With much anticipation, I’m very pleased to share the trailer to the new short film that I wrote and co-produced called LIGHTS OUT. The story is about a family who wins a Vegas vacation and finds that the city tempts them with forbidden fruit.

The premiere of the film will be at the 168 Film Festival, Friday, September 12 and Saturday, September 13, 2014 at the Aratani Theater in the Japanese-American Cultural and Community Center, 244 S. San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA.

Watch our new trailer, vote on it, and please share!

Directed by Marlon Jay Manuel
Produced by Gigi Guizado and Jonathan Sturak
Written by Jonathan Sturak
Director of Photography Jim Sams

The 168 Film Festival is a signature speed filmmaking competition. Teams have 168 hours (7×24) to shoot and edit a short film based on a theme and a Bible verse (pre-production lasts 10 days). Tens of thousands of filmmakers have competed since 2003.

Our randomly assigned bible verse is below. You’ll be surprised how we interpreted this for our Las Vegas film!

Genesis 3:6
When the woman saw the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.


GeekvsVegasKindle_smAre you ready for one night in Vegas that you’ll never forget? People are calling Geek vs Vegas “Funny as Hell” and “Office Space meets The Hangover.”

Benjamin Pollock is 26 and has been working a dead-end job for three years in Los Angeles. He is overwhelmed with options in life, not knowing what he wants to do or whom he should model his life after. But things change after his old college roommate, Javier, invites him to Las Vegas for a night of sin with the promise that getting laid will solve his problems. From swingers clubs, to hookers, to Russian spies, Benjamin’s goal of getting laid turns into a goal of staying alive through the night!

Part dark comedy, part coming-of-age tale, Benjamin represents the voice of Generation Y, lost in their twenties with too many pathways to take in life. Where will Benjamin be in ten years? Married? Kids? Single? Dead? He must make it out of Vegas alive to even have a chance to reach his thirties!

Geek vs Vegas is available NOW in paperback and on the Amazon Kindle. Click the cover to read the exciting introduction! Cheers!


BetterBetter by John O’Brien

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

John O’Brien always gives us a privileged view into the depths of his characters, their secrets, their hidden agendas, their romantic thoughts, which are for our eyes only. And he slows down scenes, making it all about the moment. “Better” is a strange book in that it takes place solely inside the confines of a mansion overlooking the California coast. This is where we meet William, a permanent house guest of the Lord of the Manor, Double Felix. Their interactions are a play on language, a literary contest every morning over a glass of vodka. “Better” demonstrates how language is character and character is language.

Read this book after you have read O’Brien’s more commercial “Leaving Las Vegas” and “Stripper Lessons.”

View all my reviews


NoirNationEddie Vega, publisher of Noir Nation Books, has asked me to be the managing editor for the latest edition of Noir Nation: International Journal of Crime Fiction, Volume 4. I’m excited to take over the responsibilities for this issue with selecting the highest quality of crime fiction from the hundreds of submissions received. This volume will be the “Canada Issue” and the stories will feature a connection to the country that has its own share of shadows. Look for more information in the New Year about this exciting issue!

final-cover-nn-3Also, don’t miss Volume 3, which is out now! Make sure to check out my exciting short story, FEED ME, which is about a mysterious bird who terrorizes an unsuspecting family.



His First, Her Last is based on the true story of my journey to the Philippines in March 2011. A collection of more than 7,000 islands lost in the Pacific Ocean, the Philippines is a place unlike any other. A driver of a $100,000 Mercedes-Benz talking on a cell phone shared the road with a man whipping a horse. In a traffic jam, a woman walked between cars selling cooked eggs containing partially developed chicks. Just beyond a city with lights as bright as Las Vegas, the ghost of a woman wearing white has been seen for decades lurking in the night.

These slivers of culture inspired me to share this beautiful land and its people with you through the eyes of Jason and Hazel, an engaged couple about to put their relationship to the ultimate test. Their worst fears come true inside this island nation and it takes their will to survive to find their way together. I invite you to take a journey across the world where you will find love, life, and what it means to be alive.

Click the cover to download the FREE opening chapter, which is where the journey begins. Cheers!