Saturday, December 9, 2017

Ideas about cover for Elves in Detroit, Book 2

This is a bit out of order, but I'm trying to document my cover thinking for the second book, like I did for the third.  I went through some different ideas about the dragon.  First it was bat-winged.  Then it was a pterodragon.  I'm trying to embed tweets here, but I'm not sure that's going to result in transferring the images into the blog, so I may have to try something different

The embedded tweets do seem to be working, but there's a slight delay, before the images come up.  So just wait a tad.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Cape Stills

working on the cover for Elves in Detroit: Book 3. I got really dizzy trying to get these.

I don't know.  Maybe it's dumb to use myself as a model for this cover, when none of the characters in the book really look like me, but it's supposed to represent a generally elfin presence dashing off into the multiverse.

So here are some proposed covers.  

I've sort of been considering dark green a theme color for my books.  The cape is reversible. It can be green or purple.  Even though it's not the same green as my preferred theme color, somehow I feel that the green side looks better.

Here are some foggy & smeary effects -- but not trimmed yet

Ah, yes, with some help from my son, the genius

Monday, November 20, 2017

Farinelli -- and casting

I've long been fascinated with castrati.

Psychoanalyzing myself, I think this is due to things my mom said about my dad's unwillingness or inability to have sex with her after she was 40.  He also had a higher and higher voice as he got older, while she had a lower and lower voice.  It was very curious.  People calling in couldn't tell who was answering the phone.

I saw the movie about Farinelli.  Now there's a new Broadway play coming out.

I was, at one time, obsessed with the idea that maybe Michael Jackson was a castrato.  Now I don't think so. I heard him singing baritone and I heard him speaking with a low voice on a YouTube video, but at one time I was obsessed with that thought.

So it's been part of my sexual anorexia, being obsessed with men who are unable to have sex, like my dad -- be it gay men or men with emotional or impotence issues. I've been fascinated with that.

Of course, it appears from the historical literature that castrati could, in fact, have sex.  They just couldn't get women pregnant.

In any case, I've been frustrated with the casting: actors chosen to play Farinelli. Here are some portraits of him:

Now it seems to me that a man who hasn't had testosterone since age 14 is not going to look at all like a man who has had.  He's not going to have as masculine a face. He's not going to have well-defined muscles, like a normal male body builder.  I think you see that in these pictures.  There is an androgyny about his appearance.

I think Michael Jackson cultivated that kind of appearance with his makeup and surgeries, as well.

Yet the actors that play Farinelli don't look at all androgynous

Also, in this photo, I think you can tell that the actor even has facial hair (well shaven, but still detectable, if only from the appearance of the skin and pores), which Farinelli would not have had.

I think they could do better with this casting. Maybe they could cast a trans-woman, or something.

For comparison, here are some other images of castrati:

Allesandro Moreschi

Carlo Scalzi: when I was obsessing about Michael Jackson, I particularly noted this posture, which was similar to one that Michael Jackson also took -- which I now suppose was a coincidence.

Francesco Bernadi

Monday, October 9, 2017

Meme about 2nd amendment and gun control

From a Friend. (PLEASE READ: If you're going to share this, copy and paste. I'd rather not be tagged so I can avoid trolls.)

"Dear Every Arabic-speaking US Citizen,
Please stop by a gun shop today, and ask about buying an assault rifle. While looking at them selection, make a phone call to a loved one (who should record the phone call) and speak only Arabic. Then, while on the phone, ask the sales person if there are any open carry rallies coming up.

Might want to have a friend with the whole thing, you know.  In most of the gun shops I know, this would be a deeply unsettling event for them.  Reactions might be unpredictable.

Just thinking out loud,


2nd, related, meme

From a Friend. (PLEASE READ: If you're going to share this, copy and paste. I'd rather not be tagged so I can avoid trolls.)

"What if on Thursday this week, every single black person in the US visited a gun shop. Just to see what was available. En masse.  Picture a shop in small town America, run by your average gun fetishist. Probably 95% chance it's a white man. Nearly 100% chance he voted for Trump. Just pack the joint with a wide variety of persons of color...all people, doctors and lawyers, gang bangers and computer nerds, angry black women, fabulous drag queens. Maybe rent a couple hand guns and shoot a few rounds at the range. Sign up for the free classes. Ask for a NRA membership application.

I mean.....the 2nd Amendment isn't just for white people, is it?"

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Political meme

I didn't write this. I saw it on FB and agreed with it

(This. Stay woke. This.)

If sharing please cut and paste and attribute to Jennifer, not moi.

H/t Jennifer Reitman

While everyone is out there b******* because a woman wrote a book, here’s what else has been going on in the past couple of days:

1) Motel 6 in Arizona is turning in hotel guests to ICE.
2) The CDC has been instructed to NOT speak to the press.  Wanna know about diseases, too bad.  Trump and his cabal say nope, you aren’t allowed to find out.
3) Using the White House Press Podium, the spokesperson for the President* suggested that a journalist should BE FIRED for sharing her opinion of said fake president on social media. That's not authoritarian or anything...
4) The stolen seat of SCOTUS struck down Texas move to protect the state from gerrymandering. So, good going 3rd party voters - not like elections have long term consequences or anything.
5) We’ve learned that Trump officials met with the UAE crown prince and UAE previously tried to set up a Russia-Trump back channel communication
6) the water left from Hurricane Harvey is a toxic sludge of sewage, fuel, pesticides and other delights.  And oh, yeah, see #2 - the CDC isn’t allowed to tell you what diseases you may get from this
7) That swamp that trump claims to have drained, Steve “I’ll foreclose on little old ladies”  Mnuchin asked for a government jet for his honeymoon.
😎 Parts of the florida keys have been completed destroyed by nature, thanks to climate change.
9) Session’s DOJ won’t let the Senate interview FBI officials.
10) We learned that when he was running for office, fake president concealed a huge deal for a tower in Moscow.
11) DOJ has declined prosecuting cops for the murder of Freddie Gray

And that was just inside our borders...
but hey, a lady wrote a book so.....

Monday, September 11, 2017

About surrender in a 12 step program

E-mail that I just sent to a sponsee

I too find that surrender is not an easy proposition.  I know it's necessary.  It makes perfect sense to me.  If I'm trusting God, I will be calmer.  If I'm calmer and open to God's will, I will be more flexible and make better decisions.  I will be open to  possibilities I hadn't considered. I'll find a better solution. A lot of the things I worry about are things that I'm completely powerless over. It's absolutely useless to worry about them.

Yet I still worry, fret, beat myself up, rush around stupidly, etc.  

We have a saying in program, "While I'm in the rooms, my disease is doing pushups in the parking lot."  Stinking thinking is always waiting to come back.  Always.

That's why we have to keep working program.  It's iterative. We do step work: pray, inventory, tell, pray, amends.  Then we repeat. We keep repeating. It's a loop -- like a computer program, if you're familiar with those.  Over time, solutions appear.  Over time character defects improve.  It's like waves wearing away at a cliff.  Gradually the cliff erodes.

Once upon a time there was a fellow named Buddha, who claimed to have overcome all stress.  He said that desire was the root of all suffering and detachment would set us free.  He claimed to be completely detached.

I am not Buddha.  I may never become Buddha.  I don't have to be Buddha to be abstinent. I just have to keep working it.

Also, I have to be willing to feel my feelings.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Review of "A Doll's House Part II"

play review

A Doll’s House Part II

I went to see this play, because I got a free ticket.  I wouldn’t have otherwise even have noticed it, I don’t think.  I never saw the first play.  I had to quickly read a synopsis on wikipedia so that I would feel comfortable looking at a sequel.  The synopsis on wikipedia said something about it being the most performed play in 2006, but the sequel is by a different author from the original.

I saw afterwards that there are notices that the play is ending September 24.  I guess they weren’t getting enough ticket sales.  Maybe that’s why I got a free ticket.  Nevertheless, the theater seemed quite full. 

These theaters should be looking at the fact that it’s the week after Labor Day, so people aren’t traveling, and, moreover, some parts of the country are encountering overwhelming natural disasters right now that are impeding travel — and next week might be different — before making play closing decisions.

There were a number of interesting points about this play

No Intermission:

It's only 1.5 hours, so they don't do intermission.  There's an ominous warning in the program that if you leave to go to the bathroom you will not be allowed back in.  So be sure and go before the show starts.


1. There were 4 roles, of which 3 were for women.  This is great.  The vast majority of roles out there are for men, yet the vast majority of applicants for acting parts are women.  It’s wonderful to see a play with this ratio, which reflects the applicant pool.

2. There were 2 roles for older women.  This is also wonderful, as most roles for women are for younger women — and I’m an older woman into acting so I care about this.

3. One of the roles was filled by an overweight actress with grey hair.  That’s amazing — and wonderful.  Normally men who are performing are allowed to be overweight with grey hair, but women aren’t, seemingly

4. The husband character, despite allegedly being Scandinavian, was played by a light skinned mixed race actor — also a wonderful example of diversity casting.

         The whole thing took place in one room with 4 chairs.  Very stark.  Sometimes the names of characters were projected on the wall, when those characters were more prominent.  The starkness of the set was part of what led me to believe that this was going to be a serious even tragic play, but that was a wrong assumption

         Nora’s costume was as amazing as the set was stark — absolutely beautiful.  The other performers were wearing fairly plain clothes, typical of that period


         This was the part that I found most interesting — the acting — as there was something odd about it.  You may wonder, then, why I leave this for almost last if it was the most interesting.  That is because I was trying to figure out what I would say as I’m still puzzled about it.  There was something jarring about the delivery — funny perhaps, but jarring. 
    I guess because of the retro costumes I expected a kind of retro acting, where the actors would have some kind of accent, maybe an old movie star accent or maybe a Scandinavian accent — but they didn’t.  They sounded very contemporary American. The actor playing Torvald did contrast interestingly with the other actors, because he had a slight African American lilt to his speaking. 
    There was a comic aspect to the delivery as well, which contrasted with the rather serious/severe clothing and the stark set.  I guess I don’t expect people in Victorian clothes to be funny, maybe.  It was startling to see women, presumably in corsets, to be so relaxed.  Maybe they didn’t really have corsets.  Maybe they were just very skinny.  Maybe that was it. 
    Also, I would have expected the maid character to be deferential to her former boss, but she wasn’t.  Nora seemed to expect some kind of deference from the maid, but didn’t get any.

Theme (spoilers)
    There wasn’t really an ending the way one thinks of an ending in a more traditional musical theater piece, where you come out with some message.  There’s just these people being in their space.  I hoped maybe the maid and Torvald might get together, but no.  There wasn’t any kind of resolution.
    All the way through I was wondering whether the play was glorifying Nora and her having abandoned her children to go off and have a more fun life for herself.  Ultimately, I think not.  I think that was just her character’s point of view.  Still, I spent a lot of the time thinking that no it’s not ok to abandon your children to indulge yourself, and no they’ll never get over it and no feminism doesn’t justify it at all.
    Also, the strange daughter who comes off as pleased at having been abandoned, I guess being sort of self-rationalizing, like her mother, which she fit in well to the atmosphere of the play, seemed inauthentic and unconvincing to me.
    I can’t say I really enjoyed this play.  Still, I thought it was a good thing for me to see: an interesting example of the sort of thing I would never go see on my own, and therefore educational. Normally, my speed is more Marvel Comics movies. This might be too high brow for me. I feel like, while I followed the thing literally, it might have been over my head.

Trying to summarize: oddly jarring, yet sometimes funny; strangely familiar, yet alien.
P.S. to the actors who played Torvald and the Maid:  I really recommend that you visit this website: