Web site is finally up and running!

Just got my new site up and running. Woo hoo! New post about Tim Burton's movie, 9.


On a clear day...

Living in LA, you need to be prepared. For fires, for explosions, for bombings, kidnappings, drive-by shootings...[insert your favorite disaster here.] And then again, you just need to be prepared for that glorious fleeting moment when the skies clear. This is when you can finally take a deep breath and catch a glimpse of those stunning San Gabriel Mountains...

Wait. Those aren't mountains. Those are horrendous, billowing Clouds of Death.

Oh, the humanities. [I think aliens are involved somehow. Could be District 12.]

Living Large

Awesome tale of a hippo who thinks he's part of the family.


The Saga of Summer Lost

Summer’s rolling to a crushing halt. Pressing all the golden sunshine into a few last precious hours. Did I get enough. Beautiful blue sky, white sun, ocean curl. Did I sit poised in front of a computer screen too long, waiting for words that wouldn’t come.

Wouldn’t. Come. Words.

Days slip by, blue fades to black and the buzzing of lightning bugs turns into the whisper of autumn wind.

It. Comes. Soon.

The winter sky will hang bleak, my soul will be pressed against the brown earth and I will long for just one more minute of perfect summer. I will press my palm against cold window, longing for warmth.

Sky. Pale. Skin.

White and black and brown will replace my summer garden. My heart will thunder less and my flesh will grow thick. Longing for the lean days of gentle breeze. I will walk less and eat more, burrow into a cocoon.

Need. Summer. Heat.


R. Crumb's Book of Genesis

An illustrated version of the Book of Genesis, by R. Crumb, is available for pre-order on Amazon.com.

An excerpt from a recent article about Crumb in The New Yorker:

"At first, he thought about doing a take-off of the story of Adam and Eve, and then a friend suggested he do the whole of Genesis. Crumb accepted the challenge, but the text seemed to him so bizarre that he quickly realized he couldn't sustain a satirical approach. He resolved to use the words of the Bible unabridged: "I did it as a straight illustration job."


Keira Knightley plays Fairy Godmother

Keira Knightley stars as a Fairy Godmother in an upcoming short film titled, The Continuing And Lamentable Saga Of The Suicide Brothers.

It appears to be a strange tale (always the best!) about two brothers who head out to the shed every day to kill themselves.

Apparently, this is where Knightley's character enters the picture. I'm looking forward to this dark fae story.


The Great Vanishing Trick

You know her, you love her. But apparently she's about to go into hiding. Well, partial hiding, that is.

Saturn is just about to tilt on her axis, a feat she accomplishes every 15 years. And when she does, her rings—her lovely rings filled with mud, ice and moons—will temporarily disappear.

Scheduled date for magic axis tilt: August 11.


Live from the Hugo Awards

The 2009 Hugo Awards are being announced tonight:

The Big Heart Award goes to Andrew Porter.

The Campbell Award goes to David Anthony Durham.

Best Fan Writer goes to Cheryl Morgan.

Best Fan Artist goes to Frank Wu.

Best Fanzine goes to Electric Velocipede.

Best Semiprozine goes to Weird Tales.

Best Related Book goes to Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded, John Scalzi

Dramatic Presentation: Long Form goes to Wall-E.

Dramatic Presentation: Short Form goes to Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog, Joss Whedon.

Best Editor: Long Form goes to David G Hartwell.

Best Editor: Short Form goes to Ellen Datlow.

New category, Best Graphic Story goes to Girl Genius, Kaja and Phil Foglio.

Best Professional Artist goes to Donato Giancola.

Best Short Story goes to "Exhalation", Ted Chiang.

Best Novelette goes to "Shoggoths in Bloom", Elizabeth Bear.

Best Novella goes to "The Erdmann Nexus", Nancy Kress.

Best Novel goes to The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman.

Congratulations to all!!


The Story Contest

Steve Parolini, over at Novel Doctor, just announced the winners in his short story contest.

Woo hoo! I was one of the winners.

All of the top three stories are posted on his site today--you should stop over and take a look. And there will be more stories posted throughout the week.

Then, when these stories have all been posted and the festivities are over and the confetti lays scattered on the cyber-cement, well, then you should keep checking out his site.

He's a master writing teacher. You could learn some mad skills over there. And there might even be an alien or two, because this guy likes sci fi.


Book Covers in YA

In honor of SCBWI, which is being held this week, I decided to do a post on what’s going on in YA. So I went to the local Barnes & Nobles and took some photos of the book covers that line the shelves.

If you haven’t strolled through the YA section lately, you’ve been missing out on the latest trends.

Why go through the YA section, especially if you’re writing for adults? Because if there’s anything fun going on right now, it’s starting here.

These readers are going to grow up and they’re going to be hungry.

I’ve never seen such an explosion of imagination. Yes, there are copycat stories and similarities in theme. But, honestly, you can write almost anything here right now.

Keep it clean (my recommendation) and exciting (their demand) and if at all possible, write about fantasy (we both advise that).

These covers all caught my attention. If I was buying (I was meeting a friend for our own writing adventure), I’d have purchased every single one of these books.

But after writing this post, I think I’ll go back. And buy them all. And keep them for myself. For that little girl in me that never grew up.


Not My Hero

It may seem fun and cheeky to condense your opinion down to 140 characters. To post it where the rest of the world is going to see. But the old saying, "two wrongs don't make a right," certainly applies to the cyber world today.

It started with a post on The Envelope by Elizabeth Snead.

Apparently Ryan O'Neal lost his last remaining brain cells, and his conscience, at Farrah Fawcett's funeral. He later bragged to Vanity Fair that he was so low, he even tried to pick up his own daughter, Tatum. I say 'bragged' because I think he knew it would bring him public attention.

Well, it did. Greg Grunberg, of Heroes, already stepped up to the Twitter plate and struck out with a foul ball.

@greggrunberg's Tweet: "Ryan O'Neal hit on his own daughter Tatum at Farrah's funeral... That's sick.. & HOT!!"

Hot?? What's hot about a father trying to pick up his own daughter? It's disgusting and degrading.

I already had a poor opinion of O'Neal. No big surprise there. But I never expected a comment like that from Grunberg. Granted, he has a right to his 140 character opinion.

But he certainly isn't my "Hero" anymore.


Twitter vs. Facebook vs. Blog

If it was a battle, I would say Twitter is winning. But Facebook is close behind. The blog, this sweet little blog right here, well, she's limping along with thorns in her feet and the jeering of cyber-crowds in her ears.

I've been adjusting to the changing Internet world. But it sure isn't easy to juggle multiple social networks and platforms at once.

I love Facebook. Really. So many things to do, even when no one's chatting. Vampire Wars (way fun), quizzes, links to videos, and have I mentioned the photos? Or the fact that you can cruise with the top down, wander through all your pals' pages?

Then I joined Twitter. And felt so alone. Like I had fallen into a vast Internet vortex and all my words were now muffled and silent. Until I stumbled into a chat today. I'm not sure where I was. I'm so new to the scene I don't even know what to call it.

It was @writechat, on Sunday, from noon to 3 p.m. Better than speed dating. (Not that I know anything about that, but hey, I've seen movies.) It was like speed dating when all the people have six heads and they're all carrying on multiple conversations at the same time. I think I was talking to myself before it was over.

I'd have died if it hadn't been for TweetDeck...

TweetDeck? I forgot to mention it, huh. And then there's that awesome site where you can shorten URLs...

I don't know. Apparently I am catching on to this new cyber universe.

Maybe there's still hope for this Alien Girl after all.


Moby Love

Just when I’ve painted myself into a creative corner and I can’t find my way out, when all my inspiration is gone and the air around me feels dry and empty—that’s when I know I need some new music.

Gotta have it.

I hear some folks can get by without music, specifically without a new fix on a regular basis. But I’m just not that person. Sometimes I wish I was. Seems like life would be so much easier.

It’s like being hungry. But you don’t know where the food is. Somebody keeps moving it, hiding it, giving it to other people more worthy. By the time you get to the store, it’s all gone or worse, stale and spoiled.

Nothing worse, really, than stale, spoiled, yesterday’s leftover music. I’m not talking about the tried-and-true favorites. They last forever, like blue jeans and vintage jewelry. But I just can’t sit around, listening to the same stuff, over and over. Not if I’m trying to be creative too. I need some new rhythms to shake up and wake up my brain synapses, to make the thought patterns travel down a different corridor, hop over that brain canyon and finally, hopefully, come to some new conclusions.

Dead music. Dead ideas. Dead me.

Gotta get me some of that sugar, that sweet keep-me-up-late candy, that take-me-to-another-world-and-let-me-wander-around-all-by-myself snack.

So just when I think I’m never gonna find it, gonna have to make do with what I already got, then I find it. And I dance. All day, all night. I write and I get myself plugged into something bigger than me. Again.

It’s like love. Really.

And tonight, I’m in love all over again. I just stumbled across Moby’s new album, Wait for Me. It’s cherry sweet. Just downloaded it from iTunes and already I can feel the current flowing. Pale Horses broke my heart, but it needed to be broken. Division set the stage and I’m in my seat, ready. Mistake reminds me just how much I’ve missed Moby, how much I love his voice, his melodies, his pain-sharp musing. The almost holy chant of A Seated Night, the haunting chorus in Wait for Me, the minor chords of Slow Light. All like brand new friends who laugh at my jokes and know that sometimes, a girl’s just gotta cry.

So I think I finally found something to help me through those long hot summer nights. Something to keep my fingers pounding keyboard.

Something sweet. Got me some Moby Love.


Monsters Under the Bed

I’m a big fan of everything that goes bump in the night. Vampires, ghosts, goblins, twisted branches that thump against the window and sound like someone is trying to break into the house. In particular, I’ve always had a soft spot for monsters under the bed. Creepy, tangled in cobwebs, hiding in shadows and much too flat to look human.

I just always wished they were under someone else’s bed.

Well, I finally got my wish.

Apparently all these years, those very same monsters that were tormenting me were also hanging out under the bed of good pal, Rebecca Razo.

Who knew?

And now she’s gone and exposed them for what they really are. On top of that, she’s telling folks all around how they can capture one for themselves. On paper, that is. She’s put together a really cool, I mean scary, book about how to draw these horrid beasts, and she’s revealed a dastardly secret. Sometimes they aren’t nearly as creepy as you would think.

Oh oh.

Monsters R Us might get mad. Monsters across the universe might rebel.

Then again, this could be exactly the kind of PR they’ve been wanting all along. Make friends with the children. Then later, when said children grow up, they might just decide to write a few monster books of their own, from a different viewpoint this time.

The misunderstood monster.

He’s my favorite. Can’t wait. For all these kids to grow up and start writing their own monster books.

But first they have to pick up The Monsters Under My Bed. That’s the first step to making friends with those furry beasts who might not be so creepy.

After all, when you really think about it, don’t we all turn warm and fuzzy inside after a glass of milk and some cookies and a good book?



Actually, they want your help. Yes, your help. Apparently a sweet little Mars rover named Spirit got itself stuck in Martian dirt.

Basically, the little guy has fallen down and he can't get up.

So, maybe in your spare time you could come up with a few ideas, jot them down and then contact NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Questions, comments can be submitted via Twitter (let's hear it for Twitter, YAY!) or Ustream.

Twitter: send to @NASAJPL using the hashtag #FreeSpirit

Better hurry, though. I hear the Martians are just about ready to toss the little sprite into the recycle bin.


Hot Dog!

Next time I won't ask for home delivery.


Linked by Blood

Black and white

Photos floating, spiral of images. Never like it when this film noir starts in my head. The wrong music on the radio, the light in the sky fading through trees, the wind changing course, everything turning pale and chill.

We stand, quiet, in a half circle, dirt beneath our feet. Linked by blood, separated by death. He lies, quiet, in a box, lined in silk, eyes forever closed.

My heart beating. His heart still.

My heart breaking. His heart gone.

My life ending. His life a memory.

Clumps of dirt surround the deep chasm. Too much earth, hole too big. Box sinking down into the cotton quiet ground, earth swallowing human.

Dust to dust. We say it because we must—

Find a way to forget, the knife in our chest—

Ashes to ashes. The wind blows where it will—

And the journey of the spirit, we cannot follow. Never like the songs that played on the day my blood all went their separate ways. Never liked the car that brought me here or took me away.

Never cried, because he remained in my dark nights, in my heart. Even though the live blood all faded away. The blood that died never left.

How to Make Stuff Up

If you want to learn how (not) to write dialogue, how to make stuff up at the last minute, or even why Stephen Parolini's alter-ego is named Pedro, then you should check the recent post at Novel Doctor.

And then again, you could drop by any time. It's always fun.

Oh, I almost forgot. There's a contest too. At Novel Doctor. Go on, you know you want to...


Something I Would Never Do

This five-year-old girl is laying on a glass balcony on the 103rd floor of the Sears Tower.

A) I would never let my child out there.

B) I would never let ME out there.

Fear of heights? Maybe. Kinda. Okay, yeah.