Movie Making 101

Picture courtesy of BenBois and Wikimedia Commons
Picture courtesy of BenBois and Wikimedia Commons

We are thick into preproduction of my first movie, “Most Likely to Die,” and I feel like I’m getting my Master’s degree in movie-making.  Now, for the most part, I’m on the sidelines looking in.  I am super, super lucky that Mar Vista Entertainment and Snowfall Films are producing, because they’re both fabulous companies that treat writers like family.  I’ve been kept on the project 100%, doing the production rewrites and director’s notes.  So while I have no real say in the production decisions (and frankly, I want a producer with experience calling the shots, as opposed to me, with opinions galore but not much production savvy to back ’em up), I have been kept in the loop.  Breaking news this weekend: casting.

The film’s a cabin-in-the-woods horror story about a ten-year high school reunion, so most of the characters are in their late twenties.  But there is a lovely little cameo in the film for an older actor.  The producer called me the other day to say that three wonderful actors were all duking it out for the part: Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Ironside, and Jake Busey.  I nearly swooned.

We’ll know tomorrow who will play the creepy caretaker, Tarkin.  Since “Most Likely” is rather like “The Breakfast Club” gone horribly wrong (there’s even a line in it referencing the movie), my heart belongs to AMH for the role.  But any of them would be amazing.

This is the reason one makes movies.  For the little fun moments, the chance to work with fantastic actors, the little wins along the way.  I am so lucky to be part of the team.


Murder at the Beach!


Bouchercon 2014: Murder at the Beach is two whole months away… How will I stand the wait?

In addition to the usual amazingness of the mystery world’s premiere convention, this year I have the privilege of moderating a terrific panel.  Writers of historical mysteries, Emily Brightwell, Susanna Calkins, Charles Finch, Eleanor Kuhns, and Suzanne (S.K.) Rizzolo will be discussing “Chills, Thrills and Mysteries in the 17th – 19th Centuries.”

I may swoon.

But I will try to hold it together long enough to get the discussion rolling.  I’m particularly interested in learning how they navigate the relationships between their characters — because while we are all still human beings, then as now, the lives of people in that era were so deeply circumscribed by class and gender and race.  And relative power.  That kind of story creation requires a deft touch, and I can’t wait to learn from the masters.

Plus, I want to hear how they manage to carve out time to write when there’s all that tempting research to be read…

New Year – New Crazy Goals


Happy New Year!

Remind me, now, what the devil was I thinking when I made those resolutions? 1400 words every day in 2014.

Can I give up yet?

I did manage it today, but the prospect of doing this every day – especially days which, unlike today, are not days off from work – is daunting. I see a lot of early mornings and extra juggling in my future.

On the other hand, I did manage a tricky part of my novel and two blog posts today. Feels pretty good – incremental, but good.

The brilliant Michael Hauge talks about keeping “the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair” as the best way to have a writing career. (He’s a friend of mine, but I was a fan of his work long before we met, so I can genuinely recommend his books and seminars. Check him out at

I guess this is the year I put his advice to the test.

Last Exit To Murder

Last Exit To Murder book launch party at Mysterious Galaxy in Redondo Beach, CA.
Last Exit To Murder book launch party at Mysterious Galaxy in Redondo Beach, CA.

This was the book launch party at Mysterious Galaxy for the mystery anthology, Last Exit to Murder. I managed to snap this picture just before the last few copies were sold.

This is an awesome moment in a writer’s life.

I wish I could take credit for the book flying off the shelves, but I can’t – or not much. Mine was one story out of 16 amazing tales. For a book launch party, anthologies rock. This is my third one, and they’ve all been fun: you get to meet fantastic fellow writers, everybody brings their friends and tons of books get sold. With apologies to the other anthologies, the “Last Exit to Muder” party was the best. What can I say, Sisters In Crime/LA brought cake!

Writer’s Diary – UK Edition


Thank goodness I didn’t know about Danny Stack’s daily blog of his life as a writer before I launched LauraBrennanWrites. I would never have presumed to write about my writing life after reading about his. Scriptwriting in the UK has always had useful information; now it includes a glimpse into Danny’s daily writing routine.

It crushes mine.

I humbly suggest you check out Danny’s blog. And while I do find it fascinating to see what he’s up to on a daily basis, my favorite recent post of his is a podcast about Writing for Television. Don’t miss it!