5-star editorial reviews! Quirky, heart-opening, funny, poignant, up, down, and everywhere in between—that’s life and that’s Life in the Hollywood Lane. Trish, an LA actor, is bereft with guilt after her best friend commits suicide. Glamorous yet tough-as-nails Hollywood is Trish’s backdrop and a reflection of her life as she stumbles on through an actor’s life of casting calls and premieres, rejection and acceptance. Slowly Trish releases the idea of how her life should be and embraces the messy, flawed, yet stunningly beautiful truth of how it is. Trish’s humorous resilience and acceptance lead to transformation, surrender, and ultimately love. Author Ann Crawford’s trademark optimism for life and love shine through in this inspiring story that reminds us all that no matter what the question, love is always the answer. Life in the Hollywood Lane is chockablock with LOL and aha moments. Also, know any folks who’ve been chasing a long-held dream? Do them a favor and gift them this book!
I love this book. Sigh. I love all of my books, of course, but this one has a special place in my heart. OK, yes, they all do. This one is extra special, though, because it's kind of based on someone I know who killed herself, and it's a tribute to her. I wanted to celebrate her journey no matter how it ended. Also in tribute to her, the book is quite quirky and funny, as she was.
This book is a quirky journey of an actor trying to make it in LA, and this section is about how her childhood shaped her. August is one of my favorite months of the year, because my family would go (upscale-ish) camping at the beach for a couple of weeks, and these were our best times together. Vacation would always come right after one or more of us five kids would perform in our town's Shakespeare Festival. As I sit here writing about these two wonderful, formative annual events, all the sad parts of my childhood fade away (at least for now) and I'm so grateful.
Authors don't get that instant feedback that other performers get. We get letters, which is always nice, but we don't often experience laughter and applause that comedians, actors and musicians get. I did a book reading last week and I read this section, which is one of my favorites. I loved hearing the laughter from the crowd. I don't write for the feedback, of course, but it's always nice to get it. Here the main character, an actor in LA, talks about how the characters in that town are not all in the movies. The book is about how she deals with the grief after BFF commits suicide, but it's also quite quirky, with many funny moments along the way.
I lovelovelovelovelove making the audiobooks of my books. I love hearing the books come to life and have the characters speak the way I heard them when they first spoke those words in my head. Today I got a big surprise. I was reading the acknowledgements, and I got to the part that starts "To my friends who have committed suicide...." I couldn't speak for a few minutes--I was totally lost in love and appreciation and grief for them. They're the reason I wrote this book....the main character's BFF kills herself, and I wanted her to still be the shero of her journey, no matter how her journey ended. The rest of that part goes "I look forward to the time and place where I get to see you again. I love you so much, and I honor your courage, your decision, and your journey."
I actually know a guy like Claude and he actually had a jungle room. I also went to a few way cray parties at his house. So it wasn't hard to create the mood for this disjointed meeting, in the midst of mermaids and many other wild characters. I love creating mood...almost as much as I love writing the scene when "she" first lays eyes on "him." Enjoy!
Kathy at Bublish asked us to talk about times we've made tough decisions. Oh, I've had many in my life -- whether to divorce my previous husband, move from California to Kansas to be with someone I just met (!), pursue a degree....actually, that last one is a good example because the other 2 examples were just inevitables. I was thinking about getting a Masters in Social Work, but it wasn't quite coming together. I'd spent several years taking lots of classes, including statistics (for psychology)--me! I even got an A. After a while I "tried on" (like a garment) one decision -- not to continue -- and the relief that flooded my body told me that was the right answer. Here Trish has talking about how she decided to go to Hollywood.
As the title says, I've been to 70 countries, plus all 50 states. I seem to have been born with an innate urge to see the world...and then bring the messages I received and experienced that've enriched me so much home and into my books. This scene actually happened. And this is where my main character is just like me...which happens from time to time in my stories, LOL.
I lived in LA and worked in talent management for a bit. It was one of the most fun times of my life. Shortly after I left, though, one of the actors I worked with committed suicide. Over the next couple of years, this book came to me. I still wanted her to be the shero of her journey, no matter how her life ended. She was such a beautiful, talented, amazing person. Right now I'm sitting in a cafe in LA being reminded of all the things it took to write this book...all the work around movies that I've done, all the aspects of talent management that I reveled in, and all the characters I met...and even am looking at right now, LOL.
I love reading books of all kinds -- fiction, non-fiction, silly things, serious things, women's lit, bios...you name it. Maybe not thrillers or mysteries so much, unless they're by Dan Brown. As a writer myself, I'm a pretty tough customer and I'll really only finish a book if it's truly exceptional. Life's too short to read a book that doesn't float my boat! My favorite thing is when authors can create new (to me) worlds that I can completely immerse myself in. I also love wacky characters I've never encountered before. This book bubble is about a world I've been a part of that most haven't -- Hollywood -- and a true character. Believe me, the most colorful characters in that town are NOT just in the movies, LOL.
Writing books about 'em! Yes, when I was little people would ask me where I got my read hair; yes, I finally started saying, "From my head." Yes, people in Southeast Asia rubbed my arm to see if my freckles are lumpy, I guess. So much of what I write about is true. And so much more is from the energy of everyone I've ever known -- not that I'm divulging secrets, but they're with me through all these characters I write about. This week I dedicated my blog (anncrawford.net) to my mom, who died 40 years ago on the 9th...and was probably the main reason I started writing.
I had the honor and fun of working in talent management in LA for a while. One of the actors I worked with committed suicide (as did a dear friend of mine years ago). She was so beautiful, so funny, so vivacious, so talented, so smart, so....... About a year after she died this story came to me. I wanted her to still be the shero of her journey, even in how it ended. Life in the Hollywood Lane is a tribute to her and to all the amazing, wonderful people I worked with. Actors often make it look easy. It's not. Kudos to them and to everyone who works toward their dreams.
Now and then my alma mater sends an email asking if I’d like to give some career advice to a senior. About that…. I started out in English, which makes complete sense to anyone who knows me. After a part-time job in an ad agency, I switched to business with an emphasis in marketing. That kind of makes sense. Advertising was the start of my after-college work life, but it wasn’t really for me. Then followed sooooo many different jobs—working for a holding company, editing, marketing, editing, the financial industry (three times!), more editing, talent management, then more editing. I’ve even made a couple of documentaries, including one that won a very prestigious award. But in my heart I’m a writer. I’m grateful for all the jobs I’ve had and the long list of characters I’ve met over the years. All the people I’ve met at every workplace gave me such gifts. My favorite job outside of doing my own thing was being a talent manager in LA. I fell in love with my actors and gained tremendous respect for them plus appreciation for how tough the movie industry is. That was the impetus for this book. Here’s one of my favorite clips (I still talk in movie language a lot) about the many forms success can take:
I went to see the medium James Van Praagh near Denver once. This scene in my book, which is about a woman's journey through grief after her BFF commits suicide, is based on that. A son spoke through him to tell his heartbroken parents that there wasn't a single thing they could've done to stop him from committing suicide.
As I mentioned, if I write a book, it has to be a love story. This is where Trish finally surrenders to the love that's been looking for her.
My book features an actor, but it's really for any artist or anyone who's been pursuing a dream and would love to see it come alive. Know someone who has a long-held desire? Do him or her a favor and gift them this book!
The recent deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have many people talking about suicide. I was in talent management in LA a while back, and one of our actors committed suicide, as did a very dear friend many years before. So I've thought about it a lot. A story came to me where the one who committed suicide is still the shero of her journey, no matter how it ended. Here her BFF Trish is first grappling with it and then looks at it from many angles, including why the famous might do it--relying on her ever-present humor.
If I write a book, it has to have a love story in it.....here's the start of that part of my book.
Here Trish, my shero, is talking about how the wild characters in Hollywood are not just in the movies....they especially show up in her love (not so much) life.
Introduction to one of my favorite characters I've had the pleasure to write about. She's quite the character!
OMG—oh my galaxy! I have a feeling I’m not in Andromeda anymore. A starbeing was supposed to travel light-years across the universe to help humanity by working in Washington, D.C.—but she accidentally lands in a small Kansas town in the body of Missy. She has come to help humanity, but maybe it was Missy who needed the help. Join her on this whimsical journey as she discovers the beauty of life and love on Earth. Author Ann Crawford’s trademark optimism brings us a witty and wise book filled with memorable characters and insights into what makes us all so very human.
My promise to readers is that my books are filled with love, light and laughter. My life is filled with that, too. When I was calling in my husband, the love of my life, the phrase I'd use is "I want a husband, a family, and a home filled with love, light and laughter." Check, check, checkcheckcheck. That last part has become my author tagline and how I live my life. When I came up with it, I had no idea I'd start doing improv and, as of just a couple of months, standup comedy! The video of my first attempt is at the end of my most recent blog, at anncrawford.net. I think laughter is one of the most healing elements we have, along with love and light.
I've studied so many things in my life, including taking ground school to be a pilot. That where I learned about those clouds that look like spaceships and why they form that way. I've also driven that Interstate through Kansas many a time, and often at night. Those lights are mesmerizing. I love studying, lots. I love writing, lots. I love it when they come together, lots. I love comedy, going deep, sharing wisdom, making people laugh--especially when they all come together..lots.
Many people ask me what the inspiration for this book was, and part of my answer is this quote from Starman: "You're at your best when things are at their worst." I never even watched that movie until very recently, but a friend told me that line decades ago. Since then, on and off, I tried to imagine what we humans would look like to a visitor...and what it'd be like to wake up in this amazing human body...and how beautiful we are, even with all our foibles. That's how this book was born.
Kathy from Bublish asked us to talk about gatherings this week. I have lots of gatherings in my life and some in my books. The gathering I chose here is for Thanksgiving, but imagine what it'd be like if this was your very first Thanksgiving--as an adult human--and being introduced to all the interesting foods and strange traditions. What would it be like if you suddenly woke up...human? Yes, you do it every day and you've gotten quite good at it! But what if you were from another world? This was such a fun book to write, as I got to relook at so many things to describe them as if it was the very first time an adult human was experiencing them, not slowly getting used to them as we do coming in as infants and growing up in this particular world. Enjoy!
It seems to me that everyone's favorite time of year is when we were born. Is that true for you? My favorite time of year is definitely spring, and I was born in May. This section of Fresh off the Starship is Missy's first experience of spring after enduring a Kansas fall and winter. I probably wrote this part of the book (in my head, anyway) first, because I have to say Kansas springs are amazing after those long, dreary winters. I hope you enjoy your spring, wherever you are.
This book is a finalist for an award -- I find out next month if it actually won the award, but being a finalist is still wonderful on its own. This week we're supposed to talk about some of our fav tricks of the writing trade. My favorites are alliteration, simile and metaphor. This passage shows some of these. I hope you enjoy seeing them in use. Another thing we can tell you about is times we've heard books aloud. My mom was very sick when I was a child, but she still read to me...and that's when my love of books came into being. I'm forever grateful for those magical moments. (Like that alliteration there?)
One of my favorite things to do is make audiobooks of the books I've written. I hear the characters so clearly in my head, and I love being able to put that tone out in the world and bring them to life, even more than they are on the page. Sometimes I can't get it quite right though. In this except, Matt figures out that Missy's not the woman he's been married to -- she's someone else. Who is she? I had to say "Yer not her" at least 25 times before I got it the way I've heard Matt say it in my head all these times.
Kathy from Bublish asked us to talk about the times we've had to throw out sections, chapters, characters, etc. One time I had to throw out a book -- my very first. I got a rather successful agent for that book who said, "I'm going to sell it this summer!" That never happened, and that was before self-publishing was a big thing. But I wrote another book, and then another, and then.... This latest one is the ninth book I've written. Just that first one never made it out into the world. I'm so happy I just kept on writing--although I didn't have a choice...it's who I am!
What would it be like to wake up in a human body -- as an adult -- for the first time? It was so much fun trying to imagine that and even more fun to write such a scenario. A starbeing from another galaxy wakes up in the body of Missy. This book bubble is about the first time she could see this body she's in as well as experience things we might take for granted, such as a bath. Mmmmmmmmm....actually, I never take those for granted! :)
Trying to describe things from inside a being who's never seen things like Thanksgiving dinner, never experienced things like a shower or a Caramel Macchiato, or never kissed before......was a ton of fun!
I love books that are uplifting, are fun, make me laugh, cause me to think about things in a new way, are a great story, and maybe bring a tear to my eye--from happiness. So that's what I write! This is one of the fun sections, when Missy (a starbeing new to the planet) has her introduction to Starbucks.
I've written seven books now, and what made this one especially fun to write was having to think about describing things as if it was the first time I'd ever done them in a fully adult body -- how would that very first sip of water feel? How about a shower? How about a Caramel Macchiato? LOL. I hope you have as much fun reading these as I did writing them.
“[Visioning] speaks to our hearts, mind, and spirit with a delightful, lyrical, and wise guidance to help us shift from the separated to the divine self that we really are.” ~Barbara Marx Hubbard. We can create the life of our wildest dreams, a life that serves ourselves and humanity, the life we were born to live. Do you have a great dream but it never gets beyond the dreaming stage? Are you being called to do great work but are frustrated that it’s not happening? Visioning shows you that yes, it’s really true – you are being called to fulfill yourself and better the world at the same time. And you can. By mastering the art of visioning, you can live your dreams. LEARN: How to use the power of the Law to create what you want; the five steps of affirmative prayer; the six steps of visioning; how to strengthen your commitment to your vision; how to set your intention; how to create sacred covenants. Our soul yearns for expression. It’s time to soar.
I'm writing a book about finding the love of your life, because that's one thing I happen to be very good at! I've been reading a couple of other books on the subject to study what the masters say, as good writers often do. The book I just read was adamant about making a list of what you want in your love. Here's how my husband and I did it. And more will be revealed in the book I'm writing! Enjoy....
So many books have had a profound impact on my life that I can't list them all here. Books have opened my mind and heart, given me new ways of looking at things and vistas of what's possible, and made me know what I wanted to do with my life...create more of these magical, mystical wonderlands of possibilities. I'm beyond grateful for books and the ability to write them. My excerpt is about how gratitude gives us more to be grateful for!
I've wanted to write since I could hold a pencil in my hand. My mom was very, very sick when I was child (and died when I was a teenager). My favorite times with her was when she'd (have enough energy to) read me a story...and I always knew I'd write stories someday. But it took an amazingly long time to get there. Life gets in the way of our plans sometimes, LOL. Well, Life is the plan, really. And sometimes it just is staring us in the face all along.
Doing our inner work has often been compared to peeling layers of an onion....just coming back to the same place over and over. But it's not the same place at the same level. And that's what we're here for -- to do our work to give our gift.
The untold love story between the Bible's two most powerful characters. In history books, Mary of Magdala has been described as a common prostitute— a person of low moral character and little consequence. In reality, she was a powerful healer and priestess of the cosmos. She was commanding, intelligent and fierce... and deeply in love from the moment she met Yeshua, also known as Jesus of Nazareth. This insightful telling of the untold love story between the most extraordinary woman and man in the universe will make you reconsider biblical history and contemplate the divine forces that shape all of our lives.
I've made 2 documentaries about peace. For one I traveled to Viet Nam with a group of vets and filmed them doing a humanitarian project and going back to where they'd been stationed. That film won a very prestigious award. For another movie, I traveled the world asking people how we can come together and make peace. These 2 experiences were such a great honor, and the mission of peace fills my writing. Every book I write is about peace, loving each other, and making the world a better place. In this bubble from Mary's Message, Mary Magdalene talks about making peace.
I was raised Catholic. My mom even wanted to be a nun, but my dad talked her out of it. A whole lot of people wouldn't be here and you wouldn't be reading this Bubble if she'd gone ahead with that choice. But, very surprising for a woman who wanted to be a nun, she would tell me alternative ideas to what the priests were saying. I remember them mentioning Mary Magdalene and always having a feeling that there was more to the story. So I wrote more to the story.
A reader once told me that my book MARY'S MESSAGE is his favorite book of all, ever. He's highly educated, very philosophical and discerning, and not at all easy to please when it comes to books. So learning that this is his fav book certainly made my day! One of the reasons he loves it so much--aside from how well it's written (hehe)--is that it really touched his heart and opened new worlds for him...and that's what I'm here for: to touch hearts and open new worlds for readers. I love hearing about when I've been successful in that, and hopefully each days brings a new touched heart, a new opened world.
Crazy times then, crazy times now. Our only job is to rise.
She died at the stake forgiving those who betrayed her. Young Catriona, a beautiful and kind Wiccan healer with an uncanny knowledge of natural and herbal remedies, is trusted and beloved by all in her small Scottish village. As her power grows, a jealous witch hunter begins to spread hate-fueled lies. He paints Catriona as an evil sorcerer. As fear takes hold, the people Catriona once trusted and cared for now accuse her of being a Spellweaver and call for her to be burned at the stake. Told from five different perspectives, this mesmerizing narrative shows the disastrous consequences that occur when compassion is trumped by human fear and deception.
I'm recording the audiobook for Spellweaver, and I read this passage yesterday. It brought tears to my eyes...and I wrote it! LOL. This is after the heroine makes love to her soulmate, and her heart is cracked wide open. I adore how structuring words just so can convey the sublime, the ecstasy of life, the union with all things.
The whole story of Spellweaver came to me as I was on a bus going across the Island of Mull, on my way to the ferry to the Island of Iona--both off the west coast of Scotland. I looked over across the waters to the hills and mountains, and the story just came to me. So the setting was easy. Every time I wrote about the scenery, I recalled that day. Of course, watching Outlander certainly helps, too! LOL
From time to time throughout history, we see communities get drawn into heinous acts...like Germany in the 1930s and 40s, like the US and other countries with slavery, like so many examples. During the witch hunts, regular people could be put under the spell of fear. Spellweaver is the story of an amazing healer, but whose small village falls under the spell of the witch hunter. But, no matter what, love is what matters.
I'm generally pretty funny in my books, so it was really hard to write this one--about a healer during the witch hunts. The story came to me while I was on a bus in Scotland, and it wouldn't let me go until I'd written and published it! Our bubbles this week are about how we draw readers in, and hopefully this first line does exactly that. And, yes, she was a very good witch...although in this book's definition, a witch is a healer.
I am one of the lucky ones: to be living a real-life love story that gets even more wonderful as time goes by. I love writing about love -- especially the moment when two hearts meet for the first time. In this story, one was a wanderer who wanted to sail the seven seas and see the world; the other wanted to stay put and listen to what the world had to tell her, right where she was. This is the moment these two vastly different souls came together.
Spellweaver is about a gifted healer back during the witch hunts. This section includes thoughts from someone from her little village in Scotland wondering aloud how they allowed the witch hunter to take their special woman from them....and it was because the witch hunter cast them under a metaphorical spell, not the witch--her only (metaphorical) spells were for healing, love, and light.
Women were burned at the stake for being...healers. Witches were actually healers. At the time, the church did not want any competition in the healing department. When the witch hunter came to this little village in Scotland in 1597, he cast his spell on the villagers and they turned against their favorite daughter. This was the hardest book of mine to write. But the darkness of the past makes it all the more important to shine our light now.
I love writing about love and its magic and majesty. All of my books are about love in one form or another. Spellweaver is about a very special woman during a very dark time...and this excerpt is from when love literally came to her town in the form of a traveler and allowed her to take her sublime love of life and wrap it around a human being. It doesn't hurt that he was handsome and mysterious, too!
This weekend's subject is about extremes....the witch hunts were certainly a time of extremes, too. But in the midst of darkness there can be much light. And, since I wrote this, you know two people will be falling in love....
Angels Brooke and David work hard to support their wayward humans, Jack and Emily, encouraging them to become their truest selves. Even though their humans seem to have given up on life, Brooke and David relentlessly coach them to find love and joy as well as to follow their dreams. It’s exhausting! As these two devoted angels work overtime to put things right, they discover they, too, are guided by higher beings…and a growing, mutual attraction. Will love conquer all in this fun, offbeat romp through the unseen forces behind our lives? Find out as this romantic comedy offers readers as many funny twists and turns as it does profound moments.
Kathy at Bublish suggested we talk about bold moves we've taken. OMG (oh my galaxy, if you've read my book Fresh off the Starship, LOL)...I've taken so many bold moves: Traveled to Europe by myself at age 20. Circumnavigated the globe twice. I can scuba dive and fly a plane. But the boldest move of all was when I met my husband online, got engaged 2 days after meeting face to face, and moved to Kansas from California a week later. And did I mention he had 2 teenagers at the time? That was 13 years ago and every day we're even more in love. So this chapter actually happened, pretty much. He did have that list and so did I.
My promise to readers is that my writing will be about love, shine light in darkness and on tough situations, and make you laugh. (Well, usually -- I do have a couple of serious books, but even those have moments of levity in them.) My tagline and "author brand" is Love, Light and Laughter. That line came to me many years ago when I was calling in my current husband. I told everyone I could, "I want a husband, a family, and a home filled with love, light and laughter." Check, check, checkcheckcheck. When I was thinking about my author brand and tagline, I realized that those three words are what my writing and I are all about. May all three fill your day.
This book recently won a prestigious award in the spirituality category. As our bubble topic for this week is about our hopes and aspirations, I have to say that winning an award for my writing is definitely part of my dream. I love writing, and I love it even more when my writing touches hearts. This is one of my favorite scenes from this book, for one because it really happened with a little boy once. Enjoy! Blessings to you this day and every day.
I write because I have to. It's what I do. It's not an easy path to walk, and there have been times where I tried to choose another path. Ha! No chance. So I write not for accolades or awards (this book just won an award, BTW)...but it would be an even harder path if this gift I give wasn't received well--i.e. "Oh, thanks for the books, Ann. Have you thought of becoming a veterinarian?" The notes and reviews I receive from readers telling me how my books have touched them, lifted up their day, made them laugh, eased a problem, helped them look at a situation from another perspective are the true gifts of the writing process for me.
None of my books seem to share my enthusiasm for Christmas! In fact, Christmas only appears in two of my books. One (Life in the Hollywood Lane) focuses on what a drag Christmas can be while struggling with new grief while the other (Fresh off the Starship) has a starbeing discover her super-tracking powers on Christmas. Nice, but it doesn't exactly celebrate the Christmas spirit. I'll have to fix that in one of my next books. Meanwhile, angels are always a fun part of Christmas, and here's a fun section about them.
You know those Facebook questionnaires that come around—the ones that ask if you have a tattoo, been to Africa, spent a night in jail, that kind of thing? A recent one (to me, anyway) asked if you’ve had a near-death experience. No tattoos (ouch!), yes to Africa, no nights in jail, but perhaps a near-death experience has crossed my path. No, I didn’t get seriously sick or injured where I flatlined and saw my long-gone parents or my dog Mystic or anything like that. I was driving down the 10 freeway in LA one Sunday morning. And that—plus thinking about the possible scenes behind the scenes—lead to this chapter....A lot of this actually happened.
I had a death experience once, a long time ago....no, I didn't flatline and see my mom; it was under something similar to hypnosis. I felt more love in that moment than I'd felt in my entire life before that, which'd had a fair share of love. It was a moment I'll treasure for the rest of my life. That was the impetus for this scene (as well as many more in this book and my others).....
True story: On the day my husband’s divorce from his first wife was final, he sat down and wrote a list of 40 things he wanted in his next—and last—wife. The list was one-third physical, one-third emotional/intellectual and one-third spiritual...and he was specific. “Between 5’10 and 6’.” "Spiritually aware." "Intelligent." “Blue eyes that sparkle.” “Well-read.” "Long, long legs." “At peace with her world.” At the time he wrote out this list (in the Midwest), this very spiritual 5’11”, blue-eyed, 36"-inch inseamed author / filmmaker / peacemaker suddenly started thinking of leaving my husband. I was practically all 40 things. The last thing on his list was “she has her own list and I meet all of her criteria.” I did and he did and still does. We’d often joke about how there must’ve been a team of angels that pulled us together across the miles. “Well, there’s a woman in California who meets all of his criteria, but she’s married.” “Oh. That’s not going to work.......Well, how married?” “There’s still a lot of love there, but they’ve outgrown each other and it’s time to move on.” And that’s how ANGELS ON OVERTIME was born. There’s a lot of fact in this fiction.
Even those of us cleverly disguised as drunken rascals receive a beautiful homecoming when we/they die......
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