Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Stuff at PPWC

Okay, pay attention. I am going to lay out before you the three classes I will be teaching at the upcoming Pikes Peak Writers Conference, which by the way will be my 13th. Can you spell Triskaidekaphobia?
The Art of the Funny Bone

Do you like to laugh? Would you like to make other do the same? This is a class to give you some pointers in just how to do that. I will do my utmost to make you smile while teaching you the art - or is a science? - of taking others along for the ride. There will be jokes, so be prepared.

Writing the Amateur Sleuth

Here's the straight poop. I write mysteries where a math teacher solves murders. Of course, no self respecting math professor would be caught dead - dead, get it? - going anywhere near a murder, but there you have it. If you have aspirations of making your, pick one: Tattoo Artist, Zookeeper, Ice Cream Vendor, Curling Instructor, Massage Therapist poke his or her nose into homicide, then this is the class for you.

Author 101

This class I get to teach with the wonderful and totally fun Angel Smits. We will pass along the wisdom of the ages or at least some stuff that we have learned along the way. We'll talk about Agents and the Writing Life, Rejections and Indie Publishing. Truth is we hope to answer every one of your burning questions regarding Authoringoshipness (that's a word, I'm pretty sure). Now this one is on Thursday morning in the pre-conference classes, so look for it there. 

And if you see me at the conference please stop and say. Well, maybe not in the bathroom but just about anywhere else.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Pikes Peak Writers Conference: Read and Critique

Here's the deal. I am excited (that's spelled somewhat intimidated) to be the Read And Critique Coordinator for the 2015 Pikes Peak Writers Conference - in my opinion the finest, most useful, funnest (yeah, that's a word) writing conference in the solar system.

In aid of being more than just a pretty face, let me school you about Read and Critique sessions in general and the types of sessions in particular.

What the heck is a Read and Critique Appointment, you say? 
     - Are you proud of your work? Here is a chance to show it off!! 
   - Industry Professionals (Authors, Agents, Editors) will provide immediate, I'm talking on the spot, feedback concerning the beginning of your manuscript. And it doesn't have to be completed as of the conference.

What are the types of Read and Critique Sessions?

Read and Critique Author

Like the title suggests, you are with a published author. You read your opening two pages (Don't cheat. We're talking industry standard format). You are in a small intimate setting, just you, your author, and a few other participants. Author provides immediate feedback. Additional feedback from the other participants is encouraged.

Read and Critique 1,2,3

A staffer reads your first page, 16 lines (either chapter 1 or your prologue) aloud. You remain anonymous. A panel of one Author, one Agent, and one Editor listens then each provides insight and direction. These sessions are open to attendees to listen in and take notes. 

Read and Critique X

You read aloud your first page - again 16 lines - to an Agent or Editor. The coolness factor in this type of session is that every effort will be made to match you up with professionals who align with your genre. As in all Read and Critique sessions feedback will be immediate and one-on-one.

How might I avail myself of these wonderful opportunities to have my work evaluated?

Glad you asked!!

First be diligent. Decide what type of Read and Critique suits you. Research the conference faculty at the Pikes Peak Writers Website.

Next, request an appointment on your registration form.

Which brings us to registration. Register for the conference ASAP. The earlier you are ensconced in the conference the more likely you will receive the Read and Critique appointment of your choice. Be sure to provide your genre, since this will determine how you are assigned a session and who you will be with.

Oh yeah, one more thing. All Read and Critique sessions are at no extra charge.

If you have any additional questions I would advise a delightful excursion to the Pikes Peak Writers Website.     Write on.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A New Year's Tradition Revisited

When I was first courting my wife, the wonderful and sexy Barbara Ebright, she was working at a now defunct restaurant La Petite Mason - she looked hot in her waitress uniform.

Several times I would come in for a cup of coffee and a creme brulee. Barbara would wait on me and I would make that desert and coffee last forever. When I was done I would tip her fifty dollars, thinking she would think me a spontaneous and lavish suitor. 

Anyway, the highlight of the year and for years to come (even after we were an official item, and later married) was News Years Eve. Barbara would invariably work, and I would dress up - it was a very fancy restaurant - and show up around 11:45. The owner knew me by now and plied me with specialty wines and deserts and I would sit at a table set aside for me. At midnight all the patrons would go outside to see the fireworks explode over Pikes Peak. I would hold Barbara's hand and at midnight we would share a New Year's kiss.


That restaurant is now gone, but last night Barbara -who has retired - and I decided to go back to stand outside that restaurant on Tenth and Colorado and and watch the fireworks explode over the peak. It was a bit on the cold side but it was worth it. I held her hand and she leaned her head on my shoulder. At midnight, as the rockets exploded over America's mountain, I held one very sexy ex-waitress and we kissed in the new year.

The Widow's Share

A skinflint minister died and left the following will:

$8000 is to be split among a minister's widow, his 5 sons, and his 4 daughters. Every son should receive three times as much as a daughter (the minister was a bit of a chauvinist). Every daughter should receive twice as much as their mother (he was also not too fond of his wife). 

What was the widow's share?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pigs, Horses, Cows, And Sheep...and Bartering Farmers

Three farmers met at market and each made an offer:

Farnsworth to Cubbington - "I'll give you 6 of my pigs for 1 of your horses, and then you'll have twice as many animals here as me."

Nebish to Farnsworth - "I like the way you do business. However, I'll give you 14 of my sheep for 1 of your horses, then you, my good man, will have three times as many animals here as I."

Cubbington to Nebish - "I can play this game. I'll give you 4 cows for 1 horse, then you'll have six times as many animals here as myself."

How many animals (don't worry about types of beasts) did Farnsworth, Cubbington, and Nebish bring to market?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Tricksters: Loki and Maui - Chapter 2

Loki - Trickster God of Asgard

Let's just get this out of the way. Loki was an asshole. He comes across as one of the creative forces of the universe but also as an evil force bent on harm. He is the father of some of the most malevolent creatures in all of Norse mythology: the horrible goddess Hel, the monstrous wolf Fenrir, the world serpent Jormundgand. When the most beautiful of the Norse Gods, Baldr, had a vision of his own death, Frigg the Queen of Asgard made every living thing in all the realms promise not to harm him. Somehow, mistletoe was overlooked. Loki, finding this out, and jealous of Baldr, arranged for a sprig of mistletoe to pierce Baldr's heart. When Odin commanded that all creatures in the all the realms weep and mourn Baldr, only Loki refused to do so. This refusal created the inevitable Ragnarok, the end of all things.

Maui - The Polynesian Trickster Demi-god 

Unlike Loki, Maui (for whom the island is named) is for the most part good. His tricks seemed to be all in the arena of helping the people be all that they could be. Maui tricked the goddess of fire into revealing the secrets of her element. He tricked the sun into slowing down (I guess it was just whizzing around way too fast) so folks could have enough light to get things done. He also used his penis to stop a tidal wave that threatened to destroy the islands - which tells you something about the Polynesian culture. Maui is credited with the actual raising of the Hawaiian islands. He even died to save the people from a horrible she-monster, (he was killed by her vagina; cut in half no less) but in doing so brought death (I guess until then folks were immortal) in the world. Bummer.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

I Love the Blues!!!! Ana Popovic Kicks It.

I recently acquired two heart-stopping blues albums: Unconditional and Can You Stand the Heat by Ana Popovic. I now find myself listening to these songs again and again. To say they're good is to admit to a lack of word power skills.

Out of Belgrade Serbia, Popovic can do it all. She writes songs with grit and heart. She sings with an authenticity and power that transforms every song into a revelation. And she plays guitar (both acoustic and electric) like she's channeling any number of Rock and Blues legends; Eric Clapton, Albert King, And now I'm going to go out on a limb - Jimi Hendrix.

She has released 4 albums in total (The first was Still Making History and the second a live album An Evening at Trasimeno Lake ). I went to Popovic's web site and sampled songs from each of these - and yes I loved them - but I was especially interested in her first release, Still Making History. I wanted to see what this extraordinary woman sounded like when she first sprang out of the gate. Would she have the same sound almost a decade ago?

She did not. I sampled a song Hungry and immediately smiled. It reminded me of another debut album released over forty years ago. I'm talking about the first James Gang album that introduced the world to Joe Walsh. Hungry took me back Funk 49 and Walk Away.

A year later when she played at Trasimeno lake she was already evolving the sophisticated chops and powerful vocals she would display on Unconditional and Can You Stand the Heat. By the time these gems were released, Ana had morphed into a force to be reckoned with.

I'm going to leave you with a simple way to see if I'm jiving you about this artist. Find her web site. Sample a few songs from each of her albums. Be prepared to be blown away.

Merry Christmas all. Oh by the way, Ana was nominated for Blues Female Artist of 2014. I just thought you might like to know.