Friday, October 2, 2009

You don't have to be crazy...

But it damn-sure helps...

Only, I'll get to that in a minute. (the crazy, that is) First, however, a bit of business needs taking care of. I'm thrilled to announce the WINNER of last week's installment of The Novel Girls Blogoversary Super-Contest-o-Supreme-o celebrating the paperback launch of WONDROUS STRANGE
....... *insert drumroll here* ..........
*waves hands in the air like a muppet*
"YaaaaaaAAyyy!!" Your signed copy will be winging its way to you very soon! Enjoy!

Also, please join me in wishing Lisa Patton MASSIVE CONGRATULATIONS on the lauch of her debut novel, WHISTLIN’ DIXIE IN A NOR’EASTER, a book I simply cannot wait to read. If it's anywhere near as smart, funny and gorgeous as the author, herself, it cannot help but be brilliant!

And possibly crazy.

Just like this week's topic.

Possibly unsurprisingly, the craziest thing(s) I've ever done - almost without exception - have had something to do with my acting career. And, possibly also unsurprisingly (although maybe not), weren't usually my idea.
So. A brief list of some of the crazy:

I once played a boy on-stage in a production of Henry V; there was bloodshed and fighting and a really uncomfortable tensor bandage involved.
I've played Lady Macbeth, the First Witch and a Fighting Kern all in the same production of Macbeth; there was bloodshed and fighting and a really uncomfortable tensor bandage involved... also eight costume changes, wig and makeup re-dos, corn-syrup, food-coloring and a very silly hat.

I once knocked myself semi-unconcious in a blackout exit during a production of All's Well That Ends Well... there was definitely bloodshed that time, too. Only for real. And a makeup change -to re-draw my swelling lip. And re-staging the entire second half of the play on the fly so the audience wouldn't notice my blossoming bruises... you know - the show must go an and all that.

Then there was the time that I had to step into a lead role because the other actress had taken a pole-ax in the eye during fight call. Don't ask. I hadn't played the part in four years. No rehearsal. No script. No problemo (if you don't take into account the moments of sheer heart-stopping terror... but, hey - the audience, at least, never knew!).

Of course, the other time I had to step into a role like that, it was to play the French Princess in Henry V (yes, the same production where I was already playing the boy - talk about identity crisis!) and had about 2 hours to learn the lines. In Elizabethan French. And then a botched costume-change pre-set (from Dead English Boy to Live French Princess) resulted in me having to go outside the theatre and run like a maniac down a busy city street in broad daylight in nothing but boots, breeches and a blood-stained tensor bandage. Don't ask. Why I was not arrested, I'll never know.

Then there was the time that, while reclining in supposed death as the poor unfortunate Juliet in her tomb, I started sliding off the funeral bier - heading straight for the audience - and there was nothing I could do to stop myself.

And the memorable occasion when I had stomach flu and spent all the time between my Ophelia scenes barfing. No wonder Hamlet wanted nothing to do with me...

Let's just put it plainly, then.
The craziest thing I ever did was... become an actor.
And it's been one long continuous bout of looney-tunes ever since.
Like they say... you don't have to be crazy to go into theatre...
But it damn sure helps!

Now don't forget to leave a comment and enter the Nove Girl contest! Details on the side-bar! You'd be nuts not to!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The "Crazy" Writer

First let me say HAPPY RELEASE WEEK to Lisa!! My copy of Whistlin’ Dixie in A Nor’easter arrived yesterday, and I’m already a few chapters in and loving the book! And I should mention that the book is gorgeous – even more gorgeous in person than it looks online, which is tough, considering how gorgeous it looks online.

Now, onto my craziest thing. I have to admit, I’m not really the type of person who does crazy things. I’m not much of a risk taker/thrill seeker. I’m more of a worrier/likes-to-be-safe kind of person. And I always was that way. Even back in elementary school when the other kids were jumping off the top of the jungle gym and trying to swing high enough to flip the swings, I was always the one standing by the side worrying and trying to make sure no one got hurt.

So I guess I’m going to have to say that most of the so-called crazy things I’ve done in my life have really revolved around being a writer. At least, they were things that other people thought were crazy, even if they didn’t feel crazy to me. For one thing, I majored in English in college instead of majoring in a “real” subject that could get me a “real” job after college. Then, I moved completely across the country to a city I knew nothing about to go to graduate school to get my MFA in Creative Writing. I can’t tell you how many crazy looks I got from family members and friends for that one, and all the questions I got about why I needed a degree and a 2000 mile move to write.

Fast forward to a few years after graduate school, to when I got laid off from a job. Then I decided that instead of looking for another job right away, I’d spend some time writing a novel. I spent days, then weeks, then months in my house, in my sweatpants sitting in front of my computer working on something I wasn’t sure anyone else would ever read, all the while, making no money. (Eventually, years later, this didn’t seem so crazy when I got an agent and when she sold this book, but at the time, I got a lot of sideways glances from my friends when I told them what I was doing.)

Most recently, I have done this: quit my teaching job in order to have more time to write. In other words, I decided to ignore that whole “don’t quit your day job” mantra which, every time I take the time to reflect on it, feels nothing short of crazy! But most days, I don’t think about whether my choice was crazy or not. I write. And if I’m able to get enough accomplished this year to making writing my full-time career in the long term, then in hindsight, this will be the best, not the craziest thing I’ve ever done.

So what’s something you’ve done that other people have considered crazy (even if you haven’t)? Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Lisa’s book, Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter and $100 to Amazon!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Crazy Love of the Online Variety

So, before I get into my "craziest thing I've ever done" story, I have to stand up and cheer for Lisa. Her book, Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter, is now on the shelves and ready to be purchased, drooled over (what a gorgeous cover!), and read. I'm waiting for my copy to arrive, but I've already read the excerpt and know I'm going to love this story even more than I love the cover. And that's saying a lot. Because I am totally, head-over-heels, in love with her cover.

Huge congratulations to you, Lisa! This is such a wonderful time. Be sure to enjoy yourself, visit your book in every bookstore you can, and ride the wave as high as you can. I am so excited for you!

Also, for those of you keeping count, Lisa is the final TNG to have her first release out. That's right. All of us: Jillian, Lesley, Maureen, Lisa, and me have had our first book's offiically released now. We've gone through the rollercoaster of emotions together, and we've shared a lot of those emotions with you, and I have to say...I couldn't have chosen a better group of folks to share this amazing experience with.

So, moving on to the craziest thing I've ever done. I *clears throat* met a man through the internet a long (over a decade now) time ago. And then, I moved across the country and fell totally, completely, romance-novel-like, in love with him. Okay, so the falling in love thing didn't happen immediately. It was a fairly slow build, but it did happen, and we did originally meet on the internet.

And then, over three years later, we were married. And yep, we're still happy. Absolutely, positively, most of the time, when he isn't driving me batty, happy.

So...that's my craziest thing. And really, it sounded crazier when it actually happened years ago, because meeting folks online was still a rare occurrence. Now, tons of people meet online and many of them fall in love. And yep, bunches of them end up married.

I'm sorry I don't have a juicier tale to share, but...well, there's only so many things I'm willing to share on public blog.

Hope you all have a great day and don't forget to comment. We're nearly at the end of our month-long contest extravaganza celebrating our one-year anniversary! A $100 Amazon Gift Card is up for grabs, as well as this week's giveaway of a SIGNED copy of Lisa's book, Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Crazy Dreams

First off, let me just say this: CONGRATULATIONS, LISA! Today is her official release date for her book, Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter. I've been waiting for this book for months--and not just because Lisa and I share an editor and an agent. I think once I buy it, I'm simply going to stare at the gorgeous cover for awhile--possibly also pet it. It's still so cool to me that I can walk into a bookstore and see not only my own book, but point to a bunch of others and squeal, "I know her! Like, for real!"

The fabulous Lisa has chosen "The Craziest Thing We've Ever Done" as her release week topic. Now, I have to admit, there are so, so many stories that I would love to share, Many, many of them occured in college and while I don't mind incriminating myself, I'm sure my friends don't want all of our crazy stories aired publicly. Although, many of the scenes in A Bump in the Road were, shall we say, inspired by true life.

One thing I can talk about, without fear of death threats from my friends, is this crazy dream I had way back in 2005. I decided that I was going to write a book; that I was going to write 80,000 related words. Not only the act of writing, I was going to get this book published. I'd never written a book before, but no matter. It was going to end up on store shelves.

Looking back, I was probably totally insane to think I could just sit down, write a book, and poof! everything else would fall into place. Knowing what I know now--things like market saturation, editor layoffs, poor sell-through and teeny tiny advances, it's a wonder that anyone gets published, let alone a debut writer with her first book.

But that innocence was what pushed me forward. I mean, of course my book was going to be published and of course people would like it, right? We can all snicker a little now, thanks to the wisdom of having lived through our respective book launches. But I sometimes miss my publishing naivete.

I was just a writer who had a messy manuscript with an unshakable dream of publication. Scratch that--it wasn't even a dream. It was the knowledge that I would be published, some way and some how.

Funny sometimes how the craziest things we do in life turn out to be the best, huh?

Monday, September 28, 2009


Well, it's hard to believe. Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter will be released tomorrow! It's quite an emotional moment for me, to say the least. I have been dreaming of this day for 14 years. Waiting on that was worse than an August drive across the United States in a beat-up pick-up truck with no air conditioning. But pushing all that old angst aside, we're no longer worrying about the past . . . the book will be IN THE STORES ON TUESDAY!!

I'm beside myself, really. And not just because of the book release. I'm the one who thought of this crazy topic, "The Craziest Thing We've Ever Done" and now I'm realizing sharing the details with the whole world about 99 percent of my crazy antics is impossible. Plus, the odds are you wouldn't believe me anyway! I could talk about the time a dear friend of mine and I climbed over Lucile Ball's wall, but even if you did believe me the details are just too incriminating.

Then there was another college escapade, this time at summer school at the University of Hawaii when another friend and I dressed in black and tried to sneak up to a teacher's office in the middle of the night to slide a slightly overdue paper under her door. Or the time I walked into the Sugar Bowl without a ticket, simply by acting like I knew what I was doing. Or backed my way into the exit line that was coming out of Pat O'Brien's in New Orleans to be able to have a rip-roaring New Year's Eve.

I suppose it's safe to share a crazy thing that my girlfriends from college and I used to do in the wee hours of the morn. I'm going to go ahead and admit right now, I stole it and used it in my book that releases tomorrow, Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter.

It goes like this. Like any college kids, we'd decide to go out for food around one or two o'clock in the morning. Usually this was after a fun evening, a pledge swap or a frat party. At this point in my life, I'm not sure who dreamed up this crazy prank in the first place but that's inconsequential to the story. The night it all started we were in my friend Alice's car. As usual, we'd pull in through the drive-through and snicker at all the people inside with their books propped in front of them. (I'm not proud of that now, but such is life.) As we exited the drive-through line at the local Krystal fast-food restaurant, we'd decide to wake up the students inside. We'd dip a Tampax in whatever liquid happened to be in the car and the person seated in the back seat - driver's side would hurl it though the air toward the huge plate glass window in the front of the store. Then we'd watch it slam into the window. The best part was when it slid down the glass. We'd be laughing so hard at the reactions on the faces of the folks inside that we'd inevitably forget to hurry off. This meant we'd have to screech out of the parking lot and hurry back to the dorm.

We called that "pooning." And there's a similar pooning scene in my novel. Crazy, crazy, right?

We've got an entire week left to celebrate the Novel Girl Blogoversary. I hope that you all enter by continuing your posts this week. I'd love to send the winner a signed copy of my book! Thank you all for the wonderful posts over the last month and mostly for following us. It's because of you that we're here and we love hearing from you. Tell us about some of your own crazy stories. And don't forget everyone is eligible to win the $100.00 gift certificate from Amazon. See you next week!!