Tag Archives: The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parson’s Ridge

OMG, I know!

It’s been yet another FOREVER since I’ve posted here!

Let’s see. What have I been doing?

I took a quick and lovely road trip in the new Honda Fit recently. It was a lovely day and a perfect drive. (Although I have to say, I do get really tired of always doing everything by myself!)

I bought myself a season ticket to a local summer stock theater company. It’s in the next town over; a quick drive out to a barn, basically, in the middle of trees and fields. I had the best time! (Once again, though, all by myself. One thing about living out here in the Hinterlands — I only have 1 friend and he now has 3 tots under the age of, like, 8 at home — and he’s as old as Methuselah. So I rarely ever get to see him nowadays.)

But back to the theater — The first show was Children of Eden, by Stephen Schwartz. I’m not always a Stephen Schwartz fan. While I absolutely adore Pippin (having seen the original touring version back in 1973 and then going on to memorize the Original Broadway Cast album soon thereafter), I think I am the sole person on planet Earth who does not adore Wicked, and Children of Eden has a similar musical feel to Wicked. Meaning that the singing just goes on and on and on and the melodies just seem to blend into one another. However, even though I didn’t leave the theater humming any semblance of a memorable musical tune, I did enjoy the performance and the people in the show a whole lot and I’m looking forward to the next show, Peter & the Starcatcher.

And on a similar note (i.e. theater) — the reason why I haven’t been able to post here in quite some time:

When last you heard from me, I was re-working my approach to The Tea Cozy Murder Club TV script, and was painfully researching that new approach by tirelessly streaming endless repeats of Midsomer Murders, one of my favorite TV shows of all time.  (It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.)

Meanwhile, I was also doing that never-ending research for the play I’m writing about Caiaphas, In the Days of the Flesh. (Research involving theology, ancient biblical history both Jewish and Christian, and current archeology, so the never-ending-ness of it can get overwhelming.) Anyway, I enjoy every minute of it, but before I could really settle down and put pen to paper on either project, an additional play I’m writing for Sandra Caldwell has suddenly landed smack dab on the center of my plate.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that 2 summers ago, I went to New York to work with Sandra on refashioning my TV movie script, Tell My Bones: The Helen LaFrance Story, into a one-act play for Sandra to perform/star in. Well, now that we’ve at long last, really & truly, signed off on the final draft of her one-woman musical (currently titled The Guide to Being Fabulous), she informed me that she needed a finished draft of the Tell My Bones play within 2 months, when she starts performances of Charm Off-Broadway with the MCC Theater.

It’s not like I totally forgot that Tell My Bones even existed. The TV movie script of it is with the production company in LA and I’m awaiting feedback on it. However, the one-act PLAY version of Tell My Bones … well, I did totally forget that it even existed. (Too many half-finished projects on my plate, perhaps??) So, when Sandra said she needed a final draft of Tell My Bones by the end of the summer, all I could think of to say was, “You got it!”

Then I hung up the phone and had to scrounge around, digging up 2-year-old notes for the thing, keeping in mind that I sold my house, stuffed everything imaginable into boxes that went into storage for 6 months and then got shoved willy-nilly here in the basement in the house I’m renting in the Hinterlands…

But blessings and miracles!! I found all the notes and discovered that when I sat down at my desk to tackle it, I was incredibly and effortlessly inspired! And I am so happy with how it’s progressing.

The one-act play version of Tell My Bones will be done by the end of the summer simply because it has to be. Pressure aside, it feels so exciting to be working on it right now, simply because the inspiration is so close, so tangible, so beautiful. As any writer (or any artist) knows, inspiration is not always present when deadlines are. So to have them arriving at the same time and keeping pace with each other –Wow. It just feels so great.

But, on the downside, it leaves me little leftover inspiration for blogging.  So yes, my friends; you must suffer. You must pay the price in all this heady inspirational madness going on over here in the Hinterlands!

Okay, on that note… Let’s see. I will leave you with this! Some of that “inspiration” for Tell My Bones. Thanks for visiting, gang! Have a wonderful weekend whatever you wind up doing. See ya!

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Such good things!

Only a ten-day absence this time! Pretty good! (Of course, it’s still nothing like the years & years & years where I blogged every single solitary day, including Sundays & holidays! But onward!)

Okay! Remember that great news I couldn’t discuss in my last post? Well, it is now official and so I can share it.  And I am so happy about it.

Sandra Caldwell, the actress in New York City that I write with/for, has just landed the leading role in Charm, a play by Philip Dawkins. It will be having its Off-Broadway debut as the fall season opener at Manhattan’s MCC Theater beginning Labor Day weekend.

(I’m planning on attending opening night and I’ve already bought a new dress for the occasion — one of those Calvin Klein floral fit & flare dresses that everyone is wearing these days.) (Although I might change my mind at the last minute, since I am usually a plain black sheath-wearing sort of gal… We’ll see if I ultimately opt once more for living in the past, or taking a bold leap into being like everybody else!)

I’m excited about this show for many reasons. One being that Sandra is my friend and this is her return to the New York stage after a long hiatus.  Another reason being that her decision to focus again on stage work was made a couple years ago, wherein she hired me to not only help her with her one-woman musical, but also to be the head writer for her production company, with a focus on theater.

Charm was very well received in Chicago and promises to be a real winner in New York, as well, and it looks additionally promising that the one-woman musical Sandra and I have been working on for several years will get produced and find an off-Broadway stage in New York in the near future.

Even though I was a singer-songwriter for many, many years — in my halcyon days in New York, before switching to full-time fiction writing in the 1990s — theater was always my first love, ever since I was a wee bonnie lassie.

I love all kinds of theater: Jr. High and High School theater; college theater, Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway theater; and even the occasional “go down these dank ancient stairs and enter a clammy, dark, hell-hole abyss theater space” to watch stupifyingly experimental theater where none of the actors even get paid. I love it all.

And even while I’m really excited with the progress I’ve made the last several years with my TV Pilot scripts and TV MOW scripts, theater still excites me, probably even more. So with Sandra’s upcoming success (I know she is going to be superb), will come more and more opportunities to write theater projects for her.

Dare I say that I couldn’t be happier?? (Let us return briefly to the unbridled joy of the American Housewife! If my soul could project onto a screen or perhaps a hologram, it would look like her!)

Well, all righty, gang!!

And in terms of re-writes for my TV Pilot/MOW script, The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parsons Ridge — I have made great progress in re-thinking the story. Not the plot, not the characters, not the setting; but the story itself and how it gets told. I’ve been re-watching tons of old Midsomer Murders episodes and getting delightfully re-inspired.  Even though graphically violent & angry police procedurals are all “the rage” now (excuse the pun) (and even the more recent Midsomer Murders have gone more in that direction), the older shows, with their intensely quirky characters interest me a lot more and that’s more in keeping with how I envision the Tea Cozy Murder Club characters. So off we go!

Okay, thanks for visiting, gang. And have a wonderful weekend, whatever you wind up doing! I leave you with this little ditty from Mame, it’s a song that I’ve pretty much lived my life by since childhood, come what may!

See ya!

Better late than never!

I know! How many weeks has it been since I last posted here??? (It’s been so long, that I actually don’t know how many weeks it’s been since I last posted here!)

Yes, it’s all about more & more re-writes over here. Some of the best news ever, though, is that the “final” draft of the one-woman musical I’ve been working on with the NYC-based actress, Sandra Caldwell, is finally complete!! After how many years??? (About 3 or 4.)

I put “final” in quotes because this means it is only the final version of the draft we are willing to send out and let other industry people read. I’m sure it will see other drafts before it finally hits the stage. We are extremely excited about this script/play/musical, and even more-better news is on its way, but I can’t discuss it publicly yet.

Stay tuned to this oft-unposted-to blog for all the current news on that un-discussable topic!! Yay! (Seriously, though, it is GREAT news.)

I think I mentioned (many moons ago, when I last posted here), that I am currently taking the Shonda Rhimes TV Writing Masterclass, while I begin the revisions of my TV pilot, The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parsons Ridge. That’s partly why I haven’t had much free time to post here. The other part is that I also began re-writing my memoirs for upcoming publication by the gang at  SomethingDark.eu. Too many things needing my complete attention. But it’s all good! For a change…

And to those of you who are loyal readers of this lofty blog — may I say that I actually remembered to make a copy of the first draft of the Tea Cozy Murder Club script BEFORE I began re-writing it!! You have no idea how smart this makes me feel!

In non-writing but extremely exhausting news, I also finally managed (with the help of friends & family) to clear out my self-storage unit over the past weekend, and so now all 95% of my life that was in storage 30 miles away, is now here with me, packed in a quite unwieldy manner in the basement.

So now I can say that I am 100% completely living in the Hinterlands. And still loving it, gang.

But on that happy note, I have to get back to work here. I have one more hour left of my daily writing time, so I need to get back at it.

Thanks for visiting. I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday wherever it finds you and with whatever you’re doing. (Oh, I also want to go ON RECORD that I firmly support Johnny Depp‘s right to buy 15,000 cotton balls a day.  He earned it, folks.)

Okay! See ya!

(Honestly. You can find everything on the Internet!!)

 

 

 

World Wide Fame!!

Yes, of course I’m referring to one of my cats!

Loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that I often post photos of Weenie and Huckleberry sleeping on the bed. Well, Weenie’s tummy made it onto today’s Tummy Rub Tuesday post over at Katzenworld in the UK, leading to world-wide fame!!

We couldn’t be more excited!! To celebrate, we’re all hanging out in the windows, staring at birds in the yard!

Oops! Wait — no. That’s what we do everyday! Well, they do; I don’t.

Anyway. I was pleased as punch to see my little sweetie’s face & tummy staring back at me in an email this morning. Yay. Go visit the post and see all the adorable cats showing off their tummies today!

In other cool news related to cats (& dogs):  My long-time friend and collaborator, Val in Brooklyn, has gotten her Paws for Thought Comics strip syndicated online!! She will be publishing a new comic Monday through Friday on the Comx Box Comics Syndicate. Yay, Val!!

In other totally non-cat news… I’ve put my Biblical Hebrew studies on hold temporarily because I’m now taking the Shonda Rhimes TV Writing Masterclass for the next few weeks. I thought it could be cool to take the course while in the throes of re-writing the MOW TV Pilot for The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder At Parsons Ridge. I’ll keep you posted as to whether or not that turns out to be, in fact, a cool idea…

I hope everyone enjoyed a splendid Easter (or a happy Passover)! (Or, if you’re neither Jewish nor Christian, I hope you just felt happy to be alive!) For the most part, we had gorgeous weather out here in the Hinterlands — and perfect driving weather for me and my new little Honda Fit!

You know, yesterday, I parked my car in the parking lot of the Granville Inn, and to my surprise, there were 5 Honda Fits, including mine, in that small parking lot. Truly, there were less than 20 cars parked there. Clearly, the Fit could be the new trend. (Instead of just having a fit, which used to be my fall-back trend. haha) It was so weird.  While I have always owned very popular cars, I always owned them decades after they were popular. To be perched on the absolute leading edge of a trend like this is a heady experience!

All right, all right. I gotta scoot. Time to write. Thanks for visiting, gang. I hope you’re enjoying this Tummy Rub Tuesday wherever you’re getting your tummy rubbed! See ya!

 

 

 

A Brand New Morning!

Yes, finally!

It’s been one week since I turned in the revisions on the Cleveland’s Burning script along with the updates to its show bible, and I am finally feeling like I’ve recouped some of the energy that it had taken out of me for the last 8 weeks.

For me, it’s easier to write a script from scratch, than to tailor revisions of it to someone else’s  suggestions.  I don’t mind doing re-writes at all; it’s just that you have to remain creative, remain true to your initial vision, and above all, be an all-out mind reader:  What do they really want?

All right! So it’s turned in, and we’ll see what the follow-up notes reveal. In the meantime, I have revisions to make on the next TV Pilot script, which is “movie-of-the-week”  length (MOW). It’s also connected to a series of mystery books I’ll be writing, all of it falling under the general banner of The Tea Cozy Murder Club. So I took a week off to just let my brain think about all of it and let all the ideas have free rein.

And while I did that, I spent some time getting off the grid. I’m lucky in that I am in that age range that falls at the very tail-end of “Baby Boomer but Not Yet Elderly”! And because of that, I am not someone who is addicted to being online. I don’t give much of a hoot about social media, I don’t like games or apps, and I don’t have a preference between watching something on TV or streaming it on my iPad. Etc., etc. I turn off my gadgets at night, including the power strip.  I turn off the WiFi, data, and the ringer on my iPhone. Stuff like that. I like peace.  When it comes to technology, I can pretty much take everything as well as leave everything.

However, one thing that does bother me, a lot, is how online tech stuff is leading increasingly to erosion of privacy and to control of information.

My colleagues in England frequently tell me about serious news developments in the UK that are not carried here. And I am beyond indescribably sick of most of the news in the US being about Trump, pro or con. It’s not actually “news.”  Anyone who remembers Cronkite or Huntley/Brinkley, etc., knows that none of this stuff is “news;” it’s subterfuge, sleight-of-hand, gathering of eyes for advertisers, etc. So I spent my leisure time browsing around france24, RT, Al Jazeera, ZeroHedge, AEI, places like that, then comparing what I found covered on those sites with what makes it onto the BBC, and then trying to find any (if not all) of that stuff on the main online news carriers here in the US.

Staggering — what most Americans are not reading about.

Oh, and before I forget! Another interesting “news” source in this country is the National Enquirer!! I’m so serious.

My ex-husband used to be good friends with a woman whose mother was the Editor-in-Chief of the National Enquirer. And because that magazine has been sued in the past for libel and lost millions and millions of dollars, it has to be exceedingly careful about the stories it prints (aka: “the people it pays to give them gossip”). Granted, sometimes it runs stories that use language like “it could have looked like this,” or “it might have been something like that.” Language that is, at best, asking  for a conclusion on the part of the reader! But if you read the NE, or at least the weekly headlines in the grocery store checkout line — consistently — over time , after a week, or a month, or a year, or maybe several years — whoop, there it is! All out in the open. Almost verbatim to some past NE headline.

Hmmm. What’s up with that?

Another thing I wanted to do, was stop spending so much time using Google. I still use it for blogging, for YouTube and an occasional Gmail reply, but overall, I switched to DuckDuckGo. Then I also spent some time on Yandex, to see what I could see. I searched for myself, and was instantly regaled with a pirate eBook site giving away a couple of my eBooks for free! Yay! (Hurry over there, by the way, because I have politely asked them to take my books down. They might even agree to do it so your window of opportunity to steal openly from me could soon disappear!!)

Anyway. It really is interesting what you can find out about your life, your community, your country, your world, by taking a look behind whatever it is they want you to look at!

What are you really looking at? Click to find out! (HINT: I LOVE LUCY!!)

Okay! A word to the wise is sufficient. Thanks for visiting, gang!! Have a terrific Monday, wherever it leads you. See ya!

 

New & Improved!

I know, I know — it practically looks the same around here, but for now, I’m keeping my “free” WordPress blog and this was the best I could do, for free.

The banner is a photo of “Parsons Ridge, Ohio” in the fall — a real place, but a fictional name! (It’s here in the hinterlands, about 12 minutes away from where I am currently typing!)

At the “About Me” link above, there’s a drop-down menu for my 3 most popular books. There are other books available, particularly in eBook formats, but I didn’t have time to track down all those links and images, which are all over the world now. (I opted to be lazy and focus on Amazon USA and Smashwords only.)

Unfortunately, this above-mentioned drop-down menu doesn’t seem to work for tablets or smart phones, even though I’ve been assured that the blog has been optimized for mobile viewing…Sorry.

Plus, I can’t get the thumbnail images of the book covers, over at the right, to attach to the appropriate pages where you can read about and/or buy the books! So, don’t click on those little thumbnails unless you enjoy wasting time! (They take you only to larger images of the covers.)

I was going to include a MailChimp sign-up for my monthly newsletter (I don’t have  a monthly newsletter, but eventually will, I suppose), but the free blog only allows me to make it a “pop-up” sign-up, which I find indescribably annoying– and I know you would, too! So the MailChimp sign-up for my non-existent monthly newsletter has been disabled, indefinitely.

All right, gang! I gotta get back to the Cleveland’s Burning script while the coffee is still piping hot. Have a terrific Saturday, whatever you’re doing and wherever you are! Thanks for visiting. See ya!

(Another ditty to help build anticipation for the great Guinness Day! Or, St. Paddy’s Day, that is! See ya!)

So, Whaddaya givin’ up for Lent?

I always give up the same thing: snacks and desserts. (I used to give up alcohol, too, however, I don’t really drink anymore, so it wouldn’t be much to give up.)  But I also add things during Lent. By that, I mean, I always study some new take on the life of Christ that I haven’t studied before.

This year, I’m reading Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan. It is a great companion piece to the digital course I took recently, Jesus and His Jewish Influences, taught by Professor Jodi Magness, PhD., of the University of Pennsylvania.

After that, I’ll be reading Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity, by James Tabor — possibly my most favorite author when it comes to anything about Jesus Christ. He’s an historian — a Professor of Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity at the University of North Carolina Charlotte –not a theologian, so his take on Christianity and/or the Bible is always extremely interesting, thought-provoking, and refreshing.

When I first began studying to become a minister, I was  a fan of Pauline Christianity, but by the time I graduated and was ordained, I wasn’t anymore. In fact, I can barely tolerate anything having to do with Paul the Apostle now.  (In fact, the one-man play I’m writing about Caiaphas — In the Days of the Flesh –and his take on the life & times of Jesus is my humble way of trying to undo the influence of the teachings of Paul in about 64 minutes a night, and twice on Wednesdays & Sundays!) (Only partially kidding, gang…)

Anyway. So, Happy Ash Wednesday.

And no, I hadn’t forgotten about my humble blog! In the last week, I’ve taken two, YES, 2 !!, writing/publishing/marketing webinars, and that’s not counting the time I’ve spent taking an ongoing online  history course on the US Constitution and the continuing online course in Biblical Hebrew,  as well as being up to my eyeballs in the never-ending re-writes of the Untitled Cleveland Drama (once known fondly as Cleveland’s Burning).

All that online stuff, and simply being on the computer stuff,  has made it just about impossible to find a free moment inside my wee bonny brain to update my blog until today!

Sorry I left you hanging re: the table  read in Burbank last week, of my TV script, The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parsons Ridge! It went GREAT!! And the feedback and suggestions I received from the actors was really, really helpful and insightful.

It is so frustrating to still have revisions to do on the Cleveland Drama because now all I want to do is tackle the re-writes of the Tea Cozy Murder Club script.  AAaaaarrrrgh! But onward. I am getting there…

And life’s good! I really love living out here in the hinterlands. So peaceful. So beautiful. So quiet.  So affordable. Everything not only could be worse, but, indeed, has been worse — much, much, much worse — more times than I care to remember.  Each morning, I wake-up and count my blessings that I’ve made it out here to the hinterlands in one piece.

All righty!! You know what Lent really  means, gang? It means that St. Paddy’s Day is just around the corner!! Yay! So I leave you with this tidbit of joyful anticipation of that great day. Thanks for visiting, gang! See ya’ real soon!