John Howard Reid's Blog: Reid's Write News

September 14, 2011

So how do you think up catchy titles and interesting character names? I'll let you in on a secret. This is what I use: "Hollywood Classics Title Index".

You can buy the book at Amazon Kindle or NOOK at Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, etc.

For only $0.99, this book will provide you not only with hundreds of really stimulating titles but fascinating names as well.

Movie titles and names are designed to catch attention. Of course, it's not a good idea to employ a recent title, but in this book you'll find thousands of titles, listed with years, going back to 1920. Of course, you don't have to copy them exactly. You can make slight changes and use them as a springboard.

You can also see at a glance which words are catchy and which are not. For example, only one movie among the thousands of titles listed begins with the word, "Kind". On the other hand, three titles begin with "Key", nine with "Kid" and no less than thirteen with "King".

But that's not all! You can also scan the names of the actors and the characters they portray. For instance, here's a 1932 movie, "Red Dust", in which Jean Harlow plays a character called "Vantine". Now that's certainly an unusual but catchy name. You could use it as a first name: "Vantine Edwards"; or as a surname: "Joan Vantine".

Hollywood Classics: Title Index to All Movies Reviewed in Books 1-24
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Published on September 14, 2011 22:03 • 744 views • Tags: article, articles, book, books, character, characters, name, names, novel, novels, short, stories, story

September 2, 2011

Most writers realize the importance of titles and opening lines for poems and stories. Names also need attention. They can make or break your entry.

So how do you think up catchy titles and interesting names? I'll let you in on a secret. This is what I use: Hollywood Classics Title Index. (I assume the link will take you to Amazon, but if you wish to save money, what you actually want is Amazon Kindle. You will need to select Kindle Store and type the name in manually. If you prefer NOOK, you can search the title at Barnes & Noble).

For $0.99, this book will provide you not only with hundreds of fascinating titles but names as well. Movie titles are designed to catch attention. Of course, it's not a good idea to use a recent title, but in this book you'll find titles, listed with years, going back to 1920. And of course you don't have to use them exactly. You can use them as a springboard. For example, here's a movie, "Paris Does Strange Things (1956)". You could title your entry, "New York Does Strange Things" or "Chicago..." or "Montreal", etc., etc.

For names, you can pick a random page and scan the names of the actors and the characters they portray. For instance, here's a 1937 movie, "Juggernaut", and an actor called "Morton Selten" and another player named "Gibb McLaughlin". You can transpose these into "Morton McLaughlin" and "Gibb Selten".

Hollywood Classics: Title Index to All Movies Reviewed in Books 1-24
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Published on September 02, 2011 23:55 • 96 views • Tags: appealing, authors, evocative, exciting, eye-catching, fascinating, innovative, names, poems, publish, publishing, stirring, stories, titles, writers, writing

August 30, 2011

HOLLYWOOD MOVIE MUSICALS

Today, I'm currently holding down positions 4, 5, 7, and 9 in the Movies & Video Guides & Reviews category at Amazon's Kindle store.

My lead book is "Hollywood Movie Musicals". That is a nice surprise. I love musicals, and this is one of my favorite books, but it was published back in 2006 and has never previously figured in any bestselling lists at all.

Fortunately, "Hollywood Movie Musicals" has not dated in any way. I'm thrilled to see it has finally surged to near the top!

Other books on today's Amazon Kindle bestselling list are "CinemaScope Two: 20th Century Fox" (number 5), "Science Fiction & Fantasy Cinema" (number 7), and "Hollywood 'B' Movies" (number 9).
HOLLYWOOD MOVIE MUSICALS by John Howard Reid
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Published on August 30, 2011 00:14 • 112 views • Tags: amazon, bestselling, books, guides, hollywood, howard, john, kindle, movie, movies, musicals, reid, reviews, top

August 21, 2011

Today, I'm currently holding down positions 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17 in the Movies & Video Guides & Reviews category at Amazon's Kindle store.

Eleven of the first twenty positions must be something of a record in Kindle sales in any category! I'd be pleased to hear from any authors who can equal or better that score.

My lead book is "New Light on Movie Bests". That is something of a surprise. True, it's one of my favorite books, but it was published way back in 2004 and has never previously figured in any bestselling lists at all.

Fortunately, "New Light on Movie Bests" has not dated in any way. I'm thrilled to see it has finally surged to the top!

New Light on Movie Bests (Hollywood Classics) by John Howard Reid
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Published on August 21, 2011 23:29 • 108 views • Tags: best, bests, classic, classics, films, hollywood, howard, john, light, movie, movies, new, pictures, reid, vintage

August 19, 2011

The following review by editor, Ross Adams, appeared in the August 2011 issue of "Dress Circle - Movie Enthusiasts & Collectors Magazine": John Howard Reid's "CinemaScope Four" book captures the essence of MGM's great and not so great CinemaScope movies of the 1950s and 60's. In the days of the great Hollywood studios, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (usually abbreviated to MGM) attracted millions of followers for its movies, many of which were glossy, extravagant productions with top-line stars. Films like Brigadoon, Ben Hur, Rose Marie, Bhowani Junction, Designing Woman, Gigi, The Swan, Raintree County, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Guys and Dolls, The Prodigal, Silk Stockings, The Reluctant Debutante, Viva Las Vegas, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Far From the Madding Crowd, Cimarron, Bells Are Ringing, Bad Day at Black Rock, The Swan, and Les Girls - to name but a few of the films exhaustively covered in this book. In all, 114 movies are reviewed in JHR's standard format of complete cast and production staff credits, plus release dates, a story synopsis, current DVD availability, and JHR's own comments. Some movies have additional background information and award details as well. My only complaint is that there are not as many reproductions of lobby cards and posters in this particular book as is the case in most of JHR's other movie titles.
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Published on August 19, 2011 01:58 • 280 views • Tags: cinema-scope-john, cinemascope, films, goldwyn, howard, m-g-m, mayer, metro, mgm, movies, reid, screen

February 9, 2011

Write Ways to WIN WRITING CONTESTS: How To Join the Winners' Circle for Prose and Poetry Awards, NEW EXPANDED EDITION, The good news is that you can now buy this book on Kindle for only $2.99. Amazon have also reduced the price of the regular edition.

The answer to my question is "yes", provided you take a few steps to choose your contest carefully. For example, if it's a prose contest, it's a waste of time and money sending the greatest baseball story ever written to a group of judges who wouldn't know Babe Ruth from King Kong!

And the finest Nature poem in the world would not appeal to a judge who is only interested in "themes relating to sickness and death", as one recently admitted.

To save yourself time and money, you need to find these things out before you enter a contest. How? One way is to take a look at the past winning entries. They're usually published on the contest's website.
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Published on February 09, 2011 21:57 • 182 views • Tags: competitions, contests, judges, poetry, prizes, prose, short, stories, writing

December 14, 2010

Translating Poetry: Literal versus Poetic Approaches

Would you enjoy a literal version of a famous foreign poem?

Maybe I'm wrong, but in my opinion few English readers would prefer to read a literal version of a foreign-language poem. I'm sure just about every true poetry lover would find a literal version vastly disappointing. Not only disappointing, but a cause for wonderment! Why was the original poet so acclaimed from Montevideo to Madrid? What was all the fuss about?

Take Rosalía de Castro (1837-1885), for instance. Widely acclaimed as the greatest of all Spain's female poets, Rosalía (she is widely known in Spain simply by her Christian name) has not been particularly well-treated in previous English translations.

Let's first examine a literal translation of the first stanza of one of her most famous poems, "Candente está la atmósfera."

Incandescent is the atmosphere;
explores the fox the deserted road;
insalubrious itself turns
of the limpid stream the water crystalline,
and the pine stands guard unmoving
the kisses inconstant of the breeze.

Now the above is an accurate-as-I-can-make-it, word-for-word translation. And I'm sure you'll agree that, although it appears to hold out some promise, in the end it approaches the realm of nonsense.

So the first and foremost duty of the translator, I submit, is to turn into poetic gold what seems to be dross in a word-for-word version – and in the process do as little damage to the original as possible!

Here is my translation, taken from my book, A Salute to Spanish Poetry: 100 Masterpieces from Spain & Latin America rendered into English verse:

The Air Itself Is Burning

The air itself is burning with heat;
a fox explores the deserted byways;
the once clear and crystalline waters
of the river, turn limpid and stagnant;
and pine trees wait with bated breath
for the inconstant kisses of the breeze.

Which version do you prefer? Have I done justice to Rosalía or have I not? Perhaps I've overstepped the mark and made my translation too poetic? Have I correctly understood all that the poet implied in her Spanish? Or have I put words and meaning into her writing that she didn't intend to convey?

More information:
http://johnreid.exactpages.com
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Published on December 14, 2010 01:48 • 124 views • Tags: air, burning, poems, poetry, rosalia, spanish, translation

November 11, 2010

Anyone For Love?

Whatever happened to Romance?
You remember Romance—Romance with that Romanesque glance,
that hungry thirst for tulip-tossed words in time and season,
those whispered endearments in boundless variations of radiance,
rhyme, rhythm and reason.

What unhappy critic would seek to refute
Love’s hackneyed expressions of enslavement?
What misogynist would spurn his lover’s argument,
her surrender to a spell of all that is both clichéd and cute?

Have your ears echoed those forever seasonal phrases, those great
repetitive keys to the unlocking of heaven’s gate?
Those simple, innate
words: “I love you.
And only you.
You alone.
My own.”

my link text
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Published on November 11, 2010 01:00 • 134 views • Tags: amazon, anthology, anyone, collection, first, howard, john, kindle, love, one, poetry, reid

October 30, 2010

Leading off with "Movies Magnificent: 150 Must-See Cinema Classics", I have no less than six bestsellers in the top 18 of Kindle's Movies & Video Guides & Reviews today. In other words, one of every 3 books in the top 18 bestsellers in this category is one I authored.

I must admit I'm a little surprised "Movies Magnificent: 150 Must-See Cinema Classics" is so popular.

There are other books on this topic. And actually only 110 movies of the 150 could be classed as ABSOLUTELY MUST-SEE. Almost all of these 110 are famous films like "Citizen Kane" and "Dinner at Eight"; or movies that won numerous awards such as "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and "Going My Way".

The other 40 movies are really personal recommendations that many other critics like Leonard Maltin and Roger Ebert, for instance, would possibly not share. For example, "A Millionaire for Christy" starring Eleanor Parker; "Strange Boarders" with Googie Withers; and "Upperworld". That last film ranks as a must-see for me because it features Ginger Rogers in one of her very best roles.

Admittedly, any movie with Ginger Rogers is a must-see as far as I'm concerned, but "Upperworld" is most definitely one of Ginger's greatest triumphs.
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Published on October 30, 2010 22:31 • 117 views • Tags: amazon, bestsellers, books, guides, kindle, movie, movies, reference, video

October 3, 2010

In fact, I'm holding down both the number one and number two Bestselling positions in Movies and Video Reference Books at Amazon's Kindle store today.

I'm also holding positions 15 and 17.

For some reason, my movie books always surge to the front (or pretty close to the front) on Saturdays!

I suppose Saturday is a good day to start thinking about movies. But there are lots of other books on movie and video entertainment out there, so it's good to know buyers at Amazon are obviously far more discriminating.

The current bestsellers in Movie and Video Reference are:

First position: Movies Magnificent: 150 Must-See Cinema Classics.

Second Position: These Movies Won No Hollywood Awards: A Film-Lover's Guide to the Best of the Rest.

15th Position: Mystery, Suspense, Film Noir and Detective Movies on DVD: A Guide to the Best in Cinema Thrills

17th Position: Best Western Movies: Winning Pictures, Favorite Films and Hollywood 'B' Entries.

Movies Magnificent 150 Must-See Cinema Classics (Hollywood Classics) by John Howard Reid
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Published on October 03, 2010 00:39 • 115 views • Tags: awards, best, cinema, classics, favorite, films, hollywood, movies, vintage, winning

Reid's Write News

John Howard Reid
I have written widely in many fields, except, oddly enough, that in which I started. I was 18 years old when I enjoyed my first success as a playwright. But then I moved into movie reviewing. Indeed, ...more
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