Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My Client John Coons ROCKS--Check Out His Latest Webisode (With My Cameo!)

Chickens! I normally try to keep a substantial wall between my writing- and hair- personas on this blog, but right now I just can't help myself: my supremely talented singer / songwriter / actor client  John Coons is releasing the full video of his one-man show, "Six Months For Six Weeks," in six, 13-minute Webisodes, the latest of which features a cameo of Moi,Truly!!!  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bx38gNyHcfE, minute 8:19-10:01, FYI).

John is--of *course*--a genius, which is evident in ALL thirteen minutes of this episode, as well as the entirety of Webisode One: http://johncoonsmusic.com/six-months-for-six-weeks/ . However, he--as a talented and attractive performer--is used to the limelight, while I am NOT, so I will continue to plug my minute-and-a-half of Web Glory both here and on Facebook. I DO hope you will check out either one or both of his Webisodes; he is smart and funny and lovely to gaze upon. And--just between you & me--I have to admit that his hair DOES look great, so if you like what you see, come on down to Raven Salon, where we support both the arts and great hair!!!

Ciao for now, chickens--there's a salmonella outbreak going on, but I still LOVE YOU!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I Got Mugged.

This is the purse ("Tiger In Love" by Anuschka) that was forcibly snatched from me six weeks ago by a crackhead who pointed a sweatshirt-wrapped hand at me like he was holding a gun. Oh, yes, I actually DO know for a fact that he was a crackhead; he turned himself in the next day for stealing the car he drove up behind me with before mugging me, and admitted he was high on crack at the time. The whole affair was an awful business I am only just now getting over, but I do hope that in light of this infomation you will forgive my blog silence of a couple months. I also hope that if you by any chance encounter the above purse and/or its contents in a ditch somewhere between Capitol Hill and Northgate, where it was allegedly tossed from a stolen car, you might consider returning it to me. I would very much appreciate it. 

In any event, I guess I have my answer as to a previous blog entry's question about dropping groceries in times of stress. I actually WAS carrying a brown bag of groceries (well, a six-pack of bottled beer and packet of chicken breasts) when I was mugged, and dropped it without thinking when I ran away from my assailant. I very much hope that you never have to experience this for yourself, but if you do I hope you'll have a couple of Good Neighbor Angels like Phil and David to help you out (thanks, guys, and I'll get those laundered sweats back to you any day now!)

ANYWAY, there is good publishing news: Erotique 5 in January 2014 will feature two of my new sexy-stories, and the March 2014 issue of Storylandia will feature a welcome reprint of my very first published story, "Celebrity Sperm Bank"!!! I am biased, of course, but all three are VERY entertaining stories, even if you don't normally like short stories. I will of course be plugging these even more as publication looms, just wanted to give you a head's-up now....

I hope all has recently been well with you, chickens; it's been a rough summer on my end, but things are looking up. I will keep you updated on all things published and/or interesting!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Erotique 4 Is Now On Sale!!!

Don't let the pastels fool you...
Chickens!!! Am terribly sorry to bother you again so soon, but when it rains, it often POURS---I have yet another published story to report!!! 

The Wapshott Journal of Erotica's Erotique 4 is now out in both print and e-form: http://www.ero.wapshottpress.com/about-erotique/erotique-4/. 

The issue is gorgeous (just look at the cover--swoon--above!), sassy, and chock-full of fantastically sexy submissions, including a reprint of my very own "Break-Up Sex," which first appeared online at CleanSheets.com in February 2012.

The classy & fabulous Erotique 4 holds many delights, and I advise pacing yourself--I tore through it greedily from cover to cover in one night, yet now look forward to savoring the nuances of each piece in a more civilized manner.

(PS--Erotique 5 (out in January 2014) will also contain one of my stories, be on the lookout...)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine #9--featuring my story "The Hereafter Party"-- is LIVE!!!!

Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine #9 (epub/Kindle)
Which should Holmes shoot first--the spectral were-hound, or that peasant blouse missing its front???

Chickens!!! The long-awaited publication of SHMM #9--featuring my story, "The Hereafter Party"--has occurred! It's available now!! In both print and digital formats!!! Gaze upon its gorgeous cover above!!!!!!!!

You may notice (as did I) that my name does not appear on the cover. I have no explanation for this. BUT, my story is indeed inside--I promise!!!

If you'd like to learn more about "The Hereafter Party's" origin story, please click on "The Next Big Thing," my self-interview chain-post about my then-upcoming SHMM piece. If you'd like to read the story itself--right now!--it's available in both print and e-pub/Kindle formats here at Wildside Press, and you may also find it in print (and write a review!) here at Amazon.

I am very excited to see this story in print--and in such a pedigreed publication! I DO hope you'll give it a look; it's quite entertaining.

Well, I must go now in order to seek out my fainting couch, since it's been much the eventful day--what with the surprise of receiving my SHMM contributor copies in the mail this afternoon and all...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

I Always Think About the Dropped Groceries...Do You?

(Crash) "The aliens landed WHERE??! / WHO'S in the hospital??! / I won a WHAT???"

There is a trope I've noticed in both film and literature over the years, where startling news is told to someone holding a full, brown paper grocery bag (usually in their driveway, or on their front porch) which is inevitably dropped, and the resulting mess is completely forgotten in order for this person to sob/scream/run from the zombies. I assume this is supposed to be fully understandable in the moment, but I've never been completely convinced. I realize it's just storytelling shorthand: for a character to be SO SHOCKED by a piece of news that he-or-she drops what they're holding--well, that is some serious effin' news. However, this device always brings me out of the story, just like seeing a pair of lovers emerge from bed in the morning wearing underwear after a night of heedless sex breaks the Third Wall. There is something disingenuous about a film or book character--often one who is not wealthy--dropping what amounts to $60-80 on the ground ('cos it's always milk & eggs & orange juice, plus a few items in glass jars, then loose leafy greens and a whole uncooked chicken) and not looking back or commenting on the grocery carnage before moving on with the story. I myself have thankfully never been approached with devastating news while holding groceries, but I do have insight as to the morning-after-underwear issue (although we shan't go into that here).

 One of my very favorite moments of the delightful Janeane Garofalo film "The Truth About Cats & Dogs" is when her character, veterinarian Abby Barnes, faced with a surprise stressful visitor/situation at home, responds by grabbing a hairbrush and running it through her hair for a few beats while she thinks of what to do next. Almost exactly ten years ago, I did much the same thing when a fire broke out in my apartment building--in the middle of the night, I opened my front door to a wall of black curling smoke, then absent-mindedly brushed my hair while weighing my escape options. It was a ridiculous thing to do, but I was faced with either braving the black smoke of my apartment hallway or jumping out of my third-floor window onto the parking garage roof below and hoping I didn't break one or more legs in the process.To go--within the space of two minutes--from being sound asleep to possibly dying years before my parents was a bit much for my delicate mind, and the hairbrush was handily in reach. I ended up crawling out into that black hallway smoke, and down the nearby stairs to the lobby and safety. Well, then I was homeless for a week, but that's another blog post...

What I'm trying to convey is that I would love--LOVE--for a film/book character to put the groceries safely down--or even neatly away!--before losing it over whatever news they've received. Because that just seems more real--you'd be in denial for a minute or two after terrible news, so putting the groceries down/away would be the most natural thing in the world. I will always consider THAT the more realistic response, rather than dropping everything and running. And don't get me started on characters who lose their appetite upon hearing bad news, that's a whole other blog post....

Am I the only one who's noticed the dropped groceries thing?? Or have any of you readers, as well? Write in, comment, SHARE!!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Someday, Someday, Maybe: No, Read It NOW!!!

Lorelai Gilmore gets The Dirt on Motley Crue and decides not to order the burrito.

If I could change just one thing about the otherwise perfect 2000-2007 television series Gilmore Girls, I would add more discussions of books. After all, Stars Hollow's resident wunderkind Rory Gilmore (seen above in the background) is constantly reading and lugging them about, both stateside and abroad, but aside from being an easy visual cue that SHE'S SMART, books (and discussions thereof) get a surprisingly small amount of screen time in the series. There is, of course, the delicious exception of Jess and Paris arguing about the Beat writers in "There's The Rub" (Season 2, Episode 16):

PARIS: A tragic waste of paper.

JESS: I can’t believe you just said that.

PARIS: Well, it’s true, the Beat’s writing was completely self-indulgent. I have one word for Jack Kerouac – edit.

JESS: It was not self-indulgent. The Beats believed in shocking people, stirring things up.

PARIS: They believed in drugs, booze, and petty crime.

RORY: Well, then you can say that they exposed you to a world you wouldn’t have otherwise known. Isn’t that what great writing’s all about?

PARIS: That was not great writing. That was the National Enquirer of the fifties.

JESS: You’re cracked.

PARIS: Typical guy response. Worship Kerouac and Bukowski, God forbid you’d pick up anything by Jane Austen.

JESS: Hey, I’ve read Jane Austen.

PARIS: You have?

JESS: Yeah, and I think she would’ve liked Bukowski.

But, I digress. Lorelai Gilmore (Rory's fetching mother, for those who don't know) is presumably well-read, at least for a person who has been busy single-handedly raising a daughter and running an inn since the age of 16, but her tastes run to the delightfully tawdry, as evidenced above with Motley Crue's collective memoir about their time on the road. Rory always seemed happy to confine pop-cultural discussions with her mother to bad tv movies and/or series, but I wonder if she ever wished for deeper talks with Lorelai--the second-smartest person in Star's Hollow--about books, or maybe the French New Wave. Oh, I know Rory had wealthy gramps Richard Gilmore and their private quoting-contests of Greek classics, but aside from that--and trying to bounce ideas off Dean's thick skull--her opportunities to discuss literature were limited to teachers and classmates at Chilton and Yale. Which doesn't sound so bad now, as I type it...

But, I am here to talk about how very wonderful Ms. Lauren Graham's novel, Someday, Someday, Maybe, is. And it is completely, delightfully wonderful--the most enjoyable time I've spent with my Kindle in many months. I loved everything about this book: the setting (Brooklyn), the time period (1995), the protagonist (aspiring actress Franny), the subject matter (How much time should our dreams take to come true?), the dialogue (sparkling), the narrative voice (winning, clear, and wise). I'd never before truly considered the similarities between the working lives of writers and actors, and loved how Ms. Graham's reportage of the dreaded relative-at-a-wedding questions displayed both absolute accuracy and zero bitterness:

Congratulations, Franny! How exciting! Remember at the last wedding when you said you were trying to be an actress? And I said 'How are the tips?' Remember that? Hahahahaha! Because people who say they're actors are usually just waiters? Get it? 

What gorgeous writing--smart, warm, and funny, with both surprising and fitting turns to the profound:

"Frank is the neighbor whose apartment we can see into from the windows in the back of our brownstone. Frank leads a mysterious, solitary life, but one you can set a clock by...The schedule never changes. No one ever comes over. We worry about Frank in the way New Yorkers worry about strangers whose apartments they can see into. Which is to say, we made up a name for him and have theories about his life, and we'd call 911 if we saw something frightening happen while spying on him, but if I ran into him on the subway, I'd look the other way."

"The woman behind the glass who sells the subway tokens eyes me warily. I've been known to pay my $1.25 in small change, sometimes in the very smallest. It's not a proud moment when I'm holding up the line while she counts my pennies, but some days it's come to that. Today, though, I have actual paper money. We share a nod, like things might be looking up for both of us."

"I imagine what a relief it will be to have a real job. I'll have a regular paycheck, and a desk and a phone and a fax machine. I'll have a computer, which hopefully will come with someone to teach me how to use it, and I'll have people to go out with sometimes after work for a drink at Bennigan's, who'll tell me about their boyfriend or their kid or a project they're working on in their garage. Maybe my work friends and I will talk about what we watched on TV the night before and I'll say, 'You know, I tried to be an actress for a while.'"

This is the voice I love reading, and this is the voice I want to write. 

Someday, Someday, Maybe is completely charming, which is a word I don't get to use as often as I'd like, for anything. I would, in particular, like to praise the book's ending (and no, I won't give anything away): so many contemporary books fall apart in the third act, but Someday performs the seemingly-impossible feat of arriving at an inevitable, realistic, and satisfying conclusion. Brava, Ms. Graham--and please forgive me for being unable to imagine anyone except James Franco as a certain actor-character in your book; this was either a descriptive tour-de-force on your part, or a failure of imagination on mine.

I encourage everyone reading this to immediately procure and read Someday, Someday, Maybe--it is that rarest of things, a guaranteed pleasure. I unfortunately cannot vouch for The Dirt; all library copies are in use at this time.

Monday, February 4, 2013

"The Next Big Thing" Blog Series!

The author's toolbox

"The Next Big Thing" Blog Series is like a cheery chain letter where writers chat about their upcoming projects by answering a series of 10 questions, before tagging other writers to discuss their projects. I was tagged by the lovely and talented Elissa Washuta, fellow Class of 2009 UW MFA graduate and author of the memoir My Body Is a Book of Rules, which will be published by Red Hen Press in 2014. Below, I tag other writers who will continue the chain on their blogs next week.

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:

What is the title of your book (or story)?

My novel, Biloxi Suite Trapeze--about acrobats on the Gulf Coast and the locals who love them--is dangerously close to completion. However, my actual Next Big Thing is my short story, The Hereafter Party, which I'm proud to say is not only fully complete, but will soon appear in print.

Where did the idea come from for the story?

The first sentence—which conveniently contained the narrative voice and complete story arc—popped into my head one day a few years ago. Much writing ensued.

What genre does your story fall under?

Um…Sherlockian Modern-Day Thriller?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

This story might have to be animated to do it justice, in which case the voices would be Ewan McGregor for the protagonist Rafferty, and Alan Rickman as Braeburn. If the film version somehow found funding, I’d go with Richard E. Grant for Rafferty, and—in a shameless bit of stunt-casting—Dame Maggie Smith as Braeburn.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your story?

A decent, middle-aged chap enlists the services of a stellar suicide-agency, with fair-to-poor results.

Where will your story be published?

Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine Issue #9, Spring 2013

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Less than two weeks if I remember correctly, but it’s been (ahem) a few years.

What other works would you compare this story to within your genre?

I am not sure that I'm qualified to answer this question, since I just made up the "Sherlockian Modern-Day Thriller" genre, and I didn't even realize my story was a pastiche until it was accepted for publication. For comparison, I suppose anything else that’s…Sherlockian? Or, perhaps if Quentin Tarantino re-shot the 1982 pilot episode of “Remington Steele?”

Who or what inspired you to write this story?

I really don't remember, it was just fun. At the time, I was trying to write literary short stories (on deadline, no less) for MFA applications. A devout novel reader/writer, I’d read very few short stories in my life, of any genre, and I'm afraid it showed. I was miserably sure—every clock-ticking day—that graduate school wouldn’t happen for me yet again, when something just snapped and I did nothing but write this decidedly non-literary story for a week and a half, giggling at how much I imagined my high school BFF (and fellow Sherlock Holmes fan) Patricia Vonne would love it. 

I was not accepted into an MFA program that year (or the next, if memory serves), but I have thrilled my fourteen-year-old self to no end by this story's association with Mr. Holmes' magazine. And I believe that's something.

What else about your story might pique the reader's interest?

I wish I could have officially made this story “steampunk” by any loose definition whatsoever, but fear it contains only whispers and tangs of that genre. While this is the only story I’ve written (so far) in a quasi-Victorian style, I believe readers will recognize its underlying humor in much of my more contemporary work. In fact...there are links to a couple freebie online stories/essays in my Bio to the right of this column, if one were interested.

Thanks so much for reading my interview! Now--there are several batons to pass, so let's to it:

Deborah Anderson is a dear friend and cohort whom I met in Artist Trust's 2012 EDGE program. An accomplished public speaker, she is also an organizational mastermind and self-described "woman of faith" who writes the highly entertaining (and yes, upbeat) "Positively Speaking" column for The Vashon Loop. Read her, hear her, love her: she is truly amazing, and I do try to only use that word once a month.

Natasha Marin is a poet and interdisciplinary artist I was also fortunate to meet via EDGE. She received a 2012 GAP Award to assist in the production of an e-book and companion website featuring video stills, documentary clips, audio, photographs and written work from MILK, a multimedia poetry collection about breastfeeding, motherhood, and the way we build connections. She has fantastic taste in shoes and also manages the conceptual art project called Miko Kuro’s Midnight Tea. Most recently, her work has been featured in The Stranger’s Art & Performance Quarterly.

Kirsten Rue is a fellow UW MFA-er (from a different year, sigh) who writes beautiful fiction and essays, as well as a gorgeous blog that showcases her abiding interest in literature by and about women. Her work has been nominated for inclusion in the Best New American Voices anthology and has been featured in Quick Fiction, City Arts Magazine, and Hoarse Quarterly, among many others. She recently relocated to Wyoming, which sounds windswept and brave, and is sorely missed in Seattle.

Imani Sims is a poet, performer, and awesome force-of-nature I met via EDGE. She is a Board Member and teacher at Bent Writing Institute, and the founder of Split Six Productions in Seattle, WA. She is also a 2012 CD Forum Creation Artist and has featured in productions with Poetry + Motion, Generation Waking Up, Arts Corps, Seattle SPIT, Ladies First, Voices Rising, Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center, The Tribes Project, and Hampton University. She totally rocks, and her book Twisted Oak is available on Requiem Press.

Lydia Swartz is somehow able to update the Seattle Spoken Word Calendar daily, between frequent publications and spoken-word engagements; she spends the remaining minutes of her day just generally being fabulous, I assume. Lydia is yet another EDGE cohort, and a HUGE talent I am honored to have met this year.