Tag Archives: Bev Petrone

More Good News

I’m back home from the RT Convention in Houston. It was a great party. I haven’t danced that much in years. Thanks Forrest. And, thanks Jennifer Ashley for the loan of your darling, dancing hubby. I think the BSMGirls are planning on making him our future cover model. Start pumping iron Forrest, you may get “the call”.

RT was more than a great time. Besides meeting all the many talented writers and lovely readers we also had a chance to attend workshops and get the latest information on the publishing world. And the food was good. Not to mention the butterscotch martini’s, that is, after Tina and Isabella schooled the bartender on how to get it right. I’ll let one of the other girls tell about the Faery Court and the Awards luncheon and, hopefully, we’ll have pictures soon.

Meanwhile, here’s my good news. I have a short story coming out this month in ebook format with The Wild Rose Press titled Layover. This is really exciting for me because it’s my very first book. It was co-written with a friend and being released under the name Tia Dani. This will, hopefully, be the first of many more short stories to come under this name. Please visit my website at www.tiadani.com.

Here’s my cover blurb.

For months, Bree Alexander has fantasized about a frequent flyer she’s labeled as Mr. Sex God. Little does she know Steven Cain secretly desires her as well. When an unexpected flight delay strands them together, will Bree and Steven take this opportunity to turn their fantasies to reality…before their layover ends?

Bev/Dani

Today

  Make the decision today that you will not allow anyone to extinguish YOUR potential, YOUR hopes and YOUR dreams. 

HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY AND HAVE A GREAT WEEK-END!
Bev

Affirmation For The Day

I’m late with this, but here’s a thought for the day. Before you start working on your current project, relax, take a deep breath and think about all your wants and desires. Then take another deep breath and after you let it out say aloud, “As I release all my wants and desires, all that I need comes to me exactly when I need it.”

Live your dream passionately. Have a wonderful Wednesday.

Bev

The Long Road To Writing Or Let’s Start A Screenplay?

 Today’s my day to blog and I haven’t much to say. I missed all the snow. That will teach me to take a nap. Darn. I had to see it all on tv. Well, maybe in another 10 years.

I still need a subject to write about.  So let’s see, somebody, I think it was Brit, said it might be fun to write a screenplay someday.  I mentioned this to Gordy, and he said to let you read his article on how he starts writing.  I think today is a good day to let him take over my blog. Who knows, we may pick up a tip or two.  And in the end it looks like he does what we as writers all must do, trust our gift and just go for it.

How to Start a Screenplay: Treatment or Free Fall?

By Gordy Hoffman

Starting a screenplay can sometimes be as hard as finishing one. Impatient to pull up to the front door of a classic motion picture, I want to get everything right so quickly. This impatience challenges my trust in the work, the creative process of screenwriting. What exactly does trust mean? If I don’t trust my writing, then what am I? Frightened. This is the battle. If I’m scared that everything I’m typing is worthless, then what? My hands find something else to do. So trust is good and important and essential to beginning this journey, alone, a trip that will eventually take what comes out of you into millions of people. But it’s just you now. And your trust.

Now, does trusting your writing mean sitting down with no ideas, opening a new document, and starting to type? Of course. And no. What I need to do is make a decision and execute. And this decision often comes back to whether I should write an outline or treatment before I start writing my screenplay, or, with a rough idea, a shadowy shadow of something calling from my brain, start writing?

I have done both in the past. When I wrote the first draft of LOVE LIZA, I really had very little idea of where the story was going. I had a few things to start off with, and somewhere I wanted to end up down the road, but that was it. It was terrifying and difficult to remain seated. But the most original characteristics of the screenplay came out of the immediacy of trying to come up with what’s next, with my fingers resting on the keyboard. I became sold on this process. Outlines killed creativity, because writing an outline is not actual screenwriting. It’s outlining.

But then I came to Hollywood and tried to tell executives the little ideas I had. I would very proudly announce an image, a picture in my head, that I knew contained the fire of an entire epic. I was shocked when they asked, “Then what happens?” I didn’t have an answer. Why? Well. BECAUSE I HADN’T WRITTEN IT YET. It seemed like a completely stupid question. What happens? What happens?? Did I say I had a complete screenplay to show you?!

You know the rest. No phone calls and bewilderment and then I found myself in the city of pitches, and starting to flesh out things into 14 page screenplay treatments. I did so, convinced that it could never be that good, that it was forced, and staged, and predictable. I was shocked to find out that it did not destroy my creativity. I was still able to come up with interesting, original things. But deep down I knew. This was still not screenwriting. This was not the art of screenwriting. And I’m right.

So now what was I going to do? What was better? If I was to sit down and spec something out, how was I supposed to go about it? First off, I’m lazy, so having a treatment or an outline sitting next to my laptop to walk me through the first draft is very appealing, despite knowing that the inspiration driving a treatment is different than the juice that comes when writing the screenplay blindly. And I have sat down and written 90 pages, trying to find the story, only to simply start over. This is a lot of work, but I’ve come to recognize that this work is not lost. This is the path. It hurts, it kills, it bludgeons, it fatigues, it flattens, but it’s the road. Believe me.

But what about a heist movie, or a mystery? A thriller with twists? Aren’t movies sometimes puzzles? Can we find this stuff without a plan? Don’t you have to figure this stuff out? Yes and no. Flying by the seat of your pants often produces jaw-dropping turns the audience will never see coming. Why? The writer didn’t. This is the largest reason why studio movies are predictable—-the fabric of the script is shot through with the knowledge of the ending of the story.

If we are to plot out the map of our movie with a treatment, beat sheet or outline, we better be damn sure it’s the real thing. Putting our best foot forward with a very strong outline is only the start of what will end up as a screenplay. Despite putting that golden outline next to our keyboard, we will find that turning it into a screenplay is still, I’m awfully sorry, a lot of work. Scenes that we imagined to be amazing will suddenly be impossible to write. And why does that upset us? Why does that frustrate the writer?

Well, we thought we had a short cut. We thought we were going to sneak into the back of a classic movie. My journey as a writer has been marked by the learning and relearning that all that wood has to be cut out there in the back yard, whether I like it or not. If I wanna do this, I have to swing the axe.

But we know, if we trust our gift, that something beautiful is coming, regardless if we have an outline or not. Perhaps the writers who work from outlines should throw them out. Perhaps the writers who write like the house is on fire, with nary a note within miles, should sit down and write a treatment. Treatments are fun, too.

I do both, switching back and forth when I need to. When I’m writing and I start to feel blindfolded, I turn to jot down a few notes, sketch a few ideas, track a character arc, reorder an act. But when I think I’m caught up in pitches and notes and beat sheets and the safety of plans, I chuck it all and write like I did when I was a kid.

Did we use notes when we were kids?

About the Author

Winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival for LOVE LIZA, Gordy Hoffman has written and directed three digital shorts for Fox Searchlight. He made his feature directorial debut with his script, A COAT OF SNOW, which world premiered at the 2005 Locarno International Film Festival. He is also the founder of the BlueCat Screenplay Competition. Dedicated to develop and celebrate the undiscovered screenwriter, BlueCat provides written screenplay analysis on every script entered. In addition, Gordy acts as a script consultant for screenwriters, offering personalized feedback on their scripts through his consultation service, www.screenplaynotes.com. For more articles by Gordy on screenwriting, visit www.bluecatscreenplay.com.

I hope you enjoyed reading Gordy’s article. Check out his contest. Great prize for the winner! And BTW, Brit anything sound famiiar? Did you ever pitch a story without having it written first?

Cheers,

Bev

Concentrate and Create

As a little girl I remember being very timid and terribly shy. Not to mention a bit strange. I was happy to play by myself. Being an only child and living in a neighborhood of mostly adults, I always felt alone.

While my mom worked, I stayed home with my dad. He was sorta like the original “Mr Mom”.  Since I had no friends my age to play with, I often lived in my head. I would sit behind dad’s recliner in the corner of the living room with my imaginary friends, Lightning and Blaze. Both were horses. (See, I told you I was a strange little kid.) We would have tea parties behind that chair. I would serve bowls of uncooked oats for each of us. They drank water, I drank orange Kool Aid. Lightning and Blaze knew all my secret wishes.

Needless to say, my dad was totally freaked. He didn’t understand why I didn’t play with dolls like other little girls. Plus he said it was embarrassing when I whinnied to our company. My mom understood that I was just lonely and stuck up for me by saying that I’d grow out of it. It was just a silly stage of some sort.

It was. One day Lightning and Blaze went away.  I think it was around the time new neighbors moved in. They had a four-year-old little girl just my age. Her name was Lucretia and she became my first real friend.

So why am I telling you all this? Because Lu just got in touch with me! I haven’t see her for over 45 years. She still lives in AZ and we are planning on getting together very soon for lunch and catch up. I’m so excited. And amazed too. We moved several months ago and while unpacking I had come across some old, very old, pics of us together as kids. I started thinking about her and what she might be doing and then out of the blue, up she pops.

I find this interesting in another way,too. Coincidence? Maybe. Or did I make it happen by putting the thought out into the universe?

I’ve been spending quite a lot of time reading about how you create your own reality through choices that you make. If you can see it, you can have it. This is where Tina’s goal setting and Brit’s affirmations come in. Choosing thoughts is your greatest power. You are what you think about all day. You get what you concentrate on. I am becoming a believer. Yesterday a friend and I went to the mall. The place was packed. Cars were lined up on Bell Rd just trying to turn in. She said maybe we should forget it. I said, “Nope. we’ll get a parking spot right up front.” And we did.

So, girls, I’m thinking big. Concentrate, concentrate. All the Butterscotch girls are NYT bestsellers. We are, because I know we are.

Cheers,

Bev

A COAT OF SNOW.

The Butterscotch Martini Girls are invited to a movie premiere!  We have a personal invitation from Gordy Hoffman.

Gordy Hoffman (screenwriter of LOVE LIZA and brother of Oscar-winning Phillip Seymour Hoffman) will present his directorial debut, A COAT OF SNOW, at a special one-time event.  This is all happening at the Loft Cinema in Tucson, Wed the 17th. at 7:30, and Gordy will be there in person.  Sound like fun?  I’m excited.

Because it’s a week night, we all may not be able to attend. Work can sure get in the way of fun.  But, I know several of us will be in Tucson and you can bet there will be a martini involved at some point.

It would be nice to see some familiar faces at this event. So if at all possible, let’s get out and support a fellow writer and have some fun. This could also be a good chance for some of us RWA Tucson writers who don’t have a chance to see each other often enough to get together.

Anyone interested in more info about A Coat Of Snow or Gordy Hoffman check out  http://myspace.com/acoatofsnow

Bev

 

 

That’s Not My Name…

Or is it?  For sometime I was planning to use the pen name “Antoinette Villa.”  I think it is a beautiful name. She was my husbands grandmother, born in Italy, before she married and became a Petrone. I love Antoinette, but I’m having a difficult time when someone asks me my name. I stutter. Not a good sign.  So, I did what we all do when we have an important decision to make. I made a list.

Reasons to use a pseudonym, noms de plume, the pen name:

1. Real name is hard to remember.

2. Real name sounds funky.

3. Your name is same or similar to another author.

4. You’re shy.

5. Already established as an author and thinking of writing in a different genre.

6. Security issues.

After studing each issue carefully and talking it over with the Martini girls, I’ve decided, if your real name works, it’s probably best to stick with it. So, at least for the time being, I’m sticking with Beverly Petrone. Petrone is easy to remember, think tequila, (Patrone) e not a, but close enough. I think it’s a marketable name and one I’m comfortable with and not likely to forget when I get nervous. Which is a big plus. And, I may still use Antoinette at a later time. But for now, I need to get my web site up and running and finish my book.

Now I have another decision to make. Lunch. My grandson is here and he’s staring over my shoulder. Do I get the hint? I think so…let’s see, leftover turkey and stuffing or pumpkin pie? Or both? Or…

Cheers,

Bev

Butterscotch Martini Girl

Little of This and a Whole Lot of That…

Hello everyone. I hope you’ve had a nice Wednesday.  Isn’t the weather lovely?  I had my windows open all morning while I played,er,worked and the breeze felt so good.  It’s days like this that remind me why I live in AZ.  And my neighbor was baking pumpkin bread. The smell drifted in through my open window making it really feel like fall. October is my favorite month.

I mentioned earlier that I write paranormal romance. Several of you have asked that I post a sample of my writing. I thought today would be a good day to let you read a bit of what I’m working on.  I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Call Down The Darkness.

The animal’s eyes glittered in the moonlight.  Taylor said a silent prayer that Joey and Ava had made it to the edge of the buildings by now.  His fourth step brought his right foot down on a grouping of loose rocks that had broken from a large boulder.

The instant he stepped on them, a strange warrior-like cunning filled his body.  He smiled grimly and slowly bent.  Whatever happened next, at least he wouldn’t be defenseless.

The mountain lion blinked, surprised by the demeanor change in its opponent.  The animal shifted slightly, then took a step backward.

Encouraged by the lion’s hesitation, Taylor stood and brought up a jagged rock about the size of a large wrench.  “Make up your mind,cat.”  He slid the rock so the majority of it lay balanced in his hand like a weapon.  Reassured somewhat by the feel of the rock, Taylor spread his feet so his weight was evenly distributed.  “What’s it gonna be?  Attack or not?”

The animal screamed and crouched low as if understanding the challenge.  In the moonlight, Taylor could see the powerful shoulder muscles ripple and bunch.

Strangely calm, Taylor waited for the animal to make its move.  When the mountain lion shifted again, he smiled.  “Come on, cat.  I might not win this fight, but I sure as hell am not gonna go down easy.”

Suddenly, from behind him, a sound floated into the valley.  Taylor blinked.  It was the howl of a wolf.  “What the hell? First a cat. Now a wolf? I thought both these animals weren’t around here anymore.”  Cautiously, while trying to keep the cat in sight, Taylor looked back over his shoulder.  From the tree line, a grey mist floated into view.

The wolf called again, louder this time, and the mist responded by moving faster, heading straight toward Taylor.

Seeing it come, Taylor swallowed and took a half-step backward.  He sensed that the two bizarre events advanced together, much like a bugle call and a soldier would do at the onslaught of a crucial battle.  Taylor tightened his grip on the rock and glanced back at the lion.  The animal appeared to tense as well.

Either way, Taylor knew he was screwed.  There was nowhere to run.

In less than a heartbeat, the greyish mist reached Taylor and wrapped itself around him.  As it rose up his body, the mist wavered, throbbed, then thickened with some sort of power or life.

From afar, the wolf howled again.  Taylor sensed a tremendous surge of anger and revenge wash over him, almost as if the mist now claimed control of his body.

The muscles in his upper arms moved, stretched, then tightened with a strength he’d never felt before.  His fingers curled around the rock with a vise-like grip.

In his mind’s eye, he pictured himself with long black hair and a skin color darker than his own, almost sun-baked.  His nose broadened and felt heavier.  His blue eyes turned to the color of black coal.  Even the lines around his mouth sharpened and his lips straightened and thinned.

As if controlled by another’s will, his right arm lifted the rock to the side of his head.  His choice of weapon no longer felt awkward or unnatural.  To him, it had become a razor-sharp dagger, familiar and deadly.  From the back of his throat, an unfamiliar word rolled upward and left his mouth.  “Eeeeewaaaah!”

Instinctively Taylor knew it was a battle cry.  It reverberated across the meadow directly toward the cat.

The mountain lion snarled in response, yet, for the first time since the cat appeared, Taylor sensed a fear within the animal.  It’s tail twitched violently, but it remained crouched in one place.

More words left Taylor’s mouth.  This time the mountain lion backed away, nearer to the meadow’s edge.

Seeing it move, Taylor’s hand tightened on his weapon as if controlled by another.  Invisible strings controlled his legs as well.  Taylor stepped closer to the lion, ready to follow it into hell.  Saliva rose in the back of his mouth and he swallowed hard.  Whatever had taken over his mind and body apparently wanted desperately to do battle with the animal.

Once again he moved toward the cat.  He inhaled deeply and released a loud “Haaaaooooh.”  Though the cry left his mouth gargled-like and unintelligible, Taylor had no trouble deciphering the meaning.  It was a challenge of death to either the mountain lion or to himself.

Antoinette Villa

Butterscotch Martini Girl

 

 

Antoinette In The City

We all have several sizes of jeans in our closets.  Come on, you know it’s true.  We all have at least two pair that remind us of the skinny self we were, or are planning to be.  I know I’ve bought a pair that I crunched into at the mall with the plan to fit into them by next week.  However, I’m still waiting for that glorious week to arrive. I have the day all planned out.  Here’s my dream…I will walk into my closet and and pull out the skinny jeans, dust them off because they’ve been hanging in there so long, step into them and “Holy c***!” they zip. My perfect day has arrived.  Everything will now fall into place. I’m beautiful. My hair will be perfect, my husband will have picked up his dirty laundry, the dogs will spend the day outside instead of shedding all over the house and even the cat will not throw up a hairball.  And the long awaited contract will arrive! Of ourse it will.  In my perfect world.  And all because I can fit into the skinny jeans.

I know this isn’t true. I know being thinner will not make my world better.  In fact, it might make it worse. My friends might hate me because I lost my weight faster than they did.  My husband might get jealous that I look so “hot”. Even my pets won’t like me as much since I won’t have all the extra food on my plate to give them.  I don’t think my dogs are fond of lettuce. And worse yet, I might get e-coli from eating all the spinach and lettuce.  And I’m sure not about to drink any carrot juice.  So, I think the skinny life style is over-rated. Yes, it’s important to be healthy.  We all need to go easy on the fried foods and get plenty of exercise. But I’m not going to be keeping a record of each tid bit of food I place into my mouth anymore.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  It’s much more important to be beautiful because of who we are and not because of what we look like. And I’ll get the contract because of all my hard work.

Instead of keeping the diet log I’m going to start a writing log. I am keeping track of how many words I write each day. It doesn’t matter how many I write each day just as long as I write every day.  At this rate I should have something to submit by the first of next month.  November 1st girls, that’s my goal.  We’ll see how far I can go. Speaking of which, I still need to go out and buy some jeans. Or maybe I’ll just buy a pair of red high heels.  Yes! That’s it. Right after lunch. Sigh.

Cheers,

Antoinette

Butterscotch Martini Girl

MEANING IN LIFE BY ANTOINETTE

“One needs something to believe in, something for which one can have whole-hearted enthusiasm. One needs to feel that one’s life has meaning, that one is needed in this world.”  –Hannah Senesh–

Isn’t that the truth? And this is why I write. I need to have something in my life to get excited about on a daily basis.

I’ve always loved books. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t carry a book with me. I’ve written stories for as long as I can remember.  Being an only child could be very boring at times so I made up adventures.  I wouldn’t say I was a liar.  I was just being creative.  This creative side of myself was put on hold while I married, raised my children, helped with my husbands’ business, but even while I had quit putting stories down on paper they were still rattling around in my head.

As the kids all grew older I found myself with free time so I decided to take a class on writing your life stories.  The Sun City library has a wonderful class given by Nancy Tsuchiya. The only problem with this life story writing business is: 1. you’re expected to tell the truth.  2. I didn’t have anything interesting to tell.  So, I went back to fiction writing.  And, because I’m a sucker for a happy ending what’s a better for me than romance fiction?  I know I can hardly wait to see what my characters will get into next.  Without a doubt, besides my family, writing fiction is my greatest source of joy.

That is the real key to life. Enthusiasm about what you’re doing. So it doesn’t matter if you’re published or not–although published would be even better–as long as you are having fun everyday and playing with like-minded pals, life is good.  It certainly is good for me.

Cheers,

Antoinette

Butterscotch Martini Girl