Tony N. Todaro

Tony N. Todaro

Tony N. Todaro

Yesterday the GLAWS monthly event was a memorial for its President and Co-Founder, Tony N. Todaro.  It was held at the Venice Pubic Library to a packed room.

There were several speakers, starting with the host of the event, former GLAWS Vice-President, Ace Antonio Hall.

Current president of GLAWS, Neil Citrin, then spoke next of how he met Tony and how they founded GLAWS based on a shared desire to create a new and different society for writers.

Next was our current Vice-President and tech wizard, John Gwenner.  These three have been working tirelessly on the website, mailing lists, membership list and the upcoming West Coast Writer’s Conference to keep Tony’s dream and legacy alive.   Tony ran GLAWS and WC2 as a one-man show.  It’s been difficult for others to come in and pick up where he left off.

The last scheduled speaker was Lilly, Tony’s wife of 40 years.  They had had several businesses together, including GLAWS and WC2.  The reoccurring theme was that Tony, himself was a writer.  He has six books which are two unpublished trilogies, that his editor and agents are working to get published.  But he also had a passion for helping others write and he sacrificed a lot of his writing time to do so.  She also read a letter from writer and educator, Art Holcomb, who was not able to attend.

The service was then opened up to anyone who wanted to say something about Tony, and many did.  I went near the end.  I wasn’t planning to speak, but as the service went on, I realized there was something important to Tony that no one had said.  It was hard to get up there, I was very emotional and I had to stop a few times because I got chocked up.  Here is basically what I said.  It is a more polished version now that I have had a chance to calm down and think it out.

This is how Tony has been a blessing to me:

“We’ve heard a lot about Tony today, but there is one thing that was important to Tony that I haven’t heard mentioned yet, and that is ohana.  Do you remember what that means?  In Hawaiian it means “family”.  Tony built a community, and family of writers.  People to educate and support each other. 

Non writers have a picture of writers sitting alone in their basement, typing away.  And that was me, sitting in my bedroom, typing away.  But you can’t become an author alone.  Before I met Tony at Loscon so many years ago, I didn’t even know all the kinds of people I would need.  If you’re like me with a day job, you first have to learn the skills of writing.  Tony never stopped looking for the best people to educate us.  Not just here in L.A., but in other states, the east coast, even Canada. 

He brought in people like Art Holcomb.  I’m I big Star Trek fan and this guy has written for “Next Gen”, “DS9”, “Voyager” and “Enterprise”.  He’s also written plays, books and comic books.  Whenever I’m in the same room with him its like, “I’M NOT WORTHY!  I’M NOT WORTHY!”  And because of Tony I have access to people like that.

Then once you learn your art, you have to practice.  That’s where critique groups come in.  My mentors were people like Saran Fox (who was in the audience) and Dan Watanabi, people who have worked in the television and movie industry for years.  They led my screen writing critique groups.  And Carl Nelson who leads my SciFi/Fantasy novel group.  And what I found out about my fellow writes in these groups is that many critique on different aspects of writing.  Some comment mostly on story arcs, others are great at character development.  Some will take a page or two and do line editing.  So, within these groups, I’m getting help on the whole spectrum on what it takes to build a good story.

And Tony brought in educators on the business of writing and the legalities of writing.  You don’t think, as a writer, you’re going to have to worry about legal stuff, but you do.  You will have to sign contracts.  Because of people like Attorney Paul Levine, I know what to look for, and I have a list of people I can go to for professional help.

And then, the final step to being published, I have met editors I want to work with, and agents I want to work with (at this point I looked at Steven Hutson, who was in the audience).

Tony was always encouraging, but the greatest encouragement was seeing people in my critique groups, my peers, get their first book deal.  People like Brandy June, who was in Carl Nelson’s group with me for a while.  I read some of her early work, which eventually evolved into “Gold Spun”, her first novel.  She went to the same conferences as I did.  She got the same education as I did.  She worked diligently on her novel as I am.  If she can succeed, I know my turn is coming.

And when I do succeed, I will owe a lot of it to Tony N. Todaro.”

Sitting here, writing this, I would like to add one thing.  Tony was known as the GLAWS Father.  But he also had a reputation of being late, so he was also known as Tony Tomorrow.  But leaving us…he was way too early.


208th blog completed.

First Steampunk novel:  76,341 words.  ß Past 76,000.  Goal:  80,000.

Second Steampunk novel: 783 words. 

Second Steampunk screenplay:  157 pages.

First Steampunk screenplay:  Need to update with notes from the novelization.

Third Steampunk screenplay:  38 pages.

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