Monday, May 2, 2016

Lancer the TV Pilot

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Yes, I have finally given into my hearts desire (and the urging of others/fans) to go ahead and write a TV Pilot script for Lancer; Hero of the West. In fact, I've written half of the one hour drama draft.

While I'm slowly working on the third novel in the Lancer; Hero of the West series (The Santa Fe Affair), which itself will have some interesting new twists, mainly on the social level, the pilot will go in a new direction. There isn't much I can say about where I'm going with this for now for a lot of reasons, but to say Lancer fans will enjoy the new take I think will be an understatement. Lancer will remain Lancer.

The question of TV westerns is a big one. As you can see they are few and far between and those which have been on TV lately (AMC's Hell on Wheels for instance and HBO's Deadwood) are quite different than what we've been accustomed to. They are not, obviously, the John Wayne style westerns we grew up with. Nor are they the television westerns of the 1950's and 60's.

Since Lancer; Hero of the West is based on a compilation of the latter and my own inspiration, it is difficult to see through the trees as television executives have not been really open to characters of that ilk. The good news is however, is that everything goes in cycles. Is it time for a return to the 50's and 60's? Is the Quentin Tarantino western (Django Unchained and Hateful Eight) the new normal for the old west? Tough questions.

In addition, two new western series are being shopped around and one of them includes one of my all time favorites, Kurt Russell. He's teaming up with Mel Gibson. So it seems with the recent successes with various western genre, there may be a resurgence. Maybe the cycle is coming 'round.

I can only say when it comes to a Lancer TV pilot and series, if we are indeed lucky enough to get there, it will not be full of "F" Bombs if it's for main stream TV. If it goes the route of HBO or other such outlets there may be some expansion into that realm, although not for the man himself. This is not the way I'm writing it though.

While the cable networks (HBO, ShowTime and others) seem more open to period pieces, the mainstream networks don't seem to be. They seem more open to high tech and all that goes with it. This is a good thing. Don't worry Lancer fans, a reincarnation of "The Wild, Wild West" (the Will Smith version) is not where I'm going.

As soon as I can say more (when it's finished and registered/copyrighted) I will unveil more of the secrets of Lancer. It may be a few weeks, but more like a few months. Stay tuned and keep your thoughts and prayers with us as we move forward with this venture. Hopefully some TV executive will say "by golly, we have to do this!"

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


A good time was had by all. The best way to sum up the 2016 Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival.

For me it was a time to meet a bunch of folks with similar interests and goals in mind. For them it was time to hear some of my stories, and in response I got a lot of good stuff headed my way. It was also a time to take a little hit (no a pretty big hit) from good-natured friends and relatives about my head gear.

I chose to wear my new favorite hat on Saturday (commonly now being called a "pork pie" hat from my friends, especially those in Scotland who love westerns) instead of my Cowboy Hat. I'm not a cowboy and while I love the West, I write good stories about the west, I'm not a cowboy. As much as I loved the era, I'm not sure where I'd fit in in 1885.

                                                      (Eric Heisner, Al Bringas and me)
So I chose not to wear THE hat. Bad mistake. Anyone who was looking for a good book hit the first table with some great coffee table books on Western ranches which drew a lot of attention with some slick colorful pages, passed right by me and moved directly to my two new good friends Eric Heisner and Al Bringas. Now these two guys (pictured with me above) are two good looking western actors who have quite a biz going. Eric is a full-time actor with some credits who is the author of their books while Al is the illustrator.

Together they make quite a pair and dressed in their western digs, folks made a bee line past me to them (especially the ladies). Actually I greeted a few of the women with my positive charm hoping to engage them with my guy,  "Lancer; Hero of the West" and after answering the greeting they moved right on to Eric and Al. I was surprised most of the ladies passed on Lancer's favorite treat "Turkish Delight," while men usually tried it quite readily. One couple was very excited when they saw it, "we haven't seen this since our trip to Istanbul!"

Al's artwork is super by the way and the guys make and sell replica movie bandana's which are costly but absolutely a must have if you are gonna dress the part. (Next year for me).

After Eric and Al, they moved onto Dale Jackson, Jim Christina, J.R. Sanders, Gary Williams (I know I missed someone) and if they came in the other way they were posing for selfies with the well known Peter Sherayko who looked like he was right out of "Lonesome Dove." So next year, I'll break down and buy the boots, something leather, a much better hat and I'd love one of those frock coats but it might be too hot in Santa Clarita for that. At least the second day I did wear my western hat which turned the world upside down -- I wish. I am a guy who admittedly always wears a hat well - just not a cowboy hat. Although some of my Face Book Friends did change their tune Day 2.

No guns (akin to the covers of my Lancer novels with the gun-less holster covers) but you can't bring guns in anyway. And don't even think of getting me on a horse. I am a dog lover and horses and me just don't get along. Although I guess if this were 1875 or so, I'd have to break down and learn to ride one. An employer asked me once "Bob, what do you want to be when you grow up?" My answer was quickly, "The Lone Ranger." Not because of the story but because of the man and his mission as well as his code.

The really great thing about the festival and the Buckaroo Bookstore set up by Bobbi Jean Bell and husband Jim (who took care of their authors in a way it makes you want to come back) is the friendliness and camaraderie. And that was part of what the Old West was about. Sure there was a lot bad stuff mixed with the good but the fellowship and camaraderie outshone it all.

                                            (me and the always smiling Bobbi Jean Bell)

And I for one appreciated that. Sure I would like to have sold more books, everyone could have, but that is the world we're dealing in. Hopefully, we've made a dent in the next chapter in our lives and the dent is positive. And if you're looking for a younger touch, Eric and Al produced a wild west coloring book as well.

ON another note, the Peach Cobbler was great as usual, but no sign of the Native American Fry Bread this year; Bummer.

Looking forward to next year and other such events. And for all of us Keep It Going.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

COWBOY FESTIVAL This Weekend April 23-24

Be there!

The Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, an annual event, is taking place in Old Town Newhall right now between the 14 and 5 Freeways in the Santa Clarita Valley. I'll be there on Saturday and Sunday from 1:30 to 6pm, sooner if I can make it.

Park in one of the off site parking lots (no parking in Old Town) and take the FREE Shuttle to Hart Park. Admission varies depending on age but it's from $7 to $10 and lots of vendors, music, great food you don't normally see except here and just a great time.

Visit me and seven other Western Authors at the Buckeroo Bookstore on the walk in Hart Park. We'll be there signing and selling our books. As a Cowboy FEST Special we'll be selling soft cover copies of both Lancer; Hero of the West books for $10 each (tax included). We'll take cash and credit/debit cards for purchase.

C'mon out and have a great time. I am especially thankful to the promoters to providing us with volunteers to get food because I can't take the time away to go stand in line for the best PEACH COBBLER you'll ever taste. That and Cowboy Coffee will stand out on the day as well as the Native American Fry Bread (one of my favorites). So take it from a guy who likes to eat his way through these type of things, enjoy while the enjoying is good.

 Me at last year's Festival with a nice piece of Peach Cobbler ala mode and some down to earth and tasty gritty Cowboy Coffee. Lancer couldn't have done it any better. Which is something readers will find out in the upcoming "Lancer; Hero of the West - The Santa Fe Affair." Due out in late Fall, early Winter.

The weather is expected to be excellent and if you haven't tried it yet, check out Southern Smoke, a new eatery in Old Town. Make sure you try the fabulous Ho Cake. And the micro beer. Ask for a taste and they'll give it to you. We'll probably be there on Sunday night after the Festival closes down unless the line is long and the wait is too much. Which it might be, but then again remember most vendors want to get out and gone after a several day event so this might be the best time to try the restaurant.

See you THERE and remember, if you can't make it you can always order downloads from Amazon and paperback copies from us directly at


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Cowboy Festival is nearing!!

The Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival begins this coming week and culminates on the weekend of April 23-24. I will be there signing Lancer; Hero of the West novels on both Saturday and Sunday from about 1:30 pm to 6 pm. Hope the drive from Miracle Mile where I work to Santa Clarita is a light one and the shuttle is moving quickly.

The annual cowboy festival (link below) is a really great event and aside from western authors such as myself making appearances with our books and expanding somewhat on the western experience, there are bands, displays, vendors or course and some really great food you only get once a year.

One of my fav's is the Indian Fry Bread but not to be outdone by the home made peach cobbler and authentic cowboy coffee; grinds and all. The Peach Cobbler is amazing and there is always a line. I'm glad some of my family will make the trek to the festival so they can stand in line to get some cobbler for me.

The festival is at William S. Hart Park mainly, which is in downtown Old Town Newhall. Adjacent to the festival itself are the shops of Old Town and I suggest if you get the chance (maybe not during the festival because seating will be limited and waits probably long) checking out Southern Smoke. It's a great new BBQ restaurant not to be missed. It's also a micro brewery and they will give you tiny samples of some of the many beers on tap.

Some of the authors will be at the OutWest Boutique and Cultural Center one block from the Park at 22508 6th street. Come on out to the event and buy a couple of books and get caught up on your western heritage. My second book "Lancer; Hero of the West - the Los Angeles Affair" takes place mostly in the area around San Fernando, Sylmar and Newhall as it was in the 1880's.

Check out this festival link

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

The FaceBook Promotion Phenomena

Sometimes I'm not sure what to make of social media advertising. As you may have seen I have done a lot of it recently. I've added a "Lancer; Hero of the West" FaceBook page and ran a campaign. I also am running a couple of FB campaigns on the new Patti Waggin FB page. For those of you who might not know, Patti Waggin is the subject of my very first published book "Fan Letters to a Stripper; A Patti Waggin Tale." The FB site is becoming as much about baseball as it is burlesque. More later.

I spent $50 in running a 10 day campaign for Lancer. I targeted the USA of course and then selected a host of countries where Westerns seem to have some appeal over others. Japan, much of Europe, The Philippine and Indonesia.

It was amazing to see the numbers roll up. In the first seven days FB reached 66,000 people who went to the site. Well over a thousand clicked "LIKE." However, very few clicked onto this particular blog which is where my ad was supposed to send people. Go to the FB page and then follow through to the blog.

My feeling was this; I could only promote certain items the way the program is laid out. If I got them to the FB page and then to the Lancer blog it would be a win-win. Since when they got to the blog they could then go to the Bob Brill Books website and purchase a book all would be good. That didn't happen.

Of the 66 thousand people who hit the FB page more than 97-percent of them were from Indonesia. In checking the stats the vast majority spoke local languages and very many likely did not speak English. They certainly did not speak it as a first language. The numbers for the USA were almost non-existent. This was truly disappointing. I even had ONE in Africa although I think that was actually my niece who is in the Peace Corps in the same region the FB hit came from.

So the next step, via this trial and error experiment, was to UNtarget everything but the USA. As soon as I did that the numbers began to move upward. In the first couple of days over 500 people living in the USA hit the Lancer FB page! Clearly 156 of them actually went to the Bob Brill Books website. While so far (as I write this) no sales have been achieved, clearly there is reason to spend limited funds on the FB promotions.

The difference so far in the two sites (Patti Waggin and Lancer), and there are many which I will discuss in the next blog, is Patti Waggin is actually being accepted into the new FB Products program. Lancer is not. It's totally random I'm told and it's being rolled out slowly but everyone will eventually be able to do it.

It basically allows the owner of the page to sell products with an advert right on the page. If you use PayPal you will be disappointed because FB has a deal with Stripe and does not allow PPal. While I was skeptical of Stripe at first, after using it the first time, I found it easy enough. So far so good. I am excited to be able to use Product on the Lancer page when it becomes available. Until then if you ask me if I plan on more FB promotions, the answer is yes. But I will be careful of my targeting.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

2016 Best Oscar Show Yet

As a reporter for UPI Radio Network I covered backstage and out front, nine Academy Awards Shows. I have watched dozens more over the years as it is one show I rarely miss. I have to say the 2016 show, with all it's backlash and controversy was THE Best I've ever seen.

Chris Rock nailed it. His monologue was balanced, right on and sound. It was also funny despite a missed opportunity. He failed only once or twice on the night and his epic Girl Scout Cookie sales push beat Ellen DeGeneres Pizza debacle by a long shot. He was sound.

The best sketch of the night though was not Whoopi Goldberg. The best sketch was the poignant and very funny "Black History Month Minute." Taking a solid shot at Will and Jada Pinkett Smith was heroic and more than that it was extremely funny. Wow.

Vice President Joe Biden was another highlight and it was great to see him get a standing ovation. When Lou Gossett Jr., stood up and was the first to acknowledge him, I felt it was heart felt. I sat with Lou a couple years ago at a fund raising dinner and found him a very sincere man. This is why I know he was being just that; sincere. Biden is a very likable man and it showed. His points were clear and sound and fell on waiting ears.

I was pretty much right on with my predictions although no one could see Sylvester Stallone losing out to Mark Rylance for Best Supporting Actor. Most thought the sentimental favorite Stallone for "Creed" was a shoe-in. Many were disappointed. I didn't see the film so I can't say yea or nay. I do know that of the other films I did see I liked Rylance the best despite not liking "Bridge of Spies" all that much. Rylance did deserve the honor but then again so did Stallone from what I hear.

Otherwise I did pick all the winners although my heart wanted some of the others. Leo D., certainly was deserving of the honor and made a very strong point in his acceptance speech. The fact they had to go to the farthest tip south to find the right snow for the film proved his point about climate change. It fell on a friendly crowd as did much of what was said during the night.

So all in all it was a great show and to my mind the best I've ever seen. It goes once again to prove, especially with the Best Picture Award; Film Matters.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Film Festival & More

For new followers of Lancer; Hero of the West, I wanted to mention some of the other things we're doing. Of course you can purchase our books on Amazon (links below) or you can buy directly from us at bob brill books. And this includes all our books including "Al Kabul; Home Grown Terrorist" and "Fan Letters to a Stripper; A Patti Waggin Tale."

There is some special news regarding the Patti Waggin book. My Screenplay "Major League Stripper," which is inspired by the book,  is a finalist in the 2016 (16th Annual) Beverly Hills Film Festival Screenwriting Competition. We are really excited about that. A win there would give me a solid chance at an agent and, the possibility we gain serious interest in a film. This is a project which realistically has been in the works since 1959. For the backstory you should go to the Patti Waggin website.

Our "Lancer; Hero of the West" music video performed by Ron Dante, is also entered into the Western Writers of America competition for Best Song. It's an Annual Award to go along with the Silver Spur Competition. Both these awards will be announced later in the year.

The new short film we produced and wrote is "Radio Play; An Homage to Old Thyme Radio."

And of course if you'd like to find out more about me you can go to

Amazon Lancer; Hero of the West - The Prescott Affair
Amazon Lancer; Hero of the West - The Los Angeles Affair