ice Cube, portrays his father in the biopic. You would never guess this is his first role. His resemblance to his father in movement and appearance is uncanny and he is very, very good.
The other young actors Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E and Corey Hawkins as Dr Dre have huge careers ahead of them if they maintain the quality of presence portrayed on screen here. Paul Giamatti, up there as my favorite actor, is creepily good as Jerry Heller the manager who takes the boys from the streets to the top of the charts.
This is an immensely enjoyable film taking a staggering 60 million on its opening weekend in the US. The leads are remarkable; the music is toe-tappingly brilliant, and the story immersive and surprisingly inspirational without being over-sentimental. When it comes around to awards season, don’t be surprised to hear Straight Outta Compton included.

Film Blurb
In the mid-1980s, the streets of Compton, California, were some of the most dangerous in the country. When five young men translated their experiences growing up into brutally honest music that rebelled against abusive authority, they gave an explosive voice to a silenced generation. Following the meteoric rise and fall of N.W.A., this documentary tells the astonishing story of how these young men revolutionized music and pop culture forever the moment they told the world the truth about life in the hood and ignited a cultural war.

A Walk in the Woods ✪✪✪½  (Opens 3rd September Screens at most cinemas)
My thoughts
Based on the 1998 book/memoir of the same name by Bill Bryson who is the main character in the film, this is not just one for those who enjoyed the book. A charming small comedy that is grand on scenery. Think Grumpy Old Men meets Wild. Quite possibly this will do for the Appalachian Trail what 2010 The Way starring Martin Sheen did for the "El Camino de Santiago."
I love anything with Robert Redford. He’s always been one of my favorites. At 79, he’s still charismatic. Gosh, I loved him in the sixties and the seventies in The Sting, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, The Great Gatsby, Three Days of the Condor, and, of course, one of my favorites The Way We Were. He has my undying film loyalty.
Nick Nolte (at 75) is a great grungy, no-hoper side-kick to Redford’s quiet and intelligent charm. He’s the ex-drunk who looks like he’s about to have a heart attack with every step.
Emma Thompson is always fabulous on screen. Here she plays a small part as the wife who quite comically tries to put her husband Bill Bryson off attempting the walk by printing off pages and pages of how he can die walking the trail.
This is a lovely, life-affirming film, and it sure makes me want to give part of this walk a go. The Appalachian Trail is 3,500 kilometers long with the highest elevation of 2,025m running from Georgia to Maine on the east coast of the USA.
In this new comedy adventure, celebrated travel writer, Bill Bryson (Academy Award winner Robert Redford), instead of retiring to enjoy his loving and beautiful wife (Academy Award winner Emma Thompson), and large and happy family, challenges himself to hike the Appalachian Trail - 2,200 miles of America's most unspoiled, spectacular and rugged countryside from Georgia to Maine. The peace and tranquility he hopes to find, though, is anything but, once he agrees to being accompanied by the only person he can find willing to join him on the trek - his long lost and former friend Katz (Academy Award nominee Nick Nolte), a down-on-his-luck serial philanderer who, after a lifetime of relying on his charm and wits to keep one step ahead of the law - sees the trip as a way to sneak out of paying some debts and sneak into one last adventure before its too late. The trouble is, the two have a completely different definition of the word, "adventure". Now they're about to find out that when you push yourself to the edge, the real fun begins. (C) Broad Green

Life - a film by Anton Corbijn  NOT REVIEWED (Opens 3rd September)
My thoughts
I haven’t seen this film, but it’s getting good reviews and looks interesting. If you are a James Dean fan, this looks very interesting. I’m going to try and catch it in season as I couldn’t make it to the preview.
Film Blurb
Anton Corbijn (Control, A Most Wanted Man) directs Dane Dehane as James Dean in this intimate drama based around the actor's friendship with LIFE magazine photographer Dennis Stock (Robert Pattinson).
On the brink of becoming the actor that would define his generation, Dean has been anointed the next big star by studio chief Jack Warner (Ben Kingsley). With one film in the can and the possibility of another on the horizon, Stock convinces editor John Morris (Joel Edgerton) to let him candidly shoot the upstart actor for the iconic photo journal. Travelling throughout New York City and back to Dean's family home, the photographer and his subject open up new horizons to one another as America starts to undergo enormous cultural change.before its too late. The trouble is, the two have a completely different definition of the word, "adventure". Now they're about to find out that when you push yourself to the edge, the real fun begins. (C) Broad Green

Wes Craven Dies
Prolific horror filmmaker Wes Craven, who directed the slasher classic A Nightmare on Elm Street, died on Monday aged 76, after suffering from brain cancer.

Wes Craven filmography
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)
Paris, je t'aime (2006)
Scream (1996)

Original scream has grossed $US173,046,663. The four Screams collectively have grossed over $US600 million.

Gayby Baby
Date: Saturday 5th September & Sunday 6th September
Time:  6:30pm
Location: Cinema Paradiso Details and Booking

Additional screenings Sat, 5th of September and Sun, 6th of September 1pm at Cinema Paradiso
Meet Gus, Ebony, Matt and Graham, 10- to 12-year-olds each coping with growing up. As they navigate challenges of school, sport, friends and their futures, they do so within loving homes and with caring parents – who happen to be gay or lesbian.
It's a situation still debated over and legislated against, as director Maya Newell knows from experience. Inspired by her own upbringing in a same-sex household with two mums, she crafts an intimate portrait of childhood, showing the complexity that colours these four families far beyond the issue of sexual orientation.
Gayby Baby provides a platform to those too often ignored: the kids themselves. As marriage equality continues to inspire discussion around the world, Newell's documentary looks at the reality – not the rhetoric – of same-sex parenting.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Film Stuff 28th August 2015

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Rikki & The Flash  ½  (Opens 27TH Screens at most cinemas)
My Thoughts
   Sadly this music film is the complete opposite to the brilliant biopic Straight Outta Compton. It is simply dull and there’s no story. We are forced to sit and listen to Meryl Streep sing badly across from Rick Springfield for at least 30 minutes of the 101 minutes. If I wanted to listen to a bad pub band I’d go to a pub. In fact, I wouldn’t. I don’t want to listen to a bad pub band. 
   If they had at least played Jessie’s Girl I would have given it an extra star, but no cigar. Boring mess that was trying to beat us over the head with the idea that if you abandon your kids and you’re a woman you are perceived as a bad person whereas a man can and that's okay. These days I don't think we think that. If you abandon your kids, well, you reap the consequences no matter if you're a father or a mother. This story will have you believe if you want to make it all right again, then just go sing badly at your son’s wedding. Strictly for Meryl Streep die-hard fans, and even then it's her real life daughter Mamie Gummer who steals the show from her mom.
Film Blurb
  Meryl Streep takes on a whole new gig – a hard-rocking singer/guitarist – for Oscar®-winning director Jonathan Demme and Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody in Ricki and The Flash. In an original and electrifying film loaded with live musical performances, Streep stars as Ricki Rendazzo, a guitar heroine who made a world of mistakes as she followed her dreams of rock-and-roll stardom. Returning home, Ricki gets a shot at redemption and a chance to make things right as she faces the music with her family. Streep stars opposite her real-life daughter Mamie Gummer; Rick Springfield, portraying a Flash member in love with Ricki; Kevin Kline as Ricki’s ex-husband; and Audra McDonald as Kline’s new wife.

The Gift ✪✪  (Opens 27TH August Screens at most cinemas)
My thoughts
   I heard Joel Edgerton discussing this film on radio last week and it sounded really good. So maybe my expectations were high. It’s produced by Jason Blum who is the producer behind all the Paranormal films, Unfriended, Insidious, basically horror films, but also the recent brilliant Whiplash. So go figure.  
   While a few of the reviewers actually liked it and it's receiving very good reviews, I thought it was really only a DVD film. It’s also very slow and I feel I've seen this all before. Think Fatal Attraction meets The Cable Guy. Good to see Joel Edgerton, though over in Hollywood doing well. He wrote, directed and starred in this, alongside Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses). You might enjoy it or you might think what is with this hype.
n.b.  Thanks to Roadshow though for my lovely little gift. Creepy, but still nice. You have to see the film to get the joke. 

Film Blurb
Simon and Robyn are a young married couple whose life is going just as planned until a chance encounter with an acquaintance from Simon's high school sends their world into a harrowing tailspin. Simon doesn't recognize Gordo at first, but after a series of uninvited encounters and mysterious gifts prove troubling, a horrifying secret from the past is uncovered after more than 20 years. As Robyn learns the unsettling truth about what happened between Simon and Gordo, she starts to question: how well do we really know the people closest to us, and are past bygones ever really bygones? (C) Styx

She’s Funny That Way  ✪✪✪½   (opens 27TH AUGUST—Luna cinemas)
My Thoughts
  This is more Woody Allen than last week’s Woody Allen film Irrational Man. It’s a throwback to screwball comedies of the olden days of Hollywood. Quite understandable as the director Peter Bogdanovich directed such classics as What’s Up Doc, Paper Moon, The Last Picture Show, Mask (Cher). Some of my favourite films of old.
   It’s a fun, pleasant ensemble piece to wile away a couple of hours. Stars Rhys Ifans, Owen Wilson, Imogen Poots,and Jennifer Aniston as the most terrible, meanest but very funny therapist. I quite enjoyed it and laughed throughout. I wouldn’t call it hilarious, but its still fun. Nice to see a comedy that doesn't go crazy with swearing and simulated sex.

Film Blurb
  From renowned director Peter Bogdanovich, SHE'S FUNNY THAT WAY is a screwball comedy featuring the interconnected personal lives of the cast and crew of a Broadway production. When established director Arnold Albertson (Owen Wilson) casts his call girl-turned-actress Isabella "Izzy" Patterson (Imogen Poots) in a new play to star alongside his wife Delta (Kathryn Hahn) and her ex-lover Seth Gilbert (Rhys Ifans), a zany love tangle forms with hilarious twists. Jennifer Aniston plays Izzy's therapist Jane, who is consumed with her own failing relationship with Arnold's playwright Joshua Fleet (Will Forte), who is also developing a crush on Izzy. (C) Lionsgate

Kill Me Three Times director Q&A
Date: Monday 31st August
Time:  6:30pm
Location: Luna Leederville Details and Booking

   Join us on Monday 31 August  at Luna Leederville as we present a Talking Pictures Q&A screening with guest director Kriv 'Red Dog' Stenders who will talk about his latest film Kill Me Three Times, filmed in WA following the 6.30pm screening. Hosted by Travis Johnson film critic, cultural commentator, X-Press Magazine and  
   Kill Me Three Times, a comedic thriller directed by Kriv Stenders whose hit film Red Dog became a beloved favourite among home-grown and international audiences. His latest film couples the same fresh approach and sense of fun with a  comic darker wit. Produced by Tania Chambers (Tango Underpants), the film stars Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead), Sullivan Stapleton (Animal Kingdom), Alice Braga (On the Road), Teresa Palmer, Callan Mulvey, Luke Hemsworth and Bryan Brown,
   Acclaimed  British actor Simon Pegg is a charismatic hitman who  acts as the spark that ignites murder, blackmail and revenge in  sun-drenched West Australian  town. Having been hired by a wealthy gent (Callan Mulvey) to ‘take care’ of his wife (Alice Braga), this mercurial assassin gets down to business only to discover there’s more than one person after her. Throw in a gambling addict (Sullivan Stapleton), a small-town Lady Macbeth (Teresa Palmer) and a corrupt cop (Bryan Brown), and you’ve got the makings of a saga that rises to Rashomon-esque heights.

The Room
Date: Sunday 30th  August   
Time:  7:00pm
Location: LunaSX Fremantle Details and Booking
ALSO: 20th September Luna Leederville 7:00PM

   Throw your spoons! The Room is back on the Big Screen at Luna Cinemas  Leederville.  The evenings will be hosted by our resident  Room gurus  who will guide you through a really strange, bizarre & unique cinematic experience! Viewer guides and plastics spoons provided.
   Bring your friends and plastic spoons and join us once again as Wiseau returns to the big screen for another sensational night of this of the cult phenomena that’s so bad it’s good! The Room is basically a love triangle set in a San Francisco apartment building. But it’s filled with sub-plots that go nowhere, dodgy green-screen skylines, lots of un-sexy sex scenes and acting that wouldn't pass muster on a soft-focus soapie. The Room has garnered a massive world-wide cult following (especially in Perth!) leaving audiences stunned and laughing and is beloved by comic actors such as Kristen Bell, Paul Rudd and Alec Baldwin.