Trying to be a Writer

Sorry this is late: as I went to post it, there was a muffled crash and the electricity went out. A car crashed into a nearby utility pole. According to people on the scene, no one was seriously injured, but our electricity is still out more than twelve hours later. Good time to work at the coffee shop!

Trying to Be a Writer

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“Running Away is one of the best Lifetime films of the years so far.”

Yet another adventure in life: my first novel’s been made into a movie that people are actually watching! The crazy part is I haven’t seen it yet. There was a communication glitch and I thought it was still exclusively in Europe. In fact, I sat with extras on a bus for a couple hours and don’t know if I made it into a cameo shot, either!

Running Away airs again on Mother’s Day (5/14/17) at noon on Lifetime.

  • Director: Brian Skiba
  • Writer: Sheri McGuinn
  • Stars: Holly Deveaux, William McNamara, Paula Trickey

The quote: After watching an earlier showing, Lisa Marie Bowman of Shattered Lens said: “Running Away is one of the best Lifetime films of the years so far.” Read her full 5/7/17 review in Shattered Lens: What Lisa Watched Last Night.

My take as the writer: We had to change a lot to make the novel work as a movie, but the director’s ending is perfect for the film and the book will still hold surprises for someone who’s seen the movie – or vice versa.

I only watched one day of filming. However, it was clear that each person on the crew was absolutely professional and that everyone had the same goal: to make a good film

Which, as I said, isn’t going to be the same as the book. Movies are visual, so the way the story was told had to change. Movie audiences have different expectations than novel readers, so that required changes as well. And movies are a collaborative effort – the initial script is simply a skeleton which is shaped and developed by producers, directors, actors – everyone working on the film.

So if you’ve read the book, watch the movie without expectations and enjoy the suspense.

I have the shooting script so I know the ending, but I’ll still enjoy watching the story unfold.

Ups and Downs

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Up: The Pitchfest I went to last spring paid off. Running Away, a screenplay based on my novel of the same name, was optioned by Nasser Entertainment (after months of negotiation) and is currently being filmed by Run Run Media in Los Angeles.

Down: I got hurt in February, stayed at the day job through June in pain, and have spent the summer getting repaired. Still have my arm in a sling following surgery to bicep and rotator cuff that involved a lot of stitches and re-anchoring both. I now have reason to skip the metal detector and say “Just pat me down and get over it.”

Up: I’ve been able to camp in my son’s living room all summer and have spent time with the rest of the family as well.

House1.JPGDown: Moved all my stuff to storage here in Sacramento while the Cedar Creek fire dropped ash on my home in Arizona. Leaves me committed to the move, though emotionally I’m still attached.

Up: Sacramento has multiple active writing and filmmaker communities, so staying here should be a good thing – even if my digs end up being a step back. I might be able to swing something up in the hills a bit…

 

 

In Country

ViewHorses2015 my traveling was restricted to driving back and forth between Arizona and California. My writing expenses in 2014 put me thousands of dollars in the hole so I started applying for day jobs. Of course the wild horses started hanging out across the street on the rez just to make it harder to leave!

I am now located in Sacramento CA with contracts for a day job and an apartment through June. I get a couple weeks off before then, so I may manage to squeak in a quick trip.

I did make one writing conference in LA – The Great American Pitchfest – but otherwise did little other than submit a few stories to contests. Of course, having pretty much given up on writing taking me anywhere, things are starting to happen. One of my short stories was chosen for Saturday Evening Post’s 2016 anthology. It’s available online at Amazon.

My story is “Maria Angelica’s Baby” – check it out.

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Derry

In 2011 I visited Derry in Northern Ireland. I wasn’t writing this blog yet, but I was keeping notes.

As we approached Derry, our guide gave us historical information about the 1916 Rebellion through the Civil War and into the Troubles that started back up in the 1960’s and continued until the Peace Treaty 1998, during which time it was essentially a war zone. Most of Northern Ireland is 70% Protestant, 25% Catholic, and 5% other religions, but Derry reverses the first two statistics – most people are Catholic. Back then, people had to own property to be eligible to vote. The Protestants controlled the property and businesses, so most Catholics did not have the right to vote. Therefore, while Derry was mostly Catholic, Protestants controlled the government as well as business. So it wasn’t just religious differences but also the subsequent economic and political inequities that led to the Troubles. Our guide in Derry, Ronan McNamara, talks about that at the beginning of this YouTube:.

By the way, when he first got on our bus, Ronan addressed his appearance immediately: his mother is a Chinese Buddhist, his father is Irish. He was brought up in Derry during the Troubles and did his best to stay out of conflict. He now has children and is happy that they do not hear gunfire or bombs. He was also excited that tourists are returning to Northern Ireland and making his work as a guide possible.

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Ronan explained that most people were just trying to live their lives through the Troubles, but the violence was all around them. Historically, Derry was a walled city and despite the Troubles, much of the wall and many of the gates are intact. Now the city is investing in its heritage and its future – this started even before the Peace Treaty of 1998.

In 1992 Catholic and Protestant teens built The Craft Village together, paid by the Inner City Trust:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Peace Bridge opened the year I visited, 2011:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd construction and renovation was going on all over the city:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhenever conflict/war/terrorism is pursued in the name of religion, it is wise to take a closer look at economic and political issues that may be addressed less emotionally and effectively to eliminate the basis for problems.

Wow -17 countries

As poorly as I’ve maintained this blog, people from 17 countries have viewed it.

New Year’s resolution: write more!

Hiking Mt. Baldy & recovering at home

So, I was finally home long enough to take a hike with Arizona Women of Adventure. Let me suggest, if you’ve been tied to a computer for months, a fourteen-mile hike with 2,000 feet of elevation change, starting at over 9,000 feet in the first place… well, it might not be the best idea. My hiking partner has been in training for a double marathon. Two other woman joined us for the middle of the hike, and I was moving faster than they were, but without my partner waiting in the distance at regular intervals, I might have slowed down to a stop.

Here’s the video:

The hiking guide I liked at Wiki was the Springerville Ranger District Trail Guide. I had just enough water, nothing extra should I have had trouble along the way. Don’t do that – they recently found the bones of a hiker who went missing a few years ago. Whatever happened, if he was alive for long, he’d have needed water.

So anyway, I was able to move the next day (yoga helped), but a blister put off wearing shoes for a few days. So I had a little adventure at home watching a robin’s next on the front of my garage. A previous owner put up a bird house, but I’ve never seen a bird use it until this year – kinda.

 

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Hopi

I’d been home less than twenty-four hours before I had to head north for a training gig on the Hopi reservation. I’d never been up there & didn’t have time to do much sight-seeing, but saw enough to know I’d like to go back with more time. Stayed at the Hopi Cultural Center, which was very nice. Taught about thirty miles away. The first day, we had a power outage that lasted about six hours – which meant no dinner because restaurants need power and it was out all over the reservation and beyond. It was really windy. Fortunately, I travel with almonds and will never starve.

Anyway, here’s a video: