Archive | October, 2012

Sandy’s Coming

29 Oct

That’s from Nasa. From space! That’s a big storm.

We’re all stocked up here in Brooklyn with food and gallons of water. June is pretty anxious and keeps hoping in the window and then as soon as the wind starts up she hops back out and comes over to me meowing. Like I can do something about it.

Last night on the news, Bloomburg suggested filling up a pot of water so I did. Or, you know, all of them. Better safe than sorry.

I got some food, some wine, some beer, lots of books and if we don’t lose power, some movies. Hopefully we won’t – the power lines here are underground so if we do lose power, that means Brooklyn is really flooded.

I’m a little worried about this:

The whole front of the building is covered in scaffolding from construction work. That can withstand 99 mile an hour winds right? Right?

Saw this on twitter – made me laugh.

HURRICANE SANDY @XHurricaneSandyIF UR HAVING WEATHER PROBLEMS I FEEL BAD FOR YOU SON I GOT 99MPH WINDS AND IMA GIVE YOU SOME. #nyc #Sandy

Just heard on the radio they closed the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel  and the Holland Tunnel. Bloomburg is talking about 9 feet surges at the Long Island Sound. 15-20 feet waves. Ugh.

Guess, we’ll see you on the flip side, huh? Stay safe kids.

Over and out.

The End of the Tenth Doctor – SPOILERS

27 Oct

Last night I watched the end of the David Tennant’s run on Doctor Who. I was a mess. And by mess, I mean I was worse than her:

And I still don’t have a Tardis cookie cutter or blue icing. Though I didn’t think his forehead was too big (that line was hilarious) but I did describe his face as “all lumpy” which was a bit harsh and I’m sorry Mr. Smith.

So I’ve spent today reading about the doctor’s death because it bothered me so much. He didn’t want to die. His parting words of “I don’t want to go” ripped my heart out. A lot of people think that Tennant was too “human” but really, he just loved life. And as he said about his regeneration “Everything I am dies. Some new man goes sauntering away. And I’m dead.”

I came across one video that argued that the doctor’s death alienated viewers and made Matt Smith’s job even harder. Never has the doctor not wanted to die. All the previous incantations always faced their regeneration with a certain about of bravery…not a plea to a godless universe. And there is a lot in that argument that I agree with. [See my above comment about lumpy heads].

But then I found this gem in the commentary section from Joe England.

Many other Doctors end on an up-note… serene or thankful or gently irreverent, or they rest in quiet surrender. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that. But really, most people don’t die that way. Because we cling to our lives, because we love living. And never has there been a Doctor who clung so tenaciously, who loved life so much that he railed so fervently against its end, even if it was merely the end of this version of himself. A man who lives in such a way would live forever if he had the chance, and if not, he would fight to live even to his last second. There is no crime in this. There is nothing selfish in joie de vivre. To love life is to love all things in it. It makes his sacrifice all the more noble, since it is perhaps harder for him than for any of the other Doctors.
And you know, I think he did accept it, at the last. And in the midst of this acceptance, his final words are even more a fitting declaration. He does not want it to be over, he wants to keep going, he wants to have fun and adventure and explore and show off. With his last breath he tells the universe that he still wants to be him, that for all his mistakes he still loves who and what he is and that he would go on if he could. He says that he is still alive, still embracing life even to the very end.
What could be more inspiring?

So maybe all my tears were just a sign of a healthy fear of death. When Nora Ephron died, I read her list of things that I’ll miss and won’t miss and remembered thinking that yes, waffles! What about waffles? And no more Paris? No next year in Istanbul? No next year at all.

Maybe it’s cause I’m so afraid that my final thought will be I don’t want to go. Or that it was the final thought of the people who I loved who’ve died. That maybe it is the only final thought anyone could ever really have.

Maybe I just miss my little grey cat.

I don’t know. I guess it’s pretty silly to get so worked up over a television show but hey, I’ve always been a nerd at heart. And I guess we get our hearts broken over the death of The Doctor.

So here’s to Mr. Smith (even with his lumpy head). You’ve got big shows to fill. Don’t mess up. Allons-y!

Interview with Rally the Readers

25 Oct

I’m over at Rally the Reader today talking about Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb, my thoughts on Marlowe vs Shakespeare and how if Marlowe hadn’t died, it’s possible Shakespeare wouldn’t have been THE Shakespeare, and how Cole wound up rooming with a crazy like Dmitri. Also a bit of sneak peek on what’s next for Lizzy.

What adventures are in store for Lizzy in the next book?

I’m actually working on the next book right now which is tentatively called Lizzy Speare and the Hall of Hecate. Hecate is the Greek Goddess of Magic and her hall contains every magical object in this history of myth or legend. Looking for the Vorpal Blade that killed the Jabberwocky? It’s there. So is King Arthur’s sword. Once the Hall of Hecate is robbed and all that magic is released, Jonathan realizes that Marlowe’s plans don’t end at destroying Lizzy. They begin there. And all of Mythkind are in trouble.

We’ll see the return of some old friends and we’ll get to meet a few new ones. And few other Muses. Jonathan isn’t the only show in town, you know. And we’ll get to go to Hagsmoor Copse, the land of the satyrs and find out more about Cleo and the war with the harpies.

Read the rest here.

And to Lee and Melissa for the interview (and the very awesome review) my Starbursts of Thanks!

The Next Big Thing

24 Oct

Here’s some of the plot to the Chess Book which has taken over one of the walls in my writing closet.

Hey kids! I got tagged in a blog hop. My first ever! Woot!

Renata Barcelos tagged me in the Next Big Thing which is a chance for writers to talk about what they’re working on next. I’ve got two in the pot right now, the second book in the Lizzy Speare series which I’m calling Lizzy Speare and the Hall of Hecate (maybe) and the book I talk about below. Ready? Allons-y! (that’s French for “Let’s go” for those of you who don’t watch Doctor Who…or speak French.)

What is the working title of your book?

The Chess Book or the Kings Game or Gambit’s Defense or Perpetual Check. I really can’t decide. At this point I just refer to it as the Chess Book.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I was home in my apartment in Brooklyn one day and someone slipped a menu under the door. I looked up just in time to see it slide across the floor and for a split second I thought “what if it was an invitation” and then “what if it was an invitation for someone else and not me” and it sort of spiraled from there. Funny thing, that moment doesn’t even happen in the book. Inspiration is a strange beast.

What genre does your book fall under?

Young Adult/Science Fiction/Romance/Mystery maybe? I don’t know. The character’s are teens and, to quote The Doctor, some weird “wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff” goes down.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Ha! That’s a good one. I have no idea who would play Kate cause I’m terrible with younger actors but I would pick Evan Peters from American Horror Story for the main male character. In fact, minus the blond hair, he’s VERY Evan Peters, only less, you know, murder-y.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Never trust your memory.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Well if my agent likes it (fingers crossed) it’ll be repped and subbed. If not, I would definitely put it out myself.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About 7 months or so. But it’s a looong book (currently at 150K words). Revising has taken close to 2 years but I was also working on other things at the time. Ahem…making excuses’ much?

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Wow. I have no idea. Literally none. Clearly, I broke my first rule about good writing being all about reading.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

The menu story above. Oh, and my main character is named Kate because of Linda Buckley-Archer’s book Gideon the Cutpurse which really deserves more attention in the States than it gets. It’s a fantastic three book series and one of the main character’s is named Kate. After reading it, I knew I would use that name, just as an homage to such a beautifully written character. She was unforgettable and I guess it’s just my way of saying thanks to Ms. Buckley-Archer. *Sniffle.*

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Let’s play word association. I’ll say one word and you say whatever comes to mind.

1. Time Travel

2. Chess

3. Stolen Memories

4. New Love

5. Street kids

6. Lies

7. Heartbreak

8. Doppelganger

9. Cockney Accents

10. Underground Resistance Movements

So now…what say you?

I tagged a couple other friends of mine Jen McConnel and Patrice Caldwell so they can play, too. So go check out their answers next Wednesday!

Interview at Picture Me Reading

22 Oct

So there’s this really cool book blog out there called Picture Me Reading where aside from reviewing books and talking about books, the blogger illustrates each post! Every review gets cartoon-ed.

And she was nice enough to do a review of Lizzy there (4 stars! Woot!) and an interview where we talked about things like why maybe writing a middle grade book about Shakespeare was sorta crazy (read: stupid)

3. How did you approach the challenge of incorporating references to Shakespeare’s plays into your story without losing sight of the
adventure?

That’s a great question. I wrote middle grade because those were the most important books to me when I was a child. So I knew that I wanted to do something for that age group. But incorporating Shakespeare into it? Trust me whenever I told anyone what I was doing I got many quizzical looks. Mythology has always been a big interest of mine, ever since I was of middle grade reading level so I knew that the magic and the mythology could people the story. But what would drive it? How would Shakespeare’s work move the plot? I had a girl who found out she was the last living descendant of Shakespeare. Well, so what? It wasn’t until I introduced Marlowe and the secrets between him and Lizzy that I started to see the mystery behind Rupert’s disappearance. What better way to get Lizzy from place to place, seeking her father than to use clues from the very work of her ancestor! And naturally, it wouldn’t be a tale about the Bard without a play (within a play!).

Read more here!

And as always, my Starburst of Thanks to Alisa for rocking it in words and pictures.

Salud at Misfits’ Miscellany

18 Oct

Morning!

I’m thrilled to have my poem Salud over at one of the coolest zines, Misfits’ Miscellany. 

It’s about my friends Oscar and Aida who live in Madrid and last Christmas came to visit Jay and me in New York.

Patos, Aida y Ally

Te echo  mucho de menos, Oscar (Patos) y Aida. We’ll toast in Plaza de Santa Ana again soon.

Many thanks to Misfits’ Miscellany.

New York Comic Con and the Author Meeting That Changed My Life

15 Oct

There’s a cause I can get behind

This weekend was New York Comic Con, the second biggest meeting of Nerd Culture in the country (the first being San Diego’s Con or what I call The Big Show). This wasn’t my first Comic Con but it was the first one I went to on the non-professional day, i.e. on Saturday with all my geeky brethren.

So here I am, geeked out:

I’m wearing matching purple tights and my docs but you can’t see those.

Just kidding. I wear that Sandman t-shirt all the time.  So we headed through the trade floor, checking out all the Spidermen and Wolverines and Banes and Batmans. I counted at least 7 Banes and a surprising number of Zeldas. And of course, The Doctor with his Tardis:

Brilliant!

And his most feared enemy:

Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!

There was a ton of stuff for the Walking Dead (which I need to read) including a mob of zombies that tore through the trade floor so quickly I didn’t have time to snap a picture (Sorry, Rob!)

Brains!

I’m not really sure who these guys are but Jay photo-bombed them like a Boss.

One of these things is not like the others.

There were cars…like the DELOREAN and the freaking BATMOBILE!

When this thing hits 88 miles per hour you’re gonna see some serious….

Holy Vintage, Batman!

And yes, that is Marty McFly in the background.

So we headed off the trade floor, down to the Artist Alley because Fiona Staples, who draws for Saga one of my favorite comics, was signing and drawing. As we were waiting in line, I noticed another table to my right. A name. An image. And just like that I was 10 years old again, laying down on the carpet, a bowl of popcorn in front of me, my best friend Dan with me, staring up at the television watching a movie that would become so familiar to me, so ingrained in my very DNA that years later, I would recycle themes, images…harpies….for my own writing.

It was Peter S. Beagle. The man who wrote The Last Unicorn, a book I adored as a child and the impetus for a film that I watched repeatedly:

And there he was, just SITTING there like a mere mortal. I pointed it out to Jay as we were waiting in line.

“Go,” he said. “I’ll save your spot.”

“I can’t….I”ll cry.”

“Well don’t do that. He’ll think you’re crazy.”

Time passed. The line didn’t move. I watched people go up to Mr. Beagle and shake his hand, talk to him.

“Go,” my husband said.

I shook my head. I couldn’t. I couldn’t move. See the thing is to me Mr. Beagle was C.S. Lewis. He was Jim Henson. He was Madeline L’Engle. He created something that shaped my entire childhood, something I still carry with me, all these many years later. And he was just SITTING there.

“Go.”

I shook my head. My line still hadn’t moved.

“Come on,” Jay said, taking my arm and bringing me over to the table. There were two girls in line already. I got in line. I got out. I got back in. I could feel the tears creeping up. I told myself to calm down. I told myself it would be fine. Deep breaths. Tell him what he means. Tell him thanks.

I spoke with his agent. Had I known, I would have brought my old old old copy of the book. (See photo above). Why didn’t I read the program? I thought cursing myself.  I bought the graphic novel for him to sign. I stepped up. I put out my hand. I said:

“Hello, Mr. Beagle. It’s an honor to meet you. I can’t tell you what your story has done for me. I just recently got my first novel published and it was your book that made me want to tell stories. It was that film they made of it that made me believe. Why the Red Bull, Mr. Beagle? Why Schmendrick? Mr. Beagle, thank you. If it weren’t for you, I don’t think I would be a writer now. I hope you know how many lives you have changed.”

Except I didn’t say any of that.

I said this:

“My name….Ally….*sob*…I wrote….published…*sob*….first novel…if  it weren’t for you….your book….*sob**sob*sob*

Yup.

And the amazing Mr. Beagle, took my hand in both of his and he told me about the first time he met a  writer he loved and how he fell apart. He told me what it was like writing The Last Unicorn, how many times he nearly gave up, how his wife pushed him to finish and then I cried some more, thinking of all those nights on the couch, after all the rejections, how Jay just kept telling me to finish Lizzy’s story.  No matter what, finish her story.

He commented on my Sandman t-shirt. Told me that Neil was lovely. That it had been a long time since they had seen each other.

I nodded. I wiped at tears. I just kept saying “thank you.”

And I don’t know if I’ve ever meant those two words more. This man, long ago, wrote a story, that resonated with a little girl, that planted a seed, a desire to be a storyteller too. I’m not there. I know that. I’m just starting out. But it’s a path that Mr. Beagle set me upon long ago, when with a flashlight under the sheets, I read all about the Last Unicorn.

So even though I could barely speak then, thank you, Mr. Beagle. You changed my life.

%d bloggers like this: