Thank you, Jayne, for having me on your blog. I promise to stop blackmailing you after this. I’m just kidding…I won’t stop blackmailing you. What are friends for?
I’m delighted that finally, many years after Gone with the Monster came out, Have Monster, Will Travel, the fourth book in the series, is being released October 9th.
What would you do if you learned something that world change the world forever? It sounds dramatic, but that’s what’s happening in the Monsters in Hollywood series. Monsters are real, and in this day and age they did what any reasonable mythical race would do to reveal their existence—they went to Hollywood to make a movie about themselves.
The first three books in the series: Lights, Camera…Monsters, My Fair Monster and Gone with the Monster, all featured characters who learned about the existence of monsters at the same time—the start of the first book. In Have Monster, Will Travel production is gearing up for the movie, and we’ve hit the point that other people need to be told the secret. That’s where we meet Joanna—a rise star in the world of production design. But it’s not just human crew they need. As a race of warriors fighting isn’t a problem for the monsters, but real fighting and choreographed fighting for the silver screen are very different. Since no human stunt coordinator could design the fights for the massive, winged monsters, they bring in the most revered fighter and trainer among the monsters—Tokaki—to act as stunt coordinator.
Joanna and Tokaki are attracted to each other from the start, but they’re from very different worlds. Joanna finds out first hand just how dangerous Tokaki’s world can be, and Tokaki learns what it means to move heaven and earth to be with the one your love.
If you’ve read the other Monsters, then I hope you enjoy Have Monster, Will Travel. If you haven’t read them this is a great place to jump in. You can discover, along with Joanna, just what it means to find out that monsters are real.
She’d always heard Hollywood was full of monsters. She didn’t know they meant actual monsters.
All of Hollywood is talking about Calypso Production’s new top-secret action movie, and Joanna is tapped to be the Production Designer. There’s just one big issue: the lead actors are monsters. Literally.
Bound by tradition and discipline, Tokaki’s clan of shapeshifers has maintained the old ways even as they’ve retreated from the human race. When members of another clan come up with a plan to expose and explain their hidden existence, he agrees to help. As the warrior who trains all others, he knows how to inflict both the maximum, and minimum, amount of damage. Because of this experience he’s asked to become something they call a “stunt coordinator”.
When Joanna and Tokaki meet it’s electric, and not just because Joanna watches him shift from a massive white tiger into a handsome, naked man. Tokaki is fascinated by the outside world, especially Joanna, who’s colorful in more ways than one. When he takes Joanna to a hidden temple deep in the Chinese mountains, neither expects she’ll be risking her very life. In order to save the woman he loves, Tokaki must turn to his family for help, risking the secrets his clan has kept for a millennium.
Here’s the Prologue from Have Monster, Will Travel
© Lila Dubois
They wouldn’t be able to keep the secret much longer.
“What are our options?” Lena sat at the head of Calypso Production’s conference table, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art visible through the floor to ceiling windows at her back.
Jane sat at her right, a copy of the script in front of her. “Without the rest of the pre-pro crew, we can’t go forward. We need more people.”
“If we bring them on, we have to tell them the truth.” Luke, Lena’s boyfriend, tapped his fingers restlessly on the table.
“No. No more people. We have to keep this quiet for as long as we can.” Margo’s voice was grim. The usually sassy Latina was dressed causally in a T-shirt and jeans, hair back in a loose ponytail. Her fiancé was seated next to her. The over six-foot tall Runako leaned forward, planting his elbow on the table hard enough to rattle the cups.
“I’ll protect you.” Before Runako had, er, kidnapped Margo, the real magnitude of what they were doing hadn’t hit the five friends who owned Calypso Productions. They’d known they were taking on something big when they agreed to make a movie about Runako, Luke, Henry and Michael’s people.
When Runako and Margo fell into the hands of those who wanted to dissect and kill Runako barely escaping, the project had gone from exciting challenge to grim life-or-death battle. If they screwed this up, they would lose more than production costs.
“Once it’s out that we’re releasing a monster movie in the summer, everyone will start asking who’s working on it,” Lena said. The reality of Hollywood was that if they were going to produce a summer blockbuster, they needed to attach blockbuster names to the project, above the line.
“It’ll come out at some point anyway, and wasn’t that all part of our publicity campaign?” Cali, the movie’s director, held up a copy of a Hollywood tabloid, folded back to a picture of Akta with Runako, Henry and Luke on the red carpet at a charity gala. They’d purchased the tickets and sent Akta, who was a recognizable star, with the guys as a way of introducing them to Hollywood.
The caption under the picture read, “The stars of Calypso Production’s top-secret new project. Akta Patel and her unknown escorts.”
Akta tipped back in her chair, bracing her knees on the conference table. She sat between Henry and Luke, who would star in the movie with her. Calypso Productions had only recently learned that Henry and Runako were both actors—Henry considered the best actor of their people. They’d started script read-throughs, and it fell on Akta to give them, along with Luke, a crash course in acting for the screen. Jane, the resident screenwriter, had written the script for them, so they’d basically be playing themselves, but still, if they didn’t translate to the camera the whole thing would fall apart.
“Our publicity campaign is to make sure everyone falls in love with them,” Lena said, gesturing around the table at the guys, “so that when the movie comes out, and then they come out, they’ll already have people on their side.”
“We know that, we helped come up with that plan.” Cali wasn’t known for her patience. “But I’m telling you, we’ve gone as far as we can with just us. Two producers, half the lead actors, a screenwriter and a director don’t make a movie. If we’re serious about starting production—” Cali motioned to Margo, who, in her role of line producer, had been working up start-date-less timelines. “—we need a production schedule, we need the rest of the above-the-line people. We need to know how we’re making this movie.”
“What does above the line mean?” Runako looked to Margo.
“It basically means anyone who could have any real influence in how the movie is made, or the storyline.”
“But we are all here.”
Margo grimaced slightly. “Yes and no. We know what we want to do, we have a lot of it figured out, but usually a casting director is above the line, and in our case special effects may have better ideas as to how to shoot this. Special effects—which usually means actual real effects like blowing up cars and fake blood—means we need the special effects coordinator.”
“But it will be easier to make, we won’t need all those special effects…” Akta interjected.
“Fucking actors.” Cali threw her hands back. “So when Runako’s character dies do you want me to actually kill him? What should I do on the second take?”
“Fine, sorry. What do you need?”
“At least a director of photograph, production designer, VFX supervisor and special effects supervisor. Location scout. Casting. SpecFX make-up since we have no idea what it will take to make-up these three.” Cali jabbed her finger at the men. “Akta, don’t talk to me about how you were art director on some crappy indie film or I swear to God I’ll come across this table. We need big guns.”
“Who are you thinking?” Lena’s voice was calm as she tried to keep the tension down.
“If we’re serious about keeping this tight, I know who we could get to serve as PD. She’d be able to pull up-and-comers in visual and special effects.”
There was a beat of silence as everyone put together who Cali was talking about. The four men seated at the table looked blankly at each other.
“Uh, Cali, she hates you.” Jane bit her lower lip.
“Yea, I don’t know why.” Cali slumped back in her seat, tugging on the frayed cuff of her USC sweatshirt.
“You told her she was getting fat senior year.”
“She was getting fat, and I said it in a nice way. I thought she’d appreciate the heads up. Sixty hours a week in front of her computer or sketching crazy stuff while eating those weird fish crackers was not doing her any good.”
“There’s no nice way to tell someone they’re getting fat, and telling her she was fat was the least of what you did,” Akta said.
“Well, now she’s one of the best creative minds in the industry.” Lena was twirling her pen as she considered. “She’s never handled a summer action film, but she’s an amazing designer, has contacts at Industrial Light and Magic, and she knows everyone.”
“Exactly. We need her.”
Want more? Click here to read the full first chapter.