Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday's Odds and Ends

First I want to mention that today is the last day of the big sale from the BackList Books authors. 25% off already low-priced e-books from over 40 authors in a wide variety of genres. My book, One Small Victory, is one of the books offered. These books were all originally published by traditional publishers and the rights reverted back to the authors. Here is a LINK to the sale page.

Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art? The eternal question. I started wondering about that the other day when reading the news, and I just don't know. Consider this:

From Fiction: A line from Father Flip in the play "The Altos, Like the Sopranos only Lower" : "I was lost, but found my way behind bars."

From Real Life: A pastor of a small church in Dallas after being arrested for breaking into a woman's house, defending her checkered past: "I've turned by life around. Since 1988, I have walked the straight and narrow path."

Hmmmmmm? I doubt the pastor ever read The Altos script or saw the show, but it is a scary coincidence that the words are so close.

I read this recently in The Dallas Morning News. "Because Dallas city processes for removing graffiti is so lengthy, the city is contracting with a lawyer who has been painting over the graffiti for several years, even though what he is doing is against the law.

So, instead of streamlining the process so city workers could do the work, the city would rather pay more money to a contractor? But, hey, why not change the law so people in the community could paint over the graffiti for free and not be breaking the law?

Oh, but that would be too simple of a solution for a bureaucracy.

And finally, Happy New Year.   Click on the link for a holiday wish from me to you.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Too Many Laws

In a recent column in The Dallas Morning News, Philip Howard put forth a unique idea, have federal and state laws expire after ten or fifteen years. He proposed that laws be repealed so they could be revisited instead of piling up like "sediment in a harbor."

Just think of how streamlined some aspects of government could be if laws determining how agencies are administrated were culled. IRS, anyone? That agency is so top-heavy with laws I wonder how it can even stand anymore.

Howard wrote, "Our political class assumes that, after a law is formed in the crucible of democracy, it should be honored as if it is one of the Ten Commandments, except it is more like one of 10 million."

Ten million laws. Whew. Who can even keep track of so many? Are some so obscure they haven't been read in decades? Where are they all stored?  Do new laws contradict old laws? Do we even know?

I like Howard's idea. He believes that "A healthy democracy must make fresh choices." Society changes and evolves, it doesn't remain in one place forever, but our laws do. Sometimes it is amusing to look at old laws that are still on the books in some states. We laugh at a law that prohibits spitting on the sidewalk, but nobody says, "Gee, maybe we don't need that law anymore."

And I'm guessing that at least half of those 10 million laws that govern us are as antiquated as that one.

The title of Howard's op-ed piece was "One nation under too many laws", and I agree. How about you?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sale on E-Books

There is a terrific sale on the Backlist E-Books site on a wide variety of books from romance to mystery. The sale starts today, Dec 26th and runs  through Dec 31st.

The  books offered were once out in either hardback or paperback by traditional publishers, including my One Small Victory, and the authors retained the electronic rights to the stories. 

If you received a Kindle, Nook, or i-Pad for Christmas, this is a perfect time to load up on a few books. All 84 titles are offered at 25% off, so there are some good deals to be had over the next few days.

Here is a link to the Backlist E-Books site with all the information and coupon codes to get the 25% discount as you check out.

Happy shopping.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Little Holiday Fun

Tis the day before Christmas and all is not done,
Things on the “to do” list number a million and one.
There are cookies to cut while the oven is hot,
And a gift for Aunt Mildred. Egad! I forgot.

There are presents to measure, to balance and wrap,
If the stacks are not even the kids will know in a snap.
The turkey is snug in the freezer so cold,
Will anyone notice if I put dinner on hold?

Tis the day to test stamina, courage, and brawn,
The survivors are heroes at next morning’s dawn.
Just when I thought I was running out of time
A stranger appeared with a smile so sublime.

He was dressed all in silver from his head to his toe.
And I blinked my eyes twice to see if he would go.
He patted my shoulder and gave me a latte,
“Your’re almost there,” he said. “The rest will be easy.

“Don’t worry, don’t fret, don’t get in a frazzle,
Together we’ll do it with narry a hassle.
I’ll hang the tinsel and check all the lights,
You bathe the children and kiss them goodnight.”

The kids were all tucked in their beds nice and warm.
(A threat to their presents always works like a charm.)
I’d finally decided, of course. It’s a dream.
That’s a mirage on my sofa eating toffee ice cream.

I was amazed at the picture that greeted my eyes,
My living room looked like Currier and Ives.
The stockings were stuffed, and so was the bird,
What magic he used was beyond any word.

He smacked his lips, gave a sly little wink,
“It’s time I was off to help other, I think.”
He twirled around once, then three time and more,
And in a twinkling was headed out my front door.

There’s no doubt about it; it was love at first sight,
For that stranger who saved me on Christmas Eve night.
No matter his name, he was really such a dear.
I wonder, will he return again in another year?

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, Good Cheer!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Where I am today....

I'm over at the All Day, All Night blog written by a group of us all named Maryann - with various spellings of course. The title of the blog comes from the old song, "All day, all night, Maryann. Down by the seashore sipping sand....." Most of the authors there are romance writers, but they allowed me to be part of the group because I do have one romance novel, even though my main genre is mystery.

Today is my day to post, so I put up one about Christmas lists my kids did one year. Hop on over if you have a minute. That might bring back some memories of your own....


Monday, December 20, 2010

Book Review- One Small Victory

I just received this wonderful review for my book and wanted to share it.

"One Small Victory will draw you into one mother’s desire to fight back and make a difference. With guts and determination, Jenny heads into dangerous drug trafficking territory. Though she puts herself into a situation that gets her in way over her head, I still had to admire her courage. The whole situation could have heaped a lot more grief on top of her family, yet she still went ahead with it.
With heart and soul and plenty of suspense, One Small Victory careens toward an outcome that could end in disaster—or it could result in one small victory against the war on drugs. Nothing is certain, and you won’t breathe easy until the story’s conclusion.
One Small Victory is a rare jewel among e-book reads, so I suggest that you download it now—right this minute. Go, go, go!" Margaret Marr for Nights and
That is just part of her review. If you would like to read the whole thing, click HERE  I am so thrilled and humbled.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

E-Books Have Come a Long Way

It has been exciting to see the surge in e-book sales with the advent of the Kindle and the Nook and the iPad, as well as other reading devices. A lot of authors, including myself, are taking advantage of the interest in e-books by publishing new book straight to electronic formats, as well as putting up our back lists. In fact, there is a site now dedicated to BackList E-Books.  There you can find authors from the well-known like Paul Levine to, well, me.

The criteria for being listed on this site is that your books had to first come out in paper from a traditional publisher, so in a way the work is vetted for the reader.

Another exciting development for e-books is a recent announcement that The New York Times will start reviewing e-books on a regular basis. Wow, talk about validation.

While all of that is great news, what prompted me to write this post was a message I received in my inbox this morning:

We are collecting nominations for 2010 eBook of the Year. Please, nominate your favorite ebook here:
 Winners will be announced in The Huffington Post and will be alerted to over 2000 literary agents as well.
Sponsored byHow to Write a Query
  To qualify for the award, the book nominated must have originated as an e-book, and I have two that qualify. Play It Again, Sam and Friends Forever.  A romance and a young adult novel. If you have a book that qualifies, head on over and nominate it for the award. If you don't, well, maybe you would consider nominating one of mine?


Friday, December 17, 2010

Whats Wrong With This Picture?

A friend sent this message the other day and it really resonated with me.  I have edited the letter some to hide identities and for space constraints.
I'm so angry with the government in this country.  Not newly angered just still, and for more reasons.  My good friends and neighbors have both been unemployed for months now.  Both have lots of experience in retail, warehousing, etc, but so do thousands of others in the same boat.  What worries me is that I'm slowly watching them lose everything, and I know my friend is despondent, depressed and frightened.  She told me yesterday that she dreams of suicide. She's so not that person. She's me...the kind who sees the glass half-full and finds humor in everything...but something has stolen that person and left behind an empty shell.
Her biggest fear is becoming homeless. Her husband just received his last 1/2 of unemployment, which in itself creates a struggle, but now he's done.  There is no way they can live on $268 a week when they have a $575 rental, car payment and utilities...not to mention food. They haven't paid their rent this month, which incurs a $50 late fee as additional punishment when they are already down and out.
Two days ago, they stood in a long line at the senior citizen center to get free food.  I've been giving them what I can, have paid their electric bill once, and also we've bought things from them.  But that's sad too... I've watched their recliners be taken back, their washer and dryer disappear, and I know their Internet, which has become a priority because of all the resumes they send out daily, is eventually going to go.
Then I watch the news and hear about 6000 + earmarks  (6,714 earmarks worth $8.3 billion) ....ridiculous expenditures for a Nikita Khrushchev hiking trail, billions to study idiotic crap that can wait until America is healed, and I want to vomit.
I don't know where to turn to help my friends.  They are both depressed, have given up, and I fear for them both.
It's Christmas.  Isn't this supposed to be about family, love and celebrating goodness?  I fear it's lost on some of us this year. How can we celebrate when our friends are slowing drowning and Congress is more interested in waging their own little wars against the opposite party.
 Unfortunately this scenario is probably playing out across the country, and to solve the budget deficits local, state, and federal governments are trying to cut from the bottom instead of cutting from the top. Why is is always the little guy that has to suffer the most?

If you are interested Here is a link to more information about the earmarks and what they are costing.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Another Holiday Gift for Readers

Continuing my suggestions of good books to buy for Holiday gifts, I want to recommend books by Raymond Atkins. I read The Front Porch Prophet two years ago, and last year read Sorrow Wood Both excellent books.

The Front Porch Prophet  by Raymond L. Atkins
ISBN: 978-1933836386
Publisher: Medallion Press
Date of publish: July 1, 2008
Pages: 400
S.R.P.: $25.95

 (Now available on Kindle)

While The Front Porch Prophet is described as a humorous work of Southern fiction about two young men who come of age in North Georgia, it is at times as serious as a rattlesnake. In those moments, the author does not hold back when it comes to the tough issues of broken relationships, death and dying, divorce and a myriad of other not so pleasant moments along life’s journey.

A.J. Longstreet and his friend Eugene Purdue have been through a lot since their carefree childhood days spent playing football, pulling pranks, and trying to be the first to lose his virginity. The most recent being a dispute over Eugene’s ex-wife that left the friends estranged for several years. Yet, the toughest days are ahead.

One day Eugene asks A.J to come to his cabin – no easy feat as A.J. has to get past Rufus to get there. Rufus is described as a “cross between a Great Dane and a bear” and he guards the mountain that is home to Eugene’s cabin. A.J. does not even attempt the climb without his Louisville slugger.

The point of the visit becomes painfully clear when Eugene tells A.J. the latest news from the doctor. “I have cancer. I’m rotten with it. It’s terminal.”  After that pronouncement, there is a long silence described this way, “His words hung over the clearing like a gas attack over the Argonne. A gentle breeze blew through the branches, but the words would not disappear.”

There is much to enjoy in this wonderful book, and the use of language that is so precise and so evocative is just one aspect. The dialogue is some of the best ever written. It is natural, true to each character, and so funny in places readers will be hard pressed to stifle their laughter when finishing the book at work because they couldn’t bear to leave the story at home.

On the flip side of the humor is the very serious matter of death and dying and the fact that Eugene wants A. J. to put him out of his misery at the end. “You must be crazy. If you want to shoot yourself or blow yourself up, go ahead. But leave me out of it.” A.J. felt like he was breathing mud. “I know ten or fifteen people who would be happy to accommodate you. Hell, Diane’s daddy would pay you to let him do it.”

“I’d do it for you.”

For nearly six months, A.J wrestles with that request, and during that time the two men visit weekly and sift through the experiences of their lives and try to make sense of it all.

The remembering is as poignant for the reader as it is for the characters.


Today I am a guest on the Roses of Houston blog, where a whole series of posts have focused on the Holidays and different traditions and recipes.  Hop on on over if you have a minute to spare.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Gifts

Today I am over at Terry O'Dells blog Terry's Place where I am sharing a bit about  what it means to give and receive a gift. If you have a minute, stop by and let us know what gifts mean to you.

I learned a lesson one year that has stayed with me for a long time.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Gifts for Readers

 Last year, my wish list for the holidays included several book and I thought I would share them here on the blog for people who might want a suggestion for a book to get for someone in their family.

On the top of my list was The Dark Horse, by Craig Johnson, now out in paperback. My husband said I only wanted the book because it had "horse" in the title, but that is not true. I had read a review of the book in The Dallas Morning News and was intrigued by the reference to the book being "a literary mystery."

I was not disappointed. This is a wonderful book, with narrative so vivid and rhythmic I found myself pausing to savor a phrase or a sentence. The character of Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire stands counter to stereotype, and his wit elicited many a chuckle.

This is the fifth mystery to feature Walt Longmire (after 2008's Another Man's Moccasins). He is a man who is more interested in the truth than the letter of the law, and he has his doubts about Mary Barsad's guilt when she confesses to shooting her husband, Wade, after Wade allegedly burned down their barn with all Mary's horses inside. Even though the crime is out of his jurisdiction in a neighboring county, Walt can't shake the feeling that there's more to Mary's story. He isn't above a little trickery as he poses as an insurance agent to do some off-the-record investigating.

The story takes place in the small town of Absalom, whose main attraction are the fights at the local bar. There Walt meets an illegal immigrant bartender with a knack for crime solving, the Barsads' loyal cowhand and some ranchers who may have had their own reasons for wanting Wade dead. 

I highly recommend this book for mystery lovers, horse lovers, and readers who like a lot of  layers to a story and the characters.


I am a guest at Margaret West's blog today, sharing an unusual Christmas tradition at the Miller household. Look for the glass of mulled wine on the site and you will find the POST


FTC Disclaimer:  This book was purchased and given to me as a gift. Other than having such an enjoyable book to read, I have not benefited in any way from this review.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Book Review -Ringside 1925: Views From The Scopes Trial by Jen Bryant

Ringside 1925: Views From The Scopes Trial
Jen Bryant
ISBN: 978-0375940477
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Date of publish: Feb 12, 2008
Pages: 240 - S.R.P.: $18.99

In the summer of 1925, the residents of Dayton, Tennessee had a first-hand look at a controversial trial that centered on the debate between evolution and creationism. The community of less than 2,000 citizens was primarily an agricultural region, with most folks believing in the latter, especially the hard-core Baptists like Betty Barker.

The trial is the famous Scopes “Monkey” trial, named for the teacher, J.T. Scopes, who introduced the concept of evolution to the science class one day. The state of Tennessee has just passed the “Butler Act” that prohibited the teaching of evolution, and the Civil Liberties Union decided to challenge that law by taking the issue to trial.

For ten days, the town of Dayton bustles with activity and visitors who come great distances to see the trial. Reporters from across the nation come to cover the trial that is pitting Clarence Darrow against the famous orator, William Jennings Bryan. It is a boon for the owner of the boardinghouse, Tillie Stackhouse, who is one of the nine narrators of the story, which is written in a poetic, free-verse style.

The influx of visitors also puts extra money in the pockets of Willy Amos and his pa, who know all too well that “colored” folks get paid a lot less than white folks. But they are enterprising and find ways to capitalize on this opportunity. They set up extra seating in the courthouse for all the visitors and sell the monkey-face flyers that people buy to put in the windows of their businesses and their homes.

There are also other, more subtle, effects of the trial on a number of people in the town. Marybeth Dodd gets the courage to apply for college, despite her fear that her father will not allow it. Willy Amos meets the famous Clarence Darrow and dreams of being the first “colored” lawyer in that area. And several young teens open their minds to possibilities outside of the rigid parameters of small-town thinking and Sunday school.

Even though the book is written for readers 12 and up, it can be enjoyed by adults as well. Each narrator has a distinctive voice that is presented through variances in the rhythm of the verse.  For example, the reporter’s verse is written in a literary style, while those of the young boys are written in a simple style that reflects their lack of world view and education.

Readers will be charmed and captivated by this wonderful book and come to cherish each of the narrators as their personal stories unfold. It is a perfect choice for readers on your holiday gift list, and it invites people to think about the science vs. religion debate that is still going on these many years later.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Contest continuing....

L. J. and I are going to continue the contest for the free books for a few more hours. The drawing will be later this afternoon and announced tomorrow.

Good luck everyone....

And the winner of L.J.'s book is Sabrina Ogden. Congrats, Sabrina.

The winner of my book from the folks who left comments on L.J.s blog for me is Dani Greer. I threw all the names in a hat and had my husband pick one, so Dani did not win just because she said she had never read one of my books. I'm sure none of the other responders had either. LOL

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Trading Places

L.J. Sellers is my guest today. We decided to do something fun and trade places for a day, so I am guesting on her BLOG today. I hope you enjoy what she has to say today, and please do check out her books. She writes some terrific mystery/suspense.

What Makes Me Keep Reading
I recently posted on my own blog about what makes me put down a novel, so to be fair, I thought I’d post about what makes me keep reading.

1. A great opening in which something unusual, unexpected, contradictory, or violent happens. For example, in Secret Dead Men by Duane Swierczynski, the third sentence caught my attention. “..but a couple of kids organized an impromptu club with a mandate to experiment on her corpse.”

2. Intriguing characters who are unusual, unexpected, contradictory, complex, or compelling. From the first page of the same story: “Then again, what do I know? I was a dead man impersonating an FBI agent.”

3. Characters who don’t fit the current clich├ęs. I like cops who aren’t cynical, FBI agents who aren’t workaholics that can’t handle relationships, private investigators who aren’t alcoholic loners, and women who are soft on the outside and tough on the inside.

4. Complexity! I like parallel plots, interwoven stories, and multiple points of view. And if it all comes together in a way that surprises me and makes perfect sense, I pick up the next book by that author.

5. Passion about a subject. I like politics, religion, and social issues in novels as long as it works for the story and doesn’t overwhelm it.

6. Multiple plot points and plots twists that leave me thinking: Wow! Stunning, but believable.

7. Moderate levels of crime and violence written with sensitivity to the subject, the victim, and the reader.

8. Just enough detail (setting and character) to make the story real. I like Elmore Leonard’s approach: Only write the parts that people will read.

9. Believable relationships of any and all kinds.

10. Fast-paced narrative with a great balance of dialogue and action, in which the surprises just keep coming.

Of course, these are the kind of stories Maryann and I write. (smile)  What makes you keep reading a novel?


L.J. will give one lucky person an electronic copy of Passions Of the Dead. Leave your e-mail address in the comment box and we will draw the winner at the end of the week.

L.J. Sellers is an award-winning journalist and the author of the Detective Jackson mystery/suspense series. The Sex Club, Secrets to Die For, and Thrilled to Death have been highly praised by Mystery Scene and Spinetingler magazines. Her fourth Jackson story, Passions of the Dead, has just been released. All four novels are on Amazon Kindle’s bestselling police procedural list. L.J. also has two standalone thrillers, The Baby Thief and The Suicide Effect. When not plotting murders, she enjoys performing standup comedy, cycling, social networking, and attending mystery conferences. She’s also been known to jump out of airplanes.

About Passions of the Dead -- A working-class family is brutally attacked in their home and only one survives. Detective Jackson is assigned to investigate and soon uncovers a blackmail scheme. But the forensic evidence is confusing, and the girl who survives has no memory of the horrific event.
When another home invasion occurs, Jackson is confident they’ve nailed the perpetrators. Yet the case grows even more entangled. When the survivor disappears, Jackson fears for her life—but can he find her in time to save her?

Read an excerpt  HERE

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Where to Find Me Today

Well, one place is here in my office, except when I go to the art center this afternoon to put the set back together for "Scrooge."

The other place is at Louise Wise's blog "Wise Words." This is a terrific site for authors to share a bit about themselves and their books, and she was kind enough to do an interview with me that is posted today.

Louise also interviews publishers and is involved in other promotional endeavors. Her latest is: Authors On Show (AOS) is a website for writers and readers - anyone with a love of books. It promotes writers and offers advice: book reviews, author features and interviews.

The new site is also fun for readers who can come and meet new authors and promote blogs about books. One of the things I have always enjoyed about being interviewed on blogs such as "Wise Words" is that I get to meet people who love books as much as I do. And I have found new authors to read.

So, without further ado, here is the link to my interview   Stop by for a visit if you get a chance.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Trying to get Back on Schedule

Honest I am.

I thought when I cut back to posting only three or four days a week I could keep up with the blog, but it always seems that other things demand more and more of my time.

Scheduling is always hard when you have two or three major things going on at the same time. But this year I have a lot things that all need my attention right now. My new mystery, Open Season, is being released this month, so I am busy trying to promote that just a bit. As all authors know, it it imperative that we really work at promoting, especially when the book first comes out.

Open Season is heavily marketed to libraries first, so I did a mailing of postcards to a number of libraries. Now I need to plan a launch party and virtual book tour for January when it will be available to the public. Not to mention make some time to work on the second book in the series.

My young adult novel, Friends Forever, is being re-released by a new publisher this week, so I should probably be doing some publicity for that.

On top of that, are my responsibilities to "Scrooge". It takes six weeks to prepare for a show and the work seems endless. The upside of putting in endless hours for a show is the fun along the way and the end result. If you would like to meet some of the wonderful cast I have been working with, here is a link to a story I did for

My position as Managing Editor for the online magazine is another challenge to my time. Each month it seems harder and harder to keep up with all that job entails, as well as fit in some other freelance editing.

Throw the Holidays into the mix, and I am really feeling a time pressure. I have to remind myself to stop and take a breath now and then. I also am trying to make daily to-do lists and prioritize the items so I take care of the must-haves before doing anything else. That is a challenge for me, as I am not a list kind of person. Nor am I very organized. Just ask my husband. Plus, I always seem to run out of the day before I run out of the list. Some items go on tomorrow's to-do list.

When you start feeling overwhelmed with tasks, what do you do to find balance and ease the stress? Have you made tough choices to give up some activities to have more time for work?

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Book Review-The Kingdom Where Nobody Dies by Kathleen Hills

The Kingdom Where Nobody Dies
by Kathleen Hills
Poisoned Pen Press, January 2008
hard cover,316 pages
ISBN: 978-1-59058-476-7

The author of this novel has a strong background in rural America, particularly in the Upper Midwest. It shows in many of the nuances that affect the progress of this story. The novel is replete with icons of small towns, some of which are isolated from the mainstream.

The book is set in the tiny Upper Peninsula Michigan town of St. Adele where once again we ride along with one of the most reluctant and phlegmatic lawmen we are likely ever to encounter. His name is John McIntyre and he is the town constable. He didn't want the job in the first place and he can think of a hundred things he'd rather be doing and places he'd rather be than the sun-blasted hay field of former conscientious objector, Ruben Hofer.

Hofer has been murdered, that's plain to see. His head was blasted open by a rifle shot while he sat on his tractor raking hay. It is almost immediately clear that the man's family is one likely source of murderous
intent. Hofer was not a nice man. He drove his two teen-aged sons in cruel and oppressive ways; and his eleven-year-old daughter, Claire, has already been pushed to warped and dangerous attitudes about life.  is wife is morbidly over-weight and only the youngster, Joey, constantly playing with his make-believe farm in the yard outside the kitchen of the school-house-turned-family-home, seems almost normal.

Author Hills continues to invest her stories with an array of intriguing characters although I got a little tired of the sheriff's on-again-off-again almost incompetent investigation. Moreover, the two teen-agers do not
become distinct characters in this book until very late, which I found to be a weakness.

Nevertheless, the story is informed by very real human emotions and conflicts and the author's handling of the religious, political and historical elements of the book tell us she has done careful research. The book is, as is true of all her books, well-written.

Carl Brookins,
Case of the Greedy Lawyer, Devils Island,
Bloody Halls, more at Kindle & Smashwords!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Community Theatre Productions

Some of you astute readers may have noted that I have been off the normal schedule of posts this week. So kind of you not to point that out. LOL

So today I thought I would share with you the reason my "best laid plans" have gone awry. Every year for the past four years, I have been involved in mounting the production of "Scrooge" at the Winnsboro Center for the Arts. I adapted the script from an old radio show from the 1930s that starred Orson Welles and  have directed the show for three years. Last year I was in the production as the Narrator, and John Milligan, Scrooge, took the reins as director. BTW, what an incredible actor he is. He is pictured here with Maddy Nittmo, a high school student, who is also very talented. The dark ghost in the next picture is Ashland Tipton, who is also in high school. She is a dancer and it is wonderful to see her glide across the stage "like a mist coming out of the darkness."
Scrooge and The Ghost of Christmas Past at Rehearsal
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come - The Scariest Ghost of Them All

In addition to six weeks of rehearsals, there are so many little details that have to be taken care of to get a show to opening night, and I envy professional companies that have production  and tech staff. We have our troupe of actors, a few people at the Art Center who can help, and me, so needless to say I have been very busy this month.

Every year as I get into the last two weeks of pressure to get the set finished, the props, the playbill, advertising, costumes, posters, and pictures, I wonder why I do this year after year. Then I get my answer on opening night when the magic happens. Anyone who has been involved in performing, professionally or as an amateur, knows what it feels like when the curtain goes up and the show begins. We are transported into another world for a little while and there is nothing quite like being on stage.

We open tomorrow, Friday, so most of the pressure is over. Still I won't be posting my usual Friday's Odds and Ends. There are always some last minute details, like maybe working on my lines. LOL

I want to publicly thank my cast and crew for all their hard work and dedication. It has been a real pleasure to work with everyone.

Ebeneezer Scrooge, We have come for You

There is also magic when a professional photographer gets an amazing shot. I love this picture taken by a local photographer, Jim Dyson, of Mr. Jim's Studios.