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Betsie's Literary Page Newsletter
  Readers are Respected February 06, 2004  

in this issue

In the News and More

Recipes & Jokes

Book Reviews

For Aspiring Writers

For Screenwriters

For Authors

Media Contacts and More

In the News and More

So, what'd you think of this year's crop of Super Bowl ads? So far, polling by America Online and USA Today shows Budweiser in the lead. Between the Clydesdales, a donkey aspiring to be a Clydesdale, bears, monkeys, and other creatures, last Sunday night was more like the animal fair ad bowl.

For my part, I thought Deutsch's turbo-charged spot for the Mitsubishi 2004 Galant GTS-V6 was edgy and exciting and most notably, it sent me and probably thousands of others to its website to see what happens in the crash test spot. The site not only offers an excellent primer on the Galant's new features, in addition to warranty and dealer information, but it also compares the Galant's safety features vis--vis its closest rivals the Honda Accord EX-V6 and the Toyota Camry XLE-V6. On the site, Mitsubishi allowed consumers to play its kick-ass Super Bowl ad online and tried to build anticipation for the new vehicle by inviting people to sign up to receive an email alert for a sneak peak of its next TV spot.

On another note -- Pepsi made a masterful spot highlighting its online music giveaway via Apple's iTunes Music Store. The ad's star was a little girl, one of several kids sued last year for illegally downloading music from the Web. She promoted Pepsi's plan to counter illegal downloads by printing winning codes on soda caps that will be redeemable for millions of digital downloads from the iTunes Music Store. The ad's soundtrack featured Green Day's version of "I Fought the Law" and was, no doubt, part of the appeal at least for me. But let's see whether Pepsi's plan flies or not. Meanwhile, our love affair with erectile dysfunction via Levitra and Cialis continued. The ads either got men into the proverbial game, or sent them running sheepishly from their Super Bowl party or neighborhood bar.

But what did you think?

OF TOPS, SPEED AND SOME SUPER MOMENTS - What is it about live mass television audiences that causes white boys to do nasty things to black women? Overactive libidos aside, we think it's about another kind of desire - the public relations kind.

If you are to believe the statements of Viacom networks CBS and MTV that Justin Timberlake's partial disrobing of Janet Jackson during last night's Super Bowl halftime show was "unrehearsed, unplanned, completely unintentional" was written by spin controllers, you clearly did not observe their on-stage reactions in super-slow motion - over and over and over again on TiVo - as we did into the wee hours of the night. While it did seem that Jackson was startled by the sudden exposure of her right breast in front of what likely was the largest television audience of the year, not to mention the scores of thousands of spectators in Reliant Stadium, Timberlake barely skipped a beat and appeared quite poised and almost defiant in a strut-like pose while holding Jackson's breastplate before CBS' cameras cut away. He even seemed to be holding the item behind his back for a brief moment in a "gotcha" kind of gesture.

Jackson, by contrast, looked suddenly to her right, then down quickly before the network's editors cut to a billboard of the ironically positioned AOL "Topspeed" banner. Clearly, it was a moment that was all about tops and speed. It was also about fame - or infamy, depending on your side of the PR perspective. In fact, what's really got us fantasizing like a Monday morning quarterback isn't the metallic ring that was clearly festooning Jackson's right nipple, but the notion that Timberlake had some kind of secret sideline wager with actor Adrien Brody, who's impromptu ravishing of actress Halle Berry during his Oscar acceptance speech was live TV's previous most notorious white boy moment. Okay, so that's a little too conspiratorial, but it's not so far-fetched to think that Timberlake was at least inspired by the media attention Brody generated with his ambush smooch. After all, what's the water coolant flowing throughout America today? Surely, not the outcome of the Big Game itself, or even the farty, crotch-ridden ad campaigns that broke during it. The buzz is all about the speed with which tops can be removed on national TV.

LAY OF DEE KIDS 'MON- We, for one, are little surprised to see all the hubbub surrounding an endorsement deal for another distilled spirit, Allied Domecq's Malibu rum brand, which recently signed reggae singer Shaggy to plug its brand. In letters to the Federal Trade Commission and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, the Center for Science in the Public Interest said the endorsement deal was designed to appeal to teens, a charge, which if true would violate alcohol marketing regulations. To make its case, the center cited evidence of Shaggy's appeal among teens, including his two Teen Choice awards wins, which were based on voting in Seventeen magazine and its online edition. Personally, we think the association might be a stretch, but what we really want to know is where the center was when reggae singers were endorsing the use of ganja?

IN AND OUT- In most elections, even primaries, TV depends on so-called exit polls that take voters' temperatures after they leave the polling places. The networks take exit polls and returns from states where the polls close early, and "project" a winner. This has caused endless problems, between 2000's media debacle and a presidential election where a winner was called before all the states - most notably California - had finished voting. But now, because the voters stay in the caucus until everything's done, exit polling is useless. So the networks did "entrance polling." While it was surprisingly accurate this time around, it also highlighted a disturbing trend: journalists, like politicians, don't seem to want to wait for the results to come in.

Don't Cut The Cake

The Australians seem to come up with some bizarre PR news from time to time and they're at it again.

A memo sent out by Fiona McLean, public affairs and marketing manager for the Health Insurance Commission - the body that oversees Medicare down under - asks that Medicare officials do not publicly cut cakes celebrating the organization's 20th birthday.

"If you are organising an event for a local member, please ensure that he/she does not put a 'knife into Medicare' by cutting a cake. . . take it away (out the back) after the candles are blown out (if you want candles) and cut it up . . . away from any cameras," the memo reads, reports The Age.

Why doesn't McLean want the cakes cut in front of the media? Seems she doesn't want anyone to get the impression that the government is cutting Medicare funding.

"[The Health Minister's office] would like the overall message to be one of the Government saying that Medicare is here to stay and that the Government is doing everything possible to make it bigger and better," the memo reads.

Grubby Grubman's Testimony

The Daily Snooze finally broke some sort of story.

The Snooze got its hands on pretrial testimony given by PR maven Lizzie "heavy on foot, short on brains" Grubman last September. Grubman is being sued by a man who she ran over in the summer of 2001 in the chic Hamptons. If you don't recall, Grubman ran over more than a dozen "by accident" after a verbal altercation with a bouncer who told her she couldn't park in a fire zone.

Asked why she left the scene, Grubman replied, "I didn't go over to them, but I was trying to get the phone to call 911, and I was saying, 'Oh my God, what can I do?' "

She said a rather large friend of hers then whisked her away from the scene.

"I was screaming, saying, 'I need to go back and take responsibility for my actions,' and I was held down and not allowed to move," she testified.

Am I the only one who doubts this woman screamed, "I need to go back and take responsibility for my actions!"?

Gotta love those little rich, spoiled kids.



The Parent Trap

John and Michael are ready and anxious to become dads. They've figured out how to juggle their schedules, how to childproof the house, what nearby schools are like. Friends and family are supportive. So why is John having last-minute doubts about his worthiness?

My partner Michael and I were sitting in our adoption class when the teacher asked us to imagine and answer some of the "tough questions" our kids might ask one day. After a few minutes, Nancy-a single woman in our group-turned to me quite innocently and asked, "How would you explain to your child why he has two dads and no mom?"

Nancy's question caught me completely off-guard. Until that moment I thought Michael and I had covered all the bases. We'd discussed how we would change our routines, how we'd manage schedules and discipline and homework. We'd investigated schools and "childproofed" our home. We were as ready as we could be.

Suddenly, none of that mattered. Her question triggered a thought that kept rolling around in my head: "Do I really deserve to be a father?" I found myself turning red and mumbling, "I don't know." She gave me an empathetic nod-and the rest of the class passed in a blur.

When Michael and I started telling people we wanted to adopt, we found universal support. Gay and straight friends alike said, "You'll be such great parents. Any kid would be lucky to have you." Our social worker moved heaven and earth to get us into her class. My mom was so excited that the first words out of her mouth were, "You're going to tell him to call me Grandma, right?"

Michael and I basked in the glow of all this support. And the practical side of parenthood didn't throw me. As the oldest of five, changing diapers and making bottles is second nature. I've got three brothers, and every one of them is a great dad.

So why did Nancy's question trigger such a blast of self- doubt?

It ate at me for days-and when I finally recognized why, I was surprised and disappointed. It was an ugly case of internalized homophobia. I feared I did not deserve the privilege of being a father-just because I am gay.

For someone who makes his living as a civil rights activist, my reaction felt especially problematic. I'm definitely out at the office, at home, with family and friends. I've battled the demons of religion, discrimination, and internalized homophobia-an ongoing process that had made me simultaneously stronger and more sensitive to the struggles of others.

In hindsight, I recognize those attitudes for what they are-a powerful, often unconscious sense of inferiority, of unworthiness. I've wasted too much time thinking I somehow don't deserve the same good things in life my straight friends and family take for granted, believing I had to live my life making amends for my sexual orientation. Too often I have been a slave to a cycle of perpetual self-flagellation.

And I suspect I am not the only one who has experienced that struggle. In our class Michael and I met Mason, another gay man who was finally ready to adopt. He told us, "I've wanted kids all my life, but I always told myself parenthood wasn't for me. It took me until I reached my mid 40s to realize there was nothing holding me back from realizing that dream except myself."

I've come to see that the only way to break out of that cycle is to reframe my self-perception. Recognizing those attitudes for what they are-and recognizing their source-can be transformative. The struggles we as gay people often experience don't make us weaker- they can make us stronger and better equipped to thrive on the challenges of everyday life. And they can become tools that enable us to connect in more meaningful ways to the world around us.

With a bit of reframing, I now realize I bring distinct advantages to parenthood. My experience can give me heightened compassion for a child who feels lost because he no longer has a connection to his birth parents. I may be more empathetic to some of the issues he may face as he learns to become a part of our home and family. I'm probably going to be a lot more sympathetic as he explores and establishes his own identity.

And I've found there is no cookie-cutter definition of family. My widowed sister struggles at times in raising her two daughters, but there's no doubt in her mind that her children come first. When my old colleague Nate was sent to Iraq just after Amelia was born, the distance did nothing to diminish his or Mary Ellen's sense of connection. Our friends Rob and David juggle demanding careers with their devotion to 5-year-old Ethan, whom they adopted as an infant.

Very different circumstances and very different families, with one common denominator: The children thrive because they are deeply loved. I've come to realize the real measure of my ability as a parent, or any person's, has nothing to do with sexual orientation. It rests solely in letting my child know he is loved and cherished above everything else.

It's good to recognize this on the road to parenthood. I suspect I'll probably continue to deal with moments of self-doubt along the way, but then, I don't know any parent-straight or gay-who hasn't. I'm grateful for Nancy's question, and for the opportunity it gave me once again to move past self-doubt. For I'm learning that when I am no longer driven to prove my inherent right to exist, I can get on with living-and sharing-a life that really matters.

Written by John Sonego, Director of communications, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation




You Got Served is a perfect example of why folks in the music business shouldn't always step over into the movie business. The film is written and directed by Christopher B. Stokes; before making the direct-to- video House Party 4, he was the manager for such acts as IMX and B2K. In fact, members of both groups appear in Stokes' theatrical debut in lead roles, as do rapper Lil' Kim, MTV host "La La," and video choreographer Wade Robson, all in cameo parts, all probably favors for a pal.

I think I'd like to see a documentary on street dancing. There's obviously a subculture hinted at here that's worth spotlighting. But instead, all we get with You Got Served is a weak update of Beat Street or Breakin'. Stokes shows he has no eye for filmmaking and storytelling, and there's nothing worthwhile here that fills the void between dance numbers. A movie with this much dancing should be crackling with electricity. Instead, this is simply no fun, a limp hip- hop flick without a single spark.

The Big Bounce

Many of Elmore Leonard's crime novels make for great movies, including the 1990s films "Get Shorty" and "Jackie Brown."

The author's trademark is a wittily percussive narrative, driven as much by humor and character development as action and suspense. Unfortunately, Leonard's latest novel to become a movie, "The Big Bounce," is only slightly successful in living up to the material.

The best performances are little more than walk-ons. As Ray, Sinise brings his usual skilled mix of menace and charisma to the proceedings, but his total screen time amounts to only a few minutes. Freeman, as the wise yet wistful sage he has played many times before, is compelling enough, but his character doesn't go anywhere. The same goes for Jones and Sheen's extended cameos as comic villains.


When the Taliban denies women the right to work, an Afghan widow (Zubaida Sahar) and her young daughter (Marina Golbahari) have no one left to support them. To avoid starvation, the mother dresses her daughter as a boy and calls her Osama so that she will be allowed to work in a local shop. The plan gets out of control when Osama is taken away to a school to be trained as a soldier. If her secret is discovered, she will be executed. Osama has one ally within the school; Espandi (Arif Herati) knows her secret and tries his best to protect her by teaching her how to behave like a boy. That's a lot to deal with when you're only 12.

It's a difficult life to imagine, living under oppression, but the movie paints a pretty clear picture of the struggle of everyday life for the women who must always be covered with their burkas and are treated as second-class citizens. It also shows the boys learning the ritual bathing and prayer ceremonies, as well as military training (they are under the age of 13 when they're rounded up and taken to these schools).

This movie has a similar feel to Kandahar (where a women contemplates suicide because she can no longer stand to live under these conditions). Both films have powerful images and dark stories, yet still manage to find beauty in the country, the customs, and in some of the people.

The Perfect Score

There isn't enough material in that equation to fill a 30- minute TV sitcom slot, and yet, The Perfect Score is a feature film.

The Perfect Score is oddly paced and emotionally flat. There are a few laughs, but it seems to take forever to tell a fairly simple story about a standardized U.S. academic quiz that is held to be crucial for college entry yet known to be unfair on various racial and socio-economic levels.

Anything interesting in the film takes place on the sidelines: Johansson's icky father and his much-younger girlfriends, Matthew Lillard's cameo as the useless older brother of Standard Cute Guy, Tyra Ferrell as the jock's tough mom, and so on.

The pleasure of watching Scarlett Johansson turn dross into gold every time she's on camera is the only reason this movie rates any points at all. That the first shot of Johansson is a close-up of the crotch of her underwear tells you pretty much everything you need to know about The Perfect Score.


February 6 ; Wide releases

Against the Ropes: Born into a boxing family, Jackie Kallen (Meg Ryan) knows a winner when she sees one. Even though Luther Shaw (Omar Epps) might be a little rough around the edges, as soon as she sees him in a fight, Jackie knows he's a champion in the raw.

Barbershop 2: Take a seat, sit back, and get ready for another haircut: Calvin opens up shop once again in Barbershop 2: Back in Business, a sequel to the original comedy smash hit.

Miracle: Based on the exciting true story of one of the greatest moments in modern history, "Miracle" is the inspiring story of the team that transcended its sport and united a nation with a new feeling of hope.

Welcome to Mooseport: A former U.S. president whose plan to retire in a small Northeastern coastal town goes awry when he tries to fill an empty mayoral seat.

Limited Releases

The Dreamers

Cast: Michael Pitt, Louis Garrel, Eva Green
Director: Bernardo Bertolucci

Three young movie-lovers, one American and a set of French twins, are drawn together during the political upheaval of the 1968 Paris student riots and explore relationships in the context of their passion for film.

   Greetings Everyone!

Betsie's Literary Page is well aware and gratified to see that so many readers have shown interest in our newsletter, and much curious of new and upcoming writers.

We also appreciate all the mail recieved, but if we do not respond immediately - it's not because we're ignoring you - it's because we get at least 100 emails a day and require a bit of time, as we do reply to each and every one - as fast as we can.

So go ahead, encourage others to have a look. Although our readers must be doing this already, because of the dramatic growth in subscribers we know undoubtedly it has all been due to word of mouth recommendations. Quickly closing in at 1700 subscribers, for this we thank you.

"What writer?" you say.

"Ahhh! Well below you will find several more books of notable interest, read on."

** Please continue to feel free to send us your comments, opinions, articles and suggestions. Betsie's Literary Page is where readers are respected, books are cherished, aspiring writers are encouraged and authors are adored.

  • Recipes & Jokes


    These spicy nuts make a wonderful addition to icy cold beer or frosty Margaritas !!


    2 cups salted, skinless peanuts
    2 Tground red chilli powder
    1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    1 tsp. onion powder
    olive oil

    Place nuts in a large baking pan with sides. Mix spices together in a bowl and sprinkle over the nuts. Drizzle with a little olive oil if the spices do not stick to the nuts.

    Heat in a 250 degree oven for 15 minutes. Usin a spatula, turn the nuts over and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve warm.

    Alone on A Deserted Island

    Ed finally decided to take a vacation. He was tired of all the cold and snow in Wisconsin, so he booked himself on a Caribbean cruise and proceeded to have the time of his life - until the boat sank.

    He found himself swept up on the shore of an island with no other people, no supplies... Nothing. only bananas and coconuts. After about four months, he was lying on the beach one day when the most gorgeous woman he had ever seen rowed up to him. In disbelief, he asked her, "Where did you come from? How did you get here?"

    "I rowed over from the other side of the island," she said. "I landed here when my cruise ship sank."

    "Amazing," he said. "You were really lucky to have a rowboat wash up with you."

    "Oh, this?" replied the woman. "I made the rowboat out of raw material found on the island. I whittled the oars from gum tree branches; I wove the bottom from palm branches; and the sides and stern came from a Eucalyptus tree."

    "But-but, that's impossible," stuttered Ed. "You had no tools or hardware." "How did you manage?"

    "Oh, that was no problem," replied the woman. "On the South side of the island, there is a very unusual strata of alluvial rock exposed. I found if I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into forgeable ductile iron. I used that for tools and used the tools to make the hardware."

    Ed was stunned. "Let's row over to my place," she said.

    After a few minutes of rowing, she docked the boat at a small wharf. As Ed looked onto shore, he nearly fell out of the boat. Before him was a stone walk leading to an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white. While the woman tied up the rowboat with an expertly woven hemp rope, he could only stare ahead, dumbstruck. As they walked into the house, she said casually, "It's not much, but I call it home. Sit down please; would you like to have a drink?"

    "No, no thank you," he said, still dazed. "Can't take any more coconut juice."

    "It's not coconut juice," the woman replied. "I built a still. How about a Pina Colada?"

    Trying to hide his continued amazement, he accepted, and they sat down on her hand-woven couch to talk. After they had exchanged their stories, the woman announced, "I'm going to slip into something more comfortable". "Would you like to take a shower and shave? There is a razor upstairs in the cabinet in the bathroom."

    No longer questioning anything, Ed went into the bathroom. There, in the cabinet, was a razor made from a bone handle. Two shells honed to a hollow ground edge were fastened onto its end inside of a swivel mechanism.

    "WOW! This woman is amazing," he mused, "what next?"

    When he returned, she greeted him wearing 'nothing but vines' strategically positioned, and smelling faintly of gardenias. She beckoned for him to sit down next to her. "Tell me," she began suggestively, slithering closer to him, "We've been out here for a really long time. I know you've been lonely.

    There's something I'm sure you really feel like doing right now, something you've been longing for all these months. You know..." She stared lovingly, longingly, into his eyes.

    He couldn't believe what he was hearing: "You mean--- ", he swallowed excitedly, "We can watch the SUPER BOWL from here??!"

  • Book Reviews

    Title: Secrets of Modern Slot Playing
    Author: Larry Mak
    Publisher: L & M Publications; 4th edition (January 2003) ISBN: 0966459210
    Paperback; 108 pages
    Price: $10.95

    Rating: Recommended

    Before you hit the Casino!

    Anyone who has ever entered a casino will find this book a terrific resource. The author explains in layman terms how a slot machine works, dispelling myths. Fate is your best friend when you play a slot machine because there is nothing except mathematical probability when you hit the spin button. Luck has nothing to do with winning or losing at a slot machine, you just have to be in the right place at the right time.

    An enjoyable read with many humorous anecdotes that many of us will be able to relate to. Highly informative: in providing payout tables of various machines that are seen in many casinos today. There is also a state listing by casino that shows how each casino pays by denomination of slot machine. It not only teaches, but also provides detailed tips to improve the player's chances of winning when playing slot machines.

    This reviewer recently went to a casino and tried some of the hints from the book. Although I did not come out a winner, I limited my losses to $40.00 for 4 hours of playing time. Pretty good!! I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it for anyone who will be visiting a casino in the near future. For those who gamble and those who do not but are curious and want to learn. Enjoy!

    Reviewed by Lee Burlison


    Title: La Nueva Raza Latina en America (La Historia de un Illegal)
    Author: Tony Alcazar
    Genre: Inspirational/How To
    Paperback; 182pp
    Price: $11.95 *free shipping

    Rating: Highly Recommended


    The ideas written in this book have already been written more than a thousand times. We've even heard this type of story from aspiring immigrants over, and over. Maybe from someone within your own family.

    What makes "La Nueva Raza Latina en America" unique is that this is the true story of one man, a hopeful illegal who dared to enter the United States - all in search of the "American" dream, and found it.

    Alcazar, and his wife, from Lima, Peru applied for and surprisingly enough got a visitation visa to the U.S. then boarded a plane, hours later landing in LA. He cozened with the Mexican population and passed himself off as one of them, just in case he was caught by immigration. Thus making it easier in returning to the U.S.

    In detailed description, the author recounts how he reached his dream of running his own Bookkeeping business. Alcazar takes the reader step by step, through his struggles as well as his good fortunes.

    But even the worst can happen to those who reach their goals. Like a drug addict, a crash down to reality can be a nasty blow!

    Definitely the books objective is to save time in arriving at one's goals and managing to have a standard of life equal or better than a born "American" citizen. But by lack of faith they have been only used by few, is why in the United States the richest country of the world, only 5% is economically independent, for that reason also, so many are poor - specially between the Latinos.

    It conscientiously touches on important, and necessary subjects for personal growth. Overcoming and happiness of the human being, among them: Desire, Work, Preparation, Persistence, Value, Faith, Spirtualism, Optimism and Success.

    Written in Spanish only, clearly this book is aimed at Latinos, and with good intentions. Fact is, not only do Hispanics make up the fastest-growing ethnic group in the country, they also represent a commercial powerhouse.

    Although I believe this book would be of great value to all people, from all walks of life. "La Nueva Raza Latina en America" is not only inspiring but an eye opener. An absolute sure winner and the author should consider resubmitting this book to a publisher in English of course, as many would benefit from what lies between the covers. I for one, did.

    Reviewed by Betsie

    For more information on Tony Alcazar or his novel "La Nueva Raza Latina en America" go to:
    (818) 989-9001

    Children's Books

    Adventures of Riley: Safari in South Africa
    Written by Amanda Lumry and Laura Hurwitz
    Illustrations by: Sarah McIntyre
    Publisher: Eaglemont Press; (October 2003)
    Price: $15.95
    Hardcover: 36pp
    ISBN: 0966225783

    Rating: Highly Recommended

    A boy's adventure!

    This scholarly tale of 9-year-old Riley on "Safari in South Africa," with his cousin Alice, aunt Martha, and uncle Max take census of the different breeds of animals.

    Riley learns the eco system is the responsibility of everyone and every creature in the world must do its part for the world to continue to survive and have balance. Poachers, predators, and developers however tip the scales of the eco system and cause the animal population to become endangered.

    With each animal they encounter, some fun and interesting facts are revealed regarding their behaviors, eating styles, and play.

    The authors evoke the help of several zoologist, conservationist, and educators in the animal fields for references and include next to the fun facts illustrations of the references.

    This tale has awesome illustrations, set on the background of actual safari scenes and with real pictures of safari wildlife. You too will feel as if you were on this adventure.

    The Adventures of Riley in South Africa is one of a series of - Riley's tales. This book contains information on accessing the Internet so kids can continue more adventures, and a passport book with a stamp of South Africa, so when they read a different book they can collect the stamps.

    Children will absolutely love this book and learn from it.

    **A portion of the proceeds will go to the Wildlife Conservation, Smithsonian Institute: Educational Mission and the World Wildlife Fund.

    Reviewed by: Demetria Harris

    For more information or purchase your own copy go here.


  • For Aspiring Writers

    The Hero

    One of the most insightful critics of science fiction and fantasy was a fellow named James Blish. He wrote some of the best fantasy and science fiction novels of the 40's and 50's, including Cities in Flight, Surface Tension, Black Easter, and the Hugo-winning classic, A Case of Conscience. The essential quality of all work was that his heroes weren't just solving a physical problem; they were almost always caught on the crux of a moral or ethical dilemma created by their role or situation.

    During much of the 60's and 70's, Blish served as the book reviewer for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. He demanded that writers live up to the challenges they set for themselves, and he was a major voice holding the genre's feet to the fire.

    Blish was also a very kind man, very much commited to the success of young writer's.

    If you never learn anything else about heroism, it doesn't matter - that's the important lesson. Who does it hurt? And why?

    The beginning of your story is about who. You have to show the audience everything they need to know about who this person is.

    The middle is about why. You have to show the audience everything they need to know about how this problem works and why it belongs to this person.

    The end is about the what. What does this person do to resolve the hurt? And if you've taken care of the who and the why, then the what will be obvious. (The trick is making it surprising as well.)

    The hero doesn't have to be the most important person on the planet - just a person who gets shoved into enough situations that he will experience the scale of the problem. He should meet many people, all of who are reacting to the situation in different ways, each one dramatizing a different facet of the human condition.

    The job of the storyteller is to put the hero up a tree and then throw rocks at him.

    When you hurt the hero, you reveal his emotional core. If the hero's wife is being held hostage by Klingon terrorists, if his mother is dying of Martian measles, if the dog has mutated into a ghastly green amorphous blob that eats everything in its path, if the experimental black hole at the lab reveals itself to be a sentinent being, and all happens simultaneously, then whichever these of these issues the hero tends to first, tells you what is most important to him.

    That's why it has to hurt. Because that's how we find out who the hero is.

  • For Screenwriters
  •   Screenplays Wanted


    Gary Hoffman Productions -------

    I am looking for a completed laugh out loud, family comedy in the vein of 'Romy and Michele's High School Reunion' and Nation Lampoon's vacation and reunion movies. Relatable characters a must.

    Some of my credits include 'National Lampoon's Thanksgiving Family Reunion', 'The Big Heist', and 'Bastard Out of Carolina'. For more see

    Both WGA and non-WGA welcome to submit.

    Please e-mail a logline followed by a synopsis to: Gary Hoffman

    Scripts wanted! Any Budget! Any Genre! Send One Page Synopsis to Richard Banderas at script to screen:

    New Eng. based indie production co. is seeking scripts in all genres for immediate production. An award winning team of ambitious young artists, two-time official selections at ME Internat. Film Fest, 4 features directed. Are you an unsold, but brilliant writer? We want your script, outline, concept. One-time licenses in exchange for % of any gross, Does not affect your ability to sell your script in the future. Let us audition for you! Watch our highly acclaimed work, on request. A chance to see your work on screen. Email:

    **Any company or producer can be checked out on imdb

    Director/producer seeking low-budget drama/romantic drama screenplay. No horror, sci-fi, period piece. Please e-mail short synopsis (1 paragraph - 1 page) to You can view the trailer for his recent project Frame of Mind at Company: Simon Joecker Contact Person: Simon Joecker

    Major company with first look deal/financing. Looking for high budget films in any arena but horror and "out of the ordinary", you must know deep down if your script is good or not. We are also looking for television pilots/series. Money is up front the amount depends on how much work has to be done to it. DO NO EXPECT TO RECEIVE ANY MATERIALS SUMBITTED BACK TO YOU DUE TO VOLUME ON OUR BEHALF. Company: Reid Media Group Contact Person: Eric Belmont Is there money upfront? Depending on how much work script(s)

    Get Produced! Seeking Series Pilots and Teleplays for Production in advanced workshop called "Pilot Season." Projects will be produced using state-of-the-art television equipment and will be intended for broadcast as well as showcase presentations to networks and television distributors. Sit-coms and One-Hour dramas preferred, but any TV format will be considered. Submit completed scripts to: San Diego State University, School of Theatre, Television and Film, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA, 92182-7601, ATTN: PILOT SEASON-COM 171B. (note: 9-digit zip code is important!). Submissions will not be returned. Register scripts before submission. Company: San Diego State University School of Theatre, Television and Film Contact Person: Tim Powell Is there money upfront? Negotiable

    Screenplays wanted with strong character driven stories action - drama, suspense, and mystery thrillers, Only send us a logline or one page synopsis no attachments please. Scripts will not be returned due to volume. Company: Handheld Productions Contact Person: JS Harrier

    Do you have a script you would like to see realised as a film? Melbourne based Producer seeks scripts of all lengths, genres to turn into films.

    I have a database of talented crew seeking projects to make asap.

    Please email Nicholas Bolonkin at:

    Spry Films is currently accepting Short and Feature length screenplay submissions to fill our 2004-2005 production slate. Please visit and follow the submissions link. Please follow the Submission Guidlines. Do NOT send screenplays without first sending a query letter. They will not be read, but immediately destroyed.

    ** Make sure that the address you are mailing to corresponds to the company's published address. Don't be in a rush to send out your material. Once you are certain the listing is legit, submit material through an attorney or agent. Never, never, never send your complete script to anyone over the net. A half page synopsis is all that should be expected via email, the requestor should supply full postal details for anything more. Unless you intend to make more money from the potential lawsuit than selling your script, make sure your script is registered with the AWG. Best of luck!

  • For Authors

    Women Writers of the Desert is sponsoring an essay competition open to all women around the globe. Entry: $10. Deadline: March 31, 2004.

    For mor details go here

    Southern Playwrights Competition (for a play on a Southern US theme by a Southern US playwright that has not had an Equity production) $100 award. Deadline: February 15, 2004

    For more details go here

    Association of Writers and Writing Programs awards for unpublished poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, and novel. Entry: $20.00. Deadline: February 28, 2004.

    For more information go here

  • Media Contacts and More
  •   ***Note***

    Since we never recieved any feedback in regards as to whether this section of the newsletter was useful, we have come to the conclusion that it's not. This will be the last posting of this type of information, making room for an entirely new section.


    The Brave New World of Book Buying

    By Reid Goldsborough

    When Full Text Is Accessible OnlineThe Authors Guild, as an advocacy group for writers, tested's "Search Inside the Book" feature and discovered you could copy and print out more than 100 consecutive pages from a single book, though doing so was time-consuming. has since disabled the print capability, but you can still, without much technical expertise, capture the screen and print it out otherwise.

    What would stop you-besides your conscience-from collecting cooking recipes or travel suggestions this way, without having to buy a book? "Most reference books [are] at clear risk in such a database," said the Authors Guild in an e-mail message to members. For this reason, not all book publishers participate in the program. defends "Search Inside the Book" by pointing to its utility. "We believe that the more information you give a customer about the products they're interested in buying, the more of those products they actually buy," said Jani Baker, director of product public relations, in a phone interview. In the first five days of the "Search Inside the Book" program, sales of books that participated were 9 percent higher than sales of nonparticipating books, she said.

    Used-book Sales Ripple Effects:

    Fewer sales are, of course, also a concern with another feature, "Marketplace," which lets people buy used books from fellow readers as easily as they can buy new books from publishers. The savings can be dramatic, and the potential loss of earnings is self- evident. defends this practice as well. " is all about selling more books and helping customers find and buy books they wouldn't have known about," said Baker.

    "We've found by offering customers lower-priced options, it causes them to visit the site more frequently, which in turns leads to higher sales of new books," she continued. "It encourages people to try authors and genres that they might not otherwise have tried. Also, when customers sell used books, they have more 'budget' to buy new books."

    What is clear is that it's a changing world out there, in book publishing and the larger world of information technology. As always with change, there are winners and losers.

    Reid Goldsborough is a syndicated columnist and author of the book Straight Talk

    More Than Sheep

    There's more to New Zealand than sheep and "Lord of the Rings," there's PR also!

    "When it comes to public relations, it may sound obvious, but read regularly the publication you would like to appear in and make a note of who is writing business- oriented stories or lifestyle articles which refer to products and services," Claire Fouhy, public relations, events and sponsorship consultant, says.

    I would recommend investigating public relations and networking activities and, if you seek out what is going on locally, you may well uncover some cost- effective opportunities.

    Don't underestimate networking events as a useful way to kickstart new business relationships.

    Chambers of Commerce and Rotary Clubs run events well attended by those in the business community. There is a joining fee, but you will get the opportunity to use their business network whether you are doing business in Nelson or Nevada.

    Their regular newsletters and functions are good ways to build local contacts.

    You can also contact your local economic development agency to find out if it has a local business excellence award. Find out when the submissions close and when the prize-giving dinner is scheduled.

    Most stories cover what, who, when, why and how and you will need to cover these bases, but the real key is how these elements are told.

    You will note that most articles include some form of announcement or achievement, third-party endorsement and often a photo.

    These are the elements that give the story colour, relevance and a human touch.

    Once you have thought about how you are going to tell your story and the best person to approach at your target publication, you will likely have better success when you try to pitch it.


    ** Query Letter for representation Required first

    Camille Sorice Talent Agency
    13412 Moorpark St #C
    Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
    (818) 995-1775

    Acme Talent & Literary Agency
    4727 Wilshire Blvd #333
    Los Angeles, CA 90010
    (323) 954-2263

    Alice Fries Agency, Ltd.
    1927 Vista Del Mar Ave
    Los Angeles, CA 90068
    (323) 464-1404

    Barry Perelman Agency
    1155 N. La Cienega Blvd. #412
    Los Angeles, CA 90069
    (310) 659-1122

    Charlotte Gusay Literary Agency
    10532 Blythe Ave
    Los Angeles, CA 90064
    (310) 559-0831

    Criterion Group, Inc.
    8331 Keokuk Avenue
    Winnetka, CA 91306
    (818) 998-8885

    Diverse Talent Group, Inc.
    1875 Century Park East #2250
    Los Angeles, CA 90067
    (310) 201-6565

    ES Agency, The
    6612 Pacheco Way
    Citrus Heights, CA 95610
    (916) 723-2794

    Film Theatre Actors Exchange
    390 28th Ave #3
    San Francisco, CA 94121
    (415) 379-9308

    Gage Group, Inc., The
    14724 Ventura Blvd #505
    Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
    (818) 905-3800

    Hart Literary Management
    5686 Antelope Trail
    Orcutt, CA 93455-6066
    (805) 937-3342

    Laya Gelff Agency
    16133 Ventura Blvd #700
    Encino, CA 91436
    (818) 996-3100

    Media Artists Group
    6300 Wilshire Blvd
    Suite 1470
    Los Angeles, CA 90048
    (323) 658-7434

    Michael D. Robins & Associates
    23241 Ventura Blvd #300
    Woodland Hills, CA 91364
    (818) 343-1755

    Stars, The Agency
    23 Grant Ave, 4th Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94108
    (415) 421-6272

    Media Contacts

    CNN's "Morning with Soledad O'Brien and Bill Hemmer"

    * CNN's "Morning with Soledad O'Brien and Bill Hemmer" is now heard regularly weekdays from 7 to 10 AM from their New York headquarters. CNN's "Morning" covers the news of the day, both serious and less so, with interviews and contributions from reporters on the scene. The show also covers sports, celebrities, and political people who are currently making news. The executive producer of the show is Margaret Aguire, with Wilson Surrat the senior executive producer. They are reached at (212) 714-7800.

    Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart"

    "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" is the top rated show on cable television, seen from Monday to Thursday from 11 to 11:30 PM on Comedy Central. The show takes a very irreverent look at the news of the day, and those who make the news. Jon Stewart, who is the executive producer of the show and its star, takes a skewered look at the day's news and very often show regulars will parody the people and events that are on the front burner of the news. The producers are interested in the eccentricities, distortions, and abnormalities of the day's events, and products, corruption, and as well as spokespersons who can stand on their own during a tongue-in-cheek interview. They will think nothing of bringing someone down to size, so this show is only for the brave of heart. Madeleine Smithberg,, who had been the founding executive producer, has retired, so the new executive producers are Stewart Bailey, and Beth Carlin, reached at the show, at 513 W. 54 St., New York, NY 10019, (212) 468-1700; Fax: (212) 468-1890.

    CBS' "The Early Show"

    Victor Neufeld, longtime ABC News exec, has left to become the number two producer of "The Early Show" on CBS. Michael Bass is the program's senior executive producer. The format of the early show features four hosts---Julie Chen, Hannah Storm, Harry Smith and Rene Syler. The show is reached at (212) 975- 2824.

    For Book Aquisitions

    *** Letter of Inquiry Required first

    Acquisitions,Joint University Libraries,419 21st Ave. S.,,Nashville,TN,37203

    Acquisitions,Univ. of Tennessee-Knoxville,James D. Hoskins Library,,Knoxville,TN,37916

    Acquisitions,Memphis State Univ. Libraries,,,Memphis,TN,38152

    Acquisitions,Univ. of Mississippi Library,,,University,MS,38677

    Acquisitions,Mississippi State Univ.,Mitchell Memorial Library,P.O. Drawer 5408,Mississippi State,MS,39762

    Rare Books & Special Collections,Univ. of Louisville Library,2301 S. Third St.,,Louisville,KY,40208

    Acquisitions,Univ. of Kentucky,Margaret I. King Library,,Lexington,KY,40506

    Rare Books & Special Collections,Ohio State Univ. Libraries,Wm Oxley Thompson Mem Library,1858 Neil Ave. Mall,Columbus,OH,43210

    Rare Books,Bowling Green State Univ.,Library,,Bowling Green,OH,43403

    Rare Books,Univ. of Toledo,William S. Carlson Library,2801 W. Bancroft St.,Toledo,OH,43606

    Rare Books & Special Collections,Case Western Reserve Univ.,Libraries,11161 E. Blvd.,Cleveland,OH,44106

    Rare Books,Cleveland Public Library,325 Superior Ave.,,Cleveland,OH,44114

    Acquisitions,Cleveland State Univ. Libraries,1860 E. 22nd St.,,Cleveland,OH,44115

    Rare Books & Special Collections,Kent State Univ. Libraries,,,Kent,OH,44242

    Rare Books & Special Collections,Miami University,Edgar W. King Library,,Oxford,OH,45056

    Rare Books,Cincinnati Public Library,800 Vine St.,,Cincinnati,OH,45202

    Rare Books & Special Collections,Univ. of Cincinnati,Main Library,Clifton Ave.,Cincinnati,OH,45221

    Rare Books & Special Collections,Wright State Univ. Library,Colonel Glenn Hwy,,Dayton,OH,45435

    Rare Books & Special Collections,Ohio University,Vernon R. Alden Library,Park Place,Athens,OH,45701

    Rare Books,Univ. of Notre Dame,University Libraries,,Notre Dame,IN,46556

    Rare Books & Special Collections,Ball State University,Alexander M. Bracken Library,,Muncie,IN,47306

    Rare Books,Indiana Univ. - Bloomington,University Libraries,Tenth St. & Jordan Ave.,Bloomington,IN,47401

    Rare Books & Special Collections,Indiana State Univ.,Cunningham Memorial Library,,Terre Haute,IN,47809

    Putting Pen To Paper: A Journal to Publication

    At the end of every month this section will contain excerpts about the entire publishing process by Dee Power and Brian Hill, as they go through the motions with Dearborn Publishing.


    Copyright by Betsie, 2004 All contents of this email are for the use of Betsie's Literary Page subscribers and may not be reproduced in any way and/or posted on websites without prior express written permission. If you would like to have friends or associates receive our emails, rather than forwarding this, please have them subscribe.

    Thank You for reading, see you next week!

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