Stage THIS! Volume 3, the Publishing Nightmare!

Some people may be wondering where, oh where, is the published version of Stage THIS! Volume 3.  We wonder that, too.

The work was all done by January, meaning the editing, revising and formatting of 20 writers into a cohesive book.  We set about using this year because iUniverse has been slipping in the past few years with their service–not to mention their share of the royalties of each book is obscene.  Booksurge, connected somehow with Amazon, was supposedly the answer.  Booksurge staff kept warning from day one that we should not get too attached to dates as that was often a complaint of their customers.  They wanted to make clear that things take time.  Well, FIVE MONTHS later we are told that we were back to Square One: “We can’t format things like this [play scripts].  You have the wrong package and will have to pay more.”  After some more screaming, they explained we could probably get a free upgrade for all the trouble, but we’d need to start over with salesperson “Whitney”…some moron named who had caused 3 months of delays right off the bat because she apparently can only read from a piece of paper and cannot process customers’ speech.  The very person whose name was invoked in every discussion with Booksurge about the problems we faced (she seemed to be attached to every one of them).  This was the SECOND TIME they attempted to force us to deal with the very customer service person we had requested NOT be involved–and God knows, as bad as she was to begin with, we never should have had to ask in the first place.  It was time to go back to our own Square One.

We returned to iUniverse, since they had been eating up the royalties from Volumes 1 and 2 (after all, this ain’t exactly a money-maker anyway), but at least they got it done before, perhaps they could do it again.  Apparently, iUniverse is still confused about a change of email addresses that occurred years ago and they still have not resolved it.  After 2 weeks of runaround the problem was “fixed” according to them.  But after trying to log on for more than 2 more weeks, it is obvious that they are going to be a while on this issue.  That’s right–we can’t even LOG ON to our account right now!

In the meantime, we found, where it looked like MAYBE we’d be moving forward quickly and the book would be available within days (Great!  Isn’t that what POD is supposed to be about?)  CreateSpace insisted on a volume number, which was included on their computer form, but then did NOT appear when generating the book cover.  We tried to rectify that since we had options to edit–and even went to the original form and corrected it there to match the title on the book cover.  Next thing we get is a rejection notice from them because the title on the form doesn’t match the title on the book cover.  This is a technical problem on their part, but we have gone from being print-ready by now, to CreateSpace “looking into the problem.”

We truly have been making great efforts to get this done, but apparently the death of American productivity ended some time between Volume 2 and Volume 3 (and a lot of these guys farm out their work to other countries, to boot!!!).  We will not stop until it’s published but can make no guarantees as we seem to be at the mercy of some of the worst businesses ever created.

To sum up…the book is still sitting in the queue at and we are hoping they can resolve their issues.  Meantime, the book has been resubmitted to them in attempt to simply start over, but they have been sitting on it for five days now (and they have a 1-2 turnaround promise on their site!).


Drama Desk Awards 2009

The following is from Drama Desk Nominee Frank Blocker, Solo Performance for Southern Gothic Novel:

I attended the Drama Desk Awards Sunday night.  The winner in my category was Humor Abuse, still running on Broadway.  I say “still running” because there seems to be an instant assumption that any solo show you mention must have already closed.  I can’t tell you how many condolences I’ve heard for my show’s supposed closing and I’m still running through June.

I had the blessing of being nominated against Broadway and off-Broadway shows even though I perform only on Wednesdays in a 35-seat house.  To even get off-off Broadway reviewers and award committees to come is impossible, but the Drama Desk Nominating Committee came and made great efforts to encourage the voting members to attend.  They continued throughout the entire process to insist that my work was just as important as any big-budget incarnations they’d seen throughout the year.  Barbara Segal even went as far as to say, “What we’re saying is that we believe you have Broadway-star quality work coming off that little stage.”  Yes, she said that.  You don’t forget something like that.  They have been very kind and have certainly lifted my visibility.  I can’t thank them enough. I love indie theatre but it can be somewhat thankless and brutal.  Nice to dance with the belles for a spell.

Lynn Nottage had my favorite acceptance speech, but then again, I always love the playwright!  I had the pleasure of meeting many favorites and heroes throughout the course of the nomination and the accompanying hoopla, like Geoffrey Rush, Jim Dale, Janet McTeer, Marcia Gay Harden, and even got shoved by Dolly Parton’s bodyguard and I was just standing in line to be interviewed with all the other nominees.  A long story, but it seems every one else was upset by it but Dolly and me.  (I love being part of a controversy without knowing it!)  These events added a lot of exposure to “little folk” like me.

And yes, it was nice just being nominated.  To be “invited to the table” is an honor but to kvetch about votes when 200 voters suddenly have to see everything in two weeks–well, I love math, but that just gives me a headache.

Again, huge thanks to the Drama Desk Nominating Committee for all they did for me this year, and especially for always answering that thanks with, “But you did the great work.”  Do people get any nicer than that?

Award nominations abound for Southern Gothic Novel

Playwright and actor (and webmaster) Frank Blocker has just been nominated for an Audience Award for Favorite Solo Performance by  The 10th  Annual Audience Awards, the only theatrical award that honors the best of the season as chosen by regular theatergoers.   The nominations were determined after two weeks of online voting, in which readers were asked to choose from complete lists of eligible shows and performers. Winners will be determined after a second round of voting, with all previous votes wiped clean.  Winners will be announced on Friday, May 22 and honored at a private reception.

Please vote for Frank Blocker for Favorite Solo Performance.

Blocker is also nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance.  The awards show will be webcast live for the seventh year in a row by

For more information, please contact The Jacksina Company.