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November 2004
Betsie's Literary Page Newsletter

Greetings Dear Members!

We hope you enjoy this week's newsletter, take good care over the next month as we hope to see each and everyone of you when we get back!




National Library Funding Increases, But Less Than Goal - Congressional funding for library programs for FY05, which began in October, will be $207,760,000, an increase of $9.5 million over FY04, but that was $12.7M below the president's request and $15.8M less than what the Senate approved.

A Directory's Debut - The Críticas team is proud to present the first comprehensive directory of domestic and international players in the U.S. Spanish-language publishing market. This unique resource will serve as an essential guide for companies and professionals currently involved in or soon to become part of this expanding market. Within one simple guide, buyers and sellers will find the numerous publishers, distributors, bookstores, translators, literary agents, cultural organizations, and trade fairs that make the market tick.

GEORGE D. ROBEY recently optioned his corporate thriller, "The Climbers," to Hollywood-based Rafelson Media Consulting, Inc. for a future large- scale movie production. The Climbers is an action- packed story of three employees plotting to supplant their company's chief executive officer. The novel will be converted into a script and pitched to major movie studios. The film has a projected budget of at least $15 million with no spending limits.

In January 2005 Scholastic will launch its new graphic novel imprint, GRAPHIX, with the publication of Jeff Smith's award-winning series Bone. Publisher Jean Feiwel negotiated the deal with Cartoon Books' president, Vijaya Iyer, and its regular counsel, attorney Vincent M. Waldman of Los Angeles. JEAN FEIWEL is publisher and editor-in-chief.

Colorado fantasy author SCOT R. STONE has signed with The Belfrey Literary Agency based out of California, to represent him. Stone met the founder of the agency at a conference in Seattle, WA. "I believe it is critical to meet an agent face-to-face. It gives the agent and the author both a great insight about the kind of person you are evaluating. There were many excellent agents and editors at this particular conference and I am grateful to find an agency as talented as this one." The agency has worked for over twenty years in the publishing, radio, television and film industries.

Fresh from his success with Fahrenheit 9/11, filmmaker and author-provocateur MICHAEL MOORE has made a deal with Simon & Schuster for a new hardcover, to be published this fall. "Will They Ever Trust Us Again?" will consist of letters written to Mr. Moore over the last year by American soldiers in Iraq. The letters will be accompanied by commentary and an introduction by the filmmaker, who included interviews with soldiers and wounded Iraq war veterans in his Bush-bashing documentary.


Screenwriter KEVIN WILLIAMSON (Scream, Dawson's Creek) has signed a two-script deal with 20th Century Fox TV for a mid-six-figure sum.


COMBS SUED BY FORMER EMPLOYER - SEAN 'P DIDDY' COMBS is being sued by a former employer, who claims the rap mogul and his bodyguards violently assaulted him in November (03). HENRY OWUSU, a former intern at Combs' BAD BOY ENTERTAINMENT record label, has filed a $10 million (GBP5 million) lawsuit against Combs alleging he was arguing with the rapper's secretary when Combs stepped in and made violent threats, reports website SOHH.COM. And court papers claim Combs attacked him and threatened to ''throw you out a window'' and then ordered security to remove him from the premises.

BEDINGFIELD'S $1.8 MILLION AMERICAN CONTRACT - Pop beauty NATASHA BEDINGFIELD has secured a staggering $1.8 million (GBP1 million) record deal with American music giants EPIC. The SINGLE star flew to New York to meet the label's manager DAVID MASSEY on Sunday (21NOV04) straight after scooping the Hot New Talent award at Britain's SMASH HITS POLL WINNERS' PARTY. Natasha and her singer brother DANIEL's manager NEALE EASTERBY says, ''Epic's David Massey has been a huge fan of both Bedingfields from very early on. When the opportunity arose to work with Natasha he jumped at it.''

COWELL AND OSBOURNE'S BURGLARY FEUD - SIMON COWELL made fellow X FACTOR judge SHARON OSBOURNE weep last night (25NOV04) by accusing her of enjoying the publicity caused by her recent burglary ordeal. Cowell met Osbourne at London's WOMAN OF THE YEAR AWARDS in London, and mocked the theft of her wedding ring and other jewellery worth more than $3.6 million (GBP2 million) from her Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire home, earlier this week (22NOV04). He told her, ''It was well worth giving away those diamonds for that coverage.'' Osbourne retaliated, ''It is really awful to say that. I know in my heart we are not doing this for publicity.'' She later added, ''Simon can say what he likes but when you come close to losing your life, the publicity we get just doesn't matter. ''Everyone has something to say about it, like 'Why have they got all that jewellery?' but I've worked hard and I've come from nothing to where I am today.''

SO SOLID STAR ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH MURDER - LATEST: SO SOLID CREW rapper MEGAMAN was reportedly arrested yesterday (25NOV04) in connection with the fatal shooting of a man in south London last week (ends12NOV04). The dance collective's MC - real name DWAYNE VINCENT - has finally been questioned by Britain's Metropolitan Police's black-on-black crime division about COLIN SCARLETT, who died after being blasted with a shotgun at close range in Tooting. Police have been searching for the hip-hop star since the incident, and allegedly alerted officials at ports and airports to stop him if he attempted to leave the country, reports British newspaper THE SUN. Scotland Yard confirms, ''A man in his 20s has been arrested.'' A 23- year-old named CARL MORGAN has been charged with the murder.


Revealing the Covenant by Rusty Van Reeves
Publisher: Publish America; (October 2003)
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
ISBN: 1592867669
Paperback: 224pp

Rating: Highly Recommended

I Found Myself Lost Within The Pages Of This Fast- Paced Thriller!

November 22, 2004

This book opens with an image that set the tone for this story. Superman stands tall holding his wheelchair overhead, cameras flash as the room buzzes with simultaneous activity and Christopher Reeve - the Real Superman - has been cured of his paralysis. He walks into the room as living proof that the much-debated stem-cell research does in fact work. Being that Mr. Reeve passed away recently, I could not help but to feel sorrow for that real life event. However, the tale that follows this impressive opening made me feel triumphant and hopeful.

Dr. Michael Preston and his younger brother Matt are hit by a vehicle being driven by an intoxicated individual who has changed the brothers' lives and relationship. Matt is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair and Dr. Preston blames himself for this unforeseen disaster. The Doctor spends most of his time following any research that will give his brother a chance to walk again.

After many years of research and dead ends, Dr. Preston receives information about a medical team lead by a Dr. Kilmer who claims that they have cured paralysis. Dr. Preston has been hand selected to join the team and is pre-warned that there is a group called the Covenant who have vowed to prevent the cure from being made available to the public. This group will block any and all attempts at curing paralysis by utilizing any means necessary. The Covenant resorts to mercenary tactics that usually leave their victims dead and therefore unable to work towards this cure. Many scientists and Doctors have already been murdered and Dr. Kilmer and his daughter Kayla may be next.

The Covenant is motivated by money and greed. If a cure is found, the financial backing for insurance companies and other research fronts would simply dissolve. It is similar to the financial ruin that most fuel companies would find themselves subject to should an engine be developed without any fuel requirements. Therefore, the financial factor has outweighed the human factor and Dr. Preston and other "players" have to prevent the Covenant from carrying out the vow that they have made to each other.

The vivid scenes and characters converge towards a final showdown of good against evil. Dr. Preston is working towards curing his brother and preserving his own life in the process as they are tracked by the mercenaries hired by the Covenant. A mystery, a medical thriller and a love story form the pieces of Revealing the Covenant and the surprise ending will fascinate you as well.

Rusty Van Reeves has woven aspects of his life into his characters. He has a spinal chord injury that has left him paralyzed from the shoulders down and is hopeful that a cure will be found. However, much like Dr. Preston's brother Matt, he realizes that life must go on in the meantime. Like Matt, he has his own software company. He writes, using one finger, to tell a story and express innermost emotions. He writes vivid poetry and he is also an excellent painter (he can paint quite well with a brush placed between his teeth.)

Revealing the Covenant is a remarkable book written by a remarkable Artist - in every sense of the word. To learn of the Author before or after reading his work will allow you to appreciate his unbreakable spirit and his powerful words. I've enjoyed this book and I look forward to his future projects.

"We live in a time when the words impossible and unsolvable are no longer part of the scientific community's vocabulary. Each day we move closer to trials that will not just minimize the symptoms of disease and injury but eliminate them." Christopher Reeve, Testimony to US House of Representative, 1999

Reviewed by Tyrone Vincent Banks

Godiva by David Rose
Publisher: Whitaker House (September 2004)
Genre: Historical Fiction
ISBN: 0883680289
Hardcover; 357pp

Rating: Recommended

From a descendent comes: Godiva's Life & Legend

November 22, 2004

This epic tale begins in the spring of 1016 with Viking ships, adrift, choppy seas along the coast of England. A fearsome King Canute the Dane, Viking conqueror, invades. One town after another is devoured until reaching the castle of Lord Leofwine and then Godiva's hometown of Coventry.

Death and destruction overwhelms this northern region, while a thirteen-year old Godiva watches helplessly as the bloodthirsty invaders pillage her once peaceful world. Canute's vicious army coldly murders her parents, as well as friends. Godiva barely survives and only due to the heroism of Sister Osburga. Sister Osburga boldly draws the Vikings away from the hidden Godiva giving her the opportunity to escape.

Ten years pass and King Canute now controls Northern Mercia. Godiva now an exquisite woman marries the Earl of Mercia, Lord Leofric. Leofric under orders from Canute is to collect the "danegeld" --an exaggerated amount of taxes from the townspeople. Against the taxation Godiva implores and tries to reason with Leofric, requesting relief upon the people of Coventry. Her appeals are ignored.

Taking matter into her own hands Godiva relinquishes her wealth. Her jewels are contributed to pay for all the taxes of Coventry's villagers. This is pure insolence in King Canute's eyes. To alleviate Canute's anger and postpone taxation Godiva now faces dishonor and shame if his challenge of riding naked on her horse through Coventry is accepted.

Godiva is David Rose's debut novel. The tale of Godiva, a unique woman of her time, as Rose tells it, has been handed down from generation to generation in his family lineage. Rose is an Academy Award-winner for film special effects, and it clearly shows through description. Dialog on the other hand is at times klutzy and characters in need of more development. Still none of this takes away from this legendary tale.

Godiva is an entertaining book that highlights a number of topics: religious beliefs, courage, love, and survival. It is no doubt David Rose's debut novel is a promising start as an author, and I certainly hope to read more of this upcoming series! Thank you Mr. Rose. Definitely recommended!

Reviewed by Betsie

Anderson's Roundup by Terry May
Publisher: Publishamerica (June 2004)
Genre: Fiction/Western
ISBN: 1413727069
Paperback: 151pp

Rating: Highly Recommended

A Western For Everyone!

November 23, 2004

After the civil war Hub Anderson looked to build a better life for himself in Brazo, Texas, rounding up wild stray cattle. He didn't count on meeting Sarah Turner.

Sarah an ex-captive of renegade Comanche begins to show a defiant and brave side of her. After Indians kidnap her son, Sarah, her father Ben, Hub, and friend James Harper go to the rescue.

Many encounters with the crooked lawmen with prejudiced ways friendly thieves and other dangerous beings are meet along the way.

This is the western novel for all. This was not an easy book to put down. With a smooth story-telling style, author Terry May delivers a mighty wallop with Anderson's Roundup!

Reviewed by Demetria Harris

Dance Jam Productions by Celise Downs
Publisher: Gemini Mojo Press; (August 2004)
Genre: Fiction
ISBN: 0975290711
Paperback: 140pp

Rating: Highly Recommended

One-Third Love Story, One-Third Mystery and One-Third Action-Adventure.

November 23, 2004

I received an autographed copy of this book with a very professional media kit a few weeks ago. I advised the author that I was impressed with the cover - which set the tone for the wonderful story that was enclosed - and she passed the compliment on to her illustrator. The matching bookmark and other enclosures made me envious of Celise Downs and her book - which is one of many to come.

Dance Jam Productions is a local television show similar to American Bandstand or Soul Train. They are hosting a dance contest that will assemble a team of dancers that will become regulars on the show. Mataya "Mattie" Black Hawk is a talented dancer with a secret past. Forever reminded of a personal tragedy that has scarred her for life, she expresses herself through dancing and music to escape from the load that she must bear. Her confidant, protector and friend; Tykota Black Hawk, has cared for her since she was young and provides a positive environment for her to flourish in. She has decided to enter Dance Jam Productions' contest and in doing so - she will change her life.

She meets Jarek Thanos in her dance studio one afternoon and they exchange words. They both love to dance and are compatible in many ways - however - Mattie is cautious, she does not "let anyone in" too often. The two are paired up at the dance contest and it is evident that they look well together. While rehearsing for this contest - they kiss. Mattie and Jarek feel a spiritual attraction to one another and after a twist of fate; Mattie is forced to tell Jarek "everything."

That "everything" explains Mattie's physical appearance, including her beautiful blue-eyes. There is so much more to this young lady and so many memories that have shaped her being. Tykota, who is also a father-figure as well as a big brother to Mattie, also encourages Mattie to let someone else in to aid in her healing process. Mattie will let Jarek in and brief him on Tykota's mission. Teenagers in the area are being abducted and their organs are being sold on the black market. There is only one factor that unites all of the victims, Dance Jam Productions. Mattie and Jarek must team up to prevent another horrible kidnapping and organ theft.

This book is one-third love story, one-third mystery and one-third action-adventure. The words entice you to read on and all elements of the plot are strategically placed in a fashion that will captivate your imagination. The end of the story is much like a new beginning and we are certain to find Mattie, Jarek and Tykota enthralled in another adventure soon. Celise Downs has created a new type of hero, based on reality and created from flesh and blood as opposed to ink and paper.

This book is a must read for young adults and adults, there is something for everyone at Dance Jam Productions.

Reviewed by Tyrone Vincent Banks

A New Life for Sir Christopher by Richard M. Wainwright
Publisher: Family Life Publishing/Richard Wainright Books. (1998)
Genre: Children's Fiction
Awards: Benjamin Franklin Award
Format: Audio CD
Also available in hardcover; 40pp
ISBN: 096195664X

Rating: Highly Recommended

A delightfully charming story!

November 23, 2004

This enjoyable tale begins with Sir Christopher wearing his bearskin hat and his family on a beautiful sunny day at the beach. After the family finishes their meal and lay down for a nap, Sir Christopher's memories wander back to the time of his birth.

In London Stanislaw Kozako, a Polish immigrant and doll maker by trade chiseled his block of wood in the image of the Queen's guards. Stanislaw's wife and daughters quickly went to work in making his uniform and hat complete with chinstrap.

After a trip to Buckingham Palace to give glimpse of his creation to the guards on duty, the U.S. Ambassador and his family pull up in their car to see Stanislaw's doll. This in return leads the Ambassador to take Stanislaw and his family to meet the queen. The queen is so taken by his work that she requests more of these delightful creations, making Stanislaw the "master doll maker of the queen."

Sir Christopher was then sold to the Ambassador's daughter, Sally. Sally took him everywhere. Now on Cape Cod, a bad storm is on the brink, as lightning strikes and thunder roars. In a mad dash they pack up and race for the car. Unknowingly Sir Christopher falls out of the basket and quickly engulfed by the incoming waves is swept out to sea.

At sea a shark takes off one of his legs. Battered and dented Sir Christopher is thrusted onto the coast of Maine. The next day Sir Christopher is rescued by a retired sea captain named, Toby Chase. 70 year-old Chase repairs the doll by giving him a peg leg and the new name of Captain Joshua. Chase presents Capt. Joshua to his crippled grandson, Matthew, as a means of coaxing the boy out of his self-pity.

Award winning author Richard Wainwright, once again displays the magic of words that is a heartwarming story of a beautiful, wooden toy soldier and the effect he has on the various children who own him. Truly delightful and highly recommend the audio cd for younger children.

Reviewed by Betsie

20,001 Food Facts, Chef Secrets and Household Hints by Dr. Myles H. Bader
Publisher: Bader Publishing; LLC (2004)
Genre: How To
Paperback; 710pp

Rating: Highly Recommended

The best kitchen encyclopedia ever!

November 24, 2004

This 2004 edition reads like an almanac of many different food facts, household hints, and chef secrets. The topics range from holiday foods to stain removal. This manual is filled with so many helpful hints that I am certain even the worst of homemakers can find something useful!

Not only is there information on which oils are best for what purpose, but this book also differentiates floors, teas, dairy products, beers, wines, and vinegars, as well as a host of other household items.

I particularly enjoyed the section on making stocks, freezing and refrigerating tips, and sauces, in addition to the recipes throughout the book.

This manual could easily be deemed the kitchen encyclopedia for it is filled with knowledgeable tips for all types of cooks: from those that can't boil a cup of water to master chefs. Bonus features include: information on free catalogs and food samples.

Reviewed by Juanita Reynolds

Going Down Memory Lane by Laura Pfalz
Publisher: PublishAmerica (April 2004)
Genre: Fiction
ISBN: 1413714013
Paperback: 192pp

Rating: Recommended

Battling demons of the past.

November 24, 2004

Ten years have passed since the adventurous summer of 1983 when Theresa Jefferson Manzoni receives a phone call from an old friend, David. Theresa and her friends Beth Williams, and Donna Morrison, openly share their experiences and traumas, trying to erase their childhood demons. The six friends agree to meet and in a series of flashbacks take a trip down memory lane.

The year 1983, Theresa is the middle child of eight and always felt singled out by her mother. A mother so cruel and one, which never hesitated to display her hatred for her own child. Beth's father is murdered when she is five, she and her mother have built a new life, still there is something missing. Donna was considered the fortunate one and lives a princess's life, her issues hidden and locked away. The girls meet three boys, a set of brothers who also have their own problems: Wil, David and Paul.

Enter chaos, better known, as the Jordan brother's hell-bent on destruction and control. The first sets of brothers interact with the three girls, while the Jordan brothers decide to make Beth the object of their obsession. Patrick's brothers are somewhat terrified of Patrick and follow his every command. Patrick upon realizing that Beth wants nothing to do with him, beats her, kidnaps her and eventually attempts to kill her!

Despite awkward dialogue, and somewhat exaggerated characters Going Down Memory Lane is an entertaining novel. Certainly worth picking up for a night of light reading.

Reviewed by Betsie


Impossible Journey: A Tale of Times and Truth by James M. Becher Publisher: Publish America; (2004)
Genre: Christian Fiction
ISBN: 1413750540
Paperback: 117pp
$ pending

Rating: Recommended

How Do You Destroy Sin?

November 24, 2004

On June 1, 2025, the World Scientific Society's Annual meeting has commenced. On this day, the theory of time-travel will move from a theory to a reality. A team of scientists will embark on an impossible journey to rid the world of all sickness and distress - by eliminating sin. They will locate and travel to the Garden of Eden and prevent Eve from eating the forbidden fruit.

A team of three scientists from different cultures and religions embark on this journey across time. They pool their individual knowledge and expertise to adapt to the places and times that their strange vessel will land. As they move back towards the Garden of Eden, they encounter various individuals from the Gold Rush, American Revolution and Camelot. By unknown means the craft will even venture further into the future to witness a war that rages without reason. They witness firsthand the events that announce the end of the world still certain that they can change this fate through their travels.

The three time-travelers are of three separate faiths and regard Christ as a good teacher or a type of good fellow or simple prophet. They even witness firsthand the crucifixion of Chris but they are still not convinced of that event's significance. It is not until they speak with one of Jesus Christ's disciples, after the crucifixion that they return to their mission. They are told that the original sin is necessary and that without this event Christ would not have been sent to rescue mankind from its destructive path. The men have an epiphany of sorts and now they have to determine if their impossible mission can be accomplished. Can they solve the problem in the past or in the future?

Reverend James Becher has written an interesting story to ponder. I understand his message and the fact that we can make some changes in the way that we live to improve our future. Through Christ and the belief that he died for our sins so that we may live, there will only be more to gain from our existence. I would have liked some of the historical context and dialogue to be more authentic, but that is what the Author within myself desires. The exclusion of those aspects from the story does not take away from the message. Including those items would serve to captivate the audience further and evoke a powerful response for those unprepared to accept Christianity. Based on Reverend Becher's history as a man of God, I understand why the message prevailed over the Sci-Fi aspects that I have mentioned.

His message is clear and concise and I will repeat this using words from his novelette: "Either you will all become believers in Jesus like us before this is all over with, or you will be destroyed in some way by God or one of His messengers. Jesus Christ is the only answer for the problem of sin and evil in the World. There can be no other."

Reviewed by Tyrone Vincent Banks

Job Lines

ABC - New York - (212) 456-6300 x6880
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Just ask operator for the job hotline

Creating a Screenwriting Career

There's times a popular quote floats around Hollywood-- "Every writer is just one script away from a career." Translated, it means that with the right screenplay, you're in business.

For some people, that "one script" is their first. For others, it is their 20th. It all depends on how fast you gain an understanding of the skills and concepts that make a highly marketable screenplay.

This is Part 2 of a 12-step plan that can lead you to the success you want. In the last issue, we covered the first four steps. Here they are:

1. Start with a marketable concept.

2. Create characters that A-list actors will want to play.

3. Outline your script to make sure every part of it is dramatic and fresh.

4. Write a great opening that will engage the reader and audience.

Those are a great start and absolutely essential if you really want to sell your screenplay. But, of course, you then need to turn out a script that is extremely well written.


5. Make sure every scene is extremely engaging.

Properly designed, each scene will re-engage the reader's attention. One scene will lure them in. The next will surprise them. The next will create suspense. Follow that with an ironic scene, then a crucible scene.

Whatever order you choose, you need to make sure of two things:

A. That you have a variety of different scene structures to make sure the script doesn't feel predictable.

B. That for each scene, you choose the scene structure that will yield the most value in terms of curiosity, drama, and entertainment.

Many overlook scene structure, but it can be a major asset.

6. Make sure every page demands that the reader reads on.

In general, readers are overworked. So your job is to make it almost impossible to put your script down until every page has been read.

By the end of each page, you want them wondering or worrying about what will happen next. The more they are curious about the future of your story, the more likely they'll continue reading.

It could be as simple as a line of dialogue calling the protagonist's goal into doubt or the entire scene could put your protagonist into the worst spot of their life. Just keep them wondering and your script will get read.

7. Use terse description that gives more meaning than words.

Brief. Concise. Crisp. Get it?

Just as important, many times, a short sentence can deliver more emotion and power than an entire page when you've selected the right words. This is especially true of initial character descriptions.

If you want great description, practice finding ways to deliver a powerful message with as few words as possible.

8. Have dialogue that actors will fight to keep in the script.

Imagine dialogue that is full of subtext, anticipation, and surprise. If you provide that and deliver maximum character in most of your lines, actors will absolutely love you.

Great dialogue comes from understanding your characters very well, but it also comes from having the flexibility to create 25 or 50 or even 100 different ways to say the same line. And that means truly understanding the different places a character might deliver a line from.

Consider a character that drops their plate in a restaurant. What would they say if they were embarrassed? How about angry? How about if they have a strong need for attention? What if one of their traits is "humorous?" Or "violent?" Or "sophisticated." Notice how a small change in the character will change their dialogue in the same situation.

The more you know about different types of dialogue structures, the more amazing your characters and their dialogue will be.

Where's Your Power as a Writer?

Before I proceed, let's clarify something. If you are writing JUST for your own enjoyment, this article doesn't apply to you. But if you are WRITING TO SELL or writing to get an agent, then this article will be very helpful. In fact, it could be one of the most important things you learn about writing screenplays in your entire career.

To start this process, we need to understand what the major players in this market want and need.


  • Marketable projects that are well written
  • Fresh/original material that fits their specific market
  • Easy to sell to their boss or to the studios


  • Easily sellable writers who consistently produce paychecks
  • Writers who have either a group of well-written spec scripts or who have a great writing sample and can turn out writing assignments every six weeks.


  • Writers with marketable projects who the manager can develop into a major player.
  • They also want you to have something that can be sold now.

As I've stressed over and over, the key to your success is creating highly marketable screenplays. Each of the players above needs projects that are designed for the market... and are easy to pitch.

Knowing that, imagine yourself sitting next to a great Hollywood player listening to writer after writer pitch stories.

Here are the statistics:

2% pitched a high concept
5% pitched a marketable story
15% pitched a well-designed story (including the 7% above)

And here's the bad news. 85% pitched stories that were poorly designed. 93% pitched stories that were unmarketable.


Knowing that agents, producers, and managers are looking for the most marketable screenplays they can find, (and 93% of writers present unmarketable screenplays), where do you think your power is?

Consider this scenario:

Instead of giving a long drawn-out pitch, you introduce yourself and say one extremely powerful sentence -- a High Concept -- and then pause.

Your concept wows them and they follow with a flurry of questions that you answer masterfully. Your story is obviously well designed and clearly marketable.

They invite you to lunch and spend a delightful afternoon discussing ways to get your movie produced.

Do you see it? Do you see how writing a truly marketable script can elevate you above the other writers who haven't yet discovered this important key to success?

Just to be really clear, here are the three items that increase your power as a writer:

1. A High Concept.

From a marketing perspective, this is the most valuable part of a screenplay. Until you pitch a High Concept to Hollywood, you have no idea what it is like to have producers and agents reverse their "No unsolicited screenplays" policy.


Because a true High Concept is what producers, TV networks, studios, and even financiers are looking for. A High Concept is easier to pitch to stars, studio execs, and to the public. It simply translates into a huge increase in the chance that the movie (and its huge budget) will pay off.

2. A great story that is well written.

The concept gets the story read, but then the writing needs to be amazing...and if it is, agents, managers, and producers will absolutely love you.

They'll see characters for A-list actors, openings that will grip an audience, scenes that are fascinating to watch, and dialogue that will be repeated all over the World.

Do that and your scripts will sell and you'll get writing assignments from studios.

3. Well prepared pitch that communicates the marketability of the project.

This third component may seem easy if the first two are in place, but over and over, the real tragedy is when a writer has a great script but pitches it poorly

You need specific pitches for different situations. A great query letter pitch often dies when pitched in person. An amazing logline doesn't assure an amazing synopsis.

For each occasion -- logline, in-person pitch, synopsis, query letter, and One-Page -- you need to absolutely maximize the impact that pitch has. And that means that you communicate as strongly as possible the marketability of your project...without ever saying "It's marketable because..."

Put a High Concept together with a great story, amazing writing, and a great pitch, and you've got the start of a screenwriting career.

Most writers assume they should think about marketability after they write the story. That is what 93% of the writers in those pitch-fests thought...and that is why their scripts aren't selling.

Don't give up your power in the beginning stage of a script. If you want an agent, manager, and/or to sell your screenplays, make sure you have ALL THREE of these important components of a marketable screenplay.

I know it takes some work, but the power it gives you as a writer is worth more than you can imagine when you enter this market.


1. Check that you have given the reader all the information he/she needs to understand a characters motivation?

2. Don't forget when planning characters to know as much about your protagonists supporting cast, as you do about him/her. Flesh out a whole bunch of interesting characters, not just one.

3. Think about what journey you want the character to make, what lessons will he/she learn in the book. (This is my new favorite way of looking at plot)

4. Make sure that any character mannerisms remain the same during the whole story.

5. It's great to let characters have specific phrases or ways of speaking; it helps the readers identify them.

6. Characters have their own goals and driving forces, make sure that they are staying true to them.

7. It's OK to have characters who have mixed feelings, and are occasionally contrary- its makes them people after all.

8. When giving characters in your stories 'life', make sure that they all have different, colorful personalities. Your story would be very dull to the reader if every character seemed to act exactly like another.

9. Never make a 'perfect' character. Each character has flaws and undesirable traits, either physically or in their personality. Make sure to let the reader know about these flaws, so they can relate to the character and continue to stay enthralled in the story. If they can't relate to characters, they won't enjoy the story because it will lack that realism that every story needs.

10. Don't let your characters have life too easy- how can solutions to their problems make things worse perhaps?

11. Never give your character a dialect you are not familiar with, there is nothing worse than having a character change dialect in the story, watch dubbed movies especially Hong Kong ones, liverpudlian comes out all wrong and lancashire that switches to yorkshire is ridiculous.

12. Don't be afraid to let your characters go. Sometimes, if you keep an important character through like an entire series, they lose their purpose in the novel and no longer become important. Let the others that spent time with this character carry on their traditions and dreams to make the story move on. Sometimes it will have a significant amount of feeling to the novel.

13. It's not only heroines and heroes that should be interesting, if the villain isn't captivating then neither will your story be. I personally find HOW and WHY to be something more interesting than 'he just is OK...?

14. Characters will, if properly rendered, take on a life of their own, and that is a magical moment. One of mine veered off in one direction when I thought he was going in another. On the whole I think this is good, it means they have a life separate from the writer, and are acting out their own personality. But don't give him so much freedom he takes over the book!

15. Watch your point-of-view, it can be confusing to the reader to jump around between characters. Generally do not change point of view in the midst of a scene.

Try and avoid minor character point of view, this just confuses the author into thinking that character is important.

Beating Writer's block

A few ideas that might help you crack it

1. Use incidents or memories from your own life. They don't have to be exactly the same, but think about a certain situation, how that made you feel. Take the story from there.

2. Discuss your work up till now with somebody else. It is always good to get someone else's point of view. Other people might have valuable suggestions or questions for/about your work.

3. Read more books. Most of your inspiration will come from them. If you reflect on your work can probably pinpoint where certain aspect of your story came from. The more knowledge you have, the more versatile your writing will become. In case of fantasy writing I'd also recommend to read books on myths, legends, folklore and history. You'd be amazed at some of the outrageous things, which have happened in times past.

4. One of the major causes of the dreaded WB is lack of planning. Virtually painting you into a corner. A brief outline may be the answer.

5. If you're burned out on one project, put it away and take a rest by doing another bit of writing.

6. Try free writing. Let yourself relax and with pen in hand simply let yourself write whatever comes into your head. How about a change of locale? Take pen and book and try a coffee shop. (Hey it worked for JK Rowling!)

7. This might be hard- by try looking really hard at your work. Are you bored with it? If that's the problem... it is likely it'll bore others. If so, is it really a good way to spend your time?

8. Timed writing. Try forcing yourself to do fifteen minutes writing on any subject to get the juices flowing.

9. Try keeping a journal, the physical act of writing with a real pen on thoughts of your own, may also start that elusive muse off.

10. Take a walk, do some gardening, go for a bike ride.

Often new things can inspire, but don't let it become an excuse to not do anything!

Five Costly Errors That May Be Preventing Your Marketing Messages From Getting The Results You Want

These examples can be applied to ANY business or prodruct.

Costly Error #1 - Not Precisely Pinpointing Your Target Market

A leading networking company relied heavily on seminars for its sales. To boost attendance at one seminar, it placed an ad in the local newspaper inviting anyone and everyone to attend. With its wide-open y'all come approach, the ad-attracted students looking for information and a free lunch.

Instead of desperately trying to fill seminar seats, the company would have done better to more precisely identify its target -- the information technology managers and executives who make decisions about networks.

Even if your message is the greatest, it will fail if it doesn't reach the right people.

Costly Error #2 - Spending Money On The Wrong Marketing Medium

A new video producer who was interviewed for an article after creating a video about dog training, he developed a marketing strategy -- to place a $600 ad in TV Guide. After all, he reasoned, there has to be a pack of dog owners among its 20 million readers. Perhaps. But only one of them ordered the video.

He would have had a greater chance of success by trying out an ad in a publication geared to dog lovers or, perhaps, purchasing a list from one of these publications and testing a mailing.

The better you can describe and understand your market, the more likely you are to find them. And the more you zero in on exactly where they hang out in groups (such as readers of specialized publications or newsletters), the less you risk choosing a time-and- money-swallowing marketing medium.

Costly Error #3 - Putting a Fog Around Your Message

Sometimes business people write marketing communications with the belief they should, above all else, be clever. (Or, worse, they pay others to concoct these witty or whimsical messages for them.) As a result, their main message becomes clouded. Another frequent fault is to obscure their message with jargon.

Or they may bury their message beneath a display of sensational verbal or graphic fireworks. Think of the number of Web sites you've seen where the message is submerged or nonexistent.

Be alert! Don't let anything come between you and the message you want your prospects to remember and respond to.

Costly Error #4 - Relying On Image And A Brochure To Carry The Day

By image I mean marketing communications with the sole purpose of creating an image and awareness of your firm, product, or service. They attempt to be a work of art. Watch out! Sometimes they take the form of a glossy brochure with slick photographs and attention-grabbing layout.

The problem is they do not produce measurable results, nor do they provide feedback to guide you in improving your marketing message.

If you have $10 million to spend on marketing, your image brochure (or ad) may work for you . . . some day. It's unlikely that it can prompt your prospects to act now.

Read on to find out exactly what goes in your brochure or ad to grab your best prospects and urge them to respond at once.

Costly Error #5 - Not Acting On The Power Of Marketing Leverage

What is marketing leverage?

Controlled studies by successful advertising experts have measured the impact of headlines, offers, copy, and graphics. By testing -- changing these elements one at a time and comparing results from direct response ads -- the experts discovered the following differences between responses to the best and worst versions of each element.

The champions, please...

·Headline: a response that was 21 times greater
·Offer: a response that was 10 times greater
·Copy: a response that was 5 times greater
·Graphics: a response that was 5 times greater

How can you take advantage of this information?

If your marketing communication does not have an offer, develop one. If it has a lackluster offer, make it irresistible. If your marketing document does not have a headline, create one. If it has a humdrum headline, generate one that grabs the attention of your prospects.

How about you? Do you suspect that one or more of these errors caused your marketing messages to fall short?

By avoiding these expensive mistakes you will improve your chances of success. Put these errors behind you and produce marketing communications that get attention and results.

Screenplays Wanted


Ginty Films International
I am looking for completed screenplays that are written in Hong Kong style, but can be shot in Vancouver. Examples of Hong Kong style are 'Kill Bill', 'Romeo Must Die', or films by Jet Li, Jackie Chan, John Woo, Wong Kar-Wai, and Tony Leung. The script needs to involve young adults and can be horror, action or police stories. The script must appeal to teens and young adults.

Budget will not exceed 3 million. WG and non-WG writers are welcome.

My directing, acting and some of my producing credits can be seen on

Please email a logline and synopsis followed by a resume (if available) in the body of the email (NO email attachments. Those emails will be deleted without being read) to Robert Ginty. Please include '' in the subject of the email.

I am looking for a writer interested in creating a spec script. The script will take place in contemporary Mainland China. The story will focus on a young woman from China's provincial villages who 'escapes' (as the Chinese term it) to the westernized cities (like Beijing) rebelling against an arranged marriage and the traditional lifestyle of rural China. But the modern cities can be dangerous for a runaway. This film would be comparable to past films directed by Yimou Zhang, Kaige Chen, or possibly Kar- Wei Wong.

Ideally, I would like the writer to be a Chinese native familiar with life in Chinese villages, although I am certainly open to non-Chinese writers who have an extensive background and knowledge of Chinese culture.

Budget will not exceed $10 million. My background includes: I currently run Mediola and Dan Cooper & Associates. Previous experience includes co-creator of the FOX News Channel, founding Broadcast Producer for ABC News 20/20, Executive Producer for King World Productions, Consultant to MTV.

Please email me your background as a writer and your experience with the Chinese culture. (EMAIL ATTACHMENT ACCEPTED - please send) to Dan Cooper. Please include '' in the subject of the

** 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!



Remember pitching your story idea to any magazine will bring your book or product to the attention of thousands!

Utne Magazine covers the environment, the economy, international relations and pop culture has recently named Jon Spayde and Karen Olsen as co- editors. The publication which is pronounced like "Chutney", covers such subjects as how to survive in the busy world, new efforts in medicine, folk music , exercise, aging, new magazines, and publications, politics, the atmosphere, etc. Suggestions go to them at

Utne Magazine
1624 Harmon Place, Ste. 320
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(212) 338-5040


Always query first! DO NOT send materials until requested.

Blair Silver & Company Entertainment Management
P.O. Box 3188
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Careyes Entertainment [Mngmnt]
9000 Sunset Blvd., Suite 800
Los Angeles, CA 90069
310-888-1243 (Fax)

Concept Entertainment [Mngmnt]
Attn: David Faigenblum, Eve LaDue
9348 Civic Center Drive, 3rd Floor
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 276-6177
(310) 276-9477 (fax)

Don Congdon Associates, Inc.
156 Fifth Avenue, Suite 625
New York, NY 10010-7002
Telephone: (212) 645-1229
Fax: (212) 727-2688
Contact: Don Congdon, Michael Congdon, Susan Ramer

9 Mile Management
11271 Ventura Blvd. #329
Studio City, CA 91604
Notes: Los Angeles based writers only. E-mail logline, brief bio and synopsis. Will reply if there is interest. No phone calls or unsolicited scripts, please.

Fifi Oscard Agency, Inc.
24 West 40th Street
New York, NY 10011
Telephone: (212) 764-1100
Fax: (212) 840-5019
Contact: Ivy Fischer Stone


Trying to get your product on TV... here's your chance!

NBC-TV's "The Jane Pauley Show" has the following contacts: Michael Weiser is the executive producer, with Colleen Halpin, the show's number two producer. Meredith Paige is the show's senior field producer. Other senior producers include Laurie Weiss, who comes from local TV in Detroit, and Marlene Selip.

Jane Pauley Show at NBC
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York City, NY 10012
(212) 664-4444

Contact Maury Povich with Show ideas, comments and other viewer mail can be sent to:

Studios USA
15 Penn Plaza / Grand Ballroom
New York, NY 10001
Or Call: (800) 547-6912

Rose Communications
499 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Main Phone/Questions
(212) 940-1600
You can email Charlie Rose personally at

The Oprah Show's season goes from September through November, and January through June. The closely kept secret is the names of staff. The executive producer of the show is Dianne Atkinson Hudson, with Dana Newton Utigard, Ellen Rakieten and Katy Murphy Davis supervising senior producers. They are reached at

Harpo Productions
110 N. Carpenter St.
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 633-1000

The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn
c/o On-Camera Audience
224 E. Olive Ave.
Suite 205
Burbank, CA 91502
(213) 833-6469


With thousands of listeners (to & from work or even at work) it's hard to leave out radio stations and their talk programs!

The Misread City: Literary Radio
Interviews novelists and poets
Phone: 562-795-5460

Talk to Tara
Tara is your Host on Evergreen Radio for AUTHOR INTERVIEWS, CELEBRITY INTERVIEWS and BOOK REVIEWS in RealAudio Tara's show PROFILES is now being broadcast on Evergreen Radio Reading Service which is affiliated with the Seattle Public Libraries.

To help independent authors worldwide, ArtistFirst World Radio offers a weekly show series exclusively about independent and undiscovered authors.

Send materials to:


Ron Hogan, Editor/Publisher

By the Book
Author Interviews, Book Reviews, and other Fun Stuff for Kids from Children's Author
Julia Durango

Books and Authors
Author interviews, news, book reviews and more.

Review Editor
The Spiritual Bookstore
144-3495 Cambie St.
Vancouver, BC V5Z 4R3

Denise Fleischer
Gotta Write Online
515 E. Thacker
Hoffman Estates, IL 60194
Phone: 847 882-8054

Ron Berthel, Book Editor
Associated Press
50 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10020-1666
Phone: 212-621-1850
Reviewers Categories: Fiction, General, Non-Fiction

Brad Elliott
122 N 25th St
Reading PA 19606
Reviewers Categories: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror


If you collect autographs, it's a great idea to write the celebrities below now, while on location. Authors don't be shy - get those endorsements!

All the King's Men (Drama)
December 1 (New Orleans)
Phoenix Pictures/AKM Productions
2424 Edenborn Avenue, Suite 350
Metairie, LA 70001
Cast: Jude Law, Sean Penn, Meryl Streep

The Last Brown Beret (Drama)
December 2 (Los Angeles)
Rampage Productions
1055 Sanborn Avenue, #201
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Cast: Robert Beltran, Del Zamora, Mike Gomez

The Wrong Element (Action/Thriller)
Warner Bros./Village Roadshow Pictures Inc./Beacon Communications
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA, 91522
Cast: Harrison Ford, Paul Bettany


Every Word is True (Drama)
January 1 (New York, New Mexico)
WIP/Killer Films/Longfellow Pictures
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Toby Jones, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sigourney Weaver.

Willful Blindness (Action/Drama)
January 1 (New York)
USA Management/P2M Prods.
32 Reilly Road La
Grangeville, NY 12540
Cast: Artie Pasquale, Victoria Daddario, Guy Messenger, Marc De'Antone

Blake (working title) (Science Fiction)
January 3 (Boston, Los Angeles)
WaterLevel Productions
19 Albio Street, 3rd Floor
Somerville, MA, 02143
Cast: Amanda Young, Jude T. Norman, Abigail Marie Young, Catherine Cox, Alex Verde

Darkness Rising (The Gamers: Second Edition) (Comedy/Fantasy)
January 3 (Washington)
Gamers Productions, LLC.
1901 Jefferson Avenue, Suite 110
Tacoma, WA 98402
Cast: Nathan Rice, Olesia Shewchuk, Brian Lewis, Scott Brown, Christopher Doyle, Jennifer Page, Eric Ugland, Geoff Gibbs, Don Early, Emily Olson.

Miracle at Sage Creek (Family/Western)
January 17 (Arizona)
Talmarc Productions
10560 East Rio Verde Drive
Hereford, AZ 85615
Cast: Bruce Boxleitner, Billy Drago, Martin Kove, Buck Taylor, Francine York, Paul Gleason, James Intveld, Thadd Turner, DJ Perry, Anthony Hornus

The Town of Morals (Horror)
January 17 (California)
ML Madsen Productions
P.O. Box 2078
North Highlands, CA 95660
Cast: Autumn Withers, Brooke Mason


What many authors may not realize is that you can call these bookstores, pitch your book, and ultimately have the owner stock it on the shelf!

Then make sure you post this information on your website under "available at the following locations."

Agneta's Books and Things
994 Farmington Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06107
(860) 233-0768

85 Ferris Street
Bridgeport, CT 06605

968 Farmington Avenue Suite 1
West Hartford, CT 06107
(860) 233-2653

Trading Post
215 Albany Tnpk. (Rt. 44)
PO Box 582
Canton, CT 06019
1-800-530-5124 TOLL FREE
FAX 1-860-693-8677

The Danielson Book Store
89 Main Street
Danielson, CT 06259
Phone: 860-779-9517

Millrace Bookshop in the Gristmill
40 Mill Lane
Farmington, CT 06032
Tel: (860) 677-9662
Fax: (860) 677-0714

Diane's Books of Greenwich
8A Grigg St.
Greenwich, Ct 06830
Tel: 203-869-1515
Fax: 203-869-3680

Just Books
11 East Putnam Ave
Greenwich, CT 06830
Phone: 203.869.5023 | 800.874.4568
Fax: 203.869.0633 | 800.874.4568

Just Books, Too
28 Arcadia Road
Old Greenwich, CT 06870
Phone: 203.637.0707 | 800.874.4568
Fax: 203.637.0760 | 800.874.4568

Trinity College Bookstore
300 Summit Street
Mather Hall
Hartford, CT, 06106
Phone:(860) 297-2191
Fax:(860) 297-2283
Store Manager: Mohammed Farooque

15 South Street
Litchfield, Connecticut, 06759
Closed Mondays
Telephone: (860) 567-0748

R.J. Julia Booksellers
768 Boston Post Road
Madison, CT 06443
Phone: 203-245-3959 or 1-800-747-3237
Fax: 203-245-8126

Greene's Books & Beans
140 Bank Street
New London, Connecticut 06320

Baileywick Books, Inc.
50 Bank Street
New Milford, CT 06776
Tel: 860-354-3865
Fax: 860-350-0046

UConn Co-op
2075 Hillside Road
Storrs, CT 06269
Tel: 860-486-5027
Fax: 860-486-4318


So you can't get people to request your book in the library? Well there's an easier way of solving this issue - contact them yourself!

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



A team of writing professionals with 45 years combined experience in writing, editing, legal/administrative secretarial and office management. They are available to assist you with editing/proofreading, transcriptions and will even help you rework that book you're writing.

** FindTheRightWords is offering "Betsie's Literary Page" readers a 15% discount until 12/19/04.

PR by the Book

Marika Flatt spent seven years with Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists as the lead publicist. She has launched her own firm called PR by the Book. PR by the Book offers: full scale media campaign, ala carte publicity services such as media training, specific city promotion, press material development, and other training/ consultant services. Of most value to new writers, Flatt develops a complete marketing plan which writers can use in their promotion to agents and publishers.

WriterOnLine - is an e-publication dedicated to writers and lovers of writing. Fiction, poetry, business and technical writing, how-tos, articles, reviews, freelance markets, jobs for writers and much more, published bi-weekly.

Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists, Inc. - Since its inception in 1994, Phenix & Phenix has built a reputation that ranks it among the industry's most highly respected publicity firms, and the publicist of choice for authors and publishers throughout the United States and 17 foreign countries.

Phenix & Phenix also offers a no charge comprehensive media analysis of your book, to evaluate its potential reach and scope in the media

Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists, Inc
2525 West Anderson Lane, Ste. 540
Austin, Texas 78757


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