Sunday, June 28, 2009

HNS Follow Up

After two weeks, I finally got through my stack of notes, business cards, book marks, web addresses, and handouts from the Historical Novel Society Conference held in Schaumburg, Illinois from June 12 to 14.

Wow! What an education.

From the excellent and diverse panels, such as "Place as Character" and "Is Sex Necessary" and then bouncing between "We're Not in Kansas Anymore" and "Historical Boys" or "Talking the Talk" and "Historical Accuracy vs. Plot," just to mention a few, the problem became trying to choose which events to attend during the allotted time slots. As a writer, I felt energized by the quality and quantity of new ideas, and as a teacher, the pedagogical format was something I strive for. As Horace puts it, the purpose of poetry and literature is to "teach and delight," and this was seamlessly accomplished at the panels I attended.

BTW, the dinners (and cocktail parties) were just as educational. From the interesting and funny conversations--Barbarian Hotness with Dawna Rand, Exotic Erotica with Jade Lee, and submission tips by Pam Strickler-- to great insights offered by not just published authors, but successful published authors. Recommendations by Christopher Gortner (The Last Queen) on website development and promotions plus blog recommendations and writing tips left me with hours of fun research (do sign yourself up for Google Alert, it will certainly make you feel important the first time you get "alerted"). I'm looking forward to Karen Essex's (Leonardo's Swans) next project on Dracula and I believe I now have something to watch on TV after talking to Kamran Pasha, who not only wrote Mother of Believers, but scripts for Sleeper Cell and Kings. OMG! And Diana Gabaldon and Margaret George were both charming and put up with my babbling for at least a couple minutes.

I can't forget to mention the "Late-Night Sex Scene Reading"(Yikes!) and Eileen Charbonneau's revised edition of "Old Time Religion." I can't that line about Aphrodite's nightie out of my head.

I was mesmerized, but next time I must take better notes.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Reading on BART - SF to Walnut Creek

A half-dozen riders on a super packed train at 11:30 p.m. and I were perusing the program from Tosca. BTW a great production. Lado Ataneli as the evil, Scarpia, and Adrianne Pieczonka as the pious, Tosca, were fab. The weirdest scene-yup, that's the one.

Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey was being read by a post modern Peter Pan in the tightest dark-green Levis ever, and pointy-toed suede Hush Puppies, topped by a rat pack style fedora.

A tattered copy of Dreams from My Father by the Pres was being passed back and forth by a couple who got off in Berkeley.

BART Transit Connection was being interpreted by a group of teenage Asian tourists who practiced saying, "Excuse me" every 30 seconds or so. BTW, Pleasant Hill and Pleasanton are two different places.

And then, of course, the ever present business man with a manila folder propped on his knees reading memos containing columns of numbers. Geez it's midnight on Friday, as Jimmy Cliff would say, "Stop that train, I wanna get off."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Best Sellers on the Peeps Reading List

No. 1: Sir Peepsalot or King Arthur and the Peeps of the Round Table

A rousing tale of knightly peeps on a quest for the sword, Excalipeep. Only the true heir of Peepselot can remove the sword from the stone and prove himself worthy to rule Mallowland.

Of course it's no.1 - What did you expect from a Renaissance lit enthusiast?

No 2: The Wizard of Peeps

Can Doropeep make it to the Emerald City?

Will the Cowardly Peep find his courage?

Will the Tin Peep find a heart?

Will the Scarepeep get the brains he always wanted? Although how much good marshmallow brains will do him is questionable.

No. 3: Snow White and the Seven Peeps

There's no accounting for taste and Peeps do have a penchant for fairy tales with sugary sweet endings where the charming Prince Peep awakes his beloved with a saccharin kiss.

Other best sellers on the Peep Times list:

3 Cups of Marshmallow Tea - One peep's mission to promote peace . . . one confection at a time.

American Born Peep - a first rate graphic novel that could be especially cathartic for teens and adults of Peep descent, but peeps of any color would find themselves reflected in the universal themes of self-acceptance, peep pressure, and gooey tension.

Harry Peeper and the Chamber of Mallow - When the Chamber of Mallow is opened again at the Chickwarts School of Peepcraft and Wizardry, second-year student Harry Peeper finds himself in danger from a dark power. Cult classic.

Interred with Their Goo
- "The evil that peeps do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their goo."

Pride and Prejudice and Peeps - These days, America is menaced by Peep shows and goo infected computers. What’s next, a Peep Jane Austen? Why, yes. First line: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a peep in possession of brains must be in want of more gooey mallow.”

It's summer, have some fun. What would you add to the Peep's reading list?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Reading at Gate C20 - Denver Int'l Airport

. . . or what I could see from my seat without looking like a stalker freak! I love to observe what people read at airports, unemployment lines, Bart trains, the laundromat, wherever you have to wait around.

I finished CW Gortner's The Last Queen - excellent read (see a short review on my links page) and started Leonardo's Swans by Karen Essex. For those Hunter/Jumper folk out there, Essex paints a great scene of Beatrice jumping a gap in the city walls. The adrenaline will feel familiar. So far, so good.

A woman in a charcoal gray suit sitting across from me was reading A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirits by Carol and Dinah Mack.

Food and Wine Magazine - I thought this was the most popular magazine in flying heaven, until I went to an airport souvenir shop and noticed it there, and then saw it at every shop in the concourse. Now that's a contract I'd like to have.

The Milford Journal - a long way from home.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand was being read by a young woman who made a lot of heavy sighs.

And, of course, a John Grisham book who's title was smaller than the author's name and I didn't have on my long range glasses.

What do you see people reading?