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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Writing Workshop

I'm very excited to announce my participation in a brand new writing workshop.

Making a Scene, Telling a Story will be the first of what we hope turns into an annual writing event.

I'll be co-teaching this workshop with fellow writer Elizabeth Wagner at the Transfiguration Hermitage in Windsor.

Featuring a blend of lecture, discussion and readings, the workshop will provide a safe and nurturing environment for novice and seasoned writers alike.

The event is set for September 29 from 10am to 3pm. I'm excited to get things underway.  Keep your fingers crossed that this goes smoothly as I continue to work on this exciting project.  More information can be found at www.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

If "Who's at the Door?" were a movie....

Every once in a while, people say "Wouldn't it be cool if your book was made into a movie?"

Yes, that would be cool!  But it's never going to happen.  No sex. No drugs. No rock and roll.  It would have to be on the Hallmark channel or something.

But just for fun, I decided to put a cast together.  Keep in mind, this is just for kicks.

Michael Rosenbaum as me. I'm the main character after all!

Why I chose him
Rosenbaum could be pensive as Lex Luthor on Smallville, but also funny in his voice portrayal of The Flash in the Justice League cartoon. Most importantly, he can manage the right hair style.

Besides, hollywood makes everyone better looking than they are in real life.

Rosenbaum will have to act slightly more goofy to be an accurate portrayal of myself.  Plus, he'll have to come off a little more naive, since I feel that way about many things whether dealing with religion or life. 

Jensen Ackles from Smallville as Elder Childs.

Why I chose him
Elder Childs was always popular with the ladies (He's married now so hold your horses) and so is Jensen Ackles on Supernatural.  On Supernatural, Ackles plays Dean Winchester, a character known for his social skills and leadership ability. Plus, no one will ever accuse either of them of breaking a camera lens. 

Ackles will need to dye his hair blond, and he'll have to be more wholesome than his tough guy character on Supernatural.  Still, I think he could pull off the role.

Vin Diesel as Elder Dowling

Why I chose him

They've got the same hair style and similar stern expressions.  They are not guys you want to mess with.


Vin is a little old to play Dowling.  He'll also have to pull back on the intimidation factor a bit.  The essence of Elder Dowling is "I'm a nice guy, but don't make me angry." 

Sally Fields as Sister Ruth.

Why I chose her

Every Catholic loves "The Flying Nun" and I even allude to the show in my book.  Sister Ruth was a prominent figure in the religious education of my childhood, and I want her portrayed correctly.
Plus, Sally is now about the age of the Sister Ruth I remember.


Nun (or should I say none?).  Sally Field can fly! She can do anything!

Seth Green as Elder Kelsey.

Why I chose him
The red hair.  Plus, he could pull off the famous "donut incident."  He can be both serious and funny, a must for anyone portraying Elder Kelsey

Green is too old and much too short for the role.  We'll have to use poetic license here.

WWE star Jack Swagger as Elder Bailey

Why I chose him
I used to call Elder Bailey the "Alaskan Mauler" because, although he had a very young face, he was a giant who could be in the WWE.  According to Swagger's stats: he's 6'6"  This is a hair taller than Bailey, but Hollywood always exaggerates.


Swagger will have to come across as likable, and I hope he has some acting skill.

There are a lot more characters I could have picked from, but this list took a LONG time to create.  One notable exception is Elder Luke, who is a big character in the story.  After racking my brain, I just could not come up with an actor who could fulfill the stoic role.

Anyway, I got a kick out of making this list.  I hope you get a kick out of it too. Let's hope James Cameron is watching....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Looking for a great Veteran's Day movie?

Happy Veteran's Day to all the vets out there!

Last year, I wound up writing a story about the stars and creators of "The Way We Get By," an incredible documentary about troop greeters in Maine.  If you haven't seen this film, it's a perfect Veterans Day movie.

The cast and creators were wonderful people--unsung heroes who get little attention, and this documentary is brilliant all the way around.  It was such a blessing to meet and interview these people.

After I finished my interview, one of the creators said they "loved me" because I was such a sweet person. It was so touching that someone who had witnessed and documented such a caring story express similar appreciation for me. I certainly felt undeserving. Below is a preview of "The Way We Get By" from youtube. I highly recommend it. You can get the whole film on amazon here and here.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Our little escapes

 It's been a while since my last blog post.  Sorry about that.  Time escapes me so quickly, and to that end, I post my next blog entry in honor of Halloween and haunted stories...

Many readers tell me that a good book should help them escape. They're usually pretty vague after that, as if the word "escape" covers it.

It's up to our imagination to guess what so many people want to escape from: their troubles, their cares, monotony itself.

But then I realize that for the writer, it doesn't matter what each person wants to leave behind, only that they want to leave something behind. It's my job to make whatever is on the page more introspective and interesting than the personal problems a reader may have at the moment.

This, I think, is also the essence of Halloween. It's a night to throw-off the mundane, to be less serious, to discard the ordinary.

It seems a little morbid that so many of us want to enter another person's reality in order to gain respite from our own. Whenever we pick up a book, it offers the chance to trade our problems for another person's.

Fortunately for writers most people are willing to make this bargain.

Why spend time on taxes, bills, the dishes, or taking out the trash? No. People would much rather run from Michael Meyers, hunt vampires, or try to survive a zombie apocalypse. Scary stories can make hearts race and palms sweat. When was the last time household chores ignited our need to survive?

So to the goal of escapism, I raise a toast of Halloween cider. For if a good story helps us escape, then what is an author but an escape artist?

Unlike Harry Houdini, us authors don't have to chain ourselves up and get in our underpants to do our job. We can do it from the safety of our keyboard.

For the writer, then, there's a little escapism too.

You didn't think the readers had all the fun, did you?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday, July 4, 2011

Quick update/Happy 4th!!!!

It's strange how quickly time goes by when you're blogging. 

I gave a public reading of "Who's at the Door?" at the Gardiner Public last week and had 25 people attend.  It was a great experience, and several LDS expressed gratitude for my willingness to write a human interest story about them.

Next up, I have a reading at the Bangor Public Library July 14.

Until then, I hope everyone has a chance to enjoy their Independence Day.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mormons in the Media, but can the paper really tell us the "facts"?

It's being called "The Mormon Moment." 

Thanks to Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney, the media is covering Mormonism with a whole new gusto.  You can take the Mormon history quiz at the Huffington Post (which I aced because I'm that slick) or you can read the Newsweek article "Mormons Rock" or if you're in New York, you might even check out The Book of Mormon musical.

Mormon Times' writer Lane Williams isn't all that impressed with the attention.  His column at Mormon Times laments the recent coverage stating that "there seemed little new beyond recycled news frames of the last few decades."

But the larger question is, how much can the media really tell us?  Religion of any sort gets terse treatment in the news.  We can only get the overview in a two minute segment or even a ten page article.  There simply isn't space to get into the nitty-gritty.

And let's face it, with Mormonism, there's a lot of nitty-gritty.

There are a lot of "facts" that get disputed over and over.  As a church investigator, I looked into the history of the Book of Mormon people.  I wanted to know about the possible existence of the Nephites, but what I found was an endless debate over every detail.

Eventually everyone sounded like the adults in Charlie Brown.  "Wah Wah Wah Wah."

It seems that few (if any) non-Mormon scholars believe that the Nephites ever existed.  Why?  For one, the Book of Mormon mentions lots of things that were not known to be in America during pre-Columbian times. 

Perhaps the most famous example has to do with horses. The book mentions horses, but most scientists say there were no horses in the Americas at that time.

But don't say that too loud or apologists like Michael Ash will remind you of 100 reasons why a horse could be a tapir or a deer or another animal that you may have never considered to be what Joseph Smith translated as "a horse."

I doubt the media will ever cover debates like this. Why?  Because these stories don't sell papers.  It's a tempest in a teapot, and no one cares.

In fact, a single article on Mormonism could never do the topic justice. It's a richly layered subject that involves personal faith, archeology, DNA, and personal histories of men who didn't want everything they did blasted to the public (google Nauvoo Expositor). 

Expecting a newspaper to cover all that seems naive to me, especially when so many elements of Mormon history come with baggage.