Showing posts from September, 2015

Elsie Fest 2015

Today--Sunday, September 27th--my friend Jess and I went to Pier 97 on the West Side Highway in Manhattan to attend the first annual Elsie Fest (named after Sally's friend in Cabaret)! Elsie Fest was organized by Darren Criss from Glee and it was a music festival for musical theater.

We arrived around 2 pm, wandered around the grounds a bit (stage there, facing the Hudson River; porta potties down there, three food trucks over there, lots of bar places--and all the way at the back, a piano, bar, and musicals singalong).

This is what the stage looked like:

At 2:20, the first performer went on: Tony winner Lea Salonga, who starred in Miss Saigon as well as Les Miserables and was also the singing voice of Mulan and Princess Jasmine!

Amazon Keywords

Back in June, just after I put Pearl up on Amazon, I came across a thread on AbsoluteWrite discussing keywords.

Amazon keywords are important because they help potential readers find your work. Also, the more niche you can get with the keywords, the more likely it is that your book's rank will be higher, which makes it more visible to more people. Now, how Amazon's Super Secret Algorithm works is unknown, so the rank of your book doesn't necessarily correlate to sales.

When you upload your book and begin the process of filling out the basic information (your author name, your title, uploading the cover, assuring that you hold the rights), Amazon also asks you to choose a basic category.

As you can see, some are very broad (General, Action and Adventure) and others are more specific (Amish and Mennonite, for instance. Lower down, there's a category for Black Humor).

Family History Mysteries

My cousin Liz went on a three-week long study abroad course to Belfast, Northern Ireland this summer--and she brought me back this book.

I should probably explain. I appointed myself the family historian.

This is for a couple of reasons: 1) I love history. 2) I'm a masochist (hehe) and 3) Since I basically have to explain my ethnic origins every ten minutes, I might as well know as much about them as I can find out.

I can already tell you that I'm not ready to write a family history any time soon.

The earliest ancestor I've been able to trace (mind you, this is almost all on the Irish side of the family because I can't read Japanese and those records aren't online anyway) is Peggy Mulroy, born in 1791, death date unknown. She's my 4th great-grandmother.

Otherwise, I've been able to trace a few cousins, at least out to the third degree.

But the fact is, I don't know a lot about any of my ancestors beyond a certain point (so, my great-grandparents, who a…

5 More Things I've Learned About Writing Recently

1. Writing friends are awesome

My first college writing professor told me that while writing is a solitary occupation, writers still need people. I didn't quite believe her. Sorry, Professor Triant, wherever you are. You were right. In the past couple of years, through blogs and writing forums, I have made writing friends. We met for an online chat recently and although we were helping one of the girls work out the plot for a story, I ended up writing more of the novel I've been so on-and-off about this year because I felt inspired to get back to it.

2. Sometimes, you just gotta cut and paste.

I was working on the novel last week when parts of it struck me in such the wrong way. I realized that really, one part of the story was working a little bit more at this stage and the other parts read like I forget how to write.

So I cut and pasted one half of the story into another document, to be looked at once I've finished the part I'm working on now. It'll keep me from …

Randi Lee's Affected Buy One, Get One!!

The Affected BOGO is Upon Us…

Author Randi Lee is running a buy one, get one promotion for two of her books: purchase a copy of Randi Lee’s “Affected” between September 14—22, 2015 and receive a free eBook version of “Snap! A Quite Quick Collection.” To receive your free eBook, e-mail a copy of your receipt for the purchase of “Affected” to:
“Affected” by Randi Lee is available on major online bookselling sites, such as: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, kobo and Powell’s. Visit for more details.

The London Theater World, 1890s

The theater world of London in the late 1890s was an exciting place.

Burlesque was a big part of that world in the 1880s--bawdy songs, dancing, farce. These shows were short, silly, and pastiches of operas or other popular shows of the era.

These are just some of the things happening in London's West End in the 1890s.

The Gaiety Theatre
But in the 1890s, the Gaiety Theatre started putting on productions that became musical comedies. These shows were light, breezy, with witty dialogue and nice music and dancing. They were original shows, not pastiches, and from 1894, The Gaiety put on a string of "girl" musicals:

The Shop Girl (1894)
My Girl (1896)
The Circus Girl (1897)

Part of the Gaiety's shows were the Gaiety Girls--the chorus girls. Unlike the chorus girls in the burlesque age, the Gaiety Girls were pretty, well-to-do, respectable young ladies who wore the latest fashions as they sang and danced on stage. Some became leading actresses in their own right. Because t…

No, I Don't Carry Those Facts Around With Me

Last week, a friend asked me, "You know what I don't get? How do you remember all that stuff to put in your story? All those facts?"

She was specifically talking about the fan fiction that I've been writing and she's been reading, which involves a real person and therefore, contains a few facts of said real person's life and career within the story.

"It's probably displacing something important," I replied. In my case, anything I stuff my brain with during a project is displacing math.

But I've been thinking about this--and then I came across the above pretty quote because it's really true, isn't it? Writers steals things from life, from other people, from books, movies, TV, and whatever else and it gets folded, reshaped, recorded, and shaded into our stories.

It's one of those brain mysteries, because while I feel like I don't remember a lot of things about my characters or the setting or something, when I'm really in t…

IWSG: Let It Go

The IWSG is an online writer's group. We post about our writing and our insecurities every first Wednesday of the month. Check us out here! Thanks to our co-hosts for September: Julie Flanders,Murees DupĂ©,Dolorah at Book Lover,Christine Rains, and Heather Gardner!

Somewhere in August, I had this intense burst of inspiration and wrote a 150-page long story in a very short amount of time. Too bad it's a fan fiction, so rife with Mary Sues and the fruits of too much time Google-Stalking certain movie stars that it'll never see the light of day beyond my two best friends.

But still, it's fun, comfort writing.

And it taught me something (as writing anything does): that letting loose while writing, not being too rigid, is the best way to write. It's the fun way. It reminds you why you like to spend vast amounts of time in worlds you make up with people you make up (well, unless you're writing a fanfic, that is).

So now, I'm getting back into the folds of my nove…