Other Writing Projects / Where to find ~Smirk~ / Recent Interviews

Carol’s Other Writing Projects:

A 2nd ~ Smirk ~ Book.  If you loved the first ~Smirk~ collection be prepared to be ~Smirk-i-fied~ once again with a second collection sure to explode those e-readers of yours with crap your mother told you never to read.

Children’s Book Series (10 books)  – Hey Teachers, Moms, Grandmas, Aunts and anyone that has a child in their lives…. you’ve enjoyed my parenting nightmares for a laugh so why not give it a go and grab this children’s book collection to read to your child to give them a laugh as well?  Developed as a teaching tool for Pre-K and Kindergarten children this series is meant to teach color & animal recognition, conflict resolution, and imaginative storytelling.  Each story opens with a girl asking her cat how a specific animal with a color got it’s unique feature (example:  “How did the Red Crab get it’s Claws”, “How did the Black & White Zebra get it’s Stripes”, and “How did the Green Turtle get it’s Shell”). The cat then tells a silly story of how the animal of that color overcame a funny conflict to come by it’s unique feature.  Each story ends with the girl commenting in some way that it was a silly story and couldn’t possibly be true and then the book asks the child “How do YOU think the red crab got it’s claws” thereby opening a dialogue for a teacher to begin her lesson plan or a caregiver to engage in imaginative play with the child.  Since Universal Pre-K has become mandatory in the U.S. recently this valuable teaching tool fills a desperate need to fit the national curriculum.  Looking to publish this series this year.  Check back for details.

The Long Hallway. Children’s book. About two young siblings afraid to go down the hallway in the dark.  This was developed as a therapeutic tool for this overwhelmingly common fear of small children to help ease them to overcome it.  In beginning stages of development.

Party Girls.  Screenplay. 20-something single gal buddy comedy. Honorable Mention (Top 20) in the 7th Annual International Screenwriters Competition.  Registered copies available at the WGA.

The Momz Club. Screenplay.  Stay-at-home Mom’s goofball comedy. Placed in the Top 50 in the 8th Annual International Screenwriters Competition.  Registered copies available at the WGA

Lizzie Borden. Screenplay. 2 hour drama with an ensemble cast. Treatment available upon request.

House of 7 Gables.  Screenplay. True Story. Suspense ghost tale of a real 1600’s murder. Treatment available upon request.

Stubby: The True story of the First Dog War Hero.  Screenplay. Treatment available upon request.

Sitcom; comedy – centered around a very odd/unique group of characters that hang out at a new age store.

Where to find ~Smirk~

~Smirk~ humor column and cartoon are available on-line and in print in the following publications with a readership of over 78,000 print subscribers:

Pine Bush Quarterly, Montgomery Quarterly, Walden Quarterly, Goshen Quarterly, Wallkill Quarterly, Maybrook Quarterly and will be in two new publications this fall – details to follow.  Guest spots appear regularly in other publications – most recently the VanWycke Gazette and the Writers Round Up e-zine.

Recent Interviews:

Carol appeared on the “Keepin it Country Strong” TV show on public access and the “Mr. Phil Show” as well which are viewed by over 3 million viewers from the Hudson Valley down through Manhattan. In December Carol appeared on 97.5fm radio doing an impromptu comedy routine based on ~Smirk~ to the delight of area residents so much so that she was asked back the following week for another round of ~Smirk~ humor. Interviews have been written featuring Carol as a new and up-coming talent in the Hudson Valley most recently in the D&H Canvas magazine and the Writers Round Up E-zine based out of Manhattan.

Here is a snapshot of an interview with the Round Up Writer’s E-Zine:

Meet Carol Nelson Falcone!

The Old “Kids found my Vibrator” Story” is in the current issue of The Round Up Writer’s Zine. It’s hysterical!

She’s funny, she’s witty and she just published her first book titled ~ Smirk ~ a compilation of her columns and cartoons which have appeared in various upstate New York publications and currently in the process of becoming syndicated.  ~ Smirk ~ is available in print and as an e-book at Amazon and Barnes and Noble , kindle, nook, ipad and more. Check it!

Learn more about Carol! Read our interview with her below, and check out her essay!

Our interview with Carol Nelson Falcone:

RU: What inspires you to write most often?

CNF: Anything really…. I can take a common topic (say Q-tips for example) that I might come across in daily life that I have an odd experience with, find the humor in it, and how others will relate to it and then I explore it in my writing.

RU: What time of day do you feel most productive with your writing?

CNF: In the mornings sometimes but inspiration will pop up at the most bizarre times and I HAVE to immediately jot it down or I lose it. So I have scraps of paper plates or trash bags with odd snarky comments scrawled across them in crayon scattered about my desk. Then when I have the time to explore them I just grab one of them and the roller coaster ride begins.

RU: Do you have a special location or specific conditions that help you produce your best work?

CNF: Well, number one thing is that I have to be alone. I can’t concentrate when my kids are gettin’ all “Sons of Anarchy” in a major brawl, wrecking the house and scaring the dog. So typically, after they go to school, I self-medicate with a cup of coffee on the couch with my laptop, while Hoda & Kathie Lee are on the Today Show to occupy my left brain so my right brain (which is all Ms. Jekyl-and- Hyde-like) can unleash it’s madness upon the world.

RU: Do you have a particular author that has influenced your writing?

CNF: Erma Bombeck and Robert Fulgum were my basic elements but then I sprinkled in a little Tina Fey and served it on a Melissa McCarthy biscuit and baked up what is now known as ~ Smirk ~.

RU: What inspired you to write your first book?

CNF: Man, I’ve wanted to be a writer since I learned the alphabet and learned how to write. I enjoyed telling stories…. However – beware what you wish for because the Lord above decided to dump a lot of bizarre things into my life to write about. Thankfully, I can take a punch, and made a shot of lemon drop from the lemons I got hurled at me from the heavens and have found humor in these bizarre incidences. I find the humor in the up’s and down’s of life and people seem to be able to relate somehow with a bizarre story of their own about some crazy Uncle they also have. So I decided since I got laid off as a humor columnist to put all my great columns and cartoons into a book and hopefully get discovered. It’s been a dream of mine for over 30 years and I hope it comes true this year and people buy my book by the truckload. I hocked all 3 of my engagement rings to publish this book so Mama needs a new pair of shoes.

RU: Do you consider yourself more of a fiction writer, nonfiction or dabble equally in both?

CNF: LOL! The number one question I get when people read the book is: “Is this for real? Is all this true?” Yes, it is all true…. I take very little creative license. So it is non-fiction.

RU: How did your book ~ Smirk ~ come to fruition?

CNF: It was in the works for about 3 years before I started my weekly humor column. It was in various forms and I reworked it a zillion times. People were constantly telling me to write a book because of the very interesting life I’ve led. I came up with the title of ~Smirk~ after I had toyed with other names and they just weren’t right. I noticed that after every snarky comment I posted on FB or texted to my friends always ended with me putting a ~ Smirk ~ at the end of the comment to indicate I was smirking. (which I do a lot). So it seemed like a fitting title that in one word tells ya what ya gonna get when you read my words. Besides – I thought it was too presumptuous to call it the “the bust out laughing” column. I figured at the very least people would get a smirk out of it.

RU: Humor is a driving force in your writing style do you find the use of humor in your writing to be therapeutic to some degree?

CNF: Oh hell yeah!! You don’t go through being left at the altar by three different men and come out unscathed and whistling Mary Poppin’s “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” out of your asshole. Taken seriously it would have killed me; as a means of mental & emotional survival finding ridiculous humor in it has helped me cope. The only other choice was to split my personality and change my name to Sybil but that’s been done before and my existing personality was being a bitch about it and didn’t want to share.

RU: Your cartoons are adorable and have a kind of nostalgic feel to them. When did you start to incorporate them in your works?

CNF: I was an English major and an Art minor in college and loved them both but decided writing was my greater strength and so I pursued that first. After awhile I missed the outlet that art provided and since I’m a very visual person I thought it would enhance my writing. One thing I missed about childhood was picture books. Why can’t adults have a fun book to read with pictures too? It breaks things up and gives my reader an extra perk I think and nobody else is doing that – it’s unique and competitive – what humor writers do you know of that are also cartoonist? I’ve combined the best of both worlds to give the very best I have to my readers giving them the most bang for their buck.

RU: What are your feelings towards indie publishers and self-publishing?

CNF: I had attended a seminar in Woodstock that had a panel of reps from various publishing houses and they basically said that they were all booked up for the next 3 years and your best bet would be to self publish. If it turns out to be a decent success that they would find me for the second book. Friends of mine that did go the traditional route with an established publisher were disappointed since it took years before it was published and the editor had changed so much of it that it wasn’t even their words anymore. So I didn’t want someone changing all my stuff and didn’t want to wait 3-6 years for success. I decided to self-publish because I was confident in my years of experience and education and felt I could produce a better product that was all mine and hit the market within a few months. It’s a new paradigm in transition right now. The publishing world is in a huge flux with the rise of e-books. It’s a game changer. I think the traditional publishing world is in danger of extinction just like print newspapers. More and more people will be self-publishing since it’s very user-friendly.  The challenge, however, is in the marketing. It takes an extreme amount of energy and burning desire for success to get your book sold.  If you seriously have never written anything and can’t make a complete sentence to save your life you will be disappointed as you stare at the 200 copies of your self-published book in the corner of your crappy apartment that you couldn’t sell to anyone other than your mother.

RU: How do you feel about the rise of e-books and the availability of books via devices like Kindles and iPads?

CNF: It’s the future.

RU: What do you prefer print or e-books?

CNF: LOL! I prefer print books actually, even though they’re a dying art and e-books are indeed the future.

RU: What are your current projects?

CNF: Working on a second ~ Smirk ~ book, a 10 book series of children’s books, and revising some of my comedy scripts. I’d love to dabble in writing comedy for television and getting my movie scripts produced.

RU: Obviously, writing isn’t always a money making endeavor for many of us, what keeps you motivated to keep writing?

CNF: I’ve worked many other jobs while trying to get my writing career off the ground and many times, like many others, I got discouraged. What keeps me trying is that I can’t look into my daughter’s face and tell her to pursue her dreams if I give up on my own. I wouldn’t be a good example to her. I also know I’ve been financially successful as a buyer in such corporations as IBM, Pratt&Whitney, and Motorola and was miserable. The money didn’t make me happy, I wasn’t doing what I loved and didn’t want to get to the end of my life with regret feeling I wasted my life. I decided that God didn’t give me this burning desire to be a writer and artist if he didn’t give me the ability to achieve it. So I dropped out of the high stress world of business, said goodbye to the gobs of money, became poor, and took a leap of faith. I have a mantra that I go by and that is tattooed upon my flesh that says, “Prevail! In the face of all adversity you simply must prevail!” I know I can do it….just gotta keep at it and with each step I come closer to getting on that “NY Times Best Selling” list.

RU: Do you have any advice for other fellow writers?

CNF: Prevail!!!!!

RU: Off the topic of writing, what’s your favorite guilty pleasure?

CNF: OMG. I have too many to list. Chocolate is up there….hunting for colorful antique bottles is another…… playing craps… driving my car at 100 mph around hairpin turns of the local mountains…. Watching Sons of Anarchy…. Filling every room with fresh picked lilacs…

RU: Pimp yourself out! Tell people where they can find your work!

CNF: They can buy the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and just about any book seller upon request. It is currently available as an e-book as well for Kindle but will be coming to Nook and iPad this month. So remember to get the book for the upcoming holiday season this December. They can follow Smirk on Facebook and Twitter to get weekly snarky Smirk-of-the-Day comments. They can get the blog on my website: www.smirkme.com . It’s also in various publications such as the Pine Bush Quarterly, The Round Up Writer’s Zine of course, the VanWyck Gazette and hopefully a few others coming up soon. Look for future merchandise of the ~ Smirk ~ cartoon in calendars, mugs, totes, etc… for the upcoming holiday season.