More questions. More help. Introducing Mastering Table Topics Second Edition.

Is it time to bring back irreverent humor?

The Death of JFK drawingHave you ever heard of shuttle jokes? Shortly after the Challenger disaster in January 1986, a bunch of jokes started circulating about it. Here is the least offensive of them:

“Why does NASA drink Pepsi? Because they can’t get 7-Up.”

Why would people joke about something as horrible as the death of seven astronauts? Or the assassination of President Kennedy?

We turn to irreverent humor in times when we feel powerless against the absurdity surrounding and threatening us. And today may be one of those times.

Read more »

A time to act

Democratic congressional debate 2018Thoughtful blog posts and snarky tweets can only go so far. If you want change, you have to get out from behind the keyboard, put on your walking shoes, and hit the streets.

It has been 36 years since I’ve been involved in any type of political event besides voting. But I went to a debate of Democratic candidates in May. This week, I’m attending a meet-and-greet with our Democratic candidate for Congress Katie Porter and will march against the forced separation of migrant children from their parents.

Why am I stepping out and getting involved with politics now? Because the situation is too serious to sit back and do nothing.

Read more »

What do we write about now?

In addition to everything President Trump has done, he has eliminated entire genres of fiction.

Cold War spy thrillers where a hostile power tries to take over the United States government? Today, it’s the subject of an active investigation. An adversary who tries to blackmail the president with compromising information? Look at all the compromising information that has already been released about this president. A dystopia where the United States has been turned into a brutal totalitarian state? Someone told me she watches A Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu to escape from the news.

Today’s headlines even affect YA. Want to write a book about a group of teenagers who endure a terrible tragedy and must battle the evil, cowardly, and corrupt adults who threaten to destroy them and their world? It has already been done.

So, what do we write about now?

Read more »

Why I’m not nostalgic for the 80s

My computer and bedroom in Reseda, 1985

This post is inspired by a typo. When someone talked about being nostalgic for the 1980s even though she didn’t grow up during that time, I replied:

Oops. So am I or am I not nostalgic for the 80s? No, even though I write about the 80s in my novel Amiga. Here are the reasons why.

Read more »

Shame on you, El Toro, if you didn’t vote

El Toro High School, I have a bone to pick with you. Actually, I have several, but I want to talk about one that is important – voting.

Read more »