Thursday, October 5, 2017

FINDING MY BADASS SELF: A Year of Truths and Dares

 Author Event to Celebrate Doing What You Think You Cannot Do – At Any Age

Sherry Stanfa-Stanley, author of  Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truths and Dares, will bring her fearlessness and humor to Conrad Sulzer Regional Library on Thursday, Oct. 19 with a free-to-the-public book event, with doors opening at 5:30, and the program slated from 6:00-7:30 p.m. 

Stanfa-Stanley will read from Finding My Badass Self and discuss her adventures with Chicago author Elaine Soloway, herself the author of four books and the inspiration for television’s Emmy-award-winning series Transparent, produced and written by Soloway’s daughters, Jill and Faith Soloway.

At age 52, facing later life and an empty nest, Stanfa-Stanley decided to kick off her “52/52 Project”—to do one thing she was afraid of every week for a year. The happy result is Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truths and Dares, a collection of essays on Stanfa-Stanley’s deliberate forays into places far, far outside her comfort zone. Her adventures included visiting a nude beach with her seventy-five-year-old mother, crashing a wedding (she caught the bouquet), and joining a vice squad SWAT team as it went on a raid. Through it all, says Stanfa-Stanley, she gained a perspective that makes it easier in this new stage of her life to confront fears and laugh at herself.

“Especially as we get older,” Stanfa-Stanley says, “our comfort zone gets narrower and narrower. I learned that it’s never too late to change your life, and that facing your fears is a good way to do it. It’s also a good way of becoming and embracing who you’ve always been.”

The event will be hosted by The Village Chicago, a non-profit membership community focused on helping members navigate the new longevity by connecting them to each other and to trusted resources that support vibrant, secure later lives.

Books by both authors will be available for purchase and signing. Light snacks will be served. Doors open to the public at 5:30 p.m. and the program will be from  6-7:30 p.m.

While admission is free, advance registration is required. To register, go to The Village Chicago website at phone the Village offices at (773) 248-8700.

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Friday, March 3, 2017


Blue Rider Press, and Lincoln Park Village and its Life 3.0 Committee present:


Authors Meredith Maran and Elaine Soloway 
in conversation with Alison Cuddy
at Conrad Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, 60625.
Wednesday, March 29, 2017.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m., event 6:00-7:30 p.m.


At the age of 61, Meredith Maran’s life fell apart: her long, happy marriage ended, her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, her best friend died of ovarian cancer, and she lost her life savings to a Madoff-type broker. She briefly considered spending her remaining years under the covers, but instead she moved to Los Angeles and re-started her life from scratch—in Hollywood, of all places. Meredith’s brand-new memoir, 
The New Old Me: My Late-Life Reinvention, is her story of coming apart and putting herself back together again, with some unexpectedly delightful results.

Chicagoan Elaine Soloway, 78, has published four books, and aspects of her life have been immortalized on the Emmy Award Winning “Transparent,” produced and written by her daughters, Jill and Faith Soloway.​ ​ A lifelong Chicagoan, Elaine writes about moving to the West Coast — and discovering she was happier back in her hometown. In her new book, Bad Grandma and Other Chapters in a Life Lived Out Loud, Elaine ​​tackles the ageism that pervades our society, the stress of caregiving, her passion for city living — all with her signature warmth and wicked sense of humor.
Alison Cuddy, is the Associate Artistic Director of the Chicago Humanities Festival. Before coming to the Festival, Alison spent more than 10 years at WBEZ 91.5 FM, the NPR affiliate in Chicago. There she helped launched Odyssey, a nationally syndicated talk show of arts and ideas, hosted the morning newsmagazine Eight Forty-Eight and reported on arts and culture.

Lincoln Park Village is a leader in the nationwide Village movement. An innovative, nonprofit organization leveraging the talents, wisdom and skills of its members to enhance the quality of life and the wellbeing of individuals as they live longer, so that they remain integral, vibrant and contributing members of our communities.

The Life 3.0 Committee aims to foster good transitions by identifying the needs and interests of people who have either recently retired or are thinking about retiring and helping them explore what they want next in life.

Copies of both books will be available for signing. Light snacks and non-alcoholic beverages will be served.

This event is free, but please register in advance. You can register by visiting the Lincoln Park Village web site at or by phoning the Village office at (773) 248-8700.”

For more information about Penguin Random House, contact: Marian Brown, Executive Publicistblue rider press and PLUME | 375 Hudson Street, NYC 10014,

Friday, July 18, 2014

Chicago and L.A. Book Launches Scheduled!

I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Two of the country's most treasured independent book stores are welcoming me and my upcoming memoir, GREEN NAILS AND OTHER ACTS OF REBELLION: LIFE AFTER LOSS for a Chicago and L.A. launch and reading.
I'm providing the details early enough so you can mark your calendars, alert friends, and hopefully be on hand to fill the stores. Not only am I anxious to build a crowd for my book, but I'm also eager to bring potential customers to these Indies who need ongoing support. If my book isn't already due as a Kickstarter reward, please consider purchasing the paperback at one of these readings where I can sign your copy. And, if you'll already have the book, perhaps there'll be a holiday gift book of my memoir, or any other book from the stores' shelves.
Dates and Locations:

Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 7 p.m., Women and Children First, 5233 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL.,  60640, 773-769-9299

Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 7:30 p.m., Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA. 90027, 323-719-0465

I look forward to seeing you at one or both of these events!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Rookie Blogs-to-Book Update: To comma, or not to comma

The book cover image for my newest memoir is complete! After I submitted five covers of best sellers that I admired -- so the designers could get my preferences -- I received five options from my publisher for my own design. The one, I -- and a few advisors -- selected, is to the left. I'm very happy with it.
But, a few days ago, one of my advisors (Jill Soloway) said there should be no comma in the title. Earlier, a trusted friend (Lisa Holton) had said the same. So, I broached it with my publisher, Brooke Warner,  and she agreed that since AND is on a separate line of the cover, the comma should go. So, here, to the lower right, is the final cover sans comma.

This change came just in time because I am now reviewing "First Pages." This is my proofread manuscript formatted as to how it will appear in the actual book. I'm pleased to say I also like the interior design very much. One page is headed by my name, Elaine Soloway, and the other, Green Nails, And Other Acts of Rebellion. So now, as I'm catching any errors (only one so far that was caused by me when I changed something in the proofread copy), I am listing all of the page headings where Green Nails, And Other Acts of Rebellion should read Green Nails and Other Acts of Rebellion. (By the way, the subtitle: Life After Loss, does not appear on interior pages. This is standard.)
Recently, I participated in a monthly Author Call with about a dozen other Fall 2014 writers. We talked about submitting our Advanced Reader Copies to reviewers and the difficulty of actually getting reviews by the main publications, like "Publishers Weekly." Hiring an outside publicist helps, but there's no guarantee they will have success. So, like  my other memoir publishing endeavor, I'll tackle that on my own. (Once my new book is published in September of this year, I'd appreciate any suggestions for book groups, synagogue or church readings, health care groups, senior groups, etc.)
As of today, we have 17 days left to goal. So far, we're at 71% with $3,909 contributed. I'm confident we'll reach our $5,500 target before the bell rings, but  if you have ideas on how to assure that,  don't hesitate to let me know. 
By the way, my Kickstarter funders receive these updates first. If you want to be in that special group, please click on Elaine Soloway's Kickstarter Campaign and join  us!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

College Essay Coaching

When high school students set their sights on attending college, they're likely looking forward to meeting new friends, living in a dorm, and taking courses that lead to a successful career.

But they may not be excited about a necessary step to that anticipated life: writing the college essay that will help them gain admission to their top choice school. That project may be weighted with stress, parents' expectations, and an assumption that the student -- lacking a strong background in writing -- may not be up to the challenge.

That's where I come in. As an essay coach, I'll partner with students to explore a topic that complies with the prompts of the Common Application or of their targeted colleges and universities. 

We'll initially meet in a one-to-one session, and depending upon students' schedules, will manage subsequent drafts via e-mail attachments of Word documents, or additional face-to-face meetings.

Our goal will be for the student to write and submit a flawless essay in his or her own voice that will stand out from the crowd. The piece will succeed if it impresses admission decision-makers and persuade them of a student's uniqueness, accomplishments, and strengths.

And, the process will be conducted in an enthusiastic, supportive, and encouraging atmosphere, which will boost students' self-esteem and add skills that will remain throughout their college years.

All one-on-one sessions will be held in a Wi-Fi-equipped setting in the River North area, or at a local library.

For more information about hourly fees, available dates, or other questions, please call 773-320-5681, or send an email to References are available on request.

About Me

I'm president of Elaine Soloway Public Relations and author of the memoir, "The Division Street Princess" (Syren Book Company, 2006), which was named a 2006 Chicago Tribune Book of the Year, and the e-novel, "She's Not The Type" (Publish Green, 2011). I write several blogs, including "The Rookie Widow," "The Rookie Caregiver," and "Never Too Old to Talk Tech," which are then linked on Social Media sites, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Monday, July 22, 2013

"Manic Pixie Dreamland" Plays Saturdays through August 24 at the Annoyance Theatre.

“Manic Pixie Dreamland,” a musical featuring an all female cast that lampoons a popular cinematic type, plays Saturdays, July 27- August 24, 2013 at the Annoyance Theatre.

According to director Ryan McDermott, the show’s theme is inspired by the often-used female character, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl*, “whose sole purpose is to teach depressed male leads to embrace life’s mysteries and wonders. These women do not exist in real life and are typically created in the minds of lonely screenwriters. We think she’s a disservice to female characters because it views women as one-dimensional creatures.”

*Nathan Rabin, head writer for The Onion’s AV Club, is credited with coining the term, Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

With original songs by musical directors Jon Monteverde and Greg Sydlowski, “Manic Pixie Dreamland” takes place in a cult-like center where all of the world’s Manic Pixie Dream Girls are manufactured and trained. The audience takes a tuneful tour, with heaping servings of satire, as it meets the Girls. They are the stalwart heroine Tomboy, plus Chatterbox, Foreign, Mysterious, Brown-Nose, and Etsy. Through Tomboy’s encouragement and enlightenment, the women form a sisterly bond to combat the show’s shady villain, the Dream Queen.

The cast includes Annoyance regulars: Mo Allen, Sarah Ashley, Rachel Farmer, Amber Gerencher, Claire Mulaney, Jo Scott, and Amy Speckien.

Along with movie-lovers, “Manic Pixie Dreamland” is expected to appeal to feminists, and to other groups who may feel themselves stereotyped by pop culture and the media. “And of course, anyone who enjoys Annoyance’s usual lightheartedly-confrontational take on any social issue.” says Executive Producer Jennifer Estlin.

“Manic Pixie Dreamland”plays Saturdays, July 27- August 24, 2013, 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $20, $15  (student ID) For more information, view the Annoyance website or call the box office: 773.561.HONK (4665). The Annoyance is located at 4830 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL. 60640.

Exec. Producer, Annoyance Theatre
P: 773.561.4664
F: 773.561.3999

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"Chris Gaines in...The Life of Garth Brooks" Previews July 5 and Opens July 12 at Annoyance

"Chris Gaines in...The Life of Garth Brooks" is a satirical study of an artist, and his qualms about his role as performer. Written by Greg Ott, the play is based on a bizarre period in country star Brooks' life and features a cast of seven who play multiple characters, including Jay Leno, Chelsea Clinton, Larry King, Regis Philbin, Phil Spector, Barbara Walters, Monica Lewinsky, Judge Judy, "Weird" Al Yankovic, and Jerry Springer. The play will run on Fridays at 8 p.m. at The Annoyance Theatre, 4830 N Broadway, Chicago.

The ensemble comedy -- featuring Chris Blake, Tim de la Motte, Annie Donley, Brigid Marshall, AJ Miller, Greg Ott, and Wink Stone-- focuses on the time in 1999 when country singer and songwriter Garth Brooks created an alternate persona in the form of rocker Chris Gaines. Ott assumes the roles of Gaines and Brooks, and local filmmaker and comedian Joe Avella is co-director. The show presents the music of both Gaines and Brooks.

In the Annoyance performance, the story as it actually occurred is turned upside down. Ott explains, "In our version, Chris Gaines is the biggest rock-star on the planet, but he's dissatisfied with his artistic pursuits. So, after being inspired by a small-town country singer, he changes direction and ditches his old persona. Gaines then re-emerges as a character named Garth Brooks, a switch that stuns Gaines' agents, fans, and record label, who all fear their star has lost his mind."

Ott said the show originally began as part of Annoyance's 20-minute Triple Feature, which is the theatre's testing ground for short play ideas. "But we quickly outgrew the time limit and needed an extra hour or so. An abridged version was performed a couple of times, and that progressed to this original, never-been-seen before, full-length play."

"Chris Gaines in...The Life of Garth Brooks" previews Friday, July 5, opens July 12, and runs on Fridays at 8 p.m. through August 23, 2013. Tickets are $20, $15 for students. For more information, view the Annoyance website, or call the box office: 773.561.HONK (4665). The Annoyance is located at 4830 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL. 60640.