a weblog for readers and writers

Friday, May 30, 2008

Celebrating 90 Years

You think aging heroes like Indiana Jones and Superman are growing old gracefully as they celebrate their lives in their 60s? You should see my grandfather.

This weekend is the big party in the Bluegrass State. Family and friends from around the country and many friends and neighbors from the community are coming out to celebrate his 90th birthday party.

To be healthy and active on your 90th birthday ... now that's something worth writing about.

What do you expect to be doing in celebration of your own 90th birthday?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Get Freshly Squeezed Tonight!

Tonight’s the night. Come to the historic Patterson Theater for the Release Party of Freshly Squeezed: The Write Here Write Now Anthology.

The event, sponsored by the Creative Alliance and the CityLit Project, is free and open to the public. It takes place tonight at 7:30. Refreshments will be served –not just the anthology!

The anthology includes more than 250 pages of select works from the Write Here Write Now Workshop Series. The work ranges from fiction and non-fiction to poetry and plays.

Cant’ make it to the party? Freshly Squeezed is available at Barnes & Nobel, in the stores and online.

Contributors to the anthology include Rick Connor, Fernando Quijano III, Nicole Walton, Tamara Keurejian, Barbara Friedland, Holly Myers, Mare Cromwell, Eric D. Goodman, Nancy O. Greene, and Leo Horrigan.

My contribution to the anthology, “One Last Hit,” is a story from TRACKS, my novel in stories.

Learn more about tonight’s release party at http://www.creativealliance.org/events/eventItem1372.html

Or buy your copy online at Barnes & Noble.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Historic Senator

It’s been said, as much as authors like myself hate to admit it, that the movie is the new novel. That is, people used to sit by the fireside with a good book; now the average person is more likely to catch a movie. With that in mind, I’d like to shelve the book this week and join the conversation about the latest adventure of Indiana Jones.

Last night I was invited to an advanced screening of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull at The Senator Theater, one of our nation’s few remaining historic theaters. The theater seats 950 and barely a seat remained open. There must have been close to a thousand people there — from theater owners and critics to politicians and the ticket-winners. And you know what? Regardless of what they may say today, last night they were laughing, jumping, cheering – enjoying themselves.

Isn’t that what a summertime popcorn movie is supposed to do?

Indy 4 was a romping rollercoaster ride. Was the film as good as the original trilogy? Not quite — but that’s the nostalgia of 27 years creeping in. Sure the new movie gets a little far out, but so did the other movies. A 700-year-old knight guarding the Holy Grail? Beating hearts bursting into flames, anyone? That’s part of the comic-book fun. Indy movies don’t take themselves seriously.

Sure, the new movie includes some monkey business that would have been better left out. And, given the 17 years that have passed since Last Crusade, it’s more a tribute to the 50s than the 30s. And yes, it starts a little better than it finishes.

That said, Indy delivers. If you enjoyed the original three films, you’ll enjoy this one. It’s as fun as the originals.

So what are you waiting for? Hit the theater, grab your popcorn, get a good seat. And remember that the best place to see an old-style movie like this one is at a historic theater – like The Senator.

Visit Indy at his official website, where you can watch the trailers and TV spots.


Get the consensus from reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes.


Read Roger Ebert’s Indy confession at his blog.


Finally, visit The Senator Theater online.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Big News: Goose Contract Signed!

There's big news at the publishing pond! We have a publisher for our illustrated childrens’ book, The Flightless Goose! We have signed a publishing contract.

The book will be published by Writers’ Lair Books and is due out this summer.

The picture book, which tells the story of a goose who must cope with a disability and learn to focus on other strengths, has been a long time swimming. Based on the true story of a Canadian goose living on a pond in a neighborhood we once lived in, I wrote the story nearly ten years ago. Over the next few years, my wife, Nataliya, illustrated the book with her beautiful watercolors, bringing the characters to life.

Then came the grueling part—finding a publisher. Over the years, we submitted The Flightless Goose to dozens of publishers and agents. Some responses were form rejection letters, others were complimentary, but ultimately most of them passed on the project.

When the CEO of Writers’ Lair Books took a look at the book, she knew she wanted to publish it. She issued a contract, which we eagerly signed.

So, after years of wading in the water, The Flightless Goose is about to take flight. Look for it online and in bookstores summer 2008!

And be sure to stay tuned for news about the publication date, special pre-publication offers, the release party, and events in the area and around the country! You can read about it here at www.Writeful.blogspot.com -- just subscribe to our RSS feed. Or go directlyto the online pond.

You can visit the online pond at www.flightlessgoose.blogspot.com.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Chatting with Author Tom Monteleone

Last Saturday, the 20th Annual Maryland Writers Conference went well. More than a hundred writers at all levels—from beginners to seasoned experts—joined together to share and learn.

My own session went well. I participated in a panel discussion on marketing your writing. Joining me were authors Austin Camacho, Diane Marquette, and Peter Abresch. We provided tips on our own unique ways of marketing our writing to new audiences—through blogs, articles, book signings, book readings, conferences, and more.

The highlight of the conference was the keynote address by author Thomas F. Montelone. Tom is the author of thirty-six books and has published more than 100 stories. He’s also the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing a Novel.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Tom over coffee during the conference for about half an hour. But I didn’t conduct an interview since I knew that there were already two great ones out there by fellow conference-goers.

Read an interview with Tom conducted by Nancy O. Greene at The Writer’s Block here.


And listen to an interview with Tom conducted by Austin Camacho here.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Small Places Published in The Potomac

My fiction has been published in the May issue of The Potomac, a journal of poetry and politics—and fiction!

Small Places” is a short excerpt from Womb. Although this short piece is written in the third person, the novel itself is written in the first person – from the unique point-of-view of a child still in his mother’s womb.

“Small Places” is the only excerpt from Womb that has been submitted for publication. Revisions on the novel are still in progress with plans to begin submitting to agents late this year.

Small as it is, enjoy “Small Places” in the current issue of The Potomac now! Just scroll down to the “Quicktions” section on the lower left-hand side.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Deepak Chopra Wellness Retreats Mark 100th Anniversary of The Spencer

The Spencer, a literary-themed hotel and spa nestled in the heart of the Chautauqua Institution, is in its 100th year of continuous operation.

To celebrate, The Spencer offers an exciting program of health and wellness retreats by certified Deepak Chopra Center instructors.

Primordial sound meditation, Yoga, and Healthy Life Styles are a few of the services offered to guests to help them relax, refresh and renew.

For the literary buff looking to release the words from within, professional, award-winning instructors are offering three to five day workshops tailored to everyone’s lifestyle.

The Spencer’s spa offers a variety of invigorating, anti-aging treatments. The Signature Spencer Grape Country massage with essential oils of grape seed and lavender, as well as the Swedish Massage, Hot Stone Massage, and body wraps are designed to reduce stress and to complete your wellness experience. Guests will learn to grow younger with guided healthy food instruction. The Spencer’s spa services now include a sauna, relaxation room, and outdoor massages.

The 24 guest rooms celebrate the life and work of history’s most revered authors—from John Keats to Beatrice Potter; from Charles Dickens to Agatha Christie. Each room in this unique hotel pays homage to a renowned author. This is another reason people are making The Spencer Hotel not only a place to stay but also a destination in itself.

The Spencer Hotel and Spa is located in the heart of the illustrious Chautauqua Institution, the historic community renowned as a center for the performing and literary arts, and the discussion of the most important social and political issues of our time.

Whether guest are seeking a literary getaway, health and wellness retreat featuring certified Deepak Chopra Center instructors, or spa pampering, all are possible at The Spencer Hotel & Spa.

To learn more about The Spencer—the nation’s only literary-themed boutique hotel—visit www.thespencer.com. While you’re there make your reservations online or call The Spencer Hotel at 1-800-398-1306. Be sure to ask about The Spencer’s Deepak Chopra wellness retreats, spa packages, and writing workshops and literary getaways.