For me, Savannah, Georgia is a magical city. With the Spanish Moss dripping from the gnarly live oaks hanging over the antebellum mansions, fountains and charming squares, you can’t help but feel that you’re in a ghost story. On Saturday, February 16, 2019, Savannah was bursting with stories and attending the 12th Annual Savannah Book Fest to hear those stories was a treat. With over forty nationally recognized authors to choose from, it was challenging to select my itinerary for the day. This year, I decided upon three debut fiction authors and one perennial bestseller with one particular goal in mind. While I was certainly interested what they had to say about their novels, I was more interested in how they made their presentations.  As I stand on the threshold of launching my own book tour for my debut novel, "The Midnight Call," on June 18th, I wanted to see how the pros did it. I wanted to learn f…

Copyright Royalties : No R-E-S-P-E-C-T

The recent passing of Aretha Franklin has highlighted the issue that artists, whether they are musicians, visual artists or writers, truly get no R-E-S-P-E-C-T in terms of statutory royalties due under the copyright laws. When Ms. Franklin died in August, her cry of empowerment, “RESPECT”, had been played over seven millions times on American radio stations, and she’d never received a penny for any of these performances. That’s because under the copyright law, only writers and publishers of musical compositions, in this case, Otis Redding, are entitled to receive royalties.            One major impediment to receiving compensation is that the copyright law has been weak in keeping pace with technology. In the 1990s, Congress passed a bill to allow performing artists to collect royalties from internet and satellite radio, but songs recorded before 1972 were exempt. In 2014, the “Respect Act” (Respecting Senior Performers as Essential Cultural Treasures Act- named with the blessing of A…
On October 15, 2018, my friends, family and supporters of the PPLD gathered to celebrate the 32nd Adriance Honors. Chris Silva, Executive Director of the Bardavon 1869 Opera House was the master of ceremonies as her presented myself and Mark and Julie Nelson with the awards.
     I have had a long, wonderful relationship with the Poughkeepsie Library and below is the speech I presented in honor of this wonderful occasion.
            I would like to thank the Friends of the Poughkeepsie Public Library District for this prestigious Adriance Honor.             Many of you have known me for a long time. We’ve worked together, played together and some of us have even rock and rolled together.             However, there are probably things about me that you don’t know, especially concerning my life-long friendship with the Poughkeepsie Public Library District. So, I’d like to share the Top 5 things you didn’t know about me, and my relationship with the library.    1. Throughout my life, the …

Choosing a Business Entity: Minding your Business

In July, Immortal Works Publishing of Salt Lake City, Utah accepted my debut thriller novel, The Midnight Call, for publication. As a writer, this is a dream come true, and as an attorney, it raised certain questions about how to handle the business side of writing.             We all know that there is the writing and the business of writing. The former is act of creative expression, where the thoughts fly out of our heads quicker than we can capture them on the page. The later is the dollars and sense of the writing biz. It’s the monetary investment in your craft - joining organizations like Sisters in Crime, taking classes and seminars, attending conferences, hiring an editor, self-publishing expenses, book promotion and touring. It’s also the Holy Grail – getting a publishing deal and receiving royalties.             For many years, I’ve been writing a theater guide series, SEATS : NEW YORK, but the business of non-fiction writing is a completely different animal then …
The Tweet that changed my life
            Last year, I read “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes. Yes, the “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Scandal” and “How to Commit Murder” Shonda Rhimes. Usually, I avoid memoirs and self-help books, but I’m addicted to Shondaland. Besides, she’s a self-made Hollywood icon and I was hoping for some dish on my favorites television characters.              Despite Shonda’s fame and fortune, she described herself as being socially paralyzed. She felt like she was living in a vacuum, dividing her time between her kids and her demanding television schedule. When on Thanksgiving 2013, her sister Delores remarked “You never say yes to anything” those words really hit home.              After decades of refusing social, speaking invitations and awards, Shonda decided for one year to say YES to experiences and opportunities that she’d previously shunned. During that year, Shonda bravely put herself out there –giving…
Right of Publicity: Naming Names
            In my last article, I discussed Copyright basics. I’d like to reiterate that just as someone else must obtain permission from you to reproduce your work, you must similarly oblige. Let’s say that you have a scene where your heroine is serenading the hero on guitar with “Just The Way You Are” by either Bruno Mars or Billy Joel. In order for you to use any lyrics from that song in your novel, you must get permission from the copyright owner (Billy or Bruno) unless the material is in the public domain and not subject to copyright protection. This is true even if you give them attribution. Licensing music lyrics can be awfully expensive, so you’re better off naming the song title for free than paying them all of your royalties. The same rule applies to text or quotes.             Generally, works published before 1923 are in the public domain, and the status of copyrights works between 1923 and 1964 can be searched at Stanford University’s Cop…
   A Day in the City with Edgar

Yesterday was a great day. Not only for me, but for the Mystery Writers of America 2018 Edgar Award Nominees.
            Yesterday was the 2018 Edgar Symposium, where the best First Edgar Nominees like Jordan Harper (She Rides Shotgun), Deborah E. Kennedy (Tornado Weather), Winnie M Li (Dark Chapter) and Melissa Scrivner Love (Lola) shared their stories and talents with us. From the tale of an 11 year-old girl on the run, the survival story of sexual assault victim, to a female gang LA leader, the audience of aspiring mystery writers was enthralled with their terrific characters and plots.     Any one of these would make a great read for your book group or on the beach.             I couldn’t stop laughing at Rupert Holmes (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) and Tom Straw’s (The Richard Castlebooks) recollection about the groundbreaking writer William Link. Remember ColumboMurder, She WroteEllery Queen? These shows are oldies but goodies and you can still…