Monday, February 18, 2013

What Makes An Author Smile

I said it before and I'll say it again: writing is lonely.

You are stuck inside your own mind for so long with nothing but your characters to talk to you. You create their world, their wants and desires, and their obstacles. Once the book is out there and people finally get a chance to read it, many times you've moved on to another project.

But I beg my fellow writers: stop and listen to your readers.

I know, I know...write for yourself. But why not enjoy the fruits of your labor once in a while. Nothing makes me happier than to hear from a reader how much my characters speak to them. To get in a dialogue with someone deep into the book and they talk about MY people like they are real. 

It literally makes it all worth while.

And let's face it. As an indie author, I'm not topping the charts of the NY Times or selling thousands of copies to readers around the world. It's touching individuals who relate to my situations and feel the need to write that in a review or in a private message to me. That I've touched a life? ..... Gold.  

This too should be repeated....the writers behind the little musical that could [title of show] knew of what they spoke when they wrote the lyric:

I’d rather be nine people’s favorite thing
Than a hundred people’s ninth favorite thing.


I love my 'nine people'. They make me smile each time I write a new book and they can't wait to tell me their thoughts.



Friday, February 8, 2013

A Writer Who Tells it Like It Is

There are writers we are drawn to for one reason or another. We like their style, the voice they write in, the way they make us smack ourselves in stupidity.

Scott Morgan is one of those writers for me.

I've talked about him before on my blog as one of the first people I ever met on social media. And then we met face-to-face at a conference in New York and we really hit it off. He comes off in person as quiet and reserved, but the man takes a no-holds-barred approach to the books that he writes on the art of writing. Scott has been a writer for years, started his own business that offers many services for this field, and shares his knowledge with those that connect with him. There are so many 'how to' books on the market and many times we have to weed through them to see what makes the most sense to us. I've read many of them and honestly at times - I get bored.

But Scott actually has me laughing as I read his work. From his Character Development book to his latest How to be a Whiny Beeyotch, he makes us view the writing world through his fresh eyes. Those dark, demented eyes! :-) His style isn't for the squeamish or those that have a problem with cursing. This isn't your grandmother holding your hand through the process of writing: this is a no-nonsense approach to letting go of those excuses of why you SHOULDN'T be writing! With a good back-hand to accompany the lesson. Through his humor and awesome style, he cuts through the crap and tells you to WRITE!

Scott is Rock star that curses like a ball player and makes you say "Duh, why didn't I think of that?" He has 71 writing excuses (I'm egotistical enough to think I'm the person he speaks of in #44) and many are things you've either heard others say or have used yourself as an excuse not to write. I honestly can't recommend this book enough! After being verbally berated by this best selling author and self made writing guru, you may just walk away writing the best book of your own budding career. 

How to be a Whiny Beeyotch - 71 Writing Excuses Meet The Back of My Hand is available in eBook and print. See more information here





  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Other Place is a Place to Be

I experienced the most extreme 75 minutes when seeing the Broadway production of "The Other Place". Talk about compact writing that utilizes every moment to push the story along. Playwright Sharr White has an extensive bio of 'other places' he has worked on his art, but this is his Broadway debut and how lucky for him to have the director and cast that he has to tell his unique story.

I found the piece to be extremely powerful and beautiful. A truly thought-provoking contemporary drama full of mystery and...pain. I went into it not knowing much: a woman who thinks she's suffering from brain cancer...or is she? But the journey we go on that plays with time in such a unique way: I for one loved it.

It's always difficult when you read reviews of shows because so many times it seems reviewers are telling the show they'd prefer to see instead of what they saw. Simply look at the way the NY Times reviewed the show first off-Broadway and then the transfer to on Broadway: same show ending and yet they didn't tear it apart on Broadway as they had off. (BTW - I love the last scene that he complains about - maybe I go for the touching, weepy Lifetime movie.)

I think Joe Mantello is such a wonderful director. I first saw him as an actor on Broadway, but he quickly became one of the leading directors with so many credits under his belt (working with Bette Midler next on her return to Broadway). He keeps this show moving along so quickly and yet gives amazing jolts to the audiences that causes us to feel a punch from how he has directed his cast.

What a cast it is. Laurie Metcalf deserves all the praise she has received for this show. She never leaves the stage (even starts out on stage prior to the rest of the cast) and gives a tour-de-force performance. To watch a woman unravel in the way she portrays it is brilliance at work. And to work with her real life daughter Zoe Perry as a scene partner (playing multiple roles) - I really loved their scenes together. Ms. Perry is a great talent in her on right. I saw Bill Pullman's first performance and I can't imagine coming into this well-oiled machine when he did. He gave a fine performance and I know he'll only get better (and a little louder for the stage). John Schiappa rounds out the cast and I only wish he had a little more to do since this seems like a four person ensemble piece, but really has the other three shine much more.

I must also give kudos to the design teams because everything worked so wonderful together in this piece. Eugene Lee and Edwards Pierce for their abstract scenic design, Justin Townsend's stark and evocative lighting, Fitz Patton for the haunting original music and sound design, and William Cusick for video and projection design which truly aided to the power of this show.

The intermission-less show has become more and more popular on Broadway. It allows people to see a show without taking up an entire evening, but sometimes it leaves you wanting more. Strangely enough, this felt complete to me. Even at 75 minutes. I completely understood this woman, her life, her fears - it was all there unfolding in front of our eyes with flashbacks and monologues. And from the amount of people that simply could not get out of their seats at show's end; had to sit and take it all in - I was not alone. 

Thank you, Manhattan Theatre Club for offering unique pieces such as "The Other Place" for audiences. It runs one more month! My recommendation is to get there.

And lastly, Mr. Mantello - please call me. Have I got a script for you to tackle! 


  

Monday, February 4, 2013

Flipping the Pillow

I feel I have learned so much in the past two years since my first book was published. It has been a crazy ride with ups and downs...but here I am flipping my virtual pillow again as I look for the cool side and launching another.

This one is different from the others as ASD Publishing has also learned much with what works, what doesn't in the publishing world. Some books do better than others as print. And as much as I LOVE books in print (and going to my local bookstore Well Read to do book signings) - Cool Side of the Pillow is releasing exclusively on Amazon to start out the launch. Depending on how it does, perhaps ASD Pub will bring it out in print down the road. This blog isn't about my feelings on Amazon or print versus eBooks (that I will save for another time) - it's about getting the word out on this book!

I started my career as an actor in theater many...MANY years ago and worked with several children's theater companies. I thought it would be a fitting place to plunge a 'fish out of water' into for the setting of this novel. Zachary Kleinmann is on a search without even knowing when he meets an older, eccentric actress: Ginger Charman. He is juggling all the areas of his life: fatherhood, a wife passionately involved in her own career, his lack of motivation, a marriage in a slump. But Ginger's youthful outlook and non-conformists ways are just the thing the 39 year old dad needs to pull himself out of his self-imposed state of complacency. He is looking for that 'cool side' of the pillow.

People that have read my works know that I love to write about life-altering decisions. I blog about it, I share it in novels - and in stories...I like to create unusual characters to fill up those pages.

While Zachary and Ginger become bonded despite their differences, I really wanted to explore the question to whether men and women can be 'just friends' as well as stay friends once secrets emerge. Many people have loved that element of mystery and intrigue from my previous Patchwork of Me and as Arthur Wooten says: it turns this novel into a cross between 'Grey Gardens' & 'Mr. Mom'.

While my books may seem to switch genres - I always come back to family: those we are born into and those we create. I think it's a common theme of what many people look for.

I hope you enjoy the new story. Parents can relate, lovers of theater will 'get' these characters - and I hope it finds an audience that can appreciate a book that uses Neil Diamond as a soundtrack. 

PS: I'm not sure why Amazon places books into non-fiction categories when an author tags books with things such as "Fatherhood" and "Theater" to get those readers...but just for the record: this book is fiction. :-)