Sunday, December 27, 2009

PR Intern & Freelance Consultants Search 2010

Keneritz Media is seeking a few great college-level and recent graduates for unpaid, college-credit, and commissioned, per project internships and/or to freelance as PR, event planning, and booking consultants (1099).

We understanding working as an intern or on commissions might not be advantageous for most especially during these economic times, but we are offering hands-on experience and rewarding opportunities as you build your confidence, résumé, and Rolodex.

We’re looking for individuals want to learn the ins and outs of public relations, booking, and crisis communications. Keneritz Media is a full-service strategic marketing, branding, and events planning/booking agency.

Duties include industry research, media list preparation and general on-site and virtual office work. The position is ideal for a student looking for credit, transitioning employees, and stay-at-home moms or dads who are willing to work ten to fifteen hours a week.

Future Keneritz Media team members will get exposed to the public and private sector, entertainment, health, beauty, lifestyle, hospitality industries, and small businesses in New York, LA, Miami, and Washington, D.C.

Please send cover letter, résumé, and writing samples to by no later than January 25, 2010.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Barter 2(x) Personal Trainer & Organizer

Seeking Personal Trainer with access to a gym or private sports club to for PR/Event Planning help of equal value.

Ideally looking for one personal trainer, but will consider two, on the UWS/Harlem/Morningside Heights. Open to female or male trainer.

Please send contact information, mobile or home gym equipment, and weekday morning or early afternoon availability for a response.

Seeking female or male experienced cleaner and organizer for a twice-monthly apartment cleaning and home office organization barter.

Photographer roommate and I (Copywriter/Brand Manager) are seeking someone to help us do an initial deep cleaning of small two bedroom apartment, including home office, in exchange for promotional photos, video, press kit and publicity barter of equal value. We would submit an itemized invoice for tax purposes.

Seeking someone who is pet-friendly and patient. Please send list of services, brief statement of experience,skills, and availability. We would like to schedule this soon. Thanks in advance.

Contact us here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Seeking Virtual Assistants

Grassroots media company seeking two or three virtual part-time media assistants for entertainers, artists, and small business clients. Duties include online research, creative and business writing, social media and website maintenance and updates, and business errands.

  • Applicant should be responsible and thorough; possess a strong work ethic, strong organizational and administrative skills.
  • Previous office experience is preferred.
  • Must be able to multitask and prioritize.
  • Should be self-motivated and comfortable working in a high-paced, unstructured environment.
Please send a cover letter, résumé, two references, and availability for virtual and support for immediate consideration to Virtual Assistant Gig.

We are only looking for those interested in part-time work. We only desire those seeking longevity. We are willing to assign more work to individuals that have clearly defined their short and long term goals. This tends to work best for those who have experience, but are now looking for filler work with flexibility to take on more - stay-at-home moms or dads, college students, and existing virtual assistants are welcomed to apply.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Morningside Writers Group - Time Out NY

Date: November 6, 2009 1:39 PM
Subject: question for you…Has Time Out New York ever done a roundup of writing classes in New York? Liz

For bookish inspiration

Wine fuels six-person workshops held weekly at Cobble Hill’s Freebird Workshops (Freebird Books and Goods, 123 Columbia St at Kane St, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn; 718-643-8484,; $230 for eight sessions), where local authors lead discussions on any genre. As a bonus, participants are encouraged to overcome their fears of submission—each eight-week session wraps with the distribution of stamped envelopes and literary magazines addresses.

Admission requirements: Short writing sample

For gender parity

Twice a month, the Morningside Writers Group huddles around moderator Kendall Williams’s kitchen timer at the Sony Plaza Atrium (550 Madison Ave between 55th and 56th Sts;; $85 for six months, $120 for one year) so no one rambles on for too long. This crew takes the idea of balanced criticism to a new level—each group has an equal gender split. “Women and men view the world different,” says Williams. “So a workshop of all men, when there’s a female character, who’s gonna tell me if the woman’s worldview is accurate?” Similar insight for those writing about an undead vampire’s worldview is, sadly, unavailable.

Admission requirements: Ten-page writing sample and personal statement

For published proof

The courses at New York Writers Workshop (Jewish Community Center, 334 Amsterdam Ave at 76th St; 646-505-444,; $400 for ten sessions, $395 for conferences) come with no shortage of success stories; student Lauren Weisberger got the deal for The Devil Wears Prada while she was learning from instructor Charles Salzberg. Classes range from “Introduction to Writing a Graphic Novel”—don’t worry if you can’t draw!—to advanced groups for already-published scribes. Special “Perfect Pitch” conferences put book ideas in front of editors from big-name houses, but a Prada-size advance is far from guaranteed.

Admission requirements: Three-page writing sample

For thorough screening

Don’t let the name of the Unterberg Poetry Center at the 92nd Street Y (1395 Lexington Ave at 92nd St; 212-415-5500,; $385–$610 for eight sessions) scare you; there are courses in fiction, nonfiction, and playwriting, as well as poetry (plus the occasional master class). Acceptance is the first hurdle; a $10 fee will get your manuscript read by the program teachers, who’ll then battle it out over who gets your genius. Open-enrollment courses are available to all paying word junkies.

Admission requirements: Writing sample up to fifteen pages

For ladder climbing

Like making baseball’s major leagues or winning a reality show, getting published is all about wanting it badly enough. At least that’s the attitude of The Writers Studio (272 W 10th St between Greenwich and Washington Sts; 212-255-7075,; $370–$455 for ten sessions) founder and Pulitzer Prize winner Phillip Schultz; the school’s fiction and poetry classes are about giving tools to writers that are already passionate. Students move up a five-level system like karate kids earning belts, and Schultz himself teaches the Level V master classes.

Admission requirements: None, but new students can enter only at Level I or II.

Article originally published on November 26th.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dynamic Voices - Accent Reduction

What does it feel like not to be understood at a job interview, in class, or in social setting? Does it crush your confidence? Does it make you shy?

How do you think it would feel when you've learned to reduce your accent and increase your confidence?

Native English speaker available in Manhattan offers short and long term customized lessons (contract required) for non-native and native English speakers in Accent Reduction and Accent Elimination.

Learn the dynamic and interactive techniques to reduce your accent, speak with vocal clarity, so that you will be understood at school or work.

Learn how to master job interview skills that will increase your chances of getting a promotion at work or a new job.

Contact Dynamic Voices for additional information, rates, and to book an audit session

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Novel Writing Basics

How does a novel begin? After I’ve decided my novel premise, I invite a cast of characters onto the stage and watch them interact with each other. Careful observation and close listening reveals the hook. The protagonist has a goal, and over the course of the novel, the antagonist tries to counterattack. In the early stages of the novel, an outline is essential to keep track of who’s doing what to whom, when, and why. Have I created a strong protagonist with risks and stakes, and one that I’d want to spend at least one year of my life getting to know? Writing a novel is akin to training and running a marathon. Short story writing is closer to speed walking or sprinting.

What must my novel contain to keep readers interested? I use a novel notebook with yellow tabbed dividers to store pictures from magazines, newspapers, and research. I keep it nearby or certain sections whenever I’m writing first or second drafts. Novel writing is methodical, but if the writing is sloppy, readers might walk away from the finished product.
I pace myself as I write so that I don’t suffer burnout or become discouraged.

Imagine a circus ringleader who has to keep an audience engaged while keeping watch on two adjacent rings. An aspiring novelist volunteers at the onset of the creative work for this unpaid job that’s not without its own danger. A book that has weak action, events that unfold too fast or too slow, and no drama or tension is a disaster. Novelists have to juggle characters, setting, dialogue, and point of view without revealing heavy-handed techniques or imitative styles.

Why is novel writing lonely? Writing is a solitary occupation, but it needn’t be isolated. I believe that writing workshops are essential for every aspiring and established scribe’s sanity. Ideas don’t happen in a vacuum, and neither does writing and revision. I need a committed, intelligent, and focused community to keep me in check over the months and perhaps years it takes to write a novel. All writing groups aren’t created equal. The group I founded uses the CORE Method™: Constructive, Organized, and Realistic Evaluation. Setting out to accomplish the herculean task of writing a novel is exciting, painful, and frightening without expecting harsh feedback.

It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a writing workshop or trusted first readers to help shape a publishable novel. Artists need a nurturing environment during the latter stages of a work’s evolution. It is in the workshop that writers are accountable to each other with word counts, but it is best not to submit until both the author and pages are ready for constructive feedback and public viewing.

If the creative work is well received and becomes a bestseller, kudos to the writer. Few writers’ first thoughts are that they’re writing a bestseller. I believe we all set out to create three-dimensional characters in vivid worlds both familiar and foreign with identifiable traits, reasonable goals, and a payoff at novel’s end. Invisible contracts exist between authors and potential readers. Tell me story, but not just any story. I want it to keep me awake at night, help me forget my troubles, educate, and leave me wanting more. Each writer has the unenviable task of creating magic on the page.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Savory Writing: Character and Plot

The first step in creating memorable stories, essays, and screenplays is my idea journal where I write the title, initial character names, brief biographical sketches, character wants, story premise, and possible resolutions.

I make the connection between writing and cooking because of my love of Southern home-cooked meals, observing my granny make coffee in her old-fashioned stovetop percolator, skillet spoon bread, and after church Sunday family dinners at granny’s house.

Each of these scenarios is similar to writing in that my granny, mother, and various family members began with an idea. They might have planned it out mentally or jotted down their shopping list before going to the grocery store.

Plot/Cause and Effect. Writers must double-check that their story makes sense, and that all the scenes move forward. Similar to cooking, the circumstances (ingredients) must change between the beginning and the end of each scene or chapter. The story or chapter is likely to hold reader interest if all of the ingredients and seasonings are balanced.

All meals aren’t created equal. Each time we prepare a meal, we seek to experiment which leads to improvement. Each time I sit down to write or stand at the kitchen countertop to prepare a meal, I add something new to push both to the next level.

How do we define plot? A plot is a narrative of events, the emphasis falling on causality. “The king died and then the queen died” is a story. “The king died and then the queen died of grief” is a plot. The time-sequence is preserved, but the sense of causality overshadows it. If it is a plot, we ask “why?”

With this in mind, we return to preparing our story. My protagonist finds a recipe for his granny or aunt’s Southern Surprise Chicken Soup, and sets off to the grocery store to buy the listed ingredients. This is a good start, but I need to expand the idea so that it’s interesting and would hold a reader’s attention over the course of a short story. My male protagonist, with index card in hand, sets out for the grocery store, and then along the way he encounters an unforeseen obstacle that will test him. In order to hold my readers’ interest, this surprise obstacle must be realistic and not plotted for the sake of advancing the story. The king in our plot example died, and because the queen was grief-stricken, she followed him into the afterlife.

How can writers apply this example to their own writing? Readers read to escape. Readers read to learn. Readers read to find parallels in their lives to what’s written on the page or hand-held device. What started as a simple story of making soup takes on new meaning when we introduce conflict and raise the stakes. On the way to the store, our protagonist’s journey is temporarily interrupted, and he has to make a choice. Does he get involved with the unexpected source of conflict and possible character growth, or continue along his path?

Let’s return to our soup preparation in our fully stocked and modern kitchen. As we're preparing our soup with the listed ingredients, we realize that something is missing – a spice, perhaps, and we must improvise. Our hero, too, must improvise. If he ignores the source of conflict, he’s forever changed. If he participates, alters, and/or counterattacks, he’s changed also. Action and inaction originate from a character’s personality. Getting involved with this conflict is a decision that he must deal with, and conversely, walking away is decision that might forever haunt him. This is where we see the character and ourselves in action. Readers learn more about the character, and we see what we’re able to do in the kitchen, against the clock, as our dinner guests are en route to the potluck dinner. Is the character resourceful, pessimistic, or on the brink of tears?

At this point in our story and soup, ingredients and story elements are heating up. We see the vapor rising, the aroma fills the kitchen and the surrounding rooms. We adjust the fire, stir in additional vegetables, and look over at the cutting board once we realize that we’ve not added the chopped parsley and cilantro. We toss a handful inside our soup pot and stir.

Our protagonist, if he’s three-dimensional and realistic, can’t foresee the obstacle. He must adapt as it unfolds. It must appear natural and effortless for the reader. Writers must play fair with readers, or they’ll walk away from a story. The hook, or story promise, is why readers choose a certain story over another.

If we’ve promised Southern Surprise Chicken Soup, the surprise shouldn’t be that it’s beef or tofu. It’s an implied contract with our dinner guests, and we will be held accountable.

Midway through our story and soup preparation, we keep an eye out for errant insects, attention-seeking family members, and red herrings. There will always be someone or something competing for our attention in the kitchen, while we’re writing, or reading a story. With a careful symphony of ingredients, story elements, and revision, we are on our way to creating a robust soup that will leave our guests hungry for seconds and a story that keep readers engaged.

Our end goal is to have created a savory soup and memorable story. We dash about the kitchen looking for last minute accents and flavor boosts. We set up the table and flatware. We ask ourselves if candles would be over the top for our simple potluck dinner with high school and college friends.

Writers, too, must stand back and examine the setting, plot, characters, tone, and voice of the creative work. Are all the necessary people, places, and events on stage and the page?

How does the final product smell and taste? Is it a beautiful bouquet or something we must add salt or pepper to after the fact? At story’s end, is there a reward for our readers? Will readers be satisfied or left with more questions than when they began? Did we accomplish our story goal? If not, there’s always next time to improve our writing.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Seeking On-Call/Barter Vendors

Grassroots PR/Marketing and Booking Agency is looking for on-call/barter vendors for collaboration and/or subcontracting.

We're seeking stylists, make-up artists, photographers, videographers, fashion designers, accessory designers, event planners, wedding planners, club/event promoters, deejays, personal trainers, nutritionists, healthcare/skincare companies, entertainment/media bloggers/reviewers, and virtual assistants.

Please send a cover letter, resumes, LinkedIn profile or links to social media profiles or professional website, and current projects you're working on to

This is not an offer of employment. Thanks in advance for your interest!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Nightmare on Your Street : NY Times Op-Ed

Spiritual Warfare in Harlem Update: I was recently interviewed by Lizzy Ratner, NY Times Reporter for story on haunted New York apartments. The original blog entry is here.

The interactive Op-Ed dated October 30th is available online here, scroll through to panel number six. Don't freak out because of the number six as some might attribute it to the mark of the beast. Maxie's pictured left.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Diversity PR/Marketing & Booking

Keneritz Media is a publicity, marketing, event planning, booking, and artist management agency that represents singers, bands, authors, designers, and small businesses for promotion, marketing, and brand building in English and Spanish-speaking markets. We honor the worth and uniqueness of all individuals and groups.

We are advocates for artists, activists and businesses overlooked by mainstream media. And, we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk with authentic representation and in-depth knowledge about community issues. We know how to engage both LGBTQ clients and their audiences.

If interested in a free initial phone consultation, please send a brief letter of introduction, link to your website, press photo, and contact number to our Media Relations Specialist.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Agencia de publicidad creativa

Keneritz Media es una agencia de publicidad creativa, multidisciplinaría y multifacética ubicada en Nueva York.

Keneritz representa a músicos, artistas, autores/escritores que estan iniciando en su carrera o que quieran avanzar en su profesión.

Además ayudamos a dueños de pequeñas empresas en mercadeo, promoción, y posicionamiento de su marca.

Nuestra compañía utiliza una variedad de recursos de publicidad interactiva como técnicas de mercadeo y estrategias para posicionar nuestros clientes dentro de su mercado objetivo.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Unsigned Latino/Hispanic Singers/Bands

Keneritz Media is seeking talented UNSIGNED Latino/Hispanic singers and bands in all genres for VIRTUAL TALENT SEARCH and CONTEST.

The top five winners will receive a premiere PR/Marketing campaign, booking assistance, possible one-year agency representation and career guidance.

Please send your electronic press kit, links to MySpace, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, along with TWO or THREE 30-45 second audio snippets by midnight, December 31st, 2009.

We are looking for BILINGUAL performers who can sing in Spanish and English as well as performers who only sing in Spanish (although performers should be conversant in English).

Please forward submissions and questions to, Att: Talent Search

Best of luck!

Monday, September 28, 2009

I’ll Take Manhattan, Along the Adirondack Line

New York City is an ideal place for people of all ages who want to unwind, play, and meet new friends in an energetic backdrop.

Beginning at the southern tip of Manhattan, the borough offers views of The Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn, and New Jersey from Battery Park City, which buttresses The Hudson River. Fall is a good season to stroll along the multi-leveled plaza, watch sailboats zip by and stately cruise ships glide by to dock in Midtown Manhattan.

While you’re downtown, don’t forget to walk over the cobblestone streets to The South Street Seaport to shop and dine in various retail stores and restaurants. The historical area adjacent to the Seaport has yet more quaint shops and restaurants within minutes of Wall Street and the NYSE.

The next stop on our walking tour of Manhattan brings us to TriBeCa and world-class hotels, novelty shops, and locations for various movies and television shows, not mention the tony residences of local celebrities such as Robert DeNiro and Leontyne Price. Manhattan is best experienced on foot, so be sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes, and bring bottled water. Manhattan can’t be fully enjoyed in one day, there’s much to see and do in different neighborhoods, museums, and at landmarks.

No trip to Manhattan is complete without a visit to Chinatown, east of TriBeCa, and within a few blocks of the Lower East Side. Crossing Broadway into Chinatown is akin to stepping back into time or traveling to a small village in the Orient. All manner of fowl and fish are visible in restaurant windows and specialty stores as you navigate along the main thoroughfare of shops and kiosks that sell faux designer handbags, athletic wear, and New York memorabilia.

Sights, sounds, scents, and multiple mainland Chinese accents and dialects compete for your attention as you traverse along the zigzag streets heading further east. The Lower East Side and the East Village are eclectic neighborhoods, but don’t offer outsiders anything of interest. The allure of these two areas lies in their offbeat and anti-establishment status, a one-time haven for creative types and musicians who couldn’t afford to live above 42nd Street. It still maintains its avant-garde status as a home to painters, singers, and denizens who live on the edge, and or aspire to. The neighborhood hosts an annual summer Fringe Festival.

As the name states, Little Italy, has authentic Italian pastries, pasta, and marinara sauce, and the annual San Gennaro Festival in early September. Visitors can also tour the original St. Patrick’s Cathedral that’s now a parish house. The tight-knit streets in Little Italy are reminiscent of New York City’s yesteryear as brought to life on screen in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York.

If culture is what you seek, check out the New Museum of Contemporary Art in SoHo, and then head over to one of best attractions in the city, Chelsea Piers, a multi-unit sports and activity complex where visitors can play golf, ice skate, climb indoor rock formations, lift weights, go kayaking in The Hudson River, and host birthday parties. Silver Screen Studios at Chelsea Piers have also been used for feature films, dance rehearsals, special events, music videos and commercials.

Midtown Manhattan is home of The Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, and Macy’s Department Store. Visitors and native New Yorkers head to the Observatory on the 86th floor for a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline. You’ll never be at loss for entertainment at The Garden with year-round sporting events, solo musical artists and bands, and family shows. Christmas shopping at Macy’s is a must during a fall visit to New York City. The block-long store’s windows are decked out in holiday fanfare and decorations accent the entire store. Santa Claus is usually on hand to grant wishes and check his list one last time before he climbs aboard his sleigh for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in November.

Once you’ve caught your breath from all things shopping, make your way to Lincoln Center for The Performing Arts, where you’ll find an entertainment complex that features renowned orchestras, ballet performances, independent films, and opera. If Wagner, Mozart, Mahler, or Pedro Almodóvar isn’t to your liking, head east to Central Park to see the orange and brown fall leaves, rent a bike and peddle leisurely around the six-mile circumference, or go horseback riding along the Bridle Path.

No visitor should leave Manhattan without experiencing Harlem’s Apollo Theatre on West 125th Street, a place where dreams still come true, while others are dashed on stage during its weekly Wednesday Amateur Night. The audience shows its appreciation for stellar acts with thunderous applause, and cast many would-be performers off the stage with raucous laughter. A final stop on this trip is The Cloisters at Fort Tyron Park, with its collection of art and architecture from medieval Europe. It’s also a great place to shop for last minute gifts and keepsakes before continuing on to your next destination.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Harlem Writer Weekly News

Introducing a new addition to the Harlem Writer Blog: news, tips, updates for PR, Media, Writing, and Publishing. The goal is to consolidate the previous and upcoming week's job announcements, tidbits, classifieds that might otherwise get lost on other outlets.

Morningside Writers Workshop needs two or three administrative and technical college or recent graduate to fill commissioned intern positions. Seeking an intern for each of the three current workshops (fiction, screenwriting, and memoir), and graphic/web design intern to assist founder on-site and remotely. If interested, please attach a cover letter and resume (with online portfolio for graphic intern) and send to

Keneritz Media PR & Booking Agency needs a Junior Bilingual (English/Spanish) PR/Marketing Intern, and a Junior Bilingual Booking Intern. If interested, please attach a cover letter and resume and send to

Keneritz Media PR & Booking Agency needs a Junior PR/Marketing Intern (English), and two Junior Booking Agent Interns. If interested, please attach a cover letter and resume and send to

EdgEntertainment needs a Junior Photo/Video Booking Intern, and a Photo Intern to assist on photo and video shoots. If interested, please attach a cover letter and resume and send to

Morningside Writers Workshop is interested in collaborating with other established writing workshops in the metro New York City area for local writing retreats, lecture series, open mics, and poetry readings. If interested, please send a letter of introduction/intent to

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Back to School Creative & Editorial Services

No matter how strong your writing may already be, all writing can be improved through proper and effective editing. A good editor can make the difference between creating something that is compelling or something that is forgettable, between producing your best possible work or something that is mediocre, or even between having your work published or rejected.

At Morningside Editorial Services, we offer expert editorial services by an experienced team of editors that includes professional writers, college professors, public relations practitioners and former journalists. Our editing experience comprises short stories and novels, college research papers and Ph.D. dissertations, newspaper and magazine articles and features, résumés and cover letters, and business marketing and promotional materials.

We work with you to improve the content, prose, style, tone, grammar, syntax and structure of your writing and written materials. Our services include:

Manuscript critique – We provide professional analysis and evaluation of all aspects of your short story, novel, article or report, with specific recommendations for improvement.

Copyediting – Our word-by-word proofreading and editing of your written materials will enhance the content, structure, clarity and prose and ensure that grammar, syntax, spelling and punctuation are correct and meet professional standards.

Résumé and cover letter writing and/or editing – we can improve your existing résumé or create a new one for you and help you to put together a powerful, effective cover letter that will get your résumé noticed.

Spanish/English and Arabic/French to English Translation -we offer Arabic and French to English, and English to Arabic/French Translation and Transcription Services (cover letters, résumés, prose, and technical documents).

Our team approach ensures that you will be assigned an editor who understands your specific writing needs and has experience professionally critiquing and editing similar work professionally. It also means we can offer you competitive rates for our services and a rapid turn-around on your writing assignments.

To find out more about how we can immediately improve your writing, contact Morningside Editorial Services.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Keneritz Media Booking & Event Planning

Keneritz Media Booking and Event Planning is available to book small to medium size event.

We're available for individual or ongoing booking relationships to assist local bands, singers, restaurant owners, and groups/organizations plan and book performances, concerts, tours, special events, birthday parties, and fashion shows.

Contact us now for additional information or a personal consultation:

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage - Book Giveaway

Hachette Book Group, Morningside Writers Group, and Harlem Writer are sponsoring a Hispanic Heritage Month Book Giveaway. Five winners will receive a set of the five books listed below. The contest is simple. Answer one question and leave a comment on this posting.The best combination of short essay and comment will win!

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated September 15th - October 15th.

Contest Rules:

1. The contest is open to US or Canadian residents with a valid mailing address only. No P.O. Boxes.

2. Applicants must use a valid e-mail address and home or cell number.

Format: Please submit essay responses using the following guidelines (Courier New, 12 pt, double –spaced, 1” margins on all four sides). Word count: 500. words.

Submit response as a .doc or .pdf attachment by midnight on 10/20/09, to, Subject: Latino Heritage Giveaway Heritage Giveaway.
Books will be mailed to contest winners courtesy of the publisher.

Ready? Here goes.

* Describe a time when a second or third language helped you in life. Traveling in a foreign country, a job promotion, or dating.

* Describe a time when you prejudged someone based on physical characteristics, language barrier, or cultural differences. How did you overcome your personal limitations and embrace someone outside your comfort zone?

  1. Zumba® By Beto Perez , Maggie Greenwood-Robinson
  2. Evenings at the Argentine Club By Julia Amante
  3. Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz By Belinda Acosta
  4. Tell Me Something True By Leila Cobo
  5. Amigoland By Oscar Casares

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Spiritual Warfare in Harlem

I've sensed for years that there's a presence or ghost in my apartment. I've written on this topic before, but feel I must readdress because I'm more determined to rid my living and creative spaces of the unwelcome boarder. I sense that it's an older African American/Hispanic (blatino) male, in his mid to late 50's, that committed suicide in or near the bathroom or kitchen window. There are times when I feel a gravitational pull when I'm near the bathroom window more so than the kitchen, as if I'm floating or leaning over the windowsill. I don't want to relive what he, heretofore unnamed, Gustavo, experienced during the last moments of his life. Did he actually commit suicide or was he pushed to his death? Did he commit suicide in the alley below or met with some other end at the hands of an angry assailant?

It matters not how Gustavo met his end. It's time for me to evict him, and send him into the light. He's not malevolent. He's lonely and distracting when it's most inconvenient for me. I've numerous creative snippets, opening paragraphs, and titles simmering in my idea journal that he's been preventing me from completing. Not one for navel-gazing, my mind wanders, and off I go cleaning or rearranging something. This isn't avoidance or typical creative procrastination. I've felt a weight descend upon me. During those moments, I've been able to step outside of my body and see myself in suspended, distracted animation.

Gustavo's a puppeteer, and I've been his unwitting doll that he's manipulated far too long. It's time to call on fellow faith/spiritual warriors to exorcise and evict him.

My mistake has been downgrading him all these years. He's not evil, just lonely. He's not evil, just finds ways to distract. Well, enough of that nonsense. If it's not helping me, it's definitely hurting me. Gustavo, I'm calling you out. Be gone!

I've made excuses for myself, and those, too, must stop. I know Gustavo's real, and not a euphemism or thinly-veiled rationale for fear of success, of which I know I don't suffer. I've thought this through over the years. Probably too much. I've given it and him energy that should've fueled my writing, working out, living, rather than feeling trapped in my home office.

I need to figure this out soon because I'm not getting any younger, and I've circled this fork in the road too many times. What could this/he represent in my life?

There's a marked difference when I'm not in the apartment. Outside, I feel free, weightless, and oftentimes don't want to return home. I know what I feel is real, and not something I've manufactured from my writer's toolkit.

I've felt the presence of evil sitting on the edge of my bed that made me bolt upright and command it to leave. That was a one-time occurrence. Maybe I've been wrong all this time, and it was Gustavo who sat on the edge of my bed, but then has since changed his complexion so that I think he's innocent and not focused daily on getting rid of him. Angels and demons, from what I've read and been told, are masters of illusion.

Act Three: time for me call upon all of my faith, strength, and determination and send him into the light. Gustavo, I send you forth into the light, or the into the bowels of hell, if you prefer. Just get thee behind me!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Blog Talk Radio: Staging Your Writing 06/27/09

Which challenges do you face in your creative writing life? Are you looking for a writing workshop, yet unable to locate one in your local community? What about starting your own writing workshop, or joining an online workshop?

Anjuelle Floyd and Morningside Writers Group founder and moderator, Kendall Williams, discuss Staging Your Writing to create dynamic and publishable personal essays, memoirs, fiction, screen, and stage plays.

We will also discuss the challenges and triumphs of starting and maintaining a committed writing workshop and community.

Join us on Saturday, June 27th, 3 p.m. (EST).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Somebody Better (Video) - Hadiza Dockeray

Keneritz Media singer/songwriter Hadiza Dockeray's new music video, "Somebody Better", from her soon to be released EP. Produced by m8 films and directed by Craig Cobb. Director of Photography Ken Keller.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

New Workshop Membership Options

Morningside Writers Workshop will begin offering six-month and one-year renewable memberships for potential workshop members in the metro New York City area. The new six-month memberships are for writers unable to commit for an extended stay due to work, travel or family obligations. The new plan will also keep the workshops fresh and innovative.

A new fee structure will be applied as well. Six-month memberships are eighty dollars ($80), and one-year memberships are one hundred and twenty dollars ($120).These options are still less expensive than other writing groups or classes in New York City that have eight, ten, or fifteen participants, and have limited individual feedback time. We feel that six months or one year at the above rates is more realistic in this economy. Other workshops last eight or ten weeks, with rates that range between three hundred and four hundred and fifty dollars.

If interested in applying to the Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Creative Nonfiction/Memoir, or Screenwriting/Playwriting workshops, please visit the site and submit your application soon!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Reach Writers Online - Advertise Here!

Reach your target literary and creative demographic through our site. Morningside Writers Group offers paid online banner ads for publishing and entertainment companies and individuals. Contact us for rates at

Morningside Writers Group is listed among other regional writing groups, writing centers, and workshops that offer alternatives to a full time MFA degree program in the April 2009 Cover Story in
the Writer Magazine.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Seeking Bilingual Intern/Booking Agent

Seeking part-time bilingual (English/Spanish) assistant for administrative, editorial, research, marketing, and commission sales tasks. Looking to train a Junior Booking Agent in Publicity/Marketing firm.

Ideal Junior Booking Agent types at least 60 wpm, has legible handwriting, takes good written notes and dictation, able to work with minimal supervision, comfortable with cold calls, marketing/sales, and speaks and writes fluent English and Spanish.

Must have wireless-enabled laptop and cell phone. Should be familiar with performance spaces, festivals, and media/entertainment industry in the metro NYC area (and eventual national venues), or a fast learner/great researcher.
Send cover letter with availability and resume. There's an opportunity to earn commissions and work with emerging artists and writers.

If interested, please forward cover letter and resume to

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Latino & Asian Heritage Book Giveaway

Hachette Book Group and Harlem Writer are sponsoring a Hispanic and Asian Heritage Month Giveaway. Five winners will receive a set of the five books listed below. The contest is simple this time around: answer one question and leave a comment on this posting.The best five essay and comment combination will win!

Contest Rules:

1. The contest is open to US or Canadian residents with a valid mailing address only. No P.O. Boxes.
2. Applicants must use a valid e-mail address and home or cell number.

Format: Please submit essay responses using the following guidelines (Courier New, 12 pt, double –spaced, 1” margins on all four sides). Word count: 500-750 words.

Submit response as a .doc or .pdf attachment by midnight on 06/15/09, to, Subject: Latino Heritage Giveaway or Asian Heritage Giveaway

Books will be mailed to contest winners courtesy of the publisher.

Ready? Here goes.

  • Describe a time when a second or third language helped you in life. Traveling in a foreign country, a job promotion, or dating.
  • Describe a time when you prejudged someone based on physical characteristics, language barrier, or cultural differences. How did you overcome your personal limitations and embrace someone outside your comfort zone?
Latino Heritage Books:
B as in Beauty By Alberto Ferreras
Into the Beautiful North By Luis Urrea
Hungry Woman in Paris By Josefina Lopez ISBN
The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos By Margaret Mascarenhas
Houston, We Have a Problema By Gwendolyn Zepeda

Asian Heritage Books:
Free Food for Millionaires By Min Jin Lee
Trail of Crumbs By Kim Sunée
The Fortune Cookie Chronicles By Jennifer Lee
Transparency By Frances Hwang
Strangers from a Different Shore By Ronald Takaki

Monday, April 27, 2009

Summer Tri-State Concert Tour

Management Team seeks five additional up-and-coming Indie Soul/R& B/Hip Hop artists (or groups) for an end of the summer tour in NY/NJ/CT. Please send an updated photo, press or publicity materials, and a short MP3 compilation of your tracks to

Management Team seeks emerging clothing designer(s) for Summer Concert Tour. Clothes must have an urban, hip-hop feel. Chance to promote, showcase, sell designs at shows in NY/NJ/CT. Please send an updated photo, press or publicity materials, and a link to online portfolio to

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lady Clancy : Laid To Rest

I used to be allergic to a stray bobtail cat lurking around my Granny's house. Granny's house was always a soft place to land for family and neighbors alike, and apparently stray animals found our company appealing as well.

I started kindergarten with mummified legs because I had sores between my knees and ankles. I remember my mom getting upset because the teacher wanted to discipline the entire class, but couldn't include me for an undisclosed reason.

I avoided cats from that point in my life until I relocated to the East Coast and a feline purred and cooed in and out of my legs, unbeknownst to me, as I sat in the living room of a Dominican grandmother with a Cruella de Vil white streak in her otherwise jet-black air. I jumped, certain I'd have an allergic reaction, and perhaps rushed to the emergency room. I didn't have a reaction. One childhood trauma overcome.

As I recall, I was feeling homesick, and tried to talk several grade school and college classmates back in Texas to relocate as my roommate. When that failed, my thoughts shifted to adopting a pet. I didn't have a good track record with puppies, and the thought of walking a dog in a new frigid climate wasn't on the top of my list.

I thumbed through The Village Voice, and landed on an ad from a cat rescuer in Stuyvesant Town. In my newfound allergy-free state, I wanted an orange tabby, one of the kittens she advertised.

I arrived at the apartment that undoubtedly had one too many felines, and was guided to a back bedroom with playful and meowing kittens clamoring for attention, as if they knew they were being screened for adoption. All except one. The orange tabby that I wanted, didn't want me.

Defeated. Crushed. I took my pet carrier and slinked out to the hallway. The cat lady wouldn't be outdone by a persnickety kitten. There was another litter of rescued kittens playing in the bathroom. I made my way inside and sat on the edge of the bathtub. What would it hurt to look at other kittens before I left?

My heart was set on that orange tabby, but an affectionate gray calico had other plans for me. She brushed up against me, perhaps because she was sick of auditioning for would-be adoptive parents. I scooped her up into my arms and off we went with her initial vaccination records.

Nineteen years and a second tortoise shell cat later, I was faced with the decision to euthanize Clancy after a long bout of illness. My once fat cat had lost weight, her gaunt face and hollow eyes begging me to put her out of her misery.

I procrastinated. I prayed for a miraculous recovery. Maxie, the younger cat, began avoiding her. She knew we were all preparing for a slow death march, and wanted no part of our subterfuge. Maxie did her best to keep me distracted, away from Clancy.

I accept now that it was selfish of me to prolong her pain, but I wasn't ready to let go. I logged onto the NYC Animal Shelter website weekly in attempt to steel myself for what might happen, but there'd be no way to script my emotional state and reaction. What if she died at home underneath the kitchen table? Would that be best for all involved? I'd have preferred not to have taken her to the shelter in East Harlem. I was greeted by a mixture of dying, fearful, or soon to die animals.

The shelter clerk wasn't welcoming or warm. The volunteers questioned my decision, while at the same time trying to get me to adopt a new pet before I left. I wanted to turn around. I couldn't end her life no matter how many times I had to clean up after her because she wasn't able to make it to the litter box.

I experienced an admixture of calm and uncertainty as I filled out the surrender application. Yes, I want to view the body afterward. Yes, I'm willingly ending her life. No, I won't hold anyone responsible.

I lifted her over the counter, and that was the last time I saw her alive. Forty-five minutes later, my roommate and I walked to a back room and spoke to her corpse, eyes opened, lying on her side. She looked peaceful. I tried to close her eyes with my fingers. I couldn't. They wouldn't close. I apologized. Somewhere inside me, a light turned off, a gong sounded.

respiratory movement. No snoring this time. The Slavic vet reassured me that I'd done the right thing, that she was in pain and suffering. I picked up the soiled pet carrier, slipped on a pair of purple latex gloves, and blasted out the remaining signs of Clancy with a strong current from a water hose. It was and still remains a surreal experience. I keep waiting for someone to shake me from what seems like a nightmare or a bad joke. She was either underneath the kitchen table, lounging in the clawfoot tub, or reclining on the windowsill as I brushed her.

Empty carrier in hand, a male employee expressed his condolences as he stood cleaning out his shelter truck that I'm sure he collects abandoned and stray animals to that very location. From the bottom of my heart, he said, I'm sorry for your loss.

I'm sorry that I didn't have a backyard or pet cemetery to bury Clancy, instead of a mass cremation with other shelter kills. Everything changes from now on. I won't get a do-over, but I have an opportunity to improve Maxie's life, and when we're both ready, the life of a second kitten.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Seeking Intern/Workshop Assistant

Morningside Writers Group seeks a part-time assistant/intern for administrative/clerical, workshop, website tasks, and branding for a period of at least six months. Seeking someone local to the UWS/low 100's, with a minimum of 10 hours a week.

Tasks may include group scheduling, Xeroxing, writing and responding to e-mail inquiries.

We could offer writing mentoring or editing if the potential candidate is an aspiring writer (fiction,memoir, screenwriting, or spec fiction/sci-fi) but the administrative, marketing, and branding tasks are essential above all else. Please send a cover letter, résumé, and why you'd be the best candidate to

Morningside Writers Group is listed among other regional writing groups, writing centers, and workshops that offer alternatives to a full time MFA degree program in the April 2009 Cover Story in the Writer Magazine.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Workshop: Stage, TV, Movies. Apply Now!

Established writers group has seats available for motivated and disciplined screenwriters, playwrights, and television writers to join a professional workshop that meets bi-weekly on Monday evenings, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. in Midtown Manhattan.

There are currently two men and one woman. We would like to add two males and two female writers in the next two or three weeks.

We’re a diverse group and welcome people from all ages and walks of life. Diverse backgrounds make for diverse writing! Join us!
The main purpose of the group is to provide necessary feedback to other writers prior to submitting to agents, publishers, contests, or producers.

We are most interested in helping each other further writing careers. To learn more about us, please visit:

Interested writers please view the application requirements posted here:

Morningside Writers Group is listed among other regional writing groups, writing centers, and workshops that offer alternatives to a full time MFA degree program in the April 2009 Cover Story in
the Writer Magazine.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Toxic Love

Many people are in toxic relationships with a significant other, family member, friends, or with the person reflected in the bathroom mirror. We're taught as children to respect ourselves, and that love doesn't hurt. As we age and shed childish dreams and distance ourselves from our parents' protection, we slowly forget these important lessons and enter into destructive relationships that corrode our confidence and self-worth in order to hang onto somoeone we'd be better off removing from our lives.

It takes two or more to create a toxic situation. The spiritual vampire is normally at the center of the storm along with his/her willing victim. Love and/or the promise of love is seductive, intoxicating, and can be overwhelming in its early stages. I'd venture that most of us enjoy the pursuit, courtship, and initial euphoria of new romantic love or a platonic friendship.

Is love about power, egos, and manipulation? When dealing with an insecure person, certain relationships can resemble a corporate acquisition. These spiritual vampires are quite skilled in what to say and do to attract fans, admirers, and pawns to move about on their Chess board.

Manipulation is both subtle and overt, and oftentimes when we realize we've been lulled into a walking coma, it seems as if it's too late. The Kool-Aid has been digested and taken up residence in our flesh and bones. At this stage, panic sets in, and we feel woozy, stuff our clothes and last remnants of our pride inside an old suitcase, and head for the door.

The dominant one in a toxic relationship isn't always the one with strongest personality or the most intelligent. S/he is a master manipulator, skilled in guilt, and various partner dances to keep victims cheek to cheek whenever the scent of an escape wafts on the air.

All toxic relationships aren't created equal, and some can become dangerous or even turn deadly if left unchecked and untreated. The battered woman who forgives her mate after the first assault and remains in the home is asking for a repeat performance if she doesn't seek help or altogether leave.

Habitual arguments between romantic partners, roommates, or platonic friends should be examined for their root cause. Dancing with a demon isn't fun, as we rise and fall, sway back and forth in that familiar and hypnotic, addictive Tango or Waltz.

How many of us endure toxic relationships because we think we can't do better than the person we're involved with or that we don't deserve mutual friendships? How many of us keep stoking the flames of a relationship because we'd otherwise feel lonely? Rational thinking is abandoned because we yearn for attention, encouragement, and support. Granny always told us, "You can do bad all by yourself. You don't need anyone to help you with that."

I'm not advocating President Obama allocate money to research this oftentimes puzzling interpersonal dynamic, but we need an open dialogue for those who suffer, and treatment for the perpetrators.

I'd like to hear from you on how you ended a toxic relationship. Was it difficult to sever all ties? How long did it take?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Morningside Writers - MFA Acceptances!

Great news I’d like to share with everyone.

Morningside Fiction Workshop Member Jenn Brissett has been accepted into the MFA program at Stonecoast at the USM, low-res program in popular fiction concentrating in Science Fiction.

Morningside Screenwriters Workshop Member Gregg Meller has been accepted into the MFA program in Film/TV Production at USC.

Congratulations to you both!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Tri-State Production Company

Seeking writers (script/TV, commercial, and documentary), filmmakers, photographers, videographers, creative (make-up/hair, wardrobe), technical (lighting/sound/boom), composers, admin/interns, PA's, financial wizards, grant writers, and location scouts to form a new production company to script, workshop, and produce direct-to-DVD projects for resume builders, reels, and distribution. 

Seeking actors who want or need experience with cold readings and scenes for reels. Interested in meeting people with access to locations (residential and commercial), props, and transportation.

Culinary wizards, coffee shop and restaurant owners, don't hesitate to contact us -- we'll need a place to greet, meet, and eat. New or mid-career catering companies are also welcome to send a note.
This is not an offer of employment. The goal is a collaborative company to work on group projects.

Please send cover letter, letter of introduction, resumes, headshots (actors, stunt people), and current projects you're working on to

Looking to meet in person mid to late April, so will repost on various online boards, blogs, etc. until then. Thanks in advance for your interest!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Personal Twitter Guidelines

Several self-proclaimed experts have written their official Twitter rules, most of which I don't accept. When I first read about Twitter, I wasn't too sure if it was for me. I knew what a blog was, but this thing called micro blogging, I'd have to observe from a distance.

My initial and ongoing reaction to Twitter is that it's similar to merging into oncoming traffic at a busy metropolitan intersection or highway. You want someone to stop and notice you long enough so that you can join others in a conversation.

We've all rules of engagement, stated or subconscious, and Twitter is no exception. I don't like social media pundits, gurus, and experts offering unsolicited advice on how and why I should interact with people in cyberspace. My understanding of Twitter, MySpace, or Facebook, is that it's self-paced and voluntary. We're not in high school English class with a daily mandatory journal entry. However, some people feel compelled to share the trivialities and minutiae of their lives. God bless them that they have followers who enjoy reading such grocery lists. I personally do not. I prefer differences over a bleating sheep mentality any day.

The beauty of a global audience is that each person has an online signature, much like a fingerprint, whether or not they're aware of it. My opinion: it's sad day online when more people than not follow the beat of another person's Djembe, dun-dun, or snare drum.

I'm flattered when someone wants to follow me, but I don't automatically follow back. No apologies. I'm not concerned with accumulating thousands of followers. I launch Tweet Deck because I like interacting with people I might not otherwise have an opportunity because of time, time zones, and geographic distance.

Why should I automatically follow someone I've no potential personal, professional, or social interest? I don't respond well to unofficial online rules of engagement.
Back to my temporarily being flattered when someone new sends a request to follow. I think someone or something (Mr. Tweet) has advised that I'm worthy of being followed, but that doesn't guarantee I've any interest in following back. I don't want to read one-word tweets "hot", or "going home", or "stuck in traffic".

When I post a tweet, my goal is to offer news, tips, or interesting tidbits that I would appreciate reading. I talk about my personal world, but not to the point of self-indulgence or sheer boredom. Is there a mute button on Twitter? Yes, it's called block or unfollow.

A few reasons why I will not follow, block, or unfollow:

  • No personal picture or avatar.
  • No personal/business profile or website/blog link.
  • No updates: "I've not updated yet!" (When you do, get back to me.)
  • The person is obviously online to push their product or service, and has no personal stake for using Twitter.
  • The person is more concerned with accumulating followers, similar to notches on a bedpost of sexual conquests.
  • When there's an obvious disconnect. The person hasn't read my blog, website, or tweets, and has no understanding of who I am and why I'm online.
  • Not understanding that all relationships require time, nurturing, and maintenance. Those seeking instant gratification might be in for a surprise.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Fitness Log: Metamorphosis

Working out requires time, energy, discipline, and healthy eating habits.The time isn't an issue because my trainer is punctual three days a week. I've only to set the alarm and get dressed before he arrives. I've yet to schedule time when he's not with me to guide me through a series of exercise homework. It's not that I don't like or want to work out, it's an issue of time away from work or chores. The goal in the coming days and weeks is to block out at least three to five additional hours for physical fitness.

I've posted an ad for an early morning jogging buddy so that I will be accountable to someone else, and they in turn to me. It works the same with my trainer. I expect him three days a week, so I know I have to schedule that time to work out, or it'd be a waste of his time.

I must allow time to shed unwanted pounds and inches around my waist. Even if I could afford it, I wouldn't have liposuction or a tummy tuck. I'm not a candidate for either. Cosmetic weight loss procedures are quick fixes to lingering health and emotional challenges, similar to weight loss supplements, the results are almost immediate, but the maintenance becomes the real test.

I've enough mental and emotional energy to workout, it's the physical endurance in the early stages of retraining my body and mind to perform exercises that seem to contradict with the natural flow of my body. Where does one summon the energy to exercises regularly? Caffeine? Weight loss capsules and powders that contain preservatives, additives, and caffeine?

Time and discipline work in tandem for me. Or is it the chicken and egg conundrum? What needs to happen first? If I'm disciplined and focused in my goals to workout, I'd automatically set aside time to workout alone so that I'll achieve the body I want sooner.

Working with a personal trainer is new to me, and I'm glad that Ryan has the patience, training, and experience to help transform me from sedentary to active once again. I don't remember when something shifted inside, and I became a hermit save for my attending biweekly writing workshops. One cloudy or rainy day that I didn't jog, rollerblade, or dance barefoot in Central Park can't be the sole culprit for my expanded midsection. One day quickly becomes a week. Fast forward, and I'm struggling to button my shirt or pants, which was depressing. I'd always been skinny or slim. I still have the first pair of designer jeans I bought back in high school, and until two years ago, I could wear them.

My daily food logs have shed light on when and what I eat. Water, good. Fruit juice, bad. It's better that I eat the raw fruit. Chewing kick starts digestion, and increases metabolism. Three square meals low in carbohydrates, high in protein, and two to three healthy snacks a day are necessary to decrease the unwanted increase. It might not be easy because healthy living in any economy can be expensive if you don't have the disposable income.

The plump caterpillar is gesticulating in his cocoon, rapid heartbeats, random insecurities, dreaming of chocolate donuts, cookies, and ice cream. The plump caterpillar knows intellectually that physical fitness and fresh food are keys to a better life, and that he shouldn't complain about exertion or soreness. The caterpillar, once reborn, will take to the sky and soar higher than before with his carved physique.

*Feel free to leave comments on your physical, emotional, and spiritual transformation. Spring is here. Let's get rid of excess baggage and climb the mountain together.*

Monday, March 02, 2009

Fitness Log - Where Are My Abs?

I began working with a dynamic personal trainer a few weeks ago to rediscover my previous West African dance and rollerblade physique. The first few sessions were as I suspected: huffing and puffing on the exercise mat, cursing all varities of cookies, ice cream, and chips under my breath.

I didn't know what to expect after my initial weigh-in and fitness evaluation. Ryan, my personal trainer, was patient and detailed, measuring body fat, heart rate, and other prerequisites before logging them into an elaborate computer program. I was impressed and awed. He was as thorough as any general practitioner I've ever visited, minus blood test and urinalysis. He won't need to test internal items because my daily food log will reveal what's happening on the inside.

I workout three times a week, for approximately one hour, during which time he guides me through a series of balance, cardio, and aerobic exercises customized for in-home training.

The road to renewed health won't be long or treacherous. It'll require discipline, healthy meals, and daily maintenance. I'll have to get accustomed to logging meals, snacks, and liquid beverages. I know that I don't drink enough water. I don't need a food log to show me that. The log will serve as a reminder to drink at least eight glasses of water a day.

We're off to a good start, and I expect to increase my metabolism while decreasing my midsection. I didn't expect the importance of the mind-body-soul connection. Why am I working out (beyond the obvious health or vanity reasons)?

I invite you to take the journey with me every Monday as I log my progress under the Fitness Log heading. I welcome your comments and support, because I know I'm not the only one undergoing a physical/emotional/spiritual transformation.

*Photo disclaimer: The posted image is an idealized version of the body I could have if I pursue perfection. I'm not. My aim is a healthy lifestyle, not first prize at the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding contest.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Reading List - March/April 2009

Here is a list of books on my overflowing bookshelf that I intend read for pleasure and/or review during the months of March and April. Perhaps some of you have read or plan on reading a few of them as well.

Please feel free to leave your comments below.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Verbal Agreements - Just Say No

Are verbal agreements binding? Depending upon what's involved, I would say more often than not, verbal agreements aren't binding in a court of law. I'm no lawyer, but let's examine. If one agrees to perform a service for another who states he is unable to afford said service, but afterward the recipient demands a change in the originally understood verbal service agreement, then no.

Oftentimes the basis for a verbal agreement is good faith because one of two parties can't afford a product or service. In recent times, I've bartered copywriting or editing services for web design, development, or CMS (content management system) help.

I recently had to deal with the ugly side of publicity, and here I am examining and reexamining myself and my intentions to perform good deeds and network with other creative souls. This analysis strips the inherent good will.

I think more artists need to take better control of their careers, which includes a thorough understanding of the legal rights in their state or country. I'd advise not to rely on phone conversations and verbal promises meant to soothe a person's fears in the heat of the moment when they're panicking about a broken heart, job loss, or being on the brink of homelessness.

I've learned my lesson: get it in writing to prevent misunderstandings, future temper tantrums, long, threatening e-mails, and text messages at all hours of the day or night. Get it in writing, even if it's on a coffee shop or restaurant napkin. Don't threaten litigation if you've previously stated you can't afford other services, because that would be tantamount to fraud or theft of services.

Invest in a Mead Composition notebook or a digital voice recorder for all important creative and business meetings. Take meeting minutes, date the entry, and mirror back to those in attendance: "What I understand is..."

Should an agreement come from the meeting, have the other person sign and date the entry until a formal contract is created and co-signed by both parties. An audio recording is easier because it would be an actual transcript of the conversation. Don't be sneaky, mind you. Ask permission to record the conversation and place the device in clear sight.

Open your eyes and ears, and pay attention to who you're speaking with, body language, and verbal ticks, if any, before going off on a tangent with unfounded legal threats that wouldn't have legs in court.