Friday, June 30, 2017

Author Spotlight Featuring Angela Sylvaine

Today I'm so happy to feature Angela Sylvaine. I've known Angie for a long time, 
in fact, I used to work with her.  
And I was lucky enough to read some of her early work and was blown away.  

Thanks for having me as a guest, L.A.! I love all things spooky and was inspired to write The Bride when I learned of a haunted wedding dress on display at the Baker Mansion in Pennsylvania. Legend has it that the owner’s daughter fell in love with a man beneath her class and was forbidden to marry. She later died having never married and is said to haunt the wedding dress she didn’t have the chance to wear. 

My story is about what happens when the dress falls into the hands of Rose, a young bride-to-be preparing to marry her true love. If you enjoy a good old-fashioned ghost story, this one is for you, unless you’re a bride-to-be. You might want to wait until after the nuptials to dive into this one;)

Supernatural Horror Short Stories- This latest title crawls with the dark fingers of terror, the chilling sensation of another presence sitting alongside you while you read the tales of horror laid out before you. Contains a fabulous mix of classic and brand new writing, with authors from the US, Canada, and the UK.

Excerpt from The Bride:
I close my eyes and imagine myself as a bride, my auburn hair piled on my head, curls spilling down my neck and tumbling over my shoulders. The Victorian style gown of delicate golden lace and fine beading shimmers under the lights. The boned corset nips in at the waist, giving way to a full skirt that bursts over my hips and flows to the floor.
The vision fades and I sag against the wall, gasping for breath. The sweet taste of cake and pleasant sting of champagne bubbles lingers on my tongue.
“Rose, you’re losing it,” I say to no one in particular. I’ve finally cracked. My pre-wedding jitters are morphing into full blown psychosis.  
I lift the dress from its hook to check under each arm and inside the neckline for a price tag. My wallet holds fifty bucks cash and my bank account a measly two hundred, even with all the extra shifts I’ve been picking up at the restaurant. I clutch the dress to my chest and rush toward the front of the store.
A stick of an old man in a flannel shirt, unnecessary suspenders attached to his polyester pants, sits behind the counter. He runs a finger down the page of a ledger book, a pair of spectacles perched on his nose.
“Hello, sir? This doesn’t have a price tag.” I cringe at the frantic wobble in my voice.
He grunts and reaches toward me. I release my hold on the gown, letting him pull it across the counter. His hand shakes with tremors as he sweeps the dress for a tag.
“I already checked.” I rub my damp hands down the front of my jeans.
“Where’d ya get it?” he asks.
“Sorry?” Has the old guy gone senile and forgotten this is a store?
He glares at me over his glasses with eyes milky from cataracts. “Which stall?”
“Oh, right.” I point toward the back of the store. “The one with the dolls.”
“Widow Montgomery never was able to have kids of her own.” He tugs the ledger out from under the dress to flip through the pages. The binding of the book creaks with each movement and the musty smell of old paper tickles my nose. “Collected those damn dolls until they took her off to the home.”
I reach out, ready to yank the book from his hands and find the darn page myself, but stop myself. What in world has come over me? I paste on a smile.
He stops flipping and runs his finger down the page. “Nothin’ here.” His lips pull down at the corners, taking the rest of his face with them.
“Maybe it got moved from another stall.” I stand on my toes, craning my neck to see the ledger. “Could you please look in the other ones, sir?”
             “I don’t remember no dress, and I know this place inside and out.” He slams the book closed, releasing a puff of dust into the air.


Angela Sylvaine still believes in monsters, both real and imagined, and always checks under the bed. She holds degrees in psychology and philosophy. Her work has appeared in Every Day Fiction and Supernatural Horror Short Stories (Gothic Fantasy Series), and will be published upcoming in Disturbed Digest and My American Nightmare. North Dakotan by birth and Coloradoan by choice, she lives with her husband and three creepy cats on the front range of the Rockies. 

Find Angela:

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Screenwriter Robert Gosnell ~ Understanding The Word "No"

Understanding the Word "No"

We all encounter it throughout our careers, and either accept it and keep going or give into it and quit. Simply the fear of rejection is enough to stall, or even prevent a promising writing career.

I have submitted dozens of screenplays and TV scripts to potential producers, film companies and investors over the years. Enough of them hit home to provide me with a career, but they only represent a fraction of my submissions. The vast majority were rejected, and some quite callously.

It's never personal, of course. At least, that's what they tell us, and maybe they actually mean it, but for us, the writers, it's never not personal.

In virtually all of my rejected screenplay submissions, the response went something like this: My agent would call and say, "They liked the writing, but it's not what they're looking for."

That isn't exactly brutal. In fact, it's pretty diplomatic, which may be why so many of them used it. 

"It isn't you, it's us."

First off, they always tell writers that they liked the writing. Maybe, they did, or maybe they didn't, but I've never not been given that note.

"It's not what they're looking for" holds a lot more water. Honestly, that is the most likely scenario.

Perhaps, they determined the budget to be too high and passed on it for economic reasons. Maybe, they're looking for a vehicle for a particular star, and my lead character didn't fit. Maybe, they already have something similar in the pipeline. It's also quite possible that it just isn't something they want to do.

Like every business, a production company sets goals for itself. They have a clear business plan, and it's easy to not fit into it.

The fact is, success relies on getting the right script in front of the right person at the right time. I'm asking them to pay me thousands of dollars to spend millions of dollars and a great deal of time and energy producing my screenplay. It demands a perfect storm of opportunity which is fragile and rare.

That's the good news. It really isn't personal. There are many reasons for rejecting a screenplay that have nothing to do with me. So, I reject the rejection and keep going. Breathe in, breathe out, move on.

And, why not? After all, they liked the writing.


"The Blue Collar Screenwriter and The Elements of Screenplay" is currently available at:
Amazon digital and paperback
Find Robert at:
Website (with information on classes)

A  professional screenwriter for more than thirty years,  Robert Gosnell has produced credits in feature films, network television, syndicated television, basic cable and pay cable, and is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West and the Writers Guild of Canada.

Robert began his career writing situation comedy as a staff writer for the ABC series Baby Makes Five.  As a freelance writer, he wrote episodes for Too Close for Comfort and the TBS comedies Safe at Home andRocky Road.  In cable, he has scripted numerous projects for the Disney Channel, including Just Perfect, a Disney Channel movie featuring  Jennie Garth. In 1998, he wrote the  Showtime original movie, Escape from Wildcat Canyon, which starred Dennis Weaver and won the national "Parents Choice Award." Robert's feature credits include the Chuck Norris/Louis Gosset Jr. film Firewalker, an uncredited rewrite on the motion picture Number One With A Bullet starring Robert Carradine and Billy Dee Williams, and the sale of his original screenplay Kick And Kick Back to Cannon Films. Robert was also selected as a judge for the 1990 Cable Ace Awards, in the Comedy Special category.

In 1990, Robert left Hollywood for Denver, where he became active in the local independent film community. His screenplay Tiger Street was produced by the Pagoda Group of Denver and premiered on Showtime Extreme in August of 2003. In 1999, Denver’s Inferno Films produced the action film Dragon and the Hawk from his script. In 2001, Robert co-wrote the screenplay for the independent feature Siren for Las Vegas company Stage Left Productions. His feature script Juncture was produced by Front Range Films in March of 2006. 

Robert  is a principal member of the Denver production company "Conspiracy Films." He is frequently an invited speaker for local writers organizations,  served on the faculty of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference in 2002, and in 2007 was chosen to participate as a panelist for the Aspen Film Festival Short Screenplay Contest. Robert regularly presents his screenwriting class "The Elements of Screenplay," along with advanced classes and workshops, in the Denver area.