Ruth Zavitsanos

February 21, 2010

My First Guest Appearance/Featured Author Book Signing

Filed under: 1 — ruthz621 @ 2:23 am

I’m so pleased my first Guest Author appearance was a huge success. After I read the first chapter of THE VILLA DOG the kids asked some terrific questions. They were an engaging audience of elementary school children. I brought a storyboard to share the “makings” of THE VILLA DOG with the enthusiastic group. I used to think getting published would be the height of my writing career. YES, I savored the moment of holding the book in my hands for the first time. It took quite a while to snap me out of the feeling of disbelief. The realization that my words and the artist’s illustrations, all stemming from my imagination and inspired by a family holiday at a villa in Tuscany, had finally reached book form. I’ve always wanted to be a published author. But, with that thought I’d only envisioned the book on the shelves. Now, I was seeing first hand the delight of children reading my book.  Their excitement and joy over THE VILLA DOG is better than holding the book… it is the reason for the book.

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January 15, 2010

Rob Thomas Performance

Filed under: 1 — ruthz621 @ 12:30 am

I like this title. To me it means he was there, and indeed this time Rob Thomas did appear at his rescheduled (for the third time) concert this past Saturday at the Borgata in Atlantic City. When we arrived at our seats our friends who were with us from the beginning with these tickets sat in the row in front and a few seats over. This worked out great! I could lean over and easily comment to my friend. Her husband pointed out an open laptop just two rows in front of us with the Eagles game in easy view. I remember sinking back in my seat when Rob took the stage, in a state of disbelief, especially with my husband leaning forward and watching the Eagles game throughout. Come on, this had to be a dream.

Rob thanked the audience several times for being there. “And I REALLY want to thank those of you who have been here for this concert several times,” he said. Adding, “This concert was destine to happen.” He played an enjoyable rendition of Elvis’ “That’s Alright Mama,” rocked to Bruce Springstein’s (considering he was performing in Bruce Land he got an overwhelming applause) “Dancing in The Dark” and gave a beautiful softer version of his hit with Carlos Santana, “Smooth”. He performed a few hits from his previous solo CD and most of the tunes from his latest, Cradlesong CD. One song, a favorite of my friend’s, “Snow blind”, may have been left out with good intention given the fact the last concert was canceled because of a snowstorm.

Our seats were at the fifty yard line for both Rob and the Eagles! Rob proved to be extremely talented and one who does not take life for granted as indicated in his intensely profound lyrics. His voice is smooth and watching him bring the lyrics to life, often beating his hand against his heart, made it a very moving experience.

The Eagles lost, but Rob’s concert was gratifying though he did leave us wanting more.  After all the rescheduling and financial setbacks I went through to see his concert I was surprised there were no encores. I think an encore or two would’ve enhanced his appearance.

January 8, 2010

Under Contract for my Western/Historical/Romance

Filed under: 1 — ruthz621 @ 3:18 pm

I’m thrilled to announce that Whiskey Creek Press will publish my full length novel in both print and e-book formats! I’ll keep you posted on title, cover art and release date!

December 20, 2009

Rob Thomas concert takes on the image of Groundhog Day movie

Filed under: 1 — ruthz621 @ 4:27 pm

Remember the movie Groundhog Day where Bill Murray’s character wakes up to the same day again and again? After setting out for a second time to see Rob Thomas in concert only to have it postponed again, I feel the same way. I wake up to the alarm, click on my ipod to the playlist devoted to him and get excited at the prospect of being close and personal with Rob at the small Music Box Theater at the Borgata in Atlantic City.

This time, as you may recall, my friend and I would be taking our husbands. We were able to get extra tickets in early November from patrons who feared snow would keep them from getting to AC in late December. We, too, would be traveling from outside the Philly area to AC but our chances of getting to the concert were much better because it would not snow for us. HA. Did you hear that last part? It would not snow for us.

As I look out my window a Courier and Ives picture postcard comes alive with snow covered trees, the silence of impassable roads and nearly two feet of snow blanketing the rolling hills of my neighborhood. It’s gorgeous, especially this time of year. But, it’s also an early snowfall. I think about that couple, definitely having the last laugh, pleased as pumpkin pie that they sold us their tickets.

Back to Groundhog day when I was packed and ready to go once again to the Rob Thomas concert. I turned off my ipod and turned on the news. The newscasters were at it again drumming up business for the grocery stores with their endless talk of snow arriving. It didn’t matter what channel I tuned into the snow was definitely coming to the Philadelphia area. And, if it was anything like what Florida had received in the way of rain, we’d be getting a lot of snow. But, the arrival time and amount varied as much cereal boxes on food store shelves. I didn’t let all the hype change my plans until the newscasters sang off the same page and came up with more than a foot of snow to start by 6 a.m. on the morning of the concert. Before I could pick up the phone my friend was ringing me. She and her husband planned to beat the storm and leave that night. The plan made sense. I approached my husband with the idea of leaving a day early. He declined having traveled back and forth in one day to North Carolina the day before, not to mention thousands of traveling miles in total over the past month for work. Though, disappointed, as the night went on and the talk of snow never ceased with the inches mounting to a record breaking level, my disappointment faded with the thought of leaving in the morning when all these meteorologists with their million dollar doppler systems would be seen not hit by snowball but rather an egg in the face of embarrassment. Or, if they were right and I woke up to a foot of snow, perhaps my husband would also be right and Rob Thomas would cancel his concert.

My friend and her husband had arrived safely in AC late Friday night. The next morning the birds didn’t sing and from the silence in the air I had a feeling the heavy blanket of snow predicted was falling fast. My husband met me at the coffee pot with a big smile. I announced to the world, in this case, my husband and kids that I was in a “funk.” Later when my friend called from AC and told me Rob had postponed his concert my mood immediately shifted into one of joyfulness! But, when she said it was scheduled for Jan. 9th something inside gnawed at me. It was the thought of waking up to my alarm clock, packing and once again, heading off for the Rob Thomas concert! Yes, another  snowstorm is not out of the question! I was hoping we might get a date that fell six weeks past Ground hog Day! Though, I’m grateful he made a wise decision given the snow that fell in and around the AC area. And, I’m hopeful he will perform like never before!

November 9, 2009

As luck would have it…

Filed under: 1 — ruthz621 @ 1:34 pm

Even when confronted with a huge disappointment it is important to move forward and make the most of things. As the saying goes, “Make lemonade from lemons.”

My basket full of lemons arrived via email on Friday morning. I’d been packing, determining which jeans to wear to the Rob Thomas/One Republic concert that night. Now, this was a decision I enjoyed having to make. I couldn’t  believe the day had finally arrived for my getaway to Atlantic City with a close friend. I zipped my suitcase and pulled out my little over the shoulder purse. The one that had fun written all over it. Actually it’s the fossil trademark, but in my eyes it stands for fun because all it holds is my  wallet, lip gloss, anti-bacterial hand wash, a pen and an outer pocket for my cell phone. My friend was running late, though we had plenty of time so I put that thought out of my head. This was going to be a get away with no pressure, no stress, no schedule, except for being in our seats at 8 p.m. to hear One Republic enchant us with hit songs like, Stop and Stare and Apologize. I had time to check my email and see if there was any earth shattering news. When one email read, “The Rob Thomas concert may have been postponed or canceled” I thought it was a really bad joke my husband or some other practical joker with close proximity to my life was playing on me.  In this case it could’ve been the guy holding the door for me at the WA WA since I told everyone standing in place with me for more than two seconds that I had tickets for the Rob Thomas concert. I checked RobThomas’ website and verified that his concert had been postponed. Once I passed the stage of disbelief, I went numb. My friend and I had gotten our kids through ear infections, the flu and even the swine flu. We reminded our often traveling for business husbands on a daily basis to stay away from planes, trains, and automobiles as of school bus drop off time on Friday November 6th-a date circled on their calendar and noted in their blackberries. Without reciting everything that needed to be done, in conclusion, we’d made certain “all of our ducks were in a row.” We never thought Rob Thomas might have a pressing family matter that would keep him from performing. I called my friend and in an instant we’d decided to keep things as planned in case it was “a horrible hoax.”

When we arrived at the Borgata that afternoon we discovered the concert had truly been postponed. The box office cashier said our tickets would be honored for the postponed date in December. I asked if we could buy two more tickets for our husbands since we were unable to get tickets for them with the concert selling out.  She said they wouldn’t be on sale for a few weeks because they’d have to wait for ticket holders to decide if they wanted refunds. Since we’d lost our appetites with the reality of not hearing Rob’s soothing voice lull us into a world of serenity, we turned our attention to the ringing noise and bright lights around us. Both with the same thought, we walked over to Wolfgang Puck’s American Grille Restaurant and changed our 6 p.m. reservations to 8 p.m. Little did we know how strategic a move this would turn out to be. After playing the slots and walking around the Borgata, admiring the colorful and very unique glass chandeliers, remarking on the just as colorful people, and observing the gambling at the gaming tables, we resolved to make it a trial run weekend for the now postponed concert event. Letting go of the disappointment was much easier in our new and very far from reality environment.

Just before showtime we returned to the box office. I came up with the great idea of getting a disgruntled ticket holder’s pair of tickets. We stood in the distance watching and waiting as people were told the show had been postponed. Surprisingly, many just left with tickets in hand.  We were surprised because we were hoping for a pair of tickets. Certainly, we hadn’t given up our tickets. When we overheard  a husband and wife arguing about returning for the show in December,we stood nonchalantly close by. The wife wanted to keep the tickets but the husband was very reluctant. In the end the wife said, “it might be bad weather. Fine, lets just get a refund.” I looked at my friend and she was a little apprehensive but I approached the couple and asked “Would you like to sell your tickets?”  The woman said “Well we were just going to get a refund.”  I explained that my  friend and I wanted to get tickets for our husbands. I think because she had just been through an argument with her husband she didn’t really grasp our need, but her husband chimed in when I offered cash. “We really wanted to see the show but as I explained to my wife there could be snow that late in December.” Then I replied, “Yeah, which is why it’d be great to have our husband with us.” Now, the wife smiled and said “We’re not going to use them.” Then her husband said, “Yeah we have to drive all the way from outside of Philadelphia.” My friend opened her mouth and I knew she was about to say that we too had traveled from outside of Philadelphia, but then she caught herself with the help of my intense silent plea. I asked the woman’s husband what he paid for the tickets and he pulled them out and showed me the face value. I did my fast math where I round off and in this case I rounded up offering him $8 total over the two tickets. To my surprise, he jumped at it. When we looked at the tickets, we shared with them our delight in discovering their seats were exactly one row behind us, same section and seats. Talk about luck. Now, there was no doubt it was meant to be! When the cashier asked, “Did you need any help” to the couple the wife hollered back “Oh no, these two women just bought our tickets.” We really could’ve done without the announcement especially since her voice carried louder than any PA system would’ve taken it.  Concluding that our luck was beginning to turn, we hit the slots. We got a little greedy and lost. But, we still had the concert to look forward to with our husbands. Our appetite had returned.

Though we had to wait for a table, once we were seated, our gregarious “Ralph Kramden” looking waiter was attentive and made us feel welcomed. A few minutes into our meal a very familiar looking chef walked by. My friend and I looked at each other and both said “It couldn’t be.” Our waiter confirmed it was indeed Wolfgang Puck. My friend thought that since it’s his restaurant he probably is there a few times a month. Our waiter corrected this thought too. “He comes here like once or twice a year. And you’re lucky to be eating now, cause he just got here. He’s great about greeting the customers. Do you want a picture with him?” Does a kid turn down the offer for candy in a candy store? YES, we wanted a picture with him. Of course, we’d both left our cameras behind. In an instant, we whipped out our cell phones implementing the camera mode. Wolfgang Puck came toward our table and we pounced on the little Austrian accented man. Thankfully, he didn’t flinch just accommodated our request for pictures and an autographed menu. He was very kind and I’d highly recommend his restaurant for the service, food, ambience and occasional celebrity visit.

We left AC with our wallets empty of gambling money we’d put aside. But, our hearts were filled with joy while we were there and we’re still looking forward to the Rob Thomas Concert!Me and Wolfgang Puck


September 21, 2009

THE VILLA DOG released September 22, 2009 from Wild Child Publishing

Filed under: 1 — ruthz621 @ 9:34 pm

Nestled away amongst the olive groves of the Tuscan hillside stands a welcoming villa where a dedicated dog finds his way into the hearts of vacationing families. Sole has one purpose, to make visitors happy. He is kind and sensitive. Sole takes his job as The Villa Dog seriously. His bravery and loyalty are often rewarded. He keeps the children out of harm’s way, and eventually the others become aware of his special ability to bring happiness. But it’s not always easy being The Villa Dog. A young girl, Issy, makes it tough. She’s so sad…

September 1, 2009

On My Own In New York City

Filed under: 1 — ruthz621 @ 2:17 am

Growing up I always wanted to be like Marlo Thomas’ THAT GIRL or MARY RICHARDS of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. They both found themselves in trying situations that eventually had them laughing, held tight to their independence and regardless of fears and tears, they kept their dreams alive.
 
Last week, I felt like I had a THAT GIRL/MARY RICHARDS day in New York City, a place I hadn’t been by myself in two decades. Having worked there in the mid-eighties fresh out of college, I quickly recalled the avenues and streets with their famous landmarks. Looking downtown from our centrally located Park Avenue and 42nd Street hotel I could see The Empire State Building and uptown St. Patrick’s Cathedral. My goal was to meet the Good Morning America Cast and perhaps have my promotional t-shirt with my book cover for THE VILLA DOG appear on TV. Therefore, with a mission in mind, I set the alarm for 5:30a.m, showered, dressed and bid my husband farewell. I asked a hotel employee where GMA was filmed before leaving the lobby. She told me near Rockefeller Center. I breezed into the nearby Grand Central Terminal for a cup of coffee and began my ten block walk. Though, it is true the city never sleeps, at this early hour only the street cleaners and a few cabs were moving about. But, before I hit my fifth block the city swarmed with people, buses, and more cars. The city streets sparkled against the bright sunshine, and the low humidity kept the heavy odors of car exhausts and subways from hovering for long.
When I arrived at Rockefeller Center I discovered the TODAY show was being filmed there. I asked a security guard and he told me GMA was filmed near Times Square, which of course, was the location I’d just come from. Though misinformed, I took it in stride and soon discovered the RADIO CITY MUSIC ROCKETTES were rehearsing for their spot on TODAY.  I finished my coffee, as though in my own kitchen, fascinated by the talented famous dancers kicking up their heels to Winter Wonderland. Though it was enjoyable, my time was running out to get to the GMA studio. I picked up my pace; easily moving with the flow of commuters as the morning drive time rapidly came into play. Various vendors lined the streets and the smell of pretzels, falafels, roasted nuts and handmade material for knock off handbags filled the air. My stomach pleaded for a dirty dog but I didn’t want to risk getting mustard on my promo shirt or running late and completely missing out on my opportunity. Remember, it had taken me twenty years to take on Manhattan on my own again.
 
Soon, I came upon a small line outside of the ABC studios. In what seemed an instant, I was in the studio being told about the upcoming show. There would be a featured spot with Diane Sawyer interviewing the cast of 30 SOMETHING, celebrating their DVD release on this their 20th year reunion. We were told to line up, be excited and applaud. The instructions were easy enough until I was pulled from the line to be part of a trivia panel. Another woman, Carol, was the only other person in the small audience who was an avid viewer of the show when it ran on TV. Though this was a great opportunity to get on TV, my nerves had me wondering if I should run. But then, Carol, a nice librarian, and I talked, recalling the show and encouraging each other. It would be as the producer said, “A friendly competition.” During the interim and as a prelude to the interview, clips from the show were played helping to jog my memory. Meeting the cast also encouraged me to be a part of the event. Peter Horton (see photo insert) was kind enough to stop and pose for a picture.
 
When the audience was moved outside we were given a place up front to stand. Just seconds before filming we were told, “As is often the case in live television, we don’t have time for the trivia competition.” My heartbeat steadied and my breathing resumed. YES, I was both relieved and happy to know I could keep my place up front.
 
Next thing I knew, Diane Sawyer, Chris Cuomo and Sam Champion quickly walked down the sidewalk, stopping to greet the audience before standing in front of the camera. In an instant, Sam interviewed two women from Wisconsin and then at the other side of the audience, Chris did the same. During a commercial break, Chris came over and as he held my hand to greet me, I asked, “Did I die?” He is one of the reasons I tune in every morning and in person he’s even more handsome. When he pretended to check my pulse and replied, “No, you still have a pulse.” We both smiled, though I wished I had kept my mouth shut, I was glad that did manage to request that my new friend, Carol, take a picture of me and my morning show crush. Now, if that wasn’t enough heart pounding excitement, Sam comes over and asks about my shirt. I told him my neighbor, Cathy Peluso, did the artwork and I wrote the children’s book, THE VILLA DOG. His face lit up, “Then we have to talk to you. That’s great that you’re an author.” And then, the microphone came up to me, the camera zoomed in and Sam said, “We have a writer with us today.” Of course, after my silly school girl remark to Chris I was so nervous I might say something ridiculous that I could barely speak with Sam. My smile was as wide as the day Wild Child Publishing offered me a contract and having just returned from a week at the beach, my smile appeared very white against my tan.
 
It all happened very fast. In fact, the entire two hours of live GMA seemed to last about twenty minutes in the midst of it all. At 9 a.m. my day had already soared into heights higher than I could’ve ever imagined. I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel to tell my husband. I’d tried to text him during the commercial breaks but his cell phone was shut off. Thankfully, I did get through to a neighbor to tape it. My walk back to the hotel had me singing in my head, “You’re gonna make it after all.” When I told my husband about my accomplishment, he beamed, “You are like Lucy, nothing gets away from you.” I prefer to be Mary Richards. Lucy whined too much and without Ricky her life appeared rather dull.  I would like to give a special THANK YOU to the entire cast and crew of GMA. Diane, Chris and Sam were very gracious as I bubbled over with joy.

Me at the GMA Studio

Me at the GMA Studio

30 Something Cast

30 Something Cast

Me and Chris Cuomo

Me and Chris Cuomo

Peter Horton

Peter Horton

Very elegan Diane Sawyer

Very elegant Diane Sawyer

 

Weatherman Sam Champion

Weatherman Sam Champion

June 8, 2009

Delaware Beach Life Magazine

Filed under: 1 — ruthz621 @ 9:37 pm

My in-depth article will appear in the July issue of Delaware Beach Life Magazine on new stands or available online June 26th. If you vacationed in the 70s/80s “Down The Shore” this article is sure to stir up some fond memories.

THE VILLA DOG

Filed under: 1 — ruthz621 @ 9:23 pm

THE VILLA DOG is now available at http://www.wildchildpublishing.com

This book is ranked #1 on the publisher’s YA/Children’s bestsellers list and #8 overall!

May 18, 2009

My First Bruce Springsteen Concert

Filed under: 1 — ruthz621 @ 12:08 am

A cool breeze blew and in the distance the roller coaster streamed through a spiraling loop as the man known as THE BOSS opened his exhilarating concert with his hit single  “BADLANDS” in front of thousands of screaming fans at the Hershey Park outdoor concert. Bruce Springsteen opened the flood gates to memories of my teenage years when he sang his early hits from the late 70s and early 80s. During the concert everyone’s heart was pumping, hips swaying, and mouths moving, age was not a factor. This became apparent when he reached his microphone out to the audience and a boy of 9 or 10 readily sang out the words. Bruce’s music spans the generations and his loyal fans are growing in leaps and bounds.

I’d been looking forward to the concert since my friend called to tell me she had a spare ticket back in February. It was snowing outside but the thought of going to a Bruce Springsteen concert in mid-May under the stars put a smile on my face as I cleared my car of fallen snow. The day had finally arrived. My neighbor friends picked me up and during the drive we sang along to the eclectic Bruce mix on her ipod. Most of the tunes I knew the words too were his very popular ones, but it was fun to hear the others sing word for word the less known songs too.  All of Bruce’s songs are written with heart and soul. His meaningful words carry his message.

We arrived at the concert just in time to find our seats before he came out on the stage. My friend told me he turns 60 on the May 23rd. Halfway through the concert she said “I’m getting tired just watching him.” He is a non-stop burst of energy, running from one end of the stage to another, reaching out to the audience, letting the crowd know he’s performing in “PA, HERSHEY, PA, near NEW JERSEY” he tells us. Dressed in blue jeans and a black short sleeved shirt with a black vest he appears very fit and attractive, smiling, laughing and obviously doing what he loves to do. As he shares with the audience that his 17 year old daughter is attending her prom, “Security” he shouts with a smile, we are all reminded he is a father, too.

As I recalled the last time I attended a concert at this venue with my daughter for Britney Spears he pulls a sign from the audience that says, “I’ll burn my Hannah Montana CDs if you’ll sing Twist and Shout.” In an instant we are all dancing and singing to this classic song Bruce delivers with such fortitude the concert of thousands feels like it has been transported to our back yard. He is engaging, exciting and enigmatic during his performance as he continues to grab signs from the audience with song requests. There is no guessing what song might come next, because one gets the feeling he often mixes it up right then and there as a crowd pleaser. I had heard that Bruce puts on a fabulous, long and energized show. But, I didn’t think any one person could put out so much energy, rock the house with such intensity and leave one feeling they’d been at a concert that had no ending. His performance is etched in my memory.

I can’t let this opportunity pass without saying that not only do I have great admiration for Bruce Springsteen’s superb talent. I also have respect for Bruce Springsteen, the activist in the way he brings about social awareness. During the concert he took a moment to acknowledge the state of the economy and the need to give, especially now to the Central Pennsylvania food bank.

And, so when I wore the “Working On a Dream” concert t-shirt the next morning and my youngest daughter said, “Mom, he’s your new David Cassidy.” I smiled and replied, “Yes, he is.”

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