Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Dead Fish Tacos Society

Down the Pacific Coast Highway, across the road from a gorgeous stretch of azure blue Pacific, sits the funky sea food eatery Neptune's Net.  On Monday afternoon, a group of us literary types gathered for lunch, book talk, and our monthly schmooze.

I always enjoy doing this lunch because most... let's just say, NONE of my friends are novelists.  Many of my friends are not into books, and while they support me, they have never read me.  In a way, this is a good thing.  It gives me a life away from books.  But if I didn't have Twitter, there would be very little book talk in my world.

This little club meeting started about two years ago, when my mentor and former USC teaching colleague, Shelly Lowenkopf, suggested we meet for a regular lunch.  Shelly resides in Santa Barbara, and me in the good ole hills of Beverly.  Shelly suggested something half way, so we would both have a similar drive.  Neptune's Net sits on the border of Malibu and the Ventura County line. Perfect.

Shelly's impact on me and my career began the week I moved to Southern Cal and walked into his class at USC, The Literary Market Place.  That class was an eye-opener, teaching us everything about the world and business of books.  There was no writing in that first class, although I would later take a novel writing class with Shelly where I began writing my first published novel, the cult 80s horror hit, Child's Play.  Shelly hounded me to complete that novel.  Obviously I'm glad I did.  Who knows where I'd be today if I hadn't finished it.

Our little group has expanded to include my book agent, Toni Lopopolo, when she gave up the East Coast last summer, and moved west to Santa Barbara.  That's me and Toni in the photo above.  This week we added two new members, my White Whisker Books publisher, author and friend, Christopher Meeks, and publishing art director, Deborah Daly of Daly Design.  Deb and Toni met when they both worked at St, Martin's Press in New York, the big league of book publishing.

Chris was putting the final touches on Shelly's The Fiction Writer's Handbook (Deb designed the cover) and brought along a pre-ARC for us to see. 

I was like a kid in a candy store with all the book talk swirling around me.  By the way, if you're a fiction writer, this is a must have book.  It is not an instructional manual.  Instead, it is chock full of juicy tid bits every writer needs to know.  A reminder to us all not to lose our craft as we go through our daily grind of turning out pages.   If you'd like to win an ARC, there's a giveaway going on right now on GOODREADS.  The book is quite inspirational for all writers, including early writers. That's Deb and Shelly below.

Chris also brought along his cousin Liz, a fifth grade teacher from Aurora Colorado, who needed to get away from the cloud of gloom that has settled over that city after the shootings, so she could be in a positive frame of mind when school began.  Liz had no interest in lit-talk.  Her main interest was marveling at the ocean, and that big ole lobster in front of her.

Days like Monday make me feel like a real writer.  It was so inspiring, when I got home, I took a nap and dreamt about finishing my new manuscript  ;-) Ya gotta love the literary lifestyle.


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