Notes from La-La Land – Spring Newsletter

Holly the May Queen Says Hello!

Dear readers,

Hi! And thanks for signing up. It’s been several months, and I was surprised and delighted to discover so many new subscribers. The above is the family pet rabbit, who here reminds me of Dani in “Midsommar.”

Along the writing front, I’m editing my next novel, MOM’S NIGHT OUT. I think you’ll all like it. I’m also working on something shorter, that I hope to have news about soon. Film adaptations continue. As soon as I have something to announce, I will be very happy to do it.

With Covid lifting, I’ve been getting out and seeing other writers, to my delight. I’ll be signing books and serving on panels at StokerCon in Denver this May. I’m also visiting lots of virtual bookclubs. So, if you have a bookclub you’d like me to visit, drop me a line.

Recommendations – I’ve been reading a lot. Some favorites are:

HOUSE OF PAIN, by Patrick Radden Keefe, nonfiction about the opioid crisis

HOME GOING by Yaa Gyasi, a splendid first novel set in Africa and America, spanning nine generations.

THEM by Jon Ronson – nonfiction essays in which the author infiltrates conspiracy groups. Maybe funny, maybe mean? Hard to tell.

COME CLOSER by Sarah Gran – a very short novel about demonic possession, that’s horrific but also funny.

EINSTEIN’S MONSTERS, by Martin Amos – short stories for the nuclear, 1980s age, that are worth revisiting. Some are hard to follow, others both complex and heartbreaking.

I’ve also watched some stuff, and of that stuff I’d recommend –

THE SERVANT (1963) a very dark movie about the relationship between a gentleman and his servant, based on a screenplay by Harold Pinter.

DON’T LOOK UP (2022) a movie about two scientists who discover that an asteroid is about to crash into earth, but can’t get anyone to care. Audiences had mixed feelings- I very much enjoyed it. I think it hit too close to the bone for some people– the absurdity too close to what we see in the news. I get that- I hard a hard time with CATCH 22 for the same reason – to me it’s not funny, it’s horror. But I still love it.

PROHIBITION, THE DUST BOWL, and HUEY LONG – all Ken Burns docs that shed light on modern times, as they always tend to do. I’d start with DUST BOWL.

WHAT HAPPENED WAS (1994) dir by Tom Noonan – a chamber piece about a wincingly awful first date, that feels real and intimate. If you like wince-humor, you’ll like this.

THE INVITATION dir. by Karen Kusama – a story about violence and repression in La-La land, set in my neighborhood, and it’s spot on. I have an aversion to people who falsely justify behaviors and cultures that support these justifications (like Los Angeles), so this is up my alley. Be warned – lots of violence.

THE BABBADOOK (2014) – when I first saw this, I didn’t give it enough credit, because I’d written something very similar, that I hadn’t been able to get published. Envy! On re-watch, it’s fantastic. Horror, though, so if you don’t like horror, it’s not for you.

ERIN BROKOVITCH (2000) dir, Steven Soderberg -underrated classic that you can watch with the kids. DARK WATER tells the same story, in a more grueling, realistic way, but I love Brokovitch’s feminist spin. Feels like it’s in the same wheelhouse as JOY, another quiet classic.

The above is an illustration I made for MOM’S NIGHT OUT – set in a company town called Plymouth Valley

I’d like to ask a favor from anyone with an Amazon profile – though GOOD NEIGHBORS has very few one-star reviews, they’re all at the top of the page because they got a disproportionate amount of “likes.” I try not to attribute to malice what is more likely incompetence. Regardless, it can affect sales, when the first reviews everyone sees are all very negative. If you’re so inclined, please head to Amazon and “like” a positive (and preferably 5-star) review, so that algorithm changes. Click here to do that.

Drop a line if you’ve got comments on anything here, or want to see particular content from these newsletters.

That’s all I got. Thanks for signing up. More to come!

Until next time,

Sarah Langan

1 thought on “Notes from La-La Land – Spring Newsletter”

Leave a Reply to Donna Eubanks Cancel reply