Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nachtsturm Castle: New Review

Jeffrey Ward over at has written a lovely new (and lengthy) review of Nachtsturm Castle. Here's an excerpt:

Moonlight! Castles! Ghosts! Storms! Secret trap doors!
Suicide! Grave yards! Mistaken Identities! Carriage accidents! Gypsies! Hauntings! A kidnapping! Purloined letters! A duel! Swooning! Wild Pursuits! Demonic possession! A disputed inheritance! Three romances! A ransacking! Ancient curses! A stolen will and testament! Dank subterranean passageways!

Multi-talented Emily C. A. Snyder has managed to pack the above list (and more) into the 139 page Nachtstürm Castle, a sophisticated Gothic fantasy sequel, taking up the further adventures of Henry and Catherine Tilney where our divine Miss Austen finished the last lines of Northanger Abbey...

...This Novella should be…no…MUST be read-through a second time. On my re-read, morsels of enlightenment, sometimes as seemingly insignificant as a single word or short phrase, were revealed that greatly enhanced my understanding and pleasure regarding the convoluted mystery of Nachtstürm Castle. This reviewer cannot remember reading a novella, or any other work of this length, that had within its pages so much to offer the fancier of Gothic fiction. Read it after dark with your back to the wall and facing a locked door!

Read more

Many thanks to Jeffrey! And make sure you follow me on Twitter for all the latest updates. Next Sunday, August 14, join me on Twitter for an Austenesque Extravaganza!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Charming Princes Review

The Nancy Curvin Players are performing Charming Princes this month in Geneva, New York.

And this is what they had to say about the play!

[Charming Princes is] a nonstop comedy for all ages with rich characters and revolves around a fairy tale that everyone knows and loves. It picks up right after Cinderella leaves the ball and, in this version, throwing her hard glass slipper at the not-so-charming Prince's head. The show runs roughly 30min and the play was chosen based on its potential for lots of audience participation and a positive message that it is what's on the inside that counts. With small cast, minimal set and fun costumes, this show fits perfectly with Curvin's style and reputation of shows.

It's also a fun read! To buy a copy of the script or to apply for performance rights, check out Playscripts, Inc.!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Who Wears the Pants?

A Note from the Program of As You Like It
Performing at: The Portugese Club in Hudson, MA
Performing on: August 4-6, 2011 at 7 p.m.

In theatre, there are some actresses who may claim to specialize in “pants roles” – that is, an actress who is often cast as a man. This term makes less sense today, when everybody – male and female – wears pants almost exclusively. But when women were first allowed to act on the stage, in Europe and then eventually in England in 1660 (nearly fifty years after Shakespeare’s death), “pants roles” became all the rage. After all, if a woman put on pants…you could see her legs! It was very sexy.

Operas took advantage of “pants roles,” writing boy’s parts for mezzo-sopranos and altos whose voices more closely resembled pre-pubescents – not unlike the modern stage convention of having a woman play the title role of Peter Pan. The famous Spanish playwright, Lope de Vega, praised the new opportunity, saying, “a breeches role usually pleases [the audience] very much.” Shakespeare’s comedies became very popular due to this new fad... so much so that we’ve forgotten that the Bard originally wrote his pants roles…to be played by men.

Shakespeare uses the trick of a woman impersonating a man three notable times: Rosalind in As You Like It, Viola in Twelfth Night, and briefly at the end of The Merchant of Venice, Portia. In the original, a male actor had the task of impersonating a woman…impersonating a man. Shakespeare even winks at his casting restrictions in Rosalind’s epilogue when the actor says: “If I were a woman…!” which would have gotten a big laugh from Elizabethan audiences.

What a state is a modern actress in, then? It was quite easy for a male Orlando playing opposite a male “Rosalind” to act as though he believed his stage-love was a young boy…because it was. And it was easy for audiences to believe that Orlando wasn’t stupid or near-sighted for being confused by his “Rosalind’s” gender. In Shakespeare’s time, the play…played.

Nowadays, though, so many actresses who play Rosalind hope that their breeches will do most of the “manifying” for them. In those same productions, Orlando continues to be completely oblivious to the actress’ high voice and shapely form. The question must be asked: does the inclusion of female actors make As You Like It unplayable?

The answer is a resounding: “No!” There’s a reason Shakespeare is an acknowledged genius. For his text fully allows for multiple interpretations. Why couldn’t Orlando be much more suspicious, far less duped by Rosalind’s manly show? After all, Orlando seems to be constantly testing the boy “Rosalind,” calling him/her “pretty youth,” and finally giving him/her the ultimatum, “I can live no more by thinking.”

Nor is Shakespeare’s insight into women dated: in the modern age, women continue to struggle with pants roles – as single moms, as businesswomen, as women searching for some model other than a princess in pink. Women “still give the lie to their consciences,” putting on an aggressive “manly” mask to show the world. What, then, is the remedy? Love, Shakespeare replies. Love that sees beyond the mask, and makes it empowering to wear a dress.

Nachtsturm Castle: Teaser Trailer!

Check out the teaser trailer for Nachtsturm Castle: A Gothic Austen Novel, from - available in Paperback or for your Kindle from! Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Fall of Borders

In Marlborough, we're mourning the loss of Borders Bookstores. Here's an informative link regarding what happened. An interesting watch for anyone who's invested in the publishing industry.

The Fall of Borders

Monday, July 25, 2011

In Praise of Insomnia

Recently, my mother informed me that I was only a genius between the hours of midnight to six a.m. It's an unfortunate truth that I seem to write best 1) under a deadline, and 2) in the wee hours of the morning.

The deadline assistance makes logical sense.  As a theatre person, everything's a deadline.  The show will go on, whether you're ready for it or not!  Similarly if you're writing a play, there's a certain date where you simply must have sides for auditions, and a mere 72-hours after that you'd better have a script to give to the actors! 

Novels are harder, though, simply because they're enormous in scope and have a tendency to get richer as you write them (at least for me), and so I fully understand why Douglas Adams famously said: "I love deadlines.  I love to wave at them as they pass me by."  (A nice nod to which was in Pirates of the Caribbean 2.)

But my justifications for why insomnia is a blessing are as follows:

  • In the wee hours of the morning, there's simply nothing else to do but to fill up the time with words.

  • In the wee hours of the morning, every other sane person is aslumber - which means that there is no one awake with whom I can distract myself from the accusatory blank screen.

  • In the wee hours of the morning, there's a sense of impending deadlinery, insofar as the dawn will inevitably come and I'd better get some sleep before it becomes tomorrow...hence I must finish what I am writing today.  ("Today" always being that time before the dawn.  None of this meridian nonsense.)

    Or on a slightly more silly note:

  • Theatre people don't know the meaning of 10 a.m. anyway.

  • My grandmother was an insomniac, so there's simply no hope for it.

  • Clearly, it's not that I'm up too late, it's that night comes too early!

    So I wonder...when do other people find their genius flowing?