Hollywood Stuff

So about a month ago, I got an email from a guy saying that he’d just come across PARALLAX on Amazon, loved the concept, and wanted to know if the film rights were available. Now I get these types of emails a few times a year; Hollywood and I have flirted a lot over the years, but no one’s ever scored a home run. As a result, I was a bit cynical – especially since someone else had written within the hour to ask the same thing. But I wrote back and we started a dialogue. The guy was going on a cruise and intended to read the book while he was. I prepared to wait.

About a week later, I got an email from Mexico from this same guy saying, “It’s good, Jon. Real good.” He went on to say he wanted to pretty much reach everything I’d written, did I have any scripts I could send him, that sort of thing. He also sent along a bio sheet about himself and the company he helped found in Los Angeles. Being the sometimes cynic that I am, I was still finding this all a bit much, but what the hell, it could turn out to be something…

I sent him 30 pages of a script I’ve been tinkering with over the years. It’s not finished by any means, and to be completely honest, it sort of meanders, because I didn’t really have a clear grasp on the story itself. But it’s fun and I like it.

This past Monday, I get a phone call. It’s him.

Without going into too many details, it is exactly the type of phone call a lot of writers dream of getting. And for someone like me, with all sorts of ambitions beyond writing books, it was rather an amazing conversation. Last night, we spoke again – this time he was in Las Vegas where he lives part time due to the fact that he produces one of the most successful shows out there – and finalized things.

I am very happy to announce that I now have myself a manager. Christopher Pratt of Elements Entertainment will be handling my Hollywood career. Christopher and Elements are a young, aggressive talent management agency and I couldn’t be happier. First up is for me to send over an overview of what I’m working on, what I’ve already done, and what I’d like to do. I have a conference call next week with Christopher and another partner as we lay out a game plan for how they’re going to “introduce” me to Hollywood. This not going to be like what happens with 99.99% of authors who get their stuff optioned and then their work lingers in development Hell for years (no offense to those authors, it’s just that I don’t want to earn a few measly grand every so often from options.) Christopher and Elements have a plan and I’m damned excited about the future.

Apparently, I’ll also probably have more “staff” in the near future – including a Hollywood agent and an entertainment attorney to navigate the vast complexity of film & TV contracts (been needing one of those anyway re: THE FIXER). So things are getting interesting, to say the very least. I’m going to be getting a fantastic education and I can’t wait.

Come along on the ride!

Updates, Updates, Updates…and Jon Gets All New-Agey On Your Ass

Work on THE FIXER TV series continues as we process resumes from cast & crew applicants. We’ve received a lot of them and will be working with a local casting director as well. More details when I have them. Suffice it to say, the pilot shoot is going to be great and we’re looking to have a start date in late-September if all goes accordingly. I have a conference call with the local SAG/AFTRA office this week so we can determine whether it will be better for the project to be a SAG signatory or an AFTRA one. Should be interesting and educational. Also, THE FIXER fan page at Facebook is almost at 700 fans, which isn’t bad for being open less than a week. We need many, many more fans, though, so if you’ve already invited all of your Facebook friends to become fans, thank you. if not, please do so. And don’t forget to interact with us out there. Ask us questions in the discussion area. Tell us what you like. We love it!

I’ve been hinting a lot at a “big” thing and it is pretty much a done deal. I’ll be co-authoring a new series that I think you’ll all get a huge kick out of. My co-author is a great friend of mine and we watch out for each other in “the biz.” The spectacular things about this deal are the particulars, which I can’t discuss just yet (unfortunately!) as our agent works with the publisher to get some last minute things cleared up. But trust me: you’ll be hearing a lot about this deal because it’s quite…innovative, let’s put it that way. As for what the series is about, let’s just say that it will contain elements of what I already write, so if you’re a fan of my work, you won’t be disappointed.

Received a great phone call from Hollywood last night. I may have mentioned that in the past month there’s been a lot of interest in Parallax for film rights, etc. As so often happens with these things, a lot of it fizzles out. But every once in a while, you get the kind of phone call you really hope to get – something that will help propel your career forward in potential leaps and bounds. Last night’s call was just that. I won’t reveal details on that, either. But should be able to let something loose by the end of the week, perhaps. If everything works out the way it should, you’ll be seeing a lot more of my work coming out of Hollywood. So please keep your fingers crossed.

I’m extremely pleased with this apparent convergence of spectacular energy. I don’t often talk about how I reach my goals, because I don’t feel it’s my place to tell someone else how they should be living their life. Living mine is tough enough, why on earth would I imagine I could advise someone else how to do it? (When you think about it, most of the people who do spend their time making judgments about others, do so because they are probably deeply unhappy with the state of their own existence and simply find it easier to cast dispersions rather than try to dig up the courage to change their own lives.) But I am a big believer in visualization and projecting positive intent.

Many of you know that I study Ninjutsu, and that ninja of legend were supposed to be able to bend the universe to their will using a combination of finger-weaving, thought projection, and a specific series of syllables intoned properly. This system of study is known as “Kuji Kiri” and involves a great deal of work. It’s not something I would ever claim mastery of, either, because at it’s core and in order to actually “work,” the person doing it needs to first understand themselves and their motivations with crystal clarity. But you don’t need to study ninjutsu to use visualization. All you need is the courage to have complete understanding of yourself and who you are. You have to be able to look into the mirror and see the reflection for what it is: a representation of you. If you stand there gazing at the mirror and start making excuses, then excuses are all you will ever have. The ability to see yourself for who you are means embracing the positive aspects of your personality with the faults you have as well. You are the sum total of your parts, not just the shiny surface you hope everyone else sees.

Once you’ve grown somewhat comfortable with this process (because, frankly, it is not a comfortable feeling looking deep inside and examining all of your faults to try to figure out how to move past them) then the method of visualization becomes much easier. You understand why you may desire things, what your motivations are and what their underlying foundations are. With this understanding of yourself, you can project the future you want to happen.

This doesn’t mean you have to sit in a lotus position and ohm your way into tomorrow. It simply mans being able to see in your mind’s eye the future thing you want to have happen. By virtue of being able to clear out the clutter that often disguises our true self, the image you conjure in your head will be that much richer in detail and vitality. Then it’s merely a matter of repeating the visualization hundred or thousands or tens of thousands of times until the universe catches up. I’m fond of saying that the universe doesn’t keep the same timetable that I do and our schedules are often out of whack. But eventually we synchronize and when that happens – pow!

This is an example of positive intent being projected out into the universe, which is always a great thing. And we all know that the opposite is also true. There are people in this world who spend their time projecting hatred and negativity out into the universe as well. And the universe, being what it is, brings that energy into existence just as it does the positive. Interestingly enough, projecting negative energy takes far less work than projecting positive. As a result, we tend to see far more negative realizations than we do positive one. The reason? Discipline.

Remember your biology class when you talked about chaos? I’m paraphrasing but at its essence, chaos simply means that any “system” left on its own will revert to that which requires the least amount of energy to maintain. Being a positive force for good in the universe takes a lot more work than being a negative person. Negative people are often masters of projecting their energy because they do it so often. Some of them wander around grumbling all the time. Others attempt to use subtle snide commentary to conceal their venom. Still others play passive-aggressive and others still are pure hatred.

Positivity means being able to confront our negative aspects – what we might call our faults – and accept the fact that they exist. We work to become better people through effort and positive intent. Just taking the time to do that can be enormous. Add to it the future we want to create for ourselves and our loved ones and you can see why positivity requires a helluva lot more work than negativity does.

“Great, Jon, thanks for the mumbo-jumbo talk – what’s your point?”

My point is this: this thing called Life happens (as far as I can tell) but once. My father died when he was 48 years old. I turn 40 in October. So I know what I want to accomplish just in case my card gets punched at the same age. That means the future I have is a direct result of the work I do now. And when things come to pass, do I want to look back and say, “Well, I played it safe but I wonder what would have happened if…?”


I want to look back on my life and say, “Holy shit, that was awesome! I dared greatly, failed often, experienced everything I could, and succeeded when it mattered most.”

I hope those of you reading this embrace the same positivity that I try to every day. I won’t lie and say it’s easy. And you should be able to take a day or two off every once in a while, if for no other reason than to better understand what negativity is like. But don’t stay there. If you’ve got dreams, make them a reality. If someone else doesn’t approve of your life, or how you’re living it, don’t waste your time with them. More often than not, those people are living in a personal Hell they’ll probably never escape.

There are great things out there that you should be experiencing.

Who Dares Wins.


So, we’re well into things on the pre-production front, gearing up for shooting the pilot episode of THE FIXER TV series (based on my Lawson Vampire novels). I thought I’d take a moment and do something of a FAQ for fans and people who might be interested in helping out on the production:

1. Have you cast all the roles for the series?

The short answer is no. The detailed answer requires more of an explanation. THE FIXER will have very few constant roles. We’ve already cast the most-important role of Lawson, who will be played by Brandon S. Stumpf. Aside from Lawson, the character audiences will see the most of is Niles, Lawson’s Control. We haven’t cast Niles yet. Other characters that will “pop in” from episode to episode are Arthur (grizzled ex-Fixer in his 60s from the UK), Talya (Lawson’s on-again-off-again love interest who is Asian/Eurasian and hot as all Hell), Martina (bookish but beautiful blonde who works as the armorer at the Council building in Boston and pines for Lawson). In Season One, there are also appearances by Jack (the Invoker Lawson has informally adopted as something of a son), Benny the Phreak (uber-computer hacker) and a variety of others (some of whom have already been cast). Naturally, we’ll need villains, although the recurring bad guy for Season One has also already been cast. Lesser villains and characters will always be needed, as well as extras. So if you’re interested in putting your face into the mix, you can email me at jonfmerz AT verizon DOT net with your vitals. We are working with a casting director, so any interest will be forwarded to them as well, although since this is my baby, my vote counts a lot because of the way I want this series to look.

2. Are you looking for producers?

No. And I don’t like getting emails from people I don’t know asking about the status of our finances.

3. Okay, are you still looking for investors?

Sure, if you’re interested in coming on-board as an investor and earning a 50% ROI, the minimum buy-in is $10,000. Contact me for details. (Email is in answer #1 above)

4. What about crew?

We’re looking for talented crew members for a lot of positions, so feel free to apply. Email is in answer #1 above.

5. I just graduated and don’t have much experience. Does that matter?

While I hope you know the rudimentary aspects of whatever job you’re applying for, I’m less concerned with experience than I am with your personality and work ethic. A lack of experience (within reason) can be effectively neutralized by a kick-ass attitude and tireless work ethic.

Also, I want to make it absolutely clear that if someone applies for a position and tries to bully their way in to some kind of leadership/control/creative position because they think they’re the be-all-end-all of film/TV production, they will NOT work on this series. Jaime and I want people working with us who fit in and get along well with the people who have been there since the very beginning. If you’re a lone wolf, prima donna, or a bully, this ain’t the set for you. We’ve worked far too hard and long and put too much into this production to even consider seeing it jeopardized by that crap.

6. Is the production union?

It will be as soon as we file all the paperwork with AFTRA.

7. When will the series air?

For right now, we’ll plead the 5th.

8. THE FIXER website hasn’t been updated in ages – what gives?

We’ve been working on other aspects of the production (like finding investors) and will start doing updates to the website soon. Also, our Facebook “group” will be going away and transitioning to a Facebook “fan page” so be on the lookout for that.

9. Jon, when are the Lawson Vampire books going to be re-released?

Soon. But in the meantime, if you’ve got a publisher you think ought to be bringing them out, feel free to contact them and urge them to do a deal now, before they miss out. 🙂

If you’ve got other questions, feel free to post them in the comments section below! Thanks!

News from Jon F. Merz (Boston Nocturne – Aug. 2009)

Boston Nocturne
News from Jon F. Merz
Writer ~ Producer ~ Ninja
August 2009

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all having an amazing summer! It’s been weird in the northeast – we had lots of rain and now the heat and humidity have finally caught up with us. My boys go back to school in a few weeks and the seasons will turn again shortly. Funny how fast time flies!

First and foremost: I’m doing a book giveaway out on my Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/jonfmerzfans – one lucky winner will get a signed copy of my latest Rogue Angel novel: Footprints. It’s not due in stores until mid-September, but you can win a copy just by being a fan out on Facebook and commenting on the giveaway thread. In Footprints, Annja Creed hunts for the elusive Sasquatch in the Pacific Northwest and, as usual, gets herself embroiled in a ton of other danger along the way.

PARALLAX continues to sell nicely as an ebook, priced at just $1.99 on Amazon for Kindle readers or direct through me as a .pdf via my blog at http://jonfmerz.wordpress.com Interestingly enough, in the last few weeks, I’ve had interest from four producers out in Hollywood in turning the novel into a film. Nothing’s ever definite until the check clears, but I always enjoy speaking with folks in the movie biz. So we’ll see where that goes. I love the attention the book has been getting, especially since New York publishers won’t touch it (despite all the editors who have loved it) because they can’t label it as one genre or another. It would be pretty amusing to see it get picked up for a film and not even have a print deal.

I’m thinking about a new venture and would love to hear from you as to whether it would be something you’d be interested in or not. I don’t want to give away too many details yet, but if you’re interested in hearing about it, drop me a line at jonfmerz@gmail.com and ask. Your feedback is vitally important to this venture, so please don’t hesitate to contact me. The more people I bounce this off of, the better. Some of you have already been contacted about this, so no need to contact me again (unless you didn’t get back to me the first time). Confused? Yeah, me, too. Let’s move on, lol…

By the way, I’m giving away an old very short story of mine called “Rip.” You can get it as either a .pdf or .prc (Kindle) format just by emailing me at jonfmerz@gmail.com You can also check out the silly video I made on Youtube by going here: http://www.youtube.com/jonfmerz (make sure you comment and subscribe to my new channel!)

I’ll be yanking The Fixer Files ebook compilation down and will no longer sell this massive half million words compilation of all the Lawson adventures to date. Since I expect to sell the series to a new publisher soon, there’s no need to keep it up. But I will sell it a little while longer. Say, until next week. So if you want all four original novels PLUS the long-awaited 5th (the Kensei) PLUS the novella I wrote for Myspace.com (The Courier) PLUS two short stories all for a measly $9.99, then head out to my blog at http://jonfmerz.wordpress.com and grab a copy before it’s too late. No telling how long it will take NYC to get these things into print.

My website at http://www.jonfmerz.net continues to evolve nicely. Nick, my web guru is handling the work and I’m loving it so far. There’s going to be a LOT of content when we’re finished, so check by often!

Next month we’ll be getting going (finally) on THE FIXER TV series. So there’s going to be a LOT of news around that. We’ll be tweeting from the set and various other places. News will be via my Twitter feed at http://www.twitter.com/jonfmerz so make sure you swing by and join the 13,000 other folks who enjoy my various tidbits of tweetdom.

That’s all for now – thanks for reading! Have a great summer!

Best wishes,