Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Negotiation Boot Camp Gets a Boost

New review of Negotiation Boot Camp
"This book made me understand many mistakes I made in past negotiations. Also I didn't think before reading this book that I can negotiate for just so many things in life. Highly recommended."
(Five Stars)
Raul E. Gallegos Barragan, Mexico City, Mexico

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Storeybook Reviews Likes Venus

New review of Women From Venus by Ed Brodow:
"Ed had a lot to live up to after I read Fixer and loved it! He did not disappoint with these four short stories. In fact, I didn’t want the stories to end, I wanted them to continue! The stories twist and turn in the end and what you think is going to happen or should happen, doesn’t. My favorite was I'll Take Manhattan."
Storeybook Reviews

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Where to find Ed Brodow's Books

Purchase Ed Brodow's books and learn about them at:

Women From Venus


Negotiation Boot Camp

Getting a Success Change

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wolf at the Door – Essay on Dramatic Conflict

Dramatic Conflict, Character Development, and the Wolf
by Ed Brodow

Conflict is the essence of dramatic story telling. Conflict may manifest as external or internal. External conflict usually involves the protagonist and the antagonist. In fiction, it is helpful to include a strong bad guy who offers opposition to the main character’s drive. This type of conflict can be exciting. But internal conflict, I believe, is much more compelling. Internal conflict is the struggle that occurs in the mind of the main character. The inner demons that vie for supremacy in our hero’s psyche. The hero against himself. The psychology of drama: What makes the hero tick?

As I look back at the story of my own life, it is clear that a major theme has been the tug-of-war between struggling to adapt myself to the system and the need to achieve independence from it. Wanting to fit in and yet wanting to follow my own drummer. Where does the answer lie? For me, the benefits have accumulated on the side of independence. I do better following my own instincts than I do when I make the effort to conform.

I have produced five fictional narratives in the form of one full-length novel and four novellas. The inner conflicts of my fictional characters have reflected the inner struggle in my personal story. It is no coincidence that all of my main characters deal with the tension between being an outsider, on the one hand, and conforming with the system, on the other. But my characters exhibit some clear differences.

In my novel, Fixer, Harry Leonnoff begins as an outsider and gradually moves toward the system. Starting out in life, he realizes that he can accomplish more on the fringes of the New York City political scene than he can by pursuing a law degree. Ironically, the more he succeeds as an outsider, the more he is drawn into the political game he plays so well. The same can be said of Dr. Robert Elgar in Women From Venus. Elgar is doing quite well as a psychotherapist in private practice but his strong desire for public approval leads him more and more into the mainstream. The trajectories of both Leonnoff and Elgar move from outsider toward some degree of conformity.

In The Man Who Could Not Make Up His Mind, Clifford Day Vanderwall starts out as the poster boy for the status quo. In many ways, he is almost a stereotype for conformity, a Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. What gives him flesh and blood is his colossal imperfection, the inability to make decisions. And yet, to everyone’s surprise, Clifford ultimately discovers that he actually functions more effectively on the outside. In The Stamp, Tommy Courten begins as a functionary of the military industrial complex but also eventually moves to the outside. The structure of the system — the organizations of which it is comprised — stifles Tommy’s creativity and his soul. Only by breaking away can he find self-actualization.

In The Man Who Could Not Make Up His Mind and in The Stamp, the protagonists find success as they move away from the system. But in Fixer and in Women From Venus, when the heroes move from self-reliance to conformity, life kicks them in the pants as if to say, "You should have maintained your independence, dummy!" What all four of these stories have in common is the hero’s discovery that, in the final analysis, being independent bestows more benefits than conformity.

I'll Take Manhattan is different. Melvin Van Zipper begins as a total outsider, the complete loser. When presented with a challenge that appeals to his sense of values, he finds that his path to success lies, if not in total acquiescence, at least in finding a common ground with the system. He is the only one of my characters, so far, who ultimately flourishes within the system, but even he does it in a thoroughly individualistic manner. He compromises by learning how to “play the game” without sacrificing his heart and soul. It reminds me of the scene from the film, Sergeant York, where Gary Cooper says, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” In my fiction, Caesar is a metaphor for the system and God is a metaphor for being true to oneself and going one’s own way. So that even when some form of compromise has to be made, the main character is essentially a lone wolf.

And now I am reminded of the movie, Wolf at the Door, in which Donald Sutherland plays the painter Gauguin and tells the story of the starving wolf who meets a fat and happy dog.
            “Why don’t you come with me,” says the dog. “My human will give you food and shelter and you will never have to starve again.”
            “Sounds like a terrific idea,” says the wolf. “But what is that thing around your neck?”
            “Oh, that’s nothing,” says the dog. “It’s just a collar.”

The wolf starves to death rather than wear the collar. Go wolfie baby!

Copyright © 2012 Ed Brodow. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Where to Purchase Ed Brodow's Books

Purchase Ed Brodow's books at: http://www.brodow.com/products.html

Excerpt from Women From Venus

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Women From Venus by Ed Brodow
Copyright © 2012 Ed Brodow. All rights Reserved.

“They were staring at me,” said the woman. “Their eyes. They kept their horrible eyes fixed on me. It was as if their eyes went right into my head.”
“What did they look like?” asked Dr. Robert Elgar.
“I don’t know. They were horrible creatures with big heads. The one who seemed to be in charge had a blinding light beam coming out of its forehead.”
“Did they speak to you?”
“No. They just stared at me. I was naked.” The woman began to cry. “I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. I was helpless. I was naked. They had me spread out on an examining table. I was completely at their mercy.”
“Did they touch you?”
“Yes.” The crying continued. “They kept probing me with cold metal instruments. I was naked!”
“And you said one of them had a light in its forehead?” He handed her a box of Kleenex.
“Yes. A glaring light. It practically blinded me.”
“Susan,” said Dr. Elgar. “When you were a child, did you have any operations?”
“Yes. I had a large growth removed when I was about five.”
“What can you tell me about that operation?”
“Nothing. Only what my parents told me. They told me I had an operation. I don’t remember anything.”
“Surgeons often have a reflector on their forehead that concentrates light onto the area they are working on,” said Dr. Elgar. “Did you know that?”
“No I didn’t,” said Susan. Her eyes were red and she was sniffling.
“What you are describing to me could be repressed memories from that early surgery, memories that are only now coming to the surface.”
“The memory of being in that spaceship lying on the table is so vivid,” said Susan. “I can feel it. Oh God!” Susan abruptly threw up all over herself and part of Elgar’s carpet.
“That’s okay sweetheart,” said Elgar as he offered her a roll of paper towels. She tried to clean up the mess.
“Think about it for a moment,” said Elgar after a brief period of silence. “Everything you have described could have taken place in a hospital when you were five years old. Lying exposed on an operating table with strange people staring at you, doing things to you, shining lights at you. This is traumatic for a child. Sometimes these early traumas don’t go away.”
“Where do they go?” She was making an effort to stay focused.
“They remain in your subconscious. When the feelings decide to break out into the daylight, they place a burden on your conscious mind. The traumatic event is remembered from a child’s perspective. It’s completely unrelated to how you view the world as an adult, so your subconscious takes over again and creates a story to explain the pre-adult memories.”
“Oh my God. So perhaps I was never abducted after all?”
“Precisely. The aliens are a metaphor in the same way that your dreams are told in metaphors. Have you ever had a dream that seemed so real to you that you thought it actually might have happened in fact?”
“Yes. Many times.”
“Think of the alien abduction story as a metaphor for what you experienced at the age of five. You were alienated from your home, from your parents, from everything that made you feel safe. Alienated. Aliens. Get it?”
“Yes,” Susan realized. “I see what you mean. I know that I have always had a vibrant imagination. Oh my God, I can’t believe it. I think you may be right.”
“Sleep on it, sweetheart, and we’ll talk about it some more next time.”
“Thanks Dr. Bob!”

Saturday, September 1, 2012

More Five Stars for Venus

Five Stars for Women From Venus by Ed Brodow:
"Brodow has a way of drawing the reader into his fiction world without any chance of release until the very last page is reached. His books are fascinating, suspenseful, and I highly recommend anything that the author has written. His books are the perfect solution for a winter weekend in front of the fire!" (Five Stars)
Brenda Ballard for ReadersFavorite.com

Another Five Star Review for Fixer

Readers Favorite review of Fixer by Ed Brodow:
"The author is gifted with the ability to draw the readers in. Much history is in this story, something that New Yorkers will enjoy. The 1930's was a decade of significance in the city and the book does an excellent job portraying the life of the people who were there. This is a fantastic read." (Five Stars)
Brenda Ballard for ReadersFavorite.com