I'm a published novelist and freelance writer, editor, and audio tech. Check out my journal for creative writing tips, short stories, and news. To learn more about my books or my services, navigate using the links above. 

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Sunday
May132012

build something

One of the beauties of shooting on real film is that you can hold it in your hand. If you could distill into an object the feeling of a long stretch after a hard run, it would be a heavy can of film, cold and dense, sealed tight with lightproof tape. One of the pleasures of cooking, especially a challenging new recipe, is seeing your labor transformed into an item you can consume. I even like mending clothes, to see buttons where they'd been missing before, or a neat row of stitches around a hem, and know I put them there.

I think anyone who writes, or spends their days in some kind of sedentary, mental labor however creative it might be, should take a little time every day to build something. If you can give it away or use it to make someone smile, that's even better.

Andrew Bird was magical. It was the first time I saw him with his band, and they were lovely. He played many of my favorites, including "Plasticities" and "Fake Palindromes," and he introduced "Tables and Chairs" by telling the audience "It's time for snacks," which generally drove the fans ballistic. His demeanor was the same as last time -- very modest, very absorbed in the music, though he complimented the audience several times, which was sweet. The last time I saw him, the crowd was nearly silent through the entire show, except once when someone shouted "I love you Andrew!" to which he responded bashfully, "Aw. Stop."

I had an audio-nerd moment when the band gathered around a single condenser mic for a few folksie songs in the middle of the show. The fuller, richer sound was perfect for the music, as was the sight of the three men gathered together with violin, double bass, and acoustic guitar. Didn't take this video, but it isn't too far from where we were:

Remember to stay up all night sometimes, or at least most of the night, and go to diners, dance in the park on sunny days, wear the crazy pants, and yes, really do stop and smell the flowers as you walk by.

I ganked this image; didn't have my camera with me. Click for source.There's always someone doing something interesting musically in Eastern Market. This Sunday, my neighbor Emily and I stopped and listened to two men making soft harmonies on little blocks of wood with metal tabs tacked on -- I don't know what it's called. It sounded like bells and the harmonics of an acoustic guitar, the kind of music that makes your throat tense up as if your voice wants to sing along to the wordless sounds. They were sitting inside a little stall selling knick knacks made from bottle caps next to the man with the graffiti-style paintings.

A few weeks before, Emily and I were drawn toward a haunting, willowy sound near Port City Java, where we listened to Star FK Radium playing under an umbrella outside. They reminded me strongly of Andrew Bird; I'd like to stumble upon them again. They were at Eastern Market today, but I was too late and missed them. DC music fans, support!

 

Tuesday
May082012

Stir-fry Blog

Question: if there's mold growing on the mushrooms in your fridge, is that redundant? Also: Andrew Bird, running for the sake of not being naked, and finding my blogivation.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug292011

Hurriquake!

Well, my first meeting to discuss promotion of Queens of All the Earth with the gentlemen of Bancroft Press was delayed due to an earthquake. The reschedule was nearly put off by a hurricane. For those who don't live in the Baltimore-Washington region, or were otherwise unaware, the endtimes are upon us. Or, my book is just so great the world can't take it (geologically, or, it seems, meteorologically). Endtimes seem more likely.

But just in case you'd like to escape the reality of the impending zombie apocalypse for a little while, please do feel free to crawl into my book. There are no zombies. Or werewolves or vampires, for that matter. There are some inebriated Scottish soccer fans, which remind me a little bit of #1 and #2, from personal experience. Mostly it's just a quiet little love story with some poetry mixed in, an annoying sister, a cute hostel owner (who is real, by the way), a shy hero and a bit about a picnic that goes just...awfully.

If you're wary of taking the author's word on it, I've added the latest reviews, with Kirkus's pending as soon as they publish it online. And just so you know I'm real, there's now a picture of me here, taken by Brandon Stewart, who is far more talented than I am attractive. Enjoy!

Tuesday
Feb222011

Welcome

There comes a time in every author's life when one must actually update her website with pertinent information about her books. In this spirit, I have removed the old, quirky bio from my front page, and replaced it with something a bit more commonsensical. But for those of you who are feeling nostalgic for the old one, I thought I'd preserve it here:

Last summer as I was scaling a previously undiscovered Sumarian ziggurat, I contemplated how dreadfully empty of excitement and variety my life was. Only a week before I had broken up with my shaman boyfriend after I discovered his familiar spirit was apparently "familiar with benefits." I had promptly sunk into a routine of humdrum mopery, joining an Egyptian caravan across the desert, where every day was much like the last. It wasn't until I spotted and climbed that fateful ziggurat that the solution to my ennui came to me like a dust storm: what better relief from monotony than to spend endless lonely hours stationary before a laptop "penning" my first novel?

So emerged Queens of All the Earth, a story about travel, love and sisters, though they don't share their pants because they consider such behavior unhygenic. Inspired by E. M. Forster's timeless classic, A Room with a View, I knew I wouldn't have to work too hard to cook up a plot. While best enjoyed on a Himalayan summit with a piping hot mug of green tea and yak butter, Queens of All the Earth is also microwavable for the modern reader on the go.

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