Scott has this week's Stuff We Like - about a place you will find him many weekday nights.
My husband Mark and I live in Sacramento, the Capitol of California, and thought by many to still be a bit of a cow town.
When we moved here back in 2003, it kind of was. But we were part of an influx of residents from the liberal, cultured San Francisco Bay Area. The wave of immigration brought a hunger for great cuisine and good local theatre.
We started exploring, and over the years we've come to realize that Sacramento is a hotbed of not just good but great local playhouses. Two in particular stand out.
Case in point - at the B Street Theatre (founded by Buck and Timothy Busbee - you may remember Timothy from the West Wing), we just saw a fantastic play called "Love and Baseball" - and although I'm not a big fan of baseball, I do rather like love, and the story and acting were amazing. As a writer, I love breaking down the structure of other writers' work, and this one was a classic - three parts told a couple years apart, comprising the beginning, stumbles, and eventual resolution of a relationship between two people.
It was an amazing show, as much for the great acting as for the crackling script.
And another - at Capital Stage, we saw a simply amazing play called "Blackberry Winter" - essentially a monologue about a woman dealing with her mother's Alzheimers prognosis and care. You would thing this would be a terribly depressing play, and yeah, there were parts that seriously pulled at the heart strings. But it was also at times moving, hilariously funny, and transcendently beautiful. The writer chose to include a fable about Alzheimers that was beautifully illustrated on the screen behind the stage, and that carried the story to a new level. Sorry - my writer brain is getting carried away again.
As a writer, you can learn a lot from the way playwrights tell their stories. I'll bet you have some local playhouses close to where you live. I won't lie - these places, even the best ones - can be hit and miss. We've walked out of a few plays that were either just awful or that had nothing to say to us. But For every one of those, there are two or three good ones, and every now ad then, one transcendent play that will change you in ways you may not initially comprehend.
And there's just something about being in a live theatre that can be electrifying.
Give them a try. You won't be disappointed. At least, not too often.
Angel has this week's Stuff We Like - she begs your indulgence to explain...
When I was a kid, most girls my age had dolls. I'm certainly not saying every girl I knew played with dolls. One of my friends played exclusively with horses. But I never had any interest in them or, really, pretty things in general. Other girls of my acquaintance wanted to play dress up and house, while I wanted to read books of gruesome fairy tales and had an early fascination with gargoyles. That's not to say I didn't like anything cute. I had lots of stuffed animals. But I preferred the unusual, you know, like snakes and hippos.
Anyway - I can't say I'm alone in this, and now that I've met a huge variety of people over the decades, I know I'm not all that unusual. But I like odd things and my friends know this. So they send me Odd Things.
This guy's from Toni. She thought I needed a little demon in my life. Can't imagine why. ;) Isn't he great? I love his eyes and his little pitchfork!
This is the Happy Birthday Grumpy Cat Diane sent me from Calgary. Because I just can't imagine a better oxymoron.
This is one of the gargoyle bookshelf companions hubby gave me many years ago. Yes, he's sucking his thumb. I thought he needed a teddy.
This last one is an iridescent octopus. Because one can never have too many octopi. I honestly don't remember who gave him to me, only that I didn't buy him.
So if you see me cooing over Ugly Dolls or making a beeline for the some bizarre stuffed thing in a store, just let me go with it and get my Odd on. :)
Hello everyone! This week of SWL is brought to you by the letter "s" for squirrel, aka Freddy. Last week, after a couple months of running my tail of at my EDJ, a care package arrived on my doorstep. This one was filled with goodies from my beautiful platypus, aka Toni Griffin.
Just in time too. I'd had a really cruddy day. She sent me a rainbow of Australian jelly, ANZAC cookies, macadamia nuts, Monte Carlos, and so much more.
What is the weirdly wrapped package you ask? Well, that's between Toni and me. She knows my family will pilfer Aussie treats so she sent one specifically for me in extra special squirrel wrapping.
Don't you feel the love?
Hello world, Toni here for another episode of Stuff We Like. This week I thought I would talk about conventions.
Before I became an author I never really knew conventions for readers and authors were a thing. Of course I'd heard of comic-con and such, but for readers of romance / gay fiction? Nope.
It took me becoming an author to attend my first one. Now, I must admit the first one I ever attended was down in Sydney and was very small, probably only forty people or so. That being said I met some amazing people who I'm still friends with to this day.
Attending GRL in Chicago in 2014 was an eye opening experience for me. I was not prepared in the least for so many people. I'm always humbled every time someone comes up to me and tells me they love my books. They spend their hard earned money on something I created and they enjoyed it!
I must also admit to having my own fan girl moments. (and there were quite a few of them)
Since then I've attended another small convention in Australia last year and had a large one in the US cancelled on me after I'd purchased the plane tickets.
On Monday I returned home from my first large author convention here in Australia. I attended Readers and Writers Down Under which was held on the beautiful Gold Coast.
This was the third year for the event and I really hope the organisers decided to do it again as I would sign up in a heart beat.
Even though MM is still taking off here in Australia and the majority of authors at the event all wrote MF I had a wonderful time. I was lucky enough to meet several of my readers and chat with them, some even over a meal. I met up with old friends and made new ones.
RWDU only went for two days, but with registration on Thursday, panels all day Friday, a full day author signing on Saturday followed up with a masked ball, come Sunday morning I was exhausted. Luckily I like to leave a day or so free at the end of conventions to be able to wind down. How did I do this you ask? I hung out with a new friend all day with our laptops and wrote and chatted.
If you're a reader or author looking at attending your first convention but are a little unsure, my advice to you is to give it a go. Find a friend who enjoys the same things you do and maybe go together. That way you'll always have someone there you can talk to if things get a little overwhelming.
If you're shy and just smile at your favourite author as you walk past or scream at them and ask for hugs, they wont bite you. Chances are they're probably just as nervous or excited as you.
Would love to hear about your convention experiences.
Scott's here to host this week's Stuff We Like - about his favorite Martian.
It was love at first sight.