Monday, April 22, 2013

What are you doing now?

I was waiting for my wife the other day in a hair salon on the West Side of Manhattan when a woman whom I hadn’t seen in 25 years since we both worked together at Newsday, suddenly appeared. She asked the natural question, as so many others have before her, “What are you doing now?” I gave my usual answer: “Writing novels nobody buys.” My wife, Rae/Ginger, said, “That was pretty negative answer.” She was right. The upshot of all this is that I have decided on a new answer to those who ask “what are you doing now?” My answer will be: “I’m exercising my imagination.” Some will let it go at that, others will want to know what I am doing with my imagination. “Writing a novel” will be my response. That is what I have done through most of my adult life, work on a novel. Actually, I have sold thousands of copies of my two traditionally-published nonfiction books and a few hundred of my novels. In search of an audience, I have made four of my seven novels free as ebooks. So far, 60,000 plus readers have downloaded my free novels from Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Apple and Sony. Not very impressive in the context of John le CarrĂ©, but I’m happy.

A suggestion: My novel, THE PENCIL ARTIST is available as an e-book on Smashwords, Kindle, and Barnes and Noble; as a paperback on Amazon.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Switching Protagonists in THE SEARCHERS, the novel and the film

Two great experiences: Watching the film, THE SEARCHERS with John Wayne as the protagonist, then reading the novel, THE SEARCHERS by Alan Le May. The 1956 film is based on Le May’s novel published two years earlier. In the novel, the Mart Pauley character emerges—after substantial development, as the protagonist. In the film, Mart Pauley is a secondary character who tags along with the dominant Ethan Edwards, played so memorably by John Wayne. Interestingly, in the novel that John Wayne character was named Amos not Ethan. The novel and the film offer similar story lines until the ending when they diverge dramatically. And of course, the film directed by John Ford has some comic touches, while the novel remains fairly serious throughout. The screenplay was by Frank Nugent who wrote the scripts for an incredible number of great films: Last Hurrah; Mr. Roberts, The Quiet Man. She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, Fort Apache—all directed by John Ford. For a clearer understanding of the hatred for Comanches often attributed to Texans in the Nineteenth Century, I would suggest reading “EMPIRE of the SUMMER MOON: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History” by S.C. Gwynne. While I was so much a fan of the movie—watching it many times over the years--it never occurred to me to read the novel until one of my sons sent me the recently released Kindle version as a gift. It was a great gift.

A suggestion: My novel, THE PENCIL ARTIST is available as an e-book on Smashwords, Kindle, and Barnes and Noble; as a paperback on Amazon..