Hurry Up and Wait

I spent the entire weekend auditioning. Literally, I went to at least 10 auditions in a matter of 2 days. As exhausting as it was, it was also great to be actively doing something to further my dreams. There were times when I tried to talk myself out of it; while waiting at least an hour to even get inside one of the audition rooms, I thought to myself, “Well, I’ve already been to x amount of auditions today. That should be enough; I really don’t need to go to this one. Besides, I’m tired and hungry.”  But then that thought was combatted by another, “But this is good practice. You might as well wait. This is an opportunity. Don’t waste it. You don’t have anything else to do anyway. You can wait.”

Audition Day 1
Audition Day 2

I watched as other actors and actresses crossed their names off the list and left, obviously tired of waiting themselves. But I stayed put, and I’m glad I did. I waited an hour and a half to be seen for maybe 10 minutes, and at this point, my mind is a blur of audition rooms and directors, so I’m not even sure how I did in the audition. But again, I’m glad I waited. This was an opportunity. Even if I don’t get any callbacks—which, of course, I hope that I DO, but if I don’t—I’m glad I took the time to practice my craft. I needed the practice of being in front of strangers, reading a side that I had never seen before and putting my whole self into it. Some of the auditions I know I tanked; others, I’m very hopeful about.

All in all, it was fun and (again) great practice, and I’m glad I stuck with it. Now, the callback waiting game…



Nine to Five

“All these people on the planet working 9 to 5 just to stay alive…”


Although I’ve been working the “traditional 9-5” for 7 years, I still haven’t gotten used to it. It just doesn’t seem natural to me. I’ve always had gigs outside of the 9-5 and the work required of those gigs sometimes spills into my 9-5, causing me to slip out occasionally for lunch meetings, coffee breaks, “personal errands”, etc.  Thankfully, no matter what 9-5 I’ve had, it’s been flexible enough for me to “slip out” for a few, but after a while I start to feel bad for somewhat neglecting the 9-5.

Recently, as I slipped out, waiting at a coffee shop for a quick non 9-5 meeting, I noticed how comfortable I felt. Although I kept checking my watch to make sure I wasn’t gone too long, I liked the freedom of sitting in a coffee shop at 10am instead of behind a desk in a cubicle. As I waited for my latte and breakfast crepe, I observed the hushed conversations of who I imagined to be stay-at-home moms or college students. I scanned the quirky décor hanging above entrepreneurs tapping and clicking away on their laptops and smart phones.  I relaxed in my chair as I thought, “I could get used to this.”

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind going into the office every now and then; sometimes it’s absolutely necessary. But I would rather have the freedom to choose and come and go as I please instead of being required to be there during a daily specified time period. It becomes so mundane after a while. And sometimes I just want to sleep in. Sometimes I just want to do nothing. Sometimes I want to slink in around noon in jeans and a t-shirt.

My frustration with the 9-5 should serve as an agent for change, pushing me to focus on building opportunities for myself to earn income outside of it, so that I can eventually quit and work for myself. I feel that I’m getting closer, but I just have to push harder and continue to remind myself of what I want and what it will take to get it.

I admit that I can be lazy sometimes and settle for the ease of collecting a regularly-expected paycheck, but if I really want to work for myself (and be successful at it), I’ve got to do more. Work harder. Challenge myself. Sacrifice. Plan. Execute. Network.

I’m not getting any younger, after all.

Writer’s Spotlight Wednesday (WSW)-Donna L. Martin

Happy New Year!

I am pleased to reboot Writer’s Spotlight Wednesday (WSW), and the first WSW of the New Year features:

Donna L. Martin

Donna Martin

“I can’t imagine NOT writing!”

Q: What subject matter do you specialize in writing? Why do you write?

A: The various fiction genres I write in are picture books, early reader chapter books, and young adult novels. I have a number of completed picture books but I am currently shifting more toward writing creative nonfiction.

I suspect I write for the same reason any other serious writer does…it’s as vital to me as the air I breathe and I can’t imagine NOT writing!

Q: Tell me about your book and what inspired you to write it.

A: My debut picture book, THE STORY CATCHER, is about a little girl who comes from a family of readers, or story catchers as they like to call themselves. Addie tries to catch her first story but the wiggly words keep playing tricks on her. It takes a little faith and a nighttime ritual to help her become the next STORY CATCHER.

story catcher

Addie is dear to me. She represents any child with a learning disability or even just beginning to learn to read and struggling to untangle the words on the page. I am a READ TO ME approved volunteer, and I spent one year tutoring a young girl who really struggled to comprehend the words in the books she was read to by her family. By the end of the school year of us working together, she could finally read her first book all on her own.

Q: What has been the most challenging part of releasing your book, and how did you overcome that challenge?

A: Do you mean besides exercising tremendous patience while my book went through the long publishing/production process? The most challenging part is probably the extensive marketing aspect including expanding my author platform. I’ve done a lot of research this past year and I’m learning new things every day. I have created an extended promotional campaign to help get the word out about THE STORY CATCHER in the upcoming months ahead.

Q: What are you currently working on? Any other upcoming projects?

A: Earlier in 2014, I completed a creative nonfiction chapter book about a historic event involving chocolate, children, and an airborne train. It’s an unsolved mystery that really happened many years ago and I call it THE CHOCOLATE TRAIN WRECK. I will start subbing it out this month. I’ve also finished research on a Titanic angle never done for children before as well as starting to write first drafts from some of the many ideas I wrote down during Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month event last November.

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given, and how have you applied that advice?

A: That’s a tricky question because I’ve tried to learn something from everyone I come in contact with in this industry, but maybe one of the best pieces of advice I was told early on was to have lots of patience and grow a thick skin when it comes to handling rejections. The publishing industry is very subjective so what one agent or editor is interested in today may change tomorrow depending on how they read the market trends. It is NOT the norm to go from receiving a manuscript request to signed publishing contract in six days like it happened to me and THE STORY CATCHER. Even after my book is about to have its official release day, I’m still receiving rejection notices for agent representation. I believe in my skills as a story teller so I don’t take it personally when one of my stories is rejected for some reason. With hard work I was lucky enough to get this far so I have no doubt the rest will come when the time is right.

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If you would like to join Donna’s FREE STORY CATCHER FAN CLUB to receive a bi-monthly newsletter, a reading log with the chance to become an “official” story catcher, membership certificate, and story starring YOU, send an email request to: Include your name, age, and email address with your request.

Donna can also be found on the following social media sites:

(click on a logo below to be redirected to that page)






amazonAuthor Email:

Author Website:

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Cheers to the journey to “catch” many stories in the New Year!

Happy New Year

Pizza Face-Girl’s Night Edition

Desano Pizza Bakery 

115 16th Avenue South, Nashville, TN

visited: Jan. 2015


Its menu lists Desano as “Home of the World Famous San Gennaro”, but it’s more like home of the buffalo mozzarella, which is dolloped on almost every pizza. Its addition is a great one; it tastes so fresh, I jokingly stated, “There must be a cow named Ella Mae out back, working around the clock.” I mean, seriously, how else could they produce this fresh goodness? Our server assured us that there was no cow out back, but they did in fact make all their ingredients fresh everyday.

This was a great spot for a girls’ night–you can bring your own bottle(s) of wine (and we did, indeed)! Whoo hoo!

desano  desano group therapy

We tried three pizzas:

1. San Gennaro: Of course we had to try the world famous San Gennaro! The sweet and spicy flavor of the peppadew on this pizza was the icing on the cake—errr—I mean, the pepper on the pizza! The peppadew looks like a grape tomato, but it’s actually a pepper that was apparently found in Africa (as our server told us). This was the favorite among the group.

2. Lasagna: This pizza was like eating lasagna with your hands! Delightful!

Lasagna Pizza
Lasagna Pizza

3. Desano: Although this pizza was tasty, it was definitely overshadowed by everything else we tasted. It was easily forgettable. Not bad, just unimpressive compared to the other two.

Okay, technically, we tried four pizzas, but the fourth was actually a dessert pizza, called The Nutella.

desano nutella

The Nutella was absolutely delicious and it was light and airy, so there was no gluttonous, over-stuffed feeling. It actually tasted like Ferrero Rocher, if you’ve ever had one of those.


Price: $$

Taste: YUMMY

Recommendation: GREEN

The Return of Writer’s Spotlight Wednesday

What up folks?!


A while back I used to feature various writers through a monthly series I called Writer’s Spotlight Wednesday (WSW). Well, I fell off the bandwagon, but I’m ready to hop back on board. Writer’s Spotlight will be returning in January 2015. Stay tuned, but in the meantime, catch up on the previous WSW features HERE.

Are you a writer? Want to be featured? Contact me at:

Wishing you a fun and safe holiday season!

Christmas "Tree"

Holiday Film Favorites

These are a few of my personal holiday film favorites.

Home Alone

  1. Home Alone: This was one of my favorites as a kid and it remains as one of my faves in adulthood. This is definitely a classic. Scored by the iconic John Williams, the music in this film is extremely memorable.

  1. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York: I’m usually not a fan of sequels, but this one is an exception. It remains true to Kevin and the antics that we loved in the first film. John Williams also returned to score this film as well.
  1. Last Holiday: When Georgia (Queen Latifah) is diagnosed with a terminal illness, she embarks on a journey to live her last days to the fullest. (P.S. Don’t wait until something happens to start living your life; live it to the fullest now with no regrets!)
  1. Elf: Will Ferrell is hilarious in this story of an elf who discovers he is actually a human, and thus embarks on journey from the North Pole (where he has been raised) to New York, to reunite with his birth father who never knew he existed. I enjoy the childlike innocence of Ferrell’s character and his huge capacity for love.
  1. This Christmas: Gotta love a good family film, filled with the requisite sibling rivalry, family secret reveals, and eye candy, with equal moments of drama, hilarity, and warm fuzziness.

What are some of your favorite holiday movies? Share in the comments below.

Pizza Face-Happy Hour Edition


MAFIAoZA’s, 2400 12th Avenue South, Nashville, TN

2-for-1 has never been better than it is at MAFIAoZA’s happy hour. I’m not sure if I was excited because the pizza itself was that good or because of the deal—I take that back; it was definitely because of the deal.

The restaurant itself is charming, carrying on the mafia/mob boss theme, with menu items such as “The Tony”, “The Mark”, “Brass Knuckles”, “The Informant”, and “The Last Request”.

The pizza was greasy and flimsy. To eat it, you have to either fold it in half (NY style), or cut it with a knife and fork. The sauce is minimal to nonexistent, and the final bite is crisp—almost burnt. One slice is actually the equivalent of two. During happy hour, if you order one slice, you get two, which is almost like getting four slices for the price of one! #winning

Let’s raise our beer-filled mason jars and toast to MAFIAoZA’s happy hour!


Price: $

Taste: OKAY

Recommendation: YELLOW

Pizza Face-Bellagio

My coworkers have been raving about Bellagio, so I decided to try it (besides, when have I been known to turn down pizza?!).

Bellagio Pizza & Subs, 114-B 29th Ave North, Nashville, TN

Visited: November 2014


The cheese and the crust stand out on this pizza. The cheese is bubbly and the crust is buttery and fluffy. The sauce and toppings fade into the background; don’t get me wrong, the toppings were good, but they just weren’t as prominent as the crust and cheese. There’s not much else to say about this pizza–it’s simple and tasty, and I’d venture to order it again the next time I’m yearning for delivery pizza near work.


Price: $$ (the delivery fees add up, but they have some good lunch combo deals)

Taste: YUMMY

Recommendation: GREEN

Pizza Face-Beach Edition

Latrisha at Orange Beach

I spent Thanksgiving on the beach—Orange Beach, Alabama to be exact—and as with any and every Thanksgiving, I participated in the requisite gorging all week long. Of course on Thanksgiving Day, I had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner (turkey and dressing, greens, sweet potatoes, mac & cheese, etc.), but the rest of the week, since we were in the gulf, I was stuffing my face with seafood, seafood and more seafood. Even so, I found an opportunity to eat none other than….pizza!!!

Cobalt Restaurant, 28099 Perdido Beach Blvd, Orange Beach, AL

Visited: November 2014


The atmosphere of Cobalt was absolutely amazing, from the time you walk in the door (shallow fish pond complete with a stingray) to the time you are seated (with a waterfront view) to the time you excuse yourself for a bathroom break (and wash your hands with a pleasantly scented sea salt scrub).

cobalt sea salt scrub

It was a beautiful and spacious venue. As if that wasn’t enough, the food was great with an inexpensive price-point, which made for an all-around wonderful experience.

Even though I had my heart set on pizza, I ventured to try a variety of oysters (baked, fried and raw) as an appetizer. They were huge—a great “bang for your buck”—and very appetizing.

cobalt oysters
Plate 1: Baked Oysters Combo (garlic parmesan, crab & shrimp au gratin, and “The Rockefeller”-spinach, shallots, parsley, anchovies); Plate 2: Raw Oysters; Plate 3: Fried Oysters

Now, on to the pizza…

cobalt pizza

It looked great, but there was nothing special about it. The portion size was perfect and the flavors on the pizza (chicken, bacon, mushrooms, spinach, basil) blended well, but it didn’t make me dance in my seat. Granted, this particular restaurant is known for its seafood, so I should have known better—that’s like ordering a hamburger or hot dog at a Mexican restaurant. In hindsight, if I was going to order pizza at a seafood restaurant, I should’ve at least tried their seafood pizza, but oh well.

The restaurant itself is a must try if you ever find yourself in Orange Beach, just make sure you stick with their specialties. If you want pizza in Orange Beach, stick to a chain—like Pizza Hut or Papa Johns.


Price: $

Taste: YUMMY  <–everything elseOKAY<–pizza

Recommendation: GREEN


1. Crab Trap, 16495 Perdido Key Dr, Pensacola, FL

Great crab cakes!

crab trap

2. The Original Oyster House, 701 Gulf Shores Pkwy, Gulf Shores, AL

oyster house

Best hushpuppies I’ve ever had; Seriously!

We were too full to try any oysters here, but everything else was delicious.

shrimp florentine
Shrimp Florentine
crab stuffed flounder
Crab-Stuffed Flounder

Hey Rejection…Take THAT!!!

A while ago, I posted some tips on how to deal with rejection. That post was spawned out of my recent rejection from an audition. READ THE FULL POST HERE.

One of the final tips I gave for rejection was to keep trying. My dad, a retired musician (and I say “retired” lightly b/c he’s hardly retired–the man never stops!! LOL), has auditioned for quite a few things. Some he’s booked on the first try and the ones that he didn’t book, he keeps trying for. He keeps going and going.

Well, I kept trying and boo yow!

boo yow

I am now a part of:



Don’t be discouraged by a “no”. Just keep trying. Never give up. Get that “yes”.