Check out Freeline Productions’ haunting original novels

Koby the stray kitten longs for a home. (Graphic designed by Sherrie Smith).

ORLANDO — Freeline Productions is the source for original fiction novels by author Michael W. Freeman, which reflect the anxiety, turbulence and often harsh realities of life following the Great Recession.
His novels “Bloody Rabbit” and “Koby’s New Home” were both written at times when the author found himself downsized from the volatile field of print journalism, searching for his next opportunity. The lead characters in both books, R.T. Robeson and William Grabinski, struggle to cope in these frustrating, emotionally demoralizing times when all that’s left is the new part-time “gig” economy. They’re living on the margins, like so many others.
At the same time, these novels are not simply about economic dislocation. In a deeply chilling way, the novels take the reader into a nightmarish existence where social norms appear to be breaking down, and a collective anger among average workers has created a hostile environment where outbursts of violence can happen at any second. Everyone is on edge, and losing control seems dangerously easy. Both Robeson and Grabinski, two mild-mannered and discrete men, find themselves living in a half-dream state where old realities have faded away. Their sense of alienation grows. Humanity is omnipresent — and oppressive and corrupting. Suddenly it’s as if the entire world was made up of James Joyce’s Jesuits, ranting about the horrors of the grave. Continue reading

Community theater is a part of Freeline’s mission

"Murder Sleep" will premiere in May at the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival.

“Murder Sleep” was performed in May 2016. (Photos by Scott Sharky Hodges; poster designed by Jim Cundiff.).

ORLANDO — Freeline Productions started in 2008 with an original play simply called “Hooked.”
Playwright Michael W. Freeman had written the darkly comic play in the mid-2000s, and submitted it to the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival in November 2008. It was accepted, and “Hooked” had its premiere at the Orlando Fringe, the longest running Fringe Festival in the United States, in May 2009. Along the way, Freeman created Freeline productions as the artistic vehicle to produce the play.
Since then, Freeline Productions was expanded to become a full service freelance writing and editing business, but it remains a vehicle for Freeman’s passion for community theater, and will continue to produce original plays in the Orlando area. Continue reading

From stage to page: the artistic journey of “Blood Sisters: The Musical”

Blood Sisters the novel

The novel “Generational Curses” was based on the stage musical that was performed in Orlando in 2012.


HAMPTON ROADS, VA — Stage productions have the ability to reach out, grab your heart, and deeply move audiences. Malikah R. Harris found that out in 2012 when she brought her production “Blood Sisters: The Musical” to the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, and won rave reviews.

Today, Harris, who lives in Virginia, has created a different format for “Blood Sisters,” the story about a typical American single parent family where Joanna Karen Smith — or simply “Momma” — has relied on her deep sense of faith as she raised her children. Now, after more than 32 years of self-sacrifice, Momma is fed up and is giving her grown daughters 5 months to put their lives together.

Harris has taken the story, and put it into novel form. For audiences who did not see the theatrical version of “Blood Sisters,” they can visit Amazon and get the book, and follow the story of Momma and her daughters there. Continue reading

Lake County Animal Shelter hosting Hot Dogs, Cool Cats on Saturday

pet adoptions

Reece the cat will be available for adoption when the Lake County Animal Shelter hosts its Hot Dogs, Cool Cats event on Saturday.


TAVARES — This weekend, the Lake County Animal Shelter will be opening its doors to the public, encouraging people to stop by and find a new family member to take home.

The shelter and the nonprofit group L.E.A.S.H., Inc. are sponsoring “Hot Dogs, Cool Cats,” on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the shelter at 28123 County Road 561 in Tavares. There will be family events throughout the day, free hot dogs and popsicles, and, most importantly, pet adoptions at no cost.

“Summer is a wonderful season for families to consider adopting a pet,” the shelter noted in a news release. “Children are home from school and are able to spend time bonding and caring for their new best friend. In fact, having a family dog can benefit a child’s emotional intelligence.”

The shelter cited a study, “The Role of Pets in Enhancing Human Well-being: Effects on Child Development,” which indicated that pets can help children by increasing their self-esteem and compassion, helping children feel more accepted, improving their cognitive development, lessening stress and contributing to overall happiness and health. Continue reading

“Hanging Hitler’s Long Johns,” a harrowing Holocaust memoir

Hanging Hitler's Long Johns

“Hanging Hitler’s Long Johns” is a harrowing, but still uplifting, memoir by Holocaust survivor Roman Ward.

“Hanging Hitler’s Long Johns” is a Holocaust memoir by Roman Ward, a Polish Jew whose harrowing journey started in 1939, when he was just 10 years old. He was living in the city of Kalisz, where Roman’s father was a successful businessman and respected veteran of World War I, and where the family lived in a large apartment with servants. By the war’s end, he has witnessed total devastation across Poland.

And yet Roman survived, and the book not only describes the agonizing journey his family endured during the war, but also the aftermath, as the Soviets took over Poland and East Germany.

If you’ve read other memoirs about the Holocaust, there might be a part of you that feels like these books are too difficult to pick up and read, that they’re simply so horrifying to get through. There’s no question that “Hanging Hitler’s Long Johns” (a reference to young Roman’s impression that Nazi white flags looked uncannily like winter long johns) recounts a nearly unbearable amount of misery suffered not only by Roman and his family, but by all the other Jews in Poland, and by non-Jewish families as well.

But don’t let that discourage you from reading it. Roman is not a processional writer (he put together these memoirs with the assistance of Frank Feldinger, a journalist who has worked for publications like Fortune and Mother Jones), and the book benefits greatly by not feeling like it takes a “professional writer” approach. Continue reading

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