Monday, March 31, 2008

Short Story Find:

"Eight O'clock in the Morning"

I found a great short story today:
“Eight O’clock in the Morning” by Ray Nelson, The story was written in 1963 and tells of one man’s awakening to aliens posing as humans, many of them politicians and others in various authority roles, such as the chief of police. The Fascinators, as the aliens call themselves, control everything on Earth, only humans don’t realize it. Subliminal programming runs rampant and no one suspects that a group of intruders could be controlling the faltering economy and just about every other aspect of human life. No one suspects, that is, until George Nada truly awakes from a hypnotism session and for the first time sees things as they really are.

”Eight O’clock in the Morning” was the basis for the 1988 John Carpenter film, “They Live” starring former professional wrestler Roddy Piper . My favorite John Carpenter film is “Escape from New York” , (Kurt Russell looked so fine as Snake Plissken) but “They Live” is an entertaining film as well. If you haven’t seen it, it’s online in installments on YouTube. Links for the film are listed below:

“They Live” – Part 1,
“They Live” – Part 2
“They Live” – Part 3
“They Live” – Part 4 "
“They Live” – Part 5
“They Live” – Part 6 "”
“They Live” – Part 7
“They Live” – Part 8 ""
“They Live” – Part 9


(Please pardon the post appearance. I've been having issues with my google links.)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Another Talent Gone

Screenwriter, opera director and the Oscar-winning filmmaker of ”The English Patient” Anthony Minghella died in London on March 18 of a hemorrhage subsequent to an operation the previous week to remove cancer of the tonsils and neck. He was 54 years old.

Minghella had been in Botswana recently filming an adaptation of Alexander McCall Smith's novel "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency," which was recently broadcast by the BBC. But Minghella, who began his career as a writer, confessed he was not sure of his place as a director.

"I am a writer who was able to direct the films that I write," he said recently. "It is a naked thing to admit, but I feel very strongly that I want people to appreciate that I am not just a flash in the pan."

Minghella also turned his talents to opera. In 2005, he directed a highly successful staging of Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" at the English National Opera in London — choreographed by Minghella's wife, Carolyn Choa. The following year, he staged it as the season opener of New York's Metropolitan Opera.

Minghella’s other films include: ”Cold Mountain,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and ”Truly, Madly, Deeply”.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Agent Spotlight: Natanya Wheeler

Natanya Wheeler at Lowenstein-Yost Associates is actively seeking to build her list. She would love to find narrative nonfiction in the areas of memoir, women’s issues, nature and politics.

She’s also aggressively looking to build her fiction list with strong writers who have original and confident voices. She’s particularly interested in literary fiction that touches on current events or multicultural issues, young adult novels, fast-paced commercial fiction, women’s fiction of all kinds – historical and contemporary romance – and erotica with an edge. She does not handle science fiction, horror or fantasy.

To Submit

By mail:
For Fiction: Mail a query letter, short synopsis, first chapter and a self-addressed, stamped envelope (S.A.S.E).

For Nonfiction: Mail a query letter, proposal, if available, or else a project overview and a S.A.S.E (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope).

To Submit

By mail:
For Fiction: Mail a query letter, short synopsis, first chapter and a S.A.S.E (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope).

For Nonfiction: Mail a query letter, proposal, if available, or else a project overview and a S.A.S.E (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope).


Lowenstein-Yost Associates
121 West 27th Street
Suite 601
New York, NY 10001

E-mail submissions are acceptable via the firm's
online form .

Monday, March 24, 2008

Birthday Blitz

I'm off for the day celebrating my birthday, so have a laugh with TV's Craig Ferguson.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Have a Blessed Easter

Blessings to you this Easter Sunday, a time of renewal. The resurrection of Jesus marks a time of starting over for Christians. The Pagan new year just began on March 21 with the start of the Sun taking its turn in Aries, my astrological sign. I've always felt that the new year for me begins not on January 1, but on my birthday, the anniversary of my birth.

I wish you the best new beginnings possible. May you receive inspiration for new projects, attain new sales, sense new hope and joy and feel eternally youthful. Enjoy your day!

Blessed be.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Spring!

It's been a loooooong winter, but Spring is finally here. It's time to pull off the heavy coats, dust off the cobwebs and spring forward into creativity. Here are a few things I'm going to do to rev up the creative juices:

  1. Get together with a group of other writers and go around the circle with each person adding on to a tale started by the first person. Chain stories often spark a missing link needed in your current work-in-progress. I've been using this technique since college. Some of the most creative sparks flared up while utilizing this method in a pub, but that's another post.

  2. Go to a museum or art gallery and select an image, painting or other object that catches your eye, sit down with pad and paper or keyboard and start writing about it. What is it about this item that caught your attention? What do you feel was the artist’s inspiration in creating it? What do you imagine is the story behind this item? What are the characteristics of the person who created or found this item? Was the person fulfilling a life’s calling or passion? Was he or she responding to something coming from a place of joy, or maybe one of rage or fear?

  3. Visit a cemetery and find a monument that speaks to you. Some people like to take a large sheet of paper and rub with pencil, charcoal, pastels or crayons over an interesting picture or inscription. However, tombstone rubbings are not necessary to complete this exercise. Get into the character of this person. Who was he? What did she do in life? What was her greatest ambition? What did he leave undone? What was this person’s story?

  4. Okay. Maybe spring hasn’t officially sprung in your area. If it's an inclement day, go to your computer and visit a photograph Web site, like flickr, type in a word or group of words and click on the Search button and take a gander at what’s there. You’re sure to find some image to inspire your writing. One stunning collection I discovered recently is by Nick C. Carlson. He has a wonderful gift at composition and in capturing exquisite images. Here’s an example with a shot he took at Haceta Beach in Oregon. Isn't that awesome? What would your story be if you were there on that beach watching that scene? What would your character be doing there? Vacationing? Hiding? Killing?

  5. Select a symbol or icon you feel represents the meaning of life and write about how and why it does.

Now get back to following Roger Ebert’s advice and just write!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Just Write

Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert was on a writers' television show last week (can't recall the title of the show, but a typewriter keyboard is on the title shot) and he had some wonderful stories to share about his career and information about his books, including
Your Movie Sucks .

His barbed wit is a treat in all of his books and film critiques, but his words on the television writers’ show were profound. He talked about his recovery from cancer, and how during that time, when he wrote he felt better, more alive. He said that if you wait for inspiration to write, it won’t come. We need to sit ourselves down, write and the inspiration will then flow to us. So let’s all follow Mr. Ebert’s advice today:

Just write.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A New Earth, A New Worldwide Web Experience

Oprah Winfrey , along with author Eckhart Tolle , teamed up to present a Web class, or ‘Webinar’ to feature telephone connections and e-mail questions and answers regarding discussions of Tolle’s book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. Winfrey said she wanted to sponsor this event after feeling profound changes in her consciousness while reading the book. The class is ten weeks in duration, meeting on Monday nights at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/8:00 p.m. Central time at Winfrey’s Web site. The class is free; you just need to register online at Winfrey’s Web site , and load a plug-in to view it. The class will feature a new chapter every week.

Unfortunately, I was one of the many who did get to see all of the initial class. I saw the first ten minutes, then experienced problems receiving the video. According to Harpo Productions, Inc., the class will be available later today on Oprah’s Web site, and also available for downloading as a podcast.

I have only read the first chapter of the book so far. More than any of his writings, I was moved by the presence of the author. I had the honor of meeting Eckhart Tolle ten years ago, shortly after his book,
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, was released. I enjoyed the book, and it helped me get through a turbulent time in my life. However, when Mr. Tolle took the stage, I was moved by the peacefulness he exuded. He was a man who practiced what he preached. In talking with him after the group discussion, I saw that he really did live in the present moment. Possible distractions in the room did not phase him. He was focused on what he was doing and who he was in the present moment.

Did anyone watch the first A New Earth Webinar last night? If so, what were your thoughts? I’m looking forward to seeing it.