It’s been a long time since I posted. It’s been a long time since I had much to post about. But things are picking up a bit in LitLand, and I’m sharing good news. MacmIllan has recently accepted my picture book text Tyrannosaurus Rex vs. Edna, the Very First Chicken. No word yet on who the illustrator might be. (And for those who don’t know the field, it’s the editor who makes that choice, a jealously-guarded privilege.) We’re looking at a 2017 release date, but picture books are dicey propositions. I’ve done two others, and one took nine years, the other took four. Here’s hoping this one goes smoothly.
With the flawless timing that is the hallmark of all truly professional theatre, the Pear Theatre in Mountain View California, contacted me last night, just in time for the holidays, to say that my play SCHRODINGER TAKES HIS CAT TO THE VET will be part of the next Pear Slices this spring. The Slices are short plays, fifteen pages and under, written by members to the Pear Playwrights Guild. Knowing what a fine job they did with my previous effort, TOPPERS, last spring, I am very enthusiastic about the prospects.
I recently received my contractual copies of the two Vampire High books in Czech. Six each. I’m proud to have them, and they sit proudly on my shelf of personal copies, but I’m pretty sure that my chances to give them away to friends or to use them to promote myself are going to be limited. My stories look impressive though, written down in an alphabet that appears to be made partly of barbed wire.
Halloween is heaving into view, and every wight and sprite is asking, “Is that new anthology of scary stories for teens, Magical Mayhem, which was forthcoming from Ambush Books out yet?
To which the correct answer is yes. The anthology, thirteen tales of teenage terror by some of the most uncanny authors writing YA today, is indeed available for download and endless hours of fun while hiding under the bed. My own contribution is an update on kestrel Murphy, the heroine of Majix, but they’re all good, and all different. Everything from riffs on classic folktales to lovely (but scary) flowers of magical realism. And ten percent of the profits go to the Electronic Freedom Foundation.
My five-page five-minute play TOPPERS opens tonight at the Peave Avenue Theatre in Mountain View. It’s my first professional-level production, after four or five years of studying playwriting (I’m a slow learner) and I’m excited. What are eleven published books to this?
Okay, maybe a lot. But still. To see the care, energy and insight the director and actors brought to my little epic is, frankly, humbling. They found approaches to the play that never occurred to me when I was writing it. And the expenditure on costumes and set — it’s set on top of a wedding cake, so tuxes and a floofy dress are indicated, but the notion that this little theatre company would provide them for what’s essentially a workshop production —
Maybe this is why people stilll try to write plays in a country that has almost no interest in live theatre. To see what we’ve imagined re-created by other imaginations,other energy. It’s quite an experience.
More after tonight.
I saw The Hunger Games last night. Having heard that the movie didn’t provide adequate background on the story, I was curious to see just how much of Suzanne Collins’ dystopia did make it to the screen. On the whole, I was impressed. A few titles at the beginning, the video at the reaping, seemed to me to get the idea across pretty well, without interrupting the narrative flow. It also seemed to me that the sets, locations and costumes did a good job of carrying the story (where did they get those wonderful faces for the citizens of DIstrict 12?).
On the other hand, I’ve read the book. So, my question is, did the script do what it needed to do in terms of putting the audience int he world of the story, or not? And if not, what was missing, and what might have been done differently?
Saturday I and a Little Group of Serious Thinkers watched the entire first season of Game of Thrones. I’d never read anything by George R. R. Martin, though my wife is a huge fan of his novels. I did hear him speak on a panel at ComicCon last year. Anyway, I became intrigued, partly becasue is twas a good story, but also because there was so little fantasy in this fantasy. It reminded me more of the kind of Thundering Historical Epics my dad used to buy in paperback for 35 cents, writen by people like Frank G. Slaughter and F. Van Wyck Mason. And the story at many points echoed various bits of Tudor and Stuart history. It made me wonder if Martin hadn’t written historical fiction diguised as something else. On the other hand, the correspondences are vague enough that I could have been making the connections myself.
So my question to real George R.R. Martin fans is, what do you think or know about that?