Monthly Archives: December 2011

2011 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

 

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Christmas Anthologies

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Still Moments Publishing has two books of short stories available for purchase in this the festive season. http://www.stillmomentspublishing.com/2011/11/christmas-treats-1.html

http://www.stillmomentspublishing.com/2011/11/christmas-treats-2.html

There is a Naughty List and a Nice List. If you’re hankering for a holiday read to add to your new e-reader, you can’t go wrong with these.  And how about those covers?

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“Seminar” On Broadway- A Review

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I’ve been back from my trip to New York to see Seminar for a while now and wanted to post this review but life has been getting in the way. On top of work at the day job and trying to finish the first draft of my latest novel, I’ve been sick off and on, but here we go with the long-awaited review.

First and foremost, Alan Rickman was spectacular. I have long admired his work and was a bit fearful that seeing him at long last in person would be a disappointment. I’m happy to say he is all I imagined and more in the flesh. He’s so relaxed and confident on stage. He doesn’t seem to  be acting; rather, he seems to be having a real conversation with the other characters. So natural and unaffected. I’ve been to many plays over the years and believe me, I’ve seen some actors who are not as at ease on stage as Mr. Rickman was in this role.  The only other actor I’ve seen that has this same quality to the same extent onstage is Richard Griffiths.

The rest of the members of the ensemble cast were well-chosen by the casting director. Jerry O’Connell seemed a little rushed in his first lines, but he soon settled in and did a wonderful job. Hamish Linklater was spot on in  his role – he was one of my favorite people in the play with his understated angst. In fact, no one in the play over-emoted which can sometimes be a distraction.

As to the women in the cast, Lily Rabe was wonderful as the hostess of the writing class. When she grabbed all the snacks after the first session, that hit home. As a writer myself, I’ve indulged in those binges of rejection-eating.  Ms. Rabe carried herself well.

Hettienne Parker was very natural in her role. There were several times she interjected comments into the group that seemed like they were off the cuff and real. Knowing they were lines she’d spoken many times, I was impressed at how fresh and new they sounded.  Bravo for her.

Theresa Rebeck has razor-sharp wit and I enjoyed her writing very much. My seventeen year old son also thought the play was wonderful and he enjoyed the wit as much as I did. The references to Tin House and The New Yorker were appreciated by this writer.

I love the tag line on the sign outside the theatre: Young writers are like good books, you can’t enjoy them until you’ve broken their spines.  I believe there are a lot of agents and editors who believe that and there may even  be some truth to it!

In short. if you can get to New York while this play is showing, do it. It’s worth the trip.  If you’re an Alan Rickman fan, this is a must see.

 

Happy Release Day to Lavada Dee and Laurie Ryan

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Today I have two friends with me as it is the release day for their Christmas Anthology. I’ve interviewed them both about their stories and I think they both sound wonderful. I hope you’ll agree with me.

 Jillian:    How long have the two of you been friends? Did you meet in a writer’s group or did you already know each other and join a group together? 

LAVADA AND LAURIE:  We are both members of the local chapter of Romance Writers of American(RWA) and met there. It wasn’t until we partnered up as accountability partners that we got to really know each other. Now it seems we’ve know each other all our lives. We have an almost surreal connection. One that certainly adds to our working together. We found that we both named our children with the same names, just a little different spellings. We send emails and phone at the same time. I know this happens, but for us it is more of a norm than an exception. The other day we found we both chose to do some extensive work on our websites at the same time.  This maintenance had been sitting for quite awhile so ‘at the same time’? 

 Jillian:  What gave you the idea to publish these two Christmas stories together as an anthology?

LAVADA AND LAURIE:  Actually we decided to do an anthology first. The only criteria for the stories were that they be set at Christmas. We didn’t plot them out together and yet they fit like it had all been planned to the inth degree. The vows “For Richer, For Poorer” and “In Sickness and In Health” came about after we started looking at each other’s stories. Holiday Magic has been another surreal example of our strange and wonderful connection.

 Jillian:  Laurie, what was your inspiration for the heroine’s life work?

Laurie:  I first met Nicole in a story I wrote about her mother and haven’t yet published. At the time, Nicole was ten years old and her mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It had a profound effect on my heroine and cancer research became a natural response to that.

 Jillian:  Why did you decide to make the heroine have issues with her bedside manner? I think that’s a problem with a lot of doctors and I wonder about your thought process there.

Laurie:  That’s funny. I hadn’t thought about doctors and bad bedside manners when I wrote Nicole as a person who doesn’t interact well with others. I chose to make her, at least initially, an introvert as it tied in well with her desire to go into research instead of patient care.

 Jillian:  I note in the blurb that the heroine is adrift for the Christmas holiday. Why is that?

Laurie:  Nicole’s father and step-mother have always made a big deal out of celebrating the holidays. Until this year. This year, they chose to go on a cruise over Christmas. It’s the first vacation they’ve taken in years and Nicole is happy for them, but her own Christmas looks to be spent in the hospital cafeteria with the other residents on duty that day. Enter the charismatic Dr. Damien Reed with an offer she finds hard to refuse.

 Jillian:  What or who was your inspiration for the hero?

Laurie:  I’d have to say the closest inspiration would be Dr. McDreamy. Both he and my hero are very Kennedy-esque in their looks and their appeal.

Jillian:  Lavada, what was your inspiration for the hero’s job as a veterinarian?

Lavada:  Sorry, no Dr. McDreamy to draw on for me. I needed something where he was successful and in charge of his time.  Owning the veterinarian clinic next door to his residence played into the story. That I have a single good looking veterinary that puts up with my naughty little Jack Russell had nothing to do with it. J

Jillian: You live in Washington. Is the town of Laurelville like where you live? Describe the small town and what’s appealing about it to the heroine. 

Lavada:  All my stories have been set in small towns. I was raised in a rural area where the nearest ‘city’ and mall were thirty miles away. It’s grown up around here now, but still has the small town feel. The fictional town of Laurelville is on the other side of the mountains from us. It’s a farming community with the look and feel of the 60’s. It has wide streets with horizontal parking, and department stores sitting alongside specialty shops. To stand at the end of Laurelville and look down Main Street is like looking at a Norman Rockwell scene. Taylor Hamilton is attracted to the laidback feel, and people who always have time to chat and never seem to meet a stranger. 

 Jillian:  Your heroine is a wealthy woman from New York. What is her family dynamic that makes her crave the small town atmosphere when she arrives for her best friend’s wedding?

Lavada:  Taylor Hamilton has spent her life trying to earn her father’s approval and love. She feels something is missing and craves it much like when you’re hungry for something but don’t know what. She didn’t seek a small town but recognized what she hungered for when she saw Laurelville and experienced the unconditional family love of her best friends family and Gabe.

 Jillian:  What is Gabe’s issue with wealthy women? My reading of the blurb makes me curious about his story and what happened to the mother of his child. Can you tell us a bit about his back story or should we wait to find out if that’s a bombshell?

Lavada:  Gabe met his wife and the mother of his child in high school. She was a pampered only child that suffered ill health. He took on the roll of protector and provider. He’s unused to having a relationship where his partner is an equal and finds he likes it. It isn’t that Taylor is wealthy, he knew that. He just didn’t know how affluent she is or that she’s in a different social class like in “Rich and Famous”. He doesn’t want that kind of life and it takes him a bit to realize that any life with Taylor is better than the alternative of losing her.

 Jillian:  Great interview ladies.  Tell us where we can buy this anthology and where we can find the two of you on the web.

Holiday Magic The Gift of Love is at Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Holiday-Magic-Gift-Love-ebook/dp/B006896AQ0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1322202039&sr=8-1

Barnes & Noble at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1036485537?ean=2940013486249

And Smashwords at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/103372