Frank Fiore – Novelist & Screenwriter

October 22, 2014

Speaking White

Filed under: MURRAN — Frank Fiore @ 9:24 AM

“Are you white?”

That was the question asked to Marjorie Romeyn-Sanabria. She writes:

The enquirer was an eight-year-old boy at my summer day camp fourteen years ago, who had stared at me for a solid minute before launching his query. His question unsettled me. The same week a fellow camper, with whom I did not get along, excluded me from a conversation with the phrase, “This is black people’s talk.” I realized at the tender age of eleven that my blackness (or Hispanic-ness, for that matter) was less defined by the color of my skin than by the way I spoke. In that scenario and many others, speaking standard American English around black people was an affront. It was perceived as both distancing myself from my heritage while attempting to ingratiate myself with a group of people that were responsible for the marginalization of my comrades. Not having African-American argot as a default linguistic setting was both a betrayal and a rejection of my community.

My inability to code switch–speak African-American argot around black people, standard English in formal settings–has been the most salient quality that has brought my blackness into question over the years. I’ve gotten comments ranging from, “your college application reads like a white person’s” to “you talk like a white girl, but you ain’t white.” I can recognize the expression of muted surprise when I open my mouth, but I’m so used to it I barely notice it anymore.

………… I don’t lose “blackness” because I speak Standard English. My melanin concentration isn’t contingent on correctly placed modifiers. But, unfortunately, that’s not how a lot of the black community sees it. If you like Taylor Swift, read “colonialist” history books and “talk like a white girl”, then your blackness card is revoked; at minimum, you’re on probation. It’s sad to see a population that endured so much hatred and exclusivity practicing the similar tactics on members on their own community. Too much of blackness today is dependent on the music you listen to, the clothes you wear, and the way you speak. The same intolerance of non-standard English in the boardroom is practiced in the ghettoes.

There’s a line between celebrating your heritage and championing ignorance.

You go girl!

October 19, 2014

Rites of Passage

Filed under: MURRAN — Frank Fiore @ 10:37 AM

In a prior post – MURRAN – A Positive Role for Teen Boys, I wrote about the need for young boys for some positive warrior role models and hoped MURRAN would fit that bill.

Many cultures have a Rite of Passage for their young males. The Jewish religion has the Bar Mitzvah. The Catholic religion has Confirmation. The Walkabout of the Aborigines. There dozens of others.

The social worker in MURRAN, Sarah Cummings, is the Director of the M.A.A.S.A.I. center in Brooklyn. She speaks about the need for young boys to have a Rite of Passage to manhood in my soon to be released book.

“Every culture in the past has had some form of rites of passage for young boys to become men. Too many of our young boys now turn to more negative forms of proving their manhood like fathering children with multiple women, committing theft and murder, and finding safety and identity in the comfort of gangs.”

She cleared her throat.

“Our program here provides information on African culture and African-American history, daily rituals, ceremonial rituals, values, and leadership. Once the young person completes our Rites of Passage program, a completion ceremony is held where the new initiates are given African names with meanings that match their personalities.”

“May I?” Jackson interjected.

Cummings nodded her approval.

“The Rites of Passage program develops our youth toward achieving their fullest potential,” Jackson began. “They are capable of making a valuable contribution to their families and communities while instilling the values, customs, and the structure of the Maasai society into their own.”

“But these kids didn’t kill any lions,” Trey argued, thinking about what he and his father had regularly discussed when it came to the Maasai.

“In a way, they do,” Cummings added. “There’s an old African proverb that says, ‘When spiders unite, they can bind a lion.’”

“What does that mean?” Trey asked while thinking to himself, Great, more doubletalk.

“The lion moves over the earth seeking those it may devour,” Cummings responded. “Family Maasai seeks to bind and cast out the lion of drug abuse, violence, teen pregnancy, low self-esteem, disrespect for others, the lack of a true cultural heritage, and the spiritual deprivation in our communities. All these are the characteristics of the lion that must be defeated once the small spiders unite.”

Reaching the top score in Grand Theft Auto is NOT a Rite of Passage.

October 18, 2014

African-American or Just an American?

Filed under: MURRAN — Frank Fiore @ 11:03 AM

In my newly released book – MURRAN – to be available the first week of December, black characters take on this question is a very unique way and flies in the face of the common knowledge of people like Oprah – who by the way, was pretty upset with black actress Raven-Symoné.

Actress Raven-Symoné was the subject of the Wednesday premiere of Oprah Winfrey’s “Where Are They Now?” She lit up a firestorm in the Blacksphere when she said, “I’m tired of being labeled. I’m an American, I’m not African-American. I’m an American.”

You could tell that Oprah really did not like Raven-Symoné saying this. She attempted to joke it off and play the objective interviewer, but she was not pleased with Raven’s emphatic statement that she defines herself as an American, not by a certain phrase. Knowing Oprah’s proclivities of late to deal the race card, this is not surprising.

What is also not surprising is the hue and cry on Twitter and in other social media.

Roxanne Jones, founding editor of ESPN The Magazine and former ESPN vice president, took to CNN to register her disagreement. “I get it. Raven-Symoné doesn’t like labels. But she is wrong to run away from her blackness, seemingly hoping that no one acknowledges her beautiful brown skin and the history written all over her face.”

Why is Raven-Symoné’s refusal to use the African-American label equivalent to turning her back on her race? As if a label is anything but a form of categorization. Raven herself said this about her initial discovery of her sexuality: “I don’t need a categorizing statement for this.” From reading the Twitter feeds, very few people are getting up-in-arms about her unwillingness to check the “gay” sexuality box, but plenty of people are highly upset at her unwillingness to check the “African-American” box, and are inferring all types of negative baggage from it.
Back in 1997, Tiger Woods, another supposed “Black” role model (he didn’t volunteer for the role) that the Blacksphere embraced as one of their own (also something he didn’t seek out), pretty much said a similar thing. When Oprah ruled the airwaves on network television, he said in an interview on her ABC show, “Growing up, I came up with this name: I’m a `Cablinasian’. He felt the name best captures his racial makeup: a blend of Caucasian, black, Indian and Asian. Black people got up in arms and called him a denier, a self-hater, and a sell out too.
Dr. Martin Luther King said “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” From the N-word, to Colored, to Negro, to Afro-American, to Black, to African-American, the label has been molded to reflect the times and the generation; and each generation has a right to say that the label no longer fits, or that it does not adequately define me.
It is refreshing that Raven-Symoné wishes to lead, and I applaud her right to do so.
I totally agree. I hope someday, as Martin Luther King once said, people will be judged solely on the content of their character and not the color of their skin. And I might add, not by a ‘hyphen’.

October 11, 2014

MURRAN Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 11:46 AM

Very good meeting yesterday with my publicist. Shared the conf call results we had with her partner. He’s the production person in charge of video productions and has a lot of contacts in and out of the industry they have used for authors before. Now that we have a release date for MURRAN – December 3rd – we can now put together the blog tour and frame a series of ‘hooks’ or ‘elevator pitches’ for MURRAN. After that, they will video an interview for me that we can use for promotion. We have three of four that we are constructing.
So…we are on our way!

October 9, 2014

MURRAN Release Date – October 3rd

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 10:23 AM

Had a very productive meeting with my publicist and publisher yesterday. My publicist and I were greatly impressed with the hands on approach and promotion resources that my publisher is going to give MURRAN. I’m confident that if we all do what we promised, MURRAN should get the successful launch that it deserves. BTW: MURRAN will be released on December 3rd. Whoopee!

September 26, 2014

Found a Publicist

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 10:16 AM

Oscar Wilde is famous for saying, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”

Because of the controversial nature of MURRAN, it will need to be talked about to become a best seller. So I’m going to need an experienced publicist. I believe I found one who can not only work with me, but also my publisher, to dovetail their efforts together.

The bottom line for a publicist is INFLUENCE.

In order to gain wide exposure for a book, one needs a publicist that has personal contact with influences – that is, one that can influence the influences. Press releases, creating marketing materials, designing web sites, etc are important for publicity but to be really influential in getting wide book exposure, a publicist must have expertise in three areas – social media, media like blogs and print, and local and national TV.

DM Productions seems to have these areas of expertise and they plan to use them in cooperation with my publisher to give MURRAN the widest possible exposure.

We’ll soon find out if I made the right choice.

Finding the Watering Holes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 10:15 AM

On one of my vacations in Africa, I came up with a marketing term that I use quite frequently.

Water Hole Marketing.

The concept is not new. It’s basically finding places where your market goes for water like the animals in Africa. In other words, it’s places online and offline where your potential readers can be found.

But that’s not all.

These ‘watering holes’ are managed. The task is to get these watering hole owners – who already have the credibility of their visitors – to like your book and influence their visitors to buy it.

Watering holes can be blogs, newspaper columns, magazines or TV shows to name a few.

So how to find and influence these watering holes? That’s JOB ONE of a good publicist. How well connected they are PESONNALY with the influencers will go a long way in the success of promoting your book.

Some Funny Quotes and Anecdotes about Writing and Writers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 10:13 AM

“The first thing a writer has to do is find a new source of income.” – Ellen Gilchrist

“First coffee, then a bowel movement, then the muse joins me.” – Gore Vidal

“I get up in the morning, torture a typewriter until it screams, then stop.” – Clarence Budington Kelland

“A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God.” – Sidney Sheldon

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” – E.L. Doctorow

“It’s not plagiarism – I’m recycling words, as any good environmentally conscious writer would do.” – Uniek Swain

“A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell the other one.” – Baltasar Gracián

“It’s a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.” – Andrew Jackson

“I get up and sit down at my computer with a cup of strong coffee… I then begin to type, inspired by the thought of how the hell I’m going to pay the mortgage.” – Iain Pattinson

“This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” – Dorothy Parker

“His books are going like wildfire – everybody is burning them.” – George de Witt

“Whenever I am asked what kind of writing is the most lucrative, I have to say, a ransom note.” – H. N. Swanson

September 4, 2014

MURRAN – A Positive Role for Teen Boys

Filed under: MURRAN — Frank Fiore @ 7:01 AM

Saw an interview by a writer or publisher the other day. Can’t remember which.

At any rate, she was talking about the latest trend in fiction – the female warrior.

Books and movies adapted from them project new role models for young teens. Positive role models of challenges faced and then overcome that force the young female to overcome adversity and projects a ‘warrior’ behavior that is positive and leads to self-development.

Three books mentioned as examples of this new trend were the Twilight series, Divergent and the Hunger Games.

What about teen boys? What role models are presented to them for warrior emulation?

Teen boys have two choices. Either violent video games where warriors commit murder, mayhem or worse – or the opposite. The diary of a Whimpy Kid.

Neither one is a positive approach to living the life of a warrior and the challenges of life. The current video games that entertain teen boys show unbridled violence as the answer to adversity. Warriors in a negative light instead of a positive one.

I wrote MURRAN to show teen boys a way to live as a warrior. A warrior that practices the positive growth development that all teen boys need and is so lacking in today’s entertainment venues.

Perhaps, if MURRAN catches on, it will start a trend.

More Writing Quotes

Filed under: On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 7:00 AM

“It’s a damn good story. If you have any comments write them on the back of a check.” – Erle Stanley Gardner, American Lawyer and Author of Detective Stories

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.”  – Isaac Asimov, American Science-Fiction Author

And finally, here’s a quote that all real writers will understand:

“What no wife (or husband) of a writer understands is that a writer is working when staring out the window.”  – Burt Rascoe, American journalist, editor and literary critic of the New York Herald Tribune.

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