Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October Book Review by Ted

Well, I missed my deadline this month. First time I think...I did do one the day it was due........plenty of excuses, but editors don't accept them do they??

This month is a different book. Name one of your favorite TV actors, find an unexpected book written by him, and then read it to see what it is. Now let's dissect this; one of my favorite actors: ICE-T of " Law & Order SVU". I was surprised to find it is his 4th book. Book titled " Kings of Vice", we have a master of Hip-Hop, a good actor with a co-writer ( Mal Radcliff ), and we have a master story-teller. It is a novel that has a good plot- after 20 years in prison, a former gang leader is out for revenge against his former lieutenant who tried to kill him and took over the gang when he went to prison. While in prison, he was befriended by an older man who taught him patience, strategy ( SP?), he comes back to avenge his wounding and reclaim his gang empire.
Add beautiful women, a scheming Parole officer, old friends, more firearms, car chases, flying bullets------I will be surprised if this is not made into a movie. It fits into today's genre of gangster and shoot-em-up movies.
Read it and enjoy with this caution: The use of Black- Street Language is very heavy! If this were written by a non-Black, it might be offensive to some. If you do not find this offensive, you can find it a well-written story. Honestly I hope to see another book in the near future by this writing pair.

As before, I want you to notice this is another case of a co-writer, ghost-writer, or whatever name is being used these days. It is an opportunity for writers to make a living while gaining a reputation as a writer. More surprises next month.......Ted

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Movie review

I haven't done a movie review in a long time, so here goes. I went to see the "Guy Flick," Real Steel with Hugh Jackman and Evangeline Lilly. Both actors are gorgeous to watch on screen. I went into this movie thinking "oh, man, Rocky meets Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots." but surprisingly the movie hits all the right emotional cues. It suckered me in even though I knew, I knew, how the story went. I mean it's a tired plot line, right? Um, I had such a good time I wanted to stand up and cheer. I wanted to cry. I want to go see it again. It's the classic story about a down-on-his-luck boxer who has a lot to learn and has to make amends along the way to find his true potential. The story has heart and I have to say I'm not a fan of boxing, but I really enjoyed the robots smashing each other in the ring. Maybe there really is an audience for the sport of robot boxing. I think I'd go see a match or two.
My advice- go see this movie. If you have boys- take them to see it. It's a lot of fun.
If you've seen it, I'd love to hear what you think. Cheers~

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Best Advice

I suppose you have heard the old saying, "Learn the rules, then and only then, can you break them." I don't know if this is true or not. I think it depends on the writer. Telling people you are writing a book is a bit like telling people you're pregnant. (Sorry guys but the moms will understand.) The moment you tell people you're pregnant the horror stories come out. I was in labor for 10 days! They had to have five men stick their hands up there and yank the baby out. I nearly died. My ankles and face swelled so much I looked like the blueberry girl from Willie Wonky. Or my personal favorite, "Once you get pregnant, you'll never be slender again." (This said while drinking two colas and eating three snack cakes.)
When you tell people you're writing a book, the horror stories start. No one under forty gets published, you might as well wait. You have to know someone or you'll never get published. You need an MFA/PhD to get published. No one will take you without an agent. Agents won't rep you unless you're published. Outline? No, it's too contrived. No outline? You'll have to rewrite the entire book~no one ever writes a good book without an outline. Then people ask what you're writing and when you tell them, they get to tell you how no one is buying that. Or how that will never sell.
Next come the questions that mirror: when are you due? Haven't you had that kid yet? Are you still pregnant? They're: when's your book come out? Have you sold it yet? Are you done writing it yet?
Finally- no matter what you decide to do just like hospital or home birth- you will do it "wrong." Sign a contract with the big six? Wrong. There will be people standing in line to tell you why your choice was bad. Decide to Self publish? Wrong. There will be just as many standing in line to tell you how bad that is. Decide on a small press? OMG! How could you do that?
If you've read this far you either know exactly what I mean, or you suspect you'll understand someday.
My best advice to writers of all stages is this: Relax, be open to learning, be open to changing as much as you comfortably can and understand that everyone's journey is different. Which means that everyone and no one is right when they give you advice. It's your journey. Have fun with it. If it's not fun, it's not worth it. Cheers~

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How to Tell if You are a "True" Writer or Not

This week I was blogging over at Sia McKye's Thoughts Over Coffee blog. The idea of what makes you a "true" writer came up. A lovely follower noted that they must not be a "true" writer because... (insert reason here.)
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we look for the definition of a "true" writer?
I hate this question. I hate that some people say you have to be published by one of the big six to be a "real" writer. I hate that others say you aren't real until you make $X. So what in my opinion makes a "true" writer?
A writer writes.
That's it. It's that simple. Ask yourself, do I write? If the answer is yes, then you are a writer. It doesn't matter if you have to clean the house before you write or if you have to write when everyone else is in bed. It doesn't matter if the grammar is bad or the story-line doesn't hold up. It doesn't matter if your dialog is off key.
We all have our different ways of doing things and we all have the ability to learn. So what makes a writer? Someone who writes. Some writers are list makers. Some writers are poets. Some writers are slogan writers. Some writers are journalists. Some write for money. Some write research. Some write short stories. Others write novels or songs. All in all if you write, then you are a true writer.
Now that that is decided, the next thing to ask yourself is what are your personal goals as a writer? Do you want to write a short story? Do you want to write a song? A poem? A jingle for a product? Do you want to write fan fic? Do you want to write a novel?
How do your goals as a writer fit into your lifestyle? Having trouble finding the time to write? Ask yourself why- are you afraid of failure or success? Are you afraid to give yourself permission to take time to meet a seemingly frivolous goal? Or are your writing goals too big for your current life?
Whatever it is~ you have the power to change it. Fear of failure? Tell yourself you're only writing for fun and don't show it to anyone. Not until you want to or are comfortable. There is no rule that you have to have your work read to be a writer. Fear of success? Take the writing day by day Today I will write a page. I won't worry about hitting the NY Times list or doing appearances. Fear of taking time for yourself? Tell yourself that "Everyone" will be happier when you are happier and writing makes you happy. Adjust your goals to match your life-don't let yourself be pushed into something that doesn't work for you.
So here is my question: are you a writer? Did you write today? Did you want to? Do your goals need to be adjusted?
If you are a writer- even a writer of lists. Give yourself permission to play with it, to have fun with it. Life is too short to not be who you are or to try to live up to other people's expectations or definitions of who you are. Now go and write~ even if it's only to comment on my thoughts. Cheers~