THE LOS ANGELES BOOK FESTIVAL

The Los Angeles Book Festival named “Sweet Mary” by two time Pulitzer Prize Winner Liz Balmaseda its 2010 Grand Prize Winner—congratulations Liz! My novel “Stan Lerner’s Criminal”, as it did at the London Book Festival received the First Honorable Mention. So “Criminal” has now won the Grand Prize at the Hollywood Book Festival and received the First Honorable Mention at both the London and Los Angeles Book Festivals—not so bad for a UCLA dropout, I suppose. In the case of the London Book Festival I wrote a blog that explored my feelings with respect to my expectations of always having to win and ultimately the journey of writing and publishing “Criminal”. If you haven’t read my London Book Festival blog please do so, because the words I am now hoping to conjure up won’t be of the recycled variety.

The results were announced online (Feb 25th 2010) as I sat at my favorite coffee house in Montebello, a suburb of LA and my hometown. A few days earlier I had just returned from the continuation of my much written about journey “Road To Nowhere”. This time the “Road To Nowhere” had picked back up in Missoula Montana and gone as far as Washington DC—I had been planning to write about this affair of the road until the moment the news of “Criminal’s” most recent festival result appeared on my screen. Happily, I did not experience the angst previously described in my London Book Festival blog, rather I felt, for lack of a more literary term, relaxed—basically I’m okay with things these days.

Yes, it would still be nice if the publishing establishment and big booksellers could find a way to work with artists such as myself that don’t exactly fit any kind of mold or formula. And it would be great if the motion picture studios and or production companies sought out award winning artists and their works, instead of relying on simply what’s fed to them by a few powerful agencies that can throw in a star or two as part of a package. And as I mention these major shifts of paradigm I would like to see happen one day, I can’t help but to think of a recent article in the Los Angeles Downtown News, which focused on downtown’s writers, it had a nice picture of them at Metropolis Books on Main Street (I’ve done two reading at this store, lived downtown for fifteen years, and have won more awards than the entire group combined.)—no picture or mention of Stan Lerner though. And I mean this genuinely from my heart—it’s okay. I don’t understand it, but I’m okay with it… Continue reading

SMASHWORDS.COM

Foreword by Stan Lerner: as I sit here at Break Espresso in Missoula Montana preparing once again to travel on the “Road To Nowhere” I can’t help, but to write about smashwords.com because much like I wrote of in my blog post “Go Buy A Kindle” it is the invention of websites such as smashwords, which afford me the luxury to be so not tethered to my home base in Los Angeles. And I will tell you now dear readers, that I will in the course of this blog post solicit your support of this site, not only because my own book titles are sold there, but because the success of smashwords.com will ultimately be all of our success.

What is smashwords.com? Herein lies our story. But first the simple answer: smashwords.com is a website that sells ebooks only and it sells them in every format, for every device on the market. Now that I’ve completed these most creative and literary sentences, let me expand to the wider aspect and explain how I came to not only discover smashwords.com, but became one of its advocates.

Regular readers of my work will recollect that I spent the waning months of 2009 in Las Vegas working on posts for blogsincity and my eventually to be released novella “Lerner’s Las Vegas”. A few particularly observant readers noticed that I did not post any new work during the month of December and the first two weeks of January and commented on such.

So as I cohabitated with a variety of things to write before the end of the decade (blogs, scripts, books and a business plan) in Las Vegas I took to the task of posting the downtownster.com Ten Best Blogs of the year. One of the Ten Best Blogs of the year, just so happened to be my blog post “Go Buy A Kindle”. This blog once reposted generated still greater readership and several more comments. But it was one particular comment that determined that the month of December would take a very unexpected turn. The comment, of which I speak, was one of concern that in my post about Kindle I did not mention the Sony eReader.

I commented back that I was not advocating one device over another, but I personally preferred Amazon Kindle over Sony eReader because of it’s 3G WiFi connectivity. This very smart reader then pointed out that Sony eReader, like Amazon Kindle, had WiFi and that perhaps I was confused or on drugs. Continue reading

THE JERSEY BOYS

Foreword by Stan Lerner: determined to not leave Las Vegas before writing a work of some literary merit I contacted Rob Goldstein, the President of The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, and asked if he could facilitate my seeing the Phantom Of The Opera and Jersey Boys. So impressive were these two shows, that I felt it necessary to divide my effort and write not one, but two separate blogs. The first blog of this diptych depiction of Sin City at its holiest is posted both on downtownster and blogsincity as the “Phantom Of The Opera – And I”. I’ll mention here that while I’ve received no reaction from the The Venetian with respect to this blog—many readers have commented that it is perhaps the most beautiful piece I’ve ever written. Well, now as I contemplate how to continue our story I have something to live up to I suppose.

 Last read from “The Phantom Of The Opera—And I”:

The dark figure with his face half-masked approached—The Phantom Of The Opera. To clarify, I am not speaking of the brilliant, Tony Award winner, previously seen on the most elaborate of stages. I speak now of the actual Phantom Of The Opera, risen from his chamber.

Seated next to me he said these words, “The lover of The Phantom Of The Writers, you are?”

“I am,” I responded, solemnly.

“A tragic state of being you’ve accepted—to be loyal,” his voice lowered to a whisper, “yes to be loyal to the giver of your talent and to not be seduced by those who love you for what is not yours.”

“I can’t live without what I’ve been given, so I am a slave to the giver…”

We sat in silence for some moments—waiting. Because there is a moment every day when there is pure truth in all-of-the world.

“Why does a man as handsome as yourself wear a mask?” I asked The Phantom Of The Opera who is perhaps the most handsome man I have ever laid eyes on.

A tear ran down his cheek, not for himself, but for I. “For the same reason, you great writer cannot look into a mirror. I wear the mask to hide not my face, but the ugliness that dwells in my heart…”

Our story continues:

THE JERSEY BOYS

The words of the phantom reverberated in parts of my soul that previous to our encounter I had not fathomed existed. Oh the complexity of the soul and the vexations it suffers. Why must I yearn for greatness? Why must I want for others to share my passion? Surely not from an evil, perplexed heart. You see it is indeed this goodness that continuously births the passion that feeds the darkness—and thus the infinite, alpha helix of my pained existence.

“There is another show, great writer, that you must see,” said The Phantom Of The Opera to I.

“No, this was enough. Should I see anything less it would diminish the euphoria I will forever experience when I think of the theatre, thanks to you.”

The masked face tilted towards I and slightly down, as the phantom is a few inches taller than my six-foot-one frame. “You won’t be disappointed. True there is no other performance that can equal my pageantry and my love of the feminine voice is universally known—still there is another voice in our time from the angels.” Pointing north towards the Palazzo. “And there is yet another question you must answer for yourself.”

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The awful question was with us now. “Why does the world resist that which would change it and make it better?” Continue reading