Saturday, October 4, 2014

Two shiny new books - one for each of my names!

My new book - and only one - with Hutchinson on it - has hit the bookstores. Cry of the Nightbird: Writers Against Domestic Violence is now available. This is a fundraising effort for the local YWCA, and as such, the Y will receive more needed funds if you purchase the book directly from the YWCA Sonoma County website. Click on online store once you're there to find the book. I am co-editor and also have two mini-memoirs in its pages.

I would also like to give a shout out to my co-editors, poet, Michelle Wing, who founded the reading series the book was born from, and Kate Farrell, who is no stranger to editing and publishing meaningful anthologies. Which brings me to our fabulous publisher, Carol Hightshoe of Wolfsinger Publications.

My friend, Sonja Bauer, did the cover art.

On Thursday, I'll be celebrating its launch at the Hurt to Hope Gala and book launch in Santa Rosa, where I will read one of my pieces, "My Body Remembered."

On Wednesday, Oct. 22, I'll be reading "The Curse of Having Been a Man," by candlelight in a Santa Rosa mausoleum again. No, I didn't have an operation. It's a fantasy piece about an elephant. ;) Those readings are so fun! In case you're local, here's the details from the parks page.

Also, the anthology with my story, "The Visitor," is now available at your favorite online bookstore. It's a story about first contact. Or is it? Is Charles Colby just going crazy from solitude? Was it something he ate?

The best part? I share a TOC with a ton of the great voices in science fiction, such as Isaac Asimov, Philip K Dick and Ray Bradbury. Here's the Amazon link for the electronic version.

Also, I've updated my Ann Wilkes page on Amazon and created an Ann Hutchinson page. I tell you, maintaining an online presence is work!

Ann Wilkes on Amazon

Ann Hutchinson on Amazon

One of these days I'm going to create an Ann Hutchinson page at I looked into getting and it was way out of my budget.

The reason I can't afford the URL for Ann Hutchinson is this famous woman, Anne Hutchinson, who defied the puritans and dared to practice and even - gasp - preach her own grace-based religion. She was excommunicated and banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1638. You can read more about her at

I also need to change the banner for this blog. A fan, Gregory Gunther, did the one you see now out of the goodness of his heart, without even being asked. My kind of fan! Not sure I can pull off a new one myself, but I won't be tackling it today.

My one steady journalism gig just went a little sideways this week. Now I'm writing for the paper without a contract. I'm still not sure whether this is good or bad. I don't have to write as many articles, but I may experience a cut in my monthly check.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Other ODDysseys

Science fiction has taken a back burner for me for the last two years. I haven't written any new sf or fantasy for about a year. I did, however, sell a reprint. My story, "The Visitor," is in the new Fantastic Stories Presents: Science Fiction Super Pack #1, edited by Warren Lapine, which should be released any day now. I'm sharing a TOC with Philip Jose Farmer, Robert A Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, Andre Norton, Poul Anderson, Frederik Pohl and Cynthia Ward. Way cool!

I may not have been writing science fiction lately, but I am, indeed, writing  -- and editing. I'm a freelance correspondent (read mostly hyperlocal news blogger) for the local paper and I'm doing writing and editing for hire at

And I just handed off this lovely thing to the publisher (WolfSinger Publications) on Fri., July 4.

I had a voice part in Emerian Rich's podnovel, Artistic License, which has just launched. You can hear the intro and first two chapters on iTunes now. That was fun. I also did an interview and a reading over at Horror Addicts. It was the June 14th episode.

My husband and I are now teaching private dance lessons - we're doing a dance demo at an event where our favorite band is playing on Saturday.

In March, I launched a new website, which I'm hoping will rake in some bucks, in addition to serving the musicians, dancers and live music-lovers in my county: I now have a web and graphic designer on board and hubby helping with data entry.

Given all the other projects that I have going, helping everyone to promote their indie film or passing along sci-fi news here, didn't seem the best use of my time. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this blog. Especially after seeing how many hits I'm still getting when I haven't posted since March.

And the anthology, Cry of the Nightbird, is the first thing I have published in my new, married name. Where to promote that? I looked up the domain, It's available, but for $595. I'm guessing that's because of the semi-famous historical figure by that name. And what if I start doing events? Or some other new venture? Then won't work either. Promotion is exhausting, isn't it?

I don't want to lose my followers here, but I'm not sure when I'm going to write any new sf/fantasy again and without anything of my own to hawk, it's hard to justify the time this blog takes. I think I'm going to look into ways to archive it and link it to a new blog that's more of a hub for all things Ann Hutchinson (and Wilkes). That sounds conceited, doesn't it? I'm just trying to work smarter and manage my time better. If anyone has any ideas, or wants to take over this blog before its ranking plummets, let me know quick. It may be getting completely overhauled soon.

Friday, March 21, 2014

8 bits of sf/f news to start your weekend off geeky

There is so much news this week in the world of science fiction, I had to take time out from my various other projects and do a blog post.

1) Reported on SFWA on St. Paddy's Day, March 17:  SFWA and SFF Net sever ties

2) For folks in Australia, a new Web TV show is in development called Tomekeeper Preludes. Visit their Facebook Page to learn more. Here's a visual.

3) Stephen King's The Shining - a play. This is a bit of a tease since it's only in Omaha and already sold out, but maybe it will give other folks some good ideas to do something similar. And if you have friends in Omaha, they're still collecting donations for the theatre through the 22nd of March.

Stephen King's The Shining Play from David M. Weiss on Vimeo.

4) This isn't sf or fantasy, but it doesn't get a separate post and it benefits kids. And it's my blog, damn it. Radio Silence, the magazine of literature and rock and roll, is launching a digital, monthly magazine. It's available as a free app for iPhones and iPads, and desktops from web browsers. Editor-in-chief, Dan Stone, says that most of the pieces will include media features like podcasts, films and songs. The March issue has a memoir by Lucinda Williams.

5) Orbit is an indie film in development based on Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart." The press release is below and you can also visit the crowd-funding page to help it along.
Masterwork into Deep Space

Crowdfunding campaign launches to reimagine Poe’s 1843
“The Tell-Tale Heart” against science fiction backdrop

Los Angeles, CA - Filmmakers Don Thiel III and Nicholas Camp announce the launch of the Indiegogo campaign that will support ORBIT - a science fiction reimagining of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Inspired by sci-fi classics from the 1960s and 1970s, ORBIT depicts one man’s madness set against the isolated backdrop of deep space. Co-directing and producing the film, Thiel will serve as Director of Photography while Camp will lead editing efforts. Special attention will be paid to practical effects and elaborate set design. Despite its futuristic environment, the “tense, creepy, visually stunning sci-fi thriller” will draw directly from Poe’s original piece.

“When writing the script, I realized that I didn't need to alter Poe’s story for a single moment to justify the space setting,” Camp says. “The space station will even amplify the narrator’s motivation for madness since it’s isolated in the depths of space, orbiting around a mysterious planet.”

This is Thiel’s second time envisioning Poe’s work in an anachronistic setting. His 2011 short, The Raven, set in 1950s Hollywood, has garnered film festival acclaim, including selection by Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo Del Toro to receive Best Short Film at the 2011 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival.

“I think the great thing about [Edgar Allan] Poe’s work is that it’s timeless,” Thiel says. “He may have been writing in the 1800s, but the themes and characters and the world he created are really applicable in any time period.”

The crowdfunding campaign, which launched on February 19th on Indiegogo, aims to raise $20,000 to directly support production costs. Reward incentives range from digital downloads and behind-the-scenes access (Black Cat level) to a $5,000 package that includes a walk-on role in the film, premiere tickets and memorabilia, including a framed storyboard (That Hideous Heart level).

Production of the film will take place in Los Angeles and is scheduled to begin this spring.
6) Wired posted a video that shows some behind-the-scenes of the special effects of the latest reboot of RoboCop.

7) Speculative fiction author, Lucius Shepard passed this week. Here's an obit at SFWA.

8) In Canada, March is National Read an E-book Month. What are you reading?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Dune movie that wasn't . . . but launched careers


Jodorowsky's Dune
Director: Frank Pavich
Producers:  Frank Pavich, Stephen Scarlata
Sony Pictures Classics

Reviewed by Clare Deming

Most fans of science fiction are familiar with Frank Herbert's Dune, in at least one of its forms. First serialized in Analog magazine from 1963 to 1965, the novel won both the Hugo and Nebula awards in 1966 and has garnered a reputation as one of the greatest sci-fi novels of all time. Several sequels in the Dune universe followed, both by Frank Herbert and his son, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson.
Photo by David Cavallo, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

The original film adaptation by David Lynch was released in 1984, to mixed reviews. More recently, the Sci Fi Channel aired two miniseries encompassing both Dune and some of the sequel material. There are currently attempts to produce an updated cinematic feature under way.

What I was not aware of as a fan of Dune, was that in the mid-1970's, Chilean-born director Alejandro Jodorowsky had attempted to create his own ambitious adaptation of the book. The project ultimately failed for financial reasons, but Frank Pavich's documentary, Jodorowsky's Dune, follows the story behind the failed undertaking and the legacy that it left behind that arguably influenced later films such as Star Wars, Alien, and Bladerunner.

Jodorowsky spent his early years studying surrealism in France, and his films became known for their visual style and spiritual themes. He has compared his films to the psychedelic experience of using LSD.

Alejandro Jodorowsky, Sardaukar and Jean
Moebius Giraud, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
Pavich's documentary is mainly a series of interviews with those who worked on the production of the picture, including Jodorowsky, Michel Seydoux, and H.R. Giger. At the heart of the film concept, the script and a book of complete storyboards provide a tantalizing glimpse of what could have been. Through the film, a few animations based on the storyboards help to share Jodorowsky's vision.

Jodorowsky himself is the subject of many of the interviews, and was spirited in describing his work on Dune. His enthusiasm, even decades later, is remarkable, and at times, his fervent outbursts were tinged with madness:

"In that time, I say, if I need to cut my arms in order to make that picture, I will cut my arms. I was even ready to die doing that." -- Alejandro Jodorowsky

He relates several tales about how he recruited the talent for the music and cast, which would have included his own son, Brontis, David Carradine, Orson Welles, Salvador Dali, Mick Jagger, and Pink Floyd.

I was astounded by the spectacular artwork displayed in the film, particularly the full color depiction of a starship blasted open by pirates. While Jodorowsky admits that he planned to take liberties with the source material, if his vision of Dune had been completed, it certainly would have been a spectacle unlike anything at that time.

This documentary likely has little appeal to the average viewer, but for those who have a special interest in the history of science fiction film, or in the source material itself, it was an interesting movie. I was particularly intrigued by the project's influence on later films, particularly the Alien franchise, in which a structure nearly identical to the Harkonnen palace concept art appears in Prometheus.

Jodorowsky's Dune was an Official Selection at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and is scheduled to open in New York and Los Angeles on March 7, 2014.

Friday, January 31, 2014

SIMON451 student contest and paying the bills as a novelist

First my news. I'm the new Santa Rosa TOWNS correspondent for the Press Democrat. I started this PT, contract gig on Monday.  Most published authors still need a day job. Many of us are able to freelance or do some other related job during the week, but unless we're turning out NYTs best sellers constantly, we still need to work. I continue to look for FT employment, but the local job market is flat. Like so many other people who are not finding work, I'm having to make work.

I'm writing resumes and cover letters for a fee, got on board with WriterAccess and have been producing an anthology as a fundraiser for the local YWCA. In addition, I'm putting together a website that will list where all the live music is in the county and teaching beginning dance with my hubby in the hopes that it will support our $70/wk habit (dancing to live music).  I'm also trying to get a grant to create a new book festival here to replace the abandoned Sonoma County Book Festival.

The big question, really, is where do I fit my novel writing in? I'm so busy trying to make a buck and churning out the creative juices toward that end, that the novel is suffering. I have no idea how people keep full-time jobs and write novels. But, then again, they probably don't go out dancing three or four times a week, workout three times a week, and walk or bike ride three times a week. I guess it's all a matter of scheduling and discipline. Toward that end I devised a master schedule and a master time sheet to track all of my various projects. Let's see if I can actually follow it next week.

I'm determined to send the requested synopsis and first chapter for my novel tomorrow. Won't let myself do anything else first. And as I type this, I'm remembering my five-year-old grandson's basketball game at 9 am. See how that happens? Have you ever watched five-year-olds play basketball? It's adorable! Oh, well, after that I'll hunker down and not let myself go dancing unless I get it done. That will light a fire under me for sure!


Very exciting news for college students from Simon & Schuster's new sci-fi imprint SIMON451:

New York, N.Y., January 31, 2014 – Simon451, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, is pleased to announce a writing contest for students. Submissions must fall in one of the following categories: science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian or dystopian fiction, apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic fiction, or alternate history in literature. We are looking for full-length novels only; novellas and short stories will not be considered.

The contest is open to legal residents of the United States who are at least eighteen years of age and are currently enrolled in college at the undergraduate or graduate level, and who possess a student ID card valid as of February 2014 . The submission period runs from February 1, 2014 – March 15, 2014, during which entrants are asked to provide a 250-word synopsis and the first fifty pages of their novel via the online entry form in accordance with the full contest guidelines.

Complete contest rules and guidelines can be found here. Ten finalists will be chosen and contacted by April 15, 2014, at which time they will be asked to submit their complete novels for consideration. The winner will receive a publishing contract with Simon451 and a trip to ComicCon in New York City to participate in the public launch of the imprint.