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Entries in Workshops (4)


Everyone has a story to tell

Ah, I love wifi, but never more than when sitting on a plane. Currently I'm wending (can you wend on a plane?) my way to Washington D.C. for the OCA National Convention where I'll be participating in an advocacy writing workshop entitled Telling the Asian Pacific American Story.

Fellow author, Deanna Fei, is also participating, and Willow Frost herself will be waiting in the wings in the form of 75 advance reader copies that will be given to participants. There will also be book signings, naturally.

The workshop is free, so if you're in the DC area, feel free to join.


Willing to learn

Just got back from a quick trip to Seattle for a multitude of festivities.

The first was the Locus Awards, which are the Cinderella of the SF&F awards. The prettier, more well-known step-sisters, Hugo and Nebula get more attention, but the Locus Awards are unique in that the winners are chosen by readers—the People’s Choice Awards, if you will. Plus the dress code consists of gaudy Hawaiian shirts (extra points given for actual retinal damage).

As my friend Timm and I walked from the car to the hotel where the awards were held, people on the street stopped us and asked, “Are you here for the Gay Pride Parade?” And whipped out their cameras.

Granted, Timm has long hair and was wearing a Utilikilt, but still. He said, “Um, no.”

I quoted Harold Ramis in Stripes and said, “No, but we are willing to learn.”

They didn’t seem convinced, “Can we still take your picture anyway?”

So if you see us on the cover of Instinct magazine, would you drop the editorial staff a note to clear up the confusion?


The awards themselves were like none other I’d been to. There was singing of British poetry to the rhyme of Gilligan’s Island. There was a trivia contest. There was a raffle, which I won (but didn’t claim, since I already owned one of the books).

And of course there were fine authors in attendance, including Nancy Kress, Connie Willis, and Neil Gaiman, along with readers, and Clarion West workshoppers.

Shortly after the awards we all traipsed over to the Science Fiction Museum for the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony which was like drowning in awesomness—especially Neil’s acceptance of behalf of an ailing Harlan Ellison. His speech was actually a short, meta-fiction story about he and Harlan in Paris in 1923, butting heads with the likes of Gertrude Stein, which he brilliantly read aloud. Everyone felt like they had witnessed something very special, very unique, in a story that would never be read again.

Harlan would have been gushingly proud.

(Plus it was delightful to meet Neil in a small, intimate venue, rather than fight the crowds at his Seattle Town Hall book event the next night amid thousands).


The following morning I popped over to the Richard Hugo House for a workshop on Romantic Comedy with Connie Willis (who is hilarious, in addition to being a genius).

It was a strange indulgence to go in with “Jamie” on my name card, somewhat disguised as an aspiring writer (I still aspire, don’t you?) but I didn’t want to mention that um…I’ve kinda sold a LOT of books, and be a distraction to the class in any way. (That came later when I had to sneak out and meet with a book group downstairs).

Needless to say, I loved the class. It was kismet that I left for the airport and the first song on the radio was Silly Love Songs. Speaking of which here’s a Kindle blog post.

Also, HOTEL was named Book O’ The Week by some lovely folks in the UK.

And a group of 7th graders put together this delightful Prezi slideshow entitled, "I AM."


Now it’s back to my Sisyphean rewrites.


Miscellaneous Monday

monday.jpgSurefire keeps burning. As you can tell from the progress bar thingy to your left, I’ve finished the 3rd draft. I can easily see myself picking at this literary scab until the scar is so big you can see if on earth.google.com. I just can’t leave it alone. I’m tweaking it without actually calling it a 4th draft. I like it. But it’s not the book I want to write. Still, it’s almost done so I’ll send it out and take my lumps.

The mystery of my deceased aunt. It turns out my great Aunt Alyce left an estate of just over $308,000–-with no heirs. Don’t get too excited. I have to split the booty with scores of cousins and a murder of lawyers. My actual estimated take: $2,000. Who am I to scoff at mana from Dead-Aunt Heaven? Besides it’ll pay for a writerly conference or deux.

Speaking of conferences. For OSC’s Literary Boot Camp. I’m flying into Dulles and then carpooling with a couple of writers I’ve never met from D.C. to Buena Vista, Virginia. If this blog falls silent mid-June tell the search parties to look for my body at one of the many fine rest stops along I-64. I’ve also sent an application and manuscript sample to the Sewanne and Squaw Valley conferences. I think my chances of getting in to either are somewhat iffy. Still, Tennessee or Tahoe––where would you rather go?


The literary country club

2006 Sewanee Writers' Conference attendees are welcomed to the club.
Conference season is upon us. I see folks blogging about the Backspace Writers’ Conference, Sleuthfest, Bouchercon et al, and I was wondering—what about those other writers’ conferences? The ones where you apply to attend, submitting manuscripts and paying reading fees. Like rushing a frat or sorority, minus the togas and keg-stands.

The ones that come to mind are the Sewanee Writers' Conference, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and the Squaw Valley Writers' Conference with Amy Tan. Heck, even Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp requires approval of work before you get beyond the velvet rope. (The first page of a short story).

The question is, have you applied to one of the aforementioned? Would you? If not, why? The cost is an obvious barrier I’m sure— ranging from $725-$1500. Not including travel expenses, meals, bottles of Courvoisier, ascot dry-cleaning, Botox injections, hookers, bail bonds, etc.

I’ve taken come-as-you-are screenwriting classes and it’s always been a mixed bag. Enthusiasm and wide-eyed wonder abound, but the peeps tend to be a stewpot of twitchy upstarts, bored dreamers, bitter hacks, and the venerated, talented few, of which I aspire to become. So is the bar truly that much higher at Squaw Valley? I hope so. Or is it like that Woody Allen quote? You know the one.