A Clean Simple Page

After eighteen years on the net this is my first vanilla blog. Clean and simple, all text, few links, and I can write on the fly.

Besides the usual presence on Facebook (including the fan page for my screenplay Bolden: The Untold Story of JFK’s Assassination; Twitter (@cantaraworld); YouTube (short vids of celebs and cities shot with a Flip); Seed&Spark (where I follow/support new indie films in production); Pinterest (mostly photos of Old Hollywood and Filipino interest); LinkedIn (resume); Disqus (@cantara); Docs.com (the ARC of my memoir A Poet from Hollywood and director Stephen Gyllenhaal’s book of poetry which I published in 2006); I post at:

The Little Book Fish (occasional book reviews, essays on literary/publishing matters, and Michael Matheny’s novels complete in PDF); In Search of Sigrid’s Theater (Pro99 matters); The Film Squatter (filmmaking with a consumer camera); The Memetrix (reviews and essays on humor).


I am Bobbi Quetzal on various discussion boards.

I am Simona Wing at IMDb.

I am Wanda Tinasky nowhere.

So consider this the place where, proclaiming my domain, I let it all hang out.

Being Published vs Publishing Yourself

I confess I was temporarily enchanted by the claim of the (99% white) literary agents of “Diversity Pitchfest” that they were really — really really! — looking for Writers of Color to add coins to their coffers.

But the thing is, I’ve published myself and I’ve been published by others. (Hell, I’ve published others. Stephen Gyllenhaal case in point.) Preference: If money isn’t a factor — that is, if I’m not being paid — I would rather publish my own work in my own various blogs, zines, and paperbacks. I like to revise and I enjoy rewriting and getting the words just right, not to mention I’m continually proofreading my work, even after it’s “gone to print”.

In other words, I love the process. I find myself in the process. And hey, the finished product’s not bad either.

But once a piece is accepted by a publication it’s in their hands and I’m never satisfied. I welcome readers, but be advised: What you read of mine at any given time won’t necessarily be the final version. It’ll be close enough for rock and roll, though.

Note 30Jun16: Do I Owe You 50 Francs?

6 Lit Agents Who Asked to See My Work from Diversity Pitchfest (#DVPit) Then Never Answered

I have no idea whether any of these young people are employees of AAR-signatory agencies or not. (Oh, I lie. I actually do. I just don’t give a damn anymore.)  At their request as one of the many, many Writers of Color they seek I sent them material;  it’s been—what, two months?—and not a peep from any of them.

  • Annie Bomke Agency – Annie Bomke
  • Bond Literary Agency – Becky LeJeune
  • Browne and Miller – Abby Saul
  • Fuse Literary Agency – Jennifer Chen Tran
  • New Leaf Literary Agency – Suzie Townsend
  • Writers House – Alec Shane

The American Bystander Comedy Quarterly #2 on Kickstarter

Hey Cantara
If you have a couple extra bucks, here’s hoping you might want to be a part of a Kickstarter for THE BYSTANDER, a new purist humor magazine. In addition to being really funny, The Bystander is a totally new, non-corporate, reader-supported way of publishing. Reserve your issue via Kickstarter:

I am a contributor (along with Roz Chast, Mimi Pond, Jack Handy, George Meyer, all the Simpsons dudes, Todd Hanson of The Onion,and a whole bunch of other outstanding writers I hope are not now pissed at me.)

Thanks for letting me ask for a hand out
Merrill Markoe




Favorite novel: Villette by Charlotte Bronte. Favorite film: Les regles du jeu par Jean Renoir. Favorite Beatle: Paul. Favorite piece of music: Beethoven’s 9th. Favorite aria I have never attempted to sing: “Vissi d’arte” from Tosca by Puccini. Favorite aria I have attempted to sing: “O luce di quest anima” from Linda di Chamounix by Donizetti. Favorite conductor: Lennie, now and forever. Favorite food: pancit palabok without the shrimp paste, as it’s too salty and I’m on a low-sodium diet. Favorite cook: me. Favorite writer: Tie between Iris Murdoch and Philip Roth. Favorite reader: me.

38 Literary Agents Who Passed on My Work After Reading It

Some are AAR signatories; many are not. Some are in NYC; many are not. There’s even one in that great literary showplace of the plains, Kansas City MO. Some agents have certainly moved on; a couple agencies might be out of business. This is my list of literary agents who passed on my synopsis/partial or full manuscript, all of which were requested.

  • 3 Seas Literary Agency – Michelle Grajokowski
  • Alison Picard – Alison Picard Literary Agency
  • Ann Rittenberg Literary Agency – Penn Whaling
  • Ashley Grayson Literary Agency – Lois Winston
  • Barry Goldblatt Literary Agency – Barry Goldblatt
  • Bookends Inc – Lauren Ruth
  • Bradford Literary Agency – Laura Bradford
  • Castiglia Literary Agency – Winifred Golden
  • Christina Houle Agency – Christina Houle
  • Donald Maass Literary Agency – Jennifer Jackson
  • Faye Bender Literary Agency – Faye Bender
  • Ferguson Literary Agency – Cheryl Ferguson
  • Frances Collin Literary Agency – Sarah Yake
  • Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency – Jennifer De Chiara
  • Janet Reid – FinePrint Literary Management
  • Jim McCarthy – Dystel & Goderich Literary Management
  • Joanna McKenzie – Browne and Miller
  • Larsen Pomada Literary Agents – Laurie McLean
  • Laura Dail – Laura Dail Literary Agency
  • Lowenstein Associates – Barbara Lowenstein
  • Lynn C Franklin Associates – Weronika Janczuk
  • Marshal Lyon Literary Agency – Jill Marshal
  • Muse Literary Management – Deborah Carter
  • Nancy Coffey Literary Agency – Nancy Coffey
  • Nelson Literary Agency – Kristin Nelson
  • PS Literary Agency – Carly Watters
  • Pam Strickler – Pam Strickler Literary Agency
  • Park Literary Agency – Theresa Park
  • Prospect Agency – Automated Reject
  • Rees Literary Agency – Ann Collette
  • Renée Zuckerbrot Literary Agency – Renée Zuckerbrot
  • Sam Ellenberg Literary Agency – Sam Ellenberg
  • Signature Agency – Ellen Pepus
  • Steele-Perkins Literary Agency – Pattie Steele-Perkins
  • Sternig and Byrne Literary Agency – Jack Byrne
  • The Ahern Agency – Pamela Ahern
  • The Jenny Bent Agency – Susan Hawk
  • The Stringer Literary Agency – Marlene Stringer
  • Trident Media Group – Melissa Flashman
  • Vicki Bijur Literary Agency – Vicki Bijur