Terror and Exhilaration

Terror and exhilaration consume you when you are about to launch a book. These emotions can be so extreme that they can easily trick you into procrastination through the guise and excuse of “I’m learning to market.” Right now I am learning to market, and so I bought Write to Market: Deliver a Book That Sells. This book was helpful in quelling some of my terror because I found that yes, my new fantasy series The Saga of the Dragon Born is still a hot category. It also has prevented me from making a huge mistake: writing the wrong sort of blurb. Readers are loving capable, kick-ass female characters. Now my new book Foreshadow: Book One of the Saga of the Dragon Born has exactly that sort of character, and the members of my writing group tell me they like her the best of my main characters. So I have to showcase feisty Burta in my blurb about my book, not gentle, sweet natured Tristabé-airta. Great stuff, to learn, huh? I think I need a least a week or two to suck all the marrow out of Writing to Market. I’ve bought another of Chris Fox’s books, Write to Launch. I expect that will be good for another few weeks of researching how to market. Don’t think I’m procrastinating though. I’m learning important lessons, and I’ll get Foreshadow up on Kindle soon, after learning to market, in a few weeks, not to long from now, when terror of not having put it up there on Amazon already sets me to leaping out of bed shrieking that I’m wasting my life. Okay, okay, I’ll research faster and publish the book very soon.

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Editing Films of Stage Plays

Have you ever edited a film? I’ve been teaching myself to edit by editing the films we taken of our plays. Right now, I have finished editing ”Belisa and Don Perloba in the Moonlit Garden.”

PerlobaWolf

However,  getting the sound track in good shape is tricky, so Guillermo (my husband and cohort in art) who studied film and engineering in college is working on the sound for me. While he does that, I am editing Flesh and Blooders, a dark comedy of magical realism.

FBDeath

I’m very excited to get these projects up on Youtube and on our site, storycrafterstudio.org.

These aren’t my only projects. I’m choosing plays to direct for the rest of this year, and have found short plays for an evening of short plays. Let me tell you, Miami is full of talent. These plays, all by local playwrights are superb. I am also a novelist, and currently my fantasy saga, The Contending, is posted at Kindle Scout for reader nominations. Kindle Scout is a program Amazon uses to find novels to publish. They offer a really good publishing contract. Cross your fingers for me! And please nominate The Contending. If it is awarded a contract, all the nominators receive the ebook free.

TheContendingCover

 

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“Gnome” from Writing Prompt 2

A gnome, a really ugly one, squat of body, gnarled of face, mean of eye, strolled out from around the carton of milk and jerked the box of cereal away from Shepard. The gnome stuck his filthy mitts into the cereal and shoved the food into his mouth, said mouth containing a long pointed tongue and broken and black teeth of ugly yellow. Shepard took the bottle of Kahlua from which he had been swilling, and emptied the contents down the sink. The gnome kept eating, dribbling milk down his chin. Then gnome stripped naked. Shepard went to the cupboard and took down his entire supply of spirits and upended every bottle into the sink. The gnome climbed into the box of cereal to reach those hard-to-get Fruit-Loops wedged in the corners. Shepard opened his fridge and gazed at the six-packs of Guinness Stout. He looked at the gnome. The gnome was now lying in Shepard’s bowl of milk that had one stray red piece of cereal floating in it. The gnome’s eyes closed, and the small monster splashed milk across his protruding belly and hairy navel. Sheppard decided he was of such stern stuff that he could give all the Guinness to his sister when he went to her and his brother’s-in-law house tonight for dinner. Sheppard looked at the bowl of milk and gnome. Milk suddenly bubbled violently between the gnome’s legs. The gnome was farting it up in the milk, farting up the milk. The lone, red Fruit Loop floated to soggy rest on the gnome’s hairy belly. The gnome bent his head to it, and slurped it up. Shepard grabbed up his six-packs of Guinness and headed out to his car. His sister wouldn’t mind him showing early, especially with all this Guinness.

The next day Shepard awoke happy—one day sober! He showered, dressed, ready for work. He popped into his kitchen for a quick bowl of cereal—a different type than yesterdays. He filled his bowl with cereal, then milk, instead of putting in milk first as was his usual habit. The gnome strolled out from behind the cereal box, strolled up to Shepard’s bowl, set its elbows on the rim of the bowl and then set its head on its hands in contemplation of the bowl of cereal. Shepard lowered his spoon back to the table top. The gnome stripped and climbed into the bowl of cereal and milk. It fixed Shepard with an insolent glare as it squatted down and started smacking on cereal.

Shepard simply left the apartment and went to work. He called a number on Craig’s List about another apartment and drove to it that night, deposit monies in his pocket. He never went back to his old apartment.

“I’m clean now. I don’t want those memories.”

In his old apartment the new tenant, a woman named Hooke, stubbed another cigeratte into her stuffed, stinking ash tray. A really ugly gnome was eating her toast as it sat in the sunny side-up egg she had just cooked for herself.

 

 

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Why theaters, like Storycrafter Studio, Open Where They Do

For decades, cities have rezoned blighted areas as arts and cultural zones in order to improve the areas. Artists come in, lured by low, low rents they can afford and set up shop. The Abbey Theater in Dublin was originally a funeral home in a bad part of town that a patron of the arts bought for Yeats and his fellow playwrights (Sean O’Casey, etc.) to open a theater. The Village in NYC moved from bad area to art conclave, and because of the artists eventually became ultra expensive. Lincoln Road on Miami Beach was a terrible area until the artists moved in. As usual, the artists attracted so many people that eventually the artists on Lincoln Road were financially pushed out with rents climbing to $100,000 a month. Wynwood, a dangerous area of empty warehouses that the city feared would catch fire, lured in the artists with cheap rents. Today few artists can afford Wynwood and are seeking inexpensive rents in other parts of Miami. Some of Miami artists can be found in Little Haiti where the Villain theater and art galleries have sprung up on along the tree-lined streets. As most Miamians, know, however, both Wynwood and Little Haiti suffer from very little available parking and gun fire. North Miami has for many years been interested in beautifying and uplifting the city. In the time honored method that has always worked so well, the City of North Miami has zoned an area as a Design and Culture District. Part of the district runs along West Dixie Highway. From NE 125 St, where great music and art can be found at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Luna Star Café, and various small are galleries, to up along West Dixie Highway to about 130th Street where the Performing Arts Network and Storycrafter Studio do live performances, the arts are moving to North Miami. Like arts Wynwood (prior to becoming corporate Wynwood) and arts Lincoln Road (prior to becoming corporate Lincoln Road), West Dixie Highway has its fine restaurant, Captain Jim’s Seafood Restaurant. Unlike Wynwood and Little Haiti North Miami’s Cultural District has plenty of free public parking and NO gunfire. So come to West Dixie Highway in North Miami and enjoy dinner at Captain Jim’s Seafood Restaurant and see The Wish Maker at Storycrafter Studio. If you do, you will have found where artists have come.

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Actors: Introverted Extroverts; Playwrights Are More So

A few years ago I took a writing workshop to meet people in my neighborhood and because as an author, periodically taking classes helps me keep up my form. My writing workshop instructor talked to us about “blog personas.” Now this was something that really grabbed my fancy because, well, I don’t think I have one. It seems to me that it would be a good thing to have, a Blog Persona. There are some of us whom psychologists call “extroverted introverts” which means shy people hiding behind a façade of extroversion. Many actors are extroverted introverts; they love to be in the limelight but really are quite introspective and retiring. I’m an extroverted introvert. My first reaction to being asked to write or speak is “What should I say?” “What should I say” and having to talk to strangers can be so worrying, so intimidating that at times, often in my inadequately spent days of green girl years that not knowing, the saying did not get said. The pizza did not get ordered—I’d have to talk to a stranger and what should I say? I’m only going to admit to not ordering pizza on the phone. I’ll leave the other things I couldn’t figure out how to say and the people to whom I should have spoken and did not to your merciful (please?) imagination. I suspect a lot of bloggers must be extroverted introverts. Think of it. You don’t really have to face any stranger and you can say what is in your head and assume no one is going to read it—and if anyone does, they aren’t really real. You can’t see all those internet people or hear their voices.

As an extroverted introvert, I have a public face, public voice that rings with “pear shaped tones” per my training in the theater. My private face, my private voice, hmm, there’s a bunch of them. Playwrighting teachers say that’s perfectly normal for playwrights. Psychologists tend to think so long as it doesn’t interfere with getting on with your life, it’s fine. So this thing of finding one’s voice is more like choosing my voice or not letting the aggrieved-with-the-world voice slip in to mess up the fun voice I want to play with. I’m reminded of my lawyer, an amiable, tenor-voiced person. He deepens and resonates his voice when he wants to put the fear of the law into you. He calls it his “big pants voice.”

I’m thinking we playwrights–I’m a member of the Dramatists Guild–are a rather severe type of extroverted-introverts. Think of it, we are tucked away writing, and we emerge not to speak, but to make other people speak out loud in front of a big audience, preferably lots of big audiences! Perhaps we are extro-egoverted-introverts. I’m musing on this because I am have reopened my small black box, actually blue-box theater and in rehearsal with my new play, The Wish Maker. My cast has found all sorts of funny typos in it, and they have suggested some very good line changes. Proof-reading takes a cast. Proof-reading is so boring I need to play classical music to keep my mind on it. In my fantasy, Foreshadow, Book One of the Saga of Dragon-Born, which was about to be published by Booktrope, (Booktrope folded just before my book was ready to be published) I found two pages where practically every third word is capitalized. How did this glut of capitals happen? Do other extroverted-introvert authors have the bad habit of emulating Victorian novels by capitalizing all sorts of non-worthy-of-capitals-words? Well I should have some dinner before rehearsal. Maybe I’ll call for Chinese, or maybe not…

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The Brehon Laws and Hamlet

The Brehon Laws of Celtic Ireland are very ancient, in some ways part Proto-European, as Wikipedia reports, “A past may still be suggested for a certain legal concept based on Irish legal terms’ being cognate with terms in other Celtic languages.” Take a look at my article The Bardic Tradition’s Effect on Elizabethan Casting to see how the Brehon laws affected Shakespeare directly. The Celts of the British Isles had some pretty able and formidable queens. For those of us who’d like to see a woman play Hamlet, but not as a man, as woman, as Hamlette a future queen might be played, the Brehon laws and the history of queens of Celtic British Isles give us good example and fine rational.

Though Hamlet is set in Denmark, Shakespeare’s head remains firmly in the British Isles. If we look at Hamlet through the eyes of the Brehon laws, we find that if we cast Polonius as Polonia, Claudius’s sister, then by Brehon Law, Claudius’s sister’s children are his heirs. As the elder of the two sons (Laertes and Orpheus), Laertes becomes heir to the throne as Claudius’s heir. Also in Celtic history, the king is made king by virtue of being married to the queen. This is why Claudius married Gertrude. Killing his brother was not enough. To be king he had to be married to the queen. The land was tied to the queen. The king was its steward. This gives an explanation of why Hamlette is not automatically crowned monarch when her father dies. Claudius, does not have to kill Hamlette as a political threat. He can simply marry her off to Laertes, which is why Laertes (just before leaving to kick up his heels in la belle Paris) tells Orpheus that Hamlette is not really interested in him. Laertes knows that he is to marry Hamlette.

Things change though with the play within the play. At that point Claudius starts thinking of killing Hamlette. Why? Well, Claudius and Gertrude have now been married three months. Gertrude would now be showing if she were pregnant. Claudius now will have his own heir. Hamlette is a threat to his future child. Hamlette outsmarts Claudius and returns alive. Laertes returns full of vengeance for his mother and brother. Again the Brehon Laws give us insight. A woman could become queen if she had a champion to win a contest of arms for her, or if she could do so herself. The two possible heirs to the throne, Hamlette, as daughter to the murdered king, and Laertes, nephew and heir to the current king are to fence, to duel. Claudius sets up a contest of arms between Hamlette and Laertes. By Brehon Law, the winner of this bout would be the lawful heir.

So other than a few pronouns, I only have to fiddle a bit with Orpheus’s mad scene. The lines and story of Hamlet carry this interpretation of a Hamlette well.

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Guillermo Ramon Makes 1st Cut in MiSciFi

Storycrafter Studio’s actor and playwright, Guillermo Ramon, has made the first cut in the 2016 Miami International Science Fiction Festival. See him performed in “Music of Broken Water” as the Ghost of King Nisus.

“Dear Guillermo, Thank you for submitting your screenplay / work to the 2016 Miami International Science Fiction Film Festival—we greatly appreciate you sending us your work for consideration. You have made it to the selection round! You are part of the official selection, congratulations! Our Selection Committee is taking your work to a high level of scrutiny. Storytelling, character creation, and development are a highly subjective art and your work has found a place at MiSciFi. The selection process was extremely difficult and you have made it past the initial cut, congratulations! This will be announced, so you may publically announce this news. Next are selections for the “Runner upsâ€�. If you make the next round, the winners that make it past this next level of scrutiny will have one page selected by the author read during the MiSciFi awards in a live stage performance. This will be reserved for no fewer than five to no more than fifteen works. From that pool, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd winners will receive software licenses for Final Draft plus two pages selected by the author to be read in a stage performance with actors in costumes, and fantastic themed music. Yes, this will be recorded and placed on the MiSciFi Youtube channel for all to see. Reader comments below. We will send a follow-up email with laurels and additional details. Again, Congratulations! Troy Bernier- Program Director Edward Figueroa- Program Director Eric Swain- Program Director ========================== Great for a regular or animation. Adults to kids. Imaginative. Perfect layout/professional. Good pacing. Interesting goal-driven characters. Character voice not precise. Very visual and a good plot based around the end of slavery in the future.”

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