Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Local writers visit during public office hours

Annisa Mansour visits to discuss and read her work.

Richard Angres brought his self-published book to share his insightful and witty perspective on aging.

It was a sunny and cool day. Perfect weather to greet guests in the Sand and Sea Room. Annisa Mansour and Richard Angres both brought their work in to share and to discuss various components leading towards publishing. They're both attending the 12/5 final program on marketing and promoting in the publishing industry, which they may find useful.  

Even though the series is dedicated to fiction, there is plenty of overlap regardless of genre in the topics we'll discuss on 12/5. 

I have public office hours from 11 am until 2 pm this Saturday in the Marion Davies Guest House, so if you aren't passed out from eating turkey hash and pie, stop on by.

Monday, November 20, 2017


Public Office Hours today in the Sand and Sea Room, upstairs, overlooking the swimming pool. I'll be there from 11 am until 2 pm.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Halfway there!

Have been reflecting on the time spent in the guest house, how much of a gift it has been for both the guest writers (also known as panelists), and for me.

In talking with Thea Monyee last evening, we recapped why this program exists and how it impacts the lives of each writer, as well as the guests who come to listen to the readings and participate in conversation. At the end of their respective evening, the writers leaves inspired, enthusiastic, and ready to go make more stories come to life. I've received notes from guests indicating they feel similarly and are going out to buy new books by authors they hadn't realized existed.

As writers, who work in "solitary confinement," we carry our own bags and create energy to get through another round of rejections, empty pages, slow days, and the frustration in finding time to write between day jobs, parenting, partnering, managing a household, and balancing a load that surely melts brain cells.

I get excited each time one of the panelists tells me she's reworked a story, carved out time to write for half an hour, or feels she's overcome paralyzing fear after reading new work to our guests. It is rewarding to hear each of them find success and to listen to them collaborate on story ideas, sharing information about residencies, grants, fellowships, and other opportunities.

It demonstrates programs bringing women of color, and other underrepresented writing voices, together are a good thing for the literary world. Our ability to gird each other up when questioning the merits of a story, if it is even worth spending another minute reworking, is a perfect example of how women work. Yes, we like to write in isolation, but we also need a community of our own. A safe and sacred place where we can speak on our own terms, in our voices, and when we're ready. For now, those places are rare. One notable place where women have created a space just for us is "Women Who Submit," so check them out on Facebook or on the web.

My hope is programs such as the ones we are implementing at the Annenberg Community Beach House continue and grow with an intensity and fervor unlike anything the writing world has seen--maybe since the 60s and 70s. They should be loud and strong in every community--not just our own. The audience is out there. They just don't know these vibrant, fierce, and precise voices exist.

On December 5th, the final program dedicated to marketing and promotion in the publishing industry will close out my residency. The intention is not only to learn about women of color writers and their work, but to understand how the publishing industry needs to evolve to include a myriad of voices within their own walls. It makes good business sense and will ensure a wide range of stories are in the marketplace, which means more readers (aka customers) will buy books.

Until then, the writers will continue to visit the guest house and write together, share a coffee, and some cookies (I always have snacks). I will enjoy their company and watching them grow in confidence and create working relationships with women who understand their journey.
Panelists gather before the program. L-R clockwise from top: Teresa Lo, Sakae Manning, Desiree Zamorano, Thea Monyee, and Shubha Venugopal (moderator)

Guests enjoy the sunset prior to program. L-R Roselma Samala, Cathy Choi, and Sally Lew

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Change to schedule: Office hours will be on Monday, 11/20/17, 11 am until 2 pm, Sand and Sea Room (follow the signs). These hours are in place of normal Saturday office hours and are for this weekend only.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Chinyere Nwodim chats with Teresa Lo, Dr. Shubha Venugopal, and Thea Monyee during Saturday's pre-event
luncheon meeting in the Marion Davies Guest House. (Not pictured Desiree Zamorano)

Tomorrow is the second public event! I cannot believe this residency is moving so fast, and I'm grateful for all the quick-witted, intelligent, and "woke" writers I'm working with to realize the three programs under the Women of Color Fiction Writers banner. The best part of Saturday was introducing last month's panelists to this month's panelists and having them all connect further over coffee after our meeting.

Chinyere and Shubha came to write for the afternoon, which all the panelists are invited to do for the duration of my residency. It is one small way to demonstrate my appreciation for their contributions to the public programs and for ensuring as many women have an opportunity to create, write, and to think in this gracious guest house. Bringing them together also affords a time for casual chatting, resulting in new story ideas. The generosity of information and shared desire for each of us to be successful brings me to an Oprah "aha" moment several times a day. 

I'd like to believe Marion Davies would be pleased and that if she were here, she'd put her feet up, join us for tea, a walk on the beach, and would laugh at some of our raunchiest humor.

The topic this month is identity. Seems simple enough in concept, but self-identity, which is our specific umbrella topic is way more involved than it sounds. We are mothers, wives, partners, have professional identities outside of writing, are volunteers, social activists, female, cis-gender, binary, lesbian, immigrants, children of immigrants, bilingual translators for family, physically able-bodied or have unseen challenges that draw dotted lines around our lives, and the list is almost never-ending. 

In addition to fiction writers, the women on this panel self-identify as a blogger, professors, a college counselor, a popular spoken word artist, and they may write in the following genres: screenwriting, erotica, young adult fiction/speculative fiction, mystery writer, essayists, and journalist. Some have MFAs; some do not. A couple are actors. I can tell you they like cheese, fruit, and veggies, because we noshed during our entire meeting. :) None are shy. All are talented and dedicated to their craft.

Thea will read from her current book being shopped by her big time NY agent--a young adult speculative fiction work taking place in Leimert Park. Ah, yes, oh, so yummy, and as is often the case, YA fiction is taking the lead on broaching new areas in fiction.

Desiree will read from The Amado Women--her critically acclaimed women-centered novel about family, while Teresa will read from her essay, The Flood.

Please join Desiree Zamorano, Thea Monyee, Teresa Lo, Dr. Shubha Venugopal (moderator), and me for a thought-provoking, informative, and entertaining evening.

6:00 pm Reception / 6:30 pm program commences in the Marion Davies Guest House parlor. RSVP via Event Brite.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Teresa Lo is sure to bring a crisp, clear-cut perspective to the panel. She is recognized as a feminist voice for the millennials. Her first book was consciously self-published, and Teresa will share her views on self-publishing, why it is relevant and critical for underrepresented voices to gain exposure. How is this related to identity? How does Teresa view identity in her work and when she first developed her writing resume? Come and find out next Tuesday, 11/14, 6 pm reception; 6:30 pm program commences in the Marion Davies Guest House parlor.

Teresa Lo Biography 2017

Teresa Lo is an American bestselling author and award-winning screenwriter. Her debut novel, Hell's Game, was one of the top 20 young adult horror novels on Amazon in 2013; and her series, The Red Lantern Scandals, was a bestselling Asian-American literary work. She has been interviewed by leading Asian-American publications such as Hyphen Magazine and Angry Asian Man, and in 2013, she was the judge for Hyphen Magazine's first ever erotica writing contest. Readers have commented that her books "read like screenplays" because they evoke strong emotions and visuals, and she has quickly established herself as a feminist voice for the millennial generation. In addition to writing books, she has been published in the Comma, Splice Literary Journal; Yahoo, Examiner, Buzzfeed, Popsugar, Lawcrossing, Hustler Magazine, and more.

Lo was born and raised in Coffeyville, Kansas, and her parents owned a Chinese restaurant which she began working at when she was twelve-years-old. After high school, she attended the University of Kansas, where she graduated from the honors program and earned a B.A. in History with a certificate in global awareness. She was named a KU Woman of Distinction for her achievements in the arts, and she was founder of the T.Lo Club and president of Phi Alpha Delta, the pre-law fraternity. During her senior year of college, she was a research intern at The Late Show with David Letterman.

After college, Lo moved to Los Angeles to attend the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she majored in screenwriting. She graduated with a Masters in Fine Arts, and she was a participant of the NAMIC Fall Writers Workshop. In 2010, she won the Grand Prize in the Script Pipeline Screenplay Contest, and she also placed two other scripts in the finals, a rare accomplishment. That same year, her drama script The Physicist also was a finalist for the prestigious 2010 Bluecat Screenplay Contest. Lo has one produced credit, "Angel's Bread," which won the Silver Lei Award for Excellence in Filmmaking at the Honolulu Film Festival 2010; and she was a former cast member on PBS' movie and television review show, Just Seen It.

Lo’s fiction has been optioned by production companies such as Winkler Films (Creed, Rocky), and she is currently working on a TV adaptation of The Red Lantern Scandals with Danny Zuker, executive producer of Modern Family.

Reception at 6:00 pm / Program commences at 6:30 pm in the Marion Davies Guest House parlor / 
RSVP via Eventbrite for this free public program

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Has been a great writing week for guests, as Helen Georgas, my co-resident from Dorland Mountain Artists Colony and an outstanding fiction writer, wrote at the Beach House. She's traveling a year on sabbatical from her position at Brooklyn College to finish her book. I was lucky enough to hear her do a reading for Dorland residents, and I can't wait until Helen's book is finished.

Today, two of the panelists from the 10/25, Emerging Women of Color Writers evening, Shubha Venugopal and Chinyere Nwodim, are here writing. Every woman who participates in the public programs is invited to come write in the guest house during my residency. I'm thrilled they've both taken me up on the offer and will go write with them once this blog posts. More pictures after the writing session--don't want to meddle with their flow. :)

Helen Georgas