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A play I wrote is now available for the youths!

A theater company I semi-regularly collaborate with put together a second collection of short plays for vaguely mature kids; I wrote one about two contemporary teenagers calling each other on the phone. (It’s technically NOT science fiction, but…)

Anyways. The collection is called Pushed. There’s some good stuff in there.

"most common handgun for suicide attempts"

lizlet:

Writing sometimes leads to THE MOST FUN EVER Google searches.

OH NO um so this search term pulled up the website lostallhope.com not gonna link to it but OH NO I didn’t want to know about the existence of a website that offers practical advice on suicide.

:(

That’s all I got.

Okay, to be fair, that site which I have mentioned above officially actually does ask people reading it to reach out for help rather than go through with the act. I’m just saying, I was hoping for some statistics, and then things took a dark turn.

"most common handgun for suicide attempts"

Writing sometimes leads to THE MOST FUN EVER Google searches.

It is so weird, the characters who draw you in when you’re writing something.

Like, if I were to guess who I’d find most fascinating in this football player funeral play I have two days to finish, the fantasy football nerd would not be my pick. But, there you go.

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?

So, unexpectedly, a play i thought I had more time to develop needs to be done and awesome by next Wednesday. The play is about football (the American kind), so I am unexpectedly in the RED ZONE on this thing. It is CRUNCH TIME.

As you might have guessed from that last paragraph, I’m now trying to immerse myself in football language and lore (despite, at best, an intermediate level of understanding the sport). Literally, last night I was writing at a bar, and I asked the bartender which defensive position would be most likely to tackle a wide receiver. (The answer he gave me was corner back. I ran with it.)

What’s interesting about this, to me, is that the skills I’m applying to my deep dive into football culture feel very familiar, if slightly forced. That’s because they’re the exact same skills I’ve been developing since I was old enough to obsess over She-Ra: Princess of Power. Absorb media. Ask questions. Research. Absorb more media. Ask questions. Research. Repeat. This is when being a giant nerd comes in handy. I am harnessing my NERD POWER.

Hopefully, this play will work thanks to the fact that I’m coming to the subject matter as something of an outsider. Also, hopefully, the decision to write a play about football will actually be interesting to people, and not a keen misunderstanding of the audience that appreciates black box theater.

Get out of your head. Get back in the game. What did Michael Jordan think about when he made The Shot? “Nothing.”

(Yes. I know that Jordan was playing basketball.)

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"Aesop Refabled"

Last year, I joined the other playwrights of Skypilot Theatre to write a one-act for kids, based on one of Aesop’s Fables. It is technically my first theatrical publication, which is fun stuff.

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LIGHTS OFF, EYES CLOSED: 91% – SWEET : LA Bitter Lemons

Posting this link, belatedly, as essentially a “aw, play, you were a good time, thank you for being you” farewell. A great experience that I look forward to repeating someday. Thank you to everyone who came to see it!

I have no idea how I am one degree of separation away from the creator of the Klingon language, but this sure happened! 

(If you want to hear the quoted line in context, Lights Off, Eyes Closed is running for another two weeks.)

I have no idea how I am one degree of separation away from the creator of the Klingon language, but this sure happened!

(If you want to hear the quoted line in context, Lights Off, Eyes Closed is running for another two weeks.)

Hey, Lights Off, Eyes Closed totally opened this weekend! It went really really well! Isn’t our lead pretty? (She’s also super-talented.)

If you’re in LA, maybe you can come and see it! Tickets are on sale here. Because I love you (yes, you), use the SECRET CODE “romance” for five dollars off!

Hey, Lights Off, Eyes Closed totally opened this weekend! It went really really well! Isn’t our lead pretty? (She’s also super-talented.)

If you’re in LA, maybe you can come and see it! Tickets are on sale here. Because I love you (yes, you), use the SECRET CODE “romance” for five dollars off!

"Lights Off, Eyes Closed" premiere! Attendees include my lovely aunt and mother. (Taken with instagram)

"Lights Off, Eyes Closed" premiere! Attendees include my lovely aunt and mother. (Taken with instagram)

"Borders is gone, Barnes and Noble is gone. This is the future."

The above quote was from yesterday’s meeting of LARA RWA, the Los Angeles chapter of the Romance Writers of America.

I was there to whore out my play inform the lovely men and women of that organization that I’d written something that they might enjoy watching. (I had postcards with discount codes and everything. I was very impressive.)

And because to just show up, tell people I’d written a play, and jet out immediately afterwards would have made me a total douchenozzle, I stayed for the entire meeting, listening as the members discussed the month’s business — contests and anthologies and please complete your profile for the member directory.

All that was interesting from an anthropological standpoint. Then, they started talking about self-publishing.

Specifically, the creation of a position to serve as a representative on the organization’s board for authors who are primarily self-published. In proper Stringer Bell-approved fashion, they proposed adding the position and opened the topic for debate, which is where that quote comes from.

Self-publishing in the romance novel world, it turns out, can be a pretty lucrative business — working with a publisher means giving up a pretty big cut of the profits from your work, but e-distribution on your own can make you thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, if you know how to properly leverage the platforms and your audience. New authors are getting a chance to put their work out there. And established authors are getting back the rights to their older books, distributing them through Amazon and making BANK.

I am writing this post for people who are not romance novelists, because it is so so important for everyone to remember this: DISRUPTION IS HAPPENING EVERYWHERE. Romance novels are literally the most popular books on the planet — romance fiction sales were estimated at $1.368 billion in 2011, according to the Romance Writers of America — and their writers are having these discussions, are rethinking their medium, are reapproaching the fundamental nature of how they do business.

These men and women (and let’s be clear, these are, on average, not tech-native people) are talking about building audience. They are examining how to partner and collaborate with each other in meaningful ways. Holy hell, later they mentioned the great gigantic problem that is DISCOVERY. In over five years of paying attention to this stuff, this meeting was what really revealed to me the scale of these seismic shifts.

And here’s the most important bit: While the web video world may be less conscious of the fact that this disruption has an expiration date, romance novelists are very much aware. They’re aware that at some point, the major publishers and distributors will figure out how to control ebook distribution, and that now is the time to move in terms of developing their own brands and selling their books on their own. Now is the time to carve out their place in the industry, because never before has the independent creator had this level of power, and they never might again.

When creating the SPA board position was called to a vote, it passed with a resounding majority.

I might have been given the task of capturing audio from a random TV show to serve as sound effects for Lights Off, and I might have gone mad with power.

I might have been given the task of capturing audio from a random TV show to serve as sound effects for Lights Off, and I might have gone mad with power.

Some photos from last night’s rehearsal of Lights Off, Eyes Closed, from our rehearsal space at the Sherry Theater. All I did was take these photos, cut three lines, add a joke about tax returns, and marvel at our super-talented, super-attractive cast and crew.

We open in just FIFTEEN DAYS. Cannot believe it. If you have a chance, perhaps check out our lovely IndieGogo campaign? Tickets are starting to go fast, so helping out now is a great way to guarantee you’ll be able to get seats!

I shall conclude this post with a quote from the play: “Troi with three breasts? That’s insane.” Have a nice day. :)

If you’re having sex with the leading lady, you pretty much have to get her flowers.
Some helpful advice from a fellow playwright. Not strictly applicable in my case, but good to know.

All about LIGHTS OFF, EYES CLOSED (AKA “So I wrote a play…”)

The short version: As you may have seen me mention here or there, my first full length play is opening in less than three weeks. It’s called Lights Off, Eyes Closed. It’s about love and romance novels and the difference between the two. If you’re in the LA area anytime from March 24-April 29, you can come and see it! And/or support the IndieGoGo campaign! I would be so thankful if you did.

The long version: I started writing Lights Off, Eyes Closed in the fall of 2006, and as I’ve grown up over the past six years, so has the play — multiple drafts, condensed to a one-act for a staged reading in 2009, then expanded out to a two-act version again. (It is almost embarrassing how many different drafts exist. I had to change the numbering scheme once we went into rehearsals.)

Lights Off is in part inspired by my mother, who has been writing romance novels for the last ten or so years, though it’s heavily fictionalized (just for starters, my mom is very much alive). Really, what it’s about is a young woman learning how to balance the perception of romance with the reality of actually falling in love.

Oh, and also, it’s about sex. And people writing about sex. And talking about sex. Sexy sex sex. Like so:

We’ve been rehearsing nearly daily for the last month, and it’s been a real thrill to see it come together slowly but surely. The director is doing a fabulous job with a crazy talented cast (who are all very tolerant of my semi-constant script changes), and our lead actress’s Patrick Stewart impression cracks me up every time. There’s still a lot more work to do, but it’s hard not to be excited at this stage.

Tonight we launched an IndieGoGo campaign to help with the building of the set and other financial considerations — chipping in now basically means you can get reserved tickets at a discounted rate, and would be a huge help for the show, and would make me your best friend. Yes, you. Really.

If you’ve read this far, thanks so much. Either way, there’ll be more about Lights Off as we get closer to the premiere — though not TOO MUCH. Just enough.