Kittygirl and I are quarter-finalists!

My unpublished short story, Kittygirl Vs. the Fiendish Brain Freezer, made the quarter-finals in ScreenCraft’s Cinematic Short Story 2017 Contest. They wanted a short story, not a script, with special cinematic potential. I guess Kittygirl has that. Yay!

Out of 1400 contestants, I am in the top 350 or so. I submitted my story in December. In February, they will pick the five finalists. The top prize is about $1000 and introductions to agents, publishers, and genies who can grant three wishes.

Will I be one of the finalists? 5 out of 350? I wish. But I got a prize already: by paying a little extra upon submission, I got professional feedback. I love that. Makes me feel like an author.

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CD or not CD? This is the question.

My question: Do most people have CD/DVD drives with their computers nowadays? Or are they getting to be obsolete?

I am considering getting another printer, or loading up on cartridges for my current printer. My current printer is an HP Photosmart C5550 all-in-one that does something few printers do nowadays: print on a CD. (Which I have never tried. But I digress.) For every copy of my little paperback book that I sell at little conventions, I burn a data CD with ebook files, artwork I have had done at conventions, and my audio readings of my stories (mp3 format). I want to be an author who gives you more stuff with the sale.

Please let me know if it is worth burning CDs or if I should find a better way to hand out my ebook/art/mp3s because I will soon have Costco reward $$$ to use up. Thanks.

P.S. Audio CDs are still a thing at open mics. But an audio CD only holds 45 minutes of music. Skimpy for audio stories. I burned a couple for my barber so he could listen to my audio stories over the holidays while driving to Santa Cruz. He did that without crashing his car. He liked the stories, even though I do not think I imitate his voice very well (he helps Super Holly with her mangled hair in Super Bad Hair Day).

Belated announcement: My Stories in Carry The Light 2017

I should have posted this six months ago. Oh well.

In the 2017 San Mateo County Fair Literary Contest, I won first prize for my audio reading of “The Intellecta Rhapsody.” Holly gets into a big argument with her Batman-esque boyfriend’s car during her driving lesson. The background music is The Hungarian Rhapsody, a tune to which Bugs Bunny, Tom & Jerry, and Woody Woodpecker have all danced.

I also won third prize for my short story, “The Lutefisk Door.” My Trumpy villain Billington Stumpfinger builds a nasty wall to trap Super Holly Hansson: the old trap-Batman-and-Superman-in-a-steel-and-kryptonite-vault trick. Can Holly’s boyfriend, Cal “The Intellectual” Critbert, save her before she succumbs to the deadly rays of the green lutefisk?

You can buy the print version of “The Intellecta Rhapsody” and “The Lutefisk Wall” in the book Carry The Light 2017 at Amazon. It has plenty of great stories, essays, and poetry from local writers. But it does not have the audio version of “The Intellect Rhapsody.” You can hear a previous version on a podcast I was on, details here.

 

Quick writing idea: phonetic

I often use phonetic dialog. From an upcoming novel chapter after Holly is brainwashed into thinking she is the evil cowgirl Laura Shrub:

Not them two dudes again. On the sidewalk, two teen guys gave Laura a look sadder than starving hound dogs. Laura crossed her arms and jutted her chin at them. “Whut’re yew lookin’ at?”

I was writing all the text in chapters where Laura is the point-of-view character to use her phonetic misspellings. But in the above paragraph, I kept that only to her spoken and internal dialog. Seems to work. I’ll try it more. (But I still might keep the style of the non-dialog to be Western.)

Fault Zone Uplift: My latest published Super Holly story

My short story, What Goes Up, is published in Fault Zone, a publication of the SF Peninsula branch of the California Writers Club. Super Holly Hansson saves the day several times in one day, but finds something she cannot save. I give many thanks to Laurel Anne Hill, who worked super-hard to put together this anthology, and who edited my writing into a story worthy of Fault Zone. Writers, editors are your friends.

Here is the start of “What Goes Up.”

The six-foot-tall, apricot-shaped computer on the auditorium stage glowed brighter. Was the thing about to go KA-BOOM, like old sci-fi mechanical brains computing love to the last digit? Super Holly Hansson gritted her teeth harder, tapped the console’s keyboard, and motioned toward Chris Jobz, the Apricot Computer CEO.

“Would you please hand me your tablet,” Holly said, “and get your butt behind the blast shields with your employees?” Too bad she couldn’t pitch that big yellow- orangish monster into the ocean. Too dangerous, according to Chris. “You’re not bomb- proof. I am.” So far… She swallowed hard.

Chris glanced in the direction of his staff, yet made no move to give Holly his tablet, as if he thought his lint-free black turtleneck was a supersuit. Arrogant but brave. He acted as if she could still channel superpowers into others, like she’d done to those comic book geeks months ago. She couldn’t do that anymore. Not even for a fellow geek.

“Miss Hansson, you need both hands and my help.” Chris shoved his Apricot tablet closer to Holly’s face. “You’re not an engineer.”

“I was a technical writer,” Holly said, “and this geek girl can read code.” But could she get through this in one piece? All those kids in the hospital would be so sad if she didn’t show up today. She typed faster, restraining her super-strength. Last year she’d

pulverized her favorite wireless keyboard. The shining apricot’s timer taunted her: 01:29, 01:28, 01:27…

“I know women can code. Forty percent of Apricot engineers are female,” Chris said. His eyes shot virtual daggers toward the smiling teen boy his employees restrained. “But if you don’t finish writing this Swoop code before that timer reaches zero, this Apricot will destroy the Internet.”

“Don’t you think I know that?” Holly hissed as her fingertips tingled. “I suppose it was that kid’s bright idea to build a doomsday Apricot with a super-scalding keyboard.”

“Yes. Me. Crestley Smusher, to you.” The teen’s voice was nerdy, gleeful, and dripping with condescension. “It was a science project to put my highly intelligent, brightly smiling face upon every display on the planet. Upon the exact second of my eighteenth birthday, less than a minute from now. Except my superior code merged with inferior code from lesser engineers to form a nasty virus—”

“Shut up, Crestley,” Holly and Chris shouted. Holly tapped out the last line of code and turned. Behind thick, clear, plastic bomb shields, several angry Apricot geeks held Crestley’s arms. A six-foot-six and rather wide engineer got a stranglehold on the techie, whose smug smirk vanished. Speaking of vanishing, how much time had elapsed?

…00:03, 00:02, 00:01… The timer stopped. Just like on Stellar Trek, where the countdown always stopped at one. Whew! She’d done it.

Chris examined the Apricot’s display. “The Internet is saved.” He shook Holly’s hand. “Thank you.”

Such firm fingers he had, like a writer. “You’re welcome.”

“Auto destruct in fifteen seconds,” the monster Apricot voiced in a monotone. “Fourteen. Thirteen.”

“What the hell?” Chris sputtered. He and Holly whirled to face Crestley. Crestley smirked again. “All doomsday devices need a failsafe.”
“Nine. Eight.”
A failsafe? Time for Holly’s own brand of mind over matter. Crap. This was

gonna hurt. She reached out. A telekinetic hand—big, blue and transparent—shot from her own flesh-and-blood hand and engulfed the Apricot monster.

“Seven. Six.”

She punched her free fist upward. A telekinetic fist cannonballed out of it and bashed a hole in the ceiling.

“Five. Four.”
She flew through the roof and into the bright blue sky.
“Three.”
The Apricot campus shrank below her.
“Two.”
She held the doomsday Apricot in her telekinetic hand.
“One.”
Damn all arrogant nerds. Well, not all.
“Zero.”
KA-BOOOOOOM!

TO BE CONTINUED!

Fremont CWC Book Sale on Dec 2, 1-4PM

The Fremont branch of the California Writers Club is having a book sale at the Fremont Main Library (2400 Stevenson Blvd, Fremont, CA), Saturday Dec 2, 1-4PM. We will have an open mic at 2, and I will perform one of my stories. Click the poster to download the book covers, and the time and location.

I will also sell and sign paperback copies of Super Bad Hair Day. I include a CD with the book, which contains artwork of my superheroine Super Holly Hansson from Batton Lash and other artists, AND ebook copies of the book, AND audio MP3 versions of the stories in the book, AND EVEN my two stories that won the audio division at the San Mateo County Fair this year and last year (“The Malevolent Mystery Meat” and “The Intellecta-Rhapsody”). All that for only 5 bucks! SUCH A DEAL!!!

Demeatballization!

Last week, author Anne Fadiman spoke at Google about her memoir, The Wine Lover’s Daughter. One chapter was titled, “Demeatbllization.” Within is the following paragraph:

But, oh, how my father must have loved it all. The anachronistic formality of the gathering. The setting, a literary association to which George Santayana and T.S. Eliot had belonged. The leatherbound volumes of the shelves. The portraits of dead WASPs on the walls. The definitive demeatballization of his children.

Fine writing, but I, and thus my superheroine Super Holly Hansson, are more meatball. We are Swedish-American. I like Ikea chicken meatballs. I used to make meatballs, but all that raw ground meat and eggs really gets messy.

But “demeatballization” belongs Holly’s world. Say, a villain who zaps people with a meatball gun, encasing their heads with giant meatballs and making them into obedient meatball minions! But Holly’s love interest Cal “The Intellectual” Critbert would swoop to the rescue in his black-caped glory: “Hold still, Holly, my love! I shall restore you to your super beautiful self with my Intellecta-demeatballization-izer!”

I told Anne I really wanted to use that word. Anne signed my copy of her book, “To Dave, with the mandate: make ‘demeatballization’ a word on the lips of everyone at Google.” I will start with some comic book geeks and see how that goes.