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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

First Look at Drama Queens

Super excited to share this first look at the streaming series Drama Queens, a new show I created for young people.

The characters and storylines grew from my one-act play Stay.

Here is what the show is about:

All about the performing arts students at Avalon Performing Arts Academy, Drama Queens is an independent television series that explores the young artist's life. Fed up with the superficiality that surrounds her, aspiring actress Allison Freeman decides to make drastic changes in her life, starting with forgiving the absent mother she hasn't heard from in five years. Cracking under the pressure from being the daughter of the high school principal, diva-in-training Raquel is finding it impossible to meet the high expectations of her demanding mother. Tired of being the glue that keeps her family together, Sofia Mendoza embarks on an emotional journey of self-discovery and seeks comfort in her complicated friendship with Rindy Sinclair, the non-conforming star of every school musical. Intervening and inspiring when she can, Penelope Garrison is the high school guidance counselor with the best intentions, who is soon overwhelmed by the complicated lives of her students.


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Words to Live By: Toni Morrison

I came across this terrific quote, posted online by my good friend of many years, Kimberly Greenberg. Like most great quotes, this one flashed on my radar just when I needed it most. The universe has a funny way of doing this to me. Lately, I've finally gotten smart enough to shut up, pay attention, and listen.

This quote captures my greatest struggle: letting go of dead weight. A people-pleaser to a fault, this ridiculous need to make others happy, to be pliable, agreeable, and just plain nice has caused me more heartache than any other of my many flaws. Not too long ago I woke up one day and realized more than half of the people in my life were causing me anxiety, self doubt, depression, and pain. The worst part: I was allowing all of this to happen. No one was to blame except for me.

We are the company we keep. It's so true. If you feel your life has gone to hell, look at your social circle. It's an all-too-true reflection of who you are. Don't like yourself? Change the people who surround you. Find a new circle. Or navigate the world alone. Don't be friends with people just for the sake of fending off loneliness. Filling the void with fly-by-night fair weather folks is a recipe for a broken heart. Every time.

I started embracing this quote and enforcing it in my life long before I knew it existed. This year alone has required me to stand up for myself in various situations (for various reasons) more than I ever have before. Sure, it's empowering - but it's also terrifying. Realizing your own power, your own strength, your own worth is remarkable and exhilarating, but for me it's been a bit sad. I want to go back now and tell my younger self, "There is no need for you to put up with the bullshit you're being asked to deal with. Say no. Get up. Walk away. Love yourself a whole lot more."

Since I can't do that, I'm moving forward in my life with fewer friends, a longer list of people I've pissed off, and the reassurance that speaking up for myself and insisting to be treated with a certain level of respect is necessary. Otherwise, those around us can take our strength and use it against us to hold us down.

I've always known I've had the ability to fly. I just didn't realize how many people my wings were trying to carry.

No more, I say. This journey is mine and mine alone.

I'm not sharing this flight with anyone.

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Few of My Favorite Things

It's Friday! Guess what that means? A night of wild partying? Not quite. I'm a writer, remember.

If you must know, I'm spending the evening working on the first act of a new stage play. Glamorous and exciting, I know.

BUT I'm taking a little break from that to start a new tradition here on this oh-so-fun blog of mine.

Every Friday I will be listing a few of my favorite things to share with any kind soul who takes the time to read this.

On today's list...

1. Lynda Hull's incredible poetry. I've been a fan of her work for many years, since I first read the brilliant poem 'Night Waitress' (this poem is a must read), one of my personal favorites. I just recently had the chance to read her posthumous Collected Poems. The book is a sad reminder of what the literary world lost when Lynda was killed in an auto accident at the age of 40 in 1994. Her life story is just as gripping as her unforgettable poems. I highly recommend this collection to all.






2. Velvet. It's a gorgeous, super addicting, prime time soap set in the fashion world of Spain in the late 1950s. It's on Netflix. I'm beyond obsessed with this wonderful television show.
















3. Tanya Donelly's wonderful new CD collection titled Swan Song Series. I've loved her work since the days of Belly (recently reunited for a tour - yay!) and Throwing Muses. This collection is comprised of 5 previously released EP's plus seven new tracks. Every track is mesmerizing and fantastic. Each feels like a musical postcard, lifted from some poetic moment that was put to music to let it live forever.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

It's Just Another Manic...Thursday?

Today, while I was at the gas station putting gas into my car, Manic Monday by The Bangles was playing on the overhead PA system. Of course, I started singing along...quietly so I wouldn't disturb the peace. As I did, the following (mostly random) thoughts went through my mind:

1. It seemed strangely out of place to hear the song on a weekday that wasn't Monday.
2. This irony felt completely appropriate giving the manic spree 2016 has felt like (so far).
3. No. My 2016 has been more than manic, it's been downright bipolar. One day the universe is relentless and seems determined to do me in; the next the world couldn't be kinder.
4. Speaking of kinder...this is something I aspire to be. I used to be a much nicer person. I could blame the events of this year (so far): my sweet dog died, I was in a hit and run car accident, Edward lost his father, life has been one major battlefield forcing me to fight for myself like never before...but on the other side of this unhappy rainbow such amazing things have happened for me both personally and professionally that I feel guilty anytime I'm anything less than grateful.

5. I need to be more grateful. Even for the little things. What three things am I most grateful for?
6. I need to be in the moment more. Enjoy every second. If life has taught me anything, it's that happiness can be fleeting. Know it and recognize it and appreciate it when you feel it.
7. I'm really pissed off that my dog died.
8. I don't love certain things in my life as much as I used to. Or certain people.
9. I need to make some changes. Big, major ones. Serious ones. Okay, then. What's first?
10. The first time I ever cut school was when I was a sophomore at Berkeley High School and I did so to meet The Bangles at Tower Records on Durant Avenue. They gave hugs and handshakes and were just as beautiful as I knew they would be. They autographed a concert flyer for me. That night, I left it on the kitchen table. My step-mother (at the time) threw it away because she thought it was trash. None of my photos turned out on my Kodak Instamatic because the world hated me then and still...
11.  I've met a lot of famous people in my lifetime. Most of them I didn't like. But The Bangles were cool.
12. There are other songs by The Bangles that I like a lot more than Manic Monday. For example, their cover version of Hazy Shade of Winter is one of their best songs ever - if not the best. I've loved that song ever since I saw Less Than Zero when I was seventeen. Less than? More than? Is that what life is all about? One constant state of measuring?

The moral of all of this?

A lot can happen when you're at the gas station.
My mind is a crazy place to be.
Every day can be manic if we let it.
The Bangles are a bad ass band.
2016 needs to get itself together and be a lot nicer to me.

I'll let you decide, gentle blog reader.

While you do, there's this...

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Backfire Gets a Release Date

Hello fellow writers, readers, and lovers of the written word.

I'm thrilled to share: my novelette Backfire will be available exclusively in eBook (via Kindle and Sellfy) on August 30th from Pindelion Publishing.

The story is one of my personal favorites to date.

About the Novelette: Tired of keeping their love a secret in their small Southern hometown, Evan and Cameron plan to runaway together, unaware that someone is determined to stop them - no matter what it takes.

If you read it, let me know. I always love feedback from readers.

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