#Novels #Movies #Authors #Screenwriters
Want to know what it’s like to complete a book and then see it made into a Hollywood production-type of film? I’d love to see the novel I’m working on “Flamenco & the Sitting Cat” as a film. Here’s Gabriel Constans, who made his book into a film. Got questions, thoughts, and/or experiences to share about writing and publishing? Record them on my Anchor by Spotify page — or comment at HappinessBetweenTails.com — or email me. Like what you hear? Buy me a coffee.
Time Stamps (where segments begin):
Today’s topic and about today’s guest 1:05
Gabriel Constans on making his book into a movie 3:14
My question for you 6:00
Links referred to in this episode:
About my novel, “Flamenco & the Sitting Cat.”
Gabriel Constans’ blog.
Gabriel’s post at his blog about his movie, The Last Conception.
The trailer for it.
Website for Buddha’s Wife.
Robert D. Reed Publishers.
One of Gabriel’s previous screenplays, Stellina Blue, that was made into a film.
Photos available at the blog version of this show:
Cover of “Buddha’s Wife” by Gabriel Constans.
Photo of Gabriel Constans.
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Hurrah!!!! Spain now recognizes pets as legal family! My hope is that the U.S. will be next…
Every budding novelist (see about my books H-E-R-E) needs a bull-friend for fun between writing days. Mine lives among the herd at LBJ Ranch. Lyndon Baines Johnson served as the United States’ 36th President from 1963 to 1969 (Wiki’s info on him h-e-r-e).
LBJ’s ranch is in Johnson City, Texas, which includes his “Texas White House.” The 300-year old “Cabinet Oak” shades the front, and the view is of the Perdernales (which means “flint” in Spanish) River.
Last I visited the United Kingdom (I’ve written a number of posts on that, including H-E-R-E and H-E-R-E), a taxi driver who immigrated from Brazil waxed dreamily of wanting to visit Texas, “To see cowboys.” Definitely he was immune to America’s Anglophilia. (Just today I came across vlogger Michael’s English lessons where he offers t-h-i-s one about real life in England.)
I envied the taxi driver his romantic, cartoon-eye-ed view of the U.S. that blinded him to our political horrors like what’s happening abortion rights-wise in Texas and elsewhere (posts on that H-E-R-E and H-E-R-E and H-E-R-E).
Austin is truly stunning. Though this visit was about family, we did plenty of sight-seeing. Downtown, there’s a great statue of Barbara Jordan, an African-American woman of many political firsts in Texas and nationally. (Wiki tells about her h-e-r-e.) An Austin Airport terminal is even named for her!
On our way home from a sunset hike up Enchanted Rock, we passed through Fredericksburg, where a stand of trees twinkled.
It had been way too long since I’ve seen my dear extended family, all the longer due to the Covid pandemic (read about how Khashayar and I got it just before the vaccines came out H-E-R-E).
Thank goodness our dear K-D doggie provided the loving buffer to the crash landing returning home can feel like. (By the way, our Austin friends offer t-h-e-s-e instructions on their audiology site regarding keeping our furry friends’ ears healthy.)
Do you think pets should be regarded as legal family, like they now are in Spain?
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Last week, I had the pleasure of seeing a couple of young people leave home to start college. In one case, friends were driving their son to begin university classes in San Jose, 400 miles north of Los Angeles. My husband and I flew to meet up with the parents and then the four of us enjoyed a leisurely drive back south.
Along the way, we also visited a young cousin from Spain who that very week relocated to attend college in Santa Barbara, a stunning affluent beach town.
These images are from that drive…
Seeing these teens on the precipice of adulthood got me thinking of when I was their age and how I set out on my own.
Dear reader, what was that transition like for you?
The way I was raised, girls absolutely must not aspire to anything beyond the role of ultra meek wife, and mother. That was my father’s indoctrination, and my mom supported it, although she was also the family’s breadwinner.
By age seventeen, I resided in at least fourteen different apartments and attended about ten schools. That year, my parents and I lived in Miami, Florida.
Video Note: Piedras Blancas is the beach of choice for many elephant seals. Average males grow to 16 feet and 5,000 pounds, so babies risk getting smothered by them. Learn more about them here.
My sole plan was to make it out with my sanity intact and to never return, even if it meant resorting to prostitution. I set to earning good grades and a high school diploma. To save money, I worked at the local mall’s pet store and earring kiosk. My parents didn’t charge me for rent and food, and I saved my earnings, carefully spending only for needed doctor and dentist visits, and clothing.
My father greatly admired Pablo Picasso, a fellow Spaniard. Everything I’ve read about the famed artist paints him as a complete horror of a family man, so much so that even his grandkids still fume about him. My dad was fond of paraphrasing one of Picasso’s milder sentiments, which was that offspring should be given the boot the moment they reach eighteen, and they should never get financial help or guidance.
Video Note: The entire length of Pacific Coast Highway is phenomenal.
It was generous that my parents waited the extra couple of months between my birthday and graduation to move to Spain.
I want to kid myself and believe that’s when I left home. A little before they departed, my mother asked if I’d like to join them. The relief in her posture when I shook my head no was enough to deduce this was one move where an insubordinate wasn’t welcome. That’s when I realized it was me who was being abandoned.
My father’s farewell was more honest than hers. He shook my hand and said, “Look us up if you’re ever in Spain.”
They saved me feeling guilty and ambivalent. A whole new life was plenty enough to contend with.
Video Note: Morro Bay is famed for Morro Rock. The historical site was formed about 23 million years ago from the plugs of long-extinct volcanoes. While we visited, Otters were doing log-rolls and lounging tummy-up in the water, but they were too far off to snap a good photo.
The necessity for compassion is a running theme in my blog posts. Often I urge people to keep in mind our interdependency extends far beyond our families of origin.
Lucky for me, a friend took me in. Her parents had completed a mean divorce and she lived with her dad. He spent his days smoking and drinking and lamenting his loss of work because of his drinking. He’d been a long-time executive at a major airline and now he was passing time until he could draw his pension. As un-promising as that may sound, he was kind and patient in a way I hadn’t experienced a man to be. He and his spirited daughter provided a good family to me. They gave me confidence and taught me the basics of adulthood.
As for young people, author/blogger Darlene Foster has written eight books for them (and everyone else) in ten years! She writes full-time from Spain, and also writes and does some editing for other writers. She says, “I also travel whenever I get the chance and consider it part of my research. It’s a good life.”
When I asked her to let us know how she went about getting published, she emailed back:
“It took me three years to write my first book and five years to find a publisher. I sent out query letters to many publishers around the world, received many polite rejection letters and eventually found a publisher in my own neighbourhood. Go figure! Central Avenue Publishing is an independent traditional publisher and I am very happy with the professionalism and dedication of my publisher. The lesson here is, never give up!”
Learn more about Darlene, her books, where to get them, and all her social media links, at her blog.
One of my favourite memories from my childhood is sitting on a large rock in the middle of a prairie field making up stories in my head. I had a wonderful childhood, although I didn’t always appreciate it at the time. I found it lonely, as I like being around people, and often wished I lived in a big, busy city. But it gave me plenty of time to daydream and create characters and adventures that later fuelled my desire to write. In grade three, I had a wonderful teacher who encouraged me to write down my stories. She also taught us about other countries in such a fun, interesting way that made me want to travel the world and meet interesting people. I owe her a lot and have since found her and thanked her for making a difference in my life. When I was twelve, one of my stories was published in the local newspaper. I decided then that I wanted to be a published writer one day.
Why did I choose to write children’s adventure books? I love writing for children, they are like sponges and eager to learn. They enjoy adventures and characters who can get themselves out of a tight spot. I can better express the excitement of travelling to new places when I write from the point of view of a child.
Interestingly, many adults read my books and enjoy them as well. Kids’ books aren’t just for kids!
The stories in the Amanda Travels series are inspired by my real-life travel experiences.
When I visit an interesting place, I get a strong desire to share my experience with the rest of the world. The best way for me to do this is to write about it. I am always thinking of how I can work a setting or situation into a story. I take notes and many pictures during my travels and think about what would interest a young person.
I have travelled to all the places Amanda has been. However, I do not have all the adventures Amanda has. She has more fun, excitement and scary experiences in her travels than I do. For instance, I took a riverboat cruise down the Danube with my best friend and our husbands a few years ago, on a boat called, The Sounds of Music. It was a trip of a lifetime, with stops in Germany, Austria, and Hungary. I knew immediately it would be the perfect setting for an Amanda and Leah adventure. Including music in the story was a no-brainer. This is how Amanda on the Danube: The Sounds of Music was conceived.
On another occasion, I travelled to Taos, New Mexico with my aunt, who is also one of my best friends. We had such an amazing time. Besides being steeped in history, the place has a very paranormal feel about it. We even visited a haunted hotel in Cimarron. Everywhere we went, I kept saying, “Amanda would love it here.” When I returned home, I immediately started making notes which eventually became, Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind.
I love to read and so does Amanda. Books are important to both of us. When a vintage novel goes missing, Amanda feels compelled to find it. I love visiting the many used bookstores in England so I wanted to include one in the novel. I found a quintessential bookstore on the Isle of Wight which was perfect for the story, including a resident Main Coon cat. Rupert, the cat, plays an important role in Amanda in England: The Missing Novel.
My latest book in the series, Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady was a result of a trip I took with my hubby a couple of years ago. I loved the history and culture of Malta and felt it would be an ideal setting for an Amanda Travels book. I tossed in some endangered birds, a missing artefact and a friend in danger. Amanda would do anything to help her friend. One reviewer said, “I love the author’s ability to bring the settings alive, from the Blue Grotto to a beautiful cathedral in Valletta, all while keeping the suspense high.”
It took me three years to write the first book, Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask. It was a steep learning curve as I had so much to learn. I am still learning, but I can write a book in a year now. Keeping things fresh in a series is a challenge. I keep up with today´s young people, hang out with them and listen to their conversations. I introduce new characters in every book to keep it interesting. The character of Caleb, a classmate and good friend of Amanda’s was introduced in the New Mexico book. He was so well received he appears again in Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady.
Publishing eight books in ten years is a huge accomplishment for me. I have also won prizes for my short stories and have had stories published in several anthologies. A milestone for me was visiting my former school in rural Alberta and reading from my books to the current students. Seeing my books available online, and on shelves at bookstores and libraries is the most incredible feeling. Having readers tell me they enjoy the stories and hope I write more is like a dream come true.
If this is a dream, I don’t want to wake up!
Amanda is the twelve-year-old I would have liked to be. It is so much easier for kids to travel these days, but I didn’t travel on an airplane until I was in my mid-twenties. I would have so loved to see the world as a child. I am doing it now through my writing!
That’s why I love writing for kids. (And grown-up kids)
What was the day you became an adult?
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My idea of India is a place so fascinatingly diverse and vast that a lifetime of studying it can only scratch the surface. In the novel I’m writing, a main character’s father is from India.
Niks, a teacher, a blogger and a photographer, is based out of Jaipur, Rajasthan. His site is filled with his personal experiences, great info about India, and his stunning photos. Here are his tips for visiting Incredible India…
India is the most beautiful place to visit. It has an amazing history, culture, and heritage that attracts tourists from all over the world. It’s the best place to visit because it is a combination of art, culture, and heritage. There are many tourist places in India. These are historical places like forts, palaces, and also natural places like lakes and gardens.
In ancient times, India was known as ‘golden bird’ as it was dominant in trading. But, after British rule, it became a poor country in the world. With time, it improved its economy. Now, India’s economy is the fastest-growing in the world.
It was ruled by various rulers. Most were fond of palaces in Jaipur. They spent a lot of money on their luxury lifestyle. The architecture of palaces that they built is indeed attractive.
In northern India, there are forts and palaces that attract tourists. However, some hill-stations are also popular. The famous places to visit in North India are Srinagar, Golden temple at Amritsar, New Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh. Golden temple in Punjab is a religious place that is worshipped by the Sikh community.
Srinagar is a town in the Kashmir state of India. It is a hilly area that has snowfall in the winter season. Taj Mahal is located in Uttar Pradesh that is one of the seven wonders of the world.
Northeastern India is best for those who love hill stations. Shimla, Manali, and Assam are popular destinations of northeastern India. These places are famous for adventurous activities such as river rafting, paragliding, and more.
The states of Rajasthan and Gujarat are located in the west of India. Rajasthan is well known for its forts. There are more than 60 forts in this state. Most were built by Rajput rulers. They show the culture and history of Rajasthan.
Gujarat is a western state of India that is famous for wildlife parks and tasty food. Gir National Park in Gujarat is the largest park of lions. “Statue of Unity” is a monument in Gujarat, which is a statue of Vallabh Bhai Patel, who was a politician of India.
Southern India is popular for temples, food, and heritage sites. The architecture of temples in south India is alluring. Alora caves, Mahabaleshwar, and Sun Temple are some of the famous places in South India. Also, the cultural festivals of South India is a great experience.
Plan your journey before the visit.
Contact a tour guide to know about the places you want to visit.
Book hotels and transportation tickets in advance.
Along with tourist places, the culture and food of India are amazing to experience. Peoples of India are friendly and respect foreign tourists. You don’t need a lot of money to visit this country as it is quite affordable.
What comes to mind when you think of India?
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On the outside, the North Carolina Museum of Art doesn’t seem that huge. What makes it extraordinary is that everything in it is remarkable. So much so that I visited once and then twice and then thrice and four times (plus we had a great time here) I went somewhere else before returning, because — wait! — there was more to see, more calling me back…
What’s a Chinese Lantern Festival? It took visiting a good friend in North Carolina for me to discover. Theories vary about its origins, but always it’s tied to the Chinese New Year. This one was an eye-popping expanse of light sculptures beautiful enough to make all ages brave the cold outdoors …
San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, is a constant hustle bustle of strollers, musicians, shops, and street vendors. Museums feature local artists, past and present. It’s the rare place where you’ll find ancient sculptures of female shamans.
Great facts about Costa Rica
Literacy there is 96.3%, among the highest in Latin America. When Costa Ricans abolished their army in 1949, they vowed to replace it, “with an army of teachers.”
They elected their first female president in 2010. In Latin America, female presidents are common.
Hover over or click photos for captions and to enlarge them.
A mere 0.1% of Earth’s landmass, Costa Rica harbors 5% of Earth’s biodiversity. Environmental protection is Costa Rica’s middle name. Ecotourism rewards Ticos (Costa Ricans) with jobs and commerce. Other countries take note: caring for Mother Nature pays off in $mucho$ $dinero$.
25% of its land is nationally protected. Compare that to the developing world’s average of 13% and the developed world’s average of 8%. Each Costa Rican drains the Earth a third less than each North American does.
Crops include coffee and sugar cane.
Tap or hover over photos for captions and to enlarge them.
From caterpillar to pupa to butterfly.
Optimism springs eternal at a taco stand.
Typical Costa Rica all day fare: rice, beans, stew, fresh grilled cheese, and thick bread
Varied sizes lessen mistakes.
Colorful Costa Rican currency features local wildlife.
Lively downtown San Jose.
A red macaw oversees a butterfly sanctuary.
These puffy little yellow birds were everywhere.
Costa Rican hummingbirds come in many colors and sizes including this iridescent green.
A coffee Plantation
These coffee berries taste sweet before they’re processed.
Coffee remains are composted.
A calf at the coffee plantation.
Milled ugar cane gets recycled into paper.
Sugar cane juice.
Sugar cane juice boiled into syrup.
Sugar cane syrup whipped into candy.
A bottle of Cacique: potent fermented sugar cane alcohol.
These insides of a cocoa bean taste sweet and nothing like processed chocolate.
Cocoa becoming chocolate.
Hanging bridges like this one let you view the cloud forest from up high.
A fern tree from below.
A fern tree from above.
Bromeliads like this one grow up high and are homes to frogs.
Bromeliads like this one grow in all colors on the ground.
Bug tracks on leaves.
What do you think about when you think of butterflies?
A popular medical tourism destination, Costa Ricans live longer than Northern Americans. How? Thanks to their socialized medicine system, strict anti-smoking laws, overall healthy focus, and low sugar consumption in.
Hover or click images for more info and to enlarge.