Friday, December 21, 2012

The Life of a Hollywood Starlett

Today I screwed up an audition. It was two lines long, which is THE WORST to screw up on. I got there with plenty of time, felt like I was really the right type for the part, wandered around the studio lot and just reveled in the glory of being next to the sound stage where they filmed ______. Got inside the doors of the casting office aaaaaand awkwardly pantomimed the end of this scene like I was a gawddamned robot break dancer left over from some bad 1980s Beastie Boys video. THEN, I had grabbed an old resume from the back of my car... one that happens to have on there that I do Catherine O'Hara impersonations. Which, you know, I could do... three years ago. And the very sweet and awesome casting director was like, "I want to see your Catherine O'Hara impersonation." And I'm like, "What?" And then she pointed it out on my resume. I hummed a couple lines from "Midnight at the Oasis." And then we laughed that I was a total jerk who couldn't do the stuff I wrote down on the paper I just handed her. I'm so glad I'm growing up to be an author. I suck at being an actress.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Another Opening to Another Show!

Are you in Los Angeles? Come see the best frickin' version of A Christmas Carol you will ever see. Okay, so the best SERIOUS version of A Christmas Carol you will ever see. The funny ones can be pretty darn clever (I'm looking at you, Troubies).

 But if you're looking for some heartwarming holiday fare, stray away from the commercial spectaculars that go directly against the message of this show. Head on over to GTC Burbank and find out what the real deal with this play is about.

I mean, we all know the story of A Christmas Carol. But have you ever read it? The original text - not the movie or the play. Dickens prose is stunningly gorgeous and that's what we do. We get the book out and we read it for you. The entire play is his original words performed by three actors (one of which is a Broadway veteran) with two long scarves. It's really cool. And it doesn't suck. I promise.

A Christmas Carol
Nov 30 to Dec 16
Thu, Fri & Sat @ 8pm; Sun @ 3pm

Grove Theater Centerat GTC Burbank
1111-b West Olive Ave.
Burbank, CA 91506

And because you're my bloggie friends?  Use code "Dickens" for $10 off!

The show runs for approximately 80 minutes with no intermission and is appropriate for all ages from 12 to 92!

Monday, November 26, 2012

CyberMonday Freebie!

Grab a copy of 5:00 Breakout! For FREE! Perfect for reading at your desk because your boss won't let you surf the sales.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Small Business Saturday (...or Sunday...)

So, us indie authors are small businesses unto ourselves.  We market out of our own pocket.  We buy our own covers.  Hire our own editors.  Format our own books.  So, here's my offering to the Black Friday / Small Business Saturday / Cyber Monday (...oh jeez... what did I forget?) madness!  Thinking some of your favorite people might enjoy a paperback copy of Maggie for Hire or Maggie Get Your Gun?  Here are some coupons if you buy through CreateSpace.

Maggie for Hire
Code 5BPYSPX5 for $3.00 Off

Maggie Get Your Gun
Code NE8US9HL for $3.00 Off

And if you buy any of my paperbacks this Christmas season and would like them personalized, just shoot me an email with the inscription you would like.  I will send you a free bookplate(s) signed to anyone you want.  This incredible bookplate was designed by Six by Design.  Bonus!  You can play "Name That Book" with all the images!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Holiday Wishes

Last summer I received an invitation from Jocelyn Sweetapple-Clark (isn't that a fantastic name, by the way?  I hope she makes lots of pies and invites kids over to run through the sprinkler on the 4th of July) asking if I might be willing to contribute a short story to an anthology of bestselling indie authors with all proceeds going to a children's charity.

My first response was "Sure!" and then my second thought was, "I wonder which charity?"  I thought for a bit and wrote to Jocelyn asking if she might consider donating the proceeds to a children's charity that meant so much to some friends of ours who lived next door.  Their daughter was diagnosed with childhood leukemia.  This charity asked her what she wanted more than anything else in the world and when she said Disney World, they sent her and her family on the trip of a lifetime.  When the leukemia came back, they asked her again what her wish was, and her whole family got to go to Disneyland.  When the leukemia came back again, her dream of seeing Disneyland Paris was in the process of being fulfilled.  Unfortunately, she died before that could happen.  She was nine years old.  The memories of these trips meant the world to the people she left behind.

So I asked Jocelyn if we could donate to this charity.  And it turns out she was thinking of the exact same one.

Now, we can't say it out loud because of some legaleeze (a couple years ago, there was a big story in the news about folks in a hate group contributing to a charity and using that charity's name to raise funds, which made people think the charity endorsed the hate group, and now no one can use a charity's name unless they have official sanction).  But you know the charity.  Its name rhymes with Cake a Dish and they make dreams come true for a terminally ill child.

None of us received any compensation for this anthology.  Everyone from the cover designer to the authors to the editors to the layout folks donated their time and talents.  100% of the royalties are going to charity.  So in this season of giving, won't you consider donating $2.99 for a great cause?  You'll get a fantastic anthology and help make a wish come true for really sick kids.

The collection includes contributions from: David Adams, Jason Brant, Elle Casey, Deanna Chase, Kate Danley, Dee Ernst, Ashley Mackler-Paternostro, Becca Mills, Dalya Moon, Christine Pope, Deanna Roy, Rachel Schurig, Jack Sheppard and Amber Sweetapple, with cover art donated by Claudia McKinney of Phat Puppy Artwork.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

In which I am hired to write a book...

Well, kiddos... good news and bad news.  The bad news is that it is going to be a little longer getting the Maggie books out.  Yes, you read that right.  BOOKS.  Two are being written concurrently at the moment.

"Why?" you cry to the heavens, shaking your fists at the sky.

Because awesomeness has exploded all over the place.

The ink is barely dry on the contract, but I have been graciously invited to write an upcoming installment of The Dead Man series created by Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin.  You might know their work from Monk, Psych, Nero Wolfe, and other fantastic tv shows and books.  And later this year, Lee is teaming up with Janet Evanovich for a brand new series.  How cool is that?  If the Kevin Bacon game became the Janet Evanovich game, I'd be one degree away!

So what's The Dead Man about?  It is a bi-monthly series of action adventure novellas, with just a little taste of horror to keep you up at night.  Each installment is penned by an author you know and love * cough* * pointing at self * tracing the journey of a man who should be dead against the face of evil.  Which is probably what you could have figured out from the title of the book.  Smarty pants.   

I'm so stoked to be a part of this team and honored to be invited.  Look for it sometime in 2013!  And in the meantime, get caught up on all the books that have come before!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

In which I am invited to guest post on the Official Amazon Blog

Ever wonder how the heck The Woodcutter came to be?  The tale is worthy of its own book.  But here's a blog post in 350 words or less on the official Amazon blog with all the nitty gritty details!

The Man Who Travels Through Fairy Tales

Thank you, Amazon, for letting me be your guest!  I brought bundt cake!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

In which I land a traditional publishing deal and might be considered a "real" author

It all started January 2012.  I opened up my email and there was a note from 47North, Amazon's newest publishing imprint.  Their peeps are New York Times bestselling authors, their print editions feature some of the hottest shows on television... and... me...  They were wondering if I might be willing to talk to them about signing a little book I self published called The Woodcutter.

(this is me October 2010 with 
the very first copy of The Woodcutter 
ever to come off the presses)

I've spent almost my whole life pursuing the acting thing.  It seems so funny that after all those years pounding my head against a brick wall, that there was this other dream lurking in the corners of my heart... this writing thing... that would give me everything I was looking for without the soul crushing cream filling.  

Sometimes folks have asked which I love more.  For me, acting is probably a little like heroin - the high is so amazing, you're ready to you ruin your entire life and everyone around you to get it again.  

Writing is more like a nice caffeine buzz - something that gives you a little lift to your step, makes you hold your head a little higher, but other than a few heart palpitations, isn't going to take you down in a fiery inferno of self-destruction.  

I'll take the latter, please.

These past few months since signing have been filled with real... writer... stuff...  Edits and cover reviews and wondering what you really meant when you typed "xyz".  The team at 47North is absolutely amazing and I adore them all with a mad passion.  They went out of their way to make me feel like I was Princess Leia and they were Luke Skywalker and Han Solo come to bust me out of the Death Star.  You nerds know what I'm talking about.

Last week, I received my author copies of The Woodcutter, which I now share with you.  Pictures don't even do it justice.

The cover is a deep, dark greeny blue... it looks just like the night sky.  Somehow, the way the printed it makes it feel almost velvety.

Yesterday, in the midst of election madness, the new edition of The Woodcutter made its quiet debut into the world as an ebook, paperback, and audiobook.  

The only experience I can liken it to is finally getting that series regular job on a sitcom.  Except you can eat all the donuts you want.  I'm still waiting for them to call me apologetically and confess they meant to sign The Woodchopper.

I guess my message in this blog post is that dreams can come true, even when you think they can't. The whole five of you left who still read my blog - this happened to me!  That's NUTS!  You know me!  I stumble around this life not even able to find my car in a parking lot half the time.  If this can happen to me, that means that dreams can come true for ANYBODY.  

The only sense I can make of it, though, is that sometimes it's just that you've been dreaming the wrong dream, and that maybe... just maybe... if you can let go your death grip on one, you'll find there is something even better around the corner... 

Because this is better.  This is much, much better.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Quite A Pair

As promised, I have a brand spankin' new short story out if anyone is in need of a quick read. It’s a 1930s screwball comedy about socks.

(...and isn't the cover preeetty?...)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Happy Two Year Anniversary to Me!

October 8, 2010, I made a decision that changed my life.  I decided to self publish.  I had this book sitting on my hard drive called The Woodcutter.  I had written it almost five years before, splitting my time between a writers group in various cafes throughout Los Angeles and a lousy anatomy class that I really didn't want to be in.

It took about a year to write, and then there were four years of rejection letters, of folks not getting around to reading it, of my proofreader loving it so much she hand delivered to her publishing in the Big Six and then it get lost in their slush piles... of it just... dying...

It killed me.  I loved my little story so much and it destroyed me that it was going to end up living in a drawer.

And then one day I got an email saying that if I had a manuscript ready to go, all I had to do was upload it and I could be published as this wacky thing called an "ebook", which could be read on a fancy new "reading devices" that everyone was sure would never catch on.

That one decision to quit waiting around for someone to tell me I was good enough changed my life.

It was pretty slow at first.  According to my spreadsheet, the first month I sold 24 books!  I was over the moon!  The next month I sold seven.

But my friends and family read it and they told me it was really good. Some people said that I was even better at the writing thing than I was at the acting thing.

Out of nowhere, people were pitching in to support me, telling their friends and inviting me to tag along at their events.

(thanks to Giddy and Ryan!)

(and Out of Character)

(and my sister)

(and the city of Burbank)

It felt good.  So, a month later, I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month November 2010.  I needed something new, and I was feeling really cranky that everybody was kissing vampires in their urban fantasy books.  So, I decided to write a book where vampires were bad and the good guys were good.  But I also had this love of language which you golden age of blogging bloggers taught me.  You guys cracked me up!  Your posts were GENIUS.  And I wanted to somehow capture that spirit.  So, I started writing Maggie for Hire.

Meanwhile, I had sent out The Woodcutter to some competitions. And I started winning!  The Garcia Award for Best Fiction Book of the Year.  The Best Fantasy Book in the Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards.  The Winner of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Category of the Indie Book Awards (there was no second place in that one).  And it was a little nuts.  And awesome.  And nuts.

Libraries started carrying my book.

(thank you KimmerKC!)

My goofy friends and family started hauling my book around and sending me fan pictures of my books in the wild to keep my spirits up.


I got a little obsessed with writing.

This really happened.  I wrote a novel before I got around to getting to the dry cleaners.

Crafts were made and jokes were sent!

Two wonderful friends invited me up to San Francisco to record an audiobook.

(thank you Mark and James!)

 I released Maggie for Hire.  

And then the next November, I wrote another Maggie book called Maggie Get Your Gun as part of National Novel Writing Month and I went to the Night of Writing Dangerously, thanks to your support, which was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had.  I released Maggie II  May 2012.

I wrote a short story.

My bookshelf was filling.

(that green book on the left is the journal I wrote Maggie in.  The brown one next to it is the journal where I wrote The Woodcutter.  Other stories are written in the other books.  I keep the first copy of every edition I release, so that's why there are so many of the same title on the shelf.)

I started getting more business savvy.  I started hanging out on the KindleBoards and learning tips and tricks for how to make this thing go.  I started experimenting with my covers and figuring out the system.

And then Amazon introduced a program called KDP Select which changed my life.  I was given the opportunity to offer my books up for free a few days out of the month.  The first day I offered The Woodcutter up for free, I had 15,000 downloads.  It kicked me into the top 600 books on Amazon.  And it got the attention of some very important people who I will be talking to you about in the coming weeks.  I repeated the experiment with Maggie, and received an offer for a television option.

Today, there are over 55,484 copies of my book in the wild.  I am making more off of the royalties of my books than I am at my day job.  Amazon released the Top 100 American authors in each genre and yesterday, I was #66.  I decided to step away from acting ( know, unless it landed in my lap, in which case all bets are off...) and devote my time and energy to this thing that gives me all of the emotional satisfaction I was looking for on stage without any of the downsides.  It's weird when this dream you've been working towards for twenty-five years doesn't quite seem like the dream you want anymore, because something so much better has shown up.  I wouldn't be here today without my acting and improv and, yes, even that stupid anatomy class.  But it is just funny.

I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo this summer...  

The book that came out is, I think, one of the best things I've ever written.  There are a couple passages in there that I go back and read and wonder who the heck came up with that.  I have a short story which will be coming out in a couple days.  I have Maggie III ready in the chamber for me to start writing November 1st as part of NaNoWriMo2012.  I have a holiday short story in an anthology which will be coming out this December with all proceeds going to the Make a Wish Foundation.  And I have a really cool, life altering, game changing announcement which I will come back and devote an entire post to shortly.

All in two years.

I know this sounds cheezy, but none of this would have happened without you.  Yes, you.  You reading this right now.  I might have given up that month with a whole seven sales if it hadn't been for you believing in me and cheering me on.  You told your friends, and left nice reviews on Amazon, and bought copies of my books as gifts, and came out to say hello at the conventions, and retweeted my posts, and sent me love notes, and let me know that this mattered and I should keep doing it.

So I am.  

Thank you.

Life is good.

And keep working on that dream.  If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

99-Cent Columbus Sale!

Happy October Everyone!  It's a great month, isn't it?  The perfect time to climb into your cuzzie sweater, brew up some tea, and nestle into your favorite reading nook with some vampires and ghouls and battle the forces of darkness... wait... 

Oh come on.  It is OCTOBER!  International MONSTER MONTH!  To kick things off with a bang, I'm running a two day Columbus Weekend sale on Maggie for Hire.  It's only 99-cents!  If there was EVER a month to read this book, THIS WOULD BE THE ONE!

So grab a copy!  Tell your friends to grab a copy!  And if you like it?  Support the cause and leave a review on Amazon!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

My corner of the world

Gift from my coworker, originally uploaded by eyduck.
So, in addition to writing and acting, I'm just a regular working stiff like everyone. You know, except that I've got a gigantic bronze sculpture of a German composer sitting on my filing cabinet. He was originally donated to my place of employment back in the 1960s for a music garden, which never happened, so I rescued him and gave him his garden. It feels right.

So, we recently installed cubicles and mine is especially private, tucked away in the far corner behind a stack of files and boxes. One of my coworkers affectionately began calling it Fort Danley, and in a fit of inspiration, she decided to make it official and get one of the sign makers at the LA County Fair to make this for me. Behold the awesomeness!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Something really cool is happening in 38 days...

...and I'm not talking the elections, even though they are both on November 6th.

Sooon... veeerrrry soooooon...

Monday, September 17, 2012

FREE! 5:00 Breakout

TODAY!  Perfect for slogging through to the end of another miserable Monday.  Grab a FREE copy of 5:00 Breakout for your Kindle!  Tell your friends!  Or not.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Entertainment Proclamations for when Kate Danley Becomes Queen of the Universe

Here ye!  Here ye!  Below are the Rules by which Entertainment in All Forms will obey when Kate Danley becomes the SUPREME RULER OF THE UNIVERSE!
  • It's a Small World and Pirate of the Caribbean shall be returned to their original states, unaltered by "plusing" at the Disneyland Resort.  I don't care what you do at the other parks.  Have toy carts in the middle of the Haunted Mansion for all I care.  But the innovative works of art at Disneyland which launched an empire shall remain sacred!
  • And on the subject of Pirates, there shall be no other Pirates besides Episode I and Episode IV.  All others shall be considered bad fan fiction and relegated to the locked vault of Cinderella III.
  • Sherlock and Downton Abbey shall air in the states at the same time it airs in the U.K.  Did we win a Revolutionary War for nothing?  I say we give our sovereignty back to England if it means we can get these shows before everyone on Twitter spoils them!
  • Star Wars Episode I, II, and III shall all be rebooted with this man at the helm of story development.
  • Anyone who says that Pierce Brosnan was greater than Daniel Craig as Bond shall be thrown into a dark hole and forced to watch Golden Eye until sanity is restored.
  • All use of smooth R&B and pop reinterpretations of some important song at the end of kids movies shall ceased IMMEDIATELY.  Any pre-existing films with those items shall have such songs removed and replaced with ragtime or New Orleans jazz.
  • BLOGGER SHALL RETURN TO ITS ORIGINAL, USER FRIENDLY INTERFACE! (as Queen Kate tries to remember how to post this post...)

Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

Well, it's been 31 glorious days, but Camp Nanowrimo draws to a close at midnight tonight.  I just submitted my novel (and a couple short stories) for verification and I have officially made the 50,000 mark!  WOOOO!

Mind you, the novel is a mess.  It's not complete.  It is a hodgepodge of ideas, half of which will probably get thrown out, but I have 50,000 more words on paper than I did when I started August 1st and that, my friends, is awesome. 

If any of you have a little spark within that says, "Hey! I've got this idea for a book...", mark your calendar now to participate in National Novel Writing Month this November.  I cannot recommend the Nanowrimo experience enough.  It's free.  It connects you with other writers in your area so that it isn't so lonely.  And if you finish?  You, too, can have a beautiful little picture like the one above, which will make you feel warm and fuzzy about what you were able to do with just a little bit of hard work everyday.  Tomorrow might be September, but I just might write some more... just for the fun of it!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Final Weekend

Final Weekend, originally uploaded by eyduck.

After this, there will be ZERO more performances of The Adding Machine...

I would like to thank the Academy

I would like to thank the Academy, originally uploaded by eyduck.

Yes, it is real. No, it is not mine. But the place I work for won it and I made sure to leave greasy fingerprints all over it.