Chinese New Year II

I’m falling behind again (so what ese is new?), mostly because of lots of deadlines and clients. But, per the headline above, we celebrated Chinese New Year earlier this week, just because, by serving up a feast of yummy stuff (rice, vegetable and shrimp stir fry, hot and sour soup, pot stickers, fortune cookies, and chow mein noodles, not in that order). We also watched this terrible but also terribly funny kung fu spoof movie called Kung Pow which is so stupid I won’t even try to bore you with the plot, but it’s kind of like Police Academy or Airplane, making fun of the cliches of Chinese action movies. The kids loved it, as did the man. Even I managed to laugh out loud a few times (proving that the bug is still there but occasionally takes a vacation…). Afterward we had to dash off but there were a few leftover Fourth of July sparklers and poppers, so the kids set those off for some Chinese New Year BANG! Evil spirits were duly frightened away.

Did I mention that I’m appearing at the San Francisco Writers’ Conference? My friends the agents, Michael Larsen and Elizabeth Pomada, invited me to sit on a panel. At first it was going to be a self-publishing panel (argh) or a poetry panel, but then on the site it says I’m on a panel about freelancing. Go figure. The event is Feb. 17-19 in SF. Details are online:
Click here: (Look, I’m on the Web site!)

That should be a fun weekend; it starts with a reception at the Mark Hopkins in SF Friday night with all the writers and attendees, so a good chance to mix and mingle. My friend Nick and I are going together; we hope to meet fabulous people, but it’s also nice to have a buddy along to drink and laugh with, when the going gets rough. (If you look back to my April entry, you’ll see where Nick and I went to the SF Book Awards and mocked everyone — all the patch-sleeved professors and Birkenstock-flapping poets and streaky-haired novelists — mercilessly and played Asshole Bingo and generaly had a rousing time. Hoping for a repeat; will definitely report back.) For the rest of the weekend, panelists and speakers are supposed to join in at breakfast and lunch with the attendees to make everyone feel comfortable. And there is a private party at L&P’s house in SF Saturday night for agents, editors and speakers. I’m very excited about that because a number of the agents to whom I would like to pitch my new work will be there. It’s a nice chance to mix and mingle for myself vs for the newbies. So we’ll see how that goes. That was going to be my birthday weekend to celebrate with Patrick, but since it’s a good career move we decided to celebrate another time and instead I’ll be schmoozing and chatting up the crowds.

Other gigs:
I’m leading a short workshop for musicians and bands on how to do PR for themselves Feb. 25 1-3 p.m. at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts ($25). If you know anyone who is in a band (garage band, DJ, singers, guitarists, whatever) and wants some tips on how to promote themselves, spread the word.

Later that same day, 4-5:30, I’m holding an information coffee/chocolate hour on the women’s weekend; if you want to know more about it, please write to me and I’ll fill you in.

I’ll also be teaching at the Alameda Adult School beginning in March — Thursday nights the Harry Potter class (canceled last time — holidays made enrollment too low). Wednesday nights beginning in April I’ll be teaching a 6-week creative writing course designed to jump-start your writing — aimed at non-professional writers, people who like to write but aren’t necessarily trying to publish, just get the words down. Know anyone interested? Tell a friend. It will be in the upcoming catalog, I hope.

I’m collecting clients left and right so things are progressing nicely in the PR department. My newest client is the Alameda Civic Light Opera (ACLO). Know any more creative people who need publicity? Send them my way 😉

I’m still working on Red Hills Review — formatting stories, etc. I just got a much-delayed interview in the e-mail from my good friend Joshilyn Jackson who is the author of Gods in Alabama and freaking hilarious, as well as smart and funny. Her blog is one of the all-around funniest things out there. Check it out if you dare. The interview is funny and enlightening on the writer at work.

Also am working with my consultant, Ana, who is building me a MySpace for PR purposes, as well as building blogsites for RHR and my PR biz. I have Web site things to work on but they are WAY far down the list. And Web sites cost money, which MySpace and blogs do not (if you happen to know of dirt-cheap Web site hosting that is also decent quality, and know someone who could help me make that a reality, please shoot me an e-mail — thanks!). Watch for announcements of sites to come soon.

That’s all for now — otherwise, local writers, send me your ideas for the Alameda Sun or The Music Scene; I need reviewers of all types of music and also features, etc. The February Music Scene is out now — check out the cover story on Paul Manousos, Natasha Miller’s new Industry column, Erin Rech’s new Club Culture column, CD reviews and more. Know any local bands? Send me their CDs to review.

OK, enough schmoozing for stories. Send me chocolate instead.

Advice for Aspiring Writers: See a need? Fill it. Assignment — write a CD review of a local band and send it to me. Ready? Go!

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