Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Roger Moore Defined James Bond, and You Know It's True

Roger Moore was born to play James Bond. I realize we're supposed to caveat that and say: well, not the book Bond. But the produces of the Bond series knew it themselves, considering Moore for role in 1962’s Dr. No. But Moore was too youthful-looking and the role went to an even younger actor,, Sean Connery. When Connery left the series for a second time, Moore was cast and debuted in the role of Bond just eleven years after the first Bond film. And everyone knew this was coming, including Moore, who did skits on tv as James Bond and even an episode of the Saint where the debonair Simon Templar pretended to be James Bond. 

For the Generation born in the late sixties and early seventies, Moore was Bond. The movies became bigger, more expensive, even more cartoonish. It's this last aspect-- the comic double-takes from passers-by when one of bond’s gadgets made an appearance, the overly broad secondary characters, that grates people most today. The quips became sillier and sillier.

At the height of the Cold War, Bond had gone the opposite direction and become an international spectacle. Even the Russians became less obviously the enemy-- in The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond joins forces with a kgb agent to stop a terrorist and avoid a war. Octopussy saw the head of the kgb working to stop an overzealous and war-hungry Russian general.

Bond himself became a super-hero, balancing atop trains and suspension bridges and shooting completely concealed snipers out of trees. 

Never mind that Connery had given us some terrible quips and unlikely stunts; Moore gave us a Bond who was resolutely, completely unreal. 

But no one  one else could have done it. Trim in his white dinner suit or often his Navy uniform, Moore knew how to play this role, showing most emotions with the raise of an eyebrow and perfecting a smooth, unflappable voice that rarely varied.

That made the rare moments of Bond humanity all the more powerful, such as when Moore almost doesn't survive a centrifugal force machine in Moonraker, or when angrily kicking an assassin off a cliff in For Your Eyes Only. 

Bond was more than the cold killer of the books-- the film Bond came into its own when it became something different and more reflective of a new and more cosmopolitan world. And the movies were strong-- I'd set For Your Eyes Only against Diamonds Are Forever in a heartbeat. He wasn’t a caretaker of the role-- he held it for twelve years and shaped popular culture. 

Today we note the passing of Roger Moore, dead at the age of 89. He defined James Bond from 1973 to 1985. Those dozen years were immense.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Young! Captain! Nemo!

We have news. Boy do we have news! Today this item ran in the Publisher's Marketplace announcing my news series YOUNG CAPTAIN NEMO.  About a 12-year-old with a submarine and a calling to adventure on the high seas. I am SO excited about this! My new agent Moe Ferrara handled the deal, selling the book to Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan Books.) More to come!


Monday, April 10, 2017

Write the scene

Here's some good advice regarding something that I face over and over with books: Write the scene you have to get through. Don't skip it if you know it needs to be there-- just write it. Write it badly if you have to, write it short, write it in bullets and take the bullets out so it looks like paragraphs, write it in dialogue, write it in verse. Write the scene you have to get through and get through it; otherwise you just get stuck at that scene, and you'll come back to the next session and there it will be, waiting-- and you still won't want to write it. Write the scene you have to get through, and then get on to the next scene you do want to write. Write the scene you have to get through now.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Very cool biographies this month on Shirley Jackson and Bram Stoker

I've gotten two very cool biographies in the mail this month, both of which I'll be doing interviews about for the Castle Talk/ Castle of Horror Podcast. I've very excited because not only do I admire these writers very much, but the authors of the biographies promise to be fantastic conversations.

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin


Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula  by David Skal.
More to come!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Get SPAWN OF LOKI + 10 Fantasy Books in the Truly Epic Storybundle!

Hey! If you haven't read my book SPAWN OF LOKI, in which Shakespeare's Macduff takes on Ragnarok, now is your chance to get it as part of a very cool bundle!
As Wordfire publisher Kevin J Anderson blogs this morning:

For the third year in a row, I have curated a batch of truly epic fantasy books for storybundle.com—eleven books that will take readers to the edges of the map of their imagination.
All Covers Large
For traditional epic fantasy readers, we have A HERO BORN by Michael A. Stackpole, ECHOES OF A SHATTERED AGE by Ramon Terrell, THE FEATHER AND THE MOON WELL by new author Shean Pao (the first “Farland Discovery” specially chosen and mentored by New York Times bestselling fantasy author David Farland), HEART READERS by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, SHADOWS FOR SILENCE IN THE FORESTS OF HELL by Brandon Sanderson, as well as a host of imaginative stories in the Fiction River anthology UNNATURAL WORLDS.
Playing a little with history, we also have LINCOLN’S WIZARD by Tracy Hickman and Dan Willis, a magical take on the Civil War, SPAWN OF LOKI by Jason Henderson, a fantasy follow-on to Shakespeare’s MacBeth, and a skewed reimagining of Red Riding Hood in A TALE OF RED RIDING: RISE OF THE ALPHA HUNTRESS by Neo Edmund. I even included to impressive epic and exotic historical novels, SISTER OF THE LIONHEART by Hilary Benford, the amazing tale of Joanna, sister of Richard the Lionheart, as well as A GOD AGAINST THE GODS, an epic story of turmoil in ancient Egypt, written by Pulitz.
Epic Fantasy ad 2016
At storybundle.com, you can pay a minimum of $5 and receive the base group of five titles, or for as little as $15, you receive all eleven books in your preferred eBook format, delivered immediately. A portion of the proceeds goes to benefit the Challenger Learning Center for Space Science Education. The Truly Epic Fantasy bundle runs for a limited time, ending on September 22. Fill up your reading device with all the worlds you can imagine, help indie authors, and also benefit a great charity.er Prize-winning author Allen Drury.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Reader Letter: I'm a Teen; How do I Find Ideas for Writing?

Another great reader letter:
 Dear Jason-
 Hey! I'm Amber from Killeen, and i love your books. I couldn't put your books down; I was completely intrigued with your writings. I was upset when i finished book three. I hate finishing good books. I am becoming a writer myself and was hoping you could shed some light on writing and what to do when at a loss for ideas. I write action and adventure books similar to yours, although I will write some Christian books as well.
I know you probably have hundreds of people emailing you but i hope you could help me. I would greatly appreciate it. AND are you writing an Alex Van Helsing Book Four? And are you making them into movies? PLEASE DO THAT-- IT WOULD BE AWESOME!!!!!!!!
- Amber 

It's great to hear from you. You know I used to live in Killeen, right? I was in middle school there. I really hope to do more Alex Van Helsing books someday. My plan for them could have them go on forever. So you never know! Amber, there are some great books I recommend-- as I've mentioned to a few others, I love the Writer's Digest books on plot, characters, etc. And I really recommend Stephen King's On Writing. Also, Christopher Vogler's The Writer's Journey is VERY useful, although it's aimed at screenwriters. I really love books on writing and read a lot of them.
There's no magic formula for coming up with an idea other than to allow yourself the peace with which to find an idea. You might get a great idea from immersing yourself in a general area, like watching a bunch of circus movies because you want to be inspired about a circus-situated idea.
But the main thing is to remove useless things from your mind. Get your notebook and go out to a park or library and turn off the internet, and let the ideas come without the easy offramp of distracting yourself with email, TV, whatever. Pick a general area and go deep into it until you unearth an idea.
Now, I know that sounds crazy! Jason said watch media-- but also don't? What? My point is: consume media to grow your art, not to distract yourself from it. Just as you should make friends who grow you as a person, not friends who pull you away from yourself. Does this help?

Reader Letter: I'm 15 and Need to Prove I'm a Writer

Hey gang!
I got this great letter from a reader:
 Dear Jason Henderson- I have been very busy with high school and working had to keep my grades up so I can go to college and be come an author. Though I have been very busy with school, I am still writing stories. I have finally moved from writing short stories to a full book-- I have just started writing it. What I was wondering is do you know an agent that would take a fifteen year old author as their client. I want to prove to everyone that this is not just a phase in my life. Hope to hear from you soon. - Kylie, a reader and writer

 I'm so sorry I missed this! I understand exactly what you're talking about as far as wanting to prove something's not a phase. To tell you the truth, I've grappled with this my whole life and I'm published multiple times.
Here's what I've learned-- what makes people know it's not a phase is that you keep working and keep trying. I wouldn't even worry about the agent now; what I'd do is look for markets for your work. Do articles for local papers, go interview people and sell the interview.
But as to books, I think it's a GREAT idea to write a book. I think you should write the whole thing, and then when it's ready, I'd use a resource like the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market to find someone to submit to. Along the way there are some great resources for improving your book, your writing and your selling. I recommend any of the Writer's Digest books on plot, character, etc. I also love Stephen King's book On Writing-- the second half after the (great, but less necessary) memoir in the first half. You should also research queries and query letters. And on twitter, I recommend the very harsh but great hashtag #queryfail.
Kylie, I've written full time and also written at night after a day job. It doesn't matter what anybody else thinks. Carry water, chop wood. Write because you write and because you want to.
I'm so happy you wrote-- good luck! -Jay