He's in the Encyclopedia Britannica between Ellis Island and Ralph Ellison

Saddened to learn of the passing of Harlan Ellison today. He had a good, long run though! I have a funny story about him in my memoir (So L.A.), but to tell it briefly here: he and my mom (Nancy Bacon) dated briefly in the '60s. I didn't meet him until 2001 at the Los Angeles Times Book Fair. When I mentioned my mom's name, his eyes lit right up--she made quite an impression! (He proposed, she laughed it off... she was quite the wild, free spirit back then.) Anyway, he asked for her phone number and they reconnected. Harlan and I kept in touch intermittently over the years, and when I worked for the SyFy Channel as their West Coast correspondent, I interviewed him on-camera a few times. He w

Don't You Know There Ain't No Devil?

The great songwriter Tom Waits once said, "Don't you know there ain't no devil? That's just God when he's drunk." I think it's a duality of "the devil" that fascinates us all. Which is part of the reason I named my newest book CITY OF DEVILS... pretty much the perfect title for horror and dark comedy, set in L.A. The reviews are starting to come in, and they're good (whew!)... so, I thought I'd share them here: Killer Queens Staci Layne Wilson occupies a unique niche in horror fiction. She was born into celebrity but didn’t take long to blaze her own trail to success in Hollywood as a writer, filmmaker and interviewer. I can’t think of another writer in the genre with her background and expe

We Are the Champions (of casting)

Sascha Baron Cohen was originally cast to play Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic, but when the deal fell through, Dominic Cooper was slated to step in. That didn’t happen either. Sasha Baron Cohen almost played Freddie Mercury (above) and Dominic Cooper (below) missed it by thiiiis much! But now the film is in the can (or on the drive as the case may be) and it’s definitely, no-doubt-about it, absolutely Rami Malek who’s playing the legendary rock star. The film’s called Bohemian Rhapsody and if you haven’t seen the trailer, you should definitely check it out: Meanwhile, I’m still dream-casting a Led Zeppelin biopic. [see my choices here!] It’s always a slippery slope when casting someone

Where Do Ghosts Live?

In boooooks, of course! If you were around in L.A. in the 80s, then you probably remember Wally George, the controversial, conservative pundit and host of a talk show called Hot Seat. (Fun fact: he’s Rebecca De Mornay’s dad… Happy Father’s Day!) George sat at a presidential-style desk in front of a huge American flag and a photo of the space shuttle launch, captioned “USA is #1.” He was forever red-faced, irate, yelling about “ludicrous liberal lunatics,” and had a comb-over helmet of blonde hair. (Remind you of anyone?) His live studio audience loved him for his outspoken antics, raising their fists in the air and yelling “Wal-ly! Wal-ly! Wal-ly!” Though he died practically penniless in 200

Based on a true story.

While writing today’s missive, I felt like Keith Morrison reporting on NBC’s “Dateline.” (Or did I…?) I was thinking back on some of the true crime shows I’ve watched and how they helped influence a couple of the stories in my tarnished Tinsel Town anthology CITY OF DEVILS. There is one in particular, which is called Based on a true story. It’s about what goes into the making of those heart-wrenching reenactments. I’m not an actor—I don’t have what it takes to really let myself go and disappear into someone else—but I can imagine how draining it must be to play the roles of killers and victims. Some amazing performances come to mind, such as Farrah Fawcett in The Burning Bed (the true tale o