Five-Star Review from TV/Film Producer Joel Eisenberg

Jack Wendell’s Vampire Syndrome” (mass market paperback) just received a five-star review from Hollywood TV/Film producer Joel Eisenberg. 😀


After Reading “Jack Wendell’s Vampire Syndrome,” I Felt As Though I Had Never Read a Vampire Novel Before.
By Joel Eisenberg, Author of The Chronicles of Ara on October 17, 2015

Really, how many variations of the vampire theme can there possibly be? Surely, this genre is well-worn; what can possibly be done to rejuvenate it?

Welcome, “Jack Wendell’s Vampire Syndrome.” I promise, you have never read a vampire book like this one.

Let’s begin this way: Jack Wendell, a Special Olympics champion with Down Syndrome, is turned into a vampire (hence the Vampire Syndrome in the title). That enough? Then how’s this: Jack strives for acceptance within his new community and is immediately ordered to be killed. Read Daven’s synopsis on this site. It’s all there. He’s not joking about “space alien Pure vampires” either.

Somehow, Daven Anderson makes it all work. The story is metaphoric for sure, but man is this work compelling. There’s a good deal of tongue in cheek here but not once did I feel the author or his story pandered. This is a compelling work.

Jack Wendell is a character unique to modern fiction. Characters with Down Syndrome have been used frequently in media, see the television shows “Life Goes On” or “American Horror Story.” Autistic protagonists too have been used widely in literature over the past 25 years, but in lit circles fully drawn characters with Down Syndrome have been rare.

Here though is something different and I hope I express this as I mean to: Jack is ‘cool.’ Do I feel sorry for him as he runs from his death sentence? Of course. Am I curious about his budding friendship with Lilith, who will attempt to save him? Yes. But more than this, I lose track of any disabilities on the part of the main character, and root for him as I would for anyone. And then it comes back to me that I’m reading a tale about a boy – a vampire – with Down Syndrome and I’m compelled to credit the author all the more.

This is a special novel and certain to be a special series. Daven is clearly a unique author. He is also a special educator and knows this world well. Jack is a real person to me, in an extraordinary circumstance.

The conflicts inherent therein make for the best of fiction. This is one of my very favorite novels that I’ve read all year.

Kudos Mr. Anderson. A remarkable, fun work.

Joel Amazon Review - Screengrab

Why Authors Should Pay Attention To Gravity

Well, okay, you should always pay attention to gravity (as in the earth’s natural force), but there is another, graver “Gravity” story you need to know.

Kristin Nelson Pub Rants Article: “Why Authors Should Pay Attention To Gravity”

Quick Summary: Bestselling author Tess Gerritsen brought the suit making a claim that the movie was based on her book that New Line Productions had optioned in 1999. Warner Bros. acquired New Line studios and what is in question is whether Warner Bros, after the acquisition, is required to honor the New Line option agreement.

One thing Nelson didn’t touch on is the possible ramifications for those who are (specifically) pursuing “indie” film adaptations of their novels. For example, it might be quite possible your “vampire novel” is more akin to the artistic spirit of successful recent indie vampire films such as Let The Right One In/Let Me In, Byzantium, Only Lovers Left Alive and A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night than middling ‘major’ projects such as Vampire Academy and Dracula: Untold.

If a major studio buys out your indie film producer(s), a situation like Tess Gerritsen’s could easily happen. Authors pursuing indie projects will have to trust their “gut feelings” that the producers are committed to crafting the films that Hollywood won’t or can’t do. 😈

There’s No Such Thing As A Famous Author Anymore

Sorry, Virginia, even Santa Claus agrees there’s no such thing as a “famous author” anymore.

And this may be a good thing.

We live in a culture which doles out celebrity to “tin dynasties” of families who are famous just for being famous. You know who they are, whether you want to or not.

No surprise that in such a culture, the authors, the dreamers, the creators are receding into the shadows of marginalization. Even if their creation enchants an entire nation.

Look no further than this magazine.

us-weekly-cf

“Photos”
“Interviews”
“Diaries”
“Stories”

With all of that content, what could possibly be missing?

The author.

The person who created this saga in the first place. The person without whom the movie (and the tie-in magazines) would not even exist.

There was only one mention of “Suzanne Collins” or “novel” in the entire magazine.

In a small piece on the bottom of the back page. And not a single picture of Suzanne.

A stunning decline from the Twilight saga tie-in magazines of only a few years ago, which peppered their pages with pictures of Stephenie Meyer signing books and attending the movie premieres. Of course, she was never the subject of the intense media scrutiny focused on Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, but Meyer was at least “in the picture” (literally “in the pictures” of the saga tie-in magazines) as something of a household name that Twilight saga fans might actually recognize if they encountered her in person.

Now, in this issue of Us Weekly, Suzanne Collins is nothing but a name in the “closing credits.”

Imagine an adolescent Hunger Games Saga fan flipping through a copy of the Us Weekly special issue in the supermarket. If this magazine was all they had to go by, Suzanne Collins could walk right past that fan and they would never notice.

Suzanne_Collins_David_Shankbone_2010

This is what Suzanne Collins looks like. You’re welcome 😈

To think I was lamenting that a “J.D. Salinger”-type author could not exist today in this social-media-driven world. This magazine proves me wrong, at least in the “big picture” sense. Sure, Suzanne attends to all her social media, like any good author nowadays. Those fans who seek to know everything about Suzanne Collins can find it all on the Internet. But in the pages of the tie-in magazine, Suzanne is just a name hiding in the margins, as is the existence of her novel. Hidden from the mass media and the “non-readers’ view”, to the same degree Salinger hid himself from the world.

Sure, I dream of the Vampire Syndrome Saga being optioned by Hollywood. But where will I be, if this happens?

I’ll be celebrated by my fellow authors, to be sure. My life will become interesting enough without the fishbowl of fame. Those who seek to know the mind behind the movies will not be disappointed. But in the mass media, “Vampire Syndrome” will be the movies. The actors. The “photos, interviews, diaries and stories.” And I will be a Salinger in the shadows, left to the company of those who still care about those who can bring their dreams to life.

Update Jan 4 2015:
US Magazine’s subsequent Mockingjay Part 1 special didn’t mention Suzanne Collins at all. The book was only mentioned when Julianne Moore (God bless her!) mentioned that President Coin’s hair is gray because “that’s how it is in the book.”

I am now looking forward to an US Magazine Mockingjay Part 2 special without any mention of its source novel…
😈

Deleted scene: “What’s Going On”

Here’s a deleted scene from Vampire Syndrome, taking place at the same time as the first scene in Chapter Thirteen, “Black And Blue Mustangs”…

Damien:

Unmarked silver Charger in the Jacksons’ driveway. Yep, Curtis finally got a night off. Between us and the Normal police, I’m amazed poor Curtis gets any time at home.

Always liked this little Victorian of theirs in Park Hill. Been re-painted 32 times, in every shade of the red rainbow.

I still remember when those young gang-bangers tried to rob me on this very sidewalk a few decades ago. Now, fixie bicycles are parked on the neighbors’ front porches, unlocked.

Gentrification marches on. Too bad. Ripping heads and limbs off those little gangsters was much more fun than walking past roving packs of hemp-and-jeans-clad hipsters in Civil War beards talking about indie bands.

I march up the Jacksons’ front porch steps and tap my knuckles on the door screen thirteen times.

Curtis whips open the door. “Oh, come on, brother…”

“Chill, C.J., I just want a beer.” I pat his shoulder and smile.

Curtis’s wife Tamika saunters up behind him. “Don’t be givin’ him that ‘I just want a beer’ shit, peckerwood.”

I add fangs to my smile. “A beer and a chat, Tammy. Off-duty, of course.”

Her eyes blacken as her fangs extend. “What’re you up to now?”

“I have a new plan. Gotta keep Curtis in the loop.” I smirk at Curtis.

“Who you gon’ fuck up now, white boy?” Tamika demands.

“More like who else will fuck who up.” I reply. “May I?” I wave my hand toward the living room.

Curtis and Tamika lead me into the room. Their old posters always catch my eye. Scream, Blacula, Scream! Super Fly. Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold. Slaughter’s Big Rip-Off. Shaft in Africa. Dolemite. And my favorite.

Coffy. She’s the godmother of them all. “I’m not worthy,” I whisper.

Tamika touches my cheek with a handkerchief. “Here, lemme help you with some of that drool, Damien.”

“Pam Grier.” I smile.

Tamika playfully nudges my shoulder.

Curtis, carrying three brown bottles, strides to the couch. He places the brews on the coffe table and motions us over.

Tamika and I sit down at Curtis’ sides.

I state, “This Jack thing is getting out of hand.”

“You’re mad cause he got away,” Curtis says.

“No,” I reply, “I’m mad that he’s still at large. And I intend to correct this state of affairs.”

I fetch my phone from my coat pocket.

“Who you calling?” curtis asks.

I answer Curtis and Tamika with a smirk as I dial Lilly.

She picks up and says “I’m almost there, honeybun.”

“Thanks for picking up Zetania, sweetheart.” Curtis and Tamika’s expressions change to quizzical, yet mean, stares. I knew they’d like this. Tamika taps my shoulder, wanting to speak, and I wave her silent.

“Mamuwalde’s showing off the new gold caps between his fangs,” Lilly says. “They’d look pretty good on you, honeybun.”

“Practical, too,” I reply. “If he ever ran out of Normal money, he can just go to a We Buy Gold shop and pull those caps out with pliers.”

I shake my head and whisper “No, not Jack” to Curtis and Tamika.

“I think he’d sell his gold necklace or rings first, don’t you?” Lilly asks. “Anyway, I gotta go, honeybun. I’m almost at the entrance.”

“Bye,” I say before I hang up.

Tamika fangs out. “Why the hell is Zetania Vinescu coming here?”

“I decided I need some outside help.”

“To kill innocent Normal bystanders and cause massive car wrecks?” Curtis asks. I can see my face reflecting in Tamika’s raging black eyeballs.

“Zetania doesn’t fuck around,” I state.

“She hunts Pures,” Tamika snaps. “That shit’s okay when you’re chasing Pures, but she can’t come here and pull that crap just to get some handicapped kid. Zetania might give us all away by accident.”

I fang out. “And Jack will give us all away by accident.”

Tamika and I leap off the couch. Curtis slips between us, fanged out and ready.

“As you heard, Tammy, I have Lilly’s okay.”

Curtis glances in our directions, then sits down. Tamika and I reluctantly seat ourselves.

“That bitch has lost her mind,” Tamika whispers to Curtis.

“I don’t think so,” I reply. “Even she couldn’t catch Jack last night.”

Breaking Dawn Part 2: Better than the novel?!

Ah, what blasphemies I bring forth unto you! How can such be? The mere thought of a moving picture surpassing the printed word! The canes of discipline beg to strike my posterior in a most aggressive repetition.

Alas, dear readers, it has happened before. Who among us would dare to differ that even Peter Benchley’s sterling work in Jaws lacked a certain instinctual impact that one could only achieve from the witness of a mechanical shark named Bruce? ‘Twas so nice to savor quiet reposes in the deserted waters of the Los Angeles beaches circa 1975 a.d., the would-be throngs of bathers held at bay by the recall of the emerging fin and its ominous tone of accompaniment.

In the darkened twilight of the theatre, the vortex of energy from adolescent hormones would sate the most thirsty of psychic-energy vampires, leaving them full as ticks. 😈

The paid broadcasts before the feature presentation bought forth a most odd twist of what their purchasers suppose to be “demographics”. Who among the adolescent assemblance would know of these painted minstrels of generations past, or for that matter the mechanized magnetic reels used to relay their fortissimo fortitude to the common folk?

After such miscues, it was of most welcome relief to sight the fine lass Mrs. Bella Cullen finally released from her weakened state of servitude to the human condition. Verisimilitude via vampirism, the most dramatic allegory of maturation to the adult state.

And for we, dear readers, the moving picture form releases us from seeing the tale through Bella’s limitations. Differences thereof most readily apparent even years before, guided to ultimate form in the saga’s ultimate film. The screen affixed us in the clairvoyance of Alice, allowing us to visualize the visceral version of a future path not taken. A future surpassing the peaceful forever of the Cullen clan, many would propose. A future satiating the audience’s primordial lust for combat, the ghostly apparitions of gladiators embedded in our collective consciousness, springing forth once more to entertain generations anew.

But let us not forget that it is the printed word that lays the foundation for the visions that we seek.