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Friday, October 30, 2015

Viva Las Vegas!

Before I get started on Vegas I wanted to share an update on my last blog.  My computer problems are not as behind me as I thought.  Turns out that I got my laptop back with NO WORD PROCESSING PROGRAM!  AHH!!  I have no idea how it got deleted but Microsoft Works is GONE.  Sad.  But, Felicia Lynn may be coming to my rescue on that one.  Phew.

But now . . . on to Vegas!  I don't know about you, but I love vacations!  Especially when you're going from somewhere cool to a warmer locale.  And, that's just what I did last week when I went from New Jersey to Las Vegas.
I hadn't seen my friend Deb in several years since we live on opposite sides of the country and we decided Vegas was the perfect place to meet for a few days of fun.  We both started playing MyVegas a few months prior to the trip which earned us buy one/get one on the monorail.  We're both going to keep playing so we can put the points toward a discounted room rate for next year.

If you've been reading for awhile you'll know that I do love my shows.  I've been addicted to live theatre for as long as I can remember and I probably always be.  Deb and I arrived around dinner time on Wednesday and left early Saturday morning.  During that time we packed in five shows.  Penn & Teller at the Rio , Vegas! The Show  at Planet Hollywood, Tony & Tina's Wedding at Bally's, Showstoppers at the Wynn , and Million Dollar Quartet at Harrah's.

This was the fifth time I'd seen Million Dollar Quartet.  I'd seen it twice on Broadway, once Off-Broadway, and once on tour.  Out of those five times I got to see Victoria Matlock four times and I'm always happy to see her.  She's tremendously talented and artistic.  She was recently part of a successful Kickstarter campaign for the movie Meet Love Hope and I can't wait to see the fruits of those labors.

Not only did I get to see Victoria but I also got to see Derek Keeling as Johnny Cash.  He did the tour but had left the role before it came close to me.  So, I'd heard good things about his portrayal but had never been able to see it myself.  I was so happy to finally say I saw him take on that great role.  And, I hope it's not the last time either.

But, back to Vegas.  Deb and I stayed at the Excalibur and I don't think we spent much time there except to eat, sleep, and change.  We definitely spent more time out of the hotel than we did it in.  Maybe next time we'll actually check out some of the shows there.

We stopped by the Flamingo  to see the flamigos, MGM Grand to experience CSI and solve the crime (which we did).  MGM is the start of the monorail and the closest stop to our hotel.  So, we ended up spending a lot of time there.  We were even talking about staying there next time so we can be closer to the monorail.  And, I don't have to go as far if I leave my ticket in the room (which I did one night *sigh*)

All in all we had a lot of fun even if we came back from our trip very tired.  It was worth it to see a friend after a long time and have a lot of great, new experiences.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Back in Business

I've been absent for a long time - I know that.  I went from blogging nearly every week to not blogging at all.  I needed to step back from things for a bit for several reasons.

First off because I needed a little wound-licking time.  I usually bounce back pretty quickly and stare down rejections with a Sally Brown "Oh yeah?  That's what you think!".  But, bouncing back after QueryKombat turned out to be harder than I thought.  I guess it's because it was the first time I'd gotten past the contest slush pile and into the first round.  Did I think I was going to win the whole thing?  No, but I also didn't think I'd be out in the first round.  I had 32 other people to keep me company though.  At least I wasn't lonely.

Around the same time I had a little accident.  My laptop fell off the bed.  It survived but I lost my entire WIP and the edits on my manuscript that I had been making at the time.  HEART ATTACK-AKC-ACK-ACK.

I brought it to  my computer savvy coworker and he wasn't to find them.  Panic was starting to set in.  But, he knew someone who might be able to do it.  It would take a long time but the hopes were high.  I kept on trying to move that rubber tree plant while waiting for the news.  Could they?  Couldn't they?  Finally, last week I got word that they could!  And . . . today I got my precious files back!

My files have been returned to me and I can continue making those edits and working on that first draft.  This delay gave me time to catch up on my reading and I was glad for that.  We writers cannot writer unless we read as well.  I feel like I spent my time wisely.

But, the wind actually returned to my sails last month.  Getting the files back is just the cherry on top of that.  Last month I attended the first annual WFWA Retreat and I found so much to be grateful for there.  I admit that I had been a little nervous about going and I was afraid I was going to be outclassed by all these published authors.  But, that wasn't the case at all.  I was welcomed and people seemed to like my work.  Before last night I had been climbing the rocky terrain on my own.  Pulling myself up inch by inch with only bloody nubs where my nails had once been.  Now, someone's standing at the top of the mountain with their hand held out to me.  I'm no longer alone.  I have a tribe.

We had a fun workshop with Kimberly Brock and had lots of small discussion sessions on topics that we face as published and querying authors,  We had a lovely dinner on the last evening of the retreat where Darynda Jones was our keynote speaker.  I was lucky enough to sit next to Darynda for both Kim's workshop and for the dinner.  She's funny, very smart, and I am so grateful to have  met her.  I'm grateful to have met ALL of the writers who attended the retreat.  We came together in such wonderful and amazing ways.  At this point I'm almost ashamed of the fear and trepidation I had prior to attending.  I'm so glad I went and I can't wait to see how the organization grows and how we grow with it.

I'll be jumping back into edits very soon as well as preparing for the The Book Splash Cruise in February.  I've been very active in the group helping Felicia Lynn and Harper Sloan  get a lot of the first time cruisers in the group prepared for what to expect.  I've had a lot of fun working with them and I cannot wait for what the facebook page has in store for the group and for the cruise itself (of course). 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Here Comes the Sun

Every year I have a scary day and it came today.  The day I have to take myself to the dermatologist for my annual "mole check".  I know you're thinking "C'mon, Kristin, it's just a check up" but it's so much more than that for me.  Much more.

I was never a sun worshiper or one to lay out for hours in an attempt to get the "perfect tan".  I've never been to a tanning salon though I wasn't always so good about wearing my sun screen when I was a kid.  It wasn't anything I was remotely considered about. 

Until . . .

I was a senior in high school when it all changed.  It was fall and a typically seventeen year old who was waiting for her college acceptance letters and gearing up to take the SATs again.  So much to look forward to and I couldn't wait for any of it to come. 

Until . . .

My father found a spot on his back by his shoulder.  Was it something?  My mom wasn't sure but suggested  he get it checked out anyway.  Just in case but probably nothing to worry about.

It was something.

On October 18, 1996 -  the night of what would have been my final homecoming dance as well as my sister's twelfth birthday my father underwear surgery to remove the lymph nodes from underneath one arm.  To clear out the cancer that had spread from the malignant melanoma. 

I didn't go to the dance though my fifteen-year-old brother did.  I had offered to take my sister to the movies for her birthday but my mom wanted me to stay close to the phone.  Just in case.

It was a hard road after that.  There were many trips to the pharmacy to pick up my  father's prescriptions.  Lots of wondering but the road to recovery is a long one and he was well on his well.

Until. . .

March 7, 1997 - my 18th birthday party.  By this time I'd been accepted into all of  the schools I had applied to but was leaning toward my first choice - Cedar Crest College.  My friends had come over for a night of pizza and movies.  Just a simple gathering.  Everyone was on edge because my father never made an appearance the whole night and was grousing from his bedroom upstairs.  No one knew what was going on.

A few weeks later we found out he had a tumor in his spine.  That had been the cause of his foul mood when my friends had been over.  The tremendous pain he was in and a group of rowdy teenagers.  It took twenty-two straight hours of surgery to remove the tumor but the cancer was spreading faster than the doctors knew how to handle it.  It became more about managing the cancer rather than eradicating it.

Spring came as did my high school graduation.  My father was in the hospital at the time and was unable to go.  Friday, June 13, 1997 and I was the 13th graduate (I wish I was making that part up).  It poured so the ceremonies had to be held in the gym instead of the football field.

Summer was followed by fall and my heading off to college.  It was an odd time for me since I never knew if I was going to be suddenly called back home.  When it was going to happen and how quickly would I be able to get back.

The semester ended without that phone call coming and I headed home for Christmas break.  By this point my father had tumors all over his body.   He could barely see me thanks to one in his eye.  A hospital bed had been brought into the house because there wasn't anything the hospital could do anymore.

I was so excited to tell him I'd me Phillies Rookie of the Year Scott Rolen at an autograph show but he was unable to see the picture with it's signature.  After a few days of being home he couldn't seem to place who I was.  But, he knew I had gotten "too big".  He couldn't recall my mother's name but knew she was his wife.  He didn't want his morphine and kept trying to tug out his oxygen tube. It wasn't long before he fell into a catatonic state.

Until. . .

On December 24, 1997 the doctors told my mother to call the family and the priest came to the house.  My mother had the four of us kids go to mass on our own and I remember sitting there huddled with my brothers and sister - unsure of what we were going to come home to. 

Until. . .

On December 25, 1997 he woke up.  He wasn't speaking and couldn't even move much.  But he was aware.  He showed as much excitement as he could over our gifts  My sister showed him this and that and he nodded as best he could.  All was well.

Until. . .

My mother's brother and his family were coming for dinner on December 26.  The kids hadn't seen my father in quite some time and they wanted to see him before he passed.  But, they didn't make it in time.  While they were driving up from their home in South Jersey my father lost his battle with cancer.

Everything changes when you're father dies when you're still in your teens but you push on the best you can and do the best you can.

Since then I've had two "abnormal" moles removed but both have come back benign.  I take very good care of my skin and am very careful about the sun.  I wear a very high SPFm have UV hats, and limit my time outside.  People come up to me and ask if I'm sick or comment on how pale I am.  While my father was what is known as "black Irish" - darker complexion, darker hair, and dark eyes.  My complexion is full on Irish - pale, pale, pale.  But, you know what?  I may be pale but most everyone I meet things I'm at least ten years younger than I actually am.  I'll take that.

Today's "inspection" went off without a hitch and I am pleased to report that nothing concerning was discovered.  The doctor was surprised to hear I had been in Los Angeles and Las Vegas only a few weeks ago.  You'd never know it by the state of my skin.

So, this is my PSA.  Take care of your skin.  Sun is good for you but too much can cause lots of damage.  So, as we wander deeper into spring and as summer approaches make sure you've packed a good bottle of sunscreen lotion (don't buy the spray - you're just inhaling aluminum and nobody wants that).  Get all your spots - top of the feet, ears, neck.  And get some sunscreen chapstick - Blistex makes one that's SPF 30.

But, no matter how careful I am one of those childhood sunburns could still rear it's ugly head.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Sea Cruise

Well, folks, I have decided to go to the WFWA First Annual Writer's Retreat.  I've already registered and booked my room.  I haven't done airfare or anything yet though - a little soon for that.  I'm sure more flights and fares will open up between now and the fall.

Not only have I decided to go on the retreat for this year but I'm going on The Book Splash Cruise for next year.  Even though I'm still unpublished and don't have an agent (yet) but I figure it's never too early to start meeting other authors and readers.  And, maybe I'll have an agent by the time February comes along.  And, it's the Caribbean in February - yes please!

Just a short one for today.  Hope everyone is doing well.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Go West?

One moment you think all the little details are going to fall into place and you're all set.  And then boom - not so much.

That's the place I found myself languishing in as I mulled over whether or not to attend the WFWA First Annual Writers Retreat this coming September.  Thanks to the terrible winter the East Coast had and that I just got back from vacation I wasn't sure how many days I had left.  Well, I do have enough to take time off to head to the retreat.  So, I was all set to start making plans.  Until, I thought about the 28th Annual Flea Market & Grand Auction.  Flea Market is always held is always held on a Sunday at the end of September but not date has been officially announced yet.  If it's on Sunday, September 20 I'm good but September 27 would raise a conflict.  

I go to Flea Market every year and I have what I call "flea market friends" - people I only see that one day a year.  The event is super fun and you always see really awesome people there - Orfeh, Stephanie J. Block, Colin Donnell, and many more!

I decided to call up BC/EFA to see if they'd settled on a day yet.  They just had an event last night so I wasn't sure if anyone was up to talking to me about something happening in September.  Well, they had an answer for me.  Sunday, September 27.  Sad!

I know going to the retreat is important and would bring me a lot of new contacts and tools for my writer's box.  But, missing Flea Market makes me very sad.  I'm definitely leaning towards the retreat but my heart hurts a little to be missing an event I look forward to every year.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Jet Set

Before I launch into a description of my recent vacation the matter of #pitchslam needs to be addressed.  No, my manuscript was not chosen to be showcased for the agents.  I had thought/hoped my piece might have an "edge" thanks to the Hollywood theme but that wasn't the case.  So, back to the drawing board.

I'm seriously considering taking a step back from the contest circuit.  This isn't so much of a "taking my ball and going home" but more of a regrouping.  I throw my hat into every ring that comes along and I think I'm getting a bit too overexposed at the moment.  A lot of these contests have the same judges and I can't help but wonder if they're getting tired of seeing me so much.

However, I am waffling on whether or not I should enter WFWA's Rising Star contest.  Even if I'm in a contest holding pattern the feedback available seems worth entering.

Something else I'm waffling on is the WFWA Retreat this coming September.  I just got back from vacation last week and with the horrendous winter we had I'm not sure how many days I have left.  I'll find out when I get my paycheck this coming Thursday.  So, that decision could be made soonish.

Now, as for my previously mentioned vacation.  I have friends and family in California and usually head out every few years.  This time I let five years pass between visits and I knew that had to be rectified.

I flew from Newark to LAX on Thursday, April 9.  Thankfully, I live along NJ Transit's Northeast Corridor Line so all I need to do is hop on the train to go to the airport.  My flight was at 1pm and I caught a 9:56am train to ensure I got there with plenty of time to go through security.

This was my first time flying Virgin and I definitely will be using them again if the opportunity arises.  I enjoyed the "mood lighting" and was able to sleep for the first half hour of the flight.  I had a direct flight so I took the opportunity to finish Deadly Forecast and start Fatal Fortune  by Victoria Laurie.

I landed in LA after 4pm PST and my friend Nicole met me at the airport.  We hotfooted our way over to the Pantages Theatre where our friend Mike works to try for Newsies lotto.  When we didn't win we decided to meet Mike at Fred 62 for dinner.  Afterward we headed over to Griffith Park to see the view of the city at night and some of the exhibits in the observatory.

My older brother lives in LA and even though I did not have plans with him for that evening I realized Griffth was very close to his apartment.  Even though he didn't respond to calls or texts I decided to just show up on his doorstep.  While looking for his apartment I missed a step down and fell very loudly right outside his window - twisting my ankle and bruising my knees.  Who puts a step down in front of apartments?  If you're not sure of the lay of the land and are looking at numbers on doors you're not going to see it.  Honestly, I'm surprised I didn't sprain or break my ankle - that's how hard I fell.  But, I could put weight on it so there was no concern (even though it still hurts a little more than a week later).  When I knocked on his door he was very surprised to see me.  He'd turned his phone off because he was writing.  I didn't stay long because he was in his pj's and Nicole couldn't find a place to park.  He'd asked if I'd knocked something over and was amused to hear the loud noise he'd heard was me.  Brothers - bah.

Nicole and I headed back to her place after that where I very soon fell victim to the time difference.  I simply could not keep my eyes open any longer and apparently Nicole had still been talking to me,  Oops.

The next day dawned early and we headed out to Knott's Berry Farm,  Even with my previous trips to California I still had no made a visit to the famous amusement park and I was able to check it off my list.  After spending the day riding coasters and playing Heads Up we headed over to the Attic Community Theatre to see the opening night of All My Sons.  I had never seen a production before but I knew what it was about.  The theatre was very small but it was a very good production with a group of every talented actors.  It's playing until April 26 if you're in the area.

Saturday started very early as Nicole, Mike, and I started the trek from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.  The closest I'd ever come to the Vegas strip was a layover and delay at the airport in 2007.  I could see the strip from the terminal but that was all.  It takes about four hours or so to drive from LA to LV and most of the trip is through the "Inner Empire" as Californians call it.  I'd never seen desrt before so this was very eye opening.  Endless stretches of nothing. Tumbling tumble weeds with the occasional gas station or diner.  I couldn't help but wonder how people could live like that.  With so much barren land all around.

On the California/Nevada border we stopped at Whiskey Pete's to gas up, stretch our legs, and see the infamous Bonnie & Clyde car.  Now, I'm sure a lot of my readers are familiar with this car and may have seen the movie with Warren Beatty, the TV movie with Emile Hirsh, or the Broadway musical that garnered Laura Osnes her first Tony nomination.  But, until you actually see the car it's hard to truly understand the carnage.  The shattered windshield, the bullet-ridden exterior and seats.  These men held nothing back after they laid in wait for the bank-robbing duo.

Las Vegas is only about another half hour from the border and it wasn't long before the famous skyline came into view.  We had reservations at the Luxor and I was very excited at the prospect of sleeping in a pyramid and using one of the crazy sideways elevators.

For those of you who have never been to Vegas let me share this simple tip - dress comfortably.   For starters - it's hot.  I'd only brought teeshirts and jeans on my trip and I was definitely wishing for some capris or shorts.  And, even though I was wearing comfortable sport socks and sneakers - I still got a water blister.  I couldn't understand how the young girls in their skyscraper heels managed it..

We had lunch at Carlos and Charlies at the Flamingo  before heading to the Flamingo's Bird Sancutary.  Flamingos are my favorite birds and I was very excited to see them at the hotel.  Such beautiful and graceful birds.

Later that evening we went to see Rock of Ages at The Venetian.  Joey Fatone was in the show as Dennis but the night we were there was one of the nights he was listed as being out.  That was a little disappointing but RoA is a really fun show so we didn't mind all that much.

On Sunday we had lunch at Bobby's Burger Palace before getting back on the road to Los Angeles.  Since we hit some pretty serious traffic the trip back took a lot longer.  Plus there's the fact that we had a tire blow out.  While it was annoying and very inconvenient we got very lucky.  The tire that blew was the passenger front and we were on a quiet road near homes when it happened.  And, it was not yet dark.  No need to worry about dodging traffic, not being able to see, or anything of the like.  Through the power of teamwork the three of us managed to get the tire changed and we got back on the road.  Thankfully, that was the end of our adventures for the day.

Our Monday started with getting a new tire for Nicole's car before having lunch and going up to the Hollywood sign.  Not long ago I shared an article about how the residents of Beachwood Canyon (the neighborhood where my main character lives) are battling the city about visitors to the sign.  People taking parking places from residents, trampling on yards and gardens, etc.

The sign is practically another character in my book so it was important to me to get up there without making a pest of myself.  This proved much easier said than done.  Lots of roads were marked closed and there seemed to be no way for us to get even close.  Finally, Nicole dropped me off at the foot of one of the hilly roads so I could continue on foot.

There were "NO TRESPASSING" signs all over the place but I wasn't sure if they applied to the road or just people's private property.  I just kept my camera tucked into my pocket as I made my way up the steep hill.  I could see glimpses of the sign behind houses or hills but I wasn't finding a spot where the whole sign was visible to me.


This was the best I could do but I'm pretty pleased with it.  I'd only ever seen the sign from a distance before so this was such a personal thrill for me.  Not just because of my manuscript but because of my lifelong love of Hollywood.

Another thrill was seeing a house that fit what I had in my head when writing the book.  I was so excited to see "Suzy's House".  It's perfect and I wish I had the $600K to buy it (if it were for sale).

I had dinner with my brother and his friend later that night at Pitfire Pizza and they were talking about the earthquake from Sunday night.  It's funny how they both felt it but I felt nothing.  One would think it would have been the opposite.

On Tuesday we had to be out of Nicole's place by 4:45am in order to get to LAX for my flight home.  Everything was going okay until we were speeding along the 5 and we heard that telltale sound of a flat tire.  Yes, again.  This time it was the front driver's side and now we were in the dark on a very busy highway.  Instead of doing it ourselves we called AAA.  We were close to an exit and with all those cars speeding buy we knew we'd be sitting ducks.  An AAA driver could get the job much faster than we ever could.  And, when he drove up he even commented that we were in a bad spot.  Yes, we know,  We planned it that way just to annoy him. 

Once that latest adventure was over the rest of the trip went smoothly.  No more mishaps or anything at all interesting.  I do have to say I was very pleased that LAX does not make you take off your shoes, your jacket, and you don't have to take anything out of your bag.  Security is a breeze.  Let's catch up, Newark.  

And now I'm back to "real life".  Back to working on Suzy in the hopes that someone, somewhere wants to represent her.  And back to work where I was able to get caught up on all my work in a day or two.  Phew.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

One Brick at a Time

During the February 17 episode of #PubTalkTV I was announced as one of the winners of the of a query consultation with one  of the fabulous hosts.  I was assigned to Monica Odom of  Liza Dawson Associates and I was very excited about the whole thing.  Having another pair of eyes on  your query is never a bad thing - especially if it's the eyes of an agent who represents your genre.  Score!  To enter all you need to do is retweet specific tweets once they're announced.

There's always a bit of nerves when going into something like this.  It's so easy to let your mind wander into thinking they might not like your query.  I am very pleased to announce that Monica's comments were very positive with only some minor comments on specifics, timelines, etc.  It was so awesome having some great insights into things I hadn't even considered before.  For example, Monica had asked about the timeline of my manuscript - whether my child star was from the time of Shirley Temple or more modern.  I hadn't even considered the possibility that someone might think that.  It was those sort of comments that made it all worthwhile.  Once again, thank you to Monica.

The #PubTalkTV ladies are taking off the month of March but will be back with a fancy new episode in April.  And, with that comes more opportunities to win a query consultation.  So, if you're a querying writer I recommend at jumping at this tremendous opportunity.  It's like going to a conference without the airfare, hotels, and conference fees.

Also, speaking of critiques - all of the lovelies at Fuse Literary are auctioning off partial manuscript and query critiques through Winning Cause to raise money for The National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  Another great opportunity for querying writers and some of the lots don't even have any bids yet!  It's all about killing two birds with one stone - getting super feedback and helping someone else.  Hey, maybe your future agent is hiding in that group.  There are only six days left in the auction so get your bids in before it's too late.

Good lucking to everyone in the query trenches.  May we all find our agent sooner than later.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Going Hollywood

Well, just today the details of the upcoming Pitch Slam were announced today.  The theme this time around is Classic Hollywood which suits me to a T.  Not only does my manuscript take place in Hollywood but I am quite the fan of classic Hollywood.  None of these means much in the long run but it makes me a little more excited about this contest than others in the past.

I've already started working on my entry emails even though the first round doesn't start until April 3.  It gives me some time to play with my thirty-five word pitch and the "favorite movie genre" question.  That one is going to be such a tough one for me.  It's like choosing a favorite child.  I have some thoughts about which direction I might go but I haven't nailed anything down yet.

Not only that but there is a trip to California in my near future.  I'm headed out the second weekend in April to visit some friends and spend some time in Los Angeles and Vegas.  I haven't seen these particular friends in five years, so I'm definitely looking forward to seeing them.  And, having some fun.

Earlier tonight I found a marathon of Battle of the Network Stars on ESPN Classic.  I never got to see the show during the original run (as the last one aired in 1988 when I was nine).  I really enjoy the fun and camaraderie the stars seemed to have and seeing stars such as Doug Barr, Heather Lockler, Nancy McKeon, Tom Wopat, and on and on.  It makes me think if a similar show could work today but I don't think so.  I think the stars would ask for more money and there are too many networks now.  Back then it was the three - ABC, CBS, and NBC.

So, it's been a bit of a "Hollywood" day for me.  Looking forward to a much-needed vacation and getting into the fun of Pitch Slam!

Best of luck to everyone entering!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

On Broadway

For the past several years I've celebrated my birthday by taking the train into NYC and seeing a Broadway show or two.  It's a tradition and one I will continue for as long as I can.

Since my birthday happened to be on a Tuesday this year I had to wait until Saturday to make my trip.  Armed with tickets to the matinee of Phantom of the Opera and the evening show of The Fantasticks I made the hour long trip up to meet up with my college friend Cristin and see some awesome theatre.

I know what some of you may be thinking - "Gosh, Kristin, those are so old.  Couldn't you see something new?"  Sure, I could have but I chose these two for a few reasons.  I first saw Phantom at the Forrest Theatre in Philadelphia when I was sixteen - the tickets were my birthday present that year.  And, a few years ago I decided to take my sister to see the show in New York.

When it was announced James Barbour would be taking over the role of the Phantom another visit would be necessary.  I saw James three times in A Tale of Two Cities (once out of town and twice in New York), in Donnybrook, and three times in concert.  I had tickets to see him in Rebecca but the show was cancelled due to financial problems.  I'd missed his award-winning turn as Jean Valjean because it happened in California.

One of my favorite moments in the show is when the chandelier is pulled up and we're launched into that thrilling overture.  And there are many more favorite moments after that.  I know there are people who don't like the show but I enjoy it very much.

After the show Cristin and I braved the cold to say hi to James.  We were told he didn't always come up but we waited anyway.  And look:


After Phantom we headed up the street to  have dinner at Junior's which is one of my favorite places to eat on a cold day.  Their hot chocolate and grilled cheese sandwich is the perfect way to chase the chills away.  They're always busy but if the wait isn't too bad it's definitely worth it.

After dinner we headed over to The Jerry Orbach Theatre for the Fantasticks.  While Phantom of the longest running musical on Broadway; the Fantasticks is the world's longest running musical.  The original production ran for forty-two years and 17,162 performances.  The current production has been running since 2006 and the combined runs have played over 20,000 performances.

I had actually never seen the show before and was only familiar with one of the songs - Try to Remember.  I knew of the show because it had been a favorite of my late father's.  I had always planned to see the show but with such a long run it becomes one of those shows you'll "get to later" since so many others come and go so quickly.  But, when Max Crumm joined the show I knew I could wait no longer.  I was standing right up against the stage on the CBS Studios lot the night Max won the role of Danny Zuko on the NBC television series Grease: You're  the One That I Want.  I saw him go on as Danny five times at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre - including the night he took his final bow.  So, I knew I had to finally make plans to see this show.

It was a small and lovely production - only seven people make up the cast.  I wasn't what to expect but I found myself enjoying the show very much.  I laughed, I was moved, and I had a very good time.  

The day was over far too quickly before I knew it I was on the train on my way back home.  But, I'll be back next month to see Finding Neverland and I am very much looking forward to that.  And, maybe there could be another visit to Phantom and Fantasticks in my future.  We'll just have to wait and see one that one.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Another Trip Around the Sun

Hey, hey - it's my birthday!  But, today YOU are getting the gift.

To celebrate my birthday I am giving away this fabulous 4"x5.4" Papyrus journal.  Perfect size for tucking into your purse, pocket, backpack, etc to jot down any ideas while you're on the go.

To enter just leave a comment with your favorite movie and twitter handle.  Winner will be announced in 24 hours!

Friday, February 13, 2015


In my last post I talked about #sunvssnow but that didn't turn out the way I thought it would.  The 200 available slots filled up in six minutes.  Six minutes!  I simply didn't get my entry in fast enough.  And, it doesn't help that we were having a storm that day and the internet was working very slowly.  To watch  the indicator spinning 'round and 'round for twenty minutes after I clicked "send" was quite infuriating.

But, the wind from a door closing blows open a window and I was able to enter #agentmatch.  This event was a little different in that you sent in your query and hook which were posted on a blog that went live on 2/10.  For two days agents would come to the blog and read the queries and request any that interested them.  I came out of the event with several requests and many, many new followers.  So, between that and today's #adpit it's been a very good week for my query.  Hopefully I'll be hearing more good news regarding those soon.

Some have recently tried to rain on parade - trying to tell me agents don't want what I have.  That I'll never get an agent or be published.  I can't have that kind of talk - I won't have it either.  I believe it my work and my recent success shows I'm not the only one.  I believe with my entire being that this is going to happen for me.  Somebody out there will want to know what I have to say.  And, then more will follow.

For right now I'm a little preoccupied with the weather.  I received an alert on my phone from the national weather service about the high winds we're expecting this weekend.  There could be gusts up to 60 MPH which could knock out power which isn't good when they're forecasting temperatures of 2 degrees.  Since getting home from work I've been running around getting the laundry done and making sure there are enough extra blankets to go around.  Later, I'll be going to the grocery store to pick up some food that doesn't need to be cooked - peanut butter and the like.  I hate the thought of being without power when it's this cold out - especially since snow is expected as well - but I'm going to be ready for it.  And if nothing  happens I haven't really lost anything.  The laundry will be done as well as the grocery shopping.   Clean sheets will be on the beds and things are tidied. 

There's a jar candle in every bedroom as well as a lantern.  The tablets, ereaders, cellphones, iPods, etc are plugged in and there's plenty of fresh batteries in the fridge.  I have the matches and I'll be ready to launch into action the moment the darkness engulfs us all.  Everybody's well taken care of and that's my responsibility.  Always has been and always will be. 

Until then we'll all go on as we would otherwise.  Reading, writing, and living. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Lot of Livin' to Do

Look at that – first post of the new year!  Happy 2015, everybody!  I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe holiday season.  My sister and I spent New Year’s Eve watching Live at Lincoln Center and Michael Feinstein New Year's Eve at the Rainbow Room on PBS.  I took the very first song Michael sang as the title of this blog for numerous reasons.

Bye,Bye, Birdie was the first professional production I ever saw and it helped mold me into the crazy Broadway fan I am today.  I was twelve and my grandmother took me to see the show at the ForrestTheatre in Philadelphia.  The show starred Tommy Tune, Susan Egan, and a number of other great names.  In fact, twenty-something years later Tommy Tune sat across the aisle from me at a show and it was one of the few times I’ve truly been tongue-tied in front of celebrity.

Also, it was a great song to start off the new year.  We have lots of livin’ to do with so many new beginnings and possibilities.  I have such great hope for 2015 and I’m so excited to see what’s going to come next.  I will get an agent this year – I will!  And I will keep saying that until I do.  No doubts, no questions.

The details about a new query contest were announced today.  Michelle Hauck and Amy Trueblood are hosting Sun vs Snow and I’m already gearing up to enter in a few weeks.  I’m very hopeful about getting chosen this time around but I know I’ll still get something out of it if I don’t.  I have gotten positive things out of every contest I’ve taken part in – followers, friends, and feedback.  I even have a whole new opening to my manuscript thanks to slush reader feedback from Nightmare on Query Street.  I was close last night so maybe this time there will actually be a cigar.

I was reading an article about the Hollywood sign and the residents of BeachwoodCanyon today.  This upscale Los Angeles neighborhood is where Suzy, my main character, makes her home and I have been wondering where she would fall in the debate as a resident.  She has a great love for the sign and often blows it kisses from her bedroom window for luck and would hate for people not to have access to it.  But, she wouldn’t care for the drunken tourists messing up her beloved aunt’s home.  It’s a tense situation and sadly there will always been rude and stupid tourists. They’re not all bad but enough are that things get ruined for everyone.  Even though I have visited Hollywood on several occasions I have never made a trek to the sign.  It’s a bucket list item for me.

Enough of that for now – there’s such much work and livin’ to do.  Let’s get to it!