Monday, May 28, 2012

Tues Tidbits with BJ Scott

The end is only the beginning.

So you finished your manuscript after months or maybe even years of hard work. You've gone over it so many times, you know every word by heart. The editor loves it , you've signed your contract, you've made the requested revisions and your release date is set. Now, you can sit back and relax, wait for the royalty checks to come in and move on to your next book. WRONG. Signing the contract and handing over your work to an editor is only the beginning and not the end. Especially if this is your debut novel. The misconception that it is now solely in the hands of the publisher is one many nubies make. The book may be wonderful and a hit, but only if you can market it and yourself in a way that gets the public's attention. Friends and family can only buy so many books, then the onus is on the author to maintain a presence by doing what they can to get noticed and to stay noticed. With over one million books being offered on sites like Amazon and dozens of new releases every day, it is not easy to stay in the public eye for long. That is why you must start your marketing strategy before the book goes to print or e-book. A website and or blog showcasing your talent, news and tells the readers a bit about yourself is a great place to start. Becoming familiar with the various social media at your disposal is another. Face Book, My Space, Twitter are all popular venues on which an author can promote their book. While they may seem overwhelming to someone who has never accessed these before, it is necessary. Ads on review sites, websites dedicated to promotion and in popular romance magazines is another. Mind you, the latter can be costly, so you must also set your marketing budget at the start as well. A book trailer, one you make yourself or have professionally done is another way to get your book noticed. Bookmarks, cards, mugs, pens etc can be made with your cover and given away as prizes for contest or to people attending conferences. Anything that gets your name out there is useful. There are countless ways to promote your book. It is up to the author, in conjunction with the publisher to decide what method is right for you.

trailer:   http://youtu.be/Yz3IA4Lu464

Monday, May 21, 2012

TUES TIDBITS WITH BJ SCOTT

Today on TUES TIDBITS we welcome Author Callie Hutton. Welcome Callie and congrats on your new release, AN ANGEL IN THE MAIL Scheduled for release this week at Soul Mate Publishing.Can you tell us a little about yourself?


My first love is being a mom. Second, reading, which naturally segued into writing–for me, anyway. I’ve been making up stories since elementary school, and writing gave me a way to turn off the voices in my head. I’ve had a number of things published, and about a year and a half ago, decided to put it to the test and write a book. Although I’ve lived in several states, Oklahoma is where I’ve hung my hat for the last several years, but I hail from New Jersey. I’m an Okie-Jersey girl. And proud of it. I love my animals, two rescue dogs and a rescue cat. My daughter, Anna, still lives at home while she works on her Law Enforcement degree at Oklahoma State University. My son has given us whiplash the last few years, moving in and out. Currently he’s in–I think. Add to our group my hubby of thirty-five years, and things are always hopping. You can catch me hanging out at Facebook, Twitter- @CallieHutton, and my web site www.calliehutton.com Stop by sometime and say hello.

We asked Callie to write a blog post that can be geared to both readers and writers.

How compatible were you and your significant other when you first met? So many of my friends and relatives, as well as myself clashed in the beginning of the relationship. My mother thought my father was an idiot when they first met. They were married 50+ years when she died. My husband and I had our third date before I stopped thinking of him as a jerk. You wonder why I would have three dates with such a person? Because we worked together, had so much fun, and would go out at the end of our shift for a drink. Loved his company, thought he was so funny. But the dates were disasters. The theme of most romance stories is conflict in the beginning between the hero and heroine. A good story keeps the conflict going for a while, the tension up, the sexual tension strong. Why do so many lovers clash in the beginning? Is it the strength of the attraction that’s frightening? Or is it truly that opposites attract? Or maybe there really are that many jerks out there. In my book, An Angel in the Mail, Nathan Hale’s mail order bride, Angel Hardwick, is supposed to be ready to take over all the household chores and assist in raising his five children. However, she’s spent her whole life with servants seeing to her every need. Do you suppose they clash in the beginning? Or is Nate an easy-going sort of guy who will overlook Angel’s fumbling attempts at running his household? How about you and your significant other? Clashes at the beginning? Or smooth sailing from the get-go?

1.Describe yourself in five words: Using only verbs or adjectives.
Happy, positive, content, helpful, friendly

2. The animal's you choose as your favorites or to surround yourself say a lot about who you are and how you think. What are your three favorite animals and why? If you don't like animals, that is okay too. Tell us why.

Pigs: because they make cool sounds
Dogs: They love you no matter what
Cats: they allow us to exist in their world

3. If your hero and heroine were on the Newly Wed Game. How would they answer these questions?
Tell us about the first time you made love. Where was it and was it
(a) Like hells afire
(b) A lesson in anatomy
(c) Like a children's game of show and tell

In a hotel room where I took Anne to get away from the interruption of my five kids. It was like hells afire ;)

The most annoying thing about my husband/hero is...

He’s such a kind person, I am hard pressed to find fault. If I had to, it would be that he tolerates everyone, including those determined to come between us.

The most endearing thing about my wife/heroine is...

How hard she tries to do household tasks, but never quite makes it.

4. Finally, if you were stranded on a desert island what five things would you want with you?
a laptop, a kindle, internet access, sun block, cell phone

Thanks for being with us today. Good luck with your current book and future projects.

Book Blurb: An Angel in the Mail, set in 1861, unites newly penniless society belle Angel Hardwick and Nathan Hale, father of five, who is desperate for a wife to straighten his life out. Nate’s looking for someone who loves children and can easily take over the cooking, cleaning and laundry. Instead, he is getting Angel, whose culinary knowledge consists of weekly meetings with Cook to decide the family’s menu. Angel is a strong-minded young woman, resigned to her fate, and determined to make the best of her situation. But will her new husband allow for mistakes? Or will he send her packing when she burns meals and misplaces children? Nate just wants a peaceful, well run household, without the distraction of an attractive wife. However, his beautiful wife with a very distractible body is not giving him peace. Somebody lied, because despite what he was told by the Bride Agency, this beauty knows nothing about running a home, but she sure sets him on fire at night.
Buy link www.soulmatepublishing.com
And check it out on Amazon, Barnes and noble.

Also be sure and check out Callie's other books. A Run For Love and A Wife by Christmas. These wonderful novels are available at www.soulmatepublishing.com  and at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Thursday, May 10, 2012

TV, Commercial and Voice over actor Rob Sciglimpaglia

Today I have the honour of presenting multi-talented Robert Sciglimpaglia, actor, lawyer, voice-over actor and author. When I was first contacted by his publicist to help in promoting his new book, Voice Over LEGALI was shocked and utterly thrilled. I’ve seen his work and I know how talented Rob is.
Hang around and get to know this talented actor/author. You won’t be disappointed!



Hello Rob.  It’s a pleasure to meet you. When I was first contacted to interview you, your name instantly clicked. I’ve seen your work and it’s very impressive. I must say when I read your biography and the list of work you’ve done I was a bit intimidated.  You’ve got quite the list of work in acting and voice over work, not to mention having worked with some big name actors. But before we get to that, I want to discuss your work as a lawyer. Passing the bar on your first try is incredible! Please tell the readers what made you decide on a Law degree?

Thank you very much for the kind words.  Intimidated by me?  That is very humbling.  I actually passed three bar exams on the first attempt, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania, and I passed my worker’s compensation certification exam as well on the first attempt.  Originally when I enrolled in college, I thought I wanted to major in computer science.  However, I had a hard time with calculus and with Pascal, which was the introductory class for computer science.   I had taken a Constitutional Law class during freshman year as well, and I really enjoyed it.  I also like to write, and always have, so I decided that I would change majors to Political Science and pursue law.

I’ve seen the amount of work my lawyer has to do on a daily basis and I think I would go bonkers having to deal with all the information. Aside from the busy and I’m sure very rewarding work in law you also do voice over’s. I’ve always found it interesting. How did you get into doing voice over’s?

Back in 2005, I had thumbed through an adult education bulletin for my local community college and they offered a one evening class on introduction to voice overs.  It sounded fascinating to me, so I enrolled in the class.  From there I was hooked, so I took more intensive training after that and had a demo made.  From there I have never looked back. 

Well worth the time taking classes in something you truly enjoy. From doing voice over’s you moved into acting. The list of work you’ve been in is astonishing. You’ve acted in several television shows including 30 Rock and played Al Capone in MysteryQuest on the History Channel and have done work on the Discovery Channel. I imagine acting isn’t an easy craft. How do you prepare for a roll, how do you get into the character you’re portraying?

You are correct that acting is not an easy craft.  It is a LOT more than memorizing and reciting lines.  Although, that in and of itself can be a challenge.  It is also very different across different mediums, for instance, theatre is different from film which is different from tv, which is different from voice, which is different from commercials.  The best actors make it look effortless and easy, but it is anything but that.  This is why I so admire great acting now, because I can appreciate how difficult it is. Many people THINK it is easy and that’s why they think they can do it and jump into it without any formal training.   In fact, I can honestly say that acting is the most difficult and humbling thing I have ever done in my life.  I have been training formally since 2005 in acting and voice acting, and have been able to be relatively successful at it.  It is a passion of mine, and I just love to do it. 


I prepare for a role systematically by first reading the entire script to get a feel for the character and his relationships with the other characters in the story.  Then, I will do my research to make sure I fully understand any traits that character may have, for instance, I once played an agoraphobic as a lead character in a film called “HOME/SICK”, so I did quite a bit of research on the disorder and common character traits surrounding agoraphobics.  I especially do research when I am playing an actual and not fictional person,  like when I portrayed Al Capone.  I want, to be sure I understand the full historical perspective about that character.  Then, of course, I memorize the lines.  I do this by reciting them, after I have committed them to memory, 250 times.  I actually have a clicker that I carry with me in my bag so I can keep track.  I don’t start to memorize until I have an idea about how I want to portray the character so I have a full understanding of the meaning behind the words I am reciting.   Once I have a full understanding of the writer’s story, have done my research, and know my lines, I let my instincts take over and attempt to get my mind out of the way so that I can live from moment to moment through my character’s eyes and make my character real, in the here and now. 

Doing research is not an easy task sometimes, and so many people dread it. But in order to do a good job whether in acting or in writing it’s a necessary evil.
I’m rather envious of you for your connections with Drew Barrymore, Will Smith, Denzel Washington and Alec Baldwin. What’s it like working with some of the biggest names in Hollywood?

LOL!  I love that word “connections”.  It’s not like I have their cell phone numbers stored in my phone, or anything like that. It’s more like, I was allowed to share the same room with them.   I was fortunate enough to have done some background and small roles in projects featuring these great actors.  It was absolutely wonderful and quite a learning experience for me to see how these great actors approach the craft, and how they exude such a relaxed presence in front of a camera.  I learned a tremendous amount just by observing each and every one of them, and that has certainly helped me to become a better actor myself.

Well, so much for me asking for Will Smiths phone number!

It must be such a rewarding experience to act.

Quite like I stated above where I said acting was the hardest thing I have ever done, it also is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.  The only thing more rewarding than the acting, is when people actually appreciate the work I have done; although, I don’t really worry too much if people like my work or not because the reward for me is in the expression.  Like my great acting teacher, Tom Todoroff says, I act to “express, not impress.”

I love your acting teachers look on life.  As an author, I know there is no better feeling than to see your work come to life in the pages of a book. However, I will not deny the utter glee I feel when a review is sent to me. It’s validation that all the hard work I placed into my work is appreciated. I image the same can be said for acting and voice over work. Receiving awards is an incredible feeling. You’ve won a few for your work. Share your awards with us and tell us what it was like to hear you’ve won.

This is true, but like I said above, I write and act to express, and not impress, so I don’t get hung up about the “reviews” I get.  However, it is great to be appreciated, and that appreciation is what keeps me going forward and pushing on.  One major award I “won” involves a commercial that I did for Chevy.  The commercial won a contest so that it was chosen to air during the 2012 Super Bowl.  The feeling I had, like any time I win something, is excitement and disbelief.  And of course, the feeling of excitement that accompanies winning is a natural high that cannot be surpassed by anything else on the planet.  I also played a lead in a short film called Il Portiere (The Janitor), which won a film festival.  Again, the feeling of validation of your work is unmatched.  I have also won awards in my legal career.  I have been named a “Super Lawyer” in New England and Connecticut since 2009 by New England and Connecticut Magazines, which I value quite a bit because it is an honour bestowed upon me by my peers.

I laughed so hard when I watched your Super Bowl commercial. That poor kid. What a disappointment, but I must say, you certainly kept your cool as he was freaking out. LOL  If you haven’t seen it (What planet are you on?) Check it out on You Tube.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ae52ourE3Pw&feature=youtu.be

You’ve done practically everything and now you’ve stepped into the role of Author. Your book, Voice Over LEGAL sounds incredible. Give the readers a glimpse into the premise of the book and how you came about writing.

The book combines my two passions/careers, and combines my body of knowledge of both the legal business and show business.  It discusses many of the legal issues I have come across during my experience concerning the law and voice over businesses which an actor/voice actor faces on a daily basis.  For instance, should they incorporate, how do they get paid, should they join the Union, what happens if an Agent is interested in “signing” them.  I have been compiling the information for the book over the last several years, and I actually include many questions and answers in the book based on actual scenarios that I have been involved in with my clients.  Since I kept getting a lot of the same questions over and over, I decided it would make great content for a book.

Sharing your experiences will no doubt be helpful to those looking into the business.

I’ve said it several times already but I believe it deserves repeating. You’ve developed an incredible portfolio of work. I can’t imagine what else you could possibly do, but I’m, sure you have plenty of things planned. What can we see from you in the future?

I have a couple of projects “in the can” as they say.  I have done a few independent films that will be released in the next few months, and I will be appearing on the Travel Channel and Discovery ID in various roles.  I am also narrating four audio books right now.  I also have a couple of independent films that I will be in over the next few months.  As far as the future, my dream job is to become a series regular on a TV series.  I would also like to graduate into larger studio film roles from the independents, and also to graduate to Broadway plays from the off-Broadway ones I have done to date.  A few more national commercials would be wonderful as well, although I don’t think I could ever top a Super Bowl commercial. 

That is definitely hard to follow. Who doesn’t dream of being in a Super Bowl Commercial.

Thank you so much Rob for sharing a glimpse into your life and a look at your latest project, Voice over Legal. This book is a must read!

I look forward to following you and your work. Best of luck!

The book can be purchased at: www.voiceoverlegal.com

Check out Rob’s website: www.robpaglia.com

Rob’s credits can be found at www.imdb.me/robertpaglia


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Week three of my screenwriting course.

What have I been up to since the last update?
I finished writing the Character Analysis and handed it in. I’ve never taken any university courses so this is all new to me.  I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to just answer the questions and describe my character or if I was supposed to write it up like an essay. I finally went with answering the questions and guess what? I got it right. Well, as right as anyone else did. All the other students filled it out the same way I did. It really was interesting to get into the mind of the character, to look at her life, her world and explain why she does what she does and what conclusion she had.

This week assignment is:.
 
Introduce us to your protagonist this week by summarizing your brainstorming work into a 2- or 3-paragraph biography of your character. Try to write in specific, concrete terms. We can only get to know a film character by what they do and say. Avoid editorializing (explaining what they think or feel).

Though this sounds easy, I’m finding it’s not. Its not as easy as saying she’s a working mother with relationship issues. Nope, there is more to it than that. The brainstorming work mentioned earlier refers to the Bubble Technique. Never heard of it. Here is the premise.

The Bubble Technique works like this: Open a blank page in your journal. In the centre, write down a positive or negative value in life that is really important to you or that really bothers you when you see it displayed in someone. Here are some examples: Courage, endurance, greed, impatience, patience, sacrifice, isolation, freedom, eating/sleeping disorders, sibling rivalry, guilt, atonement, forgiveness, victory, defeat, self esteem, jealousy, revenge, betrayal, justice, slavery, ignorance, wisdom, insanity, failure, stupidity, neglect, intelligence

Circle that word in the centre of your page, and then all around it write words that you associate with that value. Circle each one of them, and draw lines between all the words that you think are connected.

I’ve never heard of this technique and it wasn’t as easy as it looks. On top of doing the Biography I need to watch The Pianist. I’ve never seen it, but I have heard good things about it.
So far I’m not getting tired of doing my homework. Watching movies is pretty cool.

That’s my update this week. Stay tuned to see how I did.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Week 2 of my screenwriting course

Sorry for not posting an update on Monday. I didn’t receive my assignment until today. So far its been a piece of cake. Watched the movie, Wilby Wonderful. It was a little slow, but easy to follow. Reading the script after seeing the movie put a lot of things into prospective. I could actually see the characters as I read their lines. Wanna know what it’s about. Here is the blurb.



Wilby is the name of a small island in the Canadian Maritimes and the name of the main town located on the island. According to residents, there are two types of people who live on Wilby: islanders (people who were born on Wilby) and non-islanders. Among the townsfolk of Wilby are: single mom and recently returned islander Sandra Anderson, who was known as the girl in town with the reputation, something that has not changed in her adult years; Sandra's teen-aged daughter, Emily, who doesn't want to end up like her mother but can only think about making out with her new boyfriend; Buddy French, the local police officer who is having unspoken marital problems with his non-islander wife, Carol, the town realtor whose controlling behavior is pushing her and others around her on the verge of a nervous breakdown; the Mayor, Brent Fisher, who is secretly planning for his life post politics; dyslexic Duck McDonald, the town handyman; and recently separated non-islander Dan Jarvis who, because of activities at the island's seaside hangout called "The Watch", wants to kill himself if only people would leave him alone. As the townsfolk interact with each other, most are looking for the same thing as summed up by Duck to Emily in speaking about her mother: "She wants to love and be loved, just like all of us"

It’s got a really good message to it that most can relate to.
So now I have my assignment for the week and lucky me, I get to analyze the town hussy. LOL
Here is my assignment.




Your character's relevant outer characteristics (name, age, job, looks, etc.)
2) The setup for your character (his/her world before the problem)
3) The problem for your character that ruptures their world
4) Your character's conscious goal
5) The character's antagonist, the obstacles the antagonist presents to your character, and the actions your character takes to overcome those obstacles
6) The ordeal, where all seems lost for your character
7) The crisis, where your character has to make a hard choice
8) Your character's unconscious (or in some cases secret) goal if any
9) The climax for your character (the moment of most intense emotional release)
10) The resolution for your character (how is the character at the end different from the beginning? Is there a hint of what the future may bring?)
11) Is your character a protagonist and how do you know.

I have a week to get this done and hand it in. Not a problem, I live for deadlines. J I think that aside from learning how to create a screenplay, this course will also help build my writing skills.

We’re never to old to learn are we.
My daughter, who has been struggling with medical problems which have affected her school work said to me the other day that failing grade twelve and having to do it all over next year was the end her wanting to become a vet. She thinks she’ll be too old by the time she’s done school. She’s 17 and very dramatic. J Biting back a chuckle, I explained to her that we are never too old to learn. I also reminded her that she was only 17 and would be barely 18 when she would graduate. A normal age for most. She did start kindergarten when she was 4 instead of 5. I used myself as an example saying that I am 45 and going back to school, more or less, to get a degree in screenwriting because it’s something I want to pursue. She understood my point and agreed she still had plenty of time to pursue her career. Mission accomplished.I never graduated from high school and only have a grade nine education. At the time I had to stay home and help my parents after both had major surgery. I was happy to quit because I wasn’t that smart and always struggled to get above a fifty. But I always told myself someday I would get my diploma and eventually go to school and become a psychologist. That never happened as I got married and had a family. I’ve always insisted my children finish school, explaining that is so easy to say I’ll get to it if I fail, but life has a way of getting in the way of your plans and dreams.

I also reminded my daughter that I did fulfill one of my dreams when I was thirty-nine. I became a published author.

Life is scary and sometimes it can be overwhelming. No matter what gets in your way, its never too late to fulfil a dream.

See you next week!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy Beltane!

TODAY ON TUES TIDBITS WITH B.J. SCOTT. WE DISCUSS THE CELEBRATION OF BELTANE. Beltane is the ancient Gaelic festival celebrated in Ireland, Scotland and on the Isle of Man. It falls on May 1st, and is one of four significant dates in the Gaelic callender. The name originates from the Celtic god, Bel - the 'bright one', and the Gaelic word 'teine' meaning fire, giving the name 'bealttainn', meaning 'bright fire'. This is the beginning of the 'lighted half' of the year when the Sun begins to set later in the evening and the hawthorn blossoms. To our ancestors Beltane was the coming of summer and fertility.
The Celts leapt over Beltane fires - for fertility and purification. Bonfires are lit on Beltane Eve on hills, moors, mountains and places of political significance. Livestock were driven through paths lined by fires as a means of cleansing, protection, to promote fertility and enhase milk yield. Those attending the festivals followed the animals between the fires and danced around them, hoping for the same protective results. Juniper bows were often tossed into the fires to cleanse and bless the smoke. Young men circled the Beltaine fires holding Rowan branches to bring protection against evil - its bright berries suggested fire. Beltane is a time of partnerships and fertility. New couples proclaim their love for each other on this day. It is also the ideal day to start new projects. Handfasting is the ancient Pagan and Celtic ceremony marked the taking of a partner - this involves a commitment to perform an annual review of relationship. The couple's hands are ritually bound together to symbolize their union. Some people choose to use a ribbon that they have both signed. Between Beltane and the Summer Solstice is the most popular time for handfastings Going 'A-Maying' meant staying out all night to gather flowering hawthorn, watching the sunrise and making love in the woods. This was called a 'greenwood marriage'.
The maypole, a phallic pole planted deep in the earth representing the potency and fecundity of the God, its unwinding ribbons symbolized the unwinding of the spiral of life and the union of male and female - the Goddess and God. It is usually topped by a ring of flowers to represent the fertile Goddess. Beltane cakes or bannocks oatcakes coated with a baked on custard made of cream, eggs and butter - were cooked over open fires and anyone who chose a misshapen piece or a piece with a black spot was likely to suffer bad luck in the coming months. They were also offered to the spirits who protect the livestock, by facing the Beltane fire and casting them over their shoulders. Beltane and its opposite, Samhain (Oct 31) were terminal dates in Medieval culture. Both being associated with spirits from the 'other world' roaming the earth.