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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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”?

 

 

Writing Books by Now Write! Contributors – Updated

Now Write! anthologies belong on every writers’ bookshelf – the perfect gift for the writer in your life.  Now Write! contributors have  a number of their own writing books that can make the ideal companion gift to encourage your favorite writer.  

(Note: Now Write! editor Laurie Lamson was the host of International Screenwriters’ Association’s free teleconferences for four years.  Many Now Write! contributors were guest speakers – podcast links provided below when available.)

FilmGenreforScreenwriterFilm Genre for the Screenwriter by Jule Selbo PhD (Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror contributor)
Routledge (Aug, 2014)

A practical study of how classic film genre components can be used in the construction of a screenplay. Based on Jule Selbo’s popular course, this accessible guide includes an examination of the historical origins of specific film genres, how and why these genres are received and appreciated by film-going audiences, and how the student and professional screenwriter alike can use the knowledge of film genre components in the ideation and execution of a screenplay.

Explaining the defining elements, characteristics and tropes of genres from romantic comedy to slasher horror, and using examples from classic films, Selbo offers a compelling and readable analysis of film genre in its written form. The book also offers case studies, talking points and exercises to make its content approachable and applicable to readers and writers across the creative field.

** Intl. Screenwriter’s Association podcast with guest Jule Selbo **

MyFirstNovel

My First Novel edited by Alan Watt (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)
contributors incl: Cheryl Strayed, Rick Moody, Aimee Bender (Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror contributor), Janet Fitch, Jerry Stahl, David Ulin, Merrill Markoe, Dan Fante, Sheri Holman and many more
Writer’s Tribe Quest (Aug. 2013)

Have you ever wondered how your favorite authors got their start? How did they make the leap from closet scribe to published author? In My First Novel: Tales of Woe and Glory, twenty-five authors recount the variety of hurdles, both internal and external that they had to overcome on their journey.

The Essential Guide for New Writers, From Idea to Finished Manuscript by Valerie Storey (Now Write! Mysteries contributor)
Dava Books (February, 1995)

EssentialGuideDesigned for both beginning and established writers, this is a complete writing workshop in just one book. From first draft jitters to completing a polished manuscript for publication, the material is presented in a fun and informative progression filled with ideas for brainstorming plus checklists and writing exercises. Chapters include full coverage of characterization, plot, setting, dialogue, and marketing and query letter techniques. Besides end-of-chapter writing assignments, the book concludes with a strong question and answer section.

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction—from Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between by Lee Gutkind (Now Write! Nonfiction contributor)
Da Capo Lifelong Books (August, 2012)

YouCan'tMakeThisSTuffupOffering new ways of understanding the genre, this how-to guide from the “Godfather behind creative nonfiction” (Vanity Fair) helps writers of all skill levels thoroughly expand and stylize their work.

What is creative nonfiction? It’s simple: true stories, well told. And yet—it’s not so simple.  Telling true stories can be hard work, but worthwhile.  It’s the hottest genre in the publishing industry.

Frank, to-the-point, and always entertaining, Gutkind describes and illustrates each and every aspect of the genre with depth and clarity. Invaluable tools and exercises illuminate key steps from defining a concept and establishing a writing process to the final product. 

The Mindful Writer: Noble Truths of the Writing Life by Dinty Moore (Now Write! Nonfiction contributor)
Wisdom Publications (April, 2012 – hardcover)

MindfulwriterExplores how a lifelong pursuit of writing and creativity helped open me to the path of Buddhism. The book explores these ideas through sixty writing quotes, from Buddhist writers such as Pema Chodron and from others, including Flannery O’Connor and August Wilson. Each of the quotes is discussed in a short page or so, revealing the similarities between artistic awareness and mindful thought.

** Dinty Moore’s guest post:
Writing and Creativity at a Peculiar Crossroads **

Riding the Alligator: Strategies for a Career in Screenplay Writing (and not getting eaten) by Pen Densham (Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror contributor)
Michael Wiese Productions (2011)

An artist-friendly screenwriting guide to success, with a non-dogmatic approach to finding your own personal creative process.

Pen draws from his own extremely simple breakthrough techniques, shares his inspiring philosophy of finding a personal well of creativity from your inner voice, to overcoming the many challenges in a unique business, managing stress, the real secrets to selling your work, finding the right agent and being true to one’s nature to create a lasting and passion-filled career.

**Pen Densham’s Guest Post and Free Download:
Creative Person’s Survival Manual
** 

** Intl. Screenwriters’ Association podcast
with guest Pen Densham
 **

Dating Your Character: A Sexy Guide to TV and Screenwriting by Marilyn R. Atlas (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor), Deborah Cutler-Rubenstein(Now Write! Screenwriting and Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror contributor), Elizabeth Lopez
Stairway press (August, 2016)

Most books approach character development using a winnowing process involving general categorization and list-making. Dating Your Character focuses instead on the importance of the individuality of characters: their eccentricity, drive, and relative “basis in fact” inspired in part by people you know or you yourself.

The 90-Day Novel: Unlock the Story Within, 2nd edition by Alan Watt (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)
The 90-Day Novel Press, 2010

90daynovelGet the first draft down quickly! The 90-Day Novel is a day-by-day guide through the process of getting the first draft of your novel onto the page. The 90-Day Novel was workshopped at LA Writers’ Lab over three years and has helped hundreds of writers complete their work. Some of Watt’s students have gone on to become bestselling authors and win major literary awards.

Writing & Selling Your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron (Now Write! Mysteries contributor)
Writer’s Digest Books, 2nd edition (January, 2017)

New York Times best-selling author shares the secrets to crafting an unforgettable mystery. The essentials of craft and the plan to execute them. This completely revised and updated edition features solid strategies for drafting, revising, and selling an intriguing novel that grips your readers and refuses to let them go.

 

The Hollywood Pitching Bible: A Practical Guide to Pitching Movies and Television by Ken Aguado and Douglas Eboch (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)

Expanded 2nd Edition (Aug. 2014)

hollywoodpitching-bibleBreaks down the art of pitching in Hollywood step by step. From choosing the right idea, to selling it in the room, this book tells you how it’s done, in clear language, suitable for the beginner or the seasoned Hollywood professional.

With decades of combined experience working in Hollywood as buyer, seller and teacher, the authors, Douglas Eboch and Ken Aguado, have created the definitive book that will demystify the pitching process, supported by a reasoned, logical point of view and supported by numerous specific examples.

If you want to work in the Hollywood creative community, you must know how to pitch. This book will show you how to succeed.

The Hidden Tools of Comedy by Steve Kaplan (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)
Michael Wiese Productions (July, 2013)

toolsofcomedyUnlock the unique secrets and techniques of writing comedy. Kaplan deconstructs sequences in popular films and TV that work and don’t work, and explains what tools were used (or should have been used). While other books give you tips on how to “write funny,” this book offers a paradigm shift in understanding the mechanics and art of comedy, and the proven, practical tools that help writers translate that understanding into successful, commercial scripts.

The Screenwriter’s Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script, 5th Edition, Expanded & Updated by David Trottier
 (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)
Silman-James Press, 2010

screenwriters-bible-5th-editionOne of the most popular, authoritative, and useful books on screenwriting, this is a friendly guide through the Hollywood morass. The new edition offers expanded coverage of dialogue writing and character development, the latest in proper screenplay format, a new section on jumpstarting your career, new advice on creating and delivering pitches and much more.

Rewrite 2nd Edition: A Step-by-Step Guide to Strengthen Structure, Characters, and Drama in your Screenplay by Paul Chitlik
 (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)
Michael Wiese Productions, 2008

Rewrite2ndEd A step-by-step process to take your script from first draft to submission draft.  Chitlik reveals the hidden structure of screenplays, sequences, and scenes, as he guides you through the process of examining your draft, restructuring it, and populating it with believable, complex, and compelling characters. Along the way he outlines how to make your action leap off the page and your dialogue crackle.

Story-Maps-book Story Maps: How To Create a Great Screenplay by Daniel Calvisi
 (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor) and Story Maps: The Films of Christopher Nolan by Daniel Calvisi 
and William Robert Rich
Act Four Screenplays (January, 2012 and March, 2013)

Learn the secrets to writing a great screenplay from a major movie studio Story Analyst. Master the structure and principles used by 95% of commercial movies by studying detailed breakdowns or “Story Maps” of several recent and classic hits in all different genres.

** Intl. Screenwriters’ Association podcast
with guests Daniel Calvisi and William Robert Rich
**

Your Screenplay Sucks!: 100 Ways to Make It Greatyour-screenplay-sucks by Will Akers(Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)
Michael Wiese Productions, 2008

A lifetime member of the Writer’s Guild of America who has had three feature films produced from his screenplays, Akers offers beginning writers the tools they need to get their screenplay noticed.

** Intl. Screenwriters’ Association podcast with guest Will Akers **

storydesignStory Design: Creating Popular Hollywood Movies
by Richard Michaels Stefanik (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)
Amazon (February, 2013)

Story Design analyzes the dramatic structures found in some of the most commercially successful and popular movies ever produced. This second edition includes detailed analysis of WIZARD OF OZ and AVATAR.

Savvy Characters Sell Screenplays by Susan Kouguell (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)

SavvyCharsCover * An essential and inspirational hands-on guide for creating and crafting compelling characters

* An invaluable resource analyzing and referencing over 220 Hollywood, independent and foreign films, offering 34 screenwriting exercises, and providing six templates from fictional scripts

* Accessible, fun, and thought-provoking screenwriting exercises geared to develop characters in each vital element that comprises a successful screenplay.

Learn how to create believable, compelling and gripping characters with distinct characterizations, motivations, and behaviors, and how these people can best drive your plot forward in a meaningful and plausible journey.

***

If you’re a Now Write! contributor with a writing book not listed here, please post the details as a comment here. Thank you!  

Creative Writing for Entrepreneurs: Access Your Hidden Talent and the Power of Words

Communication through writing is one of the most valuable skills for entrepreneurs.

Posts, tweets, emails, blogs, business plans and booklets are some of the tools we use to educate and engage investors, partners, clients, and customers about the value of our products and services.

These do not have to be dry, boring, or overly complex – on the contrary. Your writing may benefit from some professional polish, but the essence of your own words and style will best convey your company’s reason for being.

This workshop is designed to help free and empower the creative writer in you to brainstorm ideas and more effectively write (and speak) about your business, while deepening your relationship with your own “brand.”

This will be a supportive, non-judgmental approach to creative writing practice, so come prepared to take a step out of your comfort zone and have some fun!

FREE TO ATTEND – RSVP HERE.

Location:

San Antonio Public Library
600 Soledad Street

Free 3-hr parking next door – validate ticket inside the library

Lead by Now Write! editor: Laurie Lamson

Laurie is an award-winning writer with 100 produced film, video and audio scripts for clients that include banks, universities, health organizations, Levi Strauss and the U.S. Army.

As a lifelong student of creative and dramatic writing, Laurie enjoys sharing support and encouragement with fellow and sister writers and has created many writing workshops.

Empowering Creative Writing Workshop

with Now Write! editor Laurie Lamson 

Want to write, but not sure how to get started?
Having trouble completing a novel, story, memoir or screenplay?Overwhelmed with ideas?
Just feeling stuck?

Now Write! editor Laurie Lamson is offering a 4-week creative writing summer workshop designed to get you writing with clarity and enjoyment.

Each class begins with Laurie’s Writer’s Yoga including a guided meditation/imagination exercise to get grounded, present and open to your own creative flow.

We’ll discuss the cultural purpose of storytelling and hone in on your own values and perspectives – a big part of developing a unique voice and staying motivated as a writer.

We’ll practice some of Laurie’s favorite writing exercises designed to to quiet the inner critic and get your creative juices flowing while exploring key elements of dramatic writing.

A safe creative environment will be established through a non-judgmental approach to feedback. This way we avoid premature criticism that tends to stifle good writing.

Join The Workshop and Get Empowered as a Writer

Schedule: Monday evenings, July 25 – August 15, 7-9pm

Location: Summer Studios, 2161 Lomita Blvd, Lomita, CA 90717

Reserve your spot (limited to 8 participants): (310) 325-8801

Cost: $120 for series

Instructor: Laurie Lamson

Laurie April 2016Laurie is a professional writer, filmmaker and editor. She has completed several screenwriting assignments and currently has three of her own scripts in development with producers. Her short film Family Values in the Goddess Years played in festivals from Berlin to San Francisco.

Laurie has a passion for encouraging fellow and sister writers. For three years she was telecon host for the International Screenwriters’ Association. She designed and taught two creative writing series for teen girls. She was also editor of three writing exercise anthologies published by Tarcher/Penguin: Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, Now Write! Mysteries and Now Write! Screenwriting.

Learn more about Laurie’s philosophy on writers and writing.