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...
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.

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!"
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.

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

(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?
(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!)

Friday, May 13, 2016

THE PURE AND THE HATED by Richard Godwin

A psychological crime novel about the past, the nature of justice, family secrets, the nature of forgiveness, revenge, identity, hunting and predation. Shepherd Butler, the protagonist and narrator of the novel, and his wife Mary are grieving the death of their son Felton to a hunting accident in Vermont, when Shepherd finds a stranger freezing in the forest he offers him a home.

The man, Maxwell Heed has suffered personal tragedy when his fiancée was murdered. He becomes part of the family and Shepherd’s nieces, Marigold and Joyce, and his sister Holly, instantly take to Maxwell, who is a sincere and religious man, seeking to understand the nature of forgiveness. The father of Shepherd’s nieces, Dwight Fisher, ran off years ago and Shepherd takes an active part in their lives. Maxwell feels like another family member. He tells Shepherd and Mary of the man who killed his fiancée, Temple Jones.
Temple Jones is a dangerous psychopath who preys on women. He has escaped justice. Maxwell fears he has followed him to Vermont. Shepherd tries to allay Maxwell’s fears. Maxwell disappears leaving a note saying he has seen Temple Jones. Then Temple Jones turns up.
His arrival brings tragedy into their lives, leaving Shepherd and Mary asking searching questions of themselves. He targets Shepherd’s family and Shepherd struggles to protect them. Temple knows too much about them, as if he has investigated their lives. When the police arrive Temple escapes, disappearing from the state. Then Shepherd reads of some crimes in New Hampshire, which he believes are the work of Temple.
He goes to look for him and for answers. And as Shepherd hunts for Maxwell he is in for a profoundly unsettling shock. It is a dénouement rich in revelation of the kind that asks deep questions about the identity of the protagonist. Using the natural beauty of Vermont as a backdrop to the action, the novel explores forgiveness and our understanding of one another. It explores family relations and the mind of a psychopath.
What others are saying about the book:
“Godwin writes intelligent noir from a unique psychological perspective, delving deep into the nobler motives and emotions of his engaging characters while examining the darkest corners of the human heart.  The faceless villain in this chiller is as real as a razor cut.  The Pure and The Hated is a story of love, generosity, betrayal, courage, evil, and hope.  All set against a beautifully-rendered backdrop of Vermont.  Before you sit down on a cool dark night to enjoy this one, make sure the doors and windows are locked.”–Phil Bowie,  author of the John Hardin suspense series
From the book:
“Marigold and Joyce lived in a farm house by the red barn that passing tourists used to photograph. They came to that part of Vermont for the skiing, they’d hit the slopes, fill the restaurants, and leave with their memories. I envy them now, I wish I could exchange my memories for those of another man. I have no vacations left inside me.”
“I am unmanned by events beyond my control and seek the feminine to prove myself again. I have become the castrated father of the tribe, my children are butchered, my possessions looted.”
“That is the purpose that hatred serves. But I will not yield to that poisoned Bible. There was a time before corruption. I seek to separate the past from the wounds he inflicted.”
“His deeds invaded us like a virus, replicating their own hatred inside us, taking away the things we once believed in. And while I can still see myself making love to Mary that day I can also smell the fresh grass and see the Columbine’s spurs and feel the ones that Temple Jones wore cutting into my sides, as if he was on my back without my knowing, all along, even then.”
Acclaim for Richard Godwin’s writing:richard-godwin-blog-picture
“A psychological look at the meaning of image, sense of self, and identity. With extraordinary writing, characterisation, and storytelling, Godwin is truly one of our great writers.” —Luca Veste author of Dead Gone.
“Richard Godwin knows how his characters dress, what they drink and what they drive. He knows how they live— and how they die. Here’s hoping no one recognized themselves in Godwin’s cold canvas. Combines the fun of a good story with the joy of witty, vivid writing.” —Heywood Gould, author of The Serial Killer’s Daughter.


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