Tag Archives: sharks

Hollywood Wastes Another Five Million Dollars

I’ve never written a movie review before, but as they say, there’s a first time for everything.

Movie spoilers are one of my biggest pet peeves so there’ll be none of that here. My only goal is to help you in your movie-watching decisions.

I happened to be home alone on Halloween this year and I had just finished a good book (The Last Detective by Robert Crais) so I decided I’d do something I’d never done on Halloween…watch a scary movie.

Perhaps a bit cliché, but it seemed like the thing to do.

I scrolled through NetFlix for a few minutes, avoiding the typical scary movie selections and settled on one that sounded promising, since it featured several things that I enjoy – SCUBA diving, sharks, vacations and good looking women.

The name of the movie was 47 Meters Down.

Synopsis:

Two sisters on vacation in Mexico decide to go shark spotting and end up trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean with very little air and several Great White sharks patrolling the water.

I didn’t want to waste the entire evening blindly scrolling through the entire NetFlix library, and the premise was intriguing enough, so I fixed myself a cocktail and hit play.

Where do I even begin?

I think we should start with something positive…the trailer was very captivating.

Okay – so much for positive…

Soon after American tourists Kate and Lisa meet a couple of guys in a Mexican nightclub, they decide to join these two strangers the following day SCUBA diving with sharks.

This is where the first red flag went up in my mind…you see, these guys aren’t associated with any reputable tourist operation…they just “know a guy.”

So the girls show up at the dock in the morning, and we meet the captain who will take them on their adventure (I didn’t even recognize Matthew Modine in the role of the captain). They take a skiff from the dock to the captain’s boat – second red flag – it looks like it’s staying afloat by luck. Then we see the shark cage! Red Flag number 3!! At least when Hooper showed up at Quint’s boat with his shark cage, it was shiny, aluminum and had flotation pontoons at the top. Our two heroines are about to climb into a rusty, steel cage that is probably older than both of them combined, but younger than the worn and frayed steel cable attached to it.

I suppose these things could be written off as foreshadowing – so let’s move on…

Javier and Louis (the two guys who talked the sisters into this party) go down in the cage first.

Now – maybe it’s just me, but since there is a suggestion of romantic interest between the four main characters, wouldn’t you think they’d go down boy-girl, rather than boys first, then girls?

Anyway…the girls finally get their turn (despite repeated objections from Lisa, who has never been diving before).

The cage is lowered to the pre-determined depth of five meters and all is good. Kate and Lisa are laughing, taking selfies and telling each other how awesome the experience is.

Meanwhile, I’m asking myself, how can they communicate with each other, and the boat, when their ears are not enclosed within the full face masks they’re wearing?

Oh well, movie magic, I suppose.

So after a couple of minutes, SURPRISE!, the tattered cable from which the cage is suspended snaps and sends the girls plummeting to the ocean floor, 47 meters down (such a clever title).

So here they are, after a panic-filled drop that seemed to last twenty minutes, (it was only about twenty seconds, but the director decided to show it in the style of an NFL replay booth) on the bottom of the ocean with one tank of air each, and they have to figure out how to survive and make their way back to the surface…

Being a certified SCUBA diver, I can say that this is where the real problems with the movie begin to rear their ugly heads.

The factual inaccuracies regarding diving are so numerous I don’t have time to list them all. All writers, myself included, rely on suspension of disbelief, but whoever was at the keyboard for this script didn’t even try to make it semi-plausible.

Every story needs a bad guy, so let’s look at the villains of the movie.

The sharks.

The (mostly CGI) sharks are portrayed as ruthless, predators lying in wait for a free meal. Apparently, if you’re a shark, you’d much rather wait for the two humans to come out of the cage than go after the countless smaller and slower fish within fins reach.

Chalk up another one for one of Hollywood’s biggest (and most inaccurate) stereotypes.

Our heroines have two options, stay in the cage until they run out of air and suffocate, or leave the cage and swim to the surface hoping not to become snacks for the sharks.

Like I said – no spoilers here, instead let’s look at the technical aspects of the film; the directing, lighting, camera work, acting, etc. were good, but not good enough to save a poorly written screenplay.

When you boil the whole thing down, my opinion of this movie is as follows;

There are many more worthwhile ways to spend an hour and a half than watching this movie. Cleaning the cat box, baking a nice roadkill-pot-pie, volunteering for clinical trials at the local STD clinic…the list is nearly endless.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a one, only because Claire Holt (Kate) looks good in a bikini.

Perhaps the thing that bothers me the most is that Hollywood continually puts out this kind of crap as if they can’t find any good stories when there are thousands of independent authors out there with stories that would blow this garbage out of the water (pun intended).

47 Meters Down is about half as deep as this movie should be buried.

 

As always – thank you for reading

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Another FREE BOOK?

That’s right! Here we go again…time for another FREE Book!

If you’re late to the party, find out what’s going on here.

Since I started this give away on Valentine’s Day, I’ve given away 449 FREE books! I think breaking 500 is a reasonable goal – so let’s get after it…

This week’s freebie –

Full Circle

Full Circle is actually a story I conceived and began writing in 1988 – you can learn more about that here. I don’t remember exactly what sparked the idea for the story way back then, but I liked it enough to hold on to it for nearly three decades. Here’s a little more info about it.

Full Circle will be FREE form Thursday March 8, 2018 thru Monday March 12, 2018.

I hope you enjoy Full Circle, and I hope you’re as excited about the impending release of 24 Minutes as I am!

And here’s a shark…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always – thank you for reading

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A #ValentinesDay gift from Ike – #FREEbooks

As I mentioned in a previous post – 2017 was the first year since 2009 in which I didn’t release a book, and I feel pretty bad about that so here’s what I’m going to do…

I will be giving away a free book each week until 24 Minutes is released.

Starting off the giving is a Valentine’s Day present from Ike…

This isn’t Ike…it’s actor Anson Mount – but he’ll be my first choice to play Ike in the movies!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blood in the Water will be FREE from Feb 14th thru the 19th.

Stay tuned next week to find out which book will be next in The Great Book Giveaway!

That’s about all I have to say…

Oh – one more thing…if you are of a mind after you read these #freebooks – I would really love it if you left a review on Amazon. Leaving a review is easy and it helps a lot. Just think – when you’re standing in line to buy tickets to see Blood in the Water at your local theater you can tell the people around you “Hey – I read this book for free a while ago and left a review on Amazon about it!”

It’s the little things in life that make it worth while!

 

As always – thank you for reading

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The True Meaning of Free Choice

It’s time to make a choice.

Between you and me, I hate this crap. I hate arguing with the people I like and respect because of differences of which one is better and which one is the certain ruination of all that is good and holy.

I can’t wait until it’s over and the only thing left to argue about is football.

In the meantime – I have another choice for you.

The difference is – with this choice you can choose one, the other – or both! You can also choose neither if you want, but then you would be passing up free stuff!

That’s right…FREE STUFF!

Lemmee ‘splain…

As you may, or may not know – my ninth novel (12th book when you count short stories and novellas) was released earlier this month. It’s called Blood in the Water and it’s available in paperback here and kindle here.

bitw-cover-front

 

So far it has been receiving high praise – but that’s not what I’m here to tell you about.

Several books ago I started a bit of a tradition of giving away a book in celebration of the release of a new one. So – since I have just released a new book it’s time to give one away – BUT – since it’s the season of choices…I’m giving you a choice.

Beginning tomorrow (Nov. 2, 2016) and running until Sunday (Nov. 6, 2016) my novels No Good Deed AND Full Circle will both be available for FREE download.

No Good Deed is (technically) the sequel to my first novel Living the Dream, but the story stands up well on its own. It isn’t necessary to read Living the Dream to enjoy No Good Deed (but it does provide background of the main characters).

I often call No Good Deed the “red-headed-stepchild” of my books.

Why, you ask?

There’s a good explanation, which you can read about here, but it has nothing to do with the quality of the story. I think it’s a really good story (as you would expect).

Full Circle is a novel that was twenty-seven years in the making – you can find out what that means here. Prior to the release of Blood in the Water it was the general consensus of people I spoke to that Full Circle was my best book.

Here’s your chance to find out…

So there it is – I invite you to take part in the process. You have a choice, but the good news is, you can’t go wrong either way!

 

As always – Thank you for reading

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Another Completed Manuscript – Another Free Novel

Blood in the Water/Water Hazard

 

 

It’s that time of year again…

The time when I write a blog post telling you how I’ve finished the first draft of my latest novel.

By now you probably know the routine, but let’s recap;

The draft is done, but it’s really just the beginning.

start finish

I’ve left it alone for a couple of weeks and sent it to my beta readers. This weekend I will read through it from start to finish and begin cleaning it up. When the comments from my betas start coming in I will go through it from start to finish for each one of them (there are 11). Some of their comments/suggestions I will use and some I won’t, but the value of their effort is immeasurable.

If you did the math you have concluded that, in the next two or three weeks, I will have gone through the manuscript about 12 times.

Once that process is done it will be sent off to the editor. While all that is going on I’ll be working with my cover girl (I love calling her that, but I don’t know if she knows I do!) Keri Knutson who will undoubtedly come up with yet another awesome cover. The editing process will take a month or so and then it will be ready for release.

At the time of this writing I am shooting for a September release.

Now let’s talk about this book – the next Great American Novel…

It’s called Blood in the Water and it marks the return of Flagler Beach P.I. Steve Salem and his partner Val Casey, who haven’t been seen since 2011’s Backseat to Justice.

BTJ cover

Also back in the thick of things is Ike – who had a brief cameo appearance in Full Circle, but hasn’t seen real action since Eyewitness Blues.

Blood in the Water opens with Steve and Val investigating the disappearance of Patrick Donahue, a sixty-eight-year-old retired Architect. Unfortunately, before their investigation gets very far, Donahue’s body washes up on the shore of Flagler Beach. Their missing person search is instantly transformed into a murder investigation.

Meanwhile, SCUBA divers Bob “Oscar” Oscarson and Nik Mostert, find a 300-year-old piece of Spanish gold with an unusual connection to a pair of college girls who disappeared thirty years earlier.

divers

The disappearance of Patrick Donahue, the missing college girls and the origin of the mysterious coin all come together in a fast-paced action story with bad guys, sharks and, of course, Ike.

Speaking of Ike…

In celebration of another completed manuscript I’ve decided to give away one of Ike’s earlier adventures – so Water Hazard will be FREE on Kindle until Wednesday, June 15th. It’s yours for the taking at this link – Water Hazard.

WH cover

So, to sum up;

Blood in the Water manuscript – done.

Water Hazard action novel featuring Ike – FREE

 

As always – thank you for reading

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2015 Year in Review – Is One Out of Three Bad?

It’s that time of year again…time for my fourth annual Year-In-Review post.

In preparing for this post I glanced over the previous three Y.I.R. posts. At the end of my 2014 Y.I.R. I made a bit of a prediction, which I whole-heartedly intended to fulfill – but in retrospect I feel as though I’ve let you down.

At the end of 2014 my list of goals for 2015 looked something like this:

  • The completion of a second collection of short stories about Ike
  • The completion of my 8th novel, Full Circle
  • The beginning (and possible completion) of a second Steve Salem novel

So let’s take a look at how those predictions panned out…

solotaire

Which Do You Want First?

There is good news and bad news about Muzzle Velocity – the second collection of short stories featuring Ike.

muzzle velocity

The good news is I’ve got nine good stories so far.

The bad news is I didn’t write any of them.

The plan was simple…I would write a dozen short stories (give or take one or two) and I would solicit short stories from a hand-picked group of my writer friends. Fortunately, my writer friends all delivered…Unfortunately, although I have ideas for several Ike stories, I didn’t have time to write a single one.

I feel like such a slacker…

Round and Round

Moving on to item 2 on the list – the completion of Full Circle.

Full Circle front cover

On this item I am pleased to say – done and done!

Yes, my eighth novel (one which I began writing in 1988) was released in mid-December.

In the interest of full disclosure…it should have been released before Thanksgiving, but I ran into a bit of an administrative setback. For a while there I started to wonder if the book was cursed – but those fears were premature, and the book that was 27 years in the making was brought into the world, officially, on December 22.

So far it has been very well received. Within days of its release a loyal reader posted a five-star review which eased the pain of the SNAFUs leading up to release!

And Then There Was One

Finally, the last prediction of the year – a new Steve Salem novel.

Steve Salem, as you know from Backseat to Justice, is a Flagler Beach Private Investigator. I had hoped to at least begin a new story involving him and his assistant/partner Val Casey, but it just didn’t happen.

BTJ cover

I’m not going to make excuses, it doesn’t matter why I didn’t do it – it only matters that I didn’t, and believe me, nobody is more disappointed than me.

So let’s recap.

2015 was a tough year – production wise.

However, I am very happy (and pretty proud) to announce that it was by far my best year from a sales standpoint.

For this – I can’t thank you enough. I thank you for your support, for buying my books, and for telling others about me.

Without you, I’d just be a guy wasting a lot of time writing stuff.

Calvin writing

I still haven’t been able to quit my day job, but as I told somebody at a holiday gathering last week… “I may not have reached that particular goal yet, but considering in 2009 my goal was to sell one book – I’m happy with how far I’ve come and confident in where I’m going.”

So – do I dare make another prediction for 2016?

I think I should – it will give me something to shoot for, but I think I’m going to need a good supply of ammunition because it’s looking like a target-rich environment!

First up – my next Ike novel, tentatively titled Blood in the Water.

The story will involve a hunt for a mysterious lost treasure, an unsolved missing persons case, sharks (gotta have sharks!) and a guy who is over his head until Ike steps in.

shark

I can’t wait to see how it ends!

Second – the aforementioned collection of short stories, Muzzle Velocity

It WILL be released before the Fourth of July. Not only do I enjoy writing short stories, but I’ve got nine stories written by some really good writers I think you will enjoy, so I’m determined to get it done!

Third – The next Steve Salem novel.

This project is something I really want to do, but I have to be realistic – in the midst of all my other projects I am not extremely optimistic about completing it – but we’ll see. At the very least I will begin.

Fourth – I am working on a fun little project with my friend Becky Pourchot.

Becky bought her first motorcycle this year and after about ten miles of riding she was hopelessly hooked. We started having conversations about the Zen of the motorcycle, and decided to gather some of our biker experiences and put them together in a book. Our plan is to have it ready for Bike Week here in Daytona Beach – which is in March, so the clock is ticking!

easy rider

And lastly…I’ve been invited to contribute short stories to a couple of anthologies being put together by other writers. As I said – I enjoy writing short stories so this will be fun!

So 2015 fades into the sunset and 2016 is coming at me with lots of stuff to do.

calendar

I should probably get to work!

See you on the first page of the new calendar

 

As always – thank you for reading

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