January 2017 Novel & Short Story Winners

1st CHAPTER and FULL NOVEL FESTIVAL: https://novelwritingfestival.com/

Watch the January 2017 Winning Novel & Short Story Performance Readings. All stories read and performed by professional actors:

ACTORSHORT Story – THE MISCREANT
January 2017 Reading
Written by Lionel Walfish

ACTORSHORT Story – THE PAPERBOY
January 2017 Reading
Written by George G. Moore

ACTORSHORT Story – MURDER IS A BREEZE
January 2017 Reading
Written by M Maureen Skahan

ACTORSHORT Story – MARIONETTE
January 2017 Reading
Written by Melissa R. Mendelson

ACTORSHORT Story – SHADOWS
January 2017 Reading
Written by Kelly J. Kratz

ACTORSHORT Story – A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE IN BUTZBACH
January 2017 Reading
Written by D.K. Christi

ACTORSHORT Story – TELL ME TO GO
January 2017 Reading
Written by Thomas Cannon

ACTORNOVEL Reading – DEADLY SERIOUS
January 2017 Reading
Written by A.J. Thibault

ACTORNOVEL Reading – THE FOOTSTOOL INCIDENT
January 2017 Reading
Written by Stephen Karnaghan

ACTORNOVEL Reading – DAWN OF CHRYSALIS
January 2017 Reading
Written by Sam B. Miller II

ACTOR2016 CONTEST Poetry Readings
Watch the finalists.

 

 

 

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Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

Novel Transcript of Mei Meng: The Lost Panda by Andrew Fisk

Performed by Val Cole

 
What is your novel about?

This novel is about an adventurous young Panda named Mei Meng. She travels with her parents deep into the mountains of China to escape the destruction of her habitat by human beings. When she is swept away by a raging river, she meets all sorts of fantastic animals on the journey home. Some of them want to help her. Some do not. Surprisingly, her best allies are the human children she meets along the way.

What genres would you say this novel is in?

It is definitely a fantasy. It is a children’s book, aimed at the middle-grade audience. It is one hundred twenty two pages without any illustrations. It defies classification as most children’s books are not that long.

How would you describe this story in two words?

Child explorer. If this story was on Disney Family Channel it would be something like “Panda Meets World.” Mei Meng leaves her little corner of the mountain where she lives, and becomes a world explorer. At the end of the book she even has a telescope so she can keep track of her human friends.

What movie have you seen the most in your life?

It is a tie between “Forrest Gump” and “American Graffiti.” The Forrest Gump character exemplifies the triumph of the simple man, the pure at heart.

American Graffiti has a great story line and a cast of a dozen or more actors who went on to have outstanding careers.

An example of why I like this movie: when Harrison Ford (aka Bob Falfa) drives into town in his jalopy to challenge Paul Le Mat to a race, his license plate is THX 1138. Why is that important? This is the title of the first George Lucas feature film, a science fiction classic. I probably saw “American Graffiti” ten times before I picked up on this.

How long have you been working on this story?

It took me a few months to write. I did a lot of research on interesting Mandarin names for the characters. For example, Mei Meng’s good friend is a funny snow leopard named Chun Bao, which means Silly Leopard. A scary Siberian tiger is named Di Zheng, which means earthquake. He is so huge that every step he takes shakes the earth.

Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

I’ll nominate two books. One is “The Magic Barrel” by Bernard Malamud (although it is a collection of short stories that won the National Book Award in the nineteen fifties) and “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway.

What motivated you to write this story?

I felt like writing something lyrical, fantasy-world that would go deep into mythology and have a totally sympathetic main character. It was also meant as a “welcome to the world” present for my daughter. This is not “Kung Fu Panda” by any means. It moves at a slower pace and is more emotional and mystical than slapstick. It also emphasizes the importance of the family, both panda and human.

If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Leonardo Da Vinci. I would ask him, “How did you accomplish all the things you did in so many different areas?” Unlike Da Vinci, I write my ideas down in spiral notebooks, instead of an ornate leather bound Codex (which Bill Gates paid millions of dollars for). Maybe that’s the secret.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Being outdoors. Hiking in the hills, kayaking, white water rafting, paddle boarding. I am a fan of American college football and find the games more exciting than the usual NFL product.

What influenced you to enter your novel to get performed?

I wanted to hear different voices speak the lines of dialogue and the narration. I also hope to attract some interest for the book. At the very least I would like to find an illustrator. I would like to have the illustrations done in the style of traditional Chinese paintings. All the different animals and natural environments would allow an artist to create many interesting canvasses. If I were to engage in a little “exponential thinking” I would like to:

Have the book translated and published in China.
Have the book made into a movie for the Chinese market.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Inspiration can come from anywhere at anytime. Sometimes your subconscious pulls together elements from events in your own life and combines them with elements from literature and mythology. There is a flash of lightning in your head and suddenly you know what your project is about. This has been my experience.

*****

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

SIMULATION (Ch. ILIAD) – Novel Transcript by Ami Blackwelder

IMPerformed by Val Cole

FACEBOOK

Get to know the writer:

What is your novel about?

It is about a future where a quantum computer controls the cities. One girl, Masha, decides to resist the computer’s control.

What genres would you say this novel is in?

YA SyFy Dystopian

How would you describe this story in two words?

Thought-Provoking

What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Gosh, Pride and Prejudice

How long have you been working on this story?

For a few months

Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

I love a few. Divergent, Hunger Games, Star Wars

What motivated you to write this story?

Our future

If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Einstein

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Science, Nature, Animals, Reading, Teaching, Traveling

What influenced you to enter your novel to get performed?

I would love a professional reading of the first pages to get readers interested

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Do what you love.

*****

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

Winning Short Story – Tell Me to Go by Thomas Cannon

Performed by Hugh Ritchie

Get to know the writer:

What is your short story about?

A naïve young man does not realize that his girlfriend is trying to get him to break up with her. She has most likely cheated on him, but his passivity is also to blame for their problems.

Why should this story be read by people?

It is a mainstream flash fiction story.

How would you describe this story in two words?

Paralytic naivety

What movie have you seen the most in your life?

I love the Fisher King. With Jeff Bridges as a shock jock trying to find redemption and Robin Williams as a homeless person on a quest to find the Holy Grail, it is packed with humor and dramatic scenes.

How long have you been working on this story?

This is a story I wrote 20 years ago. Every so often I pull it out and change something small.

Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

Absolutely! I love Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. His humor and timing is just so great. It is a meticulously plotted story.

What motivated you to write this story?

A breakup of my own.

What artist would you love to have dinner with?

I would most like to have dinner with William Shakespeare. I almost picked Leonardo Da Vinci except I do not speak Italian.

And while I believe in the adage that you should not meet your heroes, there are so many questions about Shakespeare I would like to know. I would love to have a first hand account of how Shakespeare wrote and how he spent his days at The Globe.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I am passionate about working with children with Autism. They have a unique, honest take on the world around us.

What influenced you to enter your short story to get performed?

This is a unique, interesting project. I love that it brings together to different forms of art and thought that the performer could add another dimension to my story.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

My advice is to be part of a writing community and support the writing in your community. This includes spreading the word and reviewing other authors.

*****

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

Novel Transcript of THE FOOTSTOOL INCIDENT by Stephen Karnaghan

Performed by Hugh Ritchie

Get to know the writer:

What is your novel about?

My novel “The Footstool Incident” traces a character’s discovery of identity. He changes from a person devoid of any hope to a poet. His poems arrive as mystical visions and finally he acts upon them.

Why should this novel be read by people?

Follow the development of a character without ambition to a mystical artist.

How would you describe this story in two words?

Mystical Journey.

What movie have you seen the most in your life?

‘Naqoyqatsi’ (Life as war) by Steven Soderbergh.

How long have you been working on this story?

Eighteen Months

Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

“The Flanders Road” by Claude Simon

What motivated you to write this story?

I was motivated to write this novel because the idea was so strong in my mind. The discovery of identity can lead to interesting developments. What would happen to a character if they had a mystical vision? What would this do to the character’s life quest?

What artist would you love to have dinner with?

Phillip Glass.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Apart from writing I am passionate about composing electronic music.

What influenced you to enter your short story to get performed?

As a writer I want my work to be before a reader or viewer, the Novel Festival is the best way of achieving this.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

When you think that you have finished, edit again.

*****

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

Chapter 1 Novel Reading of DEADLY SERIOUS by A J Thibault

Performed by actor Hugh Ritchie

BUY the Novel Online

Get to know the writer:

What is your novel about?

Deadly Serious is a dark comedy thriller set in Los Angeles about a stand-up comic whose search for the truth leads to his downfall. When Jonny Goodis exceeds the limits of free speech, he draws fire from his audience, his enemies and his peers. Hunted and tormented, he must deliver the performance of his life if he ever hopes to survive.

Why should this novel be read by people?

It is a look inside the mind of a tormented aspiring comic who has trouble differentiating between going over-the-top and discovering that the terror inside of him, although comedic, can be very very real. I wanted to play with the complex interplay between action and psychological thriller, much as happens in a Thomas Pynchon novel.

How would you describe this story in two words?

Comedy thriller

What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Casablanca

How long have you been working on this story?

It was about 1.5 years for the first draft.

Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

I liked Robert Ludlum a lot and the Bourne Identity.

What motivated you to write this story?

I lived in Los Angeles at the time and attended many different and famous comedy clubs. I saw many comedians who had a very dark side to them and a few would explore it through politics and personal attack and this prompted me to think about what would happen if they were misunderstood and went over-the-top. The death of John Belushi and others prompted me to think about why comedians are so self-destructive.

What artist would you love to have dinner with?

Henri Rousseau.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Family, kids, politics and future exponential technologies.

What influenced you to enter your short story to get performed?

I am excited to have the opportunity top get the word out and I’ve never entered a festival before.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Writing is like thinking. If you believe in your thoughts, keep on writing.

*****

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

Chapter 2 of the Novel: Dawn of Chrysalis by Sam B Miller II

Performed by actor Hugh Ritchie

Get to know the writer:

What is your novel about?

It is the 2nd book in the FORCE series. The aggressive aliens in the 1st book have to seek an alliance with Earth when their planet is overrun by a powerful, ruthless army of galactic killers. Whatsit and his human friends join with Chrysallaman scientists in the effort. The thrills and adventure continue as the tentative alliance must create advanced technology if there is any chance for success against the new threat.

Why should this novel be read by people?

The reader is transported to a new reality by the story. The book lets the reader’s mind free to virtually create its own universe guided by my imagination. For more imaginative insights into the world of F.O.R.C.E., visit my sites;
http://twitter.com/SamBMillerII
https://www.facebook.com/TheOriginofFORCE
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28397329-the-origin-of-f-o-r-c-e
https://www.amazon.com/author/sambmillerii

How would you describe this story in two words?

Non-stop adventure.

What movie have you seen the most in your life?

‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. The first movie featuring Indiana Jones. The action, adventure and humor are quite engaging.

How long have you been working on this story?

The work has consumed about 9 months of effort.

Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

It’s a series actually. The Skylark of Space series by E. E. Doc Smith.

What motivated you to write this story?

After finishing the 1st book in the series, I felt compelled to continue the adventure. You can’t create a whole universe with so many options and then just end it.

What artist would you love to have dinner with?

The ones who come to mind like Robert Heinlein are all dead unfortunately except for Stephen King. I’d love to meet him and see how he crafts his stories and goes through the mechanics of writing his books.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

As you become older and hopefully wiser, you begin to realize just how short a time you’re allowed on this Earth to help others. Helping people use their imagination, if only for a short time, is rewarding.

What influenced you to enter your short story to get performed?

The professional work done by the festival with a reading of part of my first novel encouraged me to apply for a reading of part of my second novel. The Festival does quality work.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

You need a team. You need to have people you can bounce your story off of as you are building it. You need both young and old in the team. Family and friends. I can’t tell you how many times my 29 yr old daughter or my 28 yr old son would say, Dad, this sounds like it was written by some old guy. It’s not fresh. Or you need to describe this character better. Or this character needs more background so the reader can really understand why they act in a certain way. Your spouse will really not pull any punches and believe me I was punched plenty while writing my novel! All I can say is a team is very important!

*****

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson