One to Watch: David Pino

I love hearing the news that a former student is making waves in writing. In my One to Watch series, I highlight up and coming former students who are using writing to do great things. David Pino was in my Advanced Placement English Class seven years ago at a school called Sacramento Charter High. He knew more about most of the curriculum than I did, and was an encyclopedic resource for our Mythology and Archetype unit.  Also, I can never read Frankenstein again without thinking of his brilliant dramatic presentation of the Monster. He was a wonderful student in a…

She’s On To Us (For my students)

She’s On To Us (for my students) “She’s on to us.” The classroom of high schoolers shifted uneasily in their seats. Not enough so you would notice, or anyone would notice just casually walking by the open classroom door. In fact, anyone walking by would think Mrs. Wanket was a teacher who knew her stuff better than most. She wasn’t exciting exactly, but she didn’t put you to sleep instantly. The students were amused by her daily attempts to make learning fun. It wasn’t always fun but the attempts were amusing. This was a teacher who read stories aloud in funny accents…

A Great Yes: Geminid Press

When I was in grade school, I took the short bus once a week to a special day class for gifted children. The program was called MGM for Mentally Gifted Minors, and our MGM teacher was an evangelical woman named Mrs. Sturtevant who really hated my ideas. My nine-year-old Mentally Gifted Minor brain intuited the deliciously thin ice Mrs. Sturtevant’s sense of the appropriate skated upon. I broke through it during our art unit when we fashioned paper mache masks to go with creative stories we had written. The other children gooped strips of newspaper and flour glue into the…

Friday Free Topic: Dear Twenty

My trek through my old college downtown last weekend got me to thinking about how lost I was in 1990 at twenty. I was more together at seventeen than I was at twenty because one year away from college graduation, I thought all the wrong things mattered. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to send just one letter to yourself at that gorgeous, lost age of twenty? This would be what mine would say: You’re not fat. Stop staying that you are. My God, look at you. Also, your hair will never be this magnificent again. I only say this…

Fun with Archetypes: Guidance Cards

As a writer of fantasy, I love twisting my knowledge of mythology, folklore and ancient archetypes around to make something new. Fiction isn’t the only thing you can make using mythology as material. I invented a craft idea that every now and then I put together for a friend or group of friends using very personal mythologies and archetypes. It doesn’t cost very much, and it creates a fun guidance card game that’s sort of like your own private Tarot deck. Here is a picture of a pack of goddess archetype cards I made for a group of my friends. Ready…

Goddess University: Athena in the Workplace

Makeover stories are the best, especially during the Back-to-School season. Back-to-School has always been a high holy season for me. Seventeen magazine’s August issue was a kind of bible to me in the eighties. The message was that you could reinvent yourself from the inside out for the new school year. Everything was possible. Clean slates were a real and figurative thing. The movies Working Girl with Melanie Griffith and Sigourney Weaver and Legally Blonde with Reese Witherspoon and Selma Blair embody the rigorous hope that we can change reality through force of will. In both movies, intelligent women step…

THE ARROW Playlist

In my urban paranormal fantasy THE ARROW, research scientist and reluctant goddess Fynn Kildare finally gets her man. That man happens to be rock star Komo, the son of Dionysus, the love of her life since they were children together in her family’s commune Brigid’s Keep. When a local pharmaceutical company run by witches and demons threatens to unleash a catastrophic virus, Fynn must decide between Komo’s drug-fueled ecstatic life on the road or  her family’s work to fight to save humanity. Enter Eli, a surfer biker half-demon who, though bred to kill Fynn instead falls madly in love with her. We’re talking an epic goddess/demon/god love triangle, a rock…

Goddess University: Gemma Teller

If you have not yet watched the F/X series Sons of Anarchy all the way through to the last, then stop reading this post. SPOILER ALERT. The entire thing is on Netflix right now. Watch it. Return in a week. Gemma Teller is the matriarch of the Sons of Anarchy motorcycle “club”, the mother of the main character Jax. She resembles the Hindu goddess Kali in her destructive power. Also like Kali, she means to destroy only harmful people, yet ends up destroying much more. Katey Sagal, real-life wife of the series creator and writer Kurt Sutter, plays Gemma Teller….

You Write What’s Real: The Secret Lives of Young Adults

Last December I visited an English class at a continuation high school. The students had read and discussed  my YA novel HOW TO BE MANLY  (Giant Squid Books) and the plan was for me to give a talk and answer their questions. I came bearing a big pink box of donuts (if you read the book you’ll know why). As I put a donut on every desk, one girl jumped from her seat, unable to wait for my presentation to begin to share her thoughts. “I like you,” she said. “Because you write what’s real.”  Her classmates nodded in agreement, glad that she broke…

Goddess University: Furiosa

Okay, so Furiosa isn’t a goddess, she’s a character in Mad Max: Fury Road. She doesn’t even have magical powers or supernatural forces of any kind. She looks like Charlize Theron, so she has that going for her, but being beautiful is not exactly an asset in her world. I read Cindy Fazzi’s film review of Mad Max: Fury Road that touches on the feminist themes at work in this film. In fact, I read the review on the way home from seeing the film and it was such a joy to see that someone else understood the same things I…