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Showing posts from 2014

Bonus art from "Legendary"

When I asked my old friend, Villamor Cruz, to create the first pieces of art for Legendary , my thinking was that by having three images by the same artist, the opening of the book would have some uniformity to kick things off. Vill came back  with a wonderful drawing that was, in his words, "like a movie poster." It looks frickin' awesome. But, I wanted to have individual drawings for the chapters. Vill was kind enough to revise his drawing to make it into three solo stills of Allison, Brian and Kate. I didn't want his original art to go unseen, so here it is. I'm sure by looking at it, you can imagine a title above the image and credits down below, like typical teen movie from the 80s. Thanks, Vill!

Jody Watley in "Legendary"

Here's a song that was on and off of the soundtrack numerous times up until the last two weeks before publication began. It was originally going to appear later in the book, but I pulled it off in favor of Janet Jackson. The Bangles held this spot in chapter 4 until I decided to move their song to late in the book. This opened up a slot for Jody Watley to come back into the mix. I always liked this song and the kind of pop R&B it represents. Even though that may be a drum machine playing behind Watley, it sounds like it was programmed by someone who knows a thing or two about percussion. Watley's song was a smash hit back in the 80s, and I think that it holds up pretty well nearly 30 years later. This type of R&B, as well as a lot of pop music from back in the day, are the material I listened to when writing Kate. Even though she likes things that are polished and slick, Kate still has a backbone and doesn 't take any crap from anyone, including her boyfriend. Click

Van Halen in Chapter 2 of "Legendary"

Chapter 2 of Legendary is up on Popdose. This chapter features Van Halen's "Dreams," from their 1986 album, 5150 . This was one of the first songs I considered for the Legendary soundtrack. 5150 was a huge triumph for the band. Not only was it a huge hit, with four popular singles, but it shut up the naysayers who thought that Van Halen would collapse without David Lee Roth as lead vocalist. When Roth quit Van Halen (or was shoved out - depends on whose story you believe), many believed that Van Halen was done. Enter Sammy Hagar. Sammy is an everyman rocker who doesn't treat his audience as if they're beneath him. Roth, to me, always comes across as "I'm cooler than you," while Sammy is "You're as cool as me." This includiveness won over the Van Halen diehards, as well as new fans. 5150 may have had some half-baked electronic drums, but all of the songs rock, thanks to the combined efforts of Eddie and Alex Van Halen, as well as th

The Pretenders in Chapter 1 on "Legendary"

Chapter 1 went live on Monday. I'm sure you've already read it, otherwise why are you reading this post? One of my favorite bands from the 80s, the Pretenders appear in this chapter. Seems that if you grew up in Cleveland during that decade you were bound to hear the Pretenders on any radio format, be it AOR, top 40 or Classic Rock. Chrissie Hynde, the leader and focal point of the band, hails from Akron. Because of that city's close proximity to Cleveland (it's about a 42 minute drive), Cleveland stations liked to claim Hynde as one of their own. I'm not so sure she wanted any part of that, but it worked in her favor as the Pretenders developed a loyal fan base in the Rock and Roll Capital of the World. The Pretenders had their major breakthrough with 1983's Learning to Crawl , which features the haunting "Back on the Chain Gang," one of my favorite songs of all time. I considered using that song to open the book, but changed it to "Don't G

The "Legendary" Introduction is live today...

In case your only resource for Malchus news is this website...first of all, God bless you. Second, as I reported on Facebook and Twitter this morning, the Introduction to Legendary went live this morning on Popdose. Below is the link. Throughout the summer, as the chapters go up, I'll try to post info about the book and some of the music I chose. At the very least, it will give you a reason to return to the site on a regular basis. Tomorrow, chapter 1 and the Pretenders. See you then! Here's the link:

The third and final banner

Here is the banner for the character of Kate. All three banners will be posted together only once. That will be tomorrow, with the Introduction to Legendary . The book begins publishing tomorrow!

Banner number 2

The second banner by Nick Jennings for Legendary. T his one is for the character of Brian. The book starts publishing in 2 days!

The first Banner for "Legendary"

Here is a look at the banner for the character of "Allison" in Legendary .  As you read the book, you'll start to see how the images here represent who she is. I think it looks pretty awesome! Thanks to Nick Jennings for the great work.

The Backstory of "Legendary"

For those of you interested, I thought I’d explain some of the backstory and reasoning that went into the writing and publishing of Legendary on Popdose . While it would be easy to just let the work suddenly appear without any explanation, our era in is an information age and some readers like to get the poop on why some dude from California is posting a serial novel online.   The roots of the novel date back nearly 20 years, back to the first feature-length screenplay I wrote (discounting my college senior film, which began as a feature, but I eventually whittled down to 45 minutes). When Julie and I first moved to Los Angeles, it was the rise of the 90s indie film movement. Directors like Tarantino, Rodriguez and Anders were releasing personal films that didn't adhere to the rules of Hollywood filmmaking. These movies inspired me, much in the same way the great films from the 70s by Scorsese, Lumet and Ashby did. When I sat down to write my first script (that's why we moved

Details about "Legendary"

Legendary , the serial novel I'm publishing on Popdose, will begin posting on Monday, May 19th. The entire book is be 34 chapters, or installments, running into the early weeks of August. A new chapter will run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, EXCEPT for the week of Memorial Day, in which chapters will run on Tuesday and Thursday, and the week of July 4th, in which chapters will only run on Monday and Wednesday. Music, baby! One of the features that Popdose provides me is the ability to post songs with my chapters. This is one reason I'm not going directly the Kindle route with this book. Much like I did with every Basement Song post that ran on Popdose, a song will be incorporated into every chapter. When I was a teenager, music was always playing, either on the radio, through someone's stereo, or over the PA systems in the stores or restaurants I frequented. You hear phrases like "soundtrack to my life" and that's what I tried to do with each character in

Great Strides 2014 was a HUGE success!

Before I get into any more news about Legendary and when it will begin posting, I MUST give an update about this year's Great Strides. Team Jacob raised over $9,000, and the Valencia Great Strides walk has raise $112,000 to date! That's frickin' amazing. Our small community raised a butt load of money!! The walk day was hot and wonderful. This year we were in a new location at the mall, one that was a little removed from the "in your face" presence we've had in years past, but the flip side was that the traffic was a little safer. The turnout for the walk was exceptional, and our team had close to 50 walkers. I owe all of you personal "thank yous," and they will be forthcoming. For now, I'm sending out a HUGE, universal "thanks" to all of our family and friends. It's your love and support that has kept our family afloat and filled with optimism. I wish I could hug each and every one of you. Alas, that would be costly and some of yo

Great Strides 2014 is Tomorrow!!

The radio silence on my end is typical around this time of the year. Besides the other stuff going on in my life - work, podcasts, family - fundraising and stressing out about cystic fibrosis tends to consume everything. This year we started out slow in raising money for Great Strides, the annual Cystic Fibrosis Foundation fundraiser to find a cure, but things really kicked into gear these last two weeks. Our team set a goal for $5K, and we surpassed that by over $2,000. Among the ways that we had people contribute (beside the usual soliciting of money through emails and posts) were a fund rasier at Jacob's school, a bake sale at the school where Julie works, Sophie's own efforts, and a bucket I placed on a table at my office. All of these proved to be successful ways to raise money. It was very, very thrilling. One of the coolest things that happened was the contributions by Brave New World, the comic store in Santa Clarita where Jacob buys his comic books. Portlyn, the owner,

Kid Duplicate asks you to Be a Hero!

Kid Duplicate was designed by Jacob. He asked me to draw it for him. I just helped him achieve his vision as an artist. Before I started, Jacob chose the pose I should use and gave me diagrams of Kid Duplicate's accessories. Jacob colored it. Please help Jacob and Kid Duplicate beat CF! Donate today!

Great Strides is around the corner.

May 3 is the Valencia Great Strides and there's still plenty of time to donate. Please check out our team page, watch Sophie's wonderful video, and consider making a contribution to ending cystic fibrosis. Aloha!

The name of the book is "Legendary"

The name of the book is Legendary . It's a romantic comedy that takes place over the course of a single day in June, 1987. After years of missed opportunities, high school seniors Brian and Allison have finally shared their first kiss. Unfortunately, this momentous event doesn’t meet with the approval of Kate, Brian’s long time girlfriend. As Allison struggles to emerge from the worst year of her life, Brian must determine when to fight for love- and when to walk away. Hearts will be broken and friendships tested as Brian, Allison and Kate find themselves at the same party on a night that is sure to be legendary. Set is a northeast Ohio suburb, Legendary is told through the distinct voices of the three protagonists. This emotionally driven contemporary story was inspired by the sincere and humorous writing of John Green and David Levithan, as well as filmmakers John Hughes and Cameron Crowe.

Book Update: Coming Soon to Popdose

In my last post, I posed the idea of publishing my first (and to this point, only) novel on Popdose. After some careful consideration, I'm moving forward with this project. Not sure of the launch date, but I hope to begin weekly installments sometime in May. Each installment will include three chapters of the book, as well as songs that will fit organically into the contents. By the end of the summer, I hope that I'll have entertained people and given them a pretty cool playlist of great songs from the decade I came of age: the 1980s. No, it won't be all new wave or hair metal. Anyone who knew me back in the day will recall my two crates full of LPs, as well as multiple cases of cassette tapes. I hope to cull from my collection to provide the soundtrack  to the book. What does this have to do with Basement Songs the book? Plenty. If you were a reader of the column when it ran on Popdose, you'll know that I managed to find a way to work music into the narrative each wee

The Strange Sad Life of a Writer

So look, it's not that I don't love you. I do! But I've been working. Hard. That screenplay I completed? Yeah, it took something out of me. And as soon as I got notes about it, well, I dove right back in. I just killed a spider, by the way. Where was I? Oh right, the screenplay. I dove back in. I obsessed. I took every single not I received to heart and just began... thinking. How do I apply these notes to the script? How can I make the script better? Plus, I watched about 10 Philip Seymour Hoffman films, began a new podcast about The Americans (maybe you've heard of it, it's called Comrades ), wrote some reviews, went to some swim meets (my daughter is an awesome swimmer, by the way; don't tell her I said that), wrote this year's Great Strides fundraising letter, worried like hell when Jacob got pneumonia, did my taxes, and of course, I worked. I think I read something? Long Day's Journey Into Night , that's it. I could go on making excuses, but th


Last year around April I began working in earnest on a screenplay that had been in my head for years. Years, I tell you. My writer friends will tell you about how maddening it is to walk around with an idea gnawing at you and you just can't figure out how to complete it. These stories play out in your head and you think, "That's it, I've figured it out after all of these years!" But then life interrupts and the work never gets done. Or it gets interrupted. Last year I was some 60 pages into this script and I came up with a new twist for the story. It was just a random "what if" I thought of that not only brought everything to a crashing halt, it froze me up for a good six months. What did I do in the time while I tortured myself over not being able to complete this one script, a story I've been dying to tell for nearly a decade? I wrote a spec TV script, I wrote countless reviews, I tried to start a new column for Popdose, recorded a weekly podcast,

R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman: Today the Beast Won

A few weeks ago, I was out to dinner with my friends Will Harris and Zack Dennis, two of my Popdose colleagues I see a couple times a year whenever Will is in town. As we sat around and got reacquainted, the topic of our favorite films came up. It wasn't difficult for me to pinpoint my favorite motion picture and I told the guys that Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous ranked at the top of my list. It may seem odd for a recent film to be regarded so highly (although, it's now 14 years old), but this wonderful coming of age story speaks the truth about the power of music. At the heart of the film is Patrick Fugit's youthful face, playing William Miller, a character who is essentially Crowe. The writer/director drew from his own youth, when he was an underage journalist for Rolling Stone, to tell the story of a 15 year old music lover who finds himself on the road with an up and coming band called Stillwater. Early in the film, William meets his idol Lester Bangs , one of the

Disturbed Podcast Number 12

I know, I know, I've been away for so long. Don't hate me.  But I've been writing. Really. On January 12th I decided to complete the screenplay I began last year (and placed aside after some serious writer's block) and kicked ass to finish the rough draft before the end of January. I did it. Now I'm back. I'll be posting again, giving you insightful little tidbits about life and all that other shit. Happy now? In the meantime, Here's a link to the second to last Disturbed Podcast for this season of American Horror Story. Please check it out!

These Hard Tears

Let's get back into this, shall we. Let's lay it on the line, put our hearts out there, and tell it like it is. 2014 has rolled over on us and here it is, the middle of the month, and I've been married for 20 years, I have a teenage daughter one year away from driving and my mom's birthday has come and gone. The long month of December- and it is a long month- is in the rearview mirror and now it feels like maybe, just maybe, we can begin to move forward with the new year. Well, perhaps tomorrow. Today would have been Seann's 32nd birthday. I've been standing in our kitchen, washing dishes and listening to a new Springsteen track, "The Wall." It hails from his latest album and it's the best song on the record. Dare I say it's one of his very finest? I will. It ranks up there with his most haunting songs like "Shut Out the Lights" and "Brothers Under the Bridge." Like those two, "The Wall "deals with the Vietnam

Our return home.

3 AM alarm to wake us up. Check. 3:20 snow shoveling to make sure we can get out of the driveway. Check. 4 AM departure for airport. Check. 4:20 airport arrival. Check. 4:30 check-in and pass through security. Check. 4:55 bagel and waiting. Check. The long day of travel has just begun.