Friday, August 30, 2013

A Miscellany of Updates

There's been lots going on that I have wanted to share with you over the past weeks. But it's been too much for me to write into individual posts and too much for you to read as individual posts. So, instead, I've created this digest of capsule updates that will answer some of the questions you've been asking me and bring you up-to-date with some of the cool things going on over here...

1. The Q'ntana Trilogy: Complete At Last...
Sort of...

I was minding my own business last week, working on a first draft of my MoonQuest Musical (see #3, below), when The SunQuest shouted, "Publish me!!"

Although The SunQuest, final installment in my Q'ntana Trilogy of fantasy novels, had been finished for some months, it had never felt time to release it into the world. After all, I had just published The StarQuest (book II) in June. I thought I might wait at least until my birthday in October. But, no. Apparently, when it's time, it's time! So Book III is now available, completing a journey that begin for me in March 1994, when the first words of the first draft of a MoonQuest novel I knew nothing about dropped onto my blank page.

Of course, the journey is not entirely over. There's still The Q'ntana Trilogy Movies and now, it seems, The Q'ntana Trilogy Musicals. But more about those in a moment. For now, all you need to know is that now you can discover the Q'ntana story's gripping and startling conclusion (it was even startling to me as I was writing it!).

Two Men, A Single Destiny: 

Ben, grandson of Q'ntana's greatest elderbard, and 
Bo'Ra K'n, whose tyranny has ruled Q'ntana for generations. 

Whose vision will triumph?

• Get The SunQuest: The Q'ntana Trilogy, Book III today in the Kindle, Nook and Kobo stores for your e-reader, tablet, computer and smartphone. (The SunQuest will be available in the iBookstore in the next days or weeks.) Why today? Read on to find out...

2. The Q'ntana Trilogy: 
Super-Duper Labor Day Sale!

To celebrate the release of The SunQuest, all three Q'ntana Trilogy books are on sale this Labor Day weekend -- for only US$2.99 each!!

Find out why these books have been so popular that some readers read them again and again. And get your copies today!! (Kindle, Nook, Kobo stores.)

While you're picking up your Q'ntana books, be sure to check out my other titles:
• Acts of Surrender: A Writer's Memoir
• The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write (also available in paperback at
• Writer's Block Unblocked: 7 Surefire Ways to Free Up Your Writing and Creative Flow
• The Book of Messages: Writings Inspired by Melchizedek

3. The Q'ntana Trilogy: Movies & Musicals

In brief, the film project is still moving forward! Like all epic screen productions, though, it takes time to get everything in place...but we're working on it. The good news is that not only is there lots of enthusiasm out there for the project, but there have also been some pretty amazing developments in recent months. As things progress, I'll do my best to keep you posted!

If you follow this blog regularly, you'll know that I began work on a stage-musical adaptation of The MoonQuest a few weeks back. My goal is to continue with The StarQuest and The SunQuest as well, creating a third version of the trilogy! If you missed my original post about the stage project, you'll find it here.

Meantime, revisiting a trio of stories that is so much a part of my inner story has definitely pushed buttons as I get to relive, in my own life, all three stories' major themes. It's turning out to be quite the journey! I'm sure I'll have more to say about that in the coming weeks.

4. Pulling the Plug on My "Electric Muse" Radio Show

My Electric Muse radio show is no more. The show had a great run of nine episodes through June and July, with a stellar roster of creative guests. But when the hosting network and I failed to agree on the best way to move forward, we called it quits.

The good news, though, is that you can still tune in to those great shows. You'll find links to all nine episodes in this blog post.

The even-better news is that I have now interviewed the guests I had scheduled for August and September shows, and I am turning those conversations into a series of video chats that I have dubbed One-on-One with Mark David Gerson. Three of them are already on my YouTube channel, and three more are on their way.

Here's the One-on-One conversation I had with The Secret's Bob Doyle (use this link if the embedded player doesn't show up for you)...

Here are the other One-on-One guests already featured on my YouTube Channel...
• New York Times bestselling mystery author J.A. Jance: Find out why she never outlines, how she took literary revenge on the creative writing prof who barred her from his program ("creative writing isn't for girls") and where she got the idea for her newest mystery, Second Watch, and her first book of poetry, After the Fire, both of which hit bookstores on September 10.
• Vocal coach Sally Morgan: Find out why nearly everyone dreads public speaking and get some quick-and-easy tools to grow both your skill and confidence when speaking before a that will also help you with all your creative pursuits!

And coming up in the next weeks...
• Mystery writer Ellen Hart, whose newest release, Taken by the Wind, releases on my birthday!
• Author Susan M. Heim, who has authored 10 Chicken Soup for the Soul books, including this summer's Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers: 101 Motivational Stories for Writers - Budding or Bestselling - from Books to Blogs
• Publisher/author/filmmaker Michael Wiese, whose new memoir, Onward and Upward: Reflections of a Joyful Life, is guaranteed to move, entertain and inspire you!
Watch for these three new videos, coming soon to!

5. And Speaking of Videos...

There are lots more inspiring new videos on my YouTube channel, in addition to the new One-on-One interviews. For example, I've added Let Judgment Go, a short meditation in the spirit of my popular You Are A Writer (now approaching 13,000 views!). Like You Are A Writer, it features an audio track drawn from my recording, The Voice of the Muse Companion: Guided Meditations for Writers, and visuals from my photography 

Other new videos include readings from Acts of Surrender: A Writer's Memoir, tips to help you overcome writer's block, an updated book trailer for The MoonQuest and readings from both The StarQuest and The SunQuest. I hope you'll check them out!

6. And Speaking of My Photography...

As I posted here back in July, I've revived and expanded another facet of my creativity: my fine art. At the time, I had only just launched my dedicated art website. Now, barely a month later, I have posted 75 images (with more going up every day), and these photos, drawings and inspirational quotes have attracted more than 4,000 views! As well, my Instagram photography is featured at Instacanvas

Particularly gratifying for me is the fact that those images that blend my writing and photography are among the most popular on both sites!

Most of my images on the two sites are available as unframed prints, framed/matted prints, canvas wraps, metal prints, acrylic prints, greeting cards and iPhone cases (with other phone cases coming soon). Please drop by both sites and look around. I'm excited (after some initial resistance!) to be sharing this facet of my creativity with you!

Well, that's a wrap. Thanks for sticking around for the updates. I've got musicals to write, drawings to draw and photos to I'm outta here! But before you take off, please take a minute to "like" these Facebook pages...

• Acts of Surrender book
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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Father's Day

"I wept when I reread his shaky scrawl, not for the father I missed, but for the father I missed having."

In this excerpt from my Acts of Surrender memoir, I recall the day my father died: 45 years ago today...

By August 1968, my father had been a full-time resident of Montreal’s Grace Dart Convalescent Hospital for several years. Just about every Sunday through that time, my mother, my sister and I would make the 90-minute, three-bus trek out to the city's east end to visit him. The Sunday that would turn out to be his last, August 11, I stubbornly refused to accompany them, a surprising stance, given my generally compliant nature.

There was a rare argument, but I would not be moved. Eventually, my mother and sister left, and I walked the two blocks to my best friend Gary's house.

A few hours later, a mysterious phone call had me shuttled up the street from Gary's house to my cousin's. A few hours after that, my mother and sister pulled up in a car, one of my uncles’, their eyes puffy and red.

"Daddy died," my mother said and took me in her arms, grateful that I hadn’t been present for his fatal heart attack.

For a long time, I felt guilty that I hadn’t been there for my father. It never occurred to me to question why I would need to be present for a man who had never been present for me.

Many years later, when I was preparing to move to Nova Scotia, I found a letter that my father had written to me when I had been at summer camp. I would have been 11 or 12 at the time. The letter wasn’t signed with "love." Rather, it ended with, “Kind regards, Daddy.” I wept when I reread his shaky scrawl, not for the father I missed, but for the father I missed having.

Read more about my relationship with my father, including a 1997 "ghostly" reconciliation on another anniversary of his death, in Acts of Surrender: A Writer's Memoir. Get your copy today in the Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBook stores for your e-reader, tablet, computer and smartphone. And watch me read "Fatherhood," an Acts of Surrender excerpt about both my fathers at

Photos: #1 ~ A Gerson family gathering before I was born. My father is in the lower left foreground; my mother, in the right foreground. #2 ~ The Grace Dart Hospital. #3 ~ Another Gerson family gathering, with my father on the far side of the table in the center.

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

The MoonQuest: The Stage Musical?

When I began writing The MoonQuest book (Book I of my Q'ntana Trilogy), I always saw it as a movie...though I never imagined that I would be the one to write the screenplay. Then, when I found myself writing The MoonQuest screenplay a dozen years later, I began to see the story's potential as a large-scale stage musical.

Now that I have written all three of the Trilogy's books and screenplays (Book III, The SunQuest, will be released in a few weeks), my muse has started nudging me toward that MoonQuest musical.

She began her campaign a few evenings ago, when, after it had languished for many, many months at the bottom of my Netflix queue, a filmed stage presentation of The Phantom of the Opera suddenly demanded my attention.

I was walking to the store the morning after having watched Act I of this 25th anniversary production (staged brilliantly at the Royal Albert Hall) when she whispered to me, my muse did. "It's time," she crooned."

Tonight, as I sobbed through the musical's final curtain calls, she whispered again, louder this time: "Now. It's time. Now..."

To be clear, I wasn't crying because of the story or its production. I was crying because those curtain calls brought me back to a time in my life when I went to the theater religiously, wrote about the theater regularly and fantasized about writing stage plays. This was a decade before the creative and spiritual awakening that would ultimately birth The MoonQuest.

"Perhaps," Toshar ponders as he prepares to tell the story of his MoonQuest on the first page of the book, "it is time to allow the boy I was to touch the man I have become."

I was no longer a boy when my theater dreams first ignited. I was a teenager in my junior year at Montreal's Mount Royal High School, working on a school production of the musical Mame --  a time I write about in Acts of Surrender: A Writer's Memoir. My experiences of the past few days suggest that those long-ago theater dreams never died, even if they were overtaken for many years by other imperatives.

On Sunday I wrote here about the surprising (to me) rediscovery, reclaiming and reintegration of my artist-self. Today, it seems, those three R's have found another target: my theater self.

In the next days, I will allow that part of me to reignite as I welcome back my long-dormant, never-realized playwriting self. And once again, the mythical tale of a land stripped of its visions and stories will live out in my life in a new form.

I know no more about crafting large-scale stage musicals than I did about writing novels when I began The MoonQuest or screenplays when I launched into its film adaptation. What I do know is The MoonQuest story. I know it intimately because, in so many ways, it continues to be my story, a story that, as always, begins once upon a time...

While you're waiting for The Q'ntana Movies and stage musicals to show up in your neighborhood, pick up The MoonQuest and StarQuest books in the Kindle, Nook, Kobo or iBook stores -- for your e-reader, tablet, computer and smartphone. And watch for The SunQuest...coming soon!

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