Category Archives: Adventures in Life

A Writer’s Journey Part 3: 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.

Best_Short_Stories_From_Saturday_Evening_Post_Great_American_Fiction_Contest_2016

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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Manhattan

Manhattan!
I went to Manhattan for Book Expo America. I’d spent a bundle on having my books displayed and airfare, so it was important to keep other costs down. For starters, I flew in the morning the conference began and flew out the evening it ended, so I only needed two nights’ accommodation. While I might have been able to find a couch, I decided it would be better to have those two evenings to have some time to myself after pitching myself all day. The options at first seemed to be hundreds of dollars per night near the Javits Conference Center or having to figure out transportation back and forth from New Jersey. Then I found The Out.

The Out regularly features an artist's work.

webTheOutArt1The Out NYC is on 42nd St, between 10th and 11th Avenues. Their rooms are expensive, but they have some hostel-style rooms that are closer to $150/night. The artwork in the entry and corridor to the rooms left me wondering, but I later learned it was simply the current artist exhibit.

 

Hostel means you share the room. The beds are twin-size built-in bunks, each with its own TV, shelf, and reading lamp. They each have a heavy curtain to close for privacy. It turned out that two of my roommates were male, but since none of us spent much time in the room, it wasn’t really awkward. The staff were extremely helpful, giving me the same directions when I’d lose the first note. They didn’t fuss the last day when I stored my luggage and got in and out of it a couple of times before leaving.

webManhattanMenAtWorkIt was a short walk from Javits Conference Center to The Out and a slightly longer walk to Times Square and Central Park. There’s lots of construction going on. Friday night was definitely busier with people heading to shows and/or dinner.

webCitibike In Central Park, the road’s shut off to cars, but there’s a pedestrian lane to keep runners and joggers separate from the bikes that zip along. Classes meet there to exercise, and there are also bikes you can rent. There are horse-drawn carriages nearby. One of the drivers told me he had to take training and get a license, then work for a company that has all the permits necessary. You still hear the city in the park, but it’s nothing compared to walking down the street.

webCentralPark  For short videos:

 Sounds of Fifth Avenue

Central Park

 

 

 

 

 

The Out staff gave me four different places to eat, each of which was fantastic. One was a natural food store/deli on 42nd and 11th where I ate breakfast. The others were Thai, Greek, and Turkish. The last one, their masseur (yeah, The Out is really a nice resort) walked me to the restaurant because he’s Turkish and wanted to be sure I got to the “real” Turkish restaurant. The Thai Restaurant is called Room Service and is on 9th Ave. It was very affordable and the chicken in my curry was tender. The Greek restaurant’s specialty is fish. They’re Kellari Taverna at 19 West 44th St., close to Fifth Avenue. Their specialty is fish and their baklava is amazing, too. At dinner time, they were packed with reservations, but another lady happened to have come solo without one and they gave us hugs and kisses for offering to sit together.
The one thing about dining at the usual dinner hour is that it’s noisy. I thought maybe it was because the Thai place was small and informal, but the Greek restaurant was upscale and conversation across a table required shouting and repetition. If you like a quiet dinner, go early. My last day at Turkish Cuisine on 9th Ave., I was the only one in the place because it was 2 PM. Again, the food was excellent.
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For more about Book Expo America, catch my writing blog at Goodreads. The next post here should be the plane adventure!

 

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