Tag Archives: Brad Geagley

A First-Time-Published Story


The following is a true story by author Brad Geagley. He admits that his story makes the envious seethe. But it is the end of his tale that has me intrigued. Brad is entering the now-level playing field of the self-published. This story is a prelude to the story yet to come. Read on, and you’ll see what I mean.

Fair warning – when other writers hear my story they sometimes scream and throw themselves out their windows.  It’s the tale of how I got my first writing contract, and I don’t think anyone had ever had so easy a time of it.

When I was living in New York City, where I was VP of Production for a special effects house, I purchased a loft near Washington Square.  Instead of Escrow, as they have in California, a buyer and seller must instead use real estate lawyers to draw up the contracts.  My realtor recommended an attorney he usually worked with, a woman by the name of Judy Levin.  When I went to her offices to sign the papers I noticed that her walls were hung with posters from the New York Stage.  Some of the productions I had even heard of.  “Wow,” I said, “you must really love the theater!”

Judy, who was both the most laconic person I’d ever met and, perversely, the most loquacious, merely said, “Oh, those?  I produced them.”  It turned out that she had started her career as an entertainment lawyer, and handled the legal affairs for a variety of theatricals.  When you do that in New York you also get a producing credit.  But, as happens to many who work in entertainment, she got burnt out and retired from the fray to become a real estate lawyer.

Well, it just so happens that I was looking to option a book to turn it into a stage play.  Judy got me the book in very short order and for a very reasonable price.  Having tasted the thrill of the theater again, however remote, she then asked me, “Do you have anything else I could look at?”

Did I?!

It just so happened that I had the first hundred pages of a novel to show her, a mystery set in Ancient Egypt, which I had called generically “Ancient Egyptian Murder Mystery”.  She took it and a couple of weeks later told me, “I really like it.  Do you mind if I show it around?”

What do you think I answered?

Judy had brittle bones – this is not a segue, by the way – and had broken her foot.  She would hobble down to the courtyard of her building in Chelsea and – as I might have mentioned – Judy could talk to anyone in that same even monotone she used with me; a stranger, a dog, the clothes dryer.  A gentleman was also in the courtyard that morning, someone from her building who she had never before met.  He too was ill and was staying home from work.  In the course of their conversation he happened to mention his wife, Carol, who happened to work at Simon & Schuster, where she happened to be secretary to the legendary Michael Korda.  Korda, for those of you who don’t know, ran the editing staff of S&S since the 1950s.  “Do you mind if I give you a manuscript?” Judy asked Carol when she met her for the first time a few days.

Carol accepted the manuscript in their laundry room.  “It takes a brave woman to take a manuscript in a laundry room,” Judy said to me.  I could only agree.

But the good news was that two weeks later I had a contract not only to finish my novel, but also to write its sequel.  The first novel, Year of the Hyenas, went on to be named one of the five best mysteries of the year by Library Journal, while the second, Day of the False King, debuted on the LA Times Best Seller List.

And all because I bought a place in New York City.

Luck like that can happen only once in a person’s life, but it is also a story that could only have happened in New York.  It’s a city where you run into people you know all the time, thrust together as you are on sidewalks, in buses and subways, or by frequenting the same restaurants.

The luck began to change when Michael Korda retired, but I always knew that I had gotten to know him at the end of his extraordinary career.  When I was assigned to a new editor, she frankly told me she was not “into” historical fiction and was I interested instead in the chick-lit field…?

We severed our relationship on the spot.

I’ve gone on to write another mystery, but not set in ancient times – instead it takes place in 1957 Hollywood.  What would you do, it asks, if you were a studio mogul and your leading man happens to be a serial killer?  How would save your studio, your film – and your leading lady?

I’ve decided to go explore the self-publishing route this time; the new publishing industry is as unchartered as the wild west, but I’m game for anything.  I guess this is where the REAL work begins.

How To Write a Mystery Novel


Once again, thanks to the insight of professional writer Brad Geagley. He shares how-to  advice for the aspiring novelist. His “How To Write a Mystery Novel” can be read in entirety here: http://bradgeagley.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/how-to-write-a-mystery-novel-2/

This excerpt intrigued me. Hope you find the information helpful as you write:

I like it best when a detective is a flawed man, like my poor, alcoholic Semerket, so that in addition to solving the mystery at hand he must also solve part of the mystery within himself. Like the protagonists in Martin Cruz Smith novels, they also become the seat of moral authority.  All around them are crimes, official corruption, and indifference, but they remain committed to the truth, regardless of how unpleasant it is.  No matter how dark or dismal they are, they become heroic in the process – and your readers root for their success.

In my novel, I’ve done something right — my detective is flawed, committed to truth, and, at moments, heroic. My detective is a she.  To me, that makes character development more challenging; male mystery readers I know prefer male lead characters. I am determined to snag one male fan from my circle of acquaintance for my female character. More on that another day.

Writing Dialogue – Advice from a Pro


Give Brad Geagley his props: he has published multiple books and has professional Hollywood credits. So when someone who gets paid for doing what I dream about speaks, I listen.

Brad’s blog has a collection of several articles on writing how-to’s. I will be featuring a few over the coming weeks. The link today ties to his discussion on writing dialog. Below I’ve pasted a snippet of his opinion about the purpose dialog serves.

 

Dialog has three purposes in all the media I’ve mentioned –

  1. To reveal (or suggest) the nature of each character
  2. Provide the audience with essential information
  3. To advance the plot

And in a novel, there is a fourth task:

4.  Get into a character’s head and actually learn what he is thinking.

Read more here:

http://bradgeagley.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/how-to-write-dialogue-the-art-of-being-invisible/

Getting Distracted – A Cure


http://bradgeagley.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/feverish-restless-writers-and-spring-fever/#comment-693

 

Writer Brad Geagley discusses how he turns guilt into motivation when he has been playing hookey from writing.

Observation: The liquid libation distracting him (named in the post) would distract me, too. Especially on a day like today when I am home in bed feeling yucky.

Background Music–Inspiration for Writing


Background Music–Inspiration for Writing.

Author Brad Geagley offers a tip to put you in the mood when writing. It’s a quick read and gives food for thought. Who knows. Maybe this tactic will work for you. A cure for writer’s block.

Revisiting My Resolutions for Writers by Brad Geagley


Revisiting My Resolutions for Writers.

Today I chose to “press this” so that new writers can see that pro writers struggle with many of the same issues as novices. But there is another lesson from Mr. Geagley that is unintended. Examining his page and biography illustrates how a professional author markets himself and his works. Examine Geagley’s page with marketing in mind. Take notes. Learn from a man who has four novels out there, AND a man who has entertainment field credits.

The motion picture industry is masterful at marketing. Geagley learned what works by direct observation. He puts those lessons to work in his public relations for his products. Study his page and take away some ideas for your own use in the future.

Thank you, Brad Geagley.

Brad Geagley is the author of two critically acclaimed novels, “Day of the False King” and “Year of the Hyenas” and the self-published, smash hit, “The Stand In”. He has worked for many years as a writer and producer in the entertainment industry. The film that changed Geagley’s life was Joseph Mankiewicz’s 1963 film starring Elizabeth Taylor in the title role, Cleopatra. In fact, Geagley learned so much about the Egyptian ruler that he was asked to contribute to Kevin Burns’ two-hour AMC documentary, “The Film That Changed Hollywood”. Mankiewicz became both Geagley’s friend and mentor. More recently, Geagley can be seen in the new documentary, “Cleopatra’s Lost Footage” soon available on the BluRay release of the famed film.

His newest novel, “The Stand In”, a noir mystery set in 1957 Hollywood was inspired by an anecdote from Joseph L. Mankiewicz about a Famous Movie Star.