Books & Blurbs with Sasha Alsberg

Book and faucet

 

 

 

 

April Book Haul Overflowing with ARCS!!

 

 

 

 

 

What’s on your list? Let’s Talk!!

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

#Hilarious with Jimmy Fallon & Jennifer Lopez

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!!

With Jimmy Fallon & Jennifer Lopez

#Hilarious

 

 

 

television-clker-purple-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you laugh? Tell me in the comments!!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

Undevoured Memories

This poem is dedicated to my Dad who passed away from cancer 5 years ago today. May you rest in peace and God bless your soul in paradise. I will see you yet again one day, it is the word of God. 

Should I allow the swarming locusts of grief to burrow deep into my heart? Too late. Perhaps they’ll be merciful in this heart of flesh. In earnest they arrive to devour the land of the living, leaving little to be desired in its wake.

In unison they come seeking bold entry;their deep prying eyes bore into one’s soul, and escape is not an option. 

One can only hope to endure the warm summer breezes bringing endless myriads and armies prancing on the horizon. Their cold steely gaze take aim, a plentitude of jaws set forth, their appetite destruction itself. 

Will they devour me? Lay waste the sweet fortified towers of laughter, love, and affection? Can they reverse the inevitable course already drawn? 

Although the thunderous clap of their dreaded wings spread like strident wildfire, they will not consume. Though their devilish jagged teeth clench like poisonous asps, they will not consume. Though they effortlessly breath gangrene and their message is death, they will not consume. 

They will not consume this heart of flesh, for they will never devour the memory of the living. 

RIP Dad

Benjamin Thomas

Book Review: Elderhaus by Anne Carmichael

elderhaus

 

 

 

Gertrude spent the better part of her adult life scouring Europe for Helmut Klingenfelter, the father who vanished not only from her life and that of her mother but had forsaken everyone in his past.
With midlife looming on the horizon, Gertie made the decision to stop chasing the ghosts of the past and return to her childhood home of Pitch Pine, where she purchased a century-old house at 1211 Castle Lane sight unseen.
Elderhaus, as it came to be known, had a mysterious past of its own, one that would threaten more than Gertrude’s desire for finding happiness.

 

 

 

My Thoughts

 

 

thoughts

 

 

 

 

There is something about this book that draws you into it’s story. Who is Gertie Klingenfelter? And what happened to her father Helmut? It takes you down a path discovering her roots and mysterious family history. Finally she decides to return to her home town, Pitch Pine.

I found the setting of Pitch Pine with it’s characters to be very endearing ! There’s something about them that sticks out begging you to find out more. Gertie’s family history is heart wrenching but makes the story that much more resonant.

Quality writing with good characters. What else can you ask for? Recommended!

 

 

 

 

recommended vintage orange seal isolated on white

 

 

 

 

 

 

anne-carmichael

 

 

Anne Carmichael

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Amazon

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

mtw-email-logo

Audiobook Review: Cryptic Lines

 

 

 

listen to music (+clipping path, xxl)

 

 

 

I’m happy to announce a brand new series deemed Audio Forensics! It will exclusively be about audiobooks and everything related to them. News, reviews, interviews from the latest and the greatest. Some will go here and others will go to my other site at Mystery Thriller Week. I’ll mix it up and try to keep things interesting. It should be epic fun! There’s more interesting things I’d love to say about Audio Forensics but I’m much too pooped to say more. Another day I promise!

If you would like to do a guest post in relation to this drop me a line in the comment section. The more the merrier.

The growth of audiobooks has been steadily booming the last several years and bound to only get better. Time to give them some lovin’.  I listen to about two per week so this will be a nice outlet for what I’ve experienced.

So, on that note let us introduce my favorite audiobook of 2016. And the winner is….

Drumroll….

 

 

 

drumroll

 

CRYPTIC LINES

 

 

cryptic-lines-audiobook

 

 

 

Written by Richard Storry

Narrated by Jake Urry

Length: 4 hrs and 13 mins

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date: 03-16-16

Publisher: Richard Alan Storry

 

 

 

Goodreads

Set in a sprawling gothic mansion in a remote coastal location, somewhere in the British Isles, the elderly recluse Lord Alfred Willoughby is deciding what is to become of his vast fortune after his death. Whilst his head is telling him to leave nothing at all to his wastrel son, Matthew, his heart is speaking differently. After much deliberation, in a last-ditch attempt to try and show to his son the importance of applying himself to a task and staying with it to the end, he devises a series of enigmatic puzzles cunningly concealed within the lines of a poem – the cryptic lines. If he completes the task successfully and solves the puzzles he will inherit the entire estate; but if he fails he will receive nothing. However, from Lord Alfred’s Will it emerges that Matthew is not the only interested party. The mysterious old house holds many secrets, and nothing is as it first appears

 

 

 

My rating

Five golden stars isolated on white background

 

Performance: Narrated by Jake Urry

Jake had the perfect voice to go along with this story. Absolutely perfect. He has that creepy, eerie, mysteriousness to his voice that brings out the story to the fullest degree. His performance was off the charts in my estimation.

 

 

Story: by Richard Storry

This story was amazing! I honestly didn’t expect it to be as good as it was, but was pleasantly surprised. It kept me on the edge of my seat the entire book. That’s probably what I enjoy most about it. The SUSPENSE was brilliant. The plot twists toward the end are even better. This one had it all. Out of all the audiobooks I’ve listened to this year, this one resonated with me the most.

 

 

 

Listen to an audio sample: Cryptic Lines

Have fun! Thanks for ridin’ the train folks!

 

 

 

 

train-old-fashioned

 

 

 

 

Up for a challenge? Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge  (Join the Goodreads group here)

 

 

A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

 

 

Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

waving-by

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

 

Balancing Art & Business With Tara Gentile

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY

How to Balance Art & Business with Tara Gentile

 

 

 

 

 

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How do you balance art and business? Tell me in the comments!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

The Story of Bestselling Author Jordon Greene

 

story matters

 

 

 

 

 

“Everything’s a story – You are a story – I am a story” Frances Hodgson Burnett

 

It’s time to read them.

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome back to Story of the Writer Series!

 

 

So who is Jordon Greene?

 

 

 

 

 

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The numbers speak for themselves…

 

 

Amazon Author Rankings

 

 

#1 American Horror

#1 US Horror Fiction

#1 Horror Suspense

#2 Horror Suspense

#3 Horror

#4 US Horror Fiction

#6 Psychological Thrillers

#8 Psychological Fiction

#17 Horror

#18 American Horror

#27 Suspense

#33 Thrillers

#35 Genre Fiction

#45 Psychological Thrillers

#45 Psychological Suspense Fiction Amazon Hot New Release

#45 Literature & Fiction

#49 Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense

#49 Horror Amazon Bestseller Lists

#56 Thrillers & Suspense

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Book Trailers speak for themselves…

 

 

 

 

 

They Call It Treason

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Watch You Bleed

 

 

 

 

 

The Reviews speak for themselves

 

 

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to-watch-you-bleed-4-star-review

 

 

 

 

 

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Jordon Greene is the best-selling author of thrillers, They Call It Treason, and new dark psychological horror thriller, To Watch You Bleed. He is also one of many talented authors in this year’s Mystery Thriller Week event. Beginning February 12-22nd. Don’t miss it!!

 

 

 

Let the games begin…

 

 

 

You’re a writer; so what’s your story, or what inspired you?

My passion for writing started in fifth grade when a friend and I entered a local short-story competition in Caldwell County. I didn’t even write the story, my friend did, I just drew the illustrations. But, after going through that short process to put together the story, it ignited something inside me. It made me want to write. The following year I decided that I wanted to write a Star Wars book, and my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Hicks, did everything in her power to encourage me to make that desire a reality. She supported me so much that she actually allowed me to take a group of like ten classmates aside once a week and have little book planning sessions (because my classmates were characters in the book).

Since then I attempted to write one thing or another but could never find my method. It wasn’t until about four years ago that I finally found it, I’m a planner, not one of those gifted spontaneous writers, and it took me from sixth grade to college to figure that out. Yet, with the continued support of my sixth grade teacher and of course my family and friends, I wrote my first book, They’ll Call It Treason, and released it in 2016.

I love your story, Jordon. I also love that you found your rhythm as a writer. Finding what works best for us in the writing process is critical. I happen to be more of the spontaneous type.  Studying story structure, outlining, scene structure, plotting and character certainly has its merits. 




process




What’s your GOAL in becoming a writer?

Primarily to entertain. However, at the same time for me it’s a creative and mentally stimulating way to spend my time opposed to sitting on a couch for hours every day watching TV. I have nothing against TV or movies, I love them, but the more I write the less time I seem to have for them and despite people thinking I’m a little behind on my TV, I like that I’m doing something proactive mentally rather and passively watching shows all the time. In the end though my goal is to entertain. Yes, I’d like to become a full-time writer, and if that comes it comes and I’ll gladly accept it, but for me the goals come step-by-step. Now is simply to enjoy writing and to entertain my readers, and that will bring each future goal as is fit I believe.

Another general goal for me also is to not be pigeon-holed into one genre. So, in an effort to ensure this my first book was a political conspiracy thriller called They’ll Call It Treason whereas my newest book that released January 10 this year is a dark psychological horror thriller called To Watch You Bleed. They’re both thrillers, but they are far removed from each other in every other aspect. In addition to this I’m hoping to write a young adult book, maybe a trilogy, as well as something in the full-on science fiction realm in the future as well. I don’t want people to expect one specific genre from me, but instead to be able to see me across a few different ones.

I can relate to this entirely. It’s amazing you were able to write two extremely different books, both as bestsellers. Hat’s off to you. 




high-five

What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

Well before I started planning my first published book, the thing that hindered me most was not knowing the method that worked best for me. I cannot just come up with an idea and begin writing and successfully write a first draft of an entire book by letting it flow from my mind. No, I have to sit down with an idea that comes to mind or that I’ve had brewing up in there, put the idea down on paper (digitally speaking of course) and then work out that simple idea into a slightly more complex idea with a clear beginning, building, conflict, climax and resolution. Then after that is done I have to step back and write out an entire chapter-by-chapter outline before I actually write the first word of my first draft. With that structure in place I can write away, but I have to have that structure it seems.

Beyond that, I find that I have to schedule things, and if something gets in the way of my schedule or makes me have to alter it, I tend to have a harder time getting back on track, and often times my writing time is what suffers unfortunately. I’m a creature of habit it seems so I have to have my schedule for the most part. Other than that, I guess the occasional bought of writers block gets in the way every once in a while, but that is usually only during my planning stages, not during the actual writing fortunately.

The adventurous aspect of discovering our writing process is most exciting to me. What a glorious moment! Of course, this is a evolving experience over time. But it sounds like you have all the right nuts and bolts in the right place. 





“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”-Albert Einstein





What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)

Before I actually published my first book, the thought of what it must be like to see my book in print and have some one read it kept me motivated. Now, hearing readers tell me what they thought of the book and how much they enjoyed it is what motivates me most. I still find it hard to see myself as a genuine writer, and it just feels odd when someone says they are a fan, but that’s definitely what motivates me now beyond simply the love of writing.

That must be a very surreal feeling!  Face it, Jordon, you’re a writer! And I’m a fan. It’s very encouraging to those who have day jobs (me) hoping to break into the writing game. 





never-stop-fighting





What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?

If you are speaking to my latest book, To Watch You Bleed, my antagonist are three young boys in masks and I cannot really go into much more detail than that. I don’t want to ruin the story.

I’m very familiar with them. I don’t think I’ll ever forget!





“I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.”-Stephen King. 





Why do writers give up, quit or never complete their projects?

I think a lot of why writers throw in the towel so-to-say is because they expect too much or they feel like it’s too far out of reach. I know when I was getting started, I would read up on authors trying to get their works published for years, only to be rejected time and time again. I imagine that that kind of response, no matter how confident one might be in their story telling, can be a real blow and cause even the most stalwart writer to bend and bow. At the same time however, there are many stories like those very ones were after tons of rejections they finally get that one acceptance letter than changes it all and gives us a huge hit. Of course, there are also other avenues of publication as well, but I think many authors feel that only the traditional route is “legitimate” unfortunately.

Then you have authors I think which are surrounded by people who negatively impact their confidence in their own ability to write by telling them it’s a “pipe dream” or it’s just too difficult, it’ll never happen. Yes, some people may not have the talent that’s needed to write, but I think for the most part, those who want to write, can at least learn to write and people need to be there to support them and encourage them to make the right decisions but to not give up. I had a lot of people cheering me on even when I didn’t think I could do it or that it would be a flop and that helped me out a lot.

We’re glad you kept going, Jordon. It certainly wasn’t a flop. The numbers don’t lie. I have a lot of the same reservations. This is good medicine!




doctor






What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up?

Get back up, dust off and try again. Maybe you hit the wrong turn. Maybe the story you chased was just not the right one for you. Don’t let people get to you if you really want to write, just do it and be confident about your story but still humble enough to see where you fall short. But, at the same time keep writing and improve as you go.

Amen to that buddy. That’s the gospel truth. 





i-am-image






BONUS: What else do you have coming down the pike? 

Right now, I’m working on book 2 in the Ethan Shaw series, which is the book following up from They’ll Call It Treason, and I’m planning a spaced-based psychological horror thriller standalone novel, nothing too out there, no monsters or aliens, just horror in the vastness and loneliness of space. Both of these are in the initial planning stages so far though, so it’ll be a while before I have more details about them available. However, I am aiming for a Fall/Winter 2017 release for the Ethan Shaw Book 2, and a Spring/Summer 2018 release for the space thriller.

Thanks,

Jordon Greene
jordon@jordongreene.com
www.JordonGreene.com

to-watch-you-bleed-2

they-call-it-treason-2





Author of the Amazon Bestselling Political thriller They’ll Call It Treason and the upcoming psychological horror thriller To Watch You Bleed

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Goodreads | Pinterest | Amazon

 

 

 

 

Thanks for ridin’ the train.

 

 

 

 

 

train

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up for a reading challenge? Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge  (Goodreads group here)

 

 

A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

 

 

Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

Home by Thriller Writer Harlan Coben

 

 

 

home-harlan-coben

 

 

 

Home by Harlan Coben

 

 

  • File Size: 1005 KB
  • Print Length: 397 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0525955100
  • Publisher: Dutton (September 20, 2016)
  • Publication Date: September 20, 2016
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01COJUGOE

 

 

HOME  according to Goodreads

Ten years after the high-profile kidnapping of two young boys, only one returns home in Harlan Coben’s next gripping thriller, to be published in September 2016.

A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: What can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend? Drawing on his singular talent, Harlan Coben delivers an explosive and deeply moving thriller about friendship, family, and the meaning of home.

 

 

 

 

MY RATING

Four golden stars isolated on white background

 

 

 

 

 

In this book, internationally bestselling author Harlan Coben delivers quite a punch. He really knows how to weave a tale with intricate plots that flex their muscle. There’s clearly some major biceps in this one! Largely entertaining and jam packed with suspense. It’ll keep you guessing until the end.

 

 

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PLOT MUSCLE

 

 

 

 

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MYRON BOLITAR

I really enjoyed spending some time with Myron Bolitar, who seems to be a normal level headed guy with an itch to learn the truth. He’s seems like a calm, yet determined person. Which makes him perfect for solving crimes!

 

WIN

The book actually begins with a character named Win, who showcases his skills in the opening scenes. If you like a mysterious no nonsense assassin, then you’ll love Win. Together with Myron they make a great team.

 

 

Wildly entertaining and jam packed with suspense!

 

 

 

Home is available now

 

Add it to your Goodreads account

 

www.harlancoben.com | Twitter

Facebook

 

 

 

Have you read this book yet? What was your impression? Tell me in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch “Star Wars Undercover Boss: Starkiller Base – SNL” on YouTube

TELEVISION TUESDAY

 

 

#Hilarious

Kylo Ren goes undercover…

 

 

 

 

tv-couch-potato

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

The Story of Writer & Filmaker Usvaldo De Leon

 

 

 

WELCOME BACK TO THE STORY OF THE WRITER SERIES

 

 

EVERYBODY HAS A ONE. WHAT’S YOUR’S?

 

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usvaldo-de-leon

 

 

 

 

Everyone please welcome writer and filmaker USVALDO!!

 

 

 

Tuscon Screenwriting Group

@Usvaldo de Leon

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Where are you from?

I don’t know that I am ‘from’ anywhere. I was born on an army base, Fort Belvoir, in Northern Virginia, then grew up as a young child in my mother’s hometown of Hickory, North Carolina. Then it was back to Northern Virginia, living near the Bull Run battlefield in Manassas. 150 years ago, men from all over the country came here – twice – to duke it out. Now,.people come there from all over the country so they can commute to their government or technology centered jobs, which my dad had.

Since then, the army took me across the country and to South Korea, and as a civilian I have lived in Kansas, North Carolina (again), El Paso, TX and now Tucson, Arizona. What does it mean to be from a place? I am amalgamated from all of those places and many more besides: the Corleone compounds in New York and Lake Tahoe; Discovery One, on it’s ill fated journey to Jupiter; even Desi and Lucy’s Manhattan apartment.

I come from a tribe of wanderers.

Wow! You are literally a man of many places. 

***********

Do you write screenplays and novels?

I am a screenwriter, but I did begin work on a novel in 2014 that I completely pantsed. It is a zombie dystopia (of course) told in the first person from several perspectives; my favorite was the young woman in her late teens from Pacific Palisades, California, a wealthy beachside community of Los Angeles. The good and evil groups meet up in Las Vegas, in an homage to Stephen King’s The Stand.

That’s really cool that you’re a screenwriter. 

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Which do you like more?

Screenplays. They are a novel distilled to it’s essence. Put a novel in the dryer on too high heat: a screenplay results.

I love the visual! 

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How is writing screenplays different from fiction?

The biggest differences are texture and subplots. A novel, which could be a thousand pages, could have endless subplots. A screenplay can have two or three if it is long enough, but all the narrative drive has to be supplied by the main plot; there is barely space for anything else.

Texture is the novel’s greatest strength over the screenplay. Take It, for example. King spends an enormous amount of time detailing several horrifying events in the past of the town. Gradually it becomes clear to the reader that the town has been inculcated in the evil of It. If you watch the mini series, however, that is nowhere to be found, as there is not enough time.

Texture in a film is all a result of the scene and the decorative elements thereof. Take the opening of The Godfather. It is not by accident that it begins at Connie’s wedding, nor that it is seen through the eyes of Kay, the outsider. It allows Coppola to import texture so that we get a feel for what it means to be Italian American in the 40s, before we commence with the story proper, as it were. The fact that Don Vito is feared by so many, but gently cradles his cat: that is the distillation process in full effect.

Wow. This is amazing to see the difference between the two. I’m beginning to notice the nuances between the two mediums. Funny you mentioned the Godfather because I  just got the audiobook. 

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What’s the hardest thing about being a filmmaker?

The hardest thing about filmmaking is not filmmaking at all: it is financing. When people give you money, they tend to want it back, plus a profit. There are now just two entry points into ‘the system’. The first is make a cheap horror film. Horror does not require ‘names’, nor does it require lots of money. It does not even require a great script. All it needs is a great hook. Don’t Breathe, which came out recently, has a fantastic hook: a group of punks rob a soldier who is blind but has the keenest hearing and really objects to people breaking in. Or It Follows, from last year, which takes the horror formulation of sex = death to its logical conclusion.

The other way is to write a great screenplay for a name, which can then secure the financing. An example would be Brick, Rian Johnson’s amazing debut, which sets a film noir in a high school. This came to the attention of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who was looking for a project to allow him to be taken seriously. It worked out great for both (you may have heard of Johnson’s latest project: Star Wars VIII?).

Wonderful!  I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a great actor and chock full of talent. Then for Rian Johnson to have a ‘project’ such as Star Wars VIII is nothing short of amazing.

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What are your Top 5 favorite movies and what makes them great?

Very tough. I will go with The Godfather, Part II,directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The rare, perhaps only sequel to better it’s predecessor, G2 is the tale of father and son and the huge differences between them. The two key scenes are the old woman being kicked out of her apartment because the rent will be $30 and the landlord hates her dog. Vito first asks the landlord for a favor: tell the woman the rent is 25 and come see him for the rest. Plus, please let her keep the dog. The landlord refuses. Vito kindly asks him to change his mind. The man refuses. Vito Corleone, the most powerful man in Little Italy, debases himself to come to a mutual solution. Only once the man realizes what he has done – and to whom – does Vito apply the screws, but even then, he praises the man for being so generous. Why make an enemy needlessly?

Compare to the son, who upon hearing the demands of the Nevada senator for a gaming license, arrogantly tells the senator will give him the license and get nothing in return,  because Michael knows he can set the senator up and make him grateful for Michael’s help. Why spend money needlessly?

If the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, G2 makes clear that Michael’s apple landed on the slope of a hill and managed to roll far away.

Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, directed by Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick succinctly and hilariously shows how war begins. It is banal, tragic, petty and most of all absurd. What I love most is the cognitive dissonance Kubrick initiates: we root for the War Room to shoot down the last B-52, but we also root for the intrepid, brave flight crew, which is determined to carry out their duty, culminating in the famous ride of Slim Pickens, riding the bomb like a bucking bronco to the extinction of the human race.

Wild Strawberries, directed by Ingmar Bergman. Ostensibly a road movie of a man getting a ride from his daughter-in-law to get a lifetime achievement award, it is actually about the man’s life, it’s mistakes and tragedies and his feeble attempts to keep his son from making the same mistakes. The way Bergman literally intertwines the past and the present is shot through with emotionality.

Stray Dog, directed by Akira Kurosawa. A cop in Tokyo loses his gun; the man responsible for taking it goes on a rampage. Though made in 1949, it has modern narrative sensibilities. Seven, for example, feels very much like it in atmosphere and in the hot headedness of its protagonist (Toshiro Mifune). It is set in August in Tokyo and everything is sweating, seemingly. The heat is very much on Mifune to get his gun back and stop a murderer.

Monsoon Wedding, directed by Mira Nair. This film does what only the magic of story can. It takes a very specific situation (an extended Punjabi family preparing for a wedding) and lets us see the universality of it. Once we recognize what we have in common with them,which is much, we can appreciate the ways we are different – and accept them. Starting with this point of empathy, we can celebrate the ways this Indian family are different from us. The story is very common (there are only a handful of story forms), but it is the specifics – the jumble of Mumbai, the idiosyncratic romance of the wedding planner and the family servant, how cell reception is awful in India – it is a joyous riot.

Nice starting five. I’ve only seen the Godfather, but that was many years ago.

Retro Projector

Your favorite sports?

My favorite sports are NHL hockey (go Washington Caps!), major league baseball (go Washington Nats!) and NFL football (go Washington Skins!).

Who’s going to win the Superbowl?

The Patriots are undefeated despite starting nobodies at quarterback. When Brady comes back, how are they going to be stopped? They have to be the favorite right now.

Your least favorite team?

My least favorite team across all sports is the Dallas Cowboys, followed by the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals. May they all have a bad end.

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Name a few movies you’re dying to see.

Birth of a Nation; Manchester by the Sea; Doctor Strange (Marvel plus  Benedict Cumberbatch should equal can’t miss); Passengers; La La Land wasn’t one I was anticipating,  but it won the top prize at the Toronto Film Festival – as have the last four Best Picture winners, so I want to see what the fuss is about; and finally, always: the next under the radar horror movie.

Definitely looking forward to seeing Marvel’s Dr. Strange with Benedict Cumberbatch. Passengers looks like a winner, and of course, Star Wars VIII!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re a writer; so what’s your story, or
what inspired you?

 

I got started writing at 7 when I wrote a story about a leprechaun. I think (either a leprechaun or an elf). My teacher said it was a good story. Then, as now, I take some things completely literally. If my teacher thought I had a good story, then I needed to sell that story. My friend suggested we get copies made, which involved some parental logistics but soon I had my copies and went door to door, selling my story for a quarter. Not a single person bought, which is mystifying and heartless (when an eight year old comes to your door selling an elf story for a quarter, you give the kid a quarter). I did not take any rejection from this – my teacher said it was a good story.

I started writing my first screenplay at 15, but didn’t finish. 12 years later, I started another script and finished – 4 years later. The third time I stole the structure from Richard III, so it only took about a year and the time has dropped since for a first draft.

I always find it rather amazing how some people begin writing so young. 

What’s your GOAL in becoming a writer?

My goal is first, to just make something a quality. After that, it is to be produced. Further, to produce my own scripts. Finally, to dethrone Gone With The Wind as the all time domestic box office champ. All I need is a movie capable of making $1.7 billion…

That’s a pretty lofty goal, yikes! 

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A goal is a dream with a deadline. -Napoleon Hill

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What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

I have been stymied by: low budgets. The Richard III script was produced for nothing and it became a boring movie. I began shooting for better funded producers, but I needed much higher quality scripts. So I have worked over the past several years to become a higher quality writer. Finding these producers amenable to my script genre also has been stymying.

Sounds like a tough business, even harder than publishing novels.

What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)

I have no choice but to tell stories, even if only to read to Jehovah’s Witnesses who have stopped by for coffee.

Sounds like you’re very determined!

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What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?

Some of my antagonists: Laziness. I can slide form my writing for the day for various reasons. Work is a big one as well: I generally work 28 or 29 days a month, for around 10-14 hours. It doesn’t leave much time to write, particularly if the lazy grabs me.

I know this all too well. Once the tank is tapped, that’s it. A couple of days ago I saw a bumper sticker that read: MAKE USE OF YOUR ENERGY 

I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

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Why do writers give up, quit or never complete their projects?

Discouragement. Rejection. Discovering they aren’t very good. My dad did a lot of writing, for maybe 10 years, then he just stopped and did other things. I never asked him why; I think I was afraid of the answer. I didn’t think he was very good, and I worry I led him to stop.

These are all too familiar. 

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What would you say to a struggling writer?

(I think) What, exactly, does it mean to struggle? There is no end to ‘the struggle’. The Buddha tells us that life is struggle and pain. I would direct this writer to Stephen King, who was nearly killed; is that not struggle? Brad Pitt had everything until September, 2016, when his wife abruptly left; is that not pain? After Michael Jackson made the biggest album of all time, the only question was: how are you going to top it?

This writer, they think they struggle now. Their struggles will be unceasing. Their nature may change. Stephen King’s struggle is gathering the cash to buy the Boston Red Sox or whatever. Oh my God, the Rolls Royce needs a new engine!

There will always be struggle. Many, perhaps most, writers, successful or not, stare at the blank page or a story problem, and wonder the same thing: is this it? Will I ever write again? This is the one where they discover I’m a fraud.

The only cure for your struggles is to keep writing. At which point your struggle will change: how do I market this book? How do I find an honest financial advisor? Should I buy or rent a private jet? How do I increase tourism to my private island?  #TheStruggleContinues

That’s great! 

 

 

 

 

 

The only cure for your struggles is to keep writing- Usvaldo De Leon

 

 

 

 

 

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The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow-Uknown

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THIS IS YOU

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I love the struggle, after all we’re going  to need something to talk about at the top. -Picturequotes.com

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Thanks Usvaldo!!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com