Monday, December 31, 2018

Nancy Kress's "Terran Tomorrow"

Nancy Kress's many books include over two dozen novels, four collections of short stories, and three books on writing. Her work has won six Nebulas, two Hugos, a Sturgeon, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Kress’s work has been translated into two dozen languages, including Klingon, none of which she can read.

Here Kress dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Terran Tomorrow: Book 3 of the Yesterday's Kin Trilogy:
What a treat! I get to cast my movie! Since this will never happen in real life, I can have anyone I want, so here goes:

For Marianne Jenner, sixty-ish geneticist, I want Helen Mirren. Helen is older than Marianne and British rather than American, but she can play anything. Hell, to have Helen Mirren, I’d make Marianne younger, British, whatever. For Helen Mirren, who I would watch recite the phone book if phone books still existed, I would rewrite the entire trilogy.

For Colonel Jason Jenner, late thirties, handsome and very earnest, I need someone who can portray strong-silent-type stress from the burden he’s carrying (basically, the survival of civilization). Ryan Gosling, maybe? DiCaprio is too old.

For Jason’s second-in-command, the reserved and frighteningly competent Major Elizabeth Duncan, I want Mary Jackson, who was so terrific in Hidden Figures.

For Dr. Lindy Ross, Jason’s estranged wife and his moral scold, Olivia Coleman.

Jason’s brother, the eco-minded rebel, I’m not sure. Colin Jenner is shorter, not handsome, but with charisma. The person who would be perfect is the young John C. Reilly, now nowhere near young enough—but you did say I could have anyone I wanted, regardless of temporal physics!

A major character in the book is an “alien” who is not really alien. She’s from a group of humans transplanted from Earth to another planet 140,000 years ago. That’s enough time for evolution to make some genetic changes, but not enough time for species to diverge. There is only one choice: Saoirse Ronan, who somehow looks alien even when playing the Irish girl in Brooklyn or the Scots Queen Mary. She has a spooky, beautiful-in-a-strange way face. And talent to burn.

For the young, nerdy and brilliant techie Carter, Lucas Hedges.

Now my movie costs gazillions of dollars because none of these actors come cheap. But…Helen Mirren! Helen Mirren! Maybe she could just do the novel as a one-person show on Broadway and play all the parts. I would be in the front row every single night.
Visit Nancy Kress's website, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

The Page 69 Test: Tomorrow's Kin.

The Page 69 Test: If Tomorrow Comes.

The Page 69 Test: Terran Tomorrow.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Ann Howard Creel's "The River Widow"

Ann Howard Creel writes historical novels about strong female characters facing seemingly impossible obstacles and having to make life-changing decisions. In her new novel, The River Widow, a former tarot-card reader turned widow and stepmother must escape the clutches of an evil family while also facing the crime she herself has committed.

Here Creel shares some ideas for the above-the-talent who might bring The River Widow to the big screen:
If they make my book into a movie, I’d love to see Reese Witherspoon play Adah. Even though Adah’s hair is brown, I don’t care. Reese can show just the right mix of vulnerability and fighting instincts to make her a perfect Adah.

For Jack I’d choose Mark Wahlberg. Such a talented actor, he would be able to portray Jack’s hard side and his soft side, too. Besides, he’s not hard on the eye.

For a director, I’d choose one of the masters: Stephen Spielberg or Ron Howard.
Visit Ann Howard Creel's website.

The Page 69 Test: The River Widow.

Writers Read: Ann Howard Creel.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Mary Stockwell's "Interrupted Odyssey"

Mary Stockwell is the former chair of the history department at Lourdes University in Ohio and the author of Unlikely General: "Mad" Anthony Wayne and the Battle for America, The Other Trail of Tears: The Removal of the Ohio Indians and other books.

Here Stockwell dreamcasts an adaptation of her new book, Interrupted Odyssey: Ulysses S. Grant and the American Indians:
His picture is everywhere this holiday season: in stores, especially near toy departments, in online ads that pop up while browsing the web, and most of all, in posters mounted in front of local movie theaters. He is Aquaman, the latest DC comic book hero to come to life in cinemas around the world. Fierce and muscular, his arms and chest are wrapped in the golden scales of a magical sea creature. He wears shining blue-green pants and boots that clearly show he belongs in the depths of the ocean. His gloves are the same color and made of the same glistening material. In his right hand, he grasps a golden trident that brings to mind the ancient legends of Neptune, the ruler of all the waters of the world. Standing high on a ledge with a stream flowing under his boots and still more showers cascading behind him, he scowls at the viewer. He frightens us until we remember that he is a hero who has come to save us from the dangers that swirl about us on the land as well as the sea.

Every time I have looked back at Aquaman staring at me from a poster or a computer screen, I have thought of only one thing. Jason Momoa, the actor who plays Aquaman, would be the perfect Ely Parker if my latest book, Interrupted Odyssey: Ulysses S. Grant and the American Indians, was ever made into a movie. Parker was a Seneca Indian, born on his people’s Tonawanda Reserve near Buffalo, who became Ulysses S. Grant’s military secretary and later, after Grant was elected President of the United States, his first Commissioner of Indian Affairs. When just eighteen, he had been named the Seneca’s official spokesman as they fought against their removal from New York. Sent to Washington to speak to Senators like Henry Clay and Daniel Webster and even to President James K. Polk, he had a hard time finding suits that could fit his tall and muscular frame. In my mind’s eye, I can see Momoa in a tightfitting 19th century suit, a head taller than everyone around him, strolling into the Capitol and the White House. In another scene, First Lady Sarah Polk stops her carriage on a crowded Washington street so she can give the handsome young Seneca a lift to his next destination. Still later, he wears the dark blue uniform of a Union soldier. He is at Grant’s side, carrying a stack of papers in his arms and with an ink bottle tied by a string to a button on his coat. At Appomattox, I hear Momoa’s deep voice reminding a startled General Robert E. Lee, who has recognized Parker at last as a “real American,” meaning an Indian rather than a black man, that “we are all Americans.”

But Jason Momoa is more than an actor who matches Ely Parker’s physical appearance. He is a master of silent acting, where a performer conveys deep emotions with few words, as he proved in his role as Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones. He would bring his acting skills to bear in the tragic tale of Parker’s attempt to craft a policy, with the help of his friend Ulysses Grant, that would save the Indians from certain destruction by making them American citizens. Parker did everything in his power to protect the tribes but ultimately failed. The ending of Interrupted Odyssey will therefore not be the same as the ending of Aquaman. Parker will fail in his efforts to defend the Indians even as Aquaman will surely save the world.
Visit Mary Stockwell's website.

My Book, The Movie: Unlikely General.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 17, 2018

Debra H. Goldstein's "One Taste Too Many"

Debra H. Goldstein is the author of Kensington’s new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series, which debuts with One Taste Too Many on December 18, 2018. She also wrote Should Have Played Poker and 2012 IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories, including Anthony and Agatha nominated “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,” have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and Mystery Weekly.

Here Goldstein dreamcasts an adaptation of One Taste Too Many:
What excitement! Not only is One Taste Too Many the debut novel for Kensington’s Sarah Blair cozy mystery series, but now there’s a wish-list casting call if they make the book into a movie. It is a good thing it is a wish list because not every actor who could play the role perfectly is either the right age now or still alive.


Married at eighteen, divorced at twenty-eight, Sarah Blair reluctantly swaps her luxury lifestyle for a cramped studio apartment and a law firm receptionist job in Wheaton, Alabama. With her feisty Siamese cat, RahRah, and some clumsy domestic skills, she’s the polar opposite of her bubbly twin, Emily—an ambitious chef determined to take her culinary ambitions to the top at a local gourmet restaurant.

Sarah knew starting over would be messy. But things fall apart completely when her ex drops dead, seemingly poisoned by Emily’s award-winning rhubarb crisp. Now, with RahRah wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and Emily wanted by the police for murder, Sarah needs to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time runs out. Unfortunately, for a gal whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it could mean facing a fate worse than death—being in the kitchen!

Space only allows casting consideration for a limited number of roles here. The rest will be filled by auditions and casting agent recommendations.

Sarah Blair – tall, willowy, clumsy and inept in the kitchen – age 28 –younger Sandra Bullock (think Ms. Congeniality or Ya-Ya Sisterhood) or perhaps Jennifer Garner or Claire Foy

Emily – Sarah’s twin – small, cheerleader type, a pro in the kitchen – age 28 – a very young Kristin Chenoweth or perhaps Margot Robbie, Jennifer Lawrence, or Sweet Home Alabama’s Reese Witherspoon.

Bill – the ex – handsome, debonair, and must make a good corpse – Scott Eastwood

Peter –police chief – intelligent, easy on the eyes – Andrew Garfield or Chris Hemsworth

Harlan – Sarah’s attorney boss, clever, thoughtful, short – Alan Ladd, Matt Damon or James Wolk

Jane – red-headed fireball – Christina Hendricks, Jessica Chastain, Amy Adams, or Bryce Dallas Howard

Marcus – chef who loves clogs and balloon pants - Mario Batali

Grace – chef - elegant one of a kind – Grace Jones

Jacob – chef - real estate developer – Paul Walker or Ryan Reynolds

Richard – chef - Jared Leto or Johnny Depp

RahRah – the most important character – Siamese Cat – chocolate point – must have attitude but is sleeker and sharper looking than Grumpy the Cat --- open casting call – will be well treated – own dressing room/stock of tuna/a trainer will be engaged for support and comfort.
Visit Debra H. Goldstein's website.

The Page 69 Test: One Taste Too Many.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Sarah Bailey's "Into The Night"

Sarah Bailey lives in Melbourne, Australia and has two young sons and one very old cat. She has fifteen years experience in the advertising industry and is currently a director at creative projects company Mr Smith.

Here Bailey dreamcasts an adaptation of Into The Night, her second novel:
Seeing as Into The Night is the second book in the Detective Gemma Woodstock series, some of my casting inspiration was already set when I wrote the first book, The Dark Lake.

In saying that, the balance between evolving the characters and maintaining a sense of consistency is really important when writing any kind of series and seeing that Gemma is a little grittier in this instalment, and perhaps a little wilder and sassier, I thought that someone like Rose Byrne would do an amazing job of depicting the light and shade that the storyline provokes and is a great build on my original muse, Ellen Page.

This book introduces a new main character in Nick Fleet, the senior detective that Gemma is paired with in her new city squad in Melbourne. Nick is a really abrasive character, obnoxious and challenging. I felt Mark Ruffalo has the acting chops to bring Nick’s complex personality to life and I definitely pictured him when creating Nick’s character.

In stark contrast, Gemma’s new boyfriend Josh is very clean cut and conservative. Justin Timberlake could pull this off as could someone like Chace Crawford.

Sterling Wade is the doomed movie star and any actor that plays him would absolutely need to look the part while conveying a sense of innocence and naivety. A young Leonardo Di Caprio would have been perfect but in terms of current actors, Chris Hemsworth and Zac Efron were two people I had in mind.

Similarly, Ava James needs to be embodied by a true Hollywood starlet. Someone with a bit more aggression than her famous male co-star. I saw both Blake Lively or Emma Roberts being able to deliver the appropriate level of charisma required.

Macy, Gemma’s homeless friend is her rock in many ways and even though it’s a massive stretch it would be pretty crazy if Oprah played her!

Lizzie Short is a little bit prissier than glamourous Ava, and less confident. Anna Kendrick would be perfect, as would Leighton Meester from Gossip Girl. Her Brother Kit is a little more boy next door and I think someone like Andrew Garfield would work well.

Brodie Kent needs to be played by someone who has the ability to go from gentle to fiery very quickly. I think Robert Pattinson or Elijah Wood would be able to pull this off.

I still feel that Joshua Jackson would work well in the role of Gemma’s ex partner Scott Harper and that J.K.Simmons would do justice to the role of Gemma’s old boss Jonesy.

Gemma’s new boss is a reserved character and quite hard to figure out. I think that John Slattery would work well here, though he would need to be a bit more sedate than when he played Roger Sterling in Mad Men! To round out her other new workmates, I think that Dame Judi Dench would make a splendid Nan and I think that Ed Helms (of The Hangover fame) would be a great Calvin.

Now that I am in the final stages of drafting the third Gemma Woodstock book, I am once again in the process of perusing Hollywood for my next round of casting!
Visit Sarah Bailey's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Dark Lake.

My Book, The Movie: The Dark Lake.

The Page 69 Test: Into the Night.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Constantine J. Singer's "Strange Days"

Constantine Singer grew up in Seattle and earned his BA from Earlham College and his Masters from Seattle University. He currently lives in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles with his family and teaches history at a high school in South LA.

Here Singer dreamcasts an adaptation of Strange Days, his debut novel:
I live in Los Angeles and I’m married to a screenwriter, so I think about these things a lot. With adult-oriented manuscripts it’s pretty easy to come up with the faces that’ll go well with your names, but YA means finding kids and that means either watching a lot of children’s television or scouring IMDB by birth year.

Fortunately, I have a teenage daughter and I happen to love YA television so I didn’t have much trouble doing this.

My main character was a bit of a puzzle for me when it came to casting because there just weren’t that many Latinx actors in Hollywood yet while I was writing Strange Days. Outside of Jane the Virgin and East Los, there wasn’t much to pick from, but then came On My Block, which is a fantastic Netflix series you should watch. Alex Mata would be played perfectly by Jason Genao. He has the right combination of vulnerability, arrogance, and people-pleasing fear that Alex needs to have.

I would cast Alex’s best friend, Julio Santos, from the same show. Diego Tinoco would be ideal for the role.

Corina Hollifield was a little harder for me, but I finally settled on Skai Jackson. She’s mainly known for being the adorable scamp on Disney’s Jessie, but I think there’s a lot more available in her range and she has the right look and general feel for Corina.

Paul Dunn and Damon Johnson were a lot harder and I ended up just searching IMDB until I found Ty Simpkins and Toby Nichols respectively. By look at least, they fit the bill. Jordan Castle was also difficult but I finally settled on Morgan Lilly for the job.

Cassandra Mitas-Barnes was in many ways the easiest and also the only one for whom a Major Hollywood Star comes to mind. She should be played by Chloe Grace Moretz.

I’ve had Aiden Quinn in mind for Jeffrey Sabazios from the beginning, and I wrote John Bishop for Phillip Seymour Hoffman because he had just died and he was on my mind. I don’t know who would take his place now. Maybe David Morse would be good.

For Richard Beeman, I wanted someone believably smart and who could also be a believable camp counselor. I think Grant Gustin would be perfect.

And obviously President Vincent Castle will be played by Mike Pence.
Visit Constantine J. Singer's website.

The Page 69 Test: Strange Days.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Alan Cumyn's "North to Benjamin"

Alan Cumyn is the award-winning author of several wide-ranging and often wildly different novels. His historical novels The Sojourn and The Famished Lover chronicle the First World War and Great Depression experiences of artist Ramsay Crome. His human rights novels, Man of Bone and Burridge Unbound, follow a torture victim through survival and post-trauma. Losing It is a darkly funny and truly twisted novel about madness, while his Owen Skye books for kids–The Secret Life of Owen Skye, After Sylvia and Dear Sylvia— hilariously trace the calamitous trials of childhood and the pangs of early love. Cumyn’s young adult novel Tilt is a funny, sexy exploration of a teenaged boy’s obsessions as he lives through an impossibly absurd time of life. All Night, a literacy project, follows a young artsy couple through a stormy night of hard truths and romantic dreams. And Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend brings a touch of Kafka to the previously ordered love life of a high school senior who has no idea what might fly out of the primordial past. His latest novel, North to Benjamin, is a psychological thriller that sees a young boy, Edgar, dragged north by his unstable mother, testing his formidable survival skills.

Here Cumyn shares some casting ideas for an adaptation of North to Benjamin:
I see North to Benjamin as a distant cousin to My Life As a Dog. Whoever plays Edgar, however, would not be quite like Anton Glanzelius in that earlier, and marvellous, film. Even though they both end up literally barking for a time, the Edgar who is dragged north by his unstable mother in my story would be a quieter, less rambunctious boy. His survival instincts are honed toward having him disappear, remain unnoticed, staying still and quiet while observing everything.

Who would that actor be? A challenge for the casting director to find! I imagine someone with large eyes that can express everything including mounting panic even within a deep and natural sense of calm.

Another real star of the movie would have to be the landscape of Dawson City, Yukon – the wild rivers coming together, the steep hills, the eccentric town clinging to the edge of the wilderness. So many photographers, filmmakers and visual artists flock there because of the clear northern light and the extraordinary natural beauty. It's a beauty that Edgar picks up on, too, as he experiments with the camera he has been given by his mother's ex-boyfriend. Almost anything is manageable, it seems, if you can look at it through a lens.
Visit Alan Cumyn's website.

Writers Read: Alan Cumyn.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 7, 2018

Kitty Zeldis's "Not Our Kind"

Kitty Zeldis is the pseudonym for a novelist and non-fiction writer of books for adults and children. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, NY.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Not Our Kind:
Almost every writer hopes her or his book will be chosen to leap from page to screen and since I’m no different, I’ve been entertaining myself with such fantasies as soon as the book was completed.

To play Patricia Bellamy I would chose Cate Blanchett; I think she has the looks, the demeanor and haughty composure that masks a turbulent soul.

I imagine Eleanor as played by Rachel Brosnahan because I found her performance in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel delightful. I can also see Anne Hathaway in this role.

To play Margaux, I’d want someone young and unknown—a newcomer seems right for the role of a thirteen year old who has recovered from—but is still scarred by—her grim bout with polio.
Follow Kitty Zeldis on Facebook.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Thelma Adams's "Bittersweet Brooklyn"

Thelma Adams is the author of the historical novel Bittersweet Brooklyn, the bestseller The Last Woman Standing and Playdate, which Oprah magazine described as “a witty debut novel.” In addition to her fiction work, Adams is a prominent American film critic and an outspoken voice in the Hollywood community. She has been the in-house film critic for Us Weekly and The New York Post, and has written essays, celebrity profiles and reviews for Yahoo! Movies, The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine,, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Parade, Marie Claire and The Huffington Post. Adams studied history at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was valedictorian, and received her MFA from Columbia University. She lives in upstate New York with her family.
In honor of Rachel Brosnahan's return in Season 2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon this week, I'm casting her in my novel Bittersweet Brooklyn:

Brosnahan is my ideal actress to play my leading lady Thelma Lorber, the big-hearted younger sister of the Brooklyn Jewish mobster, Abie "Little Yiddle" Lorber. During the 1920s, she's a vivacious neighborhood girl who loves to go dancing and to the movies. She falls in love, has a son and then tumbles straight into the narrow straits of the 1930s – and the dead body of Pretty Amberg that her favorite brother is chopping up in his kitchen.

The pride of Peaky Blinders, my favorite historical crime drama, Cillian Murphy would be my dream pick for Abie "Little Yiddle" Lorber. He's Thelma's older brother and protector-in-chief. All of five feet two inches, he makes up for his height in chutzpah. Tossed into an orphanage along with his younger brother, Louis, when he was just getting his first whiskers, he's makes the papers for the first time in 1915 under the headline: "'Toughest Kid' Proves It: Newsboy Stabs Lad, Who Doubted Title Given Him."

After binging on Bodyguard with Richard Madden, I'm all in for the Game of Thrones' King of the North Robb Stark to play the quieter middle brother, Louis. Tossed into the orphanage as a boy alongside Abie, he emerges with a love of guns to match his brother's fondness for knives. Although he supports his brother in crime, on his 21st birthday he enlists in the U.S. Army and becomes a hero, a Rock of the Marne, in the famed 38th Infantry that turned the tide of WW1. Strong, silent, faithful, cares for his sisters, looks good in a uniform: I cast the dimpled, buff Madden.

Put Timothee Chalamet, now 24, into a full-grown man's role as Thelma's beloved husband Philip Schwartz. Phil shows Thelma great times – dancing madly to the house band at the Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan, strolling through Coney Island on a Sunday, snuggling at the local movie palace with Valentino on the screen. The romantic, handsome and empathetic boyfriend-turned-husband has a cavern in his heart. His wife believes she can fill it, and then tries to anchor the family with the birth of a son, but can she?

Saoirse Ronan would crack the code playing Thelma's older sister and nemesis Annie. Annie's the hero of her own story, trying to create a stable future for her mother and children safe from her brother's life of crime. And if his ill-gotten gains pay the mortgage, it's a sacrifice made in the present to protect the family's future. Annie's a powerful character and to make her a stock villain would be a mistake; Ronan would find her humanity and still be true to the character's cruelty.

And, if Brosnahan is busy, Ronan could dance-step in as the lead.
Visit Thelma Adams' website.

The Page 69 Test: Playdate.

My Book, The Movie: Playdate.

The Page 69 Test: Bittersweet Brooklyn.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 3, 2018

Nathanael Andrade's "Zenobia: Shooting Star of Palmyra"

Nathanael Andrade received his PhD in Greek and Roman history and has published extensively on the Roman and later Roman Near East along with other topics. His books include Syrian Identity in the Greco-Roman World (2013) and The Journey of Christianity to India in Late Antiquity: Networks and the Movement of Culture (2018).

Here Andrade dreamcast an adaptation of his new book, Zenobia: Shooting Star of Palmyra:
What sort of movie could my book on Zenobia be? A key challenge to portraying Zenobia is that documentation for her is very poor and specific to her reign over the Roman East (268-272 CE). My book confronts this challenge by using material culture to reconstruct experiences that women had at various stages of their lives at Palmyra (Tadmor in Aramaic). From this, we can learn about Zenobia’s family dynamic, upbringing, clothes, religious world, gestures, hygiene, marriage to the dynast Odainath, and life as a mother. A movie would capture these aspects of Zenobia’s world while vividly depicting the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra that framed so much of her existence.

The movie’s echoes of contemporary identity politics will resonate with a contemporary audience. A key point of tension will be the many ways of being Roman expressed by the protagonists locked in civil conflict. Representing the central regime are the emperors Claudius II (Gabriel Byrne) and then Aurelian (Russell Crowe), both native speakers of Latin from the Balkans who are supported by the Senate at Rome. In Syria is Zenobia (Aiysha Hart), more commonly known in Palmyra as Bathzabbai (her Aramaic name). She is a native speaker of Aramaic who has an acquired knowledge of Greek and to a lesser extent Latin. Enmeshed in a cultural and religious life inherited from Arabian and Syrian forebears, Zenobia sees herself and her manner of living to be just as Roman any other. While her rivals try to isolate her as a foreign, barbarian usurper, she defines herself as a figure of Roman authority who protects the Roman East from the Persians, just like her elder husband Odainath (Ghassan Massoud).

The film also emphasizes Zenobia’s identity as a mother. Along with the dangers of childbirth, Zenobia confronts a harrowing situation when Odainath dies. The circumstances of Odainath’s murder are hard to reconstruct and may not have been clear to Zenobia. But in the movie, a local Palmyrene conspiracy, coordinating with the imperial court, has Odainath and his oldest son Herodian Hairan killed in 267-268. Zenobia and Wahballath, her young son by Odainath, are still alive, but the conspiracy is targeting them too. When Zenobia seizes power in Wahballath’s name, she does not only rule as a woman. She protects her vulnerable child.

The dramatic tensions reach their peak with the civil war that Zenobia wages with the imperial court. Responding to its provocations, she occupies many of its Middle Eastern territories, including Egypt. Despite her just rule and efforts to negotiate over the following year, Aurelian invades her realm in early 272. In the first major battle, his cavalry lures Zenobia’s heavy horsemen into a debilitating charge and counterattacks when they are exhausted. In the second, infantrymen brandishing maces batter Zenobia’s charging cavalry and drive it into her army’s own lines. Aurelian’s army invests Palmyra soon after, and Zenobia flees eastward across the desert. She is apprehended while boarding a boat on the Euphrates river. When brought before Aurelian, she feigns having been manipulated by the men of her court. She and her son are spared while they die.

The file scenes of the movie show Zenobia on display in Aurelian’s triumph in Rome in 274. Her hands and feet are bound with gold chains that make her strain to walk. Rumors of her death circulate, but Zenobia lives in peace on a villa at Tivoli, Italy. Aurelian is assassinated in 275. Though defeated and deprived of power, Zenobia has survived the civil war with her children, and she can claim a serious moral victory indeed.
Learn more about Zenobia: Shooting Star of Palmyra at the Oxford University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 1, 2018

G.A. McKevett's "Murder in Her Stocking"

Since publication of her first novel in 1986, Sonja Massie has authored more than 60 published works, including the highly popular and critically acclaimed Savannah Reid Mysteries under the pseudonym G.A. McKevett.

Here the author dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Murder in Her Stocking:
When I began The Savannah Reid Mysteries, 25 years ago, I imagined Savannah looking much the way Delta Burke did on Designing Women. Over the years, that image has slipped away and Savannah has simply become…well…Savannah.

As for Granny Reid, there’s the octogenarian Gran in the Savannah books and Granny Stella, who is in her fifties in the new “prequel” series. I’d love to have Mil Nicholson play the older Granny. She’s a British actress who did a marvelous job of narrating the audio version of Murder in Her Stocking, nailing the Southern accents and down-in-Dixie sensitivities! She has a real “feel” for both the fun and pathos of the story. I’d love to see her perform Granny on screen. For the younger Gran, maybe Diane Lane. She has a wholesome, girl-next-door look about her—if your neighbor happens to be strikingly beautiful.

As far as directors, I’d love to have Ron Howard. Hey, a gal can dream, right?
Visit G.A. McKevett's website.

--Marshal Zeringue