16 Oct

     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…

10 May

     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.

The Hunger Games

30 Mar

    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?

    Just asking.

Game of Thrones

26 Mar

    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? 



23 Mar

     After more than a little technical trouble, Ambush Books is up and working. Yay. As I may have mentioned, Ambush is an online imprint  which intends to bring back out-of-print YA and middle grade titles (“teen and ‘tween”) in digital formats at reasonable prices. If you’re a writer who falls into this category and haven’t yet posted your old titles yourself, check us out and see what we can do for you.


27 Feb

I’ve been writing, or perhaps more accurately, trying to write, plays for the last few years. I think it’s a good idea for writers to stretch themselves by learning new ways of telling stories, and play writing was always smething that interested me.

Anyway, after four or five years of off-and-on effort, I have a production going up, a five-page epic entitled TOPPERS, which will be produced by the Pear Avenue Theatre in Mountain View, California. Debut is set for the 11th of May. I’m really jazzed. Elven books published? Swell. But a five-minute play? That’s something. Something new, anyway.

I’m learning more and more about how different writing theatre is from writing novels. The process is far more collaborative. I belong to two groups of playwrights, and the feedback we give each other is extensive. As a novelist, I wouldn’t expect to get this kind of input from anyone but my wife a a few friends. I ‘ve been finding it hugely helpful. There’s no equivalent to the editor in the theatrical process, and in theatre, unlike movies, the playwrght has the final word about the words. But rehearsals start soon, and when we get to them, I expect I’ll be hearing from the actors and the director. More to learn.


12 Jan

It’s been a while since I worke