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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Share the wealth (3 ways)

As of tonight, Christmas and Chanukah will both be over (sad face), but that doesn't mean the spirit of giving has to end. Here are three small ways to keep spreading cheer and greenness the world over.

1. Give to Kiva, a non-profit whose mission is to end global poverty. 

With the help of your donations, Kiva lends money to small businesses in developing countries -- a concept called microfinance. Maybe someone is looking to start a general store in Nicaragua, or a rice-selling business in the Philippines. Kiva's belief is that people will lift themselves out of poverty if given access to financing.

All of these businesses are looking for an extra boost to start earning on their own, and all it takes is a few U.S. dollars. The coolest part? Your donation is actually a loan: nine times out of ten, you'll earn back your investment. Which means you can then re-loan to more people in need. So $25 becomes $50, becomes $75, becomes $100 (and so on)...

Learn more here!

2. Pay for someone behind you at the drive-thru.

I love this idea, submitted by Amy, one of our readers. It's so simple, and yet I'd never thought of it.  It's like insta-good-karma.

Next time you're waiting at the drive-thru (as a New Yorker without a car, I'm practically nostalgic for this delightful suburban-y experience) and there's someone behind you, roll out some extra cash at the pay window and offer to cover the next car, too. It's easy and quick, and you can stay anonymous!

3. Enter the Unnaturally Green New Year's Giveaway!

To ring in 2012, I'll be giving away a signed and personalized copy of Unnaturally Green!

The only catch? You'll have to give it away (to someone who really wants it!).

If you'd like to enter, tell me who it is you want to give your copy of Unnaturally Green. Your neighbor who loves show tunes? Your cousin, who's never had a chance to see Wicked? Your fanatical aunt who can recite every one of Elphaba's lines?

Then, tell me about that person by (1) posting in a blog comment (below), (2) writing on the wall of the Facebook Fan Page, or (3) saying it in a tweet (be sure to include my twitter name, @feliciaricci, at the end).

One winner will be selected in the New Year. Anybody in the world can enter! (Yes, you can nominate yourself -- but the whole idea is to spread the greenness. Loophole: if you give the book away, your recipient can always lend it back...!)

Questions? Shoot me an email at felicia at feliciaricci dot com. Be sure to enter! (And tell your friends.)

Peace and love!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas means family, family means weird photos

It's my family's tradition to take a group portrait every 25th of December. Most years, we start off normal:

Then we add the dog(s):

Then we get crazy:

Then we act like "rappers":

We just held one such photo session, this time with two dogs and some signif others. The pics aren't ready yet, but when they are I'll be sure to post this year's iteration.

And a merry, merry Christmas to you!


Merry Christmas! Here is a song medley

In 2005, my younger sister Tessa and I wrote a 38-song medley while touring Ireland in the back seat of a van. Being surly teenagers with no attention span, we were bored by the miles and miles of countryside, and so decided the best way to amuse ourselves was to string together songs from all genres in a seamless though nonsensical flow.

Our only rules? No musical transition could be forced, and all had to garner approval by the Medley Board (me and Tessa).

Six years later, and we're still making medleys, even on Christmas. Here is our latest. We filmed it in one take, using no notes. Enjoy!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday Chuckle

Considering my fondness for coat hooks, I'm appalled I didn't think of this myself.

Source: Happy Place. Submitted by Hannah W.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rediscovering greenness

As 2012 approaches, I've been thinking a lot about the direction I should take this blog now that my book Unnaturally Green has been born, continues to grow, coo and spit up his baby food with each passing day. Sure, I'll continue to post book-related announcements, like --

2) A live web chat in 2012! (More info soon!)

3) New York City book event, January 24, 2012, at Housing Works! Hear me and some other theater-book authors talk about stuff! (More info soon!)

-- but what of the day to day? Then it occurred to me. I needed to get back to my roots. This has proven valuable at moments of uncertainty (I call it "Life Lesson 101"). So, I asked myself: What is the core tenet of this blog? What is the essence of Unnaturally Green? And it struck me, clear as day:

To embrace greenness.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Recently, I discovered something about myself: I LOVE DOGS IN SWEATERS. Behold! A photo of Domi, beloved pooch of Nic Dromard (my Fiyero in SF Wicked, currently Bert in the Mary Poppins tour), wearing a Canadian sweater. AND WHAT IS CUTER THAN THAT, I WANT TO KNOW.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Neti Pots May Not Be So Awesome After All

This article on (from a longer one on is one of the more bizarre and sad things I've read. Apparently, two unlucky people in Louisiana used Neti Pots -- a homeopathic cold treatment that passes water up through your nose and sinus (watch my demo here) -- and a deadly amoeba living in their tap water burrowed its way into their brains and killed them. Double yikes.

Apparently this is extremely rare, but in light of this, I'm revising my Neti Pot stance from blanket advocacy to PLEASE BOIL THE WATER BEFORE YOU USE IT IN YOUR NETI POT SO AMOEBAS DON'T EAT YOUR BRAINS!

Thank you.

Moving shttttinks, here's a diversion

Friends! I just moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan (for those of you who have finished Unnaturally Green, yes from *that* apartment to yet *another* apartment...c'est la vie) which explains why on this blog I've been about as productive as the college freshman version of myself, a time when I used to read all of my English assignments lying down in bed, and so would, on the hour, read 3 pages and sleep for 55 minutes.

As a diversion, let me show you something only slightly interesting, which is the redesigned version of my personal website,! Check it out and try to forget about the fact that I've been the worst blogger of all time. (Oh, and if you need to hire a freelance writer, like, email me!)



Friday, December 2, 2011

Nonsensical tagging: a retrospective

Tagging blog posts is a useful practice: it helps your readers sort through your articles and search engines categorize your site. Despite my knowledge of its importance, I've freely persisted in tagging all my posts nonsensically and in completely un-helpful ways.

Behold! My ten least helpful article tags! 

All ten of the following phrases I deemed logical post categories. As in, popular phrases that you could use to sort more than one article. (Click on them to visit the corresponding article(s)!)

1. amnio fluids
2. astronauts
3. baby's daddy
4. bribery
5. chemistry 4-eva
6. hygiene is obsolete
7. sash machines
8. never eat at jay's cheesesteak
9. complete useless post
10. crazed nutsos

Hugh Jackman is literally so awesome

Last night I went to see Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway at the Broadhurst theater with my manly yet sensitive boyfriend Marshall. As the near-supernatural theatrics unfolded onstage, we hooted, clapped, and more or less tinkled our undergarments. Why? BECAUSE HUGH JACKMAN IS LITERALLY SO AWESOME.

Let me preface by saying, I wasn't always a Hugh Jackman fan. In fact, on my first date with Marshall, I randomly quoted a then-recent People Magazine interview in which Hugh seemed, to me, too sickeningly good to be true, while Marshall silently thought, I hope it's okay if I later tell this girl that I kind of love Hugh Jackman.

Two years later, the relationship has grown and strengthened -- by which I mean my relationship with Hugh Jackman.

Yes, I've become a convert. Marshall (who is the most unique blend of action-hero junkie, intellectual, and sensitive man-feminist) has helped me to see the light. Together we admire Hugh's unbridled positivity, enthusiasm, and ridiculous all-around talent -- on screen and stage. But, fanatical as we are, little could prepare us for seeing him live -- in a musical theater extravaganza of Jackmanian proportions.

Some of his one-man show comprises personal anecdotes and stories, while the rest is an homage to Golden Broadway and cinema. He sings near-flawlessly, performing both earnest and parodic renditions of several classic songs that made the elder man next to Marshall hum along at sometimes annoying volumes. But no matter! We were all having such a darn good time! When Jackman needs musical-theater-y flair, he's got it: he dances like a long-legged Astaire, donning tap shoes, twirling canes and umbrellas. It got to the point where I couldn't help but keep yelling to Marshall, "WHY IS HE SO TALENTED," which was only partly to get back at the man who wouldn't stop humming.

My absolute favorite number was the Act I closer, "Soliloquy" from Carousel. It artfully showcased his acting and singing abilities, combined in one brilliant song performance. But just as Jackman can pull off such a complex dramatic piece, so can he banter with audience members about -- you name it -- late arrivals, Australian slang, his sweaty white tank top. One minute he's prancing flamboyantly (opening Act II as Peter Allen, in sparkling gold shirt and pants), the next he's showing clips of him popping his neck veins as Wolverine, a freaky man-beast with claws, and then he's performing alongside an Aboriginal didgeridoo ensemble, talking to the audience about cultural understanding.


In summary, I have become a full-fledged fan, and now cannot be stopped. Hugh Jackman is awesome, and I'm going to keep talking about it long after you tell me to shut up!

You should totes go see his show! Hugh Jackman 4-eva!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A very hipster Thanksgiving

Friends, countrymen, readers of Unnaturally Green, watchers of nonsensical videos,

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I had a gloriously familial time with my boyfriend, a.k.a. Gentle Rambo, and his Wisconsin-born, Pennsylvania-bred family of six (Rambo, like me, is a middle child -- observant, quietly brilliant, considerate, only slightly messed-up).

In typical Felicia-fashion, at Thanksgiving dinner (which we happily celebrated on two days, consecutively) I was unable to restrain myself amidst the sweet potatoes, stuffing, and various bread-filled substances, and so gave myself a free pass from no-carb prison.

(I've since been locked back into my cell, where I find myself sneaking various carbohydrate-laden snacks when the warden is looking the other way.)

But there is a point to all this -- totally unrelated -- which is? Oh yeah! I took some photos!

You may not know this charming fact about me, but I've long been complaining about my inability to download the ubiquitous Hipstamatic photo app, favored by hipsters and other garden-variety iPhone users alike, since I have an Android Inspire (the AT&T salesperson told me it was compatible with all iPhone apps, which was clearly a lie, because I also can't download Houzz, a.k.a. the best interior design app evarrr, and I WANT MY MONEY BACK!).

Lo and behold, this weekend I learned there's something called the Retro Camera app -- the I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Android app to the Hipstamatic. All in all, it sufficed! And I took some hipstery photos that I will now post below.

The takeaway from this experience? A hipster-inspired photo app does not a hipster make. You'll see what I mean.

Dazed and confused?

Eating my own hair?

A cat! This might be my best, most hipster-y photo.

Yeah, I know. So not hip.

I threw in this "broken doll" model shot...with a mini Christmas tree...because, why not.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

44 seconds of minor amusement

Happy belated Thanksgiving! On an unrelated note, here is yet another video of me and Libby Servais (former Glinda standby in Wicked) tooling around backstage like complete weirdos. (Read more about the depths of our boredom here or in my book Unnaturally Green.)



Thank you, and goodnight!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bye, bye carbohydrates (for now)

You know that scene in Braveheart where Mel Gibson is like, "They'll never take...our FREEDOM!" and then everybody cheers and goes into battle? Under similar conditions, I would totally join the fight. Except you'd have to change "freedom" to "carbohydrates."

Freedom is nice -- don't get me wrong. But can you douse it in tomato sauce and twirl it around your fork? I didn't think so.

Imagine a world without carbohydrates. Without pizza and cold beer, friendships would wither. No lollipops in the doc's office? A whole generation would go un-vaccinated. And forget going to the movies; honestly, what's the point without the snacks? Birthdays, holidays, Happy Hour -- these are mere excuses to eat cupcakes, Bundt cakes, champagne cakes. Pot stickers. French fries. In the culinary world, "fun" is spelled C-A-R-B.

Can you tell I'm hungry?

For the past week, I've been curbing my carb intake. A combination of health, strength and weight-loss goals have led me to conclude that my healthy obsession with pasta, toast, and corn chips at every meal may not be so "healthy" after all. No, I haven't eliminated them entirely (what do you think I am, masochistic?); the only rule is, if I'm going to eat carbs, I have to eat them in the hour after I work out.

(My layperson understanding of why: your body needs carbohydrates after you exert yourself, and whatever "bad effects" carbs usually have, in terms of turning to fat, are negated because after a workout your body is still in fat-burning mode. This especially applies if you've really exerted yourself with high-intensity intervals or something similar -- which I've been doing, miserable and red-faced.)

It hasn't been an easy transition. There are no support groups for Carboholics, no twelve-step program, no sympathy cards for the loss of a loved bread.

But on my uphill journey I've learned that, with every loss, comes a victory: I have, for example, mastered the art of preparing eggs, salads, and protein shakes -- which, given my level of culinary skill (which, on a scale of 1 to 10, is "Can Boil Pasta") are praise-worthy accomplishments. I've learned that "kale" can be steamed, baked, or eaten raw; that carrots taste better when you buy them with the green stuff still attached; that you can basically put anything in an omelet.

And, truth is, working out has actually gotten to be way more fun: after the jump-squats, pull-ups, and kettlebell swings, my final exercise is usually to conquer a heaping plate of spaghetti.

Bring it on!


Friday, November 18, 2011

A brief book review: "One Day" by David Nicholls

One DayOne Day by David Nicholls

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Where do I begin? This book is breathtaking, a profound representation of life, tragic and weird and unpredictable as it is. Nicholls chronicles two characters' intertwining journeys with such attention to detail, character, and emotion that I was staggered by its realism. A brilliant character study (of both its main characters, and even the ancillary players -- with spot-on dialogue), the prose is artful, whimsical, hilarious, and spontaneous. His chosen structure of zooming in on one particular date across two or so decades was genius, for several reasons. Many of these dates were not milestones; instead, they were markers of the mundane -- of life's "betweenness" -- times between great triumph, loss -- illustrations of transition, angst, and often confusion. In my opinion, this contributed to the book's profundity, slaying tragedy, and, again, its ability to capture "life." Read this book. You will be changed.


Update 12.22.11: There are spoilers in the comments section! Be warned! (And sorry.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Signed copies available for the holidays (+ new video!)

Hi friends! A brief post tonight to announce:

1) Unnaturally Green turns one-month old today! Yay! I remember the day it was born like it was, well -- one month ago.

2) More importantly, 40 signed copies of Unnaturally Green are now available for worldwide shipping! Fill out this form to inquire about shipping cost. (Copies can be personalized upon request; get yours before they're sold out!).

3) I've just made a new singing tips video in response to questions I got about "vocal blend." Check it out below!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Road tripping

Have you ever hosted a party that's so fun it's insane?

You know the kind. Hors-doeuvres, ice cubes shaped like Kokopelli, banter, mini-desserts, novelty cocktail napkins that say, "In my day we didn't need all this therapy; we had a little thing called the martini," maybe a few rounds of charades (if you grew up surrounded by musical theater performers), a healthy debate on whether objectivism begets existentialism (if you attended an Ivy League school), absolutely no straight-male romantic prospects (if you grew up surrounded by musical theater performers / attended an Ivy League school), third or fourth helpings of whatever was served (if you are Italian)?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wicked Day Contest!

In honor of Wicked Day (October 30) the UNNATURALLY GREEN fan page is holding a contest!

Here's how to participate:

All day today (until 12 A.M. PST), if you recommend UNNATURALLY GREEN on Facebook or tweet about it on Twitter, you'll be entered automatically! (Be sure to included @FeliciaRicci at the end (not beginning) of your tweet and/or tag Unnaturally Green in your Facebook post.)

*The more you talk about UNNATURALLY GREEN, the better your chances! Yep: every time you post, your name will be re-entered!*

Prizes: 1) a signed and personalized Felicia Ricci headshot; 2) a signed GREEN BABY bookmark (check out the designs here); 3) $10 gift certificate to

Now, go forth and (unnaturally) GREENIFY!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pub Day: the morning after

When we last left off, I confessed to living a double life: in self-publishing my book Unnaturally Green, I tried to appear (without lying outright) as if I had a publishing house backing me.

This past Friday, October 14 marked my book's official release day -- the day of consummation -- when all I'd been planning came to fruition in one, long, passion-filled night. Sales boomed. Nuns wept. I think I even saw a rainbow, even though it was night. I went to bed clutching my freshly bound paperback copy of Unnaturally Green.

The next morning, we rose together from the tangled sheets, to peer at each other. "Who ARE you?" I thought as I stared at my book, "and what have we done?"

One week later, here are my reflections -- on how one glorious evening turned into a full-on, committed relationship. And what I would have done differently.

1. Pre-ordering has its merits, but presents challenges. Because my print distribution channel (CreateSpace) does not offer pre-ordering, I managed the process myself through PayPal. On October 6, I shipped signed copies of Unnaturally Green to around 150 readers -- and several have still not received them. To save on shipping costs, I opted for the media mail rate from the USPS. In hindsight, I should have charged more for shipping and gotten tracking numbers. In the end, I'll have to send out 6-10 more copies to the people who didn't get theirs -- thus losing the money I saved originally on shipping.

2. BookBaby (my e-book distributor) kind of sucks. Quick E-book 101: If you're self-publishing your book as an e-book, you have to convert it. You can opt to crunch your manuscript word doc into one of the e-readable formats yourself, or you can hire somebody to do it. For around $100 bucks, BookBaby will do it for you and submit your e-book to Kindle, Nook, iBooks, and Sony Reader. Then, as they assure you, they won't take any royalties from your sales.

For me, a newbie author, this deal sounded like a win-win. But here's the fine print.

First off, BookBaby not taking any royalties from your sales isn't really that big a deal -- since the companies to which they farm out your book compensate by taking a bigger cut (Kindle, Nook, etc.). So you end up netting the same amount that you would have if you'd gone to those companies directly.

Secondly, after the conversion, it's a pain in the ass to make changes. Once I submitted my manuscript, I found seven typos. In order to change those typos, I had to pay BookBaby $50. Granted, I probably should have proofread more closely to begin with. But this fee wouldn't have applied had I used a site that let me do the conversion myself.

Thirdly, BookBaby effed up my release day. On each BookBaby member dashboard, you can specify the earliest date on which to make your e-book available -- which, long ago, I set to October 14, 2011. BookBaby assured me that this was, indeed, the *earliest* date my book would be available (I even sent an email to customer service to confirm). Imagine my surprise when I got emails from fans telling me my book was already available on Kindle -- nearly three weeks early! When I called BookBaby's customer service about this, I was told, "Oh yeah, the date applies to all distributors except Amazon Kindle." Hm. Wish I'd been told that. If I'd known, I would not have enabled my Kindle sales channel so early.

Fourthly, BookBaby doesn't report your sales as they happen (there is a 60-day delay), so it's impossible to know how my e-book is doing. I can see its Kindle rankings (it topped the Amazon Broadway & Musicals and Theater charts this past weekend, and was #57 in all memoirs), but I'll have to twiddle my thumbs to get sales reports.

In contrast, CreateSpace (my print-on-demand distributor, Amazon's company) reports sales as they happen. So it kind of feels like BookBaby is withholding information, or something...even though I know better?

In short, BookBaby very much feels like an unhelpful middleman -- very opaque, creating hurdles where there should be none.

3. After release day (the one-night stand), there's a whole lot of work to be done (the relationship). In the past week, I've realized that October 14 was only the beginning; now the real work begins! Since then, I've been fielding emails from readers, corresponding with book bloggers, sending out press releases, updating my various websites to reflect ongoing internet buzz...My sense is that returns will be directly proportional to work input. But at what cost?

Since I'm recording an audio book and writing a companion booklet to Unnaturally Green, I want to be sure to keep going with my project(s). In the past seven days, this has proved nearly impossible. From now on, I will have to make even more of an effort to juggle past and future projects.

In conclusion, self-publishing is a ton of work, and the work is ongoing. Just as the countdown to publication was a learning curve, so shall the learning continue, for the many months ahead. I'll keep you posted! Hopefully I will emerge only partly, as opposed to wholly, insane.

Peace out!

What I subject my mailing list subscribers to

If you were at all ambivalent about joining my mailing list, perhaps this will change your mind. I don't know in which direction. 


Dear Sisterhood of the Unnatural Pants,

Hark! Our fat little newborn UNNATURALLY GREEN lies on my kitchen counter, kicking and squirming and demanding to be read. Already it has reached its 1-week birthday (today), and is preternaturally verbal, speaking in full sentences, insisting that I blend its food until completely chunk-less. But the demands don't end there. Just today, it spake these very words:

I feel as if, somehow, UNNATURALLY was conceived with the help of all of you (too weird an image?). As our shared book-love-child grows into a spoiled brat, I am plagued with questions: 

Who am I? What is this imperious death march we call time? Have you read UNNATURALLY GREEN yet? (Because people seem to like it.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Writing contest proves "greenness" exists at every age

On Saturday I was thrilled to announce Bettie L. from New York, NY as the Grand Prize winner of the Unnaturally Green writing contest. (Read her winning entry here if you haven't already!) Also due for major congratulations are our incredible runners-up Lesley R. from Brooklyn, NY and Tyler H. from Ogden, Utah -- from whose entries I've pasted below.

Worthy of incessant and unyielding back-pattage are the remaining contest participants -- fifty-odd strong! -- whose inspiring, heartfelt and hilarious accounts of the times when they were "green" (overcoming obstacles to learn something new about themselves) were too darn good not to feature on this blog.

Our writers are of all ages and come from many walks of life; their experiences are as diverse as they are moving, and I hope you enjoy the select excerpts they've given me permission to share.

(If you participated in the contest, be sure to respond to an upcoming email that lets you choose which souvenir Green Baby Bookmark you'd like -- a prize distributed to all writing contest entrants, just for participating.)

Hope you have fun reading what everybody had to say. For once, I can shut my mouth and take in all of your great ideas and experiences. Happy reading!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Writing Contest: Winners and Runners-Up Announced!

Thank you to all who participated in the Unnaturally Green Writing Contest! Everybody who submitted* gets to take home a super snazzy green-baby bookmark (stacked at left -- your choice of design -- more details soon!), while our two runner-ups get signed and personalized copies of Unnaturally Green, and the Grand Prize winner gets a signed, personalized copy, $25 to, and their entry posted here!

Congratulations to Bettie L. in New York, NY -- Grand Prize winner of the Unnaturally Green Writing Contest! 

We loved her sassy prose, unique perspective, and fun-loving take on an "unnaturally green" experience.

And major kudos to our two runners-up, Lesley R. from Brooklyn, NY and Tyler H. from Ogden, Utah, who, respectively, wrote about their unnatural turns playing ice hockey and dressing up as a scary clown for a Halloween parade.

Check out Bettie's awesome entry below (or click on "Read More")-- and stay tuned for more, posted right here on this blog! -- including: writing by our runner-ups, and excerpts from the remaining 50 entrants (all of which were so fantastic!).

(*Note: If you entered the contest, please check your email; there will be one from "UNNATURALLY GREEN" with the section we'd like to excerpt. Please let us know if it's okay by Sunday evening, 10/16!)

Announcing, two new projects! (Coming this winter!)

Today is Unnaturally Green's official release day! (Can I get a wut, wut.) Our little memoir-that-could has been building steam over the past week -- but today it breaches forth like a green-baby-whale -- arcing over the water's surface against a golden sun of destiny. You heard me.

In that same week, we've gotten some great publicity, including blurbs on,, and awesome reviews on Amazon.comFlying High: A Wicked Fan Site and F*ckYeahWicked.

But what would release day be without further expression of my ADHD-like tendencies? Answer: boring.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Slinging it to #1 on Amazon Kindle!

Since Amazon's Kindle Store ranks books based on genre, today I learned that Unnaturally Green has reached #1 in the Broadway and Musicals category! (...and #25 in the general Theater category!)

Thank you to all who have left reviews on Amazon and helped spread the word so far! The book's overall ranking hovers around 14,500 (out of nearly a million books on Kindle) -- but since I'm a dreamer, I think we can keep climbing, no? 

Also: did I mention I'm *so* excited for tomorrow's online release party? So much fun stuff to share! Be sure to join me on Twitter for all the announcements as they happen. Have a happy Thursday!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Countdown to release day!

THREE! Yes, three more days until Unnaturally Green's official release day (October 14)! As we all know, the book is already being distributed several days early -- but this Friday is nevertheless a special and important date! Why? Because I'll be announcing a bunch o' fun info, including:

1) The winner(s) of the Unnaturally Green writing contest! A day or two after which I will post the winning entry(ies), as well as excerpts from every single submission (pending each writers' permission). I'm so excited to share these stories with you guys, and hope you'll read and comment on them.

2) Exciting news about not one, but TWO upcoming projects! Aw yeah, you heard me.

3) Behind-the-scenes video footage of my days as a standby! It's quite zany, and features the ever-charming Libby Servais, lifelong friend and character in my book.

What's more, I'll be posting and tweeting and having a veritable electronic rave all day, which I invite you to attend! If you're on my mailing list, you'll get a fresh new email in the afternoon, but be sure also to check my Twitter feed as the super fun happy-time announcements unfold!

All in all, it's going to be one, long unnatural celebration!

In the meantime, you can sneak peek it by downloading my book on Kindle, Nook, or the iBookstore. (Oh! And if you're the speediest reader ever and have finished the book, be sure to drop it a review on Amazon or Barnes and Noble!)

Much love, unnatural and otherwise!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's here (a premature birth, but healthy and kicking!)

Friends! EXCITING NEWS!!! Because October 14 is more a feeling than an actual date, Unnaturally Green has apparently become available for purchase WORLDWIDE!

Click here to get your copy and have it shipped in a matter of days!

You can also read it on your Kindle, Apple device (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch), Nook (coming soon), or Sony Reader! (Longer preview excerpt is now available on e-readers.)

These are exciting times! Exciting times indeed!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

How to self-publish (and seem like you're not)

[as featured on The Huffington Post]

Writing is a lot like lying. You weave stories that aren’t true and ask people to believe them. So I thought it apropos to market my self-published book around one giant fallacy: that it wasn’t self-published.

Let me absolve explain myself.

It all started with a question: Could a self-published author (I wondered) have the best of both worlds? The freedom to evolve a book “brand,” interact with readers directly, and control every aspect of the creative process—while still endowing that brand with a sense that it was a huge, group effort, with lots of (monetary) support from its editors, PR-people, and other mysterious higher-ups who make the literary world go round?

Given my book’s topic, straddling both worlds made sense. On the one hand, Unnaturally Green is intensely personal. It’s about my time understudying the lead role in Wicked as my first-ever professional theater gig, while trying to overcome various coming-of-age challenges (love, career, family). I explore this idea of “greenness”—of being unseasoned, incredulous, and generally floundering all over the place. Which very closely describes my inaugural self-publishing experience.

On the other hand, the book has that stamp of my being part of a huge global phenomenon. To me, Unnaturally Green needed to seem of the same world—not endorsed by Wicked, but just as worthy of attention.

Despite my budget ($0) and lack of manpower (just me), the challenge was to create an engaging, immersive experience for potential readers—that was still lovingly homemade.

Quixotic? Yes. Impossible? Nah.

Here is what I did:

1) I set a release date.

Any savvy marketer knows the importance of having everybody mark their calendars. It builds anticipation and gets readers excited.

When self-publishing, however, this kind of temporal exactitude is tricky. If you’re converting your manuscript to an e-book, or printing it through a service like Create Space (I did both), the vagaries of just how long that process will take make it difficult to stipulate a date on which you can say, “It’s ready.” So what did I do?

I guessed. Way early in the game.

For this reason, my timeline became much more frenetic accelerated than a conventional publishing house’s. While a typical book deal might go something like: sell the book to a publisher, take a year to work with your editor, release the book; mine looked like: write half the book, declare the release date, have four months to finish and edit. That’s right: on July 19, 2011, I announced that I would publish my book on October 14, 2011. All I had to do was write it.

I completed final edits five weeks prior to go-time, then raced to the finish line like a madwoman—approving proof copies and submitting corrections to my distributors until the last possible moment.

It remains to be seen how well I’ll be able to honor this release date. The book won’t be appearing on bookstore shelves, so October 14 is more symbolic than anything else. Those who pre-order by a certain date (see #2) will receive their copies by the 14th—shipping and handling permitting. Some may get them earlier, some a day or two late. I’ll try to enable my various sales channels (online retailers, e-books through Kindle, Apple, etc.) so that, with their availability lag times of days or weeks, I’ll time it out as best I can.

All in all, my release date is really “(on or around) October 14.” It’s an estimate—but it’s the best I can do, given the constraints.

2) I offered pre-ordering.

I elected Create Space as my print-on-demand service, which means they’ll print and deliver physical copies of Unnaturally Green every time somebody orders one online. However, I was bummed to find that it couldn’t accommodate one very important aspect of the sales timeline: pre-ordering.

But, no matter! I decided to oversee the process myself—offering signed copies to anyone who ordered theirs before October 4.

To do this, I gauged initial interest through my mailing list (see #4), estimated how many copies to buy in bulk, and had them shipped to my house. I set up a checkout process through PayPal, and took care of shipping and handling myself.

Admittedly, this was a bit of a headache, and, due to high shipping costs, I could only allow pre-ordering in the U.S. But, on the plus side, I was able to recoup all of my up-front publishing costs in one week, while guaranteeing proactive readers that they’d get their copies as soon as possible.

3) I formed my own industry (and spoke in the plural first person).

Without a support system, I built my own. Several of my closest friends happened to be accomplished writers with editing experience. Two of them assisted me in three rounds of editing, while a third friend performed meticulous copyedits. (It ended up costing me a couple of hundred bucks—but was worth it.)

Meanwhile, with my small but dedicated team assembled, I took the liberty to start using “we” instead of “I” when corresponding with potential readers. Example (email exchange):

Potential Reader: “Do you know if the book will be available in Australia?”

Me: “Hey there! Not entirely sure, but we’re working hard to enable all possible international sales channels!”

No need to shatter my Australian friend’s expectations and reveal that it was just me in sweatpants at my computer, typing away at 3 AM, frantically scouring for their international shipping policy.

As the weeks pressed on, I (we) took this and ran with it, (“We’re working hard to…” “We’re excited to announce…” “We hope you like this latest excerpt…”), and nobody was any the wiser.

4) I generated buzz.

As soon as I announced Unnaturally Green online, I created a series of interconnected online resources, interfaces, and opportunities for fans to get involved. 

These included, (1) a mailing list, (2) a book website, (3) an author blog, (4) an integrated Facebook fan page, (5) an Unnaturally Green writing contest (“Share your story of a time you felt green; winner(s) get signed copies!”), (6) a book cover poll (“Vote for your favorite cover design!”), (7) an active Twitter account, (8) controlled release of various excerpts, in which fans had to recommend my book to a friend in order to read them, (9) related YouTube videos, including singing tips on how to belt Wicked songs.

5) I filmed a book trailer.

Apparently, books these days have trailers, even though most of the time said trailers make no sense. Luckily, my brother is a cinematographer. Together we came up with this (totally random, quasi-professional-looking) book trailer:

At the end of the day, I would recommend my self-publish-and-seem-not-self-published approach to any author who has lots of creative interests, likes to have control over his or her brand, and feels masochistic excitement at the thought of being completely overwhelmed all the time.

Sally forth!


Friday, September 30, 2011

How To Belt Really High (the F in "Defying Gravity")

**UPDATE FROM THE FUTURE! 11-3-13** I have just released a comprehensive online belting course called Belt Your Face Off! With 26 videos and nearly 4 hours of content, this course teaches you everything you need to know about belt singing. Click here for more info (and a special 20% discount!).

Below are two video excerpts from the course. The first is the short promo vid designed for the general public, and the second is the introduction to the actual course itself, where I tell you a bit more about what's in store. Please watch them if you're curious! Or don't watch them! You can literally do whatever you want!

Are you interested? Click here to enroll!

Now, on to "Defying Gravity!" Many of you posted totally rad comments on my Elphaba Belting Tips video -- one of which was a question: Any advice on belting the high F in "Defying Gravity?"

Behold! I answered in a video!

How singers stay healthy (or, attack of the neti pot)

In my book Unnaturally Green, I describe my daily vocal health regimen. In the video below you'll see a sample of some of the specifics. Most notably, I shove a neti pot up my nose and demonstrate how it works (video journalism at its finest). Hope it's helpful!

Friday, September 23, 2011


Dudes. Normally, I despise working out.

See, no matter what I do, my body stays the same. It's a good enough body. Healthy, muscular, a little hefty in the belly region. I've done the exercise DVD thing. Pilates. Aerobics classes. During each of my fitness "kicks" I definitely do start to feel better (i.e. I cease to be winded when climbing 1-2 flights of stairs).

But I always ask myself, where are the visible results?

Thanks to the guidance of fitness guru Marshall Roy (who, ahem, happens to be my boyfriend) (and who, ahem, also happens to be a main character in my book) (and who, ahem, happens to have cheese-grater abs), I have recently started lifting HEAVY WEIGHTS.

Like, 141 pounds heavy weights. And getting heavier.

My new philosophy: time to quit joking around.

For whatever reason, I was born strong. I have healthy bones and an athletic build. Frankly, I'm done with measly little dumbbells that weigh less than the cumulative amount of food I eat in one day. I needed to take the body I was given and challenge that body.

I was born strong. It's not a curse, it's a blessing. But one that also means I need to work harder.

From my recent heavy-lifting exploits, I've realized that the threshold of what I believed to be actual effort needs to be raised much higher. In my defense, I'd never been challenged in the way heavy weights (or body-weight moves, like pull-ups or push-ups) seem to challenge me now. In everybody's defense, how are you to know what you're capable of, unless you try?

And with little over two weeks under my belt, not only am I starting to feel stronger, I'm starting to look stronger as well.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book trailers are high art

Inspired by perplexingly random (but earnest) book trailers the world over (like this, or this), I decided to make a trailer of my own for Unnaturally Green. It is bold. It is daring. It is EXTREMELY SERIOUS.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

My book is for sale! (with a few disclaimers)

Hey, friends! If you live in the U.S. you can now pre-order your (signed!) copy of Unnaturally Green. Click here or think really hard about the book and maybe it will materialize in front of you.

And apologies to my international friends for not being able to pre-order yet! The book will be available through's global shipping very soon.

Are you confused? Here's a quick Q&A about the book's distribution:

Q: Why is Unnaturally Green not yet available to all corners of the globe? The short answer: because it'll cost tons of money to ship worldwide right now. Shipping worldwide will eventually be available (just not right now) (for reasons too boring and complicated to explain).

Q: When will it be available to everybody to order online? Probably 7 or so days before October 14, pending's listing of the book.

Q: Why the lag time? Because I'm sort of making up this book distribution thing as I go. There are several sales channels that my publishing site is going to open up to me, but it takes time.

Q: Is the book going to be available in bookstores on October 14? Nope. (Sorry.) It's much harder to get it distributed to stores, especially by a release date. But the good news is that if you're able to ask me about it online you're able to order the book! Via various links and online stores that I'll post up the wazoo on all Unnaturally Green's various sites.

Q: Will it be available as an e-book? If so, on which devices? Unnaturally Green will be downloadable to your Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.

Q: You say order by October 4 to get your copy by October 14. So will some people receive their copies before October 14? Probably. It's an inexact science. I'm going to try to honor the release date but I also don't want you to miss it, so I'll probably be an early bird and send out the copies as soon as I can. Think of it as a sneak peek!

Post other questions in the comment section below and I'll do my best to amend the post and answer them.

Much love!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Do not operate heavy machinery after writing a book

Ask yourself: Why bother getting shwashted on cosmopolitans when you can simply pull a week's worth of consecutive all-nighters, staring blankly at a computer screen and looking up words like "overhang" and "woolly" because your vocabulary has dwindled to Dr. Seuss proportions and you can't recall the meaning of anything. That's right: finishing a book = feeling drunk all the time, not that I'd know what that's like, and damn right, I'm NOT going to use punctuation or proper sentence structure because PUNCTUATION IS THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE!

I will, however, strategically use line breaks where appropriate and/or inappropriate.



Friday, August 19, 2011

Cover teaser! (Vote for your favorite)

Hi friends! I'm days away from finalizing Unnaturally Green's cover design -- and I want your input! Sign up for my mailing list by Tuesday, August 23 for a chance to vote for your favorite. (And tell your friends!)

Below you'll find a tiny sliver of the cover...just a teaser to get things going. Oooooooh, the mystery...!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

To an anonymous bully

So, you're a bully. My condolences.

I'm guessing you have a good reason, though. Most likely a gaping hole in your heart. Some people paint pictures, some start families, some volunteer at hospitals. Some try to bring others down.

Maybe, like the Grinch, your heart is two sizes too small.

Maybe something else is two sizes too small.

Whatever the case, Mr. Bully, I'm onto you. You're a theater man, it seems, having constructed the sets, costumes, and storyline of your power. You surround yourself with eager spectators, the quiet supplicants, who suspend all disbelief. "This," they say, "is a Man with Power. This is an Important Man. This is a Man Who Can Squash Me with His Thumb."

But, you're just a man, Mr. Bully. With a lowercase m.

On the other side of the proscenium, after the curtain falls, you're of below average height and have normal-sized thumbs. I suppose you have money, to keep these theatrics going. But I've seen you perform, and I find it tiring. I'd like to meet you instead in the stark light of day, where vague threats have no power. Where the overhang of your wrath and doom has no currency. Where you see me for me, and I see you for you.

Are you scared? I'll bet you are. After all, behind every bully is a coward.

What are you afraid of, I wonder? That I'll someday have power over you? In case you haven't heard, power is nothing. It's nowhere, except in the imagination of the people you try to control.

You can't control me. So? Poof! Power is gone.

What now?

I, myself, recommend strength. Strength you can't fake. Strength you can't use to manipulate others. Strength is here. Strength is enduring.

Strength stands up against bullies.


Writing Contest (win a signed copy of my book!)

As I sporadically offer writing advice and pointless ramblings, I have long suspected there are burgeoning writer-artist-actor types among my blog audience and readership.

So I think it's high time I heard from YOU!

Yes, I'm asking you for your own "unnaturally green" stories, describing a time when you had to go outside yourself and do something you'd never done before.

Based on the feedback, comments, and encouragements I've gotten from you all, together you make up a diversely funny and creative bunch. I WANNA READ YOUR STORIES AND I WANNA READ THEM NOW!

Check out the official writing contest page HERE! Deadline to submit is October 13 at 11:59 P.M.

Are there prizes? YOU BETCHA. Winning stories will be posted on this blog as well my book's website, and winners will receive signed and personalized copies of Unnaturally Green, as well as other goodies. (Rules and prize info HERE!)

So get on it, friends! Let's all revel in our unnatural greenness.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Book cover shoot (sneak peek)

We're less than two weeks away from releasing Unnaturally Green's official cover design! Can't give too much away yet, but here are some behind-the-scenes shots from today's cover shoot. In one of them I have a green unibrow. Enjoy!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

How to Write a Book (Part 1)

Friends! October 14 is fast approaching (what's happening October 14?), and as such I am becoming even more reclusive than I once was. I have not seen the sun in days. My skin is the color of computer paper. I know this because I have a piece of computer paper right here, on which I've printed Draft Number 3, and sometimes I confuse it with my left arm.

In times of such misery comes genuine reflection and, of course, the urge to share my own suffering with the rest of you. So, in the spirit of last month's how-to video on Elphaba belting, I submit to you:

Felicia's Totally Made-Up, Learn-As-You-Go, Put-the-Cart-Before-the-Horse Guide to Writing a Book (Which She Herself Is Trying to Follow as She Finishes Editing Unnaturally Green)

1. Decide You Want to Write a Book

This sounds easy enough -- as easy as deciding whether you want to perform electrolysis on your scalp or willingly enter into a jail sentence. A moment's decision will turn into lasting regret. But this is a good thing: if you're the type to stick to a project once it's begun, bully for you! That's an incredible quality, since most people who start writing books never quiiiite finish. (Just as many people who start reading books never quiiiite finish.) So: think long and hard and ask yourself, do you really want to write a book? (Translation: Do you really want to start a project that will take months, or even years, and which will monopolize your thoughts, dreams, and conversations from now until you type your final draft's THE END?)

If yes, please proceed to Step 2!

2. Buy Wardrobe That Makes You Feel Like a Writer

This may seem like a superfluous step, but it is really the most crucial; the only way to become a writer is to look like one.  I suggest you watch any episode of Sex and the City and steal ideas from its protagonist Carrie Bradshaw, who writes one newspaper column a week and yet is able to pay rent on her massive upper east side studio apartment. Anyway: she always wears crazy clothes when she writes. Choose an outfit that works for you and only wear that outfit. Well, that probably will become a biohazard. I guess wear that outfit whenever you need to remind yourself of your writerly identity -- and wash it in between.

My Writer's Wardrobe was inspired by several of Carrie's outfits. I call it, the "off-the-shoulder Carrie Bradshaw sweater," and I've modeled it below, propping my hands up to make it seem that I am typing, even though my hands are floating in the air:

Have you found your Writer's Wardrobe? If yes, proceed to Step 3!

3. Decide What Kind of Book It's Going to Be

Will you be writing fiction? Nonfiction? A children's book in which the illustrations are fingerpaintings by your dog? It's up to you! Ask yourself, what story am I telling, and what's the best way to tell it? At this phase I also encourage you to:

3.5 Read a Ton of Books

This will both help inspire you and clarify what kinds of structures are successful in long storytelling. What are your favorites? What are your least favorites? When I decided to write Unnaturally Green I began devouring other memoirs to get a feel for different authors' pacing, chronology, framing devices, etc. What I discovered was both helpful and daunting: most memoirs are, on the whole, really wild! It is a genre of lawless freeform, whose authors are allowed to do whatever they want. (So...based on my style of blogging you can probably discern why I, Felicia Ricci, decided to go that route...)

Have you decided what genre you're going for? Proceed to Step 4!

4. Write, Damnit!

Yep! This is the most fun (read: excruciating) part. Now you actually have to start writing.

Hmm...where to begin?

(Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post, coming soon!)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

RIP Amy Winehouse

Belated post to bid farewell to Amy Winehouse, who passed away yesterday at the untimely age of 27. It was she who uttered the words that first inspired this blog's title:

"I'm not a one-trick pony. I'm at least a five-trick pony."

From one five-trick pony to the other: goodbye, Ms. Winehouse! Your music kicks ass, and you will be sorely missed.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How to Sing Defying Gravity

**UPDATE FROM THE FUTURE! 11-3-13** I have just released a comprehensive online belting course called Belt Your Face Off! With 24 videos and nearly 4 hours of content, this course teaches you everything you need to know about belt-singing. And if you link through this blog you get $20 off!

I first saw WICKED on Broadway as a 19 year-old, in which the goddess known as Shoshana Bean played Elphaba, its green-skinned protagonist. Aside from being struck by how awesome the musical was in general, mostly I couldn't understand how Shoshana sang all those freaking high songs. Cuz, like, those songs be high and hard, like. Many years later, after playing the role myself, sometimes under less than ideal circumstances, I have a few tricks up my own sleeve.

Wanna see??? (Click below for "Defying Gravity" and "The Wizard and I" singing tips!)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

News and TWO Weird Videos!


Tonight I will be releasing BIG NEWS and TWO WEIRD VIDEOS about my memoir Unnaturally Green, sent exclusively to my mailing list subscribers.

If you want to join in on the fun, be sure to sign up now...


Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer in New York City

Ask yourself.

Is it a regular occurrence that your armpit sweat actually drips onto other people's shoes?

Have you ever wiped your brow with office supply paper?

Do people ever mistake you for having taken a swim, when really you've walked three blocks down a city street?

If any of these apply, then you, like me, are spending your Summer in New York City.

This year marks my third Summer in the city that never sleeps or breaks in humidity. I missed out last June through August since Summer in San Francisco is grey, rainy, cold, and unsupportive of rompers or other lingerie-inspired attire.

I was sad to miss out last year, because I do like Summer here. It is a great equalizer, as it makes everyone miserable and forces you to embrace that misery. It also forces you to redo your wardrobe entirely. And by "redo your wardrobe" I mean "stop wearing clothes altogether," venturing out into public in the following fabrics only:

1. Mesh

As for spending time indoors?

Every Summer, I go through the same thing -- an internal war between taking action and being lazy, which I mistake for my showing strength and perseverance. I'm talking, of course, about waiting until the last possible moment to install my air conditioner. In my early days of subletting in Brooklyn, then living with a Craigslist roommate in Queens, I showed real strength of character, and could get through to August before buckling. Every morning I'd wake in my normal bed turned sweat water bed and think, "You really are something, Fel." This achievement somehow made up for my failure of a love life, professional uncertainties, and fact that I ate most meals from a can.

This year, the dilemma remains, but the circumstances have changed. I am living with my perfect boyfriend, I am happy with where my career is headed, my diet consists only of some canned foods, and -- as far as air conditioning goes -- I'm halfway there. We already have one in the bedroom, old and rickety and asbestos-laden as it is. But our apartment is a long railroad, so the sun-drenched kitchen and living room remain torture chamber versions of saunas where hope and hydration go to die.

But my boyfriend and I have just recently talked, and we've decided it's high time to take the next step.

That's right: we're getting a second air conditioner.


Until then, I'll be the one wearing mesh and sweating on your espadrilles.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011


In what will be remembered historically as one of the most drawn-out lead-ins of all time, I am happy to say that today, July 6, 2011, I am GOING TO FINISH MY BOOK, Y'ALL!

Well. A draft, anyway.

I submit for evidence the pile of legal pads (above) that have been strewn about my couch for the past several weeks. Midway through writing I switched to exclusively using a pen and paper and have lately been transcribing 3,000+ words a day onto my computer. My hands by this point are basically fists with nubbins. I haven't slept. I haven't left my apartment except to empty my bedpan. Only kidding. I make someone else empty my bedpan.

So let it be here writ! I'll be done with my final draft before the stroke of midnight tonight! I don't know about you, but for me, this is great great news!

The not-as-good news? Finishing my draft means it will be time to EDIT. But, don't worry, I'm going to edit like a MOFO. I've enlisted the help of two editor friends who are going to whip this 70,000-word gobbledy-gook-fest into shape so we can get it PUBLISHED, y'all.

Then, while I keep you abreast of the publishing process, I'll (finally!) send out my book's trailer, other related goodies and start accepting writing contest submissions! (<-- More formal announcement about this, via my mailing list and blog, coming soon!)

In the meantime, tell your friends! If you're as excited about UNNATURALLY GREEN as I am, you can help me get the word out.

Thanks for listening, and I'll continue to keep you posted.

Love and legal pads and bedpans,

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's true: I don't know how to write a book.

A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.  --Richard Bach
Here is a reenactment of that time nine months ago when I decided to write a book:

Me (interior monologue): Hey, I think I want to write a book.

Me (also interior monologue): Oh, cool. Do you know how to write a book?

Me (still interior monologue): Not really. But I know how to write...stuff.

Me (la la la): Great. So. Write a book then.

Me (out loud): Okay.

Person Standing Next to Me in the Elevator: What?

Me: Nothing.

Why do I share this highly fictionalized anecdote with you? Well, the crux of the truth is there, which is that: I hear voices in my head. Only kidding. Which is to say: when I first decided to pen my debut memoir, Unnaturally Green, I had absolutely no idea how to do it. But still. I knew I wanted to do it. So I just...went for it.

Indeed, putting the cart before the horse is my fave thing to do. Because, when it comes to writing, there really is no other way. You have to believe you can do something, even though you have no idea how to actually do it.

Like many other artistic endeavors, long-form writing is very mysterious. How does it work, you might wonder. What is the actual process supposed to be like? How do you know if you're doing it "right?"

The most disconcerting part of asking these questions, my young aspiring writer-readers, is that you won't know the answers until you get out there and just do it. I mean, Nike knew what was up. Because there really are no rules. No instruction manual. Just my thoughts and the blank page. Just do it.

For me, I've enjoyed giving you all an insider glimpse into the process. I've enjoyed using my blogs and mailing list to create a forum through which I can share what I'm working on, get feedback, and keep readers engaged. It's been said that every writer should have his or her audience in mind. Hearing from you, testing the waters, putting my writing (strengths and weaknesses) on display -- this has helped reinforce just how important my audience is. Not only will you be the ones reading the finished product, but you're the ones motivating me along the way!

So, thank you for your involvement and interest! I promise I'll do my best :)

In summary, here is a picture of me* right now.

*This is not actually me, as is evidenced by the long brown hair and questionable scrunchie. But still, the spirit is there.

Well. Time to go write.

It's really freaking hard.

But not impossible. No, definitely not.