Thursday, December 15, 2011

I Guest Blogged! I'm a Rock Star!

I'm proud that I went out into cyber world and got myself a gig. Self promo can be daunting, which leads me to the whole gist of the blog - Channeling Your Inner Rock Star/Confidence for Self Promotion

 

http://shywriters.blogspot.com/

 

 

 


Channeling Your Inner Rock Star/Overcome Shyness in Public Speaking


I'm delighted and honored to welcome Kim Hornsby to the blog today. Kim Hornsby is a legend in her own mind (her words, not mine). A former singer, she opened shows for Jamie Foxx, Jay Leno, Bob Hope, even Maya Angelou in the Hawaiian convention circuit and was the star of an international infomercial. An award winning stage actress for Evita and Annie Get your Gun, Kim is no stranger to self-promotion. Her thirty-year career in show biz prepped her to teach the online course Channeling Your Inner Rock Star, with a unique approach to abolishing shyness.

Here's Kim:
 No one is born a rock star, complete with over-the-top confidence and leather pants. An individual has to work for that. (And grow into the pants.) Ever heard the Nickelback song “We all just want to be big rock stars, live in hilltop mansions, driving fancy cars”? Well some actually live this way but most celebrities do not.

These days we use the term Rock Star to mean someone who’s achieved success in their field. Eg) Wow, kids, you finished homework. You are a Rock Star.

We tend to look at those who’ve achieved enormous success performing in a rock band as beyond ordinary. But remember, even Pat Benatar and Tommy Lee have baby pictures. They put their pants on one leg at a time and catch colds.

My Point: One must work at developing an image to fool the public into believing that you are special. It’s referred to as Smoke and Mirrors. And it’s human nature to want to believe it true, to see someone as super-talented, uber-wonderful. That’s not to say if you follow the advice I’m going to give you, you need to be so conceited your head won’t fit through the book store door. Believing in your own PR (public relations) is a slippery slope. A true Rock Star can take out the garbage when not in black leather and chains.

Under the costumes, tattoos, makeup, piercings and hair gel, a Rock Star is simply another person in the world who has insecurities-- a human being who probably feels more comfortable in a larger-than-life personality when greeting the public. I bet Pat Benatar made lots of PB and J’s for neighborhood kids between tours and Tommy Lee played Little League before he joined Metallica.

In my life I have known a few rock stars, celebrities, and movie actors of enormous proportions and I’m here to tell you that off stage and out of makeup, most are a bit shy--Steven Tyler, for example. I took him snorkeling in Hawaii once and he is a quiet man. Jamie Foxx, whose name is actually Eric was raised by his Grandma and is extremely humble. These people created a stage persona and you must too. If shyness is holding you back, you must dig deep to find that inner celebrity that we all have hiding somewhere behind the spleen. Once you find her she will help get through public events that would’ve otherwise leave you shaking in your boots, quivering in your Victoria’s Secrets, sweating through your sweat suits. (Note: Unless you are a sports star, I highly recommend you refrain from wearing sweat suits when trying to be a Rock Star.)

On that note, the first step to Rock Stardom is physical presentation. Go into your closet and find yourself an outfit that says “__”. You must insert your celebrity/pen name here and if you don’t have one I suggest you find one because this is how you will refer to yourself when it’s ‘ShowTime!’

My stage name used to be Kimberley Horn because there were too many syllables in my real name for my former talent agent. Now my pen name is Kim Hornsby. I did not deviate too far from the truth but you see where I’m going with this.

Once you have a few killer outfits that make you feel special, check that the rest of you is ready for the spotlight -- hairstyle, shoes, jewelry. What makes you feel successful enough to have a Lear jet to fly to San Fran for breakfast on the pier? This is the side of you that does not scrub toilets, make school lunches, clip coupons. She takes her pool boy (or husband) to South Beach on Saturday night to dance and sleeps until three the next day. After your have the look, you must make yourself believe how wonderful you are. If you skip this step you’re in trouble. Affirmations, self talk, call it what you want, but do it just before called upon to speak in public.

As you look out on the sea of faces, just remember, do not read your audience too closely. It’s the kiss of death. Just plough through, if you’re giving a key note speech, talking to a group at a book signing, whatever. Don’t assume you know what they are thinking. The expressions on their faces may not reflect their thoughts. Probably won’t if they are listening intently. Take your glasses off, look over heads but don’t read their faces.

I want to introduce to you a character I love to laugh at on SNL, called Shy Ronnie. He is played by Andy Samberg and the only reason he is so drop-dead funny is that we know Andy is not actually shy. The link to see him is at the end of the blog. Were Shy Ronnie a real person, it would be excruciatingly painful to watch him try to rap alongside Rhianna. When asked to speak up, his voice is so miniscule it’s painful to watch. But when his beautiful co-singer leaves the room in frustration, Shy Ronnie takes off. His shyness in front of Rhianna makes him not only unable to do his job but makes him look silly, due to lack of confidence.

Remember this when you are in front of an audience – the people who have paid money or taken time out of their busy lives want to like you. When you open a book, you are hoping that the protagonist is someone to relate to. Likewise, an audience member wants to like you and will give you every possible chance to be worth their time. If they don’t like you (and you will probably never know this), it might be their own problem. Maybe they’re distracted, closed-minded, too focused on their own lives or not ready to listen.

In recap, you must create a celebrity side to yourself complete with a celebrity look (and name) -- an outward appearance that says ‘Someone Special is in the House’, practice self talk and remember the audience wants to like you.

Good luck to all the shy people reading this. Now click on Shy Ronnie and tell me you aren’t this bad!


http://www.hulu.com/watch/113207/saturday-night-live-snl-digital-short-shy-ronnie

You can learn more about Kim here:

http://www.kimhornsby.net/


http://www.kimhornsby.blogspot.com/


mailto:www.kimhornsby@yahoo.com


https://www.facebook.com/#!/kim.hornsby1

http://twitter.com/kimhornsby

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Life Lessons at Christmas (From the 'Teau Mama Blog)

When the kids are grown (in years to come) and picking apart your mothering skills, no one will say that you didn’t do everything possible to make Christmas the most wonderful time of the year, right?
Remind them it was not about keeping up with the neighbors who had 20,000 Christmas lights on their lawn, made toys for poor kids and visited every Christmas activity, their mini van’s engine hardly cooling all December.
It was, and still is, about teaching your children some very important life skills while celebrating.
This month is the perfect time to slip in some teaching/parenting lessons, while you dangle the promise of toys in front of them.
1. When you get to Snowflake Lane at Bellevue Square at 7:20 p.m. and find there are no parking spaces or discover that the show just ended, the lesson of planning, checking schedules online, leaving early to avoid traffic would fit in here. (note: This lesson is best taught at Yo Plateau or U Top It in Sammamish where you will drive to make up for your disorganization)
2. Should you take them to Breakfast with Santa, pay extra for a photograph with your children on the Big Guy’s lap, and discover that they are terrified to be within twenty-seven feet of him, patience would be the obvious lesson here. That one is for you. Walk away from your dream of your darlings on Santa’s lap. Avoid future therapy costs and teach your children that Mommy did not put her expectations over her children’s fears. The money she paid for the photo is easily forgotten, as is the idea of having that photo decorate the wall every year at Christmas. Mommy can 'photoshop' one later with a picture of happy children.
 The children’s lesson is that Mommy loves them. A letter from the scary man in a strange costume might suffice.
3. Taking children to Toys 'R' Us or any toy store this time of year to pick out a sibling gift is just plain ridiculous. Don’t do it. This lesson is for Mom alone. No child can go shopping at a toy store, this time of year to buy something for someone else without tears. Don’t try to teach the spirit of giving to a young child at a toy store at Christmas. Period. Bartells has toys. Safeway too.
4. Having to decorate only the top third of your tree because this is the puppy’s first Christmas and doesn’t understand that a tree in the house with keepsake ornaments is off limits, is a lesson for your children about sacrifice. If they are upset because the tree looks strange, remind them that they wanted a puppy and then throw in that no one but you walks the puppy or feeds or gets up in the middle of the night with their puppy and you’re too tired to argue about what the tree looks like. (sorry, I’m getting carried away here).
5. When your children make a wish list as long as the driveway and you wonder how you can possibly fulfill their Christmas morning dreams, you must pull out the word moderation and explain that Santa can’t possibly put it all in the sleigh and only a few things will be chosen off that mega-list. Then you can teach them to throw their tear-soaked tissues in the trash when they finish crying. That lesson is cleanliness (as if I have to explain that to a mother!)
Enjoy the season, take your meds, ease up on the chardonay, don't electrocute yourself whilst putting up the lights and don't forget to buy yourself a little sompin, sompin to reward yourself for another Christmas well-done.
Over and out.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dancing with the Stars Semi-Finals

We are down to three couples competing for that ugly mirror ball trophy after losing Hope Solo to bad sportsmanship, I mean poor dancing, I mean low popularity, this week.
Hope never deserved to get this far and it was only her gold medal and Max's unpredictability that got her this far. In a perfect world David Arquette or Chyna Phillips would have been in the top 4. And both would have been in the top 5 instead of Nancy Grace. Especially after Nan's remark about her not being a 'war hero' which made her look like the bitter middle-aged woman she probably is. (not that its bad to be middle aged!)
I was disappointed in Hope's departure, which sounded like so much sour grapes my mouth pursed to listen. Yes, Hope, you just go get you one of those soccer gold medals again because that mirror ball that you got tricked out of because the judges hate you, is stupid and plastic. Note to Hope Solo: Great name but it serves no purpose to be snarky on national TV and Max does not set a great example.
Now we have JR, Rob K and Ricki Lake. Let's just take Rob out of the mix unless something absolutely amazing happens over the weekend. He's come a long way baby but no match for the other two.
JR looks like his candy has been taken away and he needs to get his confidence back on, in spite of his ankle injury. Doctors, do something quick for that ankle. Karina, do something for his confidence.
Ricki is deserved of the win but her dancing is not as fluid and gorgeous as JR. Her shoulders continue to stay in a tense, hunched position and her arms aren't as graceful as they should be.
JR deserves the win and not because he's a war hero who has overcome such horrors to deserve anything, but because he is a beautiful dancer. If his ankle does not give him a break this week though, we may end up seeing Ricki with the mirror ball, tight shoulders and all.
JR needs to assume the win, keep smiling, keep dancing and show us the dancing we've come to expect. Come on Man, you can do it. We'll see on Monday and Tuesday nights for the Two Night Finale.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

BAchelorette Goes to Taiwan!

Taiwan,the jewel of Asia was the setting for Monday night's episode of The Bachelorette and tuning in this week was worth it if only to see how geographically and architecturally gorgeous the island of TAiwan is. Lush jungle settings, the Taipei wedding photo district, the Lantern festival in a quaint coastal village were stops for Ashley and the remaining bachelors as they battled it out for next weeks hometown dates.
Constantine had a one on one date in which they travelled by steam train to the tiny village of Ping Sho to make a giant red lantern with their love wish and release it into the sky. Sounds romantic right? Except he kept saying that if he falls in love with her it will basically hit him like a brick to the head and he'll know when it happens which means "Hey, I'm not gonna fall gradually and I haven't felt it yet." Ashley loves this stuff - think Bentley, and nodded her head like all his flagellating was ok with her. She lives for the chase. And why is Constantine's hair always wet? Please don't tell me he gels that long mess. Two words for Constantine: Scissors and Charm.
Ben got a group date that lasted until the next morning which made the waiting bachelors in the Taipei REgent hotel stewing in jealousy and envy. Ben, the wine maker is definitely a front runner with his hippy style and ability to tell her how he feels. They went on a scooter ride through the mountains only to end up at a suspension bridge (kiss), then go for dinner at a resort (kiss) and end up staying the night in what Ben later said were called 'separate rooms'( more than kiss?) And if you believe that one...
Then the group date with Ames, JP and Lucas saw them at a photographic studio wearing 3 styles of wedding garb for wedding photos. Cute idea except that JP was in a piss poor mood about his girlfriend and Ben spending the night together and brought them all down. Then Lucas was assigned the traditional wedding garb of what he called a gold "dress", Ames wore a Vegas style blue tux with ostrich feathers (which I thought was totally fun and wonderful) and JP got the classic tux which did not make him pull up his sock straps enough to enjoy the date. He is ready to have Ashley completely to himself and his jealousy is showing through enough to red flag his almost girlfriend, but no, she gave him the rose for good sportsmanship and didn't see the green tinge to his skin around the other guys.
The next one on one was Ryan's long awaited date. Smiley Ryan, showed up to pour on the enthusiasm and positive energy (not solar) with none of the authenticity that was needed. He smiled through her boredom, telling her what a great date it was, explaining how hot water heaters can use less power and never noticing AShley's tell tale sign of biting her lips when something terrible is about to happen. She sent him home in the middle of a bite of dim sum and Ryan had a few tears behind the bushes while the cameras tried to chase him around the foliage to catch him crying. Just wait until the parties Ryan, that are part and parcel of being on the bachelor.Even that Guard and Protect your Heart guy found a girlfriend there. Poor Ryan just wants someone to love.
At the rose ceremony (no cocktail party - she knew who needed to leave) AShley kept Ames, JP, Ben, Constantine and let Lucas saunter, cowboy-style off into the sunset as he called her sweetheart and sugar and tried to leave gracefully. Then in true AShley form, she cried over her decision and worried that she shouldn't have let him go.
Next week is hometowns and we finally get to see the people who reared that gem of a gentleman Ames. I am pretty sure it's Ben who ends up with Ashley but I'm going to go out on a limb to say that I think Ames might be the next bachelor. Wouldn't that be interesting to watch him romance those wine drinking party gals, Nantucket style in his blazer and chinos?
Out for now. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pacific Northwest Novelists

The Seattle area is peppered with novelists, some superstars in their genre like Cherry Adair (love this woman!), Debbie Macomber, Susan Wiggs, Jane Anne Krentz, Julia Quinn, Alexis Morgan, Jane Porter, Stella Cameron and Yasmine Galenorn. These women are celebrities at romance writing conferences, many having enjoyed the NY Times Bestseller List. Some even have movie deals under their belts. Jane's hit "Flirting with Forty' starred Heather Locklear.
Then we have the Bob Mayer, Garth Stein, Carol Cassella, Jamie Ford, Bob Dugoni, Stephanie Kallos crowd who write literary, commercial fiction and beyond. (I know I’m leaving out some mega writers and I'm sorry if I don't know you but I'm part of the RWA and we don't hang at Hugo House much). Last year 36 writers from the Seattle area converged on Hugo House, a writers’ haven and cafĂ©, to write a novel - live. I tuned in online, during those 3 days to watch Jamie and Carol write. I know Carol through a friend and was interested in how other writers actually come up with stuff to put in a book. Jamie smoked an unlit pipe.  Watching them was fascinating stuff if you’re a writer, or a voyeur. The result is the novel Hotel Angeline: http://www.openroadmedia.com/authors/the-novel-live-authors.
Thousands of us, (well maybe only six hundred of us in the Seattle area) have novels we hope to see published someday. These books are worthy of publication but for some reason there is an overabundance of writers in this decade who are competing with each other to secure an agent to get a publishing contract. We happen to be a dime a dozen, and because of that, agents are extremely picky about taking on a first time novelist. To get a literary agent interested, you must have a platform worthy of attention and a book that reaches out to grab the reader by the throat. My platform is still postage stamp sized and my books only grab a reader by the eyebrow hair, it seems.

When non-writer people hear I’ve written three unpublished novels, they usually ask why I haven’t had them published. I could answer that they’re not good enough but I’d like to think the truth is that getting an agent to take your book to a publishing house is like trying to get a starring role in a movie opposite Brad Pitt. Tres difficile.
Agents love to tell us writers that they get hundreds of queries a day asking for representation. And there are hundreds of reputable literary agents all over America, working to find the next breakout novel. You do the math. It’s grim statistics for first time novelists, especially in commercial fiction which is what I write. I am not a romance writer because I just can't put the words 'his burly chest filled the doorway' on paper and respect myself in the morning. Romance stories are slightly easier to get published because readers of romance buy on an average of three to five books a month, bless their hearts. They are the backbone of the publishing industry. And romance writers are some of the nicest, most friendly gals I've ever met.
Regardless of the genre, the process of getting published is the same: First you need an amazingly compelling subject matter - she's a human, he's a vampire and their love is forbidden. Then you need loads of believable conflict - her best friend is a werewolf and they hate vampires. After that, the story itself must be written succinctly with no typos, properly formatted and the agent must be in the right sort of mood that day to believe that the story might work. If they like the concept and ask for the first three chapters, you cross your fingers they’ll ask for the full manuscript. Now you can break open the Veuve, to toast your accomplishment. A rejection at this point is devastating, especially if you’ve made loads of revisions to please them. But if the agent takes the book to their buddies at a publishing house to read, it is hold your breath time. If the novel gets approved by the publishers, the editor steps in and money is spent trying to get your book on the shelves, in both the bookstore and at homes around the world, as well as sold and downloaded to e readers. The author must now do months of PR work both online and at bookstores to promote not only the book, but themselves. An author these days must also be a public speaker and a computer wizard. 
I love to read our local authors (Seattle area), support the peeps I meet at writing conferences and be fully entertained at the same time. Here's some good reads by local writers:  Healer, Oxygen (Loved both of these women's fiction novels) - Carol Cassella;  She's Gone Country (extremely entertaining) - Jane Porter; The Art of Racing in the Rain (Lovely story) - Garth Stein; Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet - (just like it says - bitter and sweet) -Jamie Ford; The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever (fun historical romance)- Julia Quinn; Undertow - (super sexy fast read) Cherry Adair http://cherryadair.com/CherryAdair.html (check out her awesome website!) Breakup Babe - (a critique partner- fun read in blog/email style) Rebecca Agiewich; Broken For You - (complicated and beautifully written) Stephanie Kallos; Night Huntress -(paranormal roller coaster ride) Yasmine Galenorn; Lakeside Cottage - (beach read romance) Susan Wiggs; Undercover Stranger - (Pat got me started in the RWA) Sammamish author Pat White;

I have three finished novels and am in the Veuve stage this month with a dream agent reading my third book. I've been here before and needless to say, I have everything crossed that can possibly be crossed and am walking around with a four leaf clover and rabbit’s foot in my pocket. The likelihood of her representation is slim but I'm still excited. 
If you’re perusing the library shelves this summer, here’s some recommended beach reads: Castaways (or anything by this author)– Elin Hilderbrand; The Doctors Wife – Elizabeth Brundage; Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Neffenegger; Sleep Walking in Daylight - Elizabeth Flock; 
I like heavy subject matter in my reading material but the first author - Elin - combines the beachy feel of a fast read that keeps you up all night, with weighty topics. Kind of like Jodi Piccoult meets Jane Porter.
Regardless, enjoy your novels this summer when it's assumed you have enough time to read a few extra books by a pool, lake or any other body of water.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Bachelorette on ABC

Second week in and already we have a villain on ABC's The Bachelorette. And he's named after a car, unlike the most hated contestant (to this point) Wes who wasn't named after a car but was way nicer to the the gal than this scum bag, Bentley. Oh God but it makes good television when the contestant says horrible things about the woman on camera then goes to kiss her simply because he's competitive and wants her to think (or America) that he's the best guy there. Drop that idea Bentley because now you are the worst guy, not only there, but in all America after last night's airing. I can't imagine you'll get a date in a long time after saying that you don't like Ashley but you'd let her tickle your _ickle. I feel most sorry for Bentley's daughter Cozy,(after Ashley), who waits back in Utah to see if Daddy is bringing home a wife. God help that kid. Let's hope the mother is something wonderful, for Cozy's sake.
Moving on, my front runner is Mickey but E is crushing on West. They are both nice lookers, unlike the guy wearing the mask who even swims in the Bachelor pool with a full black mask on his unshaven face. And what was that shot last night of the masked man on the toilet in his mask. Come on ABC! Do you really need to show that? My theory is that Jeff (masked man) has a huge Frankenstein scar across his forehead where he had brain surgery a few years ago when his wife divorced him for being too weird. Or he divorced her (he said) for some lies told in their marriage. "Sure honey, I love it when you wear that mask to bed."
AShley had a one on one date with Prince William, I mean the smiley guy william and although I think he's a fantastic sport for pretending to marry her ("awkward", my 9 year old daughter sang when the minister started the vows), I think he's too young for Ash. Too sweet. If she's leaning towards Bentley, she likes a challenge, a bad boy, someone who doesn't necessarily want her.
Mickey, the chef from Cleveland seems nice but E says he looks weird. I agree but i like that. He's gorgeous but has a weird look. But he did say that he hoped his date with Ashley was his last first date ever and that is the sweetest thing to say EVER!
The Harvard guy is weird as is the masked guy but hey, she's got to keep some of them around just for fun right? She can't fall for all of them. (mickey)
Next week, it looks like Bentley tells her he's going home to Utah to his Family Fun Center because she's not his type and she goes to bed to cry. In my opinion, she should send up fireworks of rejoice and hopefully now knows that. Keep watching.
It's my shameless guilty pleasure, watching this stupid show. I love to see the group dynamics, the dating, the drama, the costumes, the locations, the editing. Even though I know the odds are against it, I still hope that two people will find each other in the process and end up wildly in love.
Out for now.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Soccer at Nike Headquarters

I just returned from Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton Oregon where hundreds of 14 year olds are battling it out on the soccer field for the chance to be the Premier Cup Manchester United American Champions. May I say that my son was the goal keeper representing the State of WAshington in this competition and although we weren't allowed to travel with, or even talk to him except by text and phone, we drove to Portland on Saturday to watch our son play. on the Ronaldo fields at Nike. Man that is one fine place to work with it's manicured grounds, child care center and man-made lake.
My son's Crossfire team (state champions) stayed together in a hotel, travelled by Crossfire vans, ate together at the hotel, slept when they were told to and wore identical clothes the whole 4 days. It was freaky to see your child across a field, not be able to touch him or talk to him and not know how the weekend is going. Texts were sketchy with excuses like, "my phone died" and "I lost my phone for a few hours". My husband, daughter, two dogs and I drove for 4 hours to catch a glimpse of the same kid who used to be the toddler who always planned to live with Mama and Daddy, only to have him leave the field after his game en masse without looking over at us. Freaky.
Yesterday when I saw the team watching another game on the sidelines, I did go up to the child I gave birth to, sat down beside him on the rock wall and said hello. He smiled, was polite but I could tell he was thinking "Mom! No one else is talking to their mothers!" It was strange for all us Moms who'd driven down from the Seattle area to support our children from a distance. When the team lost, I wanted to hug my child knowing how much he'd counted on making it to the finals but instead sent a text that said "You played great. I'm so proud. Love Mom".
The best reaction I got from my texts this weekend was when I told him I was walking his dog who was loving the forest and trails that web the Nike acreage and he said "I bet." Into that, I read that he was thinking about his dog and the fact that as well as being a soccer player, my son is the member of the family who made the trip to support his efforts in trying to be the best 14 year old GK ever. His dedication to the sport is admirable and I am so proud that he has a passion like soccer to pour his athleticism into. This experiance of competing against the best 14 year old soccer players in the country has been a fantastic experiance for him even if they won't be going to the Championships in England this summer. And it has prepared me a tiny bit for the day when my son doesn't live in our house, eat our meals, drive with us everywhere. Oh my breaking heart...
Just sayin'.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lauren and Scotty Battle for Idol Top Spot

Ok America, you want a country flavored Idol. I get it. You want the young, the innocent, the talented, the mainstream, wholesome, middle America sweetheart. Does this have anything to do with the need to believe in the American Dream right now, in the wake of OBL's death? I can't help but wonder how you let Pia and James slip through your fingers, but I accept that you want this and our final two are from the same mold. They are horrifyingly similar in many ways and different in only a few.
Lauren has a rock edge to her voice, something Scotty lacks, but then Scott McCreedy is pure country with all the cheese and swagger of someone from the 1950 Grand Ole Opry era. Lauren is a girl, Scotty is a boy but other than that they are both teenagers, God loving, southern- accented, fresh faced kids with big careers ahead, if they don't get swept into the Hollywood scene too quickly. What I have trouble understanding is that there aren't more of us out there who wanted some competition on the final night. I have craved a good showdown of country versus blues or metal versus pop (Pia and James again) but instead on Tuesday we'll be comparing apples to apples, voting for song choices or gender, instead of actual talent. These two TeenIdols are equally talented, have grown tremendously in their weeks onstage and are ready to have this competition end so they can get on with their careers. At this point it should be uber-exciting but this year it's boring.
And do we really get to choose who gets eliminated every week? I'm not talking votes because I believe that part is all on the up and up. Texting teens seem to be the ones who are ruling the votes this year even though they say the average Idol watcher is 45. I'm talking air time, editing, who gets their face on camera more than others. You can't tell me that Nigel Lithgoe (the Idol creator) doesn't stand in the editing room directing whose story gets the most camera time, thereby allowing the American public to sympathize with Nigel's favorites. We saw very little of Haley, virtually nothing of some other talented singers who barely made the top 24 but from the beginning we followed Lauren and Scotty. Steven Tyler even told Lauren that she might be "The One" in her original audition. I don't think in his wildest dreams he ever envisioned Haley Rinehardt as a finalist. That in itself is satisfying, that someone whose parents were barely seen on camera, slipped through to the top three. I have an image of Nigel Lithgoe doing one of those Mwaaahaahaaa evil laughs in the editing room, while making hand washing motions in the air.
And the judges can sway our votes. They have a say in all this too. Their comments can make or break a singer's longevity. Okay, J Lo has a 'crush' on Scotty, didn't care for Haley, and Steven loved Lauren from the moment she brought her family into the audition room to sing his hit song to him. Don't get me wrong, I love the combination of the three judges now but I have a bone to pick with two of them. Promoting your dwindling career and staging a come back during your tenure as an American Idol judge, is kind of smarmy and I resent that you used us, J Lo and Steven. J Lo needed this to launch her album, her comeback, her legs, and Steven needed this for his solo career when Aerosmith disbanded.
Randy is now my favorite American Idol judge because all he does in the line of promotion is plug that he used to work with certain bands. His promotion is obvious and is the kind that familiarizes people with what you've done, not the kind that plugs what you're doing. He's not trying to sell more records or get a movie career. While I'm harping about J Lo, I want to say that having every third commercial on Idol feature J Lo and her airbrushed legs, makes me like her less each week. And last week when she threw in that comment about how she was performing in front of 20,000 with no sound and just kept singing, like a real trooper, was so obvious I laughed out loud. We get it, you are a big star in your own mind as well as on Fox. How about just concentrating on being a judge next year? Watch Randy for pointers on how to do that.
As for Scotty and Lauren, I'm sure they are kissing their crucifix necklaces this weekend, polishing their twang and fretting about  whether to go for the high notes. America will get what they asked for on Tuesday night. A good ole' down home, country sing off. I'm not voting because I don't care who wins for the first time in years.
Over and out.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

American Idol - And then there were two

Tonight we will wittle the top 3 to 2 and I'm thinking Haley (The Comeback Kid) might be safe after her astounding version of a Led Zepplin song last night. She rocked the house, we got to see her with Daddy Rhinehart and for the first time in many weeks we got more of a glimpse of the likeable girl who is Haley. I voted for her twenty or so times and no one else.
Scotty was smarmy-good, as usual, and Lauren proved once again that her chops are awesome but she's not ready socially for the Idol staff to move in and make a star of her. I must say whoever is dressing her is doing one bang up job though. It would be funny for Haley to wear Lauren's stuff and visa versa. Someone must have told Haley her best asset is her little shapely legs though, and she shows them off like that's the only thing she has going for her. Last night Haley's outfits were a step up from the disasters she has worn in previous weeks. The fringey mini was darling. What a come back she is making with her song choices and her amazing voice!
I think Lauren will get eliminated tonight and there will be loads of tears but when you don't actually believe you deserve the honor (as mentor Beyonce talked about last night), how can we believe it? We've brought you as far as we can, sweetie.
And Scotty...I have no doubt that you are one talented dude, fully deserving of a career in Nashville with your own bus, fiddle player and jeweled microphone. I just don't see you as the Idol and I'm not sure if America does either. Only 7 days will tell.
I'm usually surprised on elimination night though so I'll be prepared for anything in an hour. Unfortunately now that James and Pia are gone, I'm not that invested. Any of them could win and I wouldn't cry for the others. This is no race with David and David or Adam and Chris. This is different in many ways. Either way, the top two will finally have a girl in there andI'm hoping for Haley.
What about you?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Writing and SElf Publishing and Writing

Wow! Firstly I can't believe I figured out a way to get to the internet and be able to blog again. My computer is like a stupid relative that ...no wait that is my laptop. It is an unwanted relation that only works minimally and...never mind. The analogy sounded really great when I thought of it this afternoon but now, I can't remember the super-funny metaphor.
Writing...if anyone out there actually reads this blog, I'd like to say that I love to write, love to read my words back and then post them. What is that? Do I actually think I'm so interesting? Well, that is the nature of blogging and I guess I do. Everone should blog and think they are this important.
This week I'm at a strange impasse. I've got a finished novel. Done. Until someone tells me to change something, it's over. I"ve re-worked the ending so many times, I'm sick of the beginning. I have queries out there but no one seems too interested. WHY? I'm a first timer and that is like having leprosy. Or trying to get the lead in a Brad Pitt movie. I'm considering E self pub in the fall.
 I have two other novels in the same condition. Both finished, both good stories, both in need of serious editing but I'm leaving them until some interest is generated.
 I wrote a contemporary romance novella and submitted it at the beginning of the week. (Actually, I wrote it, edited for two weeks, then submitted) to Heartbreakers and Heroes. It's a sweet little story. Set around the L.A. reality show industry. I like it and I have to say that if it sells, I'll reconsider writing romance, which seems to be the only genre that is really selling.
I'm doing several blogs, including one for our community paper The Patch. I have to be way more careful what I say on that one but that makes it a good challenge.
Every day I write, edit, compose. My house is a mess. My kids and dogs are neglected to a certain degree which still leaves them spoiled. Today I went back to my first novel and am working on it a bit. I will re-query that one this summer seeing it generated the most interest because of its subject matter. Adoption in Taiwan.
My critique group has lost some of its inertia, but will be gearing up again soon to run full steam ahead. There are four of us really working it right now. Three with finished manuscripts, waiting for agent representation, hoping for publication and the fourth is writing an awesome novel that needs basically nothing from us, as she writes. Me, I take 23 passes at the same sentence but she writes it perfectly the first time. Another active member is starting to write a YA novel and has awesome advice and needs awesome advice. Several are sitting on the sidelines this year. I love my critique group. I only wish I could think of a catchy name for us besides The Nitpickers or An Awesome Group of Professional Women Who Write and Meet Every Other Thursday at a BAr in Kirkland. Is it any wonder why we writers band together to support each other like this? There are millions of us out there, trying to get a book deal. Ha Ha. I almost typed record deal and then remembered that was my old life. That reminded me that they say you must spend 13 years to learn a new craft to the point you get REALLY good at it. In that case I have about 7 more years to go unless I spend more than 2-3 hours a day on that craft. Which I do. Which brings me to the point of doing this blog. I write because I love to do it, whether I'm working on a novel, a story, a blog or an email and today I needed a few more hours to write to cut that 13 years to 10!
Thanks for listening.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Writing Versus Housework, DWTS and Idol

It's Monday morning, rainy outside, here in Seattle and the last thing I want to do is tackle the mess that is known as my house. Instead I shall execute a method of time management that allows you to do the fun stuff but sets aside an hour here and there to buckle down and get something done. At precisely 11 am, I will move away from the computer, go upstairs and organise my children's clothing which is strewn all over their floors. Has been for weeks. Either my kids have way too many clothes or we have way too few dresser drawers and hangers because you cannot see their bedroom floors for the clothing. I feel so badly for my children that this has happened but as good sports they are functionning, in spite of their clothing problems. After I can see the rug in their bedrooms, I will vacuum. That is if I still have time in that one hour block that I set aside to do this. That's how the time management system works. At the one hour mark you are allowed to drop everything and go back to fun stuff, which in my case means writing.
Today I am working on querying more agents about The Dream Jumper. It's getting turned down on the query alone so I'm thinking a new query is on the horizon. I just hope there are new agents on the horizon too because I have alot of queries out there and need fresh agents who might be willing to take a look at some pages.
Tonight is Dancing with the Stars and although I'll watch, I don't care who wins. It's a popularity contest as well as a dancing contest and I'm not that invested in who gets the tacky mirror ball trophy. Chelsea, the blonde Disney gal, is probably the best dancer of the group and it would be a great boost to her career if she won. Kirstie deserves a mirror ball trophy just for loosing so much weight so fast and RAlph Macchio deserves something for being such a nice guy as well as someone who can transform from a geeky 49 year old in dark ankle socks with ugly shorts to a smokin' hot torreador with spiked hair and eyeliner (a look I kinda like). The football guy is a contender to win also. See? I don't care.
Idol this week will feature the top 3 - Scotty, Haley and Lauren. Haley will go home of course, seeing she's Queen of the bottom 3 and her luck as the comeback kid has got to run out. Either Scotty or Lauren will end up being The American Idol in two weeks and if America wants a teen country crooner, both are talented. They are not anywhere near ready for the fame and attention that will come their way but hey...you don't go on American Idol for the California vacation. You go because you want to be the Idol and even though Lauren won't sing a song called "I'm Evil" (in fun) because she doesn't want America to think she's evil, she has alot of evil coming her way soon and she better get ready. Both those teens better hold onto their cowboy boots because they are about to grow up real fast as the tornado known as the Hollywood Starmaker Machinery sweeps them up. It'll be interesting to see what happens this year but like DWTS, I'm not invested anymore and probably won't vote. When Pia left and James got kicked out, I lost faith in the American public's ability to vote a worthy and ready candidate to become a recording star. We lost the two singers who would've made something amazing of the opportunity. CAn you say Chris whatever his name was two years ago?
It's almost my hour to do the kids' rooms so I'd better get myself prepared for the boredom and gulp down that last cup of coffee. The house doesn't clean itself although I wish someone would invent something better than that rhumba thing that hardly picks up the dog hair and needs to be emptied every two minutes.
As always, thanks for listening.

Friday, May 13, 2011

James Durbin Leaves Idol

I won't pretend I'm not surprised to see James leave Idol. He was the one contestant that never looked like a deer caught in the headlights, who commanded the band behind him, who loved the audience almost too much. He came into this thing an accomplished performer, a showman and brought everything he had to the table. Without ever hearing his story of Tourettes and Aspbergers, his past with being bullied, his son at such a young age, James Durbin was vote-worthy as a singer alone. When he sings rock he brings the house down. When he tackles a more quiet song his voice is lacking but his emotions take over to the point that we don't give a flying fig what he sounds like. But Wednesday night the American public chose to let him go and since last night's elimination, I've been trying to understand what happened. I, for one, voted only for James, having learned my lesson with Pia. He was my favorite and I want to buy his music after this so I sat on the phone for 30 minutes voting repeatedly for the singer who loves the WWF and sings heavy metal. America did not come through for James and I think I know why.
He's going to move on to a successful recording career fronting his own band Daughtry-style, but both Scotty and Lauren will move into the top two after next week, I'm sure. America is ready for a country idol and these teens are ripe for the pickin'. They both have developped their talent and charisma onstage over the last few weeks to the point that they are almost ready for what will meteor their way in a few months. They both have strong faith in God, choosing songs that support Christianity and let's face it, right now a large part of America is feeling protective about it's religion and roots. And they both are wholesome role models for teens which is something we lack these days. Scotty and Lauren are good Idol material.
What's really funny and surprising is poor ole Haley still hanging on, even though she's a regular in the bottom three and not a favorite with the judges. Her tenacity is endearing and the sympathy vote was in full swing this week, keeping her yet another week to mis-choose her songs and wear tacky clothes.
I'll miss James but look forward to buying his music even though he was looking forward to the title, the redemption and the glory. it was a sweet moment last night when he went through the audience twice, trying to kiss his wife Heidi, once getting poked in the eye with her nose and once actually planting a kiss on her lips. Hopefully today he realizes that it's probably better to get on with his career and is signing with Jimmy as I type this.
Over and out.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I turned 54 - Birthday

Yesterday was my 54th birthday and I have to say although most days I feel 44, yesterday I felt every day of my years. I'm not sure why, but it could have had something to do with the girls' weekend I'd just come off of. Keeping up with 40 year olds is a challenge and even though I am aware of my limitations, I did not think that one of them was having a busy weekend in San Francisco. I did not drink heavily, I did not stay up late partying, I did not do anything that might have jeopardized my ability to keep up and contribute to the group of 7 gals, but still I came home feeling like a truck ran over me.
So my question is this: At 54, is it too much to ask your body to have a glass of wine at lunch, two or three with dinner, wear high heels, talk loudly, hold in your tummy, miss a few hours of sleep and breathe second hand smoke for three days? I wouldn't have thought so, especially because I got lots of sunshine time, fresh air, did loads of deep breathing, drank gallons of water and even did lengths in a lovely swimming pool. Maybe my downfall was the exertion of looking good. Not only endeavoring to keep up socially with 6 younguns' I was stylin' myself all weekend, and that might have been what did me in. Wearing heels is hard for long periods of time, as is worrying about makeup, hair and if you add a cute factor to the group or the old lady factor. I felt good, thought I looked good, and functioned with all that in mind. I think that is what was exhausting, along with plane travel and car sickness when the taxi driver zig zagged our way to the airport to avoid the traffic to the Giants game on Saturday.
Regardless, I'm grateful and in awe that my husband saw the need for me to go to San Fran at the 11th hour, found the air miles and booked me. I'm grateful for my sensitive husband, my generous friends (E girl) and my good genes that allow me to act like I"m 40 even though my body is telling me today to take the restful nap of a 54 year old.
Thanks for listening...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

American Idol - Jacob goes Home?

Hi Thursday Fans! I've been remiss but i want to post before I go to my critique group-  to announce that I believe that Jacob will go home on American Idol this evening.
Everyone sang their best last night but i fear that Jacob's best is not the American Idol Dream. Scotty and James were last night's front runners, Lauren was her amazing but insecure self, Haley and CAsey must go on tour together now but Jacob was the weak link. I'm sorry. I loved the fact that he's brave enough to wear a plaid golf coat on national TV and smile with such vulnerability but it's time for him to go. Both James and Scotty stepped it up to the point where they might just be the top two? Scotty's best was last night and I'm not a big Scotty fan, so far.
The bottom three...Haley (hey- what's a Thursday night without her in the bottom 3, Jacob and maybe Lauren. We'll see in one hour...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

'Teau Mama's

What is a 'Teau Mama, you ask? Well you might not have to ask that silly question if you lived on the Sammamish Plateau, east of Seattle and you are a Mother. I capitalize the word Mother, as I would capitalize the word "Queen" or "President" because I happen to believe that the job is as important, if not more so (thinking of Queen Elizabeth who doesn't even want to meet her in laws before the wedding) than some of the most celebrated jobs in the world. Can you say talk show host or American Idol judge?
Life on the 'Teau can be soggy sometimes, well, nine months out of the year, but it is a slice of the American Dream. Where else can your kids get such an amazing education in the public school system, houses are reasonably priced, trees are green twelve months a year, and we are only a five hour plane ride to Maui if things get too dreary? 'Teau life is sweet. Admit it.
The summer, although it is short, is one of the greenest summers you'll ever see and having Pine Lake and Beaver Lake close is golden. Concerts in the park, sport camps, the outdoor market at City Hall. Remember in 2009 Money Magazine ranked Sammamish the 12th best American small town to live in? Life here still rocks and one of the reasons for that are the 'Teau Mama's. We make life sweet, in so many ways.
Many Mothers in this area do not work outside the home which is actually a phrase I'd like to change to say "do not work outside the family's every want and wish" because how many of us spend our days running errands, walking dogs and networking with other moms outside the home and it's still work? Does anyone out there believe that lunching with the girls is pure fun? Do you know what we talk about at lunch? The kids' homework habits, where to buy the best produce,how to take a vacation on a budget and what you made for dinner the night before that you'd highly recommend because it was fast and easy with the least amount of dishes ever seen in a kitchen. It's our version of a business meeting.Mothers I know here spend sixteen of their seventeen waking hours thinking about how to make life better for their families and yet still retain a semblance of sanity, all while looking smokin' hot at Safeway and we find time to be pleasant even if our day has been filled with insults from our teenagers, paying bills and quieting our barking dogs. Where do we summon all this good mojo? Well the occasional glass of pinot grigio, certainly, but occasionally we have to take an exercise class, have a pedicure or make a quick trip to a clothing store to find something to cover our muffin tops and these stolen moments put us back on track and reassure us that we used to be people too. Individuals who had our own set of demands before kids came along, liked to sing karaoke and do sports, swear, sing and dance around the house without someone telling you that you can't carry a tune. Just because we now devote our lives to children who will grow up to be the Sammamish mayor, own the pizza parlour, spearhead a project to save the possums doesn't mean we cease to exist. As a matter of fact, many 'Teau Mamas have full careers, volunteer many hours a week at the schools, head up committees to make life better for us all. But that's another story for another day. Today it's just enough to be the Goddesses that we are - Stay at Home 'Teau Mama's.

Friday, April 22, 2011

American Idol - Stefano Goes Home

OH MY GOD! I can finally blog again. My computer had problems last week, we rebooted some stuff and nothing's been the same, including my ability to blog. Can you say WHEW!Well I can.

Last night on American Idol Stefano went home after being in the bottom three for almost every week since the judges rescued him as the wildcard option. It was his time, I'm sorry Stefano fans but someone must go home every single week and this week it was him. With his usual grace and manners, the singer from Kent WA smiled through the ousting and promised it was just the beginning of his career. He was grateful to have made it this far. The other idols might have joked about thinking he's a ladies man but Stefano showed class last night. Strangely enough his final number on the big stage was his best performance ever - singing Lately, by Stevie Wonder. He rocked the house, sang almost perfectly and made me wish I voted for him this week.
I voted for James who, really, is the only one up there with the polish of a super star. True his facial ticks are distacting and Aspbergers keeps him from doing the appropriate thing sometimes but he is one hell of a singer, loves to perform, adores his audience, dresses the part (did you see his costume on Tuesday, thank you?) and deserves to win Idol.
Casey is a talented force, but I fear when the judges say to keep upping the performances every week, he has nowhere to go but more growly faces. I love the guy but i don't think he's the Idol.
Lauren could be the Idol but doesn't use her potential, looks frightened onstage and is just plain too young for all this. Scotty is ready but too cheesey. I have to say that child has grown by leaps and bounds over the weeks and is a cute little package for the country circuit.
Jacob needs to pour it on, perform like it's his concert and love us more out here in TV land. Haley has so much going for her, including style, voice, hair, smile, the cute factor, but there is just something about her that we don't either believe or love. She needs more camera time talking about her tough life to get out of the bottom three. She and Casey should join forces professionally and make a CD. Just sayin'.
With Pia gone, I'm voting for James now but the disappointment of finding another rocker boy, instead of an amazing singer girl for the Idol is setting in. I want so much for some of these fantastic girls to get their just recognition but i fear for the teenage girl texting power. For that reason next week my texting finger may be be hovering over Lauren or Haley's number as well. What about you?
Katy Perry last night lost my vote for integrity. NOt only does she use smarmy Kanye on the song ET, but she lets him take it to a level that makes me turn off the radio whenever it comes on. Katy - you are not Gaga, go back to original cute look please.
David Cook remained true to his art and sang a rock song from his upcoming album that showed us why we loved him two years ago. Sound problems did not stop him from delivering, nor did his Mama hugging Steven Tyler, which was cute. Love this guy.
As usual the group numbers last night sucked and I can't imagine the performers with integrity, enjoyed being forced to sing the currents hits as they awkwardly moved about the stage, trying to remember when to stick their hands in the air, put left feet forward, etc. Pleeeeaaase. SAve us from these numbers. Can't you think of something else?
What do you think?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Can't Sing Like I Used To - But that's....okay

I like myself, I am a good person, I like myself, I am a nice human being. Affirmations.
Last night I got on the housewife/mother party train and bought a ticket to fun with my gal pals. We reached our destination and when karaoke seemed inevitable I signed up for a song, thinking the voice would come when summoned. Not so true. Granted, karaoke does not necessitate perfection but my gals wanted to hear me do a song and I obliged. I'm not sure what they heard.
Heatwave has lots of high notes, energy and words to cram into a small space and just because I rocked that song for many years, doesn't mean I still can. Should I have chosen more wisely? I don't know. Taking oneself too seriously is a trap I climbed out of long ago. It was just a night out with friends and I didn't want to get all Barbra Streisand at a biker's karaoke bar. So I sang my song as best I could and sat down with a big smile on my face, like a cook who knows they burned the bechamel sauce but doesn't admit it.
We danced, we laughed, we sang, we got away from our messy houses and the incessant rain of this Seattle spring for a few hours and were once again just girls. Sure my voice is rusty having been parked for years in a storage closet but I can't sing like I used to and that's ...okay.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pia Toscano Leaves Idol

It's a sad day here at Kimmy's Korner with the elimination of Pia on Idol. She was clearly a front runner for the top spot and instead got booted out in 9th place, thereby proving that it isn't talent we are voting for. America seems to be voting for something else and, as a singer, I can't tell you what. The only 3 singers who've never been in the bottom three are Lauren, Scotty and James. They are three of the youngest, with country and hard rock roots and all with family in the audience on a regular basis. I can imagaine that these three have a fan base who probably know how to multi text their votes over a 2 hour period.
The buzz online today is shock that Pia did not receive a huge chunk of Wednesday night's vote. Even Tom Hanks tweeted his amazement and mentionned he might not continue watching Idol.
Granted Pia has a huge career ahead of her, but this was just wrong and I seriously hope that Idol revisits the voting process after this. Pia was ratings for the show and having her gone, will probably loose them viewers who like to listen to someone hit the notes, look star-ready and carry herself with poise.
Which brings me to my last point about Pia. Maybe the crowd needed a granny in the front row in the wheelchair section, or a sad sack story about Pia's struggle with a disease or something that the American public could grab onto to make her ours. That and the ballad rut she fell into hurt her chances. ONstage fear translated into aloofness and we misjudged the girl.
And now i'm going to itunes to download her version of "I'll Stand By You" one of the best ever renditions of any song done on Idol.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

American Idol-Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Night

Last night the Idols chose songs from artitists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame so they had plenty to choose from and most chose wisely. Will i Am was on hand for rehearsals with Jimmy Iovine and iIhave to say that Will is a riot. I can't imagine how the Black Eyed Peas get anything done with him in the band. He be funny. But what does he have to do with R and R Hall of FAme? Nada.
Starting off the night was Jacob who proved he's amazing, gave it his all but is he Idol material? Still think Broadway needs to grab that man for something wonderful. His emotion and presence onstage would be wasted with a recording career.
Then Haley did Janis Joplin, putting a little too much affected grit into her song as if someone told her to smear dirt on the song and drag it through a thick puddle. Haley has a voice that can handle Joplin but I'm not sure she was thinking about being dumped by Stefano last month when she sang. Smiling during that song should not be allowed.
Casey came next with his upright bass and did Have you Ever Seen the Rain, one of my favorites from way back. His version was gorgeous, amazing and as Randy said, he is making the upright bass cool again.
Tackling an Aretha song is never easy and Lauren only did a good job of it. She has the pipes to do so much more but stayed safe, thereby putting her in my bottom three this week. Sorry but she's a baby in this competition in so many ways.
One might think that James would go nuts with so much to choose from this week in rock and roll but instead he sang While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Although technically it was not perfect, and only really found his voice when he amped it up a bit, it was nice to see his emotional side and i really don't think he needs to worry about going home soon.
Scotty did Elvis. It was hokey, it was right on key, it was cheesey but he did a fine job and please, someone give him a bus ticket to Nashville and a recording contract.
River Deep was a fantastic choice for Pia and changing her hair,  her makeup, her song style was the shot in the arm she needed to propel her forward and keep her out of the bottom three. I fear that if America does not see some emotion from her soon, they might not support her until the end. She is still to controlled, too guarded for us to love her as a person and give her this gift of fame.
Stefano pulled up his bootstraps and tackled When a Man Loves a Woman - a difficult song because of all the words one must fit into a cadence that doesn't support them. Jimmy, Will and later Randy pointed out how to pause, wait, take a run at the phrasing but Stefano found it difficult making him another contender for bottom three this week.
Paul, Paul, Paul....America, do you really want this guy to represent what you think is an idol? Or are you voting for his smile? As he danced around last night during Folsum Prison Blues, I had to admit he did a better job with it than any song previously but smiling during this song is like humming at a funeral. It's inappropriate. Paul needs to go. Will he be in the bottom three? Maybe not. If Naima's theory is right about text voting 500 times, I fear that the teenaged girls will keep him around. And especially now that Niki Reed of Twilight is crushing on him...he's reaching celebrity status with minimal talent.
Bottom three prediction for tonight: Stefano, Lauren and hopefully Paul or Jacob.
What do you think?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Author's Celebrity Image or I'll Have What She's Drinking!

With the expectation for authors to self-promote, it's increasingly important for a quiet, reclusive writer to now learn the art of presenting oneself properly in public. Granted, it's very difficult to go from spending every day in your robe with hair unbrushed, coffee breath, no human contact, to Rock Star Ready. Besides, we chose to be writers because we communicate best on the page, not by mouth, right?
Luckily there's hope for anyone too shy to step out from behind their PC or Mac. Miss Kimmy has developed a workshop to help you emerge with the image you want to convey to your readers, whether it's that of a sassy, brazen romance writer or a polished business woman.
Channeling Your Inner Rock Star or  I'll Have What She's Drinking is a 3 week course conducted online for anyone needing help in getting themselves ready for that inevitable book tour. It will include guidelines on how to find your image, your style, how to voice yourself, pose for photos, accept a compliment, how to promote yourself without sounding presumptuous, tricks for the red carpet and we'll conclude with how to vlog on camera with all the confidence you deserve.
When the call comes and you need to get yourself dressed, poised and ready to present the wonderful you, do you want to be floundering on what to wear, what to say, how to get through it and whether they'll like you? Of course not. At the end of this course you will assume they'll like you with all the confidence of a rock star because you'll have the tools to summon what you need to pull it all off!
Stay tuned for more details on when the course starts...

$30.00 for 3 weeks
In May 2011
Lessons twice a week by email and Skype (video chat)

Kim Hornsby
Professional Singer/Entertainer
Recording Artist
Public Speaker
Stand up Comic
PHD in Confidence

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Charlie Sheen Strikes Out in Detroit

Apparently Charlie Sheen's road show is not worth the $75 a ticket and walking out after he insults your town is trending. That's so weird that people didn't like his 'show' because I really thought he'd really give them a wonderful 90 minutes. NOT!
What did 5,000 people expect from a man who is not a comedian, is under the influence of God Knows What and uses his two live-in gals to open the show with a lip lock? Did you hope he would care what you thought beyond the paycheck he will receive from your ticket purchase? Did you think in the two weeks he had to prepare, there would be more of an entertainment factor? That he might not insult you or your town, instead opting to insult everyone else but the things you are sensitive about?
According to reports, his show last night was a disaster and at the moment he got boo'ed, he insulted the audience (but not in a nice way) and when the lights went down to show a film clip, people took that opportunity to run for the exit signs. Charlie was insulted and left the stage for a 'break' never coming back to watch the rest of the audience's mass exodus.
When 500 die-hards remained, he came back on stage to thank them for staying. How's it feel Charlie? Trying to prostitute more than the goddesses must be humbling even to a guy perpetually high because life without it is not 'normal' for him.
My advice to Mr. Sheen today....either revamp your show to include some talent (and i bet a comedic writer could help you there) or cut your losses and go home to Hollywood with your tail between your legs, admit you've been a jerk and hide out for a year before your makeover comeback. Hollywood has formulas for this sort of thing. Britney's following a plan, making a comeback and even Lindsay is trying. What say you try too for the sake of those 4 precious children who get to call you Daddy.
Just sayin'.

Friday, April 1, 2011

American Idol- Naima and Thia Go Home

Last night the Rio movie promotional fiasco was embarassing, I'm sure to Will i am and Jamey Foxx as well as anyone who champions for their talent.  I have performed onstage with Jamie Foxx and know the enormity of his talent so why did he defer to dancers dressed like birds last night???Fantasia wasn't much better with her corn bread song. This might be just me but if you're going to sing a song about collard greens, don't wear a red sparkly evening gown.

Naima is benched now which means we won't see any more of her inventive performances and costumes. That's ok because they are all going to be benched in a few weeks until there is only one left so we have to start getting used to the departures of talented singers. Going home now means little because everyone left is top ten and still a part of the machine that will live on after the show. 'Going home' means you just can't live at the mansion, do all the Ford commercials, have all the fun. OH and perform every week in front of an adoring crowd and I tell you, a performer gets used to that really fast! When it's taken away, it's painful.
Anyways, enough about me and my problems.
Ensemble numbers were excellent this week. I loved the pairings and song choices. Lauren and Scotty did a country tune 'I told you so", Naima and Jacob sang "Solid like a rock" (Ashford and Simpson), Thia, Pia and Haley did Katy Perry and the remaining boys did a fantastic job of Band on the Run, each behind an instrument. Their harmonies were strong which made me wonder if there was some help backstage on mic.

America got the bottom three right with Thia, Naima and Paul. Two had to leave and the girls were on the chopping block instead of the handsome boy with the dazzling smile and sheepish look that says "I can't believe I made it this far with no talent!'
Lauren was safe but devastated as a female teen might be, having made adult friends who now must move to a different hotel room and not sing next week, Stefano barely crawled into the safe zone and James made a crack about how much fan mail he gets. Ah, there's that rock star attitude! he'll lose votes if he keeps saying stuff like that.

It was a good show but i'm hoping next week they promote a movie with a better song than Rio or find performers who aren't aghast at being onstage with a cast of hundreds (can you say Rio Flashmob?) who prevent them from doing their song. Will?
Here's my wish list for next Wednesday: Pia gets her groove on, if she even has one. Casey trims more beard, Haley gets new moves besides swinging her free arm and bending her knees like she's about to fall down, Jacob hits some high notes, James sings a ballad, Paul gets more weird, Lauren starts talking again, Stefano finds a song to showcase his talent and Scotty just keeps being Scotty.
As always, I'm humbled, you read this far.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

American Idol - Elton John Night

Even though I did not watch the show last night because I was not near technology, I just watched the performances and here's my pick for bottom three:  Paul, Stefano and Thia. If Scotty replaces Stefano I'll be happy but I'm skeptical because country is BIG in America. So are Disney singers but Reggae is not as popular so it might be Naima instead of Thia. Will America put Paul out of his misery and send that snazzy dressin', handsome boy home? We'll see.

Elton John Night
Casey sang 'Your Song' - Great choice, loved his sweet voice peppered with grit in the last bars. Good move for him to mix it up this week and show his soft voice. That and the hair and beard trim might get him at least a million votes.
Haley sang Benny and the Jets and should take ten steps forward to the top of the pile this week. Amazing! When she chooses the right song, she's golden. Ok, is she 'hangin' with Casey at the mansion because they are sounding like they could do their own tour this summer?
Jacob chose another song that would allow him to emote to the nth degree (Sorry Seems) but he refrained from both too much emotion and too many high notes. Yipee. I think Jacob has a job waiting for him in films, - A Gay Man Jennifer Hudson perhaps.
James worked the crowd, (Saturday Night's Alright) covered every square foot on the stage, hit notes out of the park, looked true to his genre, had a fire raging in the piano behind him and is ready for that recording contract please, now. Veneers too. Ironic that a man with Aspbergers Syndrome has the best connection with the audience.
Lauren, in all her teeness, was eerily Marilynicious with her subdued (for Lauren) makeup, dress, hair and showed off perfect vocals, as always. Never thought of Candle in the Wind as a great country song but hey, it is. Now we know.
Naima....Airie Girl, or whatever they say in Jamaica. This performance artist upped last weeks choice by turning "I'm Still Standing"into a reggae song. Brilliant. Wish you could have done a better job vocally throughout but you finished strong Naima. Top marks for showing her diversity but I fear for her longevity.
Paul..pack your suitcase please, get ready.
Pia was told by everyone to get out of balladville this week and show some sass, some life, leave her vocal coach behind and give us some real moments. But she brought in gospel singers and did "Don't Let the Sun" which was out of balladville but only just. Girl, listen to what we want from you. Next week, do it!
Scotty McCreery the country singer teen sounded great singing one of EJ's only country songs but I got bored and turned it off. Nuff said. Bet he'll stick around for another few weeks because he sang to his grandma and like I said, America loves Country.
Stefano: Ok, man, this is where I get off the Stefano fan club bus. You are fun to watch and don't sing as poorly as, say, Paul McDonald, but you're not showing us you deserve to be on that stage much longer. Sorry dude. And I love Tiny Dancer but this was the most hacked up version anyone could imagine and someone should go to music jail for even suggesting that arrangement.
Thia sang Danielle, a song that was in my own repetoire for years. It was predictably lovely, note perfect. I nodded off somewhere around the second verse.
I do not know what the judges said, what the interviews revealed or how anyone felt about last night but if two go home tonight I hope it's Paul and Thia but think it will be Naima and Stefano if the past bottom three statistics mean anything.
If Smurf Singer (Paul) stays, I'll still be amused but confused.
Stay tuned.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The fourth Video is not mine and other stuff

Warning: the fourth video on the bar above is someone else's but I can't get it off my page until I make another Kimmy's Korner vlog.

Stuff for Today:
Britney just released three new songs and did a live performance in Las Vegas to showcase her new CD. What has happened to the gal who used to kick ass onstage? Is she drugged, terrified of performing now or injured? Does she suffer migraines, have knee problems or worry about all this as the goes onstage because she is not the dancer/performer she was years ago. WHAT IS GOING ON BRIT? JASON? Tell us!

Sleepover parties and Giggles: My nine year old has her bestie overnight and they haven't stopped giggling for four hours. I told them when we went to pick up her brother at soccer tonight that if the car was powered by gigglies, we'd get a ticket for speeding. It's music to a mommy's ears.

Finally figured out who i think i write like: Don't laugh. Cecelia Ahern and Elin Hilderbrand. I hope anyways. I gotta write that memoir this year. I think that might be my in to the publishing world. Maybe.

Have you ever said "I could write a book"? Were you drunk at the time? Reading a terribly written novel? I did say that and I've been eating crow for years now. It's fricking hard to write a book. Don't fool yourself. It's hard and what's even more difficult is finding an agent to take you on. Then, if by some grace of God, you find one who will take a chance on a first time author, getting it published and bought is worse. Ugggh. I have 5 years into this career and I am damned well going to have a published book before I die. Growing up I remember envying a relative (who was way out on the tips of the family tree branches) because he had a book. All the family worshipped this man, which is funny because he was a missionary. Turned out his wife wrote the book (Go Girl!) and although it was inspirationally Christian, I read it and was impressed. She had a platform. She had connections. She got published. Some days i think maybe I should go to China, teach the word of God and come home 40 years later to get published. Harrumph! Tomorrow is another day but I'm leaving town with my laptop and MS for several days and hope to gain clarity on what is so horribly wrong with my query.
Time for bed. Beauty sleep and all that. Even girls with glasses need beauty sleep. Sweet dreams....

Video Pitch - The Dream Jumper

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5bq8dPDC98

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Literary Agent Search in Canada and the UK

Greetings Fellow Novelists!
How goes your search to secure an agent? I'm learning more about agents than I am about writing these days so I took a cyber journey to the friendly countries of Canada and the UK, in hopes of finding someone who really likes my writing and sees commercial potential. If you ever read that my books come to America via Bosnia, it means I worked my way through countries to find my literary agent.
I am slightly afraid of Canadian agents for the simple fact that most authors in the Great White North seem to have won a Governor General's award for literary excellence and I'm pretty sure my first book is not going to stand up next to them. It's more of a quick beach read and there are few beaches in Canada. Get my point?

But here's a list of agents who seemed open to unsolicited queries, take no reading fee, accept adult fiction (don't ever say Fictional Novel) and accept electronic submissions. Many were ruled out for "snail mail only".
Good luck and don't forget to use best manners with the British and Canadians. It goes a long way and they're used to it.

Canada
http://www.leckeragency.com/
agency@interlog.com - Pamela Paul - query only, literary fiction
http://www.psliterary.com/
http://www.mcdermidagency.com/submissions.cfm
http://www.helenhelleragency.com/
http://www.batesliterary.com/
agents@cookeagency.ca  - Dean Cooke, Query only
http://www.ambliterary.com/ - Amy Moore Bensen - thrillers, suspense, literary

httwww.leckeragency.com
UK
http://www.agentsassoc.co.uk/index.php/Directory_of_Members
You choose!
agents@cookeagency.ca

 


Dontwww.batesliterary.com

Friday, March 25, 2011

Casey Gets a Pardon!

Oh My God!!! What happened last night on American Idol shocked the judges into using their wildcard before the contestant sang 12 bars of his 'sing for your life' song. Casey got voted out by the American public but Paul McDonald (who looked incredulous that he would be staying), made the coveted top ten who will tour the U.S. this summer. J Lo's advice - just be true to your art. Isn't that what Casey does best? It was shocking that the bottom 3 did not include Paul but not shocking that Stefano sat in one of the cold metal stools. The judges pardonned Casey before you could say 'what the heck' and he almost had a heart attack on stage from gratitude. 'Awkward' (said in a falsetto voice).
Apparently Paul and James love to wrestle at the mansion that they just moved out of because they think it's haunted. So Hulk Hogan arrived as one of the many surprises last night and James looked like he was going to do something inappropriate (he has Asbergers). When Hulk threw Ryan into the crowd he had to quietly reassure James it was okay. Watch the playback.Maybe James isn't lying about Asbergers and Tourettes.
Stevie Wonder surprised STeven on his birthday night and Walk this Way Man was gracious as always. Sugarland was tedious with their horribly repetitive song by the lady in the green pants that stayed in a perfect V the whole 4 minutes. Jennifer Hudson pulled off an amazing performance of a powerful song - something about waiting for you and 'where you at?', and probably reinforced Pia's decision to stand behind the mic in a gown again next week.  The group number was fraught with problems (Pia shone, Jacob too) but at least they didn't let Scotty or Paul sing much. When the camera almost got a view up Naima's dress they cut to a different angle, proving once again that this is live TV. Marc Anthony, whose appeal I've never understood was on hand this week to teach the contestants how to use a headpiece properly, something that the sound man should have done. But i guess he's there anyways, hangin' waiting for J Lo so he offered stellar advice and sat backstage with them in the drab green room, around a small TV watching the performances live on Tuesday. His comments were cute, he poked fun at his wife and now i may forgive him for calling his girlfriend 'baby girl' in his hit song Need To Know.
Another great show and both my husband and I remarked that they've really taken the second night to new heights this year, keeping the surprises coming, Ryan's lost the stupid comments to the contestants(aside from letting gordon Ramsay eat Stefano's mom's pasta) and formatting it to keep the pace furious. Kudos producers, writers, everyone and special shout out to the Three Judges who rock the whole show!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

American Idol - Top Ten Prediction

It's amazing how artists will grow and broaden given a few weeks on the international stage. Some are getting more comfortable with it and some are falling behind and that's what American Idol is all about.
Last night's studio audience was peppered with stars - think an embarassed Jennifer Beales, Aerosmith's guitar player, Liv Tyler and even a very rude Gordon Ramsay who insulted Stefano's mother's cooking. Even Ryan Seacrests gal Julianne Hough was seated beside Jimmy ionvine. He's the guy with the amazing, right-on advice to the idols about song choice. He pairs the singer with the producer and i think this new format is working because this year the singing and performances are the best ever. Ever!
First off was Casey who smoothed down his unruly hair and did a kick ass job on Grapevine. He went into the audience to sing to his 'friend' Meagan which was cute until she did a rocker tongue thing at him (Ok, even that was cute) then finished up the song in Casey Style. Keeper. Next came Thia who did spice up things but unfortunately, even though i liked what she did, it only proved she is not ready to be an idol. Loose the prom dress and controlled arm motions. Maybe age another 10 years. Next was Jacob (we can drop last names now, can't we?). He did a fantastic job, so much so that Steven got out of his judges chair to hug Jacob. He kept his song contained like that Jimmy guy told him to. The judges love him. Lauren next and she looked smashing. Aside from checking her mother's cues every few sentences during the interview, she came out of her social funk and seemed almost back to normal. I think her mom told her to cut the sassy crap onstage and no more calling Ryan 'Peaches'. Stefano. Oh Stefano. Oh dear. Who told you that Hello would be a good song? Especially when you claim you've never heard it before? James? You were lead astray. It was the worst choice all night and you murdered it. But, as my husband said 'i still like you'.Luckily we know you learned your lesson and will give us the full Stefano next week. Then Haley almost killed herself in high shoes on the stairs. Please, no. We couldn't even listen to the song for worrying about you trying to navigate those stairs. I liked the hair switch up. Nice flat-ironning Haley. But you must also try to connect with the song and audience. Amazing chops will not get you further if you are only pretending to feel the song. Scotty turned For Once in My Life into a country song and i have to say he did a dang fine job but he's coming to the end of his run. Get that boy a ticket to Nashville and let him start his teen job as a country idol. Pia came next and I couldn't wait to see her dance around and let it rip. No such luck. Yawn...Another ballad (even though i love this one) and another evening gown. Ho Hum, yes she's gorgeous and is on par with Celine Dion but comeon girl - light a fire cracker under that tooshy and have some fun. You're not going home anytime soon. The wiggling smurf-voiced idol is next - Paul. Ok, pal I stuck with you this far but this is where I open the idol bus door and let you off. You sounded terrible and on the commercial break I perfected my impersonation of your strange voice and i have to say, it's not a compliment. Forget the sincerest form of flattery and all that. Time to say bye bye to Paul's teeth. I mean Paul. Naima fights her way up the ladder to one of the top spots this week with a spectacular performance of Dancing in the STreet. She even did some african dancing at the end that sealed her as a true performance artist. I like this woman. Alot and not just cause they once showed her cleaning toilets. Well maybe. I love a good rags to riches story.  Then came James. And boy did he come! That boy loves to perform and it shows. He sang good, worked the camera (Pia take note) and secured his spot as a keeper.
The performances were top level last night and here's my prediction for the bottom three...Paul, Thia and Haley (Sorry girl but they just don't love you like i do.) Possibly Stefano but I hope not.
What do you think?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

American Idol Tomorrow!

I've been sick with a raging head cold so i'm working towards feeling well enough to prop myself in front of the TV for two hours of judgemental bliss tomorrow night. American Idol...
Did you know that Casey is only 19? Firstly that surprises me because of his confidence onstage and secondly because i suspect he will look exactly that way when he's 60 except the curly mop will be grey. If he got a great haircut this week, let the stylist dress him and upped his image, wonders would not cease. Now's the time to bring something super new to the table Casey. I suggest hair. I like Pia...OK i love you girlfriend but you gotta do a faster song this week or my love is going to be challenged. Take some steps, sing something uptempo. Get out from behind the mic and mix it up. Haley, you gotta do that gravelly blues thing with your voice and sell us like you've been living on the streets for the last three years and not a college dorm room. Thea (Disney Girl), I hate to tell a teen to drink before they sing but you need to let loose a bit this week. And i know the theme of Motown will be difficult for you young' uns but throw some moves in, twirl your skirt, bend down to low five the audience at least once. Be 16 or whatever you age is. Stefano - tomorrow you will bring the house down because Motown is your thang, baby. Jacob - ditto- even tho you're shook up about your friend Nate Dogg's death this week. Go for it on stage but keep those notes in line. Not too sharp. Paul - smiley man- look good, keep smiling, keep up what you're doing 'cause although it's strange singing, it's unique. Naima, please sing on key. I want you to be good so baaaad. Don't make us think we kept you for the outfits. James, even though you are used to singing about 'whores' and are now very regrettful of saying that, just do what you do with that thing you do it with and go for it, like always. You rock. Literally. Who's left? Scotty, that's who. On Motown night i think if he does something like Papa was a Rolling Stone, he'd have them on their feet. Don't you? And Lauren...keep the faith, loose the fear and sing your heart out tomorrow little girl. You'll make the top ten and get to tour this summer for sure.
One last note about Fergie...although everyone thinks she had major P.Surgery, I think that she just parted her hair on the side and her usual ability to cut a pound or two off her cheeks was eliminated. That's all.
Tune in Thursday for my spewing about what went down.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Introduction to Dr Venus

My Vlog - From French Polynesia

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-s7kED8gWdc

Vlogging

To vlog or not to vlog...that is not the question. The question is how to vlog, what to vlog and where to vlog. I'm gonna vlog! It's official. And all from a one hour conversation with my BFF Kendal's husband last night at a St.Patrick's Day party. Granted we had drinks in hand and funny hats on our heads but Patrick knows my background in entertainment, reads alot about the next best thing and works for Amazon (was formerly with Microsoft) and is an artist himself. He's got my back, in other words, and I trust him.
At this point are you still wondering what Vlogging is? It's video blogging and Pat recommended I video blog my book on youtube. Or tell my story of how I adopted in Taiwan..short bursts of a one sided conversation, released every few days. I gotta research this more BUT I'm jazzed about vlogging because I love to perform in front of a camera. I don't like watching the play back but love to perform. So much so that in my new career as a writer I'm now going to teach other writers how to be confident when they creep out from behind their computers to meet their public. It's called "Channeling Your Inner Rock Star".
Anyhow, Vlogging is the next best thing and I'm going to ride that dragon soon. I just have to figure out how to focus my $4.99 camera from China and get a big ole piece of black cardboard behind me to hide the mess in this office. Oh and convince the 3 others in this office to be quiet when I vlog. Wish me luck.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

American Idol - Cream Rises

This is the moment in the mega contest where cream rises and the singers with no 'fat' start to sink. All singers left have enough ooompf to be on that huge stage at this point but as in any race, or contest, the stronger ones are going to pull ahead now.
Song choice is just as much a part of the contest as knowing your style, hitting the notes, timing, connecting with the audience and presenting yourself as a star onstage.
With that said, here's my advice to anyone left after tonight.
1. You must choose songs that show your strengths, not showcase your weaknesses. Don't do Whitney Houston just because you love the song. It's better to sing a little known song and blow everyone out of the water with your talent than satisfy the known song demand and crash on stage.
2. Dress for success (Jacob did, why can't everyone).
4. Do not skip your way behind the judges desk if you're going to loose notes or breath in doing so. It's too risky and you'll notice that the front runners don't do it.
5. Don't look like a deer caught in the headlights up there even f you have the flu. Have fun. It's painful to watch someone who thinks they might not be good enough.
My predictions for tonight...Front Runner is still Pia but burn the white jammies, I love Casy for kooky reasons but not sure he's Idol material, Jacob is singing just too sharp still - he needs better control of his own voice, Hailey is gifted but may get left behind because she can't find her style, Adaima is out of her league now (back to blues please), Stefano was awesome last night in every regard, the Disney singer has a beautiful voice (forgetting her name is a very bad sign), Paul surprised me sounding better with a cold -still sounds like a dead cat but i like it, James Durbin sang the wrong song for his voice but pranced around like a seasoned rock star and i loved him, next week he will do better, Scotty improves every week but is not my favorite, Lauren is sick but i think she's getting scared and it shows in her interviews - buck up Lauren, your voice is amazing, Karen did an amazing job of a horrendously difficult song to sing. She gained points in my book last night.
Who will go tonight?   Probably Naima or the Disney singer. i hope it isn't Hailey.
American idol...Fox 8pm, thursday.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Bachelor's Less Than Happy Ending

Brad Womack chose Emily Maynard, the bleached blonde who fiddles constantly with her hair and talks about her daughter Ricki with every breath. Last night's final rose ceremony in South Africa was less than satisfying for viewers as we were shown the couple two months later, as a fractured couple who'd broken up then reunited and couldn't stop telling each other 'I love you'. Brad is still campaigning for this woman's devotion and she is working equally hard to repel him.
In the final date before the rose ceremony she explained how horrible fatherhood is and all but pushed him out the door. Brad obviously likes a good challenge because that didn't deter him. He chose Emily over the devoted, darling Chantal who got in he water with great white sharks for him the day before. Where was that therapist when Brad most needed him?
Then Brad went on at to explain to Chantal last night, that he was basically keeping her around until the end because she deserved a good vacation. Something like that. She challenged him on that one and fired back her own bullet that she was already in a wonderful relationship back in SEattle. She'd just wanted closure.
But, we later learned that Emily is the jealous type and Brad was not going to say on national TV that he'd had feelings for Chantal that only dissolved when Emily looked half interested at the end. REading between the lines, i heard that Emily was extremely jealous and insecure and watched every Monday night episode in spite of the pain it caused then proceeded to fight with Brad on the phone about how much he gave to the other girls. Apparently she did not know about the fantasy suite offers for everyone.
I feel badly for them but again, i think Brad chose unwisely. Chantal was a better match only in that she actually was available and open to a marriage with Brad. Emily is not. But in front of the world she did let him put the ring back on her finger and told him repeatedly that she loved him even if she didn't see marriage for them anytime soon. To put it in Brad's words..."Ouch."