SJSFF: Katherine Park is Up in the Clouds

up-in-the-cloudsAt the San Jose Short Film Festival, in the animation block, was the short film Up In the Clouds. It was delightful, a feisty and happy teenage girl scaring her daddy during driving lessons. I believe this teenage girl later becomes a pilot.

After that show, I told Katherine Park she did a wonderful voiceover job for the teenage girl. I mentioned my Kittygirl story. Katherine asked me to email it to her, and I did. She replied with “Hello! I read your cool story tonight, thank you for sharing it with me!!!” And in my reply to her reply (not in my story), I used the term “oriental” explaining how Kittygirl became Japanese American. Katherine’s writing advice in her reply to my reply to her reply was so good that I asked permission to put it on my blog. She said yes. Here it is.

katherine-park-sjsff-2015I think my only gentle cultural counsel/suggestion as an Asian American myself would be never to refer to a person as “oriental”! Now, the general rule is it is only considered acceptable if used for objects and “things” like rugs, and it’s outdated to describe Kat that way. In your position, you are in an important place to speak and write about your character Kat, and that’s why I want to make sure to point it out! 🙂 The best way to refer for Kitty is “Japanese American” as you said (good job!) or American, or American with Japanese heritage. I love that your friend suggested Kat to be Japanese American. There are exercises you may have heard of with children who choose the “beautiful/good” doll from a white doll and a black doll. I bet you can guess which doll was chosen over and over again for “good” traits, and which for “bad” traits. That is why representation is so important. I loved how Kat was a main character, and only felt a little twinge of discomfort when she was admiring the blond hair as if it was better than hers. I would feel more comfortable in that scene if Holly were blond and Asian American, too. As a biracial person I am more outspoken than most, I feel strongly about representation and even used to dye my hair black for my first TV and film roles. Food for thought because as artists the integrity of our art is most important, but we also have a voice and can use it for good! Have a great day & please let me know how it develops!! 🙂

Katherine makes a great point about the hair. I want it obvious that Kittygirl likes her own long black hair, she should not seem envious of Holly’s blonde hair. But Kittygirl is impressed by how Holly’s hair shines in the sunlight, part of Kittygirl looking up to her hero Holly. I’ll work on it, the blonde envy issue with girls deserves scrutiny. And little girls not finding or liking a doll that looks like them? So sad!

P.S. Katherine has a lovely singing voice. Check it out!

P.P.S. As for me being important, I still need to get Kittygirl out on Kindle. I’ll need a cover, and maybe another story starring another super kid (make it two-stories-in-one?). Kid supers are fun, and are needed to replenish the comic book geek herd before old farts like me die off.

P.P.P.S. Thanks again, Katherine. You really helped.

It’s my Happy 60th Birthday!

And thanks to my Facebook posters!

20131226-154718.jpgI had promised myself that I’d have the entire first draft of my novel done today. (Keef Knight did this shirt for me.) I did not make that goal, although much is filled in, and every chapter that is not written is outlined and inserted into the current draft. So writing the outlined chapters will be a lot easier, now that I have a bunch of short stories under my belt.

To make up for the above, I have two stories coming out in two local anthologies: The Sinister Soul Surfer in Fault Zone, and The terror of the Twisted Tonguester in Scripting Change. I will post links when they are available.

I will be at the San Jose Short Film Festival this weekend. I hope to meet indie film makers. I’ll bring my Holly cards.

Blast from the past: here is my old WordPress photo with Dev-Em, and yes, I remember reading that comic as a kid.


Tom of T.H.U.M.B!

The animation is limited. The cartoon it was embedded within — The King Kong Show — was pretty dry stuff. But Tom of T.H.U.M.B. is an oldie but goodie, a take on the dim but earnest hero. Tom did tiny superhero early! I still remember the following swimming pool full of nitro episode, and that Swinging’ Jack was a cool name for a sidekick. Enjoy. (By the way, the villainous organization M.A.D. stands for Maladjusted, Antisocial, and Darn Mean.)

A flash fiction Holly story

A couple of items:

TWO STORIES COMING! My story about Holly being possessed (the theme: transform) will go into Fault Zone, an anthology that the Peninsula branch of the California Writers Club (CWC) prints once a year. Their standards are high, at least for me. Also, I sent a story to Scripting Change (my third), Holly’s second encounter with the Karate Queen (the theme: recovering from domestic violence). So I’ll be posting links when they are available. I am slowly becoming an author. (Still have to put a couple stories on Kindle that are ready to go.)

FLASH FICTION! A week ago, at the Fremont CWC, we had a flash fiction exercise with the first line:

As I came out of the coffee shop, there he was again. The stocky grey-haired man. Was he following me?

And below is what I wrote. (I edited and added a little after the exercise.)

Did he have a death wish, like those pervy paparazzi whose telephoto lenses keep zooming in on my butt whenever the slightest breeze brushes my red cape aside? There were still those who tried zooming in on my super-bosom. Usually one growl from me and they retreated, fearful of a telephoto suppository.

No. He did not look the type. He wore a plain grey suit. White shirt. Grey tie. Grey eyes. He was older, but healthy-looking. He walked like a retired linebacker, firmly but gently stomping toward me.

Was he a supervillain? If so, he was certainly not stealthy. And against me, the mightiest of the superheroes, or should I say superheroine, he’d need a lot of muscle. His hands were thick, callused, nails cracked. Many decades of manual labor in those hands. Reminded me of growing up, and meeting the farmers who never ever seemed to stop working. I was still getting used to being a superheroine, getting the call to come to the rescue butting into my life. Remembering the farmers helped me put things into perspective, helped me see what real labor was. Sort of. I STILL hated having to leave half an iced mocha and an early draft of my next graphic novel to go punch out those annoying members of the super man-up club, GOD I hate those guys, most rudely stupidly macho morons ever!

But this guy. He stared at me. But he did not ogle me. And he came closer, closer. And I set my e-bracelet to call Cal the Intellectual just in case. And he stopped in front of me.

“Are you Miss Holly Hansson?” He rolled his Rs with a thick accent from some ancient slavic country. And really, I was in my blue supersuit and red cape. My cape and my long blonde hair were blowing in the wind. He must not watch the news very often.

“Yes,” I said.

He reached into his jacket. I remembered Michael Corleone protecting his (God)father with the same exact motion. I tensed, but remembered I was bulletproof.

He pulled out a graphic novel. “My granddaughter in the old country. She vants your autograph.”

“Certainly, I’d love to.” Ah, another fangirl. I’d have to give him my card so she could contact Kittygirl and maybe join my fanclub. Kittygirl loved to meet new fans. Even if she could only email them.

I opened the book, usually I signed the inside front cover. Then I noticed that I would not be the first person to scribble in this book. All the word balloons had writing near them. He must have translated the entire story into his native tongue. The penmanship was strong, legible, all capital letters. He’d even translated the sound effects words. A dog bark was BOFF instead of WOOF.

I took another look at his hands. They had a constant, slight tremor. Every joint was swollen. Arthritis. Advanced. I turned through the hundreds of pages of the graphic novel. Every last word, translated. Every. last. painful. word. I looked into his deep, grey eyes set in a weather wrinkled face.

He smiled, very apologetic. “Sorry I had to vrite in your book. My granddaughter does not know English.”

I gently held his hand. “You should be the one wearing the cape here.”

He chuckled. “Me? In da clingy supersuit? Dat vould look silly!”

Superheroine defined by superhero, and my sexist spell checker

I have attended a couple of comic/sci-fi con panels about superheroines. The ladies on the panels point out how so many superheroines are defined in their relationship to superheroes.

  • Ant-Man and the Wasp. They both shrink. She stings, he grows. Her powers come from his technology.
  • Superman and Supergirl. She used to be his secret weapon. Her powers come from his planet’s DNA.
  • Batman and Batgirl. Same bat-costume, same bat-utility belt, lots less bat-grittiness.
  • Hulk and She-Hulk. Her powers came from his blood. Except she is also a lawyer, a superpower if there ever was one.

My characters Super Holly and Cal the Intellectual? He is largely defined by her. (In fact, I seem to use Cal to show Holly’s flaws and quirks.) She’s Superman with anger issues, he is Batman with Mr. Spock’s mind. In my early drafts, Cal was always by Holly’s side, always guiding and teaching. It took my putting some Roger Ebert into Cal for him to become more independent. Cal really needed a day job. In my latest story, I loved putting movie references into his internal dialog.

P.S. My sexist spellchecker wants to turn “superheroine” into “super heroine.” But it leaves “superhero” alone.

P.P.S. I went to APE comic con in San Jose this weekend. Enjoyed it. Bought stuff. Met people I know and like again. Met some new people. Should give me more to blog about.

A couple of lady writers at Cons

the-forgotten-rl-kingAt Wizard Con in San Jose, I talked briefly with R.L. King, a local lady writer (check out her webpage). Click the book cover to buy her books! She likes Doctor Who,so I asked her if she would like to see The Doctor regenerate at a woman. I asked because I like the idea: time lords can change gender, and it would add an interesting spin on Doctor Who. R.L. King did not like the idea because she did NOT want The Doctor to be sexualized. The Doctor, in a low-cut blouse? Or a thong … wait, that would be a superheroine. She makes a good point.

At Convolution 2015, I went to a the Women of Marvel panel. Every panelist a woman except for one guy who thought Sue Storm should kick Reed Richards to the curb. It was a fun panel. Sumiko Paulson was there,sumiko-at-san-mateo-fairanother local writer whose books I really ought to start reading (I started one and liked how it started with gods and then got right back down to Earth). She did a short autograph session later, and I asked her why she writes what she writes (stuff that goes bump in the night). She mentioned that there has been trauma in her life, and this is a way to process it. Interesting. I lead kind of a dull life (not that I mind). So she writes the spookier stuff, while I write more superheroine comedy. Maybe this is a reason I see a lot of women writing horror. (Click on her to buy her books!)

P.S. I asked Sumiko if she’d consider writing some superheroine stuff. Not her preference. Oh well, did not hurt to ask.I think the answer to diversity is not for me to write female or black or gay characters (although I am doing or gonna do it anyhow). It is for there to be more female/black/gay writers! I could not stop writing Holly, though. She’d punch her way out of my head if I stopped.

P.P.S. I sent a final draft of a story to Fault Zone, and I will soon send another to Scripting change [edit: I sent it the next day].Then, back to the novel, and also post a couple stories on Kindle. Under (voice change to Darth Vader asking Luke to take Vader’s mask off) MY OWN NAME!

P.P.P.S. A week and a half since my last post. Too long.