Why you should get bedbugs

What the heck is this new musical, Bedbugs!!!, everyone is talking about? I got to see it a few nights ago and I was blown away.

After losing her mother in a tragic bedbug accident, Carly becomes an exterminator determined to rid the world of bedbugs and avenge her mother’s death. Despite warnings from her lab assistant, Burt, she creates a deadly concoction to kill the bugs, but it winds up mutating them instead. Meanwhile, Canadian pop-singer, Dionne Salon, tries to resuscitate her career, but these  mutated, hyper-sexualized bedbugs threaten to kill off all of her fans. At Dionne’s concert, Carly must decide between the bedbugs who have embraced her as their creator, and mankind who blames her for the apocalypse. In the end, it is the power of love that saves them all.

The show was hilarious, but even more fun was watching the audience crack up. I’ve never seen people laughing and enjoying themselves so much. Fred Sauter has written an amazing and unique show. Paul Leschen wrote music that is so catchy and fun you’ll beg to buy a cd.

Everyone on the team (on stage and off) is so talented, but the three leads will blow you away:

Grace McLean’s sultry voice adds depth to her rock ballads. The last notes of Silent Spring will send shivers down your spine. Her transformation on stage will make your jaw drop. There are few actresses that can play nerdy, sexy, angry, rocker babe, but Grace plays it all to the extreme.

If you haven’t heard of Brian Charles Rooney yet, you’ll never forget him after this performance as Dionne Salon. His comedic timing is only matched by his incredible vocal range. He owns the stage.

Chris Hall’s performance as Cimex, king of the bedbugs, belongs in the leagues of Tim Curry in Rocky Horror Picture Show and Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig. His voice doesn’t even seem possible. You won’t be able to take your eyes off of him. I don’t know what’s cuter, his over the top facial expressions, or his latex-clad tush. His performance is made even better by the incredible custom designs of Philip Heckman.

I know this show wouldn’t be where it is today without the enthusiasm and perseverance of my mom, Dale Joan Young, as the lead producer. Three years ago she saw a production of Bedbugs!!! at a bar and even though all of us loved it we didn’t see the potential she saw. She has lost her voice, broke her leg, and invested her savings all in the journey of bringing this show to you.

I hope you run out and see Bedbugs!!! You can buy tickets here and use the code HesoBitten for a huge discount. It’s playing at the Arclight Theater in NYC until October 26.

I Finally Get Twitter

twitterTwitter seems like a requirement for anyone with a business or a message. Everyone has it but I didn’t know a single person who actually liked it. When I asked friends if they were on twitter their responses sounded more like “Yeah I floss.”

Setting up my account for Writers Work (yes, please follow my new twitter handle), I finally saw why tweeting is fun. The key is you can’t just tweet about your own material and then never read the wall. Here’s why you should spend some time on twitter:

  • Unlike facebook, you don’t have to scroll through a thousand ads.
  • You can connect with big names. For instance, I was reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book and I wrote a message about it, using her handle, and she wrote back to me in seconds! You can’t do that with any other social media platform.
  • You can get really focused news. For instance, with my Heso twitter handle I follow a variety of people, but with my Writers Work account, I only follow writers. Now when I go on my twitter account for WW, I get to see hundreds of quotes about writing, and encouraging articles.
  • It’s really fast. Sometimes I don’t post things to my blog because it’s just a short thought, however that thought is perfect for twitter. I can post it, and go back to my writing without working for an hour to develop that thought into a fleshed out blog post.
  • It’s really easy to develop a following. I picked up 100 followers in the last week just because I’ve been posting more and following more people.

For a long time I didn’t see the point of twitter. All the hashtags and @ symbols were confusing and unpleasant to read. I didn’t spend any time reading other people posts. Nothing would happen when I posted a link to my blog. Like everything, the more you put into it the more you get out of it. You need to click the favorite button on tweets you like. You need to retweet the posts you like. Soon, people will start doing that for you!

Who are some people you would recommend following on twitter?

Are you waiting for permission?

I’m a huge fan of Amy Poehler’s videos on Smart GirlsIf you’ve ever wanted to start a large project, I suggest watching this video. Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer met doing improv at Upright Citizens Brigade. They created a web series based on their unique friendship and sense of humor, and it took off, leading them to the hit show on Comedy Central. In this video, Amy interviews the writers and talent behind this zany comedy, Broad City.

I love it when they talk about finding your voice, and how to get started on a dream. Everything they said reminded me of starting Writers Work :)

Abbi Jacobson’s response when Amy asks how someone can copy their success says it all for me:

“A lot of people wait for someone else to tell them it’s okay to start doing something or they have to be allowed to do this. But, no, we create that. You just have to start. No one’s gonna give you permission.”

What are your ambitions? Are you waiting for permission to get started?

Please Give Me Your Hard-Earned Money

In an effort to offer a conference which is affordable, yet small enough so there is a strong sense of community, I have run into a small conundrum. Even if I sell all of my tickets, I am just going to break even. I was hoping to get more corporate sponsors but I keep running into the same problem: I don’t have non-profit status. I would love to continue creating this incredible conference series, but I need extra money to make it sustainable (I want to file for non-profit status, I want to continue bringing in amazing speakers and paying them a fair price for their talent, and I would like to make a little salary for all the time I put into this). Here’s where I’m hoping my amazing readers will come in and save the day!

I know this is a brazen request, but I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t believe these conferences will make the world a better place by nurturing creative people and helping to bring their art into the world. You can help support creativity by making a donation toward the Writers Work conference through PayPal. Again, this isn’t a non-profit yet, so donations are not tax deductible.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Where it asks for special instructions, type your name and/or website you would like me to advertise. For donations of $25 and up, I will be posting your link on this blog, my twitter handles for The Heso Project and Writers Work, The Heso facebook page, as well as on the programs for the conference. If you would like to make a large donation that covers a specific cost, here are just a few of the items from my budget (Donors will be acknowledged for this contribution on all promotional materials.):

Lunch – Feeding Creativity
$600 
Breakfast – The Spark of Inspiration
$150 
The Venue – A Room of One’s Own
$750 
Photography – Capturing the Details
$400
Logo Design – Leave a Mark
$100

And, of course, please keep telling all your writing friends about the conference! Thank you for your support :)

Meet My Favorite Author

Kyle_bookIt was a long shot, but I wrote to my new favorite author, Aryn Kyle, to gush and invite her to speak at my conference and she said YES!

A few months ago, I flipped out over her book, The God of Animals. Now I’m reading her short story collection, Boys and Girls Like You and Me. I normally have a hard time getting into short stories, but her writing style is so sensitive and evocative that I’m immediately immersed in each story of tainted adolescence. Her protagonists are mysterious, complicated, and observant. Her beautiful prose is filled with heartbreaking honesty, like this gem from The God of Animals:

“If you take something that isn’t yours, it will never belong to you. You can try to hold on to it, but somehow, it will slip through your fingers. If something wasn’t meant to be yours, it won’t be. No matter what you do to keep it, you will lose it.”

I’m so honored to have her as a speaker at my next conference on Saturday, September 20! She will be sharing her experience of turning an award-winning short story into a novel, as well as some tips on how to get into a writers’ residency (hint hint you don’t need to be a published author). When I started this series, I wanted to find speakers who would motivate other writers and share what they have learned. Aryn is one of my dream speakers. Don’t miss this chance to meet a wonderful, contemporary author and make sure you get a copy of her books so you can get it signed!

10 Reasons why every writer should come to this conference

When I first accepted the crazy notion that I was going to be a writer, I kept getting this advice: go to writers’ conferences and start networking. The idea made sense, but the price tag didn’t. I couldn’t afford tickets upwards of $500 on the off chance I meet someone who likes my pitch, and would remember me from the crowd of hundreds of other eager attendees.

If what you want isn’t out there, make it! It’s taken a lot of hard work, but I am proud to host a conference that is affordable (under $100 including lunch), and intimate. If you know a writer in the New York area, make sure they get a ticket before it sells out.

When and where is it, you ask?

Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 from 10am-4pm in Times Sq. 

Here are just some of the reasons why you should go:

  1. Pitch your story idea to Shira Hoffman, literary agent at McIntosh & Otis.
  2. Hear from my favorite contemporary author, Aryn Kyle, about writers’ residency programs and the process of turning a short story into a novel. P.S. if you haven’t read her work, pick up a copy of The God of Animals today!
  3. Meet other people with same interests and goals so you can start having creative dates together!
  4. Meet Deborah Emin, publisher of Sullivan Street Press, a company that is working to give the power and control back to writers.
  5. Get a behind the scenes look at the publishing world from Christina Bryza, a Senior Copywriter at Simon & Schuster.
  6. Get a free hour of guided writing, care of  Gotham Writers’ Workshop, in addition to a special discount for their classes.
  7. Take your craft seriously. When you spend money on your dreams, they start to become a reality.
  8. Build your support network.
  9. Free lunch!
  10. Get out of the house, get out of the rut, get out of your head, and come and have creative fun with others!

You can buy tickets here, or check out the official website.

A fun moment at the last conference.

A fun moment at the last conference.

Exciting News!

Do you ever have one of those months where everything finally comes together? I hope you do, because it feels fantastic. After a lot of hard work, I have some great news to share:

  1. I have a new website for my Writers Work conference series, and I’ve added a writer’s retreat feature! I used the logo you guys chose. Check it out and let me know what you think.
  2. I sent out my first query letter for my novel!
  3. I submitted a short story to The New Yorker and The Missouri Review.
  4. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY…discounted tickets are now available for the next Writers Work Conference 9/20/14 in Times Sq. NY! Have lunch with an agent, hear about authors’ experiences of getting published, meet approachable editors and publishers who want to share the inside scoop with you, and connect with other writers. It’s going to be an amazing day
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Ahhh the joy of getting sh*t done!