Tag Archives: writing

Life around here for the next couple months!

A brief mid-afternoon conference call with the production company in Los Angeles yesterday revealed that more re-writes than I thought are needed on the Untitled Cleveland Drama (once fondly known as Cleveland’s Burning).

This is actually good news, gang. The brief phone chat showed me just how high they are aiming with this TV pilot (and eventual series). A lot is riding on this single opening episode.  They nonchalantly said, “Just take one more pass at it and then we’ll be ready.” (Their confidence in me is staggering.)

The truly great thing about this is that their suggestions are targeted and specific, as to the acts as well as the characters, so half my job is actually done. I know I can make the changes they need and the whole thing is really, really exciting…

However…

Loyal readers of this lofty blog will undoubtedly note that I also need to complete the rewrites on my theatrical version of Tell My Bones: The Helen LaFrance Story by the end of the summer, because this is when Sandra Caldwell (the actress I write with/for in NYC) will be handing out the script, along with the other play we collaborated on, The Guide to Being Fabulous, to potential directors, producers, casting agents, etc.

To quote Sandra’s text to me: “It’s about to be off the chain!” (followed by various and sundry far-flung emojis.) Off the chain, indeed.

Yes, life is exceptionally good right now, gang, but the coming summer months, here in the Hinterlands, are going to be chock-full of coffee (!!), writing, juggling my writing hours and general work, and then, hopefully, a few moments spent staring out at the evening, as the fireflies give way to the stars (with or without the occasional pint of British ale!).

Okay, gang. I hope things are going just as splendidly wherever you are and with whatever projects you’re working on! I’m off to the kitchen for another cup of coffee now, even as I type!

Thanks for visiting, and I leave you with this little ditty to keep your spirits high and your blood pumping!! (PS: I love playing this right when I get out of bed in the morning, singing and clapping along; it makes my cats zoom around the house like crazy! Too funny!) All righty, see ya!

Taking Time Out from My Busy Day to Write!

Ah, yes, this is me in my latest selfie! I won’t even try to explain how I managed to take this picture of myself without appearing to be holding my phone in any way…

Anyway!

Happy, happy Tuesday, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing!!

Work on my one-act play version of Tell My Bones, the play I’m writing about the Kentucky-based  painter Helen LaFrance for the NYC-based actress, Sandra Caldwell, continues down its inspiring and happy path!

So, of course, pretty much the very moment I knew I had this 2-month deadline in which to write & complete the play, I finally got the feedback from the production company in Los Angeles regarding my revisions to my TV Pilot/series proposal (once called Cleveland’s Burning, now called the more memorable and illustrative, Untitled Cleveland Drama).

The feedback was truly terrific, gang! I was really just so thrilled. I still need to tweak the ending a bit, to make it more explosive, dramatic, etc. Nothing that involves too much labor — however, I do have to suddenly stop in midstream and switch gears completely. But that is A-Okay with me. I simply couldn’t be happier right now.

On another great note, one of my former writing students contacted me yesterday to tell me that a short-short story of his was selected for an upcoming (and first) short story collection for the James Patterson Masterclass! Wow! I am so crazy-happy for him.

It is so gratifying for me to see a former student stick with it. So many would-be writers who have plenty of skill and talent get bogged down in jobs, family, paying bills, rejection letters, etc., etc. Especially when they’re not living in key publishing/media cities like NYC, LA,  or San Francisco.  So I am just pleased as punch by his good news.

All righty, gang! The trees, the sky, the birds, the endless green fields, the train whistles early in the morning, the fireflies and the stars at night, and the occasional pints of British ale out on the back patio here in the Hinterlands continue to delight me! Things are going so good, gang. Hope all is well in your corner of the world.

I leave you with something I sing all the time now. Hope it inspires you to make the most of everything (and I mean everything!).  Sing it loud and sing it proud! Thanks for visiting, gang! See ya!

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!!)

 

 

 

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!

 

A complete success

As loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall, not only is today St. Paddy’s Day, it’s also the birthday of all 8 of the feral cats who allow me to live with them. The “kittens” are 4 today, and the 3 parents are 5.

This morning they all got toys and a special breakfast. The toys were a huge hit and — judging by the 8 little faces buried in their food bowls until the bowls were empty — so was the breakfast!

Here’s the living room floor when playtime had subsided:

Daddycakes and Huckleberry after the birthday madness had subsided.

Okay. Cannot tarry here today. The re-writes on the Cleveland’s Burning script are complete, however, the show bible is requiring a lot more revisions than I had anticipated, so I gotta scoot.

Oh, and I’m not sure if this is an official announcement yet or not, but SomethingDark, out of Bristol, England, will be publishing my memoirs. We are getting closer and closer to finalizing that, so that is inching ever upward onto my plate. It’s exciting. I’ll keep you posted.

All righty, gang. Have a great St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! Thanks for visiting. See ya.

 

Step aside, ma’am!

They said it couldn’t be done!! But, YES, I have finally completed the revisions on Cleveland’s Burning.

That awesome editor in NYC, Iris N. Schwartz, will edit it a final time tomorrow so that I can finally send it back to L.A.

And now I have to step aside and stop tinkering and focus on something/anything else because now when I read over the re-writes that I was happy with only moments ago, my knee-jerk reaction is to think to myself: This isn’t any good. This part here should change. And this part here. And what was I thinking, saying that part over there. I should start over…

That’s when the “Take a Break from Writing” police step in and say, “It’s almost St. Paddy’s Day, lassie. Stop now and have a nice cold one”:

Guinness!!

So I think I will!!

(PS: Ireland Forever!)

See ya!