Next, on March 12, I'll find out if my book advances on the basis of my 20 page excerpt. There will be 500 books left standing at that point. And the public is invited to go to -- www.amazon.com/abna -- to read for themselves any of the advancing excerpts! There's always quite a stunning variety of novels and voices on display.
Friday, March 1, 2013
Sunday, January 27, 2013
It's Monday, Jan 28. I am part of a large blogging event called the "Re-Introduce Myself" Blogfest where I get to introduce myself to new audiences. My name is Dwight Okita. I live in Chicago where I design websites and work at a nonprofit for the visually impaired. I just finished writing my second novel THE HOPE STORE and I've entered it in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. You can learn more about the contest at www.amazon.com/abna
Below is the pitch for my book:
"We don't just instill hope. We install it."
That's the slogan for the first store in the world to sell hope over the counter.
Luke Nagano goes to sleep each night dreaming about hope and how to make more of it, ever since he lost his sister. He and his partner prepare the store for its grand opening. As media interest grows, an activist group called the Natural Hopers emerges with the mission to warn the public about the dangers of synthetically created hope. Though the store investors become rightly nervous, a steady stream of hope-enhanced customers begins to sing the store's praises.
When hopeless Jada Upshaw first hears of the Hope Store, she's outraged. She's wasted plenty of time and money on magic bullets that haven't worked. Jada sets out to expose the Hope Store for the fraud it must be -- but to do so she must have a hope installation herself. Jada's response to the installation forces her to change her plans dramatically, and to re-think the meaning of hope.
A TV station offers to present a town hall meeting about the controversial nature of enhanced hope in the new millennium, and Luke is tempted by this chance for big exposure -- but it means they'll have to face the Natural Hopers who can be loose cannons. Everything is at stake as this high-profile event could either signal the beginning or end of a global conversation on hope.
THE HOPE STORE tells a story of an unlikely friendship set in the near future, and the thorny relationships between science and faith, placebo and cure, hope and hype.
My first novel THE PROSPECT OF MY ARRIVAL was a finalist in the Amazon contest in 2008.
I look forward to meeting the other bloggers in this blogfest!
Friday, December 28, 2012
Well, this is an amazing photo of Big Ben. From last new year I think.
It's been a pretty good year. I got a cool part time job at Blind Service Association.
A Hollywood film producer treated me to steak dinner and we talked for two hours about possibilities.
I designed a website and video for an associate professor in Dubai.
My buddhist practice of chanting and daily prayers are more regular.
I've been making new friends, in town and out of town.
And I finished my second novel THE HOPE STORE. Below is the pitch for the book.
Feel free to write back and tell me about your 2012 year, or your hopes for 2013.
As any blogger knows, it's a lonely job blogging on the internet. So comments are great welcomed!
Here's my latest pitch for my novel for the Amazon contest:
"We don't just instill hope. We install it." That's the slogan for the first store in the world to sell hope over the counter. Luke Nagano goes to sleep each night dreaming about hope and how to make more of it, ever since he lost his sister. He and his partner prepare the store for its grand opening. As media interest grows, an activist group called the Natural Hopers emerges with the mission to alarm people about the dangers of synthetically created hope. Though the investors are rightly nervous, a stream of hope-enhanced customers begins to sing the store's praises.
When Jada Upshaw first hears of the store, she just laughs. She's wasted plenty of time on magic bullets that didn't work. She's a woman born without a breath of hope. Jada sets out to expose the Hope Store to be the fraud that it surely is -- but to do so she must have a hope installation herself. Her response to the installation forces her to change her plans dramatically, and to re-think the meaning of hope.
A TV station offers to host a town hall meeting on hope, and Luke is tempted by the chance for major exposure -- but it means they’ll have to face the Natural Hopers. Much is at stake as the outcome of this high-profile event could either be the start of a global conversation on enhanced hope – or the end of it.
This story of friendship set in the new millennium explores the thorny relationships between science and faith, placebo and cure, hope and hype. THE HOPE STORE is a soft science-fiction novel.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
1. What made you want to become a writer?
My whole life, I've been thinking up and telling stories. One day this story was just buzzing around in my head and I had to write it down. Once I started, I couldn't stop. I gave the first few chapters to a friend who is also an editor for a magazine here in L.A. and she told me I just had to finish it. So that was that, I knew I needed to be a writer.
2. What inspires your writing?
I get most of my inspiration from the people in my life and the places around me. I love to travel and incorporate quite a bit of what I experience into my writing.
3. What do you think the hardest part about writing is?
The revision process is the most difficult for me. It is hard to decide what to toss and what to keep and after reading my own work for a dozen times, it’s hard to maintain the same passion and drive that I had while writing the first draft.
4. Do you plan out what you are going to write or just let it flow?
I spend a significant amount of time early on planning and outlining. Once I have my plan in place, then I sit down and just write and let it flow.
5. What is your latest project about?
The Inadvertent Thief is about Vivien Flowers who specializes in protecting fine art and her highly structured world comes to a halt when two very special paintings are stolen. In her fierce determination to get them back, Vivien learns how to become a thief. This romantic suspense follows Vivien’s journey from Los Angeles to Paris as she learns about trust, love and the brilliance she is capable of.
6. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Don't ever give up. Being a writer is a journey and not a destination so keep writing. Also make friends with and learn from other authors. Their tips can be invaluable.
7. What is on your to-read list?
Right now, I am trying to read as many indie authors as I can to spread the love and support. I am looking forward to the final installment of Karly Kirkpatrick’s Into The Shadows Trilogy. She also has a great blog that gave me some wonderful advice on epublishing.
You can purchase The Inadvertent Thief at:
Barnes & Noble
The book is available for free download also:
The book is available for free download also:
Social network with Leti at:
Friday, December 7, 2012
So this week, my book was stocked at DePaul University with textbooks and required reading for 22 film students. I had the privilege on Friday to sit in on the presentations. Jon had them break into three work groups: one presenting a movie production plan for my book as if to a big studio; one presenting as if an indie venture; and one presenting as if it would be a TV series.
There were interesting suggestions for who should direct, casting, musical score, who was the target audience, budget, locations, etc. They even talked about whether the film should get a G or R rating and which was most profitable. One team proposed teaser ads on bus shelters for the movie. Two teams used powerpoint presentations. Jon was a gentle giant as the teacher, giving them insights on what actors would be in reach or out, which composers give the most bang for their buck, which tweaks of storyline were most compelling, etc.
It was a lovely experience. I hope all novelists can experience such a thing. And hopefully Jon and I will get to work together on the real production of the movie of Prospect in 2013! Nothing is set is stone but nothing is impossible either.
The top picture above is of some of the students in the seminar. The second picture is Jon Shestack's hand as he points to his notes on the blackboard about Prospect. Earlier in the week, Mr. Shestack took me out to dinner as we chatted for 2.5 hours about my book and the movie biz and our lives. It was our first face-to-face meeting and probably won't be our last. The picture below is Jon Shestack having a martini with olives before we had our steak dinner together at Petterino's. Very Hollywood!
Thursday, September 20, 2012
NOTE: On Facebook, I shared the following post. It generated a lost of enthusiastic response so I wanted to share it in my blog too. It is a small window into the heart of one gay man in the new millennium. Mine.
I have a "virtual boyfriend." What's that? It's someone who often lives in another country but you click really well with. And though you might not ever meet, you want to feel a bit more connected. So Leon is my virtual boyfriend in Serbia. We've been VBs for a few months. I will share a bit of our correspondence today.
DWIGHT: Yes, bread is nice. Bake for me some day, Boyfriend. And feel free to call me boyfriend because i have almost never been called that. :(
LEON: hehe, I would bake bread + cook for you...you're a great guy and the best virtual boyfriend that I ever had, Boyfriend!
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Above is the first "web poster" I've designed. I had been seeing folks make these and sharing them on facebook and wanted to try to do one. They are REALLY fun to do! As soon as I posted this one on facebook, people started sharing them with friends. It's a good way to go viral with a message.
If authors, artists, entrepreneurs, nonprofits or regular folk are interested in having me design a cool, impactful web poster, let me know! I can help with crafting the message and choosing the background, fonts, tag lines, etc.
I think this could be a great tool for lots of folks to create awareness of their books, their passions...very cheaply. What do other folks think? Have you seen similar stuff popping up online lately?
Monday, August 13, 2012
I'm tweaking the tagline for my blog. Currently the tag is: The Adventures of Novelist Dwight Okita. But I want to focus more clearly on the value I provide my blog followers. So for now the tag is:
Lessons Learned as a Self-published Writer, Movie Deals in the Making, Confessions of a Movie-holic, the Single Gay Man's Guide to Love in the New Millennium.
For this post, I wanted to share an email I received recently from a woman who works on the live action films for Disney. Her focus is the book-to-film projects. She came across my novel THE PROSPECT OF MY ARRIVAL while search on Amazon. She loved the book and wanted to know about movie rights.
Here was the amazing email she sent me January 2012:
hello Dwight! loved your book!
i'm a book to film scout at disney live action feature films and i was wondering what's up with the film rights to PROSPECT OF MY ARRIVAL. before talking to anyone else at the studio about it, i'd like to be sure of it's availability for film. i read somewhere that a script is being written. is it on spec, did you commission or has someone already optioned the material? would love to talk to you about it if possible.
thanks very much!
p.s. your next book, THE HOPE STORE, sounds wonderfully cinematic as well!
She presented my book to four Disney execs. They read it and decided it was not "family friendly" enough. But the woman continues to talk up my work to other film producers. Such is the roller-coaster ride I've been on. Prospect is currently being looked at by an indie movie producer, and various screenwriter/adapters are being talked to in the meantime. My manager in LA continues to shop around my work for me. As I rework The Hope Store, it is with cinematic opportunities in mind.
P.S. As Prospect came out September 2011, I am going to be doing a revise of the book (kindle and POD) to clean up any typos and do minor tweaks around September 2012. Also I just entered the book for consideration for the Association for Asian American Studies book award.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Every once in a while, an author receives a review of their book from a reader that totally gets what they were trying to do. I think authors live for reviews like this one. If I only get one like this, I feel I've succeeded. It's a long, thoughtful response to Prospect of My Arrival on Amazon from a reader named Josh Keidan who I don't know:
A deep philosophical (yet enjoyable) book, July 27, 2012
By Josh Keidan
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Prospect of My Arrival (Kindle Edition)
In the novel Prospect of My Arrival author Dwight Okita tries to do what many people have done before him, which is figure out he meaning of this bizarre, funny, painful, boring, over stimulating hybrid we call life. What sets this philosopher-poet apart is how he tackles the question. The plot is simple, the main character Prospect has three weeks to decide if he wants to be born or not. He gets to try life and see if it is something he wants to experience, without all the commitment that being born entails, or if he wants to return to the primordial goo that we all originally hail from.
The story is well told and finding out that the author is a poet explains his attention to details. The characters are wonderfully flawed so beautifully that one can imagine people in their own lives that they have met that could very well be characters from the book. The story itself is poignant and a reader cannot help be forced to contemplate the very questions that Prospect contemplates. I would argue Prospect asks the questions, feels the bewilderment and innocent joys of the new world much they way we should, but fail to do.
What impressed me the most was the fair treatment that Okita gave all sides. He does not force answers on you, in fact I would be hard pressed except for the ending to be able to point to anything that technically counts as an opinion on his part. Instead he shows , though his charactes the aruguements in a rational way about a number of very controversial subjects. He tackles bioethics, the morality of adopting and giving away children for adoption in a `disposable' society, business ethics, what constitutes a family, the role of science and are we playing God, and those were just the ones that came to mind within a single breath.
This book , admittedly, may be more attractive for people with open minds. People with political leanings one way or another would be offended and then moments later be supportive and then once again wronged on a deep level. However if you open your mind, if you are capable of listening to well structured arguments, and in this case I a mean classical arguments not what you see on cable news, you will find yourself swayed equally by both sides in the numerous arguments he has disguised as a story.
Clichés and hyperbole are like a well worn pair of shoes, usually they are ugly but they sometimes fill a specific need accurately so please bear with me a moment. This is probably one of the most philosophically important books since Siddhartha, possibly even more so. It is something every high school and college students should read because it will teach them critical thinking skills. It is also very well suited for adults, particularly those who crave mental stimulation and interesting discussions. It is good for trips and can be a quick read on an easy day. Hopefully this book will not get overlooked because the author is relative unknown, the world would be missing out on a very important work of philosophical and literary achievement.
Throughout the book you will find yourself the same question the Prospect did...If I had a chance to preview life and had the choice to be born or not, what would I do?