COVID Summer Reading: Inspiration, Education, and Escapism

In the Key of New York City: A Memoir in Essays

by Rebecca McClananan
(Now Write! Nonfiction contributor)
Red Hen Press (September 1, 2020)
A middle-aged couple leaves North Carolina to pursue a long-held desire: to live in New York City. As they struggle to find work and forge friendships in a city of strangers, Rebecca takes her mother’s advice to “make a home wherever you land.” She tracks the heartbeat of New York, finding in each face she meets the cumulative loss, joy, and stubborn resilience of a city that has claimed her for its own.

Racialism and the Media: Black Jesus, Black Twitter, and the First Black American President

by Venise Berry
(Now Write! Fiction contributor)
Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers (May, 2020)
In the 21st century, we need a more nuanced understanding of racial constructions and how the nature of racial ideology has changed in our society. Yes, there are still ugly racists who push uglier racism, but there are also popular constructions of race routinely woven into mediated images and messages. This book examines selected exemplars of racialism moving beyond traditional racism.

Also check out:

The A to Z of African American Cinema

by Steven Torriano Berry and Venise Berry
Scarecrow Press (September, 2009)
Covering everything from The Birth of a Nation to Crash, this book provides a deep understanding of the role African Americans play in film history, with loads of photos and hundreds of cross-referenced entries on actors, actresses, movies, producers, organizations, film credits and awards.

Shakespeare for Squirrels: A Novel

by Christopher Moore
(Now Write! Mysteries contributor)
William Morrow (May, 2020 – hardcover, Kindle and audio)
Shakespeare meets Dashiell Hammett in this hardboiled murder mystery take on the Bard’s most performed play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring Pocket, the hero of Fool and The Serpent of Venice, along with his sidekick, Drool, and pet monkey, Jeff. A New York Times bestseller.

 

Wild Ride Home

by Christina Hemp
(Now Write! Nonfiction contributor)
Arcade (February, 2020)
The close-knit Hemp family believes beauty and humor outshine the most devastating circumstances, but when the author suffers a dangerous fiancé, her mother’s dementia, unexpected death and illness, a feisty little Arabian horse, with his own history to overcome, offers a chance to look back on her life and learn to trust herself (and others) again.

Burners – A Jack Daniels/Alex Chapa Mystery

by Henry Perez (Now Write! Mysteries contributor) and J.A. Konrath (June, 2019)
Jury duty is not how newspaper reporter Alex Chapa wants to spend his day. But when he learns Chicago Homicide cop Jacqueline Daniels will play a key role in the trial, his curiosity gets the better of him—with potentially lethal results.

 

 

Looking for some summer and Covid-19 escapism?

Hungry for Your Love: an anthology of Zombie Romance

Edited by Lori Perkins
Ravenous Romance (September, 2010)
Packed with Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror contributors (stories in order of appearance in Hungry For Your Love:)
“Romance Ain’t Dead” by Jeremy Wagner
“Eye of the Beholder” by Stacey Graham
“First Love Never Dies” by Jan Kozlowski
“Julia Brainchild” by Lois Gresh
“Kicking the Habit” by Steven Saus
“Some New Blood” by Vanessa Vaughn
“First Date” by Diana Fredsti

 

And for your self-care in these trying times – request a free color ePub version

Inner Yoga: 23 Simple Self-Care Tools for Peace, Healing, and Authentic Empowerment

by Laurie Lamson
(Now Write! Screenwriting and Now Write! Mysteries co-editor/author; Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror editor/author)
JaZzyMaE Media (May, 2020)
A variety of simple tools collected and practiced over decades of research into the most effective ways to feel better.  With a little practice, these “quick fixes” can become habitual – healthy habits for the mind, body and spirit, bringing you more into alignment with the Real You. Soon you will be able to count on them as friends and allies on your journey through life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soulful Screenwriting: Empowering Interactive Workshop

Explore the soul of a screenplay and yourself as the writer:

Each Wednesday in September: 2, 9, 16, 23, & 30

4:30-6:30pm Pacific / 7:30-9:30pm Eastern

In this empowering 5-week interactive workshop, participants will receive a big running start toward beginning a project from scratch or rewriting a current screenplay effectively.
We’ll discuss crucial dramatic ingredients along with common screenwriting pitfalls and creative writing exercises and tools for solving them.
Each session includes one or two writing exercises culled from several of the Now Write! books to help you get out of your own way, get creative juices flowing, and benefit your screen stories.

This intimate workshop is a safe space to talk about your work – limited to 10 participants.

Quote from past participant, Lise Pyles, award-winning screenwriter and co-founder of San Antonio Screenwriters’ Guild:

“Your exercises have proven very helpful! It’s a good reminder to me, to keep taking workshops because there will always be new ways of looking at things. Thanks so much for a beneficial and thought-provoking workshop.”

Soulful Screenwriting was designed by Laurie Lamson, a produced award-winning screenwriter, screenplay consultant and author/editor of three Now Write! anthologies.

Eventbrite: $150 including fees
Venmo through Aug. 24: $135 – email for details

Guest Post by Pen Densham: Creative Person’s Survival Manual

Passion, Creativity and Success

A creative person’s survival manual

 (Excerpted from Pen Densham’s free eBook – link to download the whole book at the bottom.)
Our media business involves a zillion layers of invention, including every craft and art seen credited on those end-title crawls. Each credit connotes an innovator and creative problem-solver bringing his or her talent to bear in the creation of movie magic.

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Across the spectrum of vocations, whether you’re an actor, writer, director, inventor, chef, computer programmer, research scientist or, God help us, a weapons creator—we struggle with the process of bringing forth what has never existed through the mysterious process called creativity.
For many, this exploration toward the ultimate joy of accomplishment has a cost: anxiety!

FIRST RULE: IGNORE ALL RULES

I share these thoughts, aware of how ignorant I am of the true spectrum of your inspiration process. Which I consider pretty close to sacred. I want to dialogue “with” you and not at you. Please ignore everything here that goes against your instincts.They are usually right!
My observations come from the privilege of a longish career. A few wild, giant successes and many rejections (many!) Experiences that have given me the one thing I didn’t have when younger – “perspective”. I have discovered the scripts I’ve written from the heart have gotten them made more frequently than the projects the studios paid me to write. But, as an artist and businessman I have never been far from the pain of uncertainty, when attempting to make concrete what has flitted around inside my head.
images-1As a curious young documentary filmmaker, I explored some amazing game-changers in various fields. Like revolutionary Media Guru Marshall McLuhan, Master Magician and Psychic debunker The “Amazing” James Randi. Brilliant Canadian Architect Raymond Moriyama. Malcolm Bricklin, the car entrepreneur who built a gull-wing sports car before Delorean. Toller Cranston, the first international figure skater to perform his sport as Ballet on ice and not just muscular gymnastics – and my own mentor, Norman Jewison, who’s list of amazing films is humbling. People who have the habit of pushing beyond the limits in their fields.
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What did I learn? They have a universal sense to think freely and uniquely outside their current boxes, but it didn’t prevent stress and outside criticism. They cared so much about their goals that despite the negatives they headed where their guts told them. It was infectious. I don’t think of myself as particularly gifted… More a dreamer and not a great employee, but they made me feel that pursuing my own dreams was possible.

I HAVE NEVER ESCAPED STRESS

It comes from our imaginations trying to help us define the future – but without any compass for that untrod path. Stress is normal, it evolved alongside the imagination as a protective problem solving mechanism, igniting our body’s fight or flight system. A kind of psychic radar, bouncing negative things out and reflecting on how we might defend against them. But, when it is not attached to solving a real issue, it can bounce all over the place, unnerving us in the process.
UnknownI saw the world’s most renowned stress pioneer speak. The late Dr. Hans Selye. He stated that being mugged or experiencing a surprise birthday party can create an identical adrenaline rush. Heart rate increases. Tension tightens. Breathing speeds up. But, in the mugging, the effect is felt as fear and the birthday surprise, as joy. – “Anxiety” when it is in the service of something we value is embraced as “Excitement”.
Selye said, our adrenalin glands disturb us less when we are impassioned, pursuing goals that fascinate us. Even more strongly if we feel those goals benefit others!
Unknown-1Alternately, working on projects that are against my nature. (Maybe I sold out a little?) – Trying to cash in on someone else’s goal can be painful. I have done it as a writer.And it was like trying to pluck words out of my flesh. I didn’t like the end result and failed to have the incentive to fight for it.
When I am going in the direction my instincts support, the fear of failure is still there – but mitigated with the magical excitement of discovery.

The essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail.
-Edwin H. Land

Download your own free copy of Pen Densham’s Passion Creativity and Success: a Creative Person’s Survival Manual.

DOWNLOAD A FREE COPY OF PEN DENSHAM’S 20 SECRETS FOR SUCCESS.

About Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror contributor: Pen Densham

PenDenshamPen Densham rode into the movies at age 4 on a live alligator and started a life-long love of cameras and story. Pen produces, writes, directs (2 Oscar Nominations and over 60 other awards.) He is partnered in the Trilogy Entertainment Group with John Watson – their breakthrough hit was ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES, and they made 16 other features such as MOLL FLANDERS (which Pen wrote and directed), BACKDRAFT, TANK GIRL, HOUDINI and Trilogy’s 2013 feature, PHANTOM submarine thriller starring Ed Harris, David Duchovny and William Fichtner. Pen also revived The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone series.

 

San Diego Film Week 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE: San Diego Film Week 2020 has been cancelled for April and tentatively rescheduled for August, 2020.

Wishing everyone optimum health and wellbeing during this crisis, and always.

In times like these, exercising our creativity is more important than ever. It helps us remain both present and empowered. Art heals!


 

Now Write! is proud to be a conference partner of San Diego Film Week.

We are helping produce the writer’s conference on Saturday, April 25th. Visit sdfilmweek.com to learn more about it.

San Diego Film Week Dates: TBD

Here’s what we have to look forward to:

  •  Opening Night at The Lot Liberty Station

  •  Opening Weekend at AMC La Jolla

  • Whistlestop Bar, Digital Gym Cinema, Thorne Street Brewery Barrio Logan (tentative)

  • Landmark Hillcrest Cinema (tentative)

  • Closing Weekend at AMC La Jolla

  • San Diego Film Awards at the Parq Nightclub

New Work by Now Write! Contributors

Now Write! contributors are extremely prolific.  Here is a small sample of books that came out in the last two years.

God: A Human History by Rezla Aslan (Now Write! Nonfiction contributor)
Random House (November, 2017 – hardcover)

The bestselling author of Zealot and host of Believer explores humanity’s quest to make sense of the divine in this concise and fascinating history of our understanding of God. In Zealot, Reza Aslan replaced the staid, well-worn portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth with a startling new image of the man in all his contradictions. In his new book, Aslan takes on a subject even more immense: God, writ large.

Music Is Power by Brad Schreiber  (Now Write! Screenwriting and Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror contributor)
Rutgers University Press (November, 2019 – hardcover)

A guided tour through the past 100 years of politically-conscious music, from Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie to Green Day and NWA. Covering a wide variety of genres, musicians take a variety of approaches to fight for a fairer world. Shines a spotlight on seminal, politicized artists, and offers a new appreciation for classic acts such as Lesley Gore, James Brown, and Black Sabbath, who overcame limitations in their industry to create politically potent music.

Strangers and Cousins by Leah Hager Cohen (Now Write! Nonfiction contributor)
Riverhead Books (May, 2019)

A novel about what happens when an already sprawling family hosts an even larger and more chaotic wedding: an entertaining story about family, culture, memory, and community.

One of The Washington Post’s ten best books of the year.

 

Criminals: My Family’s Life on Both Sides of the Law by Robert Anthony Siegel (Now Write! Fiction contributor)
Counterpoint (July, 2018 – hardcover)

A look at one family led by a charismatic, defense attorney father – a lovable, impossible man of gargantuan appetites and sloppy ethics, a criminal defense attorney who loved his drug-dealing clients a little too much and went to prison as a result.

 

Blood Prism by E.E. King (Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror contributor)
Flying Feline Productions (January, 2018)

Penny Dreadful meets American Gods. Like Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, Blood Prism is a blend of history, fantasy, and Americana. A cast of real and mythological traverse the Catskill Mountains, the River Styx and into an alternate San Francisco during the start of the AIDs crisis, where love might just be stronger than destiny…or maybe not.

 

Careful What You Wish For: A Novel of Suspense by Hallie Ephron (Now Write! Mysteries contributor)

William Morrow (hardcover and Kindle, August, 2019; paperback August, 2020)

Called “a modern-day Nancy Drew for grownups” by actress Jamie Lee Curtis.

Emily Harlow is a professional organizer who helps people de-clutter their lives and she’s married to man who can’t drive past a yard sale without stopping. She distracts herself from marital problems with new clients who have a mess that might be too big for her to clean up.  “Careful what you wish for,” as the old adage says . . . Emily might lose her freedom, her marriage, and possibly her life.

**Find Hallie Ephron’s book Writing & Selling Your Mystery Novel in the Now Write! Contributors updated writing books post.**

Rabid Heart by Jeremy Wagner (Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror contributor)
Riverdale Avenue Books (August, 2018)

Can true love survive the Necro Rabies pandemic that has turned the world into hordes of rabid undead zombies known as “Cujos”?