Wednesday, May 31, 2017

These Honored Dead: A Lincoln and Speed Mystery: Jonathan Putnam's Two-Minute Pitch



Maurice?
Where are you, dammit?

Right out here at the receptionist's 
desk where you told me to be.

Where is the receptionist? 
She quit. Said she was allergic to rubber so
she wouldn't take any more of your checks.

Well, that would save some
money if I was paying her any. 
Nevermind that. Come in here 
and take my lunch order. 
I'm starving!

Sure, but I'm chatting with this trial attorney. 
Don't you want to see this lawyer first? 
He's cute. 
A LAWYER! A TRIAL LAWYER!
Tell him I'm not here. 
Where are you?
Tahiti. Bora Bora. 
The White House. 
Anywhere unreachable.
Why don't you go right on in, Mr. Putnam? 
Don't bother to knock. Moneybags won't mind. 
Umm. Hello. Why are you standing on the ledge outside your window? 
Isn't that where most people talk to lawyers? 
Would it make you feel better if I was really here as an author?
Well, why didn't you say so? 
Just push that chair up 
against the..AAARGHK
What's an "aarghk"? 
Nevermind. Just help me to my 
Herman Miller chair. 
My back seems to be broken.
The salesman said it helps. 
OK.OK. So you're an author--
lemme see the book. 
A Lincoln on Speed Mystery? 
Is this a drug fantasy?


No. that's Abraham Lincoln and his roommate, Joshua Speed.
They were roommates and even slept in the same bed 
for years before Abe ran for President.
So they were gay? 
That's never been proven. 
Proven, Schmooven, 
It's not a problem in THIS town. 
Where did you get the idea? 
As a trial lawyer and a history buff, I wanted to write a historical mystery featuring a famous trial lawyer. Then I learned about Lincoln’s real-life best friend Joshua Speed, the son of a wealthy slave-owning family from Louisville, Kentucky, who shared a room with Lincoln for four years in Springfield, Ill. in the 1830s, before Lincoln married Mary Todd. I thought: what would it have been like to be the best friend of the most famous man in American history, only no one knew yet that he was going to be anything more than a simple frontier lawyer? And what would it be like if young Lincoln and Speed were the Holmes and Watson of the American frontier?
Why didn't you simply call
them Holmes and Watson? 
I think that's already been taken. 
Really? Never heard of them 
but you're the lawyer.  
What’s the Teaser Pitch?
A murder aboard a steamboat forces young lawyer Abraham Lincoln to make a fateful choice on which the future of the nation may hang – if his own client doesn’t first. Booklist says of Perish from the Earth: “An entertaining and well-researched murder mystery…both a mystery and a legal thriller.” Kirkus Reviews adds: "Enough historical accuracy to satisfy a Civil War re-enactor and enough courtroom proceedings to reveal the author as the Harvard-trained attorney that he is. A mystery for history buffs and legal eagles."
I suppose your hero 
is Abraham Lincoln
and not "Speed-o," 
How does he
change in the book?
Young Abraham Lincoln is forced to decide whether to save the life of his law client or advance the ideals of justice he holds so dear. Meanwhile, his real-life best friend Joshua Speed, a born and bred Southerner, realizes that his inborn prejudices have blinded him to many things in his life, including the solution to the murder mystery.
Really? Who did it? 
No. Don't tell me--I'll never read it. 
Why did you pick this title?
“Perish from the Earth” are the last four words of Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address. So the title both echoes the historical Lincoln and foreshadows the stakes that Lincoln faces in solving the mystery presented in the novel.
I thought only Eisenhower 
had a Gettysburg Address. 
What’s the logline?
A murder aboard a steamboat forces young lawyer Abraham Lincoln to make a fateful choice on which the future of the nation may hang – if his own client doesn’t first.
Lincoln and Speed
Buy it on Amazon
· OK, let’s cut to the chase. 
Why should I, the 
Incredibly Rich and Handsome 
Movie Mogul, buy this book?
Murder, suspense, high-stakes courtroom battles, and the young Abraham Lincoln. Real-life history comes alive.
History? I love history! 
Murgatroyd!
Maurice.
Whatever. 
Cut this young shyster a check for...
 Oh, never mind, just leave it blank. 
He's worth anything he wants. 
Does he know it's going to bounce? 
Not yet but
Welcome to Publishing, Mr. Putnam!


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tired of Talking About Myself : Skin of Tatoos by Christina Hoag - Two-Minute Pitch

Tired of Talking About Myself : Skin of Tatoos by Christina Hoag - Two-Minute Pitch

Skin of Tatoos by Christina Hoag - Two-Minute Pitch

Ye gods, woman!
How did you sneak in here?
Are you some sort of reporter? 

Well, I used to be but now I write books. 
Is that why you're dressed as a nun? 


It's an old habit; works great with guerrillas and publishers. 
Oooh, a smart one. "Old Habit," huh? 
OK, my heart is beginning to fibrillate. 
How did you come up with the idea?

Years ago, I did a magazine story about gang members deported from the United States to El Salvador. I interviewed a number of these former homeboys in San Salvador and their stories stuck with me. They were essentially fish-out-of-water in a country where they hardly spoke the language. I actually ended up writing not about their lives in El Salvador but what I imagined what had led them to that situation.    
I can understand their situation,
I feel like a fish out of water 
everytime I walk into a bank.
Sort of  washed-out and dry. 
OK, What’s the Teaser Pitch?

Think “Sons of Anarchy” meets “The Outsiders.” A literary crime novel, Skin of Tattoos is about a gang member who wants to leave “la vida loca” but finds his homies offer him what he cannot get elsewhere, from employment to acceptance, but in the end he finds that gang life is all a facade.  It’s also about the struggles of an immigrant family in Los Angeles, and youth coming to accept and forgive their families as flawed people.  
   Gang life is nothing, he should try the movie business. 
Talk about your "flawed people"
 How does this antihero hero change in the book?

Magdaleno, aka Mags, is a twenty-year-old guy who thinks he knows it all—and himself, but of course he doesn’t. Despite his desire to leave the gang, his pride and ego lead him to stay in it. In the end, he finds that this costs him everything and everyone he loves.

Sounds good. I love a happy ending.
"Skin of Tattoos"? 
Why did you pick this title?

Mags’s tattoos identify him as a gang member, but he’s a lot more than superficial markings on his skin. Trouble is, he cannot escape the tattoos and what they symbolize because they are inked into his skin. Getting rid of tattoos is a long painful process, just as Mags leaving his past is a long, painful process.   
Why should he leave? 
Some of the most successful 
people in LA are gangsters.
Never mind, I'm just dreaming.
What’s the logline?

Sometimes your best friends are your worst enemies.
I like that. 
A lot.
OK, let’s cut to the chase. 
Why should I, 
the Incredibly Rich 
and Handsome 
Movie Mogul, 
buy this book?

This is a raw emotional drama about a guy who makes some bad choices, ones that carry high stakes and are difficult to reverse. It’s a story about friendship, love, betrayal and family in inner-city neighborhoods where life is cheap. It’s got plenty of suspense and action, but also heart and pathos

I LOVE it! 
Pathos hung out with 
Aramis and d'Artagnan, right? 
I always liked the way Aramis smelled.
Sign this contract.
No, don't bother reading it,
Just sign it.
Next stop: Billions!

Monday, September 26, 2016

2 Minute Book Pitch for "33" by Jules Smith



WOWSER! Who is this gorgeous women in my office? 

Wowser already left for the day/ 
This is Chauncey. 
Should I call your wife 
and let her know
you have a visitor?


Chaucey! You do that and you'll be eating 
Ramen noodles for the rest of your
 short time in the book biz.

Young lady, that's an engaging hat 
but do you think you could lower it 
and let me know why you're here? 
I mean, besides the obvious, of course. 
(points to well-worn casting couch.) 

(Jules Smith laughs derisively.)
Can't blame an old man for trying.
OK, I suppose you have a book that's 
going to set the world on fire. 

I have an odd penchant for photographing doors from around the world. I don’t know why, but I find doors fascinating; particularly timeworn, weathered doors that have stood firm against the years and been passed through by many.

Some doors stay barricaded; some are always open; some hang on their hinges bearing the tattered scars of life. Doors have stories and so do people.  I felt it was time to unveil the untold stories behind the doors.

Doors? That's not all that odd.
Why, my neighbor up on  Laurel Canyon 
collects photographs of...
Sir!
Your testimony  at his trial
said you knew nothing of 
his little "hobby" with all those 
telephoto lenses!
Oh yes, 
Let's get back to doors, 
What’s the teaser pitch
for this book?  


Think Tales of The Unexpected.  Beautiful twists; the kind that play in people's minds’ and get them to act in unconventional ways because their emotions overpower their logic and reason.  There is nothing quite as fascinating and disturbing as human behavior.

Disturbing? 
That always sells...
Who is your protagonist?

I have many protagonists because this is a book of short stories.  Each one a hero in their own right. Every character in this book will touch something inside you; resonate with emotion and most definitely poke at your vulnerability.  Push buttons?  But, of course… 

Push Buttons? 
Doorbell Buttons? 
Wait, I can see it!
"Death of a Door to  Door Salesman!"
NO 
OK , OK.
No reason to get snippy.
What's your title and why?

I chose 33 as the title for the following reasons:

There are 33 stories.
I wanted a number that worked like a door number on my cover which is a photograph of one of my many door pictures.
A number conjures up a slight sense of darkness, unease, and ambiguity much like the emotions unveiled in my stories.

I  like the ambiguity. 
Then I can sell it to anyone.
What’s the logline?

‘Behind Every Door Lies An Untold Story’

Aint that the truth…

OK, here's the Big Question.
Why should I,  the rich, handsome, 
Book Mogul buy your book 
especially since you haven't  even
lowered your hat so I can see you? 

Because you’re a discerning reader.  Because you adore an Amuse-Bouche with a kick to wake your weary mind.  Because you want to be left thinking and slightly unsettled.


Amuse-Butch? 
I LOVE IT. 
Chauncey. Cut this woman a blank check
We've got our next Big One!
What's that name again?

Friday, August 12, 2016

2-Minute Pitch for Heavy-Duty People by Iain Parke


 CARLOS! Call 911! I'M BEING ATTACKED BY A CLEARLY-DERANGED BIKER! 
(No, sir. That gentleman is your 2 o'clock  appointment.  
Can I  take your vest, sir? )
Hell no! Them's my colors and I never take 'em off--even in bed. 
(Really sir? They're quite, um, fragrant. 
Are you getting much lately?)
As if that's any of your business, you poof!
(Oh, how quaint!  Would you like tea? )
Of course. Do you think I'm a bloody barbarian?
YES. I THINK YOU'RE A FREAKING VISIGOTH!
(Oh, sir. He's written more books than you ever will. 
Would you like milk or lemon?)
Milk and  Cocaine.  After all, this is Los Angeles, right? 
(Well yes but this is a book agency. 
I'm afraid all the expensive drugs 
are in the movie studios. 
I could put some aspirin in?)
Hell, no!
(OK, I'll just go off and get that. 
Sir, here's a Xanax. 
Now just climb down from the curtains, 
sit in your nice big chair 
and take the nice man's pitch. )


Um. Well, OK, Mr. uh... Parke. Sell me on this book. So what brought your write... Heavy-Ass People? 


That's Heavy-Duty People. I’ve always been fascinated by the images and realities of the outlaw biker scene and irritated by the way bikers have been caricatured in films and TV. Whatever you think about outlaw bikers and the clubs, there’s no denying it’s a serious lifestyle, taken very seriously by those in the life, and back when I started it seemed odd that no one seemed to be writing about it in a way which treated it seriously. So I decided I wanted to explore what might it might be like to become involved, what would motivate someone to join, what choices it might lead them to make, what would it mean for them as a person. And that’s how I met Damage.  

Damage? What a...."delightful" name. He's not with you, is he? 
Nah, he's still in Old Blighty. 

Oh, good. Now "Damage," Is that his first or last name? 
It's a description, really.

Oh-Kay. Well, what's your teaser pitch. that single line that get people in the door?
Get Carter’ on two wheels. Damage, a UK outlaw biker tells the story of his life and club business ‘how it is’.

Ok, so "Damage" is the umm... Protagonist. How does he change in the book?
It’s time to step up, to join the Brethren MC World…Damage is a mixed up kid who finds acceptance and a new family when, after intervening in a fight, he becomes accepted into a local gang of bike-riding tearaways. As he grows up, the bikers become a patched bike club which eventually ends up as a piece on the board in the high stakes game of biker politics
They get offered a choice by a senior club, "The Brethren MC’s local P Dazza" to patch over, or face the consequences. As these things tend to do, the gang starts to become gangsters and Damage's friends start to fall along the way.
 Damage has temptations to face and choices to make. What’s in it for him, who can he protect, and who could or should he stay loyal to? With brother killing brother and Dazza’s plans becoming clear, Damage decides where he stands and who he's willing to kill. 

Willing to kill? I am glad you left him at home or in jail or wherever he is. Why this title? 
Heavy Duty – HD – People. Intense, important and hard, stronger than usual and what’s needed to operate in extreme conditions.

Umm, "HD"?
Harley Davidson. 

Right. Right. Right. Of course. What was I thinking? Moving on,  what’s the logline?
Damage lives by his club and his brothers are his life – but what happens when brother starts killing brother?

Well, here in the Colonies, usually 20 to Life but I guess things are different on on Auld Sod. Why should I buy this book?
Ask Damage:
“The only reason for doing this is to tell people what I’ve learnt over the years. So keep it simple, don’t exaggerate it with the sort of crap that people always write about us.
I want it told straight, just the way I’ve told you.
People can either take it for what it is and like it, or they won’t, in which case they can fuck off.”
          Damage 2008
OOOOOOKAY. I'm sold. 
Carlos, fetch a blank check for my friend in the cute vest! And write up a contract with a special clause. "Damage" never gets to visit the office, got it!
(Got it, boss. Sheesh,
 I'm supposed to be 
the comedy wimp
 and you're taking all my lines. 
ut-shay u-pay! 
So, Mr. Parke, where will you be appearing? 
   You know, the usual places:  ManchesterCardiff Glasgow, ChesterNewcastle

Great. They all sound very far awayWhere can those of us in the States buy your book, or is it books? 
   Amazon, of course. 
and, of course on the classic Belles Lettres magazine, Duro Rider
duro Rider Magazine

Aritistry, Creativity & Performing Talents among bikers?  So that's a single issue, right?
Not hardly.


Well, thank you very much. It's been different.
Fuck you.
(Love to, Sir. Come back anytime!)