Mardi Gras Memories: Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Mardi Gras moment … 1995-02-05 04:00:00 PDT NEW ORLEANS – PINOCCHIO zooms by on roller skates, thin, hairy legs protruding from green lederhosen. Three Elvises swival past, hips rotating like long-playing records. A besequined, masked stranger raises his wine glass and blows me a kiss. Scandalous. Ridiculous. Crazy. Taboo. It’s Fat Tuesday -Mardi Gras, the most delightfully wicked time of the year and the last chance to be naughty before buckling into Lent’s iron girdle, the 40 days of abstinence and contrition that precede Easter. As a good Catholic girl, I remember Ash...
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Building Character: Creating Characters that Captivate Readers

Linda Watanabe McFerrin – The Building Character This is the second in a series of monthly workshops on craft that I’m leading at Book Passage in Corte Madera. The workshops cover plot, character building, scene making, dialogue, and more. Dominican College credit is available for workshop participants.   02/22/2014 10:00 am End: 02/22/2014 4:00 pm Sat. Feb. 22 • 10:00-4:00 pm • $105         Character-driven—it’s one way to ensure that your writing is compelling. But how do you create characters that captivate a reader? Digging up all you’ll need to create...
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Only One Spot Left on the Next Wanderland Writers™ Adventure …

What do Virginia Woolf, Daphne du Maurier, Agatha Christie, John Le Carré, Thomas Hardy, Tristan and Yseult, and Britain’s King Arthur have in common? The lighthouse and castle-studded Cornwall, where their journeys—along those of with many another literary and legendary character—led. We have only one spot left in our next Wanderland Writers™ workshop, the latest in a series of  adventures that take writers around the world to wander, write and possibly contribute to a new Wanderland Writers™ project. I was delighted to announce earlier this month that our last anthology won first...
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Telling a Sexy Story …

Tell me a story … and make it a sexy one. Well, I plan to do just that this Sunday. I’ll be telling you a sexy  story or two, as will a couple of other writers I know and love. On Sunday, January 19, I’ll be on San Francisco’s alternative radio station FCCFREERADIO, along with Laurie McAndish King, with whom I co-edited the Hot Flashes: sexy little stories and poems series. We’ll talk about what we want in a sexy story, and why. Jonathan Arnowitz will join in as we read from our work and chat about “undercover love” and its influence on culture and...
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My Beloved Book Addiction

At Grace Grafton’s Reading Last night at Book Passage in the Ferry Plaza for a Left Coast Writers poetry event, I realized that I never enter a bookstore without wanting to read every single book therein, which I know is impossible. I have this strange feeling that tucked between the covers is a message that I can’t afford to miss, a line that will open doors or explain some of the many mysteries that defy my understanding. Of course, more often than not, it’s true. Whether the books I pull from the shelves are fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, they rarely disappoint. I generally find...
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The Plot Thickens: Saving your Flatlining Fiction and Non-Fiction

Linda Watanabe McFerrin – The Plot Thickens This is the first in a series of monthly workshops on craft that I’ll be leading at Book Passage in Corte Madera. The workshops will cover plot, character building, scene making, dialogue, and more. Dominican College credit is available for workshop participants. 01/25/2014 10:00 am End: 01/25/2014 4:00 pm Sat. Jan. 25 • 10:00-4:00 pm • $105         Aristotle called plot “the most important element of storytelling.” But to plot properly, you must have a plan, and the plan must give rise to emotion. Does the plot always seem...
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Here and There: Dante, Mayo and the Libidinous Finns

Last night at the Market Bar  in the Ferry Plaza in San Francisco, we were dining among the Finns, so I had to share this story … ©Linda Watanabe McFerrin “Il ya des mains pareilles a des feuille capturees. Et d’autres qui parle sans arret dan leur collerette de rires.” —Jaime Mais, Au crible de la nuit, 1948 Finland is Western Europe’s northernmost country.  Further north than much of Siberia, it hangs, with Sweden, from the horn of the cold Arctic circle, one of a pair of saddlebags straddling the Gulf of Bosnia.  All winter days are locked in darkness.  In summer, the nights are...
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Sugar Shock and the Sweet Life

The Sweet Life ©Linda Watanabe McFerrin Do I need to read Connie Bennett’s new book, Beyond Sugar Shock? You bet, I do … I once ate an entire box of brown sugar … with a teaspoon … in under thirty minutes. No, it wasn’t a contest. I had a hankering for something sweet, and back then, before I recognized the error of my ways, that box of sugar was just about the only thing in my cupboard. I guess I should confess that I am the kind of person who likes to have a wee bit of pancake with her syrup, who prefers the frosting to the cake, whose idea of a celebration is a candy-crammed...
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Here and There: The Irish Coast

In Ireland with Desmond O'Grady Remembering a day off the coast of southern Ireland  … ©Linda Watanabe McFerrin Gale force winds, rain, twenty-six-foot seas—we’d hit a bit of a rough spot in the weather on the Irish Riviera, the promoters’ somewhat euphemistic appellation for the strip of resort towns—Youghal, Ardmore, Dungarvan, Cobh and Ballycotton—that dot Ireland’s southern coast and draw travelers to their lovely beaches and coastlines. Not that this put a damper on our adventures. My travel companions and I had spent most of our days in landlubberly pursuits, crawling...
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Blogs vs Journals: Caught in “The Gutenberg Galaxy”

Palm Desert, California: December 22, 2012 ©Linda Watanabe McFerrin Spectacular and panoramic morning at 6:30 a.m. on the balcony of my villa at Palm Desert’s Desert Springs Marriott and here I was getting set to rhapsodize about the snow-dusted San Jacinto Mountains in the distance, the towering palms, the Mary-and-Joseph-gee-whiz-I-can’t-believe-it’s-almost-Christmas baby-blue sky with its little collar of cottony cloud when I realized I didn’t have a journal with me. Drat. It took me a while to remember that I did have my laptop. That’s good. So here I sit punching keys, writing about the...
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