COMING SOON!!!

COMING SOON!!! The Cary Grant Sanatorium and Playhouse - A disgraced Hollywood starlet, Donna Darling, and two-time German Army deserter, Séamus von Funck, meet in 1942 at an idyllic Ohio home for unwed mothers—or a Nazi abortion slaughterhouse, depending on who you talk to. Their love endures despite the efforts of a power-hungry congressman, an overzealous religious tabloid, and Donna's Hollywood past. (Psst, it includes Cary Grant.) They prevail despite Séamus being a suspected Nazi spy and America's first prisoner of the second World War—and also the first to escape.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

On Nick Lowe and Levon Helm

Wednesday evening I caught Nick Lowe and His Band at First Avenue. The show began with Nick and his acoustic guitar doing the fairly new "Stoplight Roses" and the Rockpile gem "Heart." Nick spoke to us between songs. Thoughtful and light-hearted, he spoke and we listened. He spoke, not like a rock star (which he ain't), but like an old pal who had been away too long. He was genuine, self-deprecating and silly throughout. Years ago, I'd seen him there with with his Cowboy Outfit and once at the Fine Line solo and one post-Rockpile show in San Francisco. It had been too long. He gave a heartfelt thanks to the recently departed Dick Clark and launched into "Cruel to Be Kind." We got his take on "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding" and, as a bonus encore, Nick's solo version of Elvis Costello's "Alison."

I spent Thursday thinking I was somehow a better person for having seen Nick Lowe again and woke up Friday to the news that Levon Helm had died. Back in 1974 ("just 18, proud and brave"), I attended my first concert: The Band at the old Civic Center, I think. Sure Robbie Robertson was the frontman, but the attraction for me was Levon Helm and his soulful, woeful voice on the drums. Again, no rock star; just a cat from Arkansas who made you feel every word he sang. The show had been advertised as "The Band and Special Guest." Early on in a wonderful show, fans rudely began chanting: "Dylan! Dylan!" Who else could the special guest be, right? Robbie calmed them with a teasing: "Maybe later" and the show rolled on, interrupted again by more Dylan chants and Robertson soothing them with: "Patience." Nonetheless, it was a fabulous show. We stuck around till the stage had been completely torn down and, of course, Dylan never showed—though I have no doubt he was backstage (yea, I'm talkin' to you, Bob!)

And so, Levon and Nick bookend my rock'n'roll experience. Not too bad. (As I write this "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" comes on Pandora. How 'bout that?) We miss you, Levon. And we'll see you next time around, Nick!

Friday, April 20, 2012

An Interview with Mary Vettel


How many writers can claim to be an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semi-finalist and have their picture on the back cover of Stephen King's new novel? Only one that I'm aware of (and that's all that counts): the multi-talented Mary Vettel! And we at Write Under Their Noses are lucky enough to have her on hand for our first ever interview.

Soon-to-be ABNA winner, THE STORY OF LAUREL BLUE STONE is a multi-cultural, young adult novel about young love, bank robbery and Navajo shape shifting. Mr. King is a writer who can no doubt use the increase in sales generated by Ms. Vettel's photo on his book jacket.


Q: Technically speaking, do you write from an outline, from the hip, or use an app?

MV: app, schmapp. A melange of flexible outline and the hip. *bursts into song: The hipbone connected to the outline* [that was for your entertainment, not public consumption]

Sorry, the musical interlude stays (you didn't say 'off the record' before breaking into song). Now, on to your photo on Stephen King's book. Q: At the risk (and in hope) of sparking a scandal, just what is your relationship with Mr. King?

MV: We're just good friends.

Q: Who are your favorite authors (besides Mr. King and myself)?

MV: Actually I prefer you over Mr. King. [honest] Now, can I be on the back cover of your book? [kidding] Admire P.G. Wodehouse, John Hughes, Marian Keyes, Helen Simonson, and Elizabeth Berg.

Q: After the 7-figure book contract, the inevitable movie deal, speaking engagements and action figures, will you be content to pay the proposed 30% millionaires tax or will you fight for a more Romney-like 14%?

MV: I will say unequivocally that I will gladly pay the 30% millionaires tax - then have my fat cat lawyer/accountant find those loopholes...er...legitimate tax exemptions enabling me to hold onto as much of the pot of gold as possible.

Q: My best guess is that you are not of Native American descent, yet the book is full of very believable folklore from this Zuni tribe of New Mexico. Is this all exhaustive research or did you travel extensively through the Southwest or, again, did you use an app?

MV: App. schmapp! I did exhaustive research and traveled extensively in the Southwest in my imagination. I'd love to visit that part of the country, but have many fears, some more crippling than others. [There are 46 varieties of snakes there, and even though only 9 are poisonous...that's enough for me, scorpions there can perform stunts not unlike Evel Knievel, whereas I cannot. Am not liking those odds.]

With a movie being a foregone conclusion, we have a question from one of our regular contributors, Johnny "Bad Glove" Hand [see photos on left]. Q: What Caucasian actress (from any era) do you see cosmetically altering their skin color and donning a braid to play Laurel?


MV: Thank you for that question, Mr.. Hand. Big fan of yours, by the way. Actually, Mr. Hand, I think young Miss Vanessa Hudgens could do it. (Her father is part Irish/part Native American.)

Q: Finally, one last question. You write in multiple genres from middle grade to adult, Elizabethan to Western. Can't find your niche? Can't control your Muse? Or—now be honest—do you have an array of apps that you plug-in whenever necessary?

MV: You and your bloody apps! Were I feeling particularly petulant I would say my muse has a multipersonality dissociative disorder. But not wishing to besmirch the good name of my generous and loyal muse, I'd just say rather than being pigeon-holed into one particular niche, I like to challenge myself. Variety is the spice of something, no?

LIFE! Yes, we have life. Thank you, Mary, for bringing life to this dusty old blog. Try here for more on Mary Vettel.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bad medicine indeed!

And today a second review. Mary Vettel's THE STORY OF LAUREL BLUE STONE, an ABNA entry. That's Amazon's Breakthrough Novel contest that offers publication for the winner. And the winner should be this one.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

On Easing into the 21st Century

Ordered my first book from Amazon (so I could review a friend's book), signed up on Smashwords to review a poem here, bought tickets online to see Nick Lowe (and printed them myself for a $4.25 "convenience fee" each—won't make that mistake again); all this week. Even thinkin' about a cell phone!

Oh, and today marks six years of sobriety for your humble part-time blogger.