Monday, November 30, 2009

Joseph Finder, Author of Thrillers

“Writing is the only profession I can think of that requires no license, no certificate, no special training, and no special tools. Anyone who wants to can be a writer. All you have to do is write.” ~Joseph Finder, Author

Joseph Finder is a best selling author of thriller novels. Here in this interview he talks about his new book, Vanished, the first in a series featuring his new character, Nick Heller, a high-powered investigator with a private intelligence firm who was trained in Special Forces and “specializes in digging up secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden.”

This video is Joseph Finder conversation with actor Holter Graham who did the audiobook rendition of Finder’s book, Vanished.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Art is in the Eye of the Beholder

I watched the American Music Award’s Sunday night and although most of the music and entertainers are not my “cup of tea,” I watched it all including the “climatic” (no pun intended LOL) performance by the very talented Adam Lambert. I did not really care for his song much, but he performed as I thought he might: outrageously, sort of in the “creative” vein of what Madonna used to do, and what some of the newer entertainers are

Even one of my favorites, American Idol’s Carrie Underwood—a real beauty—has gotten pretty darn sexual in her presentations. Come on people, all I am now hearing is how Adam Lambert kissed another man and had another person’s face in his crotch and snapped a bikini type costume. And watching the performance it happened so quickly that it was hard to tell if the blond keyboard player was male or female. Yes, there where chains and ropes, sexual innuendos, and movements, but what was really any different than watching Sakira and the thirty or so female dancers with their display of pelvic movements that people used to consider vulgar, or watching rap singers grab or touch their crotches in a way made “popular” by Michael Jackson. Seems you have to have the “wondering hand”to rap.

Then there was the outrageous Lady Gaga who looked like she was supposed to be naked but her body suit had an opening that appeared to be fly-like such as in male boxers or tape of some kind on her pelvic area. Have no idea what that was all about. I found her performance of falling all over the floor, and breaking liquor bottles on a flaming piano, crazy—but apparently that is the way she expresses her talent.

So maybe Adam did get “caught up in the moment” as he says about the kiss but what about the rest of the performance that obviously had been rehearsed, probably several times, and producers, (Dick Clark Productions) and directors knew what his performance was all about. They also knew it would get reaction and viewers as they saved Adam Lambert for the last three or four minutes of the show, at 11:00 PM. East Coast and West Coast. (sure not family hour). If they thought his performance was not a problem then why didn’t they not put him on in the beginning of the show—instead of saving him to last?

Was I surprised by Adam’s performance? Not at all. He is so talented, outrageous, daring, outspoken, and most of all, accepting of his sexuality, and is REAL. I admire that in him. At his young age he already knows who he is and he presents his authentic self.

And for those who do not care for his performances, don’t watch, don’t listen. But in doing so, you may miss some darn good talent because Adam Lambert is going to be around a long time.

But what I am irritated about today is ABC’s discriminatory action against Adam Lambert by canceling his scheduled performance on “Good Morning America” Wednesday morning.

Lambert said that any criticism he received for the performance was demonstrative of a double standard in entertainment. He’s quoted in a Rolling Stone Interview:
“Female performers have been doing this for years — pushing the envelope about sexuality — and the minute a man does it, everybody freaks out,” Mr. Lambert said. “We’re in 2009; it’s time to take risks, be a little more brave, time to open people’s eyes and if it offends them, then maybe I’m not for them.”

I agree that there is a double standard. Rap singers have gotten away not only with risqué songs and dances, but violent songs, and a few bleeps later, they still perform on TV.

So why all the uproar now with a talented gay singer who does take risks and does get outrageous? Is ABC pulling a guest spot because people where offended by the sexual performance of a gay man but apparently are fine with similar behavior of scantly clothed women portraying sexual movements? One report was that ABC received 1500 complaints. With 14.2 million viewers of the awards show, it seems like the number of complaints was nothing to panic about. But apparently they did.

People still watch Madonna after some of her very sexual and risqué performances. And how about the Madonna, Britney Spears kiss? It may have lasted longer than Adam’s.

CBS is on the ball, though. After ABC announced the cancellation, CBS booked Adam for Wednesday morning’s “Early Show” where he will perform live and discuss his performance on the American Music Awards. Also his taped appearance will air on David Lettermen Wednesday night.

The artist must remain master of his craft, and bring his or her authentic self forward. That is how real talent blossoms and expands.

I wrote about Adam previously here, here, here and here..
I look forward to hearing his new album. Clips of it here at Amazon, Sounds like some good songs.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Interview of Thriller Writer, Lee Child

In an interesting interview, Lee Child discusses writing, his books and his character, Jack Reacher. His thirteenth Jack Reacher thriller is Gone Tomorrow. His next book will be 61 Hours.

"All good thriller writers know how to build suspense and keep the pages turning, but only better ones deliver tight plots as well, and only the best allow the reader to match wits with both the hero and the author. Bestseller Child does all of that in spades... [He] sets things up subtly and ingeniously, then lets Reacher use both strength and guile to find his way to the exciting climax."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Read an excerpt of Gone Tomorrow

Saturday, November 14, 2009

John Grisham Short Stories and Interview

John Grisham talks about his latest book, Ford County, his first collection of short stories. The seven stories are set in small fictional Mississippi towns. In the interviews he talks of the flaws and injustices that still remain in our justice system and are influenced by issues such as economics. He takes about wring novels vs short story writing. I found the interview very interesting.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mattie's Mom, Jeni Stepanek and her new Book, Messenger

“One day, for all to know, our legacy will simply be the shape of the life we leave behind, for eternity.”-Mattie Stepanek.

Jeni Stepanek was on Good Morning America today: See excerpt from the book, Messenger, the Legacy of Mattie J.T Stepanek and Heartsongs, and video. Tonight she wrote this on the Larry King Blog.

November 2, 2009
The Legacy of Mattie Stepanek
Posted: 07:10 PM ET
By Jeni Stepanek for the Larry King Blog

For many years, people have asked me, “When are you going to write the story of Mattie’s life? I am inspired by his words, his message. I want to know more about Mattie as a person.” And for a number of years, I have had this story planned – outlined into chapters, with detailed notes and thoughts about how such a book might unfold chapter by chapter. It wasn’t until last fall that I felt the time was ‘right’ to tell this story though.

Despite the sad truth that Mattie died just before his 14th birthday, I wanted this book to be a celebration of his life. I wanted to capture his wisdom (yes, he penned seven NY Times bestselling books of poetry and essays), and also his wit (yes, he really DID put apple juice in a urine cup and panic unsuspecting doctors who saw him drinking it). I wanted to write a book that inspired people to think of Mattie with a smile, and to recognize that he was an ordinary kid who made some extraordinary choices in life. I wanted folks to remember why they were drawn to him during his time on earth. I wanted readers to feel how ‘real’ Mattie was, and how very much alive his message of hope and peace is in the world today through a legacy that is growing outward and ‘forthward’ more and more each year. Now, that book, “Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsongs” is complete, and ready ripple around the world.

Through television appearances and writings and speeches, Mattie reminded people of all walks of life that ‘hope is real’ and ‘peace is possible’ and ‘life is worthy’ – despite whatever burdens or blessings were a part of any given day. This book will help readers finally learn about Mattie himself, and how he came to believe and live those truths in his own life. Readers will learn about Mattie’s hopes and hesitations, his education and spirituality, and his practical jokes and adventures at summer camp. The importance of ‘morning coffee’ and ‘afternoon tea’ are explored, as well as the significance of ‘sunrise on pier’ and ‘pumpkin season’ and other themes that touched Mattie’s essence. I share details of Mattie’s private life at home, his journeys on the road once he achieved some level of celebrity, and his long months in the intensive care unit during his final years of life. The book is filled with photos from throughout Mattie’s life, most of which I have never shared before. There are also bits of previously unpublished poetry and journal entries by Mattie, as well as excerpts from his e-mail correspondence with Oprah Winfrey, Chris Cuomo, and other friends.

Mattie was my son, and he was also my best friend. There is not a day that passes that I don’t miss him, or the little notes he would leave by my bed, or his snuggles and foot massages, or the word games and board games we played, or the conversations we had about life and our world, or just holding his hand. But this book is not about what I miss, or about my grief, or even about Mattie’s passing. This book is truly about the celebration and lasting inspiration of a young man who taught us all through word and action, to “Remember to play after every storm!”

I am very proud to be “Mattie’s mom.” And though there were some difficult moments during the writing of this book and during the audio recording of this book for CD, I am so happy that I realized last fall that it was time to share this story. I am excited about the release of this book, and I am looking forward to interacting with readers who want to share their thoughts after reading the pages. What a gift it has been to me to have the opportunity to share the story of my son’s life in this book. Please feel free to contact me through Mattie’s website:

© 2009 by Jeni Stepanek.

"Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsongs" is in bookstores November 3rd.

Read my review of Mattie's book, Just Peace, co written with President Jimmy Carter.