News around the writing world

These two bits of information are unrelated but have been the biggest writing news stories on my radar the past week:

You’ve probably heard by now that Samhain Publishing has decided to cease operations. They’ll be shutting down slowly over a period of months while they continue to release the books they currently have scheduled. This comes as a huge shock, especially for romance writers. Samhain has been a staple of the romance e-publishing world for almost a decade. They were one of the largest, most powerful romance publishers outside of the ‘big’ houses and they produced tons of bestsellers. I remember when I first started writing romance, they were the most coveted publishing house for me. I would have given my right arm to be published by them–of course that would make it hard to write, but the sentiment stands.

I eventually ended up with Kensington, but I still would have been happy to have Samhain publishing anything of mine. It’s sad news for romance (and horror–they had a robust horror line) when such a powerhouse goes out of business, even sadder because many of the authors are saying there was no indication this was coming. Scary too, because if a house as well-known and respected as Samhain can falter, who else can? Small publishers sputter out all the time, but Samhain was by no means a ‘small’ press.

I wish good things for all the authors being affected by this–may you all find new homes for your books!

The second bit of news is a big deal for all Stephen King fans (of which I am definitely one). Idris Elba has been cast in the role of Roland Deschain (the Gunslinger) in the upcoming Dark Tower movies. I’m only about halfway through the Dark Tower series–I’ve always been more a fan of Stephen King’s horror than his fantasy, but the novels are excellent. They were my ex-husband’s favorite Stephen King books and he finally nudged me to read them (we’re still friends!). There has been some contention because of Idris’s race, in part because it interferes with the storyline of another character in the books who is actually black, but Idris is an amazing actor and I think they’ll be able to work with it.

I think I’m even more excited about the fact Matthew McConaughey will be playing the Man In Black! If you’re a Stephen King fan you know the Man In Black is ‘the’ villain, who appears in various forms in many of Stephen King’s works. I couldn’t think of a better actor (sorry, Jamey Sheridan). I’m pretty happy with the casting. And this series of tweets made my fangirl heart scream in delight:

So there’s some random news from the past week. What’s caught your attention in the writing world lately?

We lost some good ones already this year.

I’m stepping away from the subject of writing for this post today because we’ve had a terrible week for celebrity deaths. We lost David Bowie and Alan Rickman, both aged 69, both to cancer. It’s safe to say Death isn’t playing around as we begin 2016.  I thought I’d dedicate my thoughts today to them.

I was never a MEGA David Bowie fan, but growing up his music was always part of the zeitgeist. Some of his songs I really liked and some I was ambivalent about, but I never hated any of his music. Some of my favorites are collaborations he did with other artists like Dancing In the Street with Mick Jagger and I’m Afraid of Americans with Trent Reznor. If I absolutely had to pick a favorite Bowie song it would probably be China Girl, because I love the low, sensual growl of his voice in that song.

But like a lot of women my age, the biggest impact David Bowie had on me was his role as the Goblin King. Ah yes, do a Google search and you’ll find out just how many young girls had their sexual awakenings via Jareth. Supposed to be a kid’s movie? Of course. That doesn’t explain why he had to have that hugely bulging crotch and be constantly tempting Sarah in an overtly sexual way. Even the creators admit the movie was supposed to have sexual overtones. Thank you David Bowie, from us ladies you helped usher into puberty.

As for Alan Rickman, I was a pretty big fan of his. Many people will always remember him as Snape in the Harry Potter movies, though he had a very long career that spanned many roles–usually playing the bad guy. The very first role I ever saw him in was the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (I’m gonna cut your heart out with a spoon!). I daresay I was more infatuated with the Sheriff than Robin, but then, I’ve always liked the villains more.

I also loved him as the Metatron in Dogma, which was a greatly understated role–and of course in Sweeney Todd, one of my favorite movies ever (the version with Johnny Depp).  In any case, it’s hard to believe he’s gone–it’s the first thing I saw online when I woke up yesterday morning and it darkened my entire day.

That will be quite enough, Death. No more celebrities for you this year!

In other news, I’ve done some cosmetic work on my site. Do feel free to have a look around and please tell me what you think–what  you like, what you don’t like. I’m also going to be looking into starting a mailing list soon, so I’ll have more information on that in the coming week!