Lee Thompson's Blog

January 3, 2017

Dying to Live Poster


I’m a big believer in goals (it’s how I wrote twenty books in the last five years.) Usually I break goals down month-by-month, but at the start of the year I like to do a wide sweep of what I’d like to accomplish creatively.


I also believe that we have to allow for changes as well; things are bound to pop up or come out of left field. But we can learn to be pragmatic, and prioritize our goals by those most important to us.


I think if we let other people know about our goals (or just our biggest one) that it creates accountability, it’s not just a fantasy anymore since we’ve spoken it and someone else is waiting to watch us fail or succeed.


So, here are my goals for 2017.  Some of these are already in the works because I already started them. The nice thing about having a bunch of goals is that if I get tired working on one project, I can easily move to another for a day or two, and maximize my energy and effectiveness.




Write the first draft of my script “ A Beautiful Madness .” I just started this tonight to take a break from all the pre-production work on my short film Dying to Live. This script is based on my novel of the same name (also my first Thriller/Suspense novel).


Enter script writing contests with my five best scripts: Nicholl Fellowship, Austin Film Festival, Script Pipeline, Final Draft Big Break, etc. Throughout the year.
A.) Scarlet Ribbons (TV pilot)

B.) Division (TV pilot)

C.) Earthly Things (Film)

D.) Brick Coffin (Film)

E.) A Beautiful Madness (Film)


Finish proposal for Dying to Live short film to help fund festival entry fees and for editing film.
Secure song rights for short film: by end of March.
Secure Breaking Bad clip for short film: by end of March.
Purchase $1,000,000 liability insurance for short film to protect cast and crew: by end of February.
Make a video trailer for Dying to Live short film: March 2017.
Finalize last two locations for short film: February 2017.
Shoot Dying to Live at Flint Locations: March 2017.
Edit footage from Dying to Live: April 2017.
Enter film festivals for Dying to Live: May 2017.
Enter HBO’s Access Writing Fellowship: Spring 2017.
Enter Disney/ABC Talent Development Fellowship: May 2017.
Write five scripts: Year-long process.
Write one novel: Year-long process.
Promote books I’ve neglected… those poor abandoned babies.
If we make it into any of the film festivals, attend and participate and mingle.
Get more rest.

What are your goals for this year?


1 like ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on January 03, 2017 03:00 • 24 views

December 17, 2016

Dying to Live Poster


It takes strength to put your heart out there, to write a book, or a script. It might not be good but if you care enough, if you want to learn, if you can accept criticism, you can grow and create something that might amaze people or at least entertain them.


I’ll be forty-one in ten days. It’s never too late to start. This is just the beginning for me. I’ll do a few short films, and then dive into making an independent feature film based on my most popular book When We Join Jesus in Hell. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot by then to really knock the feature out of the park.


The script for Dying to Live was based on one of the first short stories I had published (Boys Without Faces). The original version was a true story for the most part, about people I knew, but it’s changed drastically in the rewrite due to Timothy Robertson’s help. We’ve sat down for five hours at a time to run ideas back and forth. It’s been a lot of fun.


At first, the script was just about this teenage girl who lost her innocence in a brutal fashion, and through eleven rewrites it’s become so much more than that (although that is still the heart of it, along with how adults can still lose their innocence too). It’s about loneliness, grief, trying to heal after tragedy strikes two families, and how sometimes our obsessions can destroy us.


I can’t wait until our film goes into production in March. It’ll be roughly twenty minutes packed with content and conflict and subtext.


We have such a great team and great cast. I’ll be sharing about them after New Year’s as well.


If you want to write, if you have a story that’s been on your mind, grant yourself permission to dream big. Surround yourself with people who have joy and talent and enthusiasm. People who can share successes with you. The stronger and more harmonious your team, the better the experience.


Thanks to anyone who spreads the word and points people to our film’s Facebook page.


My process when approaching a new idea is to brainstorm the story in a notepad, and then use 3 x 5 cards to organize my scenes. Amazon Studios Storybuilder has a great online 3 x 5 card system I use. It’s free and you can try it here.


Scriptwriting software:


I use Amazon Studios Storywriter for TV pilots because they have an ‘act start’ and ‘act end’ buttons. It’s also very easy to use, and formats pretty much automatically. You can download your script in PDF. I usually write everything with pen and notepad and then type it into Storywriter, which makes it easy to kind of do a second draft on the fly as I’m typing it.


Good Books on Scriptwriting:


(I haven’t read a ton of books about writing scripts since I prefer to read and study scripts instead, but here are a few of my favorites I’ve read a couple times each this year.)


TV Showrunner’s Roadmap


Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show


John Truby’s The Anatomy of Story


Writing Movies for Fun and Profit


To really get a feel for writing scripts, it helps to read as many great ones as you can. Here are some of my favorite scripts:


Nightcrawler               True Grit


No Country For Old Men                   Collateral


The Incredibles                       Leon: The Professional


Up                                           A History of Violence


Breaking Bad Pilot                 Fargo (Movie script and TV pilot)


 


I’m so glad to have so many people on this journey with me. I’m grateful and hope I can pass on some of the things I’m learning while in the trenches of making my first film. I’ll share more about the process soon!


 


1 like ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 17, 2016 01:41 • 8 views

December 13, 2016

Dying to Live Poster


Some of you know my history of writing novels. I’ve been at it a few years, have gained a few fans. But most didn’t know about the film/TV bug hitting me because it took place so quickly in January of 2016 (and since then I’ve written fourteen scripts). You can thank a thousand great TV shows and movies, and the encouragement of my talented cinematographer friend Richard Vialet for that.


I hate to admit it, (wait, no i don’t) but I love writing for TV and film more than I enjoy writing novels.


But novels taught me a lot about writing for film, and I’ll still write one every now and then.



Over the next couple months I’m going to be sharing what I’ve learned while embarking on this huge (God, you don’t know how huge yet) endeavor of my making my first film, “Dying to Live.”



I’ll cover everything from script, to building your team of cinematographers, grips, gaffers, casting, auditions, applying for permits, budgeting, storyboards, getting liability insurance, dreaming big, facing setbacks and obstacles, seeking sponsors to help fund your project, learning the craft, and so many other points I hope you’ll find interesting and educational.



My goal is to share at least one article per week. Please share them with anyone you believe may be interested in them as well.

You can follow our Facebook page on the film here:

https://www.facebook.com/boyswithoutf...



Planning and shooting a film, even a twenty minute one, is a massive investment of time, and resources.



I’m so glad to have so many people on this journey with me.

Just when you think you’re alone, you learn you’re not.



Lots of love,



Lee


 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 13, 2016 16:21 • 3 views

December 9, 2015

Today we have an interview with author Amy Grech. Enjoy!


Author Amy Grech Rage and Redemption cover


Hi, Amy! Congratulations on your book. Tell us about your latest release, please!


Amy: New Pulp just published my collection of crime stories, Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City! Here’s the publisher’s description: Amy Grech’s stories shock, like a sudden, splash of cold water. This latest collection delivers gritty profiles of people snarled in the crime and seething anger of inner city New York at its most violent. Here you’ll encounter five dark tales: “Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City”, “.38 Special”, “Cold Comfort”, “Prevention”, and “Hoi Polloi Cannoli”. These startling stories will convince you that Grech is noir and horror writer you want to watch.


Lee: What piece of fiction are you most proud of? Why?


Amy: Definitely the lead novella from Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City. It’s my most brutal work to date. It’s set in NYC’s gritty Alphabet City, where a young, aspiring Author, Ruby Fuji meets Dr. Trevor Braeburn, an Eye Doctor looking for a thrill. She invites him up to her apartment, a potent cocktail of overwhelming lust, coupled with lax inhibitions leads to poor judgment on Ruby’s part, with tragic consequences for the young girl. Ruby’s older sister Gia seduces Trevor and their father, Mr. Fuji seeks Redemption after Gia lures the doctor back to their apartment. It’s extremely visceral, with lots of unexpected twists and turns…


Lee: Very cool. Who are some of your literary heroes? Your biggest influence?


Amy: My literary heroes include: Franz Kafka, H. P. Lovecraft, Joyce Carol Oates, Edgar Allan Poe, and Mary Shelley. I know I’m not the only one, but Stephen King is my biggest influence. An Aunt introduced me to his novels when I was 12. I started with Cujo and have been hooked ever since!


Lee: What is your process like?


Amy: For shorter works, I go where my muse takes me! Sometimes, I start with a title, like “Dead Eye”, and build the characters around it, or I’ll start with a place, like Hell’s Kitchen, in NYC and go from there. For the novellas I keep several pages of notes, which is a new way to work for me, but it’s actually extremely helpful!


Lee: I’m a note taker, too. I love it. Where has your work been published?


Amy: I have sold 100 stories to various anthologies and magazines including: Apex Magazine, Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled, Dead Harvest, Expiration Date, Fear on Demand, Funeral Party 2, Inhuman Magazine, Needle Magazine, Reel Dark, Shrieks and Shivers from the Horror Zine, Space & Time, The Horror Within, Under the Bed, and many others.


I have stories forthcoming in Detectives of the Fantastic, Volume II and Fright Mare.


Lee: What have you had to learn the hard way?


Amy: It’s virtually impossible to be a perfectionist. In fact, it’s downright stressful, so I’ve learned to let things go – no matter how many rounds of edits there are, typos will still escape the Editor’s attention and wind up in the finished book – it’s just human nature!


Lee: I hear you on that. What are you working on now?


Amy: I’m working on several horror stories; some of them might evolve into novellas…


Lee: How did you come up with the title for your collection?


Amy: The title actually popped into my head while I was in the shower one day; it sums up the lead novella, which takes place in Alphabet City in NYC and features equal parts rage and also redemption, thus Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City was born.


Lee: Is there a message in this collection that you want readers to ponder?


Amy: It’s a good idea to tread lightly when meeting a stranger in a bar. Never let lust trump logic. Always trust your instincts—if someone makes you uneasy, find a non-confrontational way to remove yourself from the situation, before someone gets hurt…


Lee: Are any of the events—or any of the characters—in these stories based on real life?


Amy: Most of the stories feature various sections of NYC: Alphabet City, Central Park, Hell’s Kitchen, and finally the posh Upper East Side. I actually have a fraternal twin brother, but I wanted to play with the idea of having identical twins trade places in “Prevention”. The character Jack Masoch in “Cold Comfort” was modeled after an ex-boyfriend I had in college. He was my first serious boyfriend, so I our relationship was intense—ah, young love—I was devastated when he broke up with me, so I wrote about the traumatic experience to help me heal.


Lee: Where can readers sample your writing?


Amy: New Pulp Press has an excerpt from Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City available on their website. (Sample is here.) 


Lee: What was most challenging about writing the collection?


Amy: I’d have to say fleshing out the characters, giving them little quirks my readers could relate to, so they’d be eager to learn what fate had in store…I kept detailed notes for the two novellas in the collection, “Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City” and “Hoi Polloi Cannoli”, so I could ensure all of my thoughts wound up in the finished works.


Lee: Do you have any advice for novice writers?


Amy: For writers who are just starting out, I recommend carrying a notebook at all times—there’s no telling where inspiration will strike, so be sure to jot down seemingly random thoughts before they vanish into the ether. Read other authors in the genre to get a sense of what’s being published and how/where your work fits.


Lee: Thanks for taking the time to answer questions, Amy! Best of luck with Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City!


Amy Grech: Website, Google +, Twitter 


Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kindle, Kobo


 


2 likes ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 09, 2015 12:00 • 100 views

December 4, 2015

I’m very excited to share the cover for my next DarkFuse novel! Cover reveals are always one of my favorite parts of the publishing process (although all the parts are pretty sweet.)



About AFTER THE FOG CLEARS:


When a policeman accidentally runs over a young boy on a fog-shrouded street in Saginaw, Michigan, it thrusts three families into a head-on collision with grief, violence and chaos…


Officer Nathan Hazzard: for years now a dirty cop and on the brink of losing touch with reality, willingly releases himself from society’s shackles… 


Luther Anderson: a young man whose only true concerns up to the day of the accident is to care for his crippled brother and their grandmother, becomes the target of intense hatred…


Raul Spencer: a disgruntled son working at his father’s funeral home; an adulterer, who fears his sins will find him out, blames everyone else for his problems even as his selfishness leads him ever more astray…


Geneva Spencer: the wounded mother who holds her dying son in her arms and finds that there is no one there to hold her as the life she knew takes a dark turn once Officer Hazzard starts pursuing her for reasons she can’t begin to understand… 


In the fast-paced Suspense novel, After the Fog Clears, author Lee Thompson probes the fractured psyches of the lost, the abandoned, and the psychotic.


The novel will be available in February 2016. Hardcover, paperback, and digital.


I’m really excited about this one!


6 likes ·   •  4 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 04, 2015 15:00 • 24 views

November 23, 2015

For a limited time you can snag my #Crime #Noir #Novel IT’S ONLY DEATH for 99 cents on #Amazon! Grab yourself a copy. Hell, at that price, gift some copies to your friends!



Thanks for subscribing and for your continued support!


I hope you’re all well and living life to the fullest!


Best,


Lee


1 like ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on November 23, 2015 17:29 • 19 views

November 10, 2015

Hey all, the Goodread’s giveaway for five signed copies of THE LESSER PEOPLE just went live! It’s easy to enter and doesn’t cost you anything. Please spread the word to anyone you believe would be interested in the book!


Enter the giveaway here.


About the book:


Cover THE LESSER PEOPLE-page-0 (2)


On a snowy Detroit night Elijah Irons, now an old man, tells a black nurse a haunting story from the darkest summer of his childhood in Forksville, Mississippi. He shares his experience with the rising racial tensions in their community and the discord within their own home since Eli, like his father Hank, think of Negroes as ordinary people, while the rest of their community think of them as The Lesser People.


He shares how his father arrests Uncle Tommy for stealing Army rifles and selling them to the KKK, and why he walks free since Eli’s grandpa is the mayor. He talks about Isaiah—a blind black boy, and servant of a local preacher—who Eli finds murdered on a river bank, and how that boy had sung the blues until people robbed him of his innocence and his future.


After the police investigate and brush Isaiah’s murder aside, blaming a transient for the crime, Eli’s father decides to make a stand against his father and the town. But things go severely wrong. Other than Preacher, everyone wants Eli’s family to get out of town. Elijah’s father refuses to go anywhere. The consequences of his decision, coupled with the desperate move his sons make, produce a mountain of heartache, grief and sorrow for his family, but they also produce unlikely heroes.


The Lesser People is a poignant, brutal, and touching story about how our decisions, and those of others, haunt us. It explores family and social conditioning, and how we exorcise our demons–often too late–in our struggle to become more human.


 


1 like ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on November 10, 2015 05:21 • 18 views

October 8, 2015

Super excited that my Crime novel The Lesser People is out today! Thanks to those who pre-ordered. Now the rest of you can get your copy! Feel free to leave a review on Goodreads or wherever. Spreading the word is essential with any book and since I’m kind of reclusive, I can’t do much on my own.


You can grab your Kindle copy here.

And other formats (Nook, etc.) here.


About the book:


Cover THE LESSER PEOPLE-page-0 (2)


On a snowy Detroit night Elijah Irons, now an old man, tells a black nurse a haunting story from the darkest summer of his childhood in Forksville, Mississippi. He shares his experience with the rising racial tensions in their community and the discord within their own home since Eli, like his father Hank, think of Negroes as ordinary people, while the rest of their community think of them as The Lesser People.


He shares how his father arrests Uncle Tommy for stealing Army rifles and selling them to the KKK, and why he walks free since Eli’s grandpa is the mayor. He talks about Isaiah—a blind black boy, and servant of a local preacher—who Eli finds murdered on a river bank, and how that boy had sung the blues until people robbed him of his innocence and his future.


After the police investigate and brush Isaiah’s murder aside, blaming a transient for the crime, Eli’s father decides to make a stand against his father and the town. But things go severely wrong. Other than Preacher, everyone wants Eli’s family to get out of town. Elijah’s father refuses to go anywhere. The consequences of his decision, coupled with the desperate move his sons make, produce a mountain of heartache, grief and sorrow for his family, but they also produce unlikely heroes.


The Lesser People is a poignant, brutal, and touching story about how our decisions, and those of others, haunt us. It explores family and social conditioning, and how we exorcise our demons–often too late–in our struggle to become more human.


There is also a new interview up at The Gal in the Blue Mask. Check it out if you haven’t!


3 likes ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on October 08, 2015 04:00 • 22 views

October 4, 2015

I have a new interview on The Gal in the Blue Mask. (Thanks, Meghan!) It was fun. Check it out, leave a comment, share the link. Thanks!


You can also pre-order The Lesser People on Amazon (or on Smashwords for other reading devices). It’s coming out in four days! I’m very excited about this novel. I think it’s a damn good book and I learned a lot writing it.


Best wishes to you all!


Lee


3 likes ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on October 04, 2015 13:13 • 17 views

August 18, 2015

I’m going to release an audio book of my novel THE LESSER PEOPLE next spring, and need your help in choosing the narrator! Just leave your feedback below. Thanks!


The ebook and paperback will be coming out in October (you can pre-order your copy from TLP on Amazon, and TLP from Smashwords, and TLP on Goodreads.)


Here are the two audio samples. I really like both of them and look forward to hearing your picks of who should read it!


Clay’s reading:



http://www.leethompsonfiction.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/lesser-people-lomakayu.mp3

 


Tom’ s reading:


http://www.leethompsonfiction.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Sleeker_LesserPeople.mp3

You can check out their other work:


Clay Lomakayu


Tom Sleeker


Cover THE LESSER PEOPLE-page-0 (2)


About THE LESSER PEOPLE


The Lesser People is a poignant, brutal, and touching story about how our decisions, and those of others, haunt us. It explores family and social conditioning, and how we exorcise our demons–often too late–in our struggle to become more human.


On a snowy Detroit night Elijah Irons, now an old man, tells a black nurse a haunting story from the darkest summer of his childhood in Forksville, Mississippi. He shares his experience with the rising racial tensions in their community and the discord within their own home since Eli, like his father Hank, think of Negroes as ordinary people, while the rest of their community think of them as The Lesser People.


He shares how his father arrests Uncle Tommy for stealing Army rifles and selling them to the KKK, and why he walks free since Eli’s grandpa is the mayor. He talks about Isaiah—a blind black boy, and servant of a local preacher—who Eli finds murdered on a river bank, and how that boy had sung the blues until people robbed him of his innocence and his future.


After the police investigate and brush Isaiah’s murder aside, blaming a transient for the crime, Eli’s father decides to make a stand against his father and the town. But things go severely wrong. Other than Preacher, everyone wants Eli’s family to get out of town. Elijah’s father refuses to go anywhere. The consequences of his decision, coupled with the desperate move his sons make, produce a mountain of heartache, grief and sorrow for his family, but they also produce unlikely heroes.


The Lesser People is a poignant, brutal, and touching story about how our decisions, and those of others, haunt us. It explores family and social conditioning, and how we exorcise our demons–often too late–in our struggle to become more human.


1 like ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on August 18, 2015 18:12 • 18 views