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August 13, 2004 Betsie's Literary Page Newsletter
Greetings Everyone!

Well its been a busy week here, BLP is gearing up for a move... to Florida!

Yep boxes are being loaded - it's a mess around here at the moment... so bad I can't find myself half of the time hmmm.

In the meantime there's lots to check out in this issue... so read on for all the good stuff ^_^


In the News

EXTRA, EXTRA, TERRESTRIALS, READ ALL ABOUT IT - It seems some of the scientific minds associated with SETI (Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence) have figured out that the shift from terrestrial-based broadcasting to cable and satellite TV services may hurt the prospects of any intelligent aliens trying to find us. While that may seem like a good thing for anyone who's bought a ticket to see "Alien Vs. Predator," the SETI team see it as a major setback in intergalactic telecommunications.

"Frank Drake's point, made at a SETI workshop at Harvard University last Friday, is that television services are increasingly being delivered by technologies that do not leak radio frequencies into space," cautions the current edition of NewScientist, which nonetheless found some upside in the downside of downlinks and head-ends. "In some ways the observation is good news for SETI," reports the scientific journal, "as it means that the failure of Earth-based observers to detect aliens so far may be less worrisome than it would otherwise seem."

Now if we understand this theory correctly, it suggests that the reason we Earthlings haven't yet detected intelligent life elsewhere in the universe is because they're plugged into coax or have a dish mounted to the side of their house, or saucer, or pod, or whatever it is they reside in.

This theory also suggests that terrestrial broadcasting, which radiates TV and radio signals into the cosmos, may be evolutionarily inferior to cable and satellite TV, which do not emit any or enough of a signal to be detected off this planet. In fact, Drake goes so far as to claim that broadcast signals "are the strongest signs of our existence."

But according to SETI's Drake, such debates are not due for many years. Even if every earthling were to subscribe to a cable or satellite service and terrestrial broadcast signals were to cease overnight, he says the amount of terrestrial broadcast signals already transmitted will remain detectable to extraterrestrials for about 100 years.

From SETI's point-of-view, that's barely a blink of an alien eye, given a well-known equation made by Drake for estimating the number of detectable intelligent civilizations on other worlds. "The best estimates show that all the other crucial factors nearly cancel out, so that the number of such civilizations in our Milky Way galaxy is roughly equal to their average longevity of detectability in years," explains NewScientist."

Now just try plugging that one into your TV optimizer.

ROCK THE CASBAH - It's been used to help overthrow a Panamanian dictator and to sooth some savage beasts. Now music will be used to bolster the moral of U.S. military personnel and their families. In a deal with U.S. military organizations, Napster will give access to its music download library to more than 11.5 million active, reserve and retired military personnel, at a discounted rate of course. "Whether our military personnel are working on a base overseas or here in the United States, whether they are on active duty or in the reserves, all members of the armed forces and their families can now securely and safely access their favorite music when they want it, wherever they are in the world," assures Chris Gorog, chairman-CEO of Napster parent Roxio.

IN BRIEF (AND PANTIES TOO) - Brandishing signs commemorating "National Underwear Day," some panties, some briefs, and not much else, a half-dozen hard-bodied models attracted the obligatory stares from construction workers, and deliverymen strolling down Broadway. Of course, that's what they were meant to do, as they were promoting not just a pseudo national holiday, but also, an etailer that peddles, what else, underwear.

Reviewed by Deven Devasko   101 Borden Street by Susan Eileen Walker
Publisher: Publish America (October 2002)
Genre/Market: Adult mystery
ISBN Number: 1591295386
Paperback; 148 Pages

Rating: Highly Recommended

Finally a ghost story to rival Oscar Wilde's Canterville Ghost.

July 28, 2004

101 Borden Street is a bittersweet love story with a surprise twist at the end. The story of a young girl's search for understanding why she was abandon by her mother, her journey begins when her social worker presents her with a beautiful necklace in an old box that is the only link not only to her past but a mystery as well.

Susan Eileen Walker has woven an endearing tale of ghosts, unending love and finally hopes of a future. I highly recommend this book to all who like to believe that love can rise above all problems even death.

Reviewed by Deven Devasko  

Cherokee Rose by Susan Weekley
Publisher: Publish America (December 2003)
Genre/Market: Adult mystery
ISBN Number: 1413704069
Paperback; 155 Pages
Price: $19.95

Rating: Highly Recommended

The Queen of the Surprise Ending has struck again!

July 28, 2004

Set in the heart of Alabama, fans will return to the small town of Evergreen for the sequel to "Hens Rule." Cherokee Rose is the story of the indirect descendents of an Indian Princess, Catatrinah and the curse she placed on her family at the time of her death. The story between the return of Ollie Hinton's unstable ex-wife and Mollie's kidnapping while in her stepmother's care continues on with a race against time and a family curse ending with an unexpected twist.

Susan Weekley has again managed to surprise her readers with her mastery of the surprise ending. I highly recommend this book for all who love the Cherokee Indians and not necessarily tidy endings.

Reviewed by Dee Harris  

In Pursuit of Peace: 21 Ways to Conquer Anxiety, Fear, and Discontentment by Joyce Meyer
Publisher: Warner Faith (September 2004)
Genre: Inspirational
ISBN: 0446531952
Hardcover: 512 pages
$21.99 FPT/ Canada $31.99

Rating: Highly Recommended

August 06, 2004

Don't Despair....

In reading anything that has to do with you improving yourself, asking for guidance and peace remember... to pray for an understanding and an open mind before reading.

I did just that when reading pastor and author Joyce Meyer's new book and let me tell you I didn't like what I "d seen. Sometimes the truth does hurt and it's not pretty and sugar coated either.

Joyce intertwines wisdom of the word and her own experiences before being saved and in her ministry to help us find our way to inner peace.

In part one of the book: Be At Peace With God she tells us on page 4" We are not suppose to be running our own lives. In fact, we are not capable or qualified to run our own lives. Not one of us is intelligence enough to know what is best. That is why we should be thankful for God's interference."

Now you know she knew that was going to ruffle a lot of feathers... in the first chapter she puts it. Of course I was mad and thought, What about free will ? What about God putting you in situations to test yourself and see if you'll be obedient? What about you finding out about yourself what was hidden and the lessons you learn throughout life? I was hot I was fumed. I was not reading with an open mind and heart so I did not understand. Joyce goes on to explain that once we give God control of our lives, our worries, unhappiness, and grief and we completely trust in him that is how we start to actively look for peace. When we surrender to him we no longer have to fight for peace.

Through this self-help marvel she explains how you continue to find peace in yourself in others and, identify your stressors by knowing your enemy and how to have the strength to change those things around you.

Yes, this book does help. I am a nurse and I see and go through a lot of emotional draining situations and things that I cannot change. With an open mind I was able to apply the knowledge learned through this book not only to help myself but also bring some joy and laughter to the sick, law and order to the disruptive and patience with the doctors in their bad moods.

This book applies to everyday life and should be consulted for the times when the body and mind becomes weak. Do not despair Joyce Meyer is here.

Reviewed by Juanita Reynolds  

The Holy Blood by Charles Covington
Publisher: Skoobe.Biz; (July 2003)
Genre: Science Fiction
ISBN: 1904498043
Paperback; 326pp

Rating: Recommended

Technology is never evil its the people who misuse it!

At Kerr University in Oklahoma, Wallace Kerr, president coerces Jeana Van Rooykens the faculties' religious historian lecturer into signing a letter requesting permission to examine some of the Vatican's most precious religious artifacts. However, due to the fact that Wallace Kerr is well known throughout religious denominations for proving a lot of the "churches" most holy icons as forgeries. His university's faculty member Jeana causes a red flag to be raised and their request is rejected.

Jeana feeling that her principles and reputation as a renowned published religious historian has been compromised. She informs Wallace that she is resigning from Kerr University at the end of her present tenure. Wallace is remorseful that his attempts to gain access to the relic "The Holy Blood of Burges" has caused Jeana harm and decides to forgo any further attempts to examine this "holy of holy" relics.

It is Spring break at the university and Wallace has a scheduled trip to Paris to submit his technically advanced bike for approval of the Federation of International Cycling. Wallace invites his department head of genetics because he wants Gene Graham to see the festivities surrounding the Holy Blood relic. In addition, Jeana and her son are invited on the pretext of a chance for them to visit with her parents, because he feels guilty over having her signing that letter and hopes for an opportunity to change her mind about leaving Kerr University.

During their visit to Paris, The Holy Blood relic is stolen and Jeana becomes the prime suspect. Not only has Wallace's obsession set the Vatican on Jeana, but, his activities into the net for data has attracted the terrorist fraction of Arab world. Thus placing the lives of his wife and unborn child in grave danger.

For this reader, The Holy Blood speaks volumes about the moral and religious implications of cloning. Additionally it reveals how power can corrupt and compromise even the greatest of minds. How many lives have been lost because of those given unchecked power to play God? Technology is a good thing, but like any, and everything in this world there must be a system of checks and balances in place to avoid misuse and corruption. Most importantly to protect the innocent.

6 Ways to More Sales During A Slow Season
by Betsie  

#1 - Take advantage of super-cheap ezine advertising.

The prices in summer are just incredible, if you know where to look.

#2- Submit a press release. I haven't done this yet this year, because I have a special date that I stick to, but you should take advantage as soon as you can. Why is this time of year different?

Except for election updates, this time of year is among the slowest for fresh news. If you've got a quirky story about your site, your business, services or products, make it into a press release.

But not just any press release. Research what journalists in your market want to write about, and do most of the work for them. Have a press kit on your site where they can get pictures, and updates. It shouldn't read like a sales letter, it should read more like a slightly longer news story that you'd see in the paper, very just-the-facts-ma'am.

A severely overlooked market for these is local journalists and smaller newspapers. You might assume that because they are smaller, they don't get read, but that's not necessarily true.

#3- Write articles. I know I harp on this all the time, but really, look at it this way- You're saving someone the trouble of spending hours doing the same research, and they'll remember you for saving them time or money when they're ready to spend. Sometimes you have to give before you get.

#4 - For crying out loud get that news feed up. Legitimate email marketing isn't going anywhere, so of course, don't stop publishing your ezine. However, adding a feed can get you in front of a great quality audience for top keywords you might not normally be able to access. It sounds like it's a lot of work but it doesn't have to be if you incorporate it into your daily routine.

Do it right and do it now. The majority of small business owners are dragging their feet with this - you can beat them to the punch.

#5 - Run a special yourself. But be careful.

Instead of slashing prices on products with no rhyme or reason, offer an amended version, and give them the choice between the full versions.

#6 - Team up! There's someone in a market parallel to yours (similar subject but not a competitor) who has a product, service, newsletter, or audience that has the same desires as yours. Find those people and work together.

You could rotate top sponsor ads in each other's newsletters, trade links, write (sincere!) testimonials on each other's products, or unite your products into one big super package that all of you sell, thereby making a larger profit on a collection.

Research Shows Outlook For New Writers Still Sluggish
by Brian Hill and Dee Power  

A new study shows writers can't expect much change on the horizon for the publishing industry. It has always been a challenge for a new writer to become published and it looks like it's not going to get any easier. Over 100 editors and literary agents participated in a survey conducted in mid 2004 by Brian Hill and Dee Power, authors of "The Making of a Bestseller," Dearborn Trade to be released March 2005. 75% of the participating editors were from major publishing houses; however editors from small and university presses participated as well. The agents completing the survey were from well known agencies as well as boutique agencies.

As part of the Hill and Power 2004 Editors and Agents Survey, participants were asked to rate the current publishing industry environment as more or less favorable for new (unpublished) writers than 12 months ago and to forecast the next 12 to 24 months. The rating was done on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 - much less favorable to 5 - much more favorable.

Now versus 12 Months Ago The Next 12 to 24 Months

  • Agents --- 2.5 --- 2.7
  • Editors --- 2.8 --- 2.8

Neither agents nor editors see a great deal of change on the horizon; both groups were mildly negative about the next 12 to 24 months. Agents had a somewhat dimmer view of the current environment compared to 12 months ago, but also see a slight improvement for the future.

From the Literary Agent's Point of View

Agents are often thought of as the people who make "deals" happen on behalf of their clients. That of course is their objective. But before the negotiations can begin with a publisher, the agent has to decide which clients to represent out of the hundreds or thousands of authors who contact them every year.

Thus, they perform an important screening function for the publishing industry, keeping editors from being even more inundated with manuscripts and proposals to read than they already are. Agents could be thought of as the leading indicators of the literary marketplace.

The most common reasons given for their negative outlook for the next two years in order of frequency of mention were:

  • Industry Consolidation, or Changes (Or lack thereof) Within the Publishing Industry Itself
  • Changes in Book Retailing
  • Publishers are Becoming More Risk Averse
  • The Impact of the National Economy

From the Editors

The next generation of bestselling authors begins with those authors struggling to get their first book published. Editors were asked why they thought the forecast for the next 12 to 24 months would not improve for unpublished writers. The editors' comments fell into several categories in order of frequency of mention:

  • Past Track Record of Success Is Becoming More Important to Editors
  • The Fiction Market Has Always Been Hard
  • Impact of Retailers
  • Proliferation of Titles, Manuscripts, Authors
  • The National Economy

Looking to the Future in Publishing

The number of titles published continues to increase. There were 19% more titles published in 2003 than in 2002. Oddly enough the total number of books sold in the United States dropped. The Book Industry Study Group, a nonprofit research organization, said that there were 23 million less books sold in 2003 than in 2002. The decline was across hardcovers and paperbacks, in general trade releases and children's books. Because book prices went up by 2.5% total revenues increased to $27.8 billion in 2003.

One explanation for the anomaly of the substantial increase in published titles, 19%, and the decrease for the total number of books sold might be the ever increasing impact of Publish On Demand (POD) companies like iUniverse, Xlibris, authorshouse and PublishAmerica. These companies published nearly 18,000 different titles with the average number of copies sold for each title less than 100. Generally POD books are not stocked by bricks and mortar stores.

Advice from Editors

"There may be a silver lining on the horizon. Writers should heed the advice from editors on how to succeed as an author."

"Publishing is such an exciting industry--but it's not as romantic as many people think it is. Be as prepared as possible!"

"We love books and want to help authors, but are pulled in many directions, so we tend to look for authors who help rather than those who are overly needy. A strong, complete book proposal helps tremendously and an author who has researched publishing and can help promote his or her book is much more likely to have a positive experience with publishing."

"Having a clear vision of what you want your book to be and knowing the competition you're up against is a key part of creating a great book and getting noticed. On a crazy day in the life of an editor, who has piles of paper on his/her desk, an incomplete or sloppy proposal can mean the difference between getting a book deal and ending up in the reject pile."

"All I know is that I still care about books and writing more than anything, and I think publishing is fascinating. It only stands to reason that because I care so much, I often find fault with our industry, but I cannot help feeling that what we do really still does matter, and so there is that ongoing tension between what we might be and what we are."

The Hill and Power 2004 Editors and Agents Survey is available at no cost. Please send an email to with "writers report" in the subject or in the body of the email.

About Brian Hill and Dee Power

Brian Hill and Dee Power are the founders of Profit Dynamics Inc., a research and consulting firm. They were inspired by their own publishing experiences to research and write The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories From Authors and the Editors, Agents and Booksellers Behind Them, ISBN 0793193087, Dearborn Trade, to be released March 2005

Autograph Collectors
  Filming has begun for all movies listed below...

Collectors here's your chance to get that autograph... authors here's a chance to get that endorsement!

Never Let Go (Adventure/Drama) August 1 (Washington D.C., Paris, Russia, Philippines, San Diego) P2M Productions, 32 Reilly Road, La Grangeville, NY 12540-612. Cast: Francis Dumaurier, Bill Vassari

Casanova (Romantic Comedy) August (Venice) Touchstone Pictures/Mark Gordon Company, 500 South Buena Vista Street, Burbank, CA 91521. Phone: (818) 560-1000. Cast: Heath Ledger, Sienna Miller

King Kong (Adventure/Action) August (New Zealand/LA) Universal Pictures, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608. Cast: Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody, Jack Black

The Last Brown Beret (Drama) August 2 (Los Angeles) Rampage Productions, 1055 Sanborn Avenue, #201, Los Angeles, CA 90029. Phone: (323) 664-0908. Cast: Del Zamora

LA (Comedy) August 15 (Los Angeles) FV Films, 950 Eidson Road, Suite 100, Eagle Pass, TX 78852. Cast: Cristian Castro.

by Paul Lawrence   CRAFTSMANSHIP TIP

1) Many writers seem to want to create characterization by creating character traits. These two are not the same. Character traits are good in the sense that they give the reader some aspects that help them to visualize a real person, but they do not create characterization. Probably the most overused character trait I read in spec scripts is giving a character a stutter. If you're thinking of putting this in, please think twice about this one-- it is so cliché.

Characterization is expressing what a character is about. The character's hopes, dreams, ambitions, fears, etc. A character's backstory is something that can help illuminate why the character is like this. If the character was sexually abused as a child then this might lead to the character being sexually maladjusted. That is characterization. A character limping is not characterization. If because of that limp the character is very defensive about that he can't move quickly-- that would be characterization. If you want to give your character's depth, then give them characterization, not just traits.

2) There is a question of when to use voice over as a tool for exposition. The short answer would be almost never. In general, using voice over as a tool for exposition (explaining backstory, circumstances, people's thoughts, etc.) is frowned upon as a "lazy writer's tool".

In virtually every case when I see voice over being used this way, there is almost always other more obvious mechanisms for communicating the information that the audience needs to know. One of the best ways is to use conflict between characters.

If you have one character say to the other, "well, Bill if it wasn't for your dad beating you when you were a kid, you might be more well adjusted and might not beat your own kids", you're just offering much too direct "on the nose" dialog that will turn off both an audience and your readers long before your script ever becomes a film.

But, if you can take two characters and in the heat of an argument one screams at the other with menace in his eyes, "Bill, you touch your kid again I'll turn you into the cops. I don't give a damn if your dad used to beat the crap out of you everyday!" It becomes more natural and believable.

Now, having said all that there may be times when voice over exposition is needed. I'm currently in the middle of a novel-to-screenplay adaptation I was hired to do where after I played with all the different ways I could do it, I finally gave in and decided to use voice over narration. There was just too much information that no other characters in the story would be privy to other than the protagonist. But, VERY IMPORTANT, once you commit to this technique you can't abandon it halfway through the story. It must be woven though the entire story. An excellent example of a great movie that had this technique where arguably there was no other way to do it would be GOODFELLA'S. So, try and avoid this technique because you're always going to be on a "slippery slope", but if you conclude there's no other way, then make sure you don't drop the ball halfway through the script.

Paul Lawrence is a screenwriter based in south Florida, some of his client's scripts are with some heavyweight producers.

Paradigma Entertainment

I am looking for a small, low budget completed script, which involves Germany (no war stories please). It can be provocative, liberal, innovative - something surprising. Best would be if it has a connection to current social or political, etc. topics. It is great if it is placed in Germany, but also a story, for example, of a famous German in Australia could be a good story. Of course, if it were both placed in Germany and relevant for German audience, it would be perfect.

I've produced one feature film ('Magic Eye') and several shorts in Germany.

Please email a logline followed by a synopsis to: Sven Matten

SCREAMFEST call for entries

Los Angeles, CA May 26, 2004- Rachel Belofsky, president and founder of SCREAMFEST Horror Film Festival and partner Stan Winston have announced the Call For Entries for the 4th Annual Screamfest Horror Film Festival and Screenplay Competition and a first look deal for the winning screenplay. Screamfest Horror Film Festival takes place Oct. 15th - 24th 2004 at Universal CityWalk Loews Theatres -- Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

For more information

Want To Get Published For Free - Online?
  Accepting cutting edge short fiction, political satire, reviews.

Register at site for free to submit your stories or poems for possible free publication on this site, which markets your work to print and online publications.

Big Bridge
Accepts submissions of fiction, non-fiction, and journalism articles.

Shades of December
Accepts submissions of well-written fiction, essays, and experimental work.

Talespinners' Tavern
This site is actively looking for new works from writers of almost any genre. You can submit your writing for free and if you're chosen for publication, they provide readers with your bio and a link to your homepage on the web.
The Internet's first searchable directory of creative professionals. Add your talents to the list.

Have a Smile on Us

***** Getting Even *****

Two missionaries in Papua New Guinea get apprehended by a tribe of very hostile cannibals who put them in a large pot of water, build a huge fire under it, and leave them there. A few minutes later, one of the missionaries starts to laugh uncontrollably.

The other missionary can't believe it! He says, "What's wrong with you? We're being boiled alive! They're gonna eat us! What could possibly be funny at a time like this?"

The other missionary says, "I just peed in the soup."

***** Heard on a Flight *****

From a Southwest Airlines employee.... "Welcome aboard Southwest Flight XXX, to YYY. To operate your seatbelt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seatbelt, and if you don't know how to operate one, you probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised. In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with two small children, decide now which one you love more."

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