My 101-word short story, The Sticky Drunk, was a runner up in the Monterey Weekly’s recent short fiction contest. And they used a sentence from another entry in another section, which I found pretty cool. Read all the stories here!
Check out photos of recent events in Monterey County below! Big thanks to Ace Hardware in Carmel for hosting us Arcadia authors, to Old Capitol Books for hosting a writing workshop for me and Dietrich, and for selling books at the Noir at the Bar a few night’s later. Thanks also to our Noir hosts, East Village Coffee Lounge!
(Sept. 24, 2018) Look for some cool events this October on the Monterey Peninsula. Cool for writers and fans of the written, and spoken, word at least. And who isn’t a fan of that?
October 21 – I’ll be joining a number of authors in Carmel on Sunday, October 21, from 1-3 p.m. for a book signing event featuring local authors and historians. More details to come, but it sounds like a great place to find some early Christmas presents for the bibliophiles in your family. I’ll be ready to sign my recent book Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History! The event will be held at Carmel Ace Hardware, located at 290 Crossroads Blvd, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA93923.
October 23 – Want to learn more about the craft of writing fiction and nonfiction? Author Dietrich Kalteis and I will hold a workshop on that very subject Tuesday, October 23, at 6:30 p.m. at Old Capitol Books in downtown Monterey. We’ll discuss writing style, guidelines, and the research that goes into works of fiction and non-fiction. Old Capitol Books is located at 559 Tyler Street in downtown Monterey. Learn more here!
October 26 – Noir at the Bar returns to the Central Coast this month! This year’s Noir will be held at the East Village Coffee Lounge, at 498 Washington Street in downtown Monterey, beginning at 7 p.m. Books will be available for purchase thanks to the awesome folks at Old Capitol Books. Donations will be accepted at the door, benefitting the Central Coast Writers group! It’s a sweet lineup of authors too: Terry Shames, Kris Calvin, Tom Pitts, Rob Pierce, Susan C Shea, Mark Coggins, Morgan Boyd, Dietrich Kalteis, and me! Get more details here!
It’s going to get mysterious and maybe even a tad illegal down in Monterey on Friday, October 26, at the East Village Coffee Lounge. Look for trench coats, a suspicious marine layer rolling in like spilled pea soup, shady-looking folks in sunglasses, or just a gaggle of writerly types skipping along in the fog. When you see it, you’ll know you’ve arrived.
Noir at the Bar is back in town.
Thanks to crime fiction author Dietrich Kalteis, this year’s Noir is shaping up to be a killer one. He’s organized a sweet lineup for this year’s event, including authors Terry Shames, Kris Calvin, Tom Pitts, Rob Pierce, Susan C Shea, Mark Coggins, Morgan Boyd, Kalteis himself, and me! The lovely Natalia Molina will emcee the event!
Is it too cheesy to say it would be a crime to miss this night of literary mischief? God, that would be cheesy to say.
This year’s Noir will be held at the East Village Coffee Lounge, at 498 Washington Street in downtown Monterey, beginning at 7 p.m. Books will be available for purchase thanks to the awesome folks at Old Capitol Books. Donations will be accepted at the door, benefitting a local charity!
Journalism is meant, on its best day, to provide checks and balances for those in power. Those who make decisions that ripple through our jobs, our welfare, and our checkbooks have to be held accountable for their decisions. If it weren’t for watchdogs, Americans would drown under the rule of those who care little for anything and anyone beyond their own interests. We would be manipulated, lied to, and used as cogs in a machine –necessary but ultimately forgettable. In a free society, the news is intended to provide all Americans with the information needed to make an intellectual decision. It’s not intended to convince you how to think on a particular subject, or even on a particular candidate, but it will furnish the tools we need to make a smart decision on the matter.
It’s not always perfect and it can be downright dirty. Ratings factor into the equation, as they do for most print and television offerings. Advertisers factor into the equation as well; news outlets are businesses at the end of the day. They have to make money to survive, but their mission has never been more clear. You’re simply not going to get all the facts, all the angles, nor the whole truth from those elected to positions of power. There are people in this country afraid of an informed population. Some news may sensationalize, some may muddy the line between editorializing and journalism, but more than anywhere else, the news media is there to inform. Their job is to ferret out the mischief and replace the tall tales with a sobering dose of reality.
This may seem like pie in the sky idealism, but as a former journalist, I know there is truth in reporting. Our reporters, covering beats from crime to education, are American citizens like the rest of us. They go home to families and watch football on the weekends. They vote, pay taxes, buy groceries, and carry degrees that instilled in them a belief that journalists should be a voice for the voiceless. Without journalists, the voiceless would be all but dead.
Recent attacks on the media are terrifying in that they are seeking to suppress the search for truth by lobbing derogatory labels like hand grenades, including the effort to label journalists as the “enemy of the people,” which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Journalists ARE the people. Their job is to present the facts, while ours is to understand and use it however we see fit.
I stand with the Boston Globe as they, and more than one hundred other newspapers across the country, defend their voices from those who seek to silence them. On August 16th, these news organizations will publish editorials warning of the dangers of anti-press rhetoric. And don’t be fooled, the press is under attack, and an America without them would indeed be a country on fire.
Read more on the Boston Globe’s effort here.
Chi-Town, Handsome Man, Charlie-Town
PLACE OF ORIGIN
Dignity’s Quiet Pond of Austere Reflection
Sealed until the next millenium
Izzy, Francis Pants, Dulce, Lucy (deceased), mom, dad
Trapped in a cage, brought to a strange land of heat and pink jeeps, Charlton’s murky past is one of survival and grit. Rumors abound of his imprisonment and courageous fight for a family of his own. In the heat of Arizona, his exploits were barked about, though sadly never translated to English, leaving his first year of life a riddle the world may never solve. Charlton himself speaks little of his time behind bars at the Humane Society and what led him, a strapping specimen prone to battling mail carriers, there in the first place.
More recently, however, Charlton has grown accustomed to the powers he harnessed while on the “forever home” cell block. With a raised paw and sad eyes, Charlton (ALSO KNOWN AS HANDSOME MAN) can mentally project the song “Through the Eyes of an Angel” at will. He can speak the word treat in four languages and has super hearing, which enables him to hear both a wrapper opening in the kitchen and the mailman two blocks away at the same time.
Doolsay, Dulce Hammer, Hammer Time, Pretty
PLACE OF ORIGIN
The Frankenstein Wind
Izzy, Francis Pants, Charlton Chi-Town, Lucy (deceased), mom, dad
Never has a canine of her stature been able to blur reality with only a gentle breeze to egg her on, but this and other abilities have earned her the enduring respect of her peers. The largest of the pack inhabiting the Chihuahua Nebula (but still rated small in the dog scale), Dulce developed early on the preternatural ability to move through the fabric of time itself, running with such speed that she can appear in two places at once. While her swiftness has never been measured, she’s been heard one moment on the kitchen counter and, within the blink of an eye, found to be staring innocently from her bed two rooms away with only the dust of potato chips on her chin as proof an infraction of time and space occurred.
Dulce is the youngest of the pack, but being born of the Frankenstein Wind, she quickly asserted dominance over the pack, save the Throne Couch inhabited by her sister, Izzy (SEE KNOWN RELATIVES), and uses her wild corgi, Chihuahua, and rat terrier abilities to regularly patrol her domain and ensure her reign as the Nebula’s premier queen.
Pants, Mister Pants, Cutie Patootie
PLACE OF ORIGIN
The gates of the Aztec Empire
Dulce Hammer, Izzy Scareda, Charlton Chi-Town, mom, dad
Francis was born from mystery. His whereabouts prior to his appearance at the SPCA in Monterey will forever be regarded as one the universe’s most baffling puzzles. While he’s hinted at such things as prior knowledge of a dog door, his understanding of play is severely limited, leaving little for historians to glean. When brought to live with his relatives in the Nebula, Francis showed remarkable peace-keeping abilities. His affection for all three of his siblings (SEE KNOWN RELATIVES) has made him one of the strongest members of the pack.
While on a recent scouting mission in the backyard region of the nebula, Francis proved his worth as a protector of the pack when he chased two pigeons from the area by running nearly fifteen feet without stopping.
Iz, Izzy Izzy Izzy, Scarlett, Izzy Scareda
PLACE OF ORIGIN
The Great Iron Forge
Izquerda Frida Kahlo la’Beau
Dulce Hammer, Francis Pants, Charlton Chi-Town, mom, dad
Izzy may well be the oldest member of the Chihuahua Nebula pack, but as a three-legged teacup Chihuahua, she is also the smallest. She first appeared, as if from a bolt of indignant lighting, at the border of the Monterey and Pacific Grove Empires. There tales were told of her heroic leap from a point high as Heaven itself, a feat that ultimately cost her leg, but gained her much more in return. For Izzy is never without her miniature collection of dolls, her mighty igloo home, her entourage of trusted blankets, and the mysterious twin stairs that bookend either side of her throne (AKA COUCH).
Her dominance over the pack has never been in question, as she is both the unspoken and unheard ruler in her opinion. As others have learned the hard way, cross her and unleash her terrible motor growl- a sound like a zipper being pulled really fast-at your peril!
10. Comic Con staff
A friend of one of the con’s founders, and I never got her name (a theme for me on this trip), was one of the first people my son and I encountered in the hotel elevator. She went above and beyond in helping us navigate what could have been, for a dense man like me, a confusing morning of con registration. Instead she got us hooked up the night before with our wrist bands and gave us the rundown on what to expect once the pop culture adventure exploded in our faces. You can’t beat that kind of customer service with a barbed-wire baseball bat.
9. Oakland Marriott
Who knew the Marriott was actually connected to the Convention Center where the San Francisco Comic Con was held? Not this doofus. It was a sweet surprise when we realized we wouldn’t have to leave the building. Riding the elevator from our posh room (with paper-thin walls, however, which I discovered thanks to a lusty romantic couple next door); we were deposited right into a throng of Deadpools, Darths, and Who Police Boxes. It was the best ever. Great place, great views, great that Netflix connected to the huuuge flat screen, and great staff.
8. Golden State Sweep
Not that it has anything to do with the con, but crazy as Hell that our trip to Oakland coincided like a train wreck with the Warrior Playoff sweep over the Cavs and LeBron James! When we got there, people were just taking to the streets downtown to celebrate, chanting “Warriors!” from the windows down to the subway. Some were even holding brooms from three stories above ground, sweeping the air, because why not? So it was a good kind of train wreck. Insanity save for valet parking. Warriors!
7. The Walking Dead Guy
I may be a newbie to the Walking Dead pop culture machine (on season four, so much blood), but my son isn’t. He’s the guy who got me hooked on it, so for him to meet one of the guys who made the dead walk in the pages of the original Image comic book was incredible. Dude was super nice too (isn’t it always a good idea to mention if someone is approachable? If it is, then everyone there was just that). The worst part? Not sure of his name…
6. Ginny Weasley
Her real name is Bonnie Wright, but for most of us in line to meet her, she was Ginny – beloved wife to the wizard we all know and root for: Harry Potter (HP to us cool kids). I can’t even write the name without saying it with an English accent in my head. My son and I, besides grabbing a pic with her, heard her talk about her work in directing and with environmental organizations like Greenpeace. As HP nerds, just getting to meet her was… magical (ugh).
5. Number One (at number five)
Genres of all kinds appeal to me. As a teen, none grabbed me more than Star Trek: The Next Generation when it came to weekly television. I was reading horror, flipping through Heavy Metal and Flaming Carrot Comics, but I never missed a single TNG episode. Not a single one. Jonathan Frakes is a polite, friendly guy in person – though to be fair meeting him was uber brief. But hey, being in the presence of Number One, the guy who gave us Star Trek First Contact, one of the reasons The Orville rocks, was enough to excite this fan boy.
4. Gerry Conway
You know meeting a Marvel Comics icon would make my list. I counted myself a True Believer during the days Lou Ferrigno got himself painted green every week. I was one of the only kids on my block who knew the word, “Excelsior!” And even back then, I knew about the Punisher. Gerry Conway is one of the co-creators of the character, which he introduced in Amazing Spider-Man No. 129. He’s also the writer who (gasp) killed off Gwen Stacy back in the day. I gushed on him at the con, but he was cool with it.
3. Afterburner Comics
What’s better than going to a gigantic comic con in Oakland (yes, it’s called the San Francisco Comic Con, and yes, I know San Diego’s is bigger, but does size matter?) and straying from your preplanned itinerary into uncharted territory (yes, I make itineraries). I found something pretty damn cool in Afterburner Comics and came away with a treat I wasn’t expecting. I found a new underground comic to sink my intellectual teeth into, one full of black and white noir and adults-only pizzazz. If you haven’t come across the brilliant Robert Stewart and Afterburner Comics, you’re missing out.
2. Claudia Gray
Claudia Gray is an author everyone should read. Many of us have in fact. She’s also a joy to meet in person. Her work has been made a part of the Star Wars universe, which tells you something about her prose. Whether it’s canon, not canon, I can never keep up, so I don’t know. I’m not one to let it bug me anyway. She’s a good writer and meeting her amidst the buzz and bang of the convention was a personal highlight.
1. The Cosplay
You hear about it in secret. You read about it on the dark web. You think you’re prepared. But then you walk into a man inside an inflated Pikachu. You see cosplayers in real life and you take a gut punch in the “I’m geeked out and really amazed” region. These people are incredible. The detail, the love and giddy excitement, are evident in what they do. Without the thrill of the cosplayers, conventions like the San Francisco Comic Con wouldn’t be the blinding, shining beacon of hip absurdity this world needs. They make these things what they are.