Monday, September 27, 2010

Murder Weather, by C. Leigh Purtill

My friend, Leigh, is the one who pulled me into the WeHo book fair maelstrom so I got to moderate the panel. I've blogged about her stuff before. She's author of Love, Meg, All About Vee and The Rise of Ginny Cooper. I just found out she has a new short story out called Murder Weather, which, if you live in Los Angeles, or SoCal, is particularly timely to read right it's hot as anything. You don't know what hot is until you've read this story...

Friday, September 24, 2010

West Hollywood Book Fair Wind Up...

Hello! Just an update to remind anyone in the LA area that this Sunday, September 26, is the West Hollywood Book Fair. This is the 9th annual fair and it promises to be the biggest yet. There will be lots of stages, events, booths, author signings, panels as well as a food court and playground. It runs between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Included in all the doings will be a panel on YA Fantasy: Other Worlds Other Realms. It will be between 10:50 and 11:50 a.m. I will be moderator and will be speaking with Frank Beddor (Looking Glass Wars), Francesca Lia Block (Weetsie Bat Books), and P.J. Haarsma (Softwire series).

Our Miracle Mile Writers Club booth will be located at E39. If you look at the map below you will see it in the yellow section, kinda near the food court. So, bring us some snacks if you drop by. We'll be having two drawings. One for a packet of poetry by Angela Consolo Mankiewicz and one YA fantasy packet that includes Thingie by Masu Gaam. The drawings will be held at 5:45 p.m., so come by anytime before then to drop a slip of paper with your name and phone number or your business card in the kitty. You might be the winner.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

xposted from blogetary:

Hope you're enjoying the autumn season and all that comes with it. I have a new poem that went live today on Eternal Haunted Summer: Pagan Songs & Tales. You can read it here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Writing Update

xposted from here:

So, the last update was a writerly type update, but it wasn’t really an update on what I’ve been working on, and more about the stuff that’s been going on around me. And truthfully, I’ve been stuck in the summer funk, waiting for all these publications where I have submissions out to to come back from vacation, read my stuff and tell me whether or not it suits them. So, I’ve been in sort of a holding pattern, trying to work on revising poetry and stories and parts of stories I’ve already written as well as working on things like memos, info papers, business proposals, proofreading and copy editing varying things and learning about stuff like

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on some new stuff, though. Besides pulling out old poetry that I thought would just languish on my hard drive for eternity and seeing if I could revise it or rewrite (or just give up on it), I have been working on some new stories. So, for anyone who’s interested out there, here’s some of what I have been and will be working on – after I’ve proofread/copy edited a client’s screenplay and after I’ve put together the board and the handouts for the MMWC boot at the Weho Book Fair and after I’ve researched and come up with intelligent questions for the YA Fantasy panel at the WeHo Book Fair:

1) The scifi/space exploration story project. I’ve been letting it sit for a while. It’s grown over time since I first thought I “finished” it. I’ve gotten as far as I can on my own and it keeps getting kicked back, but my new critique reader, my sister, has gone over it with a fine tooth comb (bless her heart – she really helped me with a recent short story I currently have out on submission) to show me where I’ve gotten too close to the story, too verbose, too wandery and or not enough of one thing or another. I think by the time I truly “finish” this story it will be about 15,000 words or so (it’s at 12,000 words now)- smaller novella or novellette size (depending on which editor you’re submitting to) and we’ll see if it goes anywhere. I have enjoyed working on it.

2) Part 2 to the Canto Sybilla stories, a quartet (or even quintet) of novellas. Still working on this. I keep trying to get past a certain point, but though I know what’s supposed to happen, I can’t seem to make the story go there, it wants to wander, so I get frustrated and put it down to work on something else. I probably should just wander with it, see where it takes me and then edit it down later when it needs it. As Will, in writers group says, the first draft, we’re telling ourselves the story. The second draft, we’re telling the readers the story, cuz hopefully, we’ve figured it out by then. But I need to get it down and done. Really, it’s past time that Nicole and Donna and Julie and April all got to have their stories told.

3) Cynthia. That’s how I write it on my list when I’ve got it down on my Modus Operandi list for the day. Just-Cynthia. It’s not sure if it wants to be a short story or a novella. And it doesn’t know if it wants to be paranormal chicklit or straight chicklit with some action/adventure spy stuff written in. I like Cyn. I like writing her. I like some of the characters I have in her world. And I could see it being a longer story. We’ll see. Right now she’s at the end of a very long, very bad day, but she’s been there for a while. I’m wondering if I should write in a meteor or something just to blast her out of her seat and get her going.

4) The Kiko Stories. If you know me, you probably know about Kiko, one of my best friends in either the four- or two-legged world. If you know me, you also know that I love reading fantasy anthologies and some of my favorite anthologies have been edited by Andre Norton and/or Martin Greenberg, the CatFantastic series. One of my favorite fairy tales is The Bremen Town Musicians. And many of my favorite stories include The Wind in the Windows, The World According to Winnie the Pooh, Watership Down, and Tailchaser’s Song. You see the trend here? I love good animal stories. I try to write good animal stories. Sometimes it works.

Anyway, years ago, when Kiko first came to my roommate at the time and I (in 1994), she said that I needed to write a story about Kiko. And I laughed it off, but filed that suggestion away for later. They say that sometimes you need space between you and something in your life before you write about it properly. I think I might have that space, finally (Kiko passed away March, 6, 2007). About a month ago or so I found myself outlining a series of short stories based on Kiko. Still not sure if they will end up being YA/children’s stories or adult – but since they’ll be told from his point of view, it probably won’t matter. What will matter is whether I can find someone who likes them. And that could be anyone, or no one at all. Who knows. It could show up on a near you.

5) Finally, the Gramma project. Recently, my mom started going through old letters and bits of writing my gramma and grampa had left behind after they passed away. Mom’s been sharing them with the rest of the family, sometimes scanning them into the computer to share with us and sometimes just quoting bits of story. So, in our little family, Gramma has been much on our collective mind. We’ve been sharing favorite stories. And Gramma is the one who pretty much taught me (and all of us – my mom, my aunts, my sister and I) how to garden. My sister calls her the Garden Warrior. Nothing phased her. Dirt was just dirt. Weeds were just weeds. There’s nothing wrong with eating the berries or the herbs off the plant as you’re working out there with them. That’s what they’re there for, after all. “It’s okay! Take your shoes off, honey, and let me spray your feet with the water hose,” were the first words she said to me when I popped out of the car onto her lawn at the age of five, fresh out of the city. I don’t remember ever being barefoot on a lawn until she said that and taught me it was okay. Not to be fearful of bare feet on the moist grass.

Because I am my grammas granddaughter, when I had my own garden, I frequently snacked on say, the snowpeas, the mint and the cilantro whilst working in my own garden up in San Francisco. When I was in junior high, I ate the cherries I was picking when I earned money cherry picking one summer. In high school I snacked on the strawberries in the fields where I was picking strawberries. Everyone did. That is who I am and who I will always be (and I would consider myself a wimp if I didn’t continue to be that person). So, one day a little over a week ago, I’m out back where we have some herbs growing. And, again, because I am my Gramma’s granddaughter, in this same tradition, I’m tasting some of the herbs. We’ve got Greek oregano and Italian oregano. I wanted to compare them. Someone else was out there at the same time and I was really excited. They did taste different! I said, “here! Have a taste!” To my sheer amazement, he started wiping off the leaves and then, he didn’t even taste them, just smelled them. I said, “It’s okay, you know,” thinking he needed encouragement. Subconsciously taking on my gramma’s tone so he wouldn’t be afraid to try the herbs. But for him, it wasn’t the thing one does I guess. He wasn’t comfortable with that.

Two things hit me a) the huge cultural divide that existed in this one moment between this person and I in regards to gardening and b) how brave my gramma was. She taught me and everyone else in our family to be brave and have fun and not sweat the small stuff. She was much more genteel than I and probably would have smoothed over that awkward moment – I was just so shocked I couldn’t do much more than shrug it off, but it definitely felt awkward. It just felt so off for me. And the thing is, there’s nothing wrong with not being comfortable with eating something right off the branch or the vine, but I couldn’t believe the strong reaction I felt at someone else not being able to do that.

So, between this small (yet huge) thing in the back garden and our family remembering Gramma, I decided it was time to write a story about how brave my gramma was. It’s probably going to end up being a kids’ story, maybe, though right now I’m writing it from the adult’s point of view. We’ll see, that might change and I might change viewpoints so it’s from the kid’s point of view. It will definitely be of the scifi/fantasy realm because, well, it’s what I like to do. And I’m sure Gramma woulda been just as adept at the scifi/fantasy realm as she was at the mundane world. I mean, she does have three daughters, two granddaughters and one grandson who ALL enjoy scifi/fantasy (well, my mom has to be convinced, but if she let’s herself, she enjoys it – she is the one that got my sister and I in the habit of watching Star Trek when we were kids, and read the Narnia chronicles to us). This is the story that’s grabbing my imagination at the moment. I’m probably at the first 1/4-1/3 of this one.

I miss my gramma. Like I said: she was brave, good, kind, loving, and could can/pickle/preserve with the best of’em (but she always burnt the meat).

So, anyway, it’s after midnight now (Craig Ferguson is on) and I need to go to work in the morning, but this is my official writing update for anyone out there who cares.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Time for an update!

xposted from my blogetary here:

I was reading Leigh's blog and realized I haven't been doing regular updates like I used to. I've let Facebook take over my life with it's easy status updates where you just yell into the crowd brief shouts and wonder if anyone out there really cares. Well, I still wonder who out there really cares with blogs, but at least I get to ramble on a little longer. It's one of my greatest joys in life -- rambling. Must be why I enjoy writing so much.

So, yeah - NEWS -

First up, if you are someone in the scifi/fantasy writing community and you haven't subscribed to Locus Magazine, then now is the time to start, with their shiny new GORGEOUS steampunk issue.

Included in this issue are all sorts of interviews and essays, as well as a list of the World Fantasy Awards Finalists. I have a copy sitting on my desk right now and normally I like sharing them with people, but I'm not sharing this one. So I suggest you go out and get yourself a copy of this issue or subscribe. Now. TODAY. They're gonna run out of this one.

Speaking of interviews, if you happen to see the September issue of Aoife's Kiss, the you will also see that there is an interview of me in there (by Karen L. Newman), as well as a poem by me.

And while I normally like to have blog contests or give a way bunches of these things, I'm not very solvent at the moment, so that might not happen this time. So, unless you're immediate family, you're going to have to pick up an issue yourself. Which is very easy. GenreMall is very PayPal friendly and as subscription to Aoife's Kiss is virtually painless at $22/year ($26 with shipping). And they'd love to have you!

Then, next on the docket, I'll be going to see Rachel Vincent, Kelly Armstrong and Melissa Marr at Vroman's Bookstore on September 20. It will be part of their Smart Chick's Kick It tour. It's at 6 p.m, going to be held outside (lots of people attending, I think), so get there early!

Finally, if you live in the LA area and like book fairs, then stop on by the West Hollywood Book Fair on Sun., Sept. 26.

There are MANY reasons this would be a good idea. For one, the Miracle Mile Writers Club will be there and we'd love to have you stop by and say hi (We'll be at E39 between the Guerrilla Readings Booth and the UCLA Extension Writers Program booths). There will be novelists, poets and other writers there for you to talk with and get to know. We have one poet who is scheduled to bring her opera (she wrote the libretto) to play while she's there from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. And we might even have SNACKS! For another, Leigh Purtill's dance company will be performing Alice in Wonderland!!!! Doesn't that just make you SQUEEEEE! It does me. I hope I get a chance to see them. And one more reason you might be interested in going (besides all the fantastic stuff going on) is that I will be moderating an author panel on YA Fantasy at the Scifi, Fantasy & Horror Pavilion from 10:50 to 11:50 a.m. The authors I will be speaking with will be Frank Beddor of the Looking Glass Wars, Francesca Lia Block of the Weetsie Bat series and PJ Haarsma of the Softwire series (psst - this last website has a fun little video with Nathan Fillion).

So, lots to do here that I wanted to share with people "out there" wherever "out there" is. Hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend and can pick up some of the awesome magazine issues or come by the MMWC booth, or even come see the Smart Chicks' tour!