Sunday, August 24, 2008

And the Brilliante Weblog Premio Goes To . . .

I’m very happy to be a 2008 Brilliante Weblog Premio winner -- especially because this honor comes from Lea Schizas, founder of the Muse Online Writers Conference and The Muse Marquee. A published author, Lea is also the founder and editor of two Writer’s Digest 101 Top Writing Sites and the recipient of several Preditors and Editors Awards.

Explaining her choices for this year’s Brilliante Weblog Premio awards, Lea posted the following entry on her The Writing Jungle Blog at

There are so many awesome blogs I scoured but the ones I've chosen … are the ones I feel have proven that these writers go out of their way not only to promote their own careers but to help other writers, as well.

And, in an e-mail message to me, Lee said, I've always thought that the best form of honoring someone is to offer a pay it forward thank you. And when I was given this award with the conditions I seek out other helpful blogs I immediately thought of you and your awesome movie reviews and interviews.

Many thanks, Lea, for honoring my work in this regard and for being a continuing inspiration to writers.

I now have the privilege of choosing up to seven other blogs to receive the 2008 Brilliante Weblog Premio. My four choices – and reasons for each – are as follows:

Julie Ann Shapiro – Author Insights
Julie’s love of books and writing shines through in every blog entry.

Denise Cassino – Perspectivies and Ponderances
Like Lea Schizas, Denise works hard to help writers – and anyone interested in being one. On this excellent blog, she showcases the writing of others as well as her own work.

Ann M. Amodeo – Zen of Writing
Ann’s gem of a blog contains insightful opinions about reading, writing and the universe.

Zafar Anjum – Dream Ink
Zafar’s splendid blog is both visually pleasing and informative. I love his tag line: Dream Ink….because to leave no history is to become extinct.

Congratulations to Julie, Denise, Ann and Zafar! I’ll post the notification and rules for recipients on each winning blog.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lanaia Lee and "Of Atlantis"

After reading Of Atlantis, I had many questions to ask author Lanaia Lee about her intriguing book. Happily, she agreed to an e-mail interview, which I’m honored to present later in this post. But first, here’s some background information about this absorbing story. It’s an epic fantasy novel based upon the King of Atlantis known as Archimedes. Archimedes is blessed with a source of untapped power -- a power to heal and a power to destroy. His mother, Cheris, trusts this power, but his father, King Lionus fears it, making him suspicious and distrustful of the young prince, his only son.

In this first book of five, we follow King Lionus as he returns victorious from yet another war among the countries of the continent of Atlantis. He has been led to believe a false tale of his wife’s infidelity and turns against her, driving him slowly into debauchery and decline. Loyal to the end, Cheris, endures his alienation and resentment while nurturing her son, Archimedes, from his childhood until he is crowned king, marries and has children of his own. Cheris, accepts her celibate and loveless marriage out of a duty to her subjects and to Archimedes, her only child who she values more than life itself.

When Uric, a trusted advisor to King Lionus proves to be Archimedes’ archenemy, political turmoil ensues and the constant threat of war could tear Atlantis apart and bring devastation to mankind. Uric, too, has tremendous powers but those powers must be continually fed or he will die. He knows and covets the true strength of the enduring powers of Archimedes who has long suspected Uric’s evil tendencies. Eventually, Archimedes will come face to face with Uric’s demonic character -– but who will survive?

I hope that whets your appetite to check out Of Atlantis. And now, I’m pleased to present Lanaia Lee’s responses to my e-mail questions below.

Question: Where did your inspiration for Of Atlantis come from?

Lanaia Lee: My inspiration came from everywhere - everything I've learned, read, and studied. Throughout my life, we are talking nearly forty years before I started writing the books, I studied ancient history and somehow it all came together. I tried to tell story, from ancient to modern, combining reality and fantasy without too heavy a hand. A work of forty years from my mind!

Question: What’s the most important message in Of Atlantis?

Lanaia Lee: Mainly that man always has and always will face the challenge of good vs. evil. I also think there are many things we can learn from studying ancient civilizations that would help us now and in the future.

Question: If you had to pick a favorite section of the book, what would it be?

Lanaia Lee: The finale of Book One and all of Book Two which take place in the modern day and involve a great deal of historical intrigue along with some lovely romance. The finale of book one is total fantasy yet very real -- even Hitler makes and appearance! I don't think anyone ever says, that couldn't happen. I love taking historical facts and weaving fantasy around them, weaving my magic. Now book two, I consider my baby, my passion. Some of my greatest interests are the Crystal Skulls of Belize and the Mayan Doomsday Prophecy. Book Two --Skulls of Salvation, due out this fall, is based solely on them. Thus my passion put to words on paper.

Question: Have you thought about turning your novel into a screenplay?

Lanaia Lee:
Absolutely, my husband and I fantasize about who would direct the movie and would play certain characters. I just hope if it ever does go to film, I have a hand in choosing the characters I visualize in my mind.

Question: If Of Atlantis is transferred to the screen, what actors should play the following characters and why?

Lanaia Lee:

Archimedes (as an adult) -- Nicolas Cage, I think he is a great actor, and I think he has what it takes to pull it off, from Archimedes as a young man on up to really ancient and wise.

Cheris -- Jane Seymour. Cheris has a certain air -- regal and graceful. Jane Seymour demonstrates this quality in any role she plays.

Persius -- Richard Gere. I remember Richard Gere's role in First Knight in which he played Lancelot, another defender of the king, passionately in love with the queen. He was loyal to King Arthur, he so tried to fight his feelings. He was great in this role, which sounds very much like my Percius.

Uric -- Arnold Voosloo. He played Imhotep in the movie The Mummy. The whole time I was writing my series, when I wrote about Uric, this is who I visualized in my mind. Uric is conniving, untrustworthy, and an evil liar, just as Imohotep was in The Mummy.

Janus -- Billy Zane. In Titanic, he played his role with that certain air; he was the center of attention and could be a traitor, just like my Janus

Question: Which director would you choose for your film?

Lanaia Lee: James Cameron. Considering all three Terminator movies, the Abyss, and Titanic, my series seems right up his alley -- a lot about life, situations with a touch of fantasy and romance. He brings it all to life on the big screen, no matter how difficult. And it seems everything he touches turns to gold.

Question: Do you have any favorite fantasy films?

Lanaia Lee: Pan's Labyrinth, Troy, and The Kingdom. These films taught me how to write fantasy in terms of not overdoing it and how to add just enough

Question: What writing projects are you working on now?

Lanaia Lee: I am working on the fifth and final book of the series Of Atlantis. I am sad in a way to be wrapping it up, for my characters are just like family to me now. Of Atlantis was written to be fantasy for all ages, giving everyone a chance to escape from this crazy world, which we call reality. If only for a while, a person can step into my world and escape from the rat race in which we live. Of Atlantis is more than just a story, it is the mind of Lanaia Lee. Different things in the series are based on things that have happened to me.

(Of Atlantis is published by Roval Publishing & Digital Services. For more information, please go to or call 1-888-485-8830.)

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

"Kung Fu Killer" on Spike TV

Kung Fu Killer offers fans of David Carradine the chance to see him in martial arts action scenes similar to those they enjoyed so much in Kung Fu, that amazingly popular television series. Yes, he’s aged and looks a bit more scraggly now, but he’s up to the challenge as White Crane, a spiritual leader and martial arts master out for revenge and justice in this SpikeTV two-night presentation.

Joining Carradine is the lovely and endlessly talented Daryl Hannah, who appeared with him in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films. Hannah portrays a Brooklyn lounge singer befriended by White Crane. This performance marks her singing debut – and she does a surprisingly good job torching up some of my old favorites like “Whispering” and “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows.”

The entire production was filmed in China, which seems appropriate, for its story takes place there in the late 1920s. Filled with lots of action plus plenty of blood and gore, this miniseries boasts the distinction of being the first production of this scale to use an almost exclusive Chinese crew. Among the many fine Chinese actors appearing in supporting roles, Osric Chau stands out for his incredible martial arts skills.

Kung Fu Killer premieres on Spike TV this Sunday, August 17 and Monday, August 18 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Attention, Writers of the World!

If you’re a writer -- or a wannabe author -- it’s time to register for the 2008 Muse Online Writers Conference. Don’t worry about high gas prices, because this amazing event takes place completely in Cyberspace from October 13 through 19.

Lea Schizas, founder and coordinator of the Muse Conference, explains, “I understand many writers out there do not have the monetary resources to attend outside conferences, or perhaps they are situated very far and even some may be incapacitated in some ways making it difficult for them to travel. Within the world of the Internet, everything is possible and with this in mind I offer you this chance to come out, have a chat with our Presenters, ask them questions and even attend a few of our FREE workshops to be held throughout the week.

Here’s what award-winning writer Marilyn Peake said about last year’s event: It was a wonderful experience! There was a palpable feeling of excitement in the virtual air.

And Karina Fabian, editor of Infinite Space, Infinite God, declared, “Of all the writers' conferences available, this is the most comprehensive, easy and fun!”

Registration deadline for the Third Annual Muse Online Writers Conference is September 1, so hurry on over to the link below for more information.

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