Thursday, March 24, 2011

"In Love with Eleanor Rigby"

Stacey Cochran, Raleigh, N.C. author and teacher, asked a meetup group I belong to if anyone wanted to write a review of his recently released novella, "In Love with Eleanor Rigby." I volunteered and am happy I did. Writing reviews is an ideal way to
1) Read books
2) Practice your craft
3) Be in contact with other writers

I posted the review on, but I'm posting it here as well.

Stacey Cochran reaches new heights with his novella “In Love with Eleanor Rigby.” Joe Smith, a carpenter and recovering alcoholic who believes he must hide his past, falls in love with independent, pragmatic Tabitha Merriweather, a milliner who owns a gift shop. Joe notices every detail about Tabitha, the clothes she wears, the tone of her voice, every facial expression. He says her eyes are “as blue as the center of the ocean.” Her voice is “pleasant but not without spine.”

He breaks through the denial of his past at an A.A. meeting when a fellow member explains that people choose to live or die. Joe realizes then “how much it helps to talk.” He decides to break his silence and tell Tabitha about himself. Tabitha accepts Joe’s revelations but keeps her distance until she decides to be part of his life.

The reader can’t ignore the comparison between the Beatles’ hit, “Eleanor Rigby,” and Cochran’s Tabitha Merriweather and Joe Smith; however, Tabitha and Joe conquer their inner demons.

Cochran’s imagery, metaphors and subtle humor unveil a story that contains universal truths that readers recognize. They picture the scenes and the people in the novella. They hear the words as if Joe is speaking directly to them. Cochran achieves what the greatest writers accomplish: layering. The story covers many levels, and his economy of language dazzles.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Entertainment Writing

A few weeks ago when my husband and I attended the Long Bays Symphony concert, "Motion Picture Magic, Music from the Movies," a friend I saw there asked if I was writing a story for the paper. I told her I was there to enjoy it!

I enjoy writing, no matter the topic, but it got me thinking about the entertainment programs I have written stories about. I've covered:

* Sea Notes Choral Society in Southport, N.C.
* Senior Follies fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity in Oak Island, N.C.
* Concerts on the Coast, the outdoor summer fare that's free to all and paid for by local
groups in Brunswick County, N.C.
* Dancing with the Brunswick County Stars

I wrote all of these stories for The Sun News, the Myrtle Beach daily. The stories were human interest and promos for the groups rather than revues.

For those interested in getting published, contact your local publisher and ask if you can cover the concert, play or other production in your area. Often the designated staff entertainment writer isn't able to attend a program, so the editor may be willing to hire a freelancer for the job. Be familiar with the group you will revue, do your research and tell the editor what you know.

Another possibility is to interview the headliner. It's easier than most people think.

* The-late Frank Capra Jr.: I had no trouble getting an interview with him just by telling him I wanted the interview because he was the guest speaker for Brunswick County Volunteer Center.

*Michael Gurian: I agreed to call this Washington state author of "The Wonder of Boys" and 24 other books, after 8 p.m. his time. I live in the Eastern time zone, three hours later than Pacific time.

*Wives of sports figures: At the beginning of my career, I wrote about wives of Chicago Bears football players. I interviewed the wife of golfer D.A. Weibring, who won the Western Open in 1987.

Look around for authors, speakers, singers and other headliners, and most will be happy to talk to a writer.