Frank Fiore – Novelist & Screenwriter

January 19, 2015

Latest 5 Star Review of my New Novel MURRAN

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 10:26 AM
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Murran is the story of fifteen year-old Trey Davis in the 1980s. He and his teenaged sister move to Brooklyn to live with their stern grandmother after their father is murdered and their mother, a drug abuser, is largely absent. Vulnerable, with no stability or mentor, Trey desperately seeks respect and a sense of belonging from being valued. But his morals have been compromised by a lack of guidance.

Years earlier, Trey’s father had shared a picture of a Massai warrior that captivated Trey’s interest. Seeking approval from his new friends in Brooklyn, Trey joins a street gang called the Warriors. Caught in a life of crime, Trey is in a downward spiral. His judgment is poor and mistakes follow.

After he receives bad grades, Trey’s grandmother forces him into tutoring with one of his teachers, Mr. Jackson. Jackson, who grew up as part of the Massai tribe in Africa, shows Trey a picture of a Massai warrior just as his father had done years earlier. Trey is fascinated. To escape the fear of going to juvenile prison, Trey agrees to go with Jackson to his tribe in Africa. The night he is to leave, Trey is involved in a gang shootout and framed for murder. He goes to Africa to escape justice.

With the Massai tribe in Kenya, Trey learns another kind of fear. Each day carries the chance of being attacked by a wild animals or other tribes; or to die of thirst from drought. Trey also learns the real meaning of trust, responsibility and ethical behavior. He falls in love, learns to be a constructive member of the tribe and to accept accountability for his actions. After killing a lion in self-defense, Trey becomes a Murran – a warrior and member of the Massai.

From the dark, grimy delinquency of Brooklyn to the hot grasslands of the African savannah, Fiore’s exhilarating story and unforgettable characters sweep the reader onward. Trey must grow up very fast with the Massai and Fiore shows his reader how important responsibility is to any mature person. The bond of obligation to the welfare of others marks the quality of the true Murran.

Author Frank Fiore delivers rich characters, well-researched events, convincing dialog and haunting narrative. Trey’s life and death struggles are captivating; well-supported with plot and tempo. The story is energetic and it flows smoothly with clever use of tension and release. The spellbinding scenes are colorful and memorable. The book is well-edited and is certainly suitable for all adult and young adult readers.

Reviewer Charles Weinblatt was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1952. He is a retired university administrator. Mr. Weinblatt is the author of published fiction and nonfiction. His biography appears in the Marquis Who’s Who in America and Wikipedia. He is a reviewer for The New York Journal of Books.

January 17, 2015

“Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 9:27 AM

When I read that quote by famous author Willa Cather I wondered if it were true. Then I thought back over my writing experience and realized – she just might be right.

Now, she said ‘acquired material’ and not ‘how to write’ by that age. That comes later as one hones his or her craft. ‘Material’ in the sense of not only genre or subject matter but also one’s experiences as a child and adolescence.

I was born into the Cold War and the ever-present threat of devastating nuclear war. So, it was no surprise that the first story I ever wrote while in elementary school was about a small tin truck owned by a little boy and given to the tin drive in World War Two. That little truck was melted down into a series of weapons – rifles, mortars, and artillery pieces – and finally wound up in the Enola Gay – the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan. When I handed in my little story assignment entitled “I Made History”, my teacher gave me a very odd look.

I’ve been getting that same odd look for my writing ever since.

This was followed in high school by an uncompleted story of Russians invading New York and high school students fighting them off. The theme was very similar to the movie Red Dawn that came out many years later. If I knew of the WGA back then I would have registered the idea and probably made a lot of money.

Let that be a lesson to all you writers. Register your ideas!

I didn’t write again until after the service and was in college. This was a completed SyFy novel in the vein of the Golden Age of Science Fiction Writers. It had an alienation theme where I tapped my earlier years growing up as a nerdy kid.

So, I guess Willa had some pretty good insight.

You go girl!

January 13, 2015

The Message of MURRAN to Black Leadership

Filed under: MURRAN — Frank Fiore @ 8:59 AM
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Our young teens are at risk – and it will get a lot worse if we don’t recognize the underlining problem.

The path from boys to men is littered with ruined lives of young teens – black teens being hit the most. Young Blacks attracted to gangs as a substitute for being a man or teens scoring high in ‘Grand Theft Auto’ are NOT rites of passage to manhood.

Compounding the problem for Black teens is the lack of Black leadership from the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson who see Selma in everything from books to restaurant menus and would rather blame the problems of Black youth on racism instead of the core problem and the core values needed by today’s youth.

In MURRAN, Trey – a young Black teen – after being framed for the murder of a gang leader – flees to Africa with his schoolteacher who happens to be a Maasai warrior – a Murran. Though initially repulsed by the Maasai customs, Trey slowly comes to value their traditions and morals. As he goes through the Maasai warriors’ rite of passage becoming one of their own, he learns what Black African culture is truly about. Only after confronting lions, disapproving Maasai elders, and his own fears does Trey begin to understand that men are made and not born.

He also learns the true meaning of a warrior and the core values that the Maasai hold. The 3Rs – Respect, Responsibility, and the celebration of Ritual.

  • Respect for oneself and others in their community.
  • Taking responsibility for one’s actions and responsibility for their community.
  • And the celebration of their ritual.

There’s an African proverb that goes: “If you don’t initiate the young, they will burn down the village to feel the heat”. How appropriate for today’s news re: Ferguson.

Today’s society fails our youth by not providing a proper rite of passage from boys to men.

“We tend to think in this society when a male reaches 18 or 21, graduates high school or college, has that first drink or sexual experience, drives a car or joins the army, or worse, robs or steals, rapes a woman or takes a daredevil risk, beats up a “sissy” or shoots someone, that he is now miraculously a man.  These and related notions are some of the most pernicious yet commonplace in our society today.  The repercussions of this ignorance could not be more far reaching.  They are everywhere to behold. 

We live in an age where suspended adolescence seems to be the norm for all too many men. Indigenous cultures knew better.  For them there was no such thing as adolescence.  You were either a child or an adult.  To mark that threshold, to perform and accomplish that transformation, was a function of the village itself.  It was a cultural obligation. Biology alone would not do it.  Village elders, both men and women, accepted the responsibility their ancestors entrusted them with.”

We must properly initiate the young.

Sharpton, Jackson, Rangel and all the other self-appointed Black leaders in this country who promote an agenda of racial hate and irresponsible behavior are doing a great disservice to Black youth by not facing the core problem– the need for a rite of passage – and instilling a set of core values – the 3Rs.

January 10, 2015

Narrative vs Dialogue When Writing Stories

Filed under: Frank Remarks,On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 10:56 AM
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Writing a compelling novel is very like writing a screenplay. I’ve found that many of the rules of one apply to the other.

One of the biggest rule of writing is to ‘show not tell’. So, what does that mean and how does it apply to both novels and screenplays?

First, you need to know the difference between TELLING and SHOWING. Telling is abstract, passive and less involving of the reader. It slows down your pacing, takes away your action and pulls your reader out of your story.

Showing, however, is active and concrete; creating mental images that brings your story — and your characters — to life. When you hear about writing that is vivid, evocative and strong, chances are there’s plenty of showing in it. Showing is interactive and encourages the reader to participate in the reading experience by drawing her own conclusions.

So, why is showing so important to screenplays? 90% of a screenplay is ‘showing’ – that is, dialogue. There is very little narrative in a screenplay. Very little telling. You have to tell through dialogue.

Keeping this rule of screenwriting in mind would greatly improve the telling of your story in a novel.

Here’s an example from a brief part of a recent chapter I am writing – or scenes I call them – from IJIN. Keeping the rule of ‘show not tell’ in mind, I began by laying out what had to be explained in narrative form.

The two boys gave each other a look of concern. What had they done? Wild speculation crossed their minds. After all, it took little those days to bring suspicion from the Tokkō thought police and wrath of the Kempeitai upon you.

They both heard of the student that wrote ‘I hate the Military’ on the wall of public toilet and was investigated by the Tokkō and severely punished. Or the person that defaced an Imperial note by writing over the Emperor’s face ‘No more war’ and promptly arrested.

When they arrived at the principal’s office, the two boys were quickly taken into separate rooms. Kenji was forced to sit across a desk in front of two Kempeitai – one a non-commissioned officer and the other a Major.

Now, here is how I rewrote it ‘showing’ the scene not ‘telling it’.

As soon as the two boys approached their classroom, the stern Army Captain that was assigned to their school, approached them. “You two! Report to the principals office,” he barked. “Now!”

The two boys gave each other a look of concern. What had they done? Wild speculation crossed their minds. After all, it took little those days to bring suspicion from the Tokkō thought police and wrath of the Kempeitai upon you.

“Maybe it was something we said – or did,” Black Patch feared. His mind went wild. “Did you write ‘I hate the Military’ on the wall our school toilet like that boy did last month?” He nodded his head. “He and his family were investigated by the Tokkō and severely punished.”

Kenji shook his head and said, knowing Black Patch’s proclivities, “Do you think they found the Imperil note you wrote on defacing the Emperor’s face?”

That sent a shiver down Black Patch’s spine.

When they arrived at the principal’s office, the two boys were quickly taken into separate rooms. Kenji was forced to sit across a desk in front of two Kempeitai – one a non-commissioned officer and the other a Major.

Note the transposition of the narrative into dialogue between the two boys. And the use of dialogue helps you follow another important rule of writing – and you can see this used time and time again in movies – create friction, tension or conflict in a scene.

By changing the narrative of people arrested to a dialogue, the fearful words between the two students created tension. This makes the scene more interesting.

Keep the rules of screenwriting in mind when writing your novel and you’ll tell a more interesting story.

January 3, 2015

N-Word Or No N-Word? That is the Question

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

Several years ago, I substitute taught in a high school that was in a prominently black neighborhood. The English class to teach that day happened to be a reading and discussion Of Mice and Men. As you may know, the ethnic slur of the ‘N’ word was used in the story. Reading the passage that the class had to discuss made me, being white, very uncomfortable at first, but after seeing the reaction from the class of mainly black students, I realized it was no big thing to them being it was part of the story. They were mature enough to realize that it was the story and not I reciting the word. But there are many incidents in school libraries and classroom where attempts at banning the ‘N’ word is being tried. Bowing to political correctness is threatening the original message of the Literature. Case in point.

By now, most people have heard about the new edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn being released next month. In it, the n-word has been slashed 219 times and replaced by “slave.” Discussions over this edition have been loud, particularly in literary and education circles. Erasing the n-word would, theoretically, free teachers to teach Huck Finn again. After all, year after year, the novel appears on the American Library Association’s list of most frequently challenged or banned books.

But students seem to understand better than the censors the need to keep in tact the original meaning of a great piece of literature like Huckleberry Finn, Of Mice and Men, and To Kill a Mockingbird. In the article, N-Word Or No N-Word? That is the Question, students are asked if they should read those books as is – or have the ‘N’ word cleansed like in the new version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Their response was absolutely “No.” They understood the danger in fiddling with history. One student put it this way.

“…the n-word being replaced with slave, slave being replaced with servant, servant being replaced with assistant, assistant being replaced with secretary, and, before you know it, there were no slaves.”

Another said:

“Tainting Mark Twain’s words would increasingly soften and lighten the load that he is placing on our shoulders, until the shadow of slavery and the use of the ‘n-word’ is a tall tale.

The issue could be said no better. In my new novel MURRAN, the black street gangs use the ‘N’ word liberally. I wanted my story to be true to form, down and dirty and gritty – just like the streets.

December 29, 2014

Review My New 5 Star Novel MURRAN and Get 5 Star Rated THE ORACLE for FREE!

Filed under: MURRAN — Frank Fiore @ 11:52 AM
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Review my new novel MURRAN is getting rave reviews. And if you buy a copy, I will send you THE ORACLE for your KINDLE – FREE.

  • First, purchase MURRAN.
  • Second, review the book on Amazon.
  • Third, send me an email pointing to your review at frank@frankfiore.com.
  • Fourth, I gift you an eBook copy of THE ORACLE

MURRAN synopsis:

Trey wanted to belong. He wanted respect. He wanted to be a man. With his father dead and his mother a drug addict, Trey and his sister Nichelle are forced to go live with their grandmother in Brooklyn. Surrounded by inner-city crime and conflicting ideologies, Trey seeks security and recognition by becoming a member of a small street crew. When he’s framed for a crime and facing prison, Trey flees to a Maasai village in Kenya with his English teacher and mentor, Mr. Jackson. though initially repulsed by the Maasai customs, Trey slowly comes to value their traditions and morals. As he goes through the Maasai warriors’ rite of passage becoming one of their own, he learns what Black African culture is truly about. Only after confronting lions, disapproving Maasai elders, and his own fears does Trey begin to understand that men are made and not born. Honest and unafraid, Murran is a tale of a young African-American teen coming of age amidst the pitfalls and threats of a 1980s Brooklyn. What he learns along the way could possibly lead his community toward a cultural revival.

ORACLE synopsis:

The ORACLE consists of a series of episodic short stories that combine the likes of Ray Bradbury’s the ILLUSTRATED MAN, Rod Serling’s the TWILIGHT ZONE and the short stories of JEFFREY ARCHER. The ORACLE consists of a series of short stories tied together by means of a background story – a story within a story (similar to Ray Bradbury’s “Illustrated Man”). And like the Jeffrey Archer and Twilight Zone stories, the Oracle short stories are written with surprise endings.

Such a  deal! Two 5 Star rated books for the price of ONE.

December 28, 2014

Strange predictions for the future from 1930

Filed under: Frank Remarks — Frank Fiore @ 10:40 AM
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Well, it’s new years. You know what that means. The scandal sheets lining up their predictions for the future.

But instead of looking towards the future from today, what about seeing what was predicted for today from someone from yesterday. Specifically, someone in 1930.

FE Smith with a terrier dog in the 1920s

Shortly before he died in 1930, former cabinet minister and leading lawyer FE Smith, a friend of Winston Churchill and one of the more outspoken British politicians of his age, wrote a book containing predictions of how the world would look in 100 years’ time. They covered science, lifestyles, politics and war.

So what did he say? How much of what he predicted turned out to be true?

December 25, 2014

Get My New Novel MURRAN for Free + $10.00 !!

Filed under: MURRAN — Frank Fiore @ 11:06 AM
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I’m offering the opportunity to get my new novel MURRAN for FREE – plus and extra $10.00

My new critically acclaimed novel MURRAN has been released. I invite you to consider purchasing it. If you do and if you write a review on Amazon – I’ll send you a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

It’s like getting MURRAN for FREE plus $10.00!!

Here is a synopsis of the story:

Trey wanted to belong. He wanted respect. He wanted to be a man.

With his father dead and his mother a drug addict, Trey and his sister Nichelle are forced to go live with their grandmother in Brooklyn. Surrounded by inner-city crime and conflicting ideologies, Trey seeks security and recognition by becoming a member of a small street crew.

When he’s framed for a crime and facing prison, Trey flees to a Maasai village in Kenya with his English teacher and mentor, Mr. Jackson. Though initially repulsed by the Maasai customs, Trey slowly comes to value their traditions and morals. As he goes through the Maasai warriors’ rite of passage becoming one of their own, he learns what Black African culture is truly about. Only after confronting lions, disapproving Maasai elders, and his own fears does Trey begin to understand that men are made and not born.

Honest and unafraid, Murran is a tale of a young African-American teen coming of age amidst the pitfalls and threats of 1980s Brooklyn. What he learns along the way could possibly lead his community toward a cultural revival.

Please consider purchasing MURRAN and if you write a review and post it on Amazon, I will send you a $25.00 Amazon gift card in consideration of your time.

  • First, purchase MURRAN.
  • Second, review the book on Amazon.
  • Third, send me an email pointing to your review at frank@frankfiore.com.
  • Fourth, I send you an Amazon $25 digital gift card.

You can view the online media kit, sample chapters, and reviews at: http://indigoriverpub.com/mediakit/murran

You can purchase MURRAN on Amazon at: http://tinyurl.com/ppa4g2k

I enjoyed writing MURRAN and I hope you enjoy reading it.

December 24, 2014

Yes, Christopher, there still is a Santa Claus

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 11:50 AM
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The values of Christmas have been handed down by our culture from generation to generation and celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ and the values that he stood for. In it’s more modern form, Christmas is represented by Santa Claus. And as you know, Santa is considered the most beloved person of children all over the world. Many children believe in him. You did too. And I hope you still do. But, as you are about to enter your teen years, Christopher, you probably are having your doubts on whether Santa Clause exists.

There will be a time – soon in fact – when your peers will tell you that belief in such things as Santa Claus is ‘childish’ and not the ‘adult’ thing to do. But little do these ‘realists’ know that adults are merely children who owe money.

So you ask me, “Is there a Santa Claus, Dad?”

And I reply, “Yes, Christopher, there still is a Santa Claus and you need him now more than ever before” – it’s just that he’s harder to find as you grow older.

Santa Claus does exist – as surely as our hopes, our wishes and our dreams exist. He’s the embodiment of the values of family, home and community. Like Christmas Eve itself, he’s magic – not because there’s magic in the world but because children see the world as magic. He’s all that’s good, unselfish and generous in the world, and, in his own way, he is Christmas.

When you were young, you received from Santa the explicit gifts of Christmas – toys, candy, and the obligatory sweater. But you also received the implicit gifts of family, home and love. Will you continue to receive Santa’s gifts? Yes, you will.

But as you grow older, Christopher, you’ll have to work harder to get them. When you were younger, you had to work to be good. As you grow older you’ll have to work to create good. When you were younger, he found you. As you grow older you’ll have to work to find him.

The times we live in suggest logic, cynicism and distrust are the ‘values’ of survival these days and that the intangibles of love, faith and hope are fast disappearing from our communal landscape. But you’ll find that in the final analysis, those abstract intangibles are the only things worth having. But are they real? Ah, Christopher, there is nothing more real and abiding in this world. Hold strong the intangibles. Ignore the skeptics. These intangibles do serve a practical purpose.

How?

Those who no longer wish, no longer dream. And those who lose their dreams lose their hopes. And those who lose hope are easy to control. The freedom to live comes directly from the freedom to dream. And now, just as you have begun to internalize the values of your parents, you’ll have to internalize the values of Christmas. Your journey of self-discovery has just begun and the wonder, awe and magic of life will always be there if you see and not just look, if you feel and not just touch, if you listen and not just hear.

Yes, Christopher, Santa Claus is harder to find when you grow up. But he does exist.

Where, you ask?

As Tinkerbell said to Peter Pan, you’ll find him in between the time you are asleep and the time you are awake – the time when you can still remember your dreams.

December 22, 2014

It’s Come to This – How the Left Stole Christmas

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 6:07 PM
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The Left has finally gone out of its mind. Nothing is sacred to these philistines. Now they are going after children’s belief in Santa Claus and the Virgin Mary.

The Leftist magazine Salon, wishes you a rapey Christmas. What’s that you ask? Well in keeping with their demeaning of women, Salon chose this week to offer two dyspeptic and nonsensical takes on religion, the most outrageous of which argues that one has to support rape in order to be Christian.

That’s correct. God raped the Virgin Mary.

Does Salon go out of its way to promote the scummiest writers they can find? This is Christmas for crying out loud! This is their version of holiday cheer?

But not to be outdone, the elitists at our vaulted universities go one better. Take away Santa Clause from children.

And he isn’t alone in his critiques. Dr. David Kyle Johnson penned a piece in 2012 for Psychology Today titled, “Let’s Bench The Elf on the Shelf,” during which he, too, discussed the potential pitfalls of the children’s tradition.

Johnson, who has also vocally argued against lying about Santa in the past, believes that the “Elf on the Shelf is basically a steroid shot for the Santa Lie.”

“Your children rely on you to give them accurate information about the way the world is, and you should want them to trust and believe what you say,” he wrote. “But finding out that you have been lying to them – and even been playing an elaborate joke on them … has the possibility of significantly eroding their ability to trust you.”

Really!

We used to laugh at and pity characters in movies and books who didn’t believe in Santa and made their children into little Nietzsches. Are Leftist brains that vacant and c rule that would take Santo Claus from children? Is this another form of ridiculous child abuse which the Left is so fond of championing against? Are they so willing to remove the innocent wishes and dreams of childhood.

These Neanderthals should consider this.

Those who no longer wish, no longer dream. And those who lose their dreams lose their hopes. And those who lose hope are easy to control. The freedom to live comes directly from the freedom to dream.

But that’s what the Grinche Left is all about. Restricting ones freedom.

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