Created for Necessity, Employed for Passion

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

Let's build a world. Explore what we believe by writing. In many ways my characters’ experiences with fate, destiny and free-will mirror my own. What is up to us and what isn’t? It’s one of the great questions of the human experience, I think. But no matter what is for us to control, we must own the identity. You’re a writer if you write. Period. Writing is a lovely way to spend one’s time. Enjoy it. And I hope you enjoy my writing here.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Ultimate Sneak Peak! Prologue's Posted


Shakespeare got it wrong. His most famous work, and he completely missed the mark. You know the one I’m talking about. Star-crossed lovers. Ill-fated romance. Torn apart by fam­ily and circumstance. It’s the perfect love story. To have someone who loves you so much they would actually die for you.

But the thing people never remember about Romeo and Juliet is that it’s not a love story; it’s a drama. In fact, Romeo and Juliet isn’t even the original title of the play. It was called The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Tragedy. Everyone dies for this love that, in my opinion, wasn’t all that solid from the get-go. 

I mean, their families hated each other, so even if they did sur­vive, every holiday and birthday until the end of time would be a royal pain. Not to mention that they had absolutely no friends in common, so forget double dates. No, it would be Romeo and Juliet all alone, forever. And maybe that seems romantic at fourteen, or whatever, but it’s totally not realistic. I mean, I can’t think of a less romantic ending to a story.

And the truth is, it wasn’t supposed to end that way.

If you read closely, you’ll realize that there was someone before Juliet ever came into the picture. Someone who Romeo loved very much. Her name was Rosaline. And Romeo went to the party that first night, the night everything began, to see her. Everyone always thinks Romeo and Juliet were so helpless to fate, that they were at the mercy of their love for each other. Not true. Juliet wasn’t some sweet, innocent girl torn apart by destiny. She knew exactly what she was doing. The problem was, Shakespeare didn’t. Romeo didn’t belong with Juliet; he belonged with me. It was supposed to be us together forever, and it would have been if she hadn’t come along and stolen him away. Maybe then all of this could have been avoided. Maybe then they’d still be alive.

What if the greatest love story ever told was the wrong one? 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shakespeare Returns! #ShakespeareReturns

Irony. The expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.

Situational Irony. The difference between what is expected and what actually occurs.

Shakespeare was a big fan of irony. A majority of his plays center on a misunderstanding, sometimes a fatal one, that sends each character onto a trajectory completely opposed to what he or she had planned and prepared for. The sheer humor of it is that if only the characters had been able to talk one moment longer, had gotten the information one instant sooner, the whole fiasco would have been avoided. But of course, this is what makes Shakespeare so genius: He knows how impulsive people are and uses this rashness to create conflict and intrigue.

It seems it would be impossible for a modern version of one of Shakespeare's plays to actually occur in today's environment. A person cannot avoid getting information even if they're trying to remain ignorant! We are bombarded with messages, updates and news stories as if our ability to live depended on it, and according to Shakespeare, sometimes it does. If you think about it, situational irony almost doesn't make sense anymore. Everyone would be yelling, "Use the phone!!! Where's the ipad???" Instant gratification is kind of our thing.

Taylor Swift was able to evoke all of the emotion and tragedy of Romeo and Juliet in her song Love Story. Three minutes of drama, emotion, love, and heartbreak-- and you can get the whole story between classes.

What songs would you pair with your favorite Shakespeare plays? Choose any genre, any length, and tweet away!  #ShakespeareReturns

I'll go first! I would pair:  Katy Perry's Hot N Cold and Hamlet's To be, or not to be... Soliloquy,

"To be, or not to be--that is the question:

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep--
No more--and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to..."

Let's see what you've got!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Betsy Franco On Being An Artist, 21 Monologues For Teen Actors, and Her Famous Family

I was lucky enough last week to chat with Betsy Franco--- incredible artist and matriarch of the Franco Family. It’s not hard to see where James and Dave get their dynamic and multi-genre approach to the art world—it comes from mom! Franco is an author, actress, director, producer, once upon a time painter, and true teen partner and friend. I spoke with her about her book, 21 Monologues For Teen Actors, what inspires her the most, and what it’s REALLY like around the dinner table with her famous family.

You’re so prolific and an artist in so many different genres—writing, acting, painting—which resonates with you the most? Or are they all necessary in your life?

I used to be a painter but I had extremely rambunctious children—James especially. They would have eaten all the paints! So I moved my creative energy over to writing. I really can’t function if I’m not being creative. Every day, I have to do something to feel good. The forms take turns. I’ve learned a lot from my sons, as well. James’s multi-media approach has encouraged me to go into acting and directing. I saw how much James and Dave really grew from acting, and I began to explore it myself.

photo credit: Light at 11B

What made you want to write 21 Monologues?

There are great monologues out there; I just found that they weren’t relevant to teens. When we were doing Metamorphosis Junior Year kids would come in to audition with these monologues where they were playing adults and it just didn’t work. I realized that these teens needed some relevant material. When they were portraying teens they were so natural. They needed monologues that were written for them. It was a whole different story when they were playing kids in the play—they enriched my characters so much. So we started working on some pieces. The group was really an ensemble and the teens in the play gave me a tremendous amount of feedback.

I think teens should be more involved in the revision process. They know what works, and what they’re really interested in.

Yes! I interviewed some of them about their lives and used excerpts from my play, novels, and screenplay. They were harsh in the feedback stage—but in a great way. They were very specific about what they wanted—more comedies for the girls, etc. Teenagers are extremely wise and insightful. I really listen to them, and I think they know it. We have a great reciprocal relationship. I love that.

You have two sons in this business--- what would you tell a young person just starting off in a creative career?

If you have the need to be an artist of some kind then I recommend you go for it, but you have to be a little bit practical. Be creative about the art part of it as well as the part where you’re trying to make it work. And if you’re not good at the logical part, the making money part, then find someone who is to help you do it. I think it’s a balance. There are lots of creative things you can do to get as close to what you want to do as possible. I always tell the teens I work with that there is someone from every generation who gets to be an actress, a writer, and an artist. Why not them? It takes perseverance. If you can handle that, and you can be creative about making it work, you’ll do it. I always suggest to people that they get a part time job, not a full time job, because you need to leave some time for your art. If you work full time you’ll often be too tired to pursue what it is you love.

If we were lucky enough to be gathered around the Franco Family Table--- what conversations would we overhear?

Oh, it’s a lot of fun. There is an incredible amount of teasing and most of it is directed at me. We love to laugh. We talk about our projects, too. My kids are an incredible resource. I’ll go to James and ask for his input or suggestions. We talk a lot about our work. But yeah, there is a lot of joking around. And a lot of laughter.

Thanks, Betsy! Please visit her online at: and if you're a teen looking for some fresh, relevant and awesome monologues for auditions I encouraged you to pick up a copy of 21 Monologues--- you won't be dissapointed!

I’ll be posting a sneak peak of When You Were Mine later this week...the prologue! Betsy inspired me to go hunting for a monologue you all can use for auditions— with a hint of Shakespeare.

Happy Monday!



Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Hey Peeps!

I just got back from Scotland and had an awesome time. I spent most of the week in Edinburgh (as you know from my last post) but got to go out to the beach for one of the days-- the beach? In Scotland? Yes! We searched for Puffins!

It was a glorious day, by, er, Scotland standards (ie it didn't rain!) and fun was had by all.

Here are some pics of me looking out at that tumuluous North Sea. Brooding, right?

Contemplating life...and stuff.

Conquering the mountain. Er, rock.

A Puffin footprint? I guess we'll never know.



Thursday, March 8, 2012

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Hey Guys!

I'm in Edinburgh, Scotland, currently seated at a coffee shop with the most incredible view of the castle. I remember sitting here, in this exact spot, quite a few years ago when I came to Edinburgh for the first time.

I studied abroad here in college and it was a transformitive semester-- seriously, guys, if I have one piece of advice for college students or HS students entering college, it's this: study abroad.

Not only did Edinburgh prove to be an incredible city, and one I continue to cherish, but it also woke up the travel bug in me. I had always traveled as a child--- my parents have been the king and queen of adventure since far before I was born (they're way cooler than me, trust)-- but it wasn't until I came here that I really understood the way a place can effect you-- seep into your skin and just stay put.

I wrote my grad-school application essays here, and applied. I got in, and those two years brought me to New York, and the publishing world--- a city and an industry that has since allowed me to realize my life-long dream. Now it is here! This book comes out in a month and three weeks--- a month and three weeks!

So what the heck am I doing in Edinburgh? Reflecting. Writing. Remembering that this city, and my dreams for myself, were here long before a book deal--- and they will be here long after. Oh, and stalking JK Rowling-- for updates on that stay tuned to twitter.

Thank you all so much for your advanced support, and love, and well-wishes. It's going to be an awesome few months. I can only hope that in another 5 years time I will be back here with even more news to report to this place--- can you believe it, Edinburgh? My book is a bestseller!

Have a great week, friends!



To say this place is magic for me is a bit of an understatement.


GUYS--- If you haven't yet, watch this video:

The world we live in right now, and the power we all have to effect one another, is remarkable. The Invisible Children are calling us to use it.



Monday, March 5, 2012

We're on a mission.

I'm off to Edinburgh, Scotland this week--- my favorite place on earth. The city is made of magic, for me--- how could it not be? JK Rowling lives there! I've been a lot, but I've never seen her. Well, that's not entirely true. I've never met her. On my last trip I'm (almost) positive I saw her walking down the street outside the coffee shop I was working in. My friend who I was with says I chased her down the block like a mad woman (I think I briskly walked), but then she got into a waiting town car. Will this trip be the one where we finally lock eyes? Stay tuned, peeps!

Your reporter,