Gimme Danger, once upon a time

gimme-danger

Once upon a time I was teenager hell bent on seeing Iggy Pop at the Hollywood Palladium only I was also hell bent on drinking and missed most of the show, though I saw a lot of the bathroom. No Fun.

Once upon a time I was a teenager hell bent on seeing Iggy Pop at The Whiskey and I didn’t make the same mistake. What a show! Real Wild Child.

Once upon a time I was in my early twenties and was friend’s with Eric, Iggy’s son, as we all hung out at the same dive of a house. And I had seen Iggy several times by now. Gimme Danger.

Once upon a time I was in my early thirties and I interviewed Iggy. We talked about his son and became friends… dinner in LA, dinner in NYC, Austin SXSW, calls before texts, and then lost touch. Real Cool Time.

And then I saw him years later and he said, “I know you don’t I?” Blah Blah Blah.

Ready for my next “once upon a time…” Lust for Life.

 

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Amy’s Army: Poem for a Friend

A year ago Friday I lost a dear friend to a cruel disease-cancer. She was gone before her army of friends could process it… and that army is still wrapping their arms around it. She had such a team behind her, a loving family, and a little boy. Cancer didn’t care. I wrote this poem to honor her, our friendship and the team that surrounded her–many putting their lives on hold without a second thought to fight by her side. All because of her generous spirit and beautiful smile.

az-rocks

Amy’s Army

 

I have this friend, her name is Amy.

I met her 25, or so, years ago.

The moment was unremarkable, so much so, I don’t remember when or where.

Maybe some club on the Strip. Maybe over a drink, or five.

No matter, as how is what really matters.

Her best friend introduced us.

I was excited to share.

Jello shots, Thai Elvis, Palm Springs, pantsuits, orchids, Dan Tanas.

Financial advisors and tax accountants.

Baby showers (both ours), bridal showers (not ours), birthdays.

Sweet as Hell, a T-shirt I once made for her in soft pink.

An hour phone call over a man in another land (mine), a brief conversation over a man at a NYC bar (her).

Encouraging talks from one single mom to a hopeful new single mom (her),

Short concerned calls over our mutual best friend (Kat),

Texts and IMs—AmyDeeZ—about shoes and music and stuff that no longer seems to matter.

And finally, a frightened conversation in the early morning hours on a September Sunday…

It takes a village, she said, more than a little embarrassed.

There’s an entire team behind you, Team Amy.

She smiled the beautiful Amy smile we all know.

Remember, you have an army of friends all here for you, I told her.

We all gave to Amy, because Amy gave to us.

To me, Amy is one of my close girlfriends, because that’s how Amy is.

So many years ago, Amy shared Katherine with me.

Then in short time I met more of her best and closest friends, Jill, Cindy and Mindy.

Her loving family—including her beloved Jake.

And over countless drinks and dinners, I heard stories of her Warner Brothers crew, the Palm Springs crowd, her Minneapolis friends, the tennis and UCLA fans, and so many more.

A year ago, in typical selfless Amy fashion, she shared her Army of friends.

And she did it with a sweet smile.

Amy’s Army became TeamAZ

United because of our love for her and her generous spirit, we are all blessed to call one another friend.

Thanks to our American Girl.

 

Inspiration #3 Read, Read & Read

There is only one thing that inspires me more than life: reading.

With every amazing book I read, I’m inspired to write.

With every well-crafted story, I learn.

With every author’s bio, I believe in the possibilities.

If you want to write, READ!

The "H's" and then some

The “H’s” and then some

The following are a few of my favorite books that I have either found 1) inspiring, 2) learned from or 3) thrilled by the author–and in no particular order.

New(ish) as in I read roughly this past year:

Yes, Yes Cherries, Mary Otis (triple threat)

Johnathan Unleashed, Meg Rosoff (love the character building)

A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman (character, character, inspiring, inspiring)

Watching Edie, Camilla Way (POV lesson)

Harmony, Carolyn Parkhurst (POV lesson and voice!)

How to Build a Girl, Caitlin Moran (gritty character and badass author)

Butterflies in November, Audur Ava Olafsdottir (inspiring and characters!)

The Woman who Walked into Doors, Roddy Doyle (inspiring)

 

Older (as in I read more than a couple years ago, but not in school):

Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole

Geek Love, Katherine Dunn

Anything by Raold Dahl

The Stranger, Albert Camus (okay, I read it in high school, but still love)

Animal Dreams, Barbara Kingsolver (I was living in Minnesota)

Lush Life, Richard Price

Love Medicine, Louis Erdrich (I was living in Minnesota)

The Van, Roddy Doyle (my Irish period)

I am Malala, Malala Yousafzai

 

And the list goes on…. Read on while you write on. The two go hand in hand.

The "Ts" and then some...

The “Ts” and “Vs” and then some…

 

 

 

Inspiration #2 Moments in Life

Palm2Lap top in lap, relaxing as the sun is winding down its day, the shadows from the bamboo cooling the backyard, leaning back in the lounger, I look up and a sea of blue greets me, beautifully broken by my palm tree, whose fronds are gently waving in the breeze.

Deep sigh.

Inspiration #2. A moment so natural, simple, quiet. Awe.

Busting Ass Band of Super Women

woman

Not often do I jump on a bandwagon, soapbox or rant, but I am stepping up now. This is to all the strong women out there… and there our millions of you…

I respect, admire and appreciate you… and I know you don’t get enough people telling you how bad ass you are.

There is a Band of Super Women who are busting ass everyday — single and married, old and young, different ethnicity and different beliefs — but we all have one thing in common. We are committed, dedicated and loyal. We are working hard to support our families financially and emotionally. We are working hard to make a difference to those we love and those we don’t know. And some of us are working hard to survive.

The saying is: Behind every good man is a great women.
I say… move over. We are not standing behind you… we are standing next to you… or on our own. We are powerful Super Women busting ass and keeping it all together.

Here are a few links to some organizations that deserve R-E-S-P-E-C-T. (Feel free to add more in comments and I will add to the below.)

http://www.sisterhoodofsuperwomen.com/

http://searchingforsuperwomen.com/

http://www.strongwomen.com/

http://swsg.org/

http://booksbywomen.org/

We are not Superwoman. We are Super Women.

 

–Inspired by one Bad Ass Woman, ML

Notes from the WD Frontline

Spent this past weekend @writersdigest conference in NYC. Jaw-dropping informative at times.Mind-numbingly exhausting at other points. Unfortunately, is this for real at one session. But overall, a feast for my writing senses.

Thought I would share some of my #writersdigest notes and rambles.

Writer’s conference

  1. 1. Read for technique
    2. Strong premise and first chapter. Don’t over write first chapter
    Don’t cause others to suffer from MEGO. My eyes glaze over. Boring
    3. Beta readers. Use them!
    4. Marketing… Jacket is key
    5. Marketing… Publicity is key. Build a brand. Finding a publicist.
    6. Blogging… Social networking. Do it.
    7. Build relationships in bookstores.

***

Session 2.
My pitch is Pitch Perfect.

Pitch. Query letter
3 to 10 sentences. Like the back of a DVD box.

  1. Title, page count, genre,
    Log lines. 1 sentence description of a book.Building blocks of pitch
    1. Introduce main character
    2. Say something is interesting about the character. Introduce what the main character wants
    3. Introduce inciting incident
    4. What is the main conflict of the book?
    5 What’re the complications?
    6. Unclear wrap up
    7. The stakes.
    8. Short lines. Be specific.  Don’t be general. Internal and external struggle.
    Create emotion. No subplots.
    Bio that is relevant.
    My pitch is far from Pitch Perfect.

Chuck’s Guide to literary agents blog.

****

Session 3

Jacquelyn Mitchard

Inspiring!
Opening of the book
7 things
1. Passion
2. Probability. Sincere honorable all on the table
3. Power. You are the only person who could write this
4. Problem. Feel that something is coming but not necessarily the conflict
5. Possibilities. Sense
6. People. Character driven vs plot driven
7. Plot. Do it well.

***

Editing. 1 round to 7 rounds. 9 months to a year
3 to 4 years to get it published
Endings: Climax or big bang

Character, conflict and choice.

Flashbacks need to be organic. Part of someone’s memory

Avoid italics. Use for emphasis only

Very little marketing spend. Mostly none. You do the marketing

Band together with other writers
Networking
Promote yourself
Social media… The author has to be promoting
Twitter. Definitely. Ugh.

Be realistic with your expectations
Every milestone doesn’t change your life. Manage your expectations
Hard to break through the noise.

Contact bookstores. Indies. Build relationships through twitter. Drive around to bookstores and sign them when travel. Booksellers are recommending
Biggest challenge… Getting word out about the book and distribution

***

Harlan Coben
AWESOME, Inspiring.
Ask What if.
Just write
Should I outline or not. Yes. Do whatever you need to.
Laptop or pen and paper. Yes. Do whatever you want.

Research. Don’t let research stop you from writing.

If you are good at anything else besides writing, don’t be a writer
Inspiration
Perspiration
Desperation

Guilty helps. Feel bad when you are not writing.

Don’t be a DOUCHE BAG.

Better to think you suck. Pushes you.

Don’t tell me you don’t have time to write.

Don’t talk about your book…….

Don’t get on a train. Write what you love.

Only bad writers think they are good.

Editors. When readers tell you something wrong, they are right. You must fix it.
You can do it better

Don’t settle to just be publishable. Demand that you are great.

Amateurs wait for the muse to arrive, the rest of us just get to work.

You can always fix bad pages. But you can’t fix blank pages.

Luck plays a part. As long as you are writing

***
Good friends and potential writing colleagues met.

Agents X 5. Excited.

More work to do. No time like the present.

Don’t waste your time and talent.

Blog more. Re-look at chapter 1. Should it be two chapters? Does it need to be punched up?

Apologies for errors. Sent from my iPad

The Decline of Western Civilization is part of history… my history

This past weekend I went to LACMA to see an Academy screening of Penelope Spheeris’ Decline of the Western Civilization I and III. This wasn’t my first time; I saw both films when they opened to very limited release. The documentaries captured a music scene and culture that some feared or didn’t understand, but others found accepting. The music resonated with teens who didn’t conform to what society dictated as normal or acceptable behavior, look and attitude.

As a teen of the ’80s, the film took me back to those years — and the screening to some old punker friends (and an ex). While today I am coming from a different place (a few decades older, and hopefully wiser), the film was just as exciting. And the music… the music and lyrics were just as powerful as they were so many years ago… though some of the topics were a little less relevant.I could barely contain my energy listening and watching Fear, Circle Jerks and X.

Thanks to Penelope Spheeris for capturing a scene and culture that embraced those just “the other side of normal.”

 

Happy 18th

Happy 18th

First Crushes

What does it say about you if your first crush was an animated character? Yes. I had two.

First there was Mighty Mouse. Who wouldn’t love him. He saved the day! Big ears for listening. Cape for flying. Beefy chess. That’s hot.

And then there was Underdog. There’s no need to fear, Underdog is hear. Cute, loveable and goofy. The Ultimate Nerd.  That’s hot too!

Mighty Mouse in Ralph Bakshi's adaptation

Mighty Mouse in Ralph Bakshi’s adaptation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m okay admitting it. I’m confident in my love for the dog and the mouse!

50 years. Long lost, but still true. Near and very dear.

You know a friend is true when you can go 14+ years and pick up like it was yesterday. So happy to have celebrated a friend’s 50th birthday after way-too long an absence.

You know love is true and powerful when 50 years later they are still laughing together and holding hands. So happy to have celebrated P&S’s anniversary, and to be part of the family.