Book release party success

I’ve finally recovered from the Pretty Peg book launch enough to brag on the internet about it!

Karen Bjorneby, our deeply gracious and madly enthusiastic host and fine Writing Salon instructor whose class you should go sign up for right now, read from her new novel (so very new I’m not even sure of the title). Jenny McKeel read an excerpt from her award-winning essay “Saigon,” Robin Silverman read from HER award-winning novel Lemon Reef, Matthew Lavin had his debut as a reading writer with an excerpt from his book The Red Hands, and David West read some of my favorite of his poems and one of my favorite Eli Coppola poems. All amazing to be there for, but I was pretty moved to have my friend Eli be invoked at my own book launch, since while she was alive I was just a tiny writer baby who could barely step up to the open mic at one of her features.

I have since learned you have to just about lick one of those Shure 58s to be heard through the PA:

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Here’s 3/4 of my writing group (Linda Cleary, our 4th hand, took the picture and ran the merch table) setting up the pizza. And being blessed from above by the patron saint of El Rio.

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Fabulous 5 Blog Hop

I am super flattered to have been tagged for the Fabulous 5 Blog Hop by the charming and talented Lex Chase, whose new book Chasing Sunrise I am tearing through right now. Run, do not walk, to the book vendor for your copy!

The 5 Fabulous Questions:

1) What am I working on?

I’m closing in on the end of a new novel, working-titled The Songbird Thief. It’s not technically a sequel to Pretty Peg, but it’s set in the same world, where fairies inhabit the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s about a runaway who is looking for her real father and trying to find out how she fits into both the mortal and fey worlds. She has a small-time stealing problem, which she enhances with her power to make song lyrics come to life – as in, she sings “Fever” and it gives people a fever. She has a pretty tough attitude, but nothing else is working in her favor: she’s in love with the wrong woman, her abusive stepfather wants to take her back home, and for most of the book she’s desperately poor and doesn’t have any fixed place to live. If that doesn’t drive you away, let me add that the ending is not a happy one. I think I’m going to have to give out a free puppy with every copy, if I’m lucky enough to find a publisher for this story. That or a Xanax. There’s no way I could get in trouble for that, right?

2) How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I’ve been accused of freighting my pages with tons of unnecessary description, but I think the real difference is that I’ve put so many of the musicians I know in my stories. Although the inspiration for Laura, the self-absorbed pianist in Pretty Peg, didn’t come from any one person. But the bands are all more or less real, and so is the fiddle player who can make you dance no matter what.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I love science fiction and fantasy. The deeper I get into writing, the more I appreciate the potential in the genre for imagination and metaphor. I recently read Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson, which has themes related to The One Thousand And One Nights, and she writes in the book about government censors who will burn textbooks but not see the subversive qualities that are so prevalent in myths and folktales. I also want to keep exploring Emily Dickinson’s idea to “tell all the truth but tell it slant.” That could apply to all storytelling, but it’s so satisfying to access the audience’s ear through fantasy.

4) How does my writing process work?

“Work” is the word for it. I’m blessed with a busy life. I have 3 teaching jobs and an office job at the moment. Playing my own music is a big part of my life. Then there’s the gorgeous creature I married and all the couples therapy and groceries and cat vomit cleanups that go into making a home. So I can’t be that fussy about waiting to write until inspiration strikes. I try to write every morning before work, and I often take my laptop to the music school and write in between students. I have a “fix list” for the revision I’m working on now, which is distilled from feedback I got from my super ace peer critique group. I just tackle one bullet point at a time. I’ve worked on my skills as a musician and a writer for a lot of my life, but I honestly believe my only true talent is for discipline: working even when I’m not feeling it.

5) Who’s next on the blog hop?

I came late to this party, so I’m tagging a Fabulous Three — Suzanne van Rooyen, Anna Victoria Jones and Chris T. Kat. All delightful writers whose wisdom I’m looking forward to next week in their posts!

 

Review: The Break-in by Aidee Ladnier

It may be that I’m not used to novellas, but this sweet little book was over before it started. I’m still walking around the house looking for that book I was reading with the time travelers and robots – queer time travelers, no less! I loved the relationship between cautious, sentimental Forbes and feisty Oliver. I loved the immediate sense of high stakes; Forbes has to convince Oliver of the truth, like NOW, or all will be lost. I loved the steampunk vibe of the inventor’s mansion setting. But the icing on the cake was Jeepers, the robot cat. I must get me one.

I’ll admit I got a mite confused at first about who Oliver was and what his history with Forbes was, but the story takes us there in time. Be patient and you’ll be rewarded. And hopefully the author will reward us all with more books in this charming series.

Look for The Break-in on Amazon or Dreamspinner Press.

 

Book release party!

There’s a party going on Thurs Sept 25 to launch Pretty Peg!

There’ll be readings by David West and Matthew L. Lavin and me, snacking, drinking, and that flattering light on the El Rio back patio this time of year.

The party is hosted by Karen Bjorneby, a wonderful writer and writing teacher whom you may know from The Writing Salon. And! A special chocolate thank-you gift will go home with anyone who buys a book at the party.  

Pretty Peg Party

Thursday 9/25, 7-8:30 PM

El Rio (back patio)

3158 Mission St @ Cesar Chavez

San Francisco, CA 94110

415-282-3325

No cover / no-host bar