30 Oct 2016

Feral to domestication

Hello my little chickadees

My latest victim I kept in my cave far longer than any of the others. Why you ask? Simply because Rosemary Tantra Bensko tried to be funnier than me !!!!

Actually if I'm honest she was. However that's no excuse, so she spent an extra few days in there, without any facilities (if you know what I mean)

She smells a bit better than I expected so that's a double bonus. 
Here we go then....


Tantra Bensko turned feral after six years teaching in-person in universities and obtaining her MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop. She lived with bears, eating from the same uva ursi bushes, and in a packing crate washed up on the shore so she could be part of a sea lion clan, and she avoided any shelter in red canyons, snowy mountains, wet caves. Even when renting places to live, she slept in the yard, or the porch. Though she has since become domesticated, she still howls and regularly creeps around in the dark playing with a long piece of bamboo. She finds humans quite strange and curious creatures.

Where do you live?

In an apartment in this little missing puzzle piece of Oakland, which is called the Lorin District of Berkeley. So if you walk in any of three directions, you see a sign that says, Welcome to Oakland. There is also a statue near me on the Berkeley side of the border that spells out HERE. And a statue on the Oakland side that spells out THERE. So, apparently, I’m here.


Dancing. I’m decades older than the other people on the floor, but, hell. I’ve
got more practice. I’ll show those rascals how it’s done.

 Pets – furry or human?

 I hang out with the cellar spiders in the corners. One, Octavia, likes to be as   
 close to me as she can, so when I was sleeping low to the floor, she lived
 under the nearby table. When I moved up to a higher mattress, she moved
 up too. 
I also love the house finch in the yard. I try to imitate him. One time he tried
to teach me his song, note by note, until he decided I was hopeless. We still
talk sometimes, but not like that one time. I still hold out hope. But I look
away, instead of staring, as don’t want to make him uncomfortable by
putting him under any pressure. Instead, I think guilt might work better if
he sees me languishing on the doorsill, my chirps growing softer and more fragile 
and longingly hopeless.

What you do to chill out?

 Lately, I’ve been getting into my pleasure fort. I haven’t found an
 apartment-mate lately, so I have the extra bedroom to myself. Might as
 well make use of it! So, I put a soft cloth on the floor and tall chairs in there
 and hung a tapestry over it, facing the closet, with the rosy light of a salt lamp
 in the dark. In there I enjoy skin-playing with things like a ceremonially wrapped owl 
 feather, ice cubes and a fan, a rose scented beeswax candle with lovely warm wax to drip, 
 a teeny broom....and oh so much more.

Day job?

I teach fiction writing online with UCLA, Writers.com, and my own academy. I adore it.

Tell me about your books. When you first started writing. How many completed. Work in progress?

I started writing as a child, and knew I wanted to be an author. I’ve had quite a few Literary books published, but the recent one, Glossolalia: Psychological Suspense, is the only one published so far which is intended to be accessible to a reasonably large audience. “What if your subconscious determined the fate of nations?” It’s been called a breakneck, high octane, kick-ass Political Thriller.

Nancy works at a pesticide company and there’s a chemical which is legally deemed too toxic to use or to dump. My father owned one, and there was such a chemical, which they stored in a big container indefinitely. In the novel, Nancy notices it being transported away, and when she chases the waste truck, she goes down the metaphorical rabbit hole.

It’s part of a seven book series called The Agents of the Nevermind, which is an intelligence agency using disinformation, propaganda, hypnosis, drugs, media theater, mind control, occult practices, blackmail and so forth to protect official lies. I’ve written the other ones, and will revise them all drastically before they each come out. I’m working on the second one now, called Remember to Recycle. The series theme is the heroism of recognizing, resisting, and exposing social engineering. AKA – State-sponsored perception management.

If you could have any animal from time immemorial as a pet for long freezing days and nights, what would you choose and why?

A Slow Loris would make the time go faster.

Do you prefer heat OR cold?

This is the Bay Area. There’s not usually an OR there. Think microclimates on speed.

Fantasy holiday… Where would you choose to go if someone else was picking up the tab?

Does that mean I could permanently bankrupt the person who left a 2-star Amazon review by going to Venus on his tab? If not, I’d pick Romania.

Are you with a traditional publisher or self-published?
I’ve had hundreds of stories as well as lot of poems and articles, chapbooks, collections, and a novella published by other presses. But now I’m indie all the way. I wouldn’t want to give up control of a book any more. I published other people’s obscure literary chapbooks with my press and now am focusing on putting out my Agents of the Nevermind series. Yeehaw!

Favourite meal (hot and cold)?

Hot – Sweat - Cold – mushy persimmons.

Favourite drink (hot and cold)?

Hot – Ginger tea - Cold- Mead.

How hard do you find book promotion?

Depends on whether I lick it and flick it.

Any tips or hints you’ve found that were successful for you in promotion?

Be rich. That seems to work for people.

Favourite genres to read and write?

My series is Psychological Suspense/Thillers. Wait, fiction manuscript editors/fiction writing instructors read fiction for fun?

You’ve set up your own publishing house using FB writer friends to help run it. What would you name it? Who would you choose to run the different departments? As the owner, how would you ensure the FB staff achieved success?

My actual publishing company is called LucidPlay (Insubordinate Books is the imprint for my own books.). Emily Kiernan would be fun to hire for editing, and brilliant literary cocktails. Mia Avramut for art and adventuresome international relations. Teri Lee Kline for author interviews and setting up deliciously unavoidable readings. Thaisa Frank for book descriptions and clever media quotes.

I believe blackmail is generally considered effective. So, I’d have to do something shamefully wonderful with them and secretly record it. They’d know that if it were to be released to the world, everyone would implode with envy. They’ve have compassion for their fellow man, and buckle down and get to work, and do whatever it took to make the press go wild.

Website for Glossolalia

Website for Agents of the Nevermind series

Website for Insubordinate Books

Well my little chickadees, what can I say except I'm going for a lay down to recover.

Laters Potaters

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