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Fatal Attraction or Bad Decisions – A Retro of a 30-Year-Old Classic

In September of 1987, fresh from college graduation and new to the city of Los Angeles, I decided to take refuge in a movie the...

Sunday, February 26, 2017

An Open Letter to My Neighbors - The Reboot

For those of you who are regular readers of my blog, last summer I wrote a letter to my wonderful next door neighbors. You remember them. The cast members of Breaking Bad or The Wire? Yes, those people!

Unfortunately, while they calmed down with the help of their Grandmother and local law enforcement, there are still some individuals out there that didn’t get the memo or watch the TV series. So, you know what that means?

Another letter!  So, sit back in your favorite chair, close your eyes, grab a beverage or two and enjoy!

Dear (Insert whatever adjective or noun fits the mood du jour),

First of all, I am so grateful that you live next door to me.  Up until three years ago, I didn’t even know you existed. Now I do and I feel as if my life has been forever altered. I don’t know how I functioned without your presence in my world. You have taught me how to get by on little to no sleep. Which is terrific because now I am able to enjoy watching the sun rise and get an early start on my day. Sleep is overrated! It doesn’t matter that I was working until 5 am.

Without you, I would never know that it was possible to run a chainsaw for eight hours straight! This is an amazing feat considering I don’t live in a National Park or rural Texas. I definitely don’t live in a rustic cabin in Tennessee either.

Are you fighting demons? Are you getting rid of the bodies? I don’t know but you are teaching me the importance of concentration. There is nothing better than trying to write while a symphony of grinding metal is playing at 11 in the background.

Of course, you know how much I love surprises!  On that rare day when I was trying to sleep, that dump truck with the gravel delivery and the incessant beeping was awesome!  I loved that! I jumped up so fast that I felt like I ran a marathon.  How did you know I was working on my cardio?

Oh, and thank you for creating a parking lot in your front yard. How convenient for you! I envy you, neighbor.  Now, all you have to do is roll up and out after hanging out in the clubs and easy, peasy you are in your house! There is no off position on the genius switch for you, my friend.  

I really like the fact that you have turned our street into a motocross course. This is another terrific idea. Here, I thought streets were for walking or perhaps, driving your car to work but no! Instead, they are a great place to go roaring around on your pocket motorbike. It doesn’t matter that you are in your 30s and still living in your Mom’s basement. You are bitchin’ cool brother, whipping around on your tiny baby Harley. Ride like the wind.

Because of you, I am able to identify most popular club songs by their bass line.  This is a rare gift to possess.  If it weren’t for you sitting in your primer coated Gremlin sharing the latest music with our neighborhood, I wouldn’t be so hip.  You know how to get your party on!

And last but not least, I want to tell you that I appreciate your daring personality.  You are not afraid to go against the grain.  While mostly everyone stores their old furniture in a shed or even a garage, you have taken that convention and turned it upside down. I love looking out my window and seeing your old sofa and easy chair tossed devil may care style into your backyard. You never know when unexpected guests might drop by and need to crash somewhere. They can just head outdoors.  

Summer is right around the corner and I can’t wait to see what surprises you have in store for us this year. If you decide to have a block party, you can bet that we will be the first ones there!

Kind Regards,

The People Living Next Door to You



Do you have neighbors from hell? Do you have any interesting interactions with them? I would love to hear your opinions on the subject!  Please feel free to post your comments or contact me at susan.womanontheledge@aol.com.
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Friday, February 17, 2017

Hangin' on the Ledge with Madeleine Holly-Rosing

I have been a steampunk fan since childhood. For those of you who are not familiar with the genre, think of the tv show, The Wild Wild West with Robert Conrad and Ross Martin or the movie of the same name with Will Smith and Kevin Kline. The blend of science fiction with 1800s technology is truly inventive.  That is why I was super excited to snag my next guest. 
Without further ado, I would like to introduce you to Madeleine Holly-Rosing, the creator of the webcomic the Boston Metaphysical Society.
The Story Behind The Story
I love writing BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY. Not only does it bring my love of science fiction and history together, (which by the way, equals steampunk), the steampunk time period allows me to address the themes of classism, sexism, and racism in America in a thoughtful and entertaining way. For at its very core, BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY is an American story. And you can't tell an American story without including women and people of color.

It has been and always will be important to me to write characters who, though they come from diverse backgrounds and have different points of view, are able to work together for the common good.

BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY began as a TV Pilot which I wrote while I was in the MFA Program in Screenwriting at UCLA. It was somewhat inspired by a script I had written called Stargazer, which was about a real life astronomer who lived in Boston in the late 1880's. (Stargazer went on to win the Sloan Fellowship.) It was suggested that I adapt Boston Metaphysical into a six issue graphic novel mini-series. I agreed and the hunt was on for an artist. Many months later, I met Emily Hu through a mutual friend and a partnership was born. Her passion for the project matched my own and I knew the story was in good hands. I launched BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY as a webcomic in May of 2012. The following year we printed a special edition of the first chapter.

Through a combination of self-funding and the generous support of Kickstarter backers, we were able to finish the six issue series and now we are back to print this expanded version of the trade which includes a brand new ten page short story.

However by wading into the deep end of the pool, I discovered a terrible truth – I love writing comics.

So I bring you Samuel, Caitlin, and Granville who represent the best, the worst, and every shade of gray of the society in which they live. They are products of their world yet strive for not only more, but better.

Much like you and I.

By backing this project, you would not only be supporting the printing of the trade paperback, but a vision of a future where the teamwork and sacrifice of a diverse group of individuals ultimately defeats evil.
 Please join us in bringing this project to life.
The Kickstarter Campaign runs from February 1 to March 3.
Kickstarter Link: http://kck.st/2kT8SqU

Boston Metaphysical Society – A Steampunk Supernatural Graphic Novel
Written by Madeleine Holly-Rosing; Art by Emily Hu; Color by Gloria Caeli

Boston, 1895 - Steam driven technology dominates and dirigibles rule the sky.  A new century and new technology looms on the horizon turning the social and political status quo its head. People are uncomfortable with change and, in fact, many people fear it.
That fear and the violence which follows, causes a psychic rift to puncture the veil of space and time allowing an entity known as "The Shifter" to escape into our world.

It feeds on the resentment and fears between the rich and the poor and triggers a rash of murders.
 In order to stop it, the greatest and most creative minds of the time band together. They are:
Alexander Graham Bell,

Thomas Edison,
Nikola Tesla,
And Harry Houdini.

Frustrated by their own in-fighting, they look to ex-Pinkerton detective, SAMUEL HUNTER.
A man driven by revenge, for the one mistake The Shifter made was killing Samuel Hunter’s wife.
Samuel gathers his unlikely team of… Caitlin O’Sullivan, medium and spirit photographer,
and Granville Woods, Scientist Extraordinaire.
Their job: Stop The Shifter before Boston tears itself apart.

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Woman on the Ledge vs. Cupid

It’s that annoying time of year again, everyone. You know when we are constantly being bombarded with ads smacking us in the face with romance. Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day! I can almost hear the collective groaning now. Well, I feel your pain.

Since I have always been one to speak my mind, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Whenever people are disgruntled, they always demand to speak to the CEO, the President, you know, the guy or gal in charge.  That is exactly what I am going to do. I have dealt with this “holiday” for most of my life and now I’m going to write a letter to El Jefe, the man with a thousand arrows, Cupid. Believe me, I have a list of complaints and he’s just going to have to listen.

Dear Cupid,
You know why I am sending you this letter. Listen, I get it. You have been around for ages. At one time, you were the biggest star in the world. Maybe even bigger than the jolly guy from up north. Well, maybe not bigger than him. You’re in competition. There are so many other holidays out there jockeying for attention. So, you think that you have to have a media presence in every outlet known to humans.  I am here to tell you, it really isn’t necessary.

Look, in July, we’re getting hammered with ads about Christmas. That’s right! It’s 90 bazillion degrees out, the humidity is the surface temperature of the sun and we are seeing winter coats in stores and holiday decorations (I’m looking at you, Target). We are no sooner getting over that whole hot mess which lasts about five months and then December 26th, it is all hearts and candy crap.

Why is it that you feel that every man needs to spend at least 6 months salary on a ring for his girlfriend or wife? Who was the mathematical genius that came up with that equation? Truth be told, why would I even want a ring that size? I’m not a Kardashian, or Amal Clooney for that matter. My idea of a good time is not wearing a $20,000 ring the size of a small country on my finger because I will only end up punching myself in the eye in the middle of the night. Plus, it will just succeed in making me look like I am wearing a ring pop which is so chic. 
Furthermore, I don’t need flowers either. Every time I log onto my computer I hold you responsible Cupid for slowing down my internet. Why do I need pop up ads telling me about exotic roses from Spain or Swarovski crystal encrusted vases? I don’t need that kind of clutter in my house. Knowing me, I would probably end up dropping that expensive vase succeeding in breaking it and in the process ruining my hardwood floors because of the water. 

I don’t live in a museum with priceless antiquities. I live in a house in the middle of the suburbs. My life is not an episode of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. This is reality. Love is not having to call the ambulance because you cut yourself picking up a priceless crystal artifact. Trust me. 
While we’re at it, let’s have a discussion about lingerie. When I am watching television, I don’t want a thousand ads from AdoreMe.com with these incredibly annoying teen dreams telling me about this awesome bustier and panty set their boyfriend or husband picked out for them. Really? “Oh, yes, honey. I love you so much that I am gifting you with this corset from 1852. I dig the way it makes you look like a pirate wench.”

What woman doesn’t want to look like a reject from a Pirates of the Caribbean movie? Not me. Then these same chicks are telling me about this “super cute teddy” that they purchased. Hmm. This puts me in the mind of a really bad 1960’s movie where the girls are being chased by an old, creepy guy in a turtleneck or a Rob Zombie flick. Either way, if my significant other gifted me with this ensemble I would probably say, “You do know who you are with, right?” Yes, to quote Hall & Oates, “I can’t go for that. No can do.” 
Last but not least, let’s talk about those candy hearts. Look, they have been around since the beginning of time and I really don’t think there is anyone that likes the taste of them.  Those sayings are ridiculous like “Be Mine, Valentine” or “Call Me.” If I get a heart that says, “Let’s Get Busy” on it (yes, it’s for real) I am probably going to respond with “It’s my day off” or “I’m in the middle of something.” That is definitely not romantic.

They just sound like cheesy pickup lines that I am going to hear at 2 a.m. from that sort of attractive guy at the bar that I really can’t see because I have had too many shots of Cuervo type deal. Who has time for any of that? Plus, I want statistics on how many relationships are the direct result of these little missives from the devil’s kitchen.

In closing, can I just say, let us determine how we want to celebrate this holiday. We have the right. Don’t make us feel bad either if we choose not to get our significant other gifts. Shouldn’t we be showing our partners we love them throughout the year and not only on one specific day?

I’ve done my part. Now it is a waiting game. With my luck, just for spite, he will probably shoot me in the butt with one of those arrows….

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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Brimorie - A New Age

Welcome to the beginning of my series, Brimorie - A New Age.  Think of this as an experiment, if you will. Each month, will bring a new installment. This will be a different experience for most of my constant readers. In a sense, what you will be viewing is my script for a potential horror movie.

The characters of Brimorie (you will get introduced to him later, if you survive), Professor Ben Collins and James Rogers were created by Theresa Jacobs for her book, “Sudden Death.” If you are a fan of the supernatural and things that go bump in the night, I highly recommend that you pick it up. You won’t be able to put it down.  Check it out at the following link:

Now, join me if you dare, as we step into a place where technology meets terror.  Sometimes it is better to unplug. Enjoy…….

1               INT. CAR - MORNING                       1
JAMES ROGERS is heading south on I-5 in his 2006 Toyota Corolla. His shaggy brown hair blowing in the breeze from his open window. The interstate is relatively quiet for a Monday morning. It is near the end of rush hour. Paint It Black blares through the speakers and fills the interior with a sense of urgency.
Welcome to Washington The Evergreen State appears briefly in the windshield and flies by as the Corolla speeds past. James glances at his dashboard clock which flashes 10:00 AM.
2               INT. OFFICE - MORNING                 2
PROFESSOR BEN COLLINS sits at his desk. An HP laptop is occupying his attention. Over his shoulder a disturbing and horrifying picture of a blackened skull with flesh dripping off its cheek bones fills the screen.
Ben closes his eyes and sits back in his chair. He runs his hand through his hair. For a man in his late fifties, he still retains a youthful air about him. Sitting forward, he focuses on a picture of a pretty twenty something brunette with a brilliant smile. Reaching out, he touches the frame lightly, tracing it with his fingers.
3               EXT. COLLEGE PARKING LOT - 10 YEARS AGO          3
Chaos and a flurry of activity in slow motion surrounding a smoldering car encased in a yellow crime scene tape. An officer is taking pictures of the vehicle while several detectives talk to the crowd that has gathered.
This dream like state is abruptly shattered and the silence is replaced by noise from sirens, chatter from observers and law enforcement personnel.
A darker haired BEN COLLINS rushes toward the car.
Immediately OFFICER #1 blocks his progress.
                                                               Sir, you can’t go in there.
                                                              The hell I can’t! That’s my daughter!
The Officer firmly grabs Ben. Almost immediately a DETECTIVE approaches the two men.
                                                              Are you Ben Collins?
                                                            Where is my daughter? Is she alright?
                                                             We don’t know.
                                                            What do you mean, you don’t know?
                                                            We don’t know. She wasn’t in the vehicle 
                                                             when this happened.
                                                             How did this...
The detective takes Ben by the arm and walks him to a quiet area.
                                                             From what we have gathered the car was on fire and                                                              a few witnesses said they couldn’t see anyone in it.
                                                             That doesn’t make any sense! Was she abducted?
                                                            At this point, we don’t have any answers.
Shaking his head, Ben closes his eyes. When he opens them, the pain and anguish are clearly evident. It is a struggle for him not to lash out and deck the detective.
                                                           Out of all these people you are telling me NO ONE saw                                                            a thing? A car doesn’t just go up in flames without                                                                    something like a bomb or a....
                                                          We are working on it, Professor. This doesn’t make                                                                 sense to any of us either. Look, I have a daughter of                                                                 my own. I understand how you are feeling. Right now,                                                           you have to trust us.
Ben locks eyes with the detective. His jaw tenses. Taking a deep breath, he swallows hard.
                                                         You better hope you find some answers, Detective.                                                                  Because if you don’t I will rain down such shit on you                                                            that you will wonder what happened.
Turning around, he walks away before he can hear any response from the detective.
4               INT. OFFICE - PRESENT DAY          4
Ben stares at the picture of his daughter.
                                                          It’s happening again, Charlotte. I tried baby. I really                                                               did.
James takes a sip of his soda and checks his phone for messages. Sighing, he scrolls down to see several missed calls from ISABELLE.
He dials the phone.
                                                            It’s me. I know you’re pissed. I’m okay. I had to do                                                                   this. I have to make this right and the only person                                                                   that can help is Professor Collins. I don’t know when                                                             I’ll be back. I’m sorry, Isabelle.
James ends the call. He stares at his drink.
6               EXT. STUDENT UNION OF PIKE COLLEGE- AFTERNOON                                                                                                                      6
Four students are sitting at a table congregated around a tablet. It is apparent that they are vastly different from their classmates. The smell of intelligence surrounds them.
DEVIN MCKENZIE, a clean-cut blond with horn rimmed glasses is staring intently at the screen of his iPad at the various names and dates before him.
                                                              It’s really weird. Apparently, all these kids vanished                                                               at a college in Vancouver. Crazy...
An intense looking girl with jet black hair and blue highlights, SOPHIE PARKER tosses her hair to one side. Clad in an old SEX PISTOLS t-shirt and ripped jeans she could pass for a young Chrissie Hynde.
                                                             That is freaky. It says that eyewitness accounts talk                                                                about a mist and spontaneous combustion!
MATT DAVIES, a computer geek runs his hand through his longish JIM MORRISON locks. A subtle smirk on his face, he nods his head stroking his beard thoughtfully.
                                                              Sounds hot.
A rather bookish girl with cat eye glasses and beautiful lustrous red hair, punches Matt in the shoulder. Matt fake winces. This is PETRA MILLER.
                                                             This is serious, idiot. I heard from a friend of mine                                                                  who has a sister that goes to Sussex confirmed the                                                                  Vancouver story. Apparently, they are still looking                                                                  for the missing kids. Something about an app on                                                                      their phone.
                                                              An app?
                                                             Yeah. They downloaded some game, that’s all I                                                                          know.
                                                             Is there any way you can find out what app?
                                                             I guess.
Petra’s eyes narrow as it dawns on her why Matt wants to know the name of the app.
                  PETRA (CONT’D)
                                                          Don’t get any ideas, Steve Jobs. We don’t want to mess                around with something like that. 
                                                         Logically speaking, I don’t see how an app could make                                                          people disappear into thin air.
                                                          I don’t want to find out.
                                                        Aren’t you even a little bit curious?
                                                        Curious, yes. Stupid, no.
Matt rolls his eyes heavenward.
                                                         You know I am a programming major, right? All I need                                                          to do is take a look at the code and see what’s up.                                                                      Nothing will happen to us.
                                                         Famous last words.
Petra looks over at Devin who appears to be lost in thought.
                                                         Hey, Dev? You still with us?
                                                        So, what do you think? Are you in?
                                                        I don’t know if this is such a good idea.
                                                        We can treat it like an experiment. Controlled                                                                           circumstances. If Matt sees something not working                                                                 right, we bail.
                                                       I guess it’s up to me to get the name of this app?
Matt throws his arm around Petra’s shoulder.
                                                       If you get the info, I will be forever in your debt.
                                                       Really? That sounds promising.
                                                       Look, I hate to break up this love fest but I don’t want to                                                        be late for Physics. How about we meet at The Town                                                                Crier at 9?
                                                       Deal! What’s that, Petra? Beer is on you?
                                                       Really? Honestly, Matt...
Before Petra can do anything, Matt pulls her into his arms.
                                                       Resistance is futile, baby. Just give in.
Petra pushes him away.
                                                        See you guys, later.
Devin starts walking away but notices that Sophie is hanging behind. He stops.
                                                        You okay, Soph?
                                                        Yeah. I just don’t have a good feeling about this, Dev.
                                                        Look, I know how enthusiastic Matt can be but trust                                                               me, if it gets dangerous, I’ll rein it in. Promise.
Sophie shakes her head. She catches up to Devin and they walk toward the center of campus.
TO BE CONTINUED.... I hope you enjoyed the first part of my serial. See you next month.
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