Support Your Network and a Stellar Indie Film

I’ve talked a lot in this blog about how important it is to have the support of your writing community and how important it is to support them. My personal writing network has cheered me on and supported me in all of the endeavors I have started in the past year and my ideas for the future.

Now it’s my turn to give back.

You all met her as Jamie Lee Scott back in December of last year when she was featured in my Seven Questions segment. Since then Jamie Livingston-Dierks has published another book in the Gotcha Detective Series, Textual Relations, and has written a short film.

No One Knows was written in a single sitting as the result of a single thought: “What could be the worst thing that could happen to you if you looked in the wrong window?” This led to another thought: “What would you do to keep your deep, dark secret?”

This led to the development of a screenplay:

A story about family, public perceptions, and secrets. What would you do to keep your secret? 

The Smiths could be any family. They could be your neighbors. When twelve-year old Jason looks in his neighbor’s window at , he learns he’s not the only kid living in an abusive environment. What he learns will change his life.

Now with a producer, director and cast in hand, No One Knows in the funding stages. If you love to support your fellow writers donate. If you love indie films donate. If you have a deep, dark secret donate. Every dollar will help make this awesome film possible. And if you can’t donate, spread the word about the film via Twitter and/or Facebook. To donate, head over to the Indiegogo page.

Thanks in advance to all of you who support this film and one of my biggest supporters.

Book Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

The following review originally appeared on Book End Babes, a website devoted to a love of reading and to learning about new authors.

I received Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) as a gift from someone who loves The Office as much as I do.

From the book jacket:

“Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”

Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!

In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.”

I loved this book! It was funny, but not too over the top. I love Mindy and like many people, I wasn’t familiar with her early work. Mindy does a great job to categorizing her life into major milestones, whether good or bad, in a humorous, factual manner. As someone who wasn’t the most popular girl, I really connected with Mindy as she dove into her early childhood, the friendships she developed and how it’s a great thing when you don’t peak in high school.

I also love her drive! Mindy is a great example of how drive and determination and sometimes not being sure of what you are doing is okay. You just dust yourself off and keep going on in the pursuit of reaching your dreams. I was just tickled when I found out she was the writer behind my favorite episode of The Office! The Dundies! If you haven’t seen that episode, I suggest you watch it immediately. Season 2 Episode 1.

Mindy’s witty insight into life is great. Her take on one-night stands (which I totally agree with) made me laugh so hard. But my favorite chapter was the one in which she outlines the rules of best friends. I agree with every word she wrote.

If you are looking for an easy beach read for the summer months that will leave you feeling good, this is the book for you! Have you read Mindy’s book or the book of any other female funny ladies? What did you read and what did you learn?

Writing About Yourself is Hard

Writing about yourself stinks. And I don’t mean writing an autobiography. I’m talking about cover letters.

There’s a point in all of our lives, whether you are a writer or not, where you get bored with what you are doing and decide to throw yourself back out into the water with the sharks.

I’m at that point right now. I am not unhappy with all of the opportunities that have been afforded to me over the last year. I think they just pointed me down the right road after I was stuck at the fork. I want more of what I’m doing and I want it to be challenging.

It has been a while since I looked for a new position in the traditional manner. I’ve been lucky enough to have been referred for much of my work. Now I remember why I love referrals. You don’t need a cover letter.

I hate cover letters. I spend entirely too much time crafting these documents. Why is it so hard to talk about yourself? I think it’s the pressure that comes with this brag letter.

  1. Grammar and Spelling: In my full-time position, I see terrible misspellings, uses of the wrong word and just plain bad sentence structure. I think this has made me overly obsessed with perfection on cover letters.
  2. First Impressions: This cover letter is supposed to be a first impression snapshot of who you are as a person and what you and your skills can bring to an organization. Obviously you want to look good on paper. But if you look too good are you disqualifying yourself? If you don’t look good enough will they just delete your email?
  3. Length: The jury is still out on how long cover letters should be and where you should be attaching them electronically. The options vary based upon the method in which you are applying for a job. I find that I just have to use my best judgment, take a stab at it and hope for the best.
  4. Accomplishments: Sure you think something is a great accomplishment to brag about, but really, is it an accomplishment to the hiring executive?

I think we should do away with cover letters all together. Just look at my resume and bring me in to talk to you face-to-face. I’m much better talking about myself when I’m in front of someone else who is asking me what they really care about, not about what I think they care about.

Do you hate writing cover letters? What challenges have they brought you and have you found ways to overcome them?

Robin Roberts: An Inspiration to All Women

I love Robin Roberts. I’ve been watching her on Good Morning America for as long as I can remember. I’m an ABC girl and I’m not ashamed to say so.

When I was in school and thought about becoming a journalist, I started to really pay attention to the female journalists that I loved. Robin Roberts was one of my top three. I began to, and still do, admire her because she is real;  always at ease. I wanted to be able to tell the story of another person with such finesse. I wanted to be good at what I did despite whatever was going on in my personal life.  I still aspire to have the ease and love of the job that Robin shows us each day.

I start my day with Robin and the GMA team. I followed along with everyone else when she announced, underwent treatment for and beat breast cancer. I cheered to myself the day that she came back to the GMA set because I missed having her in my life each morning. Robin is part of my routine.

As I watched the video of her announcement this morning, I thought back to when I was in college and when I decided I wanted to encompass the traits of my favorite journalists. But today, it’s not only the job-related traits that I admire in Robin. I admire her strength, courage, fight and openness to share with the world her struggles and her hope.

All women can take lessons from Robin Roberts. Find happiness in who you are; strength when times are tough; peace in knowing you are not alone; and always remember to smile.

Robin, I wish you the best as you fight this new challenge in your life. I just know you can beat it!