Very Engaging Couples Guidebook Gamify’s Your Relationship (by LA Locals)

Very Engaging Couples Guidebook Gamify’s Your Relationship (by LA Locals)

Anyone who lives in SoCal knows that relationships can be tough. That’s where Very Engaging, the quirky couples guidebook to “gamify” your relationship comes in! Sure, there are all the normal stressors of dating when living in Los Angeles, but the City of Angels has a few extra bonus factors making it even tougher. As you know, LA traffic is real and it can make proximity to your partner an actual factor in choosing your significant other! It’s also a city of 4 million people making it easy to casually swipe left and right with seemingly endless options.
Once you do find someone who has the potential to to be “the one,” there are still all the normal hurdles of dating. Very Engaging helps couples face these deep and not-so-deep questions- from having kids to who gets which side of the bed- with humor, sensitivity, and good old fashion games. Even better, it’s the brainchild of two locals- Charly Ligety and Les Starck.
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“The idea for this book first came to fruition when Les and I were co-workers. At the time, Les was recently married, and I had just gotten engaged. Between our conversations about getting to know our partners, as well as hearing from other friends and co-workers about their pre-marital counseling experiences, we all found common ground in the fact that initiating these big conversations with our partners could be daunting, intimidating, and downright awkward at times. We wanted to create a fun, approachable way for couples to stimulate meaningful and fruitful conversations,” said Charly Ligety, Co-Author of Very Engaging.
“The $50 billion wedding industry is largely focused on that one day, and often geared toward females. We wanted to provide something that also spoke to men and harnessed the same fun energy as the wedding day, while helping couples really navigate the nuances and challenges of marriage beyond saying ‘I do.’ We also noticed there was a lack of meaningful engagement gifts on the market. You get items like candles and picture frames, but nothing that is actually going to help you become a better partner,” said Les Starck, Co-Author of Very Engaging.
Charly and Les spent the last year + researching and writing Very Engaging. They interviewed several marriage and family therapists and dozens of couples in all stages of relationships in developing the conversation activities. Every page has been tested and reiterated hundreds of times by real local couples to ensure each conversation activity successfully creates a playful and romantic experience.
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To help self publish- Charly and Les launched a Kicksarter campaign which ends at midnight August 27th, 2017. This is a unique opportunity to support local authors and be part of the Very Engaging movement. You can be one of the first backers of this innovative take on an age-old problem. In fact, 12 lucky backers will have the opportunity to have their name written into one of the book’s conversation activities.  That’s right, your name in print for all to see!
You can learn more about the exciting ways to support this project and order your copy today by visiting Very Engaging on Kickstarter.com.
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Wedding Bush Road – by David Francis

Wedding Bush Road – by David Francis

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1619027879
  • ISBN-13: 978-1619027879
  • Price: $25.00

 

Author, David Francis has an interesting, full life. He grew up on a rural farm in Australia surrounded by horses, performed in competitive showjumping in his early twenties and represented Australia in an equestrian team that competed in Europe, then landed up in Los Angeles pursuing a career as a lawyer. And all the while writing novels. His first book, The Great Inland Sea, was published in seven languages, while his second book, Stray Dog Winter, won Book of the Year in The Advocate, The Barbara Gittings Prize for Literature, and was a LAMBDA Literary Award Finalist. David’s short fiction has appeared in Best Australian StoriesMeanjinGriffith ReviewSouthern California ReviewThe Sydney Morning HeraldThe Rattling WallLos Angeles Times and Harvard Review. And last, but not least, Francis is currently the Vice President of PEN Center USA.

His latest novel, Wedding Bush Road revisits the past, journeying back to the unfinished and the uncomfortable, mixed with that affectionate longing we have for all things “childhood”. The protagonist, Daniel Rawson, embraces his Australian roots while another part of him flat out rejects them. Returning to the horse farm on Wedding Bush Road where he spent his childhood, Daniel must deal with his aging mother’s health, his philandering father’s banishment from the main house, and a rundown farm that has been invaded by a crazy woman and her feral son. Wedding Bush Road explores the theme of opposites – past versus future, tame versus wild, obligation versus freedom, a “picture perfect” fiancé versus a wild woman squatting on the farmland. We see Daniel torn between his idyllic life of lattes and yoga in Laurel Canyon, LA, and that of the dry, dusty, wasteland where “the light is so harsh it eats everything up”.

David Francis writes with a poetic flair, creating nuances that suck you into the moment. He shapes entertaining, unusual descriptions as in: “face like a twisted sandwich” or “the prime minister with marsupial eyes”. And he hits with moments of truth, like when Sheran asks her son “why are you always mean to me?” and the son replies, “’cos you’re the mother you have when you don’t have a mother.”

SoCal Magazine caught up with David Francis for an interview, and accolades and praise aside, David is grounded, easy going, and thoroughly engaging.

How long did it take to write Wedding Bush Road?

It started as a short story that was published in the Harvard Review and Australian stories. I thought it was done; home and hosed (a horse term), but then I heard Reggie’s voice and revisited the story. So five years all told, with roughly five drafts.

Were there a lot of rewrites?

My editor at Counterpoint, Dan Smetanka, had minor changes and one big one. He put it out there tentatively wondering if I’d freak out. Basically he wanted me to change the last 3rd of the novel. It used to be that the girlfriend, Isabelle, arrives in Australia and hijacks the novel. Dan wanted the focus to remain on the main character, Daniel. In hindsight, it seems right. I wrote 8-9 hours a day dealing with that change, for 3 weeks, and it worked. Dan was delighted.

Is it hard to jump from lawyer brain to author brain?

Actually, I can quite readily. I thought being a lawyer would preclude me from creative writing – but now feel as though the lawyer part of my brain creates a subconscious order which allows me to write organically and still have structure. I write from the body/heart, capturing the sensual – like a vivid dream. I get the conscious, ego mind out the way, and work from my “not thinking” mind.

I like having the structure my job provides, plus I sometimes write from the office which makes me aware that I don’t have time to phutz around. I value the free time, and my mind prepares for a writing session at a subconscious level. So yes, my day job is less of an inhibitor than I thought it would be.

I also write in my attic at home, and sometimes in the cemetery at the graveside of a Rumanian woman called Polexinia. I sort of adopted her. An elderly gent came up one day and thought I was Polexinia’s son, and that I was writing a letter to her. Even through the language barrier, it was a beautiful thing.

What kind of law do you practice?

Mostly public finance; helping organizations that the government doesn’t fund anymore. I started as a lawyer in Australia with a stuffy firm and I hated it. Then I was chosen to perform in competitive showjumping and thought I’d never be lawyer again. However, I met someone at a firm in Melbourne, and when they moved to LA, they brought me out to visit – I got a job and never left.

Was it tricky writing in the present tense?

I like the first person present tense, which is literary suicide – and there are various points of I told in the present tense, which is double suicide. I love writing in the first person – and don’t worry that it may not provide enough scope. I believe the accumulative style of first person narrative is omniscient.

Is the name “Rawson” on purpose?

Actually it’s my father’s middle name.

What is the difference in audience reaction from US to Australia?

Australians are a little hurt by the way their country is depicted, but country life in Australia is hard. Wedding Bush Road explores that harshness and lack of sophistication by contrasting it to Los Angeles life. I think of Los Angeles as softer. Australia somehow hardens me – I even looked older at my book launch in Aus.

Is it too soon to ask about your next book idea?

I’m already 149 pages in. This story is set in California and is about someone who, to gain some currency in LA, pretends to be Australian but is really from a desperate chicken farm in Ventura. The story is quite different in tone – light and biting, but there is a point where things turn on him and he has a come to Jesus moment. It’s based on a couple of short stories: Moses of the Freeway, published in Australian Love Stories and, part of El Curandero, published in the PEN Center USA-affiliated literary journal The Rattling Wall.

Anything you’d like to add?

I’m heading to Sydney for the Writer’s Festival, and to be on a national radio show. Plus, I’m going to lecture on my experience of the LA riots – how I went to a political rally in a church and landed up singing lead tenor in the oldest black gospel choir in LA – I was the only white boy (laughs). We performed as part of the World Festival of Sacred Music at the Hollywood Bowl, with the Dalai Lama on stage.

 

 

 

 

Bryan Cranston – A Life in Parts

Bryan Cranston – A Life in Parts

live talks LA

Bryan CranstonInterviewed by Jay Roach about his recently released memoir, A Life in Parts, (for Live Talks LA), Bryan Cranston was hilarious and incredibly likable. I mean, incredibly likable. Everybody loves this man. He received a standing ovation coming onto the stage and immediately quipped “well, I’ll just go home now then.” When asked which famous people, dead or alive, he’d like to meet, Cranston answered “John Lennon, Marlon Brando, Jesus and Kim Jong-il” – adding “come on, aren’t you curious?” Regaling the audience with stories from his memoir, Cranston’s self deprecating humor and infectious energy had the delighted audience eating out of the palm of his very “lively” hand.

Bryan Cranston

Clowning about at Live Talks LA

Cranston’s memoir, A Life in Parts, is aptly named since it delves into all the roles that Cranston has played in real life…and on film. The memoir offers a window into Cranston’s life, showing us how he crafts his performances from these various roles – ranging from farmhand to hypnotist; from stalked lover, to murder suspect, to abandoned son. We travel with Cranston as he experiences epiphanies, moments of realization and visits dark places within himself. Told with plenty humor, Cranston’s memoir is a surprising read. Then again, how could we expect anything less from the man that breathed live into the complex and multifaceted Walter White.

And a special shout out to Live Talks LA for another stimulating and enjoyable show.

All photos courtesy of Live Talks LA

Bryan Cranston

Art + Fashion: Collaborations and Connections Between Icons

Art + Fashion: Collaborations and Connections Between Icons

Art + Fashion_Cov What happens when famous artists and icons of the fashion world unite? Astonishing things happen, and fashion historians, E.P. Cutler and Julien Tomasello, bring you 25 of the most noteworthy combinations in their book: Art + Fashion: Collaborations and Connections Between Icons.

Spanning several decades of fashion and various art mediums, the book explores the creative relationships and outcomes of the provocative pairings such as Jackson Pollock and Cecil Beaton, Yasumasa Morimura and Issey Miyake, Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dalí, (resulting in the famous lobster dress painted by Dalí. And my favorite, Melvin Skolosky’s work for Harper’s Bazaar in 1963 – the fabulous “Bubble” photos, where a model in a Plexiglas bubble is captured floating above the streets of New York and bobbing down the river Seine.

Melvin Skolosky bubble

  • Hardcover:224 pages
  • Publisher:Chronicle Books (October 13, 2015)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN:978-1452138695
  • Price: $55.00
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