Wednesday, May 31, 2017

These Honored Dead: A Lincoln and Speed Mystery: Jonathan Putnam's Two-Minute Pitch



Maurice?
Where are you, dammit?

Right out here at the receptionist's 
desk where you told me to be.

Where is the receptionist? 
She quit. Said she was allergic to rubber so
she wouldn't take any more of your checks.

Well, that would save some
money if I was paying her any. 
Nevermind that. Come in here 
and take my lunch order. 
I'm starving!

Sure, but I'm chatting with this trial attorney. 
Don't you want to see this lawyer first? 
He's cute. 
A LAWYER! A TRIAL LAWYER!
Tell him I'm not here. 
Where are you?
Tahiti. Bora Bora. 
The White House. 
Anywhere unreachable.
Why don't you go right on in, Mr. Putnam? 
Don't bother to knock. Moneybags won't mind. 
Umm. Hello. Why are you standing on the ledge outside your window? 
Isn't that where most people talk to lawyers? 
Would it make you feel better if I was really here as an author?
Well, why didn't you say so? 
Just push that chair up 
against the..AAARGHK
What's an "aarghk"? 
Nevermind. Just help me to my 
Herman Miller chair. 
My back seems to be broken.
The salesman said it helps. 
OK.OK. So you're an author--
lemme see the book. 
A Lincoln on Speed Mystery? 
Is this a drug fantasy?


No. that's Abraham Lincoln and his roommate, Joshua Speed.
They were roommates and even slept in the same bed 
for years before Abe ran for President.
So they were gay? 
That's never been proven. 
Proven, Schmooven, 
It's not a problem in THIS town. 
Where did you get the idea? 
As a trial lawyer and a history buff, I wanted to write a historical mystery featuring a famous trial lawyer. Then I learned about Lincoln’s real-life best friend Joshua Speed, the son of a wealthy slave-owning family from Louisville, Kentucky, who shared a room with Lincoln for four years in Springfield, Ill. in the 1830s, before Lincoln married Mary Todd. I thought: what would it have been like to be the best friend of the most famous man in American history, only no one knew yet that he was going to be anything more than a simple frontier lawyer? And what would it be like if young Lincoln and Speed were the Holmes and Watson of the American frontier?
Why didn't you simply call
them Holmes and Watson? 
I think that's already been taken. 
Really? Never heard of them 
but you're the lawyer.  
What’s the Teaser Pitch?
A murder aboard a steamboat forces young lawyer Abraham Lincoln to make a fateful choice on which the future of the nation may hang – if his own client doesn’t first. Booklist says of Perish from the Earth: “An entertaining and well-researched murder mystery…both a mystery and a legal thriller.” Kirkus Reviews adds: "Enough historical accuracy to satisfy a Civil War re-enactor and enough courtroom proceedings to reveal the author as the Harvard-trained attorney that he is. A mystery for history buffs and legal eagles."
I suppose your hero 
is Abraham Lincoln
and not "Speed-o," 
How does he
change in the book?
Young Abraham Lincoln is forced to decide whether to save the life of his law client or advance the ideals of justice he holds so dear. Meanwhile, his real-life best friend Joshua Speed, a born and bred Southerner, realizes that his inborn prejudices have blinded him to many things in his life, including the solution to the murder mystery.
Really? Who did it? 
No. Don't tell me--I'll never read it. 
Why did you pick this title?
“Perish from the Earth” are the last four words of Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address. So the title both echoes the historical Lincoln and foreshadows the stakes that Lincoln faces in solving the mystery presented in the novel.
I thought only Eisenhower 
had a Gettysburg Address. 
What’s the logline?
A murder aboard a steamboat forces young lawyer Abraham Lincoln to make a fateful choice on which the future of the nation may hang – if his own client doesn’t first.
Lincoln and Speed
Buy it on Amazon
· OK, let’s cut to the chase. 
Why should I, the 
Incredibly Rich and Handsome 
Movie Mogul, buy this book?
Murder, suspense, high-stakes courtroom battles, and the young Abraham Lincoln. Real-life history comes alive.
History? I love history! 
Murgatroyd!
Maurice.
Whatever. 
Cut this young shyster a check for...
 Oh, never mind, just leave it blank. 
He's worth anything he wants. 
Does he know it's going to bounce? 
Not yet but
Welcome to Publishing, Mr. Putnam!


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tired of Talking About Myself : Skin of Tatoos by Christina Hoag - Two-Minute Pitch

Tired of Talking About Myself : Skin of Tatoos by Christina Hoag - Two-Minute Pitch

Skin of Tatoos by Christina Hoag - Two-Minute Pitch

Ye gods, woman!
How did you sneak in here?
Are you some sort of reporter? 

Well, I used to be but now I write books. 
Is that why you're dressed as a nun? 


It's an old habit; works great with guerrillas and publishers. 
Oooh, a smart one. "Old Habit," huh? 
OK, my heart is beginning to fibrillate. 
How did you come up with the idea?

Years ago, I did a magazine story about gang members deported from the United States to El Salvador. I interviewed a number of these former homeboys in San Salvador and their stories stuck with me. They were essentially fish-out-of-water in a country where they hardly spoke the language. I actually ended up writing not about their lives in El Salvador but what I imagined what had led them to that situation.    
I can understand their situation,
I feel like a fish out of water 
everytime I walk into a bank.
Sort of  washed-out and dry. 
OK, What’s the Teaser Pitch?

Think “Sons of Anarchy” meets “The Outsiders.” A literary crime novel, Skin of Tattoos is about a gang member who wants to leave “la vida loca” but finds his homies offer him what he cannot get elsewhere, from employment to acceptance, but in the end he finds that gang life is all a facade.  It’s also about the struggles of an immigrant family in Los Angeles, and youth coming to accept and forgive their families as flawed people.  
   Gang life is nothing, he should try the movie business. 
Talk about your "flawed people"
 How does this antihero hero change in the book?

Magdaleno, aka Mags, is a twenty-year-old guy who thinks he knows it all—and himself, but of course he doesn’t. Despite his desire to leave the gang, his pride and ego lead him to stay in it. In the end, he finds that this costs him everything and everyone he loves.

Sounds good. I love a happy ending.
"Skin of Tattoos"? 
Why did you pick this title?

Mags’s tattoos identify him as a gang member, but he’s a lot more than superficial markings on his skin. Trouble is, he cannot escape the tattoos and what they symbolize because they are inked into his skin. Getting rid of tattoos is a long painful process, just as Mags leaving his past is a long, painful process.   
Why should he leave? 
Some of the most successful 
people in LA are gangsters.
Never mind, I'm just dreaming.
What’s the logline?

Sometimes your best friends are your worst enemies.
I like that. 
A lot.
OK, let’s cut to the chase. 
Why should I, 
the Incredibly Rich 
and Handsome 
Movie Mogul, 
buy this book?

This is a raw emotional drama about a guy who makes some bad choices, ones that carry high stakes and are difficult to reverse. It’s a story about friendship, love, betrayal and family in inner-city neighborhoods where life is cheap. It’s got plenty of suspense and action, but also heart and pathos

I LOVE it! 
Pathos hung out with 
Aramis and d'Artagnan, right? 
I always liked the way Aramis smelled.
Sign this contract.
No, don't bother reading it,
Just sign it.
Next stop: Billions!