The Book Report: The Toilet is Overflowing & the Dog is Wearing My Underwear by Debbie Roppolo

On The Book Report: 


The Toilet is Overflowing & the Dog is Wearing My Underwear
by
Debbie Roppolo

If only most of us could have a sense of humor and take  parenting in stride raising our children might be more of a joy than the hardships we feel it is from time to time. It's just not the case for most of us with the responsibility of having a small life depending on us.
AMAZON
I never thought of the early years after my daughter's birth as funny or could I have turned most of the day to day  problems and headaches into a comedy routine. BUT,  Author Debbie Roppolo has a knack for doing just that even with the many surprises and heartaches that she faced daily.
Debbie takes a light-hearted look at taking family trips with her boys, and how their smelly feet and day-old spilled ice cream embedded in upholstery are indistinguishable: how kissing a porch post came about: what you can do with coffee grinds and olive oil: and how she ended up taking one of her sons' to the Vet just to name a few.
The Toilet is Overflowing & the Dog is Wearing My Underwear is a heartwarming book full of anecdotes teaching us all to see the lighter side of life with laughter. It made me take a look back at some frightening events and see the funny side of them I can laugh at now, though I shed many tears then. I laughed as I read. You will love this a book, too.



Debbie Roppolo

Buy 
The Toilet is Overflowing & the Dog is Wearing My Underwear at: http://www.amazon.com/Toilet-Over-Flowing-Dog-Wearing-Underwear/dp/0692595007
Find her other books at: 
http://www.amazon.com/Debbie-Roppolo/e/B0061KAJNG/
Debbie's Site: http://debbieroppolo.weebly.com/
Read More about Debbie Roppolohttp://jdswritersblog.blogspot.com/2016/05/an-interview-with-award-winning-author.html

An Interview With Award-Winning Author, Debbie Roppolo

Debbie Roppolo
Author Debbie Roppolo is the author of many short stories published in newspapers, magazines, including being published in Chicken Soup for the Coffee Lover's Soul, and Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul. Klutzin’Around the Christmas Tree, (which I read and LOVED,) was the title for an anthology. 
In 2011, Debbie published her first children's book, Amelia Frump and her Peanut Butter Loving, Overactive Imagination which she patterned the character "Amelia" after her own childhood. In 2013, Amelia Frump...is Cooking Up a Peanut Butter Storm won second place in the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards. Her book, He's My Brother focuses on how siblings sometimes feel alone after a diagnosis of autism.
He's My Brother
Cooking is her second passion, and Roppolo holds the honor of being a six-time award-winning baker, and the author of an award-winning cookbook.
Hi Debbie, Thank you for doing this interview. I appreciate it. 


How do you come up with your stories and the characters for the books?
I was a very mischievous and imaginative child, and it seemed my goal to hasten the graying of Mom’s hair by embarking on adventures such as getting married in kindergarten. That lasted all of ten minutes, ending abruptly when my mother caught my best guy friend and I exchanging wedding rings made of twisted gum wrapper foil and topped with an “ABC” gum as the gem.
Mom always said “…you’ll get your raising,” but I never understand what she meant until I had children of my own.
Amazon
Both mine and my kids’ antics are so over-the-top in the imagination department, I base my characters in all my books on our adventures and personalities.



What is your latest book?
I recently took a break from kid’s literature by penning my first parenting humor book, The Toilet’s Overflowing and the Dog is Wearing My Underwear. It’s based on the misadventures I’ve had with my children.



Tell us about all of your books?
Amelia is a nine-year-old girl who loves rolling in mud puddles (pretending their chocolate pudding) and wearing pants she created out of trash bags. Needless to say, this same very active imagination sometimes gets her into trouble.
One night, as the winds howl through the treetops, Amelia sees a spooky, bony finger tapping on the glass outside her bedroom window. Can her wild imagination save her in time, or will she be the final ingredient in a Grubby Sock Casserole?

Amelia Frump…is Cooking Up a Peanut Butter Storm:

This is the second book in the Amelia Frump series and a 2013 winner of a Purple Dragonfly Award.
I created this book based on the experiences I had with both of my grandmothers during my childhood. There was so much laughter, so many lessons learned all while helping my grandmothers in their kitchens.
I wanted to give families the opportunity, to bring them together in the kitchen and build memories.
The activity/cookbook contains bits of trivia, puzzles, coloring pages, and of course recipes featuring peanut butter.

He’s My Brother:

The diagnosis of autism devastates every member of a family, sometimes impacting siblings the hardest. Twelve-year-old Jonathan Roper is no exception. Forced to move away from everything that he's familiar so that his younger brother Cameron can get better services, Jonathan feels alone and forgotten. Can he overcome his feelings of resentment and sadness, or will Cameron's autism drive a wedge between the brothers that can't be overcome? This book also contains answers to frequently asked questions, a resource page, and more.

The Toilet’s Overflowing and the Dog is Wearing My Underwear:

In the BC (before children) years, award-winning humor author Debbie Roppolo believed parenting would be a breeze. Had she known motherhood entailed fishing cell phones from toilets and pulling cocoa puffs out of noses, she might have become a nun. Armed with a sharp wit, her stories, and the realization that parenting is sometimes a contact sport, Roppolo enlightens the reader with the knowledge that parenting is a wonderful journey, especially if the path is edged with humor.

What drew you to writing for children?
Childhood is such a wonderful, magical time. I wanted to create adventures for readers that emphasized using imagination and celebrated being a mischievous kid.

Do your stories convey themes or messages?
AMAZON
There’s so much emphasis on how people should look and act. My books emphasize believing in oneself, accepting the differences in others, finding and celebrating humor in life.

When did you have your first story published?
I’ve written for newspapers, magazines, and a few Chicken Soup for the Soul books since 2003. My dream to have a book of my own published was realized in 2010 when Amelia Frump and her Peanut Butter Loving, Imagination was published by DWB Children’s Line.


What made you decide to publish it?
At first, Amelia was rejected by more publishers than I care to admit. When I’d all but given up, my older son pointed out that I’d always said, “…you can do anything, as long as you try and put your mind to it.”
I loved that he listened to at least one thing I’d said. Grudgingly, I admitted he was right, and continued to submit the story until it was contracted.

You once wanted to be a vet. What happened to that dream?
Two of my father’s friends were vets, my cousin was a wildlife biologist, and I spent a lot of time with those three gentlemen. As a result, anything concerning animals and veterinary medicine fascinated me and I thought I’d become a vet.
Events have a way of changing the mind, and the vet dream faded during my college years when my palomino mare showed up at the barn with huge gashes and scratches on her—she’d been attacked by a mountain lion.  My dad’s vet friend offered a simple solution--I was to peel the scabs off the horse every day and wash it with a weak solution of Dawn dish soap and water.
Sounds simple, right?  I almost passed out the next day when I heard the sound of the first scab peeling off the hair.  My mother finished the job that day (and for the next week) and my dreams of being a famous animal surgeon disappeared faster than the spilled water on the parched ground. 
Debbie, you have written a book on autism. Tell us about it?
The inspiration for He’s My Brother is based on a conversation I had with my older son Jonathan. After we received the diagnosis of autism for my younger son Joseph, all the attention shifted from being given equally to both children to just Joseph. We were dealing with finding the appropriate therapies, and dealing with our emotions. As a result, Jonathan’s needs were sidelined. When I noticed a change in his behavior, I talked with him, and he admitted he was as devastated as we were, but felt there was no one to voice his fears to. And he was resentful, because in a sense, his life was turned upside down, and he felt forgotten.
Jonathan pointed out that there were several siblings of special needs children he knew that felt the same as he did—alone, scared, and forgotten.
The book is about a boy dealing with the same feelings as Jonathan and how he coped with them. He’s My Brother also contains answers to frequently asked questions, a resource page about autism and more.

I love your story, Klutzin’ Around the Christmas Tree! Tell us about it and your other stories for adults?
Amazon
Thank you, JD! I have all the grace of a gazelle on ice. “Klutzin’ Around the Christmas Tree” is a tale of my attempts to give the family a “perfect” Christmas, all beginning with my late night trimming of the tree. And yes, my cat still runs every time she sees the decoration box come out of storage.
My father always stressed that it was important to have a good sense of humor. He was a hard-working, well respected man, but I never took his advice to heart until I had a family of my own.
It's obvious that I live in an Erma Bombeck-type family. In the past I've gotten my hand caught in a turkey rump (dead and prepped, but raw), received a broken nose courtesy of my younger son, and years ago stopped my toddler from playing dot-to-dot on the Dalmatian with a permanent marker.

I learned as a young parent, that either I could laugh at my family's antics, or sit huddled in a corner, feasting on booty stolen from a Hershey's truck.

I wanted other parents to realize that humor can be found in any situation, that they're not alone, and thus the reason for my book, The Toilet's Overflowing, and the Dog is Wearing My Underwear.

Debbie, tell us about the book or books that have won awards?
Amelia Frump…is Cooking Up a Peanut Butter Storm (the activity/cookbook) was the second place winner of the Purple Dragonfly book award in 2013. It was especially a sweet moment because the book was inspired by the relationship with my grandmothers.
Cooking is my second passion, and as a result of my grandmothers’ tutoring in the kitchen, I’m an eight-time award-winning baker. One of the recipes (“Polka Dot Brownies”) in the cookbook is an award-winner.

Was there any particular book or author who influenced you? 
When I was a child, Beverly Cleary captured my interest with all of her Ramona books. Ramona Quimby was a mischievous young lady, getting into the same troubles I did at that age, and that made the story believable and appealing to me.
Because of that style of writing, I too wanted to create a child that wasn’t perfect…someone that children could easily relate to.

Who do you read? 
I still like to reach for Cleary’s books, but now Erma Bombeck is my author of choice. She did an excellent job of taking parenting experiences and making them into humorous, believable tales.

Do you have a new project?
Currently, in my spare time, I’m working on a third Amelia book and a second cookbook.
If you’d like to connect, you can find me at:
debbieroppolo.weebly.com
Facebook.com/debbie.roppolo
Twitter: @debbieroppolo
And you can find my books at the publisher’s site: http://www.dancingwithbearpublishing.com/bookshelf.htm and http://www.dwbchildrensline.com/booksforlittlepaws.htm , Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online bookstores
Debbie's site: http://debbieroppolo.weebly.com/
Thank you so much, Debbie, for coming on my blog. I always enjoy talking with you, my friend!   Sincerely, JD

Thank you for having me. It’s always a pleasure!  ~Debbie

The Book Report: In A Nut Shell> Charm School by Nelson DeMille

The Book Report: In A Nut Shell!

Since the end of the Vietnam war, there has always been the rumor that the USSR had taken downed pilots from the Viet Cong to Russia. While no one, that we know of, knows for sure is pilots were abandon this is where the USA's 'no man left behind' movement came from. Many authors have used this premise in stories over the years. I, myself have two short stories based on it.

Just when you think the USA is about to do the right thing by service man and women left behind, you just might be wrong, AGAIN, at least in this book, Charm School!  From how the embassy finds out about this infamous school to how the men and women lived for years shows DeMille's genius and his masterful plotting which not all authors have.  Charm School if not the first of Nelson DeMille's books, it's one of his early books. I think it is his best!


MORE on Nelson DeMille:



Book review of The Brownstone On West 53Rd Street, Rehearsal Club Memoir: In A Nut Shell!

THE BOOK REPORT.
In A Nut Shell!

The Brownstone On West 53Rd Street, Rehearsal Club Memoir by Lora Mitchell










Lora Mitchell’s well-written memoir, The Brownstone On West 53Rd Street, Rehearsal Club Memoir, is an eye opener into the show business world in which she worked. The book is heart-warming even through the sometimes emotional distress and you see clearly through Lora’s eyes how life just moves you forward no matter what happens. We all heard about the hardships and demands on women models and actresses and I never acquainted it to my own teen years, but this book puts you right there and you see that there are comparisons that all young women share.
 For me, I was taken back to a time in my life, that at the time, I never knew I would miss. NOT that I had an exciting life, far from it, especially with Lora’s opportunity to work with the famous in her industry. But there were similarities in the innocence of youth, the friendships that were formed with women, men and teachers, the hard work and studying, and going full steam ahead while not knowing what to expect--and enjoying life. While many people around me only dreamed of having such a life it was a world we all knew about among my friends and family just living 13 miles away, over the George Washington Bridge in Paterson, New Jersey.


 I sincerely enjoyed this book like none other I have ever read! 



That's  The Brownstone On West 53Rd Street, Rehearsal Club Memoir, in a Nut Shell!          ~JD




My Interview with Lora Mitchell: http://jdswritersblog.blogspot.com/2016/04/a-talk-with-professional-actress-singer.html

Artist And Children's Book Author, Jan Britland

Jan Britland is an artist and children's book author.. The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog started with a dog that was tied to a tree in Jan's New Jersey neighborhood. The dog would climb up into the tree if it was raining or if it was hot to keep cool. As she would drive her children to school, Jan would make up stories about "Rodger Dodger" and the adventures he would have up in the tree.
bulldogs Duncan and Madison, a parrot Lola and two red-eared turtles Sparky and Chip, all of whom are portrayed in her stories
Jan's children, who now have children of their own, wanted to have the stories written down to read to their children. Jan agreed to write the stories after reading a book to her grandson Dalton who upon completion of the book asked "Gammy, what does it mean??" The book had no beginning, middle or end. The book essentially was disjointed words with no story or rhyme.
The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog are written in rhyme with a beginning, middle and end. They are written to entertain you and your children.
The first of the adventures is, Talented Dog, and from there the adventures grew to twenty one. Covering some of life's more notable experiences like going to the doctor, the dentist, Rodgers birthday party, and Camp Tee Hee, just to name a few. They are all engaging and humorous.
 The first book contains three adventures: The Talented Dog, The Clever Dog and The Strongest Dog.
The Illustrations by Mike Swaim are absolutely amazing, bringing Rodger Dodger and his pals alive with all of the action you would expect from a children's adventure picture book.
The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog are sure to become a favorite of all who read it.

Hi Jan, so glad to get this opportunity to speak with you again. 


1. What drew you to writing for children? 
Writing for children was something I had never planned on doing.  I was writing down the stories I used to tell my children so they could share them with their children.  I decided to get them illustrated and I put them in book form before sending them to my grand children.  When they got them they loved the stories and the illustrations so they shared them with their classes at school.  The teachers at the schools loved them and they encouraged me to get them published. I decided to give it a go and I haven't looked back.  It has been such a rewarding "Adventure" I can't remember anything I have ever loved doing as much as I love reading my books to children.

2. Tell us about the real Rodger Dodger? 
The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog started with a dog that was tied to a tree in my New Jersey neighborhood. The dog would climb up into the tree if it was raining or if it was hot to keep cool. While driving my children to school, I would make up stories about "Rodger Dodger" and the adventures he would have up in the tree. My children, who now have children of their own, wanted to have the stories written down to read to their children. I agreed to write the stories after reading another author's book to my grandson, Dalton that he didn't understand upon completion the story and asked "Gammy, what does it mean?”

3. When did the storyteller in you surface?
 I have always loved writing stories as far back as I can remember.  I have a wild imagination, but was always too busy with work and family to get anything published.

4. Tell us about your books in The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog series?
 All of the books are written in rhyme with action packed, colorful illustrations. The first book "The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog" features three short stories .The first "Talented Dog" is how Rodger Dodger Dog climbs a tree only to meet someone else "his size" up in the tree.  What happens next is a surprise.  The second story "Clever Dog," is how Rodger Dodger dog goes to the beach and finds a stranded fish.  He has to figure out how to get the fish back into the sea.  The third "Strongest Dog" is how Rodger Dodger Dog battles the dreaded flea. 

The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog, a Christmas Story, is about how Rodger Dodger Dog and some of his friends get together and put up their first Christmas tree.They make the ornaments themselves and decorate the tree.  When Christmas morning arrives they see all the presents Santa has left under their tree.  After a few minutes they realize that "of all the gifts you can get, friends and family are the best!"  It is truly a great Christmas story that lets children realize that family and friends are the most important parts of our lives!

The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog, Rodger saves Bunny is about bullying. Rodger has been chasing Bunny for fun for months!  He doesn't realize that Bunny is terrorized by him.  Then he finds Bunny passed out in the woods and brings his "friend" home to nurse back to health.  When Bunny wakes up Rodger is shocked to find out that Bunny is actually afraid of him.  It helps children realize that when they play with others they must always be sure everyone is having fun!!

The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog, Rodgers Birthday Surprise has all the characters in the series in the story.  They decide to give Rodger a surprise birthday party and they even get the lightning bugs to light up the tent.  They have their cake and ice cream, play games and Bunny and Rudy entertain them with their silly tunes!!   The flea is also in this book hiding in the illustrations.

The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog, Rodger meets Dr. Glee tells the tale of how Rodger wakes up with his tongue too large, his head too smalll and his tummy doesn't feel good at all.  So he calls to Bunny to calls the fox and they call Rudy asleep in his box.  The friends decide to take Rodger to Dr. Glee who is working at the zoo, but he will be their quite late because the hedgehog has been sneezing and is in an awful state!  The friends get Rodger to the zoo and Dr. Glee figures out what is wrong with him and treats him with a pill. By the time they get Rodger home he is happy he took the pill and so thankful for his friends and Dr. Glee.

The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog, Rodger goes to the dentist starts with Rodger waking up with a pain in his sharp tooth.  When he goes to move the pain goes through the roof!!  As he lays on the porch barely able to breathe Mack the cat come up to see him  Mack tells Rodger about Dr. Glee the dentist.  Rodger gets all excited and says I know Dr. Glee he fixed me when I had the green flu.  Mack tells Rodger that this Dr. Glee just works on teeth the flu Dr. Glee is his brother! Mack and Rodger start out for the dentists office and run into the fox and the papergirl who has just finished her route!  They climb into the baskets on her bike and they take off!  The flea is back in this book hiding in some of the illustrations!!!  

There is also The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog Activities Book with fun puzzles and coloring pages.  There is a page for each story book with comprehension questions complete with little clips from the illustrations on them so children learn that they not only have to learn to read, they have to remember what they read!!   
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5. How have you come up with the other characters in the books?
I love this question, believe it or not at one time or another I have had all these animals as pets.  Right now I have a bulldog, parrot, turtles, goldfish and a lizard.  I had to put all the pets that I have had in the books.  I loved them all and they deserve a place together in the books.

6. Does the series have a theme or message that runs through them?
I never intended them to have a message.  I wrote them just for fun, but I realized after listening to teacher comments, they do have a theme or message.  From problem solving in the first book, to no bullying in Rodger saves Bunny, the books take on the problems and experiences that children may face day to day and address them and solve them in a fun way!

7. I know that Illustrator, Mike Swaim illustrates your books. With you being an artist as well as an author, why didn’t you do your own illustrations?
  While it is true I am an artist and even teach oil painting, I realized I didn't have the talent to "Bring Rodger To Life."  Because these are the Adventures of, I wanted a lot of action in the illustrations so I found cartoonist Mike Swaim and he had just the right skills and thought process to bring Rodger alive!  I send him the manuscript and what I see for that page and he does the rest.  I can only think of a few instances that we have had to change something.  It has been a pleasure to work with him...by the way I have never met him.  He lives in Texas and I live in Florida.  We do it all by e-mail!

8. Do you write in any other genre?
  I have another book out  the title is "I Know A Secret."  It's about a young boy who wakes up and the electric is off and he doesn't know what to do...so he ends up staring at his right shoe!  His little sister tells us I know a secret and you know it too there are so many things Dalton Foster could do...  He could take a bus ride to the Bronx Zoo and have a talk with a camel or two.  He could dive into the ocean to find sunken treasure, he could travel the world all the miles he could measure!  His little sister goes on to list a bunch of fun things he could do... if he just read a book like me and like you!!

9. Was there any particular children’s author or authors who influenced you? 
 Unfortunately when I was young I was so dyslexic I couldn't read until the 5th grade.  I was barely able to get by.  It was then that my teacher Miss. Evelyn Caldwell stayed late and came in early every day to teach me to read.  She changed my life and others as well.  When I started to read it was mysteries that caught my interest, they are like solving a puzzle. I loved Agatha Christie's work and all her characters.

10. What advice do you have for starting out children’s writers?
  If I could give anyone who is writing a children's book for the first time advice it is keep at it, get a good editor and don't listen to anyone who says you can't do it.  I never dreamed that I would be having this much fun working at something I love and if I had given up all I would have is a box full of manuscripts instead of a heart full of great memories of the children and teachers I have met along the way!

11. What genres and authors do you read yourself?
I usually read mysteries, right now I am reading Lee Childs Jack Reacher series. The John Sanford books, love, love Clive Cussler, there are so many but these are the most recent and the ones who keep producing new books that keep me coming back for more. I read several books a month.

12. What are you working on now?
 Right now I am writing the Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog as a chapter book for the children who missed them in their rhyming text as little ones.  They will come out early next year.  I am really excited about them because of all the detail I am able to add to the stories.  It truly is a labor of love.

Thank you so much, Jan for doing this interview.  I've read all The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog series and loved them very much! They are among my favorite children's books and I recommend them to parents. Their children will live them too!    ~JD
http://www.rodgerdodgerdog.com/Store/Store.html


Find Jan Britland and her books at:


IN THE SERIES:

The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog, A Christmas Story: A Christmas Story


The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog, Rodger saves Bunny

The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog: Rodger meets Dr. Glee


The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog, Rodger's Birthday Surprise!: Rodger's Birthday Surprise! http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Rodger-Rodgers-Birthday-Surprise/dp/1479325015


The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog: First Adventure


Other books by Jan Britland: 

The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog Activities Book


I Know A Secret 





A Talk With Professional Actress, Singer, Model and AUTHOR, Lora Mitchell

Amazon
The moment Lora Mitchell sets foot on the stimulating, exciting rich land of culture, concrete and skyscrapers, it's an immediate love affair. Walk with her down the streets of the early 1960's as she paints a captivating picture of the spirit of the city, the landscape, its people, different neighborhoods and certain ethnic foods, which puzzle her.  A desire to begin a theatrical career, young, naive, unsophisticated, Lora moves into the Rehearsal Club, a safe-haven sanctuary for young, aspiring actresses model where she lives for two years.  During that time, she experiences the heartbreaking JFK tragedy and travels with four other Club members to Washington, DC for the funeral. 
Lora began a second career as a published writer. Lora won 1st prize for her poem in an anthology titled: LOVE IN NEW YORK and enjoys writing Flash Fiction short stories in the eBook titled: MISTY BLUE. Her eBook II is titled: TIME SPEAKS. (Both eBooks are collections of 100-Word Flash Fiction Short Stories). 
Lora Mitchell

Based on a personal journal and a 30-yr. career as a SAG/AFTRA/AEA actress/model, THE BROWNSTONE ON WEST 53RD STREET: Rehearsal Club Memoir, Lora writes of her studies with famous drama and dance teachers, including anecdotes of her Club housemates, celebrities and male friends. She also reveals poignant secrets of her closest roommates and how they affected her in a way she never expected. Lora also has short stories and poems in books/ anthologies titled: TREASURED MEMORIES, ROCKIN' CHAIR COWBOYS, SWEET DREAM MAKERS, FLASH FICTION (1 photo, 50 Authors, 100 Words), plus 2 pieces in the book SIX-WORD MEMOIRS ON LOVE AND HEARTBREAK. Another 6-word memoir was published in AARP's MODERN MATURITY MAGAZINE. Lora has several future writing projects. Lora also won 2nd prize for a flash fiction children's short story titled: LITTLE CHICK.

Hi Lora, Thank you so much for doing this interview! I admire you greatly! I read THE BROWNSTONE ON WEST 53RD STREETRehearsal Club Memoir, which I LOVE. Your stories are heart warming and took me back  to a time in my own life that at the time I never thought I would miss.



Tell us more about your professional acting, singing and modeling career.

 Where do I begin? Like most kids, living in a small town, I did not grow up wanting a professional career…didn’t even know what that was. I had no idea what I wanted to be or do. 
It was really a fluke how my career began. After high school, I acquired a secretarial job in a nearby city and lived at the residential YWCA; a place I loved. One weekend, in the community kitchen, I met the most striking female I had ever seen. More beautiful than all the gorgeous Hollywood movie stars I had long admired. Long, shoulder-length blond hair, peachy skin, sandals, Daisy-Mae, cut off short jeans and blouse tied at the waist. No makeup or fingernail polish. She took my breath away. We chatted and became fast friends. I soon learned that she was not only a busy model and famous Breck girl but the local beauty pageant winner who competed in the Ms. America contest. Was I impressed? You bet.  
I have no idea what she saw in me sitting there eating my burger …but she obviously did because in a few days, she took it upon herself to spend time with this average-looking secretary…and transformed her into someone I didn’t recognize. She worked on me every day… after work and on weekends. I thought it was fun girly stuff, but she had an ulterior motive which I was not privy to at the time. Makeup lessons, hair-coloring from drab brown to blonde, modeling poses, manicures and wardrobe shopping which included a demure one-piece bathing suit. 
I soon learned she was recruiting girls for the next local beauty pageant and set her eyes on me. Terrified, I balked. Except for singing a simple duet in the high school variety show, I had no formal training, so she gave me a few lessons. How did I ever get the nerve to go on? But I did and became 1st runner-up. That led to various modeling jobs and singing on weekends with a local band. I was so excited and hooked on this new career, my boyfriend at the time, horrified by the attention I was getting, broke off with me.
A week or so after the pageant, my beautiful, generous mentor married her sweetheart and moved to another state. I never saw her again. About a year or two later, I moved to another city, auditioned for summer-stock and appeared in a series of musicals.  At the end of the season, the musical director from New York told me I was wasting my talent in that small city and recommended that I move to New York City to pursue a career. And that’s exactly what I did. I studied with top acting teachers, famous dance teachers, etc. and began auditioning and working professionally.


What were some of the pitfalls you ran into in your acting career?


I was aware of the pitfalls from the very beginning and managed to shield myself by being instinctive, intuitive and alert, but there were two incidents that caught me off guard. I managed to escape each incident with my pride, reputation and dignity intact.
Amazon
Early on in my career, the first one was an upsetting episode with a middle-aged, crude, cigar-chopping, summer stock Actors Equity producer who fooled me into believing I was cast and signed to principal and secondary roles. But upon reading the contract more closely, I learned I was to be a non-salaried apprentice. When I asked about housing accommodations, he told me there was no ample housing for the entire cast, so I would be rooming with him !!!  Trembling, I shredded the contract in his presence, walked out and took a taxi to Actors Equity to report him.
The second incident was later in my career, after I was long established in the business, when a well-known casting director foolishly tried the casting couch bit in his office. I say foolish, because he was in business with the man I was currently dating and there would have been serious repercussions had I reported his behavior. However, I did report both men to Actors Equity.



Is there any advice you would give to young people who want to go into acting?

First of all, don’t be in a hurry. Get a well-rounded education. Participate in school and local productions. But most of all… be alive.  See, feel, hear, touch and observe everything around you…expand your mind, because if you are self-involved, self-centered, selfish and narrow-minded, you will fail as an actor. Study with the best teachers and coaches available. Read their books on acting. Socialize with working actors.  Don’t hang around negative actors who pipedream and talk big, but never work, because the minute you start working and building credible credits, they will despise you.  Final word. Always listen to that small voice inside you and you will never go wrong.


When did you realize you had stories to tell?

Probably during or after therapy...when I got clarity and realized what I had lived through.


What led you to writing?

Amazon
As a singer, I was first interested in lyrics. I joined a songwriter’s workshop which was comprised of lyricists and young composers. It was exciting and thrilling the first time I heard my simple lyrical poem set to music. We then took the music into a studio, hired a singer and made a demo. About the same time, a neighbor/friend told me he was collecting short poems about love for an anthology he was publishing and asked if I would like to send him something. I submitted a simple ditty and forgot about it until I received a copy of the book titled: “Love in New York” with an invitation to the book reading and award banquet. To my amazement, my simple, little ditty won First Prize.  Long out-of-print, I still have my copy…ragged that it is.  I went back to my acting career, wrote and produced a few plays. When family tragedies interrupted my art, I did not attempt to write again until 2008, nine years later.




I'm a short story writer myself. Why did you decide to write short stories?

It all happened with Facebook. Larry Smith posted something about a book he was publishing, seeking 6-word memoirs. I submitted a few. He chose two … a 3-word memoir and a 6-word memoir and published it in his book titled: Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak (by writers famous and obscure). I then submitted a 6-word memoir to AARP’s magazine, which was also was published. About the same time, a FB member mentioned an on-line writing group called Friday Fictioneers. Writers from all over the world submitted 100-Word Flash Fiction Short Stories based on the same photo prompt. Eventually, I gathered my stories and put them into two eBooks for Amazon.com. Then a woman/writer from Texas posted…asking for short stories for her short story anthology. I submitted one or two and she accepted them. She then requested add’l short stories for her next book and published those as well.  I realized how much I loved writing short stories.


On the set of Blondes Prefer Gentlemen, filmed at the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. The cinamaphotographer is lighting me for my close up


Do most of your stories convey themes or messages? 

I’m aware that I do convey themes and messages in my Flash Fiction Short Stories.


What were some of the pitfalls you ran into in your writing career?

None so far. Probably because I am self-publishing.


Tell us about your books TIME SPEAKS, MISTY BLUE and THE BROWNSTONE ON WEST 53RD ST. (REHEARSAL CLUB MEMOIR)?

MISTY BLUE is my first eBook, A collection of the 100-word Flash Fiction Short Stories I wrote for Friday Fictioneers. Most stories are inspirational in nature.
TIME SPEAKS is my second eBook. Another collection of 100-word Flash Fiction Short Stories. A few stories are extracted from Friday Fictioneers but most are original. Many are memory pieces based on my life, career and people I have known.
THE BROWNSTONE ON WEST 53RD STREET (REHEARSAL CLUB MEMOIR)
BROWNSTONE is based on a personal journal I kept while living at the Rehearsal Club for 2 years; a safe-haven for young aspiring actresses.
 When I first arrive in my adopted city, NYC, I invite the reader to walk down the path with me as I discover its wonders and begin a theatrical career. I include anecdotes of my famous teachers, celebrities, male friends, Club housemates and close roommates.



What other writing credits do you have?



SHORT STORIES published in the following collections and anthologies:

TREASURED MEMORIES – Short story anthology

ROCKIN’ CHAIR COWBOYS – Short story anthology

FLASH FICTION (1 Photo, 50 Authors, 100-Words

SIX-WORD MEMOIRS ON LOVE AND HEARTBREAK

(2 Pieces)

SHORT STORY TITLED: “THE SHACK” - Smith Magazine (On-line)
AARP’S MODERN MATURITY MAGAZINE (A 6-word memoir)
FRIDAY FICTIONEER FLASH FICTION SHORT STORIES posted on my Blog…www.triplemoonstar.blogspot.com

POETRY
SWEET DREAM MAKERS – A poetry anthology
LOVE IN NEW YORK (Prize-winning poem).


Was there any particular book or author who influenced you?

Being an avid reader, I would say several but I’d like to single out the Pulitzer Prize winner (1996), New York Times national correspondent, Rick Bragg and his heartfelt memoir titled: All Over but the Shoutin.’

Lora with Joltin' Joe. Yankee slugger, Joe D'Maggio 
while filming the Bowery Savings Bank TV commercial together  


What authors or type of books do you read?

I love history. For a time, I was reading anything and everything I could on WWII.  A recent favorite was Quiet Hero (Secrets from my Father’s (WWII) Past) by Rita Cosby.
 In the late 60’s, I read the epic: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich from cover to cover.   I read the bestseller: Nicholas and Alexandra … about the reign and life of the Russian Czar and never forgot it. Time willing, I would like to re-read it.
I also love re-reading the classics, such as: Wuthering Heights, Gatsby, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, To Kill a Mockingbird, Letter from an Unknown Woman, etc. I recently re-read Steinbeck’s masterpiece, “East of Eden.”

Are you writing now? 

Yes, I am writing the sequel to Brownstone.


What advice would you give your younger self?

I would not give her any advice. I would wipe her tears, give her a huge hug and thank her for being brave and staying strong against all the odds and struggles that faced her along a difficult, frightening and lonely journey. I would thank her for keeping her faith, morals and ethics and most of all, staying true to herself and always listening to that little voice inside her.


Sweet, Lora!  

Thank you so much, Lora for coming on my blog and thank you for the signed copy of THE BROWNSTONE ON WEST 53RD STREET: Rehearsal Club Memoir. As I say, loved it! 


Sincerely,
~JD
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lora's books are:
THE BROWNSTONE ON WEST 53RD STREET: Rehearsal Club Memoir

Ebook:

http://www.amazon.com/BROWNSTONE-WEST-53RD-STREET-Rehearsal-ebook/dp/B017A6XKY4/

Paper: http://www.amazon.com/Brownstone-West-53rd-Street/dp/1329664388







Misty Blue

A collection of 100-Word Flash Fiction Short Stories by Lora Mitchell.

Time Speaks

A collection of 100-Word Flash Fiction Short Stories by Lora Mitchell
Also find Lora at:
    ~JD











The Authors' Words

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Posted by JD Holiday on Sunday, June 15, 2014







The Authors' Words


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