Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Provocative Questions, Saucy Answers and Updates

 BREAKING NEWS! Craig was in my local library today. That was surreal but lots of fun. Apparently, he did usually pull partons over the counter for a big hug while sounding like Elvis. 'Gimme some sugar.' That sort of thing. We also had an earthquake in our neighborhood. According to the maps on the news, we were almost on top of the epicenter. It was fast, but it did feel like the building had been picked up and dropped. Still, I went right back to sleep. We are such Californians.

Reader Questions
I get interesting questions all the time. The theme of the most recent ones have been 'You don't talk about x anymore. Are you still doing that?' I seldom completely abandon a practice or an idea. Usually, when I stop talking about something in the blog, it's because I've hit a dull patch with said activity. I mean, I don't know if my readers want to hear me wine about every time the bread doesn't come out right or how the macarons are mocking me after the many failed attempts. Yes, they are mocking me, especially the supermarket macarons. I am still learning Japanese. Some very kind friends have gifted me with the two major audio learning systems that I use along with the books. The audio has done wonders with my pronunciation. The manga has done wonders with my kanji reading. I'm recognizing more and more on my own. My favorite question from a reader about my learning Japanese was 'Am I tempted to say Anjin-san after I say Konnichi wa (good afternoon). I must admit that I really have to fight saying Konnichi wa, Anjin-san to that poor supermarket clerk at Mitsuwa market. He's just stopped being afraid of helping me. I think that is because he understands the words coming out of my mouth. Okay, folks, that's two pop culture references in one paragraph. No one knew who I was referring to in the blog covering the Green Eyed Monster a couple of weeks ago. The character was a homunculus called Envy from Fullmetal Alchemist. I don't know how you all didn't know that. :) Anjin-san was the name given to Richard Chamberlain's character by the Shogun in James Clavell's Shogun. The upshot is that I'm still studying and practicing and trying to to be irreverent to people who wouldn't get it..

Yoga is another matter. I still do the warm-up exercises, but I didn't take to practice as a whole. I was still dealing with pain issues when I started. Perhaps, due to that, I kept thinking that I was injuring myself even with the mildest of the movement. Tai Chi was suggested to me as an alternative by the clinician providing acupuncture. While looking into it, I discovered that very elderly people with all manner of aliments practice the martial art without hurting themselves. I've seen reports that indicate that Tai Chi can reverse a lot of conditions that cause pain. The I've just begun learning the routines, but I am feeling an impact from just the warm ups.

Dormant Books?

I think the single biggest surprise I've had during the months and months I've been home is that I still have to fight to find time to write fiction. Before I was discharged from the hospital, I was plotting stories and contemplating a very ambitious publishing schedule. Well, that was silly. Even if I set aside all the physical things profoundly slowing my output, there were the hours and hours of phone work to keep my insurance from becoming a mess and other bureaucratic craziness from overwhelming us. Those problems are not  as frequent, but now there are other obligations to my business partners or the people who give me freelance work. Promoting any independent project is a time devouring monster. Spending time with my own characters is very difficult for me to justify on any given day. Today, for instance, I have to finish this blog and move on to a trailer script that I need to get out in a few days.

All of the above is an explanation for why some books I'd hoped would be long out are still in various states of undress as it were. And then, there is a problem common to writers. Characters from one project will be speaking more clearly to me than those in another project. Even though I started one book long before the other, this can happen. It did happen with Ensnared. Lord Darius Galetea is the most arrogant character I have ever written. He is even more arrogant than Simon Molinar which he proved when he shouldered his way past A Soldier's Destiny for my attention. Granted, I was having trouble meshing Simon with my more established characters, Rik and Vincent. But Darius is one of those super hot bad boys that is impossible to ignore. He is still vying for another book. Not right now, milord. I've figured out what was going wrong with the narrative in this Soldier's book. And I have a hard deadline. That helps a lot, it seems. I'm getting a whole lot more fiction out since we decided to get a booth at the West Hollywood Bookfair. I also intend to finish the Vincent Greven Cookbook that I started years ago. I think my problem with writing a cookbook is that I never thought of myself as someone who had original recipes. That has changed markedly since I began that book. I've also been given a great deal of information from cookbook authors and food bloggers on how to attribute a recipe from another cook in my book. This book is a giveaway for people who have purchased my yaoi titles. I am thinking of writing a cookbook for myself, but that's still in the pondering stage.

There is one more project that's been gathering dust for a number of years. That was a script about at Dominant/submissive relationship between a powerful businessman and a woman he had known since she was a child. It's called The Proposal. I began writing it in response to a very bad film about such relationships. The film never found a distributor, so I won't mention the title. However, with all the stuff and nonsense over the idiotic 50 Shades of Gray, I feel that I must respond. My leading lady is as powerful as the Dominant in many ways in this book. I want to show that you can have as hot and kinky a read with a real exchange of power and true informed consent. Irritation and a deadline make for some swift but always thoughtful writing. It also helps that I had a full treatment and half a script. I hope it will be finished. The cut off is four to six weeks before the event to make sure we have print copies for the table. If not, I will provide free sample chapters in a booklet and online.

So the answer is that I have no dormant books. I am working on all of them more diligently. If all holds as it has, I should have most of them published by the end of September. Thanks for the questions. Keep them coming!

Personal Update

Next week, I'm scheduled to have tests to see if I am still in remission. Wednesday is the CT scan which means a long and not so pleasant day. Thus, it's not likely there will be a blog on Wednesday. I should be in full paranoid panic mode by Sunday. It may be sooner. Everything points to my being fine. Panicking is just a thing I do.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Big Plant, Cloaks, Daggers and Wild Manga

Jon called the tomato plant a triffid recently. While I'll concede that it does seem to loom over us, I don't think it's ready to walk out the door in a quest to take over the world. I have grown suspicious of the plant as it's only produced one smallish tomato. There have been several buds that haven't produced anything. I may have to rethink unleashing the bees in our apartment. Though I have had a suggestion involving a q-tip that doesn't sound too strange. I may give that a go first. I think the encouraging thing is that I haven't killed the plant or the supermarket thyme plant. That has been very productive and useful for a whole number of applications. I may get some more herbs for the window sill. While I am very proud of my foreboding tomato plant, I am really loving the heirloom tomatoes that are in season at the Culver Farmer's Market. Oh yes, I really do shop there before hitting that hotel bar for the martinis. All of the stalls have some lovely varieties that are wither sweet or tart. I have some really nice green ones that I plan to fry for lunch this very day. I am also loving that the produce I'm getting from there is staying fresh for a week or more. Makes me really wonder how old that stuff in the super markets is.

Cloak and Dagger

I know it seems like I am a bit of a blabbermouth with all the sharing or even over sharing of the intricate minutia on developing web series or the naughty things that have turned up on my Facebook page as I was searching for items to give away at the Bookfair or online. The fact is that on any given day, 90% of the mayhem in my life cannot go beyond a very small circle of people. It makes the blog quite challenging some time. I can't reveal what may be causing me consternation over my writing malaise as it may violate three or four confidences. Even the manga can be a challenge to blog about as I'm not allowed to be specific about the title until our work until the book is at a certain point in the pipeline. No matter how crazy the book is making me, I can only talk about it in the most vague terms possible. I mean, I can – and do – complain about research mystic Buddhist incantations, but I can't tell you why. Sorry about that. However, I am free to tell you about the second Manga I worked on for the Digital Manga Guild. You can read about the super crazy and super funny Wild Boyfriend and why it was too hot for Kindle to handle. Just click the following link: http://www.sybpressyaoi.com/2012/07/sakiras-white-hot-wild-boyfriend-is.html. It may seem silly to be so secretive. I'm not so full of myself to equate my blog with TMZ, but it is frightening how gossip can get around. You just don't know how someone is connected to someone else. Jon and I never discuss any of our scripts anywhere buy home or if we're on the street with no one about. I've been cautioned about who I talk to about certain projects when I was just home from surgery and completely housebound. It's taken that seriously. It's a drag, because I love to gossip. The leeway would also make explaining the various and sundry wackiness in my life a whole lot easier.

So, I've been housebound this week working on these many things I can't talk about. My plan is to clear my inbox of the most pressing of the tasks. This will leave me free from everything creatively save for the books and the manga. That sounds like I'm crazy. How are books – plural – easy. Well, I have them finished in my mind. I just need a stretch of time to type out what I'm seeing in my mind. I'm so certain that I will meet those deadlines that I have the covers in the works. I just have to clear the decks to have at it. At this writing, the decks are halfway cleared. I remain fairly focused despite all these cable channels and all the interweb enticements. I also think the work is getting done faster, because I haven't been inspired very much culinary-wise. I'm getting a lot of great produce and fruit. It doesn't need much in the way of cooking. I'm still annoyed from the baking mishap with the macarons, so I haven't been keen to bake. I'm sure the urge will return when I free up some time, or I get really hungry for something fun.

The ones I can share will be on the specialized blogs. I will post to those over the weekend.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On Writer Friendships and the Green Eyed Monster

Despite my recent rants over 50 Shadesof Gray  and the one over nasty and somewhat libelous reviews of my last yaoi title , I have accepted that being a writer comes with a significant amount of frustration. I get that the peaks are few and far between for most of us, and the valleys can be fathomless, depressing places. I have had a compulsion to write since I was a young child, and the writing gives me a great deal of personal satisfaction.

As a writer and as a filmmaker, I like to be generous with anything that I can offer. I am very much a Golden Rule kind of person. I look to other writers or filmmakers to give me advice or a reference or an inside tip. I have been gifted by such help at every stage of my career. The give and take of my ever growing circle of creative friends has help me with my craft and has introduced me to many influential people. All of this means that I have a lot of close friends who toil in the arts with the hopes of either making a living or living really large. They are all talented and generous souls whom I consider myself privileged to know.

It was Halloween and the Jackson were very popular.
That said, there is always a ying to the yang. I can't speak for my fellow writers, my confidence is not as absolute as it may appear. In many ways, my creative ego is fragile. There have been many occasions when I've read some work written by a friend that makes me truly believe that I am wasting my time with all these scribblings. There are other times when friends have won major awards or The feeling is fleeting, because the compulsion and the fundamental arrogance I have about my writing is all consuming. Oh, how can I be arrogant and have a fragile ego? Let's just say that that state of being is not just the domain of actors. What am I going on about, I sure you wonder. Well, one of my very close, writer friends, Tracey Wilson, suddenly moved to LA. She was hired to be on the writing staff of a new network show a few weeks ago. Several things went through my brain as I read that email. Things like 'How the hairy heck?' and 'WTF' and I think that ahooga car horn sound. Then, I shrugged figuring that she had one hell of a story about how that happened (and she did) and went about trying to find her a good sublet on short notice. I also found that I was very excited that Tracey and I would be in the same city. That hasn't happened in decades. I have missed her arid dry observations and deadly sense of humor. This is an awesome development for her and it'll be great to renew our friendship.

Big geek points for knowing who this is.
No one likes to admit being bitten by the green eyed monster, especially not where good friends are concerned. But I am trying to be honest as I can about the joys and pitfalls of being a writer. I was relieved – but not surprised – that I wasn't alone. A few of my friends have admitted to the occasional bite as well. To their credit, that hasn't derailed their creativity or their friendships. I have an extraordinary circle of creative friends that grows both bigger and closer each passing year. Thank goodness, because I think I get crazier with each passing year. I need all the help I can get.

Rise of the Sybaritic Press

Along with some new titles coming out this fall, we are pleased to announce the return of Sybaritic Press to the West Hollywood Book Fair in late September! We have a lot of new titles in fiction and non-fiction that we are very excited about, and a number of our talented authors will be doing readings and/or signings. There will be a lot of great giveaways. And you don't have to be in LA to get some of the giveaways. I will be running contests on this blog and the others so that all my readers have a shot at them. More details will follow until you are all really sick of hearing about it as the event gets closer.

There will be more updates on my other blogs, but I will post links here.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Anime Expo and My Vida Loca

I can't say that I lead a double life. I'd say that there are many facets to my life. For each facet, there are circles of friends and associates. Then, there is the facet of my family and friends from back east and down south. For the most part, the facets rarely intersect. There is the odd occasion that one group will start chatting on Facebook with another group while commenting on something I posted or commented on. That is intriguing and sometimes scary. On Tuesday, I was checking my email on my phone and noticed that my in-laws were commenting on something Gabriel posted. Since his posts can get, shall we say, provocative and profane, this was deeply puzzling and worrisome. Jon's exact reaction was ohcrapohcrapohcrap! As it turned out, Gabriel had posted photos from the birthday party on his Facebook page. I think anyone can look at my page as it is public, so you can check them out here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3521712325953.2125064.1366419070&type=3 . Meanwhile, I really love this photo of me and Jon.

Photo courtesy of AX
At any rate, last weekend, a few facets of my life intersected. The fangirl, the writer, and the producer sides of my life converged at Anime Expo(AX), a huge convention that celebrates all things anime as well as manga and gaming. My primary mission was not to chase the cute and barely dressed cosplay boys. There are too many 'laws' about 'lewdness' and such. I was mainly there to meet the nice people I do freelance editing for at Digital Manga. Before Saturday, I only knew them via e-mail and the bi-weekly teleconference. The secondary mission was to visit my favorite webcomic authors who are behind the beautifully drawn and ever so naughty Teahouse Webcomic. I had another mission with Digital Manga. I was hoping to introduce Wendi Pini to someone in authority. We happened upon the President of the company. Of course, Ms. Pini introduced herself in Japanese. I thought about using my limited Japanese while introducing myself and telling him how much I enjoy working for DMG. But Japanese is a language with many types of speech from the very formal to the ultra casual. I couldn't remember in that instance if the greeting I was about to use was the appropriate level of formality. It could easily be a greeting that only yaoi characters would use. That would be a very rude thing to say to this friendly but clearly serious businessman. In the end, I greeted him in formal English. The encounter went very well, and he didn't even know about the big bag of cookies I brought to the booth. Hey, I know how to make an impression.

Gilder and Linneus
Cosplay and comic Linneus
After that, there were fangirl matters to attend to. This was not as easy as I thought it would be. The crowds were enormous, so it was difficult to browse the booths. There was always someone pressing you forward or backward. Unfortunately, it was never one of those shirtless young men in the tiny shorts pressing us. That would have been awesome. I did get to have a very nice visit at the Teahouse booth. I got a rose from the lovely Linneus in the flesh. Teahouse is a webcomic about a bordello filled with incredibly beautiful male and female employees. I discovered it while following yaoi related links. It's a naughty but very funny comic that has even inspired me to write the story The Companion for Full Metal Orgasm, a cyber sexpunk magazine out of Japan (Warning! This is some really racy stuff) . To thank them for their marvelous work, I brought them cookies. I walked away with a beautiful poster and an adorable key chain of my favorite character and inspiration, Gilder. I basically gushed at the ladies about how fabulous they were. I seldom get to be so silly. It was great fun.

In the midst of all of this and trying to find a Cthulhu plus toy, my friend Marie from my writing and retails world was hob nobbing with the legendary Wendy Pini and getting on rather well. It was neat to have two women I greatly admire hitting it off. One never knows if friends will mix well together. Believe me. I have the battle scars from the bad dinner parties to prove it. I now tend to entertain in small groups. But I digress.

This week, I'm handing in a pilot Jon and I have been working on for months. I want it out of my inbox before volume two of the latest manga series turns up. I also have some other projects that must be done before September. Many of the details on these projects are in my other blogs. In the yaoi blog, I'm talking about writing with music and the latest Soldier's title. You can find that here: http://sybpressyaoi.com. For updates on the web series go here: http://demonspawntales.blogspot.com/ .

Stay tuned!