Category Archives: my articles

Two Pubs: Wilkes Magazine & interviewed in Keystone Edge

Posted these two on my writing blog as separate posts, but figured I’d post them here as well:

I am super excited to share this publishing credit! I contributed an article to the Summer 2010 Wilkes magazine on the various ways social media is being used across the Wilkes University campus. From PR students using these newer mediums for their real-world clients to nature podcasts, students, professors and staff are going social. Read the store online here by downloading a PDF.

Wilkes Magazine Summer 2010 Going Social Donna Talarico

A few weeks ago at work I received a call from freelance writer Sara Hodon. She was working on a piece on technology companies for Keystone Edge, an online publication dedicated to the new economy of Pennsylvania. Sara’s piece was about Internet marketing. Her article is very comprehensive and includes quotes from me, as well as some other PA-based tech firms. Additionally, photographer Aimee Dilger took some fantastic photos around Solid Cactus.

This article, “Search No More: PA Companies Lead Online Marketing Revolution” is a true testament to the work we do at Solid Cactus as well as to the success of online marketing.

Solid Cactus Donna Talarico Keystone Edge Article

Screen shot of the Keystone Edge site, where we were the "cover" story.


Tom Petty Appreciation Band Rocks NEPA at River Street Jazz Cafe- November 6, 2009

Tom Petty Appreciation Band photo

Photo from Weekender, Nov. 4, 2009

Most of this blog post originally appeared on my writing blog,, but figured I would post it here, with some follow up about the show below:

From my writing blog which features blurbs about my articles: The November 4, 2009 edition of the The Weekender featured two articles my me. I’ve been a fan, thanks to @SheliTwits, of the Tom Petty Appreciation Band for some time. A life-long Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers fan, I was secretly waiting for a tribute band to pop up locally (I actually have a name for one that I’ve never been able to use because my only musical talent is listening, so instead I turned it into a collection of short stories I want to write), so when I saw a Twitter update in March that Sheli was going to see a Tom Petty Appreciation Band in Scranton, I was like, “What? Where?” I didn’t get to see them that day, but have seen most of their shows since.

When I heard that Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers was coming out with a massive collection of live music called the Live Anthology, I thought it’d be perfect timing to cover the local and national angle. I pitched the idea to my editor at The Weekender, and we found out the next Tom Petty Appreciation Band show was going to be at the River Street Jazz Cafe in Plains (basically Wilkes-Barre) on November 6, so he scheduled both my stories for the Wednesday before.

Pat Finnerty, lead singer of the band, was very fun to talk to. I think the story turned out well. It seemed to help draw a huge crowd to the Jazz Cafe also.

Check out the article here: NEPA’s Southern Accents… (But of course, I love how the page looks in print.)

Also, there’s the article on the Tom Petty collection which is available in stores really soon.

Donna Talarico with Pat Finnerty

Me with Pat Finnerty, lead vocalist for Tom Petty Appreciation band and also bassist for And the Moneynotes.

So– the actual show: These guys rocks. Seriously.  The River Street Jazz Cafe was packed with a huge crowd for the Tom Petty Appreciation Band. Definitely the biggest crowd I have seen there in a while, and in fact a friend of mine who works the door there, said the same thing. After people were warmed up with some drinks, the dance floor was packed. I had a great time with some pals from the Weekender and some other friends from Wilkes and the area that showed up. It was one of those feel good nights that I made some of those mushy tweets and Facebook updates — I was definitely in a happy place. I guess everyone has those songs and artists that put them in that place, and for me, there’s just something about Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. The music is magnetic for me.

So, like I said above, I have had a name idea for a Tom Petty tribute band since college (not telling yet), and since I have no musical talent (except listening), I have been toying with the idea of a novella with the same title. But I have been nothing but thrilled since I heard there was a local Tom Petty appreciation band. My other fave local band, 40 lb. Head does a bunch of Tom Petty, too – and very awesome at that. So, there’s definitely a lot of Tom Petty love in NEPA, for sure. But overall, the show I am writing about, it was just a kick-ass night and one of the best nights out I’ve had in a while. Yeah- think it turned into a 7:00 a.m. night after it was all said and done.

It was also kind of cool to get my first shout-out from a band I’ve wrote about and get a little applause from the crowd, so thanks Pat, for that and for coming over to me before the show to let me know what you and the guys thought of my article. I’ve been writing for the Weekender for, gosh I am am old, about ten years but mostly feature stories and such, so it was cool to do a preview of a local show that I was able to attend.

To find out where the Tom Petty Appreciation Band will be next, become their fan on Facebook here.

Some more pics of the the good people in NEPA that came out for the show for this awesome night:

Nikki Mascali and Me

Me and my favorite Tom Petty Appreciation Band fan and friend, Nikki

Donna Talarico with James McCabe

Me with James, one of my fave Wilkes creative writing pals.


My friend James' friend, Aaron, Me, & Mike after the show.

Talented People I Know: Matt Hinton & Jim Warner – A Poet and a Playwright

“Talented People I Know” is a new recurring feature on my blog, Daily Dose o Donna. I am lucky enough to have been acquainted with lots of creative, artistic, and talented folks in Northeast PA (or, grown in NEPA that are now elsewhere). I wanted to use my blog as a way in introduce others to the talents and accomplishments of these incredible boys and girls. Some blog posts may be about someone’s talent in general, while others may be to preview an event or release of a work of art. Either way, this is my way to help get the word out that good things, creative things, are happening right around us or,  that good things started here. This is the first feature, but these will all be tagged ‘Talented People I Know’ so you can search on the Tag Cloud to the right to find more.

Jim Warner Vinyl Night

Jim Warner could get lost in his music collection, for real. Photo courtesy of Times Leader/Photo by Clark Van Orden

The first installment of Talented People I Know features a pair of best buds: Jim Warner & Matthew Hinton. Since I usually always see them as a pair, I thought it was appropriate to write about them together. Another reason I chose to feature them in the same post is because they were both featured, back to back, in the Times Leader this week. It was pure coincidence, but was pretty cool. Each of their articles also feature pictures of their vinyl collections. Just thought that was uber cool and kind of poetic that they appeared in the local paper in two consecutive days.

Jim Warner. Jim and I go way back, to 1996 I believe. We went to Wilkes undergrad together, although he was a few years ahead. He’s now the assistant director of the creative writing MA/MFA program, where I am a student. He’s also the business manager for Etruscan Press. Finally, Jim Warner is a brilliant poet and entertainer. You can witness that for yourself at any open mic night he’s reading at- or has organized or hosted. His collection of poetry, Too Bad Its Poetry, is available from Paper Kite Press. His second book will be out this spring. Esteemed poet Toi Derricotte had this to say about Jim’s book: “The amazing poem “east/west” is a must read. Warner successfully weaves–or more aptly fuses–references to music, spirituality, psychology, pop culture and literature as he explores themes of exile and identity. In these electric poems we journey with him as he both searches for and invents a new home–this one made of language.”

Jim will host the poetry slam at the AWP conference in Denver. Going back to the Times Leader article. Jim was featured in The Guide, the TL’s pull-out entertainment section, in an article promoting a new Vinyl Night event at Paper Kite Studio in Edwardsville. The first one is Tuesday, August 11 at 7pm. You can read the article, “Vinyl Night Leaves Music Junkies Spinning” by Mike McGinely, here. Please note the Times Leader archives its news stories online after seven days, so this link may take you to an abstract. This little blurb on my blog is of course just a small tribute to all the Jim does.

Graphic from Times Leader Article, courtesy of Times Leader. Photos in story by Don Carey & Pete G. Wilcox.

Graphic from Times Leader Article, courtesy of Times Leader. Photos in story by Don Carey & Pete G. Wilcox.

Matt Hinton. Matt and I are in the MFA program at Wilkes together and the  moment I saw that my friend made these unique lighting fixtures from old musical instruments, I knew there was a story in it. The world just had to know about his amazing work!

I pitched the story to the Times Leader for their At Home section, which runs each Saturday. The story ran today and it’s beautiful! There’s nothing like seeing the layout and photos in the paper. Good stuff. What I think was also cool, and that I am very proud of, is that this feature story got the teaser in the front page of the paper! The upper right, above the masthead, has a great graphic that gives a peek at the story and a great closeup shot of the saxophone lamp.

We talked about how his hobby started, the types of lamps he has made already, and what he’d like to make in the future. We talked a little about his teaching, his theater background and his play, The Quiet Cowboy — and his other domestic, artistic creations like a pot rack made from a shopping cart. That’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

Matt, of course, was a great interview because he’s fun, interesting and entertaining. This was a fun story to write and I just love how the Times Leader laid out the story. I read it online first thing this morning, but it looks so nice in print. If anyone has any old brass or woodwind instruments they’d like to part with, Matt can turn them into something really cool… The Times Leader unfortunately archives their stories after seven days, but here is the link anyway. I will see if I can get permission to reprint the article on my blog as well.

So, that’s the first installment of “Talented People I Know.” I am lucky to know Matt and Jim, and to call them friends. If you love poetry and plays, these are two guys you need to put on your radar. If you don’t think you enjoy poetry or plays, this duo will change your mind.

NEPA TweetUp v2.0 a Success! The Faces Behind the Tweets

p3270542I have been a member of Twitter for about a year, but have only really been active the past few months.  Twitter is soaring in popularity.  I wrote the cover story a few weeks ago for the Weekender– about Twitter.  A lot of my clients use it to promote their business.  Everyone has there own reasons for using the tool, some professional and some personal.

How do I use Twitter?  I am a hybrid between random thoughts, RT (that’s retweeting) great stories and/or tweets I’ve found, promoting my writing or something my company has going on, joking with friends, updating people on my whereabouts, or just engaging in conversation with other Tweeters.  I’ve gotten lots of help with stuff MAC-related, and suggestions on where to go for dinner.  There is a whole world out there to ask about things– and it’s amazing the quick responses I’ve personally received when I was in a pickle.  It’s just an incredible tool, and if you aren’t using it, you are missing out.


Last night, I went to the NEPA Tweetup v2.0- which to the non-techie, that basically means Round 2.  The Tweetup was held at one of Scranton’s coolest bars, the Banshee.  I arrived at about 6:00- jetted right from work.  The entire way there, from Wilkes-Barre to Scranton, I was thinking it was like one big blind date.  I do not know very many people in person that I Twitter with.  So, I was about to meet a ton of new people and was pretty excited.

When I was working on the Weekender story, one guy I interviewed (e_man) said Facebook was a way to stay in touch with people you know, whereas Twitter is new territory-  a way to engage in conversation with people you have things in common with.  I liked how he explained that, and it’s indeed true.  The people I am friends with  on Facebook are co-workers, friends, a ton of people I knew in college and high school- but for the most part, people I personally know.

p3270544However- when you follow someone on Twitter, it’s because there was some attraction- whether it’s a similar hobby, job or you just read a really thought-provoking tweet, you decide to follow them.  So, knowing that I already had things in common with many NEPA Tweeters, I was stoked to put faces with the names.  And it’s strange, but I’ve only been talking to some of these people for a few months, and in some cases, days but when I met them last night, it felt like I already knew them.  We had a lot in common- in fact, it was kind of like an iPhone fest.  Talking about Macs and iPhones is kind of an instant bond. There were a lot of Tweeters that could not make it, so I hope next time for an even bigger turnout, but from what I hear, v2.0 was already double in size from the the inaugural #NEPATweetup.

p3270549Who tweets in NEPA? Well, from the Tweetup, there were writers, librarians, techies, designers, sales people, students, artists, and more.  So, so many interesting people that without Twitter, I may never have met.  I was pretty much in awe at the instant camraderie between virtual strangers.  Some people already knew each other, but for me, it was all brand new. My one co-worker stopped by at the beginning, so for the rest of the night, I was Twitter-Mingling.  Many people I was not following yet, so I have new people to look out for now on Twitter.

It was a roaring success, I’d say.  Thanks to @shelitwits for planning it.  Thanks to @UNOlker for capturing some of it on video (check it out here) and thanks to the NEPA Twittersphere for being so cool.  Can’t wait for v3.0.

Weekender Cover Story Today: Tracking the Twitter Trend

cover022509_2_web2I usually post the links to the things I write professionally at to separate the two blogs and my personal life from my writing life (which is one in the same really, but I feel the need to have a total independent writing blog.)  But since this article is about something I personally use and know and love, I figure it kind of belongs here, too.   So, if you have time and want to learn more about Twitter, check out the Weekender cover story (if you are local, pick one up for all the other great stuff the Weekender offers) here.  Thanks to the local people and businesses who gave interviews.

Also, unrelated to this particular article, but pertinent to Twitter and it’s friends, to learn more about social media, keep up with my company’s social media blog for lots and lots of great SEO and SMO tips.

Oh, and of course, you can follow me on Twitter, here.

I work for one of the fastest growing companies in America! Inc 500! Plus, CCR interview!

Woo hoo. I know I just started at Solid Cactus, so I am not a part of its success (yet) but I am damn proud to work there. We were just named to the Inc. 500 at #255 for “Fastest Growing Private Companies in America.”

That’s a HUGE accomplishment considering just how many private companies there really are in America. So kudos to our owners, officers and everyone who helped make this distinction!

The company had special Inc. 500 t-shirts made and we had a company photo and then a slew of us went out to Fuse to celebrate, all donning the t-shirts. It was a good time! Here is the whole company (I am on the bottom row, third from the left):

CCR– Credence Clearwater Revisited
For those of you who know me, you know that I love CCR. So, I was thrilled when I got an e-mail out of the blue from the band’s publicist, Wendy asking me if I could do an interview with one of the members for their upcoming show at the Bloomsburg Fair. My editor okayed it and I spoke with the original drummer Cosmo (Doug Clifford). That was a big highlight for me. I’ve been fortunate to be able to interview lots of cool people, but this is the first person from my fave era of music and one of my life-long favorite bands that I have interviewed. Look for the story in this Weds.’s Weekender.

Doug was very open and extremely cool to talk to. I didn’t want to bring up anything about Fogerty…. For those that don’t know- this new CCR (with the R meaning revisited, not revival) is made up of two original CCR members and three new guys– but all the same hits! They also have an album out: Recollection.

Credence Clearwater Revisited will be at the Bloomsburg Fair on Weds. Sept. 26. Check them out.

BONUS MATERIAL: A Funny Dream About CCR Music
In other CCR news– and this is something that I did not Doug in my interview– a few years ago I was overplaying my CCR Chronicle: 20 Greatest Hits CD and I guess it went into my dreams. I had this dream that there was a Flintstones Musical and Fred and the gang had headset microphones on and they were singing to the tune of “Up and Around the Bend” only it went like this:

The Flintstones Are Back Again/We’re Coming Up and Around the Bed (yes, as in Bedrock!)

and then instead of “Doo Doo Doo, Doo Dooo Doo, Do, Do Do Doooo….” it was

YabbaDoo/YabbaDoo/Yabba Do Do

Yeah. I did that. In my head. In my sleep. Yeah. If you think I’m nuts when I am awake, you should see my dreams… Incase you forget how the song goes- here is a link to a video.

Beer for Dogs? Happy Tail Ale– Buy Your Best Friend a Drink

I just wrote an article for Associated Conent that I think is worth a read if you have a dog– check it out by clicking here.

It’s about a couple in California that started making beer just for dogs, called Happy Tail Ale! Check it out, and share it with any dog owners you know!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll have a ‘real’ blog post soon with some updates on me!