Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Today is the day.

A few years ago my friend Harry wrote a novel called CHILD OF FIRE that was picked up by Random House / Del Rey. Publisher's Weekly gave it a starred review. It was also one of their best novels of the year. Everybody loved it. Last year the second novel in the series GAME OF CAGES came out. Once again - great starred review in Publisher's Weekly. Good reviews every place else. Hey, that Harry can write!

TODAY the third book in the series, CIRCLE OF ENEMIES, comes out in paperback. Publisher's Weekly *again* gave it a great starred review. Harry is three for three in the great reviews derby!

The new book is on bookstore shelves today, and available at Amazon and B&N Online, and maybe in airports and drugstores.

Last time I posted about CIRCLE OF ENEMIES I put up the trailer they made for all three books - and unlike those boring book trailers where the pudgy writer holds up a copy of his books and while the announcer tells you how great it is, the the writer says, "I'm James Patterson, read this week's book with my name on it", this is more like a movie trailer... kinda cool!

The other thing they are doing is selling the first two books in the series on Kindle (and other e-book platforms) at a discounted price - for anyone who missed them.

CHILD OF FIRE - 99 cents.

That is under a dollar! For one of the best novels of 2009!

GAME OF CAGES - $2 off!

This is a limited time deal to promote the new book.

Harry has already finished the next book in the series, but how brilliant is he to write a book about Google Plus "Circles" and have it hit bookstores just when Google Plus is taking off? By the way - love that cover!

- Bill

Friday, August 26, 2011

Back In My Home Town...

Back in my home town for a few weeks, and one of my first stops was Hop Sing's Chinese Take Out...

If you ever watched BONANZA on TV, Hop Sing was the cook at the Ponderosa - which isn't that far from where I grew up (though - it's fictional and I grew up in some form of reality). Hop Sing's Chinese Take Out may have been the first in a proposed chain... but I don't think that happened. Instead it's a single store. No seats, nowhere to dine in - take out only.

Map of the Ponderosa on the wall:

When I was a poor community college student Hop Sing's was close to the college (DVC) and close to one of my jobs (K-Mart) and *cheap* and great food. So I could easily dash there and grab some to-go food and munch it between classes or between jobs or just between. Even today, they have the best Chinese fast food I've ever eaten - for $5.75 you get a meal that makes Panda look like garbage. I had a #3: 4 *huge* prawns, almond chicken, BBQ pork fried rice (with a ton of BBQ pork). Their #1 is $4.99 now - BBQ pork chow mein (again - LOTS of BBQ pork), sweet & sour pork, special fried rice with the works... back when I was in community college I have no idea how much it was, but cheaper than McDonalds. I lived off Hop Sings back then.

Now, my sister works at the bowling alley across the street from Hop Sing's, so I visited with her before grabbing dinner and taking it to the park down the street.

So now that I'm here there will be some meetings on my no budget film project, and I plan to make a short film just for fun, and some other stuff.

- Bill

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


My friend Marc Zicree sent me an e-mail about his new class, asking me to help him get the word out. If you don't know who Marc is, you can IMDB him - he wrote the Twilight Zone Companion and was head writer for the TV show SLIDERS and at least one of the STAR TREK spin offs... plus I think he won an award for a STAR TREK episode with Sulu. Marc and his wife do classes every month, and I used to put a blurb about them in my newsletter... only I have not sent out a newsletter in ages! So, here's Marc to tell you about the class...

Our class this upcoming weekend with Neil Johnson HOW TO MAKE A SCI-FI BLOCKBUSTER FOR LOOSE CHANGE -- AND TURN A PROFIT! is getting quite a response -- folks flying in from across the country to take it, people dying to learn the secrets only Neil knows.

It's funny -- just the other day an indie filmmaker I met was telling me that the way to make a film is to scrounge together whatever money you have, don't expect to make anything back and assume nothing will come of it.

Well, Neil, Elaine and I utterly reject that proposition!

(And who are Elaine and I, you might ask. We're Marc and Elaine Zicree, writer-producer-directors who've worked for all the major studios and networks, have hundreds of hours of produced credits -- including STAR TREK - THE NEXT GENERATION, DEEP SPACE NINE, BABYLON 5, SLIDERS, FRIDAY THE 13TH - THE SERIES, etc. -- and have been nominated for the Hugo and Nebula Awards and just won the 2011 Saturn Award.)

Neil's filmed with multi-million dollar budgets and budgets of only a few thousand -- and he's made a profit on everything he's shot! PLUS on his most recent film ALIEN ARMAGEDDON he got big-budget effects and name stars for a total budget of only $27,000!

Don't be left out! This is the real deal!

As a rule, shooting a movie with two people in a room talking for two hours doesn't get Hollywood to sit up and take notice. Neil's got fleets of spaceships invading Earth, major cities being nuked, big gun battles between aliens and humans, biomechanical monsters menacing beautiful heroines, the works -- LEARN HOW YOU CAN DO IT TOO!

To see the TRAILER click on TRAILER!

Log onto http://www.scifiblockbuster.com for more info and to sign up.

Class will be Saturday and Sunday August 27-28, 10-5, L.A. Valley College, 5800 Fulton Ave., campus center room 104, first floor, Van Nuys 91401; park in Lot 3 for free.

It's going to be a great ride!

PLUS anyone who mentions my name (Bill Martell) when they sign up gets a BONUS 10-HOUR DVD set of the class (a $249 value) -- FREE. Um, I want that. I'd be there, but I'm on vacation right now.

- Bill

Monday, August 22, 2011


YOUR IDEA MACHINE never made it any higher than #3 on the Amazon Top 20 Screenwriting List...

IDEA MACHINE is still in the top ten at #6.

- Bill

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm On Vacation

Thought I was going to have another new Hitchcock entry up today, but it isn't finished because I've been goofing off. Sorry.

Okay, here's a link to PSYCHO.

- Bill

Lancelot Link Thursday

Lancelot Link Thursday! Now that PLANET OF THE APES has been #1 two weekends in a row, do you think all movies should be about Monkeys? OF MICE AND MONKEYS? FINAL MONKEY 5? 30 MONKEYS OR LESS? GONE WITH THE APES? HOW GREEN WAS MY MONKEY? MONKEYBLANCA? If so, here are some articles about screenwriting and the biz plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...

Here are seven cool links plus this week's car chase...

1) All Of The Final Destination Deaths!

2) Police Blow Up Suspicious Screenplay - in case you missed it.

<3) Hunter S. Thompson doesn't like your work... and makes Josh Olson look like a pussycat.

4) Interview With The Writer Suing WME & other agencies for $8 Million Bucks.

5) World's Largest Stop Motion Animation (by Aardman).

6) Groucho Marx vs. Warner Bros lawyers.

7) CONAN writer on bad reviews.

And this week's car chase:

VANISHING POINT remake - Charger & Challenger.

- Bill

TODAY'S SCRIPT TIP: Nice Antagonists - Just because they are the antagonist doesn't mean they're not nice!
Dinner: All I Could Eat.
Pages: Working on the Action Book revisions... kinda.
Bicycle: No bike where I am.
Movies: Yes, I have seen FINAL DESTINATION 5...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Number 3!

Here is the Amazon Top 10 Screenwriting List for Kindle - 8/13/11:

Also #3 today (8/14) but the top two have traded places.
Thought for sure it would be #63 by now.



*** YOUR IDEA MACHINE *** - For Kindle!

*** YOUR IDEA MACHINE *** - For Nook!

Expanded version with more ways to find great ideas! Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is around 155 pages!

Only $2.99 - and no postage!

Wait... There's more!




*** CREATING STRONG PROTAGONISTS *** - For Nook! (coming soon)

Expanded version with more ways to create interesting protagonists! Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is once again around 155 pages!

Only $2.99 - and no postage!

Next up will either be Dialogue (#10) (which needs me to write 3 new articles) or one of the others that requires less work.

- Bill

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lancelot Link Thursday: The Final Thursday!

Lancelot Link Thursday! They are already planning a sequel to RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES... does this mean the apes have taken over our cinemas? If so, here are some articles about screenwriting and the biz plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you or the apes who are reading this blog. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...

Here are five cool links plus the car chase of the week...

1) Ian Fleming (James Bond) on writing thrillers.

2) Following The Cliche

3) JAWS in the style of PEANUTS.

4) John Sayles interview. (because I'm a massive fan, I must link every Sayles interview, sorry!)

5) All of the Hitchcock Trailers!

And this week's car chase...

LINK BECAUSE EMBED IS DISABLED... It's that good! One of Lancelot's *favorites*!

- Bill

TODAY'S SCRIPT TIP: Always The Journey - if the hero kills the villain at the end, what's the use of watching?
Dinner: Baja Fresh Fish Tacos... black beans & rice.
Pages: Finished a script, and now working on a NEW Hitchcock blog entry for Friday... then on to the Action Book revisions.
Bicycle: Some medium to longish bike rides over the past couple of days because I'll be going on vacation... and no bike. Lots of eating too much and sitting on my fat behind. Better get some exercise in now!



*** YOUR IDEA MACHINE *** - For Kindle!

*** YOUR IDEA MACHINE *** - For Nook!

Expanded version with more ways to find great ideas! Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is around 155 pages!

Only $2.99 - and no postage!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fade Out

So, the original plan was to finish up this great blog entry that has been half written for at least a month, now, and post it for Wednesday... but I'm not sure I'm going to have time to get it done, so it's coming next week.

Instead I thought I'd mention that I finally got to FADE OUT on this new spec, and I did a read-through looking for screw ups today and I think I got most of them... and the script has some scenes that seem better than I remember them when I was doing the typing. I came up with a better ending along the way – the basic end in the same but the details are different – and overall I like the script. Now all I need is to sell the sucker...

But I finished it just in the nick of time, since I want to squeeze in a vacation (which is just working in some other city) and then head back to my hometown to hang out with friends and discuss the movie project... which has already hit a little bump. One of my co-horts – the guy whose *house* we're shooting in – is booked with work until the end of the year. So it looks like we won't be filming until *next year*. We'll have some meetings and beers and come up with a new start date and plan for the film.

The big plan at this point in time is to complete the revisions on THE SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING and get that sucker up on Kindle and Nook (hopefully by the end of this month) and then spend next month getting the Blue Books up there. I have another spec script that I want to write by the end of this year – and I might *just* be able to squeeze that in. This year is zipping past!

I am amazed that YOUR IDEA MACHINE is still hanging in there on the Amazon Top Ten for Kindle list. Over the weekend it dropped down to 15... and then rose back to #6 on Monday.

But I have a new screenplay! And hope to have some new blog entries soon!

- Bill
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