Tag Archive for bay area

Join me for the Women Who Submit Lit Reading 8/11!

This Saturday afternoon at 4 pm, I’ll be reading at the first ever Women Who Submit Lit Reading! What is Women Who Submit Lit (WWS)? Founded in 2011, WWS seeks to empower women writers by creating physical and virtual spaces for sharing information, supporting and encouraging literary submissions, and clarifying the submission and publication process.

I helm one chapter of WWS in the Bay Area and primarily organize submission parties, where we get together and encourage each other to submit our work out for publication.  Dominica Phetteplace, who passed that duty on to me last year, decided it would be fun to have a reading for our chapter and thus, this reading was born!

Women Who Submit Lit Reading

Women who submit lit bay area

When: Saturday, August 11, 4 pm.

Where: The Octopus Literary Salon, 2101 Webster St., Oakland

RSVP: Facebook Event

Who: Me, Dominica, Jennifer Ng, MK Chavez, and Simmi Aujli! Bios below.We’re all regular members of this WWS chapter, except MK, who’s starting her own chapter in Fruitvale very soon. Come for more details on that.

And just come! There may be an after party…

Becca Gomez Farrell‘s debut epic fantasy novel, Wings Unseen, was published in August 2017 by Meerkat Press. Her speculative short fiction can be read in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, the Future Fire, and Dark Luminous Wings. Becca also blogs about food, drink, and travel at theGourmez.com.

Jennifer Ng is a writer in San Francisco. She recently published a nonfiction book, Ice Cream Travel Guide, and is working on a novel based on her grandparents’ lives in China, Peru, and the United States. Her work has appeared in Arkana, Havik, Cold Creek Review, Shut Up and Write! Zine, and Airplane Reading. In her writing, she explores identity and relationships. If she was asked about her favorite hobby at the age of 8, she would have answered “observing”, which is still a joy and an inspiration for storytelling. Read more at jennism.com or follow her on twitter: @jennism.

Simmi Aujla is an Indian-American speculative fiction writer based in the Bay Area. She is an alum of the VONA / Voices of Our Nation workshop, where she studied genre fiction. A 2018 fellow at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, in the fall she will attend an interdisciplinary arts residency at Marble House Project. Simmi is a Brown alum and former journalist, with experience at Politico, the Wall Street Journal, and the Associated Press. Keep up with her at www.simmiaujla.com.

Oakland based Latinx writer Mk Chavez is the author of Mothermorphosis and Dear Animal, (Nomadic Press.) She is a recipient of a 2017 Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Award and her poem The New Whitehouse, Finding Myself Among the Ruins was selected by Eileen Myles for the Cosmonauts Avenue 2017 Poetry Award. She is a co-founder/curator of the reading series Lyrics & Dirges and co-director of the Berkeley Poetry Festival, a fellow with CantoMundo, a writer in residence at Alley Cat Books, and this fall she will be the guest curator of the reading series at UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

Dominica Phetteplace is a math tutor who writes literary and science fiction. Her work has appeared in Analog, Asimov’s, Clarkesworld and F&SF. She has won a Pushcart Prize, a Rona Jaffe Award, a Barbara Deming Award and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, I-Park, and Marble House Project.

My Next Reading & Story: “What Scattered in the Wind”

Update! This reading and publication has been postponed until 8/11. All other details remain the same. Join me in August instead!

My next short story publication is coming up soon! And I will soon be taking part in a reading to celebrate the launch for the anthology/chapbook it will appear in: Little Letters on the Skin. I do hope you’ll join me.

little letters on the skin

What? The Cleave: Bay Area Women Writers and the Liminal Center Release of the Little Letters on the Skin

When? Friday, June 9, 2017   Friday, August 11, 2017

Where? The Octopus Literary Salon, 2101 Webster St, Oakland.

Time? 7 pm.

Eight other writers and myself, who have been involved with Oakland’s amazing creative space for feminists and womanists, the Liminal Center, will be taking part in the reading and small group Q & A afterward. The anthology will be available for purchase, with all profits going to help support the work of the Liminal Center, which I’ve written about before here and here. I will also bring along a few copies to sell of Typehouse Literary Magazine #9, which featured my humorous sci-fi story, “Mixed Signals, or, Learning How to Speak,” last September.

“What Scattered in the Wind” is not humorous sci-fi, that’s for sure. Rather, it’s horror flash fiction done in a poetic prose style, and it’s the first story I wrote upon moving to the Bay Area. I love the mood of it, and the angst within it, that of a woman struggling with her biggest regret in life and sentenced to forever re-remember it. The first lines?

Hollow rasps of laughter pestered her to wakefulness. Any noise would have done the same, though she clamped her eyelids together in protest. For years, Ruth had heard nothing but the teakettle’s hiss or the slow scrape of her cane against the camper’s floor panels. The creaking sound of her voice rarely interrupted the silence. Unlike the other wayfarers, Ruth had never developed the habit of talking to herself. She didn’t care to hear what she’d have to say.

“Hee-hee, hee-he-heee!

What I am most excited about for this event, however, is the exceptional list of fellow writers reading with me, at least half of whom I’ve read with before and they are STELLAR:

Christine No is a writer, filmmaker and pitbull enthusiast based in Oakland, CA. She is a Pushcart Prize Nominee and the 2016 First Place Poetry Winner of the Litquake Writing Contest. Say hello at  www.christineno.com

Gina Goldblatt is the founder of Liminal, a writing center for women, in Oakland California. She is a writer, an educator and an aerialist.

Hannah Rubin is a writer and artist based in Oakland, CA.

Heather Schubert is a published author, visual artist, teacher, Priestess and mother of four.

Jasmine Wade is obsessed with the tumultuous, hilarious, heartbreaking, and never-ending process of growing up. Find a list of her short stories at www.jasminehwade.com.

Jeneé Darden is an award-winning journalist, public speaker, mental health advocate and proud Oakland native. Visit her podcast and blog CocoaFly.com where she covers issues related to women, race, wellness and sex.

Norma Smith was born in Detroit, grew up in Fresno, California, and has lived and worked in Oakland since the late 1960s. In  support of her writing, she has worked as a ward clerk in hospitals, as a radio producer, as a translator and interpreter, as an educator, and as an editor and writing coach.

Rebecca Gomez Farrell writes all the speculative fiction genres she can conjure up. Find a list of her published shorter works at RebeccaGomezFarrell.com, and find her debut fantasy novel, Wings Unseen, in August 2017 from Meerkat Press.

Ruth Crossman was born and raised in Berkeley and currently lives in Oakland. She is a poet and a songwriter who teaches ESL to support her writing habit.

Additionally, the anthology is edited by Dr. Raina J. León, who’s an associate professor at Saint Mary’s College and the founder of the Cleave reading series along with numerous other accolades. That’s a stellar line-up that I’m glad to be a part of! I do hope you’ll come out and join us, celebrating what women are doing in the literary arts in Oakland. Here’s the Facebook event page, if you’d like to RSVP. I always like to know what friendly faces I’ll see in the crowd!

Review of Amélie: A New Musical


Friday night, I attended a performance of Amélie: A New Musical at the Berkeley Rep. This was my first time attending a show at that theater—I’ve only lived in Oakland 6 months, y’all. And my biggest takeaway from the performance is that I will absolutely never buy an obstructed-view seat at the Roda stage again. Honestly, I could only see two-thirds of the stage at any given time from the loge. Don’t do it. Pay full price.

Especially pay full price for a show as charming as this one. Before I go on, you need to know that I’ve never seen the Amélie movie, and my knowledge of it was limited to knowing it’s a quirky indie flick starring Audrey Tautou. You should also know this review contains plenty of spoilers—I want to talk about what worked and what didn’t, and it’s hard to do that without specifics. Lastly, I have only one song title, unfortunately, because the program did not include a scene list, which makes absolutely no sense to me unless they still wanted the freedom to change things up during this first run.

So What Worked?

The Whimsy. From the off-kilter set design to the choreography, props, and performances, Amélie’s (modern-day, Samantha Barks; young, Savvy Crawford) imagination comes through without it being an over-the-top hammer hit of “LOVE ME AND MY QUIRKS!” It’s subdued whimsy, if you will. One of my favorite scenes was the simple staging of Amélie skipping stones: quickly raised pom-poms streaming with blue were all that was needed for the image to come across. Special kudos go to the hearts that magically appear during the scenes when Amélie and her love interest, Nino (Adam Chanler-Berat), spy on each other in the subway station. The show would undoubtedly be a lesser being without the travelling gnome number as well. The postcard puns were a sheer delight on their own, and David Andino’s enthusiastic performance made it a highlight of the show.

The Songs. A good 90% of this show is songs rather than dialogue, with music by Daniel Messé and lyrics by Messé and Nathan Tysen. The performances and the score had airy, breezy qualities that made the songs easy to understand and able to show off the tonality of the singers’ voices well. Nino’s solo, “Thin Air,” and Nino and Amélie’s shared song around the doorframe at the climax of the romantic plot were plusses for me. To be fair, I’m a sucker for the tried and true romance device of lovers separated by a door. I must say, however, that my favorite musical moments were when the company rises up in harmony, which occurs in several numbers. These songs won’t wear you out, they’ll just guide you effortlessly through the plot. And frankly, an easy-to-follow plot is a win for a musical.

Nonfiction Bragging: Guest Blogging for Localwise!

About two weeks ago, my first guest blog for Localwise went up! Localwise, you say? What’s that?

localwise logo

Well, my friends, it’s a Berkeley-based start-up that’s essentially a classifieds board for local jobs. They began with listings in Berkeley and Oakland only, but after six months of operation, they’ve expanded to Alameda, Emeryville, and San Francisco with more Bay Area locations in the works.  The site is easy to navigate and a much preferred alternative for local businesses and applicants over that other free classifieds site. You know the one.

That’s great, Becca! But what does that have to do with you? You write about food, drink, and travel, not job hunting!

So true. But one of the most appealing aspects of Localwise is their commitment to building community in the Bay Area, because knowing your neighbor and neighborhood business owner generally tends to improve everyone’s quality of life. As part of that goal, Localwise runs a blog that highlights local businesses, job profiles, and the food & drink scene. Why that last item? Because food industry positions make up around 2/3 of Localwise’s job listings at any given time. That’s right–2/3! We like to eat here, folks. We like to eat a lot.

And drink. Definitely drinking too.

And drink. Definitely drink too.

Perhaps you can see where I come in now? Along with a few other Bay Area food & drink bloggers, I’ll be contributing short articles to the blog on at least a monthly basis. My first one touched on three of the newest food joints in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood.


The chicken-cherry sausage at Rosamunde Sausage Grill.

It started like this….

Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood has no shortage of restaurant options, and in the last six months, it’s added three more to its roster. Two of them are brand-new locations, and one is reimagined, but all three are worthy of your gastral attention. Ranked from fastest out the door to least likely to kick you there, here are Temescal’s newest eateries:

And you can read the rest of that article over at Localwise. I’ll let you know at the Gourmez when the next one goes up!

Blog Update: Look, it’s migrated!

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve (or rather, my husband has) moved my food, drink, and travel blog over to my main website. This is effectively me saying “Screw niche blogging!” and keeping all forms of my writing together. It’s probably silly, but I always felt bad when I posted about my fiction writing on the Gourmez, like I was interrupting my readers’ feast to say, “Hey! There’s this other thing I do too! See! Read my things on the bookshelves behind the dinner table!”

So now it’s all in one place, and I think I like the change. It feels more authentic to me somehow, like all of Becca the Writer is now on display. I’ve also begun taking my camera out to restaurants again, so I think that means I’m nearly settled in here in the Bay Area. I’m not going to maintain the three posts a week I was doing in North Carolina–that was just insane of me in the first place, especially because I contribute columns to All My Writers on a weekly basis as well. But I will aim for twice weekly posts about food and drink, mainly on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And when I have other things to share with you, it’ll just pop up randomly on another day of the week like this blog today. Sound good?

My husband assures me that no RSS feeds need to be updated, but I don’t know if that’ll always be the case, so there’s no harm in clicking that little button on the top of the page to get the feed for this site instead. And I know most my blog readers are North Carolina based at present, but I hope you’ll still find my food adventures worth exploring from 3,000 miles away. For once, my Californian friends are enjoying seeing places they can go instead. I think that’s a fair turnaround after six years of blogging.

Me and my cousin Daniel doing the tourist thing in North Beach.

Me and my cousin Daniel doing the tourist thing in North Beach.

And now back to fiction for the rest of today. I’ve got a giant bird I need to wrangle into a short story. It flew out of the last half somehow, and now I must lure it back in. As always, thanks for reading!