Archive for August, 2011

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Claudia says: Or, why you should register for SCWC LA9

August 31, 2011

Claudia WhitsittYes, friends, there is still time to register for the Ninth Annual Southern California Writers’ Conference, Los Angeles edition, a.k.a. LA9. And if our friend Claudia Whitsitt doesn’t mind, I would like to borrow a little of this and a pinch of that, and perhaps a dash of something else in order to explain to you just why you should be signing up for “the best writers’ conference EVER!

(Isn’t that sweet? Thank you so much, Claudia. I’m certain MSG is smiling. And if not, we’ll try the stapler.)

Why, you ask? The first time I attended this conference, I was scared to death. My knees rattled, my breathing arrested, my heart clutched inside my chest. I was a newbie. What the hell did I know about writing? But then, at the opening session, Michael Steven Gregory, the head of the conference, spoke in his loud announcer-like voice, reassuring me and the rest of the writers in the room that we would SUCK LESS at writing after having attended this conference. His humor and his honesty relaxed us all. And we remained hopeful, that as we tread in these unventured waters, we’d learn how to swim.

He encouraged us to network, and challenged us to introduce ourselves to someone new. He told us that the best networking happens in the bar. I took his advice and found that he was right. While it’s true that I might spend a little more time there now than I should, I’ve also made some of the best connections, cultivated some of the best friendships and met some of the most talented people I could ever hope to meet.

I should also mention that this is where I met my publisher, Karen Syed of Echelon Press, and where I entered my essay in the SCWC/Hummingbird Review contest and … WON! I’m not trying to toot my own horn here, just share with you the wonderful things that can happen at SCWC.

I mean, really. I don’t think if we were to throw together a late-night infomercial that I could script a testimony like that.

So come on. What have you got to lose? I mean, who doesn’t want to suck less?

SCWC LA9 is slated for September 23-25, in Newport Beach. Be there. Really. Or I’ll have to send Claudia with the stapler.

(Claudia Whitsitt is the author of The Wrong Guy, published by Echelon Press.)

-bd

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A sordid kind of love

August 30, 2011

Ah, Edwin.

As our sordid barman wrestles with his own vanity, one commenter offers the sort of compliment that only a writer can love:

You’re not ugly. But you do kind of look like the love child of Waylon Jennings and Louis CK.

(Sorry, man. I just couldn’t resist.)

-bd

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Reminder of sorts

August 30, 2011

SCWC LA 9You know … there is still time to register for the Ninth Annual Southern California Writers’ Conference Los Angeles gathering. And why should you? Well, check our news and announcements page, which can say it so much better than I can. Or have a peek at the LA 9 staff and schedule to see how we’re hoping it all plays out.

MSG in BlueC’mon … sign up. Don’t make MSG sad. I even borrowed his Facebook picture. Because he’s smiling. He smiles when he’s happy, and you’ll see his smiling face if you sign up and make your way to Newport Beach for the Ninth Annual Southern California Writers Conference, Los Angeles edition. Or, as we like to call it, LA 9.

Be there, or … er … uh … yeah. Be there.

-bd

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NASA, Tor/Forge aiming for inspiration

August 28, 2011

Joe Bergeron - Saturn Ring ParticlesWhat, with wars, earthquakes, hurricanes, and the like afoot, one can certainly be forgiven if this NASA press release slipped by unnoticed:

In an effort to introduce, inform and inspire readers about NASA, the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. has partnered with Tor-Forge Books to develop and publish a series of science-fiction-themed books.

Referred to as “NASA Inspired Works of Fiction,” these books will be based on concepts pertinent to current and future agency missions and operations.

“Ultimately this agreement will benefit the public, as we look for innovative ways to communicate our past and current achievements, while focusing on the needs of the future,” said Nona Cheeks, who directs Goddard’s Innovative Partnerships initiatives.

Many people who work in science and technology often credit science fiction as a significant inspiration for their career choices. The enormous popularity of science fiction is a key element in this collaboration to make the books a gateway to the general public and generate awareness of the significant role NASA plays in our everyday live.

NASA will pair scientists and engineers with Tor-Forge writers to help raise awareness and enhance public interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). NASA’s goal is to attract and retain students focused on STEM studies, strengthening the agency and the nation’s future workforce.

Hmm … I think it’s Asimov’s The Martian Way I’m thinking of, but I can’t find the particular volume among the pathetically disorganized shelves and piles of books that presently constitute my library.

You know the one I mean. Or not.

Never mind.

Dust off your imaginations, and look to the sky.

-bd

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Happy Birthday, Ray Bradbury!

August 22, 2011

Ray BradburyHappy ninety-first birthday, Mr. Bradbury.

Thank you.

No bad rice for you, sir.

-bd

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Redeem this review

August 21, 2011

A completely worthless article: Maria Popova’s review of Brain Culture: Neuroscience and Popular Media:

Phrenology ChartWhat makes Thornton’s take most compelling is the lucidity with which she approaches exactly what we know and don’t know about the brain. Every day, we’re bombarded with exponentially replicating headlines about new “sciences” like neuromarketing, which, despite the enormous budgets poured into them by the world’s shortcut-hungry Fortune 500, remain the phrenology of our time, a tragic manifestation of the disconnect between how much we want to manipulate the brain and how little we actually know about its intricately connected, non-compartmentalizable functions.

Creative writers: Redeem this book review.

-bd

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Fur-tacular

August 8, 2011

Photo by Chris P, via LineOutMore on furries.

You know, just because you need this.

No, really, you do.

What, you want the link to the church fight where the pastor was tazed and the music minister’s wife was stabbed, instead?

Right.

Thought so.

A bunch of people dressing up in mascot suits it is, then.

-bd

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A note for the San Diego Police Department

August 7, 2011

A note for friends, on an occasion most dreadful:

Jeremy HenwoodSan Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne said Sunday that the officer who was shot Saturday in an unprovoked attack has died.

He was identified as Officer Jeremy Henwood, 36. He was a Marine reservist and had been deployed overseas three times, and had been with the Police Department for four years. He was from Texas and is survived by his parents and a brother and a sister.

Please know you have the condolences of entire cities—a whole region—up where I am in western Washington state. And my personal best wishes to the San Diego Police Department, and all who serve it, in this most difficult of times.

Sorry, guys. It sucks. We know.

Stand tall.

-bd

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Taking a moment to smell the potatoes

August 7, 2011

Detail from Paul Madonna's Small PotatoesAnd now, for your general enjoyment: Paul Madonna’s Small Potatoes, “Lucky Mountain“.

Well, that and it’s always good to find some cheerful advice. Right?

-bd

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Twain considers criticism

August 7, 2011

Mark TwainSunday Magazine brings us a 1911 episode in Mark Twain’s life: Dealing with bad reviews.

-bd

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