Off to Melbourne and Auckland

Well today is the big day of travel! I love Melbourne, a very young vibrant city with cool coffee shops, art galleries and an impressive amount of non-chain stores still up and running. I look forward to walking along the streets and perhaps glimpsing the Yarra river..It will be nice to finally meet a bunch of people I have been working with but never met and of course to see the Aussie and NZ fans again...New Zealand is also absolutely gorgeous and I wish I had more time to stay but my trip was cut short by a week due to work obligations so I will be returning home the 24th of October, I do hope the fans in NZ know that I will be leaving after the Sunday autograph session!
This year has been a great year of traveling; Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, NYC, England and now this trip! I have met some wonderful people along the way and have been able to spend time with people I hold dear. This Holiday season I intend to stay close to home and do the one thing I have not done in 6 years...have a Christmas tree! yay!I cannot wait to have holiday parties and hike in Griffith Park and catch up on all of the great books I want to read. I hope it rains a lot so we can light fires and wear sweaters....:)

Charlotte and fried pickles

Well another weekend another convention...this time we flew directly to Charlotte North Carolina and discovered immediately the meaning of "Southern Hospitality". Everyone is nice, from the waitresses to the desk clerks at the Hilton. The con was mostly a gaming convention, in fact the only media guest they had ever had was the storm trooper who said "These are the wrong Droids" in Star Wars so I think having Richard Hatch and I there was a first for them. Richard is an amiable fellow. This is really the first time we have ever had a chance to chat and he was very nice. It was also the first time we used "The Square" a new device which enables you to take credit cards on your iPhone or iPad :
It works really well and was appreciated by many...I think Mr. Hatch will be signing up for one soon.
The humidity in the south is reminiscent of the humidity I suffered through as a kid in Connecticut boy is it brutal when you're not used to it! I tried fried pickles and BBQ, met a tiny sci fi fan and did an interview for Fox News which was really fun:
all in all we had a great time and the fans seemed to as well. I was also serenaded by a filk singing harpist and hung out with a ghostbuster...all in a weekend's shameless promotional weekend!


Well once again I am struck by how kind, thoughtful and loyal sci fi fans are...the convention (which I replaced Peter Jurasic in the last minute) was very well run with a great selection of talented model maker's wares on display. I was truly impressed with the talent and dedication these men and women have for the craft of model making...I have posted one of the photos I took of a couple of them.
I was reunited with a lovely young lady names Sarah who I had not held since 2001! Her photo is above as well, 2001 and 2010, a lovely young lady with a wonderful family in tow. Her Mom was kind enough to bring me a box of Kleenex , knowing that I had a dreadful cold.
The wonders of modern technology..people read something on Facebook then they act upon it! I can now communicate with fans who are attending conventions I will be at and meet them in person then follow them on FB..amazing!
Louisville was a very pleasant town though I didn't see much of it. We had a great behind the scenes tour of the zoo with our Host Dave who rescues wild and endangered cats, big and small and also works at the zoo, he is a lovely man with great passion for all things animal and sci fi convention as well...well rounded I would say!
We dined one night at Mortons and had fabulous steak, I bought bourbon balls for a dear friend, saw the giant baseball bat and even managed a drive by the venue for the Kentucky Derby...all in all a lovely trip thanks to Phil, Paula, Phil Jr., Dave, Gin and Sarah and a host of other lovely people who came to see me, drove us around and generally made the weekend a great one. Many thanks to all of you.


The trip was a success and now being home feels great. I didn't miss much being gone nearly 3 weeks which leads me to believe that I can do more of this traveling! Traveling is important on so many levels, it takes you out of your safety zone and exposes you to new people and ways of life.
I am always struck with the wonderful attitude of different cultures when it comes to living and work and the Italian certainly know how to live. Long meals are an everyday occurrence it seems, naps are completely acceptable for adults and laughter seems to cure all.
Next up...Germany and the UK in September...but first a short trip to North Carolina for Con Carolinas, should be fun it's a beautiful part of the United States.


Fiumicino is a hellish airport, teeming with foreigners and luggage, complaining children and the general din of humanity. I waited a solid anxious hour for my one suitcase and was enormously relieved when it arrived. The drug sniffing dogs took no interest in me, unlike back in 1989 when I arrived wearing a pot loving friend’s coat and was felt up for a couple of hours by over zealous custom’s officers.
The traffic is definitely even worse 21 years later but the city still looks the same, a little dirty and a little worn but noble in it’s soot.
My charming hosts Flora, Alex and Marco were lovely and deposited me into the beautiful Hotel Villa Santa Pio on Via Santa Melania. The hotel consists of three old villas converted into a sprawling lovely place with gardens and meandering trails in a residential area in Rome. The weather turned from crappy to delicious and now at 6pm my windows are open, the birds are singing and the sun is coming through.

The gang took me for lunch today, a generous repost of oysters, a large antipasti platter with smoked fish and couscous, a lovely fusilli with octopus, a little simply prepared sea bass with a lovely Mache salad and of course the ubiquitous Tiramisu (which means wake me up but did not alas do so to me) There’s was lovely, home made and still warm on the bottom where they had poured the espresso over the sponge cake.
I had been up for 26 hours and was really beginning to fade so I went back to the hotel and crashed for 3 hours and now I face dinner.

I had a reviving coffee in the downstairs garden bar and brought my lumbar pillow so I could sit on the metal chairs without further damage to my precarious, beaten up back and upon my return to the room a tiny man knocked and handed me that pillow I had left with a huge smile and the words “I am everywhere!”
Indeed he is, he handed me a glass of juice when I checked in, he got my coffee, helped me with the wireless and now returned my pillow, I must find out his name. I love the staff here, a whole range of cultures with all different accents, Pilipino, German, British and what I think was Greek, a veritable United Nations of a hotel staff.

The little man is Ago and he hails from the Philippines but loves his job in Italy because he likes people and his old factory job did not allow for social interaction. If anyone needs social interaction it is the effervescent Ago.
After establishing a rapport with Ago I went on a lovely walk, admiring the Japanese camellias planted in the hotel’s garden and enjoying the sight of Franciscan monks crossing the cobble stoned streets with their flowing black gowns, sharing a laugh. Old men nod their heads and say “sera” but not in the lascivious way they did when I was in my early 20’s, now it is a gracious polite nod so it must mean that I have joined the ranks of “older lady to be respected” which is perfectly fine with me. The men carry canes and hats and have gappy mouths where teeth used to be which lends their smiles a slightly demented, vulnerable look. A randy couple groping each other among some gorgeous lilac trees made me look the other way in embarrassment, their lust felt a little out of place is such a lovely piazza.
The funny thing about Rome is that as masculine as it might be with blood filled streets and Etruscan ruins, battle fields and macho men roaming the streets; it is still a “she”, this city is a woman, you can feel it. She is a stately older, very beautiful, elegant lady with a racy past.
That night we went to a lovely restaurant named “tutti frutti” and 8 of us gorged on various foods. I had orata fish, a salad made from the tops of chicory and anchovies, mini pizzas, pasta with bacon, orange rind and pecorino…does it ever end? The ice creams were all home made in little fruit and nut shells, chestnut and walnut next to passion fruit and persimmon, really refreshing and unique.
I found out that Marco has a fear of needles; Flora fears spiders and big Alex cannot watch anything having to do with eyeballs. These Italians are an interesting study in honesty and passion. My first day was a wonderful slice of life here in Italia!


Fiuggi is a spa town so it comes with German tourists and buses of the blue haired crowd but it also has a lovely medieaval old town and some decent bargains on 80’s style clothes and house coats, if that’s your thing. This is a small convention, around 150 people and very laid back so my entire duty today was to say stand up and wave when they called my name in the open ceremony. The food is plentiful and very good in the hotel but it’s a little odd to be doing a sci fi convention in an Italian spa town…I wonder what pope benefacio would have thought when he was taking the waters for his kidney stones if he were to run into a fellow in a star trooper’s uniform or a Klingon outfit.

The open air market we attended this afternoon in the old part of Fuiggi was also laden with 80’s clothing and tacky children’s get ups, loads of garden gnomes and fake brass and copper utensils but the food section was nice with a lovely spread of fresh fish and jars of packed artichokes, peppers and big vats of lovely olives of all hues
and shapes and sizes.


I'm very much looking forward to my trip to Italy on Sunday and I think it has more to do with feeling stagnant than anything else. I am slightly in limbo this time of year, the disappointment of not having any auditions all pilot season and the realization that I cannot force things to happen makes me want to get the hell out of Hollywood and see the "real" world.
So, Sunday I embark on a 3 week journey to Rome, Fiuggi, Chianti, Istanbul and many small places in between. It will be a great time to see new people and places and to write, photograph and think about how big this beautiful world is.

Please pop into my Facebok fan page once in awhile, I intend to post photos and such as I travel...unless of course i get so carried away by the beauty that I revert back to a simpler time and eschew modern is possible.

I also post new short stories there from time to time.

Here I come Italia!

Jesus gets first accolade!

Congratulations are in order to John Kamal Iskander, it seems "Jesus comes to town" won it's first award! The Houston Internaitonal film festival (Worldfest Houston)has awarded the short film a REMI.
We're hoping to get the film into Dragon Con this year (so that I can selfishly shmooze all of the great writers I met at the Superstar Writing Seminar I just completed and hang out with fans!)

I read "Alcatraz and the Evil Librarians" by Brandon Sanderson today to my two 4th grade classes (Brandon was one of the superstar writers this weekend) and I'm happy to say that it was a hit! I even got a few laughs with my ever changing voices, they especially like my old man voice. I really am grateful for BookPals, it's a great way to start the week reading to kids and sharing your passion for books.

I hope everyone has something nice planned for Passover and -or Easter. I always love this Holiday season, no pressure to buy gifts...just a lovely opportunity to visit the ones you love, cook beautiful meals, reflect upon your chosen religion (if you are religious) and for me, eat oodles of chocolate. Heaven!

Writing and posting writing!

Well the 3 day seminar is finished and it was really great. A lot of information and most important for me; inspiration!
In lieu of this new challenge to write everyday I have decided to post some new writing I have recently completed so....
here is the link to a recent short story I wrote called Dream Boy:

Comments are always welcome
*******Please note there is a little "language" and a touch of sexual content in this story

Super Stars!

I experienced my first day of the Super Star's Writing seminar in Pasadena today and boy was it fun! The writers (The dynamic couple Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta (in the photo with me) , Wunderboy Brandon Sanderson, well respected mentor David Farland and the prolific Eric Flint) all joined forces to teach a lot of common sense and some dirty secrets as well.

I found that the 7 hours of actual lectures went really quickly and for someone with the attention span of a 3 year old, I was engrossed most of the time(the times I was fidgety was because of the sound problems, I couldn't hear 2 of the 45 minute discussions but hopefully they will fix that for tomorrow)

I met Grammar Girl (if only I had a brain sucking device I would steal her knowledge of grammar because I suck at it, that's what you get for leaving school at 16 folks!) and some of the attendees were Babylon 5 fans so that was kind of fun.

It was great to hear Brandon's success story told by him with enthusiasm and fresh wonderment at his rapid rise to fame and fortune. His power point was a nice touch as well.
The overwhelming thing I took home with me is that I do not write enough by far. These folks are serious writers, that's what they do for a living and they do it everyday. I have heard that in the past a million times but for some reason today it really hit home so I'm going to start a schedule next week of daily writing no matter what! The great thing about today was that it was all about the business of writing, what editors won't put up with, how to exploit your intellectual property (couldn't hear that one but I'm sure it was great) and the economics of commercial publishing, all stuff you don't generally learn as you're slogging away at your great American novel.

I have come to the conclusion that I really like genre people, the fans, the writers, the creators, actors, all of it. They are simply really neat people; interesting, generous and mostly very kind. I knew that before but today reminded me of it.
I am ready for the rest of the seminar, bring it on!

Claudia's first day of elementary school

I started reading to my classes this morning. I have a first grade class and a fourth grade as well. I had anticipated the 1st graders being rowdy and energetic but they were shy and a little lethargic (maybe the daylight savings got to them!).
I read two picture books to them; A Bad case of Stripes and Roar of a snore, the latter one elicited a nice response when I asked them who in their family seems a lot of people snore! The kids had fun imitating their Uncle, Mom or brother snoring, especially when I pretended that I couldn't hear them (apologies to the school for the ruckus):)

The kids are really cute, it proves that theory that kids are made to look adorable so that adults will nurture them and take care of them..with those big Keane painting eyes and adorable little raised hands how can you not want to baby them!?

The teacher seemed a little harried and the kids were slow to respond (taking their chairs down and getting settled took a good 5 minutes, heck in my old elementary school it would have been 5 seconds) but I think that's normal for the young ones.
I did get some laughs and some shy smiles and I promised them I would come back next week.
I then nervously headed to my 4th grade class expecting jaded little terrorists...but no! They were delightful and quickly got used to my sense of humor. I had the honor of finishing a book they were reading for class and starting their favorite book ; "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" which I read with my "nerd" voice, they liked that a lot.
I was truly surprised by the size of the school (Huge) and the hundreds of kids all being sent off to various classes and events, it really takes organization to run a school. The lovely lady who showed me to my classes and watched me read to the 4th graders told me that I was a hit and asked if I would come back.
I promised I would read every Monday for as long as they wanted me to. She was very happy about that.
It's the best thing I can do for kids really...instill in them the love I have had for books my entire life. If I can encourage them to read instead of watching TV then I have done a very good thing indeed.
So, it's back to the library for me now...I must find some new books with rhymes and sound effects for the little ones and something other than the Wimpy diary book for the older kids...any suggestions, please feel free to write me!
All in all I give volunteering at a school a 10 for starting your day off with a smile!

the view from here

My friend Caroline told me to write about my new view so here goes:

I can see from downtown LA to the Pacific ocean and it's a wonderful thing. In the morning the mist rises from the city to unveil a lovely ever changing vista. Sometimes the smog creates beautiful sunsets with shades of magenta and persimmon (beauty from the beast).

It's a bit like having a living painting really, the changes are something to look forward to on a daily basis. We recently had rains which cleaned away much of the filth in the air and made everything feel deep and heavy (very un- LA.. we are not known for our depth, just ask Woody Allen)and left the canvas crystal clear and utterly scrubbed as if a giant took a brush and Lysol to this sordid city.

I prefer this view, I used to have a "Valley" view over the San Fernando Valley and mountain ranges, beautiful but it didn't feel like LA it felt like I was in an ersatz mountain town with movie studios poking their water towers into the skyline, it just didn't fit. LA never feels like a city because it's so spread out and out "downtown" is really a no man's land. I can count on my hand the times I have been downtown in the last DECADE. I kid you not. I go to China town once a year for dim sum and to the Opera once every couple of years and that's it! You really need a car in LA it is not a walking city, case in point; yesterday I was at a gas station and a lady and her daughter asked me where a good shopping area get to on foot! On foot! I pointed a ways down the street and told them they would have a 30 minute walk in that direction to reach a decent shopping area and they looked at me like I was insane. New York, it ain't.

Back to my view. I like the feeling of looking at this city which has held me in it's precarious grip since the day I arrived, 16 years old and determined to make it in showbiz. I had a few hundred dollars saved up, a truck full of confidence (naivete mixed in generous portions) and the name of a talent manager. Now at 44 I look out at that view and realize that I am still that 16 year old, still wanting more, still looking for work and still unwilling to give up. The city of the angels will always have a place in my heart, it's where I grew up and where I continue to determinedly NOT grow up....My Los Angeles is a place of dreams, nightmares, luck and fame and for some reason this gamble...this risk to keep reaching for the "break" is as addicting as drugs or candy.

I'm happy I am a lion in a crow's nest, looking down on the city which has held my destiny for nearly 30 years, it makes me feel more in control to be on top looking down and that's a rare feeling in this city....control. In the last few years I have come to the realization that we all must diversify in order to continue working, the business has changed that much. So we go back to school and we take other jobs but many of us still wonder if we'll get that chance one more time, the chance to do what we love to do and get paid for it.
What a lovely dream it all is; life.

aunty social...

I went out tonight. Yes, I actually left the house and went to David's studio where he was having a party for photographers who were attending the big photo show this weekend in Orange County (Photo marketing association).
It is rare for me to go out. I was once told by a therapist that I was anti social despite the fact that I love people and am generally known as very outgoing, friendly and talkative with a capital T (even sober!)
It got me thinking that wanting to stay home most nights and read a good book must mean that one is terribly anti social becaue that is precisely what I love to do. A nice early dinner, a little chatting and laughing then get down to a good read...maybe I AM getting old ...hee hee!

I love throwing dinner parties and really if I was invited to cool places I would go, really I would but alas, I am not invited to anything really, I guess I don't seek out invitations because I am not pushy and I get slightly embarrassed around people who are.

In any event there were nice people there and even a couple of gregarious Australian fellows who took photos of me to email back to their son and his friends "Oh my Gosh I have new young fans!", I thought and yes, they confirmed that B5 is indeed popular down under and has attracted a teenage following. Now I realize that I won't be mobbed ala the "Twilight" kids when I go there this October, however it was a truly sweet thing to hear that a whole new generation is enjoying a show which touched so many...

In some sad news I just read that Walter Koenig's son is missing in Vancouver. I hope anyone with news will contact the information listed on this link.
Have a safe and beautiful Sunday tomorrow
x cc

time oh time

People always say around this time of a new year "My Gosh this year is flying.." and indeed it seems like some are still writing 2009 on their checks and it's nearly March. And of course you have the over 35'ers always saying "time really passes quickly after 30..."
So I have been thinking of reasons why this could be. One reason I think is that technology takes up so much of our time now. I can recall not having a cell phone nor internet but I can't recall what I did with all of my free time other than I read more books and wrote more letters and I got the LA Times delivered everyday and read it front to back. Now I answer emails in the morning and rarely know what's going on in the world since the paper is gone due to my "green guilt" and I watch little TV...I am embarrassed to say that I did not know about Haiti until 3 days into the disaster, I simply did not see the news. I also don't listen to the radio in my car because I tracked every accident I ever had and came to the realization that music was blaring during each one so I quit that cold turkey and have not had so much as a fender bender in years. (knock wood)
Thinking about what makes time go so quickly made me think of one of my favorite poems about time by Rilke:
Lord: it is time. The summer was immense.
Lay your shadow on the sundials
and let loose the wind in the fields.

Bid the last fruits to be full;
give them another two more southerly days,
press them to ripeness, and chase
the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

Whoever has no house now will not build one
Whoever is alone now will remain so for a long
will stay up, read, write long letters,
and wander the avenues, up and down,
restlessly, while the leaves are blowing.

So, back to time. I also realize that when you get older perhaps you start wondering about what you have NOT done yet and that might make it seem like there are "less hours in the day". We also have more commitments and goals then when we were younger. I do think that being a slave to checking email and cell phones is a very hard habit to break, I could not believe it myself when I turned around and went back home the first time I forgot my cell phone....I thought "what the heck am I doing? I can't live without it for a few hours??" and the answer was "no, apparently I cannot". Pathetic really. I am not a surgeon on call, an EMT nor am I a parent so what the heck do I need a cell phone for 24/7? I do believe that it makes us feel validated, that we exist and that we are needed-cared for-etc. etc. but didn't we feel that way before cell phones and email?
Some of you ask why I don't blog as much anymore and well frankly, between working on writing assignments for potential pay, writing for school, facebook and emails I don't really have the time! You is moving too quickly....and the year is passing too fast...
slow down and enjoy. I shall endeavor to make more time out of fairy dust or burning sage...

creative forces at work

I'm back in school and loving it. I have a short story class every Thursday night and just signed up for the super duper writer's 3 day crash course with Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Eric Flint, David Farland and Brandon Sanderson which should be a very good time.
I wanted to learn how to sculpt but then I had to remind myself that the last time I tried an "artsy" thing I invested a ton of money in a hobby hut, potters wheel, clay and all of the tools only to find myself making miniature figures of goblins then putting firecrackers up their insides and blowing them up, needless to say it was a complete waste of time and money (but it was kinda fun). Sculpting always seems like such a noble pursuit, you make something out of nothing ....which led me to remember that I can actually make up pretty good stories and I have written things and even been published (SMALL TIME) so I decided to get better at what I can already do rather than try something new, a whole new concept for me; the Queen of the tasting platter, not the full course. I'm a dabbler from day one, violin? Sure why not..I'm bored, trumpet? Why yes thank you I'll try that one!
In any event I am enjoying writing and reading other people's work and the whole critiquing thing which just points out how utterly differently we all perceive stories and their supposed meaning. It's very amusing to see what offends certain people and what riles them up!

Years ago when my parents were still married they made the painting you see above together. My Dad carved the frame out of a block of wood and my Mom painted an old looking icon on it. I love this collaboration and it is going to go in a place of honor at the new house. It just goes to show you what you can make out of something if you just put your mind to it.

been a long time..home sweet home?

..and I have no excuse other than day to day life has kept me from writing. I have been house hunting so that has taken up a lot of time and energy but I did find a place to live recently. I have also been in the hell which is Face Book, trying to migrate everyone to a fan page so that I can engage directly with people.

What is it about moving that creates such drama in a human being? Did early man get stressed out when having to move caves?
Is it our inherent desire to have a "home"? I am a gypsy, I always have been..traveling around, not having kids, moving dozens of times, yet I still have a strong pull towards being a homebody. I suppose it's a sign of getting older as well. The need for security and a familiar place to hang one's hat.

The other thing I must do is get back to doing my Babylon 5 posts, I miss watching the show and blogging about it so I will put that on the list as well. In the mean time here is a little radio show I did recently