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.