Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Showbiz Heartbreak

A recent online post reminded me of an audition fiasco I had back in the 1980s, with Lynn Dally and the Jazz Tap Ensemble, a prestigious LA dance company. My tap instructor, Louis DaPron, who was already in his 70s by then, set up a private audition for me. I was so excited. All I had to do was show up at the Debbie Reynolds Studio in North Hollywood at the appointed day and time. Having begun performing as a child, I was a veteran when it came to auditions, but this was different. This was a man who had taught Donald O'Conner, Judy Garland and numerous Hollywood legends, a man who, though he chewed me out just about every class for not picking up the steps fast enough, said I had talent. He believed in me and I wanted to prove I was good enough to make it.

Audition day came and I was more nervous than any other time. During my drive there, I started to feel nauseous. So much, in fact, that I had to pull over on the freeway and puke. Twice! I managed to pull next to a blue call box so it would look like I was going to use the emergency phone LA county provided every mile. This was the 80s and we didn't have cell phones like we do today. Luckily, I had an old paper bag in my car and there wasn't a CHP around to think I had car trouble. That would make me late! You might be saying to yourself that I was just nervous, and that's what I told myself, though I'd never gotten sick for any audition or performance in my entire life. After emptying my stomach the second time, I got back into traffic and kept going.

I pulled into the parking lot with 1/2 hour to spare, tossed the sick bag into a nearby dumpster, and headed inside to freshen up. I checked in and stretched out in the hallway, the whole time feeling more and more exhausted, but at least I wasn't nauseous anymore. I jumped around to try and up my energy level, then put on my best face for the audition. This was my one and only shot at this job and I refused to blow it. Besides, the show must go on - I had learned that as a child - and nothing short of death was going to deter me. I tried to dance like nothing was wrong, but my balance was a bit off and I had trouble with one of the turns. I smiled as I danced, even though all I wanted to do was go home and fall into bed. I felt like crap, but they were seeing another girl after me and I had to nail this.

After what seemed like a week but was only a couple of hours, I finished the audition and thanked Lynn and the choreographer, whose name I don't remember off-hand. I didn't puke again, thankfully. But by the time I got home, I had to crawl in the front door and all the way to my room, where I passed out on the floor. Yes, I was that ill. I don't remember anything until the next day when I woke up to my roommate shaking me. I'm guessing the other girl got the job, because Lynn never called me back. I was heartbroken to have to tell my teacher that I blew this amazing chance. I confided to him that I was very sick that day but he still seemed disappointed in me. He died about a year later and I always felt that I had let him down.

Today, I'm grateful I didn't get that company job. If I had, I might never have worked on the TV show Rags to Riches or at Disneyland and I might not be a writer now. In fact, I might not be married to my fabulous husband today, because I never would've taken that much-needed job at Waldenbooks, where I met him. Do I wonder what my life would've been like had I nailed that audition? Not anymore. It's funny how things that seem to destroy our world when we're young, sometimes feel so different when we get older.

Me with my tap teacher, Louis DaPron, back in the day. I still miss him.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

eBooks going to print!

Got some exciting news today from my publisher - My eBooks will be going into print! I'm stoked! This means readers who prefer paperbacks over electronic will be able to buy their preferred version. It also means more work for me, since print books require in-person book signings. We're starting with the Desert Magick series. The first book was already in print when I went under contract with SynergEbooks, so book 2 is the one to look for next. I'll blog more about this as things advance and I get publication dates.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Longing for a normal work week.

Four weeks of appointments and repair guys and I'm beat. Like a lot of writers, I'm an introvert and prefer lots of alone time, especially when I'm writing. Meeting with friends or family is fun and relaxing, but having to go to various appointments and dealing with repair guys in and out of the house every day isn't my idea of a good time. In fact, it's downright exhausting for me, and I'm always glad when I can get back to a regular writing schedule. Just me and my computer, and my characters of course. Who are screaming at me to get their chapters finished.

Like right now, I'm squinting at my computer because the eye doc dilated my eyes. It really annoys me, not to mention makes it very hard to write because everything is blurry and my eyes are light sensitive. They always tell me it'll wear off in a couple of hours but my eyes stay this way for 4-5 hours each time. I'll plug away the best I can until my eyes return to normal, which should be around dinner time, if I'm lucky.  I hate getting behind on a project - The perfectionist in me cringes. So the rest of the week, I intend to write like a mad woman. And maybe, just maybe, I can get back to a normal work week very soon.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Getting back in touch with my thrifting and crafting self.

Now that we've moved back home - for those of you who haven't been paying attention, home is LA - I'm getting back in touch with my thrifting and crafting self. Buying a home here, which costs a butt-load of money compared to Phoenix, helped push me back into the DIY category of life. In fact, it gave me a hardy shove. Thought I'd share a couple of finds and projects I'm working on for the new "this old house".

I found this awesome storage ottoman at a local thrift store for under $11. Has a dragonfly print, which I love, and a mid-century feel to it. Looks great in our family room and I plan to store my crochet yarns inside.

I got this cute little baby at a yard sale for a whopping $5, brand new in the box. One of my favorite colors and even came with a foot pedal and lots of thread spools. Sewing's not my strong point, but for the price, I figured I could afford to practice on it.

I couldn't find a lamp I liked so I'm painting some of our existing ones. This one is from the 90s. I gave it a mid-century beach feel with a coat of paint. I'm not an artist, but armed with a paint brush or a glue gun, I can get into lots of trouble around the house.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Crazy year and I'm still playing catch-up.

This past year has been crazy. Since last April, here's what's happened:

1. Trip to Holland and Netherlands - our yearly get-out-of-the-country-and-see-something-new trip
2. Meniere's attack - So much for remission.
3. Sold our house in Arizona
4. Trip to LA to find a temporary apartment
5. Trip to Santa Barbara for friend's wedding
6. Moved back to California
7. I published another book - Guess I figured I didn't have enough stress.
8. Bought a fixer-upper here in SoCal
9. Started working on my next book
10. Started repairs on the fixer
11. Moved again
12. Hubby had hernia surgery - I told him not to lift those boxes.
13. I did chores for two while hubby healed
14. Hubby lost his job - He was supposed to be under contract for a year but a reorg took care of that, which meant we also lost our health insurance. Fun, right?
15. Another Meniere's attack
16. Close family member with medical problems
17. More repairs on the fixer
18. Hubby started a new job - Thank goodness he was only out of work for a month.
19. Started landscaping - Maybe the neighbors will stop giving us dirty looks now.
20. And here I am, one year later, still playing catch-up with my writing.

I really hope the next year is not as hectic. Well, off I go to do more writing!

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