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Thursday News: Tess Gerristen sues over Gravity, new Octavia Butler stories...

Tess Gerritsen sues over Gravity – So in 1999, Tess Gerritsen sold the rights to her book, Gravity, to New Line Productions, but the movie never got off the ground. However, in adapting the book into a screenplay, Gerritsen claims she added material that was not in the book, but that DID end up in the film, including the idea of the woman dangling in space. However, Gerritsen was not credited for the movie, nor did she get a piece of the profits. In response, Warner Brothers pointed to a statement in which Gerritsen claimed the movie was “not based on [her] book.”

Gerritsen claims while she tried to make her book into a screenplay she wrote new material … scenes that included a space station being demolished by debris and the female astronaut drifting untethered through space. –TMZ

Early Octavia Butler stories coming out in June – Fans of Octavia Butler’s wonderful books should be excited by the fact that two previously unpublished stories are coming to market next month (June). Butler, who died in 2006, wrote these works early in her career, and Walter Mosely has written an introduction to the two-story volume. According to Mosley, the stories pre-figure Butler’s later works, in which she contemplated issues such as the construction of race and gender, the insider/outsider dynamic, and colonialism. As a black woman, Butler challenged the SF/F author status quo, and was finally inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2010.

Butler’s literary agent, Merrilee Heifetz, found the stories, written in the early 1970s, among the author’s papers at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif. According to Open Road, “A Necessary Being” tells of how the leaders of two ancient tribes “must broker a delicate peace to ensure that their peoples are to survive.” In “Childfinder,” a young woman “locates children with budding psionic powers and teaches them to protect themselves from society.” –Washington Post

2013 Cover Contest – From now until May 21st, you can vote for (hopefully) your favorite covers. Although there have been some changes to the categories (see below), the contest is still largely the same. This year’s is dedicated to Karen Wheless, who died last July from cancer, and who headed up the “Contemporary” and “Worst Cover” categories for the contest.

This year we’ve combined a few categories and divided covers into Historical (before 1980) or Contemporary (after 1980) based on the time frame of the story inside. We have also added an outside of the box category, Avant Garde. This category is for terrific covers that do not meet our romance guidelines, covers that offer a unique design outside the current cover trends, or covers that take a trend and give it a unique twist. It is a difficult category to pigeon hole and that’s precisely what we are looking for, covers outside the “box”. –Cover Cafe

Short on money, Palmdale teen crafts a soda can prom dress – This is just such a bittersweet story. 19-year-old Brie Fainblit and her boyfriend do not have much money. And by “not much,” I mean, they have not even been able to afford to go to prom. But this year, James worked to earn the money for tickets, while Brie worked on making her own dress – from soda tabs. Check out the pictures and the chronicle of the dress’s creation.

For months, Brie’s aunt, Sylvia Davalos, has asked everyone at her jobs to help. She has put out jars at the 10th Street Wal-Mart, where she floats between departments, and at a local elementary school, where she works a few hours a day as a playground supervisor and instructional assistant.
Brie, her boyfriend and assorted friends and family have turned the dining-room table into an assembly line — threading together neon tabs from energy drinks and beers to make what they call “note to self” bracelets. They are thank-yous for donations, but also reminders to keep the tabs coming until the prom project’s done. –Los Angeles Times

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!


  1. Sheryl Nantus
    May 01, 2014 @ 08:50:22

    I’m constantly blown away by the financial costs for a prom. I didn’t attend my own but I know I wouldn’t have been able to afford it back THEN never mind now. It’s become an economic black hole for teens who have enough to deal with and now have to get slapped with a huge bill for a single night of keeping up with the rich kids who can afford the limo, the dress, the parties.

    I wish the trend would go BACK to being a nice dance, that’s all. Because you know that despite all the happy faces there’s kids there who will be mocked for the “cheap” dresses and taunted because they couldn’t afford all the fancy extras for a single night.


  2. Angela
    May 01, 2014 @ 09:09:30

    The first time I heard that it cost money to go to prom I was blown away – I think our prom committee raised the money through various things, but the entire junior/senior classes could go for for free. I got my dress on clearance, as did most of my friends, and only spent about $20 on it to be honest (because I can’t see spending more), and we had a great time.

    But that story had tears welling up in my eyes. I hope they have a great time at prom!

  3. Tabitha (Pabkins)
    May 01, 2014 @ 11:01:23

    Oh goodness, I wonder how that Gravity lawsuit will pan out.
    And now I must go check out this crazy sounding prom dress…

  4. Darlynne
    May 01, 2014 @ 11:45:50

    The soda tab dress link didn’t work for me, but I found it through google. A great story.

  5. Janine
    May 01, 2014 @ 12:00:46

    @Darlynne: I fixed the soda tab dress link, thanks for letting us know.

  6. Janine
    May 01, 2014 @ 12:04:14

    Yay for new Octavia Butler stories! I’ve read three of her novels and want to read more.

  7. Lada
    May 01, 2014 @ 14:38:28

    I agree about it being crazy that prom costs so much for kids (which generally means their parents are paying and not every parent can afford such costs) but I think Brie’s dress is amazing and think her resourcefulness and ability to face adversity without complaints will give her a far richer life than those kids riding in limos.

    Also, next season’s Project Runway will feature an unconventional prom dress challenge, amiright?

  8. cleo
    May 01, 2014 @ 14:48:04

    @Lada: OMG – you’re right. It’s a perfect Project Runway challenge.

    I was thinking the prom story sounded like an updated Pretty in Pink (the John Hughes movie, not the song), with cooler clothes. The dress is much cuter than I was imagining.

  9. Toni
    May 01, 2014 @ 15:17:08


    They’ve already had an unconventional prom challenge where they had to make the dresses out of patterned duct tape. It’s a good enough idea for a recycle, though, and that girl’s dress is amazing.

  10. Harper Kingsley
    May 01, 2014 @ 15:26:12

    Wow, her dress is amazing. I can’t believe prom is that expensive, $110 per ticket plus $20 for her to run for prom queen? Is it that pricey because of the location?

    Ah, there should be Poverty Prom, where it’s just a giant festival with live music and buffet-style eating.

  11. Kate Pearce
    May 01, 2014 @ 15:56:50

    I think my son’s senior/prom year, what with the $200 for the yearbook, all the extra trips, which of course no one wanted to miss, tux rental, limo rental, flowers for girl etc ran to an extra $1000 for the entire year. But that was the norm in the school district. Coming originally from the UK where the whole concept of Prom was unknown I was slightly gob-smacked by the whole thing.

  12. leslie
    May 01, 2014 @ 16:53:33

    Brie’s prom dress is amazing, but what really struck me was her situation. Disabled mother inherits a house she can’t afford, the aunt works two jobs to pay the bills and still they can’t make ends meet. Sometimes no lights, water or food, but yet they are creative and generous, opening their home to kids in the neighborhood to do crafts and who they feed even though they have so little to spare. The dress project was essentially a community project with Brie as the creative director and her aunt as the marketing director with the mom doing public relations. And don’t forget the boyfriend who works extra jobs to finance prom night. It’s a small town YA romance novel in the making!
    I wept when I read the three pieces in the L.A. Times. I’m glad she got to go to Prom….I didn’t and it haunts me to this day.

  13. Samantha
    May 01, 2014 @ 17:13:15

    I volunteered once at an organization that helped to provide formal dresses for girls that couldn’t afford them. They had dates set up where the girls would come in, they’d get to look through all the dresses they had (which were donations but a lot were brand new in style stuff), try stuff on, pick out shoes, and jewelry. It was considered a ‘rental’ and they were asked to return the stuff after. But they also sent all the girls home with a ‘gift bag’ with make up and stuff like that. I still remember one of the girls I helped who had brought her mom and her boyfriend with her to try stuff on. She had been afraid they wouldn’t have anything that fit her because she was plus-sized. We found her a great dress and she lit up the room when she tried it on.

  14. ML
    May 01, 2014 @ 19:37:47

    Thank you for the shout-out for the Cover Contest! I encourage everyone to participate; the worst covers always blow my mind.

    And if you do a google search on Brie, you’ll find out the happy ending to that story….

  15. Kaetrin
    May 01, 2014 @ 22:46:27

    Check out the video of Brie. She looked gorgeous.

    They make a lovely couple and they clearly adore each other.

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