~ Maria Rios's Good Reads Review
Congratulations to Story Merchant Client Robin Grant - Finalist in Readers' Favorite Annual International Award Contest!
Robin Grant's Summer's Winter is a finalist in TWO categories in the Readers' Favorite contest -- Fiction-Inspirational and Romance-Suspense.
Jacqui Cooper enjoyed talking with Dennis Palumbo author of Night Terrors a Daniel Rinaldi mystery novel published by Poisoned Pen Press it was intriguing to gain some insight into how writers write from this master storyteller. This is the third in the the Daniel Rinaldi series and is receiving great reviews.
"Palumbo, an award-winning Hollywood screenwriter turned psychotherapist, uses all his professional experience to craft short, action- and tension-filled chapters and insightful sketches of people traumatized by violence." --- BookList
“In Palumbo’s riveting third Daniel Rinaldi mystery (after 2011’s FEVER DREAM), answers prove elusive as the murders begin to pile up. Palumbo ratchets up the stakes in this psychological thriller, but maintains the emotional complexity…” --- Publisher’s Weekly
Some of the questions were my own, some provided by fans of the Poison Pen Press Facebook page, the answers were all Dennis's own. Now you too can listen to what Dennis has to say, you can comment on the Facebook page here or search for the page from your profile https://www.facebook.com/PPPress
If you want to be kept up-to-date with new releases in the mystery novel genre you can subscribe to the Poisoned Pen Press newsletter, after all you wouldn't want to miss another Daniel Rinaldi mystery now would you?
Happy listening and please tell us what you think and what questions you've always wanted to ask a writer.
Reposted from WhatTheySaid
Richard Pena was invited to join the cast of Good Day Valley, a part of KFXV-LD channel 67, which is a Fox-affiliated station in McAllen, Texas, owned by Entravision Communications! In an interview that aired Wednesday, July 16, Mr. Pena told the story of how the book, Last Plane Out of Saigon, came to be and the focus on helping to form a national strategy for our veterans! To see the full interview click HERE!
How to write enough (but just enough) to engage the reader
There’s a great moment in the classic film Key Largo, when gangster Edward G. Robinson is asked—given the extent of his wealth and power—what he could possibly still want. “More,” he famously answers.
More. Kind of the American credo in a nutshell, which isn’t as damning as it sounds. The word "more," when appearing before such other words as individual rights, artistic freedom and access to information, stands as a proud element of the Western imperative. On the downside, more has also fueled global climate change, the growing gulf between people’s incomes, and an almost obscene preoccupation with material things. When it comes to life in general, "more" is definitely a two-edged sword.
I’d argue that the same holds true with the craft of writing. More is not always better. In a screenplay, for example, an overwritten patch of description can bring the reader to a screeching halt, draining the narrative of pace and forward momentum.
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Or take monologues. Unless used sparingly, and with a definite intent, a monologue in a film or TV script can often make the character just seem wordy. (Exceptions abound, of course. Such powerhouse writers as Paddy Chayefsky, Rod Serling and Quentin Tarantino come to mind. And even they occasionally fell prey to mere self-indulgence.)
In a short story or novel, endless words of description—whether of place, a character’s physical appearance, or in the service of the author’s thematic or philosophical interests—can slow the narrative to a crawl.
Overwriting, it’s safe to say, is by general agreement a bad thing. Then why do so many writers do it?
Let’s be clear: I’m not talking about the normal, expected overwriting that characterizes your first draft. During those explosive, flowing, unfolding bursts of creativity, your inner editor is—you hope—asleep at the switch until you get the myriad ideas, incidents, breath-taking narrative leaps and beside-the-point stretches of dialogue down. The first draft is when you do get to describe a character as “grungy, foul-smelling, disheveled, knuckle-dragging and poorly-dressed.” You can even add, “We are repulsed. Taken aback. Aghast. The camera’s eye wants to turn away.” The more socially-conscious might note: “A grim reminder of the dismantling of the welfare system’s safety net in the past thirty years.”
No matter. All that hooey gets edited out in later drafts. Or should. Yet, for some writers, it feels like tearing a piece of their skin away to delete any of it. Why? Is it because they think every word is golden? Hardly. In fact, it’s the reverse.
In my experience with the writer patients in my therapy practice, those who tend to overwrite are usually struggling, whether they know it or not, with issues of self-trust. Either they don’t feel entitled to be writing in the first place and thus need a cornucopia of words to try to mask this, or else they feel unsure of their talent and craft. If the latter is the case, these writers try to convince the reader of the legitimacy of the idea or emotion or scene being depicted by packing it with adjectives, metaphors and authorial asides. Anything—and everything—to make sure the reader gets it.
On the other hand, writers who trust their skills and/or feel entitled to be writing at all have faith in the narrative and emotional power of the single appropriate phrase, the short though vivid description, the seemingly simple line of dialogue freighted with meaningful subtext.
The ancient poet Gensei wrote: “The point of life is to know what’s enough.” That’s the point of writing as well. Not only does self-trust enable writers to shape their work into its most effective, compelling form, but such writing also has enough “air” in it to allow readers to bring their own experiences to what they’re reading (or seeing onscreen), thus increasing the work’s relevancy.
In other words, good writing is what is evoked in the spaces between the written lines. Good writers have enough trust in themselves to know that there’s something there, and that they’ve written enough (but just enough) to convey the thought that sparks the echoing thought in the reader’s mind. They’ve portrayed enough of the character’s emotional life to resonate with similar aspects of the reader’s inner world. A single descriptive word, such as barren or choked or remorseless, can bring with it a wealth of associations to thoughts, feelings and images waiting to be stirred into life in the reader’s imagination.
How do writers develop self-trust? The way we do in most other aspects of life. By doing. Writing. Risking that our readers will follow us where we’re going; that what we have to say, or what we’ve always felt, or what we openly fear or yearn for, will find a recognizable home in the reader’s heart. Self-trust, like it or not, is born of risk. As are most worthwhile things.
Ultimately, if we believe we ourselves are enough, we’ll believe that what we’re writing is enough, too.
Reposted From Hollywood on the Couch
A former Hollywood screenwriter, DENNIS PALUMBO is now a licensed psychotherapist in private practice. He’s also the author of the Daniel Rinaldi series of mysteries. For more info, please visit www.dennispalumbo.com
The Book of Zev is a black-comedy thriller that tells the story of two gentle people who change the course of history. Zev Bronfman, a strapping 32-year old-virgin, angry atheist, refugee from a religious Jewish life, and former engineer for the U.S. Patent Office in Alexandria, Virginia, drives a cab and sleeps around in New York City. After a bitter divorce, Sarah Hirshbaum, a beautiful, redheaded, depressed, God-hating kosher chef, seesaws between yoga and too much red wine. Independently, the two consult the same psychic who inadvertently sends Sarah Zev’s session tape. When Sarah contacts Zev to pick up the cassette, he discovers that she has been recruited by the Mossad to play Mata Hari with the current president of Iran, Mahmoud Zarafshan, who believes he is the 12th Imam, and must instigate Armageddon in order to facilitate the Second Coming. It is up to Sarah and Zev to thwart his plans.
Phantom Limb: A Daniel Rinaldi MysteryDennis Palumbo. Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4642-0256-8
At the start of Palumbo’s twisty fourth Daniel Rinaldi mystery (after 2013’s Night Terrors), the psychologist, who consults for the Pittsburgh PD, receives a visitor one afternoon he last saw posing in Playboy almost 30 years earlier. Lisa Campbell, ex-starlet and current trophy wife to elderly, wheelchair-bound tycoon Charles Harland, plans to kill herself at 7 o’clock that evening. Daniel has only 50 minutes to talk her out of it. Soon after Lisa leaves his office, the police inform him that she’s been kidnapped. As a doctor who may have heard critical information that he’s ethically bound by confidentiality not to share, Daniel is in tricky position as he seeks to help the Harland family and the police get Lisa back. He serves as the perfect point of view character, central to the action without needing to clamor for attention. Daniel’s personal story continues to evolve in this satisfying entry, which ends on a cliffhanger. (Sept.)
Reposted from Publishers Weekly
Reposted from Publishers Weekly