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Betsie's Literary Page Newsletter
  HAPPY belated ST. PATRICK'S DAY! *And no I didn't wear green.


March 19, 2004
  

in this issue

In the News - Movie Reviews and More

Recipes and Jokes

Book Reviews

Birthday Wishes and Letters to the Editor

For Aspiring Writers

For Screenwriters

For Novelists and More



In the News - Movie Reviews and More


Feds Drop Nielsen Probe, No Action Taken On Madison Avenue Complaint- The Federal Trade Commission has quietly ended an inquiry into how Nielsen Media Research conducts business with Madison Avenue, and the federal agency plans to take no action, MediaDailyNews has learned. The inquiry was initiated at the request of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, whose members complained that Nielsen's pricing practices were anti-competitive and its control over TV ratings data access was constricting how they plan and buy media.


Angels or Spies, Their Money's Still Green - There is finally some good news coming out of the CIA. No, they haven't found Osama or the long-promised weapons of mass destruction (although it is becoming clear that Iraq is nothing BUT one giant weapon of its own mass destruction).

Not to start a stampede of start-up tech entrepreneurs, but in what could be the best-kept (perhaps only-kept) secret at the CIA, since 1999 the agency has been pumping venture capital money into the technology market through a front company called In-Q-Tel. In-Q-Tel invests about $35 million a year in young companies creating technology that might improve the ability of the United States to spy on its various enemies.

The rush to alter PowerPoint's to emphasize the "national security" application of new ventures is on:

"Our revolutionary local search function can track those who click on text ads for AK-47s or Stingers, for example."

"Imagine, an entire community of terrorists linked together by their common interest in bringing down the Great Satan? You could pose as a French arms merchant, and when-"

"By tracking the navigational behavior of users, we can send an email to people who read lots of stories about terrorists, asking them to register for a free trip to Guantanamo Bay."

"In our registration software, we can ask people to check off a box if they ever blew up an embassy or took flying lessons."

"We have the highest audience composition of people from the Middle East of any network or other site. A well-placed ad, WITH the proper creative, can help capture the hearts and minds of these users and assure their loyalty to Truth, Beauty, and The American Way." "We know you already have sophisticated technology to track terrorists on their cell phones-- what if you could send them a text message offering a free cup of coffee the next time they pass a Starbucks? When they come in, you can drop a burlap bag over them." "We cross-match our offline database of home addresses with online users who click on our Join the Jihad pop-up video."

"You could start this blog on how to blow up ships without blowing up yourself and your buddies, see-- then using our unique RSS browser tool we can." When you really screw up at the CIA--like forgetting where the dead drop was, or showing girls in a bar your Glock, or not remembering to clip the red wire, NOT the blue one--you are assigned to listen to new business presentations at In-Q-Tel. Your mission, should you decide to accept it (and if you are caught, the secretary will disavow) is to understand the ROI on the agency's first-round investments. Since the Department of Defense has set a pretty low bar with those $1800 toilet seats and those multibillion-dollar arms programs for stuff that doesn't work anyway (read: Osprey), it might not be all that difficult to justify throwing CIA money at--well, just about anything.


Spam and Spin - Why do spammers spam? What is the psychology of spamming? Is the prime motivator always money? No one responded to my queries last week, so I am still left with the questions. If you have some ideas, send 'em over. My inquiring mind wants to know.


REST IN PEACE - On a somber note, once again we are saddened to learn of the passing of another legendary industry figure. Warren Pfaff, a longtime copywriter during the golden age of J. Walter Thompson, who later went on to found Warren Pfaff Advertising, died Wednesday. He was 74. Pfaff, who ultimately became known for the ads he created for high-end clients like Rolls Royce, also wrote one of Madison Avenue's most proletarian jingles. His "You deserve a break today" spot that so successfully positioned McDonald's as a ubiquitous American lifestyle product ultimately was named the top jingle of the 20th Century by Advertising Age. But it was Pfaff's original lyrics to that jingle that perhaps are the most appropriate endnote for today's column. It went something like this: "We're so near and far away, so get up and get away."


At 25, Nick Grows Up - A Little - Pitches 'Teen' Block With more than a third of all kids gross ratings points in hand, Nickelodeon celebrated 25 years with a lively upfront presentation Tuesday morning that highlighted nine new shows and a retooled lineup to appeal to tweens. The presentation marked another key step in the kids TV upfront sales season.


FEATURED ARTICLE

Please read it and join with us! - By now you're probably thinking gasoline priced at about $1.50 is super cheap. Me too! It is currently $1.97 ($2.08 9 last fill up in San Diego) for regular unleaded in my town.

Now that the oil companies and the OPEC nations have conditioned us to think that the cost of a gallon of gas is CHEAP at $1.50- $1.75, we need to take aggressive action to teach them that BUYERS control the marketplace -- not sellers. With the price of gasoline going up more each day, we consumers need to take action. The only way we are going to see the price of gas come down is if we hit someone in the pocketbook by not purchasing their gas!

And we can do that WITHOUT hurting ourselves. How? Since we all rely on our cars, we can't just stop buying gas. But we CAN have an impact on gas prices if we all act together to force a price war.

Here's the idea: For the rest of this year, DON'T purchase ANY gasoline from the two biggest companies (which now are one), EXXON and MOBIL. If they are not selling any gas, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit. But to have an impact, we need to reach literally millions of Exxon and Mobil gas buyers. It's really simple to do!! Now, don't whimp out on me at this point-- keep reading and I'll explain how simple it is to reach millions of people!!!

I am sending this note to about thirty people. If each of you send it to at least ten more (30 x 10 = 300)-- and those 300 send it to at least ten more (300 x 10 = 3,000)- and so on, by the time the message reaches the sixth generation of people, we will have reached over THREE MILLION consumers! If those three million get excited and pass this on to ten friends each, then 30 million people will have been contacted! If it goes one level further, you guessed it. THREE HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE!!!

Again, all You have to do is send this to 10 people. That's all. (If you don't understand how we can reach 300 million and all you have to do is send this to 10 people. Well, let's face it you just aren't a mathematician. But I am, so trust me on this one.)

How long would all that take? If each of us sends this e- mail out to ten more people within one day of receipt, all 300 MILLION people could conceivably be contacted within the next 8 days!!! I'll bet you didn't think you and I had that much potential, did you! Acting together we can make a difference.

If this makes sense to you, please pass this message on.

PLEASE HOLD OUT UNTIL THEY LOWER THEIR PRICES TO THE $1.30 RANGE AND KEEP THEM DOWN. THIS CAN REALLY WORK.

By: Kerry Lyle, Director, Research Coordinator University of Alabama


MOVIE REVIEWS

Secret Window (PG-13)
Johnny Depp stars
5 out of 5 points

Author Mort Rainey (Johnny Depp) has some problems. He is in the middle of an ugly divorce and he has terrible writer's block. With the arrival of John Shooter (John Turturro) to claim that Rainey had stolen his story, Mort's life slowly slides out of control.

Depp is as great as always. He takes on the role of an unkempt and mousey author with ease, easily conveying the fear of being stalked. John Turturo is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood. His performance here is terrific. His ability to be menacing while still being polite is creepy, and just what the role called for. The rest of the cast carry their weight well, but it is Depp and Turturo who shine.

Fans of Johnny Depp and John Turturo will love them here, as well as fans of Stephen King's writing.


Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (PG)
Frankie Muniz
4 out 5 points

Teenage CIA agent Cody Banks (Frankie Muniz) returns to the secret undercover training camp for young operatives. Once again, Cody is called upon to infiltrate the organization of a powerful bad guy by associating with kids close to him. He zooms off to London, where he is met by a ragtag group of agents displaying some of the worst stereotypes known to man, and proceeds to save the world.

The action is not as flashy as the first movie, with fewer eye catching special effects, but there are more gadgets for Cody to play with. There are many exciting things to do and see in London but the location is more of a perk for the cast than important for the plot of the movie, only a few scenes of the city are shown in the background. The music is nothing exciting but not overpowering, complimenting the action well.

If you liked the first installment, then you will be happy with this one.


Spartan
Val Kilmer, Derek Luke, William H. Macy
2 out of 5 points

Former Marine Robert Scott (Kilmer) is hired by a government task force to find the missing daughter of a high-ranking political figure. Paired with a na´ve rookie (Derek Luke), the two of them track the girl through a complex maze to a white slavery ring, but their attempts to rescue her and bring her back safely are hindered by politicos who don't seem to want her found.

Unfortunately, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The majority of the movie looks and feels like something we've seen on Law and Order: SVU, 24 or any other hour-long television drama, as if Mamet took elements and characters from all of these shows and tried to create something new and different. Although his motivations at trying to uncover government wrong- doings is noble enough, it just doesn't work.

The Bottom Line: Spartan is an insanely ridiculous and implausible political thriller, with way too many characters and twists that are as embarrassingly predictable as they are unbelievable. The poor quality of the storytelling and most of the acting does not help matters, making for a painfully unentertaining experience. If anyone else directed this film, it could easily be brushed off as Hollywood tripe, but considering that Mamet has been making movies for the last eight years, the poor quality of this movie is surprising and utterly tragic. We can only hope that he realizes this movie didn't work and that he returns to familiar, and preferably lighter, territory for his next movie.



TODAY'S WIDE RELEASES


Dawn of the Dead
Starring: Sarah Polley

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Starring: Jim Carrey

Taking Lives
Starring: Angelina Jolie



UPCOMING MOVIES


Jersey Girl
Miramax Films
Director: Kevin Smith
Starring: Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, Raquel Castro, Jason Biggs, George Carlin, Jason Lee (cameo), Matt Damon (cameo), Stephen Root, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith, Will Smith (cameo as himself), Mike Starr

Ollie Trinke (Affleck) is a smooth and successful Manhattan music publicist who seems to have it all. When his perfect life is suddenly tragically upended - leaving him as a single father unqualified for the role - he snaps. Before long Ollie's big city life is a memory. Out of a job and out of luck, he reluctantly moves in with his father (Carlin) back home to the New Jersey suburb where he was raised. It is the lowest point in his life. Just ask him. The years pass and with them Ollie's plans for his future. Stuck in an unexciting, dead-end job, he sees no way out and no way back to the life he used to love. But he adores his young daughter Gertie (Castro), and she loves their life in the 'burbs. To her, Jersey is paradise. While renting Gertie's favorite movie for the zillionth time one day, Ollie meets Maya (Tyler), who challenges his priorities and perspective. He begins to realize that sometimes you have to forget about who you thought you were, accept who you are and acknowledge what makes you happy.


The Ladykillers
Touchstone Pictures
Director: Joel Coen
Starring: Tom Hanks, Marlon Wayans, Irma P. Hall, George Wallace, Ryan Hurst, Jason Weaver, Steven Root

Academy Award-winner Tom Hanks teams up for the first time with Academy Award-winning filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen ("O Brother, Where Art Thou?") for this retelling of the critically acclaimed 1955 comedy, "The Ladykillers." Hanks stars as Goldthwait Higginson Dorr III, Ph.D., a charlatan professor who's assembled a gang of "experts" for the heist of the century. The thieves: experts in explosions, tunneling, and muscle, and the critical "inside man." The base of operations: the root cellar of an unsuspecting, church-going little old lady named Mrs. Munson (Hall). The ruse: the five need a place to practice their church music. The problem: it quickly becomes evident that Dorr's thieves lack the mental capacity to do the job. The bigger problem: they have all seriously underestimated their upstairs host. When Mrs. Munson stumbles onto their plot and threatens to notify the authorities, the felonious five decide to do her in. After all, how hard can it be to knock off one old lady?


Never Die Alone
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Director: Ernest Dickerson
Starring: DMX, David Arquette, Michael Ealy, Reagan Preston-Gomez, Jennifer Sky, Paige Hurd, Rhoda Jordan, Keesha Sharp, Drew Sidora

Based on cult novelist Donald Goines' novel of the same name, "Never Die Alone" is a richly literate film noir about King David (DMX), a hard-boiled, stylish criminal who returns to his hometown seeking redemption but finding only violent death. But he did not die alone... King David's final moments are spent with Paul (Arquette), an aspiring journalist who knew him just a few minutes but upon whose life he would forever have an impact. King David - half preacher, half Satan, and all street smarts - had recorded the story of his exploits on audiotape, leaving behind an often-poetic sermon on villainy and its consequences. The tapes reveal that the cycle of violence and retribution his actions have spawned have come back on him full circle, as he suspected they might all along.


Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Raja Gosnell
Starring: Matthew Lillard, Neil Fanning, Linda Cardellini, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Seth Green, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Alicia Silverstone, Peter Boyle, Nick Millard, Tim Blake Nelson, Pat O'Brien (cameo as himself)

In "Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed," Scooby and the gang lose their cool - and their stellar reputation - when an anonymous masked villain wreaks mayhem on the city of Coolsville with a monster machine that re- creates classic Mystery Inc. foes like The Pterodactyl Ghost, The Black Knight and The 10,000 Volt Ghost. Under pressure from relentless reporter Heather Jasper- Howe (Silverstone) and the terrified citizens of Coolsville, the gang launches an investigation into the mysterious monster outbreak that leaves Shaggy and Scooby questioning their roles in Mystery Inc. The ever- ravenous duo, determined to prove they're great detectives, don a series of far-out disguises in their search for clues. Meanwhile, brainy Velma (Cardellini) becomes smitten with a key suspect, Coolsville Museum curator Patrick Wisely (Green), as macho leader Fred (Prinze Jr.) and image-conscious Daphne (Gellar) attempt to determine the identity of the Evil Masked Figure who is unleashing the monsters in an attempt to take over Coolsville.


CELEBRITY ADDRESSES - FOR AUTOGRAPH SEEKERS

Sean John Combs (Puff Daddy, P Diddy)
c/o Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment
1540 Broadway
Fl 30
New York, NY 10036


Holly Marie Combs
c/o Baker Winokur Ryder
9100 Wilshire Blvd
6th Floor West Tower
Beverly Hills, CA 90212


Diane Keaton
c/o Blue Relief Inc
1438 North Gower Street
Bldg 35, Floor 5, Box 45
Hollywood, CA 90028


Kenny Rogers
c/o Kenny Rogers Inc
2910 Poston Ave
Nashville, TN 37203




   Greetings Everyone!


Wow - This has been a great week!!

I found out from my publisher on Wednesday that Locus Magazine, (covering the science fiction and fantasy field since 1968) has requested my book ^_^

Will wait patiently? Pace the floor? Or maybe chew my nails off for their -- Gee your book stinks!!! -- Or maybe they'll like it ?


But hey let's not think about these things now, its too soon for rejection.

Boy oh boy do we have lots of good stuff to share with you this week --- to find out -- keep reading!




  • Recipes and Jokes
  •   


    "Verde" Papas Con Chile Verde (Green Chile Potatoes)

    2 Cups pototoes -- peeled & thinly slic
    2 Tablespoons shortening
    1/4 Cup chopped onions
    2 Cups water
    1/2 Teaspoon garlic salt
    1/2 Teaspoon salt
    1/2 Cup chopped green chile*

    1. Brown potatoes in shortening in a medium-sized skillet at medium heat.

    Add onions and seasonings and cook until onions are tender.

    2. Add green chile and water and simmer for 15-20 minutes at low heat.

    * Varied amounts may be used


    * * *



    Funny Signs Seen in Bathrooms

    Friends don't let friends take home ugly men = Women's restroom, Starboard, Dewey Beach, DE

    Beauty is only a light switch away. = Perkins Library, Duke University, Durham, NC

    If life is a waste of time, and time is a waste of life, then let's all get wasted together and have the time of our lives. = Armand's Pizza, Washington, DC

    Remember, it's not, "How high are you?" it's "Hi, How are you?" = Rest stop off Route 81, West Virginia

    No matter how good she looks, some other guy is sick and tired of putting up with her garbage. = Men's Room, Linda's Bar and Grill, Chapel

    At the feast of ego everyone leaves hungry. = Bentley's House of Coffee and Tea, Tucson, AZ Hill, NC

    It's hard to make a comeback when you haven't been anywhere. = Written in the dust on the back of a bus, Wickenburg, AZ

    Make love, not war. -Hell, do both GET MARRIED! = Women's restroom, The Filling Station, Bozeman, MT

    If voting could really change things, it would be illegal. = Revolution Books, New York, New York.

    If pro is opposite of con, then what is the opposite of progress? Congress! = Men's restroom House of Representatives, Washington, DC

    No wonder you always go home alone. = Sign over mirror in Men's restroom, Ed Debevic's, Beverly Hills,CA

    And my Favorite seen in a Thai Restaurant in New York City: An ad for Blackberry at its initial launch

    "Got a Free Hand. . . You Could be sending email


  • Book Reviews
  •   


    Title: One-Armed Bandit
    Author: Dennis N. Griffin
    Publisher: Publish America, Inc. (January 2003)
    Genre: Mystery
    Paperback: 216pp
    ISBN: 1592862608
    $19.95

    Rating: Highly Recommended

    March 15, 2004

    A Hot slots Murder Mystery!

    Las Vegas area Patrol officers responded to a radio call regarding a convenience store robbery where four people have been brutally slain.

    Store surveillance tape-recorded the robbery and shootings.

    The motive for the shooting may have been robbery, however, that aspect of the case remains under investigation, while crime scene and forensics personnel are called out to process the scene.

    Assigned to the case are long time veteran of the Metro Homicide Force, Steve Garneau and his younger partner of two years, Terry Bolton.

    Once detectives review the surveillance tape, the identity of the shooter is uncovered, a man identified only as a cold-blooded killer and dubbed: "One Armed Bandit."

    Clues provided by the surveillance tape immediately show that robbery was not the motive and detectives move quickly to solve the case to keep from losing track of the killer.

    Within several weeks of the murders one-by-one suspects are grilled for information, as the motive begins to unfold. News of scandalous and incriminating evidence, as well as conspirator names are revealed, leading detectives closer to the murderer.

    Author, Dennis Griffin grabs reader's attention from page one with descriptive details as the murders occur. The suspense surrounding the victims, as well as surprises keep readers on the edge.

    Congratulations Mr. Griffin, you have done detective sleuths proud!

    Reviewed by Juanita Reynolds

    To read the interview or purchase a copy go here


    * * *


    Title: Laudanum
    Author: Cray Donnelly
    Publisher: Publish America; (July 2003)
    Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
    ISBN: 1592869335
    Paperback: 218pp
    Price: $19.95

    Rating: Highly Recommended

    March 15, 2004

    An intriguing mystery with an unexpected twist.

    Brandon Keller returns to Louisiana to solve the mysterious murder of his high school sweetheart. He revisits the precious moments that he spent with his lover in an attempt to determine the cause of his death. The police have no leads but Brandon is determined to solve this murder and make sure that the perpetrator is punished. He feels that his lover would want no less. He revisits the world and the people that he left behind. Some were friends and others were enemies, but he will sacrifice his comfort to see that justice is served.

    The story unfolds at a rapid pace as small clues are given and some obvious inconsistencies are ignored. The reader will follow Brandon on his search for justice, meet some of his acquaintances and try to determine who the real killer is. This is easier said than done as you find out who the accused killer is, but you are left questioning that determination.

    Cray Donnelly's writing style resembles that of some of this century's literary greats, but the story is told from a different perspective. You push past a comfort zone of sorts to digest the images that are given and you will have a great difficulty in putting this book down. Upon opening the first page, a Pandora's box of sorts is activated and you are pulled into the story, one line at a time. You want to solve this mystery as much as Brandon Keller did, and I promise you, the end will surprise you.

    Add this one to your library to compliment the other genres assembled there, but be prepared for this one to stand out! Mr. Donnelly, thank you for the read!

    Reviewed by Tyrone Vincent Banks

    To read the interview or purchase a copy go here

    CHILDREN'S BOOK REVIEWS


    Title: Isabel and the Hungry Coyote/Isabel y el coyote hambriento
    Author: Keith Polette
    Illustrated by: Esther Szegedy
    Publisher: Raven Tree Press, LLC. (May 2004)
    ISBN: 0972497307
    Genre: Children's Bilingual (English/Spanish)
    Reading level: Ages 4-8
    Hardcover; 32pp
    $16.95

    Rating: Highly Recommended

    March 16, 2004

    This is a clever and delightful take-off from the original Little Red Riding Hood sprinkled with a southwest twist. Cuentos y leyendas of today.

    The book can be read within one sitting. An excellent example of such enduring stories preserved and retold, which have served to keep hearts and imaginations warm through the coldest of winters.

    In "Isabel and the Hungry Coyote," stunning southwest graphics help bring back this tale of old with a bit of spice, reflecting the richness and diversity of Hispanic culture.

    While the book is not a read-along, it is a very practical teaching and learning tool for both children and adults and should lead to some interesting discussion about the reality of strangers. Easily understood by even the youngest reader and listener. Included is a vocabulary both in Spanish and English, which teachers and parents will find useful.

    Reviewed by Betsie


    * * *


    Title: My Pal Victor/Mi amigo, Victor
    Author: Diane Gonzales Bertrand
    Illustrated by: Robert Sweetland
    Publisher: Raven Tree Press, LLC. (May 2004)
    ISBN: 0972019294
    Genre: Children's Bilingual (English/Spanish)
    Reading level: Ages 4-8
    Hardcover; 32pp
    $16.95

    Rating: Highly Recommended

    March 16, 2004

    In lively and easy-to-understand text and written in both English and Spanish, social awareness is promoted through this entertaining story of one boy and his pal Victor.

    Colorful illustrations also introduce children to a variety of creatures and places. With simple comparisons, this book also helps young readers build the bridges of common human understanding.

    "My Pal Victor" offers an opportunity for young and old alike to experience anew the delight of storytelling. The small taste that being different is acceptable and wonderful, which the author weaves in so skillfully makes this book stand head and shoulders above the crowd.

    Truly an enchanting story, that reinforces both reading for families and a great way to bridge the gap between generations while being entertained. Perfect for beginning readers of English or Spanish. Teachers will love this book as an instrumental teaching tool.

    Reviewed by Betsie


  • Birthday Wishes and Letters to the Editor
  •   


    You said HOW OLD?

    Sandy,

    You're just naturally a warm and thoughtfull person. You're the one who remembers when others forget. The one who can always be counted on to be there. The one who goes out of her way to do something just to make someone happy.
    And your birthday seems like the perfect time to tell you how much you're appreciated -- how very much you're loved.

    Happy Birthday from Becky Seale - Houston, Tx


    * * *


    Letters to the Editor


    Hi!
    I was wondering if it would be posible if you can to add the addresses of wrestling stars Chris Jericho and Trish Stratus. Please and Thank you.

    Cindy Bissett, UK

    Well Cindy I think we can accomodate your wish and give you a few extras to boot!

    Chris Jericho (no address available @ this time) messagesforchris@aol.com

    Trish Stratus
    5468 Dundas Street West. Suite #579
    Toronto, ON M9B 6E3
    Canada

    Lou Albano
    16 Mechanic St
    Carmel, NY 10512

    Kevin Nash
    c/o WebKat
    2311 W. Chilton Street
    Chandler, Arizona 85224
    kat@kevinbigsexynash.com

    Brock Lesnar
    c/o WWF
    1241 E Main Street
    P.O. Box 3875
    Stamford, CT. 06905

    Torrie Wilson
    5214 East Longboat Blvd.
    Tampa, FL. 33615-4232


    * * *


    Betsie,

    I wanted to let you know that I enjoy receiving your newsletter. Keep up the great work. I also wanted to let you know that my book "Not Just a Touch" has been placed on the shelf at B.Daltons Book store has 2 copies on the shelf and Powell's Book Sellers, which has 4 copies on the shelf. Also Multnomah County Library in Portland Oregon has ordered 2 copies and Driftwood Library in Linclon City Oregon has 1 copy. Sales have increase over the past few months and I will continue to market. Thanks again

    Gerald Donais
    http://home.attbi.com/~notjustatouch

    Way to go Gerald - we hope to hear more of your great success!


    * * *


    Dear Betsie:

    I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your newsletter. It is very informative and interesting. Keep up the good work.

    Marla Woolsey Author of "A Trucker's Wife" http://www.publishedauthors.net/MarlaWoolsey/index.ht ml

    Isn't that sweet!!! We love these type of emails... makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside!


  • For Aspiring Writers
  •   


    WHAT IS A MYSTERY?

    When you encounter this question, you may wonder why it's even posed. Everyone knows what a mystery is!

    Or do they?

    Here is a true incident The Edgar Award is given each year by the Mystery Wroters of America for the best juvenile mystery published in the previous calendar year. Recently, an author, having been presented with an Edgar, whispered to the chairperson: "Don't tell anyone. But my book isn't a mystery."

    Obviously, the YA novel was a mystery even though the author viewed it as an adventure yarn with plenty of suspene and excellent characteriztion. The novel was eligible for the MWA award because the antagonist was able to prevent the illegal deed and capture the culprit. Although the tale was not one where the main character sought to unmask the unknown villian, the story did depict the law-abiding against the lawbreaker, the age-old battle of good against evil.

    There's a lesson to be learned from this author's puzzlement upon winning the honor.

    A mystery first and foremost is a story with in-depth characterization and a series of events that illuminate some facet of life.

    Reading that statement, you immediately think those requirements fit any story or novel for younsters. True. However, some mystery writers mistakenly discount these vital needs - appealing characters and a thoughtful, convincing plot - of juvenile and teenage fiction, assuming the mystery and suspense elements will carry the story.

    Even if a mystery is filled with eerie, heart-stopping scenes, a magazine or book publisher will not be interested unless the framework supporting that puzzling story contains the substance that any quality story must possess.

    The editor will label those would-be mysteries as "thin" and return them to the author.

  • For Screenwriters
  •   


    SCRIPTS WANTED

    ----------- Bosco Entertaiment -----------

    We are looking for a writer to work with us on developing a TV sitcom in English for the Latino- American market. Writer must speak/write fluent English AND Spanish and must have a completed Latin- American themed comedy to view as a sample.

    NOTE: We will not be buying your script; if we are interested in your logline and synopsis we will ask for your script to view as a sample.

    Bosco Entertainment is an independent Film and TV Production company based in Los Angeles. We work with new as well as established talent in the USA, Italy, Spain, Canada, United Kingdom and Argentina. We currently have several projects in different stages of development and others with attachments and financing including: 'Marie-Antoinette' (working title) feature film, 'Pots and Pans' (working title) feature film in Spanish, 'Reincarnation' TV series, 'Space Orphans' animation and 'Descartes' Demon' Feature film.

    Please send a logline followed by a synopsis of your completed Latin-American themed comedy script to: Julio Bove = jbove@boscoentertainment.com


    WANTED: Industry professional seeks short scripts (under 10 pages) to produce and direct. I am Boston based and have been working on film crews in New England and New York for 4 years. I can't pay now, but want to establish a collaboration with a talented writer with long term goals. email indyfilmaker@earthlink.net.


    WANTED: Attn: looking for screenwriter to team up with. I\'m a director with a few good stories and some good ideas, however, I lack the ability to sit down and create a full screenplay. I recognize and appreciate the value of the writer and would like to team up with someone who wants to start creating stories and making films. Everything starts with a good screenplay, then the possibilities are endless. auggie1414@aol.com Boston area!


    WANTED: Portuguese Commercials Director seeks edgy, simple and touching screenplays for production. Short or long features (preference for short). Ideas must be original, thought-provoking and controversial. If you think you have a suitable screenplay and are willing to commit to the project, send a brief synopsis or treatment to the e-mail provided. Attachments will not be read - send synopses in main body of mail. Email: filmmg@poczta.fm, Website: www.madeinlisbon.net.


    WANTED: Production company looking for feature length romantic comedy screenplays or treatments for option, purchase, or development. Please email to development@untitledpictures.com or mail c/o Development Untitled Pictures 19-28 76th St, #2 East Elmhurst, NY 11370 Do not call.



    CONTESTS

    Scriptapalooza FINAL deadline April 15

    6th Annual Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition www.scriptapalooza.com
    Supported by the Writers Guild of America, west FINAL deadline is April 15, 2004
    First prize is $10,000
    WE GOT THE CONNECTIONS, WE JUST NEED YOUR SCRIPT!

    Over 60 production companies reading all entered scripts Top 30 winners get software from Write Brothers 2 past winners won Daytime Emmys.

    Our quarterfinalists, semifinalists and finalists are requested consistently 2002 finalist Barbara Curry sold her script, a direct result from competition. Sponsors include Write Brothers and Filmmaker Magazine. For information visit http://www.scriptapalooza.com or call 323-654-5809


    Open Door Contest Deadline May 31, 2004

    scr(i)pt magazine's Open Door Contest sponsored by Underground Management. Don't miss this great opportunity to work with one of the leading agencies representing writers today.

    The first-place winner of this contest receives $3,000 CASH, consideration for literary representation by Underground Management, screenwriting software provided by Final Draft, a $200 gift certificate from The Writers Store, promotions from Inktip.com and SoYouWannaSellAScript.com, plus much more! Deadline: May 31, 2004
    Entry Fee: $45
    For more information visit: http://www.scriptmag.com/contests/index.htm


    Screenplay Competition 2004 Starr Productions is now accepting applications. The Grand Prize is Full Production and promotion of your winning script! Winning script will be submitted to various Film Festivals. Fee is only 25.00 for feature scripts and20.00 for shorts. interested in: Romantic/Comedy/Drama/Family we do not accept horror films. For more info. please email us at StarrModel@yahoo.com Please mail to: STARR Productions P.O. Box 1706 Berlin, MD 21811.


  • For Novelists and More
  •   


    SUBMITTING YOUR NOVEL(S) FOR REVIEW

    This is just advice, so take it with a grain of salt, but as one who recieves an enormous amount of requests not just from authors, I thought I'd bring this up.

    Most reviewers have submission guidelines posted on their websites. If not common sense should tell you - adhere to basics.

    What do I mean by this?

    I mean most reviewers only want the following information: Title, Author, Publisher/publication date, Format: Paperback/harcover?, ISBN, and of course a brief synopsis.

    Your synopsis should be no more than 2 paragraphs. When you send more than a page telling the reviewer how great the book is, who has praised it, how well it's doing on sales, but nothing about how they should go about acquiring a copy -- guaranteed your request just got deleted.

    DO NOT, and I mean do not send attachments unless they are requested - this goes for reviewers and media alike.

    Reviewers just like everyone else in media have to sort through these emails. Time is limited. Our own BLP is gaining a reputation for not only timely reviews, but for short amount of time we get them completed in (most take up to 4 months).

    DO NOT pester reviewers. Give them the time they need to carefully look over your book. If after 2 months you've not heard from them, then send a short note: "I was checking up on several contacts and was wondering if your review of ____ was complete?"

    A reviewer may not have selected your book and it still sits on a list. Being pushy will not get the job done any faster, and in the long run you may not like what you read.

    Then again do not feel angry or throw tantrums over a negative review. These pesky little blurbs often help increase sales! They even make for better conversation around the water cooler. Face the facts - NOT everyone is going to praise your book. NOT everyone is going to glorify how brilliantly the tale was woven. We're human and everyone is going to have an opinion and each one will vary -- so lift the chin proudly and ride the wave -- no matter where it takes you!


    PUBLISHING NEWS

    Mags Spin DVD Insert As Digital TV Ad Alternative

    In yet another attempt to provide a user-friendly alternative to the 30-second television ad, a new company called SpinDVD is partnering with publishers of consumer magazines, retailers, and Hollywood studios to get ad-supported DVDs into consumers' hands. The company is far from the first to stumble on the idea of promotional DVDs. Fox, for example, sent 15,000 DVD-ROMs promoting The O.C. to teenage "sneezers" (influencers who spread the germs, so to speak). That said, nobody has invested in the DVD's potential as an ad format to the extent that SpinDVD has.

    "The DVD is a phenomenon in its own right," enthuses president and chief executive officer Scott Spinucci. "It's the one format that is a viable alternative to TV, and it's significantly less expensive." If the company's model works as planned, the DVDs will be distributed via magazine inserts, displays at retail stores (think Blockbuster), direct mail, and home-video releases. SpinDVD handles all production and licensing, and is offering publishers and other distribution partners sales help as well. The DVDs can feature anything from music and video game demos to movie previews and sample book chapters.



    Looking to Submit your book? Well here's some media contacts to do just that!

    GLORY Magazine, is a new holistic lifestyle magazine for African American women address- ing their lives, their heart, mind, body, and soul. GLORY will not only cover spiritual development and enrichment topics, it will also cover fitness and fashion, health and beauty, relationships, and money management issues. Frances Cudjoe-Waters of Dallas, a Stanford alumnus and Harvard Law graduate started the magazine. Initially they will launch a test-market run this month in some of the nation's top African American markets, including, but not limited to Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. They will unveil the magazine on a broader scale later in the spring of 2004. On its developing Web Site, GLORY describes itself as the magazine which helps its readers to celebrate life...their Spirit, Mind, Body, and Soul, thus helping their readers to find balance in a difficult world. Reach Cudjoe-Waters through M Strategies in Dallas who are handling the launch of the new publication. Contact Michelle Starr, M Strategies at: michelle@mstrategiesconsulting.com.


    Tribune Publishing will introduce Hoy in Los Angeles in March, providing daily news and features of interest in Spanish to the nearly 8 million Hispanics in the LA area. Hoy debuted in New York in November 1998 and became the number one Spanish language newspaper in the New York area. They launched in Chicago September 2003, and are the fastest growing Spanish-language daily newspaper in the country. Hoy will place an emphasis on impartial journalism with a commitment to local news and features, including coverage of issues which impact the many Hispanics through the LA area. They will also devote pages each day to news from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. They will have features each Friday on the latest trends in music, food, movies, and local events in Vida Hoy, a weekend supplement highlighting Hispanic culture. They haven't opened their offices in LA as of yet, but more information might be available through Hoy's New York offices at (917) 339-0872.


    With the Wayne Brady show officially canceled at the end of this season, Buena Vista has cleared The Tony Danza Show in 45 percent of the country, including ABC owned stations in the three of the top five markets. Danza takes Brady's time slot following Live with Regis and Kelly at 10 AM. The Danza show will be more talk than variety, even though Danza is known as a song and dance man, and from his many dramatic parts in TV and movies.While the Brady Show has been canceled, it is still in production until the end of the season and suggestions for guests to the talk/interview show can go to Tommy Crudup, at the show, which is produced in Los Angeles at CBS-TV Television City, 7100 Beverly Blvd., Rm 214, Los Angeles, CA 90036, (323) 575-7100: Fax: (323) 575-7150.


    Progress Media, the liberal radio network, which was formerly known as AnShell Media, is getting off the ground and finalizing its programming lineup for a late spring launch from Times Square studios. The network has signed author and comedian Al Frank to host a daily talk show, and has also signed Robert Kennedy Jr. to co-host a weekly talk show with Mike Papantonion, who is a leading class-action plaintiff attorney. The company has inked a lease agreement with Multicultural Broadcasting, making it the first station to clear the networks's programming on WNTD- AM in Chicago. The company is expecting to announce additional distribution deals in New York, Los Angeles, and San francisco. Franken is likely to air noon to 3 PM, the same time as his arch nemisis, Rush Limbaugh. More information as it becomes available.


    Her Sports is a new national magazine which is aimed at the growing number of women who lead active sports lifestyles. The publication, which premieres with its March/April issue, targets women who participate in running, mountain biking, triathlon, skiing, snowboarding, hiking, surfing, and other popular individual sports. The publication, which was created by Publisher Dawna Stone in response to a lack of resources for these women who participate in such sports as a way of life. In addition to sports training advice and interviews with everyday athletes, Her Sports will cover active and adventure travel, athletic gear and apparel, body and mind issues, and sports and general nutrition. The publication, which includes the tag, Active Sports Lifestyles, under its masthead, plans to start with an initial circulation of 50,000 and will be available at select bookstores, specialty shops, and by subscription. The magazine is looking to build more than a loyal readership base, it wants to build a community of active women who help, inspire, and coach one another toward success in life, health, and sports. They plan to do this through the introduction of the HerSports.com Message Board, which will be coming soon, as well as monthly Online forums putting women in touch with top exercise physiologists, well-ness professionals, sports nutritionists, coaches, and more. In the course of setting up an Online community, they are interested in ideas, information, etc. at feedback@hersports.com. In addition to Stone, the creative director is Kristin Mayer, with Christina Gandolfo, the editor-in-chief. Their corporate headquarters are at 245 Central Avenue, Ste. C, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, (727) 825-0491; Fax: (727) 824- 0859; info@hersports.com. The editorial department is located at 4480 33 St., San Diego, CA 92116, phone/Fax: (619) 280-1845; editorial@hersports.com


    ** We appreciate and hope you continue to send us your comments, opinions, articles and suggestions. Remember if you submit anything to our newsletter - include a link back to your site.

    Betsie's Literary Page is where readers are respected, books are cherished, aspiring writers are encouraged and authors are adored.


    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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