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David Morrell
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My obsession with LA LA LAND continues. The movie celebrates movie-making and made me smile the several times I saw it. Here's an amazing video that shows director Damien Chazelle staging the opening free-way dance sequence, using a Los Angeles parking lot to block out the moves. You can see chalk marks on the pavement where the dancers are supposed to stop. Chazelle recorded the rehearsal using his iPhone. The footage is paired with the way the sequence on the freeway ultimately looked on the screen.

Here's the link. http://www.usatoday.com/videos/life/2017/02/18/go-inside-'la-la-land's'-big-opening-number/98094062/

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Yesterday I interviewed my author friend K.J. Howe at Santa Fe's Collected Works about her exciting kidnap/ransom novel THE FREEDOM BROKER. We had a great visit. Here's a photo of Kimberley and me in front of the fireplace in my living room. I collect vintage photographs. The 2 on the left are actually not photos but photogravures from Camera Works (1903-1917)--Paul Strand's "Wall Street" and Stieglitz's man-on-the-street image that became the cover of THE ALIENIST. The photo above us is by Nicholas Trofimuk and shows Santa Fe's West Francisco street covered with snow, with the famous cathedral from Willa Cather's DEATH COMES TO THE ARCHBISHOP in the background. Tonight Kimberley is in San Francisco, being interview by another author friend John Lescroart. The tall object to our left might be unfamiliar to digital-age people. It's an audio speaker (the brand name is Gradient).
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Someone asked me about the physical research I've done for some of my novels. I remembered that in the 1970s, for TESTAMENT, I lived in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming for 30 days as a student in a National Outdoor Leadership School wilderness survival course. The final test was to have my food taken away. With only a canteen of water, a compass, and a terrain map, I had to hike over the Continental Divide to a trailhead that was 3 days away. Lost a lot of weight. Here's a photo from one of the training sessions. My knees shouldn't be bent. An intense experience. TESTAMENT (about a reporter being hunted by a hate group because he revealed secrets about them) was intense also. Readers said it gave them nightmares.
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If you're in the Santa Fe area, this Friday (Feb. 17 at 6 pm) I'll be at the city's great independent bookstore Collected Works for an onstage interview with K.J. HOWE about her debut novel, THE FREEDOM BROKER. It's set in the dangerous, exotic world of kidnap & ransom specialists.

I've known Kim for ages. Among other things, she's the director of ThrillerFest, the yearly conference for the International Thriller Writers organization (which I co-founded with Gayle Lynds). Over the years, Kim and I talked about her progress on the novel. Her in-depth research into the ransom world is fascinating. Onstage, she and I will discuss that research and the world of thrillers and her fascinating heroine, a rarity in what was once a male-dominated genre. Plenty to talk about. Here's a brief description of THE FREEDOM BROKER.

"There are twenty-five elite kidnap and ransom (K&R) specialists in the world. Only one is a woman: Thea Paris. And she's the best in the business. Twenty years ago, a terrified young boy was abducted in the middle of the night by masked intruders while his sister watched, paralyzed with fear. Returned after a harrowing nine months with his captors, Thea's brother has never been the same. This life-shattering experience drove Thea to become what she is today: a world-class K & R specialist."

Collected Works is on 202 Galisteo in Santa Fe. If you can't be there but you'd like Kim to sign THE FREEDOM BROKER for you, please call 505-988-4226. They can mail the book if necessary.
The store also has copies of my latest novel, RULER OF THE NIGHT, and the other installments in my 3-book Victorian mystery/thriller series. I'll be glad to sign copies also.

Friday, February 17, 6 p.m. This will be a fun and informative event.


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Here's the flap copy for the collectors' edition of my novelization for RAMBO III. Forgive the hyperbole--flap copy is like that. The book is about to go to the printer. Limited editions don't last long.

"2017 marks the forty-fifth anniversary of David Morrell’s groundbreaking First Blood, the novel that introduced Rambo and pioneered a new way of writing action that changed the world of thrillers.

An equally groundbreaking film adaptation changed the way action movies are made. The huge success of that film led to three film sequels, and as an experiment, Morrell wrote novelizations for two of them: Rambo (First Blood Part II) and Rambo III.

Producers normally require novelizations to adhere so strictly to the script that there’s little opportunity to be creative. But as Rambo’s creator, Morrell had unusual freedom to add new story elements. In this special collectors’ edition for Rambo III, that freedom is manifest.

Providing abundant extras, Morrell discusses the film’s complex journey. An early script had the potential to justify the project’s nickname, “Rambo of Arabia.” But as the budget exploded, the script was simplified through numerous drafts until the final version contained only half of the original story.

Major parts of the early script survive in this remarkable novelization, to which Morrell added his own plot points. Almost thirty years after the book was published, it remains timely with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan having been replaced by America’s invasion of that same country in the war against terrorism. Rambo’s exposure to the principles of Islam is also timely, given the current political climate.

The many supplements in this definitive signed edition include a 1988 Variety article, “Rambo III: Budget Run Amok (How Rambo III Became the Most Expensive U.S. Pic Ever Made)” and a 2004 Entertainment Weekly article, “The Boys Who Burned a Billion Dollars,” about the spectacular rise and fall of Carolco, the company that produced the first three Rambo films. A lettered edition has additional extras such as an on-set photo gallery and production notes from the film’s publicity material."

552 copies. Available only from the publisher.

https://www.gauntletpress.com/product/rambo-iii/

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Saw HIDDEN FIGURES yesterday, about the contribution of 3 talented determined black women to the early days of NASA. A wonderful film. Moving, fascinating, and meaningful. The audience loved it. Its U.S. box office income is now over $120 million. Hooray.
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Had a wonderful evening yesterday as the guest of honor for the Friends of the Library in Santa Fe. A great group and a great cause: the after-school student reading program. We raised a respectable amount of money for that program. My career would never have happened if I hadn't thought to ask a librarian if she could find the address for Screen Gems, the company that produced the classic TV series ROUTE 66.

Stirling Silliphant's scripts for that series (a mixture of action and ideas) made me want to be a writer when I was 17. Because of that librarian, I was able to send Silliphant a handwritten letter in which I asked how I could become him. His two-page single-spaced reply sent me on my way. It's framed next to my desk. He and I eventually worked together on the NBC miniseries of my novel THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE ROSE. The closing of a circle. All because of a librarian.

Sacred people and sacred places. Support your library and its commitment to helping children expand their minds. (The photo shows Stirling and me on the beach at Malibu in 1985.)
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Gauntlet Press is about to go to the printer with the signed limited collectors' edition of my novelization for RAMBO III. They also did special editions for FIRST BLOOD and my novelization for RAMBO (FIRST BLOOD PART II). I spent a lot of time going through my files to gather numerous informative extras for these editions--essential background essays that tell an amazing story behind the stories. Also there are unpublished sections and script pages that demonstrate the novelizing process. The extras for RAMBO III include a revealing 1988 article from Variety: Todd McCarthy's "RAMBO III: Budget Run Amok. How RAMBO III became the most expensive US pic ever made" and a 2004 article from Entertainment Weekly about the rise and fall of Carolco Pictures, the studio that made the Rambo films, Terminator 2, Basic Instinct, and many others. The article is called "The Boys Who Burned a Billion Dollars." There's an essay, with photos, about Gil Hibben's knives for the third and fourth Rambo films. There's an essay about the fourth film. On and on. The complex licensing negotiations for some of the extras was such that this will be the only edition of this book. 500 signed hardbacks. No paperback and no ebook with these extras ever. It's a true collectible, as are the others. Few special editions have been this packed with bonus materials. Here's a link to information about all 3 books (only a limited number of FIRST BLOOD copies are still available).

https://www.gauntletpress.com/product-category/authors/david-morrell/ 

In the schoolyard, at work, or wherever, a bully's standard justification is, "Can't you take a joke?" The proper response is, "No."

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What an author likes to hear! My Mulholland Books editor, Emily Giglierano, tells me that the trade paperback of my Victorian mystery/thriller MURDER AS A FINE ART is scheduled for a 4th printing. The other titles in this 3-part series are INSPECTOR OF THE DEAD and RULER OF THE NIGHT. Each has the same characters but a separate plot about actual major crimes of the 1800s. The Radcliffe Highway mass murders in East London. The numerous attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria. And the first murder on an English train. Trains were different then. No one could hear you scream.

There's also a short story THE OPIUM-EATER, about how the main character of the series earned his nickname.
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