Monday, March 31, 2014

Lost Boundaries

I'm about two-thirds of the way through writing my next novel, Revelation, which deals with the painful topic of  passing.  While doing research, I stumbled upon the movie Lost Boundaries.  This motion  picture is based on the book by William Lindsay White that tells the true story of Dr. Albert Chandler Johnston, a graduate of Rush Medical College. Johnston's family passed for white while living in New Hampshire. In the movie, Mel Ferrer plays Johnston's character as Scott Carter. A brief synopsis from FilmGordon follows below:
[After graduating] from medical school, Scott Carter, a fair-skinned African American, marries Marsha Mitchell and moves to Georgia. When he arrives at the black clinic in Georgia, he discovers that the job must inconveniently go to a Southerner. Discussions between two nurses at this clinic suggest that Scott’s light skin may have some bearing on the decision not to hire him.  
Defeated but not conquered, Scott returns to Massachusetts to live with his in-laws until he can get employment. He tries unsuccessfully to obtain employment as an African American. Because Marsha is pregnant, Scott decides to take a job at Portsmouth Hospital, but he reluctantly does so as a white man. While there, he manages to save the life of Dr. Bracket, who encourages him to take a postion in Keenham, New Hampshire.  
Scott decides to continue “passing” for white. In Keenham, Dr. Scott Carter proves to be quite a success for the town. For twenty years, Dr. and Mrs. Carter live peacefully in Keenham with son, Howard and daughter, Shelley. All
goes well until Scott and Howard decide to enter the military during World War II. When Scott applies for officer status with the Navy, an investigation reveals his black heritage, and he is barred from receiving a commission.
I'll be ordering a copy of the film and the book to help with my continuing research. Click here for more on Dr. Johnston.

This is a fascinating story I wasn't familiar with. Were you? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Randy Ingermanson: Helping Writers

Randy Ingermanson
I published this post back in March of 2011. If you missed it then, hope you'll find it useful now!

 "I help turn wannabe writers into gonnabe writers." Randy Ingermanson

If you're not familiar with Randy Ingermanson's, you don't know what you're missing!  Randy is the author of Writing Fiction for Dummies.  He's also known as "The Snowflake Guy" because of this article.  It outlines the way he designs/constructs a novel, by starting small, then building up until it looks like a story. Hence, the snowflake metaphor. You start with a paper triangle, then keep cutting until you make a more elaborate design emerge.

Randy, a writer and award winning author of six novels and one non-fiction book, is also a physicist and self proclaimed computer geek.  To learn more about him, click here.

His website is wonderful, and his e-zine is free! It's a monthly publication that provides some great secrets for novelists who want to develop their craft and better market their fiction.  In addition, once you subscribe, you'll also receive his 5 day course entitled "How to Publish A Book," along with his free report on Tiger Marketing.

Visit Randy today and take advantage of all of his great free stuff!  Do you have a favorite writing website that you'd like to plug?  Thanks for stopping by, and happy writing!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Balsamic Grilled Chicken

Nothing beats a great marinade, and this one was created by my late father-in-law. It's wonderful with chicken, but can also be used with beef, pork or even veggies. Enjoy!

Balsamic Grilled (or Roasted) Chicken

3 lbs chicken thighs
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 T soy sauce
2 t garlic powder
2 t dry mustard
1 t oregano
2 t salt
2 t pepper

Place chicken in Pyrex dish and set aside. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients.  Pour over chicken. Cover and refrigerate eight hours or overnight. Grill until juices run clear.

If you cannot grill, preheat your oven to 425. Place chicken on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Do you have a favorite grilled chicken recipe? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Humphrey Bogart: Tough Guy or High Society?

"Tennis, anyone?"
Humphery DeForest Bogart hardly sounds like the name of  a tough guy born and raised on the rough streets of New York.  Well, Humphrey Bogart actually was born in New York City, but his father was cardiopulmonary surgeon, and his mother, a graphic illustrator. The Bogarts lived in a fashionable Upper West Side Apartment.

I learned these facts after reading a biography of Bogart years ago. I was surprised, perhaps because he played tough guys so convincingly. He even received fan mail from street toughs and criminals who could identify with Bogie because they were convinced he was one of them!

Bogart's parents did try to shape his future by enrolling him in the prestigious preparatory school Phillips Academy, in Andover, Massachusetts. But that only resulted in an expulsion. The Bogarts had hopes of their wayward son attending Yale. Needless to say, that never happened.

Following the expulsion, Bogart joined the United States Navy. It was during his Navy stint that Bogart's character and values developed independently of his family's influence.  He began to rebel against the values instilled in him, and developed into a liberal who hated pretensions, phonies, and snobs. Sometimes he defied conventional behavior and authority, characteristics he showed in real life, as well as in his movie roles.  He did, however, hold on to the positive character traits of good manners, articulateness, punctuality and modesty.
As Duke Mantee, the caption says it all!

After serving in the Navy, Bogart returned to New York and began working for a friend's father who had theater connections. From this experience, Bogart received the opportunity to try everything from writing and directing to acting. Although Bogart had been raised to believe that acting was beneath a gentleman, he did enjoy stage acting.

Wikipedia says "He never took acting lessons, but was persistent and worked steadily at his craft. He appeared in at least seventeen Broadway productions between 1922 and 1935. He played juveniles or romantic second-leads in drawing room comedies. He is said to have been the first actor to ask 'Tennis, anyone?' on stage."

Bogart played the hard boiled criminal Duke Mantee in the stage production of the Petrified Forest in 1935. The film version of was released in 1936. His performance was called "brilliant", "compelling", and "superb." After this film, Bogart was typecast as a gangster in a several B-movie crime dramas. Bogart enjoyed his success, but not the fact that it came from playing gangsters. He once said: "I can't get in a mild discussion without turning it into an argument. There must be something in my tone of voice, or this arrogant face—something that antagonizes everybody. Nobody likes me on sight. I suppose that's why I'm cast as the heavy."

Of course Bogart went on to become a star in some of the greatest A-movies of all time, including The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca, but few are aware of his upper-crust beginnings! Were you?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Charles Thomas: Inspiration to Integrating Pro-Ball

Spring training has started and baseball season is just around the corner. Today I'd like to share the story of Charles Thomas, the man who inspired Branch Rickey to integrate professional baseball.

Below is information compiled from the American Dental Association News. Not only was Thomas an extraordinary athlete, he went on to become a dentist.

Charles Thomas was born in West Virginia in 1881, but his family moved to Zanesville, Ohio, when he was 3 years old. In high school, Thomas was a star athlete in baseball, football and track.  In 1903 he began college at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio where he played fullback on the football team. 

While at Ohio Wesleyan, he met Branch Rickey, the future Brooklyn Dodgers' executive, who was also a two-sport college athlete. When Rickey's playing days ended, he became Ohio Wesleyan's baseball coach and recruited Thomas to replace him as the team's catcher.

At the time, Thomas was Ohio Wesleyan University's only black ballplayer. Several times, Thomas-led teams were refused admission onto their opponents' field because of his skin color.

It's said that Branch Rickey's vision of integrating America's pastime stemmed from his time at Ohio Wesleyan in the early 1900s, and several accounts reveal that Thomas had a lasting impact on him.

During a 1903 road trip, the Ohio Wesleyan baseball team traveled to South Bend, Indiana. When Thomas was refused lodging at a hotel, Rickey asked that Thomas be allowed to sleep on a cot in his room.

Later that evening, Rickey found Thomas upset and crying. According to Rickey, Thomas said, "It's my skin. If I could just tear it off, I'd be like everybody else. It's my skin..."

Years later, Rickey told the Brooklyn Dodgers broadcaster Red Barber about Thomas. Barber recounted this story in "Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns."

"For 41 years, I have heard that young man crying," Mr. Rickey told Mr. Barber. "Now, I am going to do something about it." 

To read more about Charles Thomas and Branch Rickey, check out Black Pioneers of College Baseball.

Had you ever heard of Charles Thomas? And by the way, are you looking forward to baseball season? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!