“In this lyrical and haunting meditation on the craft of writing, Block… cracks open her psyche and lays it bare in the hopes of inspiring other storytellers-to-be. Wise and inspiring, this is a must-read for artists of all stripes.”~Booklist **starred** review

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For devotees of Bird by Bird and The Artist's Way, a memoir-driven guide to healing through the craft of writing 

A cinematic exploration of the writing life by Francesca Lia Block, the bestselling author of the Weetzie Bat series of magical-realism novels, The Thorn Necklace: Healing Through Writing and the Creative Process offers visceral insights and healing exercises for the writer who creates as a way to process pain and adversity. Gently guiding the reader down the write-to-heal path, Block offers guideposts of awareness for writers, such as how to find a muse, channeling agony into art, putting chaos into order, ignoring the inner critic, personal perseverance, and thriving as an artist in a troubled world. The author also addresses the intrinsic value of channeling our experiences into the written word, and provides compassionate support to the reader for his or her own write-to-heal process.

You can order it here.

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Photo credit: Teresa Flowers

I met my friend Jade Chang when she interviewed me for Goodreads. And like everyone who meets her, I was instantly charmed and wanted to be her best friend. A short time later she's taking the literary world by storm with her first novel. Here's what she had to say about it:

Flb: Tell us about The Wangs vs.  the World. What were some of your influences?
Jade Chang: Charles Wang is a Chinese immigrant who came to America and built a cosmetics fortune only to lose it all in the summer of 2008. The Wangs vs the World is about what happens to him and his family after that! There's a roadtrip across America and we delve into many different worlds, including fashion, finance, art, and standup comedy. The book really grew from my desire to write a different kind of immigrant story, that wasn't about immigrants or people of color struggling to fit in or who see themselves as outsiders. Instead, the Wangs see themselves as being absolutely central to both their own story and the story of America!

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Last Saturday, Laura Lee Bahr and I held the "Rock Your Reading" workshop at the Fairy Cottage. Everyone read their work and flb gave notes.

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Then Laura coached on how to present to an audience.

Here are some tips:

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Hi loves,

Come join my lovely co-author Carmen Staton and me at Vroman's bookstore this Friday 22nd at 7 pm. We will be discussing and signing the Weetzie Bat cookbook! Fairies in the Kitchen features Dangerous Angels recipes such as My Secret Angent Lover Man's Guacmole and Duck's fig and berry salad. It will be an evening of recipe-sharing, chatting, food demos and more...

xo

flb

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Join the brilliant Sarah Herrington and me for an afternoon of yoga and writing. We will work to unite the mind and body. Through this conscious focus uncover and learn the narratives you hold within.

For more information on how to register: http://francescaliablock.com/contact

xo

flb

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A shout out to the lovely Linda Oatman High and the LAist. I had so much fun talking with you about my urban muse and writing for both adults and teens. The thought of my stories touching my readers is the true magic of writing...

Here is a snippet from the article:

"For me, love is the ultimate expression of magic and I am fortunate to be surrounded by it. I have also had my share of strange, inexplicable experiences that might be called magic by some, synchronicity by others," she says. "The key to seeing the magic is to stay open and aware."

xo

flb

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I had such a great time reading poetry, hearing the poems of other writers and listening to some music at the Coop in Blue Rooster Art Supplies last Friday.

A very warm thank you to the very lovely Chelsea Bayouth for setting this all up! Not to mention the other very special poets who I had the pleasure of reading alongside. A big shout-out to the enchanting Nikita Liza, Jeremy Radin, Edwin Bodney, Jacqueline Suskin & some more.

So wonderful to be surrounded by this creative energy. It was a truly luminous evening. 

 

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An excerpt from an LA Times article I wrote in the Summer of '92...

Weetzie Bat, the heroine of my first novel, was born full-grown, L.A.-love-goddess-style, but the sea she came out of was a cement road cut through a cool green canyon, an ocean of ruined palaces, overgrown gardens of amaryllis and oleander and legends about rock stars and magicians.

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Find summer solace in one of my writing workshops...http://www.francescaliablock.com/blog/entry/summer-in-the-city ...held not too far from this sunlit skyline on Sunset Strip ~ For more information, please contact me at: http://www.francescaliablock.com/contact

xo

flb

 

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To all my dangerous angels,
Near or far…this weetzie tote bag is wrapped and ready to be sent out! Want one for yourself? They are now available for purchase on my website: http://www.francescaliablock.com/store#!/Tote-bags-*NEW*/c/13863005/offset=0&sort=normal
xo
flb
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Hi loves,
If you're reading a story and need a bookmark or just want one for yourself, a couple of bookstores now have mine. Check out the Book Soup on Sunset strip & Mystic Journey on Abbott Kinney 

Coming to more stores in Los Angeles soon. Have a favorite bookstore? Send me the name to find some there too ✨ http://francescaliablock.com/contact xo

 

 

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Hi Friends:
Just finished the Antioch MFA residency and I'm looking forward to working with a lot of students, online and in person, privately and through Antioch, this summer! Could one of them be you? If not, you can still come to some fun events!

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By: Francesca Lia Block 

Region: Los Angeles

Categories: Secrets, Writers

There's secret magic you just have to know where to look. 

LA's Dangerous Angels propels you through a city of punk rock faeries, mythological creatures and the secret magic found in even the most familiar places. Travel along with author Francesca Lia Block as she introduces you to the best hidden magic in her city. Seen through her eyes, and the eyes of her most well- known and beloved characters, Los Angeles opens before you like a storybook. Canyons, beaches, gardens, museums, restaurants, shops and landmarks where Francesca and her characters have danced and just like LA, this guide has it all.

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Listening to Patti on this grey Los Angeles afternoon.

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Hi lovely ladies & gentlemen 

Summer is a wonderful time to relax and reload; filled with sea salt swims and bites of ripened berries & nectarines. If you're looking to mingle these moments of calm with some writing, come join me in Culver City on your Tuesday afternoons. I'm offering an in-person class starting July 5th (Tuesdays 11:30-2:30) for ten weeks. This is an opportunity for all to nourish those mental seeds of inspiration and spark them into existence. 

Bring your short stories, your memoirs, poetry, and plays! Students may submit up to 10 pages of work per week. We will read and critique in class. Space is limited, so contact us now! www.francescaliablock.com/contact

Tuesdays don't work? For more information: 

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When editing the stories for Rough Magick, what did you look for?

The most important thing to me was the potential of a story. If it had a strong hook, even if that hook was buried or needed some more finessing to make the story really come alive, the author had me. I wanted stories that felt alive and brought the reader into the story’s universe. It was especially important that each story could not only stand on its own but connect, in some way, to the other stories in the anthology. My goal was to keep the reader invested in these stories individually but also in the anthology as a whole, and I think that we really accomplished that.

What tips do you have for writers about how to create a powerful short story?

When I write a story, it’s usually because I have something on my mind that won’t go away. A feeling, or a particular image, a snippet of a dream. I’m a worrier, a ruminator, and I will replay that little bit of information in my head over and over again. Writing gives me the space to explore these feelings and ideas. I’d tell writers to begin there, with that passion. The power of that feeling will carry throughout your story, even if it’s not immediately clear in the first draft. Also, with short stories, there is a particular urgency that needs to be addressed. You have very little time to grab the reader and get them acclimated to the world you are creating, so it’s important to do that right away.

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Hi Loves

Happy Easter! Eat a flower!

My new classes start the first week of April and I want to help you finish your book! Although the two in person classes are full (with possibly one space available for the Sunday class) there is a lot of room in my online class starting April 4 for ten weeks. We will cover 12 Questions To Help Structure Your Novel (or short story/poetry cycle/memoir) and you'll be able to workshop fifty pages of your work and receive detailed notes from me and fellow classmates. The cost is normally $500 but I am offering a 20% discount making it $400 plus minor Paypal Fees. I have seen amazing improvement in my students who utilize this 12-Question Method with me! You can contact me at www.francescaliablock.com/contact for more information on how to pay.

My UCLA Extension Class, Writing The Young Adult Novel, starts 4/13 for ten weeks in the beautiful 1010 Westwood art building. We will also visit the 12 Questions in this class.

Remember to stop by Booth 1660 at AWP next weekend! If you are not signed up already, you can get a one day Saturday pass for $45 onsite on that day. (The info on that pass is on the bottom of the linked page).

Here are a few more reminders about AWP and more:

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We had a last minute change  of venue this weekend and held our Fairies party at the Fairy Cottage.

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The beautiful Augusta Gail with Fairies in The Kitchen.

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Carmen and I with our book. The cover models remind me of young versions of us.

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My Fairy sister Carmen Staton and I appeared at The Last Bookstore last Saturday for a demo from our Weetzie Bat Cookbook, Fairies In The Kitchen. Duck's Fig and Berry Salad shown above, more below!

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Eleanore Studer took this lovely shot of Amanda Yates Garcia (the Oracle of Los Angeles), Mary Pauline Lowry, Tracy DeBrincat, Daniel Weizmann, Laura Lee Bahr, Manuel Chavarria and me at Book Soup.

What a great store and what wonderful friends and writers. I feel so lucky.

You can order Rough Magick here! Stories that will make you laugh, cry, squirm, turn you on, or do it all. 

Love,

flb

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The amazing Gala Darling (here, in my Goat Guys T) has a New Book!

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We had a lovely evening reading at this spectacular bookstores! The Last one!

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Love In The Time Of Apocalypse

My top David Bowie songs

1. "Heroes" -- Heroes

This beloved song shows up on every top five song list I’ve ever made, not to mention every make out mix. Heroes is the second album in the Berlin Trilogy. Bowie and Iggy went to the most decadent city in Europe to get clean and sober. How like them! And, what’s more, they did it! At heart, even in his most apocalyptic moments, Bowie is a romantic. And nothing is more romantic than this tale of two lovers kissing at the Berlin wall, wanting to be each other, wanting to be there for the world. Nothing. The lyrics and the music and that black and white image of Bowie posing on the cover with his hands like birds…

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"There was once a time where I didn't have Francesca Lia Block's Weetzie Bat in my clutches at any given moment, but I don't remember it. I read it at age 12 and it has shaped me in fantastic ways I never could have predicted, including the way I style and put together shoots. Weetzie definitely had her hand in this particular project, so much that Augusta and I joked that the theme was "Weetzie Bat Wedding Vibes". But, you know, it's true. As much as this shoot was about my bestie and I getting together for a few hours and shooting otherworldly wedding looks, it was a celebration of what Weetzie has brought to the both of us."-- Aurora

"I was in my early 20’s the first time I read Weetzie Bat.  I felt like I could see my future in those pages – living in Hollywood where palm trees are planted like jewels and the sunset looks like spun sugar, moving through the world like Weetzie in all her punk rock, romantic glory.  Francesca’s words felt like home to me, and I’ve never felt so connected to a character as I do to Weetzie.  My BFF Aurora (who, fittingly enough, is the one who introduced me to Francesca’s work) and I spent a day drinking coffee, frolicking in a cactus garden, and taking these photographs.  When we looked at the finished images, it was so clear to us that these were Weetzie inspired – full of wild whimsy, rock and roll, and the magic of friendship."  –Augusta

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Bowie taught us so much about music, poetry, art, fashion, movement, sexuality, acceptance, empathy, persona. And now he has given us what is perhaps the most profound lesson of all: how to die with perfect grace.

  1. Work right up until the end, even if you feel physically and mentally exhausted.
  2. Get support from a trusted few but keep your private affairs private.
  3. Get a great photographer to take your picture smiling in the face of death.
  4. Leave your message to the world clearly stated.
  5. Embrace your mortality. Let it be the impetus to create.
  6. Surround yourself with your loved ones.
  7. Leave a legacy of work that comes from your heart and soul and expresses who you truly are.
  8. See death as an adventure.
  9. Love.

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Lyrics from "Black Star" by David Bowie
 
One of the hardest things about being an artist is putting your soul on the line to be scrutinized and criticized. When I began my career this felt a little less risky than it does today; with the wonder of the Internet, came a lot more vulnerability for the artist. My parents taught me to express myself without censorship or judgment and this philosophy carried me through for many years.  I published erotica when I'd been known for YA; a memoir about my first year as a mom when fiction was expected; poetry when my heart cried out for it and an adult psychological thriller that upset many of my readers but reflected my state of mind at the time. It's still effortless for me to encourage my students to be fearless but I find myself needing to take my own advice more and more. That is why Bowie's words, quoted on my Facebook page, meant so much:

"Never mind the stares. If I'm going to do something that could be provocative or artistically relevant, I have to be prepared to put myself in a place where I feel unsafe, not completely in control. I have no fear of failure whatsoever, because often out of that uncertainty something is salvaged, something that is worthwhile comes about. There is no progress without failure. And each failure is a lesson learned. Unnecessary failures are the ones where an artist tries to second guess an audience's taste, and little comes out of that situation except a kind of inward humiliation."-- David Bowie

Here's to moving forth with courage and integrity and supporting each other as we do so!

Love,

flb

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When art has affected you on an almost cellular level you may not even be aware of it.

I've been thinking about Bowie even more today. Yesterday I binged on his music and videos. This one particularly struck me; I couldn't stop watching it.

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David Bowie’s death hit me harder than I expected. Not just because his illness had been kept quiet and his birthday had just passed. With his trickster, chameleon nature, we all thought he would live forever, or at least as long as we did, outwitting death or at least cancer.

I am not the most qualified person to write about him, either professionally or personally. I admired his music, lyrics, performance, films and style. Two of my boyfriends were obsessed with and resembled him. At least two of his songs (“Heroes” and “Rebel, Rebel”) were on my top ten songs of all time list and so many others followed close behind ("Be My Wife" etc). I mentioned him in my books.

But the thing that struck me most about Bowie was his ability to transcend the confines of musical genre, artistic medium, gender, sexual orientation, race, age and even species (he was a Starman and Goblin King after all). I believe that this breaking down of boundaries is one of the most important and powerful aspects of being an artist.

In his video “Lazarus” released just days before his death, we see Bowie lying in bed blindfolded with screws over his eyes. He is singing about how he is in “Heaven” and free as “that bluebird.” The reassuring words contrast with the grim imagery. Next we see him upright, dancing like the Thin White Duke, his face and form simultaneously pristine, graceful and twisted with longing and regret as he tells us of loss and desire. Then he is sitting at a desk writing manically (with his left hand) overflowing the confines (that concept again) of the page, transforming trauma into art. Finally we see him stepping into the wardrobe, an object rife with symbolism. A frail hand closes the door. And he has left. He has left us. A wardrobe can be a pseudo-coffin, a place to hide, an oversized coffer for the elements of disguise but, as any imaginative child knows, it can also be a portal to other worlds.

David Bowie: Transcendent once again.

 P.S. After spending day listening to his music and watching his videos I realized: there would have been no Weetzie Bat withOUT David Bowie. The end.

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Fairy Magick Zine Workshop

with Francesca Lia Block and Amanda Yates Garcia, the Oracle of Los Angeles

When: February 6, 2015 – 1pm to 5pm

Where: Private Home In Central Los Angeles (will give details post RSVP) 

Cost: $116.50

Workshop Description:

The Fairy Magick Zine workshop is a 4-hour master class on writing, art-making and fairy magick conducted by Francesca Lia Block (writer) and Amanda Yates Garcia* (art witch). The class will culminate with the production of a “Fairies of Los Angeles” zine that will be available at various independent bookstores throughout the city.

Fairies are nature spirits who can help us to connect to our authentic voices as creative beings. When we were children it was easy to believe in fairies: those mischievous, boastful, beautiful creatures, conjuring orbs, reclining naked on the damp earth, slathering themselves in ambrosia and seducing any hapless prince who happened by. We were fairies then too, wild and unruly. Unimpressed with social status, free of anxiety, totally devoted to the pleasure of creating. The purpose of this workshop is to reconnect you with that spirit within yourself. Through the magic of art and writing, we will create a space for your fairies to exist again in the world.

In the first half of the workshop, Francesca Lia Block will lead participants in exploring the nature of fairytales and how we can use these tales as a device in our writing, as well as ways to explore deeper  themes and create magic in our lives. Participants will look at classical fairy tales and create their own versions, exploring character, plot, setting, style and theme.  

In the second half of the workshop, led by Amanda Yates Garcia, participants will create images to illustrate their fairy stories using a collage transfer technique augmented with graphite and paint. Both experienced artists and complete newbies alike will come away with images that they can be proud of. Students will have until March 6th to polish up their work and send it in.

 The final result of the workshop will be a Fairies of Los Angeles zine, containing the writing and artwork of the workshop participants. The zine will be available at various independent bookshops throughout Los Angeles.

Enter our fairy circle and prepare to be transformed!

*Amanda Yates Garcia is a writer, artist and professional witch based in Los Angeles. She leads workshops, reads tarot, conducts shamanic and other healing ceremonies professionally under her title as the Oracle of Los Angeles (www.oracleoflosangeles.com). Her events have been featured in Time Out and the LA Weekly and various other publications. As an art witch she has been appeared as “Real World Witch” at ESMOA and in the “Tapping the 3rd Realm” exhibition at the Laband and Ben Maltz galleries. She has served as an educator, professional development leader and/or teaching artist at LACMA, the Getty, MOCA, the Skirball Cultural Center, and the Hammer Museum, amongst many other cultural institutions. She is currently at work on a book of essays about magic; one piece from the book, "Spell to Mend a Broken Heart," was recently included in the Rough Magick anthology edited by Francesca Lia Block and Jessa Marie Mendez.

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I've been mostly self-employed for over twenty years. Last year I learned even more about building my own business and thought I'd share some tips.

1. Keep a regular work schedule. Even though I don't sit at my desk from  9-5, I always put in at least 40 hours of work at my computer a week, plus more on weekends.

2. Schedule in exercise and fun. Sometimes it's hard to find the balance between work and play when no one is holding you accountable. It's as important to make time for your physical and mental health as to put in the work hours.

3. Support and rely on your friends. Without a network of colleagues you'll need to develop other circles. Be sure to promote your friends' work and lean on them professionally and personally when you need them.

4. Use social media wisely. It's easy to get sucked in to the endless posts, especially when part of your job is  networking online. Try to limit this part of your work and keep your posts and comments focused on work related topics during work hours.

5. Develop relationships with other self-employed individuals and use their resources. I've been finding wonderful (and reasonably priced) graphic artists, editors, designers and tech people to help with my new media company.

6. Consider barter. It's a great way to expand and not break the bank.

7. Get a good accountant and write everything off! Filing taxes as a self-employed individual can be complicated. Make sure you are writing off everything that is relevant and getting help from a professional.

8. Learn to wear a lot of different hats. As much as it's important to rely on others, you will also have to learn as much as possible about all aspects of your field. Take extension courses, read books, go to conventions, ask questions!

9. If you have to get a part time job to supplement your income, go for it! I have.  But try not give up on your dream. It can be challenging to do so many things yourself.  But remember, you're not alone! And magical things can happen when you dig deep and find resources you didn't know you had.

 

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Many of my writer friends are going to AWP in Los Angeles this year! It is the place to be to network, learn and be inspired. Although it's not inexpensive to attend, I think it's worth it! Prices go up in Feburary so book now! And come visit me!

Dangerous Angel will be sharing a table with Jilly Dreadful of the Brainery. We'll be selling Rough Magick, (signing with Tracy DeBrincat, Mary Pauline Lowry, Ashley Inguanta, Manuel Chavarria and me at 3 pm on Saturday April 2), Fairies in The Kitchen: The Weetzie Bat Cookbook and "What's in Weetzie's Bag" Totes, plus giving you a little taste of the upcoming Weetzie Bat coloring book illustrated by Aurora Lady.  The Rough Magick signing will be preceded by a signing of Fairies in Electri-city at A Midsummer Night's Dream Press booth at 2.  I'll also be appearing on a panel, through UCLA Extension  about one of my favorite subjects--writing in L.A.--and moderated by the lovely and talented Marisa Matarazzo.  This is also on Saturday at noon!

Living Fictions: Writing in LA:  Los Angeles is a land of self-invention. It sizzles with the magic of hope and is the place where dreams and reality can converge across a landscape inscribed by complex cultural, economic, and geographic diversity. How do these elements color the craft and content of LA’s prose writers? Authors and teachers in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program discuss LA as a sensibility, a metaphor, and most of all, as a physical and psychic influence on the worlds they create.

More information to come! See you at AWP!

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Rose Quartz Media
“Magic is A Way of Life”

•    PROBLEM
Art heals pain and distracts us from daily stress. Where can soulful, compassionate, artistic-minded readers find beautiful books and e-books (Romance, Erotic Romance, Literary fiction, YA fiction, Lifestyle and Self-Help), as well as films and merchandise that appeal to and inspire them, and how can they build a community that supports and empowers them as readers and humans?

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Although there have been some compications and delays regarding the long awaited Weetzie Bat film project, I am still hopeful.  Meanwhile, I'm working on other projects. After all, I have a little Hollywood in my blood--my grandmother was one of the first female screenwriters in the industry and my father wrote a number of films, including Forbidden Planet.

In 2016 Danishka Esterhazy and Red Czarina productions will release a film adaptation of my story "Bones" from The Rose And The Beast! The whole experience of working with Danishka and her company has been a dream and I can't wait for you to see this short!

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I am also working on adapting Beyond The Pale Motel with Laura Lee Bahr. We hope to make it into an indie film within the next year or two.

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I think we are all looking forward to a fresh new year full of peace, health, love and happiness. Below you will find some upcoming events, publications, classes and giveaways.

Events

Come join Amanda Yates Garcia (the Oracle of Los Angeles), Mary Pauline Lowry (Wildfire), Laura Lee Bahr (Haunt), Tracy DeBrincat (Hollywood Buckaroo), Logan Brendt, Manuel Chavarria, Daniel Weizmann and me for a reading from our Rough Magick Anthology, haunting--sometimes erotic, sometimes funny, sometimes weird--stories about the darker side of love and sex, at Book Soup on March 10 at 7 pm.

I will also be at AWP, on April 2, 12-1:15, doing a panel on "Writing in Los Angeles," and at YAll West on April 3. More info to come next month.

Publication

As I announced last month, the Weetzie Bat cookbook, Fairies in the Kitchen, by Carmen Staton, and published by dangerous angel press, is here and selling like hotcakes (or should I say Coyote's Cornmeal Cakes!)

Giveaways

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This year I explored many new creative ventures with the help of my Witch Baby Warriors and Weetzie Faeries.

Dangerous Angel Press

We launched Dangerous Angel Press and published three titles:

The Weetzie Bat Cookbook, Fairies in the Kitchen, by Carmen Staton with Flb. Full color photos by Nicolas Sage photography

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Rough Magick Anthology, dark stories  of love and sex, by Jessa Marie Mendez and Flb  (ed.) with cover art by Danishka Esterhazy and Logan Brendt

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My Best Friend Hildegard by Adam Greenberg

Teaching

Bestides my usual gigs at UCLA Extension and Antioch University, I taught private workshops in person and online, including a muse workshop with Amanda Yates Garcia.  2016 workshops start 1/11(online) and 1/17 in-person in Culver City.  Look for a special Fairy Workshop in Februrary with Amanda and me!

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Merchandise

After the success of the Dangerous Angels and Goat Guys T-shirts, we created "What's in Weetzie's Bag?" Tote with art by Emmakisstina.

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Public Appearances

Some highlights were the Victims and Vice panel at LATFOB (it's always been my dream to be called a rock star), the 1888 Eichler Session in Orange, Weho Arts with Samantha Dunn and the Rough Magick reading at Stories. I also appeared at Stan Lee's Comicaze, Binders Full of YA Writers and Indies First at Book Soup.

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Film

I went to San Francisco to see Danishka Esterhazy shoot The Singing Bones based on my short story from The Rose And The Beast. It will be out in 2016!

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As I've said before: Do It Yourself, but don't do it alone!

Love and Art,

flb

 

 

 

 

 

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"When I got started, you didn’t necessarily need an agent and could even send unsolicited manuscripts directly to publishers. My first book sort of flew into the hands of my editor on gossamer wings. Now there are many gatekeepers, and it seems like some of them have been taking steroids. But the independent publishing movement is growing stronger as a result, and Orange County is a hotbed of activity for writers and artists who are doing their own thing and forging their own possibilities outside of the conventional wisdom. This entrepreneurial spirit seems to be a tradition here, a cultural value that creates the character of this particular point of geography."

Samantha Dunn gave me the honor of doing a piece for Coast Magazine. It's about life as a Southern California writer. Read it here.

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Where else can you look out at loquat trees and bougainvillea when you write?

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Gala Darling asked me to contribute a ritual to her 2016 Self Love Coven Almanac. Here is my morning ritual:

I wake and reach for my rose quartz prayer beads. I say this prayer:

Illustrious Tara, please be aware of me
Remove my obstacles and quickly grant
My excellent aspirations 

I am ready, willing and able now
To experience change,challenge, growth and opportunity
With grace, courage, faith and ease
Knowing I am loved, supported and connected
To the eternal, sacred and devine

I dedicate this practice to all sentient beings
May we be happy, healthy and light in body and spirit
May we be safe and free from injury
May we be free from anger, affliction, fear and anxiety
May we learn how to look at ourselves and others with the eyes of understanding and love
May we be able to live fresh, solid and free
May we be free from attachment and aversion but not be indifferent

Then I count the prayer beads saying “Om tara hamsa” until I reach the beginning again.

Wishing you a peaceful and joyous 2016.

Love,

flb

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Young Master Doodles arrived on this planet with the certain knowledge
that we are all infinite beings made of light, that we cannot be diminished and
that this was what he was meant to impart.  His mother was always offering
him her milk as if this would somehow ward off all terrors; he thought it sweet
and a bit amusing and he drank as much as could and grew larger though he had
no control of the odd baby body he had been given.  The head formed a point in
back at first and finally smoothed out; it was so big and heavy-looking lolling there
and the hands which were blue and wrinkled with long sharp nails when they
emerged from her, and changed into pudgy pinks with a dimple above each finger,
danced around like drunken butterflies trying to catch the bright toys they'd been
offered.  The body curled nicely, draped against his mother's warmth, as if it
were still attached, on the outside now, some kind of fancy coat collar, but the feet
flexed with tension as if remembering how cramped they had been, jutting against
her small diaphragm.  

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You can order this collection of recipes from the Weetzie Bat books here (Createspace).  Or here (Amazon)Cover proof white

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Rough Magick, edited by Jessa Marie Mendez and me, is now a real book! You can get it here.

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 The anthology features haunting stories and poetry about the darker side of love and sex by Laura Lee Bahr, C.N. Blakemore, Logan Brendt, Manuel Chavarria, Tracy DeBrincat, Jilly Dreadful, Amanda Yates Garcia, Denise Hamilton, Sarah Herrington, Ashley Inguanta, K.T. Ismael, Kira Lees, Mary Pauline Lowry, Jessa Marie Mendez, Justina Aura Nemoy, Francesca Padilla, Genevieve Salazar, Alise Wascom, Tegan Elizabeth Webb, Daniel Weizmann and myself.   Pablo Capra helped us turn our e-book into print. Daniel Weizmann introduced us. Pablo knew my work because two girls once spotted him on a beach and called him a "Duck," then introduced him to my work. It turns out that one of those girls is also one of my recent students! When I visited Pablo at his lovely Santa Monica beach apartment to pick up the proof of the book I was reminded how magical my life really is.

Here's a review. And here's an essay from Alise Wascom about being in this anthology.

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There's more to becoming a writer than what you put on the page. Here are some tips I've discovered over the years. I think they can apply to all artists, really.

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I worry that the story I wrote was too negative but it was all I could write at the time. I know you need something to uplift you. I know you sometimes look to me to give you comfort and I am honored that you do. We are all afraid of guns and terrorists and global warming and cancer. We need comfort. We need magic. We need love.

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I have been going to Govinda's restaurant next to the Hare Krishna Temple for over thirty years! Fifteen years ago I nursed my newborn daughter in the booths while my mom and I had lunch.  The vegetarian buffet is only $8 for all you can eat. I always make a salad with lettuce, beets, carrots, olives, sunflower seed and sunflower dressing and take a bowl of rice and dal.  Upstairs is a boutique filled with printed and sequin-sparkled silk tunics and gifts like the glass lotus above and the deities below.  I think they make lovely gifts.

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This is a challenging time to be alive and that's even more reason to see and celebrate the world's great beauty, to find magic in the everyday and to love and care for each other tirelessly. See below for class updates and giveaways.

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I love to support independent businesses, especially those run by women.  Queen Bee Salon and Spa near downtown Culver City (and also in Brentwood and Seattle) is owned and run by the very fabulous Jody Shays and provides non-toxic waxing, facial, tanning, brow, nail and makeup services as well as selling carefully curated products in a charming "English cottage meets California bungalow" setting. The energy is sweet and positive and I especially appreciate the magical "psychic" facials by Dawn Palomino.

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The Jack Rabbit

Your strengths: You get A LOT done ALL THE TIME. You can whip out drafts with no effort. People always ask you, "How do you do it?"

Your challenges: Sometimes all that high energy doesn't leave much room for quiet contemplation. You might miss descriptive details, interior thought to build character and subplots to enhance the main story.

Your exercises: Try to fill in the "white space" between scenes and take your characters through extended periods of time. Focus on descriptions that build character and give us a sense of atmosphere (time and place). Make sure to track your POV characters' interior thoughts. Add a subplot to your book.  Remember to breathe.

 

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I love my students and this group (Jasmin, Tiffany, Laura, Augusta, Alanz) was particularly well-matched. We spent the last ten Sundays reading magical, sexy pages about living in a Venice Beach lifeguard stand, being in a band, seeing ghosts, falling in love in a morgue and being confined to an institution where the main activitity is to sleep and dream of an even stranger world  than the one you come from.

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On the last day I captured them in golden hour light.   Turns out my words are written on two of their bodies and one of their license plates (see below). Their names are written on my heart.

New classes on 1/9 (one day class with Denise Hamilton),  1/11 (online class) aand 1/17 (ten week class like this one) www.francescaliablock.com/contact to reach me for more details.

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