Argh…day four of Litquake and I’m feeling guilty. I haven’t written in days. I’ve got to get The Perfect Specimen in shape for e-publication and instead I’m listening to authors read from their novels! I don’t know how famous authors like Neil Gaiman get anything done. After today (I’m attending three Litquake events) I’ve got to get back to work.

Yesterday I heard Robin Sloan read from his book, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. The excerpt was great! I bought the audio book the moment I got home. (Audio books don’t count as procrastination because I can listen to them while I do other things.) I asked Robin if he narrated the audio book (he was a great reader) and he said the publisher advised him not to, as the work is time consuming, difficult and tiring. He did do a small bit though. There is an audio book within the audio book and he read that part. He said he was very satisfied with how it turned out and glad he didn’t have to read the whole thing.


After this I caught BART to the Makeout Room for “Barely Published Authors.” I was worried this might be hit or miss, something like an open mic night, but it turned out to be really well curated and all the material was great.

My hand’s down favorite? Trent Tano, reading from his first novel, Paris High NoonCowboys fighting Nazis in Paris? I want to read this now! I’m sorry I didn’t get a photo because this guy is all in…cowboy outfit, gun, ammunition, hobby horse. He really brought the story to life.

Makeout Room turned out to be a surprisingly good venue for a literary event. The space was festive and the sound, very good. Kalpana Mohan reads, below.


During intermission I was treated to a cautionary tale. A woman began chatting with a friend of hers who was sitting next to me at the bar. She wanted to join a critique group, but wasn’t ready to expose her work to strangers. The guy was really helpful, giving her lots of ideas, all of which she rejected. “Too many people,” “Too far from my house,” blah blah blah. The guy asked questions, trying to determine what she’d written and how far along she was. She monopolized what could barely be categorized as a conversation.

The punchline? SHE HASN’T WRITTEN ANYTHING!! She has an idea. Oh my god. This is where I reveal I’m not a very nurturing person: I wanted to grab her and tell her to shut up and stop wasting that nice guy’s time.

Then, chagrined, I realized that my next piece of writing should be a strongly-worded admonition to myself to NEVER do this to any of my friends again. Oh yeah, I’ve done it. All those hours up by myself in the attic, working in solitude. Give me a room full of people, a Jack and Coke and some poor soul is going to get an earful. I think it’s time to join a writer’s group!

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