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Michael Thompkins
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Michael Visits the Palm Springs Book Festival

by Michael 4/20/2008 4:26:00 PM

Sunday May 4th

TIME 11:30PM - 12:30PM (BOOK SIGNING After Panel 12:30PM - 1:00PM) Palm Springs Book Festival
PANEL:  MYSTERY, LAUGHING IN THE FACE OF DEATH:
Using Humor in Mysteries
  MODERATOR: Mr. Rick Copp, AUTHOR(S):  Ms. Harley Jane Kozak & Ms. Patricia Smiley & Mr. Michael Thompkins LOCATION:Palm Springs High School   2401 East Baristo Road   Palm Springs, CA 92262   Information (760) 564-3112
 

MICHAEL THOMPKINS, www.shootingshrink.com, is a retired psychologist who devotes most of his time to writing detective fiction. Gun Play, the first novel in his "Shooting Shrink" series set right here in Palm Springs is out from Sterling House  (read the review or listen to the radio ad). Michael has studied under legendary screenplay doctor and author Chris Vogler. Michael was a finalist for the prestigious Rupert Hughes Award at the Maui Writers Conference. He is currently working on his next book in the series, Big Island Play. His workshops on Shrinking Fiction, How Psychology can help you write Fiction, play to packed rooms at Southern California Writers Conferences in Palm Springs, Los Angeles and San Diego. 

Shrinking Fraudulent Memoirs

by Michael 4/18/2008 2:42:00 PM

First, let me thank Sharon Sergeant, who is becoming a pen pal and periodic conversant, for her stunning first guest article on the Misha Defonseca story; there will be more. I can't think of a more interesting topic for all writers and readers. She just so happens to reside in my home state of Massachusetts so when we talk, I catch up on my former turf.

Turning our attention to the subject at hand, Misha Defonseca, David Shields, writing for the one of the best alternative rags in America, The Stranger, lumps Eliot Spitzer, Margaret Seltzer and Misha together in his psycho/culture article entitled Vertigo. He posits, "Everyone's ambition is underwritten by a tragic flaw." He quotes Freud, "What lives wants to die again," and invokes Sophocles, "Even though you knew it would cost you your eyes..."  Finally and unfortunately, Shields leaves us with the psycho-physical death wish as our common fate. Shields appropriately entitles his article Vertigo, a disorder of balance; however, the exposed narcissist risks falling in to the water from where the reflection of reality originated. It is his tragic fate. There is hope; it is not our common one.   More...

Fiction and Fraud, The Misha Defonseca Case

by Michael 4/10/2008 2:59:00 PM

Talk about Shrinking Fiction! Several weeks ago Sharon Sergeant contacted me through this blog to ask my professional comments on why someone fakes a memoir. More on my thoughts later. What do you think?

- from Sharon Sergeant

I am the researcher that led the Defonseca genealogical investigative team. Misha Defonseca, a Belgian national, was exposed as a fraudulent Holocaust survivor in February of 2008. Various book versions of Defonseca's story have been bestsellers, and the recently released French film "Survivre avec les Loups" (Surviving with Wolves) has reportedly had more than 600,000 ticket sales in France and Belgium. I became involved after I read a  blog written by Jane Daniel, the US publisher of Defonseca's first book in 1997. Daniel's saga with Defonseca began in 1994, when Defonseca  was speaking and soliciting financial aid in the local Jewish community. Lawsuits against Daniel by Defonseca and her ghost writer, Vera Lee, resulted in a 33 million dollar judgment. Daniel was facing the seizure of her home, her last asset and wanted to know what the real story was behind this bizarre turn of events.

In the meantime, Defonseca had become an icon in Europe with her story of a heroic Jewish child traveling through war torn Europe, protected by wolves and partisans, surviving significant events during the Holocaust. The French film heightens these fairy tale themes with visual cues, emotive scenes and sweeping landscapes. More than a decade of interviews with Defonseca in print, audio recordings and videos demonstrate her ability to suspend disbelief. Defonseca created a world that people wanted to believe in. Those that did question her story were dismissed by Defonseca and attacked by her believers. Although I believed that Defonseca's claims could be proved or disproved, I suspected that I was facing a formidable illusion. In addition, the appellate court ruling in the lawsuits against Daniel was an excoriating opinion of Daniel, extolling Defonseca's credibility. I contacted Daniel to tell her the case was solvable using modern forensic genealogical methods and asked for her cooperation no matter what the investigation revealed. She agreed, sent me several copies of the original US publication, ordered copies of other versions, supplied trial documents, and the meager results she had gotten from private investigators.  More...

Making of Website Flash Movie Intro

by Michael 4/10/2008 11:38:00 AM

Here is the first sketch from Jamie Linder, nationally recognized graphic artist, who will be creating the photo-realistic animated Flash movie intro to ShootingShrink.com. You will recognize the patio at Starbucks in downtown Palm Springs where Doc, Brett and Joan sometimes hang. The sketch after the screenplay, is a first draft of Doc's office.

 

Over the next few months, Jamie will be hard at work designing an animated trailer to introduce site viewers to the Shooting Shrink Series characters and setting.  Here is the screenplay I wrote for the Flash intro:

 

Scene I     Interior of Dr. Tom Reynolds office.

The interior has views out the windows of the steep and rugged face of Mt. San Jacinto, date palm trees and the bright Palm Springs morning sunlight. “Doc” is sitting at his desk going through what is obviously a patient record. The office is shelved with psychology books, diplomas and pictures of his beautiful wife and 20ish children. The office is well heeled but not ostentatious. There is a pix of him with several uniformed cops.
Doc Reynolds (present at opening of scene) A handsome white man in his mid-forties, youthful and athletic, with black hair and brown eyes, about 6 feet in height sits at his desk. He is dressed in a black worn cotton Polo and clean jeans. He is wearing cowboy boots. He looks of Irish-American nationality. Desk plate reads Tom Reynolds, PhD, Consulting Psychologist
 Lt. Brett Wade(enters scene later) also in jeans and a green tee with a logo on it(Special Forces.) He is also wearing a black wool felt baseball cap with Palm Springs Police stenciled on it. On his belt are a Lieutenant shield and a black Glock handgun in a nylon clip-on holster. Brett is black and built like  Matt Damon., 5’10”, 160 and well muscled.( More muscle than Doc.) Doc has a lean runner’s body; Brett has martial arts body. Brett is similar to Matt Damon in height, and weight  but not such a pretty face maybe a few more wrinkles.
Camera POV changes as it scans interior, scans Doc Reynolds, and comes to rest on the door. A knock on the door. Door opens and Lt. Wade enters.

                                               Lt. Wade
Doc, newspaper’s calling you the Shooting Shrink.

Wade  holds up the Desert Sun and reads the headline to Doc: Shooting Shrink, famous local psychologist, shoots hitman at the top of the Tramway.
Camera POV changes to pan Lt. Wade then the newspaper he is holding open.          More...


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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions.