Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Quit A Writer's Group

Well, I quit a group.  So I'm down from five to four groups.  It was the right decision I think.  They only met once a month and we only did ten pages.  We didn't read them before hand, we read them and critiqued them on the spot. 

At the rate they were going, it would have taken me two years to get through a rough draft.  And I wasn't finding the notes very helpful.  How helpful can you be if you have to provide criticism on the spot? 

So I think I want to cut two more groups and find one more critique partner. 

The 30 pages a week in critiquing is so much work, just so you can get 15 pages of your own work critiqued once a month.  I have a feeling that one is next.  Although, again, they are such nice people that you hate to do it.

O-Bon

Obon is the Japanese custom to honor the deceased spirits of one's ancestors.  Obon usually is celebrated somewhere in July or August.  It differs by region.  Anyway, most Japanese make trips to visit the cemeteries and then there are big festivals or 'matsuri' afterwards.

In the spirit of Obon, we went to visit Mom and Dad this weekend, then had our own 'festival' at Chevy's.  Margarita's and chips and salsa.  All good. 

In Japan, they float lanterns on the water to signify the return of the ancestral spirits to the world of the dead. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Feel Bad for Amanda Hocking

She must be getting some flack. If you don't know, she is the writer who is a millionaire from selling her books for $0.99 to $3.99 on Kindle. She just made a 2 million dollar deal with St Martin Press. So now the price of her Kindle books has to go up, even though she's making significantly less per sale.

And she got a B- abd a D review for two of her books from Entertainment Weekly.

Anyway, she wrote a long blog post about her decision to sign with the publisher. You can tell she's getting grief from fans for raising prices.

Poor (or in her case, not so poor) thing. I feel bad for her. She was at Comicon and participated in some forums with other authors but skipped the book signing because, well, she has no printed books to sign.

If someone offered me two million dollars to see my stories made into real live printed books, you can be sure I'd take the money too.

Hang in there Amanda!

Boring doldrums of summer

Sister went to Hawaii and came back.  Critique Partner on vacation.  Boss went to Hawaii and came back.  Friend went to Vermont for the summer.   Some went to ComiCon last week. 

Not me. I'm here. I'm busy with work.  Nothing much to report other than envy of others who get to go to cool places (temperature or hipness - both definitions work).  Is my daytrip to SF to ride boards going to be the only thing I did all summer? 

No-o-o-o-o, say it isn't so.  I need to make some plans! Yes, that is what I'll do...  Any suggestions?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Trendsetter?

Yeah, Cat Lady is anything but a trendsetter.  Still, Pasadena Daily Photo went to Happy Trails catering more than three weeks after I did.  Okay, so her photos are 10x, no, make that 100x better than mine, but I was there first!

And those Hozuki plants from Shinjuku Daily Photo?  I had pictures over a year ago when I went to that Pasadena Matsuri and temple!

Ha!

And I did go to ComiCon that first year before Twilight movie came out and everyone around me was calling RPatz "ugly".    We didn't even have to camp out overnight.

Ha!

Okay, that is all the Ha's I have in me.  It's hot.  Cats not happy.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My heroic writer's group

It isn't very often mild-mannered writers are labeled heroic.  Today, my entire group earned that label.  One of the members, I'll call him Ted has been absent from meetings since last week.  He's usually very quick to respond and let people know when he's going to be late etc.

So one of other members, I'll call her Lisa started e-mailing and calling him after he missed meeting.  Two others joined in.  One member even offered to drive down to the area he lives in to do a street by street search.  Today (5 days later) after not receiving a response, Lisa started to get very worried.  She tracked down his address with the help of the others in our group and white pages.  Then she called the police to go check on him.

The police entered Ted's home and found him in and out of consciousness.  They took him to the hospital ER.  Two of the members of my group then went down to the hospital to be with him.  Two others tracked down his cousin on facebook, and then figured out his cousin's number on Lexis then cold called (Ted is from out-of-state).  From there, they tracked down Ted's parent's number and got in touch to let Ted's parents know what was going on.

So Ted is in intensive care.  My thoughts and prayers are with him.  But I am also in amazement at how this group of people possibly saved someone's life today.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bastille Day




Yesterday was Bastille Day so in honor of it, I went looking for French Food for lunch yesterday. 















Found Creme de la Crepe.  Nice French sounding name.  They even had an Eifel Tower in their logo!
















I ordered a flat bread sandwich which had basil, tomatos, buffalo mozzarella.  It was called "The Italian". ha ha..  I did also have a nutella crepe.  Nutella also originated in Italy.  So I guess I was having Italian food, not French.  Oh well.

Call me Crazy

I've been getting a lot of response to my posting my writing schedule.  All the response is the same.  "You're Crazy!".  So I'm going to dump a few because I got sick a few weeks ago and I was sick again this week.  I think it has to do with the manic pace at which I try to cram stuff into the "free time" I have once I meet my deadlines. 

I've had a multiple change of heart on what to drop though.  I think I'll try a few more weeks and see how I feel.


 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Forever Post #2





I'm about 2/3rds of the way through "Forever" and I take back everything I said below.  The writing is really good - evocative I think is the word I'm looking for.  It just took me a while to get into it.  I'm not spoiling it for anybody but if you haven't picked up "Shiver" and "Linger" and now, finally "Forever" I urge you to do so. 

My rating: * * * * * (Five Stars)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Forever

Maggie Stiefvater's third book in the "Wolves of Mercy Falls" series was released on July 12th.  Of course, since I had my (often referred to) Kindle, I stayed up and waited for it to arrive at 12:30 am.

Then I read the first chapter and fell asleep (nothing to do with the writing, just, I'm not used to staying up that late).

But with all the books that I highly anticipate, I'm kind of disappointed.  But this is not the fault of the writing.  It is the fault of my high, high expectations that seem to build over the months that I wait for the next book.

I'm only on chapter six but the two characters Sam and Grace still haven't met face to face.  What is with that?  Okay I reserve the right to change my mind once I've read the whole thing.

The only book that really lived up to the wait period was the last book in the Vampire Academy series.  And I think that was probably because I didn't discover the entire series until about 2 months prior to the last one coming out!  ha ha.

So maybe I should just not jump into a series until all the books are out.  Maybe that is the key...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tanabata

I broke down and added a link to the blog "One Time One Meeting".  I forgot it was Tanabata on July 7th.  Take a look at the blog post for "Milky Way On Earth".  So Pretty.

Tanabata is the sad story of two lovers separated by the Milky Way.  They are only allowed to cross over once a year on July 7th and only if the weather is good. 

Tanabata is celebrated by various festivals in Japan and writing wishes on pieces of paper and decorating Bamboo trees (wish trees).

The link explains it much better. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Writing Schedule

































I'm a really boring person.  I can never come up with anything that I did over the weekend or what I've been up to, and I almost never have anything to say on Facebook.  So I decided to show you what I do everyday, when I say "I'm writing".  I have two books I'm writing and a third one I'm editing.  I also have a bunch of commitments to critique people's stuff (so they critique mine).

Three Fairview books:

Mel - I've finished this one and am editing.  That is why I'm up to 10 pages a day when I work on Mel stuff.  Mel is short for Melody the trials and tribulations of a piano-playing junior and her friends Gina, Kyle, and Spence.

Jane - about 5 chapters in.  Jane and her best friend Schroeder happen upon a mysterious boy who is on the run.  From what?

Hope - about 3 chapters in.  Hope and Schroeder spend their last summer before college interning at the local paper.  It is called... wait for it... "The View From Fairview".  he he, a little cross promotion.

So it is crazy busy trying to switch between all the characters and voices and such.  I finally decided to keep on the same characters per week.

TOWGIT:  The Only Writing Group In Town.  ten people.  Each week 2 people submit 15 pages each and we go over it in excruciating detail.  So I have 30 pages a week to critique.  Trouble is, the deadline to submit is midnight on a sunday so I have to critique it during the work week.  I'm doing Jane book with them.

SCBWI: Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators:  Meet once every 2 weeks.  We do on-the spot critiques but everybody brings pages every meeting.  I'm doing Jane there too.

SGVNWG: San Gabriel Valley Novel Writing Group:  We meet once a month and do 30 pages.  Trouble is, one person is in both the TOWGIT and this group and I promised I wouldn't do the same book in both groups so I started writing the Hope book here.

IHOP group:  Really, this is an intensive YA group but we meet at IHOP so I call it the IHOP group.  Going for the funnel cakes this Saturday!  Anyway, I do 10 pgs here and the leader really wants me to focus on getting Mel book out and published so I'm working on Mel here.

CP#1:  Critique partner page exchange.  50 pages once a month.  Working on Mel here too.

 So when I say I'm writing, I'm actually doing all the above. But I am starting to think some of this is too much.  This is about the second month into the schedule and it is getting a bit overwhelming.  Especially when I got stuck/stalled two-three weeks ago.  Plus, I'm not getting a whole lot of usefullness out of two of the groups I'm in.  I'm seriously thinking about dropping a few groups.  I'll stick it out another month, to 2 months, see if it gets better.

Friday, July 8, 2011

57 Heaven

If I was a blonde and tan California gal in 1957 (I'm not) I would have loved to have driven around in this.
































Thursday, July 7, 2011

Don Francisco Coffee



I was lucky enough to be able to tour the Don Francisco Coffee plant a few weeks ago.  Very interesting.  The above is the million dollar tasting room.  Where the taster decides whether or not to buy specific batches of beans.





























Look how beautiful the packaging is for Gavina Coffee.





























And this is what the bags look like when they're filled (different brand)




























They make 305 different brands, I think.  Here is what they were making the day I went.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fourth Of July 2011



























Second year in a row I've gone to sister's house for Fourth of July.  They live near the Rose Bowl so we bring our lawn chairs and camp out outside and watch the spectacular fireworks. 

The photos I took last year were better.  I think my camera wasn't charged enough.

So I decided to take photos of the desserts instead!



Perfect for the 4th!  From Porto's




From Marie Callender's




Sister's pineapple upside down cake


Homemade cheesecake.  Yummy!

I think I gained weight just looking at the pictures.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Drive-Ins




























Went to a classic cars show and this one had this tray which reminded me of the drive-in restaurants and movie theaters.  What could be more American on this 4th of July weekend?

I remember when my Aunt, Uncle and two cousins (at the time) came to visit and we all piled into my Dad's station wagon and went to see The Exorcist at the drive in.  I spent most of the movie under a blanket, refusing to watch (yes, we were way, way underage) but I still remember it as being "fun".

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Trails Catering

I discovered this little place quite by accident.  I was walking by and noticed they had a little lunch counter and decided to try it.  I went yesterday at around 1pm.  First piece of advice, go right at noon.  They were sold out of everything except sandwiches by the time I went.

Second piece of advice - order lemonade or iced tea.  They have unlimited re-fills.  I of course ordered a diet coke, which was a mistake, because they handed me a can (warm) and a cup with a few pieces of ice which melted too quickly. 

I had a roast beef sandwich + diet coke = $11.50.  Not a bargain.  I was going to sit at the counter and watch the traffic but I noticed everybody else was going out the door.  I picked up my stuff and followed them down this side alley.

I wondered where this was leading but it was pretty.
I'm glad I did because they had this beautiful secret garden.  So I sat and ate my sandwich and diet coke and was very happy.  Next time though, I'm getting a cookie and some lemonade!