Monthly Archives: February 2014

Why The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon Will Succeed

photo credit NBC

photo credit NBC

First, here is a brief look back at the list of the past Tonight Show hosts:

Steve Allen (1954 to 1957) – He was the original host of the Tonight Show and is thought of as the ‘Daddy’ of the talk show format. You know the drill – Monologue, Comedy Sketch and Playing with the crowd. Steve Allen was SO popular he hosted the Tonight Show and another show during prime time. Maybe juggling both shows did him in, because he retired from the Tonight Show in 1957.

Jacke Lescoulie & Al “Jazzbo” Collins (1957) – These guys were radio personalities (one also was on the Today Show) that hosted the Tonight Show for six months after Steve Allen left. It must not have gone so well, because I never heard of them before doing a little research.

Jack Paar (1957 to 1962) – Jack Paar took the stage as host of the Tonight Show at the end of 1957. At some point he quit the show because a censor pulled one of his jokes. After the monologue the following evening he walked out. His announcer, Hugh Downs had to wing it the rest of the night. Jack Paar was back a month later saying, “As I was saying before I was interrupted … I believe the last thing I said was ‘There must be a better way to make a living than this.’ Well, I’ve looked – and there isn’t.” He hosted the Tonight Show for around five years.

Johnny Carson (1962 to 1992) – This is the man I think of whenever the Tonight Show is mentioned. He was the guy my siblings and I crept downstairs to watch when the parentals were asleep. During his tenure as host, the show moved from New York to Burbank, California (1972). The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson lasted thirty long years. He was and still remains the king of late night TV.

Jay Leno (1992 to 2009 & 2010 to 2014) – Jay Leno was one of the guest host comedians who filled in for Johnny Carson when he was absent. After some nasty rumors and a few cat fights (made for television movie followed), he was named as host when Johnny (yes, I feel comfortable simply calling him Johnny) called it quits. Apparently he deserved his job because his ratings were continually circling the top spot.

Conan O’Brien (June 2009 to January 2010) – Okay, here’s where it gets confusing…especially if you’ve been living under a rock for the last five years. I’ll try to make is simple: Jay Leno left the Tonight Show to host a Prime Time show midway through 2009. Late Night host Conan O’Brien moved from New York to California (cue the theme song from Beverly Hillbillies) to fill the empty seat behind the desk. Neither show really thrived or was given a chance (six months). Jay Leno was brought back to the later time slot and Conan O’Brien moved on to TBS. Suffice it to say, there were bitter feelings all around.

Jimmy Fallon (Just a few short weeks ago) – When it was time for Jay Leno to step aside (uh-hmm, again), NBC went back to the Late Night time slot and tapped Jimmy Fallon on the shoulder. The good guy, funny man took the job, but pulled the show BACK to NYC.

Alright. So now that I’m done laying the host stat cards on the table we should take a closer look.

They’re all guys. They’re all talented comedians. But there is something else the ones that have lasted longer than three years have in common…(Wait for it. Wait for it.)…The hosts who made the Tonight Show desk their home for the longest amount of time all have names that start with J. Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Jay (heck, his name is actually pronounced J) Leno and now Jimmy Fallon. Even the guys who filled in between Steve Allen and Jack Paar had J names…one was Jazzbo, but still (Sorry Conan. You’re a very funny man. Maybe you should have changed your name to Conan J’Brien before taking the Tonight Show reins).

This BODES well for Jimmy Fallon (and of course is complete malarkey).

You can watch Jimmy (yes, I also feel comfortable simply calling him Jimmy) on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon weeknights at 11:35 on NBC.

Yes, I went there.

You can also follow me on Twitter and Google+

Categories: Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

You Say You Want To Write A Book

This post is the fourth of a series of six blogs that I’ll write as a participant in the Blog Hop for Writers started by Ruth Snyder. Once you read my post you should “HOP” on over to see what the other writers have to say.

The fourth topic of the six on the Blog Hop is “Advice I’d Give a Newbie Writer”

Now, I still consider myself a newbie. Of course I’ve been writing since I could hold one of those chunky pencils in my hand, but I didn’t start classifying myself as a “writer-writer” until about ten years ago. That’s when I sat down to create my first novel.

It was an everyday commitment. I scribbled for hours and hours in notebooks while my baby slept and then plugged away in the early hours of the morning to get what I wrote into a computer. It was something I had to do; otherwise I wouldn’t have done it. Writing is hard work. It drains you and most of the other aspects of your life suffer for your commitment.

That being said, I wouldn’t change it either.

The most important thing I can say to someone who wants to write is you have to read.


It is so funny to me to hear people say that they want to write a book but in the same breath they admit they don’t READ.


If you don’t read, how can you know how to write?

If you don’t read, why would you even want to write?

When I was a teacher, reading was the thing I harped on more than anything else.  If you can read there is nothing you can’t do. Reading opens up worlds you can never know on your own and to get practical about it, you can read how to do anything.

For a writer, that would mean reading books on craft. It is so important.

But more important, is to read book after book after book in the genre you will be writing. You have to write what you love or the reader will know it. Trust me on that. Even before I dreamed of writing Young Adult books, I was reading them.  I devoured them.

Now I look at this reading as more than just stories. It’s research.

Look at it this way: Haven’t you read a book and you got lost in the words. Before you know it, you were up all night because you couldn’t stand the thought of not knowing what happened next? Haven’t you also read a book and for some reason you felt nothing for the characters? The plot was solid, but the writing didn’t take you anywhere?

That is you as a critic. Your inner voice telling you what is good and what is just…<shrug>.

 I want my stories to be the former…ones that eat you up and won’t spit you out until you reach the back cover.

Will I ever get there? I don’t know, but I read each day like a man starving for words. Every single book I finish helps me become what I want to be: a better writer.


You can also follow me on Twitter and Google+

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Gear Up For The April A to Z Blogging Challenge Now

Are you doing the April A to Z Blogging Challenge this year?

What is it? Well here’s what the hosts have to say:

“The April A to Z Challenge is “a yearly event that brings more than 2500 bloggers – a MEGA bloghop. Through the month of April, starting on April 1, we write 26 posts starting with A for April 1, B for April 2 and so on until we reach Z for April 30. Except on Sundays, to cleverly accommodate the 26 alphabets.”

Sign up at the link above or by using the badge in my sidebar.

If you ARE participating, you may want to know about the blog hop to get us geared up for the main event. It is called:

The Great and Powerful Oz A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal

(pay no attention to the man behind the curtain)


Here is what you do to participate in the March 21 A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal

“• Mark March 21, 2014 in your calendar – as the date on which you will publish a post about your theme reveal.
• Then, Sign up at the linky (here or visit host’s blog). Just add your blog’s home page link.
• Grab the gorgeous red badge above to add to your post on March 21, 2014 and link it to this post and also your sidebar if you like!
• Tell the whole world
• On March 21, 2014, publish a post talking about your A to Z Theme, telling us what your theme will be, and why it would be interesting for your existing readers and A to Z Participants.

This is a great opportunity for you to link up with other A to Z Challenge participants, and by the time the challenge begins in April, you’ll have an audience waiting for your posts. True that!

After you publish your post, come back and visit as many A to Zers as you can! Yup! Interaction is the name of the game!

Still frowning and wondering why you should do this?

Build your network – your AtoZ network – before April.”

Sounds great! I was on the fence about what I was going to blog for 26 days in a row until just the other morning. Then it struck me…but I’m not going to spill any secrets just yet.

You’ll have to wait until March 21 for my theme reveal.

You can follow my uber profound remarks on twitter: @LeanneRossRF

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

DEFY by Sara B. Larson

Scholastic Press, 2014

Defy CoverIt is so very rare that I am at the start of anything. The tail end? Yes. All the time. But this is different. I got my hands on Defy shortly after it was released. I just finished reading it yesterday (in no way a fault of the book, but my ineptness at remembering to pack it in my bag most days) and I want to give it a shout out as recommended young adult reading.

There’s been so much buzz around this book and I see why. It’s a beautifully written adventure fantasy full of strong emotions. The story took me on a thrilling ride through lush jungles and lavish castles with a hefty amount of tension filled romance (of course, if I’m reading it).

After her parents are killed by a dark sorcerer, protagonist Alexa Hollen is forced to cut her hair and pretend to be a boy so horrible things won’t happen to her (Picture a more graphic, disturbing Mulan). In her disguise she uses her amazing fighting skills to land a spot on the royal guard of the Antion prince. No one is supposed to know that she’s a girl, but that doesn’t stop her from developing female laced feelings for the males around her.

Secrets and loss are the theme in this YA story. Everyone seems to have their own issues with trust and how they deal with the death of people they love. The story was conceived from a dark time in the author’s life, so I’d say it puts up a good fight to battle those old demons. Defy also deals with some tough subjects, including rape and murder (you’ve been warned).

I recommend you put Defy on your TBR list.

You can learn more about Defy, its upcoming sequel and Sara B. Larson on her website:

(Doesn’t the cover remind you of Graceling? That is DEFINITELY a good thing!)

Categories: Book Recommendations | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

How Do You Woo?

In honor of Valentine’s Day & to support of my fellow ISWG member Toi Thomas, I am participating in the How Do You Woo? Blogfest

HowDoYouWooLove is in the air and it’s time to share, Wednesday, February 12th.

The directions for the Blogfest are simple:

Tell a story, give examples, share an experience…how do you romance the one you care about or vice versa? (In 500 words or less).

The 492 words below are condensed and edited from one of my yet to be published manuscripts (YA Adventure Fantasy). Please know that it’s still in an early rough draft, but I think it shows the tension I like to see in my literary love . So, this is how I woo…on paper (not my actual love life. That I prefer that with minimal drama).

I hope you enjoy!

“Sara?” He says my name like it’s a question.

“What?” I demand.  Darrel’s frown and the hard set of his jaw have me on the defensive.

He meets my eyes. “So, you’re not hurt.”

“I’m okay,” I say in a murmur. He was actually concerned. A tingle of guilt creeps up the back of my neck.

Darrel begins pacing. He doesn’t take his eyes off me. “You know you’re the most impulsive girl…no, I take that back. You’re the most impulsive person I’ve ever met. It’s like you rush towards danger with your eyes closed. You could have been killed. What were you thinking?”

I was thinking I didn’t want to die. I was thinking I’d do anything save myself and the people I love. But I can’t tell him that. I can’t tell him anything. Instead, I let my eyes roll. “Don’t start lecturing me. You’re not my father.”

He shakes his head and chuckles. “No I’m not. No. I’m. Not.”

The sound of his laugh is a drill in my ear. “What’s so funny?”

Darrel stops walking. “I came over here to see if you’re alright, but what I want to do now is wring your neck.”

“Well, I’m fine.” I say with a flip of my hand.

“I can see that.”

“So, if you aren’t going to strangle me,” I pause for dramatic effect. “You can feel free to leave knowing you’ve done your civic duty.”

“My civic duty? This has nothing to do with civic duty.” Darrel folds his arms over his chest.

I mirror his stance and raise my eyebrows. “So what does it have to do with?”

He throws his hands in the air and starts pacing again. When he looks at me, Darrel points an accusing finger my way. “It has to do with you. You make me crazy!”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” I say to stop him.  “If you’re crazy, it’s not my fault.”

“Oh, yes it is.” He begins running a hand through his hair. “Ever since we met I can’t get you out of my head. It’s like you’ve taken root in my every thought. There’s a constant worry needling my brain that you’re off doing something foolish or getting yourself into trouble. And then when I see you again, my worries are confirmed. You have no self control. You’ve tied me up in knots.”

“I have plenty of self control,” I lie. “And what I do is none of your business.”

Darrel wraps his hands around the back of his neck and seems to squeeze his head with his bent elbows. With his eyes turned to the ground, he drops his arms back to his sides. In almost a whisper he says, “It is my business.”


He doesn’t answer. Instead he stares at me.

“Why?” I shout, causing him to flinch, but still his eyes are on mine. “Why does anything I do concern you?”

“Because I’m going to marry you.”

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

My Hero: Post 3 of 6 Blog Hop for Writers

This post is the third of a series of six blogs that I’ll write as a participant in the Blog Hop for Writers started by Ruth Snyder. Once you read my post you should “HOP” on over to see what the other writers have to say.


The third topic of the six on the Blog Hop is “Character Sketch of My Hero.”

I assume since this is a blog hop for writers that I am not supposed to write a fifth grade essay on the person I most look up to in my life. By hero, we are talking protagonists. The main character. The lead of a story. The person (or thing) that learns something by the end of the book.

What I write and read is young adult fiction. That means my main character is always a teen. She (because I tend to like the female view-point) is usually tough, but in a soft way, with attitude covering up some insecurity. A walking oxymoron.  These are the sort of heroines I like.

My current work in progress is a bit different. The girl in this one is afraid. She is afraid of the dark, boys, being alone and even of not being afraid. The hitch is that she’s content staying this way. If it weren’t forced upon her, she would never dream of facing her fears. She does brave things only because there is no choice. It is either move or get trampled.

What I like so much about this protagonist is her great capacity to love. She feels deeply. Deeper than the strongest of her fears. So much so that she’d be willing to run in the dark, by herself with a knife wielding guy in pursuit to the ends of the earth if that would save her sister.

Another thing I love exploring is how underestimated the other characters find her. One boy who’s taunted the girl since childhood calls her Little Mouse because she is small, wears glasses and he thinks her timid. This heroine knows the truth. She is capable of anything. It is only wariness that holds her back. If she chooses to conquer what makes her afraid, everything else will come easily.

Thanks for taking time to learn a bit about my heroine.  I don’t like to give out names until the story is finished because I work so hard to make them fit my characters, plus they often change.  But I would be happy to call her Little Mouse for now, even though in my MS it is meant as a put down. I think of her as the little mouse in Aesop’s Fable: The Lion & The Mouse. In that story the mouse chews through rope to rescue the lion. So, sometimes a little mouse really can be a hero(ine).

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

The Grand Blog Hop: IWSG

This month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group is being hosted as always by Alex J. Cavanaugh. His co-hosts this month are Sheena-kay Graham, Julie Musil, Jamie Ayres, & Mike Swift!   Thanks!

Once you’ve read my post, please Click here  to “hop” to another blog on the list to support and share with others.


For the IWSG in January I made it my goal to visit and comment on every single blog posting for the blog hop. It appeared do-able. Heck, in the five months I’ve been participating in IWSG it seems like Alex J. Cavanaugh has been to any of the blogs I’ve ever hit – often moments before me.  He’s only one man. If he can devote his time each month to sharing that much affection, then surely I could do it just this once.

At the time I started, there were 317 blogs on the linky-tools list. I figured it would take me about three days to complete making the rounds to everyone. I would average a few more than a hundred blog visits per day. That was if everyone on the whole list posted. I assumed not everyone would.

Lucky for me they didn’t and jeez, was I wrong about the three days.

It ended up taking me an entire week to hit all of the blogs with actual postings. Wednesday to Wednesday. During five of those days I was juggling work and hopping. Besides having to earn a living at my day job, there were other potholes that impeded my progress. On Friday I had a hard time figuring out where to start because the bloggers who had missed two ISWG dates in a row were dropped from the list.  The number system I was using to keep track of my progress no longer applied. I must have clicked on fifteen links for folks that already had a comment from me.  Then over the weekend I was forced to use a turtle of a computer (maybe turtle is being gracious…it was a snail of a computer) to squeak in as many visits as I could because my regular machine was misbehaving. Though these things slowed me down, they didn’t stop my aspiration.

I approached this huge task (I honestly didn’t realize it was so huge at the time) by starting at the end of the list and working my way forward. That way Alex J. Cavanaugh would be my final visit.  Out of the original 317 on the list, 225 of you actually posted for January. I’m glad to say I got to leave a comment for every one of you.

One thing I wish is that I kept better statistics as I went. My main method of record keeping was putting hash marks on an old envelope. Very scientific, I know.

Somewhere around the middle of the list I realized that most of us are women. I wonder at that, because traditionally (until the last few hundred years anyway) writers were men.  Could it be that we women are just more insecure about our writing than the men? Hmmm, something to think about.

Also, most of these blogs are on Blogger instead of WordPress. This doesn’t seem strange because people tend to find blogs on their own system and the ISWG is a blogger hosted blog. What did surprise me was that there were Facebook pages in the mix. I never would have guessed that (It was a happy notion nonetheless).

By far the most distressing part of this hop was visiting blogs were no one else had posted a reply.  I sometimes would go from a popular blog were the writer had fifty-eight replies to ones that had none (or simply none when I got there…).  From the very beginning of my ISWG experience I have had warm comments from my fellow ISWG participants. It has bolstered me. The fact that I got to play even a small part in bolstering someone else made this grand hop worthwhile.

I found that we writers in the ISWG range from seasoned pros to just getting our typing fingers wet. Even so, many of us have similar insecurities (trust me on this). We worry if we are good enough and how we’ll find time to write and if we’ll ever come up with another idea (we are and we’ll make the time and ideas will always come…they might just show up on their own schedule).

For almost every insecure blog, there was another one meant to hearten the readers. I loved these. They made me feel good, plus I got to accept the support with a “thank you.”

Now I want to say thank you again. This first one goes out to all of you who turned around to visit me after my path took me past your blog’s door. You encouraged me to keep going. That was a big feat.

I also want to thank Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this whole, crazy blog hop. You are one amazing person (you must command a group of minions or have cloned yourself….hmmm. Maybe that’s why you write Sci-Fi). Please know that you have touched more people than you know…because others chose to pay it forward.

(Another thing I learned was an appreciation for short posts…eek! Sorry this one was so long. I’ll do better next time. Leanne)

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 27 Comments

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