Archives for posts with tag: Movies

After two days’ respite from the Winter Solstice Movie MiniFestival, we kicked back on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with a traditional Christmas dinner and a homemade pumpkin pie and viewed four movies: Radio Free Albemuth, based on a novel by Philip K. Dick; Walking With Dinosaurs, an animated educational BBC production following the life story of Patchi, a young pachyrhinosaurus; A Promise, a historical romance based on the novel Journey Into The Past by Stefan Zweig; and Star Trek: Into Darkness, the new franchise helmed by J.J. Abrams.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Australia.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

We celebrated Halloween and All Souls’ Day with a science fiction movie marathon!

Movie Night One: X-Men, Days of Future Past, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Earth to Echo, As Dreamers Do (no, this film isn’t SF).

Movie Night Two: Edge of Tomorrow, begin again (this wasn’t SF, either), Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and The Amazing Spiderman 2.

My husband, the artist Tom Robinson, chose the selections and curated them. He’s really good at choosing, so I trust his judgment completely.

Thoroughly enjoyable two nights!

So there you have it, my friends. I’ll write up some reviews in the coming week.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel
is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Australia..

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery)
is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

When I returned from my whirlwind New York trip on Tuesday afternoon, I kicked back with my husband Tom Robinson with lots of movies and lots of food. Nothing like unwinding from a lot of stress with a movie minifestival!

Here’s what we saw: Divergent, Catching Fire, The Manchurian Candidate, Transcendence, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Silver Lining Playbook, and The Lady from Shanghai.

So there you have it, my friends. Reviews will follow in the next days.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!

The verdict is in from The Hollywood Reporter: Summer 2014 box office earnings haven’t been so low since 1997. “The studios failed to connect with audiences,” THR laments.

This is a polite way of saying the summer movies stank. Several extremely expensive “big” movies tanked, including a piece by the makers of The Matrix Trilogy entitled (I think) “Jupiter Ascending,” which sank without a trace (or maybe the scheduled release has been moved up), and the second installment of the new Planet of the Apes franchise.

The two YA urban fantasy hopefuls, which I reviewed here earlier this summer, “Mortal Instruments: City of Bones”, and ‘Beautiful Creatures” stumbled badly, suggesting viewers are weary of the genre. Neither film had an appealing young heroine or hero, and hopes for a trilogy for either have been dashed. Both were based on very good but very long books, and the scripts meandered and couldn’t focus on the core story.

Which supports the notion that a short story (like “Tomorrow’s Child”) or a short book like the Hunger Games provides a better basis for a film.

“Divergent,” the first in a proposed trilogy based on the YA dystopian novels, did moderately well by Hollywood standards ($250 million worldwide) but was damaged by reviews that the film seemed a lackluster derivative of Hunger Games. On the basis of reviews I’ve read, this viewer is going to skip it. Fans of the film and books will be happy to hear the producers at Lionsgate are proceeding with a second film.

The late summer “surprise quirky hit” is “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which has earned over $500 million worldwide in its second or third weekend. This is a cartoon movie based on minor characters in a Marvel Comic. The reviews I’ve read have called it “an irritatingly juvenile, derivative ‘Star Wars’”, which is setting the bar pretty low. We’re still considering whether to see it. I’ll review it here if we do.

And the verdict is in from Publishers Weekly: Summer 2014 book sales earnings were down twenty percent from last summer.

There just wasn’t any book that emerged as an exciting Must-Read except perhaps for Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, which sold some 600,000 thirty-five dollar hardcover books. I’ve read Tartt’s first book, The Secret History. While I admire her writing, her subject matter and underlying consciousness just aren’t for this reader, let alone a 1,000-page book.

Similarly, Diana Gabaldon’s eighth volume in her Voyager series got a boost from a miniseries on Starz, debuting at Number One on the New York Times bestseller list. But within a few weeks, the book dropped off the list, suggesting the author has a solid core of fans, but hasn’t expanded beyond, in spite of the television exposure. I similarly have read an earlier volume in the series and admire the author’s writing, but her subject matter and underlying consciousness just aren’t for this reader, let alone a 1,000-page book.

Stephen King published a book that came and went; J.K. Rowling writing under a pen name published another murder mystery in her new series. Deborah Harkness wrapped up her All Souls Trilogy; her book appeared on the list, but has pretty much since wilted. If Laurell K. Hamilton published another volume in her long-running Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, I missed it.

So what were people doing this summer for their entertainment needs if they’re not reading or going to the movies? I’m guessing they’re watching television, playing games, and hanging out on the Internet. What did you do this summer?

So there you have it, my friends. I see the trends changing. Urban fantasy on the adult level continues to sell, especially among the latest volumes of multi-book series, but appears to have died out on the YA level. An author like Charlaine Harris has ended the Sooki Stackhouse series (the basis for True Blood on television) and has not presented anything new that’s compelling. Vampires are way, way passe. (I include minor vampire characters in The Garden of Abracadabra as objects of ridicule and scorn. They are comic relief, hardly the focus of the book or series.)

The genre trope of zombies (an image I personally dislike and will never write about) has succeeded in print in a limited number of books, notably Jonathan Maberry’s Rot and Ruin series for the YA reader. But most people are getting their fill of zombies on The Walking Dead on television. I don’t see a huge expanding market for this unappealing genre.

So what’s new? What exciting or lurid new book or series has leapt to the top of the lists and claimed a gigantic readership out of thin air like The Hunger Games?

It’s not happening.

Which, in fact, is great news. Editors, publishers, and especially readers are searching for something new. That’s where writers like you and me may step up to the plate. The time has never been better to forge out there with a concept that’s fresh and original. Go for it!

Previous Blogs in this Series:

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 1: Introduction https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/03/18/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-1-introduction-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 2: Who’s Reading? https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/07/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-2-whos-reading-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 3: The Shady Case of Fifty Shades https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/17/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-3-the-shady-case-of-fifty-shades-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 4: The Comet and the Long Tail Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-4-the-comet-and-the-long-tail-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 5: Authors’ Market Share Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/02/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-5-authors-market-share-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 6: Ebooks Versus Print Books Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/19/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-6-ebooks-versus-print-books-lisa-mason-sfwapro

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 7: Unlimited or Not Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/08/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-7-unlimited-or-not-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 8: Print Books in 2013 Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/13/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-8-print-books-in-2013-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 9: Amazon Vs Hatchett Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/16/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-9-amazon-vs-hatchett-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 10: Conversations with Author Elle Emerson Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/20/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-10-conversations-with-author-elle-emerson-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 11: In Praise of Copyeditors https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/21/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-11-in-praise-of-copyeditors-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!

Inception, directed by the incomparable Christopher Nolan, was released over a year ago. We saw the film then. The premise is that a means of entering the collective unconscious of dreams through drugs and a technical apparatus has been invented. Dreamers can travel as a group to various layers of dreams and ferret out secret information about political people and corporations. Inception is essentially a gigantic heist, using this technology. The film is so complex and multilayered, we wanted to see it a second time right away. But we held off, savoring the pleasure of seeing it later and exploring the film’s nuances another time.

We weren’t disappointed. You have to buy the premise in the first place, of course—which is very cyberpunkish—or the rest won’t work for you. The cast is excellent, the special effects breathtaking, the smart, complex story never less than intriguing, and a deeply emotional personal story is interwoven with the action that directly relates to the premise. Storytellers, take note.

I became a Chris Nolan fan with his first film, Momento, another masterpiece of psychological and science fictional complexity with a heist, interwoven with a deeply emotional personal story. Guy Pearce, an actor I like very much, is terrific.

I wish I could say the same about Beautiful Creatures, but I can’t. This is yet another YA paranormal romance based on a bestselling book—which I haven’t read—and suffers from similar problems as City of Bones, which I reviewed here in an earlier blog. Both expensively produced films were flops.

Like City of Bones, the complex urban fantasy of Beautiful Creatures is clumsily laid out and consummated. Also like the other film, perhaps most unfortunately of all, the young male and female leads just can’t carry the film. If you ever wondered what movie people mean when they say that, these two films are proof. The young actress who supposedly is born to be one of the Beautiful Creatures is decidedly unbeautiful (sorry).

The best thing about Beautiful Creatures is the voice-over introduction during which the young man, trapped in a dead-end town in the American South, tells how he yearns to become a writer and we see flying by on the screen the book jackets of avant-garde tomes of the late 1950s: Jack Keroac’s On the Road and (gasp!) William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch.

So there you have it, my friends. Inception—Recommended. (Memento, too.) Skip Beautiful Creatures unless you want to kill an hour and a half on mediocre YA urban fantasy. I, for one, don’t believe in killing time.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,”on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

Now and then I visit our lovely local library and borrow a few New Yorker magazines. I’m most interested in the film reviews. The reviewers, David Denby and Anthony Lane, are willing to watch the smallest indie foreign film to Hollywood blockbusters. Their reviews, especially Lane’s, are almost always on the mark and, though they occasionally unleash a bit of sarcasm (not nearly as brutally as the late Pauline Kael), they’re usually fair.

Lane reviewed The Monuments Men, George Clooney’s new ensemble piece starring himself and a host of other bankable actors. The true story sounded like something that would interest Tom Robinson and me—during the Nazi occupation of Paris during World War II, a Nazi captain seized and protected a collection of the greatest artworks by French artists like Picasso, Degas, Matisse, and so on. On the verge of the Nazi defeat and the expulsion of Nazi troops from Paris, this captain conspired to crate up the artwork and take everything to Berlin on a train. The French resistance was persuaded to take on the impossible mission of seizing the train and directing it back into the safety of France.

The Monuments Men was given quite a push by the Big Media Publicity Machine, but Lane pronounced the film “a dud” and advised his readers instead to see the original, The Train.

That’s exactly what we did. So I can’t tell you what I think of The Monuments Men. I haven’t seen it.

At first I was a bit reluctant to see The Train. The film is in black and white; given a choice, I prefer color, though quality black and white achieves its own pleasures. The Train is now on my list of the 100 greatest films ever made. Director John Frankenheimer is a master at creating tension. (He also directed The Manchurian Candidate, Seven Days in May, The French Connection, and Grand Prix, among other films.)

The Train is a textbook example of how to create suspense, spin your plot in surprising directions, and ratchet up the hero’s problems until the viewer doesn’t know how he’s going to survive, let alone succeed. From the very first frame to the last, Frankenheimer wrests tension out of every visual detail, from the Nazi captain gradually turning on the lights in the gallery, revealing the masterpieces, to the French Resistance fighter scrambling up a tile rooftop. Even the minute technical details of how to operate and maintain a complex machine like a modern steam train are never less than fascinating.

The ingenious ways the Resistance outwits the Nazis predate the Mission Impossible franchise by decades and that franchise owes a huge debt to Frankenheimer. He’s the original.

Even Frankenheimer’s use of sound creates suspense. The heaving steam of the train at rest is like a mechanical heartbeat. Steven Spielberg uses this same technique, also many decades later, in Saving Private Ryan, in the climatic scenes of the approach of the Nazi tanks. Very effective.

Then there’s Burt Lancaster. Lancaster is one of the few actors, past or present, whose movie I’ll see just because he’s in it. This versatile actor is never less than marvelous in all the diverse roles he’s played, from the swashbuckling buccaneer in the delightful The Crimson Pirate (Lancaster was a professional circus acrobat as a child and he performs all his own stunts, swinging on the ship’s rigging) to the smooth-talking con man in The Rainmaker to the ruthless newspaper columnist in The Sweet Smell of Success to the by-the-book low-ranking military officer in From Here to Eternity. He does a small but delightful acrobatic trick in The Train.

So there you have it, my friends. I’m grateful to Clooney for making The Monuments Men. Otherwise, I may have not seen The Train for a long time—or ever—because I simply wasn’t aware of it. Whether you’re a screenwriter studying your craft, a prose writer studying the art of building suspense, or a viewer who wants to relax with an incredible classic, see The Train. Highly, highly recommended.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Tomorrow’s Child is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
Tomorrow’s Child is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

Movie night in celebration of the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. We saw Elysium (hated it), The Lone Ranger (mostly loved it), and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (pretty much liked it).

I wanted to love Elysium. The cyberpunk elements were interesting—computer devices installed directly into people’s brains, super-sophisticated computer equipment amid underworld squalor—but there were way too many bulging, tattooed biceps and noisy, graphic violence that didn’t advance the story, and repetitions of story elements. As for the story, it veered perilously close to propaganda. Not recommended.

I expected to dislike The Lone Ranger. The film tanked at the box office, was the subject of a contentious budget fight between the movie studio and the principals, and earned scorn for Johnny Depp’s depiction of Tonto. Instead, the production values were as high as promised and Depp was wonderful—humorous, serious, and ironic as the Injun mastermind who outsmarts everyone, is the Lone Ranger’s staunchest ally and something of a shaman. Plenty of allusions to Little Big Man and Last of the Mohicans. My small reservations were over a lame cat joke and a lamer dead horse joke (I have zero tolerance for jokes at an animal’s expense). The Lone Ranger’s pure white “spirit horse,” who gallops up to save the day on several occasions, was totally wonderful. I love how they engineer equine whinnies and snuffles to sound like the horse is emoting. The rousing finale set to the classic William Tell Overture had us applauding and cheering. Very entertaining.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was another box office stinker but since I read and liked Cassandra Clare’s 2005 YA book and write urban fantasy myself, I wanted to see it. The book, about secretive Shadow Hunters with magical powers who protect humanity from all manner of demons, is very long and complex. Critics complained that the script over-explained, but I thought the explanations were nicely parceled out and, overall, the film captured the book rather well. Tom said several times the story reminded him too much of Buffy and, indeed, the book jacket touts the book as an edgier Buffy. No surprise there. Critics also complained the lead actors were unsympathetic so I expected to see whiny, self-absorbed teenagers and bad acting. Neither was the case. The objections seem to be more superficial. I thought the male lead was well cast as the blond Jace, but Tom thought he was weird-looking. As for the heroine, her too dark, too close together eyebrows distracted from her little face. If you like urban fantasy, you could do worse to while away two hours.

So there you have it, my friends. Don’t believe everything the critics say.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a  title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

December 5 is the birthday of Wassily Kandinsky, the pioneering Russian abstract expressionist painter in the early 1900s; Walt Disney, who started out as a humble cartoonist and built the greatest animation studio the world has ever seen, and my husband Tom Robinson, an acclaimed San Francisco Bay Area artist, jeweler, and sculptor. Feast your eyes on Tom’s art here and his bespoke jewelry here.

We mostly don’t watch TV or movies. As independent business folk, we’re working all the time!

Since we go so long without, I wanted to have two movie nights for Tom Robinson’s birthday bash! (I think everyone should celebrate his or her birthday for at least two days, don’t you?)

Movie Night One: “Skyfall” (loved it), “The Great and Powerful Oz” (almost loved it), and a real gem of a find on Silver Screen’s wall, “A Cat in Paris” (adored it). (Silver Screen is a local video rental place about two miles walking distance from our house. We believe in patronizing our local business folk whenever possible.)

If anyone doubted whether Daniel Craig can act, “Skyfall” proves his ability beyond doubt. After his brilliant cameo as the assassin in “Elizabeth,” he hasn’t fared so well outside of the Bond franchise. I didn’t like “Cowboys and Aliens,” declined to see “Dream House.” The Bond in “Skyfall” is the closest yet to Ian Fleming’s Bond. In the book, “Thunderball,” Bond starts out as a chain-smoking, hard-boozing, gambling-addicted wreck, hardly the suave Sean Connery.

“The Great and Powerful Oz” is highly entertaining and true to the tropes of the most popular movie of all time (that would be “The Wizard of Oz, of course!), but marred here and there by excessive sentimentality. Still, the values—that people can use their everyday talents to defeat tyranny and that love and loyalty are the highest gift we can give—are very heartening to see in a business that has traded with darkness and depravity too many times.

“A Cat in Paris,” a French-produced film, is a total delight. It’s an animated film but not at all the CGI-laden animation of Hollywood. The animation looks hand-drawn and is highly styled; I call this film a “Mondrian cartoon.” The story is terrific, and the eponymous cat is loyal, brave, witty, and loving, as all my own cats have been over the years. Absolutely wonderful!

Next up for Day 2 of the Birthday Bash was “Iron Man 3,” “Oblivion,” and another animation I couldn’t wait to see, “Epic.” The warrior hummingbirds in the previews sold me. The hummingbird feeder on my patio and the birds who feed there are a daily delight. A few years ago I was inspired to write a pretty tough story about cancer, “Hummers,” that got chosen for Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 5th Annual Collection (St. Martin’s Press).

Movie night 2 for Tom Robinson’s birthday bash (and then we probably won’t see movies or TV for another six months). “Iron Man 3” (loved it); “Epic” (adored it), “Oblivion” (liked it).

Robert Downey Jr. has the kind of masculine face that can be enlarged a hundred times to swooning effect. “Iron Man 3” has plenty of believable twists and turns, and (like “Skyfall”) a charming, handsome villain who is a very scary cold-blooded psychopathic madman.

“Epic” is a wonderful animation based on a book, William Joyce’s “The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs.” Like the film “Brave,” we’ve got girl-power and family drama with a beautiful story of Good (Life, Growth, Nature, and Family) versus Evil (Death, Destruction, Rot, and Blight).

As for “Oblivion,” the film started out suh-lowww. I’m a fan of a good setup, but 33 minutes before we get to the first Plot Point is 13 minutes too long, and after that, Tom Robinson kept asking, “When is the plot going to happen?” The complicated not completely coherent plot gets jammed into the rest. But Tom Cruise does well, I like him as an actor, and if you want to while away 165 minutes of your life on movie sci fi, I suppose you could do worse.

So there you have it, my friends. I love smart animated movies. It’s my inner child, I guess.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

Celestial Girl (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

SHAKEN on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

Tomorrow’s Child on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords,

U F uh-O, A Sci Fi Comedy is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords; and

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a  title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

Genius. Visionary. Madman.

Nikola Tesla (1856–1943) was the pioneering genius who invented the AC electrical system that powers our world to this day, as well as radio, remote control, the automobile speedometer, X-ray photography, the AND logic gate that drives all our computer systems, and countless other devices and precursors to devices such as cell phones, television, and the Internet that we so effortlessly use today.

Strikingly handsome and charismatic, fluent in half a dozen languages, mathematics savant and master machinist, a reed-thin perfectionist who quoted poetry like a Victorian rapper, Tesla became one of the most famous men of his day. Friend of tycoons like John Jacob Astor and Stanford White and celebrities like Mark Twain and Sarah Bernhardt.

Yet Tesla was an intensely driven and lonely man, beset by inner demons, and cursed with a protean inventive imagination a century ahead of his time. He died in obscurity and poverty and, to this day, his name is not widely known. How did that happen?

Blending historical fact with speculative imagination, Lisa Mason explores the secrets of the Inventor’s inner life and his obsession with Goethe’s Faust set against the backdrop of sweeping technological changes at the turn of the twentieth century that have forever changed the world.

Tesla, A Worthy of His Time was read by the producer of “Aliens,” “The Abyss,” and “The Hulk.” A List of Sources follows the Screenplay.

Tesla is on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add some stars, write a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and spread the word to your friends. Your response really matters.

More bargains for your reading enjoyment:

Urban fantasy! The Garden of Abracadabra is available in three affordable installments. Begin with Book 1: Life’s Journey on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

The Bantam classic, Summer of Love is available in seven affordable installments. Begin at the beginning on Nook, Kindle, or UK Kindle

Suspense! Don’t miss SHAKEN, my sexy thriller, an ebook adaptation of “Deus Ex Machina” published in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, republished in Transcendental Tales (Donning Press), and translated and republished worldwide, is on Nook, Kindle. and UK Kindle.

Literary science fiction! And don’t miss TOMORROW’S CHILD, The Story That Sold To The Movies. This began as a medical documentary, then got published in Omni Magazine as a lead story, and finally sold to Universal Pictures, where the project is now in development. On Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Thank you for your readership!

From U F uh-O, A Sci Fi Comedy

1

Great Expectations

Pasadena is a wood-burning oven, Josh a piece of meat, as he pulls his Volvo spattered with bumper stickers up to Happy Daze Family Clinic.

Nikki hops out and boogies over to the driver’s side, doing the trademarked bump-and-grind she used to do as the lead guitar of Chicks in Chains. Today she’s flower-child chic in skinny white jeans, a pink camisole, and suede ballet flats. Not rocker-chick sleek in black leather and sky-high boots like in the old days. But he can’t help but smile. Damn, she’s hot. He hasn’t seen his wife this stoked since they got married four years ago.

Now if only he could stifle the regret in his heart.

She leans in his window. “She’s gonna be your kid, too, babe.”

“Or he. She could be a he.”

“Absolutely.”

“I hope I haven’t let you down, Nikki. You know I’m crazy in love with you.”

“I know, hubby of mine.” She kisses him sweetly on the lips, gazes deeply into his eyes. Then bumps-and-grinds around the Volvo, waves bye-bye, and dances through the front door of Happy Daze.

Josh sighs, watching her go. He wants this because she wants this. But that doesn’t mean he has to like what she wants. He’s pretty sure he’d be perfectly happy living the rest of his life, just him and Nikki.

He pulls out into frantic traffic, scanning the curbs for a parking space. Three grand for a freakin’ turkey baster, he mutters to himself, and the clinic hasn’t even got a parking lot.

From U F uh-O, A Sci Fi Comedy

Copyright © 2012 by Lisa Mason.

For something fast, fun, and free exclusively on Kindle Select, give U F uh-O, A Sci Fi Comedy a try! But only until March 1, 2013.

Knocked Up meets E.T

Nikki and Josh really want a child but have infertility issues. Gretchen and Mike have the same problem. When Nikki meets Gretchen at the Happy Daze Family Clinic in Pasadena, they discover that they share a love of music and have asked for a donor with musical talent.

Nine months later, they give birth to very unusual babies and, seeking an answer to why the kids are so special, they meet again at a pediatrician’s office.

And the search is on.

Who—and what—is Donor Number 333?

U F uh-O, A Sci Fi Comedy started out as a script for a producer looking for a science fiction comedy like Galaxy Quest or Men in Black and became a novella. Prose writing is so much more fun than scriptwriting!

The novella is free exclusively on Kindle!

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook and Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add some stars, write a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and spread the word to your friends. Your response really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

Coming soon! Celestial Girl: A Lily Modeska Mystery. Romantic suspense!