Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I Sign Boxes Good

Wanna come see me?  Wanna say hi and maybe buy a book––How To Be Death, specifically, because it's the new one I just wrote––and get me to sign your Buffy Box Set?  I sign boxes good...

Tuesday, February 28th 2012
Redondo Beach Store
2810 Artesia Blvd
Redondo Beach, CA 90278

Friday, March 2nd 2012
Time TBD
Grand Central Station
459 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Saturday, March 3rd 2012
2342 Bissonett Street
Houston, TX 77005

Saturday, March 10th 2012
San Diego Store
Time TBD
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
Ste 302

San Diego, CA 92111

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cal And The Monster From Silent Lake

Here is an excerpt from a new book that I'm writing.  It's called CAL AND THE MONSTER FROM SILENT LAKE.  It's a YA thingamabob...I thought it might be fun to share it with you guys.  It's just the first pass, but I'm having fun with it and I hope it makes you smile.


The best and worst thing that ever happened to Cal began on June 15th, 1999––the second week after school had let out for the summer.  That date would forever be etched on his mind as the day his world began to expand.
 Of course, it started out just like any other day. 

It was summer and shockingly hot outside.  Cal woke up with sweat on his upper lip and behind his ears, his t-shirt sticking to his ribs like a second skin.  He coughed, hacking up something from deep in his chest and then he sat up, pushing the twisted sheet off his legs.  The sun streamed in through the slatted front window casting halos of hazy light around everything it touched.  One long, unbroken finger of sunlight had snuck in from beneath the bottom of the plastic blinds and had found its way to Cal’s head, bisecting his face right down the middle. 
This was probably what had woken him up, he decided.
He stood up, his bare feet sticking to the warm wooden floorboards, and crossed over to the small bathroom that sat at the side of his room just to the right of his tiny closet.  He didn’t know how he’d gotten so lucky, how God had seen fit to give him a bathroom in his room so he (almost) never had to leave his safe space.  Occasionally he'd come home from school and sneak out to the long, galley kitchen for food, but usually he filled up as best he could at lunch, or at his best friend Marlo’s house––where the pantry was always brimming with Capri Sun and Sunny Delight and potato chips and cookies for Marlo and his brothers and their friends.
This way he interacted with Daryl and Eugenia (his stepfather and mother) as little as possible.
As the years went by, he got used to his stomach growling.  Hunger became his ally––and he knew that if he was hungry then he was being smart and staying out of Daryl’s way.
After Cal had used the bathroom and brushed his teeth, he found the jeans he’d been wearing the day before––crumpled into a ball underneath his bed––and put them on.  He took a white T-shirt from a small stack of clean clothes he’d washed at the local coin-op the day before and slid it over his bony chest. 
The apartment didn’t have its own washing machine and dryer, so every Tuesday afternoon Eugenia had a standing appointment with the Laundromat down the street––but Cal had learned early on that flying under the radar was the best way to operate, so he’d long ago stopped asking his mom to wash his clothes for him.  The less he was seen or heard at home, the better.  Once you’d had someone yank your wrist so hard it broke in two places (all because you’d spilled your milk across the kitchen table), you realized fast staying out of the way was the least confrontational course of action.
Since it was summer and there was no school, Cal had to find unique and interesting ways to occupy himself (and keep out of the apartment) during the day.  He loved the summer, how the days seemed to stretch out for an eternity, the sun shining over your head until the last drop of light was squeezed out and the fireflies started blinking in the twilight.  He had planned to spend his morning at the park reading the book he’d gotten at the library, and then, when it got to be around noon, he would walk over to Marlo’s house and wake him up.
Then things would really get interesting.
Marlo would sleep all day if his parents let him.  He spent his nights watching monster movies and usually wasn’t in bed until close to dawn.  When Cal spent the night there, he’d conk out around one, only to be rudely awakened by the sound of a woman’s scream coming from the TV at four or five.  The screams and howls and chainsaw sounds that came out of Marlo’s small TV/VCR combo never seemed to bother anyone else in the household, but for some reason, Cal couldn’t say why, those movies haunted his dreams when he was there.  He never thought about them when he was home alone, snuggled under his own comforter, but at Marlo’s house, he couldn’t shake them.  They gave him strange dreams and he always left his friend’s house with dark, bruise-like circles under his eyes.
Cal had never been a fan of horror movies until he’d met Marlo.  He’d had enough horror in his own life, so it wasn’t something he sought out in movies.  Mostly, he read biographies of famous people, or Historical stuff, especially anything about World War Two.  Books about vampires and werewolves seemed silly to him––especially when he had a real life monster already sleeping in the same bed as his mom.
Still, after he’d begun to spend time with Marlo, he’d started to understand the attraction horror films held.  They were a way of escaping into another reality, one that was more exciting, more thrilling than your real life.  Except, to Cal, those monster-strewn alternate realities weren't more exciting––they were just different than his normal life, safer perhaps, because he knew the monsters weren't real and could never hurt him.  With that secret knowledge to protect him, he could enjoy the scary things the monsters did on screen, never letting fear enter the equation.
Without even realizing it, he'd quickly learned the mythology of each monster, their weaknesses and the way to kill them.  He knew that Vampires hated garlic and holy water, that Werewolves had a thing against silver bullets, that Frankenstein’s Monster just wanted to be a real man again––instead of a bunch of dead guy parts.  He understood the rules of the Slasher film.  Was familiar with how to escape a homicidal maniac or serial killer or zombie horde.  He took all of it in through osmosis, so that he'd soon become as well versed in horror mythology as his best friend was.
He didn’t know if he’d ever use this vast array of monster lore for anything other than debating with Marlo, but he didn’t care.  He just liked having his brain filled with all of it.  In fact, tonight, they were going to watch “Night of The Comet” and he was gonna cram his brain with even more useless information.  
 He was very much looking forward to it.
Cal spent the morning doing exactly what he'd intended to do: reading about Napoleon under the cooling shade of the town park’s one and only weeping willow tree, totally losing himself on the island of Elba with the exiled French Emperor.   
He'd set up shop at his favorite spot, a bench bearing a small plaque on its spine that read, "Dedicated To The Memory Of Stan Stanhope".  There was no ‘in loving’ part to Stan Stanhope's dedication––which made it singular among all the other memorial plaques that resided in the park.  That’s why Cal liked it so much; why he made it his special place: It wasn’t overly sentimental.
The park wasn’t very crowded for such a sunny Thursday morning.  Usually there was a horde of mommies and tots overrunning the playground, the moms trying to tire out the tots so they'd nap when they got home, but for some reason they were missing in action that day.  His only company seemed to be Lionel, the homeless man––who Cal had decided must live in the park because he was always there.  Cal watched as Lionel stood beside the small man made lake, dragging a stick through the muck at the water’s edge.  Even though it was sweltering outside, Lionel was wearing his usual attire: Three winter coats over a t-shirt emblazoned with a bright, yellow smiley face. 
As Lionel fished around in the muddy water, Cal stared at his round, sunburned face.  In the bright summer light, it looked as if Lionel had sewn strips of faded leather onto his real skin then capped his creation off with a white, Mad Scientist wig.  For some reason, Cal thought he remembered Lionel's hair being dark with streaks of grey running through it like the marbled veins of fat in a hefty cut of meat––but maybe he'd been mistaken.
The homeless man ignored Cal’s gaze, fixated on whatever he was trying to dredge up out of the water, so Cal ignored him in return.  Sometimes Lionel got chatty and would come over and sit on the bench beside Cal and mumble at him, but that obviously wasn’t on the agenda for today.  Instead, the two of them seemed to exist within the same space, but remained utterly separate as they focused their attentions on their individual activities.
Which meant that Cal stuck his nose back in his library book, and within a few minutes was totally engrossed in what he was reading.
When Lionel screamed, it took a moment for Cal to leave his imagination and return to reality.  Instinctively, he dropped his book and stood up, his eyes seeking out the spot where he'd last seen the homeless man…but Lionel was gone.  The stick he'd been using to stir the lake water was lying on the grass, pointing toward the water, where a few dissipating ripples gave Cal the only clue as to where Lionel must have gone.
Cal jogged over to the edge of the lake and peered down into the murky depths of the water.  The lake water was so opaque that he could see nothing but his own reflection mirrored back at him.  He squatted down and grabbed the stick, thrusting it into the water.  Upon contact, the water around the stick began to seethe with an avalanche of flailing fish, their enormous silvery bodies glistening in the sunlight.  Cal took an unconscious step backward, his gaze riveted to the ballet of fish as they danced in front of him, their gaping maws opening and closing in time to some inaudible score.
He felt something grasp the other end of the stick and yank him forward, dragging him closer and closer to the swarm of ecstatic fish as they pirouetted in the water.  Cal dug in his heels, pulling back on his end as he refused to let go.  Whatever had a grip on on the other end of the stick was inhumanly strong––and it took everything Cal had to keep himself from plunging headfirst into the lake.
Without any warning, the fish suddenly stopped their frantic thrashing, sinking back into the watery depths as abruptly as they had first appeared.  The pull on the other end of the stick lessened and Cal fell backwards, landing hard on his left hip, the stick sliding out of the water after him.  He lay there in the grass, panting from the unexpected exertion––and it wasn’t until he’d caught his breath and his heart had stopped racing in his chest that he noticed the something protruding from the end of the stick.
Cal squinted hard, but the bright morning light made it impossible for him to deny what his eyes were telegraphing to his brain.  There, embedded in the pale wood, was the sharpest looking incisor that Cal had ever seen.  Unconsciously, he scooted even further away from the water’s edge, pulling his feet in toward his torso. 
With a trembling hand, he reached out and touched the tooth.  It was three inches long and impossibly smooth, the edge tapering down to a lethal point.  
He had seen a tooth like this one once before, at the Natural History Museum.  His grandfather, Bill #1, (both of his grandfather's were coincidentally named Bill) had taken him there for his birthday when he was nine and it'd been heaven.  They'd roamed the hallways for hours, disappearing inside every hidden nook and cranny they came to, their minds dazzled by the bizarre dioramas and odd exhibits full of strange and long dead creatures that they discovered.
The other tooth––it could've been this one's twin––was in a square glass case tucked away in a small, forgotten exhibit near the second floor Women's Restroom.  There were other teeth in the case with it, but it was by far the largest and most evil looking.  Cal had been fascinated by it; so much so that he'd even committed the name of the creature it came from to his young and eager memory.
The little placard beside the tooth bore a two line paragraph explaining what exactly an Acanthostega was: an extinct Tetrapod Genus from the late Devonian Period (365 Million Years Ago). Possessing both gills and lungs, it is considered to be one of the first ‘fish with legs’.
Standing in the air-conditioned darkness of the Natural History Museum with Bill #1, Cal had felt a strange, eerie sensation crawl up the back of his spine and wrap itself around his brain. 
And now he felt that exact same sensation steal over him again as he sat, staring into the murky waters of the silent lake, the elongated tooth a pale reminder that something was terribly wrong.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Blue Jean Baby Queen Issues

I hate my jeans.  Every pair I own drives me up the wall. 

When I'm jonesin' for a little 'un-sex me here' time (thank you, lady Macbeth), all I want to do is put on a comfortable pair of jeans and zone out.  But then I start trying on one pair after another in my closet and when none of them fit right, I totally lose my sh*t.  I want to tear my hair out...and have been known to snivel upon occasion.

Which is the exact opposite of zoning out, thankyouverymuch.

And, seriously, all the body issue related hysteria that the search for a non-threatening pair of jeans brings up makes me feel more like a female than any dress ever could.

It sucks.

If you are a woman then you may already know my pain (and maybe some men out there identify, too - but you guys don't have to say anything, I know complaining about jeans isn't the most macho of pastimes - though I do have to say that I have a soft spot for men who are comfortable enough in their own masculinity to bitch about this kind of stuff with me):

I have two pairs of gray jeans (full disclosure: I am wearing one pair now) that I bought at Anthropologie.  They are by a company called Adriano Goldschmied (AG for short) and I liked them for about the first two months that I owned them.  They are very lightweight and soft with threads of metallic-looking material running through them.

I bought two pairs at the same time because I find that if there's an item of clothing I like, I will wear it until it dies.  Until it literally curls up, falls off and dies.  I've been chided by peeps for wearing the same thing two (or maybe three if we're being honest) days in a row.  I think it's fine to do this so long as you change your underwear every day and the clothes don't stink too much after the first wear.  That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

I didn't try on both pairs of these gray jeans at the time of purchase and when I got home I discovered that not all jeans are created equally - even when they're the supposed to be the same.  One of the pairs fit differently and was not as comfortable, but it wasn't horrible, so I kept them both.

I don't dry my jeans...I wash them in the washing machine then hang them up to drip dry.  I am messy and klutzy and I spill crap on my clothes all day long, every day, and this is not ever going to change.  I am incapable of keeping myself food and dirt free.  Needless to say, this means that I have to wash my jeans on a semi-regular basis - or else I look like I'm wearing the household composting.   Flecks of food and other junk stick to me like glue and it's just embarrassing after a while.

Anyhow, I have these jeans for two months and I love them...and then, after a few washes, I find that they just don't fit like they used to.  They sag in the wrong places and they're tight at the waist which is awful and gives me a muffin top - and I like muffins so this shouldn't be the end of the world...but it kind of is for like two seconds.

I have another twin pair of jeans that I got off the sale rack at Macy's.  They, like the gray ones, are twins, but they're dark blue and have the name 'jeggings' attached to them - which frightened me when I bought them and still frightens me to this day.  They are from J Brand and I liked them a lot when I bought them because they were soft and not too tight...but after a few washes they started fading hardcore at the butt and now when I wear them, it looks like I pooed white stuff all over myself.  Which is not a pleasant look for anyone - and I apologize to anyone I might have accidentally white poo flashed while wearing them.

I have some singletons in my closet.  Jeans without a twin, lonely one offs that I very rarely go near, so I'm not even going to mention their flaws.

What I want to know is: Am I jaded?  Do I fall out of love with these jeans too fast, am I too hard on them, expect too much from a bit of fabric?  Or is what I'm really responding to the bill of false goods we're being sold when we slap all that money down on the counter: that this transaction will make us happy - when all it really does is make us financially poorer.

And then I get a hold of myself and stop being a nincompoop.  There are people starving out there, so I can just shut my trap about ill-fitting jeans.  They're not magic for God's sake - they're blue jeans.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Can You Catch Athelete's Foot On The Chin?

SIDEBAR:  I can now blog on my phone.  It's amazing.  I can talk about hair or toilets or baby poo while on the go!  Yippee!

Is it wrong that I fell asleep in the tub this morning?

I know that I could (maybe) have drowned - I write this as if it's a joke, but I have a strange feeling that someone is going to hit up the comments section with a really sad comment about how their friend (family member, partner, grandmother's roommate at the Home For The Aged) actually did this thing I joke about.  I know that the water got really cold and that's what woke me up.  I know that my fingers and toes got awfully prune-y.  I know that letting the tap drip really hot water until the tub was filled to the brim wasn't the smartest of choices...especially when the water sloshes out the back of Old Clawfoot (that's what I call the tub) and puddles on the floor where I will eventually step in it while wearing only socks.

The alarm just went off so damn early and it was already freezing in the cube like, really, so I went and did my snooze time (about fifteen) minutes in a very warm tub of water.  I didn't mean to fall asleep - I was thinking more of a groggy tub-in with Old Clawfoot, not a snore-a-thon.  It just happened.

I know that someone (probably more than just a some 'one') is going to chide me for taking baths.  They are going to tell me that if I took a shower then I wouldn't have fallen asleep and woken up with prune-y toes. 

Well, hold your tongue...because I can one-up you on that.  I've fallen asleep in the shower, too, and, frankly, it's nowhere near as comfortable an experience.

But at least said shower was my own, so I didn't have to get all paranoid about catching Athlete's Foot on my chin.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hair, the Antichrist

I have a real problem with hair. Not the stuff on your head, just its peers - who, yes, did originate on your head - but can now be found free floating in the ether, attaching to whatever will have them and, generally, making a nuisance out of themselves.

I went into my bathroom the other day - which I share with roommates - and had to hold back my horror when I saw a short, curly red hair (the short, or severed hair, is sometimes worse than the long one) curled up around the base of my electric toothbrush.

I didn't know what to do. Should I grin and bear it, reach out and pluck the wettish, stubby hair away? Should I ignore it and just brush my teeth? I was stumped - and feeling slightly queasy. Finally, I decided to get some toilet paper (I did say on twitter that I'm the queen of the toilet paper buying, imagine eight rolls all in a neat row waiting to be called into action) and used that to wipe the springy hair away.

Then there was the long hair in the sink full of dishes (it was of indiscriminate color because it had been soaking in soapy dishwater) that got all intertwined with the dish sponge - it was almost sexual, the way it was wrapped around that green and yellow artificial sponge - and I was disgusted enough by it that I couldn't do the dishes until I had removed the sponge from the sink, taken it to the trash and untwined the lascivious hair like the soapy whore it was. Of course then the hair stuck to my hand - for some reason the idea that soap was involved made it ok to touch the hair with my bare skin - and it took a protracted battle, and the help of a can of tuna from the recycling bin, to finally put it down (as in euthanize it).

I know it sounds OCD, or worse, but I can't help how I feel about stray hair.

The worst, and final, hair story I will impart to you, makes the sink/dish stories seem benign - and what is even more horrible is the fact that it is not an isolated event.

I ate a hair.

It was in a peanut butter sandwich I was eating. I didn't know it was there until it was halfway down my gullet and when I noticed it, I knew I was screwed. I reached in and grabbed ahold of the bottom of the hair and started pulling. But the hair was all mixed in with the bread and peanut butter and would not budge, no matter how hard I pulled. I yanked and yanked and yanked and yanked and do you know what happened?

I gave my myself a damned throat paper cut with that hair.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sweat, Sh*t and Stuffing Brown Paper Towels Down Your Armpits

So I've been taking 'Hollywood' meetings for my Calliope Reaper-Jones book series.  People that might (but probably don't) want to turn my prose into a TV show. It's been a real learning experience...mostly I've learned that no one wants a book author involved in the process of turning said book series into a movie and/or TV show.  They just want to take the books, give you a little cash (or the promise of a little cash) and then tell you to piss off. 

For me, the whole point of this hope exsanguinating process is to get my foot in the door of the TV show making machine (as a neophyte TVwriter/producer/someday Showrunner) and to keep a little of the original tone of the books intact...but even that (the tone part) is negotiable.  I really just want to make stuff and this seemed (at least in the beginning) like a good way to get myself in the game.

But the more I delve into this world, the odder I find it.  There are soooooooooooo many people making decisions about development.  Not just some big mucky-muck (like Orson Welles at the end of the original - and much better than The Muppets - Muppet Movie) sitting behind a giant desk, sucking on a cigar and pronouncing things like " it!" and "Get this girl a standard contract!"

Instead, there are small fish Development Executives (that give you notes which ultimately conflict completely with the notes their boss will eventually give you), Mid-Level Development Executives, Vice-Presidents in Charge of Development, Presidents in Charge of just seems like there is an endless supply of people and hoops you have to jump through in order to get anything done.

Of course, everyone is very nice during the process.  They offer you water, coffee, tea...Advil.  They direct you down movie poster-covered hallways to waiting offices and smile benignly when you ask for the ladies room.  It's a sterile and serene experience with no real interactions to speak of (except the one time I pitched the books to my friend, Stacey, which was a fun and much less stressful experience).

Everyone seems to like what you're saying - even if they really don't - and then you're done and dazedly heading to the parking lot with an hour long validation on your parking ticket.

Now I have to admit that the pitch process scares the crap out of me...I get nervous, start sweating profusely from every sweat gland on my body - I once sweat so badly I had to go to the bathroom and stuff scratchy, brown paper towels down into my armpits to soak up the salty sludge - and, finally, just before I go in and start talking, my stomach begins to cramp like a son-of-a-bitch.

So all of the above makes me predispositioned not to enjoy the whole thing anyway...but it's more than just the fight or flight body responses that make me dislike the pitch process.

What bugs me is the fact that everyone just wants a goddamned procedural...a body of the week to keep them satisfied and, frankly, they don't care how they get it.

My books...they're not procedurals...yes, there are some mystery aspects to the plotting, but no body of the week.  My books, if they were to be a TV show, would be like Ugly Betty crossed with Bewitched.  Silly, funny, New Girl-like, really. (And, yes, I am listening to She and Him as I write this, so bite me.)

Instead, everyone I meet in Hollyweird wants me to rehash Dead Like Me, a show that I loved and that Bryan Fuller already did - and did REALLY WELL.  They want my Death's Daughter chasing dead people all around Manhattan, parceling out wisdom and solving body issues...dead body issues.

And they don't want me involved in doing any of it...well, I can watch the show when it's out with the Nielsen numbers.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Baby Partay!¿!

I have hit that point in my life where I have become part of the minority.  I'm not talking race or gender or sexual orientation...I'm talking something far, far worse.

I'm talking babies.

This year of newly found singleness has been ridiculous.  I have like seven friends with kids when last year I just had, like, one.

I thought it was bad enough that I was now one of the 'single females' of the world.  Part of the cat-sitting, puppy-watching brigade that is called upon by pet-owner friends to baby-sit their tiny mammals because, ostensibly, we don't have anything better to do with our time.  (FYI: I'm not knocking being a free pet sitter, but apparently it's like blood in the water: your friends scent your single-y, female-ness as if they were in possession of shark-like powers.)

But then it got tougher.  My friends started to 'seriously' pair off and then - horror! - get married.  I felt like a wallflower at the Homecoming Dance, sitting on the bleachers in my orthodontic headgear, hoping someone would take pity on me and ask me to dance.

But no one did. 

So I sucked it up and set out to just embrace my singleness.  This included working, enjoying time with my (quickly dwindling pool of) single girlfriends and gay, male friends, working, working some more and eating out...a lot.  And when I was finally getting used to being the third or fifth or seventh wheel at dinner parties, those married bitches went and did something far worse then ask me to pet sit during the holiday season or try to set me up with inappropriate, single men their husbands knew from work.

They had babies!!

I can't escape them.  They are everywhere.  And believe me when I tell you that they are taking over the world one live birth at a time.

I went to a Holiday Party last night - thrown by two friends that I adore - but I knew I was in for it when the babies in attendance almost outnumbered the adults.  Now, of course, I'm exaggerating - there weren't THAT many babies - but, goddamnit, there really was a whole lot of nursing going on.  I found myself starting to crave a milkshake instead of the previously yummy-looking Christmas cookies I'd already put on my plate... and it was frightening.  As the night wore on, I became THAT girl, the one catering to the babies, goo-gooing at them, holding them. 

I felt my ovaries contract in envy and it made me nauseous.

Now - just on general principle - I've never been a huge fan of parties, but baby parties are even more unsettling. They are bastions of ambivalence: on one hand I am resentful that there are babies there, but, on the other hand, I'm resentful that I don't have my own doula/stroller/burpcloth/carseat/baby. 

It's very confusing. 

And the lack of single, available guys at a baby party is just find yourself at the mercy of horny, divorced dads who only like you because your car doesn't have a car seat in it.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this post, but I guess I can sum it all up with one word:


I'm for it. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Importance Of Kicking The Crap Outta Being Earnest

I'm tired of being the Earnest Girl.

Earnest Girl is my default when I'm in a public forum. It's the 'go to' facet of my personality, the mature, thoughtful part of me who (tries) to say all the right things and make people happy. It's great to trot Earnest Girl out and just click into autopilot, letting her charm people, win over critics - or make them even more insistent if they're so inclined - all with the assurance that she won't get me into any serious kind of trouble.

She's a great gal and I love her dearly, but she's safe and she's easy (not like that!) and she's only a sliver of who I am, really. Earnest Girl gets shelved when I'm relaxed and just being myself because like everyone else out there in the world, I'm a contradiction in terms. I have Earnest Girl all tied up with Silly Girl and Obnoxious Girl and Bitchy Girl...and that's just the tip of the iceberg: it's like Multiple Personality Ping Pong.

With that said, the reason I'm telling you all of this, giving you a little insight into myself, if you will, is that I'd like to retire Earnest Girl from this blog. Maybe every now and then she will make a guest appearance and ask you to do something serious or help out with some charitable cause or get up on a soapbox and preach at you a little bit - but for the most part she will be busy doing other things while Silly, Obnoxious and Bitchy take over the running of this space.

So if you laugh when you read what's on display here then you are on the right track. Once in a blue moon there will be something serious said, but really stop and think about the ridiculousness of the subject matter before you decide to lump it into the Earnest Girl column.*

Ah, I feel better. You can go back to your regularly scheduled life now.


*For the record I like my face as it is and I could give a crap about automatic faucets vs. manual toilets (okay, I do give a crap, but only in the more literal turn of the phrase)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bringing Sexy Back - Sorry JT, But This Kicks Your Ass

I have something very serious to address here in this post. Something that should not be taken lightly, nor should it make you laugh:

And this serious issue is the disparity between manual flush toilets and their automatic faucet brethren.

We, as a society, are being overrun by automatic appliances: computers, washing machines, parking meters, coffee makers, self-check out stations at the grocery store...and it seems that this evolution, this continuation in 'progress' is here to stay - whether we like it or not.

But if you are going to automate the world then, please, for God's sake, have a little consistency. If you are going to install an automatic faucet - one whose heat/cold/pressure output cannot be controlled by the user, mind you* - then you better damn well have an automatic toilet, too.

An automatic faucet in a public or semi-public restroom connotes that there will be an automatic toilet in the stall. It's just plain logic, folks...or, at least you think it would be plain logic.*

I cannot tell you how many times I have humiliated myself in front of strangers when they enter a stall after I've 'relieved' myself only to see them recoil in disgust at my failure to manually flush (yes, I know it's a shocker, but I do sometimes go number two), nor can I make you understand just how many tears of frustration I have shed at the discovery that, while in the middle of washing my hands, (which is already a skin drying process because of the low grade soap one consistently finds in a public or semi-public restroom - but that's a whole other blog post) I have forgotten to manually flush the toilet - and will have to return to the scene of the crime, flush, and wash my hands all over again.

This ridiculous disparity must be stopped. It's a travesty - it might very well be spreading e coli and salmonella - and it is seriously making me doubt my powers of observation.

Please, if you agree then tell the world...disseminate your anger on twitter and facebook...spread the word that #automaticfaucet/manualtoiletdisparity will not be tolerated!


*Although I must go on record that I don't have a problem with automatic toilets and manual faucets working in conjunction. There is no false advertising when you enter a public or semi-public bathroom and find a manual faucet...only a happy surprise when you enter the stall and find an automatic flush toilet in its manual brother's stead!

*This may well be the perfect solution!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to Wash Your Face After A Face-Lift

There was such an air of neglect in the house this morning that I was more than happy to head over to Culver City and pretend to be a corpse for the day. Apparently, I have a knack for playing dead people. Pretty amazing that a girl with hard core thanatophobia issues is always lying on her back (or front), dead and/or dying. Do I look like I want to be dead? Because it seems that that's the vibe I'm giving off.

It used to be nerdy, shy girls...that was my 'go to' place...but somehow, over the years, this has morphed into blue-lipped dead ladies. Maybe it's the wrinkles on my forehead? When you get wrinkles, does that mean you're only good to play dead people? I watched Charlize Theron in Young Adult and, I swear to God, no matter what horror she inflicted or had inflicted on her, her forehead never creased. Never moved once. I was so fascinated by this wonderment that I spent the entire movie on forehead watch.

Now, I love Charlize Theron, she's a great actress - and maybe she's just genetically predispositioned not to be a forehead wrinkler - but Goddamnit, it was unnerving and it made it really hard for me to focus on the movie.

And it made me start to wonder if I was playing deadies because I had forehead wrinkles.

I started thinking about how to get rid of my dead girl tell. It began to obsess me. So I looked online...

Holy crapola!! They want me to inject things in myself...cut myself at the edge of my scalp and pull my face over my head...ugh...not interested...not because it's gross (it is)...but because I am scared of sharp things - pretty ridiculous coming from a girl who's been shot, stabbed, strangled and bludgeoned for money.

Then I found the thing that was for me.* Something I could do at home. It was ironic that the information came via a woman who looked like she'd blown off the 'thing you could do at home' in favor of one of the injecting/cutting options, but oh, well...

Just FYI: I started doing the exercises right here in the coffee shop I'm sitting in writing this...and I think it's already working, if the stares of adulation I'm getting are any indicator.

So, peeps, when you think of me, think of me fondly and think of me doing my at home deep forehead wrinkle exercises...and pray that if I do them well enough and long enough, the powers that be will let me play a MILF instead of a soulless corpse - hallelujah!

*Uhm, this is the very next video in the cue and it scared me.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Triangle Tara Is Baaaaaaaaack!!

Yes, folks, it's that time of year again. When Triangle Tara comes out to play...and raise money for charity! She's been cooped up at my house all year long and now she's itching to make the holiday rounds!

(Get your Triangle Tara right here.)

From December 9th thru December 16th Triangle Tara can be yours for $100 (shipping is free worldwide) - with 100% of the proceeds going directly to the LA Food Bank.

From Dec. 17th thru December 31st Triangle Tara can be yours for $125 (shipping is free worldwide) - with 50% of the proceeds going directly to the LA Food Bank.

Each doll will be signed, personalized (specify how you'd like it personalized in the comment box provided by Paypal) and popped in the mail to the address of your choice!

And if your purse is feeling a little light this year then you can help Triangle Tara in other ways, too:

1. Donate $10 or more directly to the LA Food Bank and send your receipt to to be entered in a drawing to win a Triangle Tara or a mystery prize!

2. Share this fundraising event with your peeps on Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Live Journal, and other web/social networking sites then send an email to and let us know where you posted the news. You'll be entered in a random drawing to win a signed pic!

NOW just sit back and relax in the knowledge that you've helped Triangle Tara feed some hungry peeps this year!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Orange County Children's Book Festival

Guess where I will be at 4pm on Sunday, October 2nd, 2011?

I will be at the Orange County Children's Book Festival! I will be following the lovely Nancy Holder at the YA Stage at 4pm - I will read a little, dance a little, and sing a song or so a little...come on down to Orange Coast College and say hi and get stuff signed!

It's an awesome festival and it's free!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

UYS - Remix

Here ya go - my little attempt at spoofing Joss Whedon's classic, "Under Your Spell" - this song goes out to all my homies who added a review to the Amazon page for my book CAT'S CLAW (if you haven't put up your review and you're listening to this song then shame on you! Go to Amazon right now and post that review!)

I also want to send a shout out to the inestimable Jordan Katz who helped me with GarageBand.

Peace out.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Day At The Races

So the title of this blog post is a joke. I was not at the races yesterday, but, instead, was experiencing the antithesis of a day at the racetrack. I guess 'antithesis' isn't the right word really, though, because there was a lot of sitting on a my ass watching other people freak out about the little slips of paper they held in their hands, but the little pieces of paper I'm talking about weren't betting slips. No, they were something far, far worse...they were airline boarding passes.

All the itinerant bad weather had seriously screwed up the air travel world, so much so that I saw more delayed and canceled flights then on time ones yesterday as I sat in the Manchester Airport in New Hampshire–after driving by Robert Frost's childhood home on the way, how cool is that?–while I waited for my flight.

The irony was that my flight was one of the few that was on time. I counted myself among the lucky as I sat across from an elderly couple–the woman in a wheelchair–as they tried to decide what to do with themselves because their flight to Chicago wasn't happening that day. Period. I felt pretty bad for them. If they'd been heading to LA, I might've even given'em my ticket, it was that pathetic to see them struggling.

But LA wasn't their destination, so I climbed on board my flight and thanked my lucky stars. Until we got to the runway and had to turn around because of a generator failure. We taxied back to where we'd come from and sat on the plane for the next two hours while they tried to figure out what to do with us. To everyone's amazement, they actually got the plan working again and we took off, heading for Phoenix and for all those missed connections. Only, as we hit the air, a rumor started circulating through the plane that no one was missing their connection 'cause all the flights–except the peeps going to Orange County and Portland–had been delayed.

It was ironic and kind of weird.

I spent the remainder of the flight drinking a bloody mary, trying to write, but mostly watching Season 2 of The Wire. We landed in Phoenix and the rumor proved true. I saw my dazed compatriots checking out the flight board and scratching their heads. Everyone had at least an hour or four to wait for their original, now delayed flights...even the Orange County peeps made their flight 'cause the airplane held an extra few minutes for them.

After seven hours with no food, except two tiny bags of peanuts and an equally minute bag of baked pita chips, I had a killer headache (the bloody mary didn't help the headache like I'd hoped and was my original impetus for drinking). I had three and a half hours to kill so I ate a cheeseburger that I'm pretty sure came out of a freezer bag and watched more Wire.

At 11:10, after an almost 11 hour odyssey, I trudged onto the plane and promptly fell asleep. I've never slept in my hard contacts before and, after that experience, I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone.

I got to LA and got my bag and was standing at the curb of Southwest Airlines at 1AM.

I don't know why I felt like sharing my yesterday with you, but there it is.

You know what the funny thing is? It really wasn't that bad. People have much crappier things happening to'em in this world right now. In the end, I got where I needed to go, I didn't get beaten up and there was always a restroom to use.

It was a win/'sort of' win...and, really, isn't that all you can ask for from a Wednesday?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I just can't seem to get anything done until I've had my first cup of coffee. Seriously, it's like I'm in a fog when I get up and that fog doesn't lift until I've downed coffee #1 for the day. I don't want to drive or make a phone call or do ANYTHING until #1 has settled into my blood stream. It's really getting ridiculous.

I've tried going cold turkey and quitting coffee, but then I get a massive headache...that lasts for a week. Once that's gone, I'm tired and uncommunicative and unable to get through a day without yawning a hundred and fifty times. I'm a different person when I'm coffee-less.

I'm siting here right now imbibing the stuff and writing this. If I wasn't drinking the coffee, this is how my last sentence would read:

dhgfjng;lojre90ugol'mslaojhfuigfqeuvx iowej iejfiwnv wir uwcnupord oiqwdjqof o

Does that make any sense to you? It's gibberish to me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Am Being Taken To Task!

So a little while ago, I made a deal with you guys that if I reached 200 reviews on Amazon (international Amazon, too) for my book Cat's Claw then I would do a spoof/weirdo rendition of "Under Your Spell".

Well, the day has come. I am now at work on my little opus and it will be available for your perusal within the next ten days. So, keep your TV sets tuned in to this channel in the days ahead. I am going to blow my after this one, folks.

Amber...over and out.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Making Money The Old Fashioned Way

And by that I mean...PROSTITUTION.

I want to be an Internet prostitute. No, not that kind of Internet prostitute. I'm not interested in placing an escort ad in the back of the LA Weekly and seeing who likes my pic enough to email me for "a date".

I'm talking about the prostitution of my creativity to make a buck. It sounds bad, but I've decided that instead of railing against the institution and how awful it is, I'm just going to create my own institution...and then I can decide how much of myself I want to prostitute at any given time.

I think this is something all creative people need to do for themselves. We need to make our stuff and then get it out to the world ourselves. Sure, you can use distribution channels like amazon, hulu, youtube, itunes, etc - that's par for the course - but within that framework, you have to be the one calling the shots for yourself.

This way your creativity is unfettered by corporate business people trying to dictate what's funny, what beautiful, what's get the picture. All the decisions are then placed into your hands, and the hands of the people you have chosen to work with on a creative level.

You can make a living this way...look at all the VLOG peeps on Youtube making advertising revenue...all the self-published books that are finding their own only makes sense to get on the bandwagon now before the bandwagon leaves you behind.

The corporate structure of entertainment isn't really going to be viable forever. It's like a big, unwieldy dinosaur among a bunch of fleet-footed mammals. Sure, we're not talking tomorrow, but within the next twenty-five years, mark my words, how we get entertained is going to change. And only the corporate peeps who are willing to be flexible wither their business models are gonna survive.

It's like the wild west out there – 15 minutes of fame a la Andy Warhol – and anyone can become a star, a mover and shaker, a big mucky-muck.

Be in charge of your own content, make it available to the masses yourself. That's where it's at, man. I'm still half-antiquated, but I'm working on changing that.

I'm gonna be an Internet prostitute and damn excited about it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Hey, haven't I been promising a much touted (okay, maybe a minorly touted) return to the South?! Well, guess what? I'm coming to the South!!

I will be at GAYLAXICON in Atlanta , GA from May 13 -15 - that's in like two weeks, folks!!

I will be chatting and signing stuff and generally making a nuisance of myself, so if you want to see me in my natural element - that is, eating lots of fried Southern food goodness and spilling sweet tea on myself - then I suggest you come on down.

Growing up, I spent a goodly bit of time in Hotlanta, so the peachie city holds a special place in my heart. Hope to see all you loverly Atlanta peeps there!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sex Scene Spectacular - starring me & Patrick Rothfuss

Patrick Rothfuss and I reading the naughty bits from my book, Serpent's Storm. All I have to say is that Patrick is the best sport ever!!! And his southern drawl is pretty spectacular, too!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


It’s the end of the line for the Serpent’s Storm Tour…only two more stops to go!


The Place: Skylight Books*

With: Patrick Rothfuss (The Muscleman From The Great North)


Amber Benson (The Hallelujah Chorus Kid)

When: April 8th @ 7:30pm

At: 1818 N. Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Tel: (323) 660-1175

We will be openly debating Epic Fantasy vs. Urban Fantasy

Which one will be the winner?

You decide

*There will be a special guest!


The Place: Challengers Comics + Conversation

With: Just Me (sorry)

When: April 9th @2pm

At: 1845 N Western Ave
Ste 2R
(between Cortland St & Moffat St)
Chicago, IL 60647

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Things You Don't See Everyday

I came home and there was a giant moose head on my kitchen table. I don't want to say it frightened me - because that would make me a wuss - but it was pretty unsettling. Especially cause it was at night and there were votive candles placed lovingly in its ears.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Blake Nelson was here

On Saturday night my super-talented friend Yony Leyser (he made the documentary, William S. Burroughs: A Man Within) invited me to read a little of one of my books at the Sister Spit show at The Echo in Echo Park. First off, let me just say how awesome the show is - check out the link and you'll see all the amazing writers/performers who are in a van as we speak coming to your town to break some words down for ya - it's like Grrl Power and Smarts (maybe Smarties, too) and Cool Dudes and Just Fun all wrapped up into a wordy package. I highly recommend you check them out.

But the real reason I got so high off the night was that I got to read with one of my all-time favorite authors, Blake Nelson.

When I was a pre-teen/teenager, my best friend, Aimee and I would lie on her bedroom floor in Palmdale, California and pore over her collection of Sassy magazines like they were the Holy Grail reissued in pulp-paper form. That magazine was a window into an untouchable, fantastical world that was a far cry from the boring lives we led - it showed you that, though you may be toiling in suburban drudgery, one day you might get to escape (go to college) and then maybe if you were lucky, you might find yourself in the magical Manhattan world that Sassy promised you was out there.

Sassy wasn't like the other teen magazines...there were no Tiger Beat pin-ups, no articles extolling the virtues of marrying your sweetheart right out of High was the cool magazine, the one that introduced you to smart music and interesting people and reminded you that you were pretty damn awesome yourself - even when you mostly felt like the biggest loser 'cause you didn't quite fit into the world you were forced to inhabit.

It was during one of those Sassy binges with Aimee that I read an amazing piece of fiction. It was by a guy called Blake Nelson and it was an excerpt from his book GIRL. It was so good I immediately went out to find the book - only to discover that I had to wait, it wasn't published yet.

Needless to say, I was not deterred - I've always been the kind of person who sees things through to the bitter end - and I went back to the bookstore again and again until finally, one day, GIRL was there, waiting for me.

I adore that book - it's got Todd Sparrow and Andrea Marr and it takes place in Portland and there's music and grunge and sex and falling in love and fitting in and not fitting in and then everything gets all messed up and it's just beautiful. Seriously, I have gifted it to many other women over the years because it encapsulates, for me, what it's like to be a smart, teenage girl. And even if my life was nowhere near as drama-ridden or cool as Andrea's, it didn't matter. I still FELT exactly like Andrea.

So, I got Blake to sign two books for me - yes, I geeked out - and babbled at him about how much I love GIRL (and his other books - they're great, too) and how I pass on copies to people I like...and he was a real sport about it.

It was an awesome night...and even if I'm 34 years old now and world weary and full of piss and vinegar...I still feel a little like Andrea Marr on the inside.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


We had some fantastic entries for the DRONES Soundtrack Cover Contest. In fact they were all so awesome that I wanted to share them with you here.

But we had to choose a winner and that just happens to be the lovely and talented Isaac Goodhart:

Thank you to all who entered! You guys are amazing!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Due to the same "bloody" mystery job - I have to postpone the King's English book signing tomorrow night in Salt Lake City! We are trying to reschedule as I write this - so more information about the new dates should be available soon!

Thank you for bearing with me and a double helping of thanks to The King's English Bookshop for being so understanding!

Art for Art's Sake

That is my new mantra.

I recently read Patti Smith's book, "Just Kids" and I realized that I had not been creating art for art's sake. Somehow I had lost the thread, was caught up in other things, and the point had been missed. Instead of creating just for the sheer joy of creation, I had gotten caught up in something strangely insidious: the need to make a living as an artist.

I know that sounds perfectly ridiculous when I say it out loud - or type it on this heretofore blank page. Everyone has to make a living, right? You gotta put food on the table, buy a few sturdy pairs of shoes for the kiddos, pay your cable bill. Totally reasonable.

NOT reasonable.

Not when art ceases to be art and becomes money. I don't want to live my life that way, where conspicuous consumption overshadows my need to be creative. I want to make things because I am moved to make them, not because I am trying to please someone, or I am trying to sell said art.

It just seems stupid to chase after art like it's a business.

I make the stupidest shit when I'm doing that.

This thought has become even clearer in my head as the days wear on. Especially now that we live in a time when, for me, being an actor isn't really a legitimate way to make a living anymore. I haven't made enough money as an actor in the past three years to support myself. If I wasn't writing books and signing my name with a sharpie in echoing convention halls, I'd be living in the spare room at my dad's - sorry, dad, I know that you would love to have me and the space is great, but somehow it's not quite right for me...YET. Who knows, I may be in that spare room sooner than I think.

I still work as an actor, but when you make 100 bucks a day (or no money 'cause it's deferred) and the work is super intermittent at best, well, you ain't buying your baby a new computer with that. Occasionally, the Gods smile down on me and Shonda Rhimes calls - then I make enough money as an actor to keep my Health Insurance. But those gigs are getting fewer and far between. And not just for me, but for every working actor.

Now, I'm not really complaining - yes, you are, a little voice in my head says - but all of the above seriously puts a damper on me supporting myself as an artist. And the crappy thing is that I have it way better than the majority of artists...they're REALLY starving. At least I've got a roof over my head and food on my table.

I don't know what the answers are. I just know that I have to start creating things for myself and if other people dig what I'm doing then great. But I can't make art because I want fame, fortune or casual sex with groupies - actually, the casual sex with groupies has never applied to my life, but even if it did, it would not be a good reason to make crappy art.

I guess what I am going to do is continue to write my books (which are art, too, so when writing them I just gotta write what moves me) and put my food on the table that way and then I can act if I want to, make movies if i want to, write internet porn if I want to and sit on the couch doing absolutely nothing for long stretches of time if I want to...and if none of these other endeavors never makes a dime...well, who gives a shit. I'm just gonna let it ride.

All I know is that I don't know nothing.

Oh, and that I'm making art for art's sake, so screw what anyone else thinks.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Due to a super secret acting gig that I cannot talk about (blood is involved), we are changing the date of the Mysterious Galaxy signing of Serpent's Storm from the 22nd of February to the 28th. Here is the new info:

Monday, February 28nd
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, Ste 302
San Diego, CA
(858) 268-4747

Be there or I will find you.

Friday, February 4, 2011


As I write this, Adam Busch, Jonathan Dinerstein, Dan Bern and Common Rotation are finishing the soundtrack for our film, DRONES. But wanting to include you in the process, they had an interesting idea: why not have a contest to see who can come up with the best album cover for the soundtrack?!

Basically, the rules are simple:

1) Watch the trailer here

2) Make some art

3) Post your work on the DRONES movie twitter or Facebook page*

Fun will be had by all and the winner will get their artwork immortalized on the cover of the DRONES movie soundtrack!

*The contest will go for one week starting today 2/7 and ending on 2/14 - Valentine's Day!

Friday, January 28, 2011

And so it has begun...

I promised myself at the end of last year that I wouldn't get in over my head. That I would take the time to enjoy life, while also cloistering myself away - no, I'm not getting myself to a nunnery. I was speaking figuratively, though maybe a nunnery isn't such a bad idea. Hmmm...

Let me start again:

I was going to enjoy life...yada, yada, clositer, yada, yada...while actually trying to do some good writing work in the process.


Remember that old joke: How do you give God a good case of the giggles? Make plans.

Yup, once again, I have bitten off more than I should chew. It seems that I am going to be tooling around in book-signing land like an itinerant fop - but stylish only in my head - for the next few months. And since I've decided to prostitute myself to the road, I figure you should come and experience the spectacle with me, if you're able.

So, here are the dates of the debauchery. Please, come and get depraved!

Also, the audiobooks of the 1st three Calliope Reaper-Jones books should be available starting on 2/22 with yours truly supplying the voice. So, check'em out!

Tuesday, February 15th

1511 South 1500 Street East
Salt Lake City, UT
(801) 484-9100

Tuesday, February 22nd
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, Ste 302
San Diego, CA
(858) 268-4747


Saturday, February 26th
3512 W. Magnolia

Burbank, CA
(818) 556-6660

with the splendiforous ANTON STROUT
Saturday, March 5th
1 - 3pm
Midtown Comics Downtown
64 Fulton St.
New York, NY
(800) 411-3341

Monday, March 7th
2342 Bissonnet St.
Houston, TX
(713) 524-8597

There will probably be more to follow, so stay tuned to this local station...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Kitten Board and The Trevor Project!

Triangle Tara and I would like to thank everyone who helped raise over $2800 for The Trevor Project this holiday season! It's nice to know that even when belts are tight, there's always a little room for giving to a good cause:

A generous contribution
In Honor of
The Kitten Board
has been made by Benson Entertainment.
This donation is being made in honor of the
10 years of good works The Kitten Board and
Xita have done for the LGBT Community!

Good job you guys! And happy 2011!*

*and extra special thanks to Theresa Grammer for her fantastic website work!