Sunday, August 17, 2014


We rarely post photo blogs (Italians would gladly launch 1,000 words instead) but I wanted to share some highlights from yesterday's Blessing of The Animals at Malibu Methodist Church. Tanner and I were the volunteer emcees and we toured the vendors booths, interviewing some exotic non-profits, like the Gibbon Conservation Center, that is dedicated to helping the world's most endangered primate, and Ghost Fishing: Ocean Conservation, whose mission is to find and remove from our seas the discarded deadly plastic fishing lines that claims the lives of fish and marine mammals. There were local favorites, too, like Dr. Lisa from Malibu Coast Animal Hospital, Healthcare for Homeless Animals, Master dog trainer and Shorin Ryu karate sensei Robert Cabral, of Bound Angels and Black Belt Dog Training, and groomer and animal activist par excellence, Sherman, whose new venture Peaceful Pets Aquamation offers a sensible, kind and environmentally smart way to help our departed 4-legged companions cross over with dignity and peace. The whole morning was a blast but my personal fav was Tanner quaffing an entire bowl of holy water while Paster Sadhi Liddell blessed his thirsty dog self. If you missed the event, highlights will be posted at Encore Streaming in the near future.
Tanner polishes off the holy water as Pastor Sandhi Liddell of MMUC looks on
After a brief siesta, it was off to Malibleu Gallery  for the opening reception of the 'Wavelength' exhibition. The place was jammed with art lovers, who sipped wine, nibbled snacks and grooved to the funky blues of The Country Legends. Several friends showed up to admire Eugenie's superb stone sculpture, and we got to meet some of the other talented artists, including fellow sculptor Jill McDonell, painters Brooke Harker and Adriana Guidi, and husband/wife photographers Consuelo Veri and Przemek Domanski of PhotoBox.comhttp://www.photoboxinc.com.
Eugenie with her stone sculptures
With painter Adriana Guidi ® and her mom, Louis (l)

with photographer Consuelo Veri

Monday, August 11, 2014


Instead of cool dog news or updates on Tanner's latest exploits, this week we're doing something different. We're joining a worldwide blog hop for readers and writers called “The Writing Process World Blog Tour.” I'm not the guy who put the social in social media but I was invited to join WWBH by a hot new YA writer, K.V. Flynn, whose debut novel, ON THE MOVE (the first book in a middle grade/YA trilogy that really lives inside the world of skateboarding and boys’ friendships), will be published in early September. Be sure to add it to your must buy" on Amazon/Kobo.iTunes/B&N (notice I didn't say must read,” since we writers have to eat - BUY it for yourself, or you teenage son/brother/friend). K.V. lives in the Manhattan-Huntington-Malibu Beach area. His favorite ride is an 8.25" Krooked deck, Independent trucks, and 53 mm Spitfire wheels. He is half Spanish and half Irish and has a dog. K.V. and he and his bros regularly cruise Venice, Stoner, Skatelab, and Van’s. Check out the book here:www.OnTheMoveBooks.com.
About me and my book
I live in Malibu with my wife Eugenie, the love of my life, and our rescue dog, Tanner. I've written for film, TV, stage, magazines and newspapers. GIMME SHELTER is my first book. When I'm not writing (which is way too often these days), I work with juvenile inmates at the L.A. County Juvenile Probation Camp Schools in the nearby Santa Monica Mountains. For fun (read the book, and you'll see the kind of guy who thinks it's fun), I teach Okinawa GoJu Ryu ("Wax on; Wax off") Karate and Tai Chi. In our downtime, Eugenie and I travel to Italy where we were married and where we have dual U.S.- Italian citizenship. 
                                                              ~ ~ ~
Today we're answering four questions:
1) What are you working on? 
I'm currently juggling several projects. There's a Stand And Deliver-style film script set in a juvenile probation camp (prison), a gritty urban short-story collection set in NYC and Northern NJ, and a stage play with music about the only soldier to ever successfully challenge the U.S. military's ban on gays. In addition, I'm always outlining potential stories, scripts and articles that will probably go unrealized unless I live to a biblical age.

2) How does your work differ from others in your genre? GIMME SHELTER takes the feel-good dog story and stands it on its head. On my Amazon page, I say that GIMME SHELTER is… “The Sopranos meets Marley & Me: with a twist when a volatile, chronically ticked-off writer from a “Goodfellas” family struggles to help an abused, timid, big-hearted shelter dog. Unlike Marley, ours was a case of good” dog (a homeless pit bull) vs. bad owner (me). We made an odd couple and, for us to thrive, I had undergo a wholesale—and very challenging—personal transformation. Tanner, our dog, was the teacher who saved me from myself. Like me and much of my writing, GIMME SHELTER blends the raw emotion and sensibility of the street with more conventional, refined elements. This is coupled with a strong anger-management theme, which is one of the reasons why the book has been well-received by the officials and juvenile inmates at local probation camp schools.

3) Why do you write what you write?
In the case of my film work, I usually stumble across an odd or intriguing story and then marry it to events and people from my personal experience. Since I have a darksensibility, my work is often too gritty for the YA audience. GIMME SHELTER was an exception, but then it was an accidental book. I say accidental because it started as a diary that I kept during Tanner's first year with us. For some reason that I can’t explain, I diligently charted all of the mundane things that happened during that time. For more than twenty years, my wife, Eugenie, had bugged me to tell our story from the POV of the dogs we’d owned. Like a typical husband, I’d resisted fiercely. When she started bugging me about the Tanner diary, I said I’d think about it. Because I hadn’t planned on doing anything with it, the journal was a hodgepodge of 500+ pages with no structure or apparent theme - hardly the kind of thing to turn into a book. It took me eighteen grueling months and countless drafts to figure out that the real story wasn't me savingTanner; it was Tanner saving me from my decades-long battle with anger. Once I came to that realization I was able to chisel a book from the diary.

4) How does your writing process work?
I tend to let things simmer for a very long time. Then, once things reach critical mass (or my wife can't stand it any longer), I get to work. I always outline extensively when I’m writing screenplays or short non-fiction. GIMME SHELTER was my first stab at narrative non-fiction and working without an outline (or any plan at all) caused me a lot of headaches. In the case of the aforementioned short story collection, I haven't learned my lesson since I'm working mostly without an outline, although many of the stories have been percolating for years.  
                                                              ~ ~ ~
I'm very excited to introduce the 3 writers who will be joining the blog tour on August 19:

Shea McIntosh Ford is an author of open-minded fiction.” Her latest book, THE STONE OF KINGS will be published on August 12 from Astraea Press . Shea blogs at: http://sheaford.wordpress.com/,  https://www.facebook.com/SheaMcIntoshFord 

Justine Korman Fontes has over 700 published titles, earning her the title “The Queen of Licensed Children’s Books” from Writer's DigestJustine is the author of THE GRUMPY BUNNY series for Scholastic and the new CHEDDAR'S TALES series for Barron's. She and her hubby Ron Fontes have written for all of the major publishers, adapted screenplays for major film studios, and created a host of original works including graphic novels. 

 Teresa Howard Teresa writes several romance genres.  From historical romance, to contemporary romance, to time travel/paranormal romance, her abiding belief that love conquers all leaps from every page.  Her latest work, FOR LOVE ALONE, is a historical romance with a southern belle turned royal duchess as the heroine. It will be published on August 12 from Astraea Press. All of Teresa's novels are available on Amazon.com and can be ordered directly from her webpage: www.teresahoward.net

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Lou and I are excited to tell you that we'll be leading Malibu Methodist Church's annual Blessing of the Animals on Saturday, August 16 from 10:00 - noon at There will be vendor booths, contests, and, of course, yours truly selling copies of GIMME SHELTER. So, if you have a cat, rat, horse, or warthog in need of some blessing, drop on by. (30128 Morning View Dr, Malibu, CA 90265, 310.457-7505). 
Later that day, my 'mom', Eugenie, will part of a gallery opening at Malibleu Gallery here in Malibu. She'll have ten of her amazing stone sculptures on display and we're rooting for every one of them to find a good, well-paying home. Again, we'd love to have you join us for some great art and a glass of vino (Malibu CA. 21201 Pacific Coast Hwy).
Sadly, not all this week's news is festive. Yesterday we learned that Menahem Golan, a partner in Cannon Films and a legend in the movie biz, passed away suddenly near his home in Tel Aviv. Lou and his writing partner, Gary Horn, had a personal connection to Menahem, who optioned their sniper-on-the-loose thriller 'Holiday Season' several times and was promising to make the move this year. Just a few weeks back, Lou mailed him a copy of GIMME SHELTER as a gift and here's what he had to say: "Brilliant book (GIMME SHELTER) with great insight into, not only dogs but yourself. Some excellent 'laugh out loud' moments. My question is "How did you find such an amazing and loyal woman to stand by you whilst you were learning to deal with your anger?" :-) :-) :-) She deserves a medal! Well done to you all (including Tanner) and I look forward to your next book!
Menahem Golan". 
Menahem Golan on the set
Unlike Menahem, Malibu's Diesel Bookstore recently fell victim to the ravages of runaway retail rents. Unable to afford the astronomical fees, they reluctantly shut their doors. It was an especially dark day for us. When we published GIMME SHELTER in early 2013, we had no idea if it would ever sell a single copy, let alone find its way to a real bookstore. On a nudge from, Eugenie, Lou introduced himself to Lynn and asked if Diesel might be willing to carry the book and maybe even host an author night. To our delight and surprise, she said ‘yes’ to both. On Thursday night, April 25, 2013, Lou read to a packed house at Diesel, and we made our initial charitable book donation to Malibu Pet Companions. It was our first live event, a fun, magical evening that we’ll always remember. A month later, Diesel boosted our profile yet again when Gimme Shelter placed #2 on the Malibu Times best selling books for May. In December, we landed at #16 on Diesel’s 2013 Top Seller list. Any indie author would be thrilled to get that much push from a bookstore but there was more.
The 'fan', outside Diesel
 Sometime after Christmas, Malibu resident and reporter Kim Devore stopped by to get a gift for her dog-loving mom, Erika Brunson. A Diesel employee – Lynn I think – urged her to skip the nationally known volumes in favor of a local book, Gimme Shelter. Kim took her advice. Erika loved the book so much that she proceeded to buy all the store’s copies not once but twice. Thanks to Lynn, Lou contacted Erika and we met for coffee. When Eugenie mentioned that I teach part time at the local probation schools at Camp Miller and Camp Gonzales, and that they were interested in using the book as an anger management tool for the juvenile offenders, Erika jumped in and bought 100 copies for the schools. This fall, Gimme Shelter will be part of their formal curriculum on the theme of ‘Discovery’. Inspired by the school connection, the Probation Department recently purchased copies for the dorm libraries in all of the county’s juvenile camps. Lou is currently speaking with school officials at New York City’s Riker’s Island about using the book with their juvenile inmates. None of this would have been possible without Diesel Malibu. Things change, and when one door closes another opens. Eugenie, Lou and I sincerely wish that all of the new doors for the Diesel Malibu family bring adventure, success, fun and peace. Thanks for enriching our lives, and the city we love. We’ll miss you.
Tanner @ Diesel, April 25, 2013