Friday, February 19, 2016

Introducing, 'The B Girl'

I am very proud and extremely excited to present my eleventh published book, "The B Girl".

"The B Girl" is the story of an extraordinary friendship, a planet in peril, and a science fantasy adventure beyond imagination. It is wild, dramatic, intimate, involving, exciting, emotional, and my best work to date.

Please, join me, and experience the story of "The B Girl".







The B Girl is the story of an extraordinary friendship, a planet in peril, and a science fantasy adventure beyond imagination.

Her people were dying, suffocating from the toxic poisons sprayed upon them by the humans. There is but one chance to save them.  The Queen must take a fantastic journey and transfer her life force into a dying human girl named Victoria Vetri. If the transfer works, the girl will be saved and the Queen will achieve human form as the two of them merge into one consciousness. Then, the true danger begins.

Once in the human form of Victoria, the Queen must adjust to dealing with emotions and relationships. But time is running out. She must locate the source of the deadly toxins, face down an evil corporation that puts profits before life, and find a way to save not only her people, but all of the green world and the very Earth itself.

Victoria Vetri is the B Girl, in this thrilling, emotion-packed, epic, dramatic novel from the lurid imagination of James J. Caterino, author of the CaitlinStar series.








Saturday, February 13, 2016

‘Sheena’, season 1 episode 7, “Lost Boy”, review



By the time the episode “Lost Boy” arrives, the world building of “Sheena” has been firmly established. And thanks to a team of writers and producers who took the premise and character seriously, as well as a talented cast, that world and its characters have been very well developed—especially for a syndicated genre series of the time (circa 2000).

Earlier in my series introduction/review to the series andthe initial episodes, I remarked how pleasantly surprised I was at how much I am enjoying the show. I was hoping the show would be sexy and entertaining, and it is all that. But the strong action/adventure storylines and solid characterizations have far exceeded my expectations.



It would be unfair to compare “Sheena” to the action/adventure shows of today (which boast far bigger budgets, network and studio support, and at least in the case of “The Walking Dead” and “Homeland”, the artistic freedom equivalent of an R-rated movie (NC-17 in many episodes). But when compared the other genre syndicated shows of its time (“Hercules”, “Xena”, “Andromeda”, “Highlander”, “Robocop”. Etc.), “Sheena” comes out way ahead in almost every category.

“Lost Boy” opens with an oil company trying to invade the La Mistas (Sheena’s rain forest jungle home), and build a refinery on the sacred lands of a native tribe. President N'Gama, a corrupt and greedy military dictator/president very much in line so many real life Central African leaders of the recent past, is all too happy to take the oil company’s dirty money and sell out his native people.

The twist here is the natives—who were previously known only as peace-loving pacifists—fight back. And they do so in a sophisticated and effective way. Although their weapons are primitive, their tactics are sophisticated, and as ex-military man Cutter notes, akin to something straight out of a military academy playbook.



When the conflict flares up, Cutter and his new photographer client, (played by legendary horror make-up master Tom Savini in buffed-up form!), get caught in the mayhem, and Sheena comes to the rescue. Next, the three of them find a way to get into the native tribe’s camp, to find out just who is this new leader who has militarized them. On top of that, they must figure out a way to stop the invading oil company, who now has obtained the full support of President N'Gama’s formidable military force that is ready to launch a full-scale attack.

There is a lot going on in this episode—several major well-executed action set-pieces, the introduction of two new memorable new villains, and two major plot twists. It is quite exciting, and would even make for a great episode on any genre series today. But what really makes “Lost Boy” such a standout entry, besides the strong plot, exciting action, and presence of Sheena—is the added layers of subtext.

“Lost Boy” manages to say something about the social and political climate of the time it was made in 2000, while being even more timely and relevant than ever in 2016.



By the year 2000 humans were beginning to wake up to the fact that continuing to use the planet as garbage dump while destroying what little was left of Earth’s great forests was a surefire recipe for a dark, apocalyptic future and ultimately an uninhabitable planet. Protecting what was left of nature and stopping to slaughter of depleted and endangered species was a fairly bi-partisan idea of agreement. Although the anti-reason/anti-science conservative movement was already well underway, is was primarily focused on denying evolution and promoting literal creationism. Climate change, known as global warming at the time, was broadly accepted as scientific fact, because these facts came from actual scientists who spent their entire lives studying and analyzing the data.

So in the year 2000, wanting to protect one of the last remaining vestiges of unspoiled nature (the La Vistas) against a greedy oil company run by an ego-maniacal CEO working in unison with corrupt dictator/president, is perfectly in sync with the times.

What is fascinating is how this all plays against today’s political/social backdrop in a much more controversial, and arguably even more interesting way.

Wildlife refuges are literally under armed siege by militia groups who want to “take back their country”. And pretty much every current Presidential candidate in one party wants to do away with Federal Protected land, and the vanishing wildlife and forests along with them as these “sacred lands” are opened up to the guns of trophy hunters looking for thrill kills, and yes oil companies just like the one in “Lost Boy”, looking to pillage the last vestiges of great forests left in North America.

Think about the raging debate (still ongoing) about the Keystone Pipeline. Insert a President who buckles to Big Oil (albeit through corruption, greed, or just ideology), and a native population who fights back, and you have the storyline from “Lost Boy” playing in North America.

See what I mean? This is the kind of depth and subtext you get with “Sheena”, and why it resonates so much better today than all of its syndicated genre colleagues. And in fact, is even more relevant today than ever.

Bottom line:  **** (out of four)

“Lost Boy” is a well written, exciting episode of “Sheena”, featuring great action and relevant subtext. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sketchbook: Carly Rae, Catwoman, Chvrches, Caitlin, and so much more


Watercolor pencil sketch of Lauren Mayberry, lead singer of the band Chvrches.






Acrylic sketch of singer/popstar Carly Rae Jespen.





Quick pencil sketch of Julie Newmar's Catwoman from the 1960s Adam West "Batman" TV show.





Pencil sketch of Caitlin Star from "Caitlin Star and the Rise of the Barbarians"





Quick/rough storyboard of a scene from "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom".

Monday, February 8, 2016

About the Author (updated)





James J. Caterino is a freelance writer based in South Florida. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and the Action/Cut school of directing. He is the author of The B Girl, the Caitlin Star series, SheAction FigureAll About AmyVideo Noir, hundreds of essays, movie, television, and music reviews, short stories, screenplays, and much more. Please visit Jamescaterino.blogspot.com for more information.





The Philosophy 

The foundation of the "Caitlin Star" series is The Bull Mongoni philosophy. The Bull Mongoni philosophy is to strengthen the mind and the flesh, to protect the earth and its creatures from the inherent evil nature of Homo sapiens, and to fight for those who have no voice. 


Fight back against evil humans by supporting these wonderful causes




Influences













Influences

Robert E. Howard
John Jakes
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Joan Ellis
D.C Fontana
Harlan Ellison


Favorites and other fun stuff





Movies:

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) 
Videodrome (1983)
Falling Down (1993)
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
JFK (1991)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Enchanted (2007)
Robocop (1987)
The Age of Adeline (2015)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)











TV:

24 – FOX (2001-2010, 2014)
The X-Files – FOX (1993-2002)
Unsolved Mysteries – NBC (1987-1997)
Mad Men – AMC (2008-2015)
Star Trek – NBC (1966-1969)
Homeland – Showtime (2011-present)
The Simpsons – FOX (1989-present)
The Walking Dead – AMC (2010-present)
Fringe – FOX (2008-2013)
Bewitched – ABC (1964-1972)








Music:

John Williams
Jerry Goldsmith
Michael Giacchino
Hans Zimmer
Garbage
Charli XCX
Lana Del Rey
Chvrches








Songs:


So Close - Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz performed by Jon McLaughlin (2007)
Gods and Monsters – Lana Del Rey (2013)
Viva La Vida - Coldplay (2008)
Live and Let Die – Paul McCartney and Wings (1973)
Push it – Garbage (1998)
Edge of Seventeen – Stevie Nicks (1981)
Kokomo – The Beach Boys (1988)
American – Lana Del Rey (2013)
Make That Move – Shalimar (1981)
I See You (Theme from Avatar) – James Horner and Kuk Harrell performed by Leona Lewis (2009)
Take On Me – ah-a (1985)
What's Going On – Marvin Gaye (1970)
Temptation Waits – Garbage (1998)
Love Lives On –   Bruce Broughton, Cynthia Weil and Will Jennings, performed by Joe Cocker (1987)
Summertime Sadness – Lana Del Rey (2012)
Let the rivers Run – Carly Simon (1988)
Summer Days - Tony Romeo, David Cassidy, performed by David Cassidy (1971)
Break the Rules – Charli XCX (2014)


Monday, February 1, 2016

'Opening Credits', from 'Caitlin Star and the Rise of the Barbarians'



The following is an excerpt from the novel "Caitlin Star and the The Rise of the Barbarians", Caitlin Star book 3 by James J. Caterino.

Copyright 2015  James J. Caterino All Rights Reserved


Chapter 1 – Opening Credits

The room was dark and scary. An antique television console sat on the floor, the screen flashing as it hummed to life. A blinding, fuzzy, static roared across the monitor, growing brighter until a loud series of beeps screamed out from the tiny television speakers.

“This is a message from the Emergency Broadcast System. Please pay attention. This may the last broadcast possible,” the authoritative voice-over said.

The static on the screen morphed into a studio setting. It was a news broadcast and everyone on the set looked panicked—shuffling papers, rushing about, and running for the exits. The people looked distraught—in a state of grief. Many of them could be seen crying and hugging each other in the background. A stressed out man in a disheveled suit with several days’ worth of beard stubble growth moved toward the camera. He sat down at the anchor desk and read from his notes as he spoke.

“Washington D.C. and the surrounding tri-state area extending out for a minimum of a two hundred mile radius has been declared a dead zone. Please do not go near the area. The radiation levels will sear human skin causing instant lethal burns. Radiation sickness will remain a threat to the area extending as far out…”

The newscaster stopped reading and put his head in his hands to compose himself. Then he looked back up into the camera.

“The A.P. report ends right there…” the newscaster paused again, shook his head in despair, and then looked back into the camera.

“We can only assume that they have lost their satellite—just as we shall too when the EMP bursts and the viruses they unleash finish off the last of whatever is left up their functioning. We may in fact be the last remaining broadcast anywhere. The final vestige of a crumbling infrastructure to a civilization—a civilization that had been sowing the seeds of its destruction for an awful long time. 

After the Ukraine and the Middle East, everything else seemed to happen all at once. Israel and Iran exchanged missiles. The U.N. forces stepped in to protect Eastern Europe. The wars in Syria and Iraq became a war between North America and China and Russia. North Korea launched its nuclear arsenal on Japan and attacked South Korea with chemical weapons. Then the new era war technology, created by cyber and bio defense contractors such as L.L. Capital Enterprises, were unleashed.”

The newscaster stopped again and looked off in the distance as if he were still struggling to fully grasp all that had happened in such a short period of time.

“Anthrax bombs, phantom cyber-attacks, a synthesized airborne version of a modified super virus that spread faster than any flu and killed anyone who contracted it in forty-eight hours. And then—the final nail in the coffin—EMP bombs. There was once a Twilight Zone—or something like that—where aliens came to earth to destroy humanity. All they had to do was cut the power and people turned on each other as fear and insecurity ruled and hatred exploded. That is exactly what happened. Ironically, by time the nuclear bombs hit Moscow and China and Washington D.C., it was already over—just a final exclamation point to underline mankind’s innate desire to destroy anything and everything—including itself.”

The newscaster gave an empty stare into the camera. The screen turned to static.

Caitlin pulled the focus of her vision backward and could see the screen was part of an old-fashioned floor console television set. The kind they had not made in many decades. She looked around and could not believe it. This was the home she grew up in, and right there on the couch next to her were her foster parents, Joe and Rada.

Caitlin cried. She had missed them so much. But they looked sad. The broadcast had upset them.

“Mom. Dad. I am so sorry,” Caitlin cried. “I could have stopped this. I tried but I wasn’t good enough. If I could have got to Zahn faster….maybe…”

“Oh honey,” Rada hugged her. “It’s not your fault. This had to be.”
Through the tears, a horrible panic came to Caitlin.

“I need to make sure Sheeba is okay! And what about Gunner and Aunt Dianne and Tyrone? Pittsburgh is so close to D.C.”

The panic and sadness became so intense. Caitlin felt it smothering her—choking the life out of her. She began to hyperventilate until could not breathe.

All around her the room warped and morphed into a buzzing static of white noise. Loud, smothering, choking, blinding static—louder and louder and louder.

None of this could be true. Joe and Rada were taken from her before the wars—before the Moral Authority.  And this room—that old TV—it was the cottage at Yellowstone the way it was when she was a child. Did she go back? Was she in her bed about to wake up with Rada waiting for her with breakfast? Running away to Pittsburgh, Gunner, the training, the civil war, Zahn and the apocalypse—was it all an epic dream? Maybe if she woke herself up she could make sense of her nightmares—these endless horrors of heartbreak and of battles and wars and fights to the death.

Then it began to hit her. What was real—and what was the dream. She ached for Rada and Joe, the only parents she ever knew. She wanted to see Sheeba, the loving and loyal wolf she raised from a pup. If only she could find a way to stay here—in this world—in the past before it all went so wrong. 

Maybe if she jumped into the static and kept moving.

Caitlin felt herself falling and falling until—smack.

She opened her eyes and found herself lying on a cold rocky floor inside a dark cave—inside her real home—in the present.

Read on and experience the dramatic action and unforgettable characters of "Caitlin Star and the Rise of the Barbarians"!