The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, October 31, 2011

New blog post:

Puss In Boots (2011)

If the "Shrek" films had done no more than introduced the swashbuckling feline, that would have justified their existence. "Puss In Boots" is a wonderful family animation, and by that I do NOT mean "children's film." Yes, your kids will love it. But they make it very, very clear from the very first minutes that this is also for adults, with multi-level humor that will soar right over the kiddies' heads, while adults are guffawing at what the filmmakers got away with.

Antonio Banderas is perfectly voice cast as the titular kitty, who wanders a fantasy Spain seeing to redeem himself from a childhood disgrace. Puss, it seems, grew up in an orphanage with Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis. One of the great conceits of the film is the way humans and fairy-tale characters coexist without the slightest snicker) who betrayed their friendship. Years later, Humpty uses the delectable Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayack) to lure Puss into an incredible plan to steal the golden goose from Jack and Jill (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sidaris). As one might expect, hilarity ensues...but more important (and impressively) so does romance, genuine adventure, heroism, and a meditation on the importance of both friendship and family. Surprisingly sexy but innocent, riotous and kind-hearted, loony-tune and classically structured, "Puss", unlike its progenator "Shrek" is more than a goof on fairy tales. It is more interested in the inner workings of heroic/romantic myth. Executive produced by Guillarmo Del Toro, it rests on a Latin sensibility that gives it a rhythm all its own. I couldn't believe it, I don't know where or how it happened, but dammit, I left the theater with a lump in my throat, and it wasn't the popcorn.

"Puss In Boots" is pretty close to classic. Banderas brings a full measure of "Zorro" panache to the role, and a sly reading to his lines (especially the way he says his name) that kept a silly grin on my face even between the dazzling set-pieces. Oh...and I forgot I was wearing 3-D glasses, probably the highest complement I can offer the technology. It was just...another world, where cats and eggs grow up together.

Oh...and some of the verbal humor is just pricelessly dual-level. When Humpty explains what his incarceration was like, he says: "You don't know what happens to an egg in prison. I can tell ain't over easy."

I just about choked. For what it is? An easy "A."


The thread of "Puss" is, of course, the Hero's Journey. All concerned clearly pulled from their own memories of adventure films, fairy tales, Latin music and Spanish visual design for this terrific movie. You need to dig deep into your own heart, memories, and cultural images in your own work, and theLifewriting Year Longwill help you do exactly that! Do you have your copy?

Friday, October 28, 2011

You must remember this...

One of the most beloved films of all time is "Casablanca"--admired, analyzed, emulated. A war story, a love story, a musical, and most importantly, the story of a resurrected spirit. "Rick" (Humphrey Bogart) was a freedom fighter who fell in love and was betrayed. He falls into a deep depression, in which nothing matters, and his normal human emotions are scrambled. But when his lady love Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) returns to his life, his false image (happy, successful, romantic) is shattered to reveal the wounded, angry soul within. Only when he discovers that not only does she love him, but was more worthy of his love than he could have imagined (her courage and commitment matches his own!) does anger and hate leave him, love fills his heart, and he becomes a greater hero than he has ever been, capable of inspiring others (Claude Rains, as the corrupt Inspector Renault) to courage as well.

A wonderful film, one of the best "popular entertainments" ever, and it has touched generations because it speaks truth: our actions, beliefs,goals and values must all be in alignment, or we limp through life as broken souls. We must seek to know ourselves deeply, more deeply, every day. To make choices based on our adult values, not the screaming of our "needy wounded abandoned child." To chose love that lifts us up and inspires us to be the very best we can be, and not simple fleshly pleasures or co-dependency. "Casablanca" is a story of resurrection, of awakening, of two mature souls seeing, in each other that their ego needs "don't amount to a hill of beans in this world."

Wow. THAT is the way to write an "entertainment."

That is the way to construct a life.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Do You Believe In Magic?

Over on the Wealth Beyond Riches board (the project I'm developing with marketing whiz Andy Duncan. With all the unemployment, "Think And Grow Rich" suggests that you stop "looking for a job" and instead create a career. Frankly, I don't know how to teach someone to build their own business in terms of nuts and bolts. Andy has coached hundreds of people to do exactly this, so he's my choice. a student bravely stood up and declared that she intends to set herself free from a painful childhood and an unfulfilled life. Guess what happened?

"Six days ago I went on an all out quest to breakthrough all of this. I’m on a mission! I mean serious intention. Since then my computer has crashed; my backup computer went ballistic, all hell broke lose in some people encounters, etc. "

My answer:

Brilliant! Thank you for the opportunity to bring up a CRITICAL thing to remember.

Your experience is absolutely, 100% common. Your ego thinks it is you. Try to change in any meaningful way, and watch it throw EVERYTHING at you to stop you. Now this is where it gets interesting. Some have belief systems that include the possibility of "miracles." Others do not. In this case, it doesn't matter at all which is true.

If you notice that statistically improbable bad things happen when you try to change, does this mean that you are CAUSING the external problems? Or just noticing them? Doesn't matter a whit. Why?

Because if you CAN affect external circumstances through belief systems, that gives you power in the arena of prayer. Great! If you can "create" negatives, you can also "create" positives. Either both are true, or neither.

But if it's just a matter of NOTICING more negative externals (and thereby screwing up your plans) don't you get the joke? You can just as easily filter to notice the GOOD things in the world, and thereby EMPOWER yourself. This is massive, massive power that you can claim. Either you affect your external world directly (prayer, or "The Secret") or you affect your internal ability to notice only those things that are in alignment with your unconscious drives. The implication is life-changing.

How do we do this? If negative circumstances come from taking actions out of alignment with our deep negative self-image, then try proceeding from the possibility that POSITIVE circumstances come from taking actions aligned with our most positive self.

Practical magic, anyone? ("Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic--Arthur C. Clarke)

1) Re-write your top 3-10 goals daily without looking at yesterday's list.

2) break your goals into "bite size" chunks that can be accomplished one day at a time.

3) Find a role model to emulate who has accomplished similar goals.

4) Raise your energy level.

5) Journal, dream-journal, and meditate to gain clarity. Connect with the deepest, most loving part of your essence. Dive deep within, to the youngest "you" you can find who is undamaged by life, and give that "child self" all the love you have, without reservation.

6) Work to bring your dreams, values, and daily actions into alignment.

What a wonderful post.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Healthy children will not fear life if their elders have integrity enough not to fear death. ~Erik H. Erikson

Random loving acts are like planting trees--setting a forest fire is faster and gaudier, but ultimately, the trees win.

_________while you sleep!

_____ While You Sleep!

You've seen ads like that, suggesting you can get rich, build muscle, change your personality, or lose weight without effort. The problem is that there is a grain of truth to it. Just a grain, and you have to sort through a lot of b.s. to "get it."

In order to change your life in ANY way, you have to increase your energy.

There are four things necessary to raise energy: stress, nutrition, focus, and rest. Too much or too little of any of these factors, and you will fall apart.

Physically, it is easy to understand this. Stress is exercise, the "trigger" to motivate your body to adapt. Nutrition is healthy food, of course. Focus is a conscious plan of action: "general" fitness seems to be something of a myth. The SAID principle, Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand. In other words, determine the qualities you wish, design a program which will provide those benefits, and get very, very good at that. Rest is both sleep, "off" days, and programmed recovery.

Mentally, this can be harder to understand. Three weeks ago, I learned that my book DEVIL'S WAKE was too long. Stress! I made an immediate decision: to see if it could be divided into two books (the alternative was to cut it down in size.)

So I broke the task into bite-sized chunks. Could it work? How? At what point in the book? I decided there was a natural breaking point, after my characters survive a major ambush, and before they enter into the bizarre world of a George Lucas/L. Ron Hubbard hybrid. Don't ask.

But how to "round" both halve? Wellll...

Nutrition. With mental work, nutrition is input. Research. For a novelist, this is the fun part. Reading post-apocalyptic novels, and watching such films and television. Thinking my way through each character and doing additional research into them, their lives and environments.

Focus. As I said, just taking on one task per day. Not trying to do everything at once.

Rest. Rotating tasks to work on different projects, which is like rotating upper/lower body days at the gym. Getting PLENTY of sleep (most people with energy problems have a huge bleeding wound right here. They need look no further for their answer.) And, hey...doing more "research" going to see movies, read books and luxuriate in the world of my very favorite world.

As a result, we turned in book #1, DEVIL'S WAKE last week. And this week, the second book DOMINO FALLS. With thousands of words of new text, changed information, tweaked characters, and modified action arcs. We are VERY happy with the books, and I'm even happier with the process.

Where do YOU need growth? Where do YOU need energy? Follow this model, and thrive!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wealth Beyond Riches

The entire scope of my teaching, from the original "Lifewriting" to the current "101 Program" has been the question of what happens, what results if I concentrate my attention on BALANCE as opposed to any single aspect of balance.

Originally, I began with "Body, Mind and Spirit," the traditional triangle. Then in study, it became clear that while "body" was very easy to measure, "spirit" was almost impossible. It didn't seem quantifiable at all. But what was true about all major world religions is that they had some version of the "Golden Rule"--"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." In other words, the core spiritual teaching of the entire world seemed to be about the integrity of relationships. Relationships are measurable. So I went there. Bingo.

"Mind" for a lot of people is their performance on tests. I say life itself is the only test that counts. And that intelligence is problem solving, and the primary problem to solve, according to Maslow's Hierarchy of human needs, is providing food and shelter. In other words, career.

Applying the triad of fitness/health, relationship and career to my own life was exhilarating, revealing, uplifting, and sometimes embarrassing. But over the years, I noted that there was still something...missing. I noted that in the SF field for instance, there were people who were at the very top of their fields, considered masters, who were still broke. Died broke. Literally couldn't provide for their families. In my own life, I began to notice that I'd made tons of money in novels and television writing, but

1) Had no ability to generate money rapidly--the time lag between cause and effect was so long that the learning curve couldn't accelerate properly.

2) The ability to create "security" in the arts seemed roughly equal to the ability to get struck by lightning at the moment you win the Boston Marathon.

3) Even if I made the money, the uneven distribution of the windfalls made it very difficult to save, budget, or plan. It is similar to the eating habits of people who never know when they're getting more food--your metabolism goes wonky, and you stuff yourself.


Marrying Tananarive, who also made plenty of money on an irregular schedule, heightened my appreciation of the problem. I began to seek an answer, a way to have a bit more control of the process. And that search ultimately led to the questions of management, investment, and production of money as a SEPARATE skill from "career", which in most minds is the attaining of excellence in performance. If I didn't separate them out, it was totally possible to become one of the best in the world...and still die broke.

Happens all the time.

So...body, career, relationships...and money. Four aspects. Spirit? Hey, if you are healthy, happy, productive and supportive in your community, have loving relationships and in control of your immature impulses, I believe Spirit takes care of itself. Spirit is the "wind." The way we are in the world with our energy, our loved ones, our community and our "temple" is the bending of the grass. Is the grass bending? Then the wind is blowing, even if you can't see it.

So, following the pattern of the Hero's Journey, I needed to find allies who understood the aspects of money I did not understand. Went back to "Think And Grow Rich" and re-read, seeking to remember what I'd forgotten, or identify my greatest weaknesses. There were a bunch of 'em. But one was marketing. The ability to promote and sell the goods and services I'd created. And the creation of the Internet opened an entire world market for those who understand sales, marketing, and advertising. What I had to do was find someone an order of magnitude (at least!) better than me at this stuff, who was also willing to teach.

And accidentally (as it often happens), I found my mentor.

I do a lot of radio and teleseminar interviews, and one was for a filmmaking brain-storming group run by a Canadian chap named Andy Duncan: marketing guru, swordmaster, loving father and all-around interesting guy. We hit it off, and he asked me if I'd work with him as a coach as he developed a few new projects. He'd made his money primarily in internet marketing, and I was impressed with the depth and breadth of his knowledge of how to start from NOTHING and make money. And I mean nothing. He specialized in helping people with zero resources build businesses from scratch, and was able to show me a hundred ways I was "bleeding money" in my online business. Wow! I was blown away, and realized that the most profitable relationship I could have with Andy was a straight exchange--I coach him in writing, he coaches me in internet business building. Our relationship grew, and I began to help him with his physical health, and relationships. And over time, we began to see each other as the "yin" to each other's "yang." That together, we could create something better and bigger than either of us could alone.

After three years of talking and planning, the first fruit of these conversations is ready, a project called "Wealth Beyond Riches."

If the idea of having health and balance and love AND building your own business appeals to you, you'll want to pick up the totally FREE "Wealth Beyond Riches" report we created.

This is new territory for me. I'm hyped, and curious about how it will all sort out. If you'd like to discover that for yourself...join me, won't you?


(PSST!! Writers: Interested in Self-Publishing? A huge percentage of internet money is made through the selling of ebooks, PDFs, MP3s, and other forms of...information. The exact same mindsets can work for you!)

Monday, October 24, 2011

I was talking to Bill Cosby yesterday...

Yesterday I watched an absolute master. Bill Cosby performed at Georgia Tech university, and I was in the front row, not eight feet away from him, as he held an audience of thousands spellbound, just sitting in a chair telling stories. He had us howling, crying, nodding, laughing, cheering, and applauding...

Just sitting in a chair.

How did he do it?

He told the truth. Oh, yes, like all storytellers, he exaggerates. But "Truth" and "factual" are different things. By diving deep into his own life, he found the truth about...childhood. Love. Marriage. Aging. Puberty. Men and women...and so much more.

He dives DEEP into the truth of his own reality, and the deeper you go into the specific memories of your own life, the more you emerge in the universal. Young and old, black and white, rich and poor (well, there probably weren't a whole lot of poor people in that room. Those tickets were pricey!) we all felt it. He unearthed emotions many of us hadn't experienced in decades, and the DING! of recognition triggered cascades of empathetic emotional release. Magnificent.

Learn from the master. If you are a writer, go DEEP into your characters. Find the specifc responses, memories, observations and motivations from your own life, or that you have noted in the course of a conscious life. Your readers will love you.

If you are in sales...and EVERYONE is in sales, remember that your clients, all of your clients, have but one question: what's in it for me? Understand yourself, and human nature in general, and you understand the hopes, dreams, and fears of all humanity. Touch THAT nerve, and you develop trust and rapport. Offer goods and services that satisfy those needs, and you create a dynamic career.

Do yourself a favor. Buy a CD or DVD of The Master performing. You may not have the wonder of having him talk directly to you, as I did. But in another way...he's talking to all of us, all the time.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cutting a zombie in half

I recently finished my "zombie" (more "28 Days Later" than Romero-style) novel, "DEVIL'S WAKE" and turned it in, and our editor, Malaika Adero, was thrilled.

Then...we got the call. There was a problem. The problem was that it was too long. Ouch. We had a couple of choices: we could cut it down, or...

The second option: we divided it into two parts. Luckily there was more than enough action, romance, horror, and fun to make that work, but we had to go back in and:

1) be certain that both halves have their own story arc.

2) be certain that the character arcs complete in each book (or at least "round" in a satisfying fashion.

3) find a good title for the second half, and be certain that the titles "work." (The title "Devil's Wake" relates to the name of a Catalina Island-like sanctuary my characters dream of. The name derives from a luminescent phytoplankton display off the coast, resembling a demonic face. Also, of course, it is a pun: "Devils" (zombies) are awakening in the world). Originally, they make it all the way to D.W. by the end of the book, but now the first book ends half-way through their journey. Adjustments must be made.


There are other things that have to be adjusted, but it is fun to note that we already have multiple inquiries from movie studios, and foreign publishers. Yummy. All of this re-writing is based on the ability to step "back" and see/feel the rhythm of the entire work, or focus up on individual scenes, character interactions, descriptions and so forth and be certain that they all work to create a cohesive whole.

That is difficult. The same skill is necessary in life. To see every day as a unit in itself, but also a step toward a unified vision of living with integrity and passion. Often, if you can't see a way out of a problem, all you can do is take another step, with integrity, courage, and all the energy and joy you can muster.

FREE daily tips for your writing career:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I had a long, and painful conversation with a student Saturday. This man has damaged his life through actions that were sexually unethical, selfish, self-destructive, and a betrayal of values he holds precious. One step at a time, he is clawing his way out of the pit.

I just got this email from him:



One of the things you were saying Saturday was about the whole life-death thing. Something about going through life embracing or reaching out for life and death at the same time and what that meant or really was about. It was something I wanted to think about later and like everything that contains some message I want to avoid gets quickly forgotten. I can't even recall the proper terms you used about this but I'm sure you know to what I'm referring. So, what was it? And if you have any references to any sources, even if it's the philosophy of a culture, a school or thought or philosophy. I have never heard anything similar.




Dear D:

I can never recreate precisely anything that I say, 'cause I'm not regurgitating a credo, but rather describing something I see and feel at the time, in response to the current situation...which can never repeat. Sigh.

However, it works like this. Freudian terms: Eros and Thanatos. The life and death drive. Too much or too little of each and you'll either stagnate (fear of losing life) or engage in self-destructive behavior (seeking death). The right amount of each and you both revel in life, and continually re-create yourself (embracing ego death) in the midst of the storm.

From another view, what I call "Cradle to the Grave", you create a "thread" between the dreams you had as a child, and the values you will embrace on your deathbed.
If you think you have no contact with either, meditation, journaling and research can help. There is a remarkable consistency to what people find of value at the end of their lives. Contribution, love, growth, self-expression, simple joy, connection to family and friends. The trick is to find ADULT expressions of your childhood ambitions that also align with the deathbed values.

I've put this as simply as possible, but there is a lifetime of work in defining these things for yourself, and implementing.

Get to work!

In all honesty, I cannot improve upon what Napoleon Hill did in connection with the "fourth principle," money! But as for the rest...The 101 PROGRAM is the "Think and Grow Rich" concept applied to body, mind, and spirit .

100% FREE copy of the world's best, and all-time best-selling self-improvement book, THINK AND GROW RICH.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What's the secret?

On Day 55 of the 101 program, I mention one of the most important things you can do, to DOUBLE your chance of reaching your goals.

What is it?

Well, it isn't re-writing your goals every day (although you should). It isn't rewarding yourself every time you reach a goal (although you should). It isn't dividing your goals into bite-sized "chunks" you can get done on a daily basic (although you definitely should!)

What is this secret? And you know by now that I LOVE secrets...have searched the world for them, spent forty-five years and countless thousands of dollars seeking them...

The secret is

Find at least one person to share your dreams with.

There it is. If you have a single friend, or mate, or relative you can talk to about your hopes and dreams, brainstorm person who "has your back" and will encourage you and remind you of your commitments, you DOUBLE your chances of reaching your goal.

What if you don't have such a person? We've got you covered. This is why we set up the 101 Board for students, where they can share their ambitions, fears, and concerns, and get supported 100%.

No excuses. Create goals in all four arenas of your life. Re-write them daily. Work to raise your energy level. And find at least one precious person with whom to share your hopes and trials.

Live your dreams!



The 101 Program has its own support group. Order your copy today, and share the wealth!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dead Broke? No Problem?

The sixth step in building an online "store" that has the capacity to reach a worldwide audience is to find affiliate products. Now, it is important to listen closely: this means that you don't need to have a product of your own. You don't even need a website. What you need is a deep sense of what YOU are excited about, find a group of people who are also excited, and find a product or service that you yourself use and love. Then you can HONESTLY recommend it to others.

Once you find such a good or service, you can approach them directly and ask if they have an affiliate program. Or you can go to a site like "Clickbank" and search to find products with affiliate programs. Sign up, and they will give you a personalized link.

Here's a scenario for you: you are dead broke. You love, say, chocolate. You Google affiliate programs and find your favorite chocolate confections, sold on Clickbank. Sign up, get a link. Now. Start a blog about chocolate, "Steve's Chocolate Blog." You're dead broke, unemployed, so you have lots of time, right? All you have to leverage is your time and energy. So every day you post articles on your blog talking about wonderful things about chocolate, and on that blog, you put your affiliate link. NOTE: NONE OF THIS HAS COST YOU A DIME.

Now. You spend a full eight-hour day (or as little as one hour...or as much as twelve. How much time do you have? How desperate are you to build a business?) googling "candy blog" or "chocolate blog" or other things, and you find a "starving hive" of chocoholics and blogs and discussion groups. And you read them, and post intelligent, useful comments. Funny comments. NEVER "spam" by just dropping a link. Give them value. Give them your heart. Share your love of delicious chocolate with no more than about fifty words. Shouldn't take you more than five-ten minutes per blog post.

With every post, add a link back to YOUR blog. Traffic will follow. On your blog, sing the honest praises of the affiliate product, and talk glowingly (AND HONESTLY) about your experiences with it. People will buy, if they believe you. NEVER LIE.

If you are self-published, then this is more complicated: you have to have a way to deliver your product to the customer, either digital download or mail. And how to set up and take electronic payments. You will have to research how to do these things...Google is your friend.

You will make sales. Checks will begin to arrive in your mailbox, or Paypal account. And you have invested NOTHING but time. You didn't need a product, or a web site. You have just learned the secret of making money online, using nothing but your passion, your time, and your energy. If you don't have internet you can manage your blog from a library or friend's house.

This works. You can bootstrap yourself from homelessness to a multi-million dollar business, just by starting here, and committing to learn one new thing about sales, marketing, and the Internet marketing revolution every day.

Every word I've posted here is true. I've invested thousands of dollars of time and money learning this over the last twenty years, and I've decided to give it away because people are hurting, and I want to give ANYONE with the will to earn a living the chance to take a shot at this.

Almost two billion people are on the internet. Only a few thousand people know how to actually make money on it. I've laid out the simplest way I know, requiring no investment, no computer skill, and nothing but honesty and passion.

Good luck!


Your ability to use this pattern, or any pattern of success, will be based on many factors, including your ability to set clear focused goals, maintain high energy through emotional depression, and shut out the negative voices (external and internal) that are GUARANTEED to devil you. The 101 PROGRAM contains everything you need to focus, harness, guide, and nurture yourself to any goal your heart can hold. The internet makes it possible to find a market for anything you want to sell, related to any interest you genuinely possess. I am totally committed to your success. Are you?


Monday, October 17, 2011

The world does not pay for what a person knows. But it pays for what a person does with what he knows.

~Laurence Lee

World Peace...for fun and profit!

Philosopher Steven Pinker recently

asserted that violence has been

DECREASING worldwide for hundreds

and thousands of years. Yippee! We're

winning! No matter how it seems,

we're just bonking each other over the

head less than we used to, and that is


How can you be a part of this worldwide


Well, I say that it's communication.

Knowing yourself, speaking your truth,

being the example of possibility in

the world. And with the explosion

of the internet, another possibility commerce.

Selling goods and services around

the world. Think about it: a

cell in your body exchanges

gasses and nutrients with the

surrounding cells and tissues.

So long as it does this, it is a

peaceful, healthy, productive

part of your body, as opposed

to an invader or cancerous


Let's be "healthy cells" in the body


So we've talked about how to

take your dream and transform

it into a stream of income.

The first steps:

1) Start with passion

2) Find a "starving hive"

3) Create a squeeze page with an

"Irresistable offer"

4) link an autoresponder

O.K? The next step is to

5) Create a sales page. You can

do this on a separate page linked

to your blog. It can be very very

simple, or contain some bells

and whistles, but as on the 101

PROGRAM "sales page," it lists

the benefits of your product, offers

testimonials of its value, and gives

the shopper a chance to purchase.

I would suggest an information

product in the specific narrow

niche in which you are an expert

--these are downloadable, and can

be delivered worldwide in seconds!

More tomorrow!


The single greatest factor for your

success will be you own focus,

energy, clarity, drive, and ability

to handle fear. Yep, that old

devil fear will cripple your dreams

faster than everything else combined.

The 101 PROGRAM will put

you on the road to total

self-mastery in just three months!

"(with the 101 Program) I lost twelve pounds over the

last three months..!" Peter Schult

The next evolution in personal power!


Footloose (2011)

Just saw the new "Footloose," and loved it. Actually had a more powerful emotional reaction than I did to the original. Kevin Bacon was a better actor than Kenny Wormald. Wormald is a better dancer, so their physical expression is comparable. But where "Footloose" shines is in reminding us WHY we dance, and by actually showing us the tragedy that motivates the city ban against (unsupervised) dancing, they sharpen the theme. Neither the original nor this new one are classics. But both are terrific.

The core story deals with a town which, due to a heartbreaking tragedy, responds by making unsupervised dances illegal. An teenaged outsider (Wormald) challenges the status quo. Dancing ensues. Very simple. But I noticed that once the basic thread of that plot was resolved, there was still ten minutes of screen time left. This was handled by use of a secondary plot--Wormald has romanced the preacher's daughter, and her ex-boyfriend has been hovering around as a potential threat. As a metaphorical representative of the "old" way of thinking and behaving, the conflict allows us to focus and release our emotions as Wormald and his friends are threatened by this, the last beat in the romantic subplot, leading to an explosion of joy and dance.

Beautifully done! B+


The Lifewriting Year-Long program connects you with your craft on the deepest level imaginable. Join the thousands of students worldwide who have already transformed their writing...and their lives!

"I cannot think of a more useful tool. Thorough, folksy, immaculately reasoned, eminently listenable, the course fortunately mirror Barnes' personality: intelligent, dedicated and extraordinarily witty."
-- 1982 PULITZER PRIZE nominee Chris Bunch

Saturday, October 15, 2011

All it takes to get everything you want...

So we're trying to crack this mysterious thing called "inspiring and motivating" a group of like-minded people, with an intent to motivate them to take action. For some of you, that action will include purchasing products and services from you. The steps so far:

1) Start with passion
2) Find a "starving hive"
3) Create a squeeze page "Irresistable offer"

Here's step four: link your offer to an "autoresponder." These are commercial companies that gather email addresses for you, and send out emails. Google the term and find a company with a free trial...there are several. 1ShoppingCart is mine. Others like Aweber are highly thought of. Shop around to find that free trial--they're out there.

So the steps, again: find a personal passion. Decide to educate and share based on this deep passion. Locate people who are also crazy about your area. Create something FREE you can offer them: a sample chapter, an MP3, a special report. Something of genuine value to demonstrate your sincerity and expertise in your chosen arena.

The trick is to create a web-form that gathers email addresses in exchange for a download, product, or service. People come to your blog, get to know you, see your offer, and decide to make the minimal investment of exchanging their email for your "freebie." The relationship has begun.

The most important skills for you to develop are:
1) a belief that you have value to offer
2) The clarity to make goals and set plans
3) The personal power to take action
4) The ability to keep going, maintain flexible behavior, and never ever quit!

The 101 PROGRAM is designed to give you EVERYTHING you need to be the best, strongest, smartest "you" you can be.

Remember: all it takes to get everything you everything you've got.

Game on!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Diamond Hour show!
Sat Oct 15 1:00 PM PDS (4:00 PM Eastern)
(724) 444-7444
Turning dreams into a career

Love to play games?

We do, too...

especially when it comes to improving
our personal balance!

As a matter of fact, the only thing
we think is better than being able to

play with these techniques is...

experimenting with ways to share them with other
people, and know that they're going to get HUGE

"Results" in this instance meaning,
losing weight, cutting stress, finding
love and pumping up their bank account.

What is the third step to sharing YOUR
passion with the world?

1) Start with passion.
2) Find a "Starving Hive" of like-minded
3) Create an irresistible offer.

This means that you create an absolutely
FREE gift that you yourself would love to
receive, connected with your passion and
of value to your chosen "hive." Make this
a downloadable product, something you can
give for free. And really put your heart into
it. Give real value...and you earn trust!

There is no better way to understand
what other people want and need than
to understand yourself. To constantly
"grow" in self-perception and balance.

The 101 Program was designed to
test you to your limits...but also
gently guide you toward your very best

You can get one too, at a special
low price...

That is, if there's any left.




Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Wisdom is the ability to combine the heart of a child with the mind of an adult"--Steven Barnes

"Fear paralyzes you. But...fear also keeps you alert. Once you balance those two out, you are a hell of a fighter."--Sugar Ray Leonard

Seeking the "Sons of Bees"

Look for the "sons of bees"

So we're talking about self-publication, or setting up an internet sales module, sometimes called an "N-POD" (Net Profits On Demand.) All I can give you here is an outline of the steps that have earned millions for people selling simple products. If you aren't aware of EACH of these ten steps, your efforts to get your ideas out...or make money...will be seriously curtailed.

Yesterday we talked Step #1--finding your passion. It is critical that you begin NOT with the desire to "make money" but the driving NEED to express yourself, to help the world, to share your enthusiasm.

Today, Step #2 is: Find a Starving Hive. (bet you wondered how I'd justify that headline!)

In other words, in the land of the Internet, if you find something you are passionate about...say midget mud wrestling...there are ALWAYS other people who care about midget mud wrestling too. So your plan to sell a book on training midget mud wrestlers is dependent on finding other mmw lovers. Don't bother trying to sell your book, lesson, or mmw products to opera lovers or comic book collectors. Find the people who are DYING to learn more about mmw.

How? Use Google. Type in your term. I just Googled Midget Mud Wrestling, and got 336,000 "hits." Yowzers! That means ezines, blogs, discussion groups, etc.--all packed with fanatical mmw fans!

What you're going to do is haunt these sites. Become a member of several mmw discussion groups. Post DAILY, making intelligent, useful comments, and in every post, you're going to put...

But that's tomorrow!


I'm loving the testimonials you guys have been sending over the last week. It is important to know that you, my friends and family, are all engaged in the same process...the refinement of our lives.

"You deliver what we call in my community an "exchange of abundance" - meaning I have gotten FAR more from you than the minimal contribution I made to purchase...Tacfit Warrior last year!"

--John J. Panella

That's wonderful. Scott Sonnon and I worked so hard to bring this program to life...delighted that others are seeing and appreciating what we accomplished!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Self-Publishing and Online business

I've had a number of requests for more information on career--specifically, creating an on-line business. Writers often want to self-publish, and others are interested in making a little extra money.

I've decided to actually go ahead and talk about this, because the 101 Program is about re-creating your life, in your terms, in your time...and this can best be done, frankly, with money. There are a ton of ways to fail on the Internet, and a few ways to actually make money. An understanding of how to take control of this aspect of your life can be enormously liberating. And we're going to put this into the 10-Step structure of the LIFEWRITING program

STEP #1 (Hero Confronted With a Challenge): Your first step is to admit that you want to take control--to self-publish, create a product, or simply add another pillar under your financial foundation.

What is critical to remember here is that you must NOT choose an area because it looks like there's a lot of money being made there. No, you first choose an arena that you genuinely love, where you have a real personal interest. Something you are obsessive about.

1) Write out a list of things you are fanatical about, care about deeply. Think about spontaneously.

2) Google the main search terms, and see how many "hits" you get. It is reasonable to assume that if you are interested, others will be as well.


This is the first step in creating an income stream, second career, or self-publishing your work. The 101 PROGRAM will give you all the support, focus and self-understanding you will ever need to accomplish anything...but over the next few days, let's play with some specifics for actually making money. Cool?


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Inner Space

I asked a student to describe the nature of her internal meditation space in heart or head, weighing for clarity. Her reply:

"It is a small space. Three months ago, I wouldn't have been able to understand what you mean. I can tel a difference now, though. Before it was like an internal . . . cloud. Very obscure and messy, full of racing thoughts and wild emotions.

Now, I have this tiny clearing in the midst of the messy cloud - and it's slowly growing. It's easier to let 'the voices' (positive & negative) wash over and around me, but still a challenge!
Two days ago, I sat down to meditate & a loud, powerful, unyeilding force seemed to propel me up off my mat and into a frenzy of laundry and cleaning.
Not that it didn't need to be done - it desperately did. Just, I think I should have held firm to finishing 'me time'.

Is that the direction you were aiming for, Steve? & Thank you."


This is EXACTLY what I am aiming at. Three months of work to create a tiny clear internal space is exceptional, no matter how it "sounds." Most people won't go deep enough to really find the chaos, nor stay with their meditation long enough to find the empty spaces within it. To notice the ego's mad drive to get you up and "doing something" is another important step. So...just from this note, what can be extracted?

1) Three months of practice

2) Noting the chaos

3) Finding the quiet within it, even for a moment!

4) The "everyday" distractions from the process.

5) The ability to "hear the noise" without being controlled by it.

On DAY FORTY-SIX of the 101 Program, you'll learn an incredible technique to help you align your "internal voices" so that they become powerful allies in your journey.

Remember...all it takes to get everything you need, is everything you've got.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Dark Nights

On Day Thirty-Four of the 101 Program, I talk about the moment in our lives when it seems that all is lost. These "Dark Nights of the Soul" define us. It is when we hit absolute bottom that we discover who and what we are as beings.

These moment pop up in fiction so often because stories are about either change or revelation of a character, and nothing forces us to modify our behaviors like despair, hitting the wall, running out of options. And nothing forces us to shed our masks like stress so extreme that we are no longer thinking of what other people think about us. At such moments, our real nature is revealed.

There are reasons why filmmakers and writers follow the well-worn "Hero's Journey" pattern--it works. It is virtually impossible to tell a story, or to write something that will even be RECOGNIZED as a story, without including the elements. There are indeed experimental films and stories that attempt to minimalize or deconstruct this pattern--but in general they appeal to highly educated readers or filmgoers, who recognize the game that is being played, and in essence provide the pattern themselves.

It is valuable to remember times when you felt all was lost, but came out the other side to something positive. Think back over your life: when did you hit the wall, and what got you through it, and what was on the other side?

I actually go through this moment EVERY SINGLE TIME I write a book. A point is reached where it feels as if the whole thing is falling apart, the idea sucked, and the only reason I have a career is Affirmative Action. And what I usually do is what I did for twenty years--I call up my first wife, Toni, and ask her if I go through this pattern repeatedly. Bless her heart, she patiently says: "yes, Steve. Every time."

And I soldier on, and eventually emerge from the Valley of the Shadow, back into the light, where I can see the overall pattern I've been following. After all these years, it's a little easier now...but remembering past travail is a critical tool in my box.

What's your story?

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Note from a 101 Student...

October 8, 2011

A 101 Student's note: I had been fasting intermittently for like a week....This is like day 7 for day 4, I was having some really uncomfortable stress and by the time a major deadline arrived at day 7 I was ready to quit the program...I was thinking..."why bother, nothing is going to work for me, maybe this is just like another one of those self help schemes that I'll toss away"...well I prayed and something told me to just keep going...I used the breathing technique/meditation...I opened my eyes, wrote down a goal and I visualized it while breathing...Well WOW....WOW....WWWOWWW, it friggin worked! I was able to actually CHANGE my emotional state from one of panic and despair, to acceptance, focus, self love and determination. I accomplished that goal, and acquired some unexpected extra help along the way all because I was able to have faith and keep going....THANK much...this program works...and it's wonderful...Originally, I was a fan of your writing, but now I realize the breadth and awesomeness of your practice. I'm so glad to have this opportunity! ...Day 8 and still going........

All the Best,



Steve here. I wondered how the 101 Program would be received. I'm now getting notes like this every single day. Many thanks to all of my teachers, through all of my life, for helping me birth this lovely child. Namaste.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Principle # 10) A grounding in the physical body

Principle # 10) A grounding in the physical body sufficient to provide accurate feedback about the material world.

I've received numerous requests for the origin of these principles, and I have to tell you the honest truth: they came to me in a high-energy state at some point several years ago. I don't even remember the writing or brainstorming session when they came, and I make no claim about "channeling," "synthesizing" or whatever. Make of that what you will. The conclusion I come to is that when you are centered, and focused on a result in alignment with your deeper values, you will produce ideas and actions that others consider to be of value. I am grateful, but can take no credit.

The tenth and final principle suggests that the physical body is our guide for evaluating the world and measuring our actions and effects within it. This would have to mean results in all three major arenas: fitness, personal relationships, and career, all of which involve the actions of the physical body. This relates to our habits, sensations and perceptions. Our bodies are not only vehicles, but storage units for emotions. The blocked emotions affect our perceptual filters, and that influences the way we see the world, the maps we create, and the theories and philosophies that carry us through our lives.

It is critical to move in the direction of our sensations, actions, emotions, values, and beliefs all aligning to the same end. Our physical senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing--tell us most of what we know of the world. The rest, the "reading between the lines" and imagining what lies beyond the "horizon" of conscious perception, is prone to distortion and hallucination. The best guess is: if the basic qualities of fitness, relationship, and career are NOT in alignment with your highest good, it is VERY likely that your beliefs about the invisible world, the motivations of others, and the deeper meaning of your own actions is warped by pain, fear and guilt operating at unconscious levels.

Use the visible to guide you to the invisible. The known to reveal the unknown. The wind cannot be seen--but we can observe the bending of the grass.


On Day Twenty-Two of the 101 Program, I touch upon the success principles of one of the greatest Samurai who ever lived, Musashi Miyamoto. His sixth principle, "Perceive Those Things that cannot be seen" is preceded by principles dealing with daily training, learning the arts and professional pathways, seeking to know truth. This is all about using the conscious mind to point us toward the mysteries of the unconscious...the known revealing the unknown.

You can walk this road simply by taking responsibility for body, mind, spirit, and finances. Own it. Admit that you want abundance. Then look at the "gap" in your realities and actions...and you have revealed a critical mirror for your hidden self, and defined the direction of the work to come.

Own your life!


Thursday, October 06, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs died yesterday. I type this on a Macintosh, while listening to MP3's on Itunes. My Iphone goes to bed with me, sending music or the spoken word into my pillow speakers. I have a laptop Mac, and an Ipad has become my favorite portable device. Pixar has had the longest, unbroken string of lovely wonders in Hollywood history.

Apple popularized the idea that technology should be "warm" and easy to use. Should appeal to our visual and tactile aesthetics, at a time when many computer programmers I knew had the attitude "it was hard to should be hard to use."

No. These tools aren't just for the few who understand the math. They are also for the rest of us. I'm one of those people who has the sense that Apple products feel different, and that that difference is almost like sitting down with an old friend, rather than a stranger, every time I relate to a new device.

You can see Apple's influence everywhere, and I think it is for the better. Jobs had a powerful hand in that. And fingers in many other pies. He died at fifty-six, a reminder that we haven't an eternity to finish our work in this world, to implement a dream and plant new crops for the next generation to harvest.

He will be sorely missed.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

What Do I Say If My Child Has ADHD?

Personally­, I say that he's a hunter in a world increasing­ly dominated by farmers.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

How To Reset Your Taste Buds -- Using Chocolate

N-acyletha­nolamines, found in chocolate, are very similar to the chemicals responsibl­e for euphoria from cannabis. It is perfectly possible to take pure cocoa powder in gelatin capsules and get a very pleasant "lift" without the calories that come from the sugar and milk solids.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Principle #9: The ability to raise and focus energy

Let's recap principles 1-8:

1) The ability to be blisteringly honest, but courageously compassionate.

2) The ability to set clear goals in alignment with the deepest values and beliefs.

3) The capacity to believe in Self deeply.

4) A knowledge of past actions (positive and negative) without that knowledge limiting future options.

5) The ability to take action despite the “noise” of internal voices, if those actions are in alignment with deeply held values and beliefs.

6) The ability to postpone gratification, to move toward a worthy goal in an incremental fashion.

7) The ability to create healthy bonded teams of allies to reach those goals unreachable by an individual. The ability to create a primary bond with another adult, equal human being.

8) The ability to shift fluidly from “Yin” to “Yang”—from female to male modes of thought and action—depending on the circumstance.

Get it? And now #9:

9) The ability to raise and focus the physical and emotional energies on command.

All champions, all peak-performers, know how to do this. They can get themselves "up" whenever they need to. When they step up to the plate, take the position at the podium, step into the ring, show up for the job or step across the threshold of the boudoir...they are READY.

This morning, I worked with Jason on his breathing, visualization, body movement, and emotional balance. God knows, I'm working with everything I know how to do to help my baby boy learn to control himself, to move his energy on HIS command, rather than simply reacting to the external world. I don't know what is going to work. I do know that his success in life will be based on his capacity to guide the flow of his life energy. "Getting it up" (energetically, of course) is just part of it. Guiding his energy to appropriately match the challenges of his life, in other words, MODIFYING that energy appropriately---that will be the full challenge.

Day Fifty of the 101 Program(tm) introduces the concept of I.D.E.A.--Instinctive Designation of Energy and Attention. One of the doorways to Mastery, and critical in every arena of life. Too much or too little energy, applied one second too soon or too late...and a lifetime of skill is nullified.

So...learn to raise your energy. Find a discipline to teach you to focus any aspect of it, and then apply those rules to every other arena.

Love the work!


Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.

~William Faulkner

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Principle #8: Shifting from Yin to Yang

Principle #8: The ability to shift fluidly from “Yin” to “Yang”—from female to male modes of thought and action—depending on the circumstance.

Sorry it's taking so long to work through these principles, but there's really been so much going on. The eighth principle relates to conceptual and perceptual flexibility hugely. In any issue where there are sane people on either side--even if you disagree, it is critical to be able to see how the world works from the other point of view.

If you have to believe that anyone with an opposing position is either a knave or a fool, you are in danger of slipping into those categories yourself. That doesn't mean that you and your perspective are not right, or that you cannot or should not proceed with confidence. It is critical to do this, every day of your life.

But remember that the world really does look different when you slip on different philosophical or value-weighted glasses. "Male" and "Female" energies, for the sake of clarity (and not categorization) might be considered Direct and Indirect, Active and Passive, Destructive and Constructive, Thought and Emotion...any number of "Yang" and "Yin" pairs. The trick, of course, is that actual male and female human beings are blends of these qualities, averaging perhaps 55% of one and 45% of the other. It would be dangerous to ascribe "positive" and "negative" characteristics to any of these pairs. Even "destruction" is necessary to the creation of new growth--the pairs cannot be separated without crippling the process of life and growth.

On Day Twenty-Four of the 101 Program, I touch on a complex concept called the "Kundalini" energy, which is said to have male and female aspects.

In your next few meditations, try visualizing yourself in each of these arenas...and then visualize flowing back and forth between male and female aspects.

1)What would you have been if you'd been born the opposite gender? 2) What does your take on this reveal about your opinions of the opposite sex?


"Steven Barnes helped me learn the balance of body, spirit, and soul that helps me lead a truly wonderful life. I have a successful career as a CIO, I have reached my personal dreams of being a published author, and have a wonderful partner."

Brenda Cooper, award-winning author of THE SILVER SHIP AND THE SEA and READING THE WIND

The 101 Program is a three-month journey into the heart of your existence. Lose weight, slaughter stress, increase success, double your energy!

Start your new life today!