Writers and Public Speaking Jitters

Good article from author Joseph Souza on being an author and public speaking.

Maine Crime Writers

Public speaking is a necessary evil for many authors. Although there are authors who love being in front of audiences, and who are good at it, I’m betting there are many more who absolutely dread it. Whose stomachs churn and turn, worrying about becoming tongue-tied in front of all those people eager to hear about their new book.

I’m an author who falls somewhere in the middle. Yes, I get nervous butterflies leading up to the event., but once I get talking, I realize I’m not doing too bad. In some ways it’s like jogging: the best part of public speaking is when it’s over and your signing books and thanking people for coming. Knowing you survived.

The reason I chose this topic to blog about is that my new book, PRAY FOR THE GIRL, came out in April and I’ve been doing a lot of talking about it. The…

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Birds of Brooker Creek

A few birds photographed a couple of weeks back at the Brooker Creek Preserve.

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Pileated-Woodpecker  

 

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Red-bellied Woodpecker

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Carolina Wren

 

 

 

The Beauty of Life Stories, Well Told

Interesting post from author Brenda Buchanan.

Maine Crime Writers

I love a well-written obit.

In fact, the obituary section may be why I still subscribe to several newsprint papers, which, unlike their digital cousins, invite me to really read, rather than skim. That’s important when we’re talking mini life stories. Friends, mere acquaintances, total strangers—it doesn’t matter. I want to know what they invented, who they loved, how they made a difference in the world.

As a journalism student I worked at the Boston Globe, initially as a newsroom clerk (we all were called copyboys, even though by the late 1970s some of us were female).

We wrote on these back in the day.

One of my duties was to write basic obits. When person died who was moderately famous (or infamous), at least locally, the city editor would assign whichever copyboy wasn’t otherwise occupied to gather information and write it up.

I wasn’t a reporter yet, but…

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Bitter Ends – The eBook

The eBook version of Bitter Ends will be available on Amazon within the next few days. Meanwhile I thought I would share the titles of the twenty short stories. A paperback version will follow soon.

Good for Nothing
Benny and Slaughter      Bitter Ends2-009
Killer Smile
Izzy
The Arrangement
About to Die
The Promotion
Ellie’s Cats
No One’s to Blame
Never Look Back
Brotherly Love
The Neighbors
The Best Sex Ever
We All Got What We Wanted
Assisted Living
The Confession
Your Perfect Match
Divorce Not an Option
Anything for Art
A Marriage to Die For

 

 

 

Cats and Bookstores

Gotham1Cats of the Gotham Book Mart

There is a certain aura that overwhelms you when you enter a bookstore, I’m not talking about your chain type Barnes and Noble store but those small independent stores that have been under a financial siege for years now.  Browsing a bookstore is an adventure. It’s a place to meet old friends and discover new ones, authors of all kinds will jump out at you. Bookstores are a piece of heaven here on earth. And any bookstore worth its salt has a resident cat.

cats in book

                                                                 Hodge (Chicago) 

Yes, cats and bookstores go together like salt and pepper or peanut butter and jelly; neither are complete without the other. When you walk into a bookstore and lying down, resting his head on a small stack of books is a feline who takes a quick glance up at you, then makes the split decision to judge if you are worth his energy to greet or should he just lower his head and  go back to sleep, you know you are in bookstore utopia.

Cats, like bookstores, are above the fray of the outside world. That’s why they are perfect for a bookstore where customers are all hoping to find the next book that will pull them out of their mundane daily life and for a time escape from the real world.

When you find your next perfect book to read there is nothing like taking it home, sitting in your favorite chair and having your own feline buddy snuggle up right next to you. Cats carry themselves with a certain dignity and manner that demands the reader hold the book in one hand and pet them with the other.

Cats in bookstores most likely began with the owners attempting to cut down on the mice/rats population in their store. These days the furry feline is way too regal to be strictly a mouser! Anyone who owns a cat knows it’s their house and you only live there to serve their needs. It’s the same with bookstore cats. It’s their store, their only job is to make your stay more inviting,  cozy and pay attention to them.

My Book Covers, My Photography

Book Covers1001I have been designing my own book covers, for better or worse, except for my first ebook of fiction (Murder with a Twist), and have been using my own photographs for the covers. Professionals say this is a potential road to disaster. I assume that may be true, but as a  photographer with a backlog of thousands of photographs available, it seemed to me I should be able to find suitable cover photos if I gave it the thought and time.  That said, in this post I thought I’d share some of the creative process involved in selecting the right photograph or photographs that work with each book’s subject matter.

Film Noir at Twenty Four Frames Per Second

My first ebook, Film Noir at Twenty Four Frames Per Second, consist of a collection of film articles from my film blog Twenty Four Frames. When I first became interested in photography, back in the 1970’s, I lived in New York City and many weekends were spent roaming the streets photographing. I sometimes merged my love of movies and photography by photographing the movie theaters that were all over the city. This was before the bland, box cutter multiplexes we have today.  Over the years, whenever I traveled I continued to photograph  classic  movie theaters that have managed to survive the onslaught of multiplexes.  One of these survivors is the Tampa Theater.

My wife and I moved to Florida some twenty years ago and we have attended many film showings at the Tampa Theater (built in 1923). I had photographed the exterior on a few occasions, but wanted to photograph inside the theater. One afternoon, with camera in hand and between film showings I took a series of shots including the one that graces the cover of Film Noir at Twenty Four Frames (I did ask for permission to shoot). The original photograph was in color but keeping in line with the book’s dark theme of film noir, I changed it to black and white giving it a darker look in line with the subject matter.  Below are both the original photo and as it appears on the book cover.

                    Tampa Theate-Aud - Book Cover    Book Cover_DSC_0583-005

 

Lessons in the Dark

Skipping over my first work of fiction (Murder with a Twist), Lessons in the Dark was the second book where I used my own photographs. The cover is a collage of multiple photographs of various New York movies theaters now all sadly gone except for the Paris theater on 58th street. Most were shot on black and white film which I did a lot of at the time.   Lessons in the Dark is collection of article  on films  that hold up a mirror to both our past, and our lives today. These are films though made thirty, forty or fifty years ago remain relevant to our world today. Life and art repeat themselves. The fear mongering, the racial hatred we hear today from plastic gods promising greatness  for America feeding the hate. I knew that I wanted to use a movie theater photograph and began searching through my files. I came to the decision the one theater would be too bland but realizing I have many  photographs of movie theaters and a book that looks back in time I felt a collage might work. I began arranging and rearranging my various theater photographs. There were multiple versions until I came up with the final cover. Below are a few of the original photographs used followed by the final book cover.

        Baronet & Coronet Theatres_CR1-001 Book Cover   Loew's S-002 book cover

42nd Street-003 book Cover    Loew's Oriental -1971 Book Cover

 

Lessons Dark Final Book Cover

Devious Tales

Devious Tales needed something dark and maybe a bit mysterious considering the subject matter. The original photo was taken in 2016 along Santa Fe’s Canyon Road, known for being a street filled with art gallery after art gallery, many artist owned and run. The photograph was taken outside the entrance way of  one of those gallery’s. The image was all shadows reflecting off the gallery’s adobe building. The photo came across to me as somewhat dark and shadowy. Below is the original photo, a black and white version followed by both the final ebook cover and paperback cover.

        Wall Shadow_DSC655_CW-6555          Wall Shadow_DSC655_CW_B&W-6555

 

                     Devious Tales Book Cover - Final (1 of 1)-001           Devious Tales Paperback Cover

In a future post, I will take a look at the making of the book cover for Bitter Ends, my upcoming collection of short stories.

Recent Read: Why To Kill a Mockingbird Matters

MockFew novels have proven to be as important and influential as To Kill a Mockingbird, and few films have become just as important as its source material. Tom Santopietro (The Godfather Effect, Sinatra in Hollywood, Becoming Doris Day) is one of the finest pop culture writers working today. In his new book, the author take a deep dive look at the cultural impact of both Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, published in 1960, and the now iconic film released in 1962. Over its more than 50 years existence, To Kill a Mockingbird has been both praised and banned. Criticized and hailed by both liberals and conservatives.

Santopietro paints a detailed look beginning with Harper Lee’s childhood in the tiny town of Monroeville, Alabama, the inspiration for Maycomb, the fictional town in Lee’s classic. It ends with the publication of Go Tell the Watchman, Lee’s original and extremely different first draft. In between, we get well known and little known details such as Spencer Tracy was originally considered for the role of Atticus Finch. We all know Gregory Peck landed the part in what would turn out to be the role of a lifetime. Who else can be Atticus Finch!

Almost sixty years after its publication, To Kill A Mockingbird remains one of the most read and influential books in America, required reading in many high schools. As relevant today as it was back in the 1960’s. It asks some,hard questions. Can a country that has fought to make the world safe from tyranny and fascism somehow save itself and live up to its potential as a democracy where there is justice and freedom for all. Today, we are failing. As the author  points out, substitute Muslims and Mexicans, along with other South Americans attempting to enter the country, for blacks and you have to asked yourself how much has really changed?

With over 40 million books in print, everyone whether liberal or conservative wants to have an Atticus Finch in his or her life.