The secret’s out– I’m writing a novel.

Here’s the blurb from my first novel. I promise plenty more info and pre-order links as soon as they’re available. And in case you’re wondering, this has been a crazy good time…

Coming soon:
Emily’s Tour Diary (and Other Tragedies of the Stage)
by Joanna Parson

256-page novel, New Adult fiction

When Emily gets cast in a musical’s national tour, her friends in NYC send her on her way with a brand new journal, a packet of stationery, and squeals of encouragement. She may not be sure she’s a natural fit for the job, but who could turn down a dream gig that any of her peers would kill for? And after 18 cities, 6 months, 2 torrid affairs, 1 near drug bust and thousands of audience members exploding into applause every night, what will it take for this 20-something theater girl to finally come into her own?

Emily’s Tour Diary (and Other Tragedies of the Stage) is a rock and roll, theatrical coming of age tale where a good girl learns where her edges are, one city at a time.

 

Writing Coaching

 

A few years back, when the Happy Hour Salon was in full swing (my bi-monthly variety show for new works of different genres), I was also hosting the Happy Hour Salon Writing Workshop. We got people together once a week who were working on solo show projects of different moods and stripes, and used each other’s feedback to develop the writing side of the work.

When I’m in town, I’m always happy to look for another group to bring together– feel free to send me your interest for late fall of 2012. In the meantime and whenever I’m out of town doing an acting job, I am still able to coach privately, through e-mail and Skype.

I’m working with a client now whose piece has grown exponentially– what started as a solo show has turned into a full-length play, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. It’s so fulfilling to help someone realize that you don’t HAVE to be overwhelmed, it doesn’t have to be perfect, and you’re not writing an encyclopedia. One word in front of the other, with a bit of direction, can work wonders. (Advice that always bears repeating in front of my own face, in the mirror.) Don’t be afraid! And feel free to contact me to set up a coaching package.

“Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.”– Henry Miller

Janet Any-Gal Mystery Radio Theatre

For five years now, I’ve gone up to the Depot Theatre on beautiful Lake Champlain for a few weeks during the summers to work with the apprentice program– kids from ages of 6-13. And for the past four of those years, I’ve created original radio plays that we do as staged readings. The kids write original commercials for the breaks in the action, and we perform with minimal costume pieces.

I can’t tell you how rewarding it has been to watch kids take to this form. Using just microphones and music stands, kids learn how to bring a script alive with their imagination. Characterization and vocal clarity is prized, but so is teamwork; older kids are able to help the younger ones find their places and create sound effects. Kids who are more physical love the Foley artistry, while the heightened language and larger roles provide challenges for more advanced performers— and the parents and grandparents love it.

More theaters and educational programs have contacted me about performing Janet Any-Gal plays– stay tuned for more news!

(photos by Kathryn Cramer)

JANET ANY-GAL IN “MYSTERY OFF THE MAP” SYNOPSIS
The sleepy little town of Westport, New York, is about to wake up. Janet Any-Gal, our 16-year-old heroine in charge of her Pop’s detective shop while he’s off on the war front, impresses one of her father’s clients, an insurance investigator from the city who’s not used to getting his feet muddy and who needs some help with a break-in down at Old McGuffy’s farm. The clues are kid-sized, and Janet knows just which gang of tough local boys to ask what’s what. When they lead her to the mysterious ward of the richest family in town, Janet finds herself in mortal danger in a climactic showdown in an old barn.

JANET ANY-GAL IN “A NOSE FOR TROUBLE” SYNOPSIS
Westport is celebrating the anniversary of the discovery of Lake Champlain, and an influx of out-of-town tourists provides temptation and easy marks for the resort owners, hucksters and petty criminals of the quiet country village. Meanwhile, a new resort camp in town is providing competition for businessman Cedric McMillan, and the French perfume of Camp Normandie’s confident mistress, Coco Du Champagne, seems to drive men crazy in more ways than one. When a skunk sprays his camp, McMillan blames the mademoiselle, and hires Janet Any-Gal to find evidence that will turn the tourists against Coco and bring them back to Camp Westport’s Pride. With the help of the notorious Bumble Brothers and souvenir salesman Cheadle Pennysworth, Janet’s the one girl detective who can sniff out the truth.

JANET ANY-GAL IN “CHAMPY TESTS THE WATERS” SYNOPSIS
Toughie O’Leary asks Janet for help after members of his boys gang find mysterious tracks down by the lakefront. Though distracted by demands for back rent by the landlady at her Pop’s detective office, Janet finds herself drawn in when the whole town of Westport starts to blame Champy, the Lake Monster of Lake Champlain. Town eccentrics Oriana Anderson and Champy expert Denton Beedleswitch face off against their frightened friends and neighbors, and the return of the enigmatic former prisoner Bill Russell muddies the waters for Janet and Toughie as they fight for the future of the lake itself.

JANET ANY-GAL IN “MYSTERY FINDS A FRIEND” SYNOPSIS
Janet has to bet on her friends when she investigates hijinks at the polo fields in Westport. When the star polo pony, Wadham’s Pride, makes trouble for stuck-up stick-wielder Porter Westenbrook, he asks Janet to look into it. With the help of her best friend Lila, Lila’s brother Lionel, and her usual shadow Little Petie Wilson, Janet discovers trouble on the field and off. And what are Albany’s heaviest gangsters doing lurking around the stable? Janet learns about the history of polo, the hidden strengths of her best pals, and the perils of horsing around.

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