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Voyage

So the Love Panel and Chocolate tasting are tonight and I’m baking up a storm. What’s on the iPod? Ms. India Arie’s Voyage to India album and I’m chuckling over the video for Video. The menu that I’m racing to finish is:

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes, Truffles, Peppermint and Dried Fried Chocolate Barque, and Orange spiced Hot Chocolate

Brown Skin is playing in the background and it’s appropriate for this morning and afternoon.

Enjoy your Do-Wonderful-Things-with-Chocolate Weekend

LY

Nerd Grrl

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Flexatarian

First time I heard that term I was assisting Myra Kornfeld’s cooking class. It defined my cooking style beyond Asian, French, and Louisiana cooking. Making the same dish for a Vegan, Vegetarian and the Meat eater is no easy task. It’s possible, but challenging. I’ve got a dinner I’ll be making tonight that involves Lemon Herbed Chicken and Thai Tofu dish Saturday.

The only thing I can never cook is meat. Is their  hypocritical reason behind this or an inability to prepare a simple Surf & Turf?

Nope.

I’m allergic to Beef. I’m certain that I drop kicked  cow in one of my past lives.So yes, whenever I make Gumbo the Andouille sausage must be the soy kind.

Music in my head today, no iPod. “I Remember You” by Dorothy Lamore from the film The Fleet’s In

Flava

So I’m commuting today listening to Daft Punk, David Bowie and Billy Idol and I’m suddenly clear-headed about this blog and where it really wants to go. In the last year since I really blogged I’ve been talking about food and getting to know my eReader and putting in some of my favorite recipes.

I love preparing food, telling stories behind the recipes I’ve created or replicated and my time as a stagiere at a NYC culinary school. The last several years of my life were filled with cooking classes, knife skills courses, weekly meals for clients and now making desserts for a non-profit Meditation Center in South Windsor during special occasions.

So where does this exploration go?

Every cookbook I have (over 4 dozen) have been read and most recipes created from these treasures and all done with good music playing in the background. There’s nothing like playing Susan Tedeschi during a cooking party with friends. For all that I’ve learned-besides cooking from scratch- is that people want to crack open that cookbook, but where should they start? Which recipe is the right one? Which one will take forever and which one is created by the snap of a finger? How many times have you decided to start cooking from a recipe and halfway through realize that you don’t have half the ingredients? Yep, me too.

So this blog has evolved into something that’s about cooking, finding good eats, good music and how to throw a cooking party where no one feels left out. So here I am all drunk off the knowledge that I’ve found my place in this ever growing blog universe. So what’s up next?

I’ve got another opportunity to bake for the Meditation Center. A Love Panel and Chocolate Tasting provided by me, a certified, worked in a true chocolate factory, Chocolatier. What’s on the menu? Something simple.

Chocolate Ravioli’s with Caramel dipping sauce, Chocolate pizza with Raspberry “red” sauce and chocolate chip “Pepperoni” and Classic Chocolate Truffles for purchase

Come and see the finished desserts and get your Meditation on in the same evening.

http://www.meditationinconnecticut.org/what-is-love/

Giving away your cash? Send me some too!

I’m actually smirking at several batches of underwear in a twist over this new business venture Harlequin has launched.

People, People, please!

If some writers believe that the shortcut will garner them big bucks in publishing then by all means allow them to self-publish to their heart’s content.

Changing the business of the Romance Industry one sucker wanna-be writer at a time.

Goodness knows seasoned writers can’t teach everyone the lessons to be learned about the publishing process, and heaven forbid if lessons on patience, percerverance, and thorough knowledge about the business-side of the industry go ignored. Like my Momma always says:

Hard heads make soft behinds

Ultimate Power Couple

In the afternoons I like to listen to Neil Gaiman in my car and as always make funny faces as I drive and listen.

It must make for great conversation to those that see me at stoplights!

At the moment this is no different than the time I listened to the brilliantly talented Lenny Henry of Chef! fame, read Anansi Boys. It was not unusual for me to get in my car to listen to all the voices of characters that made me smile and grateful I had found the only sanctuary on my property that my little boy can not find me. Wait! He’s in the backseat munching on carrots, pretzels, bagels, grapes, raisins, etc.  (If it’s healthy my kid will eat it.)

Despite the evidence to the contrary I do wish Lenny Henry and Gaiman become a couple so that more audio art can come of their union. I’m just sayin’.

Goggles and Booth Babes… Oh, the horror!

Recently I cleaned out my basement and I came across a late 19th century typewriter and really wished I had the mind of an engineer. Okay, specifically the mind of Jake von Slatt.

If I had half the ability to do what he does I would make my 2nd Empire Victorian home into a Steampunk living museum. Yes, I know my fellow nerds, that Steampunk is more than the aesthetics, but how else can I show my love? Wearing brass goggles to a job interview is NOT going to work in my favor unless Terri Cunningham of DC/Vertigo Comics has decided to hire me. Yes, I’m looking at you Terri!

Though my hope is to one day work for Vertigo, I know as a writer I must be proactive in making my own breaks so during these next few weeks I’m busy finishing  my latest short story entitled L’Chaim. I want to have it finished, edited, then reedited in time to pitch it to some of every sci-fi geek’s favorite magazines, but mainly I want to have it finished for my mum as a belated birthday present.

L’Chaim touches on the vein of one of her favorite shows, the original Outer Limits, and I thought what better way to say, ‘I love you mom’ than with a sci-fi story with a touch of horror?

It’s amazing that the stories that have come to me have allowed me to pay homage to past influences but also allow me to break free of my own personal writing constraints. I’ve also learned that I write each scene to different types of music, but one constant is when I’m writing an action scene I always have electronic/techno playing on my laptop.

Oh Prodigy, Carl Cox, and NIN, I heart you!

This totally makes for one heck of a soundtrack for each one of my stories. Yes, I actually put a soundtrack together after I finish my stories and then read them in conjunction with my music selections. I wonder if there are other writers that do the same thing. Maybe I’ll ask when I go to the several Conventions that are on my schedule beginning at the end of November until October 2010.

Speaking of conventions, I’m planning my costumes for PhilCon, Comic Con San Diego and in NYC. If I get invited to more in the next 12 months I’m more than happy to oblige someone an experience with my dry humor and my naturally perky disposition.

For my friend, the horror writer, Gary Frank, I’ve offered to be a self-imposed booth babe and dress up in Intuitional Memory garb along with vicious copper tubing. Unfortunately, I couldn’t offer him another character to dress up as because I’m a wimp. What? You ask. How can you, Nerd Grrl, fearsome creature be a wimp?

I’m not into horror.

Ask everyone and they’ll tell you I only watch scary movies if I have it on mute and I’ve activated the closed-caption. It doesn’t seem so scary when you read “AAAAAAHHHHH” instead of hearing the scream. No, really. Try it.

When I bought Gary’s book I decided to read it during my meditation vacation in England. In my tent.  AT NIGHT. Yeah, I got to page 9.

It’s been over a month and I’m still scared. When I saw Gary and his wife recently I asked him if he could go through the book and write in parenthesis, wherever applicable, “This is the scary part coming up.”

He stared at me like I had a stack of pancakes on my head.

I love change and reading outside of my genre is definitely a change I’m willing to make and I’m sure that when I find a few hours to myself I’ll finish the book in its entirety (only 388 pages to go) and be too afraid to sleep.  This should make Gary smile since we both know that it’s all in good horrific fun!

Gainful Employment

When you don’t listen to your gut you wind up in situations you wish you weren’t in and pray for the nearest exit.

This explains the past decade of my work life– except for the parts that involved working in the culinary environment. Now, despite the multiple challenges I’m facing around me I have unleashed my passion for writing and currently pursuing a full-time career in the field. As I told Ben during our meeting: “If I had any more passion I’d set myself aflame.”

In the past couple of weeks I’ve discussed this new found freedom with new friends and discovered that, though blatantly obvious now, I want to work in the publishing world of comics and books. I’ve worked as a freelance editor for multiple projects and written various articles, but I long to work with others.

Don’t get me wrong, I love wearing my piggy slippers and working from home but those jobs are rare and I think it wise to work with other creative minds. Lengthy isolation for a writer can lead to lack of professional growth. In order to avoid such a path I’ve been a member of various writing organizations including the awesome Liberty States Fiction Writers. There are familiar faces of the group and I’ve met so many new people that I’m grateful for their experience and mentoring. Yes, I’m lookin’ at you Gary Frank!

As I write this I’m gathering my fiction portfolio and planning to add a couple of new short stories for my admission to New School University’s Masters Program. (Keep your fingers crossed.) In the past I liked romantic elements to stories and thought I was suppose to write romance novels but unfortunately every piece I wrote screeched to a halt.

I wanted to write stories that took place in the 40’s or alternate histories; stories that my sci-fi/Twilight Zone lovin’ mom would love; stories that involve strong black women in action-packed plotted stories where romance was a small portion of the story.
Well duh. I wasn’t meant to write romances; I’m supposed to write speculative fiction. Once I figured it out the potential writers block ended and I found I was more comfortable writing short stories and novellas. I also found that I have a knack for writing TV treatments and Comic Book scripts.

If Octavia Butler and Neil Gaiman’s work had married in another life I wanted my writing to be the result. (Still do, but let’s not get too crazy) They are the two authors that have kept me writing despite life’s distractions. They were and are a constant inspiration to keep moving forward.

I have been inspired and kept jotting down my notes in my journal and gave myself permission to want to write in multiple fields. Nowadays, no one in their right mind would tell Neil Gaiman to focus on only one field in writing. Could you imagine the past when Mr. Gaiman came onto the scene?

“Mr. Gaiman, while it’s nice you have written a few novels, you may want to refrain from writing a comic book. I mean, this little idea for this new project you’re calling Sandman may not be good for your career as a novelist.”

Ha!

I think the lesson here is to not limit yourself as a writer.

Many times people ask writers were they get their ideas and for me my answer is a little different from other writers. I usually get new work from sleeping.

Yep, earlier this year I had about 3 months of ideas after waking from a night’s sleep. I had so many that I had to write synopsis for over two dozen ideas. If I wanted to limit myself I could pursue each one as a potential novel but they are not to be clustered, and as I mentioned before, I realized that some stories were TV treatments, Comic Scripts, Novellas, or Short stories.

In the midst of a feast of creative ideas I am proactive enough to send my resume to every NYC publishing house seeking a writer or Editorial Assistant. Until then I’ll work on my New School portfolio short story and remember something that Mr. Neil Gaiman said:

“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.”

Buddhist, Browncoats, and Comic Books

Oh my whole 2.7 readers you must have missed me while I was away on holiday in the UK for the Annual Buddhist Summer Festival. Wipe your pretty little eyes and know that I was surrounded by great country air, saffron robes, and comic books.

Yes, I may have been roughing it for the week by sleeping in a tent but no good Nerd Grrl would be caught without her reading sustenance known as The Comic Book.

So there I was surrounded by trees, the English shore and stars at the end of each evenings meditation sessions with a tiny LED flashlight to lead me to my mansion of a tent— all 4ft x 9ft – to read the first 3 installments of ‘The Unwritten’ by Vertigo. I love a good mystery and the fact that so far the main character writes fantasy à la tongue-in-cheek Harry Potter makes me squee! at random intervals.

I wasn’t focused completely on comic books and made sure to catch a few sights of Cambria. A few nights before my trip back I spent the evening discussing sci-fi movies, comic books, and detailing the American dessert known as the S’more— which made me feel like a Chocolate Ambassador since they don’t have anything that’s the equivalent in the UK.

Anyhow, I talked about comic books and movies and how the increasing adaption to the big screen is justly legitimizing the comic/graphic novel industry. I was answered with resounding blinks and the reply that the guys around me really didn’t read comics.

Are you kiddin’ me?! What are they teaching in schools today?

In the UK, just like back home, I tried conversing with other people about comics, etc. I was met with the same response but one bold soul pointed out, “You really don’t look like the type of grrl that would be into that kind of stuff.”

Before I could make assumptions and say something snarky I remembered to ask the same question one should always ask when a rude/backhanded compliment is thrown:

“Why would you say that?”

BOOM!

Now they’re on the spot and I haven’t raised my voice nor gotten ethnic in a public place. (Score 2 points for me!)

Their response was a shrug but the incident got me thinking but I had no one to converse with until I met Wash on my last stay at the Festival. Okay, it wasn’t Alan Tudyk but the guy did look like a combination of Wash from Firefly and Shaggy from Scooby-Doo. (“I’m a leaf on the wind; watch how I soar…ZOINKS!”)

Nevertheless, seeing a guy sporting a powder blue shirt with tropical flowers, wearing shorts, and blatantly resembling my favorite Firefly character made me smirk. Too bad no one told the guy that it was England and a whole 65 degrees out but here he was sitting next to me waiting his turn in the registration queue. I turned to him and told him he reminded me of a character from a Joss Whedon show and wondered if he had ever heard of a guy named…

“Wash!” we said in unison. (Nerd Grrl meet your male equal.)

Well I’ll be. I come across the pond to find a fellow Browncoat that lives only a couple of hours away from me in the States. What are the odds? We talked about the show and I told Shwash (Shaggy and Wash) that I was a writer and looking to get my foot in the comic book/graphic novel publishing world. Shwash revealed that he worked with a guy that works on multiple sci-fi projects including Serenity/Firefly and so we exchanged email addys and I was on my way.

A week after I returned I got the chance to meet Shwash’s friend Ben and he was able to give me a few leads and let me know that I had an ally and to send work my articles to him ASAP. The point being that no one can know I exist if I don’t post. (Good point Ben.)

Wow, all this happened because I opened my mouth and started a conversation about a topic I love.

As writers we often wonder where a big break will come from but we fail to make the simple connection that we must still have a life and interact with other people, sometimes in non-work related things.

In my quest for further spiritual knowledge I met more people from NYC and CT that I never would have met nor had the courage to just talk to them. I think this lesson can be used during a writers meeting with an Editor at Comic Con and other Sci-Fi/Comic Book conventions.

By searching to find something you have in common with someone you can let go of your obsessive worry/fragile ego to step back and watch what happens when you speak to other people about your passions.

So far I’d say my experience has been mighty Shiny.

Too Smart for the SyFy Channel?

My eyes are burning but in a good way.

The Sci-Fi channel is having a Twilight Zone (TZ) marathon this 4th of July weekend and it is NerdGirl heaven in my maison!

Unlike other times the mid-80’s version of the TZ was shown first and it was like they picked my brain to find out which episodes to show. Watching the original black and white TZ reminds me of the times I would watch the episodes with my mum. My father was the one that introduced me to science through literature but it was my mum who used TZ, Outer Limits, and Tales from the Darkside, etc. to introduce me to the fiction in the science-fiction genre.

So when I recently found out the reason for the Sci-Fi Channel changing its name I kinda flipped. Tim Brooks, one of the originators of the Channel said about the name change:

The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular.”

I do not have an MBA but I do know the basics of business and to create a brand that appeals to everyone is a business that will fail. Each business must find and define their niche and the Sci-Fi channel is science fiction. I know, silly me for sounding all logical.

I understand that this is a company that is focused on the bottom line but would it not behoove the Sci-Fi Channel to focus on giving the loyal viewers, us wimmin folk included, better program selections instead of focusing on something as menial as a name change?

Dear Sci-Fi Channel,

When did Sci-Fi become gender specific? Just because you don’t see many women at a convention doesn’t mean that we don’t dig a good Starfleet uniform like our nerd male counterparts.

You had a gem with Battlestar Galactica but that doesn’t mean it’s the end. Obviously you have some awesome on-staff writers but if you are wondering if the staff is connected to the sci-fi reader/viewers pulse then why don’t you ask us?

Please don’t believe that you have to dumb down your channel’s name to keep the female viewer in fact your name change may do just the opposite. As my mum recently said, “Sci-fi readers and viewers are a bright bunch” and I will be bold and toot my own horn to say I definitely agree.

Please don’t insult my fellow sci-fi sisters and brothers intelligence by keeping your new name Sy-Fy but instead change it back to the clear and grammatically correct Sci-Fi Channel.

Literarily Yours,

NerdGirl from anywhere U.S.A.

Fox tv–I couldn’t love you more…so why do you crush my heart?

After a good nights rest I have been given enough time to figure out what was wrong with Fox’s gracious showing the 2-hour pilot Virtuality—it will not be a series!

Who at Fox thought that was a bright idea? In fact who at Fox keeps thinking it’s a good idea to keep taking away all the great sci-fi shows? Don’t let me meet up with them in a dark alley.

Oh Fox Network, I know my bittersweet relationship with you may never end.

It all began with VR.5 in ’95 when you introduced a great concept with Lori Singer playing Sydney Bloom who spends her spare “time playing the latest virtual reality game.” 1 But then you had to hurt the fan that loved you by leaving Sydney Bloom in a VR coma at the end of the series. A coma?! Seriously!

Oh and don’t get me started on the Adventure’s of Brisco County Jr. starring Bruce Campbell and the late Julius Carrey. It was steampunk sci-fi show created by Cuse and Boam—Cuse went on to produce and write for a little show called LOST.

To say my father and I had been big fans is an understatement.  When they took that off the air my poppa and I had a moment of silence. Last year I found out that Fox released ABCjr. on DVD for only $99.

WHAT?!

Okay, so I bought 2, one for me and one for poppa. Happy Birth-Anni-Fathers-Xmas-Hannukah Day!

Let’s not forget my fellow Browncoats with the amazing space western Firefly series by Joss Whedon. You had me at “I’ll be in my bunk” but did you care Fox? No. All my fellow Browncoats made it our mission to convert the unknowing to the brilliance of the show but even though we didn’t get our series back we did get a nice feature film called Serenity.

Speaking of Mr. Whedon…

Fox just think of how cool the combination would be on a Friday night if Dollhouse and Virtuality were on back-to-back.

Why must you punish us that prefer well plotted television with developed characters? We fans didn’t mean to like intelligently written shows but that’s what happens when you have common sense.

So who’s with me to get Virtuality a greenlight to be made into a series? If you come up with any ideas I’ll be in my bunk.

1 http://television.aol.com/show/vr5/761732/main