JC De La Torre's Speculative Thoughts

An author's blog on what's going on with Speculative Fiction (Sci-Fi, Horror, Fantasy, etc.), movies, tv, music, news, sports, and pretty much anything else that comes to mind.

My Photo
Location: Tampa, Florida, United States

Monday, August 28, 2006

Death of SG1 Is An Awful Mistake for Sci-Fi Channel

This was originally printed at fi-sci.com

One thing is for sure, Sci-Fi Channel sure knows how to throw a party. Shortly after the crew of Stargate:SG-1 filmed their 200th episode, a first for an American Science Fiction program, the mecca for all of us Sci-Fi geeks made a shocking announcement – SG-1’s run would end at 10 seasons. We got plenty of corporate mumbo jumbo saying that the ratings weren’t what they used to be and that the show’s popularity was dwindling, but don’t buy it folks. The truth is that Sci-Fi Channel has its own programming, like Battlestar Galactica and Eureka that cost a lot less to make than Stargate does. The numbers say that Galactica and Eureka are more successful shows and since Sci-Fi channel owns their property (as opposed to Stargate, whose rights still belong to MGM), they can make tons more money off those shows.

Its big business, my fellow Gaters. Sci-Fi not only makes advertising dollars off of BSG and Eureka, but it also profits off of merchandising. T-shirts, Mugs, action figures – Sci-Fi gets the check for that while that piece of the pie for Stargate goes straight into MGM’s pocket. I believe the suits thought they have enough of Stargate in Stargate:Atlantis and really don’t need two Stargate programs. It’s just business. Unfortunately, for a company that caters to a specific genre group, it’s a terrible public relations decision.

SG-1 may not be pulling the kind of numbers it used to but perhaps its more due to terrible time placing than it is the quality of the program. SG-1 is facing off against the USA Network’s cable powerhouse, Monk. It also is challenged by Kyle KY on ABC, Showtime’s Weeds, and SpikeTv’s reruns of CSI. They also made the very questionable decision to breakup Sci-Fi Friday, with SG1 and Atlantis leading into BSG. One would typically be more inclined to watch the 3 hour block than TIVO it, but two hours of similar programming? I think that’s where many of our Stargate fans have gone. The invention of the DVR may have led to the downfall of SG1. I know I’ve been guilty of it myself.

One has to question the direction of Sci-Fi Channel’s quality. While BSG is definitely great and Eureka is an interesting little show – what else will Sci-Fi have to offer fans once they have buried SG1 and eventually Atlantis? Their god awful creature-feature-movies-of-the-week schlock fests? Sorry, if Bruce Campbell isn’t in it, I’m not watchin’ it. Is WWE wrestling really Sci-Fi related? Sure, the characters appear to be from another world but Triple H is not a true alien – at least to our knowledge. This is the company that passed on giving Firefly a home, despite the rabid base of fans that actually convinced Fox to create a feature film based off a series that was cancelled after three episodes.

Truth be told, other than BSG, Science Fiction fans are beginning to turn to other channels to fulfill their Sci-Fi jones. It’s pretty sad when the USA network is bringing better Sci-Fi programming (The 4400) than the Sci-Fi Network itself…and who knows, maybe, just maybe, USA will take the Stargate ball and run with it. Let’s face it - I don’t think that network has a show that has been going on for 10 glorious years.

Wake up, Sci-Fi Channel. You are throwing away ten years of a loyal fanbase and the fans are not happy about it. Some speak of boycott (with the exception of Atlantis). These are the people you WANT watching your network. It’s understandable that Sci-Fi Channel wants to broaden its audience and that’s why its bringing programming that has nothing to do with Science Fiction, but they do it at the risk of alienating their core audience.

Stargate SG-1 placed Sci-Fi Channel on the map. We all know this. For them to just throw the series away after such a momentous milestone is just plain stupidity. I look forward to seeing what program they decide to replace SG-1 with – as I can’t imagine it being half as good or garner the ratings that Stargate has over the past five years its been on the network.

I mean, does anyone truly want a return of Sliders?

JC De La Torre is the author of Ancient Rising and the Vice President of the Speculative Fiction publisher, Luna Brillante Publishing

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Merry Maddenoliday!

Merry Maddenoliday, everyone....I'm afraid I'm going to be unavailable for the next few days as I embrace the wonder that is Madden 2007 for the Xbox360.

Please forgive me! I will return soon!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Clerks 2 Classic Kevin Smith....

Taking a little departure from Spec Fic today to discuss Clerks 2. I had a chance to see the movie the other day and let me just say, it was classic Kevin Smith Comedy. There are some who likely believe it to simply be vulgarity but for folks who do not take themselves too seriously and enjoy good fun - its definitely a worthy follow up to the original.

Now, don't get me wrong, the original Clerks was much better than this full color version. Still, it was pretty good. The sequel picks up 10 yrs after the original. Procrastinator Dante shows up at the QwikStop store only to see it engulfed in flames. His buddy Randall, the slacker, had let the pot on (again) overnight and caused the inferno. Fast forward to the dynamic duo's new roles - burger flippers at Mooby's.

Dante is planning on leaving with his new fiance to Florida to manage a Car Wash owned by her Father but faces a crisis that makes him decide between moving to Florida with his new wife or staying in Jersey with Randall, Jay and Silent Bob, and the rest of the View Askew Crew.

Its fun seeing Dante still trying to make something out of his life while Randall continues his who gives a flying fluke attitude and contrast between the two characters it begets.

Speaking of Jay (Jayson Mewes), its good to see him sobered up and doing comedy again (Mewes had to be the subject of an intervention by Kevin Smith and other friends and placed into a rehab clinic).

One last thought - two shocking scenes that when you will know exactly what I'm referring to...The Donkey Show and Jay's Buffalo Bill imitation...

Awesomely hilarious stuff that I think only Kevin Smith could dementedly come up with.

If you like this type of humor, check it out!

Monday, August 14, 2006

The latest Final Destination is 3 times gorier!

Ah, Death. Our old friend. He is always over your shoulder, threatening to come up and bite you in the arse at the most inopportune times. No one knows when its their time to go. You could live until you're 110. You can get hit by a bus tomorrow. Ah...but if you somehow cheat Death, Death gets pretty pissed off. That, in essense is the story behind Final Destination 3. Like the first two installments of this horror franchise, a beautiful heroine, the doe-eyed Wendy Christensen (played by Mary Elizabeth Winsted - who was last seen in Sky High) has a vision that her and others from her high school class who are boarding a deadly roller coaster on Grad Night are about to experience every amusment park goer's worst fears - a faulty roller coaster that results in a horrific accident, killing everyone on the ride. She wakes to find herself seeing tha it was not real....at least not quite yet...of course, freaks out that she wants off. Her removal gets her, her companion and 7 others from her school kicked off the coaster. Unfortunately, her boyfriend was not one of them. Poor Wendy watches in horror as her vision becomes reality. Of course...she cheated death...and death is none to happy about it.

If you watched previous installments you know what's next. One by one, the survivors begin dropping like flies but in the most grotesque fashions you can imagine. FD3 definitely decided to kick it up a notch for this particular telling of the tale.

If you have a squemish stomach, this rental is likely not for you. For Gore freaks, there are plenty of brain smashing, severed limbs, and gruesome fatalities to feed your sick blood craze.

As a horror fan, I enjoyed the flick and I believe you should definitely pick it up to rent if you like this sort of thing!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Crow: Wicked Prayer a Wicked Joke

Well, I'm going to take a slight departure from the Luna Brillante Publishing stuff to talk about The Crow: Wicked Prayer.

I am a fan of the Crow, mainly because I enjoyed James O'Barr's comic books and I thought Brandon Lee did a superb job as Eric Draven in the first movie. Vincent Vega was a joke in the second one. Eric Mabius was not horrible but not great in the third and Marc Dacascos was a decent Eric Draven in the Crow: Stairway to Heaven - the series that no one ever heard about.

When it came to Wicked Prayer, I had little hope it would be good, but I thought I'd give it a shot any way when it showed on Sci Fi Channel. Two words folks: Edward Furlong. Don't get me wrong, Ed Furlong is a decent actor. I have nothing against him. But he's a wimp and totally ridiculously unbelievable as an avenging angel.

Then you toss in Dennis Hopper, who is a bad movie magnet, Tara Reid, who couldn't do any role that didn't involve her propositioning sex to another character, and David Boreanz, in his worst role since Valentine. Plus Danny Trejo, who seems to be in every single movie that requires a Big Tough Mexican dude.

If you must know what this tomato is about basically, Luc Crash (Boreanz), the leader of a satanic gang of bikers murder a young man named Jimmy Cuervo and his girlfriend Lily for the purpose of a ritual to make Crash an immortal demon. Cuervo rises from the dead with the power of the crow to avenge his girlfriend's death, and to stop the completion of the ritual.

At some point after Crash marries his ho, Lola (Reid, of course), Crash becomes the Devil...or a demon....Both? It wasn't really clear. Furlong mopes around getting his ass handed to him repeatedly before suddenly musting some intesticle (mispelling intended) fortitude and kicks Satan's backside true Crow style.

Notice, I didn't mention Hopper...probably because his forgettable performance as "El Nino" was so brutally bad it doesn't even deserve to be mentioned.

Is it just me or is Hopper getting worse with every flick he does?

Anyway - even if you are an ardent Crow fan, stay away from this pile of dog manure. This will effectly kill whatever franchise they had. Then again, I have always believed it died with Brandon Lee.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Two Brilliant Graphic Artists Join the LBP Team!


First off, I appreciate the patience you all have been exhibiting while I deal with this Luna Brillante stuff. Its not easy getting a POD off the ground, there's a lot of work involved. Luckily we are closer to getting everything the way it should be and I can return this blog to what its supposed to be....my Speculative Thoughts. I'm getting a lot of stuff bottled up too, including my thoughts on NBC's Heroes, of course Stargate, Ultraviolet being better than I thought it would be and the travesty that was The Crow:Wicked Prayer...Edward Furlong? Are you guys purposely destroying the Crow series for some reason? WTF?

But that kind of stuff will need to wait just a few more days as I continue to build LBP. I truly believe its going to be something special in the POD world. I'm more than confident that it will attract people to it simply because its created by authors for authors. We're not out to steal your money, we're up front with you. We're in it together - and that separates us from the IUniverses, Llumina's and even Lulu.

With that in mind, I was very excited when multi-award winning cover artitst Trace Edward Zaber agreed to be part of our Graphic Artist team. Trace has one multiple awards for his book cover designs (see the cover to the right). While he is part owner and Senior Book Designer of Amber Quill Press, he still does freelance work and we were able to nab him to do LBP Covers.

We were also able to come to an agreement with another artist who is well known for her fantastic abilities in fantasy art. Laura Diehl is a tremendously talented artist and she is easily our primary artist for all fantasy works. LBP will staff backups for her if she is unavailable but we are going to try and keep her as busy as possible. I mean, why wouldn't we? When you see talent like this (see the pic in the left), how is there any doubt who we should go with? We were just thrilled that our offer was acceptable to her.

This is only the beginning, LBP plans on having two artists for each genre of Speculative Fiction, so we should hopefully be able to provide some of the most vivid, award winning covers out there.

Its not all about covers, though, we will be giving our authors the top editing and reviews out there, too.

That's why if you're looking to do a Speculative Fiction book - you have to think LBP. If you're looking to read LBP - you need to think LBP.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

JC Returns From the Cave Bringing Good Tidings!

Greetings my Blogger readers!

First, I want to profusely apologize for not updating the blog in such a ridiculously long time. I have a good excuse, though. I’ve been working on a new business model for Luna Brillante Publishing. We desperately wanted to be able to work with other authors in helping them reach their dreams in publishing great speculative fiction works. Unfortunately, due to financial difficulties, we simply did not have the financial wherewithal to be able to publishing and produce books solely on our own. I’ve spent the last several days studying the subsidy and vanity models of other book publishers (thanks to BooksandTales’ An Incomplete Guide to POD Publishers http://booksandtales.com/pod/index.php)

I wrestled with what to do. I wanted to keep the legitimacy of being a true small publisher that used POD technology while at the same time be able to provide the services that our authors and our readers deserved. There were many, many things about the subsidies that I thought were very shady. They charged hundreds of dollars for LCCN’s which cost nothing more than the cost of printing two books and sending it to the Library. They charged for Bowker’s Books In Print…which come automatically when you assign an ISBN to a book. Some charged an outrageous sum of $500 to allow for returns – basically making the author subsidize their inability to sell their author’s books. Some didn’t even offer returns, which gave their author’s no chance of ever seeing books in brick-and-mortar stores, still the best place to have books purchased. I was stunned at the overcharging of services or the lack of services. It bothered me. I decided my company was not going to fleece authors like that. We didn’t want to take advantage of those who have their dreams of being published – so we designed a different way.

I felt strongly that the subsidy model and the vanity model did not fit what I wanted to do. As I researched, I discovered that there is such a thing as Collaborative Publishers. The publishers enter what is kind of a partnership with the author (or magazine/journal producer) and make an agreement to publish and distribute the book, magazine, journal or what have you. Each assumes risk, each benefit with a reward if the publications do well. A synergetic partnership. That’s what I wanted for LBP. In this model, I could continue to have the bar raised high when it came to Speculative Fiction, which our company specializes in, and I wouldn’t just take any manuscript that waved money in my face. I could institute standards and still provide the services I would had we had the financial backing we needed to continue to be an independent small press. It was the best of both worlds.

So, on August 1st, we announced our partnership packages – Moondrop, Moonbeam, and Moonglade which ran from $399-$899, significantly less than you’d see with some of the other well known subsidy presses. The packages were all inclusive, too.

Moondrop is for the author who is a "go-getter" and wants some control over the presentation of his work. This package will include many advantages but a custom cover and professionally editing will need to be taken care of by the author. LBP reserves the right to review the editing and quality of the cover for professionalism and marketability.

Moonbeam is for the author who has his own cover, but doesn't want to pay for his editing and wants it done by LBP. It has all that Moondrop offers, plus some additional perks, a larger royalty share and professional editing provided by LBP's editing staff.

Moonglade is for the author who just wants to focus on marketing and wants his publisher to handle everything else. It has everything that Moondrop and Moonbeam offers, but in addition offers an even larger royalty share, a custom cover by an LBP certified graphic artist, professional editing, an author website hosted on our servers, and a listing in Ingram Advance's catalog.

I think they’re good, well priced packages and I feel that with these packages, authors who joined Luna Brillante would not only be proud of their association with us, but also be excited about their futures and the company’s future. I know I am.

It will take some time, but I truly believe that our company goal is reachable. What is that goal? I want anyone who is interested in Speculative Fiction to think of Luna Brillante first before they go anywhere else. I know, it’s a lofty goal – especially with the Del Rey and Baens of the world. But I feel with great books and good prices, we can position ourselves to not only build a buying base – but a fanbase. I want you – the spec fic fan to say – “Man! I can’t wait for the next LBP book to come out.” I want you to go to your fellow spec fic fans and say – “Hey, have you heard of Luna Brillante? Their books are AWESOME! You should check them out!”

I want you to go to stores and demand they carry Luna Brillante books. Its about good authors and entertained readers folks and I truly believe with this publishing model – we can accomplish this at LBP.

If you are interested in finding out more or submitting your work to LBP, visit our website at http://www.lunabrillantepublishing.com

Our new slogan is Step into the Light with Luna Brillante Publishing. I know, as Vice President of the company, we will do everything we can to make that the truth.

Feel free to comment here or email me directly at editor@lunabrillantepublishing.com

JC De La Torre

I normally don’t do this but –

Tag: POD, POD Publishing, Self Publishing, Publishing, Books, Authors, Getting Published, Subsidy Publisher, Vanity Publisher, Collobrative Publisher, novels, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Horror, Alternate History, Alternate Reality