Friday, March 28, 2008

Jordan Dane - The Interview

After award-winning romantic thriller author Jordan Dane sold her first three books in auction to Avon/HarperCollins in June 2006, her debut title NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM held more significance. Everyone heard her scream! And this went double when she sold another three-book series in May 2007 without having one book on the shelves yet.

Ripped from the headlines, Jordan's gritty suspense plots weave a tapestry of vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. Her first back-to-back releases are planned for Apr, May and Jun 2008. Jordan and her husband now share their Oklahoma residence with an intelligent canine and two cats of highborn lineage.

In spring 2008, take a front row seat to suspense with Jordan Dane's NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM, NO ONE LEFT TO TELL, & NO ONE LIVES FOREVER.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Jordan Dane to Welcome to Hell...

Jordan Dane: Hey Glenn—Thanks for taking an interest in my work and for supporting a new author. Your pop culture blog is great. I often poke fun at Paris Hilton, Britney Spears (a veiled spoiler from the first book in my new series), Oprah and others in my writing. Welcome to HELL, is right.

How did you start writing? What inspired you to do this for a living?

JD: I secretly like to mess with people’s heads and challenge myself at the same time. This may be a theme I haven’t explored yet. Hmmmm.

I always wrote to tell stories. I find the written word fascinating—that symbols or marks on paper can stir such emotion from a reader who is willing to be drawn into a story. What a cool thing! Author Lee Child said recently that it’s not about writing what you know, but writing what you fear. And that really resonates with me. We can all tap into those fears and trigger something in others. Empowering!

What are your favorite authors, books, influences?

JD: Lately, my favorite authors are Robert Crais and Dean Koontz. Crais has a humanity and humor to his writing that I love. I never saw my writing style in anyone else, because I was too close to it, but after reading Crais, I saw where I wanted to be. And Koontz is a master storyteller and I love his use of metaphors and similes. With Koontz, I never skim. Both these men get better and better.

Every writer’s most dreaded question – where do you get your ideas?

JD: Real life, baby. You can’t make it up as good as you find it in the papers. My mind is constantly working ideas, even when I don’t know it. Really spooky sometimes. Can you say borderline schizophrenia? I channel characters in my head until one of them surfaces loud enough to force me to write their story down.

Tell us about the protagonist of NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM, Becca Montgomery, and how are you and she alike – or unalike?

JD: I believe every author infuses a bit of their worldview in every character, including the bad guys, which really scares me. I wanted to portray an emotionally wounded cop who has to still deal with life and her job, even after her world has come to a grinding halt after the death of her sister. A friend once told me what it was like after her sister was murdered without the killer found. Her personal disclosure always stuck with me and I’ve delved into this theme more than once in my first series. It’s an undercurrent.

We all need reminders of what’s important, but Becca let her job come first and later regretted not paying more attention to what mattered most—her family. Family is a theme of this book. And in the end, I’m always amazed how brave cops can be. She’s much braver than I am.

But her smart-ass nature? She got that from me.

What kind of research did you do into the subjects of teenage prostitution and human trafficking for the novel?

JD: The idea of human trafficking came from the Natalee Holloway case and the online speculation that she was trafficked since Aruba is close in proximity to Venezuela, a country heavily involved in the crime. I read a lot of personal testimony on the internet regarding other girls and it set the scene for the graphic world I created in San Antonio, my old hometown. I also wanted to show that this is a crime that can happen anywhere, including the U.S. It’s an appalling crime that happens everyday—the modern day slave trade. And because of the multi-jurisdictional aspects, it is hard to prosecute. This story was my way of shedding light on the crime.

Officially your genre is considered ‘romantic suspense’ but I find it to be more in the vein of straight thriller. I want to know what you would call it and why.

JD: Ah, very good question. I didn’t want to be encumbered by any particular genre when I wrote this story. I’m not a follower of rules, per se, when it comes to the creative process.

I made a decision to write the type of story I wanted to read. And since I love mysteries, crime fiction, police procedurals, humor, forensics, and romance, I thought this would be a good story to try it all. The difficulty came in blending the bones in the wall mystery with the suspenseful pace of the human trafficking story line, but as a writer, I love a challenge. I’ve been referring to my style as romantic thrillers, but I’m not sure that says it either.

How do you write? Do you have an outline and know the ending ahead of time, or are you a ‘seat-of-the-pants’ writer who makes it up as you go along?

JD: I’m a pantser. I just write it and see it in my head as a movie unfolding. But as I get more contracts with deadlines, I’m finding I may need more structure. Today, I’m storyboarding my book #5 THE WRONG SIDE OF DEAD, part of my Sweet Justice Series. I hope this works. I’m such an impatient writer, usually only wanting to discover my story and characters as I go.

What is the best advice you’ve been given as a writer? The worst?

JD: I read some blogs and pay attention to discussions on my loops, but I don’t really seek outright advice much. I’d rather learn by trial and error. I think you learn best by your mistakes so I’m not afraid to make them. I will say that all my life’s experiences have contributed (good and bad) to the success I’ve had with this endeavor. Makes me feel brilliant in hindsight, but we all know that ain’t true.

Sell your book. Give us the top three reasons to pick up NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM.

JD: If pressed, I’d say:

* I push the envelope of genre to find my unique place in the publishing world, developing a cross genre voice that I hope is strong and fresh.

* My story is layered with the gut wrenching emotion of flawed yet compelling characters, each searching for their version of redemption.

* The setting of San Antonio, told by a former native, becomes a character in this story, an atmospheric thrill ride the Texas tourism bureau would not make into a brochure.

Hey Glenn---Thanks for asking such thought provoking questions and for supporting a new author. And keep dragging us through the hell of pop culture. Someone has to do it.

Thank you, Jordan, for coming by to chat with us here. As you can see from last entry’s review of NO ONE COULD HEAR HER SCREAM I enjoyed it quite a bit, and I’m looking forward to reading more of your work.

Don’t forget to check out Jordan’s website: and to join her tomorrow night, Sunday, March 30, L-I-V-E in The Writer’s Chatroom.

No One Heard Her Scream - Review

by Jordan Dane
Avon Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780061252785

When her teenaged sister disappears and is assumed dead, homicide detective Becca Montgomery is obsessed with finding out what happened. When given a different case to divert her attention she falls into the arms of a charming mob enforcer and soon they find both cases may be related.

Jordan Dane is a mistress of the metaphor and a sorceress of the simile. She uses words as a weapon and the pace never stops. Her characters and their personalities seem as if drawn by a modern day Chandler. Her sense of place is delightful as the flavor of San Antonio comes alive within the pages. This romantic suspenser is a must-read for the genre.

- Glenn Walker

Take a peek inside the book.

See the book trailer.

Visit Jordan’s website.

Read my interview with her tomorrow, right here.

Talk to her, Sunday night, 7 PM EST at The Writer’s Chatroom.

Buy the book.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

No More Passion for Fashion?

This one's for the folks local to the Philadelphia area, and more specifically geared to folks who grew up watching television here during the swinging seventies. We are losing a pop culture icon, Ideal is closing.

For those of you with no idea what I'm talking about, Ideal was a clothing shop down in Hammonton, NJ on the White Horse Pike, on the way to Atlantic City from Philadelphia. Their commercials barely changed over the years but always featured the coolest jingle ever written. The jingle has even been immortalized in the shows of the Dumpsta Players.

Come on, folks, sing along one last time...

"It's not a fancy salon,

It's nothing but a quonset hut,


If you've got a passion for fashion,

And you've got a craving for saving,

Take the wheel of your automobile,

And swing on down to - Ideal!

... and happily repeat until the end...

"The Ideal Manufacturing Company is on Route 30, the White Horse Pike in Hammonton, New Jersey, open every night and all day Sunday."

We'll miss you, Ideal!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Comic Widows - March 2008

Hi folks!

The March 2008 edition of Comic Widows is now online.

Comic Widows presents articles, opinions and reviews of comics in all forms of the media: mainstream and independent print, film, television, manga and anime, gaming and on the web.

Featured in this edition:

* Anthony Bosco reviews the Hellgate: London game and the new Captain America series.

* Glenn Walker reviews MegaSnake, HeroClix: Origins and the 1968 Batman Annual.

* Ray Cornwall interviews Warren Ellis about Doktor Sleepless.

* And we take a stroll down memory lane to last year's Wizard World Philadelphia with Glenn, Ray and Jennifer Walker.

Please check it out at:

Comic Widows is also on MySpace and ComicSpace.

Thank you!

Glenn Walker
Comic Widows

Monday, March 24, 2008

Run Fatboy Run

Run Fatboy Run ~ You know, if you put Simon Pegg and Dylan Moran where they take turns reading the phone book, I’ll pay to see it. That’s how much I like these guys, and what a big fan of both “Spaced,” “Black Books” and of course, Shaun of the Dead I am. Heck, Simon is so cool I’m hip to him playing Scotty in the new Star Trek flick even though he is so not right for the part. In this flick Simon Pegg is trying to win back the woman he left pregnant at the altar by running a marathon. In a great turn Hank Azaria plays his near perfect competition. The best work I’ve seen Hank do outside of “The Simpsons” since “Herman’s Head.” Now, Run Fatboy Run is pretty formulaic and predictable, but I have no problem with that. Even considering those difficulties Simon and Dylan still shine through and make me laugh. This is full of their unique style of Brit humor even when it descends into ABC Family territory. This rocks. Watch, laugh, enjoy.

Be Kind Rewind

Be Kind Rewind ~ After playing in the big leagues for a few films each, Jack Black and Mos Def return to their quirky independent roots, in spirit at least. While it is difficult to discern at first whether our two protagonists are just ridiculously stupid or possibly special needs, I learned to love them slowly as the film goes on. When Black gets magnetized in a bad special effects scene, he accidentally erases all the tapes in Def’s video store. So, the boys set out to re-film all the movies, and therein lies the charm of this flick. Watching these two, along with the beautiful Melonie Diaz, do their versions of Ghostbusters, 2001 and Rush Hour 2 among others, is the best part of this movie. And as an added bonus, if you click here you can see their remakes alone. Check it out. These bits more than make up for the Disney-esque ending/non-ending. Sigourney Weaver makes an appearance as one of the corporate baddies who try to shut the boys down. I may have to watch this film again because while she was onscreen I was completely distracted by what appears to be a face-lift lawsuit waiting to happen. Wow. Joan Rivers should be sighing in relief. And it’s good to see Danny Glover back on the screen. See this flick.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Jordan Dane Virtual Book Tour Continues

Don't forget, folks. The Jordan Dane Virtual Book Tour continues throughout the month of March to celebrate the release of NO ONE COULD HEAR HER SCREAM on the 25th.

The next stops are:

March 19 - Cricket Sawyer

March 22 - Diana Castilleja

March 26 - Renee' Barnes

Be sure to check out Jordan's 3-Ways to Win Contest at her website and be sure to visit each stop of the Jordan Dane Virtual Book Tour and leave a comment (with your name). Each stop enters you into the
drawing to be held at the live "Launch P-A-R-T-Y!" on March 30th at the Writer's Chatroom.

Jordan has had plenty to say on past tour stops. If you haven’t already done so, visit these previous stops for some first-hand info on how to succeed as a novelist:

Billie Williams at
Linda J. Hutchinson at
Kim Richards at
Lisa Haselton at

And don't forget to visit Jordan at her own website and MySpace, and please join her for her own live interview at The Writer's Chatroom on March 30th, 2008 at 7 PM EST.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Quiet Man

Last night I watched The Quiet Man again. I've probably seen the flick twenty or thirty times. Not only is it one of my favorite movies, it's probably one of the best films ever made.

Locally in Philadelphia, channel 6, WPVI-TV has made a habit of showing this film late Sunday night either before or after St. Patrick's Day. They've been doing it for at least thirty years, maybe more. It's a pretty shitty print to be honest - faded and edited and chopped up, but it's still become a welcome tradition. Back in the 1980s when my mom was still alive we used to stay up and watch it every year. It was never a planned event, we just found ourselves up at that time and watching the film all the way through together. It's one of the only traditions for St. Pattie's that our family ever really had, and I miss it.

I'll probably watch it again today sometime, partly for nostalgia and partly to get the taste of channel 6's lousy print out of my eyes. Brilliant acting, perfect directing and unparalleled casting aside - it's a beautiful film. You get to see the glory of Ireland in big bright technicolor. If you haven't seen The Quiet Man before, take out the time and do it. Romance, comedy, drama, music, it's got it all and it's one of the best.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dustin the Turkey

It's almost Eurovision time and you know I love me some Eurovision. And while the question of where this year's competition may be held due to riots and threats of war is still up in the air, entries are online for all to view.

Ireland who has repeatedly placed at the bottom of the voting most years in Eurovision, last year second to last with an old-fashioned Irish ballad, has decided to pull out all the stops to win this year. Much like the UK attempted (but failed) to bring Morrissey to the stage last year, Ireland has recruited its latest and some say greatest pop sensation to compete in this year's Eurovision Song Contest... Dustin the Turkey.

Without further ado, here is Ireland's entry for Eurovision 2008. You've been warned.

Well, I'll say this, it's much better than Scooch...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Giant Chicken from Mars

Uchû daikaijû Girara ~ This is better known in the United States as the 1967 film The X from Outer Space. One of its more dubious recognitions is that TCM has on more one than one occasion shown this as part of its foreign film spotlights on late Sunday nights. When I see this happen I have to wonder if TCM has no other Japanese movies they could show. Granted it's a great print of the film, but in this case that is more analogous to saying "that's a great photo of a dog turd." Add in the fact that it's letterboxed and subtitled, I might go so far as to say someone gift-wrapped that turd.

When Robert Osbourne introduces the film he always notes that it is the only entry into the kaiju eiga genre by the venerable Shochiku Studios. After this I don't wonder why. Don't get me wrong, Uchû daikaijû Girara is by no means the worst film of the genre, but it's definitely clinging to the bottom. It appears to have been made by someone who was told -about- giant monster films, and maybe -how- to make them, but had never seen one before.

The film does have a cult following though, probably because it was featured in It Came from Hollywood, or maybe because of its unique hokey-pokey jazz score, or maybe because it features possibly the most outlandish giant monster of all. The X, or as it is properly called, Guilala, is basically a giant mutated chicken from space. It even out-bizarres some of the most wild ideas from "Space Giants." Yep, whoever designed this kaiju suit was definitely doing acid.

There have been a couple attempts to do a sequel, one rumored to be in the planning stages right now. About a decade ago, a crossover battle was planned between Guilala and Gappa, better known here in the States as The Monster from a Prehistoric Planet. Gee, I wonder who called off that fight?

And don't miss the unbelievable and indescribable chase scene between Guilala and a jeep. It must be seen to be believed. Once. Then change the channel...


Dave Stevens 1955-2008

One of the comics industry's greats passed away yesterday after a long battle with Leukemia. Dave Stevens was the creator of The Rocketeer and was probably also best known for re-introducing America to the beauty of Bettie Page through his art. He will be missed. Find out more here.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Don't Call It a Comeback

My buddy Ray Cornwall has restarted his "Why I Love Comics" blog after an absence of quite a while. I urge any comics fans out there to check it out. Especially those of you who think I'm far too negative about the industry, cuz Ray is my evil Bizarro opposite. Not only does he like comics, he loves 'em.

He's back, check him out.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Mighty Avengers #9 Reviewed at Avengers Forever

"Doom by Misadventure" - my comic book review of the Mighty Avengers #9, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, is now online at Avengers Forever.

After a Venom bomb is detonated in Manhattan, the Mighty Avengers and SHIELD launch an attack on Latveria, all out action featuring Iron Man vs. Doctor Doom – but as usual, never as good as it sounds - check out my review here:


If you want to discuss this review, this issue or anything Avengers, please check out the Avengers Forever Forum.

And if you'd like to make a donation to help keep the Avengers Forever website as mighty as ever, click here.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

See You Next Tuesday... In Therapy

While I've been waiting for Netflix to finally send me the first season of "The Wire" so I can catch up with the rest of the world on that flurry of excitement - I've been watching HBO's other hot but somehow overlooked show, "In Treatment."

Airing weeknights and based on an Israeli TV series, it's quite an experiment in television. Monday through Thursday we see different patients' sessions with their therapist played by Gabriel Byrne, who occasionally and sexily lets his Irish accent out to play with a effortless growl. And then on Friday, we get to see his own session with his unofficial therapist played by the ever-squinting Dianne Weist. My own personal dislike for her aside, she's quite good in this.

The real acting however occurs on Tuesday evenings when Blair Underwood portrays patient Alex (seen above). This possibly gay fighter pilot who accidentally murdered children in a school in Iraq is a powerful character, more compelling than any other I've seen on TV lately. Underwood and Byrne together on Tuesday nights is an acting tour de force. The other nights are good, but Tuesdays will be the ones up for Emmys this year. "In Treatment" is must-not-miss television.

Who Are the Spider Twins?

Just ask comic book genius and hack Chris Wisnia, the creative force behind Tabloia and he'll tell you. Maybe. But if you can guess the masked vigilante of the week, maybe you'll get more. Here are the 'sketchy' details...

Web Comic AND WEEKLY CONTEST! The Spider Twins Companion! A Vital Compendium of Crude Bay's most notorious, thrilling, sexy, and dangerous masked vigilantes!

Every week, you are invited to write in and guess the vigilante's name!

Every guesser is entered into a drawing to win a FREE SKETCH!

Go to every Monday for a mugshot, every Tuesday for a full-body shot with descriptions of key attributes or skills, and every Friday to see if you are the winner, posted alongside the character explanation and action shot!

Fun, fun, fun, don't miss it!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Watch At Your Own Risk...

MTV has recently banned a new music video from being aired, and not because of 'mature content.' There's no nudity, profanity or excessive violence in this one, not even brand names that need to be blurred out.

The video in question is "Run" by Gnarls Barkley, from the upcoming album, The Odd Couple. The video failed 'the Harding Test' because of its strobe effects. The Harding Test measures TV images to make sure they don't cause epileptic seizures in viewers.

And yes, that is Justin Timberlake, and no, I won't make the obvious joke - that this doesn't matter because MTV no longer plays music. They do, they have many channels that do, just not on the original MTV.

Here it is. Remember, watch at your own risk, it may cause seizures...

The Jordan Dane Virtual Book Tour

The Writer's Chatroom is doing something special this month, hosting a virtual book tour for author Jordan Dane's new novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM.

Please take the time to check out these tour dates and stops on the tour:

March 5 - Billie Williams

March 8 - Linda J. Hutchinson

March 12 - Kim Richards

March 15 - Lisa Haselton

March 19 - Cricket Sawyer

March 22 - Diana Castilleja

March 26 - Renee' Barnes

And don’t forget to visit Jordan at her own website and MySpace, and please join her for her own live interview at The Writer's Chatroom on March 30, 2008 at 7 PM EST.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Dungeons and Dragons and Death

E. Gary Gygax, the father of Dungeons & Dragons, passed away this morning.

Most of the world's nerd/geek culture community is mourning the man's passing today. For those who don't know, Gygax created the game "Dungeons & Dragons," or as most of us geeks know it - D&D.

While I don't play D&D much any longer, not for years actually, it was a formative force in my young adulthood. I began playing some time in 1980 and it was, as it was for many folks, the gateway drug to other role-playing games. When I began playing it was a seriously nerd thing but eventually became more accepted, and is now in many ways much cooler than it used to be. I met my best friend playing the game, I met my future wife playing the game, heck, I've even taught the game in school. I've professionally playtested role-playing games and even demonstrated new ones at conventions. More importantly, one of my first professional sales was research for an unpublished sourcebook for a role-playing game. D&D had meant a lot in my life.

Sorry to see Gary missed his final saving roll. Rest in peace, man.

Monday, March 03, 2008

That Dirty Cox Girl

Other than "Torchwood" and "In Treatment," and now that "Dexter" is on hiatus (props to CBS for broadcasting it on Sunday nights tho), my new favorite show is FX's "Dirt."

Now I know I'll be flamed for this, but I never got into "Friends," heck, I seriously doubt I've ever seen an entire episode - so I guess I just never understood the draw of Courtney Cox. I never really cared for her in anything else either - not "Family Ties," not the Scream flicks, not even "Misfits of Science," which one might think would be right up my alley. Nope, I never got her, but I have to say this, she does evil really well, and that's why I like "Dirt" so much.

Cox plays Lucy Spiller, ruthless editor of the "Dirt Now" tabloid, who will do just about anything to get a story. She is sooo eeevil, I love it. She's also surrounded by a wonderful cast - Ian Hart as her schizophrenic photographer and barely reliable narrator of the show, Alexandra Breckenridge as a Lucy Jr who only wants everything she has, Jeffrey Nordling as her weasely boss and Josh Stewart as a wannabe James Dean/Brad Pitt who owes his career to Lucy.

"Dirt" is definitely an ensemble piece filled with folks you'll love to hate. Oh, and "Friends" co-star Jennifer Aniston pops in from time to time for some action. Don't miss this series, it rocks.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Ultimates 3 #3 Reviewed at Avengers Forever

"Oh Cho!" - my comic book review of the Ultimates 3 #3, by Jeph Loeb and Joe Madureira, is now online at Avengers Forever.

I learned this from watching “Bambi”… If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. In that spirit, let me just say that Frank Cho draws an amazing Scarlet Witch on alternate covers of Ultimates 3 #3 - check out my review here:


If you want to discuss this review, this issue or anything Avengers, please check out the Avengers Forever Forum.

And if you'd like to make a donation to help keep the Avengers Forever website as mighty as ever, click here.