Come see “Island Zero” at Boston International Film Festival!

Buy tickets here.

If you’d like to get an early look at our horror film “Island Zero,” it will be screened at the Boston International Film Festival at 9:30 PM April 15 at the historic Paramount Theater in downtown Boston.  Based on my original screenplay, it’s the story of an isolated island off the coast of Maine where the local fishing community is suddenly cut off from the outside world when the ferry stops coming. The phones are dead, the power’s out, and every fishing boat they send to the mainland fails to return.

When mutilated bodies start turning up on the island, the survivors must find out who — or what — is killing them.

Filmed entirely on mid-coast Maine during a cold, dark March, “Island Zero” is an homage to the old monster films I loved as a child, combined with stark Scandinavian overtones of drama and isolation.

Our production team will be there to give a talk afterwards.  Come hear how we managed to make a feature film on a low budget — complete with a burning house!

“Life” the movie — yes, it sounds like my novel “Gravity.”

Feels like deja vu all over again.  My readers have been emailing me that the plot of the new movie “Life” sounds awfully similar to my novel “Gravity.”  While I haven’t seen the film yet, here’s the IMDB description of “Life”:

A team of scientists aboard the International Space Station discover a rapidly evolving life form (single-celled organisms), that caused extinction on Mars, and now threatens the crew and all life on Earth.

Written by Sony Pictures

And here’s a description of my 1999 novel GRAVITY:

A mission aboard the International Space Station turns into a nightmare beyond imagining when a culture of single-celled organisms begins to evolve and infects the space station crew with agonizing and deadly results. The contagion now threatens Earth’s population, and the astronauts are stranded in orbit, quarantined aboard the station — where they are dying one by one…

The major difference seems to be the source of the single-celled organisms.  In both stories, the cells are extraterrestrial.  In “Life,” they’re harvested from Mars where they have been dormant because of a lack of oxygen.  In “Gravity,” they’re harvested from an asteroid that landed at the bottom of the ocean, where they have been dormant because of the pressure of deep water.  But in both cases, the organisms are brought aboard ISS, where they become multicellular and begin to evolve into something dangerous that kills the astronauts in gruesome ways and threatens all of earth’s population. (In my book, the alien cells infect a mouse, integrate mammalian DNA into their genome, and rapidly evolve.)

In my novel GRAVITY, the ISS crew of six is made up of two women and four men.  They include a Russian, a Japanese man, an Englishwoman, and a Black astronaut.

In “Life,” the ISS crew of six is made up of two women and four men. They include a Russian, a Japanese man, an Englishwoman, and a Black astronaut.

It’s mathematically improbable that the near-identical national make-up of these two crews  is merely coincidental.  Really, Hollywood?  You didn’t bother to change one of my characters into someone different, say an astronaut who’s Indian or Chinese or Hispanic or French?  With so many nationalities of astronauts to choose from, you just happened to go with the exact ethnic and national mix of my fictional crew?

Does this feel like a giant rip-off of my novel?  Yes.

Am I going to do something about it? No.

The film rights to my novel “Gravity” are still held by New Line Cinema/Warner Bros., so they are the only ones who can sue for copyright infringement.  After my breach-of-contract lawsuit about “Gravity” the movie, I know that no lone writer can win a lawsuit against a Hollywood studio.  Fifty writers over twenty years have tried to sue– and failed in the Ninth Circuit.  (Although there’s one plucky screenwriter who’s trying to find justice, and I hope you all give him your support as his lawsuit progresses.) There’s nothing I can do about this,  even though it certainly feels like my novel was the inspiration for two films, now.  The movie “Life” has the same plot as the first 3/4 of my book, with an alien organism evolving into something deadly aboard ISS, resulting in the gruesome deaths of astronauts.  The plot of the movie “Gravity” comes from the last 1/4 of my book, after all but one astronaut is dead and that lone surviving woman, now stranded on ISS, fights to survive. My book had a lot of plot — enough to be scavenged for two films.

A pity no one thought to give my novel at least a little credit.

It’s more than a little grating to hear the filmmakers tout their story as the first to be about real science aboard ISS, the first to look at true microbiological horrors that could threaten earth itself.

My novel was published in 1999.  They’re eighteen years too late.

“Island Zero” screens at the Boston International Film Festival


The horror film I wrote and produced, “Island Zero,” will be screened at the Boston International Film Festival on Saturday April 15 at the Paramount Theater.  If you’re in the Boston area, here’s your first chance to get a look at a movie inspired by those fun old-fashioned creature features that I grew up with!


“ISLAND ZERO” comes to the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival

Our indie horror film ISLAND ZERO is an official selection of the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival.  It will be screened in Beverly Hills on February 21 at 10 PM at Laemmie’s Beverly Hills Music Hall Theater, 9036 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills.  If you’d like to get the general public’s first peek at our monster movie, you can buy tickets here.

And to view the movie  trailer, check out the Island Zero website!

First look at the new horror film I wrote: “Island Zero”

Our film trailer is now up over at the terrific horror film site  They have an exclusive on our film trailer for “Island Zero” as well as some production comments by our director and producer.  Have a look!

And visit the Island Zero website:


“Incendio” sheet music for solo piano now available

A number of musicians have written me, asking if the sheet music for my composition “Incendio” is available.  I’ve just written a solo piano arrangement, and a digital version is now available on  “Incendio” is the theme music to my novel PLAYING WITH FIRE, about a Jewish violinist in WWII Venice who composes a haunting waltz that changes the life of a violinist seventy years later.

A printed version will soon be available as well.

Our performance of “Incendio” in Hannover, Germany

We played the piece in a gorgeous church — beautiful acoustics!  With violinist Joerg Widmoser, who played his own cadenza for the event.


On making our indie horror film “Island Zero”

Recently I was interviewed by radio host Bill Knapik about writing books — and making indie horror films.  For more info on our upcoming film “Island Zero,” visit the IMDB page.  “Island Zero” is now in post-production.


“PLAYING WITH FIRE” Book Club questions

Things to think about as you read PLAYING WITH FIRE:

–The pediatric neurologist believes that Lily may be suffering from “Complex Partial Seizures.” What are the symptoms? What does the patient experience?(for more information, visit:

— What seems to be the trigger for Lily’s apparently violent acts?

–Listen to the music “Incendio.” Can you hear the “Devil’s chords”?

For more information on this dissonant interval, also known as a tritone, visit:

To hear the music, performed by concert violinist Yi-Jia Susanne Hou, you can find it here:

US readers:

UK readers:


— Imagine yourself living as a Catholic in Nazi-occupied Italy. If a Jewish friend or neighbor turned to you for help, would you shelter them, knowing that you might be executed for your actions?

— Why did so many Jews remain in Italy until it was too late to flee? What kept them from leaving, despite the ever more onerous laws against them?

— In the Todescos’ place, knowing no more than they knew, would your family have uprooted itself and fled the country? Or would you have tried to “ride out” the war?

— Why did such a large percentage of Jews survive in Italy, unlike other parts of Nazi-occupied Europe? What made Italy different?





— When did you realize that Julia’s narration might be unreliable?

— Early in the story, did you spot the neurological clues pointing to the final revelation about Julia?

— Do you think this story has supernatural elements or is everything explained by science?