Year-End Screenplay Update

This has been an exciting year. My writing partner, Steve Fine, and I finished the screenplay adaptation of Ten Fingers Touching.

Our Fall highlight was a Table Read with eight actors reading the script in the presence of two producers and other guests. The actors did a wonderful job bringing the story to life as we listened to the dialogue spoken out loud for the first time.

The purpose of a Table Read is to refine dialogue, but in the spirited discussion that followed, no one wanted to talk about words. We focused on two aspects of the content. First, was the film version intended to be rated PG-13 or R? The question was raised because the movie is not 100 percent faithful to the book. It has more depth, conflict, twists, turns, and passion! In the interest of garnering a wider audience, we agreed to pull back to PG-13, similar to the book.

The second issue related to Marianna, the female protagonist. The actors felt that in this era favoring strong female characters, Marianna’s role should be equal and parallel to Martak’s, the male protagonist. We’ve revised the screenplay showing a more powerful Marianna and hope to have the next version ready for review after the New Year.

Best wishes to all for a joyous holiday season and a healthy, fulfilling and peaceful New Year

Valentine’s Day Vow

Valentine’s Day is almost here and love is in the air.

I recently attended a bridal shower. The young woman who organized the shower asked each guest to offer advice to the bride about what to include in her vows. If you had the opportunity to redo your vows today, what would say?

I think many things go into making a successful relationship. But one of the greatest gifts that one person can give to another is the promise to keep them safe. What do I mean by that?

Everyone has fears, anxieties and worries. When you’re feeling the most vulnerable is when you need a partner who says, “You’re safe with me. If you fall, I will catch you. I will always be here for you. We’ll get through this together.” Providing an emotional safety net – protecting the one you love from his/her greatest fears – gives two people a special, unshakeable bond and the courage to face adversity.

I tried to show this in my book as well. The main characters in Ten Fingers Touching fall in love at first sight. As the story progresses, their passion grows stronger along with their understanding of one another’s strengths and weaknesses. They intuitively understand each other’s thoughts and feelings when they’re together and they communicate through the moon when they’re apart. Their love and support sustains them in the worst of times. Together they are stronger and able to defeat Evil.

On this Valentine’s Day, what will you vow to the one you love?

Ten Fingers Touching is available for Valentine’s Day gifting at, Barnes & Noble, and selected Pittsburgh bookstores and gift shops. Order information.

To schedule a speaking engagement on Truth in Fiction, click here.

Another Screenplay Update

This week celebrates the 3rd anniversary of the launch of Ten Fingers Touching. It’s a good time to share an update on what’s happening with the story. In the past several years, I’ve had numerous book signings and I’ve also given many talks on Truth in Fiction: Lessons Learned from Fairy Tales. I’m often asked if there will be a sequel to Ten Fingers Touching.

I know what the sequel should be, but I’ve been concentrating on writing the screenplay adaptation of the story. With the support of Carl Kurlander, President/CEO, Steeltown Entertainment, I sent the book to a company in Hollywood that evaluated it, “Good for film potential.” Overjoyed, I hired a screenplay analyst. Since then, my writing partner, Steve Fine, who edited the book and I have been working on the film version.

It’s a very exciting and challenging process. Most books that are transformed into movies have to be pared down because they have too much content. In my case, we’ve had to add content. So, the film version has more back story, action, drama, conflict and twists.

I’ve already started looking for a producer/ production company ― someone who can help take this project to the next level.

In the meantime, for those living in Pittsburgh, please check out my billboard on Bigelow Blvd. headed towards downtown before Polish Hill on the right-hand side. I bought this billboard at a charitable auction in support of the frail elderly who have depleted their financial resources and receive care through UPMC Senior Communities Benevolent Care Fund.

Best wishes to all for the happiest of holidays and all good things in the New Year!

Truth in Fiction Video Introduction

Fairy tales have evolved over time. Many of the fairy tales we know so well through Walt Disney films were written centuries ago for adults. Their themes often contained acts of violence that were considered too scary for children.

For example, in the original Sleeping Beauty known as The Sun, Moon and Talia by Giambattista Basile (1634), Talia aka Sleeping Beauty was not awakened by true love’s first kiss. Rather, she was discovered in her unconscious state by a king “who grew hot with lust.” His uncontrolled passion produced two babies named Sun and Moon. Today we would say having sex with an unconscious woman constitutes rape!

I’ve taken an in-depth look at some of the classic stories to determine what they really communicate. For example, is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs just a sexist story about a Princess waiting to be rescued by a Prince? No, it is really much more substantive. It’s about family, friends and diversity! The story encompasses every human emotion and shows that acts of caring and kindness lead to positive outcomes while jealously in the extreme is self-destructive.

My findings are presented in an entertaining talk titled Truth in Fiction: Lessons Learned from Fairy Tales. This presentation offers insights for businesses, associations, community organizations and women’s groups. For an introduction to my talk, click here.

To schedule a speaking engagement on Truth in Fiction: Lessons Learned from Fairy Tales, contact me.
“Ellen Roth is an enchantress…She reminds us that fairy tales… make us all dream again.”
—Carl Kurlander, Screenwriter, “St. Elmo’s Fire,” President/CEO of the Steeltown Entertainment Project

“Ellen Roth engages and inspires her audiences.…”
— Aradhna M Oliphant, President & CEO, Leadership Pittsburgh Inc.

“Ellen’s discussion of fairy tales can be applied to a wide range of business and personal situations…Great ideas and fresh thinking.”
—Ann Dugan, Senior Managing Director of Consulting, Family Office Exchange

Is love good for you?

Tragedy befalls the most famous lovers in romantic literature. Romeo drinks poison and Juliet plunges Romeo’s dagger into her chest. In a similar vein, Antony, receiving false news that Cleopatra has died, falls on his sword; but he is only wounded. Carried to Cleopatra, he dies in her arms. Shortly thereafter, Cleopatra inflicts herself with bites from a venomous snake and joins him in death.

Love can lead to tragedy. But most evidence suggests that love is good for you!

Like Romeo and Juliet, the characters in my story, Martak and Marianna, fall in love at first sight. It is the love that binds them that gives them the strength to conquer evil.

Studies show that people in loving marriages or supportive relationships have fewer doctors’ visits, less depression and substance abuse, live longer and experience more joy (Sherry Rauh, WebMD Health News). Feeling loved and connected wards off the detrimental effects of loneliness and isolation.

On this Valentine’s Day and year-round, make someone happy by showing your love and affection. You’ll be enhancing your own health as well because kissing lowers stress, relieves pain and boosts immunity (Lisa Bushak,

Hugs are good, too!

A Holiday Message of Hope

The holiday season is special. Colorful lights, joyous music, delicious food, being with family and friends are traditions we all cherish. We enjoy the holidays and often recall our pleasure in celebrating them as children.

My goal in writing Ten Fingers Touching was to transport adults to an imaginary world with the same pleasure they experienced in reading magical stories as youths. Stories where the power of good conquers the forces of evil.

Our world is filled with harsh realities and there is no shortage of disturbing news, e.g., war, terrorism, cyber terrorism ― all communicated in real time via technology and social media. We crave respite from the evils we perceive and the uncertainties they create.

The power of fairy tales is that they allow us to escape from the problems of the present and dream about worlds where anything is possible. Their happy endings give us hope that what can be imagined can be achieved.

Hope is vital to the human spirit. In the words of Elie Wiesel, “Just as man cannot live without dreams, he cannot live without hope. If dreams reflect the past, hope summons the future.”

For every hardback copy of Ten Fingers Touching sold between Dec. 8 and Dec. 31, 2016, I will donate copies to the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh for domestic violence. Please send proof of purchase to

Screenplay Update

3-images3-1I’ve been working on the screenplay adaptation of Ten Fingers Touching for several months. Friends and fans have asked how it’s coming along, so I thought I would comment on its progress. My writing partner, Steve Fine, who edited the book, and I are working with a screenplay analyst who is guiding us through the creative and technical side of screenwriting.

In Screenplay, the bible for aspiring screenwriters, Syd Field lays out the paradigm for crafting a movie. Screenplays are divided into three acts ― Set up (30 minutes), Confrontation (60 minutes),  Resolution (30 minutes). We have an outline for the story and we’ve pretty much nailed Act I. We’re working on Act 2.

Writing a screenplay is very different from writing a book and it is extremely challenging. A book is a text where you can wrap up the story at the end in a few paragraphs. A screenplay is a story in pictures. You need to show the story through images, augmented with dialogue, so the viewer understands what is happening and why without an explanatory text.

When I wrote Ten Fingers Touching, I knew from the outset that it would have cinematic appeal because the imagery is so big. Many authors write words that create images. I saw images in my head and then tried to find the words to describe them. The visuals were a powerful part of the storytelling.

In addition to the beautiful illustrations in the book that depict key points in the story, I’ve started to collect images that could represent scenes in the movie. Some of these images are pictured on the left.

If you find an image that calls to mind a place in the book, please send it to me!

New Talk

3 images2-1While working on the screenplay adaptation of Ten Fingers Touching, I’ve also developed a talk on: Finding your Happily Ever After:  Lessons Learned from Fairy Tales.

Fairy tales endure because they are engaging, magical stories. They impart messages that resonate and linger beyond the narrative. My presentation discusses how fairy tales permeate our culture and their deeper meanings.

Fairy tales are represented everywhere. We see them larger than life in movies e.g., Cinderella, Into the Woods, Maleficent, Frozen and on television, e.g., Once Upon a Time.

Fairy tales have galvanized the fashion industry. Vogue’s spread on haute couture features fashions associated with Briar Rose, aka Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and others from storybook classics. Fairy tales are popular in contemporary humor as in  Smartphone, Smartphone, on a stick, who has the fairest profile pic? They inspire travel and influence our lives in countless ways.

Fairy tales also provide messages about simple truths that linger beyond the story. One such truth is ― share your feelings and show your love and affection. In Beauty and the Beast, when the Beast is dying, Beauty tells him that she loves him. Declaring her true feelings not only brings him back to life but turns him into a Prince! We also learn from this story not to judge people by their looks but by their good deeds.

Finding your Happily Ever After: Lessons Learned from Fairy Tales sweeps you into a timeless world of fantasy that inspires hope and happy endings.

To schedule a speaking engagement for your organization visit my contact page.

Announcement of Award

3 jonSo proud to announce that the electronic version of Ten Fingers Touching just won the Benjamin Franklin Silver Digital Award for exceptional content, design and use of technology. The book received high ratings not only for the story but also for aesthetics, user engagement, graphics and downloading speed!

This award makes me happy because I wanted to write an engaging story and also create a work of art. The aesthetics of the book were very important. John Blumen, the illustrator, ensured that the beautiful images would easily adapt to all electronic and print platforms.

When searching for an illustrator, I was immediately attracted to Blumen’s exquisite portfolio. His illustrations, in the style of magical realism, were perfect for a fairy tale. Each image created for Ten Fingers Touching adds depth to the story and further draws the reader into a timeless world of fantasy and imagination.

As one blogger wrote, “Come for the illustrations, stay for the story, and leave with another couple of which to remark upon the next time you think of ‘great loves.’”

I’ve also created a delightful PowerPoint presentation on fairy tales that is both substantive and entertaining. To schedule a speaking engagement on Finding your Happily Ever After:  Lessons Learned from Fairy Tales, visit my contact page.

Screenplay Aspirations

3 imagesSo much has happened since my last newsletter! Ten Fingers Touching appeared on the front cover of Publishers Weekly, on the back cover of FAE: Faeries and Enchantment Magazine and was featured at two Barnes & Noble book signing events. It has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon! I’ve also developed an engaging presentation on “The Enduring Appeal of Fairy Tales and their Relevance for Adults.” It is both substantive and fun and has been well-received.

Many people ask me if I’m writing the sequel to Ten Fingers Touching. The answer is no, but I am writing the screenplay adaptation of the book! With the support of Carl Kurlander, President and CEO, Steeltown Entertainment Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a thriving entertainment industry in Pittsburgh, I sent Ten Fingers Touching to a script reading company in Hollywood. The book was rated good for film potential. Since then, I have been on a crash course in screenwriting, hired a screenplay analyst and am working with Steve Fine, who edited Ten Fingers Touching to bring the story to the big screen. The process of transforming the book into a movie is both exciting and challenging!

For those seeking a non-traditional Mother’s Day gift, please consider surprising your mom with Ten Fingers Touching, a fairy tale for grown-ups! Not only will it last longer than flowers, it’s as sweet as chocolate but without the calories!