Monday, August 24, 2015

Build A Free LIttle Library

Monday, August 24, 2015

Celebrate the International Literacy Day on September 8th by creating your own Free LIbrary Library. For those who are not familiar, A Free Little Library is a "take a book, return a book" gathering place where neighbors share their favorite books and stories. In its most basic form, the Library is a book exchange whereby anyone can stop and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share.

Download this special kit with instructions on how to build and maintain
your own Free Little Library.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Word. Notebooks

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Make your life a little bit more productive and organized with these fantastic - and aesthetically pleasing - Word. Notebooks I just discovered. Included is a system for managing your to-do agenda, with a simple approach that I find refreshingly do-able. You might don it with a leather cover jacket.

They also have something called The Adventure Log notebook which is designed for you to document and remember all your amazing trips and expeditions and fun-filled outings.

Perhaps a great gift for the writers in your life?

Check it out HERE!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Story Idea Each Day For A Month

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Every April for the past five years, the screenwriting blog Go Into the Story runs a popular series called A Story Idea Each Day for a Month. All year long, the editor Scott Myers scours news sources for potential script ideas. He selects 30 of them and posts one each day in April. The ideas are free for you to use for your own projects.

This year 30 more story ideas to send your way starting on April 1st.

Watch for it here.

Check out last year's series here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Life Lessons from a 100-year-old Dancer

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Month of Letters Challenge

Monday, February 2, 2015

Here's the Challenge:

In the month of February, mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. Write love letters, thank yous, or simply notes to say that you miss an old friend. Send a fabric swatch from your new dress. A feather you picked up while on a walk. Whatever it is, let yourself step away from the urgency of modern life and think about an audience of one. Think of it as sending 23 little gifts.

And, who knows, you might enjoy going to the mail box again!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Neil Gaiman's Commencement Address

Friday, January 16, 2015

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Academy Originals: Creative Spark

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Academy Originals "Creative Spark Series" takes you inside the creative working minds of top screenwriters, inside their creative process and how they explore ideas, including:

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Story Expo

Saturday, August 9, 2014

2nd Annual Story Expo

September 5-7, 2014

Westin LAX Hotel
5400 W. Century Blvd, LA 90045

STORY EXPO 2014 is the world's biggest convention of writers from all mediums - screenwriters, TV writers, novelists, filmmakers, gamers, journalists, graphic novelists, actors, business people, comic book writers and more. Featuring over 110 world-renowned speakers, 100+ classes and 30+ exhibitors, Story Expo covers all aspects of story and writing - from craft to business to pitching to career.

This year's speakers include Leslie Lehr, John Truby, Linda Seger, Ellen Sandler, Joe Eszterhas, Christopher Vogler, Lee Aronsohn, among many others.

To find out more details and to register, visit:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Spotlight on Daniel M. Jaffe

Thursday, June 5, 2014
Daniel M. Jaffe is a prize-winning fiction writer whose short stories and personal essays have appeared in dozens of anthologies, newspapers, and literary journals in over half a dozen countries. Author of Jewish Gentle and Other Stories of Gay-Jewish Living (Lethe Press, 2011), Daniel also wrote the novel The Limits of Pleasure (Bear Bones Books, 2010), a finalist for a ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award when first published in 2001 (Haworth Press). Also, Daniel compiled and edited With Signs and Wonders: An International Anthology of Jewish Fabulist Fiction (Invisible Cities Press, 2001), and translated Here Comes the Messiah! (Zephyr Press, 2000), a Russian-Israeli novel by Dina Rubina. He teaches creative writing at the UCLA Extension Writers' Program.

His latest book release, The Genealogy of Understanding (Lethe Press, May 2014), is a novel-in-stories in which the narrator explores different ways of adapting Jewish tradition to the modern world. Can the Torah illuminate and guide responses to such contemporary issues as intermarriage, gay marriage, women's equality, infidelity, prejudice, illness, and even murder that threaten to splinter families in his town of Cherryvale, New Jersey? 

Each of the novel's 53 stories responds to a particular weekly Torah reading, resulting in a work of fiction that explores Jewish spirituality, ethics, and community values, as well as the nature of human heart, mind, and soul.

Come hear Daniel read from The Genealogy of Understanding at:

UCLA Writers' Program 21st Annual Publication Party
Thursday, June 12th, 7-9:30 p.m.
Skirball Cultural Center
2701 North Sepulveda Blvd.

Book signings and refreshments to follow

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Conversation With Lisa Erspamer

Saturday, May 10, 2014
A creative force who loves to turn a great story into a visual spectacle, Lisa Erspamer is an Emmy-nominated producer and the president of Unleashed Media, a television, film and digital production company whose clients include Sony Television, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Pinterest and more.  She is also the creator of the book series A Letter To My Dog, A Letter To My Cat and the upcoming A Letter To My Mom. Before starting her own company, Lisa served as Chief Creative Officer and Executive Vice President of Programming and Development for OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Prior to OWN, Lisa was the Co-Executive Producer of The Oprah Winfrey Show, where she produced hundreds of shows and oversaw such memorable episodes as the biggest flash mob in history, the legendary car giveaway, Oprah's After Oscar Specials and Whitney Houston's final interview to name a few. Lisa, an animal lover since birth, lives in Los Angeles with her two precious pups, Lily and Grace.

How did the idea for the "Letter" brand series of books come about?

Actually, we had sold one book to a publisher, and while we were celebrating that publishing deal - we were having dinner with them and drinking wine - I said, we should really do a 'dog book' because my friend Robyn had photographed my dogs for my birthday as a surprise, and the pictures were unbelievable. And I said we should call it "A Letter to My Dog" and have everybody write letters to their dogs. And the publisher said, "I want that, I'll buy that right now." We said, "Okay, now we have a two-book deal!" And my co-author, Kimi Culp, and I started putting that book together right away.

As the letters started coming in, I realized how powerful the art of writing a letter is. We actually used it over the course of my career at the Oprah show. It was sort of a technique to get people to the heart of their story.

What was the technique you used? In what way?

Say if they were surprising somebody like their mother on the show or a friend, and we wanted them to say something to the person, and they were like "I don't know what to say," we would ask them to write a letter. And that would help them get their thoughts together about what they would want to say to that person. What we realized is that writing a letter is something that people can do really easily. It's hard for somebody to write their story if you say 'hey, write your story.' That's really daunting and hard, as you know. It makes people crazy. But when you ask people to write a letter, it's really easy for them to do. Not easy, but much easier. People can wrap their brains around the concept. Nobody asked us 'what should we write the letter about?' People just did it.

Like the dog letters that came in, they were funny or really heartwarming. But they all made you feel something, which is what I really loved about the idea. And so then I built it out into an anthology, and we have 17 titles.

Can you share what the next title might be?

I think our next two would probably be "Baby" and "Dad." I'm obsessed with "A Letter to My Baby" even though I don't have one. I think about that relationship and how, when you're a parent, your baby - regardless of age - is always your baby.

For the "Dog" and "Cat," those two books celebrate the relationship that people have with their pets. And we hope that people will see how special it is and maybe adopt a pet that needs a home. But I think with "Mom, "Baby" and "Dad," we hope that it inspires people to write letters for the people in their own lives.

What have you learned about publishing?

I think of television. Neither one of them are businesses you should go into if you're hoping to get rich. I'm not saying that you can't get rich. They're things you have to do because you're really passionate about them. And I feel like publishing is the same. It's really personal, it's really not business. You care about it like you're giving birth to it. It's probably not healthy.

You do it because you really care what you're putting out there, and you want people to love it, and you want to make them feel something. You want them to laugh, or be touched and moved. I'm definitely not in it for the money. It's costing me more money than I'm making. But I really believe in what we're doing. I love the concept of writing a letter. I think it is the best gift we can give somebody, and the best gift to get.

What kind of letters are you looking for?

We're not looking for "I hate my mother" letters for sure. I think the tone is really about the love, and you know, the fact that this person put you on the planet. And that it is a complicated relationship. But that we all still have some gratitude for that relationship. And I think as we grow up, we sort of come full circle.

People interested in writing a letter to their mother have an opportunity to be published in the book, and they can submit their letters HERE!

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"A Letter To My Dog" is now being sold in seven countries; read an excerpt from the book.

A portion of the proceeds from every book in the series goes to charity: The Humane Society for the first book, and Best Friends Animal Society for the second book. Lisa and her team are in the process of determining the charity they will serve for "A Letter To My Mom."
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