Sunday, September 25, 2011

Strike the stage: last Jesu show success. Thank you Waxhaw!

Museum of the Waxhaw
The final showing of "Jesu of Fondue" was this afternoon. Once again, such a great job by such a talented cast. My hat's off to Waxhaw----what a wonderful town, what a wonderful welcome, and what wonderful talent.

The folks who made it possible---the cast of Jesu of Fondue with Judy (front right) who is the artistic director (and also a playwright herself)

Of course, unphotogenic me had to get in on the action. Pay no attention to the geek on the far left....

It's hard to describe the feeling you get as a playwright to hear your work read aloud and with such skill. I was floored (though not surprised) to realize that two fo these folks have appeared in national commercials and national touring companies.

Our wonderful stage manager with
"Martha" (also known as Catherine,
the voice behind the Harris Teeter Vic CARD!!!
These are the folks who played Hope,
the runaway, and Roger, the reporter.

And no, I am not pregnant in any of these pictures. I really have been doing ab crunches. Honest.
The cast also witnessed me taking the first bite out of a fried pickle. Oh Waxhaw, how you opened up my world.  I want to later list the name of the cast members with their bio on their achievements, because if any of my followers (or non-followers) are in the Charlotte area, you really should check out the theatre venues to catch these folks in a show. I'll post their cast bios later on....
....but for now, it was a great adventure, and a whirlwind trip, and my Ambien seems to be finally kicking ...until the curtain comes up next time.

Jesu Performance: Blogging from Waxhaw, NC

The Storefront Theatre in Waxhaw, NC is performing my play, "Jesu of Fondue" as a part of their reader's theatre.  For those of you not familiar with it, "Jesu" is about a housewife who sees the face of Jesus in a billboard advertisement for a fondue restaurant, and the whole town becomes a media circus. It's a comedy that tackles issues of faith and family.

Last night---first performance---was AMAZING. It played to a packed house (not quite sold out---it is a small and intimate theatre which is great for shows). The talent of the folks here just absolutely floored me. The woman who played Martha is a NATIONALLY recognized voice talent. I'm sure you've heard her. She's the : "Use your VIC card at Harris Teeter" voice. The guy who read for Jed also played Jacob/Potiphar in the NATIONAL touring company of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

Downtown Waxhaw
 But first, an aside about Waxhaw. I knew nothing aobut this small town (40 minutes east of Charlotte, right on the board of SC). I wasn't sure what to expect. WOW. This is the birthplace of the 7th US President, Andrew Jackson (for my international peeps, he's on the 20 dollar bill) and there's a homestead and museum here where the theatre is. There's also an outdoor drama done here. It's kind of like a smaller version of the Festival Park / Lost Colony thing.

The town of Waxhaw is incredibly cute. A vibrant downtown (see photos). Usually, when a play / booksigning/ reading of mine takes place, I try to buy a small, inexpensive piece of jewelry, preferably done by local artists. There was a gorgeous local beading jewelry store, and I not only got myself some stuff (Dawnster loves the bling) but bought about 6 Christmas presents for folks as well. I like the beading stuff because I have an allergic reaction to metals on my neck. Any kind---cheap or real deal.

Anyway, there was such GREAT feedback from the audience, and I was able to basically sit back and enjoy the show. I was in the audience, but not introduced. until after the show. It's kind of awkward, as you can imagine, to be sitting next to the playwrigthtI confess, one of the things that touched me most, was after the show and the actors took a bow, a few folks started calling "author!" The director smiled and said the playwright was in the house. Someone called "where's the playwright?" Then I was introduced and took a bow.
I gave away two copies of my books as a part of a drawing they have for audience members---it's good advertising / publicity, and I like to give a :) to folks who support the arts.

I'm staying at a cast member's house ----which is an incredible 5,000 square foot house---and I confess, I feel like the Queen of Sheba. What an incredibly warm welcome from such talented folks.

From the Museum of the Waxhaws, where
the Storefront Theatre is located.

Any of you near the area should check out Waxhaw. In addition to all the Andrew Jackson museum stuff, there is also a museum for Wycliffe Bible translators. Waxhaw is where one of their airports / plane operations are for pilots who fly copies of the Bible into jungles, etc.

I'll try to post a few pics from the play and maybe even film a scence if I can do it without being too distracting.

Friday, September 23, 2011

My play will be presented this weekend

I'm very excited about this... play, Jesu of Fondue, will be presented this weekend in a concert play reading format by the Storefront Theatre in Waxhaw, NC (outside of Charlotte.)

Information on the theatre can be found here:

I've been swamped as of late trying to get book #3 out and ready, but I'll post some excerpts and video from the event.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Final Aussie Post (on SNAKES) -- AND WINNERS!!!!

First, I want to give a big THANK YOU to Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke for providing some of the most entertaining posts I've seen. I'm prodding him to put all these together in a Bill Bryson-esque publication.

Speaking of publications, Michael will have a poetry chapbook coming out soon from a US publisher in Texas. I'll post the link to the book when they are available.

Before we go to this one last post from "Aussie August" (that is now obviously Aussie September)--I wanted to announce the winners of our two prizes from the drawing.

A copy of Doris Betts' "Souls Raised from the Dead" goes to..... NEVYN!!!!! Nevyn, you can e-mail me at and give me your snail mail addy and that book is in the mail to go halfway across the world.

Michael has offered another prize --some stuff from the ever-cool Writer's in Townsville (Australia). And that winner is .......JACK COLTON!!!!!!
Who is Jack Colton? (other than a character from Romancing the Stone) . He's someone whose Facebook / e-mail account was hacked and because of employer / privacy, etc. cannot use his "real" name. However, I will get him in touch with Michael, and they'll work it out.

(Seriously, Jack Colton is a real person. I promise.)

Now, the final, and perhaps my favorite, Aussie post....

The Female of the Species is More Deadly than the Male

Americans have guns. They have nukes, too, or at least their military does, but their venerable Constitution, penned by their venerable founding fathers, means that Americans have guns. And they shoot each other too often.

A scary place? Perhaps, if you’re in a swamp being hunted by a serial killer. But I pretty much guarantee that the swamp itself is not as scary as the beach promenade here in Townsville.
Last Wednesday, I was out walking with a friend, and she suddenly yelled.

“Watch out! There’s a snake!” I started, jumped backwards, in fear of my life. And for very good reason.

Forget the Indian king cobra, forget the American rattlesnake. Did you know that Australia, dear old Down Under, home of the koala and the kangaroo, is also home to the eleven most venomous species of snakes on the planet? And, may Our Good Lord strike me down and confiscate my jelly beans, I have been bitten by one of those snakes, and here I am to recount the tale.

I was a kid of about nine. My family lived in the country in the southern, colder state of Victoria, but, like one of those eerie, scary movies, that are made to make girls cling close and trembling to their dates, “there is no escape” from the omnipresent threat of the snakes.

Dad, mum, brother and sister and I were black berrying – blackberry picking – in what the Brits might call a wood. (By the way, the Brits, with their lone paltry adder, are rated by Aussies as nature effeminates. And as for the Irish, since Saint Patrick put the cleaners through the place, they’ve been pathetic spectators to this sort of stuff.)

I had a large, yellow plastic bucket, which was filling up with the sweet-tasting berries. My little hands were stained purple, from the juice. Then, suddenly, unexpectedly, I felt a something bite my right ankle. And, as I quickly looked down, a snake slithered back into the dense, thorny undergrowth of the blackberry bushes.

“Snake! Snake! I’ve been bit! I’ve been bit!” I yelled.

Instantly, dad was by my side. “Show me.” I rolled down my sock, and yes, the evidence was indubitable. Two telltale puncture marks, just above my ankle bone.

“Right everyone, into the car. We’ve got to get Michael to hospital,” said dad, bundling us all up into our sardine tin white Cortina. Already, I was sweating, shaking, and having visions of Jesus telling me off in person for playing hooky from Sunday School.

Our little car was rattling down the road at the rate of knots. We got to the town limits, when we heard a siren.

Now it is at this point in the story that I must protect myself against a possible libel suit. The person I am about to refer to may still be, in fact he probably is, still alive, so I’ll call him, for safety’s sake, “Nathaniel Dungwit”.
Nathaniel, or “Big Nate” Dungwit was a local hero. With dark, moustachioed movie star good looks, it was a moot point whether his main claim to fame in our small town was his exploits each weekend on the field for our town’s mildly successful Australian football team, or that he was our local police constable.

Yes, we heard a siren. Nate Dungwit overtook us, and motioned for dad to pull over.

“Nate, I’m so glad to see you,” said dad, “my eldest son’s been bitten. Would you mind giving us a high speed escort to the hospital?”
Nate, seemingly oblivious, was pulling out something from his back pocket.

“We really must hurry, constable Dungwit,” added mum.

Nate began writing on his pad.

“I’m issuing you with a speeding infringement,” he finally said, as he put his biro back in its holster.

Dad’s face went the colour of a sink of water that had been used to wash a load of greasy dishes, and then left to go cold overnight.

“Look at the puncture marks, constable,” he said, through gritted teeth, pulling down my right sock.

“No matter,” said Dungwit, with the casual, confident authority of one who knows the feeling of power, and how to use it, “you were speeding. Go home. See how he is by tonight. And if I catch you speeding again, I’ll throw the book at you.”

From that day, to the Saturday afternoon he played his last game, there was one player on our local footy team that our family booed every time he got near the ball. More to the point, though, on that snakebite day I was basically at death’s door.

Well, not quite. I was mega-ill, though. We did go home, and I curled up on the sofa, covered by umpteen blankets, teeth chattering, sweat pouring off my fevered brow. No joke. May Our Good Lord dematerialise my confiscated jelly beans.
In the end, after about two days, my fever subsided, and I recovered. What saved me from prematurely having Moses and Elijah teach me at ethereal Sunday School was that I was bitten through thick socks, and the puncture marks weren’t deep, evidencing this. A close call, though...

And yes, here in Australia we have quite a number of species of venomous spider as well, the redback and the funnelweb being the most notorious.

What is even more notorious, though, to Aussies of my generation, is the truly execrable song “Redback on the Toilet Seat”, by country music singer Slim Newton, which came out in 1972 and did well on the pop singles charts.

Rumour has it that the lead singer of the 1980s glam, hair metal band Poison heard the song on the radio, late at night, when he was a kid, and it so frightened him he resolved to spend his life cultivating his coiffure and easing into glittery, spandex pants, so as not to be mistaken for redback spider bait.

And yes, the female redback of the species is more deadly than the male, but that’s another story...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Canberra: Australia's National Capital--guest post by poet Michael Fitzgerald Clark

Historically, even in the 1800s when Australia was a set of British colonies, before Australia as a country came into being in 1901, the peoples of Melbourne and Sydney were fierce rivals. (That rivalry continues to this day; I’m not sure what the US equivalent is, New York and LA perhaps? But all that is another story.)

So, in the late 1800s, when it came to deciding whether Melbourne or Sydney would be the capital of the new Federation, of course they couldn’t agree. The colonial politicians ummed, and arred, and it got quite vitriolic.

And so, after much to-ing and fro-ing, in 1908 (yes, it took the politicians that long to get their act into gear) Canberra was established as the compromise choice.

No-one was happy, really. And to this day, no-one outside Canberra really is. Canberra tries to market itself as the “bush capital”, and is home to the Federal Parliament and many national institutions such as the National Library, but to the vast majority of Aussies living elsewhere, it is known only for its politically generated hot air, and sneered at accordingly.

I’m sure that sneerability factor extends to visiting political delegations from overseas, as Canberra is the only national capital in the world, other than an obscure African country that is so obscure that no-one knows which one it is, that doesn’t have an international airport.

And yes, may Our Good Lord strike me down if this is not true, kangaroos can often be seen hopping about the streets of the inner suburbs early in the morning.

Canberra has an incredible amount to offer as a place to visit. As someone who has lived there for most of my adult life, I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone reading this from outside Australia, and to those many Aussies who ill-advisedly malign it on the basis of stereotypical nonsense.

But this post is not about me being an apologist for Australian Capital Tourism, the local government tourist body. Let me instead give advice on the best pick-up spot in the city.

Apparently, I have this on good authority – I’d never do this myself, of course – the best pick-up spot in town was (I left Canberra in July 2009, so this info is not quite current) not a nightclub, it was a supermarket. Specifically, the Coles Supermarket in the ritzy suburb of Manuka.

If you are on the trawl, apparently you go to this Supermarket, and linger in the fresh produce section. You then suggestively fondle the avocados and cucumbers, or peaches and plums, depending on your gender. Don’t you just feel your arousal level rising, even in cyberspace?!

I can’t end this post without some reference to politics, it is so intrinsic to what happens in the city. Up to 1989, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) – the US equivalent is the District of Columbia, I think – was governed by the Federal Government, but some Canberrans agitated for self governance, and in 1989 the first ACT Legislative Assembly election was held.

Dry as dust, you’re thinking. Well, hang on just one sec. As you would expect, many political parties contested the election. And among them were the “Party! Party! Party!” party, the “Surprise Party” party, the “Sun-Ripened Warm Tomato” party, the “Sleepers Wake” party, the “Home Rule OK” party, and, of course, the “No Self Government Party” party.

I kid you not. The election campaign was a hoot. Aspiring politicians in pyjamas and tomato costumes. It could only happen in Canberra...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

99-cent book sale

*** SEPTEMBER 2 – 5 ONLY ***
The first ever INDIE BOOK BLOWOUT – To celebrate this exciting event, I’ve reduced the price on my book to only 99¢!

To score dozens of FANTASTIC indie books for only 99¢, visit While you’re there, register to win a brand new Kindle & up to $100 in Gift Cards (entry form on the site).

*** Also- if you're looking for a good read, may I humbly suggest a book by my writing group partner Billie Hinton---"The Meaning of Isolated Objects" (dang, I love that title!)

Aussie August will Continue into September....(thanks to Irene)

Aussie August continues into September ---

I have two more wonderful posts from Australian poet Michael Fitzgerald Clark---publication was delayed due to a power outage and my general wigging out during Hurricane Irene (and I’m fine and my place is fine, praise the Lord. I’m about 2 hours from the coast near the state capital, and we still get a decent punch when something hits the Outer Banks).

This means two things (obviously)

1--- Drawing for winners will be pushed back to Sept. 12 (see previous Aussie August posts for how to enter and win, etc.)

2--- You have a few more chances to win—all you have to do is leave a comment.

Michael’s next posts will be about the capital city of Canberra and ---perhaps one of my favorite of his posts---one about his close encounter with a deadly snake (which, in Australia, is evidently ALL snakes)