Reply To January Grey Blog

Hi, January: Yes, writing for me has been between missed opportunities and realized stage performances on Broadway; close brushes with writing/performing greatness and the reality of failure; a sit-down with Film Producer Joe Manduke in my NYC apartment where he stated his desire to produce my film Doris (20 years before Dustin’s version); a phone conversation with Valerie Harper re the above film; John Wayne’s optioning of my baseball story re the first world series, The Kings Of October, just before he made his final exit; a co-starring role performing with Buster Keaton while writing my first produced Off-Broadway musical; the thrill of watching and listening to Streisand sing one of my songs on one of her specials (Draw Me A Circle, CD still available on Amazon); getting a rave review for on of my songs from Howard Keel; writing animation shows for Rankin Bass (Silverhawks Series) while working in law firms (ugh!); and many more. Yes, the one thing I’ve learned is persistence. Keep breathing and keep writing …

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Fourth Book To Be Published Soon

The Kings Of October is a novelization of the first World Series in 1903.  It was a fascinating time at the turn of the 19th century when the new American League was being formed by Ban Johnson, a sportswriter, who felt baseball could have another league.  The National League didn’t agree and fought like a banshee to prevent the new league from taking route.  Take route it did, so much so that the new Boston American team (later the Boston Redsox), beat the Pittsburg Pirates in the first series.

Interesting note: John Wayne’s Batjak Productions optioned Kings for the Duke to star in, this was to be his last film, but he entered the hospital before filming could begin … and never came out.

More later.

 

New Thriller!

“Deathload” is my third book, adapted from an unproduced screenplay I wrote several years ago.  “Deathload” was optioned by one of the producers of “Toy Soldiers,” a film directed by Daniel Petrie, Jr. in 1991.  “Toy Soldiers” starred Sean Astin and Louis Gossett, Jr. and was produced for 10 Million $.

My book, “Deathload,” is a story of revenge: When his Marine son is killed by friendly fire in Desert Storm in 1991, ex-CIA operative and multi-billionaire Vincent Fazio vows to make the U.S. Airforce pay for Vince, Jr’s death.

 

He hires computer software genius Billy Oshiba to create two super powerful driverless trucks armed with Teraflop Computers and the latest weaponry in 1993, then programs them to cross the United States and take out Air Force bases across the country.  Fazio’s ultimate goal: attack the White House.

The conflict is introduced when, early in their journey eastward, the trucks hit and kill the sister of Phoenix Detective Manny Breen on I-10.  The story gains its thrills and dramatic tension from Manny’s chase and constant battles with the trucks and Fazio’s Squad of killers.

The action-packed denouement features a show-down at the White House between Manny and Vincent Fazio.

“Deathload” will be published within two weeks using the Amazon/Kindle publishing format.

I’m contemplating doing an audio book of “Onions,” but I want to record it myself. I’ve done voice-overs in NYC and worked performing in commercials, as well as the theater, and feel I’d do a stronger job on my work than an outsider. Trying to be realistic. I’ve learned to detest false modesty. I think we have to know our strengths in order to develop them appropriately. I’ve become more aware of my capabilities in the past few years. I’m not a genius; I know, because I live with someone who is. But I have talents that I try to recognize and develop. So “Sue me, Sue me, Shoot bullets through me …” to quote Frank Loesser. Loesser wrote “Guys & Dolls” and many pop songs. A personal note: My wife and I spent an evening with Frank’s divorced wife the opening night of one of my Off-Broadway musicals. So, I ramble. I have to go and pursue Blogger websites to garner reviews for “Onions”.

I’d like to post an email I received from Wayne Grant whose book, Longbow, is quite exciting. I read some of the book, sent Wayne an email, and he replied. Below I’d like to post my response to Wayne’s Post: “Hi, Wayne: Delighted to hear from you, and thanks for informing me on your work ethic. First, I read a segment of Longbow and enjoyed it immensely. When I was a boy, 13 or 14, we hunted and fished in Kansas and I read a series by an author named Atsheler about Henry Ware, a 6 for 4 giant who hung out in the woods with Sol and other hunters, woodsmen; they fought Indians together and I loved their adventures. Your saga seems similar in some ways. I became a playwright many years ago ( 3 plays published by Samuel French) because I had no idea how to write a play and what it entailed. It has helped me greatly in terms of structure, “letting it happen” as you stated, each scene emerging from the previous scene, how to create and sustain dramatic tension, and most of all, the mathematics of writing drama. The math works this way: the degree to which the audience is satisfied and fulfilled at the end of a play (book, musical), equals the depth of the trouble/danger your characters overcome or are overcome by. Whether they are triumphant or defeated, if we the audience/readers passionately care about them, we authors will have succeeded in our goal. When I first became a playwright, I read and studied a book, The Art of Dramatic Writing, by Lajos Egri, the Bible of playwrights. I learned to do character breakdowns in three categories: social, biological, and physical criteria for each character. Later I abandoned this practice and was able to plot my plays without this process. I don’t outline either, but I do like to have a goal In mind for the ending. How I get there depends on the strength of the characters I envision and their foibles, which always decide the denouement. Characters always determine action, and if we create strong and credible characters and listen to them, they’ll take over our writing and lead the way. I’m so glad you responded to my email. I would be honored if you could go to my children’s crusade website and listen to some of the songs. Pay particular attention to Salah ad Din’s song, In The Coming Battle (cut 24 in the downloads- that’s me singing), one of my best songs. The orchestrations for this piece and the final song, I Hear Your Laughter (cut 26), are strong. I composed not only the music and lyrics but the orchestrations as well. The site is: thechildrescrusade.com. I think I’ll post this on my blog if it’s okay with you, Wayne. I’d like to write a few sentences about your book if you’ll tell me where to go to do it. Also, I’d love you to take a look at my ebook, Onions (http://onionsbook.com/ and post something on Amazon if you get time. I could mention your quote in the book and how to reach Longbow’s site. Again, thanks for responding to my epistle. I’d like to follow your career. Best, Cy”

I’m finishing up the new edits of “Onions”, working with an excellent U.K. editor, Brigitte Messenger, who’s vastly improved the formatting and helped make the book’s message clearer. Brigitte is married to Jack Messenger, a top-notch short-story writer and blogger. I’m impressed with the friendly reaching-out from the blogger community. Everyone I’ve contacted has been open, warm, and extremely helpful. Like Nina D. Silva of The Cozy Pages blog. Nina has offered to feature me on the Spotlight post of her blog. This will be running next Tuesday, April 10th. Thanks, Nina, very much appreciated. And thanks to Brigitte and Jack for their support.