In the News & More
2 Million American Children Have Their Own Websites
According to data recently released from "Children,
Families and the Internet," a survey by Grunwald
Associates, more than 2 million American children ages
6 -17 have their own personal websites. This figure
represents fully 10 percent of the 23 million kids who
have Internet access from home today -- a threefold
increase since 2000.
Four in ten children online from home say they either
have or plan to build their own sites. With the majority
of kid site planners saying they'll build within the next
year or sooner, the researchers project that more than
6 million American children, more than one in four of
kids online from home, will have their own personal
websites by 2005.
Abercrombie & Fitch Caves In
After being blasted by everyone from CNBC anchors and
analysts to family groups, retailer Abercrombie & Fitch
said on Tuesday that it has "retired" its racy in-store
catalog. CBS News' "60 Minutes" profiled the company's
hiring practices last Sunday. As I mentioned last week,
Abercrombie is the subject of two racial discrimination
lawsuits regarding its hiring practices.
Ad campaigns launched this week
Nissan names its newest car. Allstate takes a stand.
Chicago Tribune showcases its editorial staff.
Far from being the dot-gone that we all thought it was
after the crash of 2001, it looks like advertising
spending by dot-coms is actually on the rise for the
first time since the end of the boom.
Ben Silverman is the founder/publisher of soon-to-be-
relaunched DotcomScoop.com and a business news
columnist for The New York Post.
Don't expect Time Warner Cable to get too far into
pricing wars when it comes to broadband. At an
investors' conference Tuesday afternoon in New York
City, Time Warner Cable Chairman/Chief Executive
Officer Glenn Britt said that there are no plans to
drastically cut the prices on its broadband service.
While that doesn't mean that it won't engage in some
special discounting or temporary offers, Britt said Time
Warner Cable wasn't going to go for an overall price cut.
Love Don't Cost a Thing
Of all the 1980s teen comedies available to re-make,
why did Troy Beyer select Can't Buy Me Love? The low-
rent, John Hughes-inspired 1987 original has its
adherents, but most of them like the movie not
because it's a good film (which it isn't), but because it's
so easy to mock. Can't Buy Me Love is a great film to
laugh at (not with), and, watched in the right
company, can be a fun experience. In updating and re-
making it into a 2003 hip-hop morality play/comedy,
Beyer and company (including original screenwriter
Michael Swerdlick, who returned to help pen the new
version) have eliminated Can't Buy Me Love's campy
innocence and replaced it with an underlying sense of
sleaze. The result is an atrociously unfunny,
unromantic, and unpleasant product.
For those who care about such things, Love Don't Cost
a Thing has a moral: be true to yourself. It may be
presented in an inelegant, preachy manner, but it's
there. Parents might applaud this message, but they
won't be as thrilled with the underlying one: if you're a
hard-working, nerdy high school student, the only way
to get booty is to pay for it. The filmmakers may not
have had that in mind when they put the movie
together, but that's the lesson more viewers are likely
to take to heart.
Girl with a Pearl Earring
Girl with a Pearl Earring is the first feature for director
Peter Webber. Most freshman filmmakers don't come
close to Webber's level of accomplishment, and (not to
take anything away from him) some of the credit must
certainly be parceled out to the cast and the
cinematographer, Eduardo Serra. Girl with a Pearl
Earring offers sumptuous visuals and compelling drama
effectively intermingled in a pleasing, satisfying
production. The director has crafted the film with great
care, composing each frame like a painting with respect
to color, light, camera placement, and texture. Girl with
a Pearl Earring could be silent and it would still be an
Johansson's sublime performance is ably supported by
those of her better-known co-stars. Colin Firth gives us
a brooding, dour Vermeer who only shows passion while
painting (imagine Mr. Darcy with long hair). Judy Parfitt
is her usual excellent, acid-tongued self. Tom Wilkinson
gives himself to debauched abandon. And Essie Davis
plays her part as a grown-up spoiled brat to the hilt.
We have come to anticipate top-notch acting in British
productions, and our expectations are not disappointed
here. Girl with a Pearl Earring is one of those films that
does many things right, and that places it among the
year's best period pieces. It's a cut above the usual
BBC costume drama.
"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (This is
the one I'm waiting for!)
directed by Peter Jackson. Starring: Elijah Wood, Viggo
Mortensen, Sean Astin, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom.
The classic story continues as Frodo, Sam, Gandalf and
the rest of the gang are back. The Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King will present the final
confrontation between the forces of good and evil
fighting for control of the future of Middle-
earth. "Return of the King" rivals "Matrix" as one of the
most anticipated follow-ups of all time and is sure to be
a worthy follow up to its predecessors. December 17
"Mona Lisa Smile"
directed by Mike Newell. Starring: Julia Roberts, Kirsten
Dunst, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Julia Stiles, Topher Grace,
Marcia Gay Harden. Set at an all-girls college in 1953,
Roberts stars as a free-spirited art history professor
who opens the eyes of a group of young girls. Analysts
are saying there may be another Oscar in store for Julia
for this so-called "Dead Poets Society" for women.
CNN's "Paula Zahn Now"
* CNN's "Paula Zahn Now" is structured around Zahn's
interests, from politics to family issues, and features
interviews, both taped and live, with interesting on-the
news guests, from such luminaries as President George
Bush to late-night host Conan O'Brien. The senior
executive producer is Jim Miller, at their new studios at
the Time Life Bldg. Reach Miller at CNN, 1271
Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020, (212)
522-2761. Other new producers will come aboard soon.
Business Talk Radio Network's "Biz Soup"
* "Biz Soup" is a weekend radio show which is heard
over 100 stations on the Business Talk Radio Network.
The show, with host John DeBevoise, is heard from 8 to
10 PM ET on Saturdays. The thrust of the show is to
help people with small businesses or home offices. The
show has interviews with tax experts, marketing
experts, patent attorneys, entrepreneurs, off-beat
people, and includes information about new technology
products Suggestions should go to John DeBevoise,
who is also the producer, Bizness Soup Media Group,
37215 E. Benton Rd., Temecula, CA 92592, (909)
453-2673; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Forbes.com has launched a new section devoted to
business opportunities made possible by the merger of
information technology and imaging applications.
Information should go to Penelope Patsuris, (212) 366-
8836; E-mail: email@example.com.
CELEBRITY PRODUCTION COMPANIES
Wychwood Produtions (Simon West)
5555 Melrose Avenue
Hollywood, CA 90038
Yak Yak Pictures (Mimi Leder)
4000 Warner Blvd., Bldg 138
Burbank, CA 91522
Yorktown Prods., Inc. (Norman Jewison)
3000 W. Olympic Blvd. Bldg 2, Ste 2465
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Zanuck Co., The (Richard & Lili Fini Zanuck)
9465 Wilshire Blvd., Ste 930
Bevelry Hills, CA 90212
If any of you have linked to your review/interview on
the old site, you may want to visit the new site and
update the url as the old site will be dismantled by the
end of next week.
Last weekend I had 2 booksigning's scheduled.
Saturday went without a hitch. Sunday on the other
hand.... in the first thirty minutes I sold 1 book and was
being hit on by an old man (60's?). I was polite,
listening to what he had to say, but my brain was
busily talking "shoo, shoo go away your blocking the
Needless to say Waldenbook employees were having a
laugh. The lonely man finally gave up after about 15
minutes and my signing continued. *whew!
On another note: After several phone call discussions I
realized that "hollywood" wants my book, but want to
push out the writer. So I called my manager and she
wasn't surprised, and said "don't you dare sign anything
away. Hold your ground - they want that book!" Well
duuuh! Like I'm giving my hard work away? Presently
we're waiting on the greenlight from the toughest
analyst they have to offer. Hmmm maybe I should hit
them over the head? Stars can be green, can't they?
Wish me luck!
|Recipes & Jokes|
This is a Mexican version of coleslaw. It will keep for
several days in the refrigerator.
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cider vinegar
1-1/4 cups sugar
2T. celery seeds
3 lbs cabbage, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 white onins, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
In a saucepan heat the oil, vinegar, sugar and celery
seeds until mixture boils and the sugar dissolves.
Simmer for a few minutes.
Combine the vegetables in a large bowl. Season with
salt and pepper. Pour the hot dressing over the
vegetables. Let satnd for at least 2 hours before
JOKE OF THE DAY
Confusing The Border Guards
While crossing the US-Mexican border on his bicycle,
the man was stopped by a guard who pointed to two
sacks the man had on his shoulders. "What's in the
bags?", asked the guard.
"Sand," said the cyclist.
"Get them off - we'll take a look," said the guard.
The Cyclist did as he was told, emptied the bags, and
proving they contained nothing but sand, reloaded the
bags, put them on his shoulders and continued across
Two weeks later, the same thing happened. Again the
guard demanded to see the two bags, which again
contained nothing but sand. This went on every week
for six months, until one day the cyclist with the sand
bags failed to appear.
A few days later, the guard happened to meet the
cyclist downtown. "Say friend, you sure had us crazy",
said the guard. "We knew you were smuggling
something across the border. I won't say a word - but
what is it you were smuggling?"
|Author Spotlight - Book Reviews|
Title: If I Perish
Author: Deborah R. Turner
Genre/Market: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 2002
Book Length: 290 pages
A MASTERFUL STORYTELLER
If I Perish is the rare book that transports the reader to
another place and time. From the moment you pick the
up this book, you are immersed in the world of ancient
Persia. The people on the pages of the book not only
come alive, but the reader is also there, reveling in the
sensory delights provided by the author.
The story begins when the young girl who will become
Queen Esther is living in the Jewish quarter of town.
She is a beauty even before she turns thirteen years
old, living under the protective and loving care of her
uncle Mordecai who has taken care of her since the
death of her parents. She is called Hadassah as a
Jewish girl and grows up sure that she will one day
marry her best friend's brother, Reuben. But fate has
other plans in store for Esther. For after King Xerxes
has allowed his queen, Vashti, unprecedented power
and influence in his court, his princely advisors are none
to happy about a woman having so much say in
matters of state. They plot to get rid of her and
manage to get her banished, but the king mourns her
absence. The princes come up with the idea to have a
beauty contest throughout the land to find the most
beautiful girl who will then become the King's new
bride. While this is transpiring, King Xerxes has begun
fall under the influence of Haman, a rug merchant, who
appears to be wise and loyal to the King. Xerxes, who
is often much too trusting, soon elevates Haman to a
position of power which eventually leads him to become
Reviewd by Nancy Rechtman
To read the complete review & interview click
|Children's - Book Reviews|
M is for Manners
Title: Abbey & Friends M is for Manners
Publisher: Hexagon Blue; (August 1, 2003)
Author: Mary Jesse
Illustrated by: Jennifer Cherif
M Is For Manners tells of Abbey (a third grader) and her
family, as they go to dinner at Sarah's house. This is a
wonderful book, which can be used to teach children
positive behaviors, no matter what the circumstance.
The beautiful illustrations will surely entertain, this
whimsical story appeal to children of all ages.
I highly recommended this enchanting book as an
addition for any school, reading group, community
library. Although I would like to see this as required
reading for pre-school.
Reviewed by Betsie
To learn more about the author or purchase a copyclick here
|For Aspiring Writers|
The writer never creates out of nothing. While many
writers begin the process with research, along the way,
most writers will rely on their memory of stories,
feelings, and experiences to shade their work and make
it accessible to others.
Remembering often begins with memories of childhood.
Poet Rainer Maria Rilke said that memories and dreams
are inexhaustable resources for the writer.
Remembering is a creative act. When you're able to
bring an experience to life through a script or novel, the
audience/reader understands its authenticity. If you
made it ring true, they'll live it, feel it, sense it.
Part of your creative work is sharpening your powers of
memory: to hear the sounds, to evoke the mood, to
remember the pain. Thomas Wolfe calls it "making a
living out of the substances of one's own life."
Storytelling Without Dialog
It's very easy for writers to slip into too much talking.
Any time you can have something happen with very
little dialog all the better. Also try to keep in mind that
a spec script is nothing like a novel. If there's any
description of smell and ambiance it's a couple of quick
sentences and then only if it's critical to understand
what's going on. Don't spend a five line paragraph
describing the knick knacks on the shelves in the den.
Don't mention the knick knacks period unless there's a
great reason like a secret formula is hidden inside one.
A spec script is a very lean animal that is all about
visual action. Even in a character driven romantic
script a character can reveal himself with action and
not words. Imagine a husband who climbs out of the
bed, goes and sleeps on the sofa in the living room
when his wife pulls the blanket off of him as she turns
her back. That tells us a lot about the guy, right?
Let's see what we know....He'd rather avoid the
confrontation by just leaving the room. Why? Well, we
don't know yet, but we'd like to. How can we find out
more? What if when he went in the other room, he also
took two alarm clocks? Then, besides setting both of
these for 4:00 A.M. he also set his watch too. Now,
we know that he has to get up tomorrow morning
Now, back to the wife. If we see her smiling ear to ear
as she hears her poor husband out in the living room we
know some more about her. How about if in the middle
of the night, she slips out of bed, sneaks into the living
room, unplugs all the alarm clocks and drops the watch
in the fish tank? We have a pretty good idea what
kind of person she is despite her not uttering a word.
If you want a good writing exercise try and write a ten
page story without any dialog. Always strive to make
your scripts as visual as possible and avoid the "talking
head" label. If you don't think that development people
won't label your script "a talking head" script that
should be a play faster than you can say "New York
minute", then you're in a dream world because that's
one of the first things they're looking for to take you
out of the running. Once you've written your ten
pages without dialog go back in and place a few bits of
strategic dialog. I'd be surprised if you didn't then find
yourself with a very strong 11 or 12 pages.
|For Authors & Autograph seekers|
I've been contacted numerous times in regards to press
releases. Let me again explain what it is:
A press release is a subtle piece of advertorial: a
combination of advertisement and editorial content. We
all know the point of advertising is to bring attention to
a product, service and cause and turn the reader
(watcher,listener, etc.) into a consumer, voter,
volunteer or contributor. A press release is in one sense
an advertisement, but in this case your audience is the
media.You're selling them an idea instead of a product
though. So knowing that, consider your audience.
Last week I sent out the first "For Immediate Release"
that is what a press release should look like. Use it as
an example... fill it in with YOUR information. I have also
posted an example on our site, copy and follow the
instructions. If you have problems feel free to send mail.
KNOW WHICH CELEBRITY YOU'D LIKE TO
CONTACT? Then choose from any of these television
Twentieth Century Fox Television
10201 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Angel, Chicago Hop, Judging Amy, Simpsons, X-Files
Universal Studios Network Programming
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608
Just Shoot Me, Steve Harvey Show
Warner Bros. Television
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522
Drew Carey Show, ER, Friends, Jamie Foxx, Jess, Norm,
Worldwide Pants Inc.
New York, NY 10019
The Late, Late Show w/ Craig Kilborn, Late Show w/
Philadelphia Inquirer, 400 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia,
PA 19130; 215-854-5615; Fax: 215-854-5099. Email:
firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: http://www.philly.com.
Frank Wilson, Books Editor. Ann Waldron, Children's
Books. Richard Fuller, Thrillers. Sandy Bauers, Audios;
610-701-7635; Email: email@example.com. Carlin
Romano, Book Critic; 215-854-5615; Email:
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Boulevard of the Allies
(15222), P O Box 566, Pittsburgh PA 15230; 412-263-
1601; Fax: 412-391-8452. Bob Hoover, Editor.
Portland Oregonian, 1320 S.W. Broadway, Portland, OR
97201-9911; 503-221-8150; 877-238-8221; Fax: 503-
294-4193. Web: http://www.oregonlive.com. Jeff
Baker, Book Critic, 503-221-8165.
Providence Journal-Bulletin, 75 Fountain Street,
Providence, RI 02902; 401-277-7000; Fax: 401-277-
7346. Doug Riggs, Book Editor.
Rocky Mountain News, 400 W Colfax Avenue, Denver
CO 80204; 303-892-5000; Fax: 303-892-5001. Patti
Thorn, Books Editor; 303-892-5419. Email:
Here's the winner of this month's Betsie's
WE HAD A TIE!!!
SPINE points at the public school. You know the
characters, each a hot American topic: dangerous
students, teachers of various ilk, parents,
schoolboards, a minister seeking influence. A press
release may couple with my selection as columnist with
daily Herald-Leader (previously a Finalist)
and/or possible publication of "Lowering the
Motivational Bar" in Newsweek.
I wrote a romantic comedy titled 'Cool Spring.'
The reading audience it was intended for likes it.
If a movie producer read it he would like it.
I don't know any movie producers.
The videotape I sent in auditioning for 'Survivor' didn't
even make the first cut, so I could use some good
news right about now.
If both contestants would please send us a copy of
your press release, include reviews (complete), and any
other information you'd like to provide.
For the rest, do not despair! The contest begins anew
on January 5, 2004 and deadline for entries is January
15, 2004. So gather your thoughts and ready your
Copyright by Betsie, 2003
All contents of this email are for the use of Betsie's
Literary Page subscribers and may not be reproduced in
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Thank You for reading, see you next week!