Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Interview with Jamey Dunn

Jamey Dunn is a character from my Dream Jumper Series, someone I find infinitely interesting. He lives in my head, yes, but sometimes I'm surprised by what he comes up with. Sometimes I don't consciously give him the answers to questions. Jamey made his first appearance in book 1 of the series...

The Dream Jumper's Promise

A Husband Goes Missing, An Old Boyfriend Surfaces, The Dreams Begin... 

Tina Green's husband is presumed dead from a Maui surfing accident and now she's being haunted by otherwordly dreams. When former boyfriend, Jamey Dunn, turns up at her Lahaina dive shop and offers to help,she can't believe his preposterous claim -- he can enter dreams. As James deciphers her dreams, the mystery unravels for Jamey, Tina, and her best friend, Noble. But secrets, lies, and heartbreak rise to the ugly surface and soon we realize that no one is entirely who they seem. One person is an impostor, one, a traitor and one is flirting with insanity.

Jamey Dunn Interview (conducted just before the book begins)

Tell us a bit about who you are. 

My name is Jamey Dunn. I’m a former Seattle cop and current Special Forces American soldier, stationed in Afghanistan, now on extended leave. I can’t tell you what I do over there and I know people joke about saying because then I’d have to kill you, but in my case it’s almost true. If you knew there’d be hell to pay on my end and maybe some deprogramming from a guy called Milton, so let’s just leave it at that. Moving on.

Where were you raised? 

I was born and raised in Carnation, Washington, a small town on the Tolt River east of Seattle. It’s really pretty there with snow-capped mountains in the distance on a clear day. Mostly farming. Lots of red barns, miles of crops, winding roads, friendly people. I lived in the same house my whole life and my Pops still lives there on the river on ten acres. It’s kind of a rundown house now but when anyone drives up they’re invited inside for a cup of coffee at our big kitchen table. Pops will chew your ear off with questions about yourself. (smiles) He might even get out the Scrabble board so don’t go inside if you don’t have time for a visit.

Family members? 

I have a younger sister, Jenny, who is a great mom and accountant, and two older brothers. Gavin works for Microsoft and Robert lives in San Francisco and is married to a lawyer. He’s a stay at home dad. Pops, is seventy and raised us four kids after my mom walked out on us when I was five and Jenny was two. Pops is the backbone of the family and all that we are is because of him. We grew up swimming in the river behind the house, making forts with wood that drifted in to our beach and running wild all over the town. It was a great life. Poor Jenny with us older brothers. She turned out tough. Married a really wimpy guy and she bosses him around like nobody’s business.

Did you attend college? 

I tried. See I have this ability to read people way beyond what others can do. I call it hyper-intuition. I’m different. My life has been a wild ride trying to deal with knowing what people are going to say before they say it. Same with school. I knew test answers, most times, before I thought about what the question meant. I dropped out of college after one semester and went to the Seattle Police Academy where I thought my ‘gift’ would be put to better use than if I became a communications major. It was a good place to land for a long time.

Are you athletic? 

Well (laughs) I guess you could say I’m athletic. When I’m over in the Sandbox I train obsessively in the gym because it’s good to be in shape and there's not much else to do while waiting for a mission. But, I could never really play team sports for the same reason college didn’t work. I had this unfair advantage of knowing what was going to happen half the time. It isn’t exact, but still. It was a matter of ethics. Even when I was decorated as a policeman, I felt shitty, like I’d used skills other people didn’t have. Back to athletics--I like to challenge myself, work on personal best times. It takes the place of sex. (laughs) Not many dating prospects in Afghanistan.

Did you always want to be a cop?

No. I had dreams of wanting to be an astronaut and stuff but you have to remember that I had this intuition and these visions early. Since I was five, I guess. Five or six. And it was scary. I always knew I was different. My Uncle Don had it too and he was a cop, so by the time I was a teenager, I thought I’d follow in his footsteps. And before you ask if I’d always wanted to be a soldier, I never wanted to be a soldier. I still don’t. They drafted me sort of forcibly if you can call guilt forcibly. They have me by the short hairs to work for them. After my divorce it seemed like I should do something with my life rather than hang around Carnation and stare at my ex-wife and daughters, so I put everything I had into finding…Hey, tricky! I almost told you what I do over there in Afghanistan. You are very good, you know that. And I don’t mind telling you that I see a chunk of money coming your way in the next year. See how handy that intuition is? I’m like a walking fortune cookie. (laughs)

Tell us about Tina, your former girlfriend? 

I'm going to have to plead the 5th on that one. Her life is private and it's kind of painful for me to talk about her. I made a huge mistake and lost her. But, I'm told you can pick up a copy of The Dream Jumper's Promise and get the full skinny on what I did and how I tried to correct my mistake.

If you had one thing to tell your twenty-year-old self, what would it be? 

Don't worry so much. You won't be alone forever.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Screenwriting Soul-Sucking Coverage

I took up screenwriting this summer and in my typical "I Can Do Anything I Set My Mind To" optimism, I ended up with what I believed to be a pretty good script!
I was the author of the book, I knew the characters better than anyone having lived with them in my head for about seven years, and I knew the critical plot points like no one's business.
Granted, it was just a spec script, not a REAL script, but still, I was happy with the final result and was patting myself on the back by the first week of August for a job well done.

I had my agent read it, she had some suggestions, I re-worked it and in the meantime, I had a friend read who knows scripts. She had a good idea and I reworked it again. Easy fix!
I sent the script to two screenwriter friends who've studied the fine art for years, one who's had a  movie on the Lifetime Channel, and more suggestions were made. I deftly incorporated their ideas into the script. Then I gave it to my dear friend and Editor Extraordinaire, Christine, who is known as the Editor Devil. The critique she gave was fantastic, mostly praising the script, but suggesting a few small changes to make the thing read better for prospective actors etc. Stronger verbs, take out weak words etc. Love her brain!
Then, on the advice of a screenwriter, I sent the screenplay off for coverage to a reputable company that was having a mid-summer sale. I wanted a script doctor to give me an honest opinion of the marketability of the script. This place has a check list they use to determine if a script works so I was confident that I'd at least get my $100 worth with that checklist.
I paid extra for expedited service and waited.
The coverage came back exactly 3 days later as promised and was somewhat brutal. How can something be somewhat brutal, you ask? The checklist was completed but the comments were harsh.
Here's the deal: I know this is a strange concept, (dream entering) a difficult paranormal ability but dreams have to be the main focus of the story.
The woman who critiqued the merit of the screenplay had Googled me and the book and basically told me to keep it a book. Her wording was harsh. She said it didn't work as a screenplay. I hadn't told her that it was an adaptation but maybe in her confusion about dream jumping she looked me up and saw that The Dream Jumper's Promise was a book. And a successful one, at that.I Googled her to better understand how much credibility to give her opinions.
Her advice was taken with a grain of salt. She called my protag a pill-popping alcoholic who she did not like. I understand there are people who don't realize that lots of women take anti-depressants and still drink alcohol. Yes, Tina does that. She's in crisis.
Over the next few days, I whittled down her insults and confusion and made some changes to the script but didn't follow what she said is a Hollywood rule to not include flashbacks (unless they involve the protagonist) and dreams. If there is some such rule, try to tell Slumdog Millionaire, or Casablanca. And no dreams, she said, or at least take out most of them.
The Dream Jumper's Promise is about a guy who can enter dreams and uses them to solve a mystery. Yes, the woman, Tina, is the protagonist and it's her journey we follow, but Jamey is an integral part of the story and the dreams are characters themselves. The flashbacks are absolutely essential for us to understand him.
After getting out of the fetal position, I realized that this script will appeal to people who understood Inception, loved The Time Traveler's Wife, were intrigued by Momento. The story is not a cakewalk and I wrote it that way purposely. I want the reader/audience to be kept in a state of confusion.
I did a few minor changes on the script, things I felt were solid advice and not an opinion, and sent off what I'm hoping is the final script edits before a real screenwriter takes the thing and turns it into Academy Award Winning material. The coverage lady said I'm not a screenwriter and the script reads like a novel. (I'd purposely added description on the advice of everyone who read it!)
I never intended to be the final writer on this story for film. Never! I want someone great to be hired. Then they will read the book and write their vision of what would make a fantastic film script.
As you've realized by now (if you're still reading) I needed to vent. It's now a week since I went into the fetal position (metaphorically) and I see the coverage for what it was. I did get $100 out of what I got back and even if I don't take her up on fixing the screenplay for a fee, I found a place for her words (harsh though they were) in my brain.
Somewhere in there was a lesson and I hope I absorbed it.
The coverage gave the script a PASS which I took to mean that she gave it a passing grade (Yipee- but so not true) and she said I'd never get a producer to read past the first page.
The irony is that the books are optioned and filming begins next year. Lucky me.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

My Dream HAS Come True!

I'm trying to be really professional this week, displaying just the right amount of excitement but it's difficult to contain my enthusiasm.

My novel, THE DREAM JUMPER'S PROMISE, is optioned for film.

That means a film production company has paid me money and signed a contract to reserve the book (all three in the series, actually) for a set amount of time while they prepare to begin pre-production to make the first book into a feature film.
This is a dream come true. I've been working on getting this story to a big screen for over a year and now it looks very good.

There is no doubt in my mind that the company who optioned my books will go into pre-production with this project in the next months. They are very serious about making this film. I know this because when I first met the president of the company in May, she'd just finished reading the first book and was a HUGE fan.

Luckily, at the time, I had no idea who she was and promptly gave her the next two books, thinking she was simply a reader fan. She read the second one in the next two days and we talked about Jamey and Tina and their struggle to get back to each other and Jamey's gift of entering dreams, which ruins his life sometimes. We were simply having a reader/writer conversation about my book. I was at an exclusive conference in Spokane Washington called Connecting Writers with Hollywood, hobnobbing with Hollywood people who'd flown in to teach, connect with prospective clients and listen to pitches. I'd arrived knowing my manager, JD wanted me to meet someone and was hoping to drum up some interest in my book series, not realizing the drum had sounded, someone answered the call and I was talking to her as I answered questions about the first book.

On the recommendation of J D deWitt, who represents this series and introduced me to the film people (and happens to run the conference-- CWWH), I came home and proceeded to write the screenplay for the first book and was glad I'd taken classes in screen writing AND had a friend who's a produced screenwriter with advice and how-to books! Of course, I had to go to Maui to write on my friend, Lynn's, deck for my inspiration. I wrote the spec screenplay, came home to work on polishing it and finally submitted it to JD and some others who know more than I do about screenwriting.

Cut to mid-July, the Pacific Northwest Writers' Association Conference in Spokane Washington, and the president/producer flew in with JD specifically to talk with me. Over margaritas and enchiladas we discussed the books, what was my fondest wish if it went to the big screen, and all three of us agreed it would best translate to a feature film, not a Netflix series to be watched on a phone. The scenery is too lush, too visual to be reduced that way.

We were on the same page, and I left that dinner knowing the producer would honor the story I'd written and wanted to make a gorgeous, compelling film. I can't tell you the particulars of how I know this without betraying private conversations but if you believe in amazing connections between women, you'll understand my confidence that I can trust this woman even though she is a business woman first. I know she won't change my characters drastically, or the location, or the story line.
At that dinner meeting, JD listened, added her ideas, directed the business conversation and represented my books like the pro she is. I'm in awe of this process, and her, and how it all came about like three ends of a rope coming together to form a beautiful knot.

We had a verbal agreement. Cut to the last days of July when the contract came through, honoring everything we talked about, giving me everything I ever dreamed of for this book and dispelling all doubts I had about handing over my baby to these people. With a few tweaks, the contract was signed and now I am an author with a book optioned by an Indie Film Company.

5 X 5 Media is best known for reality TV like Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, Fashion Star, and The Rock's Wakeup Call as well as a TNT weekly tv show with Dwayne Johnson, The Hero. They always planned to head into film production for features and now they will, with my book.
This project was not taken to the studios like Sony, Paramount, Universal etc by 5 X 5 because of the possibility it might be optioned and never made, taking a place on some shelf like hundreds of other possible screenplays that mega studios had optioned, paid money for, and let fall by the wayside. THE DREAM JUMPER'S PROMISE does not need $20 million but only a few million because there are no huge crowd scenes, no special effects, no location changes. The whole story takes place on Maui except for some flashback scenes of Kandahar, Afghanistan that can be done on a set. Having an Indie Film Company at the helm would insure the story stayed true, the film got made and the people who believe in this story, will be in the driver's seat.

In the next year, I hope to learn a hell of a lot about this process, if they let me. I've made a good case why they should at least let me lurk, having been a scuba instructor on Maui and having a direct link to movie people in Hawaii because of my entertainment connections. Regardless, I plan to document this process every step of the way on this blog so if you want to keep up to date on the making of the film, I suggest you follow my blog at the very least. Look to the right to the follow button.

Here's my social media info too where I very actively announce everything:

Monthly Newsletter Signup - Free stuff, Announcements and Recipes!   NEWSLETTER
And if you're interested in checking out the little book that is in the Development Stage of a Feature Film (I'm capitalizing everything that sounds cool!) pick up a copy of THE DREAM JUMPER'S PROMISE here for only .99 this month.
In September the price goes up.

Kim's Amazon Page

KIM HORNSBY is the Author of Award-Winning The Dream Jumper's Promise available on Amazon Books. She is a Bestselling Supernatural Suspense Author who lives in the Seattle area where she writes during the rainy months.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Men Agreed to Play a Gentleman's Game

Last night on The Bachelorette's, The Men Tell All, we got a glimpse in to a fine looking group of men who were competing for the same woman on National TV, but that didn't deter them from remembering their manners.

Early on in the season of competing for Rachel's attentions, apparently, they agreed to play a gentleman's game with respect to each other. Not get nasty.
How cool is that? This group of bachelors was the most articulate, honorable, respectful group I think I've ever seen on Men Tell All, and I've seen pretty much every episode since the beginning.
In the group, there was one man who did not play a gentleman's game. He chose the low road, baiting one man to distraction, making his experience miserable and causing The Bachelorette, Rachel, to doubt both men. It was a shame that Lee ruined the game for Kenny and we knew that if Lee showed up to Men Tell All last night, he would get raked across the coals.
He did get raked, from the Bachelor producers and from the men, but with the men it was in a gentlemanly fashion. The men eloquently articulated how Lee played the game dishonestly, they backed Kenny and Lee confessed he lied and cheated to make Kenny look bad. Lee's on-camera interviews made my skin crawl to think that someone was out to ruin another man's chances at love. And Kenny is a father, a single father raising a ten-year-old girl!
In the first half of last night's show, Lee still had that smarmy grin on his face but when Chris Harrison pulled up a sexist tweet and a racist tweet from Lee, a year ago, that grin left Lee's face in a moment of "Oh, shit, this is bad!" We got to see what we think is the real Lee, telling America he learned a lot from this experience and is still learning. Apparently there were two Lee's--the one we got to see in those private interviews and the one that made two friends in the house.
Lee is an aspiring singer/songwriter and we know why those people come on The Bachelorette, don't we? After this display, I'm not sure this villain will get any contracts offered.

Last night's Men Tell All was a bold show and could've gone so sideways when those tweets hit the screen but Lee saw the writing on the wall (literally) and apologized to the men and later to Rachel. He saved his skin and Kenny did the honorable thing by saying on National TV that he did not think Lee's vendetta was race-based then agreed to hug it out with him.

Watching Men Tell All last night was one of the first times I've ever felt enlightened in anything socially important by this show. The men, especially the African American men who talked about race problems and persecution and the NCAA, should be proud of what they did last night to educate the American audience that playing a gentleman's game (in life) is the honorable way to go.
I walked away from The Men Tell All feeling like I'd learned something, I'd witnessed something great on TV, something historical. And that is not easy to say with a show like The Bachelor!