Saturday, September 8, 2012

Gate, 2

I wonder if Pasadena has any good haunted houses. Real ones, I mean. There must have been a haunted house where you grew up. Every town has at least one. I knew of two haunted houses in my hometown, both on the outskirts, one west and one southeast. Old farm houses, both of them.

In the 1960's, farm flight was already beginning. It's possible both homes had been abandoned by owners who sold their farms for good money and moved to town.

To kids, the emptiness of these lonely houses left room for imagination to expand. The house west of town slumped alongside the road; we pedaled our bikes to it in daytime and wandered inside, wondering at the graffiti and the odd items left behind. Did they belong to the people who left, or the ghosts who stayed?

We discovered the other house in the early 70's. On a double date, for some reason I was driving and not one of the boys, as would have been the usual back then. I parked my father's compact car at the end of a long driveway and turned off the headlights. All four of us, sixteen-year-olds, tip-toed along the darkened lane toward a house hidden by trees, while our eyes became accustomed to the night. We crept up the porch stairs and peered into the windows, but it was so dark we couldn't see inside. Then we heard something. I don't know what it was--don't remember--but it came from the house and I know we all heard it because we all leapt off the porch and ran as fast as we could back down the lane, shrieking and giggling, to tumble into my father's car and make our getaway to the lights of town.

The next day my father asked how the print of a large tennis shoe had ended up on the ceiling of his car.


In case you missed it, we're having a contest here on the ol' PDP. It's called "Camelot Where You Are" and all the details are here on yesterday's post. Enter a photo of Camelot Where You Are to win a copy of my upcoming novel, 
"Camelot & Vine!"

Friday, September 7, 2012

Camelot Where You Are

You may know I'm publishing my novel, Camelot & Vine. It's about an actress who, on the day before her 40th birthday, loses everything she never cared about, flees Hollywood for England, falls through a gap in time, and accidentally saves King Arthur's life.

A lot more happens after that. Think 6th century Britain, chain mail, love triangles and Saxon invaders.

Publication is underway and it's going to take a few weeks (I'm crossing my fingers for an early October release but I really don't know), and in the meantime I thought we'd have a contest--a Camelot & Vine photo contest--because we can and we want to and we should so we will! The contest is called "Camelot Where You Are."

Here's what you do: find Camelot Where You Are (or where you've been), in whatever representation tickles your fancy (oh, teehee, ouch!), take a picture and send the pic to me. If you tell me it's okay, I'll also add you to my mailing list for email updates.

There's a castle in your town. Yes there is. It might be at the playground or on a business sign or on a product label. There's a shield, too, and a knight (the one above stands at Prestige Auto Service at Lincoln and Orange Grove in Pasadena). Take a photo of the castle, the knight, the sword--whatever represents Camelot to you--and email it to me by clicking on my profile at the upper left. Be sure to put "C&V photo contest" in your subject line. You retain all rights to your photo, and at the same time, by sending it to me you are granting me permission to post it here on One entry per person, please. Larger formats look better when they're posted, so send it big to give yourself the best chance of winning.

I'll begin posting entries next week if I have some by then. I have no idea how many I'll get, so I'm not sure how many I'll post per day (maybe several, maybe by next Friday I'll be begging). The contest will go Tuesday through Friday and we'll vote on the weekends, with a winner every week until Camelot & Vine is published. Everyone who visits the blog will be allowed to vote.

Oh, and just guess what the prizes will be. 
Each weekly winner will receive a copy of Camelot & Vine, in the format of his or her choice, as soon as the book becomes available.

Enter now! We all want to see your Camelot!

(P.S. I've posted some Camelot Where You Are shots on the Updates page of my website.)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Look Closely

Enlarge the picture if need be, and look again.

Beautiful, and perhaps too habituated for its own good. But around here, we share the space. I think that makes us lucky. Us humans, at least.

Stay tuned. We're about to have a contest here on the ol' PDP! Everyone can enter and everyone can vote. There will be several winners and I will give actual prizes.

Tomorrow I'll announce the details.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Reveal

Homemade sound studio!

I made it myself.
With help, of course.
As I told you yesterday, my sister made the blanket.
The walls are a three-sided, fold-up sound booth from an old friend.
The chair is a family heirloom (it's small, and I needed small).
I snagged the music stand from an old day-job when the company was getting rid of stuff.
The microphone was a gift from long-time friend and voice artist Teri Clark Linden.
John got the mic stand on eBay. I sandbagged it with the kind of ankle weights one uses for working out. (Apparently I'm not using them for that at the moment.)
The lamp came from the garage. I can't see the laundry and I don't care.
The headphones are from my radio days.
My friend, actor and voice artist Karyn O'Bryant, taught me how to use, the recording program. Remember when Adele and I went to see Karyn in the play?
That's a beach towel on the floor, to help muffle sound. All the beach towels in the house belong to Boz, so I have it on loan. As you can see, Boz monitors my use of it.
That's all. There's no room for anything else. There's barely room for me.

John got a shot of me in my booth, wearing my appropriate Spongebob Squarepants T-shirt.

The sound quality is pretty good for a booth I made by myself.

My first project: the Belinda's Birthday audiobook, which will be about 8 or 9 minutes long. I've already recorded it and will edit this week. I'll let you know when it's available because I am THAT excited about it.

As for Camelot & Vine, if I record the audiobook I'll probably do it in a bigger studio. Because Camelot & Vine is longer than 8 or 9 minutes, and Boz gets impatient for his towel.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What's Inside

Something has landed in my dining room.

Yes, that's a couch pillow on top. And a blanket my sister made for me, covering the whole surprise.

I should refinish the old secretary desk, but it's been in my family for so long I've come to love its scars. I once had a cat who sharpened his claws on the drawers. Long before that, I scratched a picture of a princess inside the desk. Or maybe my sister did that. I think I did it with a paper clip, but that was the 1960's and I don't remember. I have two sisters, so that gives us three little girls to blame.

None of this explains the Mother Ship in the corner. Tomorrow: the reveal.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Zen Monday: #212

It would be nice if I had a Labor Day-specific Zen Monday shot, but it matters not. It's Labor Day, it's Monday, it's Zen.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mount Wilson Totem

We're at the Mount Wilson Observatory. I don't remember which building we're in. I know what it looks like but I forget what it's called. Maybe, if we're lucky, Bellis will check in and tell us.

Some days I haven't taken a picture and I don't have an idea of what to post. I click through my thousands (upon thousands) of photos and hope something strikes me.

This one may turn out to be one of my favorites.

Ground. Building. Trees. Sky.