THE LOGLINE

A few weeks ago I completed a twelve hour course on Creating A TV Series Proposal given by Jennifer McAuley sponsored by The Quebec Writers’ Federation.

One of the features of writing a proposal for TV is to have a GREAT logline. It’s one to three sentences that grabs the agent, producer, director, audience attention to your story. It is precise and gets to the point of your story.

Here’s my logline for my TV script (which might change as I go along writing the script) but for now here it is:

According to Keri Novak’s PhD study group, women who have had absent fathers grow up assuming that they are doomed to unsuccessful relationships with men. That is, until Keri meets her own Prince Charming putting her research and the award she is about to receive in jeopardy.

Does this grab your attention?

Based on my Getting to Mr. Right Series

Please visit my author page on Amazon.

Toni Pike: Linda’s Midlife Crisis

I am used to associating Toni Pike’s writing with crime and thrillers, not this delightful modern feel-good women’s fiction and so it was a surprise for me to see it on her post.  

The first part of the novel is about Linda’s marriage to Ron, a horrible man.

He was the sort of person who brought joy whenever he departed, a feeling of peace and freedom that lasted until the moment of his return.

Ron is constantly criticizing Linda, especially her weight, treats her like his servant and is often going out at night coming home smelling of alcohol. Linda stays in the marriage because she doesn’t know what else to do and likes her home when her husband is at work or playing golf. As much as Linda is the glass half full type of person Ron is eternally pessimistic.

Aside from her marriage, Linda also hates teaching although there was a time when it was her passion but things have changed.

She had once been a great teacher, popular with students and respected by other staff members. Every year, a little gloss had been wiped away and now only a dull, rusted undercoat was left. It was so hard to look forward to a day at school when a riot could break out at any moment and every lesson was like trying to tame a herd of wild beasts.

Linda has a breakdown (or perhaps a breakthrough). She spends a great deal of her time in bed eating chocolates and gaining weight something which Ron doesn’t let her forget.  

If you’re not better tomorrow, then I’m leaving. I’m not taking care of an invalid for the rest of my life. There’s nothing wrong with you, apart from being too fat and too lazy to go to work.

When Linda doesn’t change Ron asks for a divorce and off Linda goes gaining enthusiasm, energy and the will to take care of herself.

The remainder of the novel is sweet and reminiscent of the Television show I used to watch as a kid: Leave it to Beaver. It has that kind, family feel to it. Beneath her submission towards Ron, Linda is a very astute woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. Her character adds a fun, easy relaxing and pleasant read.

We see Linda thrive through the obligations of life: getting a house ready to sell. Finding an apartment. Moving to a different city, closer to her sister. Quitting her job. Finding work in fashion. Taking care of herself. Embarking on a new and loving relationship and writing.

Linda was an English teacher who once loved to write, but life with Ron had dulled her inspiration and melted the muse.

The book also contains some heartwarming sentences:

… your heart matches your lovely face. Said by new boyfriend, Dennis.

Linda uses her struggles with weight to write inspiring articles for The Canberra News Magazine which motivates her in setting goals for her own weight loss program.

She loved trying to write with clarity, transposing the thoughts in her brain to paper and then polishing them carefully.

As the stain of verbal and psychological abuse fades, Linda becomes more confident and someone you’d love to hang out with.

It’s an upbeat novel and Pike shows that there are happy endings even for those in mid-life.

An enjoyable read that is bound to take you out of any morose mood you might be in.

Pink Carnations

It’s unusual for me to buy myself a bouquet of flowers but yesterday I couldn’t resist and bought this lovely bouquet of pink carnations. I got home placed them in a vase and every time I see them, I smile and bend to smell them. Carnations have such a sweet scent.

The smell of the carnations brought up a childhood memory of my older sisters filling our home with their music. I was seven at the time and I still remember the joy I had listening to this song.

What is the Way to Make Life Happy

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine I have been having an existential moment regarding my writing. Although I am currently in the process of a crime novel I feel myself taking a break from crime and violence. In search of more feel good reading I came across this article published by QUORA. These days we all could use a bit of Ubuntu.

An anthropologist showed a game to a group of children of an African tribe. He placed a basket of delicious fruits near a tree trunk and told them: The first child to reach the tree will get the basket. When he gave them the start signal, he was surprised that they were walking together, holding hands until they reached the tree and shared the fruit!

When he asked them why they do that, when one of you could have got the basket all for them self! They answered with astonishment: Ubuntu.

“That is, how can one of us be happy while the rest are miserable?” Ubuntu in their civilisation means: I am because we are.

That tribe knows the secret of happiness that has been lost in all societies that transcended them, and they consider themselves as being the civilised societies!

https://worldsnews.quora.com/https-www-quora-com-What-is-the-way-to-make-life-happy-answer-Sajeev-Rajan-11

Music as Creative Inspiration

Please feel free to listen to this album as you read this post and its links.

For the past two weekends I was taking a course given by Antolina Ortiz Moore on Creating A Universe With Words sponsored by the Quebec Writers Federation.

During the course, one of the elements which was discussed was the usage of rhythm in our writing and how the sound of words is important for the flow of ideas.

That got me thinking about an interview I recently heard on CBC radio with the Neo-Classical pianist Jean-Michel Blais on the creation of his latest album, Aubades – a piece of music appropriate to dawn.

Blais composed this music in the midst of confinement where, because of gentrification, he had been evicted from his apartment and his studio and to add to all of this, had a breakup in his relationship.

Understandably, he was depressed, lonely, felt he had reached bottom and worried that he would never again compose. (Sound familiar?)

Alone, in his new apartment, he felt that he needed something to get back to his creativity and so he set  up a room for his studio and decided to record a new record – his pandemic therapy album.

 To feel awake again he challenged himself by asking how he could remain creative. What would happen if he let himself go, tried to surpass himself by writing new stuff and used the confinement as opportunity to transform a dream into reality?   

The result is an album that is simply gorgeous. Filled with hope, open to what’s new, uplifting and  inspirational.

 You can read the interview with Piya Chattopadhyay and listen to a great composer talk about the process of creativity.  

How’s your New Years Resolution coming along?

Many new years resolutions have to do with getting in shape – exercising more and eating properly. But studies show that 64% abandon their new year’s resolution within a month.

Ellie Marrandette’s book will help you get back on track and re-energize you to maintain good eating habits.

Combining her career as a nutritional counsellor and her New Creation Ministries series, this book addresses the “intricate mind, body and spiritual aspects to optimum and sensible health.”

Whether your goal is to lose weight the end point is to be healthy and Ellie Marrandette offers expert advice and tips on doing so. It’s not about dieting but about introducing into your life healthy eating habits.

Being healthy improves one’s looks, energy level, longevity and self-esteem.

Critiquing every fad diet out there she explains why they don’t work and suggests that the only diet that works is feeding your body with the proteins, minerals and vitamins it needs to function at maximum health and to ward of illnesses such as cancer and diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and joint problems.

Be mindful of harmful habits when reaching for food when you are not even hungry.

She explains the role enzymes play in regulating different parts of our body, including regulating our appetite. Much of the book is on quality nutrients necessary for the proper functioning of our bodies (liver, intestines, skin, brain, bones et) and which foods contain them.

The book includes chapters on the benefits of detoxification and emotional eating and the importance of fiber and foods to incorporate in your daily intake for a good night’s sleep or for battling dark circles under the eyes as well as foods that protect sun damage. The benefits of eating nutritious mini-meals throughout the day to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Add to this our personalities, our attitudes and the importance of gratitude in maintaining a stable health plan.

Although this book targets Christian groups, her knowledge on health and nutrition is universal. This is not a book to read in one reading. There is too much information and it is more of a reference book.

If you find that you are having difficulty sticking to your new year’s goals of becoming healthier this book might just be the boost you need to motivate you to get over that slump.

 We are the only ones who live in our bodies. Choose wisely.

Happy V-Day

Ha

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY EVERYONE!

February 14 is also V-DAY for ONE BILLION RISING

1 in 3 women across the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. That’s ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. Every February, we rise – in countries across the world – to show our local communities and the world what one billion looks like and shine a light on the rampant impunity and injustice that survivors most often face. We rise through dance to express joy and community and celebrate the fact that we have not been defeated by this violence. We rise to show we are determined to create a new kind of consciousness – one where violence will be resisted until it is unthinkable.

About One Billion Rising

One Billion Rising is the biggest mass action to end violence against women (cisgender, transgender, and those who hold fluid identities that are subject to gender-based violence) in human history. The campaign, which launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS.

Lessons From A Great Artist

In the early seventies, I spent the summer doing research in London, England and while there I had the grateful opportunity to see Rudolf Nureyev perform. It was one of the highlights of my summer and I will always remember how mesmerized I was as he flew through the stage. Had I had any desires of ever becoming a dancer they evaporated that evening.

Yesterday, on Facebook I came across Jane Burfield who posted an excerpt from a letter Rudolph Nureyev had written about his life as a dancer while dying of Aids. The article which she posted came from Nick Graham who’d posted the letter on Facebook on July 2, 2021.

I am not very adept at using Facebook and so I hope that I am not violating any copyright laws by posting this photo of Nureyev just as I am of posting the letter as I read it on Jane Burfield’s Facebook page.

The letter is rather long in comparison to the usual short entries I post on my blog. But for all you artists, writers, dancers and other creatives it is well worth the time to read Nureyev’s letter. Turn off your cell phones and all your media apparatus to focus on his words for they teach us everything one needs to know about being not only an extraordinary dancer/artist but a truly beautiful human being.

Excerpts of a letter Rudolf Nureyev wrote, to the dance community about his own life as a dancer, while dying of AIDS:

“It was the smell of my skin changing, it was getting ready before class, it was running away from school and after working in the fields with my dad because we were ten brothers, walking those two kilometers to dance school.

I would never have been a dancer, I couldn’t afford this dream, but I was there, with my shoes worn on my feet, with my body opening to music, with the breath making me above the clouds. It was the sense I gave to my being, it was standing there and making my muscles words and poetry, it was the wind in my arms, it was the other guys like me that were there and maybe wouldn’t be dancers, but we swapped the sweat, silences, barely.

For thirteen years I studied and worked, no auditions, nothing, because I needed my arms to work in the fields. But I didn’t care: I learned to dance and dance because it was impossible for me not to do it, it was impossible for me to think I was elsewhere, not to feel the earth transforming under my feet plants, impossible not to get lost in music, impossible not not to get lost in music using my eyes to look in the mirror, to try new steps.

Everyday I woke up thinking about the moment I would put my feet inside my slippers and do everything by tasting that moment. And when I was there, with the smell of camphor, wood, tights, I was an eagle on the rooftop of the world, I was the poet among poets, I was everywhere and I was everything.

I remember a ballerina Elèna Vadislowa, rich family, well taken care of, beautiful. She wanted to dance as much as I did, but later I realized it wasn’t like that. She danced for all the auditions, for the end of the course show, for the teachers watching her, to pay tribute to her beauty.

Two years prepared for the Djenko contest. The expectations were all about her. Two years she sacrificed part of his life. She didn’t win the contest. She stopped dancing, forever. She didn’t resist. That was the difference between me and her.

I used to dance because it was my creed, my need, my words that I didn’t speak, my struggle, my poverty, my crying. I used to dance because only there my being broke the limits of my social condition, my shyness, my shame. I used to dance and I was with the universe on my hands, and while I was at school, I was studying, arraising the fields at six am, my mind endured because it was drunk with my body capturing the air.

I was poor, and they paraded in front of me guys performing for pageants, they had new clothes, they made trips. I didn’t suffer from it, my suffering would have been stopping me from entering the hall and feeling my sweat coming out of the pores of my face. My suffering would have been not being there, not being there, surrounded by that poetry that only the sublimation of art can give. I was a painter, poet, sculptor.

The first dancer of the year-end show got hurt. I was the only one who knew every move because I sucked, quietly every step. They made me wear his new, shiny clothes and dictated me after thirteen years, the responsibility to demonstrate. Nothing was different in those moments I danced on stage, I was like in the hall with my clothes off. I was and I used to perform, but it was dancing that I cared.

The applause reached me far away. Behind the scenes, all I wanted was to take off the uncomfortable tights, but everyone’s compliments and I had to wait. My sleep wasn’t different from other nights. I had danced and whoever was watching me was just a cloud far away on the horizon.

From that moment my life changed, but not my passion and need to dance. I kept helping my dad in the fields even though my name was on everyone’s mouth. I became one of the brightest stars in dance.

Now I know I’m going to die, because this disease doesn’t forgive, and my body is trapped in a pram, blood doesn’t circulate, I lose weight. But the only thing that goes with me is my dance my freedom to be.

I’m here, but I dance with my mind, fly beyond my words and my pain. I dance my being with the wealth I know I have and will follow me everywhere: that I have given myself the chance to exist above effort and have learned that if you experience tiredness and effort dancing, what if you dance sits for effort, if we pity our bleeding feet, if we chase only the aim and don’t understand the full and unique pleasure of moving, we don’t understand the deep essence of life, where the meaning is in its becoming and not in appearing.

Every man should dance, for life. Not being a dancer, but dancing.

Who will never know the pleasure of walking into a hall with wooden bars and mirrors, who stops because they don’t get results, who always needs stimulus to love or live, hasn’t entered the depths of life, and will abandon every time life won’t give him what he wants.

It’s the law of love: you love because you feel the need to do it, not to get something or to be reciprocated, otherwise you’re destined for unhappiness.

I’m dying, and I thank God for giving me a body to dance so that I wouldn’t waste a moment of the wonderful gift of life.”

Two Books to Warm Your Heart

It’s been freezing cold here and so it was the perfect weather to bundle up with a warm sweater, a pair of woolen socks, a blanket and a couple of books from some blogger friends. One a mystery, the other a contemporary romance.  

Lauren is tired of living with her in laws, especially her dominating mother-in-law and can hardly wait to be able to move out with her husband, Ben, and have the privacy and liberty she craves.

Her desires to escape her current situation make her the perfect target for falling for a get rich quick scam. By doing so, she practically loses all her and her husband’s life savings and in the process is destroying her marriage.

There is more to this novel besides the scam which places it above the white color crime genre and into the mystery crime novel.

This was an easy read and one that anybody who is thinking of embarking in a get rich scheme ought to read this book. It’s bound to make you think twice about giving your well earned money away.

SCAM is a fast paced novel with well developed characters. It is a story about forgiveness, mistakes and the power of love.

It’s short enough to be read in one sitting which I did not because of its length but because I couldn’t put it down. All in all a fun read.

SEARCHING FOR HOME takes place in a small village in Whispering Slopes in the Shenandoah Valley. Meg is both a physical therapist and runs a B&B which her sister left her along with a set of five-year-old triplets. Life is running along smoothly enough for Meg until Luke, an old boyfriend who dumped her, walks back into her life.

Cowboy Luke, as the triplets call him, is a famous bull rider who not only wants to win back Meg’s heart but sees the triplets as an opportunity to have the family he always craved for. He is especially drawn to little Tucker who has a chip on his shoulder for having been abandoned by his parents – something Luke can well understand and identify with. He himself has had a difficult past  – an unwanted child and always seeking but never getting his father’s approval. So he understand the little boy’s anger at his father abandoning him.

Romance novels, at least for me, make me relax and forget about any problems or duties awaiting me. Jill’s novels are comfort food for the soul. As all of Jill Weatherholt’s novels, this is a feel-good book. It’s also sweet proving that not all sweets are bad for you.