Shiner Alert

Lew Shiner, one of the best writers (period), is interviewed over at S1ngularity. Sez he:

The bottom line is, I have to find projects that excite me enough that I want to write them no matter what–whether they get published or not, whether anyone but my friends ever see them. That way I can focus on the process of writing, and actually take pleasure in that, instead of being obsessed with trying to crack the bestseller list. And the thing that is most satisfying to me is to produce a book that I’ll still be proud of down the line.

VeronicaMarsTalk (updated)

I feel kind of a poseur even proposing a Veronica Mars chatty chat, but hey, I got UPN so I could watch this season off one episode. So, if people show up to discuss the season opener, we’ll make this the second weekly TV show chatty thread and if they don’t, it will never appear here again. Here’s the episode description for "Normal is the Watchword":

After the summer fireworks caused by a dangerous confrontation with Lilly Kane’s murderer and a surprising visitor at her door, Veronica attempts to settle into "normal" life, complete with a new after-school job and a return to the popular fold at Neptune High, but she gets pulled back into the investigation business when Wallace is kicked off the basketball team for testing positive for drugs.

Meanwhile, Keith sits down with reporter Julie Chen (guest starring as herself) to discuss his new book on the Lilly Kane murder, "Big Murder, Small Town." Later, after seeing his father arrested for murder and being charged and tried for murder himself, Logan seeks refuge from the paparazzi and relaxes poolside at the Casablancas mansion with buddies Dick and "Beaver" and their sexy stepmother Kendall (guest star Charisma Carpenter).

Steve Guttenberg guest stars as Woody Goodman, a charismatic major league baseball team owner and leading candidate in the local mayor’s race; UPN’s AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL winner Naima Mora guest stars as journalism teacher Ms. Dumas; and Jeffery Sams guest stars as a famous baseball player from Goodman’s team.

Oooh, an ANTM (feel free to work in chat about that as well in this thread) product, I mean person, placement. See you later. Maybe.

Updated: This was apparently the most viewed episode of VM ever, which can only be a good thing. (Thank you, Miss Tyra.) This is the same general ratings area as Gilmore Girls, so hopefully that bodes well for the network to continue to stand by the show.

Who hates hippies? Are you with me?

Then please go over to the LBC and help defend me against the ones who can’t take a joke. Yeah, I finally posted about this round’s selection. Also, some questions at the end (which will be clearer in context):

Are there any story-within-a-story books or American-Jewish fantasies any of you want to recommend or discuss? Writers left off the list? You hate Neutral Milk Hotel?

Y’all smarties go over there and weigh in.

GilmoreGossipCircle (updated)

A whole new Tuesday is upon us. The WB’s Damn New Gilmore Girls’ site keeps shutting down my browser, so this is an episode description snatched from the Unofficial Fansite (it lacketh salient details like who wrote and directed the ep) Stay away from the black hole that is the Warner Bros site and go only to the WB:

The UnGraduate: Excited about catering the wedding, Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) pressures Lorelai to set a date, but Lorelai won’t commit. While completing her community service hours, Rory (Alexis Bledel) takes a job at Emily’s (Kelly Bishop) DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) office. Convinced that she has a rival for the job of DAR president, Emily uses Rory as her spy. Logan (Matt Czuchry returns from Europe and returns to Yale, forcing Rory to confront her true feelings about dropping out of college. Lane (Keiko Agena) and her band return from their summer on the road. Luke (Scott Patterson) agrees to take care of Lorelai’s dog, Paul Anka, while she works late at the inn, and ends up rushing the dog to the vet. Finally, Lorelai admits to Luke her reason for putting off their wedding.

Yanic Truesdale and Lisa Weil also star.  Michael Zinberg directed the episode written by David S. Rosenthal.

Whew. Lane’s back. See you later…  (And hey, PokerBoy, two weeks of absence from the GGC is unacceptable!)

Jeff Ford Week Continues

Over at Jeff Ford’s: Present From The Past. Do. Not. Miss:

After my mother finally quit drinking, she entered a brief epoch of peace in her life. Gone were the paranoia, the accusations, the belittlements, the bitter rage of judgment, her look of fear. For years, nearly every day a lost weekend, she had been possessed by the dark amber ghast of gag-sweet Taylor Cream Sherry. Living with her back then had been like living with a vampire whose bite drained but never conferred immortality. What eventually brought about her unexpected exorcism, I can now only guess, but when she resurfaced she was quiet and ready to laugh. She was watching and listening.

From Two to Four


I have very complicated feelings about glasses. Not the kind you drink out of (I like those), the kind that slip down your nose.*

I got glasses in second grade. About a week before my adored teacher, Mrs. Gay, who had a huge-throaty laugh and huge pillowy breasts to match, told my parents she thought I needed to see an optometrist, I was riding in the back of my parents rainbow-colored station wagon, looking far out over the green horizon and thinking what great eyesight I had. I could see EVERYTHING.


Tuesday Hangovers

Monday Hangovers

And on that note of snark–which hurts me, really and truly, it does–happy Monday. At some point this week expect posts on: life in glasses, Marcy Demansky’s fabulous novel Twins, television goodness and conspiracy theories. Or at least some of that stuff. A few other Monday items below…

More on Storyteller

Cory Doctorow joins the chorus of praise for Kate Wilhelm’s Storyteller (must read!); I suggest you check out his take. He excerpts some practical advice from the book which I now unashamedly steal for here:

When beginning a story, do not:
* Let your viewpoint wander
* Confuse immediate setting with background and let your camera eye wander in, out, and about randomly
* Start with a lecture in anything — history, physics, biology — anything. Expository lumps anywhere are to be avoided if possible, but they are deadly in the opening.
* Start in the middle of a scene. This is why flashback openings are a mistake almost every time. You interrupt an ongoing scene to tell us something that happened earlier that results in ongoing scene. Once started, the scenes should be concluded before you move on. An ongoing conversation is hard to catch up with. Who are these speakers, what is their relationship, what kind of voice should I be hearing in my head? Introduce them before they open their mouths.
* Mislead the reader with false information or try to create suspense or arouse curiosity by withholding necessary information. What you arouse is mistrust and annoyance.
* Sprinkle around neologisms or made-up words that cannot be found in a dictionary.
* Use words that only you and a few other people in your speciaility can understand.
* Use contractions if you can avoid them, and only sparingly no matter what.
* Have your character look into a mirror or other reflective surface in order to work in a description of her.
* Let your character talk to an animal or inanimate object in order to give information to your reader about what is going on.
* Play games with the sex of your character.

Related Link: Small Beer also has a page of "Memories and Lessons Learned at the Clarion Writer’s Workshop" from Doctorow, Jeff Ford, Gordon Van Gelder, Jim Sallis, Kit Reed, Greg Frost and Nancy Kress. Check it out.

Tween Fiction Call

Lizzie Skurnick, aka the Old Hag, aka Associate Editor of Girls’ Life, sent the following note the other day. I know a number of you YA types are out there, so I’m passing it on to you*:

Girls’ Life mag features the best in teen and tween fiction — spunky but not stupid, serious but not dull, cutting-edge but not about suicide or anything — and we’d like to feature you. (Except if your story has sex. NO SEX.)

I invite you to check out a recent copy of the mag to see what we’ve been up to lately. You can send me whole stories — no queries necessary — or you can kick me a paragraph or two to see if you’re in the ballpark. We like all styles — no sci-fi or fantasy please — and we’re looking for new twists on old themes. For those of you with novels coming out soon, we love to feature excerpts.

For more info, drop a line to

*I myself think longingly of the day when I finish this f-ing rewrite, and then of the new genre story I have to write for the FSF class I’m taking because I know the teacher.