East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Elsa Martinelli – 1935-2017

I just learned that Italian model and actress Elsa Martinelli passed away yesterday at the age of 82.
Most viewers will probably remember her in Howard Hawks’ African adventure Hatari!, the John Wayne movie written by Leigh Brackett.
She also appeared in a number of other movies, including The Tenth Victim (from a Sheckley story), The Indian Fighter with Kirk Douglas and in the French swashbuckler Le Capitain (mysteriously re-titled Captain Blood for international audiences).


Elsa Martinelli was so beautiful it hurt, and was one of my (too many) movie star crushes.
May she rest in peace.



You don’t know Jack… but you will

20071128dumplinghouseMany years ago I spent a long night with some friends, eating Chinese and talking writing.
Fueled by Cantonese Rice and Flambé Dumplings, we came to the conclusion that the best ideas are those that feel completely crazy, and that make us a little scared, a little uneasy.
Not so much scared as in a John Carpenter movie, more scared as in “heck, how am I going to pull this one?”

If you can answer that question, you’ve got a good story idea in your hands.

So each one of us, that night, set down his own impossible story idea, and the morning after, these were forgotten.
Or at least tucked away in some dark corner of our memory.

That night, I invented Jack Nada. Continue reading