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It was a warm night, the first of August when Blue drove me across Didion's freeways to an airy, mahogony-paneled and glass-walled California Eichler house in Orange for the Black Hill Press/Center 1888 Summer Writing Project  interview. 1888 is "a regional catalyst for the preservation, presentation, and promotion of cultural heritage and literary arts."   Kevin Staniec,the Executive Director of 1888, set the interview up and Jon-Barrett Ingels conducted it in the living room overlooking the pool.  The mood was collaborative and inspiring.  I am very excited about small presses and the potential for publishing risky, relevant, edgy and mind-expanding literature.

Check out some architectural highlights below.

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Here I am with Adam Greenberg (whose upcoming book My Best Friend, Hildegard, from Dangerous  Angels Press is a subversive, sexy, surreal and wonderfully anachronistic story of medieval mystic Hildegard von Bingem and her gay best friend), and the lovely and talented Sarah Herrington and Ashley Inguanta before Sarah, Ashley and I were about to do a reading ( I read from Beyond The Pale Motel) at my favorite L.A. Bookstore. Here's a blurb I wrote for Book Soup:

Book Soup opened in 1975 when I was a kid obsessed with the magic of that shiny street called the Sunset Strip.  Located there, under the seductive billboards, and surrounded by record stores, health good restaurants and boutiques, the tiny book store appealed to me as a budding writer. Years later I was warmly asked to read at Book Soup every time one of my new novels came out.  I attended an author dinner with my publisher and the late Glen Goldman, Book Soup’s original owner, and was struck by his intense passion and dedication as one of L.A.’s preeminent and innovative booksellers.  When I want to set up an event that other stores might shy away from (a reading with my students, a reading from an anthology I edited and self-published, a reading with a stellar cast of Hollywood actors for my un-produced screenplay of Weetzie Bat, (see below) a mini writing workshop) I call  my favorite book store and they generously support my latest endeavor.  In fact, the store offers 300 community events a year through their author event series. They hire locally, support local businesses and schools and partner with local theaters and venues to bring great authors to town. There is something so simultaneously cozy and glamorous about this little oasis crammed with my favorite novels signed by my favorite authors and with the most beautiful, sexy fine art and design books on the market.  The staff know their stuff and can hand sell every book in the store.   They're smart, knowledgable and always up to something fascinating. And the most interesting clientele haunt the narrow spaces where books aren’t stacked; you never know what famous and infamous film or literary celebrities you might run into.  I love Book Soup and it deserves all the acclaim and support a bookstore can receive.

So many of my favorite things are at Book Soup.  Here are some pictures of my favs that I took during Indies First where authors help out at independent book stores:

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Anna Akana was a (charming, brilliant) student in my UCLA Extension Novel Class. I later found out she is also an actress, filmmaker and Youtube Star. She and Brad Gage interviewed me for their podcast Explain Things To Me.  Check it out for a few  writing tips. Anna is wearing a Dangerous Angels T-shirt

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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte starts out as a fairy tale. And I mean that in the best sense.  

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“A kind fairy” suggests that Jane advertise in the paper for the job that initially brings her to Thornfield as a governess.  Jane, on first seeing it describes it as “a fairy place.”  Later, as she is exploring the upper floor, she compares it to “Bluebeard’s castle” before she hears the mysterious laughter that will turn out to be Rochester’s wife. 

When Rochester first sees Jane Eyre he thinks “of fairy tales.”  He calls her “people… the men in green.” He appropriately describes her pictures of naiads and elves as “elfish” and directly addresses her as “you elf!” Rochester also calls Jane an “unearthly thing” when he is professing his love  for her.  He tells his ward Adele, that her governess Jane is a “fairy” and that he will take her to live on the moon.   She is his “sprite,” “changeling” and “witch.”There are parts of Jane Eyre that remind me of Cinderella (her servitude to Mrs. Reed and her children at the beginning) and Beauty and the Beast (her arrival at  Rochester’s  mysterious house, Thornfield, her time away from him, and her return, when she restores him to life).

But the fairy story that this book most reminds me of is Tam Lin, the tale of a young woman named Janet who falls in love with a man who is captured by the Faerie Queen. Janet rescues him from the queen by meeting him on a road where he is riding his steed and holding him to her as he changes into a variety of monsters until his humanity is finally restored.  The Queen then threatens to take out his eyes.

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This is Lilly

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We met at Antioch University Los Angeles. She was my student but she was really my instant kindred. Because she lives in Hawaii and I'm in L.A. we decided to stay in touch by sending each other a poem every day for a month. We liked it so much that we kept doing it.  We highly recommend this to you and your best friend.  Here's our blog.

Ultraviolet Tribe

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Early in the year Gala Darling invited me to Blogcademy Los Angeles.  I've loved Gala from afar for years and I only loved her more in person. Shauna Haider and Kat Williams were just as brilliant, charming and gorgeous! Here I am with Gala!

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I went to Blogcademy with my beautiful, talented friend Jen Becherer of Moonbirdz

She's such a light!  Look at her kitty tights!

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Here's some pretty decorations at the space.

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And here's my still life exercise. Shauna Haider gave us some tips, some of which are in this blog post under "What is your look/style?" The Elementals is wearing a Crown and Glory headpiece, part of the Blogcademy giveaway package.

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Beyond the Pale Motel was included in this list: Eight Books Every Woman Should Give Her Best Friend by Mary Pauline Lowry.

"In Beyond the Pale Motel, Francesca Lia Block writes in the signature lush style that made her Dangerous Angels series so enchanting, but this new novel explores sexier, darker and more dangerous territory. A hair stylist named Catt tries to solve the mystery of a Hollywood serial killer targeting women. At the same time, Catt's flings with men she barely knows and her attempts to reach an unattainable beauty ideal become forms of self-harm. Like a loving -- and lyrical -- best friend Francesca Lia Block reminds us to treat ourselves with gentle loving care and embrace the beauty in being vibrant and alive. A gorgeous, fast-paced, flawless novel. Long time Block fans and new readers alike will be enthralled.If you want your bestie to be on the edge of her seat--and love herself more when she turns the last page -- then buy her this book."

It would also be awesome to be able to give it to her in purse form!  Here's one that Mary had made by Viva Las Vixens.

This book means a lot to me. It's an erotic thriller in the tradition of In the Cut and Looking for Mr. Goodbar.  Though it's very dark, my belief in the transcendent spiritual power of love is still at its core.

Nicolas Sage photographed Jasmine Jade with the Viva Las Vixens bag and a dress by Fete.

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How many of you creatives out there have personal/professional
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Tumblr
Pinterest
Blog
Mail Chimp
Youtube
Google Plus
Website
GoodReads/Amazon
Other?

I have almost all of these accounts and I use some of them daily. But I'm no expert. And that's the point. You are probably much more tech savvy than I am. I was the last of my friends to get a computer, email and a cell phone! You don’t have to know what you are doing, or be a tech whiz to promote yourself on social media.   These days, whether you are Independently publishing  or working with a publisher you will need to do a lot of, if not all, the marketing work yourself! But you can do it soulfully. it can help you say something meaningful to the world.

When I asked an independent NY publicist, to help me promote a book, she told me “I'm expensive. You don’t need me. You’re doing what I would do." Which is being online daily. I asked her how writers achieve larger success and she said that the scales tip in mysterious ways. You just have to keep connecting one person at a time. This felt manageable and truer to my nature than thinking I had to somehow do some big, mysterious extroverted thing in order to reach my readers. Take a personal approach. Find your people one by one and communicate one-on-one as much as possible. Build a community. Try to  learn and understand about others. Send a message to world.

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I am very excited to present the cover for the upcoming anthology Rough Magick that I have co-edited with the fierce and brilliant Jessa Marie Mendez.  Jessa and I have stories in the anthology and there are haunting, sexy submissions by the likes of Laura Lee Bahr, Mary Pauline Lowry and Ashley Inguanta. This cover was desgined by the model in the picture, Logan Brendt, and photographed by Danishka Esterhazy. Danishka had come by to shoot a promo for The Singing Bones and snapped this shot casually in my trampoline! We hope you find the stories as filled with otherworldly beauty as Logan is here. (Logan has a piece in the anthology, too).  Rough Magick is a kind of companion piece to 2011's Love Magick but it is more carefully curated (we wanted Love Magick to be very inclusive) and there are less stories. While Love Magick was about love in its many incarnations, Rough Magick is exclusively about the darker aspects of love and sex.  Look for a release date as an ebook around Halloween.

Love,

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Recently I had the pleasure of collaborating with creative geniuses Emmakisstina,  Lara Bennett and Kat Ryan on a tote bag with the image "What's in Weetzie's bag." It took us awhile to get the items, colors and set up just right. Iused Pinterest for help.

They are available for pre-order now at  www.francescaliablock.com/store.

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