Sunday, December 03, 2006

I'm Intrigued with all things French

and this book is no exception. Please stop by Powell's and read the Laird Hunt's review of Gregoire Boullier's latest novel, The Mystery Guest. It's on the TBR list and hope to get to it by say . . . January! Sorry for the long delay in posts. I've been transitioning into a new day job and working hard as OSGOODS manager for the band. More to come this month . . .

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Why it's good to be Brian Evenson

So, a couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Brian Evenson on the telephone as we chatted about writing, words, the meaning of words, Mormonism and the violence that exists in that culture and elsewhere. What I realized in my hour + chat with him, aside from the fact that my recording device decided to crap out and now we are chatting again about said topics via email, is that he is one of the true great writers out there that gets under the readers skin. Sleepingfish ran a small piece of his not long ago, in the same issue as my dear friend Danielle and I realized then that I wanted more, please. More stories, more words, more beautifully crafted sentences and creepy characters. His latest novel, The Open Curtain (see forthcoming interview for November in Bookslut) chronicles the life of a high-school student/mormon who becomes infatuated with a past murder committed by Brigham Young's grandson. This novel blends the past and present in such a unique way that the reader as well as the main character can no longer tell what's the here and now and what's not. It's actually about a lot more than that, but I don't want to give the whole thing away by divulging the plot and its twists and turns to you now. I advise you to go buy the book. You can even do it right now at Coffee House Press. Brian Evenson is the best kind of writer.

He is passionate about his work beyond most other things, which I respect immensly. Anyone who can stand up to a huge institution like BYU and can express himself with his writing in such a way that moves you (whether you're freaked out by the words on the page or intrigued or impressed) I'd say at the end of the day, if your reader is doing or feeling any of those things, then you've done your job. And here, I definetely say it's good to be Brian Evenson.

If you live in LA and would like the chance to meet him, please stop on by Beyond Baroque, Thursday, November 2nd at 7:30. The cost is $7.00, but it'll be worth it to be in the presence of a literary genius, no? And speaking of literary geniuses, Danielle Dutton's forthcoming release from Tarpaulin Sky has a small blurb and photo up about Attempts at a Life. I highly recommed stopping over there and reading up on it. If you have any class at all, that is . . .

Swamped for now, but had to let you in on the news. And thanks to Laird for the post on his site too about our mutual friend, Ms. Dutton.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Isn't it weird when . . .

you are in the middle of watching a movie like, In her Shoes and all the sudden you see a friend of yours as Toni Collette's receptionist on the screen. Initially, I thought this is my pain-killer playing jokes on me and it's someone else who looks like and talks like her, but thanks to the DVR--I rewound to pause it and I found myself yelling, YES! I knew it! to no one but our cats. I was having a moment yesterday and found myself with no one around to tell about it. I'm sure Diesel and Annie really could empathize with me since the world of a cat is so complicated.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Things that make you go "Hmmm"

When I think about how tough the publishing world is out there for all of us writers, I try to stay motivated/focused on the important things like, the writing and the creative process. Big publishing houses want things that sell and so I guess it shouldn't surprise me that American Idol winner, Taylor Hicks has been paid a $750,000 advance to write a memoir about his life as a musician and the struggles he endured prior to becoming the current Idol winner. While I enjoy the American Idol show, not necessarily because I think its quality television (and yes, I do work for FOX) but rather because it's entertaining and I get a lot of laughs out of it. Aside from the Colbert Report and the Daily Show, there are few other television shows that I get that belly laugh from.

Why is Taylor Hicks story as a musician in a small band in Alabama worthy of a memoir? When I think of memoir, I think of a great story that's being told by someone who's truly endured something that is extraordinary or unique to the general population in some way. I have a tough time thinking about how someone who is a singer will be able to write an enticing story when he's not a writer. He's a singer. He's a singer, people. And a singer that was catapulted into this weird category of celebrity that makes advertisers and marketing executives think anything that has his name on it will make them lots of money. Now, I'm sure Taylor Hicks probably passed his English 101 course in college and it's likely he knows how to use subjects, verbs and maybe even adjectives and adverbs correctly, but can he write a memoir? I guess the topic at hand is one that's familiar to him, but my issue is that we all have that story in us. It doesn't mean we all deserve 750K to tell our story.

As a writer, I know plenty of hard-working, talented, experienced writers that deserve an advance like that for a work that truly is remarkable. Winning a contest like American Idol takes talent, just as writing any novel or non-fiction work. It's sad to realize that big publishing houses like Random House (Crown) are only interested in what's going to make them money and not so much about whether or not Taylor Hicks or any other game show winner is talented enough to actually write anything aside from their name on a credit card receipt. I'm troubled, and yet, this scenario seems to play itself out time and time again. (See upcoming interview with Bruce Bauman at Bookslut for September.)

If you really are interested in reading a great book, check out the new Brian Evenson novel, The Open Curtain. You'll be creeped out and intrigued all at the same time. Evenson is the kind of author that deserves a 750K advance, but I doubt the publishing world will change its ways anytime soon.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Why you should submit to Avery Anthology

What is the Avery Anthology, you ask? Well, it's like a literary magazine but as the founders of the anthology say, " it's not a means to an end" but rather the other way around. This is not one of those publications that you publish in on your way to being published somewhere else. Ander Monson has work for the 1st issue of Avery and you can too! Dan Wickett at Emerging Writer's Network blurbed this anthology and yours truly may just submit something to them. I urge you all to check it out. It's also been added to the blog roll on the side of my page here. Do check it out. This is going to be one of the coolest anthologies you'll ever read and if you're smart, you'll submit something and maybe, just maybe if you're cool like Ander, they'll publish you. It does look like I'll be pressing send from my yahoo account and passing on a story. C'mon, you all know you want to . . . all the cool kids are doing it and if you don't well . . . you'll be missing out!

I have to run, as there's lots of work to be done! And August will be uninterrupted writing time for yours truly. Which means I only have a few days left of really getting down to it! Oh and not melting in my 114 degree apartment or say sitting in the dark due to a power outage. Gotta love summer in the San Fernando Valley (and I firmly believe this is all related to Global Warming because this is ridiculous!!!)

Go check out the blog at Avery too! Happy Writing!

Friday, July 14, 2006

The overwhelming TBR pile

If you are like me and you have an insatiable desire to buy books, then you will also understand how the To Be Read pile ends up towering over the bedside lamp on my nighttable. I have yet to move the TBR stack or to make it smaller since I have also run out of bookshelf space. There's really no more room for books anywhere in the house, but you can be sure it won't stop me from buying more or reading more. I'm in the midst of Bruce Bauman's "And the Word Was" and it's quite good. Also on the plate, T.C. Boyle's latest, Talk Talk. It looks great but I haven't had a chance to read it yet. Rest assured, it will be finished by the time the August issue of Bookslut comes out. Also, Seth Greenland's"The Bones" looks awesome. I know it's been out for awhile, but I heard him read from the book at his final tour reading at Skylight with Bruce Bauman and the novel sounds like it'll be great read!

Additionally, you should check out some of the books being reviewed at Bookslut this month. Lara Vapnyar is one author who's fiction has always appealed to me. She published in the New Yorker in their debut fiction issue several years ago and then published a collection of short stories, There are Jews in My House. Her new work, (reviewed at Bookslut) Memoirs of a Muse looks great. Also, The Memory Artists by Jeffrey Moore is featured at Bookslut. The interview made me want to read the book even more than the press it's been getting. One to check out . . . And you'll have to wait for Danielle Dutton's second release, Attempts at a Life which will be published Spring 2007 by Tarpaulin Sky Press. If you enjoy authors who play with form you'll love Danielle and likewise, Jenny Boully's new work One Love Affair. She had previously published The Body by Slope Press and both books are intriguing.

So, for now, those are a few things on the TBR pile. Now if Tod Goldberg would only share some of that new Richard Ford with me. If you like Ford, you'll probably want to order an advanced copy of The Lay of the Land, which isn't due out until late October.

If you have other good recommendations, feel free to email me with them. I love finding great treasures like My Sister's Continent. Happy Reading, people!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Book You Absolutely Must Read This Summer

For those of you who haven't found a great novel to read for the summer, you must go now and buy My Sister's Continent by Gina Frangello. Let me now tell you the reasons why you must read this book! #1: Gina Frangello is incredibly smart and witty and she's Italian, what other reason do you need??? #2: She knows her psychology and she won't blow psych theories at you or make it necessary to have taken psych 101 to understand this book, #3: Anxiety-ridden sexual encounters are exceptionally well-written, #4: You won't be able to put the book down, #5: This book will keep you thinking about it long after you've read it. For more proof of this and additional info on the book, you can read my review at Bookslut (and please ignore the 2 places that weren't edited and that I didn't catch.) Gina Frangello is such a gifted writer and there will be more to come in the future from her. And, while you're at it, check out the literary magazine, Other Voices. She's the editor there and it's a great site with well-written stories. And you might even want to subscribe to Other Voices because it's that good! I will be giving my Summer Reading suggestions for any of you who care or who are in need of help in that regard. You can be sure My Sister's Continent will be at the top of the list!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Denver's Best Kept Secret

I happen to know that the city of Denver, Colorado is serving as home for the moment to one of the city's finest writers. There are many who reside there--some teach, some write, some do both. Danielle Dutton would be someone who does both of these. Associate Editor of the Denver Quarterly, PhD student and my dear childhood friend is publishing her first novel, SPRAWL. Although I'm not sure of its debut, Clear Cut Press will have the honor of publishing her work and I just couldn't be more excited for her. I had to post about this, not because my blog gets tons of traffic, but really because I want to share with those who pass by this blog, to keep an eye out for her. You'll be seeing more of her. She's a great writer and friend, one whom I miss and wish I saw more often. Danielle has always been a good friend to me and all of my craziness back in high school, she supported, whether I was deciding to become Jewish that month or whether I was stealing Barbra Streisand's trash from Bel Air, she humored me. I rest assured her great hubby and writer, Martin Riker as well as their equally intelligent cat (apparently), Dr. Spanglestein will keep her happy, but in the meantime, this bookwacked girl is sending all good thoughts, positive vibes and universal goodness her way! You are an inspiration and whether you end up back in Chicago or stay where you are in Denver, you'll know that I'm always in your corner! We'll always have Visalia in common and and quirky celebrity stories whether they involve Jackson Browne or say, Barbra Streisand--we share a common love--the love of writing. Ms. Dutton has "it" and I highly recommend you check her out. To read some of Danielle's work, you may check her out at: Tarpaulin Sky, Fence, Octopus, Double Room as well as many others. You can always use the google option to find 10 or so other publications. I"m telling you, if you are loving all those great writers (the Ben Marcuses, the Lyn Hejinians, the Ander Monsons, etc.) and other experimental writers of that ilk, you're gonna love Danielle's style. Plus, she's a really nice person--:)Danielle, in the words of Ali G, "biggie up yourself-- Boyakasha!"

Friday, June 09, 2006

Fun with Carpel Tunnel and other Mishaps

Well, I feel like a huge moron for several reasons today. One, I haven't posted on here in a month and it gets tough to write anything on this here blog when I don't have a free second in the day to do much else but drive to work, drive from work and eat, maybe sleep, read, read and read some more, oh yeah, and that thing I"m supposed to do---write. My efforts to work on my own stuff have been thwarted by a myriad of things, running the gamut from researching how to finance a new car when you obliterated your good credit standing back in college and are just now out of the clear, thinking about future wedding costs and trying to figure out a way to add about 6 more hours to the day. In the midst of all the stuff floating around in my head I seemed to have posted or rather mis-posted information about my interview coming up with the fabulous, Gina Frangello. With my brain on auto-pilot, I'd made a mistake. And thanks to Gina for pointing it out. My interview with Gina will still post, just not at Publisher's Weekly, but rather on Susan Henderson's blog over at Publisher's Marketplace. This should happen in August or whenever Ms. Henderson decides she would like to. The crazy thing is, My Sister's Continent is a book I had been dying to read when it came out but had no free time to do so since I had over committed myself to several projects. Then Tod Goldberg came along and played the part of some jewish-matchmaker and helped introduce Gina, Susan and myself to each other. Now, for the interview! (it's coming, I swear!)

While I still have yet to stop "over-committing" myself, I find that I do work best under pressure. For starters, you can check out my interview with the very interesting and funny Salvador Plascencia over at Bookslut for the June issue. Next up will be an interview with the Open City author, Rachel Sherman. Rachel's new collection of short stories, The First Hurt was published by Open City Books and this collection is one that you will love. T.C. Boyle's new TalkTalk will be out in early July and I will have a review of that along with Daphne Kalotay's new collection, Calamity and other stories. So, my eyes will be tired and maybe that's a good thing because I truly believe that I have some early signs of carpel tunnel, which I hear is really painful if you have to get the surgery. I don't even want to think about it!

And hey, my apologies too for my somewhat cheesy post about the Natasha Bedingfield song. I just get all mushy about liking to write and feeling inspired by things like art, music and other writers. I really wish they'd stop playing that song so damned much! But, yeah . . . cheesy, I just couldn't help it. Anyhow . . . I will be posting again and I'm hoping it won't be a month from now! In the meantime, stop over to Bookslut and check out the June issue.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

In the name of Persuasion

. . . I urge you all to go on over to Skylight Books tonight and see George Saunders read from his new collection of short stories, In Persuasion Nation. Mr. Saunder's work is some of the greatest stuff out there and we as readers have the pleasure of hearing him read tonight. If anyone goes, please let me know how it is. I have to get my car out of the shop after work, so that's going to be fun. And while you're at it you should read what's happening over at the LBC. Gina Frangello's essay (author of the book, My Sister's Continent ) about (polite Sex and the City) is being discussed and I'll be speaking with Gina very soon about her book in an interview that will appear over at Sue Henderson's blog this June. Keep your eyes open! In the meantime, enjoy the Mother's Day weekend and be nice to your mom!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A.M. Homes wants to Save Your Life

A.M. Homes will be at Skylight Books this Friday, May 5th at 7:30pm. If you missed her at the LA Times Festival of Books, you really should try to stop by. Bookslut will have a feature on her as well by the lovely Michael Schaub and yours truly will also have a review of her latest work, This Book Will Save Your Life. This latest novel is definitely a true divergence from Homes's usual tone in her stories. Not that that's ever been a bad thing. In fact, one of the reasons I love Homes's writing is for her style and mood is very much a part of that. Kids, this one's an uplifter in some ways. And dare I say, a positive look at life and what it has to offer. I know I'm already walking on pillows on clouds on air.

George Saunders -- Busy Persuading

Boldtype has a very interesting interview with George Saunders wherein he speaks about his newest work, Persuasion Nation. A collection of short-stories by George, well now, that's practically like having your cake and eating it too. I love it, love it, love it! You really should buy this book and read this interview. And any interview that has the words "dystopian" and "fantasy" in it is my kind of interview.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Will Post Soon!

Sorry for the month delay in posting! A "real" post will follow later today or early tomorrow morning. Thanks to my few readers who actually check in with me.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


I have been thinking about posting this for at least 3 days, but this week has flown by. Let me begin by saying that I don't watch a lot of music videos that often. I do have 900+ channels at home, but I don't find myself sitting down and watching them like I did in the 80's. I did get sucked back into 1985 on Sunday. All I did for several hours was watch music videos. And not on an ipod either. On my television. There's this song that I hear a lot on the radio by Natasha Bedingfield called Unwritten. I tend to like songs for their lyrics before I like them for the melody--I guess both are necessary for a good song. Anyhow, aside from some of the cliches in the lyrics of this song, I really love it. And I happened to catch the video on the VH1 countdown. One of the lyrics reads: "Live your life with arms wide open--Today is where your book begins--The rest is still unwritten." While I like the idea of this it got me thinking actually about really doing my own writing. Not metaphorically speaking. I really do find myself hesitating to tackle things with my writing that I know I can, but being a perfectionist, I've gotten into a rut of being afraid to put things on paper unless they land on the page perfectly. While my brain knows this idea is ridiculous, I think at the same time, in some small way I actually fear the revision. Which, once I have the blue print of my story--the hard part truly is over. I've actually forgotten that for me, revision is fun. Making it better. But I'm trying like mad to figure out why on this subconscious level, I'm avoiding it.

And I've pondered and thought about my writing and only recently did I sit down to actually work on something that's been in my head for almost 1 year. I can hardly believe I let it linger there for so long. Now that it's out there, I'm so relieved. I can do something with it--craft it, mold it into something good. Something, dare I say--publishable???

So folks, all this thought-provoking stuff was brought upon by lyrics to a catchy song. I wonder how many of us are really influenced on a conscious or even subconscious level by other artforms when it comes to doing what we do best (whatever that may be). I'm just curious. More than anything, the title of Bedingfield's song is almost taunting me--giving me proper grief for keeping the good stuff rolling around in my head-unwritten.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Now That's Devotion

Last night I went to Dutton's Beverly Hills where author Carolyn See introduced Stephen Cooper, the author of John Fante's biography, Full of Life. Although I'm aware of the long journey travelled to finally produce this biography, I'm still amazed at the devotion it took to write it. There are months, years even to do a thorough job, but it seems in this case, Cooper was as impressed with Fante's work 30 some years ago when he read Ask the Dust as he still is today. So much so that his work lingered in Cooper's mind for years. This is one example of the power of the written word and the effect it can have on us if we let it. While Charles Bukowski was one of the first people to declare his love of Fante, Cooper does more than that. This biography gives an honest account of John Fante's life, work and Cooper has no qualms about giving an truthful account of the kind of man he was--at home and as a writer. And lovers of Bukowski (there are many of you) should love Fante just as much, if not more for the influence he's had over so many successful writers. And for all of those writers trying to make a living at writing especially in Los Angeles, I think you'll find Fante's work to be of interest to you. If there are any newbies to the world of Fante, please do yourself a favor and read any one of his books. Better yet, begin with the John Fante Reader so you can get a taste of what he's all about. You can still catch Carolyn See (who's also a wonderful author in her own right) with Stephen Cooper at Skylight Books, April 1st. No April Fools jokes involved. I promise.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Bonaduce Lovers, Unite!

Last season on VH1, Danny Bonaduce's reality show, "Breaking Bonaduce" premiered. I didn't think I'd be an avid fan, but yes, it's true, I was. I am. And he's back this year for a second season. And if you live here in LA, you can come to a taping of the show. Details, you ask? Well, first let me begin by saying that in addition to a live show with Gretchen Bonaduce's band, The lead singer from Berlin, Terri Nunn will be there as well as Jaclyn Bradley . If you don't have plans this Friday night, come out to the Hard Rock Cafe at the Beverly Center. And if we're lucky, Danny will like OSGOODS music and it may be heard this upcoming season on the show as well. Here are some details you might wanna write down. Are you writing it down?

Hard Rock Cafe at the Beverly Center
8600 Beverly Blvd.
Friday, March 24th @8pm.

Cover $5 (proceeds go to VH1 Save the Music)
Be early--seating is limited.

The Evil that is Bed, Bath & Beyond

Yesterday, I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond to get one thing. A spice rack. Yes, in my attempt to be more domestic, I decided to purchase an item. This turned into several items to help me in the kitchen. I left with 4 items for the kitchen and the rest, well . . . they had nothing to do with the kitchen, but caught my eye. And it is this evilness that wreaks havoc on my funds. I try, really I try to use restraint, but I have come to one conclusion and that is--this is Anthony's fault. If we were engaged, we could register for all of the things I keep buying and I wouldn't be sucked in to the evilness that is Bed, Bath & Beyond. So, all in all I can't be held accountable for anything that takes place in businesses like: Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma or Bed, Bath & Beyond because the way I see it--a wedding registry might just cure these tendencies I have to spend time in stores that promise domestic bliss after purchasing their products. (okay, I use the term "bliss" lightly) but you know what I mean.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Best Kept Secret in Southern California

It is my opinion that Los Angeles is a literary city as much as New York and even Chicago. (I know I'm going out on a limb making such a bold statement and all, but I can't help it.) One of the best journals to come out of Southern California emerged from Cal Arts. Black Clock debuted with a long list of renowned authors and great fiction. People like Joanna Scott, Aimee Bender, David Foster Wallace and Heidi Julavits all contributed. This journal is produced bi-annually and if you're a writer, they now accept submissions. The work in Black Clock is always thoughtful, edgy and impressive. And anything that Steve Erikson is behind, I'm all for. Please stop over to the website and order a copy now!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Calling all Bender Fans

Most of us who read good books know who Aimee Bender is. She is the queen of surreal, fairy-tale-esque short-stories and one hell of a writer. She plays with form and her stories are what made me realize that writing challenging and interesting material doesn't need to be predictable. And I think there are other authors that have followed suit due to her contributions in the literary world.

And if you like her as much as I do, you'll want to see her next Sunday, March 26th (at Wordtheatre.) For those of you who are virgins with the Wordtheatre experience, do not fret. This event will be one thing that requires nothing more than your presence. WordTheatre is this great thing that was created by Cedering Fox and provides you, the fan, the reader, the literai with food and entertainment. Here are the details:

Brunch with Aimee Bender and Her Stories
11 AM Readings at Noon
Aphrodisiac (a beautiful, new restaurant in the space formerly inhabited by
10351 Santa Monica Boulevard (Just East of Beverly Glen, free parking in the building)
Readers will include:
Jessica Capshaw (The Practice) reads What You Left in The Ditch The Girl in
the Flammable Skirt
David Krumholtz (Numb3rs) reads Loser from The Girl in the Flammable Skirt
Mark Moses (Desperate Housewives) reads The Meeting from Willful Creatures

Jon Tenney (The Closer) reads Motherfucker from Willful Creatures

Aimee Bender reads a selection of her choosing.

Tickets are $40 and include a lovely buffet brunch. Please purchase your tickets early at for our special WordTheatre friends discount. Tickets are just $30 if purchased prior to Tuesday, March 21st at noon. The first ten full time students, people under twenty-two, or any card carrying union members (SAG, AFTRA, WGA, DGA, teachers union. etc.) who call the box office at 310-398-9999 may purchase tickets for just $25. Aimee Bender's books and WordTheatre CDs from Harper Collins Audio will be available for sale.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

More Moore!

In my search to see what, where or when we can see more work from Lorrie Moore, I came across a great interview from October of 2005 in the Believer. Sadly, It won't let me link to a back-issue. But here Moore discusses writing how she decides what form to use when she sits down to write:

BLVR: In the introduction to The Best American Short Stories 2004, you discuss some of the differences between short stories and novels: “the novel arrives to reader and writer alike, baggy, ad hoc, bitter with ambition, already half ruined,” but a story’s “very shortness ensures its largeness of accomplishment, its selfhood and purity… a story lies less. It sings and informs and blurts. It has nothing to lose.” Do you always know which form you’re working with at the outset?

LM: I do know ahead of time. It would be strange to me to find a surprise novel suddenly at my desk. The nature of the idea determines which form or genre it will be in, the novel having time as both medium and subject, and dealing with something that requires perhaps multiple points of view or technique or a larger social canvas generally. For me stories are responses to little disturbances that rattle the windows, or to creatures that suddenly enter the house. Then I take to my desk with my little notes and “what-ifs” and attempt a narrative object.

If you haven't read Lorrie Moore, you must--go, now and read her. Birds of America is one of her best collections or better yet read her first collection of short-stories entitled, "Self-Help." She has others too. I urge you to hurry, quick run so you'll be all caught up and prepared for whatever she does next. Check out the Believer "Past Issue" section for the full October 2005 interview. Enjoy.

The Bat Segundo Show

Okay Kids--As you all know, I'm a huge fan of Jonathan Ames and therefore this blatant love and promotion of his upcoming event should come as no surprise. Edward Champion tells us what we can expect to hear Ames discuss on the Bat Segundo Show:

The controversial cover of I Love You More Than You Know, self-promotional footnotes, rules for writing, writing originating from unexpected requests, “tossed off” essays, depression and writing, essays which involve the penis, the somber and introspective feel of Ames’ latest collection, Ames’ lengthy self-asseessment of his book, George Plimpton, Glenn Gould, honesty, “throwaway pieces,” graphic novels, fiction, making a living as a writer, Graham Greene, Dean Haspiel and The Alcoholic, comic book scripting, Neil Gaiman, The Extra Man screenplay, upcoming pieces in GQ and Spin, on Ames letting down his guard, comedy vs. tragedy, the audience response to “Midlife Assessment,” Tim O’Brien, an odd and paranoid use of coffee, Ames’ place as a writer, the financial realities of being a writer, Moby, on getting distracted, the burden of email, writing discpline, chicken soup, San Francisco restaurants, Anthony Trollope, Jonathan Lethem, writers named Jonathan, Jonathan Franzen, living life to write about it later, on Ames bringing pleasure to himself (not the way you’re thinking), what Ames has been collecting from hotel rooms, and a hairy call.

You can check out this website to listen to the interview:

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Some Prose Poetry for Those Who Can

Alright--here's your chance to read something extremely cool. You can either buy the book from Triple Press or you can read my review of Brandon Hobson's, The Levitationist over at Bookslut. Either way you really need to check it out. This is a form I'm growing more and more fond of all the time and Hobson is someone who does it well.


I think this is an appropriate name for a post. All of us (and by us I mean me) are expected to answer these questions that some fellow blogger or email friend sends you. Most guys I know don't participate with the blogger "tag" but I liked this one. The theme of this one should be fairly simple: 4 Things About LA. I decided to post this because, well, it's interesting and I noticed that Elizabeth Crane and Gina Frangello posted theirs, so I'm posting mine. But it's going quite different than all those Chicagoans. Here it is for you all to do the math. A small little equation that = all things Angela.

Four or more jobs you have had in your life:
1. Freelance Writer/reviewer for (best website around!)
2. Legal Assistant (for FOX SPORTS & Sony Pictures)
3. Assistant TV writer
4. Production Assistant & Script reader(worst job ever!)
5. Swim Instructor/Lifeguard
6. Coffee house drink schlepper
7. Retail sales girl at: (insert trendy teen store here, oh and Banana Republic)

Four movies you would watch over and over:
1. French Kiss
2. Waiting For Guffman
3. Center Stage (I can't help it)
4. Father of the Bride

Four places you have lived:
1. Sherman Oaks, CA (walking distance to Mel's Drive-in Diner--a staple here in LA)
2. Los Angeles, CA (right by Pink's on LaBrea)
3. Long Beach, CA (moved about 5 times during my 6 years there-love Belmont Shores!)
4. Visalia, CA (The Gateway to the Sequoias--or so they say)

Four TV shows you love to watch:
1. The OFFICE (UK/BBC version)
2. Miami Ink
3. Issac on the Style channel
4. American Idol
5. Amazing Race & The Apprentice w/the Donald
6. Deal or No Deal ( my new fav)

Four places you have been on vacation:
1. Paris
2. Gotenburg, Sweden
3. London
4. Garmish-Partenkirschen, Austria
5. Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Four places you would like to go in Southern California:
1. Las Brisas in Laguna Beach
2. La Jolla for Fondue
3. Big Bear for some skiing
4. Malibu for some seafood at our favorite little shack.

Four websites I visit daily:
2. The Elegant Variation
4. Author Tod Goldberg’s blog:

Four of my favorite LA Restaurants:
1. Midori Sushi on Ventura Blvd. in the Valley
2. Cafe Bizou (best French-American fusion food ever!)
3. Newsroom Cafe (healtiest breakfast you'll find)
4. El Compadre Mexican Food (on Sunset Blvd.) ties with Casa Vega in the Valley.

Four places in LA I would rather be right now:
1. Santa Monica promenade
2. The Beverly Center
3. concert at Hollywood Bowl
4. Book Soup

Monday, March 06, 2006


Well, this past weekend has been full of surprises. The first one I encountered was at the MAC store in the Beverly Center where I came upon a very lovely face, adorned with all the right makeup, a look I wanted transferred instantly to my eyes, cheeks and lips. This face happened to be a that of man. But, that wasn't so surprising because one comes to expect some of the prettiest faces decorated with MAC makeup are often men. The surprise was that this was a very manly man. Big arms, buf and a bicked head a la Bruce Willis. The shiny head before me made me feel like Harvey from Celebrity Fit Club was standing before me in drag. He sold me a great lipgloss and soon after the shock of the shiny, bald head faded from my memory. 2nd, my future sister-in-law and I spend the weekend trying to pull of a surprise party for my brother. A house full of Italians in the dark, all of whom had consumed copious amounts of alcohol prior to his arrival was enough to scare anyone, but he was definetly stunned and shocked is more accurate. When the lights flashed on and everyone shouted, "SURPRISE!!!" we realized we'd definitely pulled it off. But the surprises didn't end there. OSCAR was full of surprises last night and one that I couldn't be happier about is Phillip Seymour Hoffman winning for his role in Capote. What a great guy. Jon Stewart brought a touch of the Daily Show style to it and we had a good laugh. But the biggest surprise for me was having Crash win "Best Picture." And perhaps one of the best surprises of all, (no, it wasn't the coveted engagement ring I'm so yearning for . . . ) my belated birthday gift from a good friend of mine. Over the weekend, actually at the surprise party, I opened my present, the novel, A History of Love by Nicole Krauss. I was practically jumping up and down because the truth of the matter is, with all the review books I read and books I read to research authors for interviews, I often don't have time to read books for leisure. A word that's been absent from my vocabulary for quite some time.

I'm ready for the workplace to re-institute that Kindergarten rule of "nap-time" because I think we'd all benefit and hey, how fun was it to sleep on your mat after some warm cookies and a glass of milk at 2pm? Let's put this into motion America. Who's with me?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Get Ready

You need to know A.M. Homes is coming out with a new book and it will probably change your life. Well, that's what the title says. "This Book Will Change Your Life" will be released the end of April and you can be sure that yours truly will have a review of it at Bookslut in May. A.M. Homes writing is admirable. The risk-taking and originality are all part of the allure for this reader. And for those of you who have yet to discover the intoxicating world of Ms. Homes's prose, please do check out Music for Torching or The Safety of Objects. She's inspiring and for me, that's all I need to feel when i read someone's work to keep turning those pages. Check back for the full scoop in May. In other news, a new dog may be gracing the Stubbs-Nigro pad in the near future thanks to TEV and GOTEV. I am going to meet the little one tomorrow and hope they pick us as the new owners. We really want a dog! And this one is adorable.

Ame-ing High in 2006

Well folks, it's official--I'm not engaged. But my future brother-in-law is. And I'm bitter. I don't want to be that person but yes, "bitter, party of 1." That's me. And well, my aim in 2006 is to be positive, no matter what crap circumstances I find myself a part of. I'm just trying to deal with the fact that I should adopt a few more cats from the pound, begin wearing moo-moo's and start stocking my cupboards with cans of frosting to consume at my leisure. But seriously, enough about all that. Now to the important stuff. While we're discussing shooting for bigger and better things, I think I should mention Jonathan Ames and his new collection of essays, I Love You More Than You Know. I had the opportunity to hear him read at Skylight Books last week and also to speak with him for our upcoming interview which will post in the March issue of Bookslut. (you can also read the review of his new work there as well.)

Jonathan is one of those people who, despite his many quirks, reminds me of how human we all are. I think his writing is the stuff that we all can relate to on some level. Maybe we haven't rolled around on a couch with a pre-op transsexual, but truly I believe there is something in his new collection for everyone. I Love You More Than You Know is some of his best work yet. if you haven't already seen him, I urge you to go--seek out Ames ( and hear him read, watch him perform and really laugh. He's on the east coast now and if you are here in California, you missed him. But east coasters--there's still time!

While the year has only just begun, I find myself looking at the start of my 31st year under a small maginfying glass in my attempt to figure out a way to be better. At everything, with everything. I've decided I'm Ame-ing high this year. And in the process trying to find my own Wodehouse to help me out.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Unrue-ly New Year

Well, it's now one month since my last post. Had to take a brief break from all this to celebrate the holidays and then re-coup from a little '06 surgery. With all the holidays behind me, I'm back in action and ready for all things interesting. Look for my feature with Paul Mandelbaum in the February issue from Bookslut. And I've just been informed of new work by Jane Unrue at Triple Press called Atlassed. I can't wait to check it out. In the meantime, I'll be transcribing, writing and reviewing. Also an advanced heads up for all you Fante fans. Fante's biographer, Stephen Cooper will be at Dutton's Beverly Hills on March 23rd and at Skylight Books in Los Feliz on April 1st for the reissue of Full of Life: A Biography of John Fante. Good things, people! All good things!