|JCP News • Issue 50 • February 2012
Beautiful, Mysterious and Bizarre: M/M Horror & Urban Fantasy by Jordan Castillo Price
More Magic Mansion Tidbits
I checked out some sites to see how long people could dangle from a bar for the Circus Challenge chapter of Magic Mansion. When people just answer off the top of their head, they answer that they can hang ten, twelve minutes, no problem. However, I found a website where people FILMED THEMSELVES dangling from a bar as a challenge... and apparently this ten-twelve minute thing is all an elaborate fantasy. Most people lasted between thirty and ninety seconds. (Gotta love the people who think they can hang for ten times that amount no problem, ha ha! Ego much?)
I Need the Math Wizard:
My hope, when you read scoring sections of Magic Mansion, is that they are exciting, dramatic and fast-paced, and the numbers are explained in such a way that you can really focus instead on the players' strategies. Sadly, on my end, there's a lot of wailing and pounding of a calculator to make that happen. But that's behind-the-curtain stuff.
(click image for large view)
Minutes and Seconds:
In the story, the magicians (other than Bev) can't really keep up because they would need to figure out minutes, seconds, etc. as Monty is announcing the score. Heck, I could hardly keep up in real life and I had it written on a piece of paper!
When I was adding up the Circus Challenge, this online minute/second calculator really saved my bacon.
For the penultimate Boardwalk Challenge, I had a fixed number of points I needed to distribute, and I ended up creating a Google Docs spreadsheet (with formulas) to make sure everything added up the way it should. Then later when I decided to change the point-spread, it was really easy!
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Can you believe it? I finished writing Magic Mansion!
Here's are a few reality shows I watched for inspiration. They're all available streaming on Netflix:
The Biggest Loser - NBC's inspirational reality series transforms losers into winners as overweight people compete to shed pounds and improve their health. Guided by enthusiastic personal trainers Bob and Jillian, the contestants learn about exercise and good nutrition. This show has influenced Magic Mansion most of all. Every week, someone starts crying--and I'm such a softie, I cry right along with them. It's very cathartic. The pacing of Monty's delivery is based on the hostess Alison's weird pauses...and the "twists" and challenges are also very Biggest Loser! It's a lot easier to watch on Netflix than on network TV with all the commercials cut out, and there are 11 seasons available! This reality show is my favorite!! Here's season 13 streaming on Amazon- I haven't seen this season yet
RuPaul's Drag Race - Celebrity drag queen and recording star RuPaul hosts this elimination-style reality contest -- the search for "America's Next Drag Superstar" -- that's one part "America's Next Top Model" and two parts fabulous. This was structured a lot like Magic Mansion with small advantage-challenges and larger immunity-challenges, and I think it's probably closest in tenor to what the Magic Mansion show would look like, since it's about entertainers. I found myself very disappointed in the subjectivity of the eliminations. All the players who were intelligent or creative got eliminated by RuPaul, and the final winner's personality didn't come through at all on the screen, so I didn't enjoy the way it turned out. RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 2 was the season I watched
Out of the Wild - (warning, there's lots of hunting and dressing animals depicted in this one, so if you're squeamish about that, you'll want to pass). Deserted in the harsh Alaskan interior, nine outdoor enthusiasts must rely on their resourcefulness to make it back to civilization alive, foraging for food, building makeshift shelters and battling plummeting temperatures along the way. A group of people were dumped in the Alaskan wilderness and told to find their way out. They had to hike with and carry all their supplies and hunt much of their own food. Some of their pit stops had stashes of supplies, but honestly, these people were basically frozen and starved. They had a "panic button" they could push when they wanted to give up and call a helicopter to evacuate them, and there was no competition. It was a group effort to try to make it to the end. What intrigued me the most was how all the big, sturdy contestants dropped like flies, leaving them with three girls, a gay guy, and a guy with a bad back to trudge through the final episodes of the show (freezing and starving). The vibe was incredibly "Gold Team." Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment was the season with the "Gold Team-like" narrative
The Colony - This Discovery Channel reality series explores what life might be like after an apocalypse by planting 10 volunteers in a devastated landscape and asking them to rebuild civilization from scratch. It took me a while to suspend disbelief in this one. Oh, you happen to find a warehouse full of machine parts, tools and electrical equipment. And you happen to have a bunch of doctors and physicists in your group. And they happen to know how to build a water purification system...but somewhere midway through the show, I suddenly suspended disbelief and was completely swept up in the drama. I think the psychological torture the producers put the participants through was what made it morbidly fascinating. They sent groups of actors in as looters to ruin the things the players had worked so hard to build, and at one point they even "stole" one of the players as if he'd been kidnapped...and the teammates completely freaked out. I totally lost it right along with them (because, as I said above, when anyone on TV cries, I cry right along with them.) I got a sense that while they knew it was contrived, they'd been living it so immersively, that on some level it had become real to them. It was heartwrenching to watch. One of the physicists was also stunningly smart and creative and endearing, and they called him "the Professor" (and, I just realized...his name is John. Heh.) Colony on DVD at Amazon
So while I would never advocate anyone watch ADDITIONAL television since I think as a society we watch far too much, I must admit I take tons of inspiration from reality shows, from simply watching how real people talk, to analyzing personalities that are more nuanced than what you find on traditionally scripted shows.
If you're a fan of the Channeling Morpheus series, I'd be grateful if you left a 5-star review on Amazon. Most of the stories have few or no reviews.
It's a sultry July night, and Wild Bill is content. It's deliciously warm outside, the fireworks are about to start, a whole pint of freshly-tapped blood is on the menu, and his boyfriend hasn't murdered anyone in months.
Too bad Bill's contentment isn't shared by Michael, who's grown tired of his own lack of experience. He hints that a new lover in their bed might broaden his horizons. Their first encounter might have been a threesome, but it certainly didn't end well for the third participant.
Even now, Bill can't seem to shake the memory of the hickory stake protruding from the chest of his old nemesis. Lust wars with guilt as Wild Bill tries to figure out how to bury his past, once and for all.
*SECOND ELECTRONIC EDITION ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AS SWEET OBLIVION: BRAZEN IN 2009*
Find Brazen in PDF, Mobi and epub at JCP Books
Find Brazen for the Kindle at Amazon
Channeling Morpheus Bundle
Channeling Morpheus #1-5 are now available in a bundle at JCP Books for only $13.45. Save 10%!
The PsyCop ebook series is now available in a great big bundle at JCP Books for only $29.99 (that's Among the Living free and 10% off the rest!) Find the bundle deal on the bundle page at JCP Books.
I'd love it if you told your friends about Magic Mansion!
Please spread the word and link to it in your blog, Twitter, FB, etc. or post about it to any of your groups.
Where Reality is More than it Seems
Chapter Thirty-Three: Final Four
The cleanup following the Big Top Challenge was both extensive and loud. The metal bleachers boomed like thunder as they were dismantled. The truck that hauled the bounce castle away roared as if the muffler was hanging by a rusted pipe. And the crane made a shrill “backing up” alarm as it maneuvered clumsily off the lot. The ice, at least, had melted quietly…though John found it difficult to muster much annoyance for any of it. He’d woken with Ricardo nestled against his back. And nothing else mattered.
Voices from the yard carried through the weed-choked window, and then hammering. Ricardo murmured something groggy into the nape of John’s neck. John lay still, allowing Ricardo to hover there at the cusp of sleep as long as possible.
The magic continues... (NSFW)
Ebook and Paperback
This novel had a lot of momentum behind it and it's in the hands of the editor already. The ebook/paperback will be ready for release very soon.
Voting is now closed. A big thanks to all of you who participated--you sure kept me on my toes! (In other words, you NEVER voted for who I expected.) I hope you enjoy the conclusion of the novel!
Petit Morts Ebooks:
Channeling Morpheus Paperbacks:
Downloading direct to your iPhone or iPod?
Email me at jordan (at) psycop (dot) com
JCP News • Jordan Castillo Price • PO Box 153 • Barneveld, WI 53507