Last night, I took my nine-year-old daughter to see a local production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. We saw the live-action movie a couple weeks ago, which I enjoyed, but I was a little disappointed that they didn't include more songs from the stage show. So when this opportunity arose to see it on stage, I knew we'd have to go.
I'm not going to critique the production. It was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed it immensely. Yes, there were some things I'd do differently, but overall, it was lovely. The best part was watching the delight on my little girl's face and hearing her giggling at the appropriate moments. It made me realize (again) why I enjoy creating stage magic, whether through performance or backstage.
There was an element, though, that raised a bit of concern, but it allowed me to teach my little girl a valuable lesson. Both Gaston and the Beast manhandled Belle. And at one point, Gaston stole a rather drawn-out kiss from her. I'm not usually one to look for those type of things, but Belle is one of the more liberated Disney characters, and it kind of stood out to me.
I used these examples to tell my little girl that no man (or woman for that matter) should ever treat her in that manner. That is abuse, and it's not to be tolerated. Whether it's pulling or shoving or slapping or even getting in her face to yell, that's not okay. I told her her to walk away and tell someone. And to never, ever feel like it was her fault, because the abuser is the one with the problem. And oh, how I hope to God that she never has to face a situation like that.
We also talked about stolen kisses. I've had more than one taken from me. And that's not okay, either. The man God has intended for her will ask her permission before he kisses her. He will respect her and treat her kindly. Lovingly. Otherwise, he'll have to face me. And Mama Bear will not play nice.
I'm not sure why this struck me as it did, but I felt it was super important to share these thoughts with my precious girl. I'm grateful for a beautiful night with her where we could enjoy a magical performance and a late dinner...and meaningful conversation. A perfect night in my book.
Last night, I took my kids to see a show in a theater I hadn't been in for a very long time. As we sat there, the memories came back. It was such a neat parenting moment.
When I was about the age of my youngest child, my mom took me to see a ballet production of Cinderella there. I don't remember much other than pretty costumes and dancers holding numbers forming the clock, but that's enough for me.
Then, the summer before my seventh grade year, I auditioned to be in a production of The Wizard of Oz put on by the Missoula Children's Theatre. It was like a day camp where we rehearsed for a full week, then put on the show. I wasn't cast. Devastating! My younger brother got to play a winged monkey. (They called them Winkies...Oz fans will know how wrong that was!) Somehow, I was given the opportunity to work backstage. My assignment was pulling the curtain. This began my love affair with stage crew work!
In high school, we had to participate in a mentorship program. I connected with some people at the performing arts center and became a sort of intern with the lighting crew. I went up in a cherry picker (wouldn't do that today...too afraid of heights!) and helped focus lights. I learned all about fresnels, lekos, and parcans (this was WAY before Intellibeams and other technology came into play). It was a fun way to learn.
And finally, I was cast in a show there. Just after I graduated high school, I played Lucinda (one of Cinderella's wicked stepsisters) in Into the Woods. I even was paid for my performance. My first professional acting gig! It was fabulous!
I'm sure I've been in that theater since then, but I don't remember. It was so neat to go back last night and enjoy a show there with my children. And to whisper the stories...the memories. And as I pass on the torch--my love of theatre--to them, I can envision a future when they will do the same with their children. The circle of life. It moves us all.
(Extra points if you can name the musical that title is from and/or composer who wrote it!)
If you're in Colorado Springs, you simply MUST come see this show...
It's a wonderful family production based on the first few stories in the Biblical book of Genesis. Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and the ark. The cast is amazingly talented! The overall design will whisk you away to a time long ago. The beautiful songs and moments between the characters will tug on your heartstrings.
I'm playing Noah's wife (Mama). She is spunky and fun, while also helping Noah make wise decisions. Her favorite animal is the anteater! Who knew, right?
Come see the show! We'd love to entertain you! And be sure to say hi afterward!
Long ago, when I got married, I quit my career, left my family of origin, moved across country, and took on my role as a pastor's wife. Shortly after that, I learned I was going to be a mom. I was a mess. (My poor husband had to deal with nightly emotional breakdowns.) Talk about an identity crisis.
I settled into the mom thing pretty quickly. Sure, it was new and confusing at times, but it quickly became who I was. Without a job to balance out the equation, I started looking for other things to do. That's when I picked up writing.
For the longest time, I couldn't call myself writer, much less an author. I was just doing it to keep myself grounded and sane. But once I had a couple novels under my belt, I realized I needed to face facts and call myself a writer. An author.
I'm now in the same boat with singing. My background is in theatre. I always thought I was the backstage type, but I'm coming to realize I've spent more years onstage than off. I did a few performance pieces for friends in college while I was getting my degree in stage management. Several years ago, I was quite active with a small town community performance troupe. And more recently, I've auditioned for and was cast in several productions in our city. Funny how life works out, isn't it?
What's brought this about is a battle with a never-ending cold. As I've been rehearsing for my latest show (which is going to be AH-mazing!!), I've been having to clear my throat a lot. In a performance just the other day, I forced myself to sing through it, but I didn't feel it was my strongest work. And I've started to grow concerned. It's never really occurred to me that I need to take care of my voice. I sang for years without paying the slightest bit of attention. In the face of this struggle, however, I've come to the conclusion that, yes, I AM a singer, and yes, I need to take care of the talent God's given me. I'm now taking action to better care for my voice.
What are you reluctant to accept about yourself? What's holding you back?
Well, it's been an exciting year so far! And there's more on the horizon, so I thought I'd give you a bit of an update.
I participated in COSine in January. This is a great conference in Colorado Springs that focuses on the literary side of sci-fi. Great group of people. I sold and signed a few books and spoke on a panel.
I will be at GalaxyFest at the end of the month and Mountain of Authors in April. Both these events are in Colorado Springs. So if you're around, come say hi!
I'm also performing with a great theatre group called Sunrise Players. We're in rehearsals for a beautiful musical titled Children of Eden. (If you're not familiar with it, you should be!) We just finished a fun Valentine's dinner theatre event, too--set at a southwestern dude ranch! Can you believe sweet li'l ol' me played the villain? Yeah, you better watch out! It's the quiet ones you have to keep an eye on...
Back to the books, I'm hoping to have something new out by the Mountain of Authors event. Not sure what yet, but I'm leaning toward Reconciled. I need to finish out that story. And interestingly, a small part of it is inspired by Children of Eden. So perhaps by immersing myself fully in my character will motivate me to get crackin'!
Well, my friends, the time has come. With the new year comes new discipline. Or at least the hope of such. And with that in mind, I'm returning to Facebook Fridays. That means I won't be checking Facebook until Friday. I probably won't be doing much scrolling, liking, or reacting. It's nothing personal, but I'm finding I need to be more mindful of my time and pour that energy into things that really matter.
So if you want to get in touch with me, feel free to email...or even send me a message on Facebook. I have easy access to Messenger, so that will get to me quickly.
Social media isn't the only realm I'm am hoping to discipline. I have other aspects of my life that I'm working on as well. Perhaps I'll be able to share more as I find those victories. 2017 will be a life-changing year, and I'm very excited about what lies ahead!
Happy New Year to all!
I've been mulling over what to do with this blog. It's either time to delete it...or time to use it. So I'm getting back in the groove of regular blogging. If I miss a day here or there, I'm not going to punish myself. (I have very few dedicated readers, anyway! And I'm SO glad you're here!!)
I've been trying to finish Book 3 (Reconciled). It's just not happening. I still don't know why, but I know someday I will get to it. Those floodgates will open up, and the words will come.
But in the meantime, I've been entrusted with yet another story. This one is super cool. Where The Crown's Call is my Star Wars-esque series, Star Sailors is my Star Trek-esque series. And while it's futuristic, it also hearkens back to my favorite time period--the Victorian era. Yeah, I know how weird that sounds, but once I get it written, it will make sense. Right now, I have five books planned for the series. It also provides the opportunity for future and spin-off stories--short or otherwise.
And I haven't given up entirely on The Crown's Call. I am working diligently to finish those as time allows. And the many other non-sci-fi stories I have spinning in my head.
May 2017 be our year, folks!
Um...what are you waiting for? Get your copy of Outlaw so that you know who I'm talking about here! I've lived with these characters for a very long time, and I'm excited that their story is finally out there!
You need to know about my bad guy, Jasen Carver. Inspired by a real-life someone I once used to know (yes, what they say about not making authors angry is true!), Jasen is a constant thorn in the flesh. While he is the exact opposite of Britt, they started out very similar. Jasen just chose a different, less honorable path.
The Not-So-Bad Guy is probably the most noble character of all, despite a few minor character flaws. Zak Sinclaire is a Progressive Legacy starship captain you'll meet later in the story. He, too, makes an appearance in Asylum. He believes in what the Legacy could be, but also sees it for what it is. He sticks to his principles, regardless of what the majority says.
As fun as the main characters are to play with, the secondary characters provide depth and meaning to the plot. I love how Jasen crept into the different scenes, even when I originally intended for him to go away after the first few. And Zak added an intriguing dimension to both Laney's and Britt's character development.
So...enough about these guys. Go read their story!
When I first came up with the title Outlaw, I meant for that description to encompass all three main characters. But the more I think about it, the more it really only applies to Britt.
Britt Lockhart is the heart of this story. Some people may think I got the name from the egocentric Gilderoy Lockhart of Harry Potter fame, but that's not the case. I borrowed the last name from the handsome and perhaps lesser-known Robber Bridegroom (Eudora Welty) Jamie Lockhart. (We did the musical in college and loved Jamie's every heart-stealing moment!) There's a little of Jamie's character in Britt.
Born to a wealthy Elite family, Britt has gone along with the demands and expectations his parents placed on him, but he leads a secret life. He's become a master Ruli player (think poker on a different level) and can hustle the best of them. Quite a reputation follows him, but he ignores it. He can't be bothered with what other people think of him, although he would like to be thought of as honorable.
And when the opportunity presents itself for him to do something noble, he jumps on it. Which is how he meets Laney and Cole.
He has a strong sense of what is right and sees the injustices of the Progressive Legacy. Because of that, he launches an all-out war against them in his own, quiet way. He's a dreamer and a schemer, sometimes to a fault. When situations arise, he is quick to believe he can handle it himself. He learns to lean on others throughout the story.
If you couldn't tell, Britt is one of my favorite and most complex characters. I envisioned Peter Krause (from his Lost Room days) when describing him. I also have plans to explore a different angle with him in an upcoming Crown's Call tale.
And now, you can meet Britt for yourself. Outlaw is available on Amazon, both as an e-book and in paperback. (Click on the version you'd want to go to the Amazon page). And let me know what you think! Writing a review is a great way to support an author!
Outlaw is Laney's story. She's the character with the most to lose and the one that experiences a full transformation. Throughout the story, she's learning to stand on her own two feet, despite the bumps and bruises along the way.
Truth be told, there's probably a lot of me in her. She has a feisty, snarky streak, but she's uncertain of herself. Even when she finds ways to prove her capabilities, whispers of doubt extinguish her pride. She struggles with her own self-worth. But she's determined, competent, clever, and tougher than she realizes.
Her full name is Leland Rose, but she's gone by Laney since she was a kid. She has unruly brown curls and ordinary brown eyes. Her brother Cole is three years older and has taken care of her as long as she can remember. She has no idea where she came from or who her parents were.
As the story progresses, Laney poses as Lady Stasia Harrington. She's the exact opposite of Laney in every way.
I like to "cast" my characters so that I have a clear description in my mind. Laney's model was actress Alison Lohman as a brunette (Flicka). Because I have the two facets of the same person, I wanted to find someone who pulled off a different look, so Stasia is the blonde version of Alison Lohman (Big Fish).
As with most main characters, Laney goes through a lot in this book. She slowly learns to rely on herself and discovers she has what it takes to make things right. I really love her character arc and where she ends up.
Get your copy of Outlaw on Tuesday and read more of Laney's story! I'll post links as soon as it's available!
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3