Thursday, June 29, 2006

This is interesting.

Apparently, I sold a story.

I knew I submitted Chill to Best Women's Erotica 2007. That might sound funny, but several months ago I received a letter from Susie Bright thanking me for a submission that I had no record of in my submissions spreadsheet, no memory of sending, no copy of a cover letter, and no e-mail trail. I'm pretty good about tracking that stuff. At least I was aware of this submission. Violet Blue was enthusiastic about it. I have yet to see an acceptance, or a contract, and yet the Cleis blurb uses a quote from my story. So I guess I'm in. Whoo-hoo. Mailbox money!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Now these are PSAs

If you're a homophobe, don't watch. Otherwise, look at how the rest of the world maturely handles safer sex PSAs. Americans really need to grow up.

The sweet one.

The sexy one.

LA People - Sorry About Short Notice

Tonight, D. Travers Scott and Ali Liebegott, fellow Lambda Literary Award Winner from Suspect Thoughts Press, will be doing a reading.

I, alas, can't go. While I adore Trav, I did see him at a reading not long ago. It kills me to miss seeing Ali. If you've read my review of her The Beautifully Worthless, you know that I'm smittten. Oh how I'd love to be able to tell her in person. And get my copy signed. Damn.

Wednesday June 28 @ 7:00 pm
Free Admission and Open To The Public
Space At Fountain's End
3929 Fountain Avenue in Silverlake
323 856 6168

So go. Have fun. Don't mind me over here, stuck in real life concerns. *peeking to see if you pity me yet*

Monday, June 26, 2006

How Can One Short Story Be Such A Pain?

I submitted a short story to an editor today, squeaking under the deadline like Pete Rose sliding head first into home base. I hate doing that. I don't usually cut it that close.

People who are able to turn in newspaper columns every day amaze me. Writer friend Kate Dominic has several hundred stories published, the result of submitting seven to ten stories some months. I stand in awe of her. (For many reasons, but for purposes of this entry, her professional output is what I'm talking about.)

Although I work on writing every day, that doesn't mean typing stories on the computer. I consider reading calls for submission, research, editing other writer's work, chatting with writers about the business, going to conferences, and simply reading to be part of the work of writing. I've developed an internal rhythm where I don't write much from April to August. A first I love it, because I read like mad, but by June I usually have a couple calls for submission that I want to write for, as I did this year, but I can't. Simply can't. Can't force it, can't make it flow, can't make myself think it's autumn, can't write.

I had to give up on one call for submission, which made my heart ache because it was for science fiction and for an editor I'd love to work with. Could not get a story together that I wanted to show him. I almost let the other call go too, but at least I had an old story I could start with. It definitely needed work. Fixing it was roll-up-the sleeves writing. Grit my teeth and type. Nothing was coming to me. Every version I tried was wrong. All I could do was force myself to sit down and try another approach until I got it. I think I got it. I HOPE I got it. *sigh*

So now I'm poking at the edges of writing another novel, but not with that surge of energy I know will hit me in August or September. Until then, I have a stack of books waiting for me. Up next - Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye. Sinking into that is going to be pure indulgence. And maybe I won't mind not being able to write if I can read work like that.

Friday, June 23, 2006

On the Upside

Trying to look on the bright side of the US elimination at World Cup, and came up with this:

Landon Donovan and Chris Albright will be back with Galaxy soon, so maybe Galaxy will stop sucking so much. It really has been a dismal season for us. I mean - Chivas even whooped our asses. Who's the chupacabra now?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

And Oh Yes.....

Big congratulations, Australia, on advancing in World Cup.

Don't mind me, weeping for the US side. (Copious tears of shame)

I stand by my prediction that Brasil will take it. Especially now that Ronaldo decided to actually play when he's on the pitch. (I know - meow) But Argentina will give them a hard time. And let's not discount the home field advantage for the Germans and their high scoring wunderkind Miroslav Klose. But it's still going to be Brasil.

Book Burning in Chicago

If you can't be a big-timer at crimes against humanity, I guess you can at least manage a tried and true act of ignorance: burning books.

At the John Merlo branch of the Chicago Public library, someone torched about 100 books. 10 were African American literature, the rest were gay/lesbian.

The first time I saw the movie Farenheit 451, I cried. I crawled back across the room to get as far away from the TV as I could. (Ironically enough, I didn't read the book until much later.) Every time I hear about book burning, my skin crawls.

Googling Myself

Occasionally I'll Google my name, see what's up.

Today's take - some bastard blogger copied my story off Clean Sheets and posted it on her blog. I sent a "cease and desist or pay me my going rate for non-exclusive electronic rights" note. She probably won't answer, and then I'll go after her ISP. Send the electronic goons out to muss her up.

More interesting find though - back in March, some citizen decided to flag my blog for offensive content. Not just mine. Jolie du Pre and Sage Vivant merited a complaint too. The citizen must have flagged it simply for containing the word smut on my description, or maybe because of my links to other erotica writers, because if this fine, upstanding Mrs. Cravitz would have read my entries, s/he would have been hard pressed to find anything smutty. No titillating yarns. I talk about writing porn, but I have yet to post any on my blog. (The story thief mentioned above is one reason why.)

Flagging blogs doesn't really do anything. A friend had works lifted from her blog, and Blogger basically told her "tough, we don't care," and made it damn near impossible to meet their standards for getting the stuff removed. So we tried flagging the blog as a group. A couple hundred of us hit it. It's still there. Like I said, Blogger doesn't care about copyright infringement. Unless I were to post some of their copyrighted material. Then I'm sure I'd hear from them.

So dear concerned citizen, I know you're simply trying to bring an end to first ammendment rights, and maybe shove female writers under burkas, but don't hold your breath for anything to happen, sweetie.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Cream is coming! *snicker*

Cream is an anthology of works posted on ERWA, and I'm lucky enough to have a piece included. There is a small excerpt of my story Challenger Deep if you click through the link posted below.

I can't wait to get this one in hand.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Well... Damn

I was all set to go to my first roller derby today, but ...

The niecelet fell off playground equipment and bumped her elbow pretty bad. Around 4PM, I whisked her to her pediatrician office where we spent almost an hour waiting to be seen. They thought nothing was broken, but in case of a fracture, x-rays were in order. Of course.

They sent us to the imaging center for the hospital across the street from the pediatrician's office. We sat in their waiting room most of an hour before they told me that the niecelet's insurance wouldn't pay for treatment at their hospital. I had to take her to the one across town. Fine. We went back to the pediatrician's office for a new referral slip. Banged on door until staff let us in, as it was after hours. Waited a bit. Got new referral. Niecelet was still in tears. Rushed over to the other hospital since we were told we only had fifteen minutes to get there before the radiology department shut down for the night. Cursed mightily at red lights. Got hesitant chuckle from niecelet as I ranted about the stupid BMW driver in front of us going 15 in a 45 zone. It was hella hot outside, and every time we get back into the car it felt like we were being roasted alive.

I promised niecelet popsicles when it was all over. She fretted about her plans for Saturday.

It took a bit, but I found the other hospital. Drove in circles in search of parking. Hiked around inside big hospital until we found radiology(their signage lies). Waited ten minutes to be told that we had to go to the imaging center. Showed clerk our referral to radiology. Was told that was wrong, we had to go to imaging, and by the way, they were closing in two minutes. *big sigh* Got in car and drove to the imaging center. Wrote name on list. Half an hour later, got pulled into admissions. Had relationship to niecelet closely questioned. Produced documentation. Offered to write fricking check if that would make them happy. Got sent back to waiting room. Tick. Tick. Tick. Twenty minutes later, we got called in - to a smaller waiting room.

Story idea - hell is a series of medical waiting rooms like nesting boxes, to infinity.

Made a much needed trip to the lady's room. Came back, niecelet was gone. I conducted a panicked search of both waiting rooms. No one. No staff, no other patients, no niecelet. I went down hallways and opened doors. It was almost 7. Found niecelet sitting on a chair in one of the x-ray rooms. I tried to go in, but the tech told me to wait outside. Twenty minutes later, the niecelet came out of the exam room alone. Tech, staff, everyone had mysteriously disappeared. No one to ask what I should do next. Called pediatrician's office for guidance. Was told by night service to wait for a call.

We got home at 7:30. It was 85 degrees inside. I opened windows and doors, but it was pure swelter. We fell asleep on the couch before we could even eat dinner. Not exactly the fun evening I had planned.

11 AM the following day, after calling every person in the known universe, finally got the word - her arm is fractured. Nothing can be done about it until Monday. Her planned trip to a waterpark with friends is out. I can't risk her being jostled in a crowd, so I can't take her with me to roller derby. So we're going to sit home and cheer on the USA in World Cup and eat popsicles.

If I'm ever given the choice in the future, I think I'll choose to suit up and spend an hour doing roller derby without padding or a helmet rather than spend 5 hours seeking medical treatment. I think it'll be less painful.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Note to Self:

You shouldn't go out to drag shows until 1AM Friday morning if you have to leave for work by 6AM.


Unless Edward begs nicely.

(Edward and Ish)

We had a blast in Long Beach last night at Choices, which I think used to be a Hamburger Mary's. Long Beach is one of my favorite towns, and places like this are why. Cher (nice ass), (we think) Rita Hayworth, Janet Jackson, Whitney, Rikky Lake - they were all there. There was also a strange Liza/Judy preformance to MacAuthur Park that had us all saying WTF? with our eyebrows and then, "End already" aloud, but the rest of the show was pretty good. (notable exception - the Ring girl. Another WTF? moment. Friend Em is so The Ring adverse that she had to go hang out on the patio until it was over.)

P.S. to self. Ask Karen if Roller Derby is still on for Saturday night.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Avoiding Work by Working

I should be working on a couple short stories, but can't get motivated. So I'm avoiding it by working on a memoir based novel.

I enjoy reading memoirs like Michelle Tea's Rent Girl, or Augustine Burrough's Running With Scissors, but having lived through my life once already, there are parts I'm uncomfortable revisiting. What I find interesting - in a detached, self-aware kind of way- is that while I have no problem admitting that I attempted suicide a number of times as a teenager, my failure at it embarrasses the hell out of me. Go figure.

The parts that make me squirm are supposed to be the best parts, but I'm comfortable discussing some very private sexuality/gender identification issues, whereas I find myself stopped cold at revealing the gender of a cousin who, unlike me, was successful at suicide.

And then there is the small problem of telling other people's stories. Is it invasive to talk about a relative who was committed to state facilities a number of times? (There are times when my family is way too Southern Gothic for words.) Or does talking about it shed light on how widespread and widely ignored the problem of rampant depression is in my family? (My parents seemed to believe that saying, "Snap out of it" was adequate treatment.) And what about the kids I hung with in high school who had sexuality issues of their own? Is it fair to open the closet door when they shut it firmly on themselves? I don't think it is. On the other hand, only that very small group of people might recognize themselves, and chances are that if they're that far in the closet still, they won't pick up a book about gender identification.

I guess you could say I'm struggling with my demons, but truthfully, I'm trying to figure out the difference between what I thought was normal family life and those quirky things that make normal people raise their eyebrows. As I reveal bits to writer friends, I'm learning that there's quite a bit of material there. Is that a blessing or a curse?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Don't Even Mention Soccer To Me

You know how people post their current mood? Well, this is me after watching the US play their opening game of world cup:

I don't want to even think about soccer right now. Or even look....

Hello Italy! Woof. Gawd I love this game.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Scarecrow's Bible and One Of These Things

I went to readings at Skylight Books in Hollywood last night for Martin Hyatt's A Scarecrow's Bible and D. Travers Scott's One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other. Poor guys. It's tough being billed against LA PRIDE. But they had a decent turn-out.

This is a picture of them trying to answer a stumper question from the audience. It wasn't so much a question as a meandering comment followed by, "What do you think about that?" I would have folded, but they gamely gave it a shot. (Evil me wanted to ask a completely off the wall question evoking Kafka, quantum theory, and Black Eyed Peas lyrics, just to see the guys sweat.)

Trav was, as usual, a joy to listen to, and fun to watch as well. His spoken word background shines through at his readings. Although we show up at some of the same things, this was the first chance I had to get my copy of his book signed.

It's always a great pleasure for me to tell writers how much I enjoy their work. I chatted a bit with Martin and realized that through some incredible quirk of fate, we were and Saints and Sinners and never saw each other. While that might not sound odd, consider that for an hour or so, I sat on the couch where he was sleeping. Well, I know him by sight now, so next year I'll know to wave at him from across the room, or to leave a note tucked into the cushions of the couch.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Women's Spirit

I took the niecelets down to Women's Spirit this morning so that we could get all wombmoony and feminine in a Wiccan environment. Or as they prefer to call it - shopping with Auntie Wallet. As tempting as the tarot decks and sage bundles are, I'm wary of treating anyone's religion as entertainment, so I take in the vibe, spend some money on art, and admire the religious stuff from a respectful distance.

The jacarandas are in bloom this time of year, and some neighborhoods in Long Beach have clouds of purple blossoms overhead.

I liked the hats. I didn't get a picture of it, but they had one of these wizard hats in black leather with a Harely Davidson badge on front. Too cool.

By now the niecelets know that there's nothing wrong with healthy curiosity, so they weren't shy about examining this piece for a while and proclaiming it, "all right, but the things carved in the pubes are a little weird." As for me, well, I like art that looks happy to see me too. I'm thinking towel rack. You know - functional as well as fun. Now all I have to do is convince the SO.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I Am A Bad, Bad, Bad Daughter

and a worse sister, but I'm okay with that.

I would try to explain my family, but I've learned that they're pretty much inexplicable. Just take my word for it that these are real people.

Pop retired a few years ago. From what, I'm not sure, because his job was so highly classified that he still supposedly can't talk about it. When he and his Nazi rocket scientist friends (Yes, actual German military rocket scientists whisked out of Europe at the end of WWII) used to hang out though, I heard the words "ordinance" and "payload" a lot, so I'm fairly sure he worked with things that went BOOM in a big way. Which may or may not explain my fascination with setting things on fire and blowing them up.

After he retired, Pop worked through a few interesting manias such as stalking Steven Spielberg via proxy, digging a wine cellar under his house in a reenactment of the movie The Great Escape, and reinventing laserscanners. Then he decided to become a writer. He is brilliant- in a mad scientist kind of way- but he's also a total ADD spacecadet with zero patience. So in the last year, while I've been proud to get five short stories into print anthologies and another five on Clean Sheets and ERWA, he's published twelve novels. Full. Length. Novels. Twelve of them. (Okay, you can quibble that they're actually 200 page sermons thinly disguised as fiction, but still...)

He's self-published. Big surprise there. Like most truly wretched writers, he's convinced that traditional publishers are somehow threatened by his talent. He spends hours on the phone with me lamenting that he'll never earn enough on his books to pay his publishing costs. Interesting conversations, considering that he has no idea that I write. Not that he pays any attention to anything I say, but I try hard not to betray my limited knowledge of the publishing world when we talk. I did suggest that perhaps he wanted to spend a few bucks on a copy editor the next time. A gentle nudge. Just a hint. Unfortunately, he decided that what I said was that I volunteered for the job. (Pop is under the delusion that no one musters out of his Army. If I go visit their house, he pounds on my bedroom door at 7AM sharp Saturday morning and hands me a list of my chores for the day.)

I started getting manuscripts in the mail. About one every three weeks. Because I have nothing better to do with my time than to read his stuff. (Unless I'm helping him to track down Steven Spielberg. Something I have yet to understand. Why was I the chosen one? What famous director stalking skills have I ever exhibited?)

I tried. I did. (Editing. Not stalking. Mr. Spielberg is safe from me wherever he is, and I DO NOT want to know where that might be.) I put on my editor's cap, cleared my schedule and my desk, and went to work for Pop. I got as far as the second page on one of his stories, but only because I love him. Otherwise, he lost me in the first sentence. What to do? I dumped the entire collection of manuscripts into a box and mailed them to my sister. I reminded Pop that he paid for her English Lit degree at an Ivy League School, so he might as well reap the rewards now. (Thank goodness that in a fit of parental wrath, he made me pay my own way through college. I own my diploma free and clear. Whew!)

I am a bad, bad, bad daughter. And my sister may never talk to me again. I've decided I'm okay with that. Because my only other choice was to light those manuscripts on fire and make them go BOOM!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Writing Exercise

I rarely post these, but what the heck. I can't write right now, and maybe some of you are suffering too. Word of caution here, this evolved from a conversation I had with Amie Evans at Saints and Sinners late at night and after my whateverth glass of wine, so this isn't meant to be serious.

If you write speculative fiction, you're in the business of asking, "What if" and then coming up with an answer. Even if you're a genre snob, come play along. "What if," bird flu makes the 1918 influenza pandemic pale in comparison? Your first thought might be big picture stuff, like the sweeping societal, political, and religious changes in Europe following the plague years. But your assignment is to think of the small ways things might change.

Let me give you a hint - this comes directly from my conversation with Amie- what are the two easiest ways to transmit a viral infection? By hand and by respiratory tract (mouth and nose). What's the easiest way to protect yourself from picking up a viral infection? Cover your hands, mouth, and nose while in public. Get the picture? Here's the question: What happens to fashion? Are we in for gloves and veils? And to what degree?

If fashion changes, manners will too. Don't think so? You might know the rules for removing your hat indoors, not that it comes up often nowadays, but do you know glove etiquette? Are you supposed to eat a formal meal with your opera gloves on or off? I bet you have no idea. Does peeling off your glove become a sign of aggression? Trust? Or great intimacy? Would staying covered offer you so much protection that people who loved you would insist that you remain covered, no matter how much you hated it? Would being covered imply cleanliness? Moral or physical? How about purity?

I know. I think about these things too much. But maybe you should too. Take an idea, push it to the point of absurdity, and then ask yourself "What If." And just as important - look at what exists around you, and ask, "How did it get to be that way?"

Monday, June 05, 2006

My World Cup Prediction

As much as I'd love to see the US win, I'm going to predict Brazil will win the World Cup. Choosing the #1 ranked team in the world, and a country that's won more times than any other, isn't as risky as picking a dark horse Cinderella-story team *coughAUSTRALIAcough* but I like the odds of being right. Besides, I prefer to watch the finesse style of Brazilian brand football versus the more forceful European play.

But if the US wins? I believed in them the entire way. That's my story.

Reading This Saturday!

Blog bud Trav sent me this: (and I'm so lazy I'm simply going to copy it)

"Come by Skylight Books this Saturday for my first L.A. reading from my novel,
One of These Things is Not Like the Other, a recent "Lammy" award
winner. I'll be reading with my pal Martin Hyatt, who is in town to promote
his new novel, The Scarecrow's Bible. Edmund White calls it "a stunning first
novel" and Minnie Bruce Pratt "a narrative tour-de-force." Come by Skylight this Saturday to check out how well my homicidal quadruplets go with Marty's Vietnam vet."

I read Scarecrow's Bible on the plane ride back from Saints and Sinners this year, which is kind of funny as I read Trav's book on the way back last year. Must be something in the air!

Both books are by Suspect Thoughts Press - my favorite publishers.

If you're in LA, come out for this. Skylight is a fantastic store, Trav is a sweetie (and a Lammy winner! Whoo-hoo!), Martin's book is a good read, and I'll always say howdy.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Getting Back to Work

While I claim I write every day, what I truly do is work on writing - be it business end, creative end, or social side - every day. I haven't been writing - as in creating stories and typing them into my computer - since April.

This happens every year. I get into my reading cycle, which is nice, good, and necessary. I devour stacks of books I purchased months ago but haven't been able to open. But then suddenly it's June and I still can't seem to write, and I start getting antsy.

I don't consider this writer's block. Ideas aren't a problem. I just don't feel like working on the ones I have. Stories hang in my head, waiting for an Aha! moment that won't come. If I force it, I know I'll write crap, so I don't try. The problem is that it IS June, and while I supposedly swore off writing for submission, there are two calls right now that I very much want to submit stories to, and they both have a June 30th deadline. Yikes. Part of me says, "Let it go." Another part says, "Get working, and it will come."

So I'm going to break my TV taboo and watch a couple pre-World Cup friendlies and then go to the bookstore. Indulging my laziness might not solve my problem, but hey, I'm willing to give it a shot.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Current Reading Stack

Rode Hard and Put Away Wet - anthology edited by Sacchi Green and Rakelle Valencia

Valencia - Michelle Tea

100th Generation - Justine Saracen

Earth Logic - Laurie Marks

An Army of Davids - Glen Renyolds

Travels With Lizabeth - Lars Eighner

I'm waiting for:

Sweet Son of Pan
- Trebor Healey

and my contributor's copies of

Amazons: Sexy Tales of Strong Women


Inside Him

because I always like to see how very lucky I was that my story made the cut.