Spirituality of the Arts

A Day of Reflection on the Gifts and Ministry
of Creative People

Presented by
Alfred J. Garrotto

Let me share my vision with you of the intimate connection
between the artist and the Creator-Spirit.
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A guided reflection on the intimate relationship between artists and the Divine Spirit. Designed for professional and aspiring actors, composers, dancers, fine artists, musicians, playwrights, writers, et al., whosAl 2009 colore gifts uplift humankind and lead audiences to discovery of life’s higher meaning. Participants will explore the source of their gifts and inspirations and the joy of sharing them. Attendees of all faith are welcome.
Alfred J. Garrotto grew up in a theatrical family. He began working in films (crowd scenes) at the age of seven. As an adult, life detoured him into Roman Catholic ministry. He is the author of 11 books, seven of which are novels.

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All 5-Star Reviews on Amazon!

There's_More_._._._Cover_for_SmashwordsAll 5-star Reviews on Amazon!
A Fabulous Read …..

To say I enjoyed “There’s More” by Alfred J. Garrotto is putting it mildly. It is gripping and hard to put down. The characters come alive on every page. Each personality is very distinct (especially the deeply troubled Mattie Logan). Having Bishop Myriel from

“Les Miserables” narrate the story is such a creative and effective touch. The story line expands one’s imagination in profound ways about what happens when we die-or rather, “transform” to Life. This has to be a movie!
Kathryn Davi-Cardinale, author “Joseph, My Son-My guide”

5.0 out of 5 stars
A Delightful Tale of Intrigue
By G. Murphy

Alfred J.Garrotto’s ‘There’s More – A Novella of Life and Afterlife’ belies definitive categorization. Yes, it has storyline development, credible characterization, and a satisfying denouement; but here is an author who knows how to take artistic license and have fun with it! I mean where else would you find a Spirit Guide / Narrator (Bishop Charles Francois Myriel, from Victor Hugo’s classic, “Les Miserables”), a priest turned major league baseball pro (John Thorne), and an orthopedic surgeon (Dr. William Everett) with a questionable past, converge in a tale about the greatest mystery of all: the hereafter? Nowhere else but in the fertile imagination and fluid prose of a great storyteller. As per the author’s expansive imagination, the narrative is peppered with delightful vignettes of ‘life after life’ – all of which are intriguing, consoling, and comforting. I recommend this ‘gem’ for your upliftment and thoughtful reflection. You won’t be disappointed!

5.0 out of 5 stars
A five star rating for “There’s More…, A Novella of Life and Afterlife|
By Frances J. Wojnar
Format: Kindle Edition

Life dealt a blow to Jack Thorne that left him powerless to continue his priestly ministry. It seemed an act of mercy and relief when he was mortally wounded playing baseball in the big league. Jack Thorne’s story continues first in the transition of the afterlife, when he is ministered by Bishop Myriel, a French bishop from the 19th Century, who leads Thorne to face past experiences, some with crisis’ to be solved. I thank and praise Alfred Garrotto’s creativeness in writing this story.

5.0 out of 5 stars
When I turned the last page of ‘There’s More’ and …
By Cecilia O’Leary

When I turned the last page of ‘There’s More’ and closed the cover, I thought I had finished the book. The truth is that ‘There’s More’ is not finished with me. I find myself playing the scenes over and over in my head. The possibilities of judgment and afterlife keep sparking my imagination. Alfred Garrotto’s writes with an immediacy that held me hostage until the end. This book is a keeper to be reread, certainly when I am facing the last pitch of life.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Loved this book
By Katie Q

Loved this book. My interested was held from the first to the last page. I wanted “more.” I can’t wait for his next novel.

Available at:



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New Release–There’s More . . . : A Novella of Life and Afterlife

I am very happy–“relieved” is more like it–to announce that my latest book, There’s More . . . : A Novella There's_More_._._._Cover_for_Smashwordsof Life and Afterlife, is now available in broad distribution via amazon.com (worldwide) and smashwords.com. (It may take a few days to filter down into the Apple Store, Nook, Sony, etc.)

“Relief pitcher Jack Thorne stares at his catcher’s target. His single focus is to get this batter out. If he does, a coveted World Series ring will be his. But the Universe has a different plan for this Catholic priest-turned-ballplayer. There’s More is a creative imagining of the ultimate human mysteries—death and Afterlife. This gripping story invites readers to expand their existing concepts and consider broader cosmic possibilities in answer to the universal question, ‘What’s next?'”

Available at:



E-book: $2.99
Paperback:$ 8.55 (on Amazon)

I’d love to hear your reaction to this unusual story.

PS: Honest reviews always welcome.

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“There’s More . . . : A Novella of Life and Afterlife

There's More--beta cover - Draft 3

“Relief pitcher Jack Thorne has a single focus—get this batter out and win the World Series. The Universe has a different plan for this priest-turned-ballplayer. There’s More . . . is a creative imagining of the ultimate human mysteries—death and Afterlife. Drawing on traditional faith images, this story challenges readers to expand existing concepts and consider broader cosmic possibilities in answer to the universal question, ‘What’s next?’ ”

 *  *  *

A bat. A ball. A swing. A bullet. A death. A guide. Life.

A bat — varnished, rays of setting sun splintering north, south, east, west, until tension-stilled, it is ready.

A ball — virgin white, never pitched, nor struck, rocketing from hurler’s hand.

A swing — fluid, potent contact, propelling the ball moundward.

A bullet — fired in revenge, racing ball to target.

A death accident? murder? Ball and bullet share the stage as dual protagonists in this unplotted drama. The pitcher falls, forehead concaved, a blackening hole deep at the crater’s base.

A guide — a most unusual companion, heaven-sent to assist at this unexpected crossing-over.

A life  — “There’s more . . .”

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Love Emeritus


‘I love you’
and its evil twin
‘Love ya’

how they flow across the tongue
glib but tired half-true habits
drones in need of overhaul

 soundless noise
unmeant unheard
invalid password
instinct-blocked from other’s heart

what eager understudy
waits in wings of romance —
love’s more genuine self?

what if?
what if instead I said,
“I cherish you.”

 ahh, ‘cherish’ . . .
to hold another dear
take care of

naught in safe reserve
Cupid’s sharpest arrow
costing the lover
delighting the beloved

now there’s love’s worthy sub

“Love Emeritus” © 2013 by Alfred J. Garrotto

Image “Couple on Beach” (c) 2013 by Alfred J. Garrotto

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An Edited life

Downsizing means just that. The capacity for all things material is reduced in proportion to the “down.” For me, this meant tossing a lot of my treasured “stuff” overboard: clothing, books, priceless junk, 40-year-old lesson plans . . . .  The image that kept coming to me was that moving was a lot like editing one of my manuscripts.

The first draft looks like the three-car garage we had at our former house. To fit both cars and all our excess stuff into a smaller home and a two-car garage required a lot of editing. In a manuscript, there are the usual suspects quickly sentenced to extinction: ‘ly’ adverbs, bloated adjectives, those other dead-weight adverbs (like ‘very’ and ‘very, very’). Then there are those nasty, unnecessary duplications (the reader already knows this, so why say it again).

One would think that a professional editor would be a natural at tossing and downsizing. I suppose there is some inbred advantage. But then there are those ‘little darlings’ that have been with me for half-a-century. I appeal to Caesar (actually, my wife Esther) for mercy. Her thumb goes down without a second’s hesitation. But I just can’t pull the trigger. They make the cut, though every bit of my brain matter admits that she is right.

And so, it never fails that, when I read my book in print, I wish I had listened to the editor in me rather than the sentimental hoarder.

(c) 2013 Alfred J. Garrotto

Alfred J. Garrotto is the author of the novel 

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Novel to Screenplay: Two Authors Tell Their Tales

SOF front cover--color--smallCWC Mt. Diablo members, Judith Marshall (Husbands May Come and Go, But Friends are Forever) and Alfred J. Garrotto (The Saint of Florenville: A Love Story) have active novel-to-film processes in the works. In both cases, the authors have written their own screenplays for the film versions. The Write News asked them to share with us their experiences and any tips they might have for other novelists. 


Write News: How did you decide to write the screenplay for your novel?
Shortly after a Hollywood producer optioned my novel, she engaged a screenwriter to do the script adaptation. After three unsuccessful attempts, I elected to write the screenplay myself. Although I had no screenwriting experience, I felt no one knew my story better than I did, so I’d give it a try.
When I first started scouting opportunities to option my novel to a film company, I was told that film people don’t want to read books. They want to see a screenplay. Soon after that, a producer did get excited about optioning the film, but she had her own script writer. When that potential deal fell apart, I began putting feelers out again. A close friend who had just produced a sweet and touching film, Love, Concord (Concord, CA) told me I had to have a screenplay, or I wouldn’t get much attention. So, I began writing and quickly got the attention of another producer, who repeated the mantra, “Get me a first draft. It doesn’t have to be perfect.”

Write News: How difficult was it to convert your novel into a screenplay?
The most difficult thing for me was condensing a 425-page novel into 126-page screenplay. Deciding what to leave out without jeopardizing the plot was a real challenge.
I thought the hardest thing would be mastering the script formatting style. It isn’t that difficult, and Final Draft software took the boredom out of repetitive Scene and Character typing. The biggest challenges in writing the first draft were to (1) separate the novel’s dialogue from its exposition, abandoning page after page of cherished text, and (2) fight the temptation to get inside the characters’ heads. Film is primarily a visual medium. You have to tell your story in actions that are seen by the audience. Emotions can play a large role, but the actors must convey their thought processes with subtle visuals. In other words, I had to hang up my novelist’s hat and focus primarily on what the lens captured and on sound effects.

Write News: What, if anything, surprised you about the writing process?
I found using the Final Draft software very helpful. I didn’t have to worry about formatting and could concentrate on the content. I was also surprised at how easy it was to strip away the exposition and hone in on the dialogue, which I didn’t need to change at all. Bottom line: I found it much easier to write a screenplay than it is to write a novel.
By the second and third (of five) drafts, I had become aware that the script was taking on a life of its own. I let go of the literal novel and decided to go where script was leading me. In plain English, this meant (1) adding/changing a lot of dialogue, (2) re-sequencing a major plot point to heighten tension, and (3) changing the ending of the story to tie up some loose ends more neatly.

Write News: Where is your film project now (as this is being written)?
My producer has engaged a new producer/director/screenwriter who has read my screenplay and is doing his own adaptation which is due any day.
The project is moving forward in a positive direction. Both the producer and the proposed director have approved the screenplay. Names of actors have been raised and tossed about. So far, though, everything is talk. I do not have an option contract for the book and/or screenplay.

Write News: What do you expect the next step to be in the process?
When my producer and I have read the first draft of the new screenplay, we will provide notes of any suggested changes we have to the screenwriter. Once the script is ready, it will be pitched to studios, TV networks and actors. (The book was sent to Meryl Streep before the decision was made to adapt it into a screenplay – pretty exciting!)
From my standpoint, I will begin to press for an option contract. After all, neither the producer nor director can go much farther with my property without my written consent.

Write News: How confident are you that your book/screenplay will one day make it to the big screen?
My producer seems committed to the project, and the current screenwriter loves the characters and the story. But you never know. Things change often in Hollywood. For instance, when the book was first optioned, it was pitched to two well-known female producers who said they weren’t interested in a “women’s movie” at the moment because Eat, Pray, Love had been a box office flop. I just keep my fingers crossed.
I am more optimistic than confident. For some reason, this story grabs people at a deep level. It seems to want to be a movie and people in the business want to make that happen. I just keep saying yes and moving it on down the path.

Write News: What advice do you have for other writers who hope to have their story reach the big screen?
First, ask yourself, Is my story screen-worthy? Be honest. Would you buy a ticket to see it on the big screen? What other movies would it be like? My producer says my movie is The Big Chill meets It’s Complicated. That’s how they pitch in Hollywood. If you’re interested in learning how to write a screenplay, then do it. But having a screenplay isn’t necessary to land a screen option. In my case, it was my pre-launch press release that caught the attention of my producer; that and the title of the book, which she loves. If you’re going the traditional publishing route, pitch to agents who also handle screen rights. If you’re really serious, you can go to a Hollywood pitchfest and present your story ideas to those directly in the business. You don’t need a screenplay to pitch . . . . You can Google “Hollywood pitchfests” for options. If you believe your work is screen-worthy, do whatever it takes to get it in front of the right people. See you at the movies!
Learn how to write your own screenplay and do it. I knew I could write the script. After all, who knows my story better than I do? Still, I deferred when offered the first shot at it thinking, “I’m not a professional screenwriter.” Big mistake. I could have saved myself months of anguish, if I had taken it on from the beginning. Working screenwriters want between $10k and $25k and will demand six months to produce a first draft. Even then, they may not produce a screen-worthy product. I wrote the script in four weeks at no cost to anyone.

Reprinted with permission from The Write News, monthly newsletter of the California Writers Club, Mount Diablo Branch (http://cwcmtdiablowriters.wordpress.com/).

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 (c) 2013 Alfred J. Garrotto

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