Food, Drink, & Travel Blogging Has Moved!

The-Gourmez-Square-headerWhat happened to the delicious posts on this site? They’ve gone back home to the Gourmez! In August 2013, when we moved to the Bay Area, I combined all my writing pursuits into the site you’re viewing now. At the time, housing them together made the most sense for my sanity–too many sites to manage was too much in the midst of such a huge life change. But nearly two years later, and a recent transition from Hayward to Oakland where my reviews are suddenly in higher demand, meant it was time to give the Gourmez its proper focus again. And thus, that new-old site has been reborn!

My fiction and entertainment publication news and life updates will continue to be housed right here. But if your stomach starts growling or your wanderlust kicks in, the Gourmez is there for you.  In fact, if you click on the menu items above for food, drink, & travel, you’ll find yourself transported to that website instead. Don’t panic! Tastiness is only a mouse click away.

Meanwhile, I’ll be doing more personal writing on this site–writing related to the writing life, that is. I’ve had a few requests to share my own struggles with searching for validation in a career where that rarely equals an income, so I’ll dig into that topic soon. But mainly, I’m planning to re-focus my writing time and get more fiction under my belt. I’m currently shopping around two longish short stories and one fantasy novel. My second novel, a post-apocalyptic romance, is about two-thirds of the way through its first draft, and I have at least four other short stories in various stages of editing and initial plotting. Here’s hoping they all find a home in time!

WisCon 39 Appearances!

wiscon39Tomorrow, I fly out for my first WisCon experience.

I’m super excited because I’ve heard so many great things about this conference from other writers. It has a heavy concentration on the craft of writing, which is the #1 reason I’m choosing it as my first con in years. I love the speculative fiction genre, but I love writing it more than I love the fannish activities that go along with it. Nothing wrong with going wild, Fandom! It’s just not how I engage with the works that spark my passion.

And I am thrilled that I will get to share some of my passion with you! I am one-third of the superpowered trio in the Triple the Strength! Triple the Power! reading with fellow writers Sally Wiener Grotta and Laura Lis Scott on Sunday at 1:00 pm in Conference Room 2 at the main hotel.

Flyer for our reading small

Thanks to Sally for our flyer! Unfortunately, Laura won’t be with us in the flesh, but I’m delighted to read a selection from her novella, Half the Sky, on her behalf. I’ll also be reading “Thlush-A-Lum”, my most recently published horror short story, and if time allows (it should), the first chapter of my epic fantasy novel, Wings Unseen.

But that’s not all! On Monday morning, in the waning hours of WisCon, I’ll be on the Worldbuilding Through Food panel in Senate B at 10:00 am. Writing about food has been a huge part of my career over the past six years, and food has always been an honored guest in my fiction as well, so this panel’s topic spoke to me on many levels. Ty Blauersouth is our moderator, and my fellow panelists will be Nino Cipri and Amy Thomson. The official description:

The food crops and domestic animals an author uses in a fictional world shape underlying presumptions about where and when a story is set…or “not set,” in the case of not-quite-our-world-but-just-barely worlds. Medievaloid Europeish taverns with potatoes and tomatoes in their stew. Cultures that spice heavily, or lightly, or eat a wide range of animals; even if crops and livestock are all named with new words they often trace back to our-Earth models. How can one thoughtfully use food in your worldbuilding in ways that support themes and characters, without falling into shallow sloppiness? What SFF authors do food description particularly well? What’s good about it?

I’m especially excited to talk about how food choices can reveal character and ways food can be more central to the plot than just a lush description of a feasting table. Turkish delight, anyone?

Of course, I’ll be out and about all over the place during the rest of WisCon 39, but I haven’t had the chance to pick which sessions I’ll attend just yet. I’ll update you all on those plans as I make the decisions! Meanwhile, I always love meeting new people, so if you’d like to join me for coffee or a cocktail or a meal, just drop me a line at becca at thegourmez dot com or through Twitter @thegourmez. I arrive Wednesday evening and leave Monday afternoon.

See you soon, Wisconsin! It’ll be lovely to make your acquaintance.

My Last Day Without You

MLDWY_PosterNew

Last month, in advance of its December release on DVD and VOD, I screened a little indie flick from 2011 starring Nicole Beharie of Sleepy Hollow fame. Beharie’s smiles are magical on Sleepy Hollow, so I welcomed the opportunity to see more of them in this Brooklyn tale of musician Leticia (Beharie) striking out on her own and German businessman Niklas Hank (Ken Duken) vowing to seduce her on his one day in town.

That sounds like the set-up for a bigscreen whirlwind romance that I rarely buy into, but My Last Day Without You resists taking the predictable paths toward superficial love connections. Leticia is no manic pixie girl, and Niklas is not a floundering manchild. Rather, he’s a corporate hatchet man in the vein of George Clooney’s character in Up in the Air, and he shows little compunction when confronted by the people whose jobs he’s just ended.

KenDuken-OpeningShot

During one of many shots beautifully framed through windows, Niklas meets Leticia, who offers him one of those smiles and a sample of her CD.

NicoleBeharie-KenDuken-cafe2

Niklas is entranced by this charismatic woman. With the encouragement of his chauffer, an avowed romantic played with relish by Robert Clohessy, Nik vows to seek Leticia out as a distraction until his flight back home that evening.