Tuesday, January 13, 2015


HEART OF GLASS, the sequel to Chanel Bonfire is on its way!  I turned in the manuscript to my wonderful editor and publisher just before Thanksgiving and am hard at work on the notes.  Look for updates during the year on the progress and some sneak peeks at the story.  Publication is set for January 2016!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

RIP Jeremy Lloyd

Rest in peace, Jeremy Lloyd, who has a brief cameo in Chanel Bonfire.  He made uncredited appearances in A Hard Day's Night, Help! and our living room.  He was, more famously, a writer and co-creator of British sitcoms including Are You Being Served? and 'Allo 'Allo!  He was a friend of Mother's during and after his super brief marriage to Joanna Lumley.  And he too was Absolutely Fabulous.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Goodreads Holiday Giveaway!

There's still plenty of time (December 16th -- January 12th) to win a FREE AUTOGRAPHED COPY of the beautiful Chanel Bonfire Trade Paperback.  Follow this link to the page:


And register to win today!

Have a Happy Holiday and Wonderful New Year!

All my best,


Thursday, October 23, 2014

RIP Geoffrey Holder

Rest in peace, Geoffrey Holder.  I worked as his wife Carmen De Lavallade's dresser at the American Repertory Theater in 1980, where she was appearing as Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream.  He arrived for the opening night party in a tuxedo, a black cape lined with red satin, and a silver-topped cane.  We were all agog at his elegance and style.  An actor, a painter, and a dancer -- I heard that night that he designed many of Ms. De Lavallade's clothes.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Goodreads Giveaway Winners!

Congrats to the winners of the Chanel Bonfire Goodreads end of summer giveaway!  Over 500 people entered -- copies are winging their way to Virginia and Michigan.  

And thanks again to everyone who has take the time to review Chanel on Amazon and Goodreads.  I truly appreciate your support.


Friday, August 29, 2014


The end of the long hot American summer is in sight.  The children are headed back to school and you should treat yourself to a few hours at the Chanel Bonfire!  You have until September 10th to enter the Chanel Bonfire Goodreads Giveaway!  Enter today!

And remember, if your Book Group is planning to read Chanel, I'd be happy to schedule a Skype Book Chat with you all.  I've answered questions and talked Chanel and moms and crazy moms and surviving difficult childhoods with groups from Bermuda to Bangor and Boston to Barstow and countless places in between.  You can contact me at chanelbonfire@gmail.com to set up a time. 

Happy Fall!

Back To School Goodreads Giveaway

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

And One For Mahler! -- Elaine Stritch on Chanel

RIP Elaine Stritch

In the early 90s I played Ermengarde in  Thornton Wilder's "The Matchmaker" at The Roundabout Theater in New York.  Broadway diva, Dorothy Loudon (Annie), played Dolly Levi but the production was plagued (maybe cursed) by problems -- the death of the director's mother, violent outbursts by Kenneth Mars (The Producers, Young Frankenstein, What's Up Doc?) who had to be replaced, and a brief, ill-fated reunion with my mother.  

Interestingly, it had been Tyrone Guthrie (founder of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis where Mother met my stepfather Oliver Rea and ran away with him) who saved the play from a premature death after a diasterous Broadway production by Max Reinhardt.  Then, the play was called The Merchant of Yonkers.  It ran thirty-nine performances would never have never have been seen again if Guthrie hadn't picked it up fifteen years later and convinced Wilder to rewrite it and take the then minor character of Dolly Levi and move her to the center of the piece.  It ran in the Edinburgh festival and then the West End in London at the Drury Lane Theatre and came back to Broadway in triumph in 1955.  It was made into a film and then of course adapted as the musical Hello Dolly!.

Anyway, in addition to working with some wonderful actors and some crazy ones (Dorothy Loudon used to push me off stage as soon as or before I finished delivering my lines), the highlight of our ill-fated run of The Matchmaker for me was a phone call from Elaine Stritch -- the Elaine Stritch or as Noel Coward called her, Stritchey.  It was either a late morning or early afternoon.  My fiancee was at work.  It was summer and very hot and we didn't have air conditioning so I was vacuuming naked when the phone rang.  I picked it up and it was the unmistakable voice of Miss Stritch...

"Hello.   Is Wendy Lawless there?  It's Elaine Stritch calling.  I went down to the Roundabout last night to see my dear friend Dorothy Loudon in that horrible production of The Matchmaker.  That Joe Bova is about as funny as a dead baby's open grave.  But I wanted to tell you that you were great, kid.  That thing you're doing up there is hard.  Making people laugh in a turkey like that isn't easy.   I would have told you last night but I couldn't stay.  I'm diabetic you, know and I had to run home and stick myself in the arm.  You've got it, kid.  Just keep doin' what you're doin'."

The brief conversation remains what I consider to be one of my greatest reviews as an actress.  

Thanks, Stritchey!