Kraft gave me Super Bowl Ring too!

Cash, Kraft & BLING

In light of the recent news that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin allegedly took Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl ring I thought I’d share my own Kraft/Ring story with you. It involves my encounter with the Patriots owner in Las Vegas some years ago. See, I met Kraft at the Stardust hotel after seeing Don Rickles’ show. It was seemingly the unlikeliest of introductions with the affable, extremely hospitable Patriots owner.

To provide some back-story, and context, I was in Vegas for a friend’s bachelor party. The best man was John Stamos, so the weekend was his creation, and had the feeling of an episode straight out of the hit TV series Entourage. It was a good time, filled with gambling, drinking and clubbing. Maybe looking back on it now, I should have been expecting the unexpected, like meeting Mr. Kraft. In fact, the weekend turned into my ultimate Patriots experience. I’ll explain….

As part of our scheduled entertainment, Stamos arranged for us to go see Don Rickles’ comedy act at the Stardust. It was a great show. Rickles was on his game and hilarious. At the conclusion of the show, Rickles addressed the audience, thanking certain notable individuals for coming. And, to my complete surprise one of the people he thanked was Robert Kraft, who was there with his wife, Myra. In fact, Kraft was seated in the booth right next to ours. All of my friends knew that I was a Patriots fanatic, and nudged me to go say hello. However, as I started toward Kraft, I was informed that we were heading backstage so that Stamos could say hello, and introduce us to Rickles.

A few minutes later, while we waited outside Rickles’ dressing room, Kraft arrived with Myra in tow. So, of course I approached him. I told him I was from Massachusetts and a big fan of the team. He and his wife were very nice. The Krafts and I spoke for a minute, mostly about the team. Then Mr. Kraft told me that he had to go visit Don Rickles in his dressing room and would speak with me later. I thought he was politely giving me the brush off and I would never see him again.

A short time later, we were ushered into Rickles’ dressing room. We went through the pleasantries with Rickles. We took a few pictures. Rickles was very accommodating. Moments later, Kraft approached me, holding out his fisted hand. At the time, I didn’t even know that Kraft was still in Rickles’ dressing room. Kraft was grinning proudly as he held out his hand. I didn’t know what to do. So, I opened my hand. That was when he gently deposited his shiny Super Bowl ring into my hand. BLING!!!!! My jaw dropped. Wow!

I stared at the ring in utter disbelief. When I came to my senses, I slid the ring onto my finger. My friends snapped pictures. One of them is included in this blog. The ring is an awesome piece of artwork. It was heavy, big and really shiny. Can you say “BLING”!!! My friends and I stood there admiring its luster. After our curiosity subsided, I looked around for Kraft, but he had completely disappeared. I think he had stepped away to chat with someone. But I had no idea where he was. So, I just stood there wearing the Patriots’ owner’s Super Bowl ring. It was pretty cool. Then it struck me… Had Kraft gifted me the ring? Did he want it back? I was secretly hoping that he didn’t want it back. I mean he was gone, and the ‘BLING’ was in my possession. I asked my friends if I was supposed to keep it. They didn’t know. They joked that Kraft had gifted me the ring. I wanted to believe it. And, so, there I stood, perplexed by Kraft’s extremely generous gesture. I mean, just trying the ring on was a really cool experience.

Unfortunately, ( I say unfortunately because I secretly hoped as anyone would that I was being gifted the ring.) Kraft finally reappeared and retrieved his ring. No. I wasn’t going to pull a Putin and keep it. I was happy for my fifteen minutes with his prized possession. Btw, it fit my finger really nicely. :)  After some more conversation about the Patriots, Mr. Kraft and I parted ways. I thanked him for letting me try on his ring. We shook hands, and he smiled, and disappeared with his wife into the night.

You would have thought that this would have been the highlight of my evening, right? Guess what? Not even close. A few hours later, we went to the club Tao at the Venetian, and that’s where I met Tom Brady. That’s right. I met Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady. Actually, he introduced himself to me. Crazy, right? I know. It was like some Patriots fantasy come to life. I not only got to wear the Super Bowl ring, but I got to meet the man who was the architect behind winning that esteemed ring. What prompted Brady to say hello to me? Apparently, someone in our party had learned that Kraft and Brady were in a private room in the club and notified them of my fanaticism for the team.

Meeting Brady was like something out of a daydream. I was standing at our private area near the dance floor and Brady appeared out of the artificial fog, stuck out his hand and said hello. It totally caught me off guard. I think I was practically speechless. My friends were in shock as well. There we were… Brady and me chatting by the dance floor. At least I think we were chatting, because I felt like I was at a loss for words. I was so off kilter that I forget to ask someone to take a picture. Brady and I spoke for several minutes. I told him that I had met Kraft, and got to wear the ring. Then Brady politely excused himself, turned around, took a step and literally disappeared back into the fog.

So that’s my Patriots story. It was quite a night, and quite an experience. It’s certainly an experience that I will never forget.

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The Great Gatsby

great_gatsby

Writer/Director Baz Luhrmann’s captivating rendition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby takes you on a ride and never let’s go. It is quite simply a beautiful cinematic picture. I saw it in 3D and the story just popped off of the screen right into my lap. While I prefer the 1974 Robert Redford version written by Francis Ford Coppola, which was filmed in Newport, Rhode Island, this latest incarnation was very well done. A small caveat is that Luhrmann’s adaptation is slightly more style over substance. What the picture lacks in story narrative it most capably makes up for with dazzling cinematography by Simon Duggan. It is a vibrant, brilliantly photographed portrayal, yet highly stylized version of Fitzgerald’s 1925 masterpiece.

While this isn’t necessarily a negative and I thoroughly enjoyed the picture, I thought that Luhrmann was a little heavy handed with his stylistic approach. You sometimes forget the main thrust of this romantic love story because you’re so caught up by the vivid colors and non-stop action bursting and exploding all over the screen. However this also serves to keep the picture from being weighed down by the heavy dramatic moments. After all this is a serious tale about hope, love and loss. Yet, this is a dangerous pitfall that Luhrmann sidesteps masterfully. His practically perfect pacing and attention to detail is superb, right down to the iconic 1920’s costumes altered from the Prada and Miu Miu fashion archives.

Some of my favorite moments were the accurate depiction of the period; the flamboyant Jazz Age, fancy cars, lavish parties, elaborate costumes, ornate and extravagant estates and bleak looking undeveloped geography. Luhrmann does an adequate job of luring us into the story and taking us back in time. That being said I also felt that the Special Effects and CGI made the real ‘imaginary’ world melt away at times and transform into a surreal plastic landscape rendering it as artificial and unbelievable. The original picture kept its drama anchored and rooted within a genuine and realistic context which made the story seem more authentic.

All of the actors seemed to hit their marks with credible and well crafted performances.   Leonardo DiCaprio stepped nicely into Jay Gatsby’s shoes, bringing a compelling intensity to the role. Tobey Maguire was also very good as Nick Carraway. Carey Mulligan brought a subtle sensitivity and was perfectly suited for the Daisy Buchanan role. And I thought that Joel Edgerton had a scene stealing turn as the arrogant Tom Buchanan.

I highly recommend Luhrmann’s Gatsby. It is an entertaining dramatic thrill ride worthy of the price of admission, even in its steeper priced 3D version. I think that Fitzgerald would have enjoyed this adaptation. I would suggest seeing this in the theater rather than waiting for it to come to DVD, PPV or cable. The scope and breadth of this period piece is well worth seeing on the big screen. You can find Baz Luhrmann’s narrated ‘Anatomy of a Scene’ here.

Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures.

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Do You Love Your Smartphone?

Galaxy S4 vs. iPhone 5

Who doesn’t love their smartphone, right? Although, did you know that 9% of all Americans don’t even own a cell-phone. Hard to believe, huh? But it’s
true, according to a Pew Research Center survey. I write about that new survey, as well as other tech/gadget devices as a contributing writer to Examiner.com. If you’re into learning a few things about technology, and the tech world, then feel free to check out the following articles I’ve written:

You can learn more about the top dogs in the smartphone arena, where I pit the Samsung Galaxy S4 against the iPhone 5.

And, if you’re looking for a good, long-life battery case for your smartphone see my article on the mophie.

 

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Black List Script Has Hollywood Buzzing

The Hilary Clinton story has come to Hollywood. The project entitled “Rodham” is currently in development. My good friend, manager and producer, Richard Arlook is producing under his banner, The Arlook Group, in association with producers, Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, and their Temple Hill Entertainment.

When Richard Arlook told me over the holidays that he was going to be the shepherd behind the movie I was surprised. I wasn’t even aware that the project was on Hollywood’s radar. I’ve been in the film business long enough to know that some of the best projects are carefully concealed, kept under tight wraps as the players jockey for position in securing film rights while hammering out contractual issues regarding the picture. That seems to be the reason why a lot of film projects seemingly emerge from obscurity. They’re suddenly announced in the trades as if they were just packaged and delivered to the media at a moment’s notice.

If you work in the film business you know that this is far from the truth. The reality is that it takes many years to get a project into development, preproduction, and then production. I have learned from my time in the business that it takes several years to produce a feature film. The consensus among industry professionals is that it takes a long time to get a film in the can. The expression ‘film-in-the-can’ means that you have gone through all of the necessary steps; from securing the film rights to the scripted material, known as the intellectual property, to developing the script, to attaching talent, to financing and physical production of the picture.

During the development, preproduction, and sometimes even the production process many things can go wrong setting the filmmakers back, and putting the project very much in jeopardy. For those people living outside of Hollywood’s film industry, who don’t understand the nuts and bolts of the movie business, this reality can be hard to comprehend. I’ve often heard industry outsiders say, “How hard can it be to make a movie? You just get a camera, and start shooting.” I chuckle under my breath when I hear these kinds of remarks. Unfortunately, it’s a business, albeit the film business, so it’s not quite that simple, as I’ve mentioned above in this post.

So, when Richard Arlook told me news of the project was in the trades I spent some time on Google reading about it. I learned that the project was written by a South Korean newcomer named Young Il Kim, whose “Rodham” script was number 4 on Hollywood’s Black List in 2012. The Black List is an annual poll of approximately 300 film executives. Some of the past films that have made the Black List were “The Social Network,” “Juno” and “The King’s Speech”. The premise for Kim’s “Rodham” script involves a fresh faced 20-something Hillary Clinton as she’s trying to decide between her Washington career and boyfriend, Bill Clinton, during the days of the Watergate scandal. Director James Ponsoldt, who directed the Sundance hit, “The Spectacular Now,” will direct the picture. The producers are currently seeking to cast the role of Hilary Clinton before approaching the studios for a deal. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for more news regarding the project.

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Back to My Theater Roots

News flash… I’ve gone back to my roots and have written a full length, two-act stage play called “Deep.” Writing the piece, which is a family drama about marital strife, has caused me to become sentimental about my career in the theater. Outside of working on my new play, I’m not sure of the reason for this sentimentality; I just know that I’ve always loved the theater. The love affair began when I saw plays at an early age. Some were local school theater productions which had me on the edge of my seat. Others were full-fledged, big budget shows in large, notable venues, and on Broadway.

When I was a young boy, around eight years old, I would sometimes coerce my parents into assembling in the living room in our house to watch a haphazard skit that I had thrown together with my two brothers. They were terrible, ill-conceived sketches that had no meaning or structure, and rarely told a coherent story. More often than not they dissolved into mere folly, with my brothers and I rolling around like wild animals on the floor. My parents were troopers for enduring those listless productions.

It’s funny how at a young age I had already been bitten by the directing and storytelling bug. At summer camp a few years later, I wrote, produced and directed a skit in a sketch contest. The play was a parody of the camps’ officials, counselors, and campers. I remember the laughter from the audience. Although I’ve never considered myself a comedy writer per se, I guess the skit was funny, and good enough to win first place in the contest. The reward was a pizza and ice cream party in the mess hall. Ah… the simple pleasures in life.

In college I acted in an assortment of theatrical productions; everything from West Side Story to some original works. Subsequently, I spent several years in New York City, where I wrote, directed, produced and acted in a Theatre Row company. Taking residence on famed 42nd Street, I spent most of time, playing in the Nat Horne and Samuel Beckett theaters. I even had the distinct privilege of work shopping some productions in the notable Playwrights Horizons space. I also performed in numerous venues in Manhattan that didn’t even have a name, but were home to some pretty interesting architecture.

As a resident of the LoveCreek Theatre Company I thoroughly enjoyed exploring and creating original works. The theatre company was a strong proponent of fostering and nurturing original work. In a short period of time we would conceive a production, and stage it with very little rehearsal. It was fun watching the shows evolve and grow on the stage performance by performance. And, the best part was being a part of the process every step of the way. I can distinctly remember that building the sets in the theater were like an event. If you didn’t have anything to do you would congregate at the theater to pitch in. It was a good time.

So, while I prepare to introduce my new play, “Deep,” with a staged reading set for Thursday, May 30th at 7:30pm at the Elephant Theatre, I’m guilty of some reflection about my theater roots. I love the process of conceiving an original work, and watching it come to life before your eyes. I began my career in the broadcasting news business, so I know what it means to tell a good story. I guess we’ll see next Thursday if I succeeded with my latest endeavor. The reading is free, so feel free to check it out. Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

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#BostonStrong

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing this past Monday I’m left wondering why such senseless tragedies occur. I’m also confounded by how a single decision can have a profound impact on someone’s life. And I’m amazed by the resilient spirit and resolute character of a community which banded together to lift the human spirit to admirable heights.

If you missed seeing the graphic video of the tragic explosion at the finish line on Boylston Street, here it is courtesy of a Boston Globe reporter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myfivKMhqyg

Why did this tragedy happen? This is the question that so many people have asked in the aftermath. It is the question that has been bandied about between me and my family and friends ever since. Why would these two young men, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, commit such a horrendous act? I’m quite sure we will never know the good reason, or get good answers as to why these men decided to do what they did. By the way, for the morbidly curious, there is a grisly and gruesome death photo of Tamerlan Tsarnaev which has been circulated on the internet.

I learned in the news that the younger suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, had been attending my alma mater, the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. In fact, the day after the tragic bombings occurred he was reportedly back at school in Dartmouth (which is my hometown), going through his normal routine, attending classes, and parties. He seemed to be going about his life as if nothing had happened, and incredibly weighing in on the matter by Tweeting about it on Twitter:  http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/this-might-be-djohar-tsarnaevs-actual-twitter-account

As for me, since I’m a native of Massachusetts, and consider Boston my hometown, I have a special connection to, and affinity for, the setting where this tragedy occurred. Over the telephone, or via email, or messaging, various family and friends recounted their close calls, or horrific tales to me. One friend of mine lives a few blocks from the finish line. Fortunately, she did not attend this tragic event. Another friend told me how her daughter, and her friends, had attended the Red Sox game at Fenway Park, and after considering going to the finish line to cheer the runners on, chose not to at the last minute, the decision possibly saving their lives.

I watched and read various news stories about the heroic efforts of the law enforcement community who acted admirably.  I also followed the extraordinary and brave story of Watertown native Dave Henneberry, who stepped outside of his house for a cigarette and what he encountered seemingly defied explanation. He found injured bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hiding in his boat:  http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/watertown-man-finds-bomber-holed-boat-article-1.1322387

I was also touched by the heartfelt ceremonies of tribute that followed the event. One ceremony in particular practically moved me to tears. It occurred at the Boston Bruins game two days after the bombings, where the crowd joined together to sing the national anthem loudly, emotionally, and in unison. You can find the emotional ceremony here at the following YouTube link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TXPgMmzveo

After pondering what occurred in Boston this past week I have come to believe that no matter how unspeakable the horror, the tragedy, that has been perpetrated on society, on humanity, that good does prevail over evil.

I noticed while creating, writing, this blog that I could not escape using the word tragic, or tragedy, numerous times throughout its composition. I apologize for the redundancy in my writing, but not for the accuracy of its reporting.

This blog is written in memory of an 8-year-old boy named Martin Richards, who had been waiting at the finish line to give his father a hug. This is also written in tribute to all of the innocent souls who were injured, or lost their lives, as a result of this tragedy.

#BostonStrong

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Two Thoughts Colliding

I’m often asked why I wrote my debut novel “The Dead Boy’s Legacy,” which centers around a family grieving the loss of their beloved son and the evolution of the monster responsible for abducting him. Most people want to know why I chose this particular subject matter to write about. To break it down simply, the overall story is about love, tragedy, loss and hope. The subject centers specifically around missing children and serial killers. Quite a combination of subject matter, huh? Inevitably, those who are intrigued with the story ask me why I have written such a book. Questions range from… What made you decide to write this particular story? How did you come up with the concept for your book? Was your son, or a family member’s son, abducted? Do you have a fascination with serial killers? Why did you write such a dark and disturbing book?

To answer the first question; what made me decide to write this particular story that revolves around the missing children cause. I will tell you that I feel like I didn’t decide to write this story. That it wasn’t necessarily my choice to write this story. To be honest, I feel like the narrative chose me. I know that sounds a little crazy, but I firmly believe that there is a force greater than us at work in our lives. I discussed this a little bit in my previous blog about protecting your dreams. I truly think that I was destined to write this story, this book. It had been percolating for years.

The genesis for the story evolved out of my work with author Jeff Mudgett on his book “Bloodstains” about his great-great-grandfather, Herman Webster Mudgett, who was known as the notorious serial killer, Dr. H.H. Holmes. As a byproduct of working on that book I had done extensive research on serial killers. At the very least, I think that I bring an educated perspective to the serial killer storyline. And, the dark and at times disturbing subject matter fascinates me to no end. It’s not the violence, blood and gore that interests me, but the psychological aspect of it all that fascinates me. For those of you who are intrigued by these monsters and their actions I think you know what I’m talking about. So, I felt compelled, and wanted to explore the evolution of one of these monsters by detailing it in novel form.

The other reason for writing the book was my interest in the missing children cause. A close family friend’s son, Mark Himebaugh, tragically went missing in New Jersey on November 25th, 1991. He was only 11-years-old. He has never been found. His loss shattered his family. When I learned of Mark’s disappearance I had so many questions. I couldn’t stop asking them. How could this happen? Why did this happen? And there was no good answer for any of my questions. I had no idea about the profound impact that this tragedy had on me at that time.

Fast forward some 20 years later, and I’ve just finished assisting Jeff Mudgett with his book, and the story of Mark Himebaugh is ever present on my mind. I have a story to tell about his loss. At the same time, images and thoughts of serial killers have taken up residence in my mind. The two thoughts merge, colliding like trains on the same track. It’s a derailing, earth-shattering moment. I reel from the thought, trying to reconcile it my mind. I begin brainstorming, as I usually do, about the creation of a story. The story begs me to create a fully conceptualized piece. It’s like even when I’m sleeping, or working during the day, that I’m thinking about the story.

For days and months I mull it over. I become obsessed with this evolving, developing story about a missing boy and his serial killer abductor in my head. The concept slowly begins to crystallize, taking shape, finally becoming a viable story. Then it happens. It hits me like a lightning bolt. I have a vision, a staggering image, about a man standing beside a truck talking to a boy who is wearing his Little League uniform on a deserted road in the rural landscape of a small town. By the way, miraculously this image was captured masterfully by cover designer, Greg Simanson, on the front cover of my book. Subsequently, my novel, “The Dead Boy’s Legacy,” is born.

I don’t know if I ever thought about the book being dark or disturbing as some readers have mentioned when I was writing it. I will confess that I have read other stories about similar subject matter and felt the same way. However, the subject matter of those other stories so intrigued me as an objective observer that I couldn’t stop reading what was written. I wanted to, just had to, keep looking at the darkness, utterly fascinated by it. It’s like people who rubber neck over a terrible traffic accident. Why do they, meaning we, do that? We really don’t want to look, but for some reason our eyes are drawn to the blood, mess and darkness. Why is human nature drawn to such things? It’s fascinating stuff about our nature as human beings isn’t it?

I will tell you that I don’t feel the darkness or disturbing nature of the subject matter when I’m in the middle of the writing process. When I’m done working I may feel the ever present gloom more fully than while I am writing. But I don’t get caught up in it when I’m translating my thoughts to the page. I’m not sure why this is. I think it may be because I am acting as a conduit, or intermediary if you will, between what I am seeing in my imagination, and completely enthralled with depicting it as accurately as I can on the blank page. I guess that I am more focused on being truthful, or honest, with what I am translating to the page. That’s why I always say that if I were to describe my writing in one word it would be truthful. That means no matter how dark, disturbing or violent the narrative is my focus is on telling an honest story.

I hope that this helps answer the questions that people have about my book, and the story of “The Dead Boy’s Legacy.” If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through the contact form on this website. I try my very best to answer any and all questions that I receive. So, please submit your queries. And, thank you to those of you who have sent me kind messages, and questions, about me and my book.  Btw, my book is now available for only .99 cents on Amazon. How great a deal is that? :)

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Protect Your Dreams

SPOILER ALERT! (If you haven’t seen the movie “Field of Dreams” please feel free to skip over the next paragraph.)

Do you know the scene in the movie Field of Dreams where Ray Kinsella meets his father, John, for the first time on the baseball field? It went like this…

After the baseball practice has ended and most of the players have vanished into the cornfield, Shoeless Joe Jackson tells Ray Kinsella that his father is the guy with the catcher’s equipment on who’s standing at home plate.

A speechless Ray can’t believe the sight of his young looking father standing before him in his Yankees uniform. They exchange pleasantries and then Ray says, “You catch a good game.”

“Thank you,” John replies. “It’s so beautiful here. It’s like… well for me, it’s like a dream come true.”

Ray can’t even speak. He just nods.

“Can I ask you something?” John asks, “Is this heaven?”

Ray smiles, shakes his head no and says, “It’s Iowa.”

“Iowa. I could’ve sworn this was heaven,” John says.

“Is there a heaven?” Ray asks.

“Oh yeah…” John says, glancing from the sky back to his son (Ray). “It’s the place where dreams come true.”

Ray looks at his surrounding, his wife and daughter sitting on the porch and smiles, things suddenly hitting him, “Then maybe this is heaven.”

This scene comes at the end of the movie. It is the scene where you struggle not to shed a tear. Believe me, if you haven’t seen it, it’s a real tearjerker. I wanted to use this scene as an example of how you have to protect your dreams. The main character in the film, Ray Kinsella, had to fight to protect his dream of building a baseball field on his farm, even though he was in severe debt and in jeopardy of losing his farm. But, Ray persevered, built his dream field after plowing under his cornfield and achieved his dream of, in the end, meeting his father. Of course, he also realized that the dream was, after all, the life he had built for his family in a beautiful part of the country.

The message: Protect Your Dreams. They’re your slice of heaven.

Throughout my life I’ve always had to battle with the evil forces that have encroached upon and attempted to diminish my aspirations to attain my dreams. I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure that you know what I’m talking about. I’ve heard that most people lead lives of quiet desperation. Maybe this falls into that category. You could have a dream, maybe secretly, to be a great artist, or a great singer, or a bestselling novelist, or some other worthy pursuit. And, when you’ve tried to achieve that dream something or someone came between you and that lofty objective. Like pouring water on a fire, this interjecting, malicious force knocked you down a peg by mocking your, what seems to them to be a whimsical dalliance, in a rather rude and callous fashion.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called crazy, or a dreamer, for aspiring to achieve something extraordinary. I can’t tell you how many times I have been forced to defend myself, and my desires, against ignorant, sometimes envious, evil forces, whose sole purpose is to belittle you to make themselves feel bigger and better than you. It amazes me how these evil forces can draw such a hard line in the sand when criticizing and putting down someone else’s ambitions. I mean, why would you demean someone who is trying to lift the human spirit to a better more spectacular place? I would think that you would want to encourage them to achieve whatever their heart desires. We all, or I should say, most of us lead ordinary and mundane lives on a daily basis. So what’s wrong with someone trying to accomplish the unfathomable? What’s wrong with attempting to create magic and miracles?

When I worked in the broadcasting business (I was a television anchor and reporter) I would be drawn to the entertainment news while producing my show in the newsroom. I would watch Entertainment Tonight almost religiously. This is when E.T. was in its heyday. Leeza Gibbons and Mary Hart were the hosts at the time. I remember thinking how beautiful and talented Leeza Gibbons was, and that I would like to meet her some day. However, I knew that since I was based on the east coast, far removed from Hollywood, that opportunity had a slight chance of presenting itself. I also saw on the news images of John Stamos stepping onto the red carpet with Paula Abdul on his arm. Well, anyway, to make a long story short, two of the very first people who I met when I moved to Los Angeles were Leeza Gibbons and John Stamos. They actually became a regular part of my life. Now, I don’t know anything about visualization and the power of your thoughts manifesting dreams or thoughts into reality, but that sure seems like some pretty solid evidence to me that anything in life is possible.

Protect your dreams. Do whatever it takes, but do not let anyone tell you that you cannot achieve something extraordinary. You can. And, you will, if you keep on believing that it’s possible. Keep the faith. Even when it feels dark in your world and your dreams feel a thousand miles away, keep on believing. Even when an evil force tells you that you’re crazy for trying, keep on believing. Even when you’re broke and down on your luck, keep on believing. Do anything and everything you can to make your dreams come true. For if there’s one thing I know, it’s that anything is possible. Dreams can, and do come true.

BTW, my book, “The Dead Boy’s Legacy,” is only .99 on Amazon for Kindle right now. That’s less than a dollar! So, feel free to go to Amazon to get my book at this great discounted price! Thanks!

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Good News for Readers!

Dear readers,

Good news!

Starting on Monday, February 11th, The Dead Boy’s Legacy in eBook format will be AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY on Amazon for three (3) months as part of the KDP Select Program.

During this time period the Kindle version of my novel will be available to AMAZON PRIME members in the KDP Select free lending library; if you are an Amazon Prime member, you will be able to read the book for free and recommend it to friends through the free lending library on Amazon.

PLEASE NOTE that my novel will be unavailable in eBook format on BARNES & NOBLE and the iTunes store during this three (3) month time period. This is only temporary, and the book will once again be available across all channels and for the Nook eReading device following the completion of this promotional period.

Print versions of the book will continue to be available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other bookstores.

As part of this promotion, please keep an eye out for SPECIAL GIVEAWAYS advertised by my publisher.

Happy reading!

Cassius Shuman

(Author of “The Dead Boy’s Legacy”)

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The Journey Into Story Land

I stare at the blank page…

The sheer power of the vacuous white realm confronts me like an abyss.

What will be the first letter that I type on the page? Will it be a ‘T’? Will it be a ‘W’?

These are the things that I think about when my mind starts playing games, tricks really, with me as I embark on a new journey into story land.

The void is intimidating if you look at it this way, isn’t it?

Think about it… You only have thousands of words to write and it all begins here on the first page, first word, and first letter.

Not to make you feel any pressure (Lol!) or anything, but this will be the first impression that you make upon a reader.

So, how will you muster the courage to begin?

Maybe close your eyes, take a deep breath and start typing? That should produce some interesting results, right? :)

The ironic part is that I never seem to suffer from writer’s block (Knock on wood!), so the starting of a new writing project is not usually a problem for me. If I’ve done my homework, research, plotting, then I’m usually off and running without regard for trivial things like the first word, sentence, or paragraph. The only thing that I suffer from when beginning a new story is that I can’t get the words down on the page fast enough. And, I am not a fast typist. So, usually my two index fingers are pecking, bouncing off of the keyboard in almost every direction at a fast and furious pace trying to translate my dreams to the page.

The journey into story land can be a daunting one, especially if you’re just winging it and ill-prepared to fashion a multidimensional tale. The imaginary landscape can be a forbidding foreign place which overwhelms and confounds at every turn. So venturing into this alien world can be a treacherous endeavor if you’re not prepared. At the same time, the uncertainty of this strange world can lead to some happy accidents; things that you stumble upon and discover which add a new dimension, or plot point, to the story that you’re trying to build, create, and tell.

I write this blog asking you a question… What do you take with you into story land? Do you take a detailed road map? Do you take a rough outline with guideposts? Are you really brave and only take an idea or thought? Or do you take a detailed synopsis with complete character development? Or, is there something else that you take into story land that people would find interesting and appealing? Please let me/us know. We (speaking for everyone) want to know your process. It intrigues us how other writers approach their craft.

This sort of reminds of that game that I played when I was younger where someone, a friend perhaps, asked you, “If you were trapped on a deserted island what is the one thing, or tool, that you would want to have with you to survive?” That was a really cool game to play with your friends, and conjured up some unusual and creative ruminations. It was fun hearing what other people thought would be valuable to them in that predicament. I loved the resourcefulness of the exercise. You were forced to be creative. You had to. Your life depended on it. Which brings me back to the art of story telling… I always feel as if my life depends on it when I write a story. I want the stakes to be that high. And, that leads me to this point: If the stakes are that high, then wouldn’t I want, or require, to take with me into story land a thing/tool that is important, or valuable, in order to tell/produce the best story that I can?

I would love to hear your thoughts about this. What is the valuable thing that you take with you on your journey into story land? And, how do you approach the first words on paper? Tell me your secrets. Tell me what you wish. I look forward to hearing your thoughts about this aspect of the writing process. :)

“You must not come lightly to the blank page.” — Stephen King from On Writing

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