Monday, May 12, 2008


by Gina Sestak


I seem to have forgotten that it's my turn to blog today.

I have nothing prepared, so I propose to open this up for questions. What would anyone like to know about:


my published and (mostly) unpublished work?

the courses I'm taking through the City of Pittsburgh Dept. of Police, the University of Pittsburgh Osher Institute, and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute which include:

Citizen's Police Academy
Irish Dancing

recent (this year):
Daniel Day Lewis films
Coming of Age on the Silver Screen (films)
Fused glass object making
Public Utility Law
Unlocking Creativity
Bird watching

I also spent part of Saturday at the Meadowcroft Rockshelter, which is the oldest known site of human habitation in North America. Oh, and I folk dance and participate in a dream study workshop (as well as being an active member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams).

Ask away.


Joyce said...

Wow, Gina. You're busy--no wonder you forgot your blog!

I'd love to try Irish Dancing. Is it the Riverdance type of dancing? I'm really lousy at memorizing dance steps. I tried a jazz dance class once and could not get the hang of it. I can do a taekwondo form that has 81 moves in it (when I took my instructor test, I had to do over 400 moves--all the forms), but can't do a dance that has ten!

Cathy said...

Where is the Meadowcroft Rockshelter? Sounds interesting--tell us more?

Also, do you think J.K. Rowling will be writing more novels (non-Harry Potter)? I can't imagine that she'd retire altogether.

Does the Irish dancing include contra dancing (which is what we do when the Parkway is open)? It has Celtic origins.

Gina said...

Joyce -

The Irish Dance class I'm taking is ceili (say KAY-lee) or social dancing, not the performance type dance seen in Riverdance or Lord of the Dance. Ceili is thought to be the origin of country line dancing. So far, I've only had one class, but it seemed easy enough.

Generally, I'm a clumsy dancer, which is why I prefer line dancing to couple dancing -- in a line dance, when you get lost, you're less likely to kick or step on anyone. That's why the folk dancing I do for fun tends to be Eastern Mediterranean -- from Greece, Turkey, Israel, etc. where you don't have to worry about hurting a partner. It's Zorba the Greek kind of dancing, with lots of graceful-feeling movement to extraordinarily energizing music.

Gina said...

Cathy -

The Meadowcroft Rockshelter is in Avella, PA. Here's a link to some information about it:
It seems to have been used as a campsite over millenia by Paleo-Indians, the stone age people who inhabited the Americas many years ago. Carbon 14 dating establishes a human presence at Meadowcroft at least 16,000 years ago, but less conclusive evidence points to 20,000 years. People were still using it (if only for beer parties) well into the 20th Century.

I hope J.K. Rowling keeps writing. I'd love to see what else she can come up with.

I'm not sure about the contra dancing, but I think that's like set dancing, which this class may cover.

lisa curry said...

Gina, in your bird-watching studies, did you happen to learn anything about pilliated woodpeckers? They are big ones -- crow-sized. They migrate through this area at this time of year, and I always keep an eye out for them in the pine trees in my back yard. I heard and saw the first one last week, but I've been busy and not home much, and I haven't heard or seen any since. I want to know roughly how long they will be around (in the hope that I will see more) and also where they are on their way to, just because I always wonder about that!

Gina said...

Lisa -
I wish I could answer your question about the woodpeckers, but I can't. Sorry. I only made it to 2 bird-watching outings, and hardly any birds came out at one of them -- they were all hiding from a Coopers hawk that circled overhead.

Joyce said...

Lisa, we get a lot of woodpeckers in our yard. We put sunflower seed in our feeders and they love it. We get both the large red-headed woodpeckers and the smaller downy woodpeckers. We also get goldfinches, robins, cardinals, chickadees, blue jays, and wrens. We've recently had a harrier hanging around too. The crows don't like it. They escorted him out of the area a few weeks ago.

Annette said...

Gina! You were at the Rockshelter this weekend and didn't stop in to visit me??? I live just a few miles away. Oh. I wasn't home. Don't suppose you planned it that way, huh?

One of my first paid publishing gigs was a story I did on Meadowcroft and the Rockshelter for Pennsylvania Magazine a couple years ago. It's a great place to visit and I can't wait to get over there and see the new visitor's center they constructed.

Gina said...

Annette -
The visitor's center is nice. It's astonishing that so few people know about Meadowcroft Rockshelter, which is the OLDEST KNOWN HUMAN HABITATION SITE IN ALL OF NORTH AMERICA!!! And you only live a few miles away? Cool.

nancy said...

The pillated woodpeckers don't stay long in PA--just a couple of weeks passing through, I understand. But if you're lucky, they find a rotten tree in your neighborhood and stick around. We had one in our woods when we lived in Indiana, PA.---What a treat to listen to them "knock."

Now I just listen to the neighbors' crazy dogs bark all day.

Know anything about silencing barking dogs, Gina??

Joyce said...

Nancy, call the police about the dogs. You can remain anonymous.

Gina said...

Nancy -
Silencing barking dogs? Well, nothing legal -- [I was only going to suggest sending them on a nice prepaid vacation. Honest.] To tell the truth, I'd take barking dogs over lawn care equipment any day. Why can't people just allow their grass to grow -- quietly?

JennieB said...

You're a lady of many talents, Gina. If you're into writing cozies, you should pick an idea or two and talk your agent (if you have one) into pitching to Berkley. Their cozy lines focus heavily on crafts and activities. Sounds like you've got that one covered, huh? Dream interpretation might be a good one. I can't recall anyone else doing those. There are a few psychics in the line-up - ghost-busting and clairvoyance - but I don't recall anything about dreams. You could create your own niche. :-)

Gina said...

Thanks, Jennieb (is that your real name?) - I don't have an agent, although I would like to. I haven't tried to write any craft-based cozies. Maybe I could try that next - something to add to the pile of unsold manuscripts. I do have some paranormal stuff written, in all lengths (short story, novella, novel). A friend of mine, Cynnie Pearson, is coming out with a POD mystery novel featuring dreams. For more info, her website is:

Cathy said...

What is a Cooper's hawk, and what do they look like?

JennieB said...

No, sweetie, it's not my real name, but I'm not allowed to reveal who I really am. And not because I'm anybody, just because Berkley wants the writer of the new series of Do-It-Yourself Home Renovation mysteries to be known as Jennie Bentley, not someone else writing as Jennie Bentley. Although that's what I am. Someone else writing as Jennie Bentley...

They like pseudonyms a lot. Of course, my real name is weird enough that I wouldn't have chosen to use it anyway, even if they hadn't insisted.

JA Konrath failed to sell nine books before he finally managed to sell the tenth, you know. He has something like 400 or 500 rejection letters sitting in a drawer. Don't give up.