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Review: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder @ATTPAC in Dallas

Opening Night Ovation   The national tour of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder received a well-deserved standing ovation last night in Dallas, Texas at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. It was easy to see why this Tony Award winning musical received so many accolades – including winning Best Musical and Best Book – when it debuted in 2014! Lighthearted Black Humor While the story revolves around a series of murders conducted by a ruthless serial killer, it’s actually a comical show that keeps you smiling and laughing from start to finish. Fans of “Arsenic & Old Lace,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Clue” will instantly connect with…

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Thanks for Pushing Me Over the Edge!

Phew! Wow! Where to begin? I’m pretty overwhelmed, but in a good way.  For starters, my Kickstarter Project was fully funded!!! I hated asking for financial help, and it was a really close call, but a few angel supporters swooped in at the last minute and pushed my campaign over the edge.  (And yes, I learned a lot from running that campaign, but that’s a topic for a future blog post.)   Major Heartfelt Thank You! Right now my main goal is to offer a hearty THANK YOU!!! to all 24 people who contributed to my Kickstarter: Brian Treybig Patricia Lynne…

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Biting off more than I can chew?

What is IWSG? IWSG stands for “Insecure Writers Support Group.” It’s a monthly check-in for writers of all stripes. Its creator, Alex J. Cavanaugh, describes ISWG like this: “Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!” – Alex J. Cavanaugh Stepping out of my DIY comfort zone:   So IWSG peeps, here’s what’s up with me this month. My current insecurity is that I may have bitten…

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My Kickstarter Campaign for a Book, Photo Show & Music CD

2016 Writer in Residence I haven’t mentioned it in a while, but I was chosen to be the 2016 Writer in Residence for Tarleton State University’s Langdon Review Weekend – and it’s coming right up! (Click here to read a blog post about last year’s Langdon Review Weekend.) The Langdon Review Weekend is an amazing annual literary conference, and I am super thrilled and honored to be their resident writer! My residency starts on August 27th. I’ll be staying in the gorgeous historic town of Granbury, Texas for two whole weeks with the sole purpose of creating and reaching out to the community. Brainstorm I’ve been brainstorming recently about what…

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Disney’s Beauty & the Beast @ATTPAC in Dallas

Disney’s Beauty & the Beast If you have any little princesses or princes in your immediate family, you absolutely must head over to the AT&T Performing Arts Center before Disney’s Beauty & the Beast leaves town! This entertaining musical, based on the animated 1991 Disney movie, portrays the classic fairy tale in a lush and lively style that will keep viewers of all ages highly entertained. A Tale as Old as Time… Disney’s Beauty and the Beast tells the story of Belle, a young woman who lives in a small town where her love of reading makes her a nerdy oddball. Every other…

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Review: Beautiful, The Carole King Musical in Dallas #BeautifulOnTour

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway   When a major recording artist is featured in a jukebox musical, you can pretty much guess which songs will be recorded – or so I thought before attending Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. The national tour of this Tony Award winning show opened in Dallas, Texas last night to a packed house at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. Not just Carole King songs Beautiful includes plenty of Carole King songs, but what surprised me was how many other familiar tunes came along for the ride. For instance, I didn’t know Carole King and her…

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Review: Cabaret Musical in Dallas @ATTPAC #CabaretTour

Cabaret – surprisingly timely What could possibly be timely about a 50-year-old musical set in Berlin during Hitler’s rise to power? What, indeed. Had I seen Cabaret a year ago, I would have enjoyed it, but seeing it during the 2016 election cycle as we argue over transgender bathroom rights, immigration and religious freedom made this musical even more powerful, and rather unsettling! (In retrospect, I shouldn’t be surprised. John Kander and Fred Ebb, the same songwriting duo responsible for Chicago, another musical set in a different time period that also has uncanny modern day parallels, wrote the songs in Cabaret.) Set during the Weimar…

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Mysterious Knights of Elberta, Alabama’s Piney Woods

Join me for an A to Z Road Trip! I’m taking you on a road trip with me by sharing travel photos for this year’s A to Z Blog Challenge. So come along as we explore some of my favorite offbeat, overlooked and just plain interesting places in Texas… and beyond!   Today is letter K: Knights of Elberta, Alabama’s Piney Woods Remember Elberta’s Dinosaurs? If you read my post for the letter D, then you may remember me mentioning the whimsical fiberglass artwork of sculptor Mark Cline. (If not, click here: Quirky Dinosaur Sculptures in Elberta, Alabama.) My husband, Larry, and…

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Johnnie Brown, South Florida’s Famous Jazz Age Monkey

Join me for an A to Z Road Trip! I’m taking you on a road trip with me by sharing travel photos for this year’s A to Z Blog Challenge. So come along as we explore some of my favorite offbeat, overlooked and just plain interesting places in Texas… and beyond!   Today is letter J: Johnnie Brown, the Jazz Age Monkey Monkey on one shoulder, a parrot on the other Throughout the Roaring Twenties, Addison Mizner was an eccentric south Florida architect and man about town. Of his many quirks, Mizner was especially known for his menagerie, which included raccoons, macaws,…

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Shopping for Inmate Made Goods at Arizona’s Prison Outlet Store #quirky #travel

Join me for an A to Z Road Trip! I’m taking you on a road trip with me by sharing travel photos for this year’s A to Z Blog Challenge. So come along as we explore some of my favorite offbeat, overlooked and just plain interesting places in Texas… and beyond!   Today is letter I: Inmate Made Goods at Arizona’s Prison Outlet Store Unique shopping experience One of the most unusual shopping experiences I ever had was browsing the shelves of the Prison Outlet Store in Florence, Arizona. At first glance, it looks like any other old timey store you…

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Historic Haunted Hotels of Texas

Join me for an A to Z Road Trip! I’m taking you on a road trip with me by sharing travel photos for this year’s A to Z Blog Challenge. So come along as we explore some of my favorite offbeat, overlooked and just plain interesting places in Texas… and beyond!   Today is letter H: Haunted Historic Hotels Staying at hotels and motels is an exciting part of any road trip. And some of the most interesting hotels I’ve stayed at have boasted guests who never checked out! Here are a few of my favorite historic haunted hotels in Texas:…

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Gorgeous Greek Monastery in Arizona

Join me for an A to Z Road Trip! I’m taking you on a road trip with me by sharing travel photos for this year’s A to Z Blog Challenge. So come along as we explore some of my favorite offbeat, overlooked and just plain interesting places in Texas… and beyond!   Today is letter G: Greek Monastery in Arizona St Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery In 1995, six Greek monks from Athos, Greece moved to the countryside near Florence, Arizona and created a beautiful monastery. Called St Anthony’s, the monastery features garden pathways, fountains, citrus orchards, olive groves, chapels, guest quarters,…

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Fire Dancers at the Mai Kai Tiki Bar in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Join me for an A to Z Road Trip! I’m taking you on a road trip with me by sharing travel photos for this year’s A to Z Blog Challenge. So come along as we explore some of my favorite offbeat, overlooked and just plain interesting places in Texas… and beyond! Today is letter F: Fire Dancers at the Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale, FL I love Tiki Bars Maybe it’s from all those Gilligan’s Island episodes I watched growing up, or because of the Polynesian dance lessons I took as a teen, but whatever the reason, I absolutely love Tiki…

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Elvis Presley Statue in Shreveport, LA

Join me for an A to Z Road Trip! I’m taking you on a road trip with me by sharing travel photos for this year’s A to Z Blog Challenge. So come along as we explore some of my favorite offbeat, overlooked and just plain interesting places in Texas… and beyond! Today is letter E: Elvis Presley Statue in Shreveport, LA Elvis Presley’s first big break Even the king of rock and roll had to start somewhere! In the case of Elvis Presley, his first big break came when he played a gig at the Shreveport Municipal Memorial Auditorium. To commemorate this event,…

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Tell me about your “big but,” Simone!

What is IWSG? IWSG stands for “Insecure Writers Support Group.” It’s a monthly check-in for writers of all stripes. Its creator, Alex J. Cavanaugh, describes ISWG like this: “Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!” – Alex J. Cavanaugh My big writing fear: My big writing fear is that I won’t be able to keep up with everything. I love all my writing projects, and I do…

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Dinosaur Sculptures in the Elberta, Alabama Woods

Join me for an A to Z Road Trip! I’m taking you on a road trip with me by sharing travel photos for this year’s A to Z Blog Challenge. So come along as we explore some of my favorite offbeat, overlooked and just plain interesting places in Texas… and beyond! Today is letter D: Dinosaur Sculptures in the Elberta, Alabama Woods An Artist’s Dream Come True I’m sure many a struggling artist has daydreamed about a wealthy patron requesting their work and paying a handsome sum for it in return. Well, that’s exactly what happened to Mark Cline! Who is…

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Comic Con in Weatherford, Texas Benefits Texas Pythian Home for Children

Join me for an A to Z Road Trip! I’m taking you on a road trip with me by sharing travel photos for this year’s A to Z Blog Challenge. So come along as we explore some of my favorite offbeat, overlooked and just plain interesting places in Texas… and beyond! Today is letter C: Comic Con at Texas Pythian Home First Annual Weatherford Comic Con I had so much fun this past weekend at the first annual Weatherford Comic Con! The event took place at the Texas Pythian Home (1825 E Bankhead Dr, Weatherford, TX 76086), which is a non-profit…

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Barefoot Mailmen of Florida

Join me for an A to Z Road Trip! I’m taking you on a road trip with me by sharing travel photos for this year’s A to Z Blog Challenge. So come along as we explore some of my favorite offbeat, overlooked and just plain interesting places in Texas… and beyond! Today is letter B: Barefoot Mailmen of Florida Florida’s treacherous terrain One reason southern Florida remained sparsely populated for so long is because of its dense undergrowth. Even today, most public parks feature raised wooden boardwalks through the woods for visitors rather than mere trails. Boating, walking and swimming mailmen…

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Cemetery Roundup: Quirky Graves, Headstones & Epitaphs

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide: Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below: April Fool’s Day fun… at the cemetery? Since it’s April Fool’s Day, thought I’d share a round up of some of the more playful interments I have come across while researching my upcoming book, Messages from the Dead: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbols. In fact, this afternoon on the Para Mysteries show, Teal Gray and I will be chatting about these quirky graves, as well as recent archeological finds pertaining to Hell Hounds lore. Tune in or catch the…

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A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal *drum roll please!*

What is the April A to Z Blog Challenge? Every April, bloggers from all over the world participate in the April A to Z blog challenge, and you can too! To play along, all you do is make a blog post for each letter of the alphabet during April, then use the blog hop linky to visit as many other bloggers as you can. This will be my 4th year in a row doing the A to Z blog challenge. I keep coming back because it’s so lively and fun! Plus, it’s a great way to find interesting new blogs to read.…

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