So, it turns out the Untitled Writer's Group has a large percentage of musicians, most of whom play fiddle. It was therefore decided we should have a gathering to noodle around with music.
Steven agreed to host. I dubbed us "The Common Heard," in a complicated joke based on the idea that a person who has not title is a commoner...you'll get it in a second, honest. We exchanged some music and we brought snacks and Saturday we sat and stood and...fiddled around.
Steven's place has a big basement loaded with toys, including a train set that kept Alexander happily occupied. Steven had his harp, Tim had brought his drum and some penny whistles, I of course had my fiddle, as did two other member Catherine and Erica.
We were...not bad. I mean, Carnegie hall's not checking its schedule anytime soon, but it was fun. I've never just sat down with other people to play music before and I really enjoyed it. Everybody else there had a LOT more experience than I did, but trailing the pack I didn't do too bad. We did "Sheebeg and Sheemore," "Red Wing," (which sounds REALLY different with a harp accompaniment) and "Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go?" We ate yummy snacks, and picked out tunes for next time. For there will be a next time. Tremble in fear, oh ye mortals!
Saturday I had a book signing out in the wilds of Western Michigan. Specifically, in Kalamazoo.
So, Tim and I packed up Sweet Pea and headed out. Sweet Pea's great in the car and slept most of the way. We met up with a pair of old friends and the mall for lunch, and then I settled in at my table at the bookstore. It went pretty well. I sold three or four books, had some interesting conversations, one with a couple of teenage girls, one with the brother of another old friend who happened by. Then there was the guy who might have been homeless, who insisted his great-grandfather was Sir Walter Scott. Could have been.
For the quiet interim, I had a bunch of stories to read. I'm a judge in a Youth Short Story contest for the Ann Arbor book fair. Gotta say, I'm impressed. There's some quality work here, and some hard subjects being tackled. And so the time passed pleasantly until it was time to go.
UWG members are finally getting the recognition we deserve! Steven's novel OFFSPRING and my INVENTING MEMORY made the long list for the Gaylactic Spectrum Award and INVENTING MEMORY is on the long list for the Tiptree Award.
So, okay, I'm going to be writing an essay for BenBella books Pride & Prejudice anthology. My particular area is going to be looking at various media interpretations of P&P and writing about what they show about the culture and time in which they were made.
In short, I'm going to be getting 10 cents a word for watching movies. Go me!
Anyway, when I found out there was now a Bollywood version, the above mentioned Bride & Prejucide, I _had_ to go.
This was done by the same folks who brought us Bend it Like Beckham, and it was loads of fun. It was set in modern day. You know the plot. The, in this case, Bakshi family has a lot of daughters and no money for daughters. The first daughter falls in love with a rich, nice guy. The second daughter follows a rocky path to love with a rich, arrogant guy. The youngest daughter runs off with a nasty rogue, compromising the entire family. And in the middle, there's the painfully clueless relative seeking a wife.
Well, in this updating, Mr. Darcy was an American hotel heir, attending his first Indian wedding with his friend, Balraj. He doesn't want to eat the food, can't dance, can't manage the clothes, and is generally cluelessly rude at every turn. He does fall for Lahlita, and they do together save the little sister, and in the middle we have Mr. Kahli show up, who has become an accountant in LA and wants a traditional Indian bride.
It was _fun_. The writing was really good. It did hit most of the high notes of P&P and translated them really well into modern day and idiom. It also came the closest of any movie version I've seen yet to getting in Austen's knife-like social commentary. Lahlita is unsparing of Will Darcy's attitudes about India and Indians.
This was Bollywood, so this was a musical. There was a _whole_ lot of singing and dancing. Some of it was worked into the setting, some was presented as fantasy, and some just happened. This might bother some people, but as I absolutely adore movie musicals, I really enjoyed it. The dancing was wonderful. The songs were great, and the love-song when the couple is in LA and they did a Bollywood style big song on the beach with a gospel choir and surfers emerging singing from the waves was _hysterical_.
One can start to wonder sometimes whether an old endeavor is still worth it. Like, say, a writer's group that one has been involved with for 13 or so years.
Then, something happens like last night. I went in, not having written a _word_ on the new project for days. Spent a few hours critiquing, laughing (_hard_ we're hilarious when we get going), discussing and debating with my comrades-in-letters, and on the way home got hit by several ideas that not only broke the logjam in the beginning of the current project, but will give me a lovely, dramatic ending for the _next_ project.
Here's to the Untitled Writers Group! We are most _definitely_ worth it.
So, last night Comrade Steven and I went over to the Ypsilanti library to give a talk on "How to Get Published." Otherwise known as "The Sarah & Steven Show."
We had a good turn out. I'd say 25 to 30 people. We started with what NOT to do, and used PublishAmerica as our main example of a scam. From there, we moved quickly into what to do and got right into the nuts and bolts of mss. preparation, followed by how to find your market and what to do when you get rejected, and what to do when you get accepted.
I'd say most everybody there was taking notes. We had some very good questions. I was struck by how many times we said, "you can go to their website," because it occurred to me when we STARTED giving this kind of talk umpty-ump years ago, the only way to find some of this stuff out was by writing or (ulp!) phone calls.
Afterwards, we talked to some folks, hawked a few books, and went out for drinks at a nearby coffee shop. And so to home. Not a bad way to earn $100.
Phobos Books, a medium-sized publishing company, is starting a series of
science fiction murder mysteries set on the moon. I just got the news that
I'm writing the first book. Working title: DEAD MAN IN THE