Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Media Mensch Expands to Professional Sports

Sports are now going to be part of our future MediaMensch offerings and radio show. In April, we were able to attend a press conference for Lowes Motor Speedway and the Sprint All Star race. There are some new changes to the track. The walls at the race track are now painted Yellow to reflect the Sprint brand. There was also an introduction of a contest before the race to see who can create the best "burnt rubber" among the professional drivers. This contest is modeled after the types of things that are done such as the Home Run Derby or the Slam Dunk competitions at the All Star games. Clint Bowher, driver of the Jack Daniels car and Humpy Wheeler owner of Lowes were interviewed by the various media outlets. After the media event, a lunch in the Time Warner media center was held and I had a chance to meet some members of the local media and spend a few minutes with Clint.

Yesterday, I receieved an invite to attend a press conference for the Charlotte Bobcats where they announced a new coach...the coaching legend, Larry Brown. This was my first Bobcats press conference. Sitting in the 2nd row, I had a chance to see and hear Michael Jordan discuss who he came to hire Larry Brown and talk about the future of the franchise. Many of the people now running the Bobcats came out of the college basketball powerhouse a few houses of the interstate, University of North Carolina. It was interesting to watch the "Tarheel" leadership and coaching arrive at the Bobcats.

Today, I had the opportunity to interview Ulf Nilsson, hockey legend and media executive on . We discussed topics ranging from digital media, television, hockey, culture, coaching/mentoring and life lessons.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Small press authors have a hard time gettting in bookstores

A friend went to a coffee shop last night that is next door to a book store. He suggested I try to get a book signing there. I tried a few months ago and it got nowhere. So today I went there and spoke again with the store about my novel, Jen-Zen and the One Shoe Diaries. The clerk tells me that they have very few signings, but the author last night was with a press they recognized and guaranteed a certain number of guests and even provided their names. She says all this in the rudest tone possible. Meanwhile this dear, sweet patron looks at my book and says, "My mother-in-law just loves shoes. The cover is so pretty. What's your book about?" I step over to the side and explain the book, then she says, "Well, can I buy it here?"

I explain that I tried to get in and that the store favors authors with the big presses. She asks for my card, then reads the blurbs and says, "You know I think I want a copy for myself too. I'll call you. And my brother is writing a book and my sister-in-law writes some too. I know my family would just love this book." I thank her and make my way back to the clerk who is watching this whole thing. By this point the clerk apologizes a bit, saying it's very hard to get a book signing at their store. I'm so ticked at her that I say, "I understand, but you have no idea the challenges new authors face...and rattle off some of my awards and stuff," then cut myself off and ask if she knows where my review copy is since the store has no apparent interest and if I could have it back. And then she can't find it.

I leave the store. Twenty minutes later she calls. I hope that maybe they've decided to carry my book since that patron wanted it. But no. She just found my book.

It's so hard out there for authors with small presses. Last month was Small Press Month and that organization complied a list of 31 one ways you can support the small presses.

Things to do for Small Presses:

Contact your local bookstore or library and suggest they put together a special display for National Small Press Month. You can obtain posters from: Small Press Month Coordinator, PMA, Independent Book Publishers Association, 627 Aviation Way, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266; 310.372.2732; Orders come in units of five.

Suggest that your local bookstore offer a discount off Small Press titles this month. Offer a special discount on all of your titles.

Hold a seminar on "How to Get Published" or on a subject related to your books. You might wish to cooperate with other small presses in your area to get this event off to a roaring start. You might wish to charge a nominal fee for the seminar.

Contact the Book Review editor at your local daily newspaper about any events that you plan. Also speak to the Features Editor. The Business Editor is usually interested in a successful publishing story.

Send PMA a list of participating bookstores and libraries. PMA can send them publicity and display material.

Be sure to inform PMA and the Small Press Center about any activities you have planned for the month. That way, we can include your plans in their national database and mention your events when we are in touch with the media. Please e-mail

Get in touch with weekly papers and magazines in your area about readings or events and submit the information to the Listings Editor.

Approach an interviewer at a local radio station about airing a segment on, for instance, the problems and rewards of running a small press, or set one up for an author.

Make arrangements with any local non-bookstore outlet that is appropriate for any of your books. For example, if you publish cookbooks, a grocery store might display them up near the check-out for National Small Press Month, particularly with a special discount as an incentive.

Try for an interview at your local daily or weekly paper, remember that the media is always pleased to find to find that there are successful publishers and writers in the neighborhood. So pitch not only yourself, but also your colleagues.

If you have a personable, articulate author who is available to speak in his or her area, set up interviews with local television or radio stations.

Schedule an interview for yourself at your local television station for National Small Press Month. Be sure to offer visuals if available. Footage of an author doing research in a foreign country, or a sports book author on the ski slopes, for example, would be helpful to getting TV time. Focus on the unique angles of your books and authors.

Band together with other small presses and compile a combined exhibition of titles in a subject area. Offer your library the ready-made exhibit of locally published books in the areas you choose.

Find a college or university that would be receptive to a roundtable discussion on a topic like: "The Growth of Independent Media", "What is a Free Press?" or "The First Amendment and Mainstream Media"

A talk to elementary, junior high, or high school students about being an author could be a highlight of school programs during the month.

Use excerpts from a current or upcoming book on your website. An entire chapter is more engaging than just a short passage.

Arrange readings and signings from your list to be held during National Small Press Month at your local bookstore and library.

Plan a group reading or event with other local independent presses and make night out of it.

Take National Small Press Month posters to your local bookstore or library and be sure that they are displayed and distributed.

Join with other small and independent presses and take out a co-op ad in your local newspaper.

Be sure that every local organization to which you belong to displays a poster about National Small Press Month and has your catalogue available as a handout for Small Press Month.

If you have one, keep your alumni magazine up to date about you and your small press.

Host a wine and cheese party in your office for the press, booksellers and other friends of your publishing house. Celebrate National Small Press Month!

Gather together all your press cuttings and document the successes of National Small Press Month and please send to Mark Kohut for use next year. Send care of the Small Press Center, 20 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036.

Link to the Small Press Month website from your own:

Send out e-mails to your customer mailing list announcing the approach of National Small Press Month, and the events you have planned. A weekly digest of news would be an effective way to keep the momentum going throughout March.

Contact other small and independent arts organizations in your area- record labels, theaters, and art galleries, for example- and link to each other's websites, promote each other's events, and support the independent arts community!

Run a contest through your e-mail newsletter, asking for ten titles of famous independently published books. The winner can receive one of your books, or a collection of them.

Contact other independent publishers and set up together a small book fair during the month at a local college or community center

Evaluate authors' pitches - offer to set up a program at a bookstore or library where authors, on the understanding you are there to give general advice, can make a five minute pitch to you about their manuscript.

Look over the previous 30 suggested ideas and let us know which ones provided the most response.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tyler Perry's Success Journey and Time Magazine Top 100 People

In March, I had the opportunity to travel to Atlanta to work as an extra on a movie called "The Family That Preys" (Oct 2008) with one of the hottest producers and directors in the country, Tyler Perry. He is a rags to riches story and pure American dream. He is also thankful and appreciative of the abundance he has received. Many of you may not know him or have watch his programs, so I thought I would include his most recent message. It is clearly a message and story of fame, fortune and thankfulness.

" Hi Everybody,

Okay, I know that I haven’t written in a while but I’ve been dealing with
a situation.

I’m trying to be careful how I say this without inciting this person, but
I have a stalker. This person sends several hundred emails a day to my
office and has planned our wedding and bought rings and such. She has
showed up at my house several times. What’s crazy is I’ve never met this
woman nor have I even responded to her emails. I’ve had to increase the
guards at my house as well as travel with body guards and I hate that. I
hate to have big guys following me around. Anyway I’ll try to keep this
positive. Let me breathe....

Okay I’m back, on to the real reason I’m writing. Can I just say thank
all of you for making MEET THE BROWNS such a success? The great thing
about it for me was all of the emails that I got from single mothers who
needed to see it. I know this movie wasn’t for everybody, but for the
people that it spoke to you let me know how it touched you and that lets
me know that I’m still on the right track.

I just finished another movie and for all of MY “Why Did I Get Married?”
fans. This one is going to blow your minds. I’ll tell you more about it
later. Also the ratings for HOUSE OF PAYNE are through the roof again.
Yes, Janine is pregnant and I know that you think you know who the father
is but just wait and see. Hasn’t the show gotten so much better?

I’m trying to make this short, but when I start to think about how much
you guys are with me all I can say is “Thank you God for Favor!” I’ve got
to write a book about this. I’m telling you, you inspire me so much. You
make me want to be a much better human being. Thank you again.

If you can do me a favor, TIME Magazine is having their top 100, people
issue and my name is on the list. Don’t ask me why (smile). And I was just
told that YOU have to vote for the person that you like the most. You can
vote as many times as you want.

I don’t know what this means or why they selected me for this list but
since they did I’d sure like for you to have a voice in this contest. It’s
pretty easy to do. Here’s the link,28804,1725112_1726934_1726935,00.html

Please read the instructions before submitting your vote.

God bless,

Tyler Perry"

Friday, April 11, 2008

New Literary Magazine Emerged from Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Contest

Conclave - A Journal of Character

This is going to be an exciting journal to watch and read. Publishers take note! If you want to see some great fiction stay tuned for the upcoming print journal. I'm honored to be a part of it.

Here's how Editor, Valya Dudycz Lupescu described this new literary magazine:

"In January and February 2008, writers from around the world came together on the forums because of their shared status as entrants and finalists in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. What began as a contest evolved into a community.

In order to create a permanent home for that writers' community, Semifinalist Valya Dudycz Lupescu and her husband Mark created, an online network and showcase of the published and unpublished works of the ABNA writers. is a place for writers to present their work, get the attention of publishers and agents, and help each other in the process of publishing and promotion.

Eager to showcase some of the talent already in their ranks, as well as to promote the writing of talented authors around the world, Valya with the help of the other ABNA writers and editors, decided to create Conclave: A Journal of Character.

Conclave is annual print journal that focuses on character-driven writing in contemporary literary fiction. We hope to share with you our delight in well-told stories: stories that make you laugh, think, feel, or remember. We hope that our stories challenge and entertain, but most of all, we hope they introduce you to unforgettable characters that stay with you long after you've finished reading.

Bookmark this Web site and visit us often. If you like what you read, we hope you will subscribe, or send a gift subscription to a friend or relative.

And let us know what you think about our journal and Web site. We may post your comments online in a the upcoming “Letters to the Editor” section."

Check out the new editors of the magazine (yours truly is a flash fiction editor).

EDITOR, Valya Dudycz Lupescu



FICTION EDITORS: Enrico Antiporda, Vicki King, Jarucia Jaycox Nirula, Gae Polisner

FLASH FICTION EDITORS: Julie Ann Shapiro, Bret Wright


CREATIVE NONFICTION EDITORS: Melissa Conway, Stephanie Feuer, James Noll, Meg Write



DRAMA EDITORS: Karen Joan, Mary Anne Rooney

PHOTOGRAPHY EDITORS: Megan Fergus, Jarucia Jaycox Nirula, David Stanley




Saturday, April 05, 2008

Leatherheads Debut with Andrew Kaplan

It was almost a year to the day that I stepped foot on the Leatherheads set thinking I would be a fan in the stands and make $100.00 for one day. A year later, I have had the opportunity to have built long lasting friendships, learn about film production and be in 3 other movies (Gospel Hill, Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys, and Insignificant Others.).

On Friday, April 4th, I attended the screening with Maurice at the theatre at Concord Mills, actually the same mall where I went to the open casting for Leatherheads in March 2007.

As the movie opened, I sat with anticipation to see how this movie would turn out. It is very difficult to describe the differences in being on a film set and what comes out of the editing and sound process in post production.

I remember talking to many of the people show in the film such as Tim Griffin who is the black football player on the Bulldogs. I remember meeting his girlfriend who had flown out from LA to visit with him. I just had Edd Robinson on my mediamensch radio show and he told me he was a scorekeeper, so it turned out he had about 5 seconds in the movie as a clear shot. Maurice, whom, I had met on my last day of filming had also told me he was on the scale in the athletic club. When that scene came up with Clooney running through the athletic club, Maurice had is 5 seconds of fame as well. There was a man on a "belly machine" who was clearly shown. I had been cast that day for that role and was costumed and then on the day of shooting another gent with a much better belly...showed up and had that role...

Personally, I am in the movie for about 1 or 2 seconds with a closeup during the Chicago-Duluth football game. I also made the background talking for about 10 seconds behind the bench holding my camera. My hand and camera, also had a closeup for about 5 or 10 seconds holding the camera directly behind the coach....(great for my new career as a hand model)...then there was a camera on the sidelines on a tripod, I used that for a while.

The scenes that made the cutting room floor with me were when they took a player off on a stretcher and I was the cameraman almost on top of him. I am not sure if they erased me or just had another angle. I also had been in a closeup talking with Coach (Wayne Duvall) during the game and that also did not make it. The other scene which I thought would have been in was the concession stand. About 50 extras spent about an hour on that scene with George directing. I had been waving dollar bills in the scene.

Well...all I can say is that Leatherheads was an incredible journey which continues to have made changes in my life which were unforeseeable. This included last week when I attended the Leatherheads press junket and asked Clooney two questions. He joked about my memorable acting.

I couldn't have written a better script for this life journey!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Book Review of Jen-Zen and the One Shoe Diaries

Book Review of Jen-Zen and the One Shoe Diaries

Published in Between the Cracks

Review by Kim McDougall

"Bradley was influenced at a young age by his free-spirited grandmother. She taught him to see the wonder in details, the color of a bird’s wing, dust floating in the air. She set him up to be a photographer, a job that uses his creativity and quirky nature to good effect. He shoots the usual commercial photos for clients, but indulges his whimsy on photographs of ripples in the lake and lone shoes forgotten by civilization. For Brad, “It wasn’t about the camera. But inspiration that left one feeling parched, going through life wandering around in the desert like a mad man thinking you’re seeing mirages about some oasis that’s just around the corner – you dream it so. And when it appears, you’re so parched you’re afraid of that first sip of water. But still you drink it, knowing maybe it’s your last and you savor the drops on your tongue, rolling them back and forth in your mouth until you’ve memorized how they feel falling down your throat.” (Pg 127)

Brad’s grandmother also set him up to fall in love with a girl who is more spirit than human at times. Jen Zen is a poet, with all the images that word connotes. She is nebulous, mysterious and sometimes infuriating. When her mother tells Brad that she’s dead, he discovers only the first mystery about the woman he loves. Jen Zen’s mother is a hard woman, who has no time for her daughter’s eccentricities. She says that her tea leaves make more sense that Jen Zen’s poetry, an attitude that prompts Jen Zen to write (pg 253):

Mother’s Sanctified Tea Leaves
You said, “Your tea leaves made more sense than my words.”
A poet sees tea leaves as shortened branches from a tree.
Sensing the whole; sensing the connection.
The existence you ignored.
Preferring to see soggy twigs; flavoring your water.
You’re right tea leaves make sense.
Keep your flavored water.
I’ll keep my flavored tree.
Where my words know the whole, making me whole.

Jen Zen’s mother chases Brad from the hospital and refuses to let him say goodbye. This lack of closure leaves him restless and unsatisfied. Months later, he is still unable to shake the shadow of Jen Zen and he begins to wonder if she haunts him. Along with her ephemeral presence, the discarded shoes turn Brad into a man on a mission. He is convinced that the piles of shoes mysteriously appearing in a small town have to be connected to Jen Zen. Is she really dead? Is she haunting him? Is he finally going crazy? His camera and his mind won’t rest until he answers these questions.

Jen Zen and the One Shoe Diaries is a far-reaching story full of lyrical beauty—a true Between the Cracks novel. It’s part mystery, part poetry. It has elements of magic realism and surrealism. Author Julie Ann Shapiro has a knack for capturing the essence of relationships and all their uncertainties. At times, Brad’s relationships (with Jen Zen, his grandmother, mother and sister) are a comfort. Other times they are a web, ready to ensnare him. In the end, he learns to see life from his own perspective, without the comfort of a camera’s lens to distort it, and he realizes that the challenge of a relationship is what makes it worthwhile.

Julie Ann Shapiro is a freelance writer, novelist, short story author and Pushcart Nominee with over seventy published stories. Julie's novel, Jen-Zen and the One Shoe Diaries is published by Her second novel, Three Drop Pennies was recently a semifinalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Contest.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

MediaMensch - Leatherheads - George Clooney - Blogtalk Radio

On blogtalk radio today, we will be featuring stories from behind the scenes of Leatherheads, plus the Leatherheads press conference held at the Salisbury Train museum with George Clooney and Renee Zellweger.

Andrew Kaplan, Host of MediaMensch, was fortunate to have been an extra on the film and what he thought would be 1 day on the set turned into 10 days, 5 different roles, 3 different cities and 3 different costumes. He blogged about the experiences almost a year ago on MediaMensch.

The first half of the show will be the press conference, followed by live interviews with actors who were extras on the film.

You can listen to the show by clicking here

or you can paste the following into your browser

a direct link to the show will be

Tuesday, April 01, 2008