Speakeasy

Posted by , in Blog category May 10, 2013

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The best thing about writing a Roaring Twenties novel set in Hollywood and Los Angeles is the research!! I’ve had so much fun delving into flappper fashion, dashing motorcars, stylish bobs, and spiffy swells with million dollar smiles.

 

I recently strolled around Los Angeles and tracked the moves of my characters: trooping through Bunker Hill, riding down Angels Flight, meandering through Grand Central Market, and snooping around Pershing Square where my husband and I accidentally walked onto a movie set and were chased off by a very agitated security guard. Oh well, that’s L.A.

 

And today we’re off again, this time traipsing through the Hollywood Museum, formerly the famous studio of Max Factor. I hope to see plenty of movie paraphernalia and get the lay of the land. I have a crucial scene set at that location so it should be an interesting trip. We’re also visiting the L.A.P.D. Museum to verify some uniform and information details. And no trip would be complete without gawking at Grauman’s Chinese Theater (yes I still call it Grauman’s even though it was purchased by TCL) Anyhoo, we’ll be there stepping into some mighty big concrete shoe prints.

 

I began writing Speakeasy, a romance/murder/mystery for young adults, back in 2007. I put it aside when my daughter became ill, wrote two more novels, and then decided to pick it up again. I’m now in my third or maybe fourth revision. Whew! It’s been a lot of work but hopefully worth it in the end. With the release of the new, re-imagined GATSBY hitting theaters, I hope the time-period will be something readers (not to mention editors) will be eager to find.

 

For my wattpad followers, I will post the first chapter of Speakeasy next week! Finally! As promised. For anyone not familiar with wattpad, I invite you to come over and poke around. There’s lots of trouble to be had 😉 Not as much as being chased off a movie set in Los Angeles but still . . .

 

 

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National Volunteer Week

Posted by , in Blog category April 28, 2013

 

 

April 21-27 was National Volunteer Week.

 

Volunteer Week is always an amazing opportunity to encourage family and friends to give of their time and skills, and to help individuals or whole communities. It’s a wonderful way to  join together, meet new people, and inspire creative ideas to accomplish our goals.

 

Over the years, my family has been fortunate enough to help others. At the close of this years’ Volunteer Week, I thought it would be fun to share a few of our ‘adventures in volunteering’.

 

PNOLA– The Phoenix of New Orleans

 

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PNOLA is an outstanding non-profit organization dedicated to helping Katrina victims in the New Orleans area. They partner with Americorp, The New Orleans Saints, Gardener Realtors, Broad Community Connections, Louisianna Housing Finance Authority, and United Way.

 

My husband, Ed, and I joined our daughter, Sierra, and some pretty cool volunteers from Rancho Santa Margarita Catholic High School to spend Christmas break working on damaged homes in New Orleans. Our dynamic duo leaders were Margaret Dzida and Margie Diorio from the SMCHS Campus Ministry Office.

We stayed in a fabulous old Victorian home in the Garden district and met up every morning at our designated work house.

 

New O house

 

 

 

 

 

 

My crew and I were lucky enough to work with site manager, Kathy Randall.site leader kathy

 

 

 

 

 

Kathy was in charge of rebuilding the home of Betty Longo on Baudin Street. By the time my crew arrived in New Orleans, Betty was the last resident still living in a FEMA trailer. Needless to say, she was eager to have her home restored. Once filled with three feet of water, Betty’s house was painstakingly rebuilt by PNOLA and volunteers like the girls from SMCHS.

 

Nikki on ladder

 

 

 

 

 

 

The girls worked hard every day, some learning new skills and discovering talents they didn’t know they had. Not to mention some funky dance moves. Yes, music was alway blaring on Baudin Street! (like Bourbon Street but without the booze).

 

 

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I was very proud of these girls; they worked methodically, demanded perfection, and always remembered that they were in someone else’s home–all the while having a great time! Check out the lovely art work below.

 

 

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My Crew on steps

 

 

 

 

 

 

The crew and house on Baudin Street.

 

Ed and Sierra were hard at work with another crew.

Their project was to rebuild an abandon home for another

family.

 

sierra

 

 

 

 

sierra and em

 

 

 

 

sierra's crew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, it was not all work and no play.

As exhausted as we were at the end of the day,

we couldn’t help but traipse around town and enjoy some of New Orleans favorite ‘haunts’.

 

Vampire:Ghost Tours

 

 

 

We went on a Vampire and Ghost tour through the French Quarter.

 

 

 

Trolly

 

 

 

 

Took a ride on a trolly.

 

 

new o cemetary

 

 

 

 

Trooped through an above ground cemetery . . .

 

 

zydeco dancing at rock and bowl

 

 

 

 

and danced Zydeco at the Famous Rock N’ Bowl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New O crew

 

 

 

 

The SMCHS CREW OF 2011

 

 

 

 

MORE ADVENTURES IN VOLUNTEERING

 

 

Habitat For Humanity is another wonderful organization that has helped

countless Americans turn houses into homes.

Last year, we were privileged to be a part of their efforts in Hollywood.

My daughter, Danielle, worked alongside my husband and a crew on the Sony Pictures lot. Their job was

to frame up walls that would be delivered to the work house sight.

 

sony pics

dani habitat for humanityhabitat crew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I encourage everyone to volunteer! It’s an awesome way to have fun while doing good, wether you

rebuild a home, deliver food to the elderly, clean roadsides and beaches, read to cancer patients, or collect

much needed goods for the underprivileged. People really do make a difference! No matter your

situation or cause, remember to Rise Up, Rebuild, and Repeat!!

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London Book Fair 2013

Posted by , in Blog category April 15, 2013

April 15-17,  Earls Court, London

 

London B-Fair 2013

This year’s London Book Fair begins today and explores the theme, Making Words Go Further. However, the Digital  Minds Conference that kicked off the Book Fair was held  yesterday and featured Best Selling author, Neil Gaiman.

 

Neil Gaiman is a novelist and screenwriter of  fantasy, horror, science fiction, and dark fantasy. His most notable works are The Graveyard Book, American Gods, Neverwhere, Stardust, and Coraline to name a few. Early in 2001, after finishing American Gods, Neil set out blogging about the every day chores of writing, revising, publishing, and eventually promoting the book. His blogging evolved into a routine of updates and tweets to fans and potential fans, and overall thoughts on being a novelist. He is one of many authors who are directly active with fans and answers questions through email. Why blog? Well, according to Neil, “because writing is, like death, a lonely business.” And blogging is, perhaps the quickest, most efficient way to connect with readers.

 

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This gives Neil, an early pioneer of social media, a unique perspective on the new territory known as the Digital Frontier. As Keynote Speaker at the Digital Minds Conference, Neil’s personal theme was “try everything” which I found inspiring and liberating and quite exciting. As an author whose debut novel will be published as an e-book original by Random House, I feel as though I am hitched to the wagons and set to explore this new frontier. It’s a bit scary but then, most new things are. I encourage new writers to read his full interview at www.publishersweekly.com and to keep up on the ever changing publishing world. What you don’t know can hurt you and what you learn can help you understand the changes in e-contracts and the power of social media as your greatest promotional tool.

 

 

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