Saturday, August 4, 2012

Another Huntington Surprise

We're in the Associated Foundations Teaching Greenhouse at the Huntington Library and Gardens. (Apparently we slept here.) This, uh, item is on the top of the shelf pictured in yesterday's photo.

Any guesses?

You probably know what it is but I haven't a clue.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Huntington's Surprises

With colors like these, it's tempting to use the "saturate" function in my editing program. But I left them alone. They're fine on their own.

These planting pots are shelved in the Associated Foundations Teaching Greenhouse at the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino, which graces Pasadena's southern border. The Greenhouse is one of the Huntington's many surprises. For the longest time I didn't even know it was there, but it's right next to the Children's Garden. I couldn't find a specific page about the Teaching Greenhouse on the Huntington's website, but you can glean information about it here.

There's an interesting/weird thing in the upper left corner of this photo. I'll show you a picture of it tomorrow and we'll try to figure out what it is.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Camelot & Vine: Casey's adventure (and mine)

Official Announcement:
I have a publisher for my novel, Camelot & Vine.

That publisher is me.

I have weighed the goods and bads, the ups and downs, the fats and thins and now is the time! No more dilly-dallying and thinking and wondering and ohIdon'tknowing. I have watched my friends make successes of their self-published works. I see four self-published authors on the New York Times Bestseller list this week. Just yesterday another self-published novel was purchased to become a Hollywood film. Self-publishing is in! It's hot! It's the latest thing! And you know me, I am all about the latest trends. You should see my wardrobe. 

No. You shouldn't. There are advantages to the internet.

What I mean is there's no better time than now, no better publisher than me, for Camelot & Vine. And I'm excited.

Ten years ago, self-publishing was creepy. The only people who did it were desperate types who couldn't get the publishing industry to give them the time of day. But now we have the internet, with different platforms and pricing. It's the wild west out here, and speaking of my wardrobe, I look fine in cowboy boots.

I'm excited to be part of this new wave of publishing. I took a baby step (in my boots) by publishing Belinda's Birthday as a free download on Smashwords. (If I said I got my feet wet would that be too confusing, with the boots image?) Now I'm ready to move forward with the whole shebang. 

Actually it's not a shebang. It's a novel.

I've added a new page to my blog. You can see the link at the top here. It's called Camelot & Vine: Casey's adventure (and mine). I'll update the page whenever I have news of my publishing adventure. Of course I'll remind you here when I post there.

I don't mind telling you it's scary and I'll be grateful for any encouragement you feel inclined to give, whether it comes in the form of cheerleading, questioning or critique. But I'm right about this. My main character, Casey, goes on her adventure by accident. I embark on mine with a sense of purpose, the t-shirt in the window of the photo notwithstanding.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Theme Day: Numbers

Today's City Daily Photo theme day is "numbers." I knew I'd eventually have a reason to post this shot. This old license plate was part of the eclectic decor at Perdue's barbecue restaurant, a great little place that had an all-too-short tenure on Orange Grove Blvd. near Los Robles. I guess their timing wasn't great, but the food sure was.

City Daily Photo is still having website problems but we still have the nice linky page, thanks to Julie of Sydney Eye. Speaking of eyes, I like telling you about new blogs and lately I've been enjoying Cambridge, UK. Rath Savinders has quite an eye.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Guest Author: Dylan Brody

John and I met Dylan Brody in our Van Nuys days when our dogs introduced us at the dog park. You may be familiar with Dylan: he's a recurring guest on John Rabe's Off Ramp on KPCC, and he regularly performs live in the Los Angeles area and around the country (check his website for his schedule). Dylan's Modern Depression Guidebook is available on Amazon. His promo video for the Guidebook made me laugh out loud. Please welcome today's guest author, Dylan Brody.
At some point as you put together your novel you’ll get stuck. It happens to everyone. When it happens imagine yourself inside the scene or directly involved in the action and pay attention to things that didn’t seem important until you put your focus on them.

Are there sounds you or your characters hear that you hadn’t noticed before? A smell in the air? What are the small things the characters do with their hands?

As you begin to flesh out these tiny details, you will find they serve you in larger ways. If Deloris twists a strand of hair around her finger as she thinks, the same gesture may be used later to let us in on the fact that she’s thinking without telling us. If Givenchy Gentlemen hangs in the air when Paul arrives on the scene, dark-haired and arrogant, we may know that a deception is in place when the scent of Givenchy Gentlemen accompanies a dark-haired, arrogant man who introduces himself as Frederick.

The more you allow yourself to sink into the reality you create, to take in the details and report on them, the more life the story takes on for you and the more its own natural path reveals itself.

Many writing teachers give the instruction to show, rather than tell. This cannot be accomplished, though, until you begin to see, rather than invent.  The farther you sink into the imagined reality of the world you seek to reveal, the more you will be able to relate your experience there through the senses rather than through exposition. It is one thing to say that a scene takes place in a doll shop. It is quite another to place dolls, porcelain and bright-eyed, in careful rows on shelves from which they can look down on arriving customers, each hoping in her inanimate heart to be taken from the musty, humid orphanage for abandoned childhood companions to a bright new home with a nursery and a Labrador. It is one thing to say that a place is dark and dusty. It is another thing entirely to watch the slow descent of motes through the single, pencil-thin shaft of sunlight that slants downward through a bullet-hole in one of the five foil-blacked windows.

Being stuck need not be an indication of writer’s block. It is merely a reminder to sink deeper, take in the details. What do you see, hear, smell, feel? See. Hear. Smell. Feel. Write.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Zen Monday: #207

Welcome to Zen Monday, when the PDP community is eager to hear your deep thoughts, your essential feelings. Tell us what the picture says to you.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Skin Deep

I've never been to the Skin Deep Laser Medspa on Fair Oaks. Have you? "Skin deep laser med" doesn't sound like my style, but "spa" sounds absolutely like the thing I ought to do on a Sunday.

I remember, almost twenty years ago, taking a trip with my friend Gretchen through the central California wine country. It wasn't as fancy there as it is now, with its vineyards and tasting rooms. But we had fun, we explored, and on the way home we stopped at an Ojai spa. The setting was rustic. We drove off the highway along a winding drive to a low building among the trees. The swimming pool was empty. It seemed like no one else was there, which is entirely possible. All they had was sun, relaxation and quiet. And a couple of masseurs.

Not so here in Pasadena, where you can get Microdermabrasion and Photodynamic Acne Therapy and and "virtually painless hair removal." I'm sure all these things are lovely, but I'm realistic. They will not make me look like the models on the website, or even like the young woman I was in Ojai twenty years ago. That's fine. She was pretty enough, but she had a few things to learn.