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Real World Writing Workshop - 2pm-4pm on Saturday January 7th 2012

This is to confirm that the time for the Real World Writing Workshop on January 7th 2012 will be from 2pm - 4pm (and NOT 12pm - 2pm).

From the responses I have received, everyone seems to prefer the afternoon timeslot - and it works well for me, too.

As usual, the workshop will be at the Central Sierra Arts Council, 193 S. Washington Street, Sonora, CA 95370 - opposite the Bank of America building on the corner of Stockton.


Details of the workshop are in the post directly below this one.

Hope to see you there - and in the meantime, have a wonderful New Year's Eve...and a fantastic 2012!

Warmest wishes,
Alexander

Real World Writing Workshop - Saturday January 7th 2012

Since the publication of Lisa Millegan Renner's very kind article about me in The Modesto Bee, I have had many email and phone inquiries about hosting a workshop that focuses on the practical, "real world" aspects of writing: 


▪  Creating a successful outline.
▪  Finding the inspiration and energy to write.
▪  Seeing a project through to completion.
▪  Editing your book.
▪  Finding an agent and publisher.
▪  Exploring self-publishing and electronic publishing options.
▪  Negotiating contracts.
▪  Helping oversee the cover art for your book.
▪  Promoting and marketing your book.

Also I will in the future be offering the opportunity to have me advise on a one-page outline of the project you are working on, and give any tips or comments that I hope you will find helpful.

As you know, we have a Noir Writing Workshop set for Saturday January 21st 2012 - and a second Pixar Writing Workshop (since the first was so popular and there's so much more ground to cover) set for …

Please Sign Up For Email Updates To This Blog And My Writing Workshops

For those of you wishing to keep up to date on my writing workshops at the Central Sierra Arts Council, the most efficient way is to sign up in the "Follow This Blog By Email" box in the right sidebar beneath the Buddha.


You will then receive an email update every time I post to the blog, including any changes in times or dates or other details of the workshops (although I shall try not to mix things around).


I would also greatly appreciate it if you would "Like" this blog on Facebook, by clicking on the "Like" button also beneath the Buddha. This lets you follow the Facebook page associated with this wesbite, AlexanderStuart.com, which frequently has additional content not included in the blog.


In the meantime, the first Writing Workshop of the New Year will be on Saturday January 21st 2012, at the Central Sierra Arts Council, 193 S. Washington Street, Sonora, CA 95370, from 10:30am - 1pm. Admission is $25 for adults and $15 for students.


It will be a Noi…

A Long Way Of Saying Merry Christmas!

This is just one of the most fabulous nights of the year....The Night Before Christmas. I still love everything about it...the lights on the tree, maybe the occasional lovebird named Miso on the tree (photographing him sitting there is now an anual tradition), the baking smells from the kitchen, the sense that somewhere outside in the mysterious darkness, even in California (and certainly around Wall Street domiciles or in DC), there's still a Victorian street where Ebenezer Scrooge is about to clutch his door handle and see the ghostly face of his late business partner, Jacob Marley...

...But also the stockings hung by the fire, the sense of magic in the air, the images of snowy rooftops and white-clad gardens, even if the weather hasn't cooperated...the original Charlie Brown Christmas Special playing in the DVD player (with that fabulous Vince Guaraldi score)...and those endless songs on the Christmas channels: White Christmas, Santa Baby, Jingle Bells, I Saw Mommy Kissing …

Download The War Zone on Kindle for FREE until December 27th 2011

Just click on this link to download my novel The War Zone: 20th Anniversary Edition for FREE on Kindle - until midnight Tuesday December 27th.

You don't need a Kindle to read it. Use this link to download the free Kindle app for your Mac, PC or smartphone. It does everything that a Kindle does - allows you to highlight passages, add comments and bookmarks - and buy new titles instantly from Amazon.

This promotion is thanks to Lisa Millegan Renner's wonderful article about my work in The Modesto Bee.

Happy Holidays - Alexander


The Modesto Bee - A Wonderful Article by Lisa Millegan Renner

Here is Lisa Millegan Renner's wonderful article about me from the Arts pages of the Scene Section of The Modesto Bee, Friday, December 23rd, 2011:

Author and screenwriter brings his family and knowhow to Mother Lode

By Lisa Millegan Renner
lrenner@modbee.com
In 1989, writer Alexander Stuart was in all the British media for first receiving and then losing the prestigious Whitbread Award for his controversial novel "The War Zone."
The book offended some people because of its unflinching look at incest between a father and his teenage daughter. The author says he was stripped of the prize when one of award judges — who hated the book — politicked behind the scenes. But "The War Zone" became Stuart's most successful work; it was published in eight languages and was turned into a film in 1999, directed by Tim Roth.
"It was better than winning, in a way," recalled Stuart, who has gone by the last name Chow-Stuart since marrying Charong Chow. "I never go…

The Modesto Bee - And A Free Kindle Download of The War Zone for Five Days

To celebrate the season - and the wonderful article about my writing workshops, my life and work by Lisa Millegan Renner in tomorrow's Modesto Bee (Friday December 23, 2011) - I am running a FIVE DAY FREE-DOWNLOAD "MODESTO BEE PROMOTION" of the Amazon Kindle edition of my novel, The War Zone.

The entire 20th Anniversary Edition of the book - complete with a subtly updated version of the novel, a new introduction, including the wonderful pre-publication letter Anthony Burgess sent me, plus an afterword by Tim Roth, who directed the multi-award-winning feature film of the book, and my personal diary of the making of the film - will be available for free download from 12:01am on Friday December 23, 2011 until just before midnight on Tuesday December 27th.

You do not need to own a Kindle to read the book. Amazon offers its own free downloads of Kindle apps for Macs, PCs and most smartphones at this link.

The Kindle apps do everything a Kindle can do: you can purchase other …

Random - Charong Chow's Debut Novel

My wife, Charong Chow's debut novel, Random, has just been published on Kindle. A contemporary teen noir mystery and love story set in Los Angeles, it was profoundly influenced by the drug-related death of Charong's best friend from high school - who first introduced us on Miami Beach.

Written with an energy and razor-sharp dialogue that mixes teen angst and ennui with the shadows of a Hollywood long past, Charong surprised me with the power of her writing, the force of her emotion - and the raw and uncompromising teen world she creates amid the shadows of LA's suburban landscape.

Please note that you don't need to own a Kindle to read Charong's novel, Random - or the Kindle edition of my novel, The War Zone. There are free Kindle apps for Macs, PCs and most phones - and you can do anything with them that you can do with a regular Kindle: highlight passages, add your own comments, buy new titles, etc. Just Google "Kindle for Mac or PC download" or searc…

2012 Writing Workshops - From Pixar To Noir

Many thanks to everyone who came to The Magic of Pixar Writing Workshop today. I hope you enjoyed it - and I wish we'd had more time to explore the many themes of Pixar's films, not least a deeper examination of the Hero's Journey and how it relates to such movies as WALL-E and Finding Nemo. 


I think, given the tremendous response - and requests - I will be presenting a second Magic of Pixar Writing Workshop, probably in February 2012. 
We will look at different films - Up, especially, and Monsters, Inc - and how they relate to themes of childhood, aging and our deepest fears and emotions, as well as the sheer fun and excitement of the Cars movies.

In the meantime, the first Writing Workshop of the New Year will be on Saturday January 21st and will have a Noir theme, exploring one of the most powerful and enduring genres of literature and movies - the heightened emotions, vivid characters, crackling dialogue and labyrinthine plots of everything from Raymond Cha…

Seats Still Available for The Magic Of Pixar Writing Workshop on Saturday

There has been a tremendous response to The Magic of Pixar Writing Workshop on Saturday, especially after my interview with the very hospitable and friendly Mark Truppner on KVML this morning (for which many thanks, Mark).

People are concerned that there won't be seats available, but the Central Sierra Arts Council is a large space and we can accomodate a good number - so please continue to contact me by email at tranquilbuddha@gmail.com or by phone at 310-383-7562, if you'd like a reserve a seat.

I'm really excited about this workshop - I think it's going to be a lot of fun and hopefully really informative.

It starts at 11am on Saturday (December 17) and runs until 1pm.  The address is: 193 S. Washington Street, Sonora (opposite the Bank of America building). There is free parking in the lot of the Sonora Days Inn across the street.

Hope to see you there - Alexander

Pixar's next movie - Brave

A little treat for all of you coming to my The Magic of Pixar Writing Workshop this Saturday December 17 at the Central Sierra Arts Council from 11am - 1pm. (Please see the Central Sierra Arts Council's website for more details.)

This is a still from Pixar's next animated movie, Brave, coming next summer - an original Scottish fairytale with a young girl at its heart. It looks amazing. (Image copyright Disney/Pixar)

The Magic of Pixar Writing Workshop - Saturday December 17 from 11am-1pm

In the spirit of the holidays, I am hosting a special The Magic of Pixar Writing Workshop on Saturday December 17 from 11am-1pm at the Central Sierra Arts Council, 193 South Washington Street, Sonora, CA 95370.
Pixar - the remarkable computer animation studio responsible for such hugely successful classics as Toy Story,WALL-E,Finding Nemo,Up,Cars,Monsters, Inc,The Incredibles and so much more - is viewed as a special place where storytelling has come alive again in a whole new dimension.

Pixar's teams of writers and directors work collaboratively and with great passion to create stories that have universal themes, unforgettable characters, warmth, humor, love and all the key elements of narrative structure.  Most challenging of all, they build stories that are compelling and which have powerful antagonists...but antagonists who are not wholly evil and who will not haunt a child's dreams - or yours - with terrifying nightmares. This alone is a remarkable achievement. Ha…

Some Furry Friends From Pixar's Monsters, Inc

A Tour Of Pixar

On Friday, December 9, 2011, we enjoyed a most wonderful tour of Pixar Studios, arranged by my good friend, independent producer and ex-head of 20th Century-Fox, Bill Mechanic.

We had lunch with one of Pixar's writers, Simon Rich, whose credits include four years at Saturday Night Live and several of his own novels, including the recently optioned, Elliot Allagash.

Simon was not only fascinating to talk to about writing for Pixar, but showed a genuine interest in talking to our seven year old son, Hudson, about his own forays into animation...and Hudson's love of The New Yorker for its covers and its cartoons, not to mention Hudson's absolute passion for Andrew Stanton's/Pixar's WALL-E, his favorite film of all time, and the one that has done most, in its truly wondrous, extraordinarily moving and breathtaking way, to shape his view of the world and the cosmos.

We were then treated to an incredibly illuminating (to riff on Pixar's iconic lamp, Luxo, shown out…

John Lennon 1940-1980. Please write your tributes.

Please visit imaginepeace.com to write your tributes. My sympathy and love to Yoko, Sean and Julian on this very sad day. But since all time is now, John is still here with us, with his beautiful music and beautiful soul. Peace and let us all continue to Imagine...

Ready For The Holidays!

We now have our Christmas Tree up, ready for the holidays. Hudson and Paradise are very excited...and so are we!

Thank you to everyone who came to the workshop today

Many thanks to everyone who came to my writing workshop today, I really enjoyed it and I hope you did, too. I think we covered a lot of ground - and next time, we will start setting aside a period to hear you read brief passages from your own writing (if you so wish) and discuss them.

The next workshop will be early in the new year. I will consult with you all by email to see which is the preferred date and then we'll set it. I thought the Central Sierra Arts Council space worked out great - thank you again to Connie O'Connor and to Lu Ann Tillman for coming early to open up.

In the meantime, have a wonderful time over the Holidays. We are still struggling in the dark and with no water (not, admittedly, as I write this), so it seems extra seasonal. So here's wishing you all a Happy Holidays...and power again soon, if you don't have it!

Warmest wishes, Alexander

Thanks to Charong Chow and Examiner.com

Many thanks to Charong Chow and Examiner.com for the very nice piece about my writing workshops at Examiner.com.

REMINDER: 2nd Sonora Writing Workshop This Saturday, December 3rd

10am-1pmat theCentral Sierra Arts Council,193 S Washington Street, Sonora CA 95370. (Free parking at the Sonora Days Inn across the road.)

PLEASE NOTE THAT, DESPITE THURSDAY'S WIND STORM, THE CENTRAL SIERRA ARTS COUNCIL DOES HAVE POWER AND THE WORKSHOP IS HAPPENING AS PLANNED.

Please call 310-383-7562 or email: tranquilbuddha@gmail.com or just show up - it's a bigger space this time!

Full details in my postsbelow, please either scroll down or click on thislink.
Thank you, Alexander

Happy Devember! (The Elf Train Song)

Hudson, Paradise, Charong and I are fortunate enough to have two Elf Friends, Elgouin and Cargouin, who live in Golden Tunnels deep beneath the Earth, and who have been a part of our family for four years or more.

Every year, we hold a Woodland Winter Fair in celebration of them, of their part in the month leading up to the Holidays, and of the magic of Winter itself.
A big part of the Winter Fair is singing The Elf Train Song (written by our magical friend, Camila Arnold, and me), heard in the YouTube video above.
But Hudson has added an extra element to the legend of the Elves: the month of Devember, a one-day month that spans part of the last day of November and the first day of December - and is the official beginning of the Holiday Season for us.
So tonight is Devember Night...and you can be sure Elgouin and Cargouin will be busy!

Elgouin and Cargouin

Here, for those of you wondering what Elgouin and Cargouin look like, is a very rare and ancient photograph of them, captured around Christmastime.

Free Parking at the Sonora Days Inn for My Writers Workshop on Saturday

Thanks to the kindness and generosity of Merrilie Reed, General Manager of the Sonora Days Inn at 160 South Washington Street, Sonora, CA 95370, anyone coming to my 2nd Sonora Writing Workshop this Saturday, December 3 2011, may park for free in the Sonora Days Inn parking lot across the road from the workshop's location at the Central Sierra Arts Council(and opposite the Bank of America building at the intersection of Stockton Street and Washington).
This is particularly helpful, since Washington and the surrounding neighborhood can be very busy on a Saturday (or any day of the week!), and since the writing workshop is three hours, it means that participants don't have to worry about feeding parking meters.
The workshop runs from 10:00am-1:00pm and is $20 for adults and $10 for students. The address is: Central Sierra Arts Council, 193 South Washington Street, Sonora. Please call 310-383-7562 or email: tranquilbuddha@gmail.com
Full details are in my post below. Please click on t…

GATE: Jim Carrey, Eckhart Tolle and John Raatz

I was thinking about the amazing Eckhart Tolletoday and remembering an event at which I met him and listened - mesmerized - to him speak, a little over two years ago, on Thursday, June 4 2009, at 20th Century Fox Studios.
This is a brief blog piece I wrote for my Loving The Wolf blog (still around on the web but superseded by this one) on Friday, June 5 2009. I hope you enjoy it:
Friday, June 5 2009
I attended an astonishing event last night at 20th Century Fox Studios: the first gathering of GATE, the Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment, a creation of John Raatz, Jim Carrey, Eckhart Tolle and others - including the phenomenal Melissa Etheridge and Donovan - dedicated to raising the bar among those of us who create entertainment, so that we think about the impact our work has on people and try to make that impact as positive, meaningful and, ultimately, transcendent as possible.
It doesn't mean avoiding the dark side - that can be addressed intelligently, sinc…