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Dark Yet Perky: Elizabeth’s Blog Book Tour by Elizabeth Searle

Welcome to my ‘Blog Book Tour'; happy to discuss my works-in-progress here and to introduce three scribes on the rise.  THANKS, first, to PAULA TREICK DeBOARD, who asked me to take part in this ‘blog book tour.’  Paula is a stellar novelist and a Stoneocast MFA alum. I knew the minute I read Paula’s workshop work that she is a born storyteller who won’t let you go once you start her compelling tales.

Check out Paula’s blog and Blog Book Tour answers:  Live from the Bean (Go, Paula!)

Suzanne Strempek Shea and me at Stonecoast MFA this summer

Suzanne Strempek Shea (right) and me at Stonecoast MFA this summer, 2014

Paula kindly ‘passed the torch’ and a Book Tour question-list to me.  In the Blog Book Tour, writers answer the questions below on their blogs and tap other writers to do the same.  So I’m happy to answer these questions below, then to introduce three terrific authors whose answers I will be eager to read: Suzanne Strempek Shea, Matthew Phillion and Eugenio Volpe.  All have new books out!

First: my own answers to the Blog Tour’s four questions:

1. WHAT AM I WORKING ON?

This will be my longest answer because I am always juggling many balls:

Bravo Sierra Pictures & Creatrix Films are 'developing' my first novel as a feature film

Bravo Sierra Pictures & Creatrix Films are ‘developing’ my first novel as a feature film

*A NOVEL set on the night of the Boston Marathon bombing man-hunt, centering on one messily ‘blended family,’ a Birth Night gone wrong and a stepson on the run.  The novel alternates between a husband and wife– two characters I’ve written about for almost as many years as I’ve been married myself.  I have always wanted to take a Birth Night and the ‘stages of labor’ and concoct a novel around that.  I didn’t know this novel would also wind up involving the horrifying and riveting Boston bomber man-hunt.  But I’ve felt compelled to set my tale on that unforgettable night, since I  live in a suburb of Boston that was ‘locked down.’  I take the title of this novel-to-be from a ‘Tweet’ sent out by Mayor Tom Menino after the capture of the bombing suspect: “We Got Him”.

*THREE PERSONAL ESSAYS which will come out in THREE FORTHCOMING ANTHOLOGIES in 2015: Paper Camera from New Rivers Press; an anthology edited by Elizabeth Benedict from Algonquin Press and an anthology edited by Nina Gaby from She Writes Press titled Dumped: Women Unfriending Women, about female friendships run aground.  Also we have a reading coming up in October from my most recent anthology, Knitting Yarns, edited by Ann Hood with a super group of fellow contributors.

The LA stars of Tonya & Nancy with me in Feb 2014

The LA stars of Tonya & Nancy with me in Feb 2014

*Several THEATER WORKS including the latest revisions on my ongoing theatrical adventure, TONYA & NANCY: THE ROCK OPERA (see our Website).  I have written the libretto for a new classical opera, SEVEN RABBITS ON A POLE, based on the play by John Picardi.  Stay tuned.

*FILM SCRIPT revisions on an adaptation of my novel A FOUR-SIDED BED, which is being developed by two small film companies, Bravo Sierra and Creatrix Films.  See our sizzler reel at www.afoursidedbed.com

*SHORT STORIES; I have two that I hope to finish to ‘finish’ a new collection…

2. HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?

As you can see above, I work in multiple genres.  In fiction and scriptwriting both, I aim for high intensity.  I crave a certain mix of tones that I call ‘Dark Yet Perky.’ Continue Reading »

Luque PhotoLuis M. Luque is still struggling to finish his first novel. He served as a U.S. Navy mass communications specialist for 20 years and now works as a writer-editor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program. He and his wife, Vera, live in Newnan, Georgia.

The Age of Shamelessness By Luis M. Luque

The world has come out of the closet. I don’t mean that literally, of course, or even sexually. I mean it as a comment not only on the end of privacy, but also on the epidemic of immodesty and outright shamelessness that continues to spread faster than Ebola through a crowded hut.  Once upon a time, when an athlete made a game-winning play, he smiled, ran the bases, politely tipped his hat to the fans, maybe jumped into another player’s waiting arms.

cAfterward, he thoughtfully congratulated his teammates for their fine play and the opponents for their competitive spirit. 320px-Rob_Ford_MayorToday, players thump their chests, dance, blow kisses at the fans, point to their numerous tattoos, make obscene gestures, or cross themselves and point at the sky as if God were on their side. Then, for the cameras they piously talk about “heart” and “courage,” rarely acknowledging luck or the tens of millions spent to acquire more and younger talent than the opponent’s owner chose to pay. Naturally, they’d never dream of discussing the possibility that they are on a better doping schedule than their opponents!bonds_300

Still, if shamelessness were confined to the sports world, it would be a forgivable occupational hazard. There must be a bit of Hector “Macho” Camacho, Muhammad Ali, and John McEnroe in all athletes. Modesty, after all, never made a game-winning shot, buckled a championship belt, or signed a contract worth more than the budget of a small nation. Modesty never lied about taking performance-enhancing drugs despite hitting 73 home runs in your late-thirties, winning seven Cy Young Awards, or seven consecutive Tours de France.640px-Lance_Armstrong_(Tour_de_France_2009_-_Stage_17)
Hollywood, too, is one of the usual suspects. It’s easy to find fault with the brazenness of the Housewives of Anywhere, the wacky costume-wearing “singers” who audition for American Idol, or the Honey Boo Boos, the bearded Duck Dynasty stars, and Hillbilly Handfishers of the world, none of whom I suspect betray even a twinge of embarrassment when drawing on their salaries from an ATM.
Once upon a time, Elizabeth Taylor was widely reviled for her extramarital affairs, and Charlie Chaplin and Errol Flynn actually faced criminal charges for such carrying on. By contrast, Kim Kardashian settled for $5 million with Vivid Entertainment over the release of her sex tape, making more than a few cynics wonder if the “leak” of all the moaning and backdoor escapades was planned from the beginning.

Continue Reading »

Ophoto 3OBAMA IS IN THE HOUSE by Elizabeth Searle & her Friend on the Faculty

My son and I were happy to get to watch our Presdent Barack Obama speak at Worcester Technical High School’s graduation June 11th. Even in a crowd of 5000, we felt he was speaking just to us.

Our friend on the faculty (who kindly got us our tickets) files this ‘insider’ report on the big day:

** “The Secret Servicemen were not only nice, but surprisingly handsome. Watching them walk back and forth helped the female teachers pass the time backstage.”

**”Watching my junior student Lois Dwira sing the National Anthem and then get hugged by the President was a major highlight for me. She is such a lovely young woman. I’m thrilled that she was part of such an incredible event.”

Obama bonds with the student who introduced him.

Obama bonds with the student who introduced him.

**”All of the graduates were beyond excited to shake the President’s hand after receiving their diplomas. Many of the students hugged him. Several students cried. From my seat, it was clear that this touched the President. He gave those students an extra big squeeze, which made me think, You truly *get* kids. That’s great to see in a president.”

Cheers to Worcester Technical High! In the ‘disgrace’ that is our underfunded public education system, this school stands out as a success. Obama captured that can-do spirit at the lively graduation. As a voice shouted from the crowd: “OBAMA IS IN THE HOUSE!” We were thrilled to be in the house with him.

(Photos shared by our teacher on the scene to Elizabeth Searle)

As the Boston Bruins lost to the Montreal Canadiens in game seven of the semi-finals on the road to the Stanley Cup, Suzanne Strempek Shea consoled herself with memories of better Bruin days, including those she knew as a kid, when she fell in love with hockey during the reign of Bobby Orr. Here’s one of those memories.

baypathSuzanne Strempek Shea is the author of ten books, including the newly released “This Is Paradise: An Irish Mother’s Grief, an African Village’s Plight and the Medical Clinic That Brought Fresh Hope to Both.” www.suzannestrempekshea.com

Love on ice … at age 13 

by Suzanne Strempek Shea

“Watch out!”

My mother flung out her arm and knocked me back to the sidewalk. The big blue car that I’d almost stepped in front of rolled smoothly past us and down Causeway Street.

We’d traveled so far and I’d waited so long for this day, my mother reminded me. We were almost in the door of the Boston Garden and now I was going to get myself killed.

“But, but…”bobbyorr

“But what?”

“But that was Bobby Orr!”

I was 13 years old an absolute nut for the Boston Bruins.

This was 1972, two years after the team had won the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1941, and one year after its unsuccessful defense of it. But I was no fair-weather fan. I’d long before caught the bug from my father, who grew up playing hockey on the Chicopee River that marked the end of his dead-end Chicopee Falls street. He dated my mother at Springfield Indians games in the Coliseum, where team owner and former Bruin great Eddie

Shore regularly stalked around, shining a flashlight in the face of fans brazen enough to put their feet up on the chairs in front of them.

Winter nights, I’d fall asleep listening to our radio fuzzily picking up the Bruins games on Boston’s WBZ. In time, we purchased and hooked up in our attic a huge television antenna that was shaped like an arrow and pointed in the general direction of the other end of the state, and Boston. With the dawn of cable, we got our first clear and regular pictures of the Boston Bruins in action. My passion shifted into full gear. Continue Reading »

Now updated to include pictures from our recent sold-out performances in LA, our new website tells the ongoing story of our show.  Two Girls Go for the Gold– keep updated on forthcoming 2014/2015 performances and watch our Highlights reel.

READ REVIEW QUOTES ABOUT THE ROCK OPERA:

Read more on our Press & Reviews page!
tnkingBrilliant …one of the most exciting spectacles I have ever seen …Remarkable
Steve Almond, WGBH Boston

Absurdly FUNNY… surprisingly POIGNANT moments amidst the comedy and a ROUSING SOUNDTRACK
Boston Phoenix (also printed in Weekly Digg)

Glitter, spandex and rock anthems… Searle and Director Janet Roston don’t just play the story for laughs; both Tonya and Nancy are portrayed as somewhat sympathetic… Kristen Lee Sergent is the spitting image of Kerrigan, and petite Darcie Champagne comes pretty close to Harding… Sergeant boasts a sweet, operatic soprano with a lot of power up top, and Champagne, also a fine singer, belts out Tonya’s music with accuracy and energy.”
IceNetwork.com (national figure skating website)
Knee whacking as opera; this is irresistible
Bill Littlefield, NPR

SEX AND SPORTS AND ROCK N’ ROLL… About the only thing that could have mae the 1994 Olympics any more tailor-made for the media would have been a classic rock soundtrack. Now it has one.”
Bostonevents.com

An explosive cabaret of over-the-top rock tunes sung with operatic glass-shattering intensity and accompanied by off-the-wall dance numbers. Not to mention, a storyline so melodramatic, duplicitous, and droll, It’s downright Shakespearean. I’ll never look at rock ‘n’ roll, theatre, or figure skating the same way again.”
-Will Barry, The Noise

(photo: Barry Weiss)

jl634x1024-131107164501-634.Jennifer-Lawrence-Short-Hair-Sunnyvale.ms.110713jennifer-lawrence-hd-wallpaperAre we about to start Hatha-hating Jennifer Lawrence? a canny new article on Huffpost asks.

I hope not.  ‘Hatha-hating’ has prompted many a head-scratching think-piece, including on this blog.  The fierceness of the phenom puzzled me.  As the hate spotlight possibly swings toward J-Law, I wonder: is it a coincidence that she, like Anne Hathaway the year of her own Oscar win, recently cut her famous hair?

Even before J-Law was named in the hate-fray, I wondered if somehow Anne Hathaway’s short haircut had something to do with why the lovely and talented– if occasionally disingenuous and overemotional– Hathaway has inspired such Tweet-fueled hatred that her name has now been blended with the h-word– and not just as a hashtag.

nyc ballet fall 2 210912Hathaway is often knocked for being stagey in her displays of emotion– and her short haircut emphasizes her ultra-expressive face with its generous actressy features.  A striking look, and one that bucks the look-a-like trend of long silky extension-enhanced locks.

So why IS hate-talk starting up about the famously likable and relatable J-Law– who this past year did have her own long locks sheared?  Think about it. Anne Hathaway was popular star for years, and even seemed to survive her Oscar-host mis-fire whilst she sported flowing brown locks. But when she chopped her hair, initially for her Oscar-winning Les Miz. star turn, her star-power began short-circuiting. By her Oscar night, Hatha-haters were in full-throated attack. Hathaway has chosen to keep her dark hair clipped in gamin-style. ahnknown

Now as the first whispers begin that J-Law herself may be stumbling– or fake-stumbling, as some detractors would have it– into Hatha-hate-land, is her new short ‘do’ a factor? J-Law’s pixie hairstyle looks fetching to me. But does it make any difference whether short hair is flattering or not? Or whether the ‘long locks’ favored by Hollywood starlets are so often blatantly fake extensions?

Jennifer Aniston recently dared to bob her blonde hair but the backlash and deliberately unflattering photos were so intense she quickly back-pedaled and appeared more recently with mira-grown lavish hair.  Should Jen-Law follow the older Jennifer’s lead and grow back her mane ASAP?  Are these stars or their ‘haters’ the ones who should have their heads examined?

(photos: dailyhit.com, eonline.com, wiki.com, GoogleImages)


An award-winning screenwriter at international film festivals and labs, Caitlin McCarthy has written two feature films: WONDER DRUGan Alfred P. Sloan Foundation script at the Hamptons Screenwriters Lab; and RESISTANCE, a script accepted into the exclusive Squaw Valley Screenwriters Program. Caitlin is also partnering on writing/creating the TV series PASS/FAIL with Jim Forbes, a multiple Emmy, ALMA, AP and Golden Mic award-winning writer, producer, correspondent and narrator; and writing/creating the TV series FREE SKATE with choreographer Michael Masionis attached. In addition to screenwriting, Caitlin serves as an English teacher at an inner-city public high school.
For more information, please visit her IMDb profile, official Facebook page, and officialTwitter page.

motley-crue-final-tour-press-conference-650-430At the news that NIKKI SIXX’s Motley Crue is retiring following their 2014 tour, we salute an immortal Rocker by reprinting this tribute:

“Nikki Sixx: From Bad Boy to Good Man” by Caitlin McCarthy

With so much focus on cads these days, I thought it was time to highlight the bad boys who became good men.

My favorite example is Nikki Sixx.  As many of you know from my previous blog posts here, I attended numerous concerts at the Worcester Centrum growing up.

I made a point of seeing all my favorite bands in the ‘80s, with only one excep exception: Motley Crue.

It takes a lot to intimidate me, but in the ‘80s, Motley Crue did just that. Like Lord Byron, they were mad, bad, and dangerous to know. Sex, drugs, and violence followed them wherever they went. Just read the group’s autobiography “The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band” and Nikki’s memoir “The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star.”

Motley Crue attracted a “motley” crowd to their concerts back then. As a preppy, my bob and clothing got the stink eye from Poison fans. I feared Motley fans wouldn’t limit themselves to just dirty looks. I honestly believed they’d do much worse to me, egged on by the wild energy of the show.

So I settled for watching Motley Crue on MTV, zeroing in on Nikki Sixx. Whenever he was interviewed by a VJ (remember them?), I paid attention. Even though Nikki was in the throes of a horrific drug addiction at the time, and living the life of a rock star in the worst possible sense, he struck me as a decent guy at heart. His lifestyle choices didn’t diminish his musical ability. (Nikki is Motley Crue’s bassist and main songwriter.) He also came across as a smart businessman. He was (and still is) a natural, a true star.

Once Nikki freed himself from drugs around the 21st Century, he became an author, fashion designer, photographer, and founder of additional bands (58 and Sixx:AM). Nikki made history as the first rock star ever to testify on Capital Hill before members of Congress on addiction. Nikki even branched out into charity. He’s not someone who throws money at problems. He’s hands-on with his efforts. Continue Reading »

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