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, October 31, 2012

Blog Delayed Due to Shoot

The Blog will be delayed until sometime tomorrow or Friday. I have a very long delayed shoot for The Secret Cancer tomorrow in our humble abode. I am thus running around like a loon and terribly worried about said abode being too humble for our honorable guest. Ah, well. What can you do. I did come up with a scathingly brilliant idea for nibbles. But that's for the blog.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Liotta Again, Actors Galore and Updates

Ray Liotta is back. Craig has reported several sightings. He called me Tuesday night to report finding 'the Liotta' parked in a car eating a frozen yogurt. It was after 10pm and the yogurt shop was closed. That isn't really unusual behavior as far as actors are concerned. I wonder if Craig thinks 'the Liotta' is shadowing him while developing a new bit for his acting. I don't think he is. They are both Jersey raised snack loving organisms. 'veI actually witnessed the man buying snacks on more than one occasion. It would stand to reason that they would cross paths fairly often. That part of town is fairly small and somewhat cut off from the rest of the city. Though I could easily be wrong. I once did an interview with an actor while I was still on the east coast. All the while, he was learning the accent and mannerisms of my writing partner. He had a very serious Philly accent and some peculiar mannerisms. He could mimic them perfectly after a very short while. Craig is a fascinating individual. The Liotta could be observing him. I still think it's a snack thing.

This week has been better than last week on the whole. I've been able to clear out a lot of stuff from the dreaded inbox, and the apartment is back in order from the trip. I need to knock out a couple more things before I can get back to my fiction writing, I think I'll get those done before next week. I hope. It looks good for getting it done at the moment. Why the uncertainty? Things keep coming up that I'm not expecting.

Actor Interactions and Reactions

I am most often asked about my interaction with actors by people on the East Coast. I've detailed encounters with the famous and infamous in my blog. It was routine when Jon and I worked on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. My favorite moment was when Barbara Streisand admired a button I was wearing. It read 'Strip Him, Bath Him and Bring Him to My Tent.' She said that I had the right idea about men. A close second was waiting on Patrick Stewart – twice. I almost jacked up a co-worker to get to him. And I had a really nice chat with James Cameron while helping him shop for non-fiction. He needed reading material when he was 'unemployed' after Titanic. I understand that Ted Danson looked for me for a year after I left Borders Books. Somehow, I became his personal shopper. He was very nice, so I did take the time to pull the books on his lists and ring him up. That service also kept bedlam to a minimum in the store when tourists figured out who he was.

Currently, my encounters are in supermarkets or drug stores when they are usually in my way. It's funny, young actors that I know are from CW shows try to hide who they are. They do that even in areas that tourists rarely go – like the markets in Marina Del Rey near here. This is really an area for locals. But they hide behind their dark sunglasses and hats with big brims. That makes them more noticeable to me. And I don't care who they are as they are usually in my way. I've seen a number of older actors that I recognize from shows I followed in my youth. They make sure that they are seen. I always get a bright smile when I give them that 'hey I know you' smile and nod. Sometimes, I'll make a point to quietly tell them that I always loved their work.

The upshot to all of that yammering is that I am seldom star struck. My reaction when I spot a celebrity is 'Is this person going to inconvenience me? And how badly?' When you factor in the fact that I hire and work with actors, my view of them is vastly different from when I lived in Philly. They are fun and often funny. Even those that aren't leading male or female pretty have very attractive personalities. I'm not unaffected by that. After all, I have to basically fall in love with actors that I cast as a writer and producer. By and large, they are a pleasure to be around. Even the ones that have turned up at our place in the wee small hours of the morning are entertaining in some fashion. I do like how those young, studly men can be out of their pants in an instant. A fine trait, I must admit.

Still doesn't capture the pecs or the biceps!
The actors in my regular orbit are either those who are climbing the ladder to regular gigs or those who've been working steadily and are recognized but fans don't approach them on the street. I find that the actors we remain closest to are also writers and producers. There are exceptions, but that is the typical situation. Yesterday, I had lunch with one such actor. The encounter reflects our creative relationship with industry people out here. Ryohei (ree-oh-hay) is an actor-writer-director-producer. That is a lot of hats, but he's a young man. We got to know Ryohei when he came to work for me on my 'Cook Like a Uke' series. He is adorable which is why I cast him. And he could act and cook. I had such a great experience with him that I was pleased to read a script he wrote. Jon and I thought it was awesome. We gave him notes, and I'm going to teach him how to do a business plan for the film. The lunch yesterday was a send-off/planning session. Ryohei is returning to Japan where he has some really great plans for the script and some great connections to make a production happen. We laid the groundwork for what would happen with that script and made plans for him to continue doing cooking videos for me from there. I'll be putting up the first video we shot in the next couple of weeks. We've forged many creative relationships out here where we've learned as much as we've shared. These ties have really inspired us and kept us moving forward. Ryohei is one of those inspiring people that I sense will have an amazing career with the right break. He is also absolutely adorable! The servers kept fluttering over him during lunch. I couldn't blame them. There are times when I think 'if I were younger,' 'if I was single,' if I weren't so danged ethical.' People close to me that are familiar with how very naughty my writing is are surprised that I'm not consumed by those thought in the face of such temptation. Those thoughts crossed my mind for an instant during lunch. Then, I chuckled at myself and got back to my inbox.


By Monday, I will be clear of all my writing/editing obligations save for my fiction! I don't think I'll know what to do with myself! I have a great deal of new marketing duties for Sybaritic Press and my Titles that we're trying. But that should only take a few hours a week. Sybaritic Press, as I have mentioned, has a Facebook Page. Please, like us and post reviews of our titles. The link is here: https://www.facebook.com/SybariticPress. Much more is upcoming!

Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Long Waits, Longer Roads and Updates

I don't like to complain. My friends often fuss at me, because they may not hear that I'm having problems until they are very dire and there is the running and the screaming. Last week was different. I was actually complaining without being en route to thee ER. I had good reason.

Long Road to Long Beach

The convention went well, but the week did not go well for me. I've got some new and tiresome variations on problems from the nerve damage chemo left behind in my feet. It was a very painful week compounded by mix ups and confusion at my Doc's office. Those were no one's fault, but the delays left me with a lot work that needed to be done before the convention and almost no time to finish. Boy howdy, my stress levels were through the roof and headed for orbit. Not going to Long Beach was out of the question. I think the stress the guilt over the loss money and not fulfilling my obligations would have been far worse. I don't think I have been as freaked out in a single week since my last surgery. And still, I had to look the part of the writer/editor/publisher in an environment where I was listed as an industry professional. Somewhere in all of the mayhem that I absolutely had to get a handle on, I had to make enough time to give myself a professional polish. Men have it easy. Jon got a haircut, and he was done. It was the same thing when we went to the Cannes Film Market. A haircut and a tux and a few shirts. He was food for a week for formal events. I needed five gowns and the accessories to go with them. Arrrgh! So, I HAD to find time for a facial and get a hot soak while shaving things. I HAD to make sure I had my hair in shape enough that I could easily style on the road. Oh, and crazy me, also decided to make a Japanese confection I've never made – mochi  – to give to special people. I am out of my mind.

I'd love to say that once I arrived at the hotel, everything became magical and joyful. Not so much. There was a convenient but long and arduous trip to the convention moving over 100 lbs of luggage (It was on wheels. Don yell at me). I got lost once I reached the station on the train. The hotel was across from the stop, but the signage was on the opposite side of the building from the stop. I walked in the other direction for some blocks before flagging a cab who took pity on me. Then there was some unpleasantness at check in that left me so irritated that along with the post visit survey the company was silly enough to send me, there will be an eyebrow singe worthy Yelp Review http://t.co/Fsuk8MdL. I didn't start to relax until after the first panel was over. A lot of really cool stuff happened at Yaoi-con 2012. The full report is here: http://www.sybpressyaoi.com/2012/10/paddles-panels-and-yaoi-con-2012.html. It's huge and full of great photos and stories about my surprising fans. So cool!

One of the best moments of the weekend was getting to catch up with one of our Privateers pals. Back then, we called her Skyia. Now, she is Laura. She is still the amazing woman of incredible height and the most gentle of voices. I was really concerned that we wouldn't be able to find the time to even grab a cup of coffee. As is the way of conventions, time never rolls out the way it is originally planned. And then, there was my energy levels at the end of the day to worry about. Luckily, we were able to carve out an hour on Saturday to grab a beer and a bite. We had almost a decade to get caught up on, but it was a relaxed encounter. Though trained as a Marine Engineer, Laura is currently a massage therapist and quite a gifted healer. She made Jon's knee feel better in five minutes, and it still feels good! I am working toward getting her up here with a massage table or going back to Long Beach to visit hers. I've had a massage or two since this whole medical ordeal began. They've always made me feel better. Given Laura's skill, I'd bet I'll feel awesome. I really want to feel awesome. I'd also like to spend more than an hour with a really neat person that has been missing from my life for far too long.

Inbox Update
The magna pile is dwindling down. I have less than 50 pages on the current book to edit. That leaves one more title in the pipeline. The team has agreed that we are going to get that done and approved before signing up for another one. Jon and I have outlined the script for the web series. I'll start work on that in earnest this weekend. I have a couple of important interviews to tape next week. I'll talk more about those after they happen. I don't want to jinx them.

Sybaritic Press finally has a Facebook page! Join us for updates and announcements.  https://www.facebook.com/SybariticPress?ref=hl

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Nuns and Wapners and Lots of Busy

There was a nun in full penguin regalia in the jury pool with me on Tuesday. It never occurred to me that nuns could be called in for jury duty. It really never occurred to me that a nun would own an iphone. I really wanted to get a peek at the game she was playing, but it was awkward trying to get a look. She kept giving me the once over. I could tell from her expression that she knew I'd gone to Catholic school. They can tell, you know. I don't actually mind jury duty. It's usually a great opportunity to read. The only thing that's annoying is getting called for a panel. It usually means a second day of service. I don't mind that either, but I never get picked. There are too many connections to law enforcement in my life (My father was a cop and I worked out of a police district for a few years).

The person giving us our orientation was a Judge Wapner. Really. He is the son of the original Peoples Court judge. Judge Wapner put a new slant on the usual speech about civic duty though he did make sure to mention that Jury service is one of the very few things our government requires of its citizens. Judge Wapner evoked a tried and true TV Crime drama ploy where the DA comes into a conference room, declaring that there is a jury ready to hear a trial. If the defendant wants a deal, he'd better make it there an now. Judge Wapner said writers could never use that were it not for people showing up for jury duty. That got some chuckles. Only in LA would script ideas be used as a good reason for jury duty. I didn't get picked for a panel, so it was just one day. That was a relief. I envisioned having to rush home from downtown to get the suitcases and rush back out to get to Long Beach. A nightmare, I tell you. Fortunately, that's one I get to avoid. There are many more to get past before Friday.

Inbox Again

This week, the inbox is mostly in the background as I get my act together for Yaoi-con. I even more jazzed about this convention than I was last year, because it's practically in my own backyard. Not that going to San Francisco wasn't fun. It was great to know that I could still fly on a plane without real difficulty. However, not flying saves a whole lot of money and time. I'd rather keep the air fare to spend on stuff at the convention itself. Besides, because of the convention schedule, I didn't actually get to see any of San Francisco. Another great perk to being close is that I can see friends there that were unlikely to travel that far to get there specialty geek on. So there will be some extra friendly faces about. Nice!

Convention Time!

I have three panels at this Yaoi-con. Details about each panel and other upcoming excitement can be found at this link: http://www.sybpressyaoi.com/2012/10/yaoi-con-2012-preview.html. I am very pleased to be listed as an Industry Professional for one of the panels. I will be representing the freelancers or localizers from the Digital Manga Guild in a recruitment panel. While I am very pround of being a fangirl, and I don't hesitate to make that known, it's gratifying to be recognized as a professional. I've been working very hard to be thought of as one.

I have to blitz through some editing of the latest manga script before I finish my panel presentations. I'm trying to do them all in Power Point, but this 'easy' program is making me crazy. I always have issues with programs that are supposed to be fool proof. There is never a template that really fits my needs or my themes nor is there a function to really let me do my own thing. I'm going to give the program one more go before I make my own slide show. I have so much that has to be finished by Thursday night.

I will be taking lots of photos, and this time, I may even do some videos.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Book Fair Cometh and Updates!

I had been concerned about keeping up physically during the West Hollywood Book Fair. I had visions of being unable to do anything more than sit while poor Marie was left to scurry about keeping the booth supplied with water and ice or luring potential customers. Though my medical tests are all looking good, my new normal includes a lot of physical challenges. My making any kind of appointment or commitment is still very much a leap of faith on my part. I never know until some time after I've been up and about whether I can actually go anywhere or do anything beyond my sofa. Fortunately, I was doing well – and on very little sleep.

Sybpress in the Park was a successful return to Book 
Fairs. We sold all but one copy of our newest title, Alternate Lanes: An Anthology of Travel Using Alternate Transportation in the City of Angels. We had 30 copies! My books were selling in sets of two or entire collections. I chatted up Indie publishers like the brilliant and eclectic Full Metal Orgasm anthologies and indie events like Bent-con with anyone who paused for more than a second. I have a vast collection of cards from folks with their own causes or authors who think Sybpress looked like a good option for publication. We had not done any sort of Book Fair for years, so I think it was great to find that we still knew how to work a booth and a crowd. However, the day was not without it's challenges. There was Carmaggeddon 2: The Sequel closing major parts of the 405 freeway. And then, to add to the traffic problems, there was a triathlon that closed a lot of city streets during parts of the day making travel on the Westside a real nightmare. We all had a far too entertaining a time getting to the park to set up. And these inexplicably coinciding events likely thinned out the crowd. But what really impacted the turnout and our own experience was the punishing heat. The Book Fair provided large gazebos that had panels on all three sides, but the sunlight filled ours in the morning, thoroughly heating it to the point where bread could bake. Thus, when we were out of the sun, the booth remained sweltering. We went through our water quickly. The cans of cold sodas were ingeniously used to cool down certain body parts (see above). Days like this are why I hate bras. They collect heat and moisture. Jon dislikes them for his own reasons which I won't go into. At any rate, we had to go foraging for an electric fan during one of the ice and water runs. That fan was a godsend. It made the booth bearable for the rest of the day. Despite the heat and traffic madness, it was a good day. It was great to meet all the poets and writers who contributed to Alternate Lanes. It was great to connect with old friends like Phil McNamara who was a rock star in drawing passersby to the booth. And, as always, it was delightful to have Sunshine Lliteras about. She was also very kind to get Jon and I home with all of our paraphernalia, including the electric fan. After this, I believe we are in excellent shape to run a booth at the upcoming Bent-con. We are even considering taking a big step and going for a booth at the LA Times Festival of Books next spring!

Meanwhile, the Book Fair Sales continue through Bent-con in December. For discounts on our titles of up to 30%, including tax and shipping, click here: http://sybpress.com/bookfairsale.htm .

Inbox Update

Even before we packed up for the Book Fair, I had made quite a dent in that danged inbox of doom. By this evening, I'll have submitted the last of the unscheduled manga scripts I took on. The Letterer on my team was working on these books with a different editor. That editor had to leave the project, so I stepped in right on top of the deadline. That was fun. With that out of my hair, there is only the manga already in the pipeline. My plan is to be rid of that by the weekend, so I can focus on the three power point presentations I have to finish for Yaoi-con. I only planned on doing two panels, but strange things happen during web conferences, it seems. Meanwhile, Jon is finally working on editing the Demonspawn web series teaser trailer. In a perfect world, I would like that to go live before we leave for Yaoi-con, but we are most likely losing all day Saturday to some work being done on our apartment complex. Past experience tells us that it is best to get out of the building until the dust settles. So, that is what we'll be doing. After Yaoi-con, I can focus on my fiction once again -- until Bent-con. Just kidding. I'm going to do my panel presentations for that while I'm working on the ones for Yaoi-con. My readers have been patient (HA!), and I need to get back on track. I'm  far happier when I can do even a few pages of writing a day.

I'll detail exactly what I'm doing on this year's Yaoi-con panels as well as update the status on the novels next week.

Stay tuned!